Friday, December 12, 2008


50% off CD-ROMs

Click here to begin buying.

Beat the credit crunch blues with TannerRitchie Publishing! Until December 31st only, all eBook downloads are an incredible $10 each, and all CD-ROMs are half price. Build up your personal library or treat yourself to an entire series of eBooks. Don't miss out on this limited time offer. Buy now - this sale will end on 1 January 2009!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

More manuscripts from the Calendar of State Papers, Elizabeth

We have just uploaded the next batch of manuscripts from the reign of Elizabeth (TNA SP 70/7, 8, 9, 41-53, 67-9, 94, 101-3). More are being added all the time, and users will now find increased metadata assists navigation greatly. For more details about these series, see

The total number manuscripts in the MEMSO database currently exceeds 51,000 images. More are on the way ...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Calendar of the Fine Rolls published

The first 4 of 22 volumes from the Calendar of Fine Rolls has been published today, beginning progress on another of the four major collections of medieval English chancery papers (the others being the Close and Patent Rolls (many of which are already published) and the Charter Rolls).

The Fine Rolls record payments to the crown arising from administrative or judicial business, and therefore contain a great deal of local and financial information, but also political matters, such as the inheritance after an oath of fealty of Robert Bruce to Edward I in 1304, and an account of how Bruce 'seditiously slew John Comyn of Scotland in the church of the Friars Minors of Dumfres', and Edward I's death at Burgh on Sands in 1307 on the way to 'repress with a mighty hand the rebellion of the same Robert'.

Friday, October 24, 2008

State Papers, Elizabeth

Another batch of manuscripts from the reign of Elizabeth are now available as part of MEMSO (Medieval and Early Modern Sources Online) (TNA SP 70/95 to SP 125). More are being added soon, along with increased metadata and other information to assist with navigation. (

That brings our current total of manuscript images included in MEMSO to over 46,000, many of which have never been published in any form ever before.

Friday, October 10, 2008

25% Discount in the TannerRitchie Fifth Anniversary Sale

We can't quite believe it, but it is already five years since TannerRitchie Publishing was founded. We've come a long way in a short time, and we think we've established ourselves as both a leader in our field, and a company that is highly responsive to our customers' requests and suggestions.

The most rewarding part of our work over the last five years has been the enormously positive feedback that we receive from our clients and customers, both in terms of enthusiasm for the titles we have published, and appreciation for the way we do business. Many thanks to everyone who has taken the time to provide comments and feedback over the years.

To celebrate our anniversary, we've introduced a 25% discount on all our individual ebooks. Everything is discounted, so there has never been a better time to buy, and US customers can take advantage of recent exchange rate changes which have wiped off about another 10% from the price they pay!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Witchcraft, libraries and the Calendar of Treasury Papers

The Calendar of Treasury Papers, edited by Joseph Redington, published this week by TannerRitchie Publishing, has been requested by customers for some time. The volumes contain a wealth of records relating to this most central of governmental offices between 1556 and 1728. Patronage, crown finance, and every avenue of interest of the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury is recorded here. Moreover, the documents are particularly clearly and colourfully written.

In 1842, the Master of the Rolls described them thus: "They are of the highest historical interest and curiosity, throwing light on a variety of civil and political events; the progress of the Revenue, the Crown lands, the Colonies, the public transaction of office, and many of the private affairs of persons of every class".

The very first document in the volumes acts as a good example. On 11 January 1557, John Dee, described as a simple 'gentleman', supplicated Queen Mary, complaining of the 'lamentable displeasures' brought about by the attacks on the monasteries of Henry VIII's reign, but above all on their libraries:
wherein lie the treasures of antiquity and the everlasting seeds of continual excellency; but notwithstanding many precious jewels and ancient monuments had perished (as at Canterbury the work "Cicero de Republica"), yet the remainder, which were scattered, might be saved."

Dee continued to petition the queen to do what she could to recover the lost ancient libraries of England's monasteries, and, further, to allow him to create a new library in the queen's name which would contain new copies of many ancient volumes.

