Guest edited by: Dr Sheila Sweetinburgh (MEMS and Canterbury Christ Church University) and Dr Diane Heath (Canterbury Christ Church University).
The Centre for Kent History & Heritage at Canterbury Christ Church University are delighted to suggest these websites to MEMSlib readers.
This list of freely available resources, covering a thousand years of local history (597-1597), has been prepared by Dr Sheila Sweetinburgh and Dr Diane Heath at the Centre for Kent History & Heritage, Canterbury Christ Church University. The list is divided into five main sections and then sorted alphabetically by website title or e-book author.
Dr Sheila Sweetinburgh, and ‘guest’ contributors, writes a searchable weekly blog (begun in October 2014) on Canterbury and Kent medieval and early modern history. Our Centre website has details of our Kent history projects.
Please contact us to suggest changes and additions:
Sources for Kent
KAS Archaeologia Cantiana - is the KAS journal from 1858 to the present (with a three-year rolling embargo for non-KAS members). Searchable volumes contain transcriptions/translations or extracts of original medieval and Tudor documents. For example, inventories of the Maison Dieu and St Martin’s Priory in Dover and the Benedictine priory on Sheppey are in Arch. Cant. 7 (1868).
Churchwardens’ Accounts for Hythe, Rainham, Edenbridge and Elham are in the table below.
Churchwardens’ Accounts for Kent Parishes in Archaeologia Cantiana
British Association for Local History - hosts links for local historians, a general, short but regularly updated directory.
Borough Customs - Mary Bateson, Borough Customs, Pt. II, vol. 21 AS (London: Selden Society,1906), e-book on https://archive.org/details/boroughcustoms00bategoog (Pt. I (1904) no longer on Internet Archive).
Borough Seals - Gale Pedrick, Borough Seals of the Gothic Period (London: Dent, 1904): contains examples from Kent and comparable examples nationally, e-book on Internet Archive.
Boys, William - Boys’ Collections for a History of Sandwich with notices of the other Cinque Ports … and Richborough, published 1792.
Camden Society - There are only a small number of their volumes online and sadly not much on Kent.
Churchwardens’ Accounts - National database hosted by University of Warwick searchable by county, parish, etc.
Clergy of the Church of England Database - National database searchable by diocese, e.g. Canterbury, from 1540 to 1840
CKHH Blog - Weekly searchable blog on the Centre’s activities and more widely on Kent and Canterbury history.
DEEDS: Deeds of Early England Data Set - University of Toronto research project to create a database of information taken from medieval property exchange documents
England’s Immigrants, 1330-1550 - AHRC project 2012-2015 on Resident Aliens in the Late Middle Ages, searchable by place, e.g. Sandwich (272 entries), as well as origin and name.
Everyday Life and Fatal Hazard in Sixteenth-Century England - derived from English Coroners’ Reports. The database will include Kent and although is not yet online it will be useful in time.
Exploring Kent’s Past - Kent.gov.uk searchable website for the Kent Historical Environment Record (HER), formerly the sites and monuments record, search by keyword, place name, or record number for archaeological sites, buildings and finds in Kent.
Felons' inventory project - Called 'Living standards and material culture in English rural households,' this Leverhulme funded project on non-elite country households is to include Kent. The last blog was in 2019.
Hasted, Edward - Hasted’s History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent, published c.1800 (12 vols).
Imprint project - Examines medieval seals and the fingerprints of those who made them.
Kent Archaeological Society - KAS is a charity founded in 1857 to advance knowledge of Kent archaeology and history, see its journal Archaeologia Cantiana above. Here are its key links for medieval and early modern Kent history
KAS Kent extracts from the Pipe Rolls.
KAS Kent Hundred Rolls.
Kent Genealogy - a website run by Maureen Rawson with extracts from pre 1858 Kent wills, quarter sessions and parish records
Kent History and Library Centre - KHLC in Maidstone is the county archive and holds the largest collection of documents relating to Kent, including parish, manorial, tithe, and probate records. KHLC are very friendly and helpful.
Kent LiDAR Portal - Available for the Darent Valley and some other areas in Kent.
Lyon, John - The History of the Town and Port of Dover, published 1813.
