King Æthelstan grants ten hides (mansae) at Priston, Somerset, and five at Cold Ashton, Gloucestershire, to the familia of St Peterís minster, Bath. A.D. Ď931í
In nomine Dei summi et altissimi. Certis asstipulationibus sancti et iusti patres frequentatiuis orationibus admonent ut Deum quem diligimus et credimus intima mentis affectione cum bonorum operum diligentia incessanter timeamus et amemus, qui retributionem omnium actuum nostrorum in die examinationis iuxta uniuscuiusque meritum reddet, ideoque subtilissima mentis certatione illum imitari satagimus. Licet mortalis uit= pondere pressi et labentibus huius seculi possessionibus simus infecati, tamen miserationis eius largitate caducis opibus =terna c=lestis uit= pr=mia mercari queramus. Quapropter ego Æðelstanus, desiderio regni c=lestis exardens, fauente superno numine basyleos Anglorum c=terarumque gentium in circuitu persistentium, litterarum <apicibus> commendare procuraui, ne aut incuria successorum nostrorum aut inuidia quadam uel perfidia nostra dicta uel facta futuri successu temporis negarentur et ad controuersiam nostris successoribus demum deuenire potuerint, quod cum consensu ac licentia episcoporum meorum ac multorum optimatum Deo omnipotenti et sancto Petro apostolo ac uenerabili famili= qu= sita est in loco celebri ubi ruricole appellatiua relatione nuncupantur æt Baðum, deuota mente intus ad =cclesiam donans donabo perpetuis temporibus decem mansas in loco qui dicitur Pristun et quinque in alio loco qui dicitur Æsctun, et mandatum commendamus in nomine altithroni gubernatoris ut nullus superueniat hominum inflatus gressibus superbi=, nec rex nec episcopus nec princeps nec prepositus nec person= alicuius habitus qui hanc prefatam libertatem in alicuius oneris molestia mutare audeat, aut in diebus nostris uel successorum nostrorum, sed sit libera ab omni mundiali iugo, exceptis istis, expeditione, pontis arcisue renouatione, cum omnibus qu= ad ipsum locum pertinere dinoscuntur, campis, pascuis, pratis, siluis, eatenus ut pro meis delictis patrisque mei Ædweardi regis cotidie missas pro nobis saluberrimas Deo offerant et dulcisonas modulationes psalteriorum armis spiritalibus contra inuisibiles hostes pro nobis dimicare non cessent. Si quis autem prescriptis statutis noluerit consentire aut obedire, sciat se alienum esse a consortio sanct= Dei =cclesi= et a corpore et sanguine Domini nostri Iesu Christi per auctoritatem beati Petri apostoli sociorumque eius, nisi prius digna emendauerit p=nitentia ante mortem.
Sciantque sapientes regionis nostr= nos has terras prefatas non iniuste rapuisse rapinamque Deo dedisse, sed sic accepi eas quemadmodum iudicauerunt omnes optimates regionis Anglorum, insuper et apostolicus papa Roman= =cclesi= Iohannes, Ælfredo defuncto qui nostre felicitati et uit= emulus extitit, nequiti= inimicorum nostrorum consentiens, quando me uoluerunt, patre meo defuncto, cecare in ciuitate Wintonia, si non me Deus sua pietate eripuisset, sed denudatis eorum machinamentis remissus est Ælfred ad Romanam =cclesiam ut ibi se coram apostolico Iohanne iureiurando defenderet, et hoc fecit coram altare sancti Petri. Sed facto iuramento cecidit coram altare et a manibus suorum famulorum portatus est ad scolam Anglorum, et ibi tercia nocte uitam finiuit. Et tunc apostolicus ad nos remisit et quid de eo ageretur a nobis consuluit, an cum c=teris Christianis corpus eius poneretur. His peractis et nobis renuntiatis, optimates nostr= regionis cum propinquorum illius turma efflagitabant omni humilitate ut corpus illius per nostram licentiam cum corporibus poneretur Christianorum, nobisque illorum efflagitationi consentientibus Romam remisimus, et consentiente papa positus est ad c=teros Christianos quamuis indignus esset, et sic iudicata est mihi tota possessio eius in magnis et in modicis. Sed et h=c apicibus litterarum prenotauimus, ne quandiu Christianitas regnet aboletur, unde mihi prefata possessio quam Deo et sancto Petro dedi donaretur. Nec iustius noui quam Deo et sancto Petro hanc possessionem darem, qui emulum meum in conspectu omnium cadere fecerat, et mihi sanitatem et regni prosperitatem largiti sunt.
