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BOOK Almighty God and the fellowship of his holy angels, and to

be doomed to eternal perdition, while the charter shall
nevertheless remain in its vigor. Offa, king of Mercia, in
a charter dated 764, prays that its violator may be deprived
in the present life of the blessings of our lord, and lie under
the last curse, that he be separated from the company of
the saints, to be damned with the wicked to avenging
flames, unless he satisfactorily amend that, which, with rash
iniquity, he have corrupted.* A most pompous malediction
is found in an undated charter of Sigired, monarch of half
the province of Kent; if any persons should neglect to ob-
serve his charter, and close their miserable days, without
making atonement in present life,“ may they hear,” he
says, “ the voice of the eternal judge at the end of the
world, saying to the impious, ' Depart from me, ye accursed,
into the eternal fire, which is prepared for the devil and his
angels.' And may they, who take care to preserve it, hear
the voice of the most merciful judge addressing the pious,
• Come ye blessed of my father, partake of the kingdom,
which has been ready for you from the beginning of the
world.'”+ With a multitude of examples like these in his
episcopal register, it is not wonderful that Ernulf, bishop of
Rochester, was enabled to display that remarkable fund of
maledictory eloquence, contained in the form of excommu-
nication, which he composed about 1122.1

Sciat, se in presenti vita domini benedictione privatum et in novissima maledictione subjacere, ut a consortio sit separatus Sanctorum, & cum impiis et peccatoribus flammis ultricibus esse damnandum, &c.Ibid., c. 67.

+ Qui se forte observare neglexerint & absque digna satisfactione præsentis vitæ impleverint infelices dies, audiant vocem æterni judicis, sub fine mundi dicentis ad impios, discedite a me maledicti, in ignem æternum, qui preparatus est Diabolo et Angelis suis. Qui vero curaverint custodire, nichilque inrogarint adversi, audiant vocem clementissimi arbitri, inquientis ad pios, Venite benedicti patris mei, percipite regnum quod vobis paratum est ab origine mundi.— I bid., cap. 68.

Ibid., cap. 35. Many Spanish canons, as well as charters of the 10th and 11th centuries, are enforced only by anathemas.--Aguirre, Concil., Tom. III. In those cases the clergy had no civil or legislative power; but this reason does not apply to the Saxon hierarchy.

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The anathema among the Saxons was not, however, con


I. fined to instruments of donation to the religious. In a memorandum written in the Gospel, that Leofnoth, a slave, Curse in had redeemed himself and family from Ælfsy, abbot of sions, Bath, the concluding prayer is, that · Christ may deprive him of eyesight who shall ever alter the record.' At the end of the manumission of a female slave of St. Peter's, at Exeter, after mention of all the saints of Christ, the conclusion is, whom may he enrage against such as attempt to reduce into slavery her who is now elevated to a better state.'t Another instrument concludes, "May he have God's curse that ever undoes this contract.' The same malediction is found in another, with the addition of the words, on ecnisse, 'to eternity.'* At the end of a Normanno-Saxon general acquittance, we read, May he who undoes this have the curse of Christ and St. Mary, and all the saints of Christ, ever without end. Amen.'S And at the end of a special acquittance by William, bishop of Exeter, we have nearly the same formula,— May he who shall ever undo this, have the curse of God and St. Mary, and all the chosen of Christ ever without end. Amen.'ll

Some of the Norman charters contain the anathematizing and in clause: the deed for the foundation of Burscough Priory, chartern. in the reign of Richard the First, concludes with a prayer, that he may enter the kingdom of heaven, who shall augment the alms; and that he who shall in aught infringe

* This anathema, which is printed without distinction from the context, seems to have been intended for a distich :

Crist hine ablende.
be þis æfre apende.

Hickes, Diss. Epist., p. 9.
+ Ibid., p. 12.
t , hæbbe he godes curr be bis æfre un-d0.-Ibid., p. 13.

se bis mane undo. habbe he Cristes curs i rce Marie. y ealle Chistes halyena á butan ende. Amen.-Ibid.,

Il Se be bis efne undo habbe he Godes curs y Sca Maria. y ealle Cristes gecorena, á butan ende. Amen.-Ibid., p. 16.

p. 15.



or violate the charter, may be subject to eternal torments with the devil and his angels, unless he come to amendment and make satisfaction.'* An instance of the anathema occurs as lately as 1488; and it is observable that it is employed by a clergyman, John, bishop of Lincoln, in the grant of a manuscript history, respecting which he expresses his doubts of his own right to retain the possession."