Medieval Genealogy - includes some Kent sources within its national remit:
More manuscript sources, but I cannot see much Canterbury/Kent material.
This on charters looks more promising.
Probably Kent references within these 'Public Records' too.
Abstracts of Kent wills from various Arch Cant volumes (but see Kent Genealogy above).
Medway Council Heritage Services - City Ark: Medway Archives Service includes records, some digitized documents, and some images (e.g. pdfs of parish records from Archdeaconry of Rochester from sixteenth century onwards):
Merchant Fleet of Late Medieval and Tudor England, 1400-1580 - (searchable database, by ship, master, homeport and destination, if known).
Monastic Seals - Gale Pedrick, Monastic Seals of the XIIIth Century (London: De La More, 1902) contains examples from Kent and comparable examples nationally, on Internet Archive.
Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England - database searchable by region (including Kent) and location, e.g. Canterbury, of people who lived between the late sixth and the late eleventh centuries. Gives charter references for searching Electronic Sawyer.
People of 1381 - aims ‘to produce the most comprehensive interpretation of the Peasants' Revolt to date.’ Still early days, but this database will grow, so it is worth checking.
Romney Marsh Research Trust - The RMRT website contains a gazetteer, archaeological and historical primary and secondary sources relating to the area.
See also downloadable book on New Romney, Gillian Draper and Frank Meddens, The Sea and the Marsh: The Medieval Cinque Port of New Romney (London; Pre-Construct Archaeology, 2009)
Selden Society - volumes are online, but contain little on Kent (but see Borough Customs above):
Testamenta Cantiana (Kent Wills) - Leland L. Duncan, Testamenta Cantiana (London: Mitchell, Hughes and Clarke, 1906), a series of extracts from fifteenth and sixteenth century Kent wills arranged by parish that relate to church buildings, fixtures and fittings.
Thorpe, John - Registrum Roffense, contains records, charters etc for the diocese of Rochester, published 1769.
Victoria County History - VCH was set up in 1899 as a project to cover the history of every English county, still going strong. Victoria County History: Kent: volume 2 Victoria County History: Kent: volume 2 contains amongst other subjects, information and references covering religious houses in medieval Kent.
Wealden Iron Research Group - WIRG searchable database allows access to the Wealden Iron Research Group’s files collected since 1968 on two thousand years of iron smelting on the Weald
Sources for Canterbury
Below are the articles on Canterbury Churchwardens’ accounts, including transcriptions:
Churchwardens’ Accounts for Canterbury Parishes in Archaeologia Cantiana
The Becket Story - 3D Map of Medieval Canterbury - UKRI Project for Becket 2020 celebrations. 3D reconstructions of medieval Canterbury and the Cathedral from the University of York, plus new research from Caroline Barron on Becket and London. See also overview here.
British History Online - Founded by Institute for Historical Research and History of Parliament Trust in 2003: Canterbury + primary sources available.
Canterbury Archaeological Trust (CAT) - Archaeologists based in Canterbury, under directorship of Prof. Paul Bennett MBE; a useful website. CAT annual reports are online via ISSU from here. CAT list of papers submitted to Archeaologia Cantiana.
Canterbury Buildings - hosted by Stephen Bax with photographs and details of many important buildings in the city.
Canterbury Cathedral Archives and Library - Probably the best cathedral archive in UK (We may be biased). Library Catalogue accessed via Templeman Library, University of Kent.
Canterbury Cathedral Picture This . . . - This website hosts a series of peer-reviewed blogs on items and books held by Canterbury Cathedral Archives and Library, written by postgraduates from University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University, each piece has a short bibliography.
Canterbury Probate Records Database - Canterbury Cathedral Archives host this database covering records from 1396 to 1858.
Canterbury Cathedral Inventories - W. J. Legge and W. H. St J. Hope, Inventories of Christchurch Canterbury; with historical and topographical introductions and illustrative documents (London, Archibald & Co., 1902), e-book available.
Canterbury Historical and Archaeological Society - celebrates its centenary this year. It’s website has photographs and some notes on key sites.
Christ Church University Canterbury UNESCO Heritage A-Z - A series of articles on aspects of Canterbury’s UNESCO World Heritage status for 30th anniversary in 2019.
Citizens of Canterbury - William Urry’s article on portreeves, PDF from Canterbury City Council.
