The purpose of this series is to present, in a form intelligible to the general reader, the fundamental sources of English history, which are today more often quoted than read and more often sought than found. During the present century there has been an immense accumulation of historical material, much of which is scattered in many volumes and in periodicals which are little known and difficult to obtain, so that only a portion of this knowledge is readily available to those who teach or who study history. Since it is vital that opinion should be formed upon the actual evidence and not upon commentaries, this series has been planned to cover the whole field of English history from Anglo-Saxon times down to 1914.
This volume is concerned mainly with the causes and consequences of the Norman Conquest. It contains a new translation of versions 'C', 'D' and 'E' of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in respect of the period 1042-1155, and also a representative selection from the Latin chroniclers of the period. The whole of the 'Bayeux Tapestry' is represented in plates. Anglo-Norman and Anglo-Angevin administration has been illustrated in the contemporary documents which best record its operation. Thus the financial activities of the royal government are illustrated in such texts as the 'Dialogue of the Exchequer' and the Pipe Rolls, while its judicial activities are shown, for example, in reports of early trials, in the material relating to the reforms of Henry II, and in the writings of lawyers such as 'Glanville'. A major purpose of this volume has been to display feudal society by means of its most characteristic documents.
For this reason, a large and representative collection of feudal charters has been made from many diverse sources, and such texts as cartae of 1166 have also been utilised in this connection. The ecclesiastical history of this period has been illustrated particularly in relation to the changes in the Church in England consequent upon the Norman Conquest, and in respect of the changing relations between Church and State at this time. Thus , the careers of Lanfranc and Anselm are displayed, and the quarrel between Henry II and Beckett is extensively documented. A special section of this volume is devoted to Domesday Book and its correlatives; and manorial and town documents have been added.