Dee was in fact a mathmetician, astrologer and antiquary (source, Oxford DNB article by R Julian Roberts, 2004), and was being, perhaps, a little disingenuous by this tacit attack on Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries. Henry VIII had given Dee a pension of 100 crowns over the previous years, and also given him two rectories, while Dee had become tutor to the powerful Dudley family. In the reign of Mary, Dee's powerful Dudley patrons had fallen dramatically from power, and in 1555 Dee was arrested by the Privy Council and accused of witchcraft and 'enchantments to destroy Queen Mary'. Although released in 1556, Dee's interest in the controversial subjects of astronomy and mathematics were perhaps the reason he remained a peripheral figure in the reign of Mary Tudor.

Yet, in 1557 it seems Dee was trying to resurrect his reputation - and he would do so successfully over the following decades, receiving some favour from Elizabeth I and Cecil and buying a large residence for his expanding collection of books.
In time he would build one of the largest English libraries, and travel widely across Europe, taking 800 volumes with him on a trip to Poland. It was lucky he took so many, as his house was raided and those he left behind were stolen by rivals and former associates. He would remain financially poor for the rest of his life, dying in poverty in 1609.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Growing pains

The last month has been a hectic time for the staff at TannerRitchie Publishing, and that's by the standards of a year that has already been our most hectic by far. The swiftly expanding demands on our servers from the complexity and size of Medieval and Early Modern Sources Online (MEMSO) required that we take a long term look ahead at the hardware we were using, and make the necessary investment to ensure we are prepared for the future.

As a result, since our last post in July, we've undergone a complete change in the server hardware that runs our websites and MEMSO. We've also moved the location of the hardware from Vancouver to downtown Toronto. In the process we migrated our increasing complex web application (in fact applications), including databases and hundreds of thousands of files, onto a new architecture without creating too many problems for our users.

By and large we are happy that we managed a reasonably smooth transition. However some users certainly noticed some glitches, and a short period when MEMSO was not accessible via the internet at all. The best laid plans of mice, men and web administrators go oft awry,* and unexpected glitches arose even after extensive testing of the new hardware. For those that have been inconvenienced, we apologize, and hope you appreciate that these growing pains are evidence of TannerRitchie Publishing's commitment to the continuous future development, improvement and growth of MEMSO and our other websites.

We welcome questions about the changes. Please contact us and let us know your thoughts.

*Or, to be more historically accurate, "The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft a-gley."

Monday, July 14, 2008

Vancouver Harbour Centre Power Outage - 14 July 2008

For several hours today MEMSO and all TannerRitchie's websites were offline because of a major fire/explosion and power failure in downtown Vancouver, which cut power to our servers in the Vancouver Harbour Centre. The Harbour Centre is one of North America's main internet and telecommunications hubs, but although it has a large backup power system, it was unable to cope with the prolonged outage.

A news story connected to this power outage and the associated disruption can be found at The Vancouver Sun website.

We sincerely apologise for the disruption and inconvenience. Although the Vancouver Harbour Centre is one of the two most highly trusted and respected locations for servers in Canada, we are coincidentally moving our web servers to the Toronto telecommunications hub in August this year, as part of a major expansion of our hardware.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Additional Manuscripts from the State Papers, Foreign, & State Papers, Spain (1553-1780)

(TNA SP 70/87, f. 642r. MEMSO Permalink )

Users will already have noticed that manuscript images from the The National Archives (UK) are increasingly a key element in Medieval and Early Modern Sources Online (MEMSO). The first wave of a major expansion of our manuscript images was launched on Friday, 4 July, with the availibility of TNA SP 70, The State Papers, Foreign, Elizabeth I (1558-1577) (part I of II, with the remaining MSS appearing in August), and SP 94, State Papers, Foreign, Spain (1577-1780).

The manuscripts are arranged for ease of use and access in high definition greyscale images, and we will be adding further metadata and links between printed books and manuscripts over the coming weeks. However, of particular interest to many users will be the fact that most of the new images from the State Papers, Spain, are absent from the printed volumes of Calendars of State Papers, Spain, and Calendars of State Papers, Foreign.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Historical Manuscripts Commission volumes - a major new project

Yesterday TannerRitchie published the first volumes in a major new project to digitise the publications and reports of the The Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts.

