Page images
[ocr errors]

19. And to each of my Aldermen one hundred Mancuses ; * and to Æthelme, and Athelwolde, and Osferthe also.

20. And to Ætherede the Alderman, a sword of an hundred Mancuses.

21. And to the men that follow me, to whom I now at Eastertide gave money, two huudred pounds. Let them give to them, and divide between them, to each as they shall judge to him to belong; after the manner that I have now distributed to them.

22. And to the Archbishop,' one hundred Mancuses, and to Esne Bishop, and to Werferthe • Bishop, and to the (Bishop) at Schireburn.



23. Also, let them distribute for me and for my father, and for the friends that he interceded for, and I intercede for, two hundred pounds ; fifty to the Mass-priests over all my kingdom ; fifty to the poor Ministers of God; fifty to the distressed poor ; fifty to the Church that I shall rest at. And I know not certainly whether of the money is so much; nor I know not but that may be more thereof; but so I suppose. If it be more, be it all common to them to whom I have bequeathed money. And

(3) Mancuses.] Mr Manning says “the mancus was about 7s.6d. of our present currency.” This may be correct; but the precise grounds of every valuation of ancient money in modern currency should be stated. Mr Turner, in his History of the AngloSaxons, Vol. II. p. 468, (4th edit.) quotes a passage from Elfric, which asserts that five pennies made one shilling, and thirty pennies one mancus. This, as he observes, “ would make the mancus six shillings," which is not very far from its value in “present currency" according to Mr Manning's calculation. But it must be recollected that these were AngloSaxon pennies and shillings, the relative value of which to commodities was very different from that of our modern pence and shillings. Mr Turner supposes that two sorts of pennies were the only coins of the Anglo-Saxons above their copper coinage; and that all their other denominations of money (including the mancus) are to be regarded as “ weighed or settled quanties of uncoined metal.”

(4) Ethelred Archbishop of Canterbury, who died A. D. 888.

(5) Esne, Bishop of Hereford; who died, according to Godwin, A. D. 885. Indeed Stevens and Willis place him a century higher. But as a Bishop Esne is here expressly mentioned as a legatee, and no other of that name occurs in the whole catalogue of bishops, it seems a full proof that Godwin is right in the point of chronology.

(6) Werferth was Bishop of Worcester, a Man of singular Learning, and employed by Alfred in translating the Dialogues of Pope Gregory I into the Saxon language. He died, according to some, A. 911, according to others, A. 915.

(7) The Bishop of Sherborne was Asser, the great friend and favorite of Alfred ; and who also wrote the Annals of his Reign down to the year 888. He died, according to the


I will that my Aldermen and my Ministers all be there together and thus distribute this.

24. When I had formerly in other wise disposed in writing of my inheritance, then I had more estate, and more relations : and had intrusted to many men the writings; and in the company of witnesses they were written. But I have now burned those old ones that I might by inquiry recover. If of these any should be found, let it stand for nothing; for that I will that it now thus be by God's assistance.

25. And I will the men that shall have the lands, to fulfil the words that do stand in my Father's Testament, so as they soonest may.

26. And I will, if I to any man have not paid any money, that my relations at least repay that. .

27. And I will the men to whom I have bequeathed my bookland, that they do not give it from my kindred after their day: But I will [after] * their day, that it go unto the nighest hand to me; unless any one of them have children ; then it is to me most eligible that it go to that issue on the male side, the while that any of it be worthy. My grandfather hath bequeathed his land to the spear-side, and not to the spindle-side.' Wherefore, if I have given to any female what he had acquired, then let my relations redeem it, if they will have it while she is living: if it otherwise be, let it go after their day, so as we have before determined. For this reason I ordain that they pay for it, because they will succeed to my (Estate] that I may give, or to female hand, or to male hand, whether I will.

28. And I beseech, in God's name, and in his Saints', that none of my relations, nor none of my heirs, do obstruct none of the most probable accounts, A. 909, or 910. See Fra. Wise de vita et scriptis Asserii, $. 12, prefixed to his Edition of Asser's Annals of Alfred.

(8) The Word ofer, in modern English after, seems to be wanting here.

