Winchester, Old Minster

The church of St Peter and St Paul at Winchester (known from the tenth century as the Old Minster, and later as the Priory of St Swithun) was founded by Cenwealh, king of the West Saxons (642-72), some time between 648 and 660.  It soon became an episcopal seat for the kingdom of Wessex, sharing that distinction in the early Anglo-Saxon period initially with Dorchester-on-Thames (HE iii. 7), and subsequently with Sherborne (HE v. 18).  One should not imagine, however, that the church of Winchester was guaranteed pre-eminent status among the religious houses of Wessex, or that its history was a tale of uninterrupted success.  The church may have been founded by Cenwealh, but on his death ‘sub-kings took upon themselves the government of the kingdom, dividing it up and ruling for about ten years’ (HE iv. 12), and thereafter the kingship of the West Saxons seems to have passed into the hands of representatives (or putative representatives) of other branches of the West Saxon royal kin.  The reign of King Ine (688-726) was evidently of critical importance in the development of the kingdom of Wessex, though there is little indication that he was especially concerned to foster Winchester interests; progress was impeded for the remainder of the eighth century by rivalry between those who aspired to royal power; and it was not until the early ninth century that King Ecgberht (a collateral descendant of Ine) established the dynasty which would eventually prevail.  No one church was so strongly identified with the royal office that it could have enjoyed royal patronage under these circumstances, at all times; so while the church of Winchester fared well under certain rulers, it often had to endure what may have amounted to studied disregard.  The fortunes of Winchester were, however, transformed during the central decades of the tenth century.  The appointment of Æthelwold as bishop of Winchester in 963 gave a key role to one whose methods were as uncompromising as King Edgar’s, and no less effective.  <The secular clergy were forcibly driven from the Old Minster in 964.  Translation of the relics of St Swithun in 971 accompanied by literary and architectural display; Æthelwold’s pupils started to generate the idea that drastic reforms had been necessary.  By the end of the Anglo-Saxon period the church had accumulated massive endowments in Hampshire, Wiltshire, and elsewhere; comparison with Glastonbury, Ely, Abingdon; process of endowment different from Worcester.  A clear distinction is made in the Domesday survey between estates which belonged to the bishop and estates assigned for the support of the monks; the distinction had probably originated before the Conquest, and there is some evidence (e.g. S 1391) that the ‘bishop’s charters’ were kept apart from those of the monks.>  <Henry of Blois (1129-71).>

The principal cartulary of the Old Minster is BL Add. 15350 (Davis 1042), known to modern scholarship as the ‘Codex Wintoniensis’.  <Remarks on the overall character of the collection.>  In the light of Dr Rumble’s palaeographical examination of the manuscript as a whole (Rumble, ‘Purposes of the Codex Wintoniensis’), a useful distinction can be made between three main elements in the development of the manuscript as a physical object:

(i) ‘Cod. Wint. I’ designates the original compilation, comprising the texts copied on fols. 9-111, written by one main scribe in the second quarter of the twelfth century, in collaboration with at least one other scribe.  The contents are listed in the entry for Add. 15350 in Sawyer’s catalogue (p. 49), extending from S 821 (fol. 9rv) to S 1018 (fol. 111v), and excluding the charters specified under (ii) and (iii) below.  The texts of six charters of King Edgar (S 823, 815, 822, 816, 827 and 818), forming the tail-end of a longer series (below, p. 000), on fols. 11v-13v, and the texts of two charters of King Eadwig (S 598 and 653), on fol. 67rv, were copied by a second scribe, working in collaboration with the main scribe.  One text which belongs to ‘Cod. Wint. I’ fell outside the scope of Sawyer’s catalogue: the record of dues rendered to Taunton (P 144: Charters, ed. Robertson, App. I, no. 4), on fol. 27rv.  <S 1008 is followed by a detached boundary-clause for the same estate, to be registered as S (Add.) 1559a.>  <NB ‘second’ scribe is technically ‘Cod. Wint. II’ (Rumble, ‘Purposes’, p. 224, n. 8); but texts on fols. 11-13 and 67 appear to be integral part of the original compilation.>

(ii) ‘Cod. Wint. II’ designates additions made by various scribes in the mid and later twelfth century, at the beginning and at the end of ‘Cod. Wint. I’.  Its consituent elements may be summarised as follows: a table of contents, on fol. 3r; a series of charters of King Stephen, et al., on fols. 4r-6r; one miscellaneous group of charters (S 946, 1820, 1821, 889, 836, 1154, 1376, 807 and 1449), on fols. 6r-8v; and another miscellaneous group of charters (S 336, 849, 683, 259, 354, 1277, 281, 857, 835, 699, 1274, 1013, 925, 972, 439, 1817, 820, 976), on fols. 111v-116v.  Two texts which belong to ‘Cod. Wint. II’ fell outside the scope of Sawyer’s catalogue: a decree in the name of Archbishop Theodore (S (Add.) 1428a), on which see K. Cubitt; and a text relating to the division of bishoprics in the tenth century (S (Add.) 1451a), which occur between S 336 and 849, on fol. 112rv.  <S 1428a and 1451a are not land-charters in any sense, but they need to be registered and edited with the rest lest they be forgotten.>

