Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

The ‘Dunstan B’ charters

  • Simon Keynes (a1)

Thanks largely to the work of John Mitchell Kemble, it could be said in connection with the publication of a charter of King Edgar in 1984 that ‘the discovery of a new Anglo-Saxon charter is a very rare event’;1 yet by a strange and happy coincidence two more charters of the same king have recently come to light, in quite different places. The first was issued in 958, when Edgar was king of the Mercians, and relates to an estate at Coundon in Warwickshire. The second was issued in 974, near the end of Edgar's reign as king of all the English, and relates to an estate at Brickendon in Hertfordshire. In both cases, the charters survive in the form of early modern transcripts made direct from originals now lost; the transcripts are of excellent quality, complete with vernacular boundary-clauses, full witness-lists, and notes of the vernacular endorsements.2 Both charters prove, moreover, to belong to a distinctive series known to modern scholarship as the ‘Dunstan B’ charters, which stand apart from the mainstream of diplomatic practices in the tenth century, and which appear to have a particular association as a group with Glastonbury abbey. Provisional editions of the two ‘new’ charters are presented below, pending the fuller treatment which each must receive in its appropriate archival context; the opportunity is then taken to redefine the corpus of ‘Dunstan B’ charters, and to review their significance in diplomatic and historical terms.3

Hide All

1 Brooks N. et al. , ‘A New Charter of King Edgar’, ASE 13 (1984), 137–55, at 155.

2 The Coundon charter was found in August 1993 by Dr Nicholas Vincent, of Peterhouse, Cambridge, whilst prospecting for post-Conquest charters in the Gloucestershire Record Office; the Brickendon charter came to light in the same month, during a perusal of the papers of Thomas Madox in the British Library. I am indebted to Dr Vincent for bringing the Coundon charter to my attention, and for entrusting its publication to me.

3 I am grateful to Susan Kelly for her comments on a draft of this article, and to Joy Jenkyns, Peter Kitson and Nigel Ramsay for their assistance in particular respects. Charters are cited below by their number in Sawyer P. H., Anglo-Saxon Charters: an Annotated List and bibliography, R. Hist. Soc. Guides and Handbooks 8 (London, 1968), abbreviated as S. A revised edition of ‘Sawyer’, ed. Kelly S. E., is in preparation; a provisional list of addenda will appear in ASE 24 (1995).

4 For a parish-history of Coundon, see A History of the County of Warwick, VIII: The City of Coventry and Borough of Warwick, ed. Stephens W. B., Victoria Hist. of the Counties of England (Oxford, 1969) [hereafter VCH Warwick.], pp. 50–7.

5 Sir William Dugdale, confronted with the forms in Domesday Book, was baffled: ‘so that, in regard the name at that time is so variously recorded, and altered, out of doubt, by corrupt pronunciation from what it first was, I shall not trouble my self to guess at the Etymology thereof’ (The Antiquities of Warwickshire (London, 1656), p. 85; 2nd ed. (London, 1730), p. 132). Cf. Cover J. E. B. et al. , The Place-Names of Warwickshire, EPNS 13 (Cambridge, 1936) [hereafter PN Warwicks.], 159–60 (‘Cunda's hill’), and Ekwall E., The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names, 4th ed. (Oxford, 1960), p. 125 (‘source of the river Cound’, i.e. of the river Sherbourne).

6 Identifiable boundary-marks include [on] scir burnan, evidently the river Sherbourne (Gover et al. , PN Warwicks., p. 5), and [on] hafoc stige, evidently modern ‘Hawkes End’ (‘Hawkestye’, s. xv; ibid. p. 153).

7 Great Domesday Book [hereafter GDB], 238v (Domesday Book, ed. Morris J., 35 vols. (Chichester, 19751986) [hereafter DB, with county abbreviation] Wa, 6.6).

8 GDB 243r (DB Wa, 28.9).

9 For a general account of the Coventry archive, see S. Keynes, Anglo-Saxon Charters: Archives and Single Sheets, AS Charters Supplementary ser. 2 (forthcoming).

10 Gloucester, Gloucestershire Record Office, D2026. According to the typescript catalogue of the Bond archive (p. 22), the papers in question (D2026/L10) have ‘no apparent connection with the rest of the collection, but may indicate that the Bond family had interests in the Coventry area’.

11 For an account of the dispute (citing material in the City Record Office, Coventry, and in the Public Record Office), see VCH Warwicks. VIII, 336; and for the wider context, see Bearman R., The Gregorys of Stivichall in the Sixteenth Century, Coventry and Warwickshire Hist. Pamphlets 8 (Coventry, 1972), pp. 36–9.

12 Further study of the various records which pertain to the various disputes over the tithes of Stivichall in the second half of the sixteenth century might clarify the matter; there was much talk of boundaries, and there were allegations that forged documents were being used as title- deeds. I am indebted to Robert Bearman, of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and to Roger Vaughan, City Archivist of Coventry, for their help in this connection.

13 For a history of the estate, see The Victoria History of the County of Hertford III, ed. Page W. (London, 1912), 409–10. Identifiable boundary-marks include the river Lea itself, and ‘Amwell’; cf. Gover J. E. B. et al. , The Place-Names of Hertfordshire, EPNS 15 (Cambridge, 1938), 3 and 211–14.

