Archive: Worcester

A.D. 896 (Gloucester). Record of an agreement between Wærferth, bishop of Worcester, and Æthelwold concerning woodland at Woodchester, Bisley, Avening, Gloucs.; and at Scorranstone (? Sherston, Wilts.) and Thornbyrig (? Thornbury, Gloucs.) and swine-pasture at Longridge, Gloucs. English with bounds.


+ Rixiendum ussum Dryhtene þem Helendan Criste, Efter ðon þe agan was ehta hund wintra 7 syx 7 hundnigontig Efter his acennednesse, 7 þy feowerteoþan gebonngereDATING CLAUSE, þa ðy gere gebeon Æþelred alderman alle Mercna weotan tosomne to Gleaweceastre, biscopas 7 aldermen 7 alle his duguðe; 7 ðæt dyde be Ælfredes cyninges gewitnesse 7 leafe. 7 heo þa þær smeadan hu heo ryhtlicast heora þeodscipe ægþer ge for Gode ge for weorlde gehealdan mehton, 7 ec monige men ryhtan ge godcundra hada ge weorldcundra, ge on londum ge on ma þara þinga þe heo on forhaldne weran.

Ða cydde Werferð biscop þam weotum, þæt him wære forneh eall þæt wudulond ongereafad þe to Wuduceastre belomp, þæt Æþelbald cyning gesalde to Weogernaceastre, him to ecre ælmessan, Wilferðe biscope to mæstlonde 7 to wudulonde. 7 þæt sæde þæt hit wære sum genumen to Bislege, sum to Æfeningum, sum to Scorranstane, sum to Þornbyrig, þes þe he wende. Þa cwædan alle þa weotan þæt mon uðe þære circan ryhtes swa wel swa oþerre.

7 ða sona was Eðelwald þæs wordes þæt he no þes rihtes wiðsacan wolde, 7 sæde þæt Aldberht 7 Alhhun biscop wæron ær ymb þæt ilce; 7 cweð þæt he ælcre circan aa his dæla ryhtes uðe, 7 hit þa swiþe mildelice ageaf þam biscope. 7 heht his geneat, Ecglaf hatte, ridan mid Ceastersetna pre'o'ste Wulfhun hatte; 7 he hine þa gelædde all ða gemæru swa he him of þam aldan bocum rædde, hu hit ær Æþelbald cyning gemærude 7 gesalde.

Ða wilnede Æþelwald swa þeh to þam biscope 7 to þam higen, þæt heo him mildemode alefdan þæt he his moste brucan ða hw[ile] ðe he wære, 7 heo Alhmund his sunu; 7 heo hit woldon habban on his læne 7 hina; 7 he næfre ne heora nowðer hine bereafian wolde þære mæstreddene þe he him alefed hæfde on Longanhrycge þam tidum þe hine God him salde. Ond he þa Æþelwald þæt word gecwæð þæt hit aa hæfde ofer Godes est, þe hit hæfde butan þære circan hlaforde þe he hit to ageaf butan Alhmunde; 7 þæt þonne on ðam geran þe he heolde þa ilcan freondreddene þe he heold wið ðone biscop. Gif hit þonne geberie þæt Alhmund swa ða freondreddene haldan nolde, oððe hine mon oferricte þæt he ne moste londes wyrðe beon, oþðe ðridda wend, gif him ær his ende geselde, þæt þonne þære circan hlafard fenge to his londe, swa hit Mercna weotan on þam gemote gerahtan, 7 him ða bec wisedon þæs londes.

Þis wæs gedon on Æþelredes gewitnesse aldermonnes 7 on Æþelflæde 7 Æþulfes aldermonnes 7 Æþelferðes aldermonnes 7 Alhhelmes aldermonnes 7 Eadnoðes 7 Ælfredes 7 Werferðes 7 Æþelwaldes mæssepreostes 7 his agenra maga Æþelstanes 7 Æþelhunes 7 ec Alhmundes his agenes suna.

7 þus se Ceastersetna preost hit gerad 7 se Æþelwaldes geneat mid hine. ærost on Gemyðlege 7 þanon on Roddanbeorg silfne, þanon on Smececumb, þanon on Sengetlege, þanon on Heardanlege, þære is oðer noma Dryganleg, þæt swa on þa læssan Nægleslege, 7 swa to Æþelferðes londe. Þus him gewisede se Æþelwaldes mo[n] þa gemæru swa him þa aldan bec ryhtan 7 wisedon.

In the reign of our Lord Christ the Saviour, when eight hundred and ninety-six years had passed since His birth, and in the fourteenth Indiction, -- in that year Earl Aethelred summoned together at Gloucester all the Mercian council, the bishops and the earls and all his nobility; and this he did with the cognisance and leave of King Alfred. And then they deliberated there how they could most justly govern their people, both in spiritual and temporal matters, and also do justice to many men, both clerical and lay, with regard to lands and other things in which they had been wronged.

Then Bishop Werferth informed the council that he had been robbed of nearly all the woodland belonging to Woodchester, which King Aethelbald had given to Worcester, [handing it over] to Bishop Wilferth for mastland and woodland, and as a perpetual gift for the good of his own soul. And Werferth said that part of it had been abstracted at Bisley, part at Avening, part at Scorranstan and part at Thornbury, as far as he knew. Then all the council declared that justice should be done to that church as well as to [any] other.

Thereupon, Aethelwald said that he would not dispute the claim, and stated that Aldberht and Bishop Alhhun had formerly been occupied with this very matter; and he added that he was always ready to accede to the claims of every church to the best of his ability (?), and so very generously restored it to the bishop. And he ordered his geneat, whose name was Ecglaf, to ride with a priest from Worcester, Wulfhun by name; and Ecglaf led Wulfhun along all the boundaries, as Wulfhun read out from the old charters, how they had been determined of old by the grant of King Aethelbald.

Then, however, Aethelwald requested of the bishop and the community, that they would graciously allow him to have the use of the land as long as he lived, and also Alhmund his son; and they would hold it on lease of the bishop and the community; and neither he nor his son would ever deprive the bishop of the swine-pasture at Longridge, which he had granted him for as long as God should give it to him. And Aethelwald then declared that whosoever held this land would hold it under God's displeasure, except it be the lord of the church, to whom he had given it, with a reservation in favour of Alhmund; and this reservation, moreover, was to stand only for as long as Alhmund maintained the friendship which his father had had with the bishop. If, however, it should come to pass that Alhmund would not maintain his friendship, or if there should be proved against him a charge which disqualified him from holding land, or thirdly, if he died before [his father], then the lord of the church should take possession of his estate, as the Mercian council declared in this assembly, and as the charters of the estate directed him (or them).

This was done with the cognisance of Earl Aethelred and of Aethelfled, and of Earl Aethelwulf, Earl Aethelferth, Earl Alhhelm, Eadnoth, Alfred and Werferth, and of the priest Aethelwald, and his own kinsmen Aethelstan and Aethelhun, and also of Alhmund his own son.

And the following are the boundaries that the priest from Worcester rode over, and Aethelwald's geneat with him. First to Gemythleg, and then to Rodborough itself, then to Smececumb, then to Sengetleg, then to Heardanleg, otherwise called Dryganleg, and so to the lesser Næglesleg and then to Aethelferth's land. In this manner, Aethelwald's man showed him the boundaries, as the old charters directed and indicated to him.