The English Monastic Archives tripartite Database comprises a systematic guide to one of the largest and most important sets of documents anywhere in the pre-modern world. It enables scholars to conduct many different sorts of searches and should inaugurate a renaissance of research on English monasteries and the many other related topics in social, economic, cultural and religious history. The database is designed to be a research tool: it is a guide to the types and current locations of documents generated by medieval English monasteries, but not, as a rule, to the information contained within those documents. The project was made possible primarily by two very substantial grants from the Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB, now the AHRC), supplemented by indispensable grants from UCL, and the British Academy. A grant from the Marc Fitch Fund led to a considerable improvement of the ‘Religious Houses’ and ‘Properties’ databases.
THE TWO DATABASES
The database to which many users of this site will have grown accustomed has been replaced by a new one, Database II, which includes much new material added since the formal end of the project by project members who continue to work pro bono. Database II is less attractive visually than its predecessor and the range of combination searches available is more restricted. This is because software for transferring new data directly from a stand-alone database onto the internet is still in development. The relative inelegance of Database II disguises the fact that its existence results from a technical breakthrough (by project consultant Stefan Kueppers) which has taken much time and expertise to achieve.
In addition to the databases, a three volume book and a series of articles have come out of the project.