His testibus consentientibus quorum inferius nomina recitantur. Anno dominic= incarnationis .dccccxxxi. acta est h=c pr=fata libertas.
Ego Æþelstan rex totius Brittanni= prefatam donationem cum sigillo sanct= crucis confirmaui. +
Ego Ædmundus eiusdem regis frater consignaui. +
Ego Ædred eiusdem regis frater consignaui. +
Ego Wulfhelm Dorobernensis =cclesi= archiepiscopus eiusdem regis donationem cum tropheo agy= crucis consignaui. +
Ego Þeodred Lundoniensis =cclesi= episcopus consignaui. +
Ego Ælfheah Wintoniensis =cclesi= episcopus triumphale tropheum agy= crucis impressi. +
Ego Caenwald episcopus predictum donum consensi.
Ego Oda episcopus confirmaui. +
Ego Ælfric episcopus consensi. +
Ego Wulfhelm episcopus consignaui. +
Ego Burhric episcopus consensi. +
Ego Æþelgar episcopus roboraui. +
Ælfhere dux. +
Wulfgar dux. +
Æþelward dux. +
Æþelstan dux. +
Ælhhelm dux. +
Æþelmund dux. +
Uhtred dux. +
Ædmund mií tí.
Ælfred mií tí.
Ordeah mií tí.
Odda mií tí.
Wulfsie mií tí.
Wulfric mií tí.
Ædric mií tí.
Ælfric mií tí.
Wullaf mií tí.
Ælfsie mií tí.
Ælfsie mií tí.
Ædmund mií tí.
Wihtgar mií tí.
Wulfgar mií tí.
Æþered mií tí.
Wulfhelm minister testis.
Þis sindon þæra .x. hida land gemæru æt Prisctune. Ærest on þone ealdan edenan ford, of þam forda on hwitda cumb, 7lang cumbes ongen strem on þone herepaþ, 7lang herepaðes west on þone þyrla stan, of þam stane on þone haran stan, 7 of þan stane innan þone ealdan sele, 7 of þam sele norþ on gerihte innan Loxan, 7lang Loxan ongen strem on leommannes graf westeweardan, þonne norþ 7lang þære ealdan dic on readan ford, of reada forda on þa stræt, 7lang stræt up on gerihte on Wynma dune westewearde on þone herepað, 7lang herepaðes east on gerihte on ælfsiges stan, of þam stane eft adun on þone ealdan edenan ford.
Þis synd þa land gemæru þara .iii. hyda to Æsctune. þæt is fram Heort leage westeweardre 7langes mærheges þæt up on wadham, þonne be egce on eanswyþe wyllas, þonne up rihte on þa hwyrfeldic, fram þære dic to þam crundelum, fram þam crundelum oþ midne þone þone readan weg, þonne adun rihte ut þurh þone sceagan oþ þa lege, þonne be wyrttruman oþ þa rode neoþewearde, þonne be westan rode oþ sticelan stig, þonne be þære stige oþ þa ealdan dic, þonne west andlang dic on þone æsc, þonne norþ on gerihte on þæt ealde hlypiget, of þam gete 7lang herpoþes on þæt fule sloh, of þam <slo> west be wyrttruman to Cocggan hylle, þonne be graue neoþeweardan oþ Cattys gett, þonne be ecge oþ Holan wege, eft be ecge oþ holan wylle, þonne to þam lam pytte, fram þam pytte east on þa hæþenan byrigelsas, þonne of þam byrgelsum to þam sealt herpoþe, 7lang herpoþes oþ æþelmodes wudu, þonne suþ be wuda oð eddes dene, of þære dene middeweardre licgaþ twegen æceras on norþhealfe, þæt eft on þa ilcan dene, 7langes dene eft on mærweg, 7lang mærweges on mapodor leage, be easton þere leage twegen æcreas, of þam æcerum on hlemmes dene, 7lang dene on hlamnys wylle, 7lang broces to þæs cinges gemyþan, of þam gemyþan west be broce to linleg wylle, of þære wylle on þa Hyle, þonne be þære Hyle upp 7lang slædes to Hafoc wylle, of Hafoc wylle eft on Heort leage westeweardre.
