Yvonne Seale

Making Women Matter, One Medieval Manuscript at a Time

Handlist of Premonstratensian Cartularies

Austria | Belgium | Czechia | England | FranceGermany | Hungary | Netherlands | Poland | Scotland | Spain | Switzerland

This is a work in progress and should not be considered exhaustive. I have tried my best to double-check the accuracy of the call numbers provided by secondary sources, but please note that some may be incorrect or may have been superseded by later cataloguing systems. Where possible, I have linked to an online catalogue entry, to a digitised version of a manuscript, or to a freely accessible modern edition.


Griffen (Carinthia, ca. 1233-1786)

1. Kärntner Landesarchiv, AT-KLA 118-A-2/15 St
1549; 188 fols.

Schlägl (Upper Austria, 1202/3-present)

1. Stiftsarchiv Schlägl, Hs. 12

2. Stiftsarchiv Schlägl, Hs. 13

3. Stiftsarchiv Schlägl, Hs. 14


Antwerp (Antwerp, 1124-1795)

1. Rijksarchief te Antwerpen, T14/001 – 3
Early 16th c.; acts dating 1124 to 1505

2. Rijksarchief te Antwerpen, T14/001 – 15
18th c.

3. Rijksarchief te Antwerpen, T14/001 – 16

Averbode (Flemish Brabant, 1134-1797, 1834-present)

1. Rijksarchief te Leuven, 4947
15th c. with additions to 18th c.; 523 pp.

Beaurepart (also known as Mont Cornillon, Liège, 1124-1793)

1. Liège, Archives de l’Evêché, G IV 7
17th c.; 136 fols.; acts dating 1130 to 1503
Modern edition: Édition du cartulaire de l’abbaye des prémontrés de Beaurepart à Liège (1868)

2. Liège, Archives de l’Evêché, G IV 8
18th c.; 182 fols; 216 acts dating from 1101 to 1758

3. Liège, Archives de l’Evêché, G IV 9
17th c.; 220 fols.; 141 acts dating from 1283 to 1590

4. Liège, Archives de l’Evêché, G IV 10
18th c.; 60 fols.; about 30 18th-century acts

Bonne-Espérance (Hainaut, 1130-1797)

1. Averbode Abdijarchief, 4 / 111

2. Bibliothèque du petit séminaire de l’abbaye de Bonne-Espérance
18th c.; 18 vols.; acts from 1126 to 1736

3. Bibliothèque nationale de France, lat. 10167
16th-18th c.; 317 fols.

4. Archives nationales, Paris, S*9742
1681; 130 fols.; acts from 1163 to 1680

5. Bibliothèque du petit séminaire de l’abbaye de Bonne-Espérance

Drongen (East Flanders, 1138-1796)

1. Rijksarchief te Gent, K9 – 6
1298 with later additions
Modern edition: Corpus chronicorum Flandriae, vol. I (1837) (pp. 704-734)

2. Rijksarchief te Gent, K9 – 7
14th c., with additions to 1422; includes Premonstratensian statutes

3. Rijksarchief te Gent, K9 – 8
1298-1422; register of papal privileges

4. Rijksarchief te Gent, K9 – 9
Early 14th c.; register of papal privileges

Floreffe (Namur, 1121-1797)

1. Archives de l’Etat à Namur, 3288
1292; 245 fols.; contains 392 acts dating 1121 to 1292
Modern edition: Cartulaire de l’abbaye de Floreffe (1881)

2. Archives de l’Etat à Namur, 3289
17th c.; acts from 1191 to 1658

3. Archives de l’Etat à Namur, 3290
17th c.; acts from 1191 to 1658

4. Bibliothèque du Grand Séminaire de Namur, n° 30

5. Bibliothèque du Grand Séminaire de Namur, n° 31
17th c.

6. Bibliothèque du Grand Séminaire de Namur, n° 32
17th c.; fragment

Furnes (also known as Veurne, West Flanders, 1120-1798)

1. Rijksarchief te Brugge, Acq. 3468
15th c.; 241 fols.
Modern edition: Chronicon et cartularium abbatiae sancti Nicolai Furnensis (1120-1354) (1849)

Grimbergen (Flemish Brabant, 1120-1794, 1834-present)

1. Grimbergen Abbey Archives
16th c.

2. Grimbergen Abbey Archives
13th c.

3. Grimbergen Abbey Archives
15th c.

Heylissem (Walloon Brabant, 1130-1796)

1. Archives générales du Royaume, AEB 8322
ca. 1285-86; 171 fols.; almost 300 acts from 1124 to 1286 copied in the hand of Gérard de Cologne, canon of the abbey; 67 acts added 1292 to 1329.


1. Rijksarchief te Gent, K144 – 69
18th c.; 196 fols.; acts from 12th to 17th c.

2. Rijksarchief te Gent, K144 – 68
14th c.; 63 fols.; acts dating 1177 to 1377

3. Archives de l’archevêché de Malines
16th c.; 239 fols.

4. Archives de l’archevêché de Malines
14th c.; 139 fols.

Parc (Flemish Brabant, 1129-present)

1. British Library, MS Add. 16953
16th c.; 60 fols.; contains acts dating 1142-1520.

2. Archives générales du Royaume Belgique, 9385
18th c.; 24 fols.; copies of acts dating 1133 to 1264

3. Archives de l’abbaye du Parc-lès-Louvain, no call number

4. Archives de l’abbaye du Parc-lès-Louvain, no call number
1265; 127 fols.

5. Archives de l’abbaye du Parc-lès-Louvain, no call number
1266; 71 fols.

6. Archives de l’abbaye du Parc-lès-Louvain, no call number
15th c.; 64 fols.

7. Archives de l’abbaye du Parc-lès-Louvain, no call number
15th c.; 110 fols.

8. Archives de l’abbaye du Parc-lès-Louvain, no call number
16th c.; 178 fols.

9. Archives de l’abbaye du Parc-lès-Louvain, no call number
15th c.; 74 fols.

10. Archives de l’abbaye du Parc-lès-Louvain, no call number
17th c.; 195 fols.

11. Archives de l’abbaye du Parc-lès-Louvain, no call number
16th c.; 317 fols.

12. Archives de l’abbaye du Parc-lès-Louvain, no call number
15th c.


1. Archives de l’Etat à Mons, AEM.02.151
12th-18th c.

2. Archives de l’Etat à Mons, Cart. 57
ca. 1280; 132 fols.; 211 acts dating from 1125 to 1279, 33 later additions from 1153 to 1506

3. Archives de l’Etat à Mons, 243
14th c.?; 17 fols.; 8 acts relating to the curtis of Hubamont, dating 1153 to 1216

Chotěšov Abbey, Czechia [Source]



1. Národní archiv, Archivy zrušenych klásteru, kn. 71
16/17th c.


1. Archiv Pražského hradu, Archiv pražské metropolitní kapituly, Cod. VI-3
Later copy?


Barlings (Lincolnshire, 1154/5-1537)

1. British Library, Cotton Faustina B. I, fols. 30-179
4th quarter of the 13th c.-1st quarter of the 15th c.; missing leaves at beginning and end; mix of private and episcopal charters

2. Oxford, New College, Muniment 9138
1389; 5 membranes; inventory and copy of 18 charters

Bayham (Sussex, late 12th c.-1525)

1. British Library, Cotton Otho A. II
Mid-13th c. with 13th-14th c. additions; approx. 20 folios missing, severely fire damaged; copies of papal charters, royal and episcopal documents, varia.

Beauchief (Derbyshire, 1173/6-1537)

1. Sheffield Archives, MD 3414
Early 15th c.; 114 folios, some leaves missing; mostly copies of private deeds, one royal inspeximus and one papal privilege.
Modern edition: A monastic community in local society: the Beauchief Abbey Cartulary (2011)

Cockersand (Lancashire, 1184-1539)

1. British Library, Add. 37769
1268, with additions to 16th c.; iii + 164 folios; sections of papal and royal charters copied in full, followed by abstracts of deeds arranged topographically
Modern edition: The chartulary of Cockersand abbey of the Premonstratensian order (1898-1909)

2. Private Owner (enquiries directed to Cumbria Record Office, Kendal)
Late 13th-15th c.; part of a roll of charters, with abstracts of approx. 35 charters. Approx. 1/3 of roll survives.

Croxton (Leicestershire, 1160-1538)

1. Private Owner
13th c.-16th c.; 92 folios; “Large Cartulary” or “Croxton Domesday”, account of abbey’s lands followed by rentals.

