7000 coins there were nearly 1000 ounces of silver ingots and of fragments
of silver ornaments, evidently broken up for the purpose of melting. So
far it would appear that it was some treasure which had been collected for
a certain purpose, and as the spot on the river Ribble where they were
found is not far from the mouth of that river, it might reasonably be
supposed that it was money collected and paid to the Danes, who were
about to carry it away by sea, and that, perhaps, being surprised, they may
have landed and buried the treasure on the bank, and no one of the party
having an opportunity of returning, it lay buried for centuries till it was
accidentally discovered in 1840. So large an amount of metal of so great
variety of shape could not well have been the collection of any one indivi-
dual. It must have been some public payment, and probably, therefore,
one of those payments made to the Danish marauders so frequently referred
to by the chroniclers. Metal of all kinds would be collected ; coins which
had been issued, as well as coins which from their blundered spellings the
moneyers had not issued at all. Still, this is only supposition ; the evidence
is not sufficient to determine the matter : all that can be said is that the
bulk of the coins do not appear as if they had ever been in circulation.
Before concluding the evidence, there are one or two peculiar cir-
cumstances which have to be noted in respect of the Orsnaford coins
' See ante, note p. 374.
APPENDIX C. 377
themselves â€” namely, the arrangement of the inscriptions ; and these cir-
cumstances go some way to confirm the evidence derived from the general
aspect of the hoard as a whole, that is, to render it highly improbable that
the bulk of the coins in question were struck by the regular moneyer of
the several kings, and in the ordinary way.
It should be observed first that all those of the true Orsnaford type have
the name of the king inscribed transversely across the coin instead of around
the border. It cannot be said that there are no other instances of this
arrangement amongst the English coins of the period; but they are exceed-
ingly rare. Besides one or two instances amongst the coins of the Mercian
kings ', three later examples may be given. One of King Alfred's coins,
three specimens of which were found in the Cuerdale series, but hitherto
unknown, has +aelfred rex saxonum in four lines. Another coin,
also a new type and found in the same series, has eadvveard rex
SAXOXL'M in four lines. There is also figured in Ruding one of Hartha-
cnut (a.d. 1039), which has on the obverse hardacnut rex in dano.
The irregularity of these three examples is due probably to the fact that it
was required for some reason that the king's title should be given in full.
When we look at the Orsnaford inscription, no such reason can be
assigned, since the name, supposing it to be that of the place where the
coin was struck, could not be part of the title and does not belong to the
obverse. In looking through several hundreds of coins which are figured
or described in the works of Ruding, Hawkins, etc., and especially through
the series of the Cuerdale find, no instances have been observed in which
the place of mint is distinctly given on the obverse with the name of the
king -. If Bernwald is the moneyer and Orsnaford the place of mint, they
ought both to be together, and both on the reverse. In this case there
would have been ample room. Since then, arguing from analogy, the only
reason for the name being placed across the coin would be the extent of the
inscription, and the only reason for the additional words to the king's
name, would be that it was desired to give some definite title to the king,
it follows, in order to bring the coin into conformity with the rule of the
coins of the ninth, tenth, or early part of the eleventh century, that we
ought a priori to interpret the letters as containing, or at least as intended
to contain, something of the nature of a title ; not the name of a place, still
less the place of coinage.
^ Some one or two coins ascribed to Ethelbald (a. d. 716), and reading
eadvald rex, and some also of Ofia (a. d. 755) reading offa M[erciorum] rex,
and one of Coenwulf (a. d. 821) reading COENVVLF M[erciorum] REX, have the
inscription written across the coin on the obverse, seemingly on account of the
large letters, for which there would not have been sufficient space round the edge.
^ Elfrid's name occurs with DORO for Canterbury, but the correct coins all run
aelfred rex DORO, and amongst some forty varieties, including many jumbled
versions of the above, the R is always repeated â€” that is, one belongs to Rex, the
other to Doro, e. g. eterrevoroe, eledrxvoro, etc. ; often the Rex itself can
be found, e.g. rlex + froedor, refdvrha, edre, etc. Possibly they may have
been struck at Canterbury; but this does not affect the question at issue. So, in the
same way, doro occurs on the obverse in Archbishop Plegmund's coins, but that
because he was Archbishop of Canterbury and the name is part of his title.
