Charters of Malmesbury Abbey

This web page by David Forward is a compilation of extracts from a much more detailed version containing all the Old English and or Latin versions with their Modern English translations, and is shown here without all the source references distributed throughout its pages, so as to make, an easy to read version for the average lay person.

Charters of Malmesbury Abbey, S. E. Kelly, Anglo-Saxon Charters 11
(Oxford University Press for The British Academy, 2005)

Some Translations by: David A. E. Pelteret

The First Paragraph Below Is Taken From A Separate Book Synopsis

Malmesbury Abbey was one of the few English minsters which had a continuous existence from the seventh to the sixteenth century, and the Malmesbury archive is a particularly important witness to the history of Wessex and the West Saxon church in the pre-Viking period. More than half of the surviving charters purport to date from the seventh and eighth centuries, many of them directly associated with Malmesbury’s most celebrated abbot, the scholar and poet Aldhelm. This volume is the first scholarly edition of Malmesbury’s pre-Conquest charters. The Malmesbury archive poses a particularly difficult editorial challenge, since the manuscripts are generally late and the abbey’s scribes were prone to forgery and the ‘improvement’ of their muniments. Although the abbey had its own celebrated post-Conquest historian in William of Malmesbury, regrettably little detailed information has survived about the early history of the monastery. Nevertheless, analysis of the charters has made it possible to build up a fairly coherent picture of Malmesbury’s development in the first four centuries of its existence. This volume provides an important background to William of Malmesbury’s “De gestis pontificorum Anglorum“, and includes significant new material for the study of William’s use of historical documents. “Charters of Malmesbury Abbey” is comprised of editions of thirty-five charters and also a small group of separate boundary surveys, with expert detailed commentaries on their historical and topographical importance. The charters are prefaced by a lengthy introduction which presents a new synthesis of the history of the abbey and an extensive bibliography.

CHARTERS OF MALMESBURY ABBEY

Click on the number to view the text
(‘S’ refers to the relevant entry in the Electronic Sawyer)

01. (S 1245) Leuthere, bishop of the Saxons, grants land at Malmesbury to Aldhelm, priest, to support a monastic community. A.D. 675

02. (S 1166) Cenfrith, comes of the Mercians, grants ten hides at Wootton [? Bassett], Wiltshire, to Abbot Aldhelm. A.D. 680

03. (S 71) Æthelred, king of the Mercians, grants fifteen hides near Tettan monasterium (Tetbury, Gloucestershire) to Abbot Aldhelm. A.D. 680 or 681

04. (S 73) Æthelred, king of the Mercians, grants thirty hides west of the highway (i.e. Foss Way) and fifteen hides near Tettan monasterium (Tetbury, Gloucestershire) to Abbot Aldhelm and his successors. A.D. 681

05. (S 1169) King Berhtwald grants forty hides at Somerford Keynes, Gloucestershire, to Abbot Aldhelm for the monastery at Malmesbury. A.D. 685

06. (S 231) Cædwalla, king [of the West Saxons], grants 132 hides on both sides of the wood called Kemble, Gloucestershire, to the church [of Malmesbury]. A.D. 682 [? for 688]

07. (S 234) Cædwalla, king [of the West Saxons], grants to Abbot Aldhelm 140 hides on both sides of the wood called Kemble, Gloucestershire, thirty hides on the east side of the wood at Braydon, Wiltshire, and five hides at the confluence of the rivers Avon and Wylye. A.D. 688

08. (S 1170) Baldred grants one hundred hides near the river Avon around the wood called Stercanlei or Stelcanleag (? cf. Startley in Great Somerford, Wiltshire) and Cnebbanburg or Crebbanburg (cf. Nable’s Farm in Sutton Benger, Wiltshire) to Abbot Aldhelm, in exchange for one hundred hides to the east of Braydon Wood, Wiltshire.A.D. 688

09. (S 243) Ine, king of the [West] Saxons, grants forty-five hides,consisting of five hides at Garsdon, thirty hides by Gauze Brook and ten hides by Reodburna, all in Wiltshire, to Abbot Aldhelm for his monastery at Malmesbury. A.D. 701

10. (S 245) Ine, king [of the West Saxons, grants exemption from secular burdens to the churches and monasteries of his kingdom. A.D. 704

11. (S 1251a) Aldhelm, bishop [of Sherborne], declares that he has agreed to remain abbot of his monasteries at Malmesbury, Frome and Bradford on Avon, but confirms that the communities are to be free to elect their own abbots after his death. A.D. 705

12. (S 256) Cuthred, king of the Gewisse, grants ten hides at Wootton [? Bassett], Wiltshire, to Abbot Aldhelm and his familia at Malmesbury. A.D. 745

13. (S 260) Cynewulf, king [of the West Saxons], grants thirty hides at the confluence of the streams called Mearcdaeno and Reodburna (cf. Rodbourne near Malmesbury), Wiltshire, to the familia at Malmesbury. A.D. 758

14. (S 149) Ecgfrith, king of the Mercians, restores thirty-five hides at Purton, Wiltshire, to Abbot Cuthberht and the brethren of Malmesbury minster. A.D. 796

15. (S 320) Æthelwulf, king of the West Saxons, the men of Kent and all the southern English, grants five hides at Minety, Wiltshire, to the monastery at Malmesbury. A.D. 880 [for 838 x 839]

16. (S 294a, S 294b (formerly S 314, S 322)) Æthelwulf, king of the West Saxons, makes a general grant of fiscal privileges, with special reference to lands belonging to Malmesbury at Wroughton, Wiltshire; Elmhamstede; Wootton [? Bassett], Charlton, Minety and Rodbourne, Wiltshire. A.D. 844

17. (S 301) Æthelwulf, king of the West Saxons, grants ten hides at Dauntsey, Wiltshire, to the familia at Malmesbury. A.D. 850

18. (S 305) Æthelwulf, king of the West Saxons, makes a general grant of land and privileges to the churches and the grounds of his kingdom, with special reference to lands belonging to Malmesbury at Purton, Lacock, Sutton Benger, Corston, Crudwell, Wiltshire; Kemble, Gloucestershire; and Dauntsey, Wiltshire. A.D. 854

19. (S 306) Æthelwulf, king [of the West Saxons], grants five hides at Tockenham, Wiltshire, to St Peter and the familia at Malmesbury. A.D. 854

20. (S 356) King Alfred, with the consent of the familia of the church of Malmesbury, grants a four-life lease of four hides at Chelworth, Wiltshire, to Dudig, his minister, with reversion to the church at Malmesbury. [A.D. 871 x 899]

21. (S 1205) Ordlaf grants four hides at Chelworth in Crudwell to the familia at Malmesbury, in exchange for four hides at Mannington in Lydiard Tregoze, Wiltshire. A.D. 901

22. (S 1797 (Malm 1)) The familia of the church of Malmesbury lease five hides at Mannington in Lydiard Tregoze, for five lives, to Ordlaf, comes, in exchange for four hides at Chelworth, Wiltshire. A.D. 901

23. (S 1205a) Ordlaf grants four hides at Chelworth in Crudwell, Wiltshire, to the familia at Malmesbury. [? A.D. 904]

24. (S 363) King Edward grants ten hides at Hankerton, Wiltshire, to the church of Malmesbury, in exchange for ten hides at Farmborough, Somerset. A.D. 901

25. (S 415) King Æthelstan grants five hides at Norton, Wiltshire, five at Sumerford (probably Little Somerford, Wiltshire) and five at Ewen, Gloucestershire, to the familia and church of Malmesbury. A.D. 931

26. (S 434) King Æthelstan grants sixty hides at Bremhill, Wiltshire, to the familia at Malmesbury. A.D. 937

27. (S 435) King Æthelstan grants ten hides at Wootton [? Bassett], Wiltshire, to the familia at Malmesbury. A.D. 937

28. (S 436) King Æthelstan grants ten hides at Wootton, sixty at Bremhill, five at Sumerford (probably Little Somerford) and five at Norton, Wiltshire; and five at Ewen, Gloucestershire, to the familia at Malmesbury. A.D. 937

29. (S 629) King Eadwig grants one hundred hides at Brokenborough, Wiltshire, to the monastery at Malmesbury. A.D. 956

30. (S 796) King Edgar restores ten hides at Eastcourt in Crudwell, Wiltshire, to Ælfric, abbot of Malmesbury. A.D. 974

31. (S 841) King Æthelred grants ten hides at Rodbourne near Malmesbury, Wiltshire, to the monastery at Malmesbury. A.D. 982

32. (S 862) King Æthelred grants five hides at Littleton on Severn, Gloucestershire, to Wenoth, minister. A.D. 986

33. (S 1038) King Edward confirms the lands and privileges of Malmesbury Abbey. A.D. 1065.

BOUNDARY CLAUSES FROM MALMESBURY CHARTERS

34. (S 1577) Bounds of Brokenborough and Sutton Benger, Wiltshire.

35. (S 1587) Bounds of Rodbourne near Malmesbury, Wiltshire.

36. (S 1585) Bounds of Norton, Wiltshire.

37. (S 1579) Bounds of Chelworth in Crudwell, Wiltshire.

38. (S 1582) Bounds of Eastcourt in Crudwell, Wiltshire.

39. (S 1584) Bounds of Murcott in Crudwell, Wiltshire.

40. (S 1578) Bounds of Charlton, Wiltshire.

41. (S 1576) Bounds of Brinkworth, Wiltshire.

42. (S 1583) Bounds of Grittenham in Brinkworth, Wiltshire.

43. (S 1586) Bounds of Purton, Wiltshire.

44. (S 1580) Bounds of Dauntsey, Wiltshire.

45. (S 1575) Bounds of Bremhill, Wiltshire.

46. (S 1552) Bounds of Ewen, Gloucestershire.

47. (S 862 (for S 1552a)) Bounds of Littleton on Severn, Gloucestershire.

CHARTER OF BOROUGH OF MALMESBURY

48. (S 454) King Æthelstan grants privileges and five hides near Norton, Wiltshire, to the burgesses of Malmesbury. [A.D. 924 x 939]

SINGLE-SHEET CHARTERS OF UNCERTAIN PROVENANCE

49. (S 96) Æthelbald, king of the Mercians, grants ten hides near the wood called Toccan sceaga (Tockenham, Wiltshire) and the tumulus called Reada beorg to Abbot Eanberht. A.D. 757

50. (S 308) Æthelwulf, king of the West Saxons, makes a general grant of land and privileges to the churches and thegns of his kingdom, with special reference to one hide at Hardenhuish, Wiltshire, granted to Wiferth, his minister. A.D. 854

01

For it generally happens that, with the torrid autumnal heat coming to an end, the wintry blasts of the raging winds follow in turn with their returning journeys, by which the cerulean waves of the sea and the vast raging abysses of the ocean are moved hither and yon. Insofar as no one sailing on a navigable path is without risk, he crosses the sea with the furious north-easterly blast bursting asunder. Thus the pompous glory of this world is indisputably overthrown, and now with the end of the same approaching, the raging hurricanes of this world seem to press upon us with manifest evidence that at length those prophetic sayings of the Lord are proved to be fulfilled in our time as a true fact and without any ambiguous doubt, about which He stated in that heavenly pronouncement, saying, ‘Behold the fig-tree, and all the trees’, etcetera. Indeed amongst these turbulent storms of this world the rudder of the scriptures must be turned, and the equipment and instruments of the whole ship be prepared, so that, after the garrulous song of the sirens has been spurned, the ship may be led successfully in a direct path to the port of the fatherland.

For this reason, I, Leuthhere, by the Grace of God at the helm of the bishopric of Saxony [i.e., the kingdom of the West Saxons], have been asked by the abbots who under the control of our diocese are acknowledged to be in charge of the coenobitic army of monks for their pastoral care that I should deem it worthy to confer and bestow that land to which the name Malmesbury is given on Aldhelm, the priest, for him to live his life according to the Rule, in which place from the first stage of infancy and from the beginning of the rudiments of letters he led his life, learned in liberal studies and nourished in the bosom of Holy Mother Church, and on account of this fraternal love is seen to prompt most powerfully this request. Wherefore, giving assent to the prayers of the aforementioned abbots, impelled by their fraternal request, I give of my own accord that very place of which we made mention above both to him and to his successors who follow the tenets of the holy rule with sagacious devotion, so that in the future in continuous repose and perpetual peace, removed from all the conflict of assailing disputations, the servants of God may prevail without hindrance. But lest by chance an occasion for contention should thereafter arise, strengthening it with the introduction of this reasonable stipulation I confirm that none of the succeeding bishops or kings should violently attack this charter of gift, relying on tyrannical power, asserting very firmly that it be seen to have been removed and separated from the right of episcopal power. And on that account let it be known and published against those who are rivals that I have added something suitable and an augmentation to the priestly church rather than have dragged it away by force. Finally, in order that the generosity of the aforementioned gift should more firmly remain permanently, we have ordered that the aforementioned abbots subscribe with their own hands. If anyone should strive to make these writings and the decrees of our decision worthless, let him know that he will render account before the judgement-seat of Christ.

Executed publicly near the River Bladon on 26 August in the year of the incarnation of Christ 675.