2. Private Owner
13th c.; 150 folios; “Croxton Abbey Register”; land acquisition memoranda, some summarised/transcribed charters

3. Private Owner
Late 13th c.; 3 membranes; memoranda and abstracts

4. Northamptonshire Record Office, FH/N/A/0502
ca. 1270; Schedule of deeds

Dale (Derbyshire, ca. 1185-1538)

1. British Library, Cotton Vespasian E. XXVI
Early 14th c., additions to first half of 16th c.; 196 fols., initial pages missing; general cartulary containing copies of private deeds arranged topographically
Modern edition: The Cartulary of Dale Abbey (1967)

Durford (Sussex, ca. 1161-1536)

1. British Library, Cotton Vespasian E. XXIII
Late 13th/early 14th c. with additions to late 15th c.; 117 fols.; general cartulary, mostly arranged topographically with royal charters at beginning of first section.
Modern edition: The cartulary of Durford Abbey, Sussex (1979)

Easby (Yorkshire, 1151-1536/7)

1. British Library, Egerton 2827
After 1281, with subsequent additions; 364 fols.; general cartulary, mostly arranged topographically, includes papal and royal charters.

Halesowen (Worcestershire, 1215-1538)

1. Warwickshire County Record Office, CR 1291/640
Late 15th c.; 1 membrane; copies of 5 charters.

Two other manuscripts (cartulary and register) known to have existed, perhaps now destroyed.

Langdon (Kent, 1189-1539)

1. The National Archives, E 164/29
Early 14th c.; 181 fols.; general cartulary, mostly arranged topographically, includes episcopal and royal charters.

Langley (Norfolk, 1195-1536)

1. British Library, Add. 5948
13th-14th c.; 58 fols.; fragmentary register containing notes of grants, with miscellaneous additional charters

2. Bodleian Library, Bodley 242 / British Library, Add. 5948
13th-14th c.; v + 156 fols.; composite register containing part of cartulary, now in two volumes

Leiston (Suffolk, 1183-1537)

1. British Library, Cotton Vespasian E. XIV
1st half of 13th c. with additions to mid 14th c.; 83 fols.; general cartulary with copies of papal, episcopal and royal charters mainly at the beginning.
Modern edition: Leiston Abbey Cartulary and Butley Priory Charters (1979)

Newhouse/Newsham (Lincolnshire, 1143-1546)

1. Lincolnshire Archives, Yarb/3/3/1/1
13th c.; 70 fols., many others missing; “Black Book of Newsam”; parts of a cartulary, containing copes of approx. 750 private and other deeds.

St. Radegeund’s/Bradsole (Kent, 1193-1536)

1. Bodleian Library, Rawlinson B. 336
Late 13th c.; 148 fols.; Partial cartulary, incl. copies of royal, papal and episcopal charters with rental and other misc. material

2. Destroyed in fire, 1745.
Cartulary with copies of 1200+ charters, survives in partial early modern extracts.

Shap Abbey (Westmorland, ca. 1192-1540)

1. Untraced, survives in partial early modern extracts.

Titchfield (Hampshire, 1232/3-1537)

1. Untraced, survives in partial early modern extracts.

2. British Library, Add. 70506
Late 14th c. with additions to 1559; v + 224 fols.; register of legal proceedings, rentals, etc.

3. British Library, Add. 70509
Late 14th c.; i + 665 fols.; register of court rolls, 1246-1376.

4. British Library, Add. 70509
Late 14th c. with additions to 1481; iv + 125 fols.; rentals and evidences

5. British Library, Add. 70509
1400-ca. 1405; vii + 101 fols.; library catalogue and miscellanea

Torre (Devon, 1196-1539)

1. Trinity College Dublin, MS 524
After 1251, with additions to 15th c.; 170 fols., some missing pages; cartulary with papal acts followed by geographically arranged entries.

2. The National Archives, London, E 164/19
15th c.; 114 fols.; cartulary arranged geographically with an imperfect section of papal charters.
Modern edition: The exchequer cartulary of Torre Abbey (2000)

Another register known to have existed, now untraced.

Welbeck (Nottinghamshire, 1153/4-1538)

1. British Library, Harley 3640
13th-14th c.; xv + 160 fols.; general cartulary, includes sections of royal and papal charters, now bound with other material.

West Dereham (Norfolk, 1188-1539)

1. British Library, Add. 46353
1315, with additions to 15th c.; ii + 346 fols.; general cartulary arranged topographically, some royal charters.

Beauchief Abbey in Derbyshire, 1778. [Source]


Abenon (Calvados, 1302-18th c.)

1. Bibliothèque nationale de France, lat. 11054
15th c.; 89 fols.

Amiens (Somme, 1124-1790)

1. Archives départementales de la Somme, H(001) 0001*
18th c.; 178 fols.

2. Archives départementales de la Somme, H(001) 0002*
1638; 306 fols.

3. Bibliothèque municipale d’Amiens, MS 991
17th c.; later fragment

4. Bibliothèque municipale d’Amiens, MS 781
13th c.; 116 fols.; acts dating from 1137

Ardenne (Calvados, 1121-1791)

1. Archives départementales du Calvados, H/117
14th c.; 403 fols.; 588 acts, mostly 12/13th c. with additions to 1640.

2. Archives départementales du Calvados, H 199bis
16th c.; 69 fols.

3. Bibliothèque municipale de Caen, MS 303
1636; 264 fols.

4. Bibliothèque municipale de Caen, Coll. Mancel 160
18th c.

5. Archives départementales de l’Orne, H 6
16th c.; 16 fols.; fragment.

Saint-Marien d’Auxerre (Yonne, 5th c.-1570)

1. Bibliothèque nationale de France, fr. 18693
15th c.; 3 fols.; fragment

2. Archives départementales de l’Yonne, H 1201
17th c.; acts from 1160 to 1635.

3. Archives départementales de l’Yonne, H 1202
18th c.; 22 fols.

Basse-Fontaine (Aube, 1143-1770)

1. Archives départementales de l’Aube, 1 H 3
16th c.; 166 fols.; 113 acts from 1143 to 1232
Modern edition: Cartulaire de l’abbaye de Basse-Fontaine (1885)

2. Archives départementales de l’Aube, 1 H 43
Modern copy?

Beaulieu (Aube, 1109-1791)

1. Bibliothèque nationale de France, Coll. Duchesne 076
17th c.; 7 fols.; later extracts

Beauport (Côtes-d’Armor, 1202-1790)

1. Bibliothèque nationale de France, fr. 16817
18th c.; 211 fols.; Collection of 395 charters, mostly from the 13th c.

Belval (Ardennes, 1120s-1790)

1. Bibliothèque municipale de Reims, 2513
1735; 111 fols.

Blanchelande (Manche, 1154-1790)

1. Bibliothèque municipale de Caen, Coll. Mancel 299
19th c.; 25 fols.; later copy

2. Bibliothèque nationale de France, lat. 10065
18th c.; 13 fols.

Bonfays (Vosges, 1145-1790)

1. Archives départementales des Vosges, XVI H 1
1757; 416 fols.; some pages missing

Braine (Aisne, 1130-1790)

1. Archives nationales, LL 1583
1219-27; 110 fols.
Modern edition: Le chartrier de l’abbaye prémontrée de Saint-Yved de Braine : 1134-1250, éd. par les élèves de l’Ecole nationale des chartes (2000)

Bucilly (Aisne, 950-1790)

1. Bibliothèque nationale de France, lat. 10121
1276-1300; 111 fols.; 162 acts, most dating to 1113-1274 and written by a single copyist
Modern edition: Cartulaire de l’abbaye de Bucilly (1882) (partial).