(iii) ‘Cod. Wint. III’ designates thirteenth- and fourteenth-century additions made by various scribes, as follows: the bounds of Crondall (S 1559), on fol. 7v; a pair of documents pertaining to the New Minster, Winchester, comprising the record of the foundation of the New Minster (S 1443), on fol. 8r, and the so-called writ of Eadwine the child-master (S 1428), on fols. 116v-117r; three ‘detached’ boundary clauses (S 1558, 804, 874), on fol. 117r; a purported charter of King Æthelwulf (S 325), on fol. 117v; and a set of four more charters (S 449, 547, 800, 938), on fols. 118r-119r.  <Further post-Conquest additions at end.>

‘Cod. Wint. I’ is perhaps the grandest of all cartularies containing Anglo-Saxon charters, and immediately creates the impression that its purpose was something more than utilitarian.  It was probably compiled within the first decade of the episcopacy of Henry of Blois, bishop of Winchester (1129-71) and brother of King Stephen; and it is to be seen, first and foremost, as a product of the bishop’s concern to establish the property rights of his church at a time when King Stephen was soliciting ecclesiastical support (Rumble 1982, pp. 157-8 and 162-4).  Yet it should be noted that although ‘Cod. Wint. I’ was clearly conceived as a ‘historical’ compilation, in the sense that its scope was restricted to documents of the period before the Conquest, the compiler made no attempt to present the material in the form of a coherent history of the endowment of his church.  The Norman kings (including Henry I and Stephen) had overtly committed themselves to respect the laws and customs which had been enjoyed ‘in the time of King Edward’, and it may be that a compilation of such a kind was essentially intended to symbolize the ancient rights to which the church aspired.  There is certainly no indication that the compiler selected, doctored or arranged the charters to suit a more specific contemporary purpose, and it seems in general that he was content to accumulate as much material as he could, to reduce it to some form of order, and to transcribe the texts in a manner best calculated to impress.  The result in physical terms is magnificent; but in various respects the documents copied in good faith by the compiler of ‘Cod. Wint. I’ do not cohere well as a collection. 

‘Cod. Wint. I’ in fact represents multiple layers of muniments which had accumulated at Winchester in the period before the Conquest, mixing together a large number of authentic title-deeds with documents of more suspicious character, themselves produced in a variety of different circumstances.  There is no reason to doubt that the see of Winchester should have been able to claim an ancient endowment, and it may even have had some charters to prove it.  It is evident, however, that it would have been difficult for Winchester to maintain its position throughout the eighth, ninth and tenth centuries, and that the church would have lost many estates at the same time as it gained others.  Some losses could be attributed to the actions of kings who needed additional resources for their own purposes, or to the actions of royal officials who were able to exploit local power to their own advantage; and other losses would have occurred as a consequence of the actions of the bishops themselves, in the leasing, exchange or sale of their property.  The close relationship which Bishop Æthelwold enjoyed with King Edgar may have helped Æthelwold to recover some estates by litigation in the 960s, and to secure fresh acquisitions; but the circumstances in which the monks had been introduced to the Old Minster in 964 would equally have meant that Winchester might have been quite badly affected by the disturbances which followed the death of King Edgar in 975, and that of Bishop Æthelwold himself in 984.  Winchester’s growing prestige would doubtless have attracted benefactions from the laity in the later Anglo-Saxon period; but again, the church would always have had to contend with the disappointed heirs of the benefactors, and it must also have been affected by further demands on its resources in times of unrest.  There would have remained the immediate consequences of the Norman Conquest, and then the need to convince the Domesday commissioners of the particular rights enjoyed by the church on the day that King Edward was alive and dead.  In many of these respects, Winchester was no different from other churches; but clearly, as elsewhere, the monks of Winchester would have had plenty of reasons for resorting to the forgery of charters already before the Conquest, whether simply to gratify their own pretensions, or in more serious attempts to recover what they considered to be rightfully theirs.