378 THE EARLY HISTORY OF OXFORD.
Again, in another way the form orsnaforda in itself mihtates against
the theory that it is the place of mintage. In the early instances of
coinage the names of places are as a rule excessively abbreviated. A
glance at the variations of the word Oxford itself, given in the previous
appendix^ is sufficient. Of some thirty varieties, including o and ox, it will
be seen how only one reaches even Oxnef. Not one reaches even Oxnefo
or Oxneford, and this fairly represents the mode of treating most names of
places. In looking through all those ending in ford, the last syllable is
very rarely expressed. Bedford, which is very frequent, and is found as
Be or Bdfo, only rarely reaches Bedafo and Bedafor, never Bedeford.
And though in the case of Herford (qy. Hertford or Hereford) a single
instance is found, and one in the case of Theotford (Thetford), no instance
whatever has been found of the addition of the case ending, as vaforda ;
and this spelling, it must be remembered, occurs on all the coins where the
word Orsnaford is readable.
And even if these inconsistencies are allowed to be of no value, there
still remains the fact of the invariable introduction of the letter r in the
form ORSNA ; this is inconsistent not only with any known spelling of
Oxford, but any probable spelling of Oxford. No variations of spelling
of Ox, or even of Osen, could have been ORS'-. The answer to those who
contend for the R being possibly a k, and that the moneyer might have
been guided by the sound, is first that no analogous case of the spelling x
by KS on a coin has been observed ; and next, that the R appears to have
been struck throughout with the same die as is employed for the same
letter in forda. The theory of the K seems to have originated through
a blunder of Wise^ with whom the desire of connecting the name
with Oxford seems to have outweighed his caution, for the coin which
he evidently used does not bear out his theory, nor, so far as has been
observed, do any of the other specimens.
These then are the several points in the evidence of which account must
be taken before arriving at the conclusion that the name signifies Oxford.
It has been shown that, so far as evidence is forthcoming, the only place
where the Orsnaford coins have been found are near the Ribble, in
Lancashire. No recorded specimen has ever been found in Oxfordshire or
in the south of England. The general character of the coins with which
the Orsnaford type is associated is that which, according to Mr. Hawkins,
implies that the coins were struck without the authority of the king whose
name they bear, and by moneyers who had no authority and who
* See mtte, p. 349.
^ Horsaford, however, would have been a good name of a place. There is one
spelt in Domesday Horseford (fol 301 a, col. 2), now Horseforth, nve miles north-
west of Leeds in Yorkshire ; and, in the same county, Hoseford (fol. 332 b, col. 2),
the name of which does not seem to have survived. In Norfolk also there is a
Hosforda (fol. 155 a, col. 1), now Horsford, four miles north of Norwich. The
omission of the H on the inscription would surely be more reasonable than the
insertion of an R where it did not exist ; and so those who argue on the theory
that the word represents the name of a place ought to choose one of those here
named rather than Oxford.
^ See ante, p. 369.
APPENDIX C. 379
imitated other coins, blundering the inscriptions to a considerable extent ;
so that, while a very large portion is rendered unintelligible, no confidence
can be placed upon the readings even of those where the letters seem to
form intelligible words.
It will perhaps, before concluding, be convenient to exhibit a series of
the readings of this type of coin, so far as they can be represented by ordi-
nary Roman letters, in order that some idea may be formed of the variety.
There are four specimens in the Bodleian Library of the true Orsnaford
type, of which one only is authenticated to have come from Cuerdale, the
remaining three very possibly, in the absence of any direct information
obtainable about the coins, from Harkirk ^. As has already been pointed
out. Wise mentions a coin given by John Drake, of York, to the Bodleian,
which is the same as that figured by Sir Andrew Fountaine ; but there
is nothing to connect this, or indeed any of the Bodleian coins, with that
engraved by Spelman, and re-engraved by Bishop Gibson ^ It has been
thought well also to give the two next coins in the Bodleian Collection,
since they contain both the name of -lElfred and the moneyer Bernvald,
and are very similar to the others in general appearance.
No. 89. ORSIIA iELFRED FORDA BERIV + + + ALDMO.
â€ž 90. ORc/^NA a^lFRED FORDA BERNV + + + VlQMO.
â€ž 91. OAcwNA a^lFRED FOI I A aaRNY+ + + VIDIIO.
