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Medieval Sourcebook:
Ine, King of the West Saxons:
Grant of Lands to the Church of St. Mary at Glastonbury, 725

After the Saxon conquest of England, the king, at the distribution of land among his followers, retained some as a royal domain. Much of England was covered with forests and the monasteries, being dependent on land, performed a useful service by clearing it. A grant of sixty-one hides was probably quite a large gift.

In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: I, Ine, supported in my royal dignity by God, with the advice of my queen, Saxburga, and the permission of Brihtwald, Archbishop of Canterbury, and of all his suffragans; and also at the instance of the princes Baltred and Athelard, to the ancient church, situated in the place called Glastonbury .. ., do grant out of those places, which I possess by paternal inheritance, and hold in my demesne, they being adjacent and fitting for the purpose, for the maintenance of the monastic institution, and the use of the monks, Brente ten hides, Sowy ten hides, Pilton twenty hides, Dulting twenty hides, Bledenhida one hide, together with whatever my predecessors have contributed to the same church---to wit, Kenwalk, who at the instance of archbishop Theodore, gave Ferramere, Bregarai, Coneneie, Martineseie, Etheredseie: Kentwin, who used to call Glastonbury, "the mother of saints," and liberated it from every secular and ecclesiastical service, and granted it this dignified privilege, that the brethren of that place should have the power of electing and appointing their ruler according to the rule of St. Benedict: Hedda the bishop, with permission of Cadwalla, who, though a heathen, confirmed it with his own hand, gave Lantokay: Baltred, who gave Pennard six hides: Athelard who contributed Poelt, sixty hides; I, Ine permitting and confirming it.... Wherefore the chief pontiff, Gregory, assenting, and taking the mother of his Lord, and me, however, unworthy, together with her, into the bosom and protection of the holy Roman church; and all the princes, archbishops, bishops, dukes, and abbots of Britain consenting, I appoint and establish, that all lands, places, and possessions of St. Mary of Glastonbury be free, quiet, and undisturbed, from all royal taxes and works, which are wont to be appointed, that is to say, expeditions, the building of bridges or forts, and from the edicts or molestations of all archbishops or bishops, as is found to be confirmed and granted by my predecessors, Kenwalk, Kentwin, Cadwalla, Baltred, in the ancient charters of the same church. And whatsoever questions shall arise, whether of homicide, sacrilege, poison, theft, rapine, the disposal and limits of churches, the ordination of clerks, ecclesiastical synods, and all judicial inquiries, they shall be determined by the decision of the abbot and convent, without the interference of any person whatsoever....

The charter of this donation was written in the year of our Lord's incarnation 725, the fourteenth of the indiction, in the presence of the king Ine, and of Brihtwald, archbishop of Canterbury.


From: J. A. Giles, trans., William of Malmesbury's Chronicle of the Kings of England, (London: H. G. Bohn, 1847), Book I, p. 33, reprinted in Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, A Source Book for Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed., New York: Biblo & Tannen, 1965), pp. 310-311.

Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by Prof. Arkenberg.

This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

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© Paul Halsall, September 1998