The great majority of the texts in ‘Cod. Wint. I’ which arouse a degree of suspicion are cast directly in favour of the church, and fall into readily identifiable groups.  The cartulary begins with a series of charters purporting to represent King Edgar’s confirmation of the abbey’s title to several of the principal estates known to have formed part of its endowment at the end of the Anglo-Saxon period (S 821, 817, 825, 814, 819, 824 and 826); these are followed by further charters of similar import (S 823, 815, 822, 816, 827 and 818), written by a different scribe but clearly intended to form part of the same series.  Several of these charters incorporate statements regarding the abbey’s ancient interest in the lands in question, and collectively they appear to stand for a major re-endowment of the Old Minster effected by King Edgar at the instigation of Bishop Æthelwold; yet they are not dated, and have no bounds or witness-lists, as if they had never been formally ratified at a meeting of the king’s council, or as if the person responsible for drawing them up in this form had not completed the task.  For further discussion, see Finberg, ECW, pp. 214-48; and compare John, ‘The Church of Winchester and the Tenth-Century Reformation’.  Two other suspicious series of charters, issued in the names of King Ecgberht (S 272-6 and 284) and King Edward the Elder (S 358-9, 372-3, 375-8, 381-5), are scattered about in ‘Cod. Wint. I’, but should evidently be approached in much the same way as the Edgar group, and all in relation to each other; and of course there are charters in the names of various other kings which presumably formed part of the same story.  Indeed, it is striking that many of the estates which (to judge from Domesday Book) must have been of the greatest importance to the church (e.g. Alresford and Chilcomb in Hampshire, Downton in Wiltshire, and Taunton in Somerset) are covered by a profusion of purportedly ‘direct’ grants, whereas the majority of the church’s smaller and scattered holdings are represented only by title-deeds in favour of laymen.  It is no less striking that of the several charters from the Winchester archive which happen to survive in single-sheet form, it is those cast in favour of laymen which are found to be apparently ‘original’, and those cast directly in favour of the bishop or the church which prove to be ‘later copies’, or forgeries - produced in the late tenth or the eleventh century (S 313, 376, 443 and 540).  But while any charter from the Winchester archive which is of direct benefit to the church should be approached with caution, there are some which do have every appearance of being genuine; and besides, even the most blatant of forgeries were normally produced by the adaptation of authentic documents for the particular purpose in hand.

<NB group of charters in early 1040s, of Harthacnut and Edward, for other estates; inter-related; S 994 and 1008 extant as originals, by same scribe; S 1009 for Earl Godwine.  Some need to represent estate as having been in hands of a particular layman.>

The occurrence of a large number of presumably tenth- and eleventh-century forgeries in ‘Cod. Wint. I’ should not be allowed to detract in any way from the importance of the cartulary as a repository of numerous authentic title-deeds for the church’s estates.  King Cædwalla’s grant of land at Farnham, in Surrey, to Cedde, Cisi and Criswa, for the foundation of a minster (S 235), is the earliest, and perhaps the most remarkable; it was presumably ‘acquired’ when the land at Farnham came into Winchester’s possession.  In general terms, the compiler’s method was to work through the estates which formed part of the church’s endowment (of which he provides a fairly comprehensive coverage); no obvious distinction is made between the lands known (from Domesday Boook) to have been assigned to the bishop and the lands assigned to the monks, except in so far as charters relating to the bishop’s lands are (or happen to be) concentrated in the earlier part of the cartulary, and no obvious attempt is made to claim (implicitly or explicitly) estates which had once but no longer belonged to the church.  The compiler tended to group together all the charters which (so far as he could tell) related to a particular place; if he was able to include among them a charter directly in favour of the church, he would naturally do so, but in some cases his choice was evidently restricted to title-deeds cast in favour of laymen.  Most of the resulting groups of charters are quite straightforward.  For example, the church’s major holding at Downton (and Ebbesborne), in Wiltshire, is covered by four (spurious) charters directly in favour of Winchester (S 229, 275, 393, 540), by King Æthelred’s (authentic) charter restoring the estate to the Old Minster in 997 (S 891), and by five earlier tenth-century title-deeds for different components of the estate, in favour of laymen (S 522, 635, 640, 696, 861).  The church’s holding at Pitminster, in Somerset, is covered by a charter of Edward the Confessor granting the estate to Winchester (S 1006), followed by two tenth-century charters for laymen (S 440, 475), representing earlier title-deeds.  The church’s holding at Rimpton, in Somerset, is covered by a vernacular document recording Brihtric’s grant of the reversion of the estate to the Old Minster (S 1512), in which he states that ‘he gives to the Old Minster the title-deed which King Eadred granted to him, as a supplement to the old title-deed which King Æthelstan granted’; both of these earlier title-deeds (S 441, 571) occur in the same group.  The church’s holding at Harwell, in Berkshire, on the other hand, is covered only by three tenth-century charters for laymen (S 672, 790, and 856).  Yet several of these groups of charters present a curious problem.  For example, the church’s holding at Easton, near Winchester, is covered by a charter of King Edgar granting the estate to Bishop Brihthelm (S 695), and by a much earlier lease issued in the name of Bishop Ealhferth, with reversion of the estate to Winchester (S 1275); but in between these two documents the compiler copied the texts of four tenth-century charters for laymen - one relating to a different but unidentified Eastune (S 748), two relating to ‘Astons’ in Shropshire (S 723, 802), and one relating to an ‘Aston’ in Staffordshire (S 574).  Similarly, the church’s holding at Ham, in Wiltshire, is covered by the will of Wulfgar bequeathing the estate to Winchester (S 1533) and by King Æthelstan’s charter for Wulfgar himself (S 416); but these documents are then followed by a charter of King Edgar granting Ham, in Essex, to Ealdorman Æthelstan (S 676).  There are five other instances, or apparent instances, of the same phenomenon, producing a total of about 15 charters which seem to have been ‘intruded’ in this way into distinct groups of Winchester title-deeds.  The charters in question are S 680, 487, 840, 803, 400, 748, 723, 802, 574, 860, 676, 868, 831, 675 and 608 (plus S 467 in ‘Cod. Wint. II’, and S 547, perhaps, in ‘Cod. Wint. III’), though this list might require modification in the light of further study; the problem is to find a common denominator between them.