14 See Hart C. R., ‘Eadnoth I of Ramsey and Dorchester’, in his The Danelaw (London, 1992), pp. 613–23, at 619–20 (with map 23.1). Ælfhelm's career is reviewed in S. Keynes and A. Kennedy, Anglo-Saxon Ely: Records of Ely Abbey and its Benefactors in the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries (forthcoming), ‘Biographical Register’.

15 S 1487: Anglo-Saxon Wills, ed. Whitelock D. (Cambridge, 1930), no. 13. For the provisions of this will, see also Holt J. C., ‘Feudal Society and the Family in Early Medieval England: I. The Revolution of 1066’, TRHS 5th ser. 32 (1982), 193212, at 196–7.

16 GDB 190v (DB Ca, 5.4).

17 S 794: see Facsimiles of Anglo-Saxon Charters, ed. Keynes S., AS Charters Supplementary ser. 1 (Oxford, 1991), no. 25.

18 GDB 136v (DB Hrt, 14.2); GDB 139v (DB Hrt, 33.14); GDB 140v (DB Hrt, 34.14); GDB 142r (DB Hrt, 42.8). Cf. Harvey B., Westminster Abbey and its Estates in the Middle Ages (Oxford, 1977), p. 37.

19 Ælfhelm Polga was remembered at Westminster as one who had given 5 hides at Brickendon to the abbey (S 894, 1293).

20 The Madox manuscripts are now BL Add. 4479–4572; Add. 4572* is a modern typescript catalogue. The manuscripts were described by Ayscough S., A Catalogue of the Manuscripts Preserved in the British Museum Hitherto Undescribed, 2 vols. (London, 1782) I, 236–62; see also The British Library: Catalogue of Additions to the Manuscripts 1756–1782 (London, 1977), pp. 181–2.

21 Thus, for example, transcripts from originals in the Augmentation Office occur in BL Add. 4496, 4505, 4526–7, 4550, 4557–8 and 4562; from originals at Westminster in BL Add. 4488, 4491, 4526–7, 4544, 4557–8, 4562 and 4567; from originals at Canterbury in BL Add. 4509, 4548, 4558, 4566 and 4568; and from originals in the Cottonian library in BL Add. 4544 and 4549. The majority of the charters are post-Conquest, and in most cases the originals presumably survive; it remains to be established whether Madox's descriptions of these charters c. 1700 are of any value.

22 Formulare Anglicanum: or, A Collection of Ancient Charters and Instruments of Divers Kinds, Taken from the Originals (London, 1702). Madox's point of departure was ostensibly the Norman Conquest, but he took the opportunity to provide several examples of pre-Conquest diplomatic forms.

23 Madox, Formulare Anglicanum, p. ii, note (e). Madox is here reproducing verbatim the notes which follow his text of the will in BL Add. 4562.

24 The fact that a transcript of Ælfhelm's will is found in BL Add. 4562, 314r–318r, presumably explains Thorpe's garbled reference in this connection to ‘Harley 311, f. 316’ (Diplomatarium Anglicum Ævi Saxonici, ed. Thorpe B. (London, 1865), p. xl), which puzzled Whitelock (Anglo-Saxon Wills, p. 133).

25 S1487, MS 2, is a translation of Ælfhelm's will into modern English, similar in form to S 959, MS 19, suggesting that the will had once formed part of what would become the ‘Crawford Collection’ of charters (which included some other charters from the Westminster archive).

26 The will was in Astle's collection when printed by Lye E., Dictionarium Saxonico et Gothico- Latinum (London, 1772), Appendix II (Chartæ), no. 1.

27 The ‘Dunstan B’ charters were first identified as a group by Hart C. R., The Early Charters of Northern England and the North Midlands (Leicester, 1975), pp. 1922. He employed the term ‘Dunstan A’ to designate the group of ‘alliterative’ charters, which he associates with Glastonbury abbey (see, most recently, Hart C. R., ‘Danelaw and Mercian Charters of the Mid Tenth Century’, in his The Danelaw, pp. 431–53, at 431–45); for his interpretation of the ‘Dunstan B’ charters, see below, pp. 181–2. For further discussion of the ‘Dunstan B’ charters, see Keynes S., The Diplomas of King Æthelred ‘the Unready’ 978–1016: a Study in their Use as Historical Evidence (Cambridge, 1980), pp. 46–8; and Brooks N. P., ‘The Career of St Dunstan’, St Dunstan: his Life, Times and Cult, ed. Ramsay N. et al. , (Woodbridge, 1992), pp. 123, at 17, n. 58.

28 The following abbreviations are used: BCS = Cartularium Saxonicum, ed. Birch W. de G., 3 vols. (London, 18851893); ECE = Hart C., The Early Charters of Essex, 2nd ed. (Leicester, 1971); ECTV = Hart C. R., The Early Charters of Northern England and the North Midlands (Leicester, 1975); ECTV = Gelling M., The Early Charters of the Thames Valley (Leicester, 1979); ECW = Finberg H. P. R., The Early Charters of Wessex (Leicester, 1964); ECWM = Finberg H. P. R., The Early Charters of the West Midlands, 2nd ed. (Leicester, 1972); KCD = Codex Diplomaticus Ævi Saxonici, ed. Kemble J. M., 6 vols. (London, 18391848); TRE = tempore regis Edwardi; TRW = tempore regis Willelmi. References to ‘LT’ in connection with charters preserved at Glastonbury are to the number of the charter in what was evidently the principal cartulary of the abbey, known as the Liber Terraram (itself now lost); the contents of the cartulary are listed in Keynes, Anglo-Saxon Charters: Archives and Single Sheets, Appendix.

