British History Online

British History Online is the digital library containing some of the core printed primary and secondary sources for the medieval and modern history of the British Isles. Created by the Institute of Historical Research and the History of Parliament Trust, it aims to support academic and personal users around the world in their learning, teaching and research.

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British History Online contains primary and secondary sources for the history of the British Isles. You can find a diverse range of sources here, such as:

British History Online is run by the Institute of Historical Research - the centre for the study of history in the UK - at the University of London. Our goal is to produce highly accurate digital versions of the core works of British history, as part of the Institute's national role in historical research.

Highlights of the collection include:

Sources on local history can be found using an interactive, full-screen map.


Coin, hammered sovereign of the Commonwealth, dated 1653 Coin, hammered sovereign of the Commonwealth, dated 1653


Wallpaper (Palace of Westminster) Wallpaper (Palace of Westminster)

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The Harvest Moon The Harvest Moon


Westminster, Henry VII Chapel Exterior and Westminster Hall Westminster, Henry VII Chapel Exterior and Westminster Hall



Urban and metropolitan

Study of Bristol Bridge Study of Bristol Bridge

Administrative and legal

Serjeant at Law's ring Serjeant at Law's ring

Digital library holdings

Primary sources: the texts of original documents, such as the Journals of the Houses of Commons and Lords, Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, and the Statutes of the Realm.

Secondary texts: works by modern historians, such as the Victoria County History of the Counties of England, Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae, English Heritage's Survey of London, and Office Holders in Modern Britain.

Guides and calendars: summaries of primary sources, prepared by modern editors, such as multiple series of the Calendars of State Papers, the Catalogue of Ancient Deeds, and the Letters and Papers of Henry VIII.

Gazetteers and dictionaries: listings of places, property, goods and markets, such as Lewis's topographical dictionaries of England, Scotland and Wales, Harben's Dictionary of London, plus the Dictionary of Traded Goods.

Maps: historic maps from the Ordnance Survey, including the complete 1:10,560 series, and 1:2,500 maps for selected areas (Epoch 1), plus selected maps of London before and after the Great Fire.

By region: East, London, Midlands, North, Scotland, South East, South West, Wales

By subject: Administrative and legal, Ecclesiastical and religious, Economic, Intellectual, scientific and cultural, Local, Parliamentary, Urban and metropolitan

By century: 11th & 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th


Intellectual, scientific and cultural

Diptych compass and sundial Diptych compass and sundial

Ecclesiastical and religious

Chalice and paten Chalice and paten

Recent mentions Twitter: @bho_history

British History Online has a premium content section, which is only available to subscribers. The revenue from the premium content supports the maintenance and development of the free areas of the site. Individual subscriptions cost £30 a year.

The premium content consists of the Parliament Rolls of Medieval England (Edward I to Henry VII), all the volumes of the Calendar of State Papers, Domestic 1537-1714, the Calendars of State Papers for Scotland and Ireland, plus the Calendar of Close Rolls.

All 180 volumes are scanned and double re-keyed, with a guarantee of 99.9 per cent accuracy. This means that the search facility will be able to find all the content; none of it is hidden.

  • More reliable search results than texts converted less accurately using OCR technology;
  • Fully cross-searchable with free material such as the Lords and Commons Journals
  • Developed by historians for historians at the Institute of Historical Research;
  • By subscribing to this resource, you are supporting the maintenance and development of the free areas of the site (the ratio of free to premium content is approximately 4:1).

New users can subscribe by creating an account, placing an order and choosing one of the payment options therein to settle.

Registered users can subscribe now (individual annual subscriptions are just £30 USD, EUR ), libraries should contact us (or JISC in the UK) for information on site licenses and to request a trial. There is more information on the premium content, including a full list of publications on the Subscribe page.


The Queen's House, Greenwich The Queen's House, Greenwich


London Bills of Mortality, 1665London Bills of Mortality, 1665

News from across other IHR Digital projects IHR Digital blog


Search for more British history from the 11th to the 19th century

Connected Histories brings together a range of digital resources related to early modern and nineteenth century Britain in a single search that allows sophisticated querying of names, places and dates.

Visit Connected Histories Now

Manuscripts Online enables you to search a diverse body of online primary resources, including literary manuscripts, historical documents and early printed books, relating to written and early printed culture in Britain during the period 1000 to 1500.

Visit Manuscripts Online Now

Ecclesiastical and religious

St Nicholas being Chosen as Bishop of Myra St Nicholas being Chosen as Bishop of Myra