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Æthelwulf, King of Wessex:
Grant of a Tenth of Public Land, 854


Though apparently one tenth of the Kingdom of Wessex was given to the Church, King Athelwulf was really making a grant out of public land. Such a grant was an actual conveyance of real property rather than a gift of a tithe of the produce of the land.

For which cause, I, Athelwulf, king of the West-Saxons, with the advice of my bishops and nobles, for a remedy thereof have adopted the wholesome expedient of granting forever some portion of my kingdom to God and the holy Mary, and all saints; to wit, a tenth part of my land, free and quit of all secular services, king's tribute both great and small, and the taxations we call witeredden; and for the good of my soul and the remission of my sins, let it be wholly free for the service of God alone, exempt from military service, the building of bridges and castle-ward, to the end that prayers may ascend without ceasing unto God for us, and so much the more diligently as we in aught remit the services of those who offer them....

This charter of donation was written in the year of grace 854, in the fourth indiction, of the ninth day of November, in the city of Winchester, before the greater altar of the blessed apostle Peter.


Source:

J. A. Giles, ed., Roger of Wendover's Flowers of History, (London: H. G. Bohn, 1849), Vol. I, p. 183; 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. 380-381.

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


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

Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use.

© Paul Halsall, October 1998
halsall@fordham.edu