Charters on Single Sheets
About 300 Anglo-Saxon charters (of one kind or another) survive in what would appear to be their 'original' form, written on single sheets of parchment. About 200 of these charters satisfy all of the available tests of authenticity, are written in hands judged to be contemporary with the given date, and thus constitute a foundation for our knowledge and understanding of Anglo-Saxon palaeography, diplomatic, and much else besides. Others prove on inspection to be later copies, or forgeries, made sometime during the long Anglo-Saxon period (before the end of the eleventh century), but as such are no less significant in their different ways.
The great majority of surviving single-sheet Anglo-Saxon charters are to be found in the British Library, in the collections formed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries by Sir Robert Cotton, Sir Edward Dering, Sir Simonds D'Ewes, Sir Edward Harley, Sir Christopher Hatton, Thomas Astle, and others. A single collection of charters, formed in the eighteenth century, is to be found in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. There are also significant quantities in the archives of Canterbury Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, and Exeter Cathedral. A few others are to be found in local record offices, or still in private hands.