La Case-Dieu (Gers, 1135-1791)

1. Bibliothèque municipale de Tarbes, Fonds Larcher 05, 06, 10
3 vols.; later extracts
Modern edition: Abbaye de la Case-Dieu (1903)

2. Bibliothèque nationale de France, Coll. Languedoc Doat 152
18th c.; 141 fols.; later extracts

Chambrefontaine (Seine-et-Marne, 1190-1790)

1. Private Owner
18th c.; 68 fols.; an inventory.

La Chapelle-aux-Planches (Haute-Marne, 1145-1790)

1. Archives départementales de la Haute-Marne, 4 H 1
14th c.; 30 fols.
Modern edition: Collection des principaux cartulaires du diocèse de Troyes (1878)

Saint-Martin de Château-l’Abbaye (Nord, 1141-1791)

1. Archives départementales du Nord, 58 H 117
16th c.; 86 fols.

2. Archives départementales du Nord, 58 H 118
16th c.; 92 fols.

3. Archives départementales du Nord, 58 H 119
1772; 136 copies of acts from 1155 to 1681

Chaumont-Porcien (Ardennes, 1130-1790)

1. Private Owner
16th c.; last traced 1992.

Saint-Just-en-Chaussée (Oise, 1146-1790)

1. Bibliothèque nationale de France, fr. 5483
17th c.; 14 fols.; later extract.

2. Bibliothèque nationale de France, Coll. Baluze 73
17th c.; 16 fols.; later extract.

Clairfontaine (Aisne, 1131-1670, 1670-1790)

1. Bibliothèque nationale de France, fr. 9500
17th c.; 1 fol.; later extract

2. Bibliothèque nationale de France, Coll. Baluze 51
17th c.; 8 fols; later extract

Saint-André de Clermont (Puy-de-Dôme, 1169-1790)

1. Archives départementales du Puy-de-Dôme, 16 H ?
10 vols., last volume missing; acts dating from 1150 to 1675.

2. Archives départementales du Puy-de-Dôme, 16 H ?
7 vols., some vols. missing; acts dating 1212 to 1689.

Saint-Sauveur de La Cochère (Orne)

1. Bibliothèque nationale de France, nouv. acq. lat. 2380
17th c.; 22 fols.

Corneux (Haute-Saône, 1134-1790)

1. Archives départementales de la Haute-Saône, H 747
18th c.; 149 fols.; acts dating 1133 to 1746

Dilo (Yonne, 1132-1790)

1. Archives départementales de l’Yonne, H 634
17th c.; 7 fols.; later excerpt

2. Archives départementales de l’Yonne, H 640
17th c.

3. Bibliothèque nationale de France, Coll. Champagne 15
18th c.; later extract

4. Bibliothèque nationale de France, Coll. Baluze 38
17th c.; 2 fols.; later extract

Dommartin (Pas-de-Calais, 1131-1790)

1. Archives départementales du Pas-de-Calais, 20 H 1
1666; acts dating from 1239

2. Archives départementales du Pas-de-Calais, 20 H 2
Acts dating 1137 to 1482

3. Bibliothèque municipale de Metz, MS 1197
Late 13th c.; 80 fols.; contains 149 acts dating 1206 to 1284

Étival (Vosges, 1140-1790)

1. Bibliothèque municipale de St-Dié, Fonds Edouard Ferry
18th c.; 629 fols.; later copy

2. Bibliothèque diocésaine de Nancy, MS 168
Late 17th c.; 734 pp.

Fontcaude (Hérault, 1154-1790)

1. Archives départementales de l’Hérault, 13 H 1
17th c.; 328 fols.; acts dating 1154-1680

2. Archives départementales de l’Hérault, 13 H 2
Early 17th c.; acts dating 1200-1636

2. Archives départementales de l’Hérault, 13 H 3
17th c.; fragment

4. Private owner

Grandchamp (Yvelines, 1214-1681)

1. Archives départementales des Yvelines, 47 H 2
16th c.; 18 fols.

Haguenau (Bas-Rhin)

1. Archives départementales du Bas-Rhin, H 1238
18th c.; 232 fols.

Jeand’Heures (Meuse, 1143-1790)

1. Archives départementales de la Meuse, 27 H 3
18th c.; 729 fols.; 2 vols.

2. Archives départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle, B 479
70 fols.; acts dating 1147 to 1314.

Joyenval (Yvelines, 1221-1790)

1. Archives départementales des Yvelines, H 1
18th c.; 43 fols.

Justemont (Moselle, 1124-1791)

1. Archives départementales de la Moselle, H 994bis
18th c.; later copy

La Luzerne (La Manche, 1143-1790)

1. Archives départementales de la Manche?
1844; 200 fols.

Saint-Martin de Laon (Aisne, 1124-1790)

1. Bibliothèque municipale de Laon, MS 532
16th c.; 173 fols.

2. Archives départementales de l’Aisne, H 871-873
1733; 3 vols.; acts from 1122 to 1731.

Licques (Pas-de-Calais, 1132-1790)

1. Bibliothèque municipale de Boulogne-sur-mer, MS 103C
Modern edition: “Les chartes de l’abbaye de Notre-Dame de Licques, ordre de Prémontré: 1078-1311” (1889)

Lieu Restauré (Oise, 1138-1790)

1. Archives départementales de l’Oise, H 5733
17th c.; 67 fols.

Mondaye (Calvados, 1201-1790)

1. Archives départementales du Calvados, Bibl. du chapitre de Bayeux 6G/164
13th c.; 331 fols.

2. Archives départementales du Calvados, Bibl. du chapitre de Bayeux 6G/165
16th c.; 104 fols.

3. Archives départementales du Calvados, Bibl. du chapitre de Bayeux 6G/166
1431; 66 fols.; incomplete

4. Archives départementales du Calvados, Bibl. du chapitre de Bayeux 6G/167
15th c.; 165 fols; 557 acts

5. Archives départementales du Calvados, Bibl. du chapitre de Bayeux 6G/168
1489; 153 fols; 355 acts

6. Archives départementales du Calvados, Bibl. du chapitre de Bayeux 6G/169
15th c.; 112 fols.; incomplete

7. Archives départementales du Calvados, Bibl. du chapitre de Bayeux 6G/170
15th c.; 79 fols.

Mont-Saint-Martin (Aisne, 1134-1790)

1. Bibliothèque nationale de France, lat. 5478
1275-1300; 136 fols.; acts dating 1119-1476.

Mureau (Vosges, 1147-1790)

1. Archives départementales des Vosges, 20 H 1-2
17th c.; 877 fols., 2 vols; contains 1009 acts, documents dating 1557-1648

Saint-Joseph de Nancy (Meurthe-et-Moselle, 1635-1790)

1. Archives départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle, H 1263
1777; 146 fols.

Précy-Notre-Dame (Aube)

1. Archives départementales de l’Aube, 1 H 41
18th c.; 92 fols.; later copies together with martyrology copy

Prémontré (Aisne, 1120-1791)

1. Bibliothèque municipale de Soissons, MS 7
1250; 112 fols.

2. Bibliothèque municipale de Laon, MS 518
18th c.

Rangéval (Meuse, 1152-1790)

1. Archives départementales de la Meuse, 31 H 1
18th c.; 134 fols.

2. Archives départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle, B 477
14th c.; 49 fols.

3. Archives départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle, B 478

Saint-André-au-Bois (Pas-de-Calais, 1130-1790)

1. Archives départementales du Pas-de-Calais, 22 H 1-2
18th c.; 2 vols.; contains 400+ acts, dating 1160-1715.

Salival (Moselle, 1157-1791)

1. Archives départementales de Meurthe-et-Moselle, H 1225-1227
18th c.; 3 vols.; contains acts dating from 1172.

Sélincourt (Somme, 1130-1790)

1. Bibliothèque municipale d’Amiens, MS 528
13th c.; 72 fols.
Modern edition: Le cartulaire de l’abbaye de Selincourt: 1131-1513 (1925)

2. Bibliothèque municipale d’Amiens, MS 778
16th c.; 51 fols.

Septfontaines (Ardennes, 1129-1791)

1. Archives départementales de la Haute-Marne, 10 H 1
1786; 189 fols.
Modern edition: Documents historiques sur la châtellenie de Vaucouleurs (1892)

Séry-aux-Prés (Somme, 1136-1790)

1. Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève, MS 1850
1728; later copy

Silly-en-Gouffern (Orne, 1151-1790)

1. Bibliothèque nationale de France, lat. 11059
1280 with additions to the 14th c.; 215 fols.

2. Archives départementales de l’Orne, H 1096
18th c.; 10 fols.; later extract

3. Archives départementales de l’Orne, H 1112
15th c.; 19 fols.

4. Archives départementales de l’Orne, H 1637
32 fols.

5. Archives départementales de l’Orne, H 1791

Saint-Augustin-lès-Thérouanne (Pas-de-Calais, 1131-1790)

1. Bibliothèque municipale de Saint-Omer, MS 572
15th c.; 94 fols.

Thenailles (Aisne, 1130-1790)

1. Bibliothèque nationale de France, lat. 5649
13th c.; 117 fols.; contains 317 acts, dating 1135 to 1309.

Tinselve (Aisne)

1. Société archéologique, historique et scientifique de Soissons, MS 193
13th c.; 16 fols.
Modern edition: “Cartulaire de Tinselve” (1875)

Valescourt (Oise)

1. Bibliothèque nationale de France, nouv. acq. lat. MS 938
13th c.; 8 fols.; fragment

Valpriez (Aisne)

1. Archives départementales de l’Aisne, H 753
13th c.; 34 fols.
Modern edition: Le cartulaire de Valpriez: 1135-1250 [a.st.] (1990)

Val-Secret (Aisne, 1133-1790)

1. Archives hospitalières de Meaux, Fonds de l’Hôtel-Dieu, II B 39
Later extract

Verdun (Meuse, 1135-1791)

