Heather Edwards and the early charters of Wessex

Heather Edwards’ The Charters of Early West Saxon Kingdom, published way back in 1988 by BAR, ranks as one of the best books there is on the subject of Anglo-Saxon charters but also happens to be one of the hardest to get hold of (unless you are someone who would countenance spending £3,790.54 on a used copy of the book, in which case you are a moron). I’ve got A3 photocopies of a handful of its pages but they cover only one or two charters and I know there’s a huge amount I’m missing out on.

Help is at hand, as the other day I found that Edwards’ PhD thesis of the same title is available to read/download from University of Glasgow Theses Service website. Not having the aforementioned book makes it hard for me to know the extent to which it is a verbatim publication of her earlier thesis or an updated version of it. However, comparison of the photocopies I have of the published account of S 235 (the Farnham foundation charter as it is sometimes referred to) with the equivalent passage from the thesis seems to suggest that they are more or less identical. Whether or not this resemblance is repeated in the rest of the text, it’s a thumpingly good study embodying scholarship of the highest order and deserves to be more widely known and read (plus, it lessens the chance of someone parting with stupid money for the book from an Amazon Marketplace shark).

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