England is remarkable for the wealth and variety of its archival heritage - the records created and preserved by institutions, organisations and individuals. This is the first book to treat the history of English records creation and record-keeping from the perspective of the archives themselves.
Beginning in the early Middle Ages and ending in modern times, it draws on the author's extensive knowledge and experience as both archivist and historian, and presents the subject in a very readable and lively way. Some archives, notably those of government and the Established Church, have remarkably continuous histories. But all have suffered over time from periods of neglect and decay, and some have come to sudden and violent ends.
Among the destructive episodes discussed in the book are the Viking raids of the Anglo-Saxon period, the Norman Conquest, the Peasants' Revolt, the dissolution of the monasteries and the bombing raids of the Second World War. Archivists and historians have a shared interest in the protection and study of the country's surviving records.
This book has been written for members of both professions, but also for every reader who cares about the preservation of England's past.