The Henry III Fine Rolls Project
Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council of the United Kingdom, the Henry III Fine Rolls Project was conceived by Dr Louise Wilkinson of Canterbury Christ Church and developed by researchers at King’s College London, Canterbury Christ Church University and the National Archives (TNA) between 01 April 2005 and 31 December 2011.
The aim of the Project was to democratize the contents of one the National Archives’ chief treasures, the 2 million words of the Henry III fine rolls (C 60), by making them freely available in English translation to everyone via a website - http://www.finerollshenry3.org.uk/index.html
The fine rolls are a great series of parchment rolls, unique in medieval Europe, on which the English royal chancery recorded its business. Fines were offers of money to the king for a wide variety of concessions.
The fine rolls for Henry III’s reign (1216-72) provide incomparable insights into the operation of royal patronage and the crown’s changing relationship with its subjects – lords, knights, merchants, townsmen, and peasants, as well as women and members of minority groups, such as the Jews.
The wealth of information made available by the Project is already transforming academic and popular understanding of the economic, legal, political, religious and social importance of Henry III’s reign, a crucial period in English history, which saw Magna Carta become embedded within English political life and the emergence of the English parliamentary state.
The Project was led by Professor David Carpenter (principal investigator, King’s College, London), Dr Louise Wilkinson (co-investigator, Canterbury Christ Church University), Dr David Crook (co-investigator, TNA), and Professor Harold Short (co-investigator, Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King’s College, London), and employed two research fellows, Dr Paul Dryburgh and Dr Beth Hartland, alongside a technical research team, based at King’s.