+ I, Leuthhere, albeit unworthy, bishop [of Winchester], asked by the brethren, subscribed this charter of gift.
+ I, Cuneberht, abbot [of Redbridge], subscribed.
+ I, Hædde, abbot, subscribed.
+ I, Wyneberht, priest, subscribed.
+ I, Hidde, priest, subscribed.
+ I, Hædde, subscribed.

02

The insolent fortune of this deceiving age, not worthy of love because of the milky whiteness of unfading lilies but hateful because of the bitterness steeped in the gall of corruption that is to be lamented, bitingly tears to pieces the sons of stinking flesh in the vale of tears with its poisonous jaws, which, although it may be attractive to the unfortunate by its pleasing manner, yet shamelessly is it declining downwards to the depths of Acherontic Cocytus [i.e., Hell], unless the Seed of the One Who Roars on High [i.e., Jesus, the Son of God] should assist. And so because that ruined thing [i.e., fortune] is going mortally into decay, one must hasten with the utmost effort to the pleasant fields of indescribable happiness, where the angelic tongues of hymn-singing jubilation and the scents of roses flowing with honey of incalculable sweetness is captured by the good and blessed nostrils and drunk in by the ears of the blessed without end.

Enticed by a love of this happiness, I, Cenfrith, comes of the Mercians, have bestowed a certain parcel of land on the venerable abbot, Aldhelm, with an assessment of 10 hides in the place that is called Wootton (? Bassett) for the service of God and St Peter by perpetual right with the agreement of my lord, King Æthelred. In the year from the incarnation of the Lord 680, in indiction 8.

03

In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ the Saviour. As the apostolic pronouncement attests, we have brought nothing into this world; but neither is there anything we can carry out. Accordingly, eternal and lasting things must be purchased with earthly and transitory ones. Wherefore I, Æthelred, king of the Mercians, at the request of my nobleman and my relative, Cenfrith, have freely granted, for the salvation of my soul and in return for prayer by the brethren serving God at Malmesbury, 15 hides near the monastery of Tetta to Abbot Aldhelm. If anyone should wish to increase and enlarge this gift, may God increase his share in the book of life. If anyone, relying on tyrannical power, should attempt to take it away or carry it off, let him know that he will have to render account before Christ and the nine orders of angels in the fearful Judgment. This chirograph was written in the year from the incarnation of the Lord 681, in indiction 9.

+ I, Theodore, by the Grace of God archbishop [of Canterbury], confirmed.
+ I, Seaxwulf, bishop [of the Mercians], subscribed.
+ I, Bosel, bishop [of the Hwicce], subscribed.
+ Mark of the hand of Æthelred, king of the Mercians.
+ Mark of Cenfrith, comes.

04

In the name of our Lord God Jesus Christ the Saviour. We have brought nothing into this world, as the Apostolic declaration bears witness; but neither are we able to carry anything away. On that account eternal and lasting things must be purchased with earthly and transitory ones. Wherefore I, Æthelred, king of the Mercians, at the request of my patricius and relative, Cenfrith, for the salvation of my soul and in return for the prayer by the brethren serving God at Malmesbury, have freely bestowed 30 hides from the western side of the public street and not far away in another place fifteen hides near the monastery of Tetta on Abbot Aldhelm and his successors in perpetual freedom from earthly servitude. And I confirmed this gift of mine with the mark of the holy cross in my own hand and strengthened it with the clear agreement of beloved men, so that after our death no royal audacity nor man in secular office should attempt to infringe against our decision. If indeed anyone should wish to increase and enlarge this gift, may God increase his portion in the book of life. If anyone, relying on tyrannical power, should attempt to take it away or carry it off, let him know that he will render account before Christ and the nine orders of angels. This chirograph was written in the year from the incarnation of Christ 681, in indiction 9.

+ Mark of the hand of Æthelred, king of the Mercians.
+ Mark of the hand of Cenfrith, comes.
+ I, Theodore, by the Grace of God archbishop [of Canterbury], confirmed.
+ I, Seaxwulf, bishop [of the Mercians], subscribed.
+ I, Bosel, bishop [of the Hwicce], subscribed.

05

Those things that are defined according to the fear and love of God through a religious devotedness to generosity, although speech alone should suffice, yet, because of the uncertain nature of future times, should be confirmed with public writings and documentary records. Wherefore, I, Beorhtwald, king under the rule of the Lord, for the salvation of my soul and remission for sins committed, have decided to grant and bestow some land on Abbot Aldhelm, that is, 40 hides on the eastern bank of the river whose name is Thames, near the ford that is called Sumerford; with this condition, that a proportion of that land should be free in perpetuity from all servitude to secular power sin order to serve the needs of the monks serving God in the monastery that is called Maeldubesburg [i.e., Malmesbury]. And in order that this offering be more firmly and tenaciously strengthened in perpetuity, we have received the most excellent monarch, King Æthelred, as a witness, with whose agreement and confirmation this munificent deed was executed. If anyone should attempt to act against this gift or,relying on tyrannical power, should violently attack it, let him know that he will render account before Christ in the fearful Judgment of all. Executed publicly in a synod nearby the ford at Berhgford, in the month of July, on the thirtieth day of that same month, in indication 13, in the year from the incarnation of the Lord 685.

06

All things that are seen are temporal and those that are not seen are eternal. On that account invisible things are to be preferred to the visible and heavenly things to the transitory. Wherefore I, Cædwalla, king under the rule of the Lord, have decreed that a certain benefit be devoted to the church, that is, land on either side of the wood that is called Kemble of 132 hides. And may this gift continue fixed and unchanging so that no one should presume to violate this decree or make it void. If indeed anyone, puffed up by proud tyranny, should attempt to violate or transgress this gift, let him know that he will render an account in the fearful Judgment of all before the Judge of the living and the dead. This charter was written in indiction 1, in the month of August, in the year from the incarnation of the Lord 682.

+ I, Hædde, bishop [of Winchester], agreed.
+ Mark of the hand of Cædwalla, king.
+ Mark of the hand of Cissa.
+ I, Winberht, subscribed.

07

In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ the Saviour. All things that are visible are temporal and those that are not visible are eternal. And again the hazardous fragility of this world is shown when the same is said through the Apostle: We brought nothing into this world; nor indeed are we able to carry anything away. Therefore the eternal and lasting crown of the heavenly wreath must be obtained through earthly and transitory things. Wherefore I, Ceadwalla, king under the rule of the Lord, had decided with a devout intent to grant and give some land for the salvation of my soul and remission of my sins to Abbot Aldhelm with a devout mind, that is on either side of the wood whose name is Kemble, from the east of the boundary of the streets up to the famous river that is called Thames, 140 hides, and in another place 30 from the eastern side of Braydon Wood and 5 hides where the two rivers, the Avon and the Wylye, join; and this is especially as a fishery for the brethren. May this generous gift remain firm and unchanged among the future offspring of my descendants, so that no one should presume to destroy the prerogative of this gift. If anyone, puffed up by tyrannical power, should attempt to act against this generosity, let him know that he will incur the obstacle of the wrath of God and at the final Judgment will render account before Christ and his angels. This generosity was recorded in indiction 13, in the year from the incarnation of Christ 688, in the month of August, 14 kalends of September [i.e., 19th August]. Good luck!

+ I, Hædde, bishop [of Winchester], subscribed.
+ Mark of the hand of Centwine.
+ Mark of the hand of Cædwalla.

08

In the name of our Lord God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. We bring nothing into this world but neither can we carry anything away. On that account we must purchase the eternal rewards of the heavenly fatherland with earthly and transitory things. Wherefore I, Baldred, have decided to bestow some land on Abbot Aldhelm, that is, 100 hides near the River Avon and around the wood that is called Stercanlei and Cnebbanburg and I have received 100 hides from him in return, that is, from the eastern part of the wood whose name is Braydon, and this was strengthened by the counsel and confirmation of King Centwine and all the principes and senatores [? members of the witan]. If anyone should attempt to act against these writings, let him know that he will have to render account before the judgment-seat of the eternal Judge and before the holy angels. This donation was written down, more precisely, as a substitute for an exchange, in the month of August, in indiction 1, in the year from the incarnation of Christ 600 and eighty-eight.

+ I, Hædde, bishop [of Winchester], confirmed.
+ Mark of the hand of Cædwalla, king.
+ Mark of the hand of Baldred.
+ Mark of the hand of Cissa.
+ I, Wudda, subscribed.
+ I, Winberht, subscribed.

09

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour. I, Ine, under the rule of the Lord king of the Saxons, pondering the reward of eternal life and fearing the eternal punishments of Hell, on that account, for the salvation of my soul and in mitigation of my offences, had decided to give a parcel of land to the venerable Abbot Aldhelm for the augmentation of his monastery that is called Malmesbury, that is, 45 hides in the places named below by their inhabitants, that is, 5 hides in the place that is called Garsden and where the stream that is called Gauze Brook rises 20 hides, and in another place near the same stream 10, and near the spring that is called Reodburna 10. And this was executed in the year from the incarnation of Christ 701, in indiction 14.

+ Mark of the hand of Ine, king
+ Mark of the hand of Oshelm.
+ I, Hædde, bishop [of Winchester], agreed to and subscribed this charter of donation.
+ I, Wynberht, drafting this charter of donation, subscribed.

10

In the name of the Lord God our Saviour. I, Ine, under the rule of the Lord king, with the advice and decision of our bishop Aldhelm and also at the suggestion of all the priests of God and at the request of the monks who live in the diocese of the Saxons, grant this liberty to the churches and confer this privilege on the monasteries: that without the hindrance of secular affairs and free from the payment of royal taxes they should serve God alone with their minds unencumbered and should follow according to the rule, with Christ granting His approbation, the monastic discipline of their house, and should deem it worthy to pray in the sight of the Divine Majesty for the public order and prosperity of our kingdom and for remission of offences committed and to strive to importune for our frailty, frequently making prayers in their churches. If indeed anyone should attempt to act against the record of this decision, let him know that he will render account before Christ and the nine orders of angels at the fearful Judgment. We are deciding so to confirm and preserve this decree freely granted by us in order that both during our lifetime the governance of the kingdom will be strengthened for those ruling through Divine favour and for future successors holding the sole power of ruling by hereditary right it will be firmly strengthened by a law that cannot be dissolved. For in order to strengthen this witness of resolution we have made our principes and senatores [? members of the witan], judges and patricii subscribe whose names are preserved in writing below. Executed publicly and confirmed in the place that is called Everleigh on the 26th of May, in indiction 2, in the year from the incarnation of Christ 704. Good luck!.

+ Mark of the hand of King Ine, who confirmed all these things with his own hand.
+ I, Aldhelm, servant of the servants of God, confirmed this decision with my own hand.
+ I, Hagona, abbot, agreeing subscribed.
+ I, Eadberht, abbot [? of Selsey], agreeing subscribed.
+ I, Hæaha, abbot [? of Bradford/Abingdon], agreeing, subscribed.
+ I, Wintra, abbot [of Tisbury], agreeing, subscribed.
+ I, Wedr, abbot, agreeing, subscribed.
+ I, Beornwald, abbot, agreeing, subscribed.
+ I, Wilgar, abbot, agreeing, subscribed.
+ I, Bealwulf, abbot, agreeing, subscribed.
+ I, Froda, abbot [of Muchelney], agreeing, subscribed.
+ I, Witta, abbot, agreeing, subscribed.
+ Mark of the hand of Beoba.
+ Mark of the hand of Eanberht.
+ Mark of the hand of Cenberht.
+ Mark of the hand of Cen.
+ Mark of the hand of Æthelfrith.
+ Mark of the hand of Æscwald.
+ Mark of the hand of Duduc.
+ Mark of the hand of Ticcea.
+ Mark of the hand of Bealdhun.

11

Nothing in this world is enjoyed with prolonged good fortune, nothing is held with lasting lordship, nothing that does not direct itself with a swift course towards the destined end of life: and so our inheritance of worldly things must be enjoyed thoroughly so that we are never cheated of the profits of the eternal fatherland. Hence it is that I, Aldhelm, after Divine Grace had enthroned me on the seat of episcopal office, being unworthy and not shown to have any outstanding characteristics, proposed in the private thoughts of my mind that for my monasteries, Malmesbury, Frome and Bradford-on-Avon, over which I had been in charge according to the Rule, having long ago been appointed with abbatial rank with the Lord’s support, I should appoint according to canonical practice and the sanction of the Rule a religious abbot whom by the choice of my communities of their own free will they might with harmonious accord select for themselves. To these suggestions made of my own free will the pious constancy of my monks resisted. And when zealously and frequently I had declared this confidently in the assembly of my brethren, none offered most pleasing assent to these vows of mine, saying:

‘As long as you are quickened by a living breath and you are allotted with us to the course of the present life, we do not reject it as unworthy to submit our most humble necks to the yoke of your continuing lordship. But we pray this with Nothing in this world is enjoyed with prolonged good fortune, nothing is held with lasting lordship, nothing that does not direct itself with a swift course towards the destined end of life: and so our inheritance of worldly things must be enjoyed thoroughly so that we are never cheated of the profits of the eternal fatherland. Hence it is that I, Aldhelm, after Divine Grace had enthroned me on the seat of episcopal office, being unworthy and not shown to have any outstanding characteristics, proposed in the private thoughts of my mind that for my monasteries, Malmesbury, Frome and Bradford-on-Avon, over which I had been in charge according to the Rule, having long ago been appointed with abbatial rank with the Lord’s support, I should appoint according to canonical practice and the sanction of the Rule a religious abbot whom by the choice of my communities of their own free will they might with harmonious accord select for themselves. To these suggestions made of my own free will the pious constancy of my monks resisted. And when zealously and frequently I had declared this confidently in the assembly of my brethren, none offered most pleasing assent to these vows of mine, saying:

‘As long as you are quickened by a living breath and you are allotted with us to the course of the present life, we do not reject it as unworthy to submit our most humble necks to the yoke of your continuing lordship. But we pray this with a suppliant prayer and a request from us all that you will confirm on the sacred witness of the scriptures and the clear agreement of men who are favourably disposed that after your death no royal audacity nor episcopal authority nor any man of ecclesiastical or secular office, will lay claim to sovereignty over us for himself without the expression of our will.’