29 A ‘Dunstan B’ charter in the name of King Alfred the Great has recently come to light in a south-western context; see Keynes S., ‘George Harbin's Transcript of the Lost Cartulary of Athelney Abbey’, Somerset Archaeol. and Nat. Hist. 136 (1993 for 1992), 149–59, at 155. The charter is certainly spurious; but while it may show that an example of the type reached Athelney, it is also possible that it was fabricated for the abbey using material preserved at Glastonbury.

30 There does not appear to be a discoverable connection between the estate at Buckland Denham and Glastonbury abbey. For this and all other estates covered by Glastonbury charters, see L. Abrams, Anglo-Saxon Glastonbury: Church and Endowment, Stud. in AS Hist. (Woodbridge, forthcoming).

31 Abingdon abbey held a substantial estate at Chieveley TRE and TRW (GDB 58v: DB Brk, 7.12); but this charter presumably relates to some part of the land at Curridge held TRE by various laymen from the king (GDB 59v, 62v, 63v: DB Brk, 13.2, 46.2 and 65.9). For the boundary-clause, see Gelling M., The Place-Names of Berkshire III, EPNS 51 (Cambridge, 1976) [hereafter PN Berks.], 649 and 655–60.

32 Land at Uffentune is alleged to have been given to Abingdon abbey by Ealdorman Æthelstan, in the time of King Æthelstan (S 1208); but it would appear that the estate was still known as Æscesburh in the 950s, and that it acquired the name ‘Uffington’ (‘Uffa's estate’) from a subsequent owner (perhaps the Uffa, or Ufa, who atttests charters of King Edgar). For the boundary-clause, see Gelling, PN Berks., pp. 676–7 and 689–91. The abbey held 40 hides at Uffington (Offenlone) TRE, assessed at 14 hides TRW (GDB 59r: DB Brk, 7.37).

33 For a new edition, see Charters of Shaftesbury Abbey, ed. Kelly S. E. (forthcoming), no. 17. Land at Felpham had been bequeathed by King Alfred to his kinsman Osferth (S 1507), and seems to have reverted some time thereafter into royal control. Shaftesbury abbey held 21 hides at Felpham TRE, assessed at 15½ hides TRW (GDB 17v: DB Sx, 8a.l).

34 Charters of Shaftesbury Abbey, ed. Kelly, no. 18. For some reason the date of this charter was altered to ‘956’; see further below, p. 192, n. 109. Shaftesbury abbey held 5 hides at Cumbe TRE and TRW (GDB 91 r: DB So, 14.1).

35 The Glastonbury Liber Terrarum contained three charters relating to land at Henstridge: one of King Æthelstan in favour of Æthelred (S 1712 (LT 95)), one of King Eadred in favour of Ælfheah (S 1736 (LT 96)), and one of King Eadred in favour of Brihtric (LT 97); but there does not appear to be any good evidence that land at Henstridge subsequently came into the abbey's possession. See further below, pp. 187–8.

36 Glastonbury abbey held 20 hides at Pennarminstre TRE and TRW (GDB 90v: DB So, 8.21).

37 The boundary-clause describes the western part of Compton Beauchamp, excluding Hardwell (Gelling, PN Berks., pp. 677 and 692–4). An estate of 5 hides at Compton (Beauchamp) was in secular hands TRE and TRW (GDB 61 r: DB Brk, 22.11).

38 This (lost) charter was copied in the Liber Terrarum following the texts of two charters which relate to an estate at Æscesdun (S 288 (LT 107) and 524 (LT 108)), and which served as title- deeds for Glastonbury's estate at Ashbury (Gelling, PN Berks., pp. 677 and 694–6). See further below, pp. 187–8.

39 Glastonbury abbey held 20 hides at Badbury TRE and TRW (GDB 66v: DB W, 7.6).

40 This charter is probably spurious in its received form. Certain elements of its formulation were derived from an authentic charter of the ‘Dunstan B’ type, but the dispositive section has been reworked, and elaborate styles have been added to the attestations of the archbishops and bishops in the witness-list. It emerges from the will of Bishop Ælfsige (S 1491, preserved at the New Minster, Winchester) that the estate at Clere had belonged to Ælfsige's father, and was bequeathed by him to an unnamed ‘kinswoman’, thereafter to his sister, and thereafter to his ‘young kinsman’; the monks of the Old Minster held 10 hides at (High) Clere TRE, assessed at 7½ hides TRW (GDB 41 r: DB Ha, 3.7). S 565 may have been forged by the monks of the Old Minster to protect their own interests.

41 This charter is hybrid, and probably spurious in its received form. The formulation belongs to the mainstream of mid-tenth-century diplomatic, but the witness-list appears to have been derived from a ‘Dunstan B’ charter of King Eadred (with the intrusion of Archbishop ‘Oscytel’). It is not clear under what circumstances the charter came to be preserved at Wells. 3 hides at (Old) Swinford were in secular hands TRE and TRW (GDB 177r: DB Wo, 23.11).

