The IPMs project 'Mapping the medieval countryside' aims to make all the surviving IPMs from 1236 to 1447 and from 1485 to 1509 freely available online in fully searchable texts. This site outlines the project's objectives in more detail and provides historical information on IPMs for all researchers interesting in consulting both the published texts and the original documents.
The current project
The immediate aims of current project are to make the existing texts for 1236 - 1447 and 1485 - 1509 freely available in a revised form that will meet the needs of modern researchers and historians. There are several stages to this work. First, the existing calendars will be digitised and placed online where they may be searched free of charge. Second, the calendars for 1236 - 1399 will be enhanced to include missing extents and valuations; and, ideally, the volumes for 1399 - 1422 and 1485 - 1509 will be enhanced to include the information on escheators, jurors, and writs found in the volumes for 1422 - 1447. And third, the enhanced calendar texts wil be encoded using XML, and a search interface developed, so that the whole body of inquisitions can be searched in sophisticated ways. This encoding will also be linked to GIS software that will enable search results to be mapped. In the longer term, it is hoped to complete the calendaring of the medieval IPMs for 1447 - 1485 and perhaps for 1509 - 1542.
The project is currently at a relatively early stage. Funding has been acquired from the Mark Fitch Fund for the digitisation of the printed calendars for 1236 - 1291. The digitised text will be hosted by British History Online. A British Academy Small Grant has also been awarded for the development of the search interface and XML coding. The relevant technical information will be posted on this site as it becomes available.
In 2009 the project sought funding for:
digitisation of the remaining 23 printed volumes (volumes 3 - 22 of the main series and 1 - 3 of the Henry VII series; volumes for 1427-47 are already available in electronic form and can be digitised without difficulty);
encoding of sample text for the period 1442-47, to explore the potential of encoding text for statistical analysis and generation of mapping;
a pilot project to determine the time needed to enhance the earlier IPM volumes by adding valuations, extents, lists of jurors, and other information;
The successful completion of these pilot projects will provide a foundation for larger applications to complete the enhancement and coding;
Funding will also be sought for a conference and research towards a multi-authored monograph. This will aim to summarise the improved understanding of IPMs which has resulted from the producing the calendars for 1422-47, and will explore key directions for future research on the documents. In a very preliminary form, some of this material is also being made available in the other sections of this website.
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