I have agreed most freely to this obligation to my monks and the very great request of the servants of God. And in the monastery that is located near the river that is called Wimborne, which is in the charge of Cuthburg, the sister of our venerable king, with the agreement that we desired from Ine, the very famous king, and the approval of the most reverend brother and my fellow bishop, Daniel, I have confirmed with the mark of the holy cross the very proper devotion of the public declaration and wish of the handmaidens of God. And likewise the venerable king and afore-named bishop of equal devotion subscribed with their hand; not long after it was acknowledged in a holy council that had gathered near the river that is called (?) Nadder. Likewise the counsel of all the abbots of the Saxon people is in agreement together with the assent of the royal power and the approval of the episcopal primacy. If anyone should contrive to struggle against these decrees of such illustrious persons and presume to violate the holy ordinances of the present document, may he know that he will cast down before the fearful throne of the Divine Majesty with the violators of the commands of the Lord in the Judgment of mournful damnation. This charter of confirmation was written in the year from the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ 705, indiction 3. a suppliant prayer and a request from us all that you will confirm on the sacred witness of the scriptures and the clear agreement of men who are favourably disposed that after your death no royal audacity nor episcopal authority nor any man of ecclesiastical or secular office, will lay claim to sovereignty over us for himself without the expression of our will.’

I have agreed most freely to this obligation to my monks and the very great request of the servants of God. And in the monastery that is located near the river that is called Wimborne, which is in the charge of Cuthburg, the sister of our venerable king, with the agreement that we desired from Ine, the very famous king, and the approval of the most reverend brother and my fellow bishop, Daniel, I have confirmed with the mark of the holy cross the very proper devotion of the public declaration and wish of the handmaidens of God. And likewise the venerable king and afore-named bishop of equal devotion subscribed with their hand; not long after it was acknowledged in a holy council that had gathered near the river that is called (?) Nadder. Likewise the counsel of all the abbots of the Saxon people is in agreement together with the assent of the royal power and the approval of the episcopal primacy. If anyone should contrive to struggle against these decrees of such illustrious persons and presume to violate the holy ordinances of the present document, may he know that he will cast down before the fearful throne of the Divine Majesty with the violators of the commands of the Lord in the Judgment of mournful damnation. This charter of confirmation was written in the year from the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ 705, indiction 3.

+ Mark of the hand of Daniel, bishop [of Winchester].
+ Mark of Ine, king.
+ Mark of the hand of Æthelfrith, patricius.

12

I, Cuthred, king of the Gewisse [i.e., West Saxons], with the prompting of the chain of the love of Christ and the desire for His indivisible love, have bestowed on Abbot Aldhelm and the community living under the love of his guidance, with the agreement and knowledge of the outstanding bishop Daniel and my magnates and dignitaries, on account of the remembrance of their prayers and the salvation of my soul, in order that I may be placed in the abundance of the elect of God, a piece of land in a possession that cannot be detached in the place that is called Wootton, appraised at assessment of 10 hides, under the attestation of the Holy Trinity, indeed with bountiful generosity and joyfully for the monastery at Malmesbury. I hope, moreover, for afelicitous exchange, by handing over temporal things and things that are visible, that I shall acquire those things, namely, that are invisible and faultless as a permanent possession. Moreover may the aforementioned property be transferred for the use of the monastery, with an unceasing continuance. If anyone, relying on tyrannical arrogance, should strive, on whatever pretext, to break asunder this generous gift of mine and bring it to nought, let him be separated from the company of the pious by the winnowing-fork of the Last Judgment and, united in the fellowship of the greedy, suffer punishment for his violence. If anyone, possessed of a benevolent intention, should wish to increase this gift, may he rejoicing see the blessings of the Lord with His columns of angels. A copy of this act of generosity was published in the year from the incarnation of Christ 745 in the aforementioned monastery in the presence of King Cuthred, which he committed with the bountifulness of his own hand, with votive piety, to the protection of the high altar. And this has been executed with the agreement of these magnates and dignitaries whose names have been attached below with their own subscriptions.

+ I, Daniel, servant of family of God and bishop [of Winchester], subscribed this charter of donation and ordained that a confirmatory authorisation be made.
+ I, Cuthred, performing the role of king, subscribed this [charter of] donation with his own hand.
+ Mark of the hand of Cumma.
+ Mark of the hand of Æthelheard.
+ Mark of the hand of Ealdhun.

13

In the name of Christ. I, King Cynewulf, with the agreement of my principes designated by name below [reading infra for MS supra], have given a portion of land, being of 30 hides, to the community of Christ established in the monastery of Malmesbury, to be possessed in perpetuity for the salvation of my soul. This is where two streams join themselves in the Mearcden and Reodburn and in their neighbourhood, as their inhabitants acknowledge that they know the boundaries and limits of those places, and also the vill to which they are subject, the pastures, dry and water-meadows, and also the wooded places. And these things were executed in the year from the incarnation of Christ 758, in indiction 11.

+ Mark of the hand of Cynewulf, king.
+ This mark I, Cyneheard, bishop [of Winchester], at the order of the king named above, inscribed and subscribed.
+ Mark of the hand of Herewald, bishop [of Sherborne].
+ Mark of the hand of Eoppa.
+ Mark of the hand of Ealhfrith.
+ Mark of the hand of Hereca, abbot.
+ Mark of the hand of Beorn, abbot.
+ Mark of the hand of Ynta.

14

In the name of the Lord. Thus, as the Apostolic pronouncement attests, we have brought nothing into this world, nor are we able to carry anything away. For that reason eternal things must be purchased with earthly ones. Wherefore, I, Ecgfrith, king of the Mercians, in the first year of our reign granted by God, at the request of Beorhtric, king of the West Saxons, and Archbishop Æthelheard, have returned to Abbot Cuthbert and to the brethren of the monastery of Malmesbury land of 30 hides in the place that is called Pyrton, on the eastern side of the wood that is called Braydon, for the remission of my sins and for the repose of the soul of my father, Offa, which while he was alive he took from them. For that reason I grant the above-mentioned land so that it should be free from the secular services of kings, in order that it should be of use for the necessities of the brethren serving God in the aforementioned monastery, so that our memory in that holy place should remain in the holy prayers amongst them forever. But also the abbot and the brethren of the same monastery gave me two thousand shillings of pure silver to acquire the land. And I did this on the advice of my bishops and principes whose names have been written below. And this was executed in the year from the incarnation of Christ 796, in indication 4. May God preserve and bless him who augments these alms of mine. If anyone diminishes or destroys this, which we do not want, may his name be removed completely from the land of the living and may hebe deprived of the company of the saints unless he atones in a worthy fashion.

+ I, Ecgfrith, king of the Mercians, confirmed this donation of mine with the mark of the holy cross.
+ I, Beorhtric, king of the West Saxons, agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Eadburg, queen, agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Æthelheard, archbishop [of Canterbury], agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Cyneberht, bishop [of Winchester], agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Denefrith, bishop [of Sherborne], agreed and subscribed.
+ Mark of the hand of Hathored, bishop [of Worcester].
+ Mark of the hand of Eadwulf, bishop-elect [of Lindsey].
+ Mark of the hand of Brorda, prefectus.
+ Mark of the hand of Æthelmund, prefectus.
+ Mark of the hand of Esne.
+ Mark of the hand of Ceolmund.
+ Mark of the hand of Lulling.
+ Mark of the hand of Wigfrith.

15

The Lord God our Saviour Jesus Christ ruling and governing us forever, Who saved the whole world and those of human race believing in Him by His blood and freed them from the eternal annihilation of diabolical damnation through orthodox faith and the sacrament of baptism. Wherefore I, Æthelwulf, not through my merits but through the Grace bestowed by God king of the West Saxons and also, through the gift of the same God, of the dwellers in Kent and ruler over the whole government of the people of the East Angles, by the Grace favourably granted by God, have humbly bestowed some land, that is, 5 hides in a place that is called Minety, to Almighty God for the monastery of Malmesbury as a perpetual possession, in this sense, that he will be cursed forever who might try to carry off this land from that same church. And this was executed in the year 880 of the Lord’s incarnation.

These are the names of the witnesses of this gift.

+ I, Æthelwulf, king, confirmed this gift to my Lord God with the mark of the cross.
+ I, Ceolnoth, archbishop [of Canterbury], agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Æthelstan, king of the dwellers in Kent, agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Eadhun, bishop [of Winchester], agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Wulflaf, dux, agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Eanwulf, dux agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Wulfheard, dux, agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Æthelwulf, dux, agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Hereberht, dux, agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Ealhstan, dux, agreed and subscribed.

16

Our Lord ruling forever. While in our times from the fires of wars and the pillaging of our wealth, and also from the very cruel plundering of ravaging enemies, of barbarian and pagan peoples, and from the manifold distress of those afflicted to the extent of their total destruction, we perceive that dangerous times press upon us. Wherefore, I, Æthelwulf, king of the West Saxons, with the advice of my bishops and principes, have confirmed a beneficial plan and a remedy of a single kind: I have determined to give in perpetual liberty to persons of all stations formerly possessing some portion of hereditary lands, whether servants and handmaidens of God serving God or laymen, always a tenth hide – where it may be very small, still a tenth part – so that it will be safe and protected from all secular taxes, royal tributes, greater and lesser, and the taxes which we call witereden; and may it be free from all claims, for the forgiveness of our souls and our sins, for the service of God alone, except for military service and the bridge-construction and fortress-protection, so that they may the more diligently pour forth prayers without ceasing to God for us, by the degree to which we relieve in some part their secular service.

Then afterwards it was pleasing to the bishops Ealhstan of the church of Sherborne and Helmstan of the church of Winchester to form a plan with their abbots and the servants of God that all our brethren and sisters in each church weekly on the day of Mercury, that is, Wednesday, the whole congregation should sing fifty psalms and each priest two masses, one for King Æthelwulf and the other for his duces for agreeing to this gift, in recompense and mitigation for their sins. For the living king: ‘God Who pardons’. For living duces: ‘Stretch forth, o Lord’. Afterwards they who were dead: for a dead king, individually; for dead principes, as a whole. And this was very firmly decided for all the days of Christianity, just as a liberty was decided, as long as faith grows among the English people. And this by the witness of very many of our noblemen in confirmation, whose names are recorded annexed below.

This charter of gift was written in the year of the Lord’s incarnation 844, in indiction 7, on the 1st of November, in the city of Winchester, in the church of St Peter,before the main altar. And they did this in honour of St Michael the Archangel and St Mary, the glorious queen, the mother of God, and of the blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, and also of our holy father, Pope Gregory and all the saints. And then for further support Æthelwulf placed the charter on the altar of St Peter, and the bishops received it in the name of God and afterwards sent it to all the churches in their dioceses, in accordance with what was prescribed.

That land which we placed in liberty, belongs to the church of Malmesbury: that is, thirty hides at Wroughton and fifteen hides at Elhamstede; ten hides at Wootton (? Bassett); twenty hides at Charlton; five hides at Minety; ten hides at Rodbourne.

And he who might wish to increase this, may God increase his prosperity in the land of the living. If, however, anyone, beguiled by diabolical deceit, should attempt to violate or reduce this in greater or lesser ways, may he be accursed by all the faithful in this world and in the world to come, unless he atone before this through penance.

+ I, Æthelwulf, king, agreed and subscribed.
+ Helmstan, bishop [of Winchester], subscribed.
+ Ealhstan, bishop [of Sherborne], subscribed.
+ Æthelwulf, dux, subscribed.
+ Osric, dux, subscribed.
+ Eanwulf, dux, subscribed.
+ Æthelric, dux, subscribed.
+ Eanwulf, dux, subscribed.
+ Ceorl, dux, subscribed.
+ Æthelmund, abbot, subscribed.
+ Wulflaf, abbot, subscribed.
+ Beorhthelm, abbot, subscribed.
+ Ecgheard, minister.
+ Milred, minister.
+ Osmund + Ælla + Cyneheah
+ Wulfhere + Ealhstan
+ Ceolmund + Wihtgar
+ Cyneheah + Dudda + Æthelred
+ Ceolmund + Eadred
+ Æthelbald + Lulling

17

Our Lord Jesus Christ ruling forever, with whose power the good fortune of this transitory age is perceived to be unremittingly mixed and confused in an adverse succession of events and all visible and desirable adornments of this world daily pass away from those who love them. Therefore, blessed and wise men hasten to acquire the eternal and everlasting joys of the heavenly fatherland with the fugitive riches of this age. Wherefore, I, Æthelwulf, king of the West Saxons, with the agreement of my bishops and principes, also for the salvation of my soul and in expiation for my misdeeds, have granted a portion of land from my property, that is 10 hides, to the venerable community of Malmesbury, in veneration of St Peter, as a perpetual possession of that church, in the place that is called Dauntsey. And he who might wish to increase this gift of mine, may God increase eternal life for him. And he who might decrease it, may he be damned forever. These are [the witnesses, assuming omission of ‘testes’] of this act of the year of the Lord 850. And

+ I, Ceolnoth, archbishop [of Canterbury], agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Ealhstan, bishop [of Sherborne], subscribed.
+ Dudda, princeps.
+ Wulflaf, abbot
+ Æthelbald, dux.
+ Eanwulf, dux.
+ Ealkenic [sic; probablyEalhhere], dux.
+ Ælfstan, minister.