42 The witness-list is perhaps not to be trusted as its stands. The style of the king's attestation is of a kind which suggests that it was derived from a charter of the diplomatic mainstream (see next note); but the style of the reference to Dunstan and the community of Glastonbury accords with ‘Dunstan B’ diplomatic (for the phrase ‘extitisse memorantur’, cf. S 735, from Bath).

43 This charter is probably spurious in its received form. Certain elements of its formulation appear to have been derived from a ‘Dunstan B’ charter of King Eadred, but much of the text (including the bulk of the dispositive section, the sanction and the erroneous dating-clause) was derived from a charter or charters of the diplomatic mainstream. According to S 1512, Brihtric Grim bequeathed land at Rimpton to the Old Minster, ‘and he gives to the Old Minster the charter which King Eadred issued to him, as a supplement to the old charter which King Æthelstan issued before’; the charter of Æthelstan is S 441, in favour of Æthelred. The monks of the Old Minster appear to have had some reason for producing an ‘improved’ version of King Eadred's charter. Bishop Stigand held 5 hides at Rimpton TRE, held by the bishop of Winchester TRW (GDB 87v: DB So, 2.12).

44 This charter was among those transcribed by Robert Talbot (c. 1505–58), from single sheets then in the possession of Dr George Owen. Certain elements of formulation associate the charter with the ‘Dunstan B’ series; but what should have been the crucial component of the dispositive section, not in ‘Dunstan B’ style, is placed in a suspiciously anomalous position after the witness-list. The charter is probably a forgery, displaying familiarity with the ‘Dunstan B’ texts of the 950s, but using for the witness-list a charter of King Eadwig issued early in 956 (cf. S 597). The grant appears to have included land at Kennington which is known to have been given by King Eadwig to his priest Brihthelm, early in 956 (S 614); so one would guess that the object of the forger's exercise was to suggest that Eadwig had implemented, rather than frustrated, Eadred's intentions with regard to the endowment of the abbey (see below, p. 189, n. 103).

45 This charter is spurious in its received form; see further below, p. 182. It appears to have been based in part on a charter of the ‘Dunstan B’ type (perhaps one of King Edgar), and in part on a ‘mainstream’ charter of King Eadwig issued in 956 (Group IV); it may have been produced in connection with a bid to recover land represented by S 508. Bath abbey held 15 hides at Weston TRE and TRW (GDB 89v: DB So, 7.5); a further 5 hides were in secular hands (GDB 98r:DB So, 41.1).

46 This charter is spurious in its received form. Certain elements of the formulation were derived from a charter of the ‘Dunstan B’ type: but the date (957) and the witness-list (also for 957, before the division of the kingdom) are not compatible with the ascription of the charter to King Eadred. It may be that a ‘Dunstan B’ charter of King Eadwig, issued in 957, has been systematically altered into one of King Eadred; but it seems more likely that a charter of King Eadred has been ‘created’ for some particular purpose, from more than one source. A vernacular section after the boundary clause was apparently derived from an ‘alliterative’ charter of King Eadred (cf. S 566). It is not clear under what circumstances the charter came to be preserved at the Old Minster; the land in question was in secular hands TRE and TRW (GDB 248v and 250r: DB St, 8.32, 12.35 and 12.28).

47 It is not clear under what circumstances this charter came to be preserved at the Old Minster; land at Ham was in various hands TRE and TRW (LDB 14v, 64rv and 72v: DB Ess, 6.6, 32.8–9 and 34.8).

48 According to a statement in the boundary-clause, the 40 acres were attached to the ‘old church’ at Æstlea (unidentified). Estates of 4 and 7 hides at Ducklington were in secular hands TRW (GDB 158v and 161r: DB Ox, 28.20 and 59.6).

49 This charter is spurious in its received form. It survives as an apparent original (probably written in the late tenth century); but the given date is incompatible with Edgar as king or Dunstan as archbishop, and there is no witness-list. It is possible that the charter was based to some extent on a ‘Dunstan B’ charter of King Eadred, dated 951 and perhaps said to have been written at Glastonbury. The transaction represented by S 670 is also mentioned in S 1293 (dated 1 April 959), forged at Westminster in the early twelfth century.

50 This charter is probably spurious; see further below, p. 182. South Stoke is not in Domesday Book.

51 An interesting, and for its date unusual, aspect of this charter is that the see of each of the attesting bishops is explicitly identified. The boundary-clause recurs in association with the diploma, dated 1067, by which King William I gave the land at Cookley to Wulfstan, bishop of Worcester, for the use of the monks (Regesta Regum Anglo-Normannorum 1066–1154 I: Regesta Willelmi Conquestoris et Willelmi Rufi 1066–1100, ed. Davis H. W. C. (Oxford, 1913), no. 10). The church of Worcester held 5 hides at Wolverley TRW (GDB 174r: DB Wo, 2.83).

52 Bath abbey held 3 hides at Stanton Prior TRE and TRW (GDB 89v: DB So, 7.3).

53 Glastonbury abbey held 6 hides at Podimore Milton TRE and TRW (GDB 90r: DB So, 8.3).

54 For further discussion, see Hart C. R., ‘A Charter of King Edgar for Brafield-on-the-Green’, in his The Danelaw, pp. 487–94, and Bains A. H. J., ‘Ealdorman Byrhtnoth and the Brayfield Charter of 967’, Records of Buckinghamshire 34 (1992), 3045. It is not clear under what circumstances this charter came to be preserved at Abingdon. Cold Brayfield is not in Domesday Book. Land at Brafield-on-the-Green was in various hands TRW (GDB 220r and 228v: DB Np, 2.3 and 56.20h).