Cowper: Online Books page for Joseph Meadows Cowper - Cowper was a Victorian scholar (and gunpowder plant manager) from Faversham. Cowper’s volumes contain mainly Canterbury primary sources (e.g. lists of Freemen and parish registers) but he published some county and national sources too (via Hathi Trust – not downloadable).
Below are the links to e-books on Canterbury sources edited by J. M. Cowper:
Customary of the Shrine of Thomas Becket - the 'operation manual' (and more besides) for the keepers of Becket's shrine in Canterbury Cathedral, written in 1428 and extant in a single manuscript (London: British Library, MS. Add. 59616), is now available in an excellent, open-access edition by John Jenkins (2022).
Duncombe, J. and N. Battely - The history and antiquities of three Archiepiscopal Hospitals… with other small religious houses in Canterbury, published 1785.
Gender in medieval places, spaces and thresholds, eds. Blud, Heath, Klafter (London, 2019). IHR e-book on medieval and early modern gender issues via a locational lens; three chapters on Canterbury.
Hasted - Edward Hasted, antiquary and historian (1732-1812) from Kent: the first of his Canterbury volumes contains a thematic history of the city, and the second is a historical survey of the cathedral priory.
Historic Canterbury - A local history website hosted by Tina Machado with many photographs, prints, and primary sources
IHR freely downloadable books and chapters - Several e-books are available, including medieval/EM volumes.
Interlude and Tale of Beryn- This tale of Chaucer’s pilgrims arrival was perhaps written by a Canterbury monk in time for 1420 Jubilee.
Monastic Matrix - A scholarly source for the study of women’s religious communities 400-1600. Has useful translations of Lanfranc, other monastic sources, and links to other sites.
Somner, William - Somner’s Antiquities of Canterbury, published 1640.
Canterbury Medieval Manuscripts: Catalogues and Digitized Manuscripts
MLGB3 – Medieval Libraries of Great Britain website - Search under Medieval Library location for Canterbury for books from St Augustine’s Abbey, St Gregory’s Priory (1 ms), Christ Church Priory, Dominican convent (1 ms) and the Franciscan Convent. Dover Priory was a daughter-house of Christ Church Priory. Search results can be saved as a pdf.
Although largely superseded by MLGB3, Montague Rhodes James’s catalogue is still useful.
M. R. James, Ancient Libraries of Canterbury and Dover (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1903) e-book on Internet Archive.
London British Library - List of digitized manuscripts dating from c. 700 AD – c. 1550 where the description contains Canterbury (includes references to Archbishops of Canterbury from later periods).
Manuscrits France-Angleterre 700-1200 (Polonsky Foundation Project with BnF and British Library)
Oxford Bodleian Library - A list of manuscripts possibly produced in Canterbury, many with digitized images from Digital Bodleian website.
Parker on the Web - 146 digitized manuscripts associated with Canterbury from Parker Library, Corpus Christi, Cambridge
Trinity College, Cambridge, Wren Digital Library - Search medieval manuscripts by religious house for Canterbury works. Fully digitized volumes.
Canterbury Medieval Latin Texts: with some English online translations
Anselm (also see Eadmer)
Gabriel Gerberon, Sancti Anselmi ex Beccensi Abbate Cantuariensis Archiepiscopi Opera, nec non Eadmeri Monachi Cantuariensis Historia Novorum, et Alia Opuscula [The Works of St Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury and Former Abbot of Bec, and the History of New Things and Other Minor Works of Eadmer, monk of Canterbury] (in Latin), Paris: Louis Billaine & Jean du Puis (1675).
Anselm of Canterbury, Complete Philosophical and theological treaties of Anselm of Canterbury, trans. J. Hopkins & H. Richardson (Minneapolis: The Arthur J. Banning Press, 2000).
Memorials of Saint Dunstan, archbishop of Canterbury, ed. W. Stubbs, RS 63 (London: Longman, 1874) See EHD doc 234 for Extracts from the oldest Life of St Dunstan (via a University subscription)
Becket (and see section below)
Materials for the History of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, ed. J. C. Robertson and J. B. Sheppard, vol. II (of I-VII), RS 67 (London, 1876). Miracles recorded by Benedict of Peterborough, John of Salisbury, Allan of Tewkesbury, and Edward Grim (in Latin).