Edition: Charters of Bath, ed. S. E. Kelly, Anglo-Saxon Charters 13 (The British Academy, forthcoming), no. 5. For apparatus criticus and a detailed commentary see this edition.
In the name of God the supreme and most high. With assured corroboration holy and just fathers admonish us with 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 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, have taken 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 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 Bath, ten hides in the place that is called Priston and five in another place that is called Cold Ashton, 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, pastures, meadows [and] woods, to the end that for my sins and [those] of my father, King Edward, they will offer beneficial masses daily to God for us and the melodious melodies of psalm-singing will not cease to fight for us with spiritual arms 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 with a worthy penance before death.
Let wise men of our realm know that we have not seized these aforementioned lands unjustly and given the plunder to God, but I have accepted them just as all the nobles of the realm 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 ended his life on the third night. And then the pope sent word 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 word 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 aforementioned 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 Lordís incarnation 931.
I, Æthelstan, king of all Britain, confirmed the aforementioned gift with the seal of the holy cross.
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, archbishop 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 to the aforementioned gift.
I, Oda, bishop [of Ramsbury], confirmed. +
I, Ælfric, bishop [of Hereford], agreed. +
I, Wulfhelm, bishop [of Wells], made the sign of the cross. +
I, Burgric, bishop [of Rochester], agreed. +
I, Æthelgar, bishop [of Crediton], validated. +
Ælfhere dux. +
Wulfgar dux. +
Æthelweard dux. +
Æthelstan dux. +
Ealhhelm dux. +
Æthelmund dux . +
Uhtred dux. +
Wulfhelm minister, a witness.
These are the boundaries of the ten hides at Priston. First on the old edenan ford; from the ford to hwitda coomb; along the coomb upstream to the high-road; west along the high-road to the pierced stone; from the stone to the hoarstone; from the stone into the old willow; from the willow due north to the Lox; along the Lox upstream to the west part of Leomannís coppiced wood; then north along the old ditch [or Ďdykeí] to red ford; from red ford to the street; along the street straight up to the west part of wynma down to the high-road; along the high-road due east to Ælfsigeís stone; from the stone back down to the old edenan ford.
These are the bounds of the three hides at Ashton, that is, from the west side of hart wood along the boundary hedge up to woad enclosure; then along the edge to Eanswithís springs; then straight up to the circle ditch; from the ditch to the dells; from the dells to the middle of the red way; then straight down out through the small wood to the clearing; then along the woodbank to the lower part of the ride; then by the western ride to steep path; then along the path to the old ditch [or Ďdykeí]; then west along the ditch [or Ďdykeí] to the ash-tree; then due north to the old leap-gate; from the gate along the high-road to the foul slough; from the slough west along the woodbank to Tog Hill; then by the grove downwards to catís gate; then along the edge to hollow way; back by the edge to hollow spring; then to the loam pit; from the pit east to the heathen burials; from the burials to the salt high-road; along the road to Æthelmodís wood; then south by the wood to Eddiís valley; from the middle of the valley two acres lie on the north part; then back to the same valley; along the valley back to boundary way; along boundary way to maple wood; to the east of the wood [lie] two acres; from the acres to hlemmes valley; along the valley to hlamnys spring; along the brook to the kingís confluence; from the confluence west along the brook to flax-clearing spring; from the spring to the Hyle; then along the Hyle up along the slade to hawk spring; from hawk spring back to the west side of hart wood.
Translation: David A. E. Pelteret, with the translation of the bounds adapted from Charters of Bath, ed. S. E. Kelly, Anglo-Saxon Charters 13 (The British Academy, forthcoming), no. 5.