The Commission (more usually referred to as "The Historical Manuscripts Commission" or just "HMC") was founded in 1869 with the intention of making enquiry into all collections and repositories of historical manuscripts and papers in the United Kingdom. Its many reports and "appendices" (in fact complete volumes of primary sources in their own right), published over the period of over a century, contain a treasure-house of material for medieval, early modern and modern historians and genealogists, taken from the family archives, charter chests and private collections of the nobility and citizenry of Britain and Ireland, as well as university colleges, diocesesan and cathedrals archives, and the archives of towns, boroughs and other corporate bodies.

Until now these volumes have been both inaccessible and daunting to use, even for the skilled historian. TannerRitchie is undertaking a major programme not only to digitise, but also to catalogue (through metadata and bookmarks) this series more fully, to enable users to exploit this incredible resource to an extent never possible before.

Details of the contents of each volume will appear here in due course. In the mean time, a detailed catalogue of the volumes can be viewed at

If you have a particular volume you would like to see available, please let us know, or post a comment on our forum

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

MEMSO 2.7 - More simple to use, more manuscripts

Less than two months after launching MEMSO 2.6, last night we launched MEMSO 2.7, which includes the latest incremental updates to the user interface. This time around we have been concentrating on simplifying the user interface in a number of important ways, while maintaining or improving functionality.
We believe new users will find this the simplest version of MEMSO to use so far, enabling them to find the material they are interested in more quickly.
At the same time we have made accessing the manuscript images from the State Papers at the UK National Archives more central to the resource in preparation for major additions to the manuscript content over the next few weeks. Comprehensive coverage of the State Papers, Elizabeth, Spain and France are on the way between the next few days and the end of the summer.
If you would like to take a trial to MEMSO, please contact us and we can usually have a trial in place the same day.
MEMSO is upgraded often, and user interface improvements come along every month to two months. That's because we are constantly learning from user feedback, and because we believe web resources should never be viewed as 'finished'. Subscribers to MEMSO since 2006 have seen it develop from a highly functional but more conventional resource, into one of the most innovative historical databases available. As ever, new features are still in development ...

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Rolls Series - Ten new titles added today

Ten new volumes from the Rolls Series have been added to TannerRitchie's website today. Here's the list, including great resources for the history of medieval London, and the reign of Henry VII. See all our latest titles here.

  1. Liber de Illustribus Henricis - Book of the Illustrious Henries, John Capgrave, volume 1 (973-1473)
  2. Memorials of King Henry VII, ed. James Gairdner, volume 1 (1485-1509)
  3. Munimenta Gildhallae Londiniensis - Muniments of London Guildhall, volume 2.1 (1250-1320),
  4. Munimenta Gildhallae Londiniensis - Muniments of London Guildhall, volume 2.2 (1250-1320),
  5. Munimenta Gildhallae Londiniensis - Muniments of London Guildhall, volume 3 (1250-1420)
  6. Eulogium (Historiarum sive Temporis): Chronicon .. a Monacho Quadam Malmesbriensi Exaratum (Rolls Series), volume 1 (0-1366)
  7. Eulogium (Historiarum sive Temporis): Chronicon .. a Monacho Quadam Malmesbriensi Exaratum (Rolls Series), volume 2 (0-1366)
  8. Eulogium (Historiarum sive Temporis): Chronicon .. a Monacho Quadam Malmesbriensi Exaratum (Rolls Series), volume 3 (0-1366)
  9. Historia Monasterii S. Augustini Cantuariensis (Rolls Series), volume 1 (597-1418)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sale ends 10 June.

Our current offer of 25% off all our titles if you buy 4 or more is coming to an end on 10 June. Take advantage of it while you can at!

Manuscripts of the State Papers, Elizabeth, and State Papers, Spain, going online

(Detail from TNA SP70/6 f.4r. To be published in June as part of Medieval and Early Modern Sources Online (MEMSO). Letter from Throckmorton to Elizabeth I, Paris, 1 August 1559, partly in cipher. Printed copy already available to subscribers at

In the next two weeks a major addition will be made to the manuscript content of Medieval and Early Modern Sources Online (MEMSO):

Part 1 of 2: TNA SP/70 State Papers, Foreign, Elizabeth I

Complete: TNA SP/94 State Papers, Spain (mostly not printed in Calendar of State Papers, Spain)

As the first publisher to take on the large scale publication of manuscripts from the UK National Archives, we are pleased to announce that our next major additions of manuscripts to Medieval and Early Modern Sources Online will be made in the next few weeks, as part of the continuing rollout. At the same time an improved interface will be launched to enable better navigation of the manuscripts, while a large proportion of the images will be in high quality grayscale, rather than the monochrome which was favoured by the archives in the past. They will also be linked to the discussion forum, where we hope users will assist each other collaboratively with getting the most value out of the resource.