Benedicti Abbatis Petriburgensis, De vita et miraculis S. Thomae Cantuar, ed. J. A. Giles (London: Caxton Society, 1850), e-book via Google.
Elham (or Elmham)
Thomas of Elham’s chronicle of St Augustine’s Abbey, Historia Monasterii S. Augustini Cantuariensis. Ed. by Charles Hardwick with introduction in English (1858), e-book available.
No English translation - see BHO St Augustine’s Abbey.
Eadmer (see also Anselm)
Eadmer of Canterbury, Eadmeri Historia novorum in Anglia et opuscula duo de vita Sancti Anselmi et quibusdam miraculis ejus, Rolls Series, vol. 81, ed. M. Rule (London: Longman, 1884).
Gervase of Canterbury, Tractatus de combustion...
Chronicles and Memorials of the Reign of Richard the First, ed. W. Stubbs, v. 1 (London: Longman, 1864), RS 38. Includes The Historical Works of Gervase of Canterbury.
De combustione translation in R. Willis, ‘The Burning and Repair of the Church of Canterbury,’ The Architectural History of Canterbury Cathedral (London: Longman, 1845), pp. 32-62, Google e-book.
See Paul Hayward’s Medieval Primary Sources site on Gervase with bibliography.
Sources on Becket
Becket Leaves - Medieval illustrated Old French poem on Becket (London, British Library Loan MS 88) with English Translation
See also Nigel Morgan, ‘Matthew Paris, St Albans, London, and the Leaves of the ‘Life of St Thomas Becket,’’ Burlington Magazine, Vol. 130, (1988); 85-96.
Becket Life and Miracles:
Latin transcriptions of Becket miracles recorded by Benedict of Peterborough, John of Salisbury, Allan of Tewkesbury, and Edward Grim.
Materials for the History of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, ed. J. C. Robertson and J. B. Sheppard, vol. II (of I-VII), RS 67 (London, 1876)
Benedicti Abbatis Petriburgensis, De vita et miraculis S. Thomae Cantuar, ed. J. A. Giles (London: Caxton Society, 1850), e-book via Google.
Translations: E. A. Abbott, St Thomas of Canterbury, 2 vols. (London, Black, 1898), e-book
Becket 2020: Canterbury Cathedral Picture This… - For 2020 this website hosts a series of blogs on Becket-related on items and books held by Canterbury Cathedral Archives and Library (and elsewhere in Canterbury), written by guest writers (e.g. Anne Duggan) and postgraduates from University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University, each piece has a short bibliography.
Becket Story - UKRI Project for Becket 2020 celebrations with 3D reconstructions of medieval Canterbury and the Cathedral from Dee Dyas and the University of York, plus new research from Caroline Barron on Becket and London.
Becket Pilgrim Badges and Material Culture
British Museum - Search collections database for Thomas Becket for numerous pilgrim badges and other material culture objects related to the martyr.
Museum of London - Over 240 Becket pilgrim badges (and a ring)
Victoria & Albert Museum - Search for ‘Thomas Becket’ within a date range of 1150-1600 for panels, copes, missals, etc including the Lesnes Abbey Missal (c. 1200-1220) from Abbey Wood, Kent founded by Richard de Lucy, an enemy of Becket, founded for forgiveness.
JISC Medieval Religion - discussion list archive (2014) for primary sources and images for Thomas Becket. Need to sign on with email address to participate in current discussions on all aspects of medieval religion.
Lawrence Wade, OSB, Life of Thomas Bekett - A unique Middle English poem on the Life of St Thomas written in 1497. Manuscript now held by Parker Library
Kent and Canterbury Theses (MPhil and PhD)
Here are some of the theses available on aspects of Kent and Canterbury history, which are primarily available on EThOS, University of Kent Academic Repository and the CCCU Repository. The location is indicated by the links which end each entry; not all are downloadable. There are also theses located in other institutions repositories and these are listed where relevant; for example, five theses on Kent local history downloadable from Centre for English Local History, University of Leicester. A list of thesis titles (which include theses on aspects of Kent and Canterbury history) is also available on the IHR BHO website but they are not downloadable. Those listed as 'Access via UKC' are held only in the University of Kent's Templeman Library.