18

Our Lord Jesus Christ ruling forever, the supreme and ineffable Creator of all things, Who setting His times in order through His manifold power, as He had set them free, will impose an end to these times and in this life will decide the certain end of their days for all living things as He had determined. Therefore all must act so that they may deserve to gain forever the good fortune of future blessing through good deeds in this world. Wherefore, I, Æthelwulf, by the Grace of God king of the West Saxons, in the holy and most celebrated Easter service, for the salvation of my soul and the prosperity of the kingdom and the welfare of the people conferred on me by Almighty God, humbly for the love of God effected a beneficial plan with the bishops, comites and all my magnates to the effect that we have agreed to give a tenth part of the lands through our kingdom not only to the holy churches but also to our ministri appointed kingdom to have in perpetual liberty, so that such a gift will remain fixed and unchanging, free from every royal service and servitude to all secular matters.

It was pleasing, moreover, to Ealhstan, bishop of the church of Sherborne, and Swithhun, bishop of the church of Winchester, with all those serving God that each week on the Sabbath day, the whole congregation of the servants and handmaidens of Christ should sing fifty psalms and each priest two masses, one for King Æthelwulf and the other for his bishop and duces. For the living king: ‘God Who pardons the wicked’. For living bishops and duces: ‘Stretch forth, o Lord’. Afterwards they who were dead: for a dead king, individually; for dead bishops and principes agreeing to this gift, as a whole; so that thus strengthened it will continue steadfastly as long as faith and the Christian religion continues flourishing undisturbed among the English people. And we did this in honour of our Lord Jesus Christ and the blessed and ever virgin Mary and all the saints and in reverence of the Paschal feast, so the Almighty God will bestow His mercy on us and our descendants. And this by the witness of very many of our noblemen in confirmation, whose names are recorded annexed below. This charter was written in the year of the Lord incarnation 854, in indiction 1, on Easter Day, in our palace that is called Wilton.

That land which we place in liberty belongs to the church at Malmesbury: that is then first, in Purton thirty five hides; at Lacock fifteen; at Sutton (? Benger) five; at Corston five hides; at Crudwell ten hides; at Kemble ten hides; at Dauntsey two-and-a-half hides.

He who might wish to increase our gift of penance, may Almighty God increase his prosperous days. If indeed anyone should presume to decision or change this, may he know that he will render account before the judgment-seat of Christ, unless he first atones through penance.

+ Æthelwulf, king.
+ Ealhstan, bishop [of Sherborne].
+ Swithhun, bishop [of Winchester].
+ Æthelbald, dux.
+ Eanwulf, dux.
+ Osric, dux.
+ Wulfhere, dux.
+ Æthelbert, dux.
+ Eanwulf, dux.
+ Lullede, dux.
+ Wulflaf, abbot.
+ Wærfrith, abbot.
+ Cyne, minister.
+ Cynewulf, minister.
+ Æthelred, minister.

Alfred, minister
Cyneheah, minister.
+ Cuthwulf, minister.
+ Nithmund, minister.
+ Ecgheard, minister.
+ Osmund, minister.
+ Milred, minister.
+ Ecgwulf, minister.
+ Lulling, minister.
+ Wulfred, minister.
+ Ealhstan, minister.
+ Cyma, minister.
+ Ealdred, minister.
+ Eanmund, minister.

19

Our Lord Jesus Christ ruling forever. I, King Æthelwulf, have given to God and St Peter and the community of Malmesbury a portion of land of the Gewisse, that is, 5 hides, in the place that is called Tockenham, to the end that they should pray perpetually to Almighty God for us so that He will bestow favourable times on us for preserving our faith and the governance of our kingdom of the English people through all ages. And let no one dare to remove it from that same monastery without incurring the wrath and vengeance of Almighty God. And this gift was made in the year from the incarnation of the Lord 858, in indiction 3.

These are the witnesses.

+ Æthelwulf, king.
+ Ealhstan, bishop [of Sherborne].
+ Swithhun, bishop [of Winchester].
+ Æthelbald, dux.
+ Eanwulf, dux.
+ Sigeric, dux.
+ Æthelberht, dux.
+ Wulfhere, dux.
+ Lullede, dux.
+ Wulflaf, dux.
+ Wærfrith, abbot.
+ Esne, minister.
+ Æthelred, son of the king.
+ Alfred, son of the king.
+ Cyneheah, minister.
+ Cuthwulf, minister.
+ Ecgheard, minister.
+ Osmund, minister.
+ Milred, minister.
+ Lulling, minister.

20

In the name of the Lord. I, Alfred, by the Grace of God king of the Anglo-Saxons, together with the agreement of the venerable community of the church of Malmesbury, give by way of a grant to my faithful minister, Dudig by name, some land, that is, of 4 hides belonging to the same church in the place that is called Chelworth. After the lives of three heirs the aforementioned land should return to its original servitude to the church of the Holy Saviour at Malmesbury without any objection. This aforementioned land is free from all secular burdens, except for military service and the building of bridge and fortress. The writing of this charter was executed with the agreement of these witnesses whose names are recorded below in the place that is called Maelduberi, in our language Mældumesburg [i.e., Malmesbury].

+ I, Alfred, king.
+ Wulfric, bishop.
+ Æthelhelm, dux.
+ Æthelnoth, dux.
+ Æthelwald, son of the king.
+ Edward, son of the king.
+ Beorhtnoth.
+ Ælfhere.
+ Deormod.
+ Beorhthelm.
+ Ceolwulf.
+ Wulfric.
+ Wærwulf.
+ Ecgwulf.

21

I, Ordlaf, grant a small amount of land from my property that I purchased from a venerable man, Dudig with the authorisation of my lord, Edward, the most glorious king, for a completely acceptable sum of money, bestowing it on the community of St Saviour living in the place called in the past Malduberi, which place in our tongue is called Maldumesburg [i.e., Malmesbury], that is, of four hides in the place rustics call Chelworthy, as an eternal inheritance, bestowing it in exchange for another property, that is, of 5 hides, in the place that is called Mannington. The aforementioned lands are free from all secular burdens,except for military service and the construction of bridge and fortress. May everlasting peace remain to those agreeing to this charter. Shame on those opposing, however, and a place with those in Hell unless they should atone with a penance in this world. The writing of this charter was executed in the year of the Lord’s incarnation 801, with those witnesses consenting whose names are recorded here below.

+ Edward, king
+ Wulfsige, bishop
+ Oslaf, dux
+ Ælfric, minister
+ Uffa, minister
+ Wulfric, minister
+ Wærwulf, minister

+ Athelweard, minister
+ Æthelhelm, minister
+ Wihtbrord, minister
+ Wulfhun, minister
+ Wulfhelm, minister
+ Burgstan
+ Cynestan

+ Burghelm, priest
+ Wulfric, priest
+ Wulfhelm, clericus
+ Æthelred
+ Wulfred
+ Cynewen
+ Eanstan
+ Tata
+ Æstan
+ Cynemund
+ Beornstan
+ Burgstan

+ Æstan
+ Eanwulf
+ Wulfhelm
+ Cynefrith
+ Heahwulf
+ Abunel
+ Eanwulf
+ Ælfheah
+ Burgstan
+ Ælfeth
+ Wulfred
+ Beornstan

22

With the consent of Edward, the most glorious king of the Anglo-Saxons, and also his magnates who were then in his presence whose names are recorded here below, the community of the servants of God of the church of St Saviour, which is acknowledged to be most beautifully constructed from masonry located in the place called by the ancient name Meildeberi, granted to the venerable comes, Ordlaf, a small piece of land, that is, of 5 hides in their own possession in the place that is called Mannington, bestowing it in exchange for another estate, that is, of 4 hides, in the place rustics call Chelworth. However, after the lives of four heirs have ended, the aforementioned land at Mannington should be returned to its former subjection to the above-mentioned brethren without any objection, and also the lord or governor of the above-mentioned church should resume possession of those four hides in Chelworth back to its former use for it [i.e., the church at Malmesbury].

23

To all the faithful of God, both future and present, kings, bishops, counts, abbots, barons, knights and all the degrees of holy orders of the holy church of God, Ordlaf, a sinner, grants the blessing of either life [i.e., in this world and after death].

I, Ordlaf, a sinner, make known to you all that in the name of God our Saviour I grant in perpetuity an estate bought from a former minister of King Alfred, Dudig by name, in the place that is called Chelworth, with the agreement of my most glorious lord, Edward, and also with his magnates who were then in his presence, for the salvation and reward of my soul, to the community of the servants of God in the place called by the ancient name Mailduberi, in our [speech] Maldusburg [i.e., Malmesbury]. There is a small amount of land, moreover, namely of four hides, belonging to the same church. This indeed King Alfred, together with the agreement of the venerable community of the church of Malmesbury, as I mentioned earlier, had given to a certain minister of his, Dudigby name, from whom I bought it; so that no one on that account should take it for himself and disturb the aforementioned church with claims and hence thwart my gift through the assent of the king and his magnates or through money, I approached Wulfsige, bishop of that diocese, and procured the following consent from him in confirmation of my gift:

‘I, Wulfsige, an unworthy bishop, at the request of the venerable Count Ordlaf, confirm and decree under anathema that the estate that is called Chelworth, which, for the salvation and redemption of his soul,he granted as a gift in perpetuity to the congregation of the church that is called by the ancient name Mailduberi, in our speech Maildubesburg, to be under the lordship in perpetuity of that church, so that no one, not even the abbot of this same church, should presume to give it at any time to anyone through prayer or price as a free fief. Should anyone presume to do this, with the authority of God our Saviour and the blessed mother of the same God, Mary, and the blessed apostles, Peter and Paul and all the saints, I excommunicate him and withdraw him from the communion of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, God and our Saviour, but also from the fellowship and from the community of Holy Church and of all Christendom, to be burned without surcease with Judas Iscariot and Caiaphas, Pilate and Simon Magus, in the fire of Gehenna, unless he corrects his offence and makes his peace with God through penance.’

Nor was I thus satisfied. After a period of three years, I came to London, where there was a council of thirteen bishops, in the presence of my most glorious lord, the aforementioned king, and E., the metropolitan archbishop, and again I had the former confirmation of my gift confirmed by the authority of the same metropolitan archbishop E. and also of all the others, consecrated by vows and blessings. Accordingly, I ordered this to be committed to writing as a record, so that having foreknowledge of this prohibition, no one at any time, either an abbot of the same church or any king or a very powerful person in the kingdom, through the suggestion of a secular person, should fall into the aforementioned danger to his soul by assuming that land for himself. Moreover my most recent blessing and curse will follow. To those agreeing with this charter, may everlasting peace remain in heaven. To those opposing it, alas and alack, may their part be with those in Hell unless they atone with penance in the present life. Let it be, let it be, Amen.

24

In the name of the Lord. I, Edward, by the Grace of God king of the Anglo-Saxons, at the entreaty of the venerable community of the church of Malmesbury, have given a small piece of my land, that is, of 5 hides, to the aforementioned community, in the place that is called Hankerton, in exchange for another estate of the same extent in the place that rustics call Farmborough, as an eternal inheritance. The aforementioned lands are free from all secular burdens. I have made this exchange at the entreaty of the brethren for their convenience because the land I have given to the aforementioned brothers is only two miles from their monastery; that which I have received, on the other hand, is almost 20 miles from the aforementioned monastery. If any kings or principes, however, should audaciously presume to destroy this liberty (which we do not want), may he be cursed on the Day of the Last Judgment, unless he should make a worthy atonement because he presumed to act wickedly. This charter was written in the year from the incarnation of the Lord 901, in indiction 7.

+ Edward, king
+ Ealhswith, mother of the king
+ Ælfflæd, wife of the king
+ Ocea, minister
+ Uffa, minister
+ Beorhthelm, minister
+ Ælfheah, minister
+ Æthelweard, minister

25

In the name of God the supreme and the highest. With assured corroboration holy and just fathers admonish us in their frequent prayers that God, in Whom we delight and believe with the innermost affection of our mind, we should fear and love unceasingly with a love of good works, Who will give recompense for all of our deeds on the Day of Judgment according to the merit of each one; and so we try with the keenest striving of our mind to imitate Him. Although we are oppressed by the burden of mortal life and polluted by the transitory possessions of this world, yet through the bounty of His compassion we seek to purchase the eternal rewards of the heavenly life with transitory wealth.

