Problems and Possibilities in Early Medieval Diplomatic
For the last four years a group of early-career scholars have organised sessions advocating and exemplifying the critical use of charter evidence in early medieval history at the International Medieval Congress in Leeds, under the general title of ‘Problems and Possibilities in Early Medieval Diplomatic’. Papers have covered all angles of the subject, from diplomatic to databases, from formulas to fictions, witnesses and women, and a volume of essays from them is now in compilation. Speakers have ranged from professors to postgraduates and audiences have been both numerous and interested. Now the organisers invite submissions for the 2010 edition of the strand at the Leeds Congress, which will run 12-15 July. Papers that coincide with the general Congress theme, which is ‘Travel and Exploration’, will be particularly welcome but there is no need to conform to this to be considered. If you work with charter material from the early Middle Ages, generously defined, and have innovative approaches, unfamiliar issues or intriguing complexities, or just a critical story to tell, and you can form them into a twenty-minute paper, we would like to hear from you. Please make yourself known at A Corner of Tenth-Century Europe with contact details which can be passed to the sessions organiser for this year, Dr Martin Ryan (Manchester).
For anyone else, the image is one of three charters preserved in England which retain a knife which was used as a token of the original transfer; it is Durham University Library, ref. DCD 4.3.ebor.4. The actual document is later than the knife, because, as the caption relates, when the Prior of Durham Cathedral brought it in evidence in court in 1213 objection was raised to its unusual nature and obvious portability and a new, chirograph, document was made to carry it. You can see the legend C I R O G R A F V M along the top edge. But, as the article I borrowed this image and caption from shows, knives as transfer tokens was quite usual practice among the conquering Normans in the eleventh century. That article is Michael Clanchy, “The Norman Conquest and Anglo-Saxon Literacy” in Past and Future: the magazine of the Institute of Historical Research Vol. 3 (London 2008), pp. 6-7. So there you go.