Robert Acheson, The development of religious separatism in the diocese of Canterbury, 1590-1660 (Kent, 1983: EThOS)
Jane Andrewes, Land, family and community in Wingham and its environs: an economic and social history of rural society in East Kent from C.1450-1640 (Kent, 1991: EThOS)
Claire Bartram, The reading and writing practices of the Kentish gentry: the emergence of a Protestant identity in Elizabethan Kent (Kent, 2005: Access via UKC)
Andrew Bates, Making the invisible visible: new survey and investigation of the Iron Age Hillforts of Bigbury and Oldbury in Kent (Kent, 2017: Kent Academic Repository)
Elizabeth Blanning, Landscape, settlement and materiality: aspects of rural life in Kent during the Roman period, (Kent, 2014: Kent Academic Repository)
Katherine Byrne, Identity, memory and popular politics in sixteenth-century Kent (Kent, 2018: Kent Academic Repository)
Melanie Caiazza, Representations and Experiences of Place: The Islands of Sheppey in the late medieval and early modern period (Kent, 2009: EThOS)
Alison Charles, Deciphering the 'Dutch houses': Netherlandish architectural influence in East Kent, 1550-1750 (Kent, 2017: Kent Academic Repository)
Catharina Clement, Political and religious reactions in the Medway towns of Rochester and Chatham during the English Revolution, 1640-1660 (CCCU, 2013: CCCU Repository)
Meriel Connor, John Stone, monk of Christ Church, Canterbury and his Chronicle, 1417-1472 (Royal Holloway, 2001)
Justin Croft, The custumals of the Cinque Ports c.1290 - c.1500: studies in the cultural production of the urban record (Kent, 1997: EThOS)
Neil Davie, Custom and conflict in a Wealden village: Pluckley 1550-1700 (Oxford, 1988: Oxford University Research Archive)
Anne Davison, The agrarian economy of Romney Marsh and its hinterland, with specific reference to the Knatchbull estate, c.1730-90 (CCCU, 2011: CCCU Repository)
Spencer Dimmock, Class and the social transformation of a Late Medieval small town: Lydd c. 1450-1550 (Kent, 1998: EThOS)
Mary Dixon, Economy and society in Dover 1509-1640 (Kent, 1992: EThOS)
Gillian Draper, Literacy and its transmission in the Romney Marsh area c.1150-1550 (Kent, 2004: Access via UKC)
Alden Dudley, Knole: an architectural and social history of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s house, 1456-1538 (Sussex, 2011: EThOS)
Graham Durkin, The civic government and economy of Elizabethan Canterbury (Kent, 2001: Access via UKC)
Elizabeth Eastlake, Redressing the balance: Boxley 1146-1538, a lesser Cistercian house in southern England (Winchester, 2015: EThOS)
Vaughan Everett, Lords, land and livelihood: a study into the estate management of the lesser lay tenants-in-chief in Kent before the Black Death c.1246-1348 (Kent 1995: EThOS & Access via UKC)
Andrew J. Finch, Crime and marriage in three late medieval ecclesiastical jurisdictions: Cerisy, Rochester and Hereford (York, 1988: EThOS)
Peter W. Fleming, The character and private concerns of the gentry of Kent 1422-1509 (Swansea, 1985: EThOS)
Lorraine Flisher, Cranbrook, Kent, and its neighbourhood area, c. 1570-1670 (Greenwich, 2003, EThOS)
Jon-Mark Grussenmeyer, Cardinal Kemp: the last Lancastrian statesman (Kent, 2018: Kent Academic Repository)
Diane Heath, The bestiary in Canterbury monastic culture, 1093 -1360 (Kent, 2015: Kent Academic Repository)
Sheila Hingley, The Oxindens, Warlys and Elham Parish Library: a family library and its place in print culture in east Kent (Kent, 2004: Access via UKC)
Toby Huitson, Hidden Spaces, Obscure Purposes: The Medieval Ecclesiastical Staircase, Gallery and Upper Chamber in East Kent (Kent, 2008: Access via UKC)
