Many charters survive in only one version (usually either as a single-sheet document, a cartulary copy or a copy made during the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries). Other charters, however, survive in more than one ‘version’ (possibly, though rarely, in all of the above forms). LangScape selects one version for its Top Text and presents this in Semi-Diplomatic and Edited Display, but crucially also marks it up with headwords and translation in Glossed Display.

The decision as to which manuscript to choose as LangScape’s Top Text has been influenced by the following factors:

  1. if the text appears in the British Academy Charters series, then the practice of the edition is generally followed
  2. the same applies, but with less rigour, to other editions of the text
  3. the condition of the manuscripts is taken into consideration (a later but less damaged text may be preferred to an earlier but partly illegible one)
  4. all things being equal, we will choose the first manuscript with bounds listed in eSawyer as our Top Text

The data relating to rubrics and endorsements, to the dispositive clause (the words the charter uses to express the land being granted), and to the Latin introductory formula have always been taken from the Top Text. (Note: there has not been time to include this information on the current website, but it exists in the database for potential analysis and display in any future development of the resource).

For Variant Texts we supply Semi-diplomatic and Edited Text Displays only.