1. Bibliothèque municipale de Verdun, MS 751
13th c.; 137 fols.; some leaves missing.

Vermand (Aisne, 1144-1790)

1. Bibliothèque nationale de France, lat. 11069
13th c.; 8 fols.; Fragment.
Modern edition: Histoire de l’Abbaye Notre-Dame de Vermand (1875)

Vicoigne (Nord, 1132-1790)

1. Archives départementales du Nord, 59 H 95
13th c.; 100 fols.; 172 acts from 1138 to 1218.

2. Archives départementales du Nord, 59 H 96
13th c., additions to 16th c.; 157 fols.; 305 acts from 1138 to 1524.

3. Archives départementales du Nord, 59 H 97
13th c.; 170 fols.; 316 acts from 1133 to 1406.

4. Bibliothèque nationale de France, Coll. Moreau 98
18th c.; Extracts only.

Abbaye de Beauport, Brittany. [Source]


Adelberg (Baden-Württemberg, 1173-1648)

1. Hauptstaatsarchiv Stuttgart, H 14, Bd. 1 and 2
16th c.

Dünwald (North Rhine-Westphalia, 1143-1802)

1. Historisches Archiv der Stadt Köln, 68
15th c.

Ellen (North Rhine-Westphalia, 1190-1802)

1. Landesarchiv NRW Abteilung Rheinland, Rep. u. Hs. AA 0229
18th c.

Gerlachsheim (Bäden-Wurttemberg, 1187-1548)

1. Karlsruhe, Generallandesarchiv, 67/635
ca. 1760; 244 pp.; later extract

2. Staatsarchiv Würzburg, Stdb. 522
16th c.

Hane (Rheinland-Pfalz, 1129-1564)

1. Landesarchiv Speyer, F 1, Nr. 18

Ilbenstadt (Hesse, 1123-1803)

1. Hessisches Staatsarchiv Darmstadt, Fonds F 11 No B 1 : 24

2. Hessisches Staatsarchiv Darmstadt, Fonds F 11 No B 1/2
ca. 1600

Knechtsteden (North Rhine-Westphalia, 1129-1802)

1. Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Cod. Boruss. 4 278.

Niederehe (Rheinland-Pfalz, 1175-1802)

1. Staatsarchiv Koblenz
18th c.

Neustift (Bavaria, 1142-1803)

1. Hauptstaatarchiv München, HL Freising 335
17th c.

Oberzell (Bavaria, 1128-1803)

1. Staatsarchiv Würzburg, Stdb. 703
15th c.

2. Staatsarchiv Würzburg, Stdb. 704
17th c.

3. Staatsarchiv Würzburg, Stdb. 705
15th c.

Osterhofen (Bavaria, 1128-1783)

1. Hauptstaatarchiv München, KL Osterhofen 1
14th c.
Modern edition: Das Prämonstratenserstift Osterhofen im Spätmittelalter: Urbar- und Kopialbuch (1988)

Roggenburg (Bavaria, 1126-1802, 1986-present)

1. Hauptstaatarchiv München, Sammelband 1654
17th/18th c.

2. Diözesanarchiv Augsburg, no call number

Rot an der Rot (Upper Swabia, 1126-1803)

1. Hauptstaatsarchiv Stuttgart, H 14, Bd. 206
15th c.

Schäftersheim (Baden-Württemberg, 1164-1543)

1. Universitätsbibliothek zu Würzburg, M. ch. f. 344
15th c.

Schäftlarn (Bavaria, 1140-1803)

1. Hauptstaatarchiv München, KL Schäftlarn 3/II
14th c.

Scheda (Nordrhein-Westfalen, 1143-1809)

1. Staatsarchiv Münster
16th c.

Schussenried (Upper Swabia, 1183-1803)

1. Hauptstaatsarchiv Stuttgart, H 14, Bd. 229
16th c.

2. Hauptstaatsarchiv Stuttgart, H 14, Bd. 231

3. Hauptstaatsarchiv Stuttgart, H 14, Bd. 399

4. Hauptstaatsarchiv Stuttgart, H 14, Bd. 400
ca. 1700

5. Hauptstaatsarchiv Stuttgart, H 14, Bd. 401
ca. 1700

Speinshart (Bavaria, 1145-1556, 1669-1803, 1923-present)

1. Staatsarchiv Amberg, Kloster Speinshart Lit. 238

Ursberg (Bavaria, 1126/28-1803)

1. Staatsarchiv Augsburg, Reichsstift Ursberg, MüB 4

Weissenau (Upper Swabia, 1145-1802)

1. St. Gallen, Kantonsbibliothek, Vadianische Sammlung, VadSlg Ms. 321
13th-14th c.; 227 fols.

2. Hauptstaatsarchiv Stuttgart, H 14, Bd. 276
16th c.

3. Hauptstaatsarchiv Stuttgart, H 14, Bd. 282
18th c.

Kloster Schäftlarn [Source]


Csorna (Győr-Moson-Sopron, 1180-1786, 1802-1950, 1989-present)

1. Csorna Abbey Archives, no call number
18th c.?
Modern edition: Liber monasterii Gradicensis klášterního archivu Csorna (Edice listin z let 1283 – 1310) (2013)


Mariënweerd (Gelderland, 1129-1625)

1. Gelders Archief, Abdij Mariënweerd te Beesd 2, 1170
1347, later additions to 1457
Modern edition: Cartularium der abdij Mariënweerd (1890)


Wrocław (Lower Silesia, 1126-1810)

1. Archiwum Państwowe we Wrocławiu
1 manuscript or 4?
Modern edition: Liebentals Kopialbücher des Prämonstratenserstiftes zum Hl. Vinzenz in Breslau (1947)


Dryburgh Abbey (Berwickshire, 1150-1606)

1. National Library of Scotland, Adv. 34.4.7
15th c.; 112 fols., lacking leaves at beginning and end; cartulary arranged topographically with royal, episcopal and papal charters.

Whithorn Abbey (Wigtownshire, 1175-1612)

1. Huntington Library, EL 993
1504; Certified transumpt of 12 docs. (12th/13th c.) relating to lands in the Isle of Man, includes royal and papal deeds.


Santa María de Bujedo de Candepajares (Burgos, 1162-?)

1. Archivo Histórico Provincial de Burgos
Modern edition: El libro becerro de Santa María de Bujedo de Candepajares (1168-1240) (2000)

Santa María de los Huertos de Segovia (Segovia, 1200-1835)

1. National Historical Archive, Madrid, Diversoso y Colecciones, Códice L.901

San Miguel de Villamayor de Treviño (Burgos, 1166-1835)

1. National Historical Archive, Madrid, Diversoso y Colecciones, Códice 998
12th-13th c.

2. National Historical Archive, Madrid, Diversoso y Colecciones, Códice 1375
To 1676

Remains of the monastery of San Miguel de Villamayor de Treviño


Bellelay (Bern, 1140-1798)

1. Archives de l’ancien Évêché de Bâle, B 133/26a
1414; 696 pp.
Modern edition: Monuments de l’histoire de l’ancien Evêché de Bâle, 5 vols. (1852-1867)

2. Archives de l’ancien Évêché de Bâle, B 133/26b
16th c., additions to 17th c.; 408 fols.

Rüti (Zürich, 1206-1525)

1. Staatsarchiv des Kantons Zürich, B I 278
1441-2; 215 pp.; acts date 1336 to 1442.


Last updated: January 2021

The Bride of Frankenstein and the Colmar Treasure

Visiting the Cloisters Museum always makes me think vaguely of the Bride of Frankenstein: beautiful but cobbled together from parts of many different bodies. The museum was constructed in the 1930s from the remains of a number of French and Spanish monasteries which were dismantled, shipped across the Atlantic, and reassembled in a new form on an elevated spot overlooking the Hudson River in northern Manhattan. As a museum space, the Cloisters was not intended to “replicat[e] any one particular medieval building type or setting, but rather designed to evoke the architecture of the later Middle Ages.”

Yet since it’s a museum of medieval history that’s built out of the stones of a number of western European monasteries—since it’s called “the Cloisters”—the museum can’t help but promote the assumption that a certain kind of medieval Christian experience was a universal one.

Which means that visiting an exhibition about medieval Jewish history there is a very particular kind of experience.

A coin hoard (ca. 1180-1340), part of the Colmar Treasure.

For centuries, a wall in a house in Colmar, a small French city on the banks of the River Rhine, concealed the most precious possessions of a whole family: coins, brooches, rings, a belt, gilt buttons. The so-called Colmar Treasure was likely deposited there for safekeeping by an unknown Jewish family in the mid-fourteenth century, a family who for some reason—the historian’s imagination can supply many, none of them immediately pleasant—never returned to reclaim their belongings. It was only in 1863, when workmen were renovating the building—by then a confectioner’s shop—that the cache was rediscovered.

