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Ed. Historia Dunelmensis scriptores tres pp. xxxii-iii, from Cart. I; Regesta no. 918.

Charter of King Henry [I] granting to the church of Durham and Ranulf the bishop lands, etc. claimed by the men of Northumberland, 1109

The charter dates from the period before the forms characteristic of writs had become the established norm for grants. In several ways the forms here hark back to those of Anglo-Saxon diplomas: the use of 'Ego' at the start, the elaborate royal style, the omission of addressees, the use of the present indicative active for the act of the charter ('do'), and the inclusion of a dating, by the year of the incarnation. On the other hand there is no opening invocation, and the treatment of the witness list is far removed from the carefully ranged columns of crosses and names, some with verbs of confirmation, seen on diplomas.

'Ego Henricus dei gratia rex anglorum filius magni regis Willelmi qui beatae memoriae regi Eadwardo in regnum successit; terras. scilicet Burdune. et Carlentune. et Heaclif. quas homines norhumbrenses de comitatu esse dicentes super sanctum Cuthbertum. et Rannulfum episcopum calumpniabantur. deo et sancto Cuthberto. et aecclesiae dunelmensi. & Rannulfo episcopo. et Omnnus successoribus suis do quietas et liberas perpetuo habendas. sicut sanctuus Cuthbertus habet suas alias terras quae pertinent ad aecclesiam suam melius quietas.' [view]

Further the Northumbrians, 'franci et angli', have claimed passage to hunt in the woods of St Cuthbert between Tees and Tyne, for one penny to have wood there, as much each year as a wagon could draw, for one penny ('nummo') to have as large a tree as they should choose in the same woods for making a boat, and customs in the waters of St Cuthbert of Tyne; Bishop Ranulf has established title to the customs and other claims against them 'in mea et baronum presentia'; and the king concedes them. 'Haec donatio facta est Anno ab incarnatione domini .M.cix. in concilio totius angliae apud Notingaham.' [view]

The council at Nottingham took place in mid-October. The Northumbrians' claims here rebutted originated in the early eleventh century.
The expert scribe, perhaps in the employ of the beneficiaries, used a script that could equally well have graced a high quality manuscript book; the blind ruling, visible in the right margin, was effected by drypoint impressions on the dorse. The names of the witnesses are written with greater compression than the body of the text, and may perhaps have been added.

The seal is on a wide tongue, cut in writ fashion from the foot, and folded, presumably for increased strength. The tie below the tongue is missing.