55 The attestation of Archbishop ‘Oswald’ is enough to indicate that this charter cannot be authentic in its received form. It is stated that the bounds describe the whole of the estate; but the draftsman adds that only half of it belongs to the ‘bishop’. Perhaps Eadwold's title-deed (a ‘Dunstan B’ charter, dated 967) was used as the basis for the fabrication (later in the tenth century) of a charter to cover the half of the estate which was acquired from the king by Archbishop Dunstan, for Westminster. 2 hides at Chaldon were held by Dering of the king TRE, and belonged to the bishop of Bayeux TRW (GDB 31 v: DB Sr, 5.9).

56 Bath abbey held 10 hides at Corston TRE and TRW (GDB 89v: DB So, 7.13).

57 Harwell had previously been granted by King Eadwig to his thegn Ælfstan in 956 (S 672, altered for some reason into a charter of King Edgar), and it was subsequently granted by King, Æthelred to Æthelric (S 856); see also Gelling, PN Berks., pp. 752 and 764–6.15 hides at Harwell were held by Bishop Stigand TRE, and by the bishop of Winchester TRW, assessed at 10 hides (GDB 58r: DB Brk, 2.2); two holdings of 5 hides apiece were in other hands TRE and TRW (GDB 62v: DB Brk, 44.3–4).

58 Glastonbury abbey held 17 hides at High Ham TRE and TRW (GDB 90r: DB So, 8.17).

59 This charter is obviously of particular significance for its bearing on the production of the ‘Dunstan B’ charters; see further below, pp. 192–3. It is not clear under what circumstances it came to be preserved at the Old Minster. 14 hides at Wellington were held by Earl Edwin TRE, and by Earl Roger TRW (GDB 253v: DB Sa, 4, 1.22).

60 It should be noted that this charter was attested by the king, two archbishops, and twelve bishops, to the apparent exclusion of abbots, ealdormen and thegns; there is no reason to believe that a longer witness-list was abbreviated by a copyist, but of course the matter may have been determined by the dimensions of the lost original. It is not clear under what circumstances the charter came to be preserved at the Old Minster. 4 hides at South Stoke were in secular hands TRE and TRW (GDB 25r: DB Sx, 11.84).

61 This charter is spurious; see further below, p. 182. The main text was based ultimately on a charter of the ‘Dunstan B’ type, and dated 984 for reasons best known to the forger; the witness-list was probably derived from a charter dated 1009 (cf. S 922).

62 For discussion of this charter, see Keynes, Diplomas, pp. 94–5; but it should be emphasized that this is not a pure example of the ‘Dunstan B’ type. Malmesbury abbey held 5 hides at Littleton TRE and TRW (GDB 165r: DB Gl, 9.1).

63 S 605, 574, 676, 676a, 678, 794a and 802 add the corresponding indiction. S 750 stands apart to the extent that it begins with an invocation, followed by the dating-clause (with indiction).

64 S 555. S 670, dated ‘951’, has ‘diuina alubescente gratia rex et primicherius totius Albionis’.

65 S 560, 561, 570, 563, 564, 568,565 and 571. S 562 has a more elaborate variation on the same theme.

66 S 605, 574, 676, 676a, 678, 726, 735, 743, 750 (with ‘Anglorum’ for ‘Albionis’), 790, 791, 794a, 802 and 803 (with ‘allubescente Deo’). The sequence is interrupted by two instances of a simplified ‘rex et primicherius totius Albionis’ (S 753 and 785). The variant ‘diuina allubescente gratia rex totius et primicherius Albionis’ is common to S 661 and 694 (both from Bath).

67 S 605, 574, 676, 676a, 678, 670, 726, 735, 743, 750, 785, 790, 791, 794a, 802 and 803; cf. S 563, 565. One should note the use of distributive numerals as cardinals, the frequency of the phrase ab accolis estimatam, and the use of the word mansiuncula for ‘hide’.

68 S 560, 561, 562, 570, 564 and 568. S 661 and 694 share the expression ‘ruris quandam particulam quinis subestimatam [sic] mansiunculis’.

69 The first group comprises S 555 (dated 951), and S 785, 790, 791, 794a and 803 (issued in 972– 5); see also S 605 (Abingdon), 661 + 694 + 854 (Bath), 670 (Westminster), and 862 (Malmesbury). The second group comprises S 560, 561, 570, 563, 564 and 568 (issued in 953– 5). The third group comprises S 676, 676a and 678 (issued in 958), 750 (issued in 967) and 802 (issued in 975); see also S 574. The charters which remain outside this analysis are S 562, 726, 735 and 743; see also S 565, 571 and 753.

70 The main variants (and sub-variants) are: ‘Et hiis limitibus hec telluris prefate pars circumquaque cingi uidetur’ (S 555; cf. S 785); ‘Et his limitibus hec telluris particula circumgirari uidetur’ (S 560, 561, 570, 563, 564, 605, 694, 854; cf. S 568; cf. S 676, 676a, 678 and 802; cf. S 743); ‘Et hiis limitibus hec telluris particula libera preter arcem pontem expeditionem circumgirari uidetur’ (S 562; cf. S 735); ‘Et his limitibus prefate telluris particula quaquauersum circumgirari uidetur’ (S 726; cf. S 790 and 794a); ‘His inquam limitibus hec prefati ruris particula quaquaversum cingi videtur’ (S 803; cf. S 565).

