Charter giving land in Beal in free alms, with warranty.
Undated [c. 1255, see below]
A typical example for the period, whereby Gilbert of Beal (near Bamburgh) announces that he has given 'deo et beate marie et sancto Cuhtberto de Halieland et monachis ibidem deo seruientibus in liberam puram et perpetuam elemosinam ad sustentacionem luminis sancte marie et sancti Cuhtberti in perpetuum in magna ecclesia de eadem' [view] 9 acres of arable land from his demesne in Beal, specifying its whereabouts, and referring to the associated liberties and easements, but then including a clause more common at an earlier date stating that the gift was 'pro salute anime mee et pro animabus antecessorum et successorum meorum et pro orationibus suis quas prefati monachi mihi concesserunt inperpetuum' [view], followed by extended warranty clauses 'Ego uero et heredes mei prefatas Nouem acras terre cum libertatibuus prenominatis dictis monachis ad sustentacionem dicti luminis contra omnes homines et feminas warantizabimus inperpetuum. defendemus. et aquietabimus. Et si eas warantizare non poterimus; faciemus escambium per visum uirorum fidedignorum et monachorum de Insula qui pro tempore fuerint de tanta. tam bona. et adeo libera terra in campo de Beyl ad sustentacionem predicti luminis inperpetuum' [view], and concluding with sealing clause and list of witnesses.
The first witness, Robert of Kirkham constable of Norham, occurs as such among the witnesses to Bishop Kirkham's confirmation of Gilbert of Beal's grant in 1259, DCM 3.2.Pont.3.
The expert scribe catered for weaker readers by adopting the growing practice of marking off the letter i in certain words, most notably in the penultimate word of the sealing clause: 'In cuius rei testimonium presens scriptum sigilli mei munimine roboraui' [view]; the double e in 'mee' was similarly marked. The use in all positions of a long r dropping well below the line, and not the 2-shaped r commonly found after o, led to the use of the common sign of abbreviation for genitive plurals (--orum) in place of the older form with the final element of the 2-shaped r looped back.
The seal is attached by a tag formed from a folded strip of parchment.
By the fourteenth century the charter was kept among the main series of deeds in Durham (Misc. Ch. 426 f. 12r col. a), rather than at Holy Island, an arrangement in part reflecting the mother house's determination to maintain control over its dependent cells, cf. Magnum repertorium f. 70r