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E with good grounds believed that seven of these are spurious,
forged in after times by the monks to secure their lawful lands under the apparent authority of the great king, or perhaps to substantiate their claim to lands which in justice did not belong to them. The grounds, upon which each charter is supposed to be a forgery, will be given in a note.
1. A. D. 878. [See Codex, ii, 105.] 1 OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST REIGNS FOR EVER! WHEREAS all the kingdoms of this transitory life and the dispensers of those kingdoms, from the beginning of this world, fade and pass away; therefore everlasting joys must be obtained for the fleeting and mortal state of men. WHEREFORE I, Ælfred, by the ordinance of Divine Providence king of the West-Saxons, for the remedy of my soul and the forgiveness of my sins, with willing mind have given a certain portion of land, i. e. ten cassates, in a place called Suth-tun at Prince's Island, which is named Aethelingaey by its usual English name, to supply monastic subsistence for the monks, who therein under regular exercises devoutly serve Almighty God : and this liberty I have given with devout mind to the aforesaid monastery, with the meadows, pastures, brooks and all things rightly belonging thereto; that it may remain secure, free and unburdened for ever from the claim of all king's taxes, and of works and of penal causes, saving' only expeditions against an enemy, and the building of fortresses and bridges : and if any one shall hereafter wish to augment this [gift], may God augment his goods in the land of the living ! But, if any one, which God forbid! swollen with the breath of pride, and led on by tyrannic power, shall endeavour to infringe and nullify this gift, let him know that he is anathematized by all the Christian church ; and unless he beforehand mend his ways, shall give account on the day of judgment before Christ and his angels. But the land aforesaid and the donation of this land extends and is bounded by these boundaries, &c.
The schedule of this grant was written in the year 878 from the (1) This charter, which is in Latin, is marked in the Codex, (vol. ii, p. 105] as a forgery, or, at least, as of doubtful genuineness.
(2) This is what our lawyers call the 'trinoda necessitas,' from which no estate was exempt.
incarnation of our Lord, 4th indiction, with the consent of these witnesses whose names are here to be seen.
+ I king Alfred, have confirmed this my gift with the sign of the Holy cross. +1, Ealferth bishop &c.
2. A. D. 871–878. [Codex, ii, 106.] 3. This is the bequest that Alvred king grants into Sceaftesbury, to love God and Saint Mary and all God's saints, for the warning (safety] of my soul, with hale tongue; that is an hundred
; hides with meat and men all as it stands; and my daughter Agelyve further with the property into the minster, for that she was hooded (consecrated) in sickness; and my soken to the minster that I myself owned, that is forsteal, and hamsoken, and mundbreche; and these are the lands' names, that I have granted thither ; that is at Dunheved and at Cumtune 40 hides, and at Hanlee and Gissic 20 hides, and at Terente 10 hides, and at Ywern 15 hides, and Funtemel 15 hides.
And this is to witness Edward my son, and Athered archbishop, and Alcheferd bishop and Adelheach bishop and Wifhere alderman, and Adwlf alderman, and Cuthred alderman, and Tumbert abbat, and Midred my thane, and Athelwulf, and Osric, and Berthful and Cyma. And look whoso turns this gift aside, may he have God's curse and saint Mary's, and all God's saints, for ever : Amen.
To the foregoing charter, which is in Anglo-Saxon, is appended a Latin copy of the same, of which the following is a literal translation.
+ I Alvred king, in honour of God and of the blessed virgin Mary and of all the saints, give and grant, being alive and still thriving, to the church of Scepton a hundred hides of land, with the men and all appurtenances, as they now are, and Ayleva my daughter with the same, who compelled by ill health has become a nun in the same church : saving these rights which belong to my crown, namely forsteal and hamsocken and munbreck.
And these are the names of the lands which I have given and granted to the church aforesaid ; Dunehefda and Kuntune 40 hides ; in Henlee and Gersicg 20 hides; in Tarente 10 hides; in Hyuuerna 15 hides; in Funtemel 15 hides.
The witnesses of this matter are, Edward my son, Athelred archbishop, Alfred bishop, and Adelheac bishop, and Uulfere, Raduulf, Kudred alderman, Turebert abbat, Mildred and Atheluulf, and Osric, and Berthuulf, and my court.
Whosoever shall turn these aside, may he be by God and the holy virgin Mary and all the saints accursed for ever. Amen.
3. A. D. 880. [Codex, ii, 107.] In 880, Æthelred, duke of Mercia, gives a charter, with the consent and subscription of king Alfred, “ + I Aelfred king have consented and subscribed.”
4. A. D. 883. [Codex, ii, 110.] A charter of Aethelred, duke of Mercia, bears the attestation of king Alfred, “+ I Ælfred confirm the munificence of this
' grant with the sign of the Holy Cross.” The next charter, in Cod. ii, 112, is otherwise called Alfred's Will.
