A.D. 904. Wærferth, bishop, and the community at Worcester, to Æthelred and Æthelflæd, their lords; lease, for their lives and that of Ælfwyn, their daughter, of a messuage (haga) in Worcester and land at Barbourne in North Claines, Worcs., with reversion to the bishop. Latin with English and English bounds of appurtentant meadow west of the Severn.
MSS: 1. BL Cotton Nero. E. i, pt 2, 182r (s. xi)
2. BL Cotton Tib. A. xiii, 6v-7v (s. xi1)
Printed: Hearne, Heming, pp. 13-15; K 339; B 608; Robertson, Charters, no. 19 (pp. 34-9), with translation; Hooke 1990, p. 241, bounds only.
Translated: Jones 1958, pp. 98-100.
Comments: Robinson 1923, p. 38, on a witness; Robertson, Charters, pp. 294-6, incarnation year and indiction not compatible, but witnesses support year 904; Forsberg 1950, p. 23, on a boundary mark; Wilson 1959, pp. 301-2, on language; Clarke and Dyer 1968-9, p. 29, on topography; Finberg, ECWM, no. 272, authentic; Finberg 1972, p. 495; Sawyer, Burton, p. 2; Dyer 1980, p. 27; Hooke 1980, pp. 39-41, 47, 48, on bounds and topography, with partial edition and translation, p. 49; Hooke 1990, pp. 241-3, discusses bounds and location of Worcester haga; Baker et al. 1992, pp. 67, 72-3, on topography; Baker and Holt 1996, pp. 134-5, 140, on topography.
Heading from MS 1: Eðeredes gerEdnesse 7 Eðelflede wið Werfrið biscop :--?
Note in Left Margin of MS 2: Lænhaga 7 landlæn Æþerede 7 Æþelflæde
Omnibus namque sapientibus notvm ac manifestvm constat . quod dicta hominum uel facta pro multiplicibus criminum perturbationibus et cogitationum uagationibus frequenter ex memoria recedunt nisi litterarum apicibus et custodiE cautela scripturarum reseruentur et ad memoriam reuocentur. Quamobrem anno dominicE incarnationis dcccc. iiii. indictione .i. has ob memoriam posteritatis litteras scribere iussimus.Þæt is þonne þæt Werfrið biscop 7 se hired æt Wigraceastre syllað 7 gewritað Æþelrede 7 Æþelflæde heora hlafordum þonæ hagan binnan byri æt Wigraceastre . se is fram þære ea sylfre bi þæm norðwalle eastwardes .xxviii. roda lang . 7 þonon suþwardes .xx. iiii. roda brad . 7 eft þonon westwardes on Sæferne .xix. roda long . 7 eac hi syllað him þæt medwe land bewestan Sæferne on efen þone hagan . andlang þæs bisceopes dic of þære ea þæt hit cymð west ut on þæt mor dic . 7 swa norð þæt hit cymð ut on efen þæt gelad . 7 swa estwardes þæt hit cymð eft wiðneoþan þæt gelad on Sæferne. Eac hi syllað him Beferburnan . 7 eac þærto .lx. æcera earðlondes besuþan Beferburnan . 7 oþre .lx. benorðan . 7 ec swyþe rumedlice .xii. æceras þærto fulgodes mædlandes . 7 eall hi syllað þiss heom mid milde mode . 7 wilniað him to þæt hi syn eigðer ge hlafordes freond ge þara hina . ge þære cyrcan . 7 hig his wyllað alning hieom toearnien dæges 7 nihtes mid heora godcundnesse . swa hi betst magon . 7 hi hit habban a ge binnan byrig ge butan unbesacen wið ælce hand þa hwyle þe hi lifgean . 7 gif Ælfwyn leng sy . þonne sy hit swa unbesacen þa hwile þe heo lifige . 7 ofer heora þreora dæig . agefe hit mon eft þære circean hlaforde . swa gegodad swa hit þonne sy . for heora þreora sawle . buton ælcum geflite . gif God wile þæt hig hit godian motan.
Augentibus et custodientibus retributio EternE beatitudinis augeatur in cElo . minuentes et frangentes sempiterna increpatione redarguantur . nisi prius digna satisfactione emendauerint .
þas gerædnesse eall se hired ge iunge ge ealde mid Cristes rode tacne gefæstnodon . 7 þara .xii. noman her standað awritene bæftan 7 eac þara freonda noman þe we us to gewitnesse curon .
+ Æþelred aldorman 7 Æþelflæd Myrcna hlafordas mid us hit gewriton.
+ Ego Werfrið episcopus propria manu consensi et corroboro .
+ Ego Kinelm abbas.
+ Ego Ecgfrið presbiter consensi.
+ Ego Wiglaf presbiter.
+ Ego Oslac presbiter.
+ Ego Cinað diaconus.
+ Edgar biscop.
+ Æþelfrið ealdormann.
+ Æþeredes gerædnesse 7 Æþelflæde wið Werfrið biscop 7 wiþ þone hired on Wegernaceaster.
The agreement of Æthelred and Æthelflæd with Bishop Werfrith. It is known and manifest to all the wise that the words and deeds of men frequently slip from the memory, through the manifold agitations caused by wicked deeds, and as the result of wandering thoughts, unless they are preserved and recalled to mind in the form of words and by the precaution of entrusting them to writing. For this reason, in the year of the incarnation of our Lord 904 and in the first Indiction, we have ordered this document to be written for the sake of the memory of posterity, namely that Bishop Werfrith and the community at Worcester give and grant by charter to Æthelred and Æthelflæd, their lords, the messuage within the town wall at Worcester which is 28 rods in length from the river itself along the north wall eastwards and thence southwards 24 rods in breadth and then westwards to the Severn 19 rods in length. And likewise they grant them the meadow-land west of the Severn, on a level with the messuage, [extending] west along the bishop's dyke from the river, until it comes out at the moor-dyke, and then north until it comes out on a level with the water-course, and then eastwards until it comes back below the water-course to the Severn. They likewise grant them Barbourne, and in addition 60 acres of arable land south of Barbourne and another 60 acres to the north, and likewise, very generously, 12 acres of very good meadow-land in addition; and they graciously grant them this, towards the community and towards the church, and desire to earn it from them always, day and night, by their divine services, as best they can. And Æthelred and Æthelflæd shall hold it for all time, both within the town wall and without, uncontested by anyone as long as they live. And if Ælfwyn survives them, it shall similarly remain uncontested as long as she lives; and after the death of the three of them, it shall be given back without dispute to the lord of the church for the souls of the three of them, endowed as it is then, if it be God's will that they may endow it. To those who increase and uphold this shall be added the reward of eternal bliss in heaven. Those who diminish and break it shall be confounded by eternal punishment, unless they have made due amends. All the community, both young and old, have confirmed this agreement with the symbol of the cross of Christ, and twelve of their names are recorded hereafter in writing, and likewise the names of the friends whom we selected as witnesses... + The agreement of Æthelred and Æthelflæd with Bishop Werfrith and the community at Worcester.