Sources 1050-1059Early records of Wells cathedral, in Somerset (1001-1500)
Three early registers of the dean and chapter of Wells - the Liber Albus I (White Book; R I), Liber Albus II (R III), and Liber Ruber (Red Book; R II, section i) - were edited by W. H. B. Bird for the Historical Manuscripts Commissioners and published in 1907. These three books comprise, with some repetition, a cartulary of possessions of the cathedral, with grants of land dating back as early as the 8th century, well before the development of hereditary surnames in England; acts of the dean and chapter; and surveys of their estates, mostly in Somerset.
This abstract of the surviving charter rolls for 1300 to 1326, in the reigns of kings Edward I and II, was prepared by C. G. Crump and A. E. Stamp and published in 1908. The charter rolls not only recorded royal grants of lands, liberties and offices, but also enabled landowners to have their existing charters, their deeds of title, registered by the process of inspeximus and confirmation. After the Statute of Mortmain of 1279, this was of particular importance to religious houses, now greatly restricted in their ability to receive new donations of land, and anxious to prove title to their ancient property. Consequently, many charters of great age were copied onto the charter rolls.