It is evident that the occurrence of ‘intrusive’ charters in ‘Cod. Wint. I’ was determined by the existence of a Winchester estate with the same name, and it would follow that the intrusive charters had been selected (at some stage) from a much larger collection.  Professor Finberg suggested that the compiler of the cartulary was able to draw the supplementary material from a stock of charters other than that of the Old Minster itself, and he speculated that the repository in question was none other than a royal archive at Winchester (ECWM, pp. 20-2).  The idea was explored by Dr C. R. Hart, who produced the hypothesis that throughout the period from c. 964 to 1066 the monks of Winchester had been accustomed to supplement their own archives by abstracting documents from a royal collection of duplicate charters housed at Winchester (Hart, ‘The Codex Wintoniensis and the King’s Haligdom’); indeed, it is suggested that no fewer than 86 of the charters copied in the Codex Wintoniensis had been derived in this way from the royal archives (ibid., p. 19, n. 1).  There is, of course, no evidence that kings kept duplicate copies of all the charters issued in their name; and while one would like to think that the royal administration maintained a central register of grants of bookland, it seems highly unlikely that the register would have taken such a form.  One should add that Hart’s figure of 86 charters represents almost all of the charters in the cartulary cast in favour of laymen, and includes a large number of title-deeds for estates which certainly belonged to Winchester; in most of these cases, therefore, it is easy to account for the presence of the charters in the Winchester archive, without recourse to the notion that the monks of Winchester, or the compiler of the cartulary, had access to a putative royal collection.

Nevertheless, it remains a fact that by some unknown process the muniments of the Old Minster had, at one time or another, been supplemented by charters drawn from a larger and apparently extraneous source; for we have to account for the presence in the archive not only of the ‘intrusive’ charters in the Codex Wintoniensis, but also for the presence of other charters, not copied in the cartulary, which similarly bear no obvious relation to the endowment of the church (e.g. S 298, 649 and 738).  The phenomenon is not peculiar to Winchester, and to that extent the explanation may lie in considerations which would apply equally to the archives of other religious houses.  Any archive might be expected to contain charters pertaining to estates which had once belonged (or been promised) to the church in question, and it is not difficult to visualise circumstances in which the charters would have remained in an archive irrespective of whether the estates had been subsequently sold, exchanged, or appropriated.  It is also possible that an archive might contain a number of charters deposited there by members of the land-holding aristocracy, for safe-keeping in times of unrest.  After all, if men were inclined to secrete their cash and jewellery in the ground, it is not unlikely that those with friends in a particular church would have chosen to entrust their charters to the protection of God; and it would need only a few wealthy men with estates scattered about the country to generate a substantial and thoroughly miscellaneous ‘archive’.  The less fortunate among them might then have failed to recover their charters for the same reason that they might have failed to recover their cash; and the charters would remain in the archive to tempt the compilers of cartularies, and certainly to confound posterity.