Ad. ORSIIA iELFRED FORDA BE-HIV + + + ALDIIO.
â€ž 92. + EFD0R0^VDED=^ BAERN . EDEM^.
â€ž 93. AEIFREDREXDORO BARNV â€¢ â€¢ ALDM<5>.
To the British Museum were presented a very large series of the Cuerdale
Collection, and amongst them thirty-two of the Orsnaford type*. They
possess no examples of the Orsnaford type, except those which came from
^ There is some reason to suppose that most of these coins came from the
Ashmolean Museum. How or Vkrhen they were given has not been ascertained,
though by the courtesy of the Keeper, the writer of this has had access to the
registers and catalogues of that collection. The search is rendered somewhat more
difficult by the circumstance that the Ashmolean Collection, the Ingram Collection,
and the Bodleian Collection were mixed together when the coins from the former
were removed to the latter.
â€¢^ See ante, pp. 368-9. Both Spelman and Bishop Gibson, as well as the Harkirk
engraving, have firda instead of ford a. In some specimens (notably No. 5
of the B. Mus. .series) the letter has much the appearance of an i, more so than
in any Bodleian specimen. Spelman also gives the s lengthways instead of upright,
and has aled mo instead of ALD mo : probably therefore, Sir Andrew Fountaine
had access to the one which eventually came to the Bodleian, and Spelman to
some other of which a duplicate of the obverse occurs in the Cuerdale series ; but
where the original coin has been deposited has not been ascertained.
3 The two coins 92, 93 have the obverse inscription in the usual way round the
edge, and not in three lines across as all the others have which are here noted.
* Thirty-one only were presented at the time. They acquired after, by purchase,
the last, which is here numbered 32, but there is no doubt it came from Cuerdale.
The coins have no number affixed, but they are numbered here as they occur in the
drawer of the cabinet which contains them.
THE EARLY HISTORY OF OXFORD.
A selection is here given ^ from that series.
BERIV + +
BERV + +
BERNA + +
BERNV + +
BERNV + +
BERNV + +
AIIRaa + +
BERNV + +
BERNV â€¢ .
a3RNV + +
BERNV + +
BERNV + +
The three following probably came from Cuerdale, and were presented
by the Rev. John Griffiths to Wadham College* ; â€”
1. OAc/DlIA TIERED FORDA BERNV .:.â€¢:â€¢.:. AIQIIO.
2. ORC/2IIA ELFRED FORDA BERNV + + +ALDIIO.
3. ORc/2c/5 AaFRED FORDA BERNE + + +VFaiIO.
The next is from the private cabinet of Arthur Evans, M.A., Keeper of the
Ashmolean Museum, and probably also belonged to the Cuerdale series: â€”
ORSIIA ^FRED+ EORDA BERNV + + +ALIDIIO.
To the above varieties have to be added the further varieties already
given on pp. 371, 372.
In holding the view that orsnaforda stands for Oxford, it is not only
that one or two slight exceptions to the rules, gathered from analogy, are
assumed, but, as has been shown in the previous pages, several, and some
important ones; and these, as will be seen above, are combined in
all the examples. Moreover, these coins are associated with others the
readings of which show that they are bad copies of other types, of which
in many cases what the originals were can only be conjectured. And the
1 Those omitted are very similar to others which are given, though very few
cases have been observed where there is reason to suppose the same die has been
used for two coins, and none in which it has been used for more than two. The
same forms, however, of individual letters frequently occur, showing that the same
punch was employed.
^ The I in FiRDA is really a small o crushed, with a pellet above it, so that it
has the appearance of an I. This obverse may have been from the same die as
the one engraved by Spelman, but the reverse is not the same.
" The obverse of this coin is figured by Hawkins. See ante, p. 372, fig. 25.
* These specimens were presented just before his death. So far as the writer
gathered from conversation they had been purchased from London dealers, and
were therefore most probably from the Cuerdale series. Their appearance is just
the same as the others â€” that is, they look as if they had been lying beneath a weight,
and had never been in circulation.
