This article provides the first comprehensive study and edition of eight original charters from the Abbey of Saint-Étienne de Caen in Lower Normandy (founded by William the Conqueror in 1063), kept today in the British Library (Add. Chs. 67574–67581). These charters form part of a larger diplomatic corpus that once belonged to the Yorkshire antiquarian Thomas Stapleton (1805–49), who during the early nineteenth century acquired them from the famous Caennais citizen and local historian, Abbé Gervais de la Rue (1751–1835). So far, these documents have not attracted the scholarly attention they deserve, and only two of them have been edited and published. The present article offers a full catalogue of the charters together with a detailed analysis of each document against its historical and diplomatic background. It also takes into account other relevant and related material such as, for example, the contemporary charters from Saint-Étienne preserved in the Archives départementales du Calvados and, not least, the abbey’s later twelfth-century Cartulary. Studied together in this wider chronological and material context, Add. Chs. 67574–67581 will be showcased as providing important insights into the political and economic history of one of Normandy’s most powerful, wealthy and well-connected religious institutions during the later eleventh and twelfth centuries.
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