In 1676 Matthew Hale, a 17th century judge, bequeathed his collection of manuscripts to the Inn. This collection of 96 manuscripts reflects Hale’s widespread interests in science, mathematics, music and poetry. Hale and his contemporaries also collected historical documents such as monastic charters which were both of antiquarian interest, but also of practical interest to anyone practising land law.
Hale 87 is a cartulary (collection of charters) relating to Battle Abbey in East Sussex. Battle Abbey was founded in about 1071 A.D. by William I to atone for the men killed in his conquest of England. The high altar of the abbey was positioned on the exact spot where King Harold was killed. As a royal foundation it was richly endowed with lands granted to the abbey. These lands were granted by charter. Cartularies are collections of such charters and other privileges.
Most of this document was written during the reign of Henry III (reigned 1216-1272). It includes charters from English kings (from William the Conqueror to Henry III), Papal privileges from Popes Alexander III to Gregory IX and charters from the Archbishops of Canterbury and the Bishop of Chichester. It also contains many charters relating to individual properties owned by the Abbey across the country.