Charters from Gelre and Zutphen 1148-1326

Edited by E.J. Harenberg, M.S. Polak and E.C. Dijkhof; in collaboration with F. Ketner and M. Dillo

Charters deal with every known aspect of societal life: relations between sovereigns; favours granted by the Pope; donations; buying, selling, renting and leasing of property; financial transactions; rules and regulations issued by all manner of authoritative bodies; judicial verdicts; writs; the list is endless. There is hardly any aspect of mediaeval history whose original source cannot be traced back to a reference found in a charter. Moreover, further examination of the manuscript, wording and seal of a charter can provide us with insights into how the charters were made and the kind of environment and community in which they were created.

This new critical edition of important groups of charters from Gelre was originally published to compensate for the incomplete, shoddy and uncritical 19th century editions that have so far hampered present day attempts to carry out efficient, high quality research. Research into early written sources about the Gelre region is almost exclusively confined to charters. During the course of the project it became apparent that the number of unpublished charters was much larger than originally thought and so it was necessary to select only the most interesting sets of charters for publication. The editing was carried out from archive to archive. A great deal of attention has been given to the history of the origins of the charters, particularly with regard to verifying their authenticity, and how reliable they are generally from a historical perspective. The book of charters has been published in eight loose-leaf instalments, each containing an index and photos of the original charters.