Wherefore I, Æthelstan, inflamed by a desire for the heavenly kingdom, with the favour of Heavenly Grace king of the English and of other neighbouring peoples, took care to commit this to writing so that our words and deeds should not be negated with the passage of time, either through the lack of care of our successors or through some kind of envy or dishonesty, and be able at length to come into contention amongst our successors. With the agreement and authorisation of my bishops and many nobles, I, giving at the church with devout intent, shall give for all time 15 hides to Almighty God and St Peter the Apostle and the venerable community that is located in the famous place that rustics in appellative narration call Malmesbury, 5 in the place that is called Norton and 5 in another place that is called Sumerford and 5 in a third place that is called Ewen. And we grant the mandate, in the name of the Governor enthroned on high, that no man puffed up by the swellings of pride might attack it, neither a king nor a bishop nor a princeps nor a prepositus nor persons of any station, who might dare to change this aforementioned liberty into the annoyance [reading ‘molestiam’ for MS ‘molestia’] of any burden, either in our days or in those of our successors; but may it be free from every worldly burden, except these: military service and the renewal of bridge and fortress, with all that is recognised as belonging to that very place, with fields, meadows, pastures, and woods, to the end that for my sins and those of my father, King Edward, they will offer beneficial masses daily for us to God and sweet-sounding melodies, nor cease to fight with the spiritual arms of psalm-singing for us against invisible enemies. If anyone, moreover, should not wish to agree to or obey the prescribed statutes,let him know that he will be separated from the fellowship of the holy church of God and from the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ through the authority of the blessed Peter the Apostle and his companions, unless he should atone in this world with a worthy penance before his death.

And let wise men of our realm know that we have not seized the aforementioned lands unjustly and given the plunder to God, but you know that they were received just as all the nobles of the land of the English adjudged them, and also the apostolic pope of the Roman church, John, on the death of Alfred, who was envious of our good fortune and life, conspiring in the wickedness of our enemies when they wished to blind me in the city of Winchester on the death of my father, if God in His goodness had not snatched me away; but with their machinations laid bare, Alfred was sent to the church at Rome to defend himself there by swearing an oath before the Apostolic John; and this he did before the altar of St Peter. But when the oath had been sworn, he fell down before the altar and was carried by the hands of his servants to the schola Anglorum, and there he died on the third night. And then the Apostolic one sent to us and consulted with us as to what should be done with him, whether his body should be placed with other Christians. After these things had happened and been reported to us, the nobles of our realm with a throng of his relatives entreated with all humility that his body should, with our permission, be placed with the bodies of Christians and on our agreeing to their entreaty, we sent back to Rome and, with the pope’s agreement, he was placed with other Christians, although he was unworthy. And so all his property, great and small, was adjudged to me. But, so that it will not be terminated as long as Christianity prevails, we have also recorded these things in writing, namely, whence the property that I gave to God and St Peter was given to me; nor do I know of anything more just than that I should give this property to God and St Peter, who caused my rival to fall in the sight of all, and has bestowed on me health and the good fortune of a kingdom.

With these witnesses agreeing whose names are rehearsed below. This aforementioned liberty was created in the year of the Lord’s incarnation 931.

+ I, Æthelstan, king of the whole of Britain, confirmed with the seal of the holy cross, the aforementioned gift.
+ I, Edmund, brother of the same king, made the sign of the cross.
+ I, Eadred, brother of the same king, made the sign of the cross.
+ I, Wulfhelm, bishop of the church of Canterbury, confirmed with the trophy of the holy cross the gift of the same king.
+ I, Theodred, bishop of the church of London, made the sign of the cross.
+ I, Ælfheah, bishop of the church of Winchester, imprinted the triumphal trophy of the holy cross.
+ I, Cenwald, bishop [of Worcester], agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Oda, bishop [of Ramsbury], confirmed.
+ I, Ælfric, bishop [of Hereford], agreed.
+ I, Wulfhelm, bishop [of Wells], confirmed.
+ I, Burgric, bishop [of Rochester], agreed.
+ I, Æthelgar, bishop [of Crediton], validated.

+ Wulfgar, dux
+ Ælfhere, dux
+ Æthelwald, dux
+ Æthelstan, dux
+ Ealhhelm, dux
+ Æthelmund, dux
+ Uhtred, dux
+ Odda, minister
+ Wulfgar, minister
+ Ordheah, minister
+ Eadric, minister

+ Edmund, minister
+ Ælfric, minister
+ Wulfsige, minister
+ Wulflaf, minister
+ Wihtgar, minister
+ Alfred, minister
+ Wulfric, minister
+ Ælfsige, minister
+ Ælfsige, minister
+ Æthelred, minister
+ Wulfhelm, minister

26

The insolent fortune of this deceiving age, not worthy of love because of the milky whiteness of unfading lilies but hateful because of the bitterness steeped in gall of corruption that is to be lamented, bitingly tears to pieces the sons of stinking flesh in the vale of tears by raving wildly with its poisonous jaws, which, although it might be attractive to the unfortunate by its pleasing manner, yet shamelessly is it declining downwards to the depths of Acherontic Cocytus i.e., Hell, unless the Seed of the One Who Roars on High [i.e., Jesus, the Son of God] should assist. And so because that ruined thing [i.e., fortune] is going mortally into decay through its failing, one must hasten with the utmost effort to the pleasant fields of indescribable happiness, where the angelic tongues of hymn-singing jubilation and the scents of verdant roses flowing with honey of incalculable sweetness is captured by the good and blessed nostrils and the sweetnesses of musical instruments heard by the ears without end. Enticed by a love of this happiness, base things now disgust, heavenly things become sweet and in order to obtain those things and enjoy that very desirable sight forever, I, Æthelstan, king of the English, through the favour of the Almighty raised to the throne of the kingdom of the whole of Britain, have bestowed as a perpetual right a certain parcel of land on the venerable community of Malmesbury, for the souls of the offspring of my cousins, the sons of Æthelweard clito, namely, Ælfwine and Æthelwine, at an assessment of 60 hides in the place that is called Bremhill, for the community serving God and St Peter, prescribing this in the name of the Lord that none of our successors should attempt to violate in the slightest degree this gift of ours as long as Christianity might flourish. If anyone should attempt this, let him know that he be damned by God forever. The record of this wish, acquired from and inspired by God and the Lord Jesus Christ, was written in the year of the Lord’s incarnation 937, in year 11 of the reign freely granted to me, in indiction 8, epact 14, concurrent 3, on the 21st of December, in day 10 of the monthly cycle of the moon, in the very famous city that is called Dorchester, with the whole body of magnates rejoicing under the wings of royal bounty, whose intention of firmnessis undisturbedly strengthened by these witnesses whose names are recorded in small letters below. I, Æthelstan, king of flourishing Albion in possession of the office, confirmed and subscribed this document with the mark of the holy and always to be venerated cross.

+ I, Wulfhelm, archbishop of the church of Canterbury, agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Wulfstan, archbishop of the church of York, agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Eogen mac Domnaill, subregulus, agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Hywel Dda ap Cadell, subregulus, agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Morgan ab Owain, subregulus, agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Idwal Foel ab Anarawd, subregulus, agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Ælfwine, bishop [of Lichfield], agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Cenwald, bishop [of Worcester], agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Wulfhelm, bishop [? of Selsey], agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Oda, bishop [of Ramsbury], agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Æthelgar, bishop [of Crediton], agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Alfred, bishop [of Sherbourne], agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Conan, bishop [of Cornwall], agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Theodred, bishop [of London], agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Wulfhelm, bishop, agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Burgric, bishop [of Rochester], agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Wynsige, bishop [of Dorchester], agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Tidhelm, bishop [of Hereford], agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Cynesige, bishop, agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Seaxhelm, bishop, agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Ælfwald, dux
+ I, Æthelstan, dux
+ I, Oswulf, dux
+ I, Uhtred, dux
+ I, Urum, dux
+ I, Uhtred, dux
+ I, Guthrum, dux
+ I, Scule, dux

27

The insolent fortune of this deceiving age, not worthy of love because of the milky whiteness of unfading lilies but hateful because of the bitterness steeped in gall of corruption that is to be lamented, bitingly tears to pieces the sons of stinking flesh in the vale of tears by raving wildly with its poisonous jaws, which, although it may be attractive to the unfortunate by its pleasing manner, yet shamelessly is it declining downwards to the depths of Acherontic Cocytus [i.e., Hell], unless the Seed of the One Who Roars on High [i.e., Jesus, the Son of God] should assist. And so, because that ruined thing [i.e., fortune] is going mortally into decay through its failing, one must hasten with the utmost effort to the pleasant fields of indescribable happiness, where the angelic tongues of hymn-singing jubilation and the scents of verdant roses flowing with honey of incalculable sweetness is captured by the good and blessed nostrils and the sweetnesses of musical instruments heard by the ears. Enticed by a love of this happiness, base things disgust now, heavenly things become sweet, and in order to obtain those things and enjoy that very desirable sight forever, I, Æthelstan, king of the English, through the favour of the Almighty raised to the throne of the kingdom of the whole of Britain, have bestowed as a perpetual right a certain parcel of land on the venerable community of Malmesbury, for the souls of my cousins, the sons of Æthelweard clito, namely, Ælfwine and Æthelwine, at an assessment of 10 hides in the place that is called Wootton (? Bassett), for the community serving God and St Peter, prescribing this in the name of the Lord that none of our successors should attempt to violate in the slightest degree this gift of ours as long as Christianity might flourish. If anyone should attempt this, he must be damned by God forever. The record of this wish, acquired from and inspired by God and the Lord Jesus Christ, was written in the year of the Lord’s incarnation 937, in year 11 of the reign freely granted to me, in indiction 8, epact 14, concurrent 3, on the 21st of December, on day 10 of the monthly cycle of the moon, in the very famous city that is called Dorchester, with the whole body of magnates rejoicing under the wings of royal bounty, whose intention of firmness is undisturbedly strengthened by these witnesses whose names are recorded in small letters below.

I, Æthelstan, king of flourishing Albion in possession of the office, confirmed and subscribed this document with the mark of the holy and always to be venerated cross.

+ I, Wulfhelm, archbishop of the church of Canterbury, agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Wulfstan, archbishop of the church of York, agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Eogen mac Domnaill, subregulus, agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Hywel Dda ap Cadell, subregulus, agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Morgan ap Owain, subregulus, agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Idwal Foel ab Anarawd, subregulus, agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Conan, bishop [of Cornwall], agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Ælfwine, bishop [of Lichfield], agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Wulfhelm, bishop, agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Ælfwald, dux, agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Urum, dux, agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Uhtred, dux, agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Oswulf, dux, agreed and subscribed.

28

The insolent fortune of this deceiving age, not worthy of love because of the milky whiteness of lilies but hateful because of the bitterness steeped in gall of corruption that is to be lamented, tears to pieces the sons of stinking flesh in the vale of tears by raving wildly with its poisonous jaws, which, although it might be attractive to the unfortunate by its pleasing manner, yet shamelessly is it declining downward to the depths of Acherontic Cocytus [i.e., Hell], unless the Seed of the One Who Roars on High [i.e. Jesus, the Son of God] should assist. And so, because that ruined thing [i.e., fortune] is going mortally into decay through its failing, one must hasten with the utmost effort to the pleasant fields of indescribable happiness, where the angelic tongues of hymn-singing rejoicing and the scents of verdant roses flowing with honey of incalculable sweetness is captured by the good and blessed nostrils and the sweetnesses of musical instruments heard by the ears of the blessed without end. Enticed by a love of this happiness, I, Æthelstan, king of the English, through the favour of the Almighty raised to the throne of the kingdom of the whole of Britain, have bestowed as a perpetual right certain parcels of land on the venerable community of Malmesbury, for the souls of my cousins, the sons of Æthelweard clito, namely, Ælfwine and Æthelwine, for God and for St Peter, at an assessment of 10 hides in the place that is called Wootton, at an assessment of 60 hides in the place that is called Bremhill, at an assessment of 5 hides in the place that is called Sumerford, likewise 5 in the place that is called Norton, likewise 5 in the place that is called Ewen: prescribing this, that none of our successors should attempt to violate even in the slightest degree this gift of ours as long as Christianity might flourish. If anyone should attempt this, let him know that he is to be damned in perpetuity by God.

And let wise men of our country know that the aforementioned lands have not been unjustly seized and the rapine given to God but I received them just as all the magnates of the kingdom of the English adjudged them, and also the apostolic pope of the Roman church, John, on the death of Alfred who was envious of our good fortune and life, conspiring in the wickedness of our enemies when they wished to blind me in the city of Winchester on the death of my father, if God with His piety had not snatched me away. But with their machinations laid bare, he was sent to the church at Rome, where he defended himself by swearing an oath before the Apostolic John. And he did this before the altar of St Peter, but when the oath had been sworn he fell before the altar and was carried by the hands of his servants to the schola Anglorum and ended his life on the third night. And then the Apostolic one sent to us and consulted as to what should be done with him. At the request of our magnates, we granted that he might be placed with other Christians, although he was unworthy, and so all his property, great and small, was adjudged to me, etcetera.

