A.D. 854 (Wilton, Wilts., 22 April). Æthelwulf, king of Wessex, to the Church; general grant of land and privileges with specific grant to Wiferth, minister, of 1 hide (cassatum) at Hardenhuish, Wilts. ('Second Decimation'). Latin with English bounds




1. London, British Library, Cotton Charters viii. 35 (s. xi; BM Facs., ii. 32)


K, 270 and vol. iii. 394; Thorpe, pp. 108-9; B, 469


BM Facs., iv, p. 7, later imitation; HS, pp. 638, 639, doubtful; Stevenson 1904, pp. 187-8, 'written by a scribe who was not an Englishman in an imitative hand with may have been copied from an earlier (spurious) original'; Stenton 1918, p. 445 n. 57, spurious (= Stenton 1970, p. 59 n. 3); Grundy, Wilts., I, pp. 170-1, probably refers to Hardenhuish, Wilts., but no landmarks can be positively identified; Robertson, Charters, p. 275, suspicious; Finberg, ECW, no. 203, cf. chapter vi, esp. pp. 197-8, authentic, MS based on older original; Hart 1970a, p. 21, on rubric; Brooks 1974, pp. 231-2, apparent original is in a hand of s. xi, unconvinced by Finberg's arguments for authenticity; Keynes and Lapidge 1983, p. 233 n. 23, written in obviously imitative hand, apparently of 11th century; Nelson 1991, p. 58 n. 61, spurious; Keynes 1994b, pp. 1119-21, esp. p. 1121 n. 3, MS of disreputable appearance and uncertain date (? s. xi), but basic form of 'Second Decimation' charters seems acceptable; Smyth 1995, pp. 6-7; Nelson 2004, p. 17, on lay beneficiaries; Pratt, Alfred, pp. 66-7, on decimation

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    • + Regnante inperpetuum Domino nostro Iesu Christo, summo et ineffabili rerum creatori ac moderatori omnium tempora que sua multimoda disponens tempo\ri/bus potenciam ut uoluerit finem inponet et in a\c/ uita degentibus cunctis certum ut proposuerat dierum terminum constituet. Idcirco cunctis agendum est ut ic bonis actibus future beatitudinis felicitatem perpetualiter adipisci mereatur. Quapropter ego Æðelu\l/f, gracia Dei Occiduntialium Saxonum rex, in sancta ac celeberima paxchali solemnitate, pro mee remedio anime et regni prosperitate et populi ab omnipotenti Deo <mihi> conlato, consilium salubre cum episcopis, committibus et cu<n>ctis optimatibus me<is> perfecci, ut decimam partem terrarum per regnum non solum sanctis ecclesiiis darem, uerum eciam et ministris nostris in eodem co<n>stitutis in perpetua<m> libertatem <habere> concessiris; ita ut <t>alis donacio fixa incommutabilisque permaneat ab omni rega<li> seruicio et omnium secularium opsoluto seruitute. Placuit Alhstano episcopo Sciraburnanscis eclesie æt Suiðhun Uuentane eclesie episcopo cum omnibus Deo seru<i>entibus ut in unaquaque efdomada die sabato unianimis congregacio famulorum famularum<que> Dei .l. sælmos content, et unusquisque presbiter duos missas: unam pro Æðululuo rege, alteram pro episcopis et ducibus. Pro rege uiuente: Deus qui iustificas impium. Pro episcopis et ducibus eius: Pretende Domine. Pro rege defuncto specialiter; pro episcopis et ducibus communiter, anc consentientibus donacionem, ut tam roborato perseueret quamdiu fides et Christiana relegio in Agelorum gente inconcusso perungeat. Oc fecimus in onorem Domini nostri Iesu Christi et beate ac se<m>per uirginis Marie et omnium sanctorum <? suo>rum et pasxalis festi reuere<n>cia ut Deus omnipotens et <nobis et> nostris posterris propiciare dignet. Scripta est autem <h>ec cartula anno dominice ap incarnatione Domino nostri Iesu Christi .dccc.liiii., indictione .ii., die uero paxali, in palacio nostro qui dicit<ur> Wiltun. Qui augere uoluerit nostram donationem satisfaccionis, augeað omnipotens Deus dies <eius> prosperos. Si quis minuere uel mutare presumpserið, noscat se ante tribunal Christi redditurum racionem, nisi prius satisfacione emendauerit. Ista est libertas quam Æðelulf rex suo ministro Wiferðe in perpetuum ereditatem abere concessit, .i. cassati in loca que dicitur Heregear\d/ingc hiwisce, istis terminis circumdatis. Ærest on ða norð igge eastewearde; ðane on ða miclan med; ðone on tydginc mæd; ðonne on ða mylendic; ðone up to mealmehtanleahe; ðone to scelces stede; ðone on æsc hyrste æstewerde; ðone to hunig yrste; ðone to ðunres felda; ðonne on fontanhlewe; ðonne on wernan broc; ðonne on wrennan wylle; ðonne on þæt wæterslæd ðæt forð on hagan eft to ðere norð igge eastewearde. Istis testibus consentientibus quorum nomina inufra scribuntur. + Æðelulf rex. + Alhstan episcopus. + Swiðun episcopus. + Æðelbal<d> dux. + Eanulf dux. + Osric dux. + Æðelbreht dux. + Eannulf dux. + Lullede dux. + Hunlaf abbas. + Hunerferð abbas. + Esne minister. + Æðred fili<us> regis. + Ælfred fili<us> regis. + Cyneuulf minister. + Cuðuulf minister. + Cyneeah minister. + Niðmu<n>d minister. + Ecgheard minister. + Osmu<n>d minister. + Milred minister. + Lulli<n>g minister. + Ecuulf minister. + Uulfred minister. + Alhstan minister. + Aldred minister. + Eanmund minister. + Cyma minister.
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    • + 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 to wren’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.
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    Old Text

