Media Information

Collection name:
Rylands Medieval Collection
Image Number:
Reference Number:
Parent Work Title:
Textus de Ecclesia Roffensi per Ernulphum episcopum
Alternative Parent Work Title:
The Book of the Church of Rochester through Bishop Ernulf
Translated Parent Work Title:
The Textus Roffensis
Date Created:
The Textus Roffensis is more properly two distinct books, though written at about the same time, and largely by the same scribe, which were only bound together some time after 1300. The first part contains one of the most important of all surviving collections of Anglo-Saxon laws, from the conversion of King Aethelberht of Kent to the coronation charter of King Henry I of 1100. The second part is the oldest and most precious of the cathedral registers. It can best be described as a memorandum book, created for ease of reference and security. Both parts were compiled in part from individual or single sheet original documents or exemplars, many now lost, in part from the collective memory of the cathedral community. The compilation represents the first documentary evidence of the compromises made between the new Norman rulers and their indigenous English subjects, hinting at a convergence rather than a collision between the English language and English laws on the one hand and Romance laws and language on the other. The book contains two foundation charters of Rochester Cathedral and Diocese of 604 (DRc/R1 f.119 recto - f.119 verso and DRc/R1 f.177 recto), two pre-Conquest and pre-Domesday Book lists of Kent parishes and copies of the earliest English law codes to survive (contained in part i of the book, i.e. the first of the two separate books prior to their being bound together). The compilation dates from the episcopate of Ernulf of Bec (1115-1124) and more specifically from the period 1122-1123 (Hough, 2001) or 1123-1124 (Wormald, 2001). At that time there was little distinction between the possessions of the priory and the bishopric, and the bishop lived in the priory buildings with the monks. Ernulf's involvement is commemorated on the first folio. Both parts were written by a single scribe. Flight surmises it was the prior of the day, Ordwine. Wormald suggests he was a trusted servant of Bishop Ernulf (talk transcript, 2004). Whoever he was, he was no ordinary scribe and possessed advanced scholarly and editorial powers and was responsible for seeking out and ordering as well as transcribing the book's contents.
Language Code:
Law, Cartulary
Category of Material:
Archives and Manuscripts
Technique Used:
Scripts (writing)
Technique Used:
Technique Used:
Ink (iron gall)
Time Period Covered:
1000 - 1200 CE
Item Height:
168 mm
Item Width:
129 mm
Item Depth:
30 mm
Current Repository:
Medway Archives
Rochester Cathedral, Kent Archives Office in Maidstone in 1969. Rochester upon Medway City Archives Office, Medway Archives, Strood, 1990. Administered by Kent County Council until 1998 and thereafter Medway Council.
Rights Holder - Image:
Dean and Chapter of Rochester Cathedral
Rights holder - Work:
Dean and Chapter of Rochester Cathedral
Wormald. Patrick, 'The First Code of English Law' (originally a lecture given at Canterbury Cathedral Archives under the title 'King Aethelberht of the Kent-people and the First Code of English Law). Canterbury Commeration Society. (2005)
Wormald, Patrick, 'The Making of English Law: King Alfred to the Twelfth Century: Volume 1, Legislation and its Limits'. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2001)
Hough, Carole, A., 'Palaeographical evidence for the compilation of Textus Roffensis' in 'Scriptorum: international revue of manuscript studies, Tome LV'. (2001)
Date Captured (yyyy-mm-dd):
Image Creation Technique:
Digital capture by Heritage Imaging, The University of Manchester Library
Date Image Added (yyyy-mm):
Metadata Language: