The cartulary of 1211 is the oldest surviving register produced
by the chancery of the counts of Champagne. This first edition of
the cartulary contains 121 letters received from the barons and
prelates of the county during the rule of Count Thibaut III
(1198-1201) and the first decade of the regency of his widow,
Countess Blanche (1201-22).
They deal primarily with feudal matters--homage, tenure, the
construction and rendering of castles--and lordship over property
and rural communities. Since only one-third of the original letters
survive, the cartulary copies are particularly valuable in
capturing the range of written records entering the chancery of a
major French principality around 1200.
The introduction to the volume traces the evolution of
aristocratic letters patent from the 1140s and argues that they
were far more important in the twelfth century, both for
transactions between laymen and for transactions with religious
houses, than historians of medieval diplomacy have allowed. The
introduction goes on to discuss the evolution of the chancery in
the twelfth century, the creation of a formal chancery archive in
the 1190s, and the organization and contents of the cartulary
complied in 1211.
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