A new temporary exhibition at the Met Cloisters brings together objects from that museum’s own collections, from the Musée de Cluny, Paris (which has housed most of the Treasure since the early 1920s), and from other French and American collections of Judaica. In bringing together these objects, the exhibition hopes to bring back to life something of the Jewish community which flourished in Colmar until the city was ravaged by the Black Death and the subsequent anti-Semitic pogroms.

An early 14th-century Hebrew Bible (left) and a late 13th-century mahzor (right).

I visited the exhibition as a medieval historian who is not Jewish, in the company of a friend, Anna, who isn’t a historian but who is Jewish. We were both fascinated by many of the items on display which hinted at the humanity of their former owners, like the tiny, delicate wedding ring made of gold and enamel which surely once adorned a delighted bride’s finger. It is a beautiful combination of faith and artisanal skill.

Since we’re both book nerds, Anna and I were also drawn to the fragment of an early 14th-century mahzor (prayer book which contains the liturgies for the High Holy Days) which almost certainly once belonged to the Jews of Colmar, and which partially survived the destruction of its community because it was used as part of the binding of a late 15th-century Christian theological text. The mahzor was written in a clear, firm hand, the text enlivened by a drawing of a bird with red and green plumage.

The individual items were often beautiful, and always intriguing. And yet I found myself standing in front of one of the exhibit cases, feeling ambivalent. “What do you think?” I asked Anna.

“Honestly?” she replied. “This is giving me anxiety.”

A wedding ring, first half of the 14th century. The miniature dome and supporting arches echo the lost Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, while the Hebrew letters spell out mazel tov (“good luck”).

The exhibition’s relatively small size adds to its poignancy: no matter how engaging some of the individual objects are, there’s no escaping the fact that all that remains of a whole family’s life could fit into a box easily carried by one person. Nothing else about them is recoverable, not even their names. Whether because of plague or pogrom, this “treasure” is really the echo of a centuries-old tragedy.

It’s understandable that the curators would feel the need to bring in additional objects to juxtapose with the Colmar Treasure, artefacts which could provide the broader context and clarification needed by those museum visitors who—like me—are not from a Jewish background. It’s also understandable that some of those objects would be made by or for Christians, given the varying survival rate of items from the Middle Ages.

But the ratio seemed skewed in favour of Christian(s’) objects, and the demarcation between the various groups of objects wasn’t always immediately obvious. Maybe that was part of the point. After all, it’s not possible to tell the story of the emergence and eventual extinction of the Colmar Jewish community without mentioning their Christian neighbours, and the archaeological record rarely allows us to neatly label an object “Christian” or “Jewish.”

A view of the Colmar Treasure exhibition, Met Cloisters. Can you see why we were a little confused?

Yet it seemed like it should have been possible to tell the story of the Colmar Treasure in a way which amplified the voices of medieval Jews—or even to truly dedicate a space to telling that story within the Cloisters. Anna and I spent a little too long being confused over a display case of medieval glass before realising it had nothing whatsoever to do with the Colmar Treasure: it simply shared the same, long room. As you can see from the picture above, there was no boundary between the permanent exhibits and the temporary exhibition.

A corner of a room might be a step up from a hole in the wall, but surely there was scope for more? Or is this the best that a museum made, like Frankenstein’s Bride, from fragments of only certain pasts can do?


The Colmar Treasure: A Medieval Jewish Legacy” exhibition runs until January 12, 2020 at the Met Cloisters.

Public Talk: The Lost Women of Prémontré: Finding and Following the Footsteps of Medieval Women

On Tuesday, October 3, at 6:3 0p.m. I will be giving a talk at St. Norbert College, WI, entitled “The Lost Women of Prémontré: Finding and Following the Footsteps of Medieval Women.” Come along to learn what the traditional story told about the Premonstratensian sisters of medieval France gets wrong, and what we know about these women’s agency, vocation, and achievements.

The talk is free and open to the public.

Handlist of Online Medieval Sources in Recent English Translation

It’s August, which means it’s time for me to think about what primary sources to include in the introductory medieval history classes I’ll be teaching this autumn. I try to use texts—both literary and documentary—drawn from across a broad swathe of Europe and the Mediterranean world in my teaching, and where possible to use sources that are freely available online in order to bring down book costs for my students. It can be tricky to find online medieval sources which are accessible in English translation—and not a creaky out-of-copyright nineteenth-century translation at that—so here I’ve pulled together a list of  some of the sites I’ve found useful.


Carleton College Medieval and Renaissance Studies Primary Sources

This page provides a selection of primary sources, made available in translation by William North of Carleton College. Particularly useful for Carolingian, German, and Byzantine history; all in .pdf format.

Epistolae: Medieval Women’s Letters

A collection of Latin letters to and from women, written 4th-13th centuries, accompanied by an English translation. Brief biographical sketches of the women and the historical context of the correspondence are often included.

Florentine Catasto of 1427

One of the earliest digital humanities projects, David Herlihy and Christiane Klapisch-Zuber’s work on the Florentine catasto (tax assessment) provides an invaluable window into the urban and family life of early fifteenth-century Florence. Students can do some excellent independent research into socio-economic history using this database. One caveat: the site isn’t particularly intuitive to use, and students will almost certainly need some guidance in how to construct a SQL-based search query.

A plan of central Florence in 1427 based on the evidence of the catasto. Guido Carocci, Il centro di Firenze (Mercato Vecchio) nel 1427, 1900.

Florilegium Urbanum

A collection of sources on town life in medieval England, presented in four thematic groups (community, economy, government, and life cycle). Each source is accompanied by a useful discussion and explanatory notes.

Global Medieval Sourcebook

The Global Medieval Sourcebook offers mostly short texts from a variety of genres that haven’t previously been translated into English. Its strengths currently lie in German and Chinese sources; it’s still a fairly new site so hopefully more texts will be added in the near future. Transcriptions are presented alongside manuscript images.

Medieval and Early Modern Data Bank

This site brings together five large data sets on currency exchange and prices in Europe between about 800 and 1815; helpful for students getting to grips with the practice of economic history.

Quentin Matsys, “The Moneylender and his Wife”, 1514. Louvre, INV 1444.

The Medieval Elbe

This site provides English translations of texts, such as chronicles, saints lives, and letters, relevant to the study of Slavs and Germans along and beyond the Elbe River region during the Middle Ages.

A Medieval Hebrew Treatise on Obstetrics

A fourteenth-century Hebrew treatise called “On difficulties of birth”, translated into English by Ron Barkai (pp. 115-119) with a prefatory essay.

Medieval History Texts in Translation

A selection of primary sources in translation made available by Graham Loud of the University of Leeds, with a focus on southern Italy/Sicily, the Crusades, Germany in the late 11th to late 13th centuries, and Spain. All are in .pdf format.

Medieval Nubia: A Sourcebook

It’s not the most aesthetically pleasing website in the world, and the scholarly apparatus is minimal to non-existent, but this is an incredibly helpful site given the paucity of sources available in English translation from this part of medieval Africa. Includes letters, inscriptions, accounts, and legal texts.

The Online Froissart

Froissart’s Chronicles are an important narrative source for the history of the Hundred Years’ War. The Online Froissart provides complete transcriptions of various manuscript versions of the Chronicles, several high-resolution scans of various illuminated copies, a range of accompanying secondary material, and a new translation into modern English of a selection of chapters.

The Plague (Decameron Web)

A small selection of primary sources concerning the effect of the Black Death in 14th-century Italy, presented together with some secondary scholarship.

Public Record of the Labour of Isabel de la Cavalleria

A single document here, but a fascinating one about childbirth from late 15th-century Spain. Translated by Montserrat Cabré.

Reconstructing the Oeuvre of Trota of Salerno

Monica Green here presents a transcription and translation into English of various medical/cosmetic and gynaecological texts associated with Trota of Salerno (pp. 211-233) with a helpful prefatory essay.

Records of the Parliaments of Scotland to 1707

A searchable database of the proceedings of the Scottish parliament from the earliest surviving act (1235) to the union of 1707. A parallel translation into English is given for the original text (Latin, French, or Scots). Accompanying editorial apparatus and introductory essay helps when using the site in the classroom.

The Old Tolbooth was the usual location of Scottish parliaments 1438-1560. Alexander Nasmyth, “The Old Tolbooth”, ca. 1820.

St Patrick’s Confessio

An excellent, exhaustive site which seeks to provide access to the texts (the Confessio and the Epistola to Coroticus) written by the saint, providing facsimile, transcription and translation of his writings in Latin, English, Irish, Italian, Portuguese and German. Accompanying secondary scholarship make this a useful site for students exploring both the Christianisation of early medieval Ireland and the formation of a legendary symbol of Irishness.