71 The main variants (and sub-variants) are: ‘Et huius doni testes exstiterunt quorum inferius nomina subscribuntur’ (S 555; cf. S 565, S 605 and 794a); ‘Huius doni constipulatorum nomina inferius notata uidentur’ (S 560, 561, 570, 563, 564, 568, 571); ‘Et huius doni constipulatores exstiterunt quorum inferius nomina caraxari uidentur’ (S 676, 676a, 678, 743, 750).

72 S 560, 561, 562, 570, 563, 568, 676, 676a, 678, 694, 726 (with identification of the bishops' sees), 735, 743, 750, 753, 785, 790, 794a, 802 and 803; see also S 565. S 564 stands apart, displaying a range of different verbs for the act of attestation; the styles in S 565, 579, 571, 605, 661 and 574 may not derive from genuine ‘Dunstan B’ diplomatic.

73 Hart, Early Charters of Northern England, pp. 1922.

74 S 509, 555, 571, 563, 568, 743, 791 and 802 (ibid. p. 21, n. 1); S 670 (ibid. pp. 21–2).

75 S 661, 694, 735, 785 and 854 (ibid. p. 21, n. 2).

76 S 676 and 678 (ibid. p. 21, n. 4); cf. Hart, ‘Danelaw and Mercian Charters’, p. 451, where it is suggested that the charters might have been modelled on a charter from Bishop Dunstan's church of St Paul's, London.

77 S 561, 560, 564, 605, 750, 790 and 574 (ibid. p. 22, n. 2).

78 S 753 (ibid. p. 22); S 803 (ibid. p. 22, n. 1).

79 S 661 and 694 are cast in identical terms; in each case the boundary-clause is placed in an unusual position, following the witness-list. In S 661 several words have dropped out between singrapham and successorum (cf. S 694); the same words are missing in S 854, which suggests that S 661 served as one of its models.

80 S 509 (BCS 458), preserved at Glastonbury abbey (LT 131). S 1684 (LT 27) appears to represent the abbey's acquisition of the land; but S 1700 (LT 64) was perhaps the actual title-deed.

81 The charters in question are those of the first group identified above, p. 180, n. 69. It is worth noting that the formulation ‘ut nemo successorum nostrorum …’, put in the king's mouth, appears to place the onus on later kings to respect the terms of the grant, thereby distancing the draftsman from the king's own circle; but it would be hazardous to press the point much further.

82 S 513 (BCS 817; ECW 63); also copied in the Glastonbury Liber Terrarum (LT 37). The charter was issued after the death of Queen Ælfgifu in 944 (?18 May), and before King Edmund's death in 946 (26 May).

83 The Reculver charter is S 546 (BCS 880). The parallel between the expression in the Damerham charter and that in the Reculver charter was noted by Chaplais P., ‘The Anglo-Saxon Chancery: From the Diploma to the Writ’, Jnl of the Soc. of Archivists 3.4 (1966), 160–76, at 164 (repr. in Prisca Munimenta, ed. Ranger F. (London, 1973), pp. 4362, at 47–8). He subsequently drew attention to another parallel, in S 257 (‘uel gressum pedis …’), also from Glastonbury; see Chaplais P., ‘Some Early Anglo-Saxon Diplomas on Single Sheets: Originals or Copies’, Jnl of the Soc. of Archivists 3.7 (1968), 315–36, at 316 (repr. in Prisca Munimenta, ed. Ranger, pp. 6387, at 64–5)). S 257 is the only one of the series of (spurious) Glastonbury privileges which seems to have had the distinction of inclusion in the Liber Terrarum (LT 21).

84 See Chaplais, as cited in the preceding note; Brooks, ‘Career of St Dunstan’, pp. 1718; and Budny M., ‘“St Dunstan's Classbook” and its Frontispiece: Dunstan's Portrait and Autograph’, St Dunstan, ed. Ramsay et al. , pp. 103–42, at 139–40. The belief that S 546, MS 1 (Canterbury, D. & C, Chart. Ant. R 14), can be regarded as an original, whether or not in Dunstan's own hand, remains controversial; see Gough H., ‘Eadred's Charter of AD 949 and the Extent of the Monastic Estate of Reculver, Kent’, St Dunstan, ed. Ramsay et al. , pp. 89102, and Dumville D. N., ‘English Square Minuscule Script: the Mid-Century Phases’, above, pp. 133–64, at 146, n. 71.

85 The elements which appear to anticipate ‘Dunstan B’ formulation include: primicerìus, in the royal style; the circumlocution ‘bis denis senisque estimatum cassatis’, for the assessment of the estate; the phrase ‘quandiu Christianitas uigeat’ (cf. S 785,803, etc.); the word constipulator used of a witness; and the occurrence of inquam in the sentence introducing the bounds (cf. S 565 and 803). The literary style and vocabulary of the Reculver charter would merit detailed examination; see the suggestive remarks of Lapidge M., in his Anglo-Latin Literature 900–1066 (London, 1993), pp. 134, n. 3, 152, n. 8, and 185–6.

