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The Fine Rolls of Henry III: From the Magna Carta to the Parliamentary State

Award Information

AHRC ref: AH/F011105/1
Discipline: History
Funding opportunity: Research Grant
Areas of Impact: Culture and Heritage; Museums and Collections
Lead RO: King’s College London
Region: London

A series of 56 fine parchment rolls from the reign of Henry III (1216-1272), containing Latin records of fines offered to the king for concessions and favours, have been translated into English by AHRC-funded researchers. The rolls are unique in Europe and represent one of the chief treasures of the National Archives.

Across two consecutive three-year AHRC funded projects running from 2005 to 2011, a team led by Professor David Carpenter (King’s College London) translated all 56 fine rolls.

Translations from the original Latin were digitized and made available on the project website along with digital images of the original documents. In doing this, the project has opened up this important historical resource to a much broader academic and general public. The website has been used by people across the globe. June 2012 to June 2013 saw a total of 22,931 sessions on the website, whilst the two years from June 2013 to July 2015 have brought a further 33, 826 sessions. Just under half of these originated outside the UK including from the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand, Ireland and Spain amongst others.

Within the UK, the newly democratized historical resource has been used by local communities, schools and even heritage institutions. The villagers of Nunney in Dorset used the rolls to date their market charter to 1260, and Beverley Grammar School set up a project for their Year 7 pupils centred on the website. In July 2011, Jeremy Ashbee, Head Properties Curator at English Heritage, used the rolls to re-date the history of Corfe Castle.

By translating this important historical source and making both the translation and original documents available on the website, the project team opened it up to a much broader audience. This has stimulated both academic and public engagement and effectively empowered new audiences to explore history.

For more information on the project visit: Henry III Fine Rolls Project

Gateway to Research Project Links: Between Magna Carta and the Parliamentary State: the Fine Rolls of King Henry III 1248-1272, Apr 08 - Dec 11

Associated image: Chiara Marra on Flickr by CC 2.0