Translated Excerpts from Byzantine Sources

A selection of primary sources made available in translation by Paul Stephenson of the University of Lincoln, with a focus on the period from the 8th to the early 13th centuries.

TEAMS Middle English Text Series

This last site is a slight variation from the rule: rather than modern English translations, it provides editions of texts in Middle English, but fully glossed to make them accessible to students. Each text is also accompanied by an introductory essay.


If you know of other resources in a similar vein (recent and accessible English translation, free to access online), please feel free to comment below.

(Edit: Thank you to Monica Green for some helpful suggestions!)

The Women of the Lymond Chronicles

Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles may be one of the most influential series of novels that most people have never heard of. The books follow nobleman Francis Crawford of Lymond on his high-stakes adventures across mid-sixteenth century Europe from his native Scotland to Russia, from France to Malta to Turkey. Although many later writers, working in many different genres, have acknowledged a sincere debt to Dunnett’s novels, they’re very much a cult favourite. (When I first devoured them, back in my undergrad days, I had to track down each volume in various secondhand bookshops across Dublin. Thankfully they’ve just been reissued by Vintage in paperback, reset with nice crisp type no less.)

Reviewers did notice the books when they first appeared—in six volumes between between 1961 and 1975—though in ways which gave short shrift to some of Dorothy Dunnett’s most memorable characters. In 1964, a New York Times reviewer recommended Queen’s Play as a “first-rate historical”, and described Lymond as a cross between Golden Age detective Lord Peter Wimsey and action star James Bond. The reviewer mentions the book’s female characters only as motivations or obstacles for Lymond: the redoubtable Mary of Guise, Dowager Queen of Scotland, is described as someone who “offer[s] nothing, but expect[s] the impossible.” The Boston Globe’s reviewer described Pawn in Frankincense (1969) as possessing “a full complement of beautiful women, brave men, villains, traitors, sadists and one marvelously drawn plain-Jane English girl of 15.”

No one who’s read the series can deny that Lymond—in all his melodramatic, polymath, tortured glory—leaps off the page of these books. But by focusing so tightly on him, those reviews implicitly dismiss some of the most compelling women characters you’re likely to find in print.

Now that’s what I call a series of unfortunate vintage covers. Is it just me or does the woman on the far left look like Natasha Lyonne?

Though the covers of the early editions of the books make them look like trashy bodice rippers populated by people with some truly terrible hairstyles, the Lymond Chronicles are anything but. They’re densely plotted, allusive political novels—full of derring-do and desperate chases across French rooftops, yes, but Dunnett is always aware of the complexities of the world in which they take place.

These are not sentimental books.

When I first read the series, I was enthralled by the women of the Lymond Chronicles because of how much they got to do. Yet to be honest, my younger self probably thought that Dunnett had taken some historical liberties in giving them so much to do, and perceived them as women “ahead of their time.” It’s only now, after several years spent studying the history of women in pre-modern Europe, that I better understand just how much Dunnett’s female characters have both feet firmly planted in a sixteenth-century world.

Most of these women are members of the elite—from the gentry, nobility, or royalty—accustomed to wielding the power their social status and wealth affords them. A lot of historical literature gives us “strong female characters” to identify and empathise with, women who are achingly aware of the patriarchal oppression they face and are overtly struggling against it. Yet much more plausible to me—and uncomfortable, and interesting—is reading about how a woman wields power within both the gendered limitations of her society and of her own beliefs about what she can and should do.

Portrait of Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox, ca. 1575. Attributed to Nicholas Hilliard. Now Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

Pivotal characters like Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox (based on a historical figure) and Oonagh O’Dwyer (entirely fictional) aren’t what you could call “feminist”, either in their personal beliefs or in their respective narrative arcs. However, they are both in the possession of firm political convictions, whether those are in the service of themselves (as with the femme fatale-esque Countess of Lennox) or in the service of nation (as with my countrywoman Oonagh). These are women who are entirely capable of thinking in subtle, tactical ways, and Dunnett explicitly presents them as such.

Nor are they isolated examples. Dunnett provides a marvellous description of the political nous of Mary of Guise, the Scottish Queen Dowager, writing that the “thick oils of statesmanship” ran in her veins, and that she “rarely handed through the door what she could throw in by the cat’s hole.”

Without giving too much away—because these are books you want to go into unspoiled—the choices these women make at the intersection between their particular circumstances and broader systemic patterns of power, between their strengths and others’ weaknesses, are thoroughly fascinating.

(Also sometimes thoroughly upsetting. Do not start reading the fourth book, Pawn in Frankincense, if you don’t have a quiet room to shriek in as you go. Maybe also a couch to lie on.)

Portrait of Mary of Guise, Queen of Scotland. Attributed to Corneille de Lyon, ca. 1537. Now National Portrait Gallery of Scotland.

This isn’t to say that either the characters or Dunnett’s framing of them is flawless. Lymond has a relationship with his mother, Sybilla, which could most charitably be described as “troubled.” As scholar Deirdre Serjeantson has pointed out, the readings which gave Lymond such a command of a wide swathe of literature also inculcated in him “an oppressive sense of what was required in respect of female virtue.” Although Lymond’s perspective on women’s sexuality (and indeed his own) shifts somewhat as the books progress, and as he comes to better understand Sybilla and her history, he’s not really what you could call the sixteenth-century version of “woke”.

Yet neither Lymond nor pretty much any other character in the Chronicles is taken aback at the idea of women being influential or involving themselves in politics—whether dynastic, domestic, or international. That was simply what elite women in early modern Europe did, as a lot of recent scholarship has shown.

In the sixth book, Checkmate, one of the main characters, Philippa Somerville, reflects that:

She had been led into behaving like a female. And she was being dismissed as a female. But she had charge of his good name, although he might not know it…

Here she’s responding directly to events happening around her, but Philippa’s observation also holds true more broadly. Women in medieval and early modern Europe could, and did, have charge of the “good name” of their husbands, families, dynasties, and nations—and in doing so they were very much “behaving like a female.” No wonder that in the same book, Sybilla scolds Lymond back to a sense of his responsibilities by asking him if he thought she’d brought “any child into the world to live for himself alone?”

Sybilla, Margaret, Philippa, Marie, Oonagh, Mariotta, Catherine, Marthe, and the many other women who fill the pages of the Lymond Chronicles may not have caught the attention of reviewers back in the 1960s. That’s not particularly surprising.

Neither is this: to pay close attention to what’s going on in a high-stakes, high-wire plot and to find women at the heart of it all.

Public Talk: The Lost Women of Prémontré

On Friday, April 19, at 4pm I will be giving a talk at Knox College, IL, entitled “The Lost Women of Prémontré: Finding and Following the Footsteps of Medieval Women.” Come along to learn why the history of nuns matters, and why the traditional story told about the Premonstratensian sisters of medieval France gets so many things wrong.

The talk is free and open to the public, and generously sponsored by the Knox College Department of History.

Castellans of Coucy in the Middle Ages

This list of the castellans of Coucy between the mid-tenth and late fifteenth centuries is translated and abridged from Maxime Sars, Le Laonnois féodal, volume 4 (1931), 269-273. I’m reproducing this here because Sars’ text is difficult to get hold of, I’ve not been able to find another reliable listing of the castellans online, and I figured it might be useful to other people working on the medieval Laonnois.

These castellans were responsible for the staffing and defence of the northern French castle of Coucy: overseeing its domestic staff and garrison, protecting its territory (particularly during periods when the lord of Coucy was absent), and sometimes administering local justice. This was no small job. At its greatest extent, the castle of Coucy was not just one of the most important castles in the region, it was one of the largest structures of its type in Europe.

The castellans’ interests weren’t entirely logistical, however. One of their number, Gui (ca. 1170), is commonly thought to have been a trouvère, or poet-composer, and to be the subject of the late thirteenth-century romance Roman du châtelain de Coucy et de la dame du Fayel. (Not a story to read if you intend on eating in the near future.)

A reconstruction of the castle of Coucy, from V.-A. Malte-Brun, La France illustrée, géographie, histoire, administration, statistique, etc., vol. I, (1897). [Source]

1. Harduin. 951. Vassal of Thibaud le Tricheur, later passed into the service of the archbishop of Reims.

2. Tiezzon (Techon). 1059. Viscount of Soissons, chatelain under Aubri de Coucy. Attested in gifts to Nogent (1059, 1086) and Saint-Vincent de Laon (1078). His wife, Alix, called viscountess of Coucy in 1086, became a nun at Nogent and was still alive in 1104 in a small house neighbouring the monastery; she was buried at the abbey. Children: Gui (living in 1086); Renaud (succeeded his father).