Yet to some extent Winchester must also have been a special case.  To judge from his active involvement in the land market on behalf of his East Anglian abbeys in the early 970s, Bishop Æthelwold himself must at any one time have had a considerable number of charters in his keeping.  One can only guess what might have become of the charters in the disturbances which followed Edgar’s death in 975, and his own in 984; but it is conceivable that some remained at Winchester (in which connection the circumstances behind the production and preservation of S 801 would repay further investigation).  There may also have been some potential confusion arising from the proximity of the Old Minster to both the New Minster and the Nunnaminster; indeed, one of the ‘intrusive’ charters (S 840) might well have been derived from the archives of St Mary’s.  Nor is it unlikely that some ‘royal’ charters had come into the possession of the monks of Winchester, by fair means or foul.  There is no doubt that the kings of Wessex, and later of England, kept archives in some form, and it is quite possible that some of this material came to be stored at Winchester (above, pp. 00-0); see also Keynes, ‘West Saxon Charters’, pp. 1112-14 (with reference to S 1438 and 281) and 1117 (S 298).  Queen Emma was established at Winchester with ‘treasures’ of unspecified kind, following the death of Cnut (ASC MSS. CD, s.a. 1035), and she was still there in 1043, when King Edward ‘deprived her of all the treasures which she owned’ (ASC MS. D), an act described by another chronicler in terms which might suggest that it had involved the seizure of charters as well as precious objects (see ASC MSS. CE); and of course the location of the royal treasury at Winchester in the later eleventh century might have given the monks relatively easy access to any residual deposit of the archives of the last pre-Conquest kings.  In short, the monks of Winchester would have had every opportunity to augment their own archives from a number of different sources; and if it may be mistaken to imagine that they drew heavily and exclusively from a single source, it may nevertheless be correct to assume that the process had taken place well before the compilation of their cartulary.

The majority of the additions to the main cartulary which constitute ‘Cod. Wint. II’ have an obvious connection with the Old Minster, and probably represent the fruit of further searches for muniments attesting to the rights and privileges of the Old Minster in the period before the Conquest.  They follow no obvious pattern, though what may be a distinct group of documents pertaining to land in Winchester itself was copied in the gathering newly placed at the beginning of the manuscript (Rumble 1982, p. 165).  The additions which constitute ‘Cod. Wint. III’ include a rather poor (but very important) copy of the charter recording King Edward the Elder’s acquisition (from Bishop Denewulf and from the community of Winchester) of land in Winchester for the construction of a monastery (S 1443, reproduced in Rumble 1982, Plate 2); a copy of the same document was entered in the ‘Liber Vitae’ of the New Minster (Liber Vitae, ed. Keynes, p. 105 (art. 32)), but is incomplete at the beginning, owing to the loss of a leaf.  One of the additions at the end of the manuscript is an arrant forgery (S 325); the four others (S 449, 547, 800 and 938) appear to have been entered as a group, and may represent the belated ‘discovery’ in the fourteenth century of miscellaneous title-deeds considered worthy of preservation in association with the rest.

<It can be shown that over 35 charters still existed at Winchester in single-sheet form, in the early 1640s (see below), representing the surviving residue of what would originally have been a much larger collection; and it is remarkable that of this surviving sample, about half had not been included in the ‘Codex Wintoniensis’ (S 298, 649, 668, 738, 801, 1016, 1062, 1812-16, 1818, and some others).  Of those cast in favour of the church, some (e.g. S 1016, 1062, 1812-13) may not have been in existence in the 1130s; other charters (e.g. S 298, 649, 668, 738, 801, 1814-15) were perhaps deemed not to be relevant.  If the proportion is significant, it gives some indication of what might have been left aside, and how forgery continued in the later twelfth century.  Also, presence in the archive of ‘detached’ bounds; cf. other archives, and surviving examples.>

<Cartulary written in the thirteenth century (BL Add. 29436 (Davis 1043), fols. 10-43).  For the royal writs (S 1151-3), not in the ‘Codex Wintoniensis’, see Galbraith, ‘Royal Charters to Winchester’.  Three of the four writs in ‘Cod. Wint.’ are later additions; perhaps writs had not been retained by the church, or perhaps not considered momentous.>  <This cartulary is followed by remnants of a necrology of St Swithun’s (fols. 44-8); see Liber Vitae, ed. Keynes, p. 60, n. 98.>  <Parts of a thirteenth-century customary of St Swithun’s (fols. 72-4), with obits (fol. 73rv) of some benefactors; ibid., p. 54, n. 39.>  <Check details of obits.>

<Winchester, Cathedral Library, ‘St Swithun’s Cartulary’ (Davis 1044), written in the thirteenth century, with later additions.  Contents calendared by Goodman, Chartulary of Winchester Cathedral.  Includes S 817 (Goodman, no. 28), 1153 (no. 31), 1813 (no. 535e) and 804 (nos. 546 and 553). 

