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Uniting the Kingdoms? 1066-1603

 
   

About this exhibition

Introduction

The exhibition looks at some key themes in the history of the Middle Ages. It is an introduction for readers new to the subject and a reference tool for those studying the period. It also provides images of over seventy key documents.

The exhibition displays just a fraction of the wealth of medieval records held by The National Archives (and some from other archives and libraries). It shows the diversity and beauty of material that has been preserved from the first half of the last millennium, and how these documents are used as historical evidence.

Navigation: In the Galleries

In the main galleries there are links to:

  1. Images: From the main page you can access an enlarged picture, caption and (where relevant) transcript
  2. Myths & Legends: A discussion of popular myths such as Robin Hood
  3. The Full Story: The text of the chapter you are in, in greater detail
  4. Glossary Terms: An explanation of a word or phrase in the text
  5. Other links: A variety of links within the text take you to further material on the theme you are reading about. These links connect to our different exhibitions and to other internet sites.

The Documents

You are welcome to see many of the documents shown here, as well as thousands more, at The National Archives. However, please be aware that most medieval documents are difficult to read. The writing is usually hard to decipher and many of them are written in Latin or French. You may prefer to start with published collections of translated documents. A good place to start is with the English Historical Documents series (general editor David Douglas, published by Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1955 onwards).

Exhibition Credits

In this exhibition, we have used not only material held by The National Archives but also items held in other archives and items that are not Crown copyright. We would like to thank these institutions and individuals for granting us the necessary permissions. Despite our best efforts, we have not always been able to locate copyright holders after such a long period of time. If we have inadvertently contravened rights that you feel are yours, please contact us.

We would like to thank the following copyright holders for permission to use original documents in this exhibition:

Archives nationales de FranceExternal website - link opens in a new window

Bibliothèque nationale de FranceExternal website - link opens in a new window

British LibraryExternal website - link opens in a new window

Corpus Christi College CambridgeExternal website - link opens in a new window

National Library of IrelandExternal website - link opens in a new window

National Library of ScotlandExternal website - link opens in a new window

National Archives of ScotlandExternal website - link opens in a new window

Trinity College DublinExternal website - link opens in a new window

We would also like to thank Gomer PressExternal website - link opens in a new window for permission to reproduce an extract of Rachel Bromwich's translation of Dafydd ap Gwilym's poem, 'To Love a Poet or a Soldier?'.

We would also like to thank Maggie Henderson, Robert McBain, Alun Raglan and Martin Turner of Kitchen Cabinet for the acting supplied for the video clips.

Further image credits

Details from the following images are used on the exhibition homepage:

  1. The Death of Wat Tyler - Reference: British Library Royal MS 18.E.i-ii f. 175 (date: 1385-1400). By permission of the British Library. (© Copyright belongs to the British Library and further reproduction is prohibited.)

Details from the following images are used in the exhibition banner:

  1. The Death of Wat Tyler - Reference: British Library Royal MS 18.E.i-ii f. 175 (date: 1385-1400). By permission of the British Library. (© Copyright belongs to the British Library and further reproduction is prohibited.)
  2. Valor Ecclesiasticus for Derby - The National Archives catalogue reference: E 344/22 (date: 1535-6).
  3. Robert I of Scotland (the Bruce) and his wife Isobel, daughter of John, Earl of Mar - Reference: National Library of Scotland MS, Seaton Armorial, Acc 9309, f. 7 (date: early 17th century). By kind permission of Sir Francis Ogilvy.
  4. The Battle of Crécy, 26 August 1346 - Reference: Bibliothéque nationale de France FR 2643 f. 165v (date: mid-15th century). Cliché Bibliothéque nationale de France, Paris
  5. Henry VI presenting the Earl of Shrewsbury with the sword of the Constable of France, 1442 - Reference: British Library Royal 20 A ii f. 7v. Min (date: 1307-27). By permission of the British Library. (© Copyright belongs to the British Library and further reproduction is prohibited.)

Details from the following images are used in the left-hand navigation:

  1. Parliament at work - Reference: British Library Cotton MS Nero D.vi f. 72 (date: 1377-99). By permission of the British Library. (© Copyright belongs to the British Library and further reproduction is prohibited.)
  2. Horseman - Reference: Trinity College Dublin. MS 1440 f.24r. By permission of The Board of Trinity College Dublin
  3. Robert I of Scotland (the Bruce) and his wife Isobel, daughter of John, Earl of Mar - Reference: National Library of Scotland MS, Seaton Armorial, Acc 9309, f. 7 (date: early 17th century). By kind permission of Sir Francis Ogilvy
  4. Edward I creating his son Prince of Wales - Reference: British Library Cotton Nero D ii f. 191v. (date: early 14th century). By permission of the British Library. (© Copyright belongs to the British Library and further reproduction is prohibited.)
  5. Henry VI presenting the Earl of Shrewsbury with the sword of the Constable of France, 1442 - Reference: British Library Royal 20 A ii f. 7v. Min (date: 1307-27). By permission of the British Library. (© Copyright belongs to the British Library and further reproduction is prohibited.)
  6. The Death of Wat Tyler - Reference: British Library Royal MS 18.E.i-ii f. 175 (date: 1385-1400). By permission of the British Library.

 

   
 
Detail from The Death of Wat Tyler. By permission of the British Library.
 
Detail from The Death of Wat Tyler. By permission of the British Library.