3. Renaud. 1083. Chatelain after his father. In 1096, he and his wife Élinde founded the priory of Saint-Paul-aux-Bois. He is also attested in gifts to Nogent (1095) and Saint-Gervais de Soissons (1098).

4. Gui. Around 1107. Chatelain and viscount. Son of Oidèle and an unknown father. Attested in a gift to Nogent with his mother and stepfather Evrard ca. 1107. Took the habit at Prémontré (1140). His wife’s name is unknown. Children: Gui (succeeded his father); Jean (became a cleric in 1122, temporarily becomes the chatelain during the minority of his nephew).

5. Gui le Vieux. 1143. Chatelain and Viscount of Soissons. Attested in gifts to Saint-Vincent de Laon (1143), Prémontré (1153), Nogent (1165). In an 1156 charter, he is referred to as the chatelain of Noyon. In 1168, he departed on Crusade and probably died on the journey. His wife’s name is unknown. Children: Hugues (canon of Noyon); Jean (chatelain of Noyon, married Adèle of Dreux); Gui (succeeded his father); Yves; Renaud (took the habit at Ourscamp); Pierre le Vermeil (took the habit at Ourscamp); Robert le Boeuf; Mauduite (succeeded her father); Béatrice.

6. Gui. 1170. Appears in many acts dated 1186-1201. Went on Crusade in 1190, having made many gifts to Nogent, Saint-Crépin-en-Chaye and Ourscamp. Returned in 1198, then went on Crusade again. Died in Greece, 1205. His wife’s name was Marguerite.

7. Mauduite. 1203. Chatelaine of Coucy and lady of Magny, inherited on the death of her nephew. Her husband, Renier de Magny, died on crusade. Children: Jean (d. before 1198); Renaud (succeeded his mother); Arnoul (knight); Aude (married Jean de Condren); Comtesse (married Geoffroi de Chelles); Alix (mother of Pierre de Marquéglise); Eustachie (married Geoffroi de Ham before 1211).

8. Renaud. 1207. Chatelain of Coucy and lord of Magny. Canon of Notre-Dame de Noyon (1198), but left the religious life. Cited as chatelain in a charter of 1207, and died 1222. His wife, Aanor, remarried to one Henri who is named as chatelain in two charters of late 1222. Children: Gui (living in 1211); Renaud (succeeded his father).

9. Renaud. 1222. Knight, Chatelain of Coucy and lord of Magny. Attested in gifts of 1235 and 1256. His wife’s name was Mabille.

10. Simon. 1261. Chatelain of Coucy and lord of Nampcel. Succeeded his uncle Renaud. He and his wife, Hermine de Cramaille, sold land to Prémontré in 1266.

11. Renaud. 1280. Chatelain of Coucy. Attested in a gift to Saint-Nicolas-aux-Bois (1280), consented to by his wife A. Still alive in 1288.

12. Marie. 1310. Grants rights to Prémontré in 1310.

13. Foucault d’Anchain. 1365. Attested in a charter of Prémontré of 1365.

14. Nicole de Lappion. 1375. Chatelaine of Coucy, held land in fief from the bishop of Laon in 1375 and 1386.

15. Regnault d’Antoing. 1386. Chatelain of Coucy, lord of Aast and Villette.

16. Hugues d’Antoing. 1394.

17. Henry de Pottes. 1403. Receives wages for his service in 1403 from the duc d’Orléans in 1403.

18. Jeanne d’Antoing. 1437. Chatelaine of Coucy, made her will on August 8, 1437. Her first husband was Guillaume de Pontmolain, lord of Theuil; her second husband was Geoffroy, lord of Saint Gobert (d. before 1437). Children: Jeanne de Pontmolain (married Jean de Villebéon, knight); Jeanne de Saint-Gobert (married Charles de Châtillon, lord of Bonneuil-sur-Marne).

19. Jean de Chatillon. 14??. Chatelain of Coucy, lord of Bonneuil-sur-Marne, capitaine of Gonnesse. Succeeded his grandmother.

20. Guy Goulart de Moy. 14??. Chatelain of Coucy, lord of Tournoison, Parpes, Verrignes, Treslon, and Thiernu-lès-Marle, hereditary seneschal of Vermandois.

21. Antoine de Moy. 1493. Chatelain of Coucy, seneschal of Vermandois, lord of Treslon, Saint-Mard and Cramant. Given the chatelainnie of Coucy in August 1493 on his marriage. His wife was Marguerite de Saint-Blaise, lady of Saint-Mard and Cramant (d. before 1519). Children: Adrien (who succeeded his father); Charles (lord of Fontaine-Notre-Dame, Holnon and Saint-Mard; married Madeline de Boham and Catherine de Créquy); Jeanne (lady of Tournoison; married Jean de Caulaincourt, Balthazar de Coland, Louis de Sorbey); Marguerite (married Philippe de Miremont, lord of Lhéry); Marie (married Bonaventure de Touges, lord of Touges); Jacqueline (married Enguerrand de Mailly, lord of Auvilliers en Bray and of Mametz).

Publication Round-up VI


‘As It Was in the Beginning‘: Teaching the History of Medieval Religion in an Age of Faith-Based Conflict”, in History Matters!: The Bulletin of the National Council for History Education 31:7 (March 2019).

The European Middle Ages are often framed in contemporary popular culture as the uncomplicated precursors to modern Western societies: monolithically white and Christian, populated by stolid peasants and chivalrous knights whose religious views could be “simplistic” or “primitive,” but which were nonetheless merely “traditional” forms of faiths recognizable to us today. This framing is wrong.

Teaching Abélard and Héloïse,” in Nursing Clio, March 7, 2019.

Taking a closer look at “one of history’s most passionate and romantic true love stories” (emphasis on the air quotes) in the #MeToo era.

My Fair Lady? How We Think About Medieval Women“, in The Public Medievalist, October 25, 2018.

The word “lady” had very different connotations during the Middle Ages, connotations that we have to be aware of when we think about the distant past and how it relates to the present.

Book Reviews

Review of Catherine M. Mooney, Clare of Assisi and the Thirteenth-Century Church: Religious Women, Rules, and Resistance. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016, in Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies, 93:3 (2018). [Link]

Review of Alison More, Fictive Orders and Feminine Religious Identities: 1200-1600 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018), in Women’s History Review, 27:5 (2018). [Link]

Bits and Bobs

I chatted with Matt Gabriele for a piece in Forbes about why we should see the Middle Ages in all their garish colours.

Prof. Yvonne Seale, a historian at SUNY-Geneseo, begs to differ. She told me over email that she draws heavily on material culture in both her teaching and her research. She continuously confronts a preconception about the past as monochrome or, at best, sepia-toned. Luckily, that’s a vision that’s easy enough to dispel.

Medieval History Podcasts

Podcasts are my companion on my walk to work in the morning, and my frequent diversion during some of the household chores of which I’m not so fond. (I know laundry has to be folded… but then again, does it?) Whether you’re a walker, a laundry folder, or just someone looking for something to listen to, here’s a round-up of some great podcasts that delve into the Middle Ages.

Medieval History for Fun and Profit

Drs. Alice Rio and Alice Taylor are the hosts of this podcast, professional medieval historians with the stated goal of answering “everything you’ve always wanted to know about the Middle Ages but were afraid to ask!”

This means that they discuss both the life and writings of Dhuoda, a ninth-century Frankish noblewoman and author who wrote a guide to life for her young son that was heavy on intellectual and theological references, but also more everyday fare like what medieval people found funny, and whether they had pets.

You can find episodes here at their website, or download from iTunes.


In Our Time

The venerable In Our Time is now in its twentieth year, and although it’s not solely focused on the Middle Ages (or indeed on history at all), host Melvyn Bragg has gruffly presided over many episodes with a medieval theme. Each episode brings together a panel of experts, which means you get lots of different angles on the same topic and occasionally some excellent disagreement.

Personal favourites include the episodes on the twelfth-century Renaissance (the best century); on Hildegard of Bingen, a German abbess and polymath now recognised as a Doctor of the Church; and on the formidable Eleanor of Aquitaine, queen first of France and then of England, who helped to shape the history of both nations.

You can find the medieval-specific episodes of In Our Time on this page, or download the podcast from Stitcher or iTunes.


Saga Thing

Ask most people what they associate with the word “medieval”, and the chances are good that they’ll mention the Vikings. Yet for all their ubiquity in pop culture—like the many references to Norse myth in the Marvel superhero movies—the literature produced by the Vikings and their medieval descendants is perhaps less well known, at least outside of Scandinavia.

