British History Online

British History Online image

The digital library of primary and secondary sources for the history of Britain, from the Middle Ages to c.1900.


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British History Online contains primary and secondary sources for the history of the British Isles. To date, British History Online has digitised more than 1,000 volumes, including such central resources as the Journals of the Houses of Commons and Lords and The National Archives' Calendars of State Papers (including the State Papers Domestic, Foreign and Colonial, the Treasury Books and Papers and the Letters and Papers of Henry VIII). The majority of this material is freely available, but there is an element of subscription content (principally the Calendar of State Papers, Domestic, the Calendar of Close Rolls and the Parliament Rolls of Medieval England).

British History Online is run by the Institute of Historical Research - the centre for the study of history in the UK - at the University of London. Our goal is to produce highly accurate digital versions of the core works of British history, as part of the Institute's national role in historical research.


This resource is of particular interest to historians of medieval Britain, especially political, ecclesiastical, legal, local and urban (notably London history).

There are four types of source included in Manuscripts Online: full-text primary sources; secondary sources; guides and calendars; and gazetteers and dictionaries. A keyword search of the transcribed texts is provided, along with facilities to browse by places and regions, subject groupings, period and source types. Registered users can bookmark records in a personal 'bookshelf'.

Please note that only sources which fall within the date range 1100-1500 have been included in Manuscripts Online.

Technical Methods

Texts on British History Online have been double-rekeyed by specialist data capture companies, to a minimum 99.95% accuracy (in practice higher accuracy rates are achieved), with a lightweight XML markup. Quality assurance of the keying and markup is carried out by editors at the Institute of Historical Research before it is published.

About the project

British History Online is a project of IHR Digital, part of the Institute of Historical Research in the School of Advanced Study, University of London. Project partners are the Centre for Metropolitan History and the Victoria County History - both research centres of the Institute of Historical Research - and the History of Parliament, a major historical research project.



Search British History Online

Source Types

  • Official Documents
  • Literary Manuscripts


  • Transcriptions
  • Summaries or Calendars


  • history
  • archives


  • English
  • Latin


  • Mixed

Time Period



University of London

Cite this page:

"British History Online" Manuscripts Online (, version 1.0, 22 September 2023),