The narrative style of Saxon charters was sometimes adopted by the Norman scribes of the Brevia Testata, The sweeping charter by which Roger, earl of Poictou, granted a vast number of English churches to the abbey of Sees, in Normandy, in the reign of William the Conqueror, is an instance from beginning to end. Before the names of the witnesses, the donations of two other persons are introduced: Roger had expressed his permission in the charter to his followers to alienate even the half of their lands to this abbey; Godfrey, the sheriff, it continues, hearing this, gave the tithes of Biscopham, and whatever else he had in Lancashire, his houses, and orchard; and Ralph Gernet gave three men in Suffolk. I The agreement of Warin Bussell, before mentioned as entered in chartulary, relates several circumstances in the past tense and in the third person:-“ Warin Bussell, with the consent of his wife and


* Quicunque vero hanc elemosinam aduaxerit vel mantenuerit, per participationem illius ecclesiæ beneficiorum, consequatur regna cælorum. Qui vero in aliquo violaverit vel infringere temptaverit, com diabolo et angelis ejus, æternis subjaceat pænis.-Monast. Anglic., Vol. VI., p. 458.

+ Warton, Hist. Engl. Poetry, Vol. I., Diss. ii., sign. b.-It may be mentioned that Henry the Third, in the 37th year of his reign, came to Westminster Hall, and there in the presence of the nobility and prelates, having lighted candles in their hands, Magna Charta was read, the king all the time laying his hand on his breast, and at last solemnly swearing fuithfully and inviolably to observe all its contents. At the end of the royal oath, the bishops extinguished the candles, throwing them on the ground, and every one said, “ Thus let him be extinguished and stink in hell who violates this charter.” Jacob, Law Dict., Art. Magna Charta. Edit 1743, 8vo.

# Monast. Anglic. Vol. VI., p. ii., p. 997.



children, before the abbot Robert, and all the convent, granted, &c."* To account for this retrospective matter in charters, we may suppose that such donations were at first made orally, and that the circumstances which attended them, were afterwards recorded in the memorandum ; for, in all cases of this kind, something will be found stated, which could not have been known previously as an actual occurrence. It seems to have originally proceeded from Book a practice which prevailed among the Saxons, of recording records. the titles to lands in a book, placed in some public repository. Thus, in the well known case of the shire-mote at Ægelnoth’s-stone, in the reign of Canute, where a woman disinherits her son, and gives all her possessions to her relation, the wife of Thureill; the ancient record says:Then stood up Thurcill White in the mote, and bade all the Thegns to hold his wife clear of the land, which her relation had given to her; and they did so; and Thurcill then rode to St. Ethelbert's minster, with the leave of all these people who were witnesses, and had it set down in a book of Christ.”+

Before the time of Edward the Confessor, it was not the Seals. custom to append to charters a seal or impression of wax. The false charters of King Edgar and St. Dunstan, says Dr. Hickes, had not formerly a pensile seal, as appears from an examination of the parchment. It was, in fact, a Gallo-Norman custom. Ingulphus not only affirms that the sealing of charters with pensile seals was not in use before the time of St. Edward the Second; but that after that king had introduced the use of them, it was not cus

* “Hec est conventio qui Warinus Bussell cum consensu uxoris sue et liberorum coram d’no Rob. abb'e et omne conventu de Evesham in pleno capitule fecit.-Chart. de Evesh., MS. fo. 86.

+ Da astod Đurcıl hpita up on þann zemote. 7 bæð ealle þa þægnas syllan his pife þa landes clæne. þe hire mage hire ge-ude. 7 heo rpa Dydon. 7 Durcıll rad to see Æbelbeshtes mynstre be alles þes folces leafe. y gepitnesse. y ler sertan on ane Cristes boc.- Apud Hickes, Diss. Epist., p. 4.



tomary to put several seals on charters of simple donation, but only on conventional charters, to which the contracting parties, whatever their number might be, affixed their seals in the order of signature.* He further says, that the Normans made the validity of their charters to consist in a waxen impression of the especial seal of each person, in the name of three or four witnesses present ;t but Dr. Hickes denies that this was the fact, for the charter of Henry the First, confirming the gift of Matilda or Maud to St. Cuthbert and his monks, has only one witness and the great seal. A charter of king Stephen to Ranulph de Muschamp has only the name W. Mark; and the letters patent of William the First to the church of Rochester have only one. I

The Anglo-Saxon and the Anglo-Norman charters differ in other respects; the Christian era is generally wanting in the latter, while in the former, excepting a few of the seventh and eighth centuries, it seldom occurs alone, having for the most part the indiction, the epact, and the month. Thus a charter of king Athelstan, giving lands to the church of Worcester, is dated by the year of the incarnation, the regnal year, the indiction, epact, concurrent, day of the month, the moon's age and the place. In Saxon charters the date is sometimes, but rarely, placed at the beginning; it sometimes occurs in the middle, and sometimes, but very seldom, at the end. Lastly, the date of the charter sometimes, but very unfrequently indeed, occurs twice, as in the charter of king Eadred, in which the year of the incarnation 946 is read at the beginning and in the middle.||

While many of the charters, granted during the middle ages,



indication of the time, an astonish

Redundant dates.


* Ibid., p. 71.
+ Hist. Croyl., p. 70.

Text. Roff. 182, apud Hickes, Diss. Epist., p. 75.

Bibl. Cott. MSS. Tiberius, A. 13. || Hickes, Diss. Epist., p. 82

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