    • Endorsement in same hand: + ∂is seondan ∂es landes bec ∂e Æ∂elulf cyning Wifer∂e his ∂egne salde + Regnnante imperpetuum domino nostro Jhesu Christo summo et ineffabili rerum creatori ac moderatori omnium temporaque sua multimoda disponens tempo'ri'bis potenciam ut voluerit finem inponet et in a'c' vita degentibus cunctis certum ut proposuerat dierum terminum constituet idcirco cunctis agendum est ut ic bonis actibus future beatitudinis felicitatem perpetualiter adipisci mereatur . Quapropter ego Æ∂elu'l'f gracia Dei occiduntalium Saxonum rex in sancta ac celeberima paxchali solemnitate pro mee remedio anime et regni prosperitate et populi ab bo omnipotenti Deo conlato consilium salubre cum episcopis comittibus et cuctis optimatibus me perfecci ut decimam partem terrarum per regnum non solum sanctis ecclesiis darem verum eciam et ministris nostris in eodem constitutis in perpetuam libertatem concessiris ita ut alis donacio fixa incommutabilisque permaneat ab omni regab servicio et omnium secularium opsoluto servitute placuit Alhstano episcopo Sciraburnanscis eclesie æt Sui∂hun Uuentane eclesie episcopo cum omnibus Deo servientibus ut in unaquaque efdomada die sabato unianimis congregacio famulorum famularum Dei . l . salmos content et unusquisque presbiter duos missas unam pro Æ∂eluluo rege et alteram pro episcopis et ducibus pro rege vivente Deus qui justificos impium pro episcopis 7 ducibus [sigil like round-backed backwards E] prætende domine pro rege defuncto spetialiter pro episcopis et ducibus cummuniter anc consentientibus donacionem ut tam roborato perseveret quamdiu fides 7 christiana relegio in Agelorum gente inconcusso perungeat oc fecimus in onorem domini nostri Jhesu Christi 7 beate ac seper virginis Marie 7 omnium sanctorum t[uo]rum 7 pasxalis festi reverecia ut Deus omnipotens et nostris posterris propiciare dignet scripta est autem ec cartula anno ap incarnacione domino nostri Jhesu Christi . dccc . liiii . indiccione . ii . die vero paxali in palacio nostro quod dicitur Wiltun qui augere voluerit nostram donacionem satisfaccionis augea∂ omnipotens Deus dies prosperos si quis minuere vel mutare p's?seri∂ noscat se ante tribunal Christi redditurum racionem nisi prius satisfacione emendaverit . Ista est autem libertas quam Æ∂elulf rex suo ministro Wifer∂e in perpetuum ereditatem abere concessit . . i . cassati in loca q' di'ci'tur , heregear'd'ingc hiwisce , istis terminis circumdatis , 7 ærest on ∂a nor∂igge eastewearde ∂one on ∂a miclanmed ∂one on tydgincmæd ∂onne on ∂a mylendic ∂one up to mealmehtanleahe ∂one to scelces stede ∂one on æschyrste æstewerde ∂one to hunigyrste ∂one to ∂unres felda ∂onne on fontanhlewe ∂onne on wernanbroc ∂onne on wrennanwylle ∂onne on ˇæt wæterslæd ∂æt for ∂on hagan eft to ∂ere nor∂igge ; eastewearde , 7 istis testibus consentientibus quorum nomina inufra scribuntur: , + Æ∂elulf rex . + Alhstan episcopus . + Sui∂hun episcopus . + Æ∂elbal dux . + Eanulf dux . + Osric dux . + Æ∂elbreht dux . + Eannulf dux . + Lullede dux . + Hunlaf abbas . + Unerfer∂ abbas . + Esne minister . + Æ∂red fili reg[is] + Ælfred fili reg[is] . + Cyneuulf minister . + Cyneeah minister . + Ni∂mud minister . + Ecgheard minister . + Osmud minister . + Milred minister . + Lullig minister . + Ecuulf minister . + Uulfred . + Alhstan minister . + Aldred minister . + Eanmund minister . + Cyma minister .