DCD Misc. Ch. 973.

Ed., with facsimile, Bishop & Chaplais pl. VIIIa.

Writ of King William [II] confirming King Edgar's gift of lands in Lothian.
Undated [? 1095, see below]

Two almost identical writs dealing with this matter survive; the other (Bishop & Chaplais pl. IX) differs only in having the names of two witnesses, where this document concludes, very unusually, 'Valete', a reflection perhaps of the fact that the other copy appears to have been the work of a chancery scribe, whereas this one was written by a local scribe. The writs are examples of a form that, with the introduction of a far more durable mode of attaching the seal, was to become the universal norm in England as a means of recording grants and so forth. The chief significance of the text lies in the way that the 'rex anglorum' addresses 'omnibus suis fidelibus francis & anglis & scottis' [view] and informs them 'me concessisse deo omnnipotenti. & aecclesiae dunelmensi. & sancto confessori cuthberto. & Willelmo episcopo. & monachis in eadem aecclesia deo seruientibus & inperpetuum seruituris terras inlodeneio quas EADGARVS rex filius malcolmi regis scottorum deo et supradictae aeccleesiae me concedente donauit' [view]. Corresponding to the phrase here that Edgar had made his gift with William "concedente" the medieval copy of Edgar's grant (Duncan (1958) pp. 103-04: Lawrie XV) records that it was made with "the counsel of my said lord King William", having stated that he possessed "all the land of Lothian and the kingdom of Scotland by the gift of my lord William king of the English", phrasing that was to be rehearsed two centuries later when the English king sought to settle the question of the Scottish succession (Stones & Simpson (1978) ii,307).
The writs predate the death of William of St Calais, bishop of Durham, in January 1096, and may have been issued in summer 1095 when William II was in the north.
The scribe has been identified by Bishop & Chaplais as responsible for a diploma of King Duncan II of Scotland for Durham (Misc. Ch. 554), as well as books in the monastic library, in one of which his name is given as William. His name and habits suggest that he was trained in Normandy, but he had mastered the insular thorn, as in the place-names Mordington and Cramsmouth, though he appears less comfortable with the dipthong æ [hædentun], probably because he normally used a tailed e [aecclesiae]. This latter is thoroughly calligraphic in its form, as are his ampersands, abbreviated genitive plural [scottorum], ct ligatures [dicte], and his tendency to sky final s. He followed Durham practice of the period in putting significant personal names in capitals, in this case Edgar.