What do you want to be published? Tell us now.

In 2008/9 we will be adding new titles from existing series, but also beginning major new projects. Suggest your additions to our catalogue now (add comment here, or contact us).

Here are some highlights of the coming twelve months:

  • Register of the Privy Council of Scotland, 1676-1691 (to finish complete series)
  • Calendar of Treasury Papers, 1556-1728
  • The Rolls Series: please tell us if you would like particular volumes. Featured in this years coverage will be Matthew Paris’ Chronica Majora, Roger Howden’s Chronica, the Tripartite Life of St Patrick, and Irish sources such as Historical Municipal Documents, Ireland.
  • New Project: The Historical Manuscripts Commission Reports and Calendars. A major new project to digitise this enormous and complex collection of material relating to manuscript sources in the UK. We will be publishing large sections of this collection – however we would like to enlist our user’s assistance in suggesting volumes that should be included in the first wave. A complete list of the titles which have been published by HMC since the mid nineteenth century can be found at

Nobody Does it Better

(Image of Henry de Bractons "Tractatus de legibus et consuetudinibus Angliae", by 'Wit', Creative Commons Licence)

Imitation is the highest form of flattery, and we are interested to note that there are now some other companies and organisations that have digitised similar content areas to TannerRitchie Publishing in the field of medieval and early modern historical sources. Some have received generous public funding to repeat work done (more economically) by TannerRitchie Publishing. TannerRitchie Publishing does not receive any funding from the public sector.

Our competitors differ from us in three significant ways, however. Firstly – they are not interested in selling small amounts of content to individuals, only libraries. Secondly institutional subscription rates are kept closely guarded. Related content is often not sold as part of the same resource, in order that they can achieve multiple sales from a single institution for similar material.

TannerRitchie has a policy of price openness. Whether you are an individual or a university library, you can find out the cost of any purchases and subscriptions on our website. Anybody can buy titles from as little as $40.

Medieval and Early Modern Sources Online is designed to contain a wide range of related content, and not to spin off content in an attempt to increase sales, or only to cover one range of material because of funding constaints. Our intention is that any researcher of British, colonial and European medieval and early modern history will use MEMSO as a first point of call for their research, and not be forced to consult in multiple areas.

MEMSO is constantly developed and improved, and new content areas are researched and included. We believe that this is not just ethically correct, but that treating our clients as we would like to be treated is good business practice.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Complete catalogue being added to NetLibrary

We're pleased to announce that the complete TannerRitchie catalogue is being added to NetLibrary as we speak. Most North American university libraries will already be familiar with what NetLibrary can do for them in terms of managing access to electronic content. We hope that libraries will consider NetLibrary when examining the many options available for using our content. NetLibrary is particularly suitable for institutions with smaller budgets, libraries that are not primarily academic in nature, or institutions that already make use of NetLibrary for accessing and managing eContent.

NetLibrary users should keep an eye our for our titles becoming available in the next few weeks.

For those unfamiliar with NetLibrary, it describes itself in the following way: "[NetLibrary] is fast growing to become the eContent provider of choice for academic, community college, public and many other libraries. It offers easy-to-use functionality with access to multiple formats and best-selling titles from the world's leading publishers.

"As OCLC's eContent division, NetLibrary represents a unique dual heritage: a trusted partner for librarians and publishers, with a firm commitment to technological innovation on behalf of end-users. NetLibrary combines the time-honored traditions of the library system with the latest in electronic publishing and content delivery."

If you have any questions about NetLibrary, or would like to discuss accessing our titles this way, please contact us.