The record of this wish, acquired from and inspired by God and the Lord Jesus Christ, was written in the year of the Lord’s incarnation 937, in year 11 of the reign freely granted to me, in the eighth indiction, epact 14, the third concurrent, on the 21st of December, on the tenth day of the monthly cycle of the moon, in the very famous city that is called Dorchester, with the whole body of magnates rejoicing under the wings of royal bounty.

The sub-kings Eogen mac Domnaill, Hywel Dda ap Cadell, Morgan ab Owain, Idwal Foel ab Anarawd; the archbishops Wulfhelm of Canterbury and Wulfstan of York; the bishops Burgric of Rochester, Theodred of London,Æthelgar of the East Angles, Ælfheah of Winchester, Alfred of Sherbourne, Wulfhelm of Wells, Æthelgar of Crediton, Oda of Ramsbury, Eadhelm of Selsey, Seaxhelm of St Cuthbert’s, Tidhelm of Hereford, Ælfwine of Worcester, Cynesige of Lichfield, and Wynsige of Leicester subscribed.

29

The Heavenly Creator of all things made the angels from nothing before all time and before the shapeless material whereby Adam, the first-created man, appeared formed first in Eden, but there with the birth of sin, forthwith driven out, he carried threatened death into this distressful earth. This still persists amongst his descendants with labour and sorrow right up to the end of life, o inevitable sorrow! And what is worse, also from the same sin, as if as a debt, everyone was thereafter constrained by nature to enter into doing harm. But when the fullness of time comes, when neither Levite nor priest suffices to help, at length a Samaritan has deemed it worthy to take pity on the half-dead man, that is, the human race, with His Grace. For the Leviathan at least, still waiting at the Jordan, was then devouring with an open mouth. Therefore, those alone who are dedicated to wisdom, and especially very religious men, groan exceedingly, perceiving the pleasures that have been lost from Paradise, sighing, wailing, lamenting their disgraceful life and their misery. But, ‘as the hart panteth after the water brooks’, so they seek to gain release from the body; they hasten to bestow their own things by buying invisible, nay indeed, certain, things. But on the other hand, stupid and foolish men strive for unsuitable things; they employ a thousand stratagems to find them; they lie, bear false witness, plunder, steal.

Wherefore, I, Eadwig, by the bounteous providence of Highest Thunderer [i.e., God] king of the English and of the provinces of the whole of Britain,am determined to restore the divine temples. Indeed, to the monastery by the name of Malmesbury, in honour of its head, Aldhelm, and of the other saints whose relics are venerated there, I grant as a perpetual inheritance 100 hides at Brokenborough. In the first year of my reign, 956 from the Lord’s incarnation, in indiction 14, with our magnates assenting.

+ I, Eadwig, with the approval of Almighty God king of the whole of Britain, confirm this gift with the mark of the holy cross.
+ I, Oda, archbishop [of Canterbury], in confirming mark with the sign of the cross.
+ I, Edgar, son, affirm.
+ I, Ælfsige, bishop [of Winchester], acquiesce.
+ I, Oswulf, bishop [of Ramsbury], adorn.
+ I, Wulfsige, bishop [of Sherborne], add to [it].
+ I, Cenwald, bishop [of Worcester], note.
+ I, Oscytel, bishop [of Dorchester], witness.
+ I, Cynesige, bishop [of Lichfield], favour.
+ I, Ælfwald, bishop [of Crediton], agree.
+ I, Daniel, bishop [of Cornwall], subscribe.

+ Æthelstan, dux
+ Æthelsige, dux
+ Edmund, dux
+ Æthelstan, dux
+ Ælfhelm, minister
+ Ælfsige, minister
+ Æthelgeard, minister
+ Ælfwine, minister

Anyone who henceforth might desire to preserve – nay, rather, voluntarily increase – this decision of ours, may his days be multiplied and after his death may he deserve to cross over to the kingdom of heaven. But, however – God forbid! – anyone, by forgetting both God and himself, who wishes to change it, may he not live half his days and never see the glory of God with the choruses of angels living on earth, but may he follow his leader, the Devil, into Hell: “There is wailing and gnashing of teeth”.

30

Since a fixed limits awaits all of the general multitude, and visible things, as the Apostle says, are temporal, the invisible everlasting, it remains for each to receive there what is deserved for things done here. Wherefore, I, Edgar, king of the whole of Albion and also of the maritime and island kings dwelling round it, with the support of the bounteous Grace of God, to the extent that none of my forebears were elevated from a position of subjection, I have, mindful of such a great honour, very often quite ingeniously discussed what most important part of my dominion I should give to the Lord, the King of kings. Therefore, the protectress of my pious devotion, Heavenly Piety, suddenly made known to my alert earnestness that I should give back some holy monasteries, which had been visibly destroyed as far as their beams just like worm-eaten shingles and rotten planks, so, what is more, being almost empty had within been neglectful of the service of God. Certainly once the ignorant clerics had been evicted, not being subject to the discipline of any monastic life, in many places I put in charge pastors of a holier religious order with a monastic way of life in order to rebuild the ruins of the temples, offering to them wealthy supplies of royal gifts. I appointed one of these, Ælfric by name, an ecclesiastical person in all respects, as the guardian of the very famous monastery that the English is call by the dual name of Maldumesburg and Maldelmesburuh [i.e., Malmesbury]. To which, for the benefit of my soul, for our Saviour and the Mother of God, the ever virgin Mary, and also the apostles Peter and Paul, and in honour of its supportive bishop, Aldhelm, I have restored by munificent generosity a parcel of land of 10 hides, Eastcourt byname, with its meadows and woods. This land was first appropriated by the aforementioned clerics; for a long time by some other persons; finally it was unjustly possessed by the disputatious Æthelnoth. But,his heathen and guileful invective having been heard by my witan and his mendacious deceit refuted by the same in my presence, it has been returned by me for the use of the monastery, in the year of the Lord’s incarnation 974, in year 14 of my reign, in the first year of the royal consecration. I have ordered this charter of restitution to be written, at the request of the aforementioned abbot, on account of the tenacious memory of future posterity, so that, as long as the Christian faith flourishes amongst us, the aforementioned land will not, God forbid!, be removed violently from that holy place by anyone possessed of tyrannical power. This aforementioned land is bounded by the borders of the surrounding fields. Suitable witnesses of the royal gift are these that assent to it.

+ I, Edgar, king, validated my own gift with the mark of the standard-bearing sign [i.e., the cross].
+ I, Dunstan, archpastor [i.e., archbishop of Canterbury], agreed and subscribed with the mark of gallows bringing salvation [i.e., the cross].
+ I, Oswald, [arch]bishop [of York], likewise agreed with the mark of the life-giving sign of victory [i.e., the cross].
+ I, Æthelwold, bishop [of Winchester], confirmed that with the tau-shaped seal of the cross.
+ We three bishops [of Rochester, London and Rambury] with our own appellative name of the single form Ælfstan made the sign of the cross together.
+ I, Beorhthelm and the twin Ælwolds, bishops [of Wells, Crediton or Sherborne] agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Ælfhere, dux, agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Æthelwine, dux, agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Byrhtnoth, dux, agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Oslac, comes and prefectus, agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Wulfstan, prefectus, agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Æthelweard, and my brother, Ælfweard, ministri, agreed and subscribed.
+ I, Eadwulf, agreed and subscribed.

31

It is manifestly evident to all who frequently pursue the study of wisdom with attention that the end of the present life is known to press upon one with a distressful variety of diverse misfortune and moreover to assail one with excessive fear. Therefore, I, Æthelred, by the assisting Grace of Christ distinguished king of the whole of Albion, on the advice of my magnates, desiring to purchase things eternal with transitory things, have bestowed a certain parcel of land, namely, often hides in extent, in the famous place that is called in the known name of Rodbourne by knowledgeable people of this country, on our Lord Jesus Christ and his mother and ever virgin, Mary, in veneration of the blessed bishop Aldhelm, who made the place that is called in customary parlance Malmesbury, for the use of the monks living there under the guidance of Abbot Æthelweard as an eternal inheritance. Therefore, let this inviolable gift of ours remain free from all yoke of earthly servitude, three being excepted, namely, a share in military service and the building of bridge and fortress. If anyone should wish to change this gift of ours into something other than we have decided, may he, deprived of the fellowship of the holy church of God, be punished by the doleful eternal fires of Hell forever with Judas the betrayer and his accomplices, if he does not atone with an appropriate penance because he has transgressed against our decree. This charter was written in the year of the Lord’s incarnation 982, with the witnesses agreeing whose names are written below.

+ I, Æthelred, king, granted the aforementioned gift.
+ I, Ælfthryth, mother of the aforementioned king, granted.
+ I, Dunstan, archbishop of the church of Canterbury, marked with the sign of the cross.
+ I, Oswald, archbishop of the church of York, granted.
+ I, Æthelwold, bishop [of Winchester], confirmed.
+ I, Ælfstan, bishop [of London], confirmed.
+ I, Æscwig, bishop [of Dorchester], acquiesced.
+ I, Ælfric, bishop [of Crediton], corroborated.
+ I, Ælfstan, bishop [of Rochester], did not deny.
+ I, Ordberht, abbot [of Chertsey].

+ I, Æthelweard, abbot [of Malmesbury].
+ I, Sigeric, abbot [of St Augustine’s, Canterbury].
+ I, Leofric, abbot [of Muchelney].
+ I, Godwine, abbot.
+ I, Ælfhere, dux.
+ I, Æthelwine, dux.
+ I, Byrhnoth, dux.
+ I, Æthelweard, dux.
+ I, Æthelmær, dux.
+ I, Edwin, dux.

+ Ælfric, minister.
+ Ælfgar, minister.
+ Ælfsige, minister.
+ Ælfweard, minister.
+ Wulfsige, minister.
+ Ælfric, minister.
+ Beorhtwald, minister.
+ Ælfhelm, minister.

32

In the year of the Lord’s incarnation 986. I, Æthelred, with the favouring of Divine Grace king of the English and of other surrounding peoples, very willingly grant a certain parcel of land commonly called Littleton, assessed at five hides, to be free apart from fortress and bridge obligations and military service, to Wenoth, my minister, as a lasting right, to be enjoyed while he lives, and after he has exhaled his last breath to be left to whomsoever he should wish, in return for his very pleasing service, and with the unanimous agreement from all those serving this people, enjoining this and earnestly requesting in the name of God that none of our successors, while the power of Christian religion is flourishing, should dare to violate this decree of ours and of all our noblemen. If anyone should attempt to initiate this, which we do not want, unless he correct himself appropriately first in this world, may he recognise that he will suffer a like punishment in the eternal torments of Hell. The names of the fellow stipulators of this gift are seen to be written below and are confirmed with a succession of autographs so that they not be dishonoured by a worthless deception.

+ I, Æthelred, by the Grace of God king of the whole of the land of Britain confirmed my gift with my own seal.
+ I, Dunstan, archbishop [of Canterbury], agreed.
+ I, Oswald, archbishop [of York], marked with the sign of the cross.
+ I, Æthulf, bishop [of Hereford], wrote [a cross] in front.
+ I, Ælfheah, bishop [of Lichfield or Worcester], portrayed [the sign of the cross].
+ I, Æscwig, bishop [of Dorchester], noted [a cross] in front.
+ I, Æthelgar, bishop [of Selsey], portrayed [the sign of the cross] in front.
+ I, Æthelsige, bishop [of Sherborne], confirmed.
+ I, Ælfheah, bishop [of Winchester or Lichfield], acquiesced.
+ I, Ælfstan, bishop [of London], confirmed.
+ I, Æthelwine, dux.
+ I, Byrhtnoth, dux.
+ I, Æthelweard, dux.
+ I, Ælfric, dux.
+ I, Ælfweard, minister.
+ I, Ælfhelm, minister.
+ I, Æthelweard, minister.

+ Ælfgar, minister.
+ Æthelnoth, minister.
+ Æthelmund, minister.
+ Leofwine, minister.
+ Wulfmær, minister.
+ Ælfweard, minister.
+ Wulfric, minister.

+ Æthelwald, minister.
+ Wulfheah, minister.
+ Thurfrith, minister.
+ Fræna, minister.
+ Æthelric, minister.
+ Wulfric, minister.
+ Leofric, minister.

+ Æthelmær, minister.
+ Wulfnoth, minister.
+ Godwine, minister.
+ Leofstan, minister.
+ Wulfgeat, minister.
+ Osweard, minister.
+ Æthelwine, minister.

33

Whatever has been written for our instruction, says the Apostle, has been written so that we might have hope through suffering and the consolation of the scriptures. On that account, things that are eternal and lasting must be purchased with the earthly and transient and sought for diligently with good hope. For God Himself will give recompense for all our deeds on the Day of Judgment according to the merits of each one, and therefore we try to imitate Him with the keenest striving of the spirit and with ardent searching. Although we are oppressed by the burden of mortal life and are miserably polluted by the transitory possessions of this world, yet by the bestowal of His mercy we seek to purchase the eternal rewards of the heavenly life with transitory riches. Wherefore, I, Edward, governing the royal kingdom of the English through the bestowal of Divine Grace, after being asked by Beorhtric, abbot of the monastery of Malmesbury, with the agreement of my bishops and my magnates, in honour of Mary, the holy mother of God, ever virgin, and in reverence of St Aldhelm, sometime abbot of the same monastery, then bishop of Sherborne, whose glorious body venerably reposes in the same church and shines forth with many miracles that have come to pass, grant and with royal authority direct that that same church should hold and possess all the lands and its possessions that it holds and possesses today, and is to be holding and possessing through the future gift of any at all of the faithful, with a perpetual right and in perpetual peace. For we have written below the names of the lands and the names of those who conveyed them to the church with faithful devotion.

