Denbigh Borough Charters

March 31, 2016

You may remember from a previous post that we received grant funding from the NMCT to carry out work on the Denbigh Borough Charters. We are very pleased to tell you that the project is now complete and the charters have been returned to Denbighshire.

The Charters are large documents and were previously stored together in a box which did not offer adequate protection to the documents or attached seals. The packaging was also unsuitable for maneuvering the documents in and out of storage and would mean that two members of staff would be needed to retrieve them.

Below are a series of photographs taken during the project to illustrate the work carried out….

The project involved parchment cleaning; repairing as appropriate; humidifying and flattening of undulating surfaces and seal cleaning. As you can see from the images some there was some staining, damaged seal attachments and curled pages.

The project included repackaging into bespoke archival boxes which will considerably reduce handling when the documents are consulted. Conservation work was carried out by Mark Allen, Conservator, at Flintshire Record Office [pictured].

The project also included scanning each page to create a digital image of each Charter. These documents were too large to scan in-house, therefore access was restricted to those who could visit the office in person. The production of digital images will enable wider and remote access in the future. Scanning was carried out by staff at The National Library of Wales.

The digital images of the charters will be available on our new website later this year.

Grant Success for the Denbigh Borough Charters!

January 8, 2016

We have recently received some great news that our application to the NMCT has been accepted. The grant will cover the cleaning, repair, repackaging and scanning of the Denbigh Borough Charters (BD/A).

The Charters granted to the Borough of Denbigh are the oldest surviving borough charters in North Wales. They provide rare evidence of Wales during the early-mid medieval period, and form a comprehensive record of an important medieval town’s development from a post-conquest Edwardian settlement to a sophisticated structure of administration under Charles II.

The collection comprises of five charters which were issued by reigning monarchs between c. 1290 and 1662. The earliest charter, granted by Edward I to Henry de Lacy, is dated around 1290 and is our only document written in Norman French.

Borough Charters were impressive documents designed to be visually attractive. The collection represents the best illuminations of this type in our collections and perhaps in Wales. The charters include fine illustrations of Henry VII and Henry VIII. Rather than sign the document, a royal seal was attached to confirm authenticity. Seals are attached to four of the five Denbigh Charters.

Charters were prestigious documents which laid out the duties and privileges granted to the town and burgesses (borough officials). The matters covered in a borough charter included rights to self-govern such as the right to hold courts, regulate markets, build town walls etc.

NMCT grant funding will mean that these impressive documents will be professionally repaired and cleaned and bespoke packaging will be made to protect the manuscript and attached seals. The grant will also cover the cost of specialised scanning to enable researchers to access them online.

This is our third successful conservation project funded by the NMCT in the last five years including work on our Tithe War Album and our Criminal Description books.



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