<BL Add. 52184, fol. 196: Kemble cites S 1287 from ‘St Swithun’s Book’, fol. 49; not registered from that MS. in S.>  <Ref. to AR for separate publication of S 1813.>

<Inspeximus charters, etc.  Confirmation by King Edward II (1318) of charter of King Edgar (S 804) is still extant (reproduced in Bussby, Winchester Cathedral, p. 81).  Charter roll, 5 Edward III.>  <What is nature of CCC 110 (s. xvi), pp. 299-302: two apparently separate items in a collection of Winchester material.  Check MRJ.  Cf. Gransden, II, p. 395, n. 30.>

<Entries in the ‘Annals of Winchester’ (Cambridge, Corpus Chrsiti College, MS. 339), ptd in Annales Monastici, ed. Luard, II, pp. 3-000.  See Edwards, pp. 161-3; Graves, no. 2767.  Further information, of uncertain authority, is incorporated in the list of benefactors which occurs in the ‘Register of Bishop John de Pontissara’ (Winchester, Hampshire Record Office), fol. 160v; printed in Registrum Johannis de Pontissara, ed. Deedes, II, pp. 609-10.>  <Other copies cited by AR: Harley 1761, 76v; Leland, Collectanea I, 428; Leland, Itinerary I, 272-3.>

<Thomas Rudborne, monk of St Swithun’s, active in the 1440s and 1450s.  Worthy of closer attention as a historian.  Main work is the ‘Historia Maior ecclesiae Wintoniensis’ (1454), printed in Anglia Sacra, ed. Wharton, I, pp. 179-286, from Lambeth Palace, MS. 183.  Other works include ‘Historia Minor’; ‘Epitome of the Historia Maior’ (BL Add. 29436, fols. 4-9, etc.); and ‘Annales breves ecclesiae Wintoniensis’ (Cotton Galba A. xv, art. 1).  Has been identified by Dr Rumble among the hands who annotated the ‘Codex Wintoniensis’ (see Gransden, Historical Writing II, p. 494, n. 1).  Cites OE Bede from a manuscript which he saw at Southwick, Hants. (Wharton, p. 183; cf. Ker, Catalogue, no. 180).  Calls Æthelred ‘Unredi, quod Latine sonat Inconsultus’ (Wharton, p. 225).  Use of charters in the ‘Codex Wintoniensis’, e.g. S 818 (Wharton, pp. 218-20), and S 817 (cited in Harley 358).  For the possibility that Rudborne was also responsible for compiling the ‘Liber abbatiae’ of Hyde Abbey, see above, pp. 000-0.>

<1536 Prior and Convent of St Swithun’s sent an account of charters of foundation to Cromwell (Harley 358); based on the ‘Epitome’ of Rudborne’s Historia Maior, in BL Add. 29436, fols. 4-9 (Gransden, Historical Writing II, p. 494, n. 1).>  <Thomas Dackombe owned ‘Codex Wintoniensis’ and ‘Æthelstan Psalter’ (above, p. 00).>  <In 1582 certain documents were brought from Winchester by the inhabitants of Weymouth, for use in dispute over boundaries; included one giving the bounds of Wyke Regis, Dorset, evidently S 938 (ptd from s. xiv addition in ‘Cod. Wint.’ by W. Bowles Barrett, ‘Wyke Regis, Dorset. Ethelred’s Charter, cir. 988’, Notes & Queries for Somerset and Dorset 9 (1905), pp. 345-6).  The fourteenth-century ‘original’ survives among the Wardour archives in the Wiltshire Record Office, ref. 2667 (not registered in Sawyer).>