(i) First, (Long) Newnton (Wiltshire), from the gift of King Æthelred. The land comprises 30 hides, located on the western side of the public way that is called Fosse.

(ii) Likewise Kemble (Wiltshire, now Gloucestershire). The land comprises thirty hides; 4 are in Chelworth (later in Crudwell). King Cædwalla gave this land to Abbot Aldhelm. It is located on the east side of the above mentioned public street [i.e., the Fosse Way].

(iii) Likewise Purton (Wiltshire). The land comprises 35 hides on the eastern side of wood that is called Braydon. This King Cædwalla gave to Abbot Aldhelm.

(iv) Likewise Crudwell (Wiltshire). The land comprises 40 hides.Belonging to that land are Eastcourt, Hankerton and Murcott. The most Christian King Æthelwulf gave that land.

(v) Likewise the same church holds Charlton (Wiltshire). The land comprises twenty hides. This the same King Æthelwulf gave to the same church.

(vi) Likewise Dauntsey(Wiltshire). The land comprises ten hides. This King Æthelwulf gave to the same church.

(vii) Likewise the same church holds Wootton (Bassett) (Wiltshire). The land comprises ten hides, located within Braydon Wood.
This the venerable King Æthelstan gave to the church of Malmesbury.

(viii) Likewise Bremhill (Wiltshire). The land comprises 38 hides. Belonging to that land is Euridge (in Colerne), Spirthill,Charlecote, Foxham and Avon (in Bremhill). King Æthelstan gave that land.

(ix) Likewise from a gift of the same King Æthelstan that church holds Norton, assessed at five hides, and (Little) Somerford (Wiltshire) assessed at 5 hides.

(x) Likewise the same church holds Brokenborough (Wiltshire). The land comprises fifty hides. This King Eadwig gave. Of this same land Grittenham is assessed at 1 hide, and on the west side of the river that is called the Avon, ‘East’ Sutton [i.e., Sutton Benger] is assessed at 10 hides, Rodbourne at 10, Corston at 10, Cowfold later Cole Park at 3 and Bremilham at 2 hides.

(xi) Likewise Brinkworth (Wiltshire). The land is assessed at 5 hides. This a certain noble man called Leofsige gave.

(xii) Likewise Highway (in Hilmarton, Wiltshire). The land comprises 11 hides. This King Æthelred gave.

(xiii) Likewise that land sic holds Littleton-on-Severn (Gloucestershire). The land comprises 5 hides. This Wenoth gave with the permission of King Æthelred.

Therefore, I, Edward, by the mercy of God king of the English, grant and direct that that church should be free and quit of every worldly burden, namely in shires and hundreds and pleas and suits and all gelds and customary dues. I grant also a full liberty to it, that is, sake and soke, toll and team and infangenetheof, manbrice, hamsocn, foresteal. Whoever, therefore, preserves this gift and liberty of ours, may the Lord lead him to the joys of Paradise. He who might indeed despise it, may he be drowned in the depths of Hell with his hands and feet bound.This aforementioned liberty was made in the year of the Lord’s incarnation one thousand 65, in indiction 4 [sic], these witnesses agreeing whose names are rehearsed below.

+ I, Edward, king of the English, confirmed the aforementioned gift with the sign of the holy cross and strengthened this with the imprint of my seal.
+ I, Edith, queen, agreed and praised.
+ I, Stigand, archbishop [of Canterbury], subscribed.
+ I, Ealdred, archbishop [of York], validated.
+ I, Heremann, bishop [of Ramsey/Sherborne], adquiesced.
+ I, Leofric, bishop [of Exeter], imprinted.
+ I, William, bishop [of London], favoured.
+ I, Harold, dux, confirmed.
+ I, Tostig, dux, wrote.
+ I, Gyrth, dux, inscribed [a cross] in front.
+ I, Leofwine, dux, subscribed.
+ I, Wæltheof, dux, pledged.
+ I, Æthelnoth, abbot [of Glastonbury], subscribed.
+ I, Ælfwig, abbot, subscribed.
+ I, Ordric, abbot [of Abingdon], subscribed.
+ I, Æthelsige, abbot [of St Augustine’s, Canterbury], subscribed.
+ I, Wulfric, abbot [of Ely], subscribed.
+ I, Beorhtric, abbot of the above-named monastery, after the muniments of our church had been read and diligently scrutinised, drafted this document and wrote it with my own hand and with the sign of the venerable cross confirmed, assembled [and] concluded [it].

34

(a) Bounds of Brokenborough.

1. First from the east side and the south where the stream which is called Gauze Brook meets the bank of the Avon between (Great) Somerford and wild-fowl pool.

2. From that boundary straight along the same stream of Gauze Brook [recte Rodbourne] to the middle of the ditch [or ‘dyke’] which is called dic, and from that [ditch or ‘dyke’] on this side of Startley to beu combe, from there to narrow brook.

3. And from there straight along Æthelmær’s boundary to clay gate, from there straight along the public street to king way, and from there straight to the east side [translating Old English ‘eastweard’] of hay furlong, from there to the boundary over Dodding’s down, and from there to Gauze Brook.

4. From that stream straight to hayward’s meadow, from that to the way, and straight along that way to king way, and along that way to the boundary-mark which is called dic, that is, ditch [or ‘dyke’], and from there to candel pond.

5. And from there to Wylfing’s burial mound, from that straight to the pear-tree, and from there beyond Pleg’s enclosure to lookout-hill, from the west part to the slope, and from there straight to the stream.

6. And along that stream to street-ford beyond lookout-wood [i.e., Twatley], and from there straight along the public street which from ancient times is called stret, now Foss, as far as the other street-ford, beneath bubbe thorn-tree, to the stream which is called Ingelbourne.

7. And along that stream straight to cidde marsh, from that to boundary spring or stream, from that eastward and southward to the blackthorn, from there along the heads of the yokes straight to Wulfgar’s boundary, from that southward along the boundary to Wina’s dell, from that to Ælfheah’s pit, from that to little bourne.

8. From that southward along the public street of Foss to the boundary of the demesne land, along the heads of the yokes to Eastmund’s stone, from there straight to the northern part of salt herpe, to the slade, from there to the pill, from the north side to the elder-tree, from there to the ditch paddock, and along that ditch all the way to the brook of the Chedglow people’s spring.

9. And along this stream to the valley, and from there to the public street, and along this directly to Kemelesage, and from there to the narrow way, and along that way to the boundary of the Crudwell people, straight along the greater way which extends to the ditch [or ‘dyke’] in the south part of Chelworth.

10. From there along the ditch to wood-ford, directly to the middle of the meadow of meadow-wood [or ‘clearing’], from there to stone wood [or ‘clearing’], from that to the south part of Etting’s hollow, from there directly to Dægberht’s hedge, from there to Col’s wood [or ‘clearing’].

11. Directly to ? round wood [or ‘clearing’], and from there straight along the hedge to broad wood [or ‘clearing’], and from broad wood’s hedge to the south part of grove ridge, and from there directly along the valley to wikke ditch, and from there along the furrow of the ploughland to the head of the furrow, to narrow way, and along this way to Primweald’s pit.

12. And from that to the stream of the Crudwell people’s spring, and along that stream to the middle of Poha’s wood [or ‘clearing’], and from there to the slough, from there to the ditch, and along that ditch straight to Wihthere’s stump, from that to Braydon Brook.

13. And along that stream to Æthelflæd’s boundary, directly to wite gate, from that to boreg wood [or ‘clearing’], from there to animal-fold on a street, and from that to the boundary-mark which is called apple-thorn [i.e., a crab-apple tree], and from that apple-tree along the public street to crooked bourne, and along that stream straight to grass bourne [i.e., Woodbridge Brook].

14. And along that stream straight to Ordwold’s wood, which is now called Braydon, and through this same wood about three miles to the boundary mark called hollow oak, and from that along the boundary to lime-tree bourne, and from there to bethan meadow, to the Ydover, and from there along the stream to limesule, and thus along the street to coueres gate, from there to Sunday.

15. And from there to the boundary of the scete, until it comes to the ditch, and thus along that ditch to the channel of the Avon.

(b)

Within the boundaries of the lands that are reported is the land containing 32 hides that was given for the clothing of the monks of Malmesbury, which had been bestowed upon these same men for the provision of clothing before the time of King Eadwig.

(c) Bounds of Sutton Benger.

And these are the boundaries of the ten hides belonging to the manor of Brokenborough which are part of the hundred hides mentioned above, that is Sutton. First where the boundary which is called roe-deer hedge extends to kettle spring. And from there to boundary brook, and along that brook into the Avon. From that straight along the stream straight to the east part of [translating Old English ‘eastweard’] sedge meadow, to broad stream.

35

Bounds of Rodbourne.

These are the boundaries of Rodbourne. First from the place which is called Rodbourne to fair thorn-tree. And from that thorn straight along the stream by short wood, and thus by the crossways to sand [or ‘gravel’] way. And from that way to short grove, and along short grove to the willow-bed, and from there to the heathen burial, or buriwelle, and from there on to Rowden (Hill). And thus over Rowden, and from that hill to the wild-iris bed on beue down, and from that place to Gauze Brook. And along Gauze Brook to the Avon, and along the Avon to waterfowl pool, and from waterfowl pool to the rith bourne [i.e., Rodbourne], and from that to the starting-place, that is, fair thorn.

36

These are the bounds of the five hides in the vill of Norton. First from the place which is called fowl pond straight along the street to narrow way. And from that way to Wealdhere’s spring, and from that spring straight along the stream to the boundary field, to the south (?) edge of lesser valley, and from that edge to the narrow way. And thus straight along the way to the long furlong, and thus southward along the headland to the elder-tree stump or pollard, and from that to the burh way. And thus from the way to pigeon thorn-tree, and from that thorn-tree by the mead to king’s way. And from that way straight toludec stone, and thus westwards straight along the way to Maidford. And from that to Bada’s mead, and from that mead to mud slade, and thus straight along the valley to the ditch [or ‘dyke’]. And along the ditch [or ‘dyke’] straight to the thorn-tree which stands on iron down, and from that thorn-tree by the enclosure belonging to the hide. And thus from [or ‘along’] the furrow straight to pirdes spring or stream, and thus straight through the valley to the starting-point, that is, fowl pond.

37

Bounds of the land at Chelworth. First from the place which is called priests’ pond to Braydon way. And from there to Col’s wood or clearing, and from that point to Dægbeorht’s hedge, and thus to the south part of etinges hollow. And from that along the woodbank southwards to Eadbalding’s wood or clearing, and thus to Chelworth. And there stands a ‘trunk’ across in the western part of the clearing, and from there southwards along the boundary beyond the wood to the ditch [or ‘dyke’], and along the ditch [or ‘dyke’] to the royal way which leads to Kemble gate. And thus to the thorn-tree which stands the lowest in the southern part of tæues [ortænes‘] valley, in the valley, and thus to Etting’s hollow, apart from one acre. Also twelve acres in the eastern part of Kemble ‘gate’; and ten acres in ‘cryseten moor’; and six acres in ‘lesser valley’; and four acres in mare; and, in the place called ‘separate’ in the east part of Crudwell, a small piece of land shared in common with the lands of Crudwell and Eastcourt.

38

These are the bounds of Eastcourt. First from Primweald’s pit northward to the boundary way, and from that place straight along the way to the inland. And then eastwards along the boundary of the inland to the north side [translating Old English ‘northweard’] of Braydon [or ‘broad way’; these are alternative names], that is, to nut grove, and from there along the woodbank to narrow brook, and thus along the stream straight to foul slough. And from this along the way to [something may be missing here] along the green way of the heath, and then south to the old way, and thus through the middle of the hanger to Wine’s wood [or ‘clearing’], and from that to Hickmoor stream. And thus along the stream to Hægweard’s slippery place, and then west along Braydon Brook to the great willow-tree, and from that to the foul slough, and from that place southward to the old ditch [or ‘dyke’], and from that straight along the ditch to the deep slough, and from that to the old way, and then by that same way to the middle of Poha’s wood [or ‘clearing’]. And from that leah, that is from the south part [translating Old English ‘suthweard’], westwards to a ditch, and from that ditch westwards [recte ‘eastwards’] to crudmores stream. And thus by the lake straight to the separate meadow. And from the southern part of that meadow which is called the southern meadow due west along the stream for the length of a furlong, and along the headlands of this furlong due south to the old ditch [or ‘dyke’], and from that ditch along the headlands of the acres back to the starting-point, that is, Primweald’s pit.

39

These are the boundaries of the land at Murcott. First along a certain stream straight to Braydon Brook, and along Braydon Brook straight to the broad willow-tree. And from that point straight by the slade and by south flax-clearing, that is, to the acre’s breadth. And from flax-clearing to the middle of the foxhole, that is, in the middle [translating Old English ‘middeweard’], and from that to the pit, and from the pit to (?) Poha’s wood or clearing, that is, in the middle. And from that to urd wood or clearing, and straight along the boundary to the ditch [or ‘dyke’] which is called dic, and from that to oak wood, and from oak wood to the southern part of the vill [i.e., Crudwell].

