Page:St. Oswald and the Church of Worcester.djvu/35

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31
THE CHURCH OF WORCESTER

not genuine, we may suppose that the compiler simply reckoned from the statement of the Worcester copy of the A.-S. Chronicle, which placed Athelstan's accession in 924, though the Winchester copy in its corrected form gave 925.

The phrase renovando in melius is intelligible in B. C. S. 665, which is intended as a confirmation—ut firmior esset stabilitas; but it is meaningless in B. C. S. 666.

Confirmavit. Each of these charters appears again in the latter part of the MS. of Heming's Register, and in a modified form. We note that in each case confirmavit is altered into confirmata. The references in Hearne's edition are pp. lll and 434 for B. C. S. 665; pp. 67 and 379 for B. C. S. 666. We have already observed that this Register is a composite document.

Sceptris fretus regalibus. It is hardly conceivable that a genuine charter of King Athelstan should contain this phrase in the attestation. In charters of King Edgar, however, we find regali fretus dignitate, not indeed in the attestation, but in the body of the document (B. C. S. 1056, 1151).

Signavit cum manibus. This again is a phrase which raises suspicion. Lastly, the addition of Archbishop Rodeward and the 'suffragans' of York is an astonishing feature. B. C. S. 666 does not go on to this point, but in the later forms of both charters the reviser has put Rodwald into his normal position. Of these 'suffragans' Æscberht attests charters from 930 to 934, and Wired (of Chester-le-Street) generally attests with him. But Earnulf and Columbanus are otherwise unknown. The grouping of names in the attestation has no parallel in the Worcester documents. It may be for this reason that the reviser attempts to normalize the attestation in the later forms. We may suppose that the compiler had based his forgeries on some charter in the Register of another house, such as that of Burton-on-Trent, where abbreviations of this kind were in use.

After this preliminary survey we need not spend much time on the further details of each charter: but some points deserve notice.

In B. C. S. 665 the prooemium Variante iam temporum statu, &c., is closely parallel in sense, though not in wording, to that of B. C. S. 1052 (attributed to King Edgar): Vacillante practicae vitae statu, &c. This prooemium also introduces surget gens contra gentem, a text which is found in several charters of the end of the tenth century (B.C.S. 1085, 1095, 1099, 1113, 1115, 1125, 1216).

The interesting phrase totius Albionis, though frequent at a later period, cannot be found in any charter of Athelstan which is certainly genuine.