<Dispersal of single sheets in the seventeenth century; cf. Worcester, Rochester, Canterbury (above, pp. 00-0).>  It is clear that a substantial number of charters still existed at Winchester in single-sheet form in the first half of the seventeenth century.  Many of them must be presumed to have been destroyed or stolen in 1642, when the ‘Muniment House’ at Winchester was ransacked by Parliamentary forces; and it was as a consequence of this event that John Chase, registrar of the cathedral, began to sort out and to catalogue what survived.  The ‘Book of John Chase’, preserved in Winchester Cathedral Library, is a source of great importance for the pre-Conquest muniments of the church; copy from NV (June 1992). For a general description of the book, see Documents, ed. Stephens and Madge, pp. xxvi-xxviii.  Chase produced an inventory of the muniments seen by him in 1643, from which it emerges that about 35 pre-Conquest charters were still preserved in single-sheet form; the majority of the relevant entries are printed by Stephens and Madge, pp. 60-4.  About half of these charters survive, whether among the Harley charters, or among the ‘Cotton Charters’, or at Winchester, or elsewhere (see below).  The rest of the single-sheet charters seen by Chase in 1643 are now lost, whether destroyed, stolen, or given away.  Texts of some of these ‘lost’ charters are known from copies which had been entered in the ‘Codex Wintoniensis’ (S 274, 336, 565, 680, 699, 817; ?430, ?840), and in one case from an early modern transcript (S 668).  For our knowledge of the others, we are dependent on Chase’s list: a ‘copy’ of a charter of King Æthelwulf dated 844, perhaps a ‘First Decimation’ charter, not otherwise recorded at Winchester (S (Add.) 1811a); a ‘Second Decimation’ charter of King Æthelwulf dated 854, unless S 304 or 307, or even S 308 (a ‘Cotton Charter’ of unknown provenance); two apparently ‘detached’ bounds for Wulfgar’s estate at Ham in Wiltshire (S (Add.) 1821a); a ‘detached’ boundary clause for Buttermere and Ashmere, presumably related to S 336 (S (Add.) 1821b); a sealed document concerning Bleadon in Somerset; and the several other ‘lost’ charters registered as S 1812-16 and 1818 (though part of the text of S 1813 in fact occurs in ‘St Swithun’s Cartulary’).  The Chapter House was ransacked again by Parliamentary forces in 1646; further charters lost.  In August 1650 John Chase made a list of documents recovered.  This list includes ‘Item an old boundary booke of Crondall & divers other mannors in Saxon & English, all which are mencioned in the beginning of the Table or booke of my lidger books’; a marginal reference identifies the first item as ‘a boundary dated 825’, and Chase adds that he gave it to Mr. Love at Crondall, 5 Sept. 1650 (Stephens and Madge, p. 59).  Others include S 312 and 649, both still at Winchester; S 804 (see below); and a charter of Edward the Confessor, dated 1046, which was distinct from S 1016.  Chase wrote notes on the dorses of some of the charters seen by him in 1643: S 312, 376, 416, 636, 649, 697, 738, 801, 1008.  Chase endorsement on S 298 (seemingly not listed in 1643) is important evidence that the charter came from the Old Minster.>

<It emerges that the two groups of surviving single-sheet charters from the archive, preserved among the Harley charters and the ‘Cotton Charters’ in the British Library, were still at Winchester in 1643, because several of them were seen there by John Chase and in some instances were endorsed by him; it is equally clear that none of these charters was still at Winchester in 1650, so they were probably removed from St Swithun’s following the abolition of the Dean and Chapter in 1645, or when church was ransacked again in 1646.  <For sale of Winchester lands in 1646-51, see Mon. Angl. (rev. ed.) i. 203-4, citing Rawl. B. 236.  RB iii.70.>  Seven charters (S 376, 697, 668, 738, 801, 994, 1016) can be shown to have passed into the hands of Sir Simonds D’Ewes, who transcribed them in the later 1640s with a note to the effect that the charters were at Winchester in 1640 (BL Harley 596, fols. 14v-21r); six are preserved among the Harley charters, but for the one other (S 668) the D’Ewes transcript remains the principal source.  Several other single-sheet charters from the archive passed into the Cottonian library (S 298, 416 + 1533, 443, 449, 540, 636, 1008, 1013, 1062), indicating that the ‘Cotton Charters’ include items acquired a decade or more after the death of Sir Robert Cotton himself (above, p. 000).  S 804 appears to have been at Winchester in 1650; but it belonged to Thomas, Lord ‘Brudwell’ [recte Brudenell], in 1652 (Mon. Angl. i. 37-8), and passed thereafter into the Cottonian library.  S 313 (Laing Charter).>  <Other ‘Cotton Charters’ apparently from minor archives in Wessex: perhaps some of them, like S 298, had come from the Winchester archive, even though not copied in Cod. Wint. or noted by Chase.> <Book by Joan Wake, on the Brudenells of Dean.  Also owned a Magna Carta.>


Charters of the Old Minster, Winchester

Edition: Charters of the Old Minster, Winchester, ed. A. R. Rumble (in preparation).

Royal diplomas.  229; 235; 242; 254; 258; 259; 272; 273; 274; 275; 276; 281; 283; 284; 298; 304; 307; 309; 310; 311; 312; 313; 317; 325; 336; 340; 345; 351; 352; 354; 358; 359; 362; 372; 373; 375; 376; 377; 378; 381; 382; 383; (384); 385; 393; 400; 412; 416; 417; 427; 430; 439; 440; 441; 443; 444; 446; 449; 463; 465; 467; 475; 486; 487; 488; 503; 511; 517; 521; 522; 523; 532; 536; 540; 547; 565; 571; 574; 575; 585; 589; 596; 598; 600; 604; 606; 608; 613; 619; 635; 636; 638; 640; 649; 653; 668; 672; 675; 676; 680; 683; 693; 695; 696; 697; 699; 715; 718; 723; 738; 748; 754; 763; 771; 790; 800; 801; 802; 803; 804; 806; 807; 811; 814; 815; 816; 817; 818; 819; 820; 821; 822; 823; 824; 825; 826; 827; 831; 835; 836; 837; 840; 844; 846; 848; 849; 856; 857; 860; 861; 867; 868; 874; 889; 891; 925; 938; 942; 944; 946; 960; 962; 970; 972; 976; 994; 1001; 1006; 1007; 1008; 1009; 1012; 1013; 1016; 1018; 1062.  See also (Add.) 1811a; 1812; 1813; (Add.) 1813a; 1814; 1815; 1816; 1818.

