Saxon Charters


                  AEFFE. ? ABOUT 960.

                            HATLEY AND POTTON

K. iv, 299 (no. 966).-B, iij, 282 (no. I062).-Chron. Rames (R..S. 83), 6z.

[Latin] " In the name of God. I AElfhelm and AEffe my wife make known by witness of this writing, to Ailwyn the eorlderman and many of our friends with him, that for the saving of our souls we have given and granted to God and to St. Benedict of Rameseie the land of


Hattenleia and the land of Pottune, with all that belongs to the same lands, for an everlasting gift of free alms. And in order that it may be held fit and firm in a generation yet to be born, we have strengthened the gift of our piety by the aid of this writing under the witness of all of them at Wathamstede."



                                      K., Vi, 211 (no. I352).

[Saxon]. " Here is, on this Christ's book, the witness of the half hide at Pottune, which AEfhelm gave to Leofsige his goldsmith, for his life, and after life to deal as might best him please. There were these for witness whose names are shown.

AElfhelm, his lord.   Wulfmaer, the bishop's brother.

Byrhtnoth, abbot.                    AElmaer Cild.

AElfgar, monk.                        Leofric, at Holewelle.

AElfhelm the younger.             Godric, his son.

AEpelhric}                             AEpelric, at Hernicwelle.

AElfwold }his twain sons.      AEfsige, priest. Osferth, priest."



      A.D. 969).


                                                   HATLEY AND POTTON.

K., iv, 299 (no. 967).----B., iii, 629 (no, I306).-T. 596.

[Saxon]. " Here is the declaration how AElfhelm has disposed of his property and his possessions, before God and before the world. That then is first, to his lord a hundred mancuses of gold, and two swords, and four shields, and four spears, and four horses, two caparisoned and two not caparisoned. . . . . And I give to AElfmaer and his brother AElfstan the two lands in severalty at Haettanlea and a Pottune, except that which I give to Osgar. . . . If ever any one avert or withdraw anything from this bequest, be from him God's mercy and his eternal reward for ever withdrawn, and he be never found in his mercy, but be he excommunicated from the community of all the chosen companies of Christ, unless he the more quickly that forsake and again turn to right." (Thorpe's translation).

                     No. X.-CHARTER OF GODRIC.


K., iv, 265 (no. 928).-Chron. Rames. (R.S. 83), r I z. [Latin] " I Godric grant to God and to St. Benedict of Ramesia after my life my land of Turingtona *, so, namely, that the abbot of the said church, Eadnoth my brother, may acquit it of the service which in English is called heregeat, in Latin relief of inheritance, which is wont to be paid to the lords by free heirs after the death of their fathers. I grant also to my younger son Eadnott the land of Acleya."

* Thorington, co. Suffolk.




K. iv, 257 (no. 919).-T. 585.-Chron, Rames. (R.S. 83), 173.

[Latin] " Be it known to all who read these that I Eadnoth and my wife have given and granted to God and to St. Benedict of Ramesia our land of Acleia as everlasting alms for the souls of us and of our fathers and mothers and of our children. Now this is the agreement which we have made with AElfwin the Abbot and the convent of Ramesia, indeed in our life-time.

We shall hold the land in the name of the church, but neither of us shall be able for any reason to give it elsewhere or to part it, or to seek a way by which it may be severed from the demesne of the said church; but after the death of both me and my wife, the whole shall pass together quit and free from all claim to the hand of the abbot and brethren. And when they shall hold it in demesne, they shall find therefrom two pounds in every year for AEtheric monk, our son, for clothing, in so far as AEtheric in view of this award may be humble and devout towards God, and biddable also to the abbot and his brethren. And if he by hap shall wish to return [to the world] andleave his frock and the monastery, let him take nothing at all further therefrom. And we have granted to Lefwin our man that virgate of land in which he has his dwelling, quit for his life; but after his death it shall return to the ownership of the church together with the main part; and we have given freedom to one half of the men who live .in serfdom on the land aforesaid. We pray therefore and beseech in the fearful name of God that no one shall grant or sell or in any wise part this land from the same church. But if any one shall have done this, be he accursed and cut off from all blessedness of the life now and of that to come, and be his dwelling with devils in hell, where their fire is not quenched and their worm dieth not."


AEthelstan Manessunu, when parting his lands which lay mainly in Co. Hunts. and Co. Beds., gave Clapham to his wife with remainder to Ramsey Abbey, and two hides at Hatley to his second daughter; to Leofsige (Lefsi) he gave the rest of his land at Hatley, and to his brother's son Potton, after the death of Affa, if he could prove against her that she had not power to give it to any one. 'This he failed to do (Chron. Rames. R.S. 83, 59-b2). Consequently Affa was able to dispose of it by the foregoing deed (no. vii).