George Knight, The 'Great Cartulary' of Christ Church Priory: Manuscript, Muniments and Memory (Kent, 2021: Access via Canterbury Cathedral Archive Thesis 63)
Avril Leach, Being one body: everyday institutional culture in Canterbury and Maidstone corporations, 1600-1660 (Kent, 2019: Kent Academic Repository)
Ann Le Baigue, Negotiating religious change: the Later Reformation in East Kent parishes, 1559-1625 (Kent, 2019: Kent Academic Repository)
Paul Lee, Monastic and secular religion and devotional reading in late medieval Dartford and west Kent (Kent, 1998: EThOS)
Rob Lutton, Heterodox and orthodox piety in Tenterden, c. 1420 - c. 1540 (Kent, 1997: EThOS)
Simon Maslin, The landscape and ecology of the Anglo-Saxon Conversion: a multiproxy environ-mental and geoarchaeological contexturalisation of the high-status settlement at Lyminge, Kent (Reading, 2017, EThOS & CentAUR)
Matthew Mills, Behold your mother: the Virgin Mary in English monasticism, c. 1050-c. 1200 [Canterbury] (Oxford, 2016: Oxford University Research Archive)
Gemma Minihan, Ightham Mote in the fourteenth century: the lived experience of Sir Thomas Couen (d.1372) (Southampton, 2015: Soton)
John Moon, Managing jurisdictions at Canterbury Cathedral Priory in the High Middle Ages 1285-1331 (Kent, 2012: EThOS)
Valerie Newell, Tactical litigation and the ideology of the law in late Tudor and early Stuart Kent, c.1580-1630 (Kent, 2001: Access via UKC)
Diana O’Hara, Sixteenth-century courtship in the diocese of Canterbury (Kent, 1995: EThOS)
Zoe Ollenshaw, The civic elite of Sandwich, Kent 1568-1640 (Kent, 1990: Access via UKC)
Stuart Palmer, Politics, corporation and commonwealth: the early Reformation in Canterbury, c.1500- 1565 (Kent, 2016: Kent Academic Repository)
Susan Petrie, Sir Roger Twysden, 1597-1672: a re-appraisal of his life and writings (Kent, 2006: Access via UKC)
Susan Pittman, Elizabethan and Jacobean deer parks in Kent (Kent, 2011: Access via UKC)
Thomas Reid, The clergy of the diocese of Canterbury in the seventeenth century (Kent, 2011: Access via UKC)
Catherine Richardson, The meanings of space in society and drama: perceptions of domestic life and domestic tragedy c.1550-1600 (Kent, 1999: EThOS)
Stephen Rowlstone, Religion, politics, and polemic in 17th-century England: the public career of Henry Burton, 1625-1628 (Kent, 2005: Access via UKC)
Nabeela Shah, Aspects of order and disorder in Kent, with special reference to four parishes: Chart Sutton, Sutton Valance, East Sutton and Willesborough, c.1590-1620 (Kent, 1995: Access via UKC)
Paula Simpson, Custom and conflict: disputes over tithe in the Diocese of Canterbury, 1501-1600 (Kent, 1997: EThOS)
Michael Stansfield, The Holland family, Dukes of Exeter, Earls of Kent and Huntingdon, 1352-1475 (Oxford, 1987: Oxford University Research Archive)
Sheila Sweetinburgh, The role of the hospital in medieval Kent, c.1080-c.1560 (Kent, 1998: EThOS)
Annette Tomlin, The Dover Bible: a Romanesque giant Bible in its cultural context (Kent, 2007: Access via UKC)
Eleanor Warmington, Governance, the implementation of social policy and the maintenance of order in Faversham, Kent c.1570-1640 (CCCU, 2012)
Jake Weekes, Styles of Romano-British cremation and associated deposition in South East England (Kent, 2005: EThOS)
Sarah White, Procedure and legal arguments in the court of Canterbury, c. 1193-1300 (St Andrews, 2018: St Andrews Research Repository)
Cindy Wood, Cage chantries and late medieval religion c.1366-1555 (Winchester, 2010: EThOS)
Gillian Wyatt, Social networks and relationships in early modern Thanet c.1560-c.1620 (Kent, 2009: Access via UKC)
Charlotte young, “The gentry are sequestered all”: a study of English Civil War sequestration (Royal Holloway, 2019: Royal Holloway)