MANCASS was founded in 1984 with the aim of promoting research into all aspects of the life and culture of England before the Norman Conquest.
As well as a seminar programme which runs throughout the year, MANCASS occasionally organises an Easter Conference, at which established and early career scholars present research and exchange ideas on the pre-Conquest world.
Each year, a distinguished scholar of the pre-Conquest period is invited to give the Toller Lecture in the historic surroundings of the John Rylands Research Institute and Library on Deansgate. The lecture is named after Thomas Northcote Toller, one of the editors of An Anglo-Saxon Dictionary. Lecturers have included Janet Bateley, the first Toller lecturer, Rolf Bremmer, George Brown, Michelle P. Brown, Roberta Frank, Helmut Gneuss, Nicholas Howe, Joyce Hill, Catherine Karkov, Simon Keynes, Clare Lees, Katherine O'Brien O'Keeffe, Paul Szarmach, Elaine Treharne, Leslie Webster and Barbara Yorke.
MANCASS has also hosted a number of research projects funded by the AHRC and the Leverhulme Trust, including 'The lexis of cloth and clothing in Britain c. 700-1450: origins, identification, contexts and change', directed by Professor Gale Owen-Crocker.
MANCASS is currently directed by Dr Charles Insley (History) and Dr James Paz (English).