Monday, April 28, 2008

New titles published today

These books have been made available on MEMSO or for purchase as downloads/CD-ROMs during the week of 28 April 2008: (see for full details)
    Calendar of State Papers, Venice, volume 20 (1626-1628)
    Calendar of State Papers, Ireland, volume 23 (Adventurers for Land in Ireland, 1642-1659)
    Calendar of Close Rolls, Edward III, 1360-1364
    Calendar of Close Rolls, Edward III, 1364-1368
    Calendar of Close Rolls, Edward III, 1369-1374
    Calendar of Close Rolls, Edward III, 1374-1377
    Calendar of Close Rolls, Richard II, 1377-1381
    Calendar of Close Rolls, Richard II, 1389-1392
    John Strype's Ecclesiastical Memorials, Edward VI, volume 2 parts 1 & 2
    John Strype's Ecclesiastical Memorials, Mary I, volume 3 parts 1 & 2
    Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII, 2nd edition, volume 1 part 1 (1509-1513)
Coming Soon:
    Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII, 2nd edition, volume 1 parts 2 & 3
    Thomas Duffus Hardy ed., Rotuli Chartarum, volume 1 part 1 (1199-1216), and Rotuli Litterarum Patentium, volume 1.1 (1201-1216)
    Calendar of Close Rolls, Richard II
    Calendar of the Patent Rolls, Elizabeth I
    And more from the Rolls Series including Memorials of Henry the Fifth King of England, Memorials of King Henry VII,Munimenta Gildhallae Londoniensis,Historia Monasterii S. Augustini Cantuariensis and Chronica Johannis de Oxenedes...

Monday, April 14, 2008

MEMSO 2.6 launched

Last week we launched the latest version of Medieval and Early Modern Sources Online, or version 2.6.

Some new features:
'Live search' - This is a great feature for searching alternate spellings of words - especially place names and personal names, and also provides a way around the inevitable scanning errors that digital searching creates. Typing just the first few letters of a word will now bring up a list of suggestions that you might like to select, which changes dynamically as you type. See the example to the left, where a list of places in Scotland that begin with 'Auchter' are listed. Note how the list includes eight alternate spellings of the Scottish town Auchterarder in Perthshire.

Toolkit: We've integrated search boxes into MEMSO that will take you to the UK version of Google Maps, The Oxford English Dictionary(OED), and the Dictionary of the Scottish Language (DSL). Google maps provides a good starting point for locating placenames within MEMSO, although we'd rather be using the Ordnance Survey which is much better for historical research. At present, unfortunately, their website does not work well enough for us to integrate it even though they make all their maps available for online searching. The specialist language used in our historical sources is always going to make having a good dictionary at hand useful, and subscribers to OED have a fantastic version available. DSL is a similarly brilliant use of the web for a reference work, bringing together the research from the Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue and the Scottish National Dictionary. It's well worth a look even if your research is not primarily in the realm of Scottish history, especially as their is overlap between Scots and the dialects of northern England.

We'll be adding new and more advanced tools for users in time, which we hope will integrate (or mashup) other sites' data with MEMSO's. Keep an eye out for tools for language experts, such as concordances and word frequency tools.

The first part of a user preferences system was launched. At present it only controls our tooltips, which help new users to get the most from the site. Over the next month or so we'll be adding a lot of new features here, enabling users to save 'favourite' books, and bookmark their place within a book.

Permalinks. We've added permalinks to every page now, so you can use the URL directly for citation purposes, or to save you place in your browser.

New login system. For users that use usernames and passwords to login, you'll notice that things just got prettier.

We've also made the placing of the main search more logical, in a drop down box, and likewise adjusted the 'search within this book' option.

There's always room for improvement, so all comments are very welcome.

Why the version numbers?

For those that wonder why we use version numbers, it's to highlight the fact that MEMSO is now in all senses a 'web application' rather than a 'web page', with incremental changes happening every month or two, as well as the weekly additions of new books. In other words, it helps to think of MEMSO more like a program such as Microsoft Word or Excel, where the program provides many advanced features for working with a particular type of data.

That creates some challenges for both us and the user. The danger we run is of overloading users with a complicated interface, and hiding the most heavily used features behind a deluge of useful but less popular material. We therefore always encourage as much feedback as possible about MEMSO, so we can make it work as well as possible. You can send feedback through out website at, or post a message here.

Why we've launched a blog

Why does TannerRitchie Publishing need a blog? Well partly we like playing with web toys, but mainly because there isn't always enough room to explain on our various websites about new features, products and things that are in the pipeline. We hope we'll be able to give some more information here about what is going on behind the scenes with the developers, and also elicit some feedback about our websites, new features and books, and more ...