Religious houses of the pre-Reformation period were careful to keep records of their land holdings and the transactions relating to these holdings; these are referred to as Archives. Some of these documents have survived in the religious houses themselves, although this is rare; most are now kept in Libraries and Record Offices (sometimes also called Archives).

LangScape uses the word Archive strictly in the first sense and refers to the archival provenance of the charter in question. Thus a charter coming from the Westminster Archive means that it was at one time associated with Westminster Abbey’s documentary archive. It may well record a land grant of which the Abbey was the recipient but might on occasion be a charter which found its way into Westminster’s archive for reasons which are still unclear.