In Saga Thing, medieval literature specialists Drs. Andrew Pfrenger and John Sexton read and review the Icelandic sagas one at a time, breaking them down according to literary themes and historical context, but also in terms of other vital categories like body count, best nicknames, and best death or maiming. What more could you want from a saga-centric podcast?

Download the episodes at their site or from Stitcher or iTunes.


The Human Circus

The subtitle for this podcast series is “Journeys in the Medieval World”, and host Devon Field brings listeners along on trips with some of the best-travelled people of the Middle Ages, providing a welcome reminder that medieval Europe wasn’t hermetically sealed off from the rest of the world. The Human Circus covers well-known figures—like the thirteenth-century Venetian Marco Polo who travelled to China and the court of Kublai Khan—but also more obscure ones—like the Bavarian Johann Schiltberger, who left home on Crusade in 1394 and didn’t return for some thirty years.

Episodes are available for download at the podcast website (where they’re helpfully accompanied by a further reading list), or from Stitcher or iTunes.


Past Perfect!

Central European University has an entire radio station devoted to the Middle Ages, playing medieval and Renaissance music, and a weekly talk show about medieval and early modern European history and culture. CEU Medieval Radio is also home to a podcast, Past Perfect!, in which historian Christopher Mielke discusses a variety of topics with his guests, from the Crusades to archaeozoology to medieval urine sampling. (Now there’s a topic designed to pique the interest.)

You can find the podcast’s archives here, or download episodes from Stitcher.


Abbasid History Podcast

Hosted by Talha Ahsan, the Abbasid History Podcast interviews scholars, linguists, archivists and artists whose work touches on the pre-modern Islamic(ate) past.

You can find the podcast’s archives here, or download episodes from iTunes or Soundcloud.



Know of other good podcasts with a medieval theme? Feel free to leave a recommendation in the comments below!

Updated: June 2020.

Teaching Abélard and Héloïse

One of 2018’s wearying inevitabilities is that even the most cursory glance at the news is likely to bring you a fresh tale of sexual assault—and that much of the resulting commentary is bound to be almost as jarring as the news article itself. So many people are so very invested in making the unconscionable seem tolerable, even natural. Reading one such story recently brought me back to the first time I visited the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris, when I didn’t have to pore over a map in order to find the tomb of Peter Abélard and his wife, Héloïse of Argenteuil.

Despite the dreary autumn weather, it drew a steady stream of visitors, probably second in number only to those drawn to the grave of The Doors’ frontman Jim Morrison. Many of those who gathered around the couple’s supposed burial site (whether or not the remains Abélard and Héloïse truly lie inside the tomb, an early nineteenth-century confection made out of actual medieval masonry, is a matter of dispute) were young women. Several of them wore large crowns of artificial flowers—the tail-end of that summer’s fad—although the flowers they lay at the railings surrounding the tomb were real.

The tomb of Abélard and Héloïse in the Père Lachaise Cemetery. [Source]

Why were so many young people drawn to this monument to two people who’ve been dead for 800 years? A cursory search online suffices to answer that question, and also shows some of the persistent themes in how Abélard and Héloïse are framed, particularly for a popular audience. They are “one of history’s most passionate and romantic true love stories … [with] much to teach us about our own understanding of religious tolerance, sexual equality and intellectual freedom”; their relationship was one of the “top 10 most torrid love affairs” ever; the distressing way in which their relationship ended “ultimately served as a catalyst for their greatest intellectual achievements.” One writer in the New York Times even assures us that “there’s a grandeur to high-stakes romance, to self-sacrifice, that’s missing from our latex-love culture — and it’s a grandeur we perhaps crave to recover.”

(Yes, you read that last quotation correctly. Someone in a national newspaper argued that condom use is a sign that people in the twenty-first century no longer know how to engage in sweeping romance, which is a hot take of a kind that I think even Emily Brontë at her most wuthering would have balked at.)

This framing of Abélard and Héloïse’s relationship isn’t unique to pop history, of course. The first time I heard of them, during an undergraduate survey course on medieval history, they were referred to as one of the great love stories of the Middle Ages. Even at the time, reading their letters to one another, I felt uneasy with that framing, but it was not until much later that I would acquire the vocabulary to help me articulate that unease: coercion, gaslighting, manipulation.

Jean Vignaud, “Abelard and Heloise Surprised by the Abbot Fulbert”, 1819. [Joslyn Art Museum]

Here is the story of Peter Abélard and Héloïse of Argenteuil as I lay it out to my students now. In the early twelfth-century, a young man from Brittany called Peter Abélard arrived in Paris, and quickly made a name for himself as a highly promising student at the university there. Also resident in the city was one Fulbert, a canon of the cathedral of Notre-Dame, and his niece Héloïse. Abélard heard of Héloīse’s beauty and intelligence, and having decided—before he had ever met her—that “she was the one to bring to [his] bed“, Abélard “sought an opportunity of getting to know her through private daily meetings and so more easily winning her over.” Fulbert agreed to hire Abélard as Héloïse’s teacher, to provide her with the kind of university-level education that would not ordinarily have been available to a woman. At this point, Abélard was in his mid-thirties, Héloïse perhaps in her late teens.

Abélard and Héloïse entered into a sexual relationship. To make sure that no one would suspect them of this, Abélard sometimes beat her, though he wrote that his “blows were the marks not of anger but of the tender affection that is sweeter than any perfume.” There was little subterfuge could do to hide the consequences of their sexual activities, though, once Héloïse became pregnant. Abélard sent her to Brittany to give birth to their son, then secretly married her, then bundled her off to the convent of Argenteuil. Héloïse’s relatives assumed, based on this, that Abélard had abandoned her, and so revenged themselves on him by beating him up and castrating him. Abélard—now barred by his marital status from pursuing an ecclesiastical career and by his impotence from fulfilling a key component of the medieval understanding of a husband’s role—became a monk. Héloïse became a nun, and later abbess of the famous monastery of the Paraclete.

A romanticised, 19th-century imagining of Héloïse, from a wall painting in a Parisian church. [Source]

In later years, Abélard wrote a kind of memoir, the Historia Calamitatum (“History of my Misfortunes”), and the couple exchanged a series of lengthy letters—intelligent, erudite, full of references to scripture and classical literature—from their respective monastic communities. Héloïse seems to have borne little animosity towards Abélard, beyond chastising him for not writing to her often enough. She may not have understood her relationship with Abélard as one in any way marked by abuse or assault, and as Irina Dumitrescu rightly reminds us, we “diminish Héloïse if we see her as an eternal teenager, a mere victim of Abelard’s narcissistic love.”

And yet, when I sit with Héloïse’s letters, I can’t help but hear a woman whose life, whose very self, was shaped by a teacher whose pedagogy emphasised submission and a culture which eroticised violence against women. In her letters, Héloïse refers to Abélard as master (dominus), father, husband; she calls herself his slave (ancilla), daughter, and wife. She would rather be his whore (meretrix) than an empress (imperatrix), she writes, which when taken alone has a thrilling ring of the empowered modern woman to it, but is rather less so when you see how repeatedly Héloïse defines herself in relationship to Abélard and his wants.

One of the great love stories of the Middle Ages? I suppose that depends on how you define the term “great.”

Or the term “love.”

Angelica Maria Kauffmann, “The Parting of Abelard and Heloise”, ca. 1780. [Hermitage Museum]

A few weeks ago, I introduced the students in the upper-level undergraduate course I’m teaching on medieval women’s history to Abélard and Héloïse. The students had read Carissa Harris’ article on the medieval English literary genre known as the pastourelle—which Harris argues both normalised rape narratives and provided space to challenge rape myths—as part of a broader discussion of the history of ideas around sexual consent, assault, and bodily autonomy. Thinking about the modern framing of Abélard and Héloïse as the quintessential passionate romance helped us to complicate ideas about the barbaric Middle Ages and the enlightened present. As young adults who’ve come of age during the #MeToo movement, they were far quicker to grasp the disturbing implications of Peter and Héloïse’s relationship than I was as an undergraduate.

I’m proud of the ways in which my students navigated multiple conversations about sexual assault that week—deploying analytical skills and fierce empathy in equal measure—but I still don’t know if I did them justice in the classroom. It’s one thing to talk about how Peter Abélard’s historical reputation has largely survived the condemnation of his own words. It’s another to have that conversation in an academic setting, within a system and a space where diversity statements say one thing and actions another.

Is it possible to sit in an American college classroom in 2018, to be in a position of authority and to talk honestly about the lessons to be learned from Abélard and Héloïse and yet avoid being a hypocrite?

The words change. More voices speak out. But who tells the story, and how it ends: well, that always seems to stay the same.

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