86 S 555 (BCS 889).

87 It should be said in this connection that a ‘Dunstan B’ charter perhaps dated 951, and perhaps said to have been issued ‘in the monastery at Glastonbury’, may lie somewhere behind S 670 (above, p. 177).

88 Vita S. Dunstani, ch. 20 (Memorials of Saint Dunstan, ed. Stubbs W., RS (London, 1874), p. 31). For an account of the Vita S. Dunstani itself, see Lapidge M., ‘B. and the Vita S. Dunstani’, St Dunstan, ed. Ramsay et al. , pp. 247–59, pending the appearance of The Early Lives of St Dunstan, ed. Winterbottom M. and Lapidge M. (Oxford, forthcoming).

89 ‘beatum patrem Dunstanum tanto caritatis ardore dilexit, ut nullum poene ex primatu sibi pretulisset’: Vita S. Dunstani, ch. 19 (Memorials, ed. Stubbs, p. 29; trans. English Historical Documents c. 500–1042 [hereafter EHD], ed. Whitelock D., Eng. Hist. Documents 1, 2nd ed. (London, 1979), p. 900).

90 ‘optima queque suorum suppellectilium, quamplures scilicet rurales cartulas, etiam ueteres precedentium regum thesauros, necnon et diuersas proprie adeptionis sue gazas, sub munimine monasterii sui fideliter custodiendum’: Vita S. Dunstani, ch. 19 (Memorials, ed. Stubbs, p. 29; trans. EHD, ed. Whitelock, p. 900).

91 S 563 (BCS 903). For a facsimile of the original charter (Marquess of Bath, Longleat House, Muniments 10565), see Sanders W. B., Facsimiles of Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts, 3 vols. (Ordnance Survey, Southampton, 18781884) II, Marquess of Bath 2.

92 Charters of the standard type are commonly of ‘horizontal’ format (i.e. wider than tall), and display a pictorial invocation, the use of a smaller register of script for the boundary-clause, a dating-clause disposed across the parchment, and particular conventions in the layout of the witness-list; see Keynes, Diplomas, p. 24. S 563 differs from this norm in various respects: it is of ‘vertical’ format (i.e. taller than wide), lacks a pictorial invocation, makes no distinction in script for the Latin text and the vernacular boundary-clause, and displays its own conventions in the layout of the witness-list. For the palaeographical context, see Dumville, ‘English Square Minuscule Script’, pp. 144–51 and 159–60.

93 The similarity between the script of the charter and the script of the book was noted by Chaplais, ‘Anglo-Saxon Chancery’, pp. 163–4 (repr. in Prisca Munimenta, ed. Ranger, p. 47). For Hatton 30, see Watson A. G., Catalogue of Dated and Datable Manuscripts c. 435–1600 in Oxford Libraries, 2 vols. (Oxford, 1984) I, 84–5 (no. 519), and II, pl. 14. Certain corrections in the book have been attributed to the hand identified as that of Dunstan himself (Budny, ‘“St Dunstan's Classbook” and its Frontispiece’, pp. 137–8, and pl. 8 (f)); but cf. Dumville, ‘English Square Minuscule Script’, p. 148, n. 90.

94 See above, p. 175, n. 72.

95 S 570, preserved at Shaftesbury; S 1754, preserved at Glastonbury (LT 118); and S 1764, also preserved at Glastonbury (LT 119). See also S 581 and 618, preserved at Abingdon.

96 According to a note in the Liber Terrarum (LT 118), Brihtric bequeathed his land at Yeovilton to the abbey, ‘with his body’; see also William of Malmesbury, De Antiquitate Glastonie Ecclesie [hereafter DeAntG], ch. 58 (Scott J., The Early History of Glastonbury: an Edition, Translation and Study of William of Malmesbury's ‘De Antiquitate Glastonie Ecclesie’ (Woodbridge, 1981), pp. 120–1).

97 The charter in question (LT 97) was not registered separately in Sawyer's list, presumably on the assumption that it corresponded to the charter preserved in the Shaftesbury cartulary (i.e. S 570).

98 Again, the charter in question (LT 109) was not registered separately in Sawyer's list, presumably on the assumption that it corresponded to the charter preserved in the Abingdon cartulary (i.e. S 564).

99 The possibility that Eadred had expected to be buried at a place other than Winchester arises merely from a reading of his will (S 1515: Select English Historical Documents of the Ninth and Tenth Centuries [hereafter SEHD], ed. Harmer F. E. (Cambridge, 1914), no. 21; trans. EHD, ed. Whitelock, no. 107). At the beginning of the will, Eadred ‘grants to the place where he wishes his body to rest two gold crosses and two gold-hiked swords, and 400 pounds’, and then bequeathes specific estates (hamas) to each of the three minsters at Winchester; at the end of the will, he states that twelve almsmen are to be chosen ‘from each of these estates’ (to ælcan þissa hama), ‘and if anyone will not do this, the land is then to go to the place where my body shall rest’, as if that place were somewhere other than Winchester.

100 See Sawyer P., ‘The Royal Tun in Pre-Conquest England’, Ideal and Reality in Frankish and Anglo-Saxon Society: Studies presented to J. M. Wallace-Hadrill, ed. Wormald P. (Oxford, 1983), pp. 273–99, at 280. The point has been explored in more detail by D. N. Dumville, ‘The Will of King Eadred and the Early History of the Winchester Nunnaminster’; I am grateful to Dr Dumville for allowing me to read this typescript in advance of publication.