(9) Spere healfe. ..... Spinl healfe. The Sexes are here denominated from the implements peculiar to their respective occupations; the Male from the Spear, the Female from the Spindle. And hence, I cannot but think it probable, that the word wæpened, signifying also masculine (though derived, by the Authors of our Vocabularies, from wæpen, which they suppose to have been a Saxon Word corresponding to the veretrum of the Latins) has its Origin in the Word wapen as it signifies Arms: and is therefore only applied to the male Sex, as the particular Weapon, the Spear was, because it was the only Sex that bore Arms.




freedom 19 of those that I have redeemed. And for me the WestSaxon Nobles have pronounced as lawful that I may leave them Ceither free or bond, whether I will. But I, for God's love, and for e my soul's advantage, will that they be masters of their freedom,

and of their Will; and I, in the living God's name, intreat that no men do not disturb them, neither by money-exaction, nor by i no manner of means, that they may not choose " such man as they will.

29. And I will that they restore to the families at Domerham ? their land-deeds, and their free liberty such person to chuse, as to them may be most agreeable; for me, and for Elfleda," and for the friends that she did intercede for, and I do intercede for.

30. And seek they also, with a living price, for my soul's health, as it may be, and as it also is fitting; and as ye to forgive me shall be disposed.



(10) Cyrelif. The latter part of this compound, lif, is put for leaf: and the whole word, cyrelif, is as much as to say “ arbitrii licentiam,” i. the liberty of disposing of themselves.

(1) Alfred, having manumitted diverse theowas, and put them into the condition of ceorles, desires that his Heirs would not abridge them of that Liberty, but leave them to chuse such man for their landlord as they would; which all ceorles, by the Saxon Constitution, might do.

(2) The hiwas of Domerham were the same sort of People with those of Chedder, spoken of in a former Note, viz. The Ceorles who occupied the tenemental Lands there, which they might relinquish when they pleased. And as they were intreated, in that instance, to chuse Edward for their Lord, i. e. to continue to occupy those Lands under him, as they had done under Alfred : so here, the Heirs are required to leave those of Domerham to chuse such Man for their Landlord, as they would; i. e. to continue to occupy those Lands, or relin

quish them as they should think proper. Domra hamme, The Manor of Dummer, Co. 7 Hant.

(3) His eldest daughter.

(4) Sec MAN,“ Let them seek," or, make application to, namely God. On cwicum ceape, “With a living Price;” viz. By prayer and intercession, and the usual offices of devotion.

[blocks in formation]




Decline and fall of the Heptarchy,

The table on the other side of this leaf, shows the names of the kings, who briefly and irregularly governed the kingdoms of the Heptarchy between the years 849 and 901. A few remarks on each kingdom in turn will assist the reader in forming a competent synchronistic view.

1. WESSEX : This powerful state, after having resisted its rivals, of the Heptarchy, alone stood firm against the fierce invasions of the Danes, under its five successive monarchs, Ethelwolf, Ethelbald, Ethelbert, Ethelred and Alfred.

2. 3. 4. Kent, Essex, and Sussex-All these three minor kingdoms were subjugated by Egbert, and thrown into one: they were then formed into a separate kingdom, subordinate to Wessex, and given generally as an appanage to the king's son, but after Ethelbert, these three provinces were finally united to Wessex.

5. East Anglia. Edmund, commonly called St Edmund, from his martyrdom by the Danes [See Harmony of the Chronicles, page 41] was the last Saxon king of this province. After the battle of Edington, Guthrum the Dane was allowed still to hold it; but after his death, and the reign of an obscure Eric, it was united by slow degrees, in consequence of the turbulent spirit of its Danish occupants, to Wessex.

6. MERCIA. Berthwolf and Burrhed were successively the last Saxon kings of Mercia. The Danes overran the province in 874, and made Ceolwolf a tributary king, and base agent of their own rapine. Mercia appears a few years afterwards, as an earldom, governed, at one time, by the “ Lady of the Mercians."

“ 7. NORTHUMBERLAND, harassed by the rivalry of Osbert and Ella, who competed for its rule, was amused rather than go

« PreviousContinue »