How the pedigrees shown below are connected is not known; but Leofsige, who received grants from both AEthelstan and AERlfhelm described in the, Ramsey Chronicle as kinsman to both of them. It is reasonable to suppose that this is the same Leofsige as received land in Potton by no. viii., and further land in no. ix.

There can be little doubt that the Godric who married AElfhelm's daughter was Godric, brother of Eadnoth. AElfhelm himself is said (Cart. Rames., iii, 166) to have given Eccleye (probably = Accleye, in D.B. Achelai = Oakley ; but might possibly have been misread for Ettley ? = Hettenleye = Hatley) and Potton to Ramsey.

Of the other folk mentioned in these charters AEthelwin (Ailwyn), eorlderman of the East Angles, " the friend of God," was son of AEthelstan Half-King, and thus a connection of AElfhelm ; with St. Oswald, Archbishop of York, he founded Ramsey Abbey in 969, Eadnoth was brought by St. Oswald in 970 to be first Prior, then Abbot of Ramsey ; he became Bishop of Dorchester in 1008, and was killed in 1016 by the Danes at the. battle of Assandune, whither he went to pray for the success of the English arms.

Of course, there are many other Oakleys, and (Oakley in Northamptonshire has been suggested as the subject of charters x. and xi. But its collocation with undoubted Bedfordshire vills in the confirmation charter of the Confessor seems to point definitely to our Oakley. In Domesday Book the Abbot of Ramsey does not appear in possession of any Oakley, and the reason is probably given by the wail of the Chronicler about another estate : " But in what way we have lost all these lands we learn neither from writing nor tradition; but, as is believed, on the coming of the Normans-strangers seizing at their pleasure things strange to them-they allotted them all to a strange ownership, and our lot was to be lamented." (Chron. Rames. 172).

There is a little obscurity about the brothers of AElfhelm wolga. There seems to have been a brother of the same name AElfhelm the younger among the witnesses to no. viii, who is also referred to in the Liber Eliensis ; this younger AElfhelm had two sons, AEthelric and AElfwold, who were also witnesses to no'. viii. But the will of AElfhelm Wolga implies that he had brothers YEA thelric and AElfwold. The two statements are not incompatible, but further investigation is needed.



                                                     STUDHAM .

K. iv, 280 (no. 945)-T.374.

[Latin] " This is the charter which shows forth the agreement which Oswulf and AEpelipa his wife made with the lord Abbot Leofstan and with the monks of the church of St. Alban, when they entered into their brotherhood. And first Oswulf and AEpelipa his wife gave to the lord Abbot Leofstan and to the Monks of the church of St. Alban twenty shillings for charity . . . ., and offered to God and to his holy martyr St. Alban in great devoutness that land which is called 'at Stodham ' . . . with the consent and leave of King Eadward and Queen Eadgypa ... and they made this gift to God and to St. Alban for the souls of themselves and of all their kin .... and chiefly that noble dame namely AEpelipa obtained from her present lord, that is Oswulf, that this grant should be made for the soul of her former lord Ulf, who gave to her this vill. And afterwards they both prayed the lord Abbot Leofstan that he should give them timber to build in that vill a church in honour of our Lord Jhesus Christ and of St. Alban .... Nevertheless on the condition that as long as they should live they should have that land for their own use with the leave of the lord Abbot Leofstan, together with the monks, and on such terms that, in acknowledgment of that fact, they should give in every year twenty shillings towards duly feeding the monks, so long as they themselves should survive.

Witnesses thereof, who were at the dedication of the church aforesaid, are :

Wulfwi the Bishop                       Godric the [justice?]

Bondi the Staller                          AElfstan the Sheriff

Burhred                                        Leofwine de Cadendune."

Eadwine his son

After that the men named " and the rest of a countless crowd of each sex and every age " had borne witness, the Bishop, pronounced a fearsome curse on any who should interfere with this grant, to which all who were present answered Amen. Despite the curse, the grant does not seem to have taken effect, for in D.B. we find Studham in the possession of Robert de Todeni, and the holder T. R. E. recorded as Osuif, son of Frane, the grantor of the foregoing charter. No claim to Studham by the Abbot of St. Alban appears in D.B., but. it is enumerated (Gesta Abbatum, i, 507) in a list of lost possessions.