101 Eadred was later remembered, nonetheless, as ‘a particular friend and champion of the Old Minster at Winchester’, and as the donor of at least one ‘great gold cross’; see Wulfstan, Vita S. Æthelwoldi, ch. 10 (Wulfstan of Winchester: The Life of St Æthelwold, ed. Lapidge M. and Winterbottom M. (Oxford, 1991), pp. 1619). The king otherwise made detailed arrangements for the disbursement of significant sums of money; but of course there is no means of establishing whether or not these provisions were put into effect.

102 Queen Eadgifu's discomfiture is mentioned in S 1211 (SEHD, ed. Harmer, no. 23), and in Vita S. Dunstani, ch. 24 (Memorials, ed. Stubbs, p. 36; trans. EHD, ed. Whitelock, p. 902). Many other laymen of lesser standing appear to have been deprived of their property at the same time.

103 For Abingdon's endowment, see Wulfstan, Vita S. Æthelwoldi, ch. 11 (Wulfstan: Life of St Æthelwold, ed. Lapidge and Winterbottom, pp. 1823). The Abingdon charters tell a far more complex story, which begins to emerge only when the texts are judged in relation to each other and in their appropriate historical, diplomatic and topographical contexts. See Gelling, PN Berks., pp. 717–38 (with accompanying map); Thacker A., ‘Æthelwold and Abingdon’, Bishop Æthewold: his Career and Influence, ed. Yorke B. (Woodbridge, 1988), pp. 4364, at 51–2; and Yorke B., ‘Æthelwold and the Politics of the Tenth Century’, Bishop Æthelwold, ed. Yorke, pp. 6588, at 7480. We otherwise await the edition of the charters which Dr Kelly has in hand. There is no evidence that Eadred's plans (as reported in Wulfstan's Vita S. Æthelwoldi) were implemented in his lifetime; and while it seems likely that Eadwig did not neglect Abbot Æthelwold's interests (e.g. S 663, representing the grant of 20 hides which formed the secondary half of the 40-hide core endowment), certain charters reveal that land which might have been intended for the abbey was in fact given to others (e.g. S 614, representing a part of the 20 hides which formed the primary half of the 40-hide core endowment; and S 590, representing a part of the further 100 hides). The charters of King Eadred (S 567) and King Eadwig (S 605) which purport to represent the acquisition of the primary half of the core endowment were probably fabricated at Abingdon when the time came to tell a better story.

104 Wulfstan, Vita S. Æthelwoldi ch. 13 (Wulfstan: Life of St Æthelwold, ed. Lapidge and Winterbottom, pp. 24–5).

105 Vita S. Dunstani, chs. 21–3 (Memorials, ed. Stubbs, pp. 32–5; trans. EHD, ed. Whitelock, pp. 900–1). For Dunstan's exile, see Brooks, ‘Career of St Dunstan’, pp. 1418.

106 For the charters, see Keynes, Diplomas, pp. 4869; for the numismatic evidence, see Blunt C. E. et al. , Coinage in Tenth-Century England from Edward the Elder to Edgar's Reform (Oxford, 1989), esp. pp. 278–80.

107 See above, pp. 175–6.

108 Assessment of the role of Æthelstan ‘Half-King’ in the politics of the mid-950s is a complex matter which obviously cannot be pursued here. Suffice it to say that Æthelstan, who is known to have been responsible in some way for the upbringing of Edgar, appears to have retired to Glastonbury in 957 (not in 956), and that it may have been in these circumstances that the kingdom was divided between Eadwig and Edgar. Cf. Hart C., ‘Athelstan “Half King” and his Family’, in his The Danelaw, pp. 569604, at 579–85.

109 In some cases, charters of Eadwig appear to have been crudely altered into charters of Eadred or Edgar (e.g. S 575, 577, 672, 1662); in other cases, charters were fabricated (e.g. S 571, 574, 576, 579), or for some reason re-dated (e.g. S 570, 573). The matter was raised by Hart C. R., ‘The Codex Wintoniensis and the King's Haligdom’, Land, Church and People: Essays presented to H. P. R. Pinberg = Agricultural Hist. Rev. 18 Supplement (1970), 738, at 1415, and requires further investigation.

110 S 802 (BCS 1315), preserved at the Old Minster, Winchester.

111 Vita S. Dunstani, ch. 18 (Memorials, ed. Stubbs, pp. 28–9).

112 For Wulfric and his namesakes, see Brooks, ‘Career of St Dunstan’, pp. 810. The charters which represented the title-deeds for Wulfric's estates at Grittleton, Nettleton and Horuton appear in each case to have been endorsed with a note to the effect that the land was given to Glastonbury by Wulfric's successor Ælfwine; see S 472 (LT 43), 504 (LT 44) and 1743 (LT 46), and William of Malmesbury, De AntG, chs. 55, 57 and 62 (Scott, Early History of Glastonbury, pp. 114–15, 118–19 and 130–1).

113 For Dunstan's (and by extension Wulfric's) alleged propinquity to the royal family, see Brooks, ‘Career of St Dunstan’, pp. 56.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Anglo-Saxon England
  • ISSN: 0263-6751
  • EISSN: 1474-0532
  • URL: /core/journals/anglo-saxon-england
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 19 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 146 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 21st October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.