The Canterbury Roll is a 15th-century English genealogical text. It was created in the late 1420s/ early 1430s and subsequently modified on a number of occasions before final revisions were made to it, most probably during the reign of Richard III (1483–1485).
The Roll’s fate between the late-15th century and its acquisition in 1918 by Canterbury College, the University of Canterbury’s predecessor, remains unclear.
The Canterbury Roll Project
The Canterbury Roll Project is a multi-stage initiative led by the UC History Department. The project was initiated in 2012/13 with the launch of a website created by UC Summer Scholar Maree Shirota. This was designed to provide an introduction to the Roll and access to images of the manuscript.
A digital approach with a modular release schedule enables the project team to respond to peer-review over the lifetime of the project with the ultimate objective of creating a better resource.
The project seeks to enable New Zealand students to develop their knowledge of palaeography and medieval Latin, while simultaneously developing skills in digital humanities that can be transferred to the world beyond academia.
Completed in 2017, Stage 1 involves the creation of a Digital Edition of a new transcript and translation of the Roll using TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) conventions. It also involves a significant increase in the quality of the digital images of the Roll available online.
Stage 1 is a collaboration between UC History, the UC Arts Digital Lab, the UC Internship programme, and Collaborative Research Centre 933 of Heidelberg University.
The Digital Edition is the centrepiece of the Canterbury Roll Project website. In addition to a high resolution digital facsimile, new transcription, and new translation, users can access an academic introduction, critical apparatus, and a detailed user guide.
Five other components make up the project site:
Includes a "scrolling" overview of the manuscript and its content, an introduction to – and downloadable version of – an edition of the Roll published in 1919, and an exploration of the challenges and benefits of digitizing a manuscript roll.
An introduction to the context in which the Roll was produced and the scribes who created it. This section also looks at the Roll's choice of language and its illumination.
An introduction to three key components that are integral to the early sections of the Roll: the biblical past, the inheritance of Classical antiquity, and Britain's legendary kings.
An exploration of one of the Roll's key themes and a case study of the way in which it presents the English claim to France.
An outline of the Project's future research goals, how you can get involved via UC courses, and a bibliography of the sources used in compiling this site.