chapter  14
30 Pages

Pro Amore Dei: Diplomatic Evidence of Social Conict During the Reign of King John

It is now clearly established that when William the Conqueror ascended the English throne in 1066 he introduced to the royal chancery the then-current Norman practice of issuing charters without dates. This custom continued until the reign of Richard I (1189-1199), when, for the first time, dated charters were regularly issued from the royal chancery. It was not until the early years of the reign of Edward II (1307-1327), however, that dates were commonly included in private charters. It is estimated that at least a million private charters have survived as originals, or as copies in cartularies, from that nearly 250-year period. Of these, approximately 8 percent are dated within the charter, increasingly so with the passage of time, but even at the turn of the fourteenth century the percentage remains modest.