40

These are the boundaries of the land at Charlton. First from the place which is called look-out wood or clearing straight along the way to the north side [translating Old English ‘northweard’] of quiccaeleyen, and from there southward to the down, to the bare stump. And from there to the deep place, and from there to Odda’s stream, that is, to the dell, then along the stream to Æscwald’s ford. And thus straight along the way to ceaster brook, and then along the course (? of the stream) to the lude probably the common stream-name hlude, ‘loud ‘], and from that westwards beyond the hill to short slade. And then straight along the stream to cucwan spring, and from that spring to the wood-way of the people of Newnton, and thus along the way to the south part of the boundary of Hankerton. And then from that boundary to (?) sandy heath. And from that to the wood between two clausa, and thus along a certain way straight to the burned stump, and from that the old linear clearing in the north part [translating Old English ‘northweard’] of perer, and from there straight along the way to the starting-point, that is, look-out wood.

41

These are the boundaries of the land at Brinkworth. First from the place which is called Sunday to boar’s gate. And from that place straight along the linear clearing to the hedge of dutte moor, and thus straight to Geresburna [i.e., Woodbridge Brook]. And from that stream to Fæger’s tree, and from that straight along the road [or ‘linear clearing’] to the hollow brook, and from that to the Ydover [i.e., Brinkworth Brook]. And thus straight along the stream to the western part of boundary brook for the length of a furlong, and thus along the head of that furlong to (?) Etting’s hedge, and from that place to the starting-point, Sunday.

Moreover, there belong to the aforesaid land five hides by the land at Charlton and another (piece of) land which is called le wode felde [i.e., cleared land associated with a wood] by the land at Cleverton.

42

These are the boundaries of the land at Grittenham. First along the stream to Ludd’s enclosure. And from that to grute. And from that place to Æschun’s wooded hill, and thus proceeding to Dudding’s sheep-fold, and from that to a (?) shed associated with a cottage, and from that place to fern down. And thus to nohut spring, and from there proceeding to Ecghun’s gate, and from that place to little down. And from that hill to Bera’s thorn-tree, and thus to boundary stump, and from that to syndhurste, and from syndhurste to ram’s fold, and from that place to the great bourne. And from that to perpeles spring or stream, and from that fons to haepes pond, and from haepes pond to long pond, and from long pond to the outer scir.

43

In the vill of Purton are thirty-five hides of land and these are the boundaries of this land. First from the place which is called Lortingesburna [i.e., the river Key] to Teow’s thorn-tree, and from that place to Heremod’s thorn-tree. And from that to black pond, and from that place to the rough land with coarse grass. And from there northwards to the ditch which is called old ditch, and along that ditch straight to the rush-bed, and from there to the waterway called Worf. And thus straight along the stream to the spit of land, and from that place to the willow-tree, and from there to helnes [orhelues‘] thorn-tree. And from that place to lawe post, and from that to Bytel’s [or ‘beetle’s’] wood and thus to weorc wood. And from there to the front part [Old English forthweard] of brook-ridge, that is, in the front, and from that place to the animal fold. And from that to Cockridge. And from that place to crooked stream, and from that to the ditch which runs to wolf pond, and from that place by the apple-tree to the ash-tree. And thus from that to the gallows, and from that place to the dairy farm of maple-tree (?) hall. And from that to wether’s tree-stump, and from that to the ash-tree beyond gustinge wood. And from gustinge wood to the road [or ‘linear clearing’] northward, and from that road back to the starting-point, that is Lortinges bourne [i.e., the river Key].

44

Bounds of Dauntsey.

These are the bounds of the land at Dauntsey. That is, first from the place which is called Dauntsey, straight along the Avon to wood bridge. And from that place to Streng’s burial, and from that place straight along the ditch [or ‘dyke’] which is called old ditch, to bude gate, and from that place to the place which is called heathen burial, and from that place to the south corner of Grittenham. And from that to that tree which is called great tree, and from that beyond clytes combe to stone cliff. And from that place straight along by that place which is called the edge as far as that place which is called Scufa’s grove or barrow. And from that place to the spring which is called swine’s well, and from that spring to hay-clearing gate, and from that place straight to the bend of Dauntsey bourne. And from that place to the ridgeway, that is, across the heathen burial, and from that to the willow-bed, that is, to the same place which is called head-acre end. And thus from that place to the apple-tree stump, and from that place to the Avon, that is to the place which is called the sitch sic, [‘small stream’], and from that place straight along the Avon to the starting-point, that is, Dauntsey.

Bounds of Swannhammes mede. These are the boundaries of the meadow which is called Swannhammes mede, which belongs to Dauntsey. First from a certain place which is called torr [usually, ‘high rock’, ‘rocky peak’], which lies in the western part of this mead, to the middle of the thorn-tree which is called hawthorn. And from that thorn to the stream called Ydover, that is, against the old (?) gore And thus straight along the Ydover to the black pool, and from that place to a certain stone directly opposite the elder-tree, and thus from that stone straight along the way to the starting-point. that is, the torr.

45

These are the bounds of Bremhill. First from the place which is called marsh-harrier coomb to boundary valley. And from boundary valley straight along the course (of the stream) to the street. And from that street to Cat Brook, and from the head of that brook straight to the Avon. And thus straight along the Avon to Christian Malford, and from that place straight to huckeam [? Foxham]. And from that to the great tree, and from that place to the sand [or ‘gravel’ pit], and thus to the steep slope, and thus along the steep slope to stile way, and from that way to black marsh, and from that marsh back to the starting-place, that is marsh-harrier coomb.

46

These are the bounds of Ewen. First from high ridge to Peastone. And then to hlyde spring, and from that spring to the street called Foss [i.e., the Fosse Way], and thus to wolf dell, that is, the hoary stone. And from that to little barrow, and from that place to guuyte stone, and from that straight eastwards to the ditch [or ‘dyke’] wall, and thus along the ditch straight to the Thames. And thus along the Thames straight to the south part [translating Old English ‘suthweard’] of the old mill ditch. And from there westward to the east stream bridge in the southern part [translating Old English ‘suthweard’] of little marsh, and then straight to the boundary ditch, and from that ditch northward straight along the way to the starting-point, that is, the ridge in Peastone.

Likewise to the land named before belong twenty-three acres of meadow in feor marsh; and ten acres of arable land located in ? ‘Bica’s hill’; and sixteen acres and half a wood in Scefernus grove, between Poole Keynes and Kemble. Likewise the aforementioned vill has rights of pasture in the same meadow, which is called common marshland meadow, shared with other vills, namely Somerford (Keynes), Poole (Keynes) and Kemble.

47

These are the boundaries of the land of Littleton. First from lude pill by the Severn to col pill. And from that over heyt Cowhill, and from heyf Cowhill to flogges gate. And from that to peuelles brook, and by that stream to Stock’s brook. And from that to uale field, and from that place to Hay Wood. And from that to stone edge, and from that to eyshinige ditch. And from that to eluuisger, and from that straight to the corner of the little paddock, and from that corner to Elberton people’s ditch. And from that ditch to the ditch of the Cote people, and from that ditch to Rusholme’s pill, and along Rusholme’s pill straight to then back to lude pyll [i.e., Littleton Pill], and from that place to the Severn, and thus along the Severn back to col pill along the Severn and back to col pyll.

48

+ [I], Æthelstan, king of the English, grant, for me and my successors, to my burgesses and all their successors of the borough of Malmesbury, that they may have and hold all the taxes and their free customs just as they held them in the time of King Edward, my father, without diminution and honourably. And I direct all under my power that they should not do them injury and that they should be quit of any claim for burhbote, brigbote, wardwite, horngeld and scot. And I give and grant to them that royal heath of five hides of land near my small vill of Norton on account of their assistance in my fight against the Danes.

This charter of gift was made with my mark, with the attestation of Edmund, my brother, and with the counsel of Master Wolsin, our chancellor, and Odo, my treasurer, and Godwine.

Godwine, who bore the standard of the king, obtained this for the burgesses.

49

Wherefore I, Æthelbald, king, not only of the Mercians but also of the neighbouring peoples over whom Divine dispensation wished me to rule without judgment on my merits, freely granting bestow on the servant of God, Abbot Eanberht, land of 10 hides, into the control of the church of Christ, for the salvation of my soul and for the atonement of my misdeeds. That land is near the wood they call Tockenham, having nearby the tumulus that has the name Rada beorg, which land I grant with beneficent intent also with woods and meadows and all benefits belonging to it to the above-mentioned servant of God. If anyone should attempt to harm this gift, let him know that he will fearfully render account in the terrible examination of the whole world by God, the Judge of all.

+ I, Æthelbald, king, will confirm my own gift made for Christ with the mark of the very sacred cross.
+ I, Cynewulf, king of the West Saxons, agreeing also subscribe
+ Hand of Herewald, bishop [of Sherborne]
+ Hand of Milred, bishop [of Worcester]
+ Hand of Cyneheard, bishop [of Winchester]
+ Hand of Forthhere
+ Hand of Heardberht
+ Hand of Eadbald
+ Hand of Eada
+ Hand of Wada
+ Hand of Ealhmund
+ Hand of Cuthfrith
+ Hand of Ecgfrith
+ Hand of Scilling
+ Hand of Æthelric
+ Hand of Eoppa
+ Hand of Wigfrith
+ Hand of Ealhfrith
+ Hand of Cerdic

+ Hand of Tycca, abbot
+ Hand of Hereca, abbot
+ Hand of Cyneberht, abbot
+ Hand of Bægloc, priest
+ Hand of Ecgga, priest

50

Endorsement in the hand of the charter: + This is the charter of the land that King Æthelwulf gave to Wifrith, his thegn.

+ Our Lord Jesus Christ reigning forever, the highest and ineffable creator of things and regulator of the times of all things, Who arranging His manifold things imposes His power on the times as He wants the outcome to be and establishes a certain limit on their days for all those living in this life as He had purposed. To that end all must act so that through good deeds in this world one will deserve to gain the happiness of future blessing forever. Wherefore, I, Æthelwulf, by the Grace of God king of the West Saxons, on the holy and most celebrated solemn mass of Easter, for the salvation of my soul and the prosperity of the kingdom and the people bestowed on me by Almighty God, brought to fruition with the bishops, comites and all my magnates a beneficial plan that I should give a tenth part of the lands through my realm not only to the holy churches but also we have granted to our ministri appointed in this same kingdom to have them in perpetual liberty; so that such a gift should remain fixed and immutable, released from every royal due and all secular servitude.

It pleased Ealhstan, bishop of the church of Sherborne, and Swithhun,bishop of the church of Winchester, with all those serving God, that a congregation of the servants of God, being of one mind, should sing 50 psalms each week on the Sabbath day, and each priest two masses: one for King Æthelwulf, the other for the bishops and duces. For the living king: ‘God Who pardons the wicked’, for the bishops and his duces: ‘Stretch forth, o Lord’. For a dead king individually, for bishops and duces agreeing to this gift, as a whole, so that it will continue thus strengthened as long as faith and the Christian religion continues flourishing [reading ‘peruigeat’ for MS ‘perungeat’] undisturbed among the people of the English. We have done this in honour of our Lord Jesus Christ and of the blessed and ever-virgin Mary and all their saints indeed on the Paschal feast that is worthy of reverence in order that Omnipotent God will deem it worthy to be favourable towards us and our descendants.

This charter was written in the year of the Lord from the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ 854, in indiction 2, on Easter Day, in our palace that is called Wilton. Whoever should wish to enlarge our gift of penance, may Almighty God increase his prosperous days. If anyone should presume to decrease or change it, let him know that he will render account before the judgment-seat of Christ, unless he first atone with a penance.

That is the liberty that King Æthelwulf granted to his minister, Wifrith, to have as an inheritance in perpetuity: land of 1 hide in the place that is called Hardenhuish, enclosed by these boundaries. First on the east side of north island, then to the great mead, then to tydginc mead, then to the mill ditch [or ‘dyke’]. Then to ? sandy [or ‘chalky’] wood, then to scecles stead, then to the east side of ash-tree hurst, then to honey hurst, then to thunres field [‘of thunder’, i.e., ‘of Thor’], then to the burial mound associated with a spring. Then towren’s brook, then to wren’s spring, then to the water slade, then by the enclosure or hedge back to the east side of north island.

With these witnesses agreeing whose names are written below.

+ Æthelwulf, king.
+ Ealhstan, bishop.
+ Swithhun, bishop.
+ Æthelbald, dux.
+ Eanwulf, dux.
+ Osric, dux.

+ Æthelberht, dux.
+ Eanwulf, dux.
+ Lullede, dux.
+ Hunlaf, abbot.
+ Hunefrith, abbot.
+ Esne, minister.

+ Æthelred, son of the king.
+ Alfred, son of the king.
+ Cynewulf, minister.
+ Cuthwulf, minister.
+ Cyneheah, minister.
+ Nithmund, minister.

+ Ecgheard, minister.
+ Osmund, minister.
+ Milred, minister.
+ Lulling, minister.
+ Ecgwulf, minister.
+ Wulfred, minister.

+ Ealhstan, minister.
+ Ealdred, minister.
+ Eanmund, minister.
+ Cyma, minister.

02/08/2021