5. A. D. 889. [Codex, ü, 118.] · I NASMUCH as it often happens to some men, and especially during the foul and discordant madness of this present life, that the tide of oblivious iniquity strikes and blunts the simple eye of the thoughtful heart, and the clouds of neglect with dark overlays of depravity obscure from the path of right the radiating star of justice; WHEREFORE it is necessary for every man, that all his acquisitions or possessions, by the aid of writings, for the caution of those now living or hereafter to succeed, such possessions as by catholic or heroic men of either greater or lesser power, have
, been delivered over to God and his saints through the height of the heavens, should be firmly and duly ratified by their testimony and confirmation, and noted down by the true pen of the writer on parchment. Wherefore, in the year 889, since the benignant gem of heavenly light shone through the field of virgin modesty desirable to mankind with the appearance of mystic breathing, in the 7th Indiction, with the beams of the aforesaid brilliancy and
(3) The following charter betrays itself to be a forgery by its bombastic style,-more common in the age of Dunstan and afterwards of thic Anglo-Norman monks than in that of king Alfred.
grace shining upon us, I Ælfred king of the Angles and Saxons, and Æthelred under-king and patrician of the Mercians, with the testimony and license or consent of the senators, bishops or dukes of either race, for the relief of my [mis]deeds, and to gain the rest of heavenly remuneration, do hereby confer in ecclesiastical right, and give and grant, to Wærfrith, the illustrious bishop of the Wiccii, for the church of Worcester, in London, one court, which, as to its name, is called by the citizens “ ad antiquum petrosum ædificium,” that is “Æt Hwætmund's stone,” * from the public street to the wall of the same city, whose length is 26 perches, and breadth in its upper part is 13 perches and 7 feet, and in its lower part 11 perches and 6 feet, to be possessed for ever in full liberty of the whole matter here-under; and that it may have pot and scale for measuring in buying and selling for their use or necessities, free in all respects, and may remain free from all duties or fiscal penalty, or public duty, save what shall relate from within to the lordship of the bishop of the church of Worcester. But if any of his men shall traffic without or in the public street or on the bank where men buy, according as is right let toll be paid into the king's hand; but if any one shall buy or sell within in the aforesaid court, let due toll be paid into the hand of the bishop above named; and always, as long as the peoples of the English or Saxons, by faith of the Christian religion, shall be sprinkled with the water of holy baptism, or the city of London shall be fitly subject to the dominion of their authority, let it remain subject to the city of Worcester.
We call to witness and beseech the persons of all men, present or to come, that this our gift may remain inviolate and entire, as the present page testifies. But if any one, as we hope not, inflated with the serpentine poison of devilish suggestion, shall attempt to corrupt in any way the course of this definition, let them know that they shall be pierced through with Anna and Zaphira by the hellish sword of eternal anathema, unless they shall resolve beforehand with due satisfaction to amend their ways. But these are the names of those who have been witnesses
(4) This, possibly, may be the London-stone, still to be seen in Watling Street.
(5) bank ripa', bank of the river; where in former times much traffic was carried on, under the Anglo-Norman kings, not, as far as we know, in the Anglo-Saxon times. This is a strong proof of the charter being a forgery.
and consentient to this our gift, and, confirming it with the triumphant banner of the holy cross, have subscribed it with their own hands.
+1 Ælfred king of the Angles and Saxons, confirming this gift, subscribe it with the sign of the cross. + I Æthelred underking and patrician of the Mercians have subscribed this gift with the sign of the cross. +I Æthelflæd have consented. + I Uulfred bishop have consented. + I Alhard bishop have consented. +I Uuærfrith bishop have consented. +I Deneuulf bishop have consented. + I Wulfsige bishop have consented.
6. (no date) Codex ü, 122, and iii, 401. • Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ reigns for ever, the king of all ages! WHEREAS the orbit of this transitory life daily sets and fades; and all the faithful are earnestly admonished by this sign, that, closely following the examples of good works, in the profitable successes of their forefathers' good will, they may in exchange for their worldly goods deserve to obtain the neverending and unchangeable joys of the kingdom of heaven. WHEREFORE I Aelfred, by favour of Almighty God's mercy king of the English, and ruler of the other provinces lying round about, and governor of the nations, with willing mind grant and confirm a portion of land wherein is a monastery, dedicated, founded, and built, as it appears, under the name of the Holy Trinity, in honor of St Peter prince of the apostles, namely a place, called by a well known name among the English, Ceroteseg, i. e. Cirot's island, and five manses at Thorp, together with all appendages thereto rightly belonging, namely Getinges, Hunewaldesham, and Wudeham, for the maintenance of that monastery and of all who with . one mind therein serve God; that those dwelling there may not cease to intercede for my sins and innumerable offences. But let
. the aforesaid land be as we have appointed, with all things that rightly belong to it, namely fields, woods, meadows, pastures, pools and brooks, free and undisturbed, and stable, firm and unannulled, from every yoke of service. But if any one allured
(6) The authenticity of this charter is doubtful : the first part of the charter is in Latin ; the boundaries are in Anglo-Saxon.