Eric John Papers

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 133 EJP
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      0.3 li.m.
  • Location
      Collection available at John Rylands Library, Deansgate/ Collection available at University Archive and Records Centre, main University Library.

Scope and Content

Papers of the Manchester historian Eric John. The collection comprises exclusively copies of John's lectures and one draft of an article. No other papers are known to survive.

It is assumed that the lectures were given as part of John's teaching duties at the University of Manchester. The lectures are not dated, but probably date mainly from the 1960s and 1970s. It is likely that at least some of these lectures were given as part of the general undergraduate courses, "Outlines of medieval history 400-1500" and "Medieval English history, 55 BC to AD 1500". Other may relate to undergraduate special subject courses, notably "The Norman Connection" and "Church and Empire in the 11th century". Lectures have been retained in their original order, and some lectures comprise several sections.

  • /1 "All history is contemporary history".
  • /2 "Germanism" , part of "Introduction to English medieval history" course.
  • /3 "Feudalism".
  • /4 "The Conversion of the Anglo-Saxons".
  • /5 "The Making of England" and "The Kingdom of England".
  • /6 "The English Charter and the English Chancery", "The Private Charter", "The Royal Chancery", "The Episcopal Chancery".
  • /7 "The Norman Connexion" [special subject], comprises "Anglo Saxon Chronicle" "Monks and Vikings," "Reform and the Tenant", "The Battle of Maldon" "Edward the Confessor" and "Edward the Confessor: the Crisis" (i.e. succession to Edward the Confessor").
  • /8 "Anglo-Norman Politics"
  • /9 "The Sheriff", "Domesday Survey", "The reign of William the Conqueror", "Oath of Salisbury", "Growth of Royal Justice".
  • /10 "Arnulf and Conrad (i)".
  • /11 "The Imperial Church".
  • /12 "The Saxon dynasty: Henry I".
  • /13 Henry I of Germany, comprising "Henry's military history", "Burgen" "Military and Foreign affairs" "Henry and the West".
  • /14 "Otto the Great".
  • /15 "The Church" and "Otto I and Empire".
  • /16 "Origins of Germany".
  • /17 Diplomatic lectures: "The Papal Chancery" "Formularies and Registration", "Papal Registers", "Papal Chancery from Leo X to Innocent II".
  • /18 "Gobbets on law and administration".

/19 Article : "St Oswald and the Church of Worcester". This was published in the Journal of Ecclesiastical History", IX, 1958. Includes a typescript of the article, and amendments, and three letters to John: 1) From Christopher Cheyney, 17 March 1957, finds paper "very interesting", suggests submitting to Journal of Ecclesiastical History", and makes some specific comments. 2) 18 March 1857 from F E Harmer, sending comments; 3) 6 July 1957 from C H Dugmore, editor of the JJournal of Ecclesiastical History", accepting a revised draft for publication.

Administrative / Biographical History

Eric John was a historian who specialised in Anglo-Saxon history. He taught at the University of Manchester from 1952 until his retirement in 1982.

John was born at Altrincham, Cheshire, and educated at Stand Grammar School, before joining the Treasurer's Office of Manchester City Council. He served in the RAF during the War, and on demobilisation entered the University of Manchester to study history. He graduated with first-class honours in 1949, followed by a MA in 1950. He was appointed assistant lecturer in history by the University in 1952, and was successively lecturer from 1955 to 1968, senior lecturer, 1968-1980, and finally reader, 1980-1982.

Eric John was known for his innovative studies of Anglo-Saxon society. He argued that the use of charters by the Anglo-Saxons promoted stable inheritance of land, and this helped transform Anglo-Saxon society. He also believed there was significant continuity between Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman charters in their conditions of tenure and military service. John's work also paid more attention than was usual to the influence of Continental Europe on Anglo-Saxon society. His publications included Land tenure in early England; a discussion of some problems (Leicester University Press 1960) , Orbis Britanniae (Leicester University Press 1966), and Reassessing Anglo-Saxon England (Manchester University Press 1996.) John also contributed chapters to James Campbell (ed.), The Anglo-Saxons (London 1982).

Access Information

The collection is open to any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

It is believed that Eric John donated his papers to the University Library in the 1990s.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies of material in the archive can be supplied for private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

A number of items within the archive remain within copyright under the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; it is the responsibility of users to obtain the copyright holder's permission for reproduction of copyright material for purposes other than research or private study.

Prior written permission must be obtained from the Library for publication or reproduction of any material within the archive. Please contact the Head of Special Collections, John Rylands Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH.


None expected.

Related Material

The Library has custody of the personal papers of several University of Manchester historians, including T. F. Tout, (TFT); James Tait (TAI), Maurice Powicke (FMP), Mark Hovell (HOV), George Unwin (UNW, and Lewis Namier (NAM). Uncatalogued papers include those of John Roskell, T H Willan, and Jack Hyde.

Geographical Names