Writs.  1151; 1152; 1153; 1154; 1242; 1428.  S 1428 was also preserved at the New Minster, Winchester.

Miscellaneous.  1263; 1277; 1284; 1286; 1376; 1443; 1444; 1449; 1476.  See also 1817; 1819; 1820; 1821.  S 1443 was also preserved at the New Minster, Winchester.  <S (Add.) 1428a, 1451a.>

Leases.  1274; 1275; 1285; 1287; 1391; 1402; 1403. 

Wills.  1484; 1485; 1503; 1504; 1512; 1513; 1524; 1533.  S 1503 was also preserved at Christ Church, Canterbury.

Boundary clauses.  1557; 1558; 1559; 1571; 1572; 1581; 1588; (Add.) 1559a; (Add.) 1821a.  It should be noted that some ‘detached’ bounds in ‘Cod. Wint. I’ are registered, rightly or wrongly, in association with charters for the same or a related estate: e.g. S 352 MS. 1, 311 MS. 2, and 254 MS. 2, for a group of estates in Somerset, and S 1513, attached to a vernacular grant.  <Add. 1821b.>

<Check S 358 + 359, on fols. 71rv + 71v-72r: text + date + witnesses; services from Hurstbourne; bounds + date + witnesses.>

Select bibliography

WM, GP, pp. 156-73; Mon. Angl. i. 31-8 and 979-83; Not. Mon. (Hants.), no. XXXV; Mon. Angl. (rev. ed.) i. 189-218; VCH Hants. ii. 108-15; ODCC, pp. 1490-1; MRH, pp. 80-1; HRH, pp. 79-80.

Biddle, M., ed., Winchester in the Early Middle Ages, Winchester Studies 1 (Oxford, 1976), pp. 306-13; Biddle, M., and B. Kjølbye-Biddle, The Old and the New Minsters in Winchester, Winchester Studies 4 (Oxford, forthcoming); Bussby, F., Winchester Cathedral 1079-1979 (Southampton, 1979); Crook, J., ed., Winchester Cathedral: Nine Hundred Years 1093-1993 (Chichester, 1993); Deedes, C., ed., Registrum Johannis de Pontissara, episcopi Wyntoniensis, 2 vols., Canterbury and York Society 19 and 30 (Oxford, 1915-24); Edwards, Charters of the Early West Saxon Kingdom, pp. 128-64; Finberg, ECW, pp. 16-18 and 214-48; Galbraith, V. H., ‘Royal Charters to Winchester’, English Historical Review 35 (1920), pp. 382-400; Goodman, A. W., Chartulary of Winchester Cathedral (Winchester, 1927); Harmer, Writs, pp. 372-403; Hart, C., ‘The Codex Wintoniensis and the King’s Haligdom’, Land, Church, and People, ed. J. Thirsk (Reading, 1970), pp. 7-38; John, E., ‘The Church of Winchester and the Tenth-Century Reformation’, Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 47 (1965), pp. 404-29; Keynes, S., ed., The Liber Vitae of the New Minster and Hyde Abbey, Winchester, Early English Manuscripts in Facsimile 26 (Copenhagen, 1996); Kjølbye-Biddle, B., ‘Old Minster, St Swithun’s Day 1093’, Winchester Cathedral, ed. Crook, pp. 13-20; Luard, H. R., ed., Annales Monastici, 5 vols., Rolls Series (London, 1864-9); Rumble, A. R., ‘The Structure and Reliability of the Codex Wintoniensis (British Museum Add. MS. 15350; the Cartulary of Winchester Cathedral Priory)’, unpubl. Ph.D. dissertation (University of London, 1980); Rumble, A. R., ‘The Purposes of the Codex Wintoniensis’, Proceedings of the Battle Conference on Anglo-Norman Studies IV - 1981, ed. R. A. Brown (Woodbridge, 1982), pp. 153-66 and 224-32; Stephens, W. R. W., and F. T. Madge, ed., Documents Relating to the History of the Cathedral Church of Winchester in the Seventeenth Century, Hampshire Record Soc. (London, 1897); Yorke, B., ‘The Foundation of the Old Minster and the Status of Winchester in the Seventh and Eighth Centuries’, Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club and Archaeological Society 38 (1982), pp. 75-83; Yorke, B., ‘The Bishops of Winchester, the Kings of Wessex and the Development of Winchester in the Ninth and Early Tenth Centuries’, Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club and Archaeological Society 40 (1984), pp. 61-70. 



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