Page:St. Oswald and the Church of Worcester.djvu/13

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9
THE CHURCH OF WORCESTER

training-ground of clergy who were afterwards to hold positions of importance in the Church.

Our next charter (B. C. S. 304) is a grant by Bishop Denebert, which he is careful to say is not made on his sole authority, but conjointly with his familia. It opens with the same prologue as Abbot Headda's charter, which may suggest that both were drawn up by the same scribe and at about the same time. At any rate we shall find reason for placing this charter, which also bears no date, early in Bishop Denebert's episcopate. The bishop grants, 'with the consent and testimony of all the venerable familia at Worcester, to Balthun the presbyter, a man good and true, five manses at Bearmodeslea,[1] to hold for life and to bequeath to one heir whom he may choose; but after that heir's day it shall be rendered again without any dispute to the church of Worcester, whence it was granted forth'. Another property, eight manses at Collesburn, he grants to him for life and for two heirs after him, then to return to the above-named church. 'And be it known to all who read this charter, that not I alone have made this grant, nor alone have confirmed this decree; but all the congregation of the church of Worcester with me, because the priest Balthun aforesaid is a dear and faithful friend to that congregation, and an alumnus of that church.'

There is a grant to Abbot Balthun from King Coenuulf of the monastery of Kempsey in Worcestershire, dated 799 (B. C. S. 295); but we cannot be certain that in its present form it is an authentic document. The bishop's grant which we have been considering may perhaps belong to the preceding year, as Balthun is not spoken of as an abbot, and this early date would agree well with the signatures. For here we have the names of the familia—nine presbyters, four deacons, two clerks, and three other persons with no distinctive appellation. As we do not find 'clericus' as a description in other lists of the familia for the next century and a half, it may have come in here by the inadvertence of a later copyist, who found out his mistake and held his hand after he had written it twice.

In another charter (B. C. S. 307) Bishop Denebert with his familia at Worcester grants land at Hereford to Eanswith, 'to possess it while she lives, if I leave her to survive me in this world, on this condition, that she be always subject to the church of Worcester and its familia on this wise: namely, that she do always renew and cleanse and increase the raiment of that church; and that, after she shall go the way of her fathers, the land aforesaid without contradiction be assigned to the church of Worcester.' This document, again, is not

  1. Barnsley, a member of Bibury (= Biga's bury).