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Accord of Winchester

The Accord of Winchester from 1072, signed by (top to bottom, left-hand column) William, Matilda, Lanfranc, Walkelin and Wulfstan, along with (top to bottom, right-hand column) Papal legate, Thomas, Remigius and Herfast. The signatures of William I and Matilda are the first two large crosses.

The Accord of Winchester is the 11th-century document that establishes the primacy of the archbishop of Canterbury over the archbishop of York.

It originated in a dispute over primacy between Thomas, the archbishop of York, and Lanfranc, the new Norman archbishop of Canterbury, soon after the latter had taken office. The case was first heard by King William I at the old Saxon royal capital of Winchester at Easter (8 April) 1072, in the royal chapel in the castle. It was then heard at Windsor at Pentecost (27 May), where the final settlement was made, with William deciding in Lanfranc's favour, and formalised in this document.

This did not end the Canterbury-York dispute over the primacy, as it continued for a number of years after this.[1]


When King William and Queen Matilda signed the document with crosses, it did not necessarily mean they were unused to writing, infirm or even illiterate. They and all the bishops signed with crosses, as illiterate people would later do, but they did so in accordance with current legal practice, not because they or the bishops could not write their own names.[citation needed]

It (in the CCA-DCc-ChAnt/A/2 version) was also signed by

and additionally, in the CCA-DCc-ChAnt/A/1 version, :

Both versions are endorsed with descriptions and marks in 13th century hands.


The main copies are held at the Canterbury Cathedral archives.(Catalogue entries for the CCA-DCc-ChAnt/A/1 version and the CCA-DCc-ChAnt/A/2 version) There is also one at the British Library.


In the Canterbury Cathedral Archives:

  • CCA-DCc-Register E, f46r and CCA-DCc-Register I, ff60v-61r (sections of royal charters for liberties of the Church)
  • CCA-DCc-ChAnt/A/2 (some significant variations)

In the British Library

  • BL Cotton Appendix 56, ff57r-58r

See also


  1. ^ Carpenter, David (2004). The Struggle for Mastery: The Penguin History of Britain 1066–1284. New York: Penguin. p. 99. ISBN 0-14-014824-8.


Discussions of the document, with transcriptions, summaries, notes, and photographs, can be found in:

  • D Whitelock, M Brett and C N L Brooke (eds), Councils and Synods, vol 1, part ii (Oxford, 1981), pp. 586-607 (including, pp. 594-5, a list of versions)
  • T A M Bishop and P Chaplais (eds), Facsimiles of English Royal Writs to AD 1100 (Oxford, 1957), plate xxix
  • H W C Davis (ed), Regesta regum Anglo-Normannorum (Oxford, 1913), p17
  • Historical Manuscripts Commission Fifth Report (London, 1876), Appendix, p. 452
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Accord of Winchester
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