APPENDIX C. 381
question is whether the chance similarity of the mere sound of the letters
which some moneyer has stamped on his coins, and other moneyers have
more or less exactly or more or less erroneously copied, is suflicient to
warrant the assumption that in this coin we have evidence of Alfred having
authorized a moneyer at Oxford to strike coins with his name thereupon,
and the name of the place where they were struck. It is not required, nor
would it be of any purpose to suggest counter-theories as to what the
letters may have been intended to mean ^ The variations, it will be
seen, are so many, even in specimens of this one type of coin, as to
lead one to be cautious in accepting any one reading as the original
from which the others were derived, and any one variation might,
from falling into the hands of an ignorant moneyer, become the type of
another series of variations. This is the only theory which can possibly
account for the very divergent varieties which are found associated with
several types. A few specimens of the S. Edmund type have already been
given in a note-. It is the same with the Alfred Rex Doro, one or two
examples of which have been given in another note^; and in the two Oxford
specimens it will be observed how No. 93 reads almost correctly, and how
No. 92 diverges both in the reading of the obverse and reverse. But to
take the first three of the forty-one examples of blundered readings given
by Mr. Hawkins of the Alfred rex doro from Cuerdale and with BERN
VALD MO on the reverse type : â€”
EFERDEVOROE BVRLI ED MO.
EDRNEDAFIORO BRVN ED MO.
^rJRDEVNORO BERFV EDI MO*.
Here we see the kind of variations which take place. It may be said
that there is no more variation in any one from the original than there is
one from another ; it is merely a shifting of letters, and perhaps here and
there a change from misreading, or from misrepresentation caused by un-
skilful handling of the punches with which the moneyer made the die.
Supposing, however, we take exactly the letters as they exist in the third
and only change their order, as moneyers so often do ; we have
ORFEN^FORDA BERIV lED MO.
Now the third and fourth letters are frequently found ' made up ' â€” that
is, each is composed of marks made by more than one punch ; and this is
' The view that an unsatisfactory assumption must be accepted until a better
one is given is hardly tenable. Some of the points given in the above notes were
sent by the writer to the late Mr. Vaux, who read them at a meeting of the
Numismatic Society. The following is an extract from his letter to the writer on
the question : â€”
'44, Cornmarket, Oxford, Dec. 20, 1873.
' I read the paper as I promised on Thursday, but the meeting (as they
knew nothing of the question) followed ***** *^ ^ho maintained that Orsnaford
must be Oxford till we could find another place in the N[orth] to answer for it, a
mode of reasoning which I said was no reasoning at all ! We must sift
this question to the bottom. â€” Ever yours, W. S. W. Vaux.'
^ See atite, p. 373, note 3. Â» g^^ ^,^^^^ p_ ^^^^ ^^^^ ^
* Numismatic Chronicle, 1842, p. 20.
382 THE EARLY HISTORY OF OXFORD.
found sometimes to be so with the s in''the Orsnaforda, especially in those
cases where the letter in the preceding list is represented as z, and of which
a specimen will be found in figures 24 and 28 ^ Allowing for the omission
of the E or F (which in the variation selected was redundant), and varying
the punch marks of the one letter only, we have actually the word Orsnaford.
But why should this be taken as a type, which is really much closer to
an existing variation of ' Alfred Rex Doro ' than that variation is to its own
It is not at all intended to insist upon this being the origin of the name
Orsnaforda, but to show that under the circumstances it would be most
rash to assume that we have in such a word a type, and not a variation ^.
If there was really good ground for supposing the letters were intended for
the name of a place, it might be possible to imagine some accidental variation
from some form of that place, no specimen of which exists ; but as it does
not appear, from what has been said, to be capable of being the name of
a place, and does seem to be closely alluded to the name of a king and his
title, of which there are many examples, it seems more likely that it is an
unauthorised and much blundered copy of that name and title added to the
However, as already said, the object of these notes has been not to put
forth any definite theory, but rather to lay fairly before the reader the
evidence on which the existing theory rests, leaving it to his judgment to
decide whether it is sufficient to warrant the theory that the coin was
struck at Oxford.
^ In No. 20 of the B. Miis. coins, the letter is singularly made up of four marks,
the same which go to make up the e's and f's.
2 Still it is very generally assumed to be so. Mr. Haigh, in a very valuable
article on the Coins of King Alfred, in the Niimjs/iiatic Chronicle for 1870, p. 37,
gives one or two examples of the Orsnaford coin in his plates with the first R as
plain and as clear as the second R in that word. Yet when he comes to the
description of the coins he prints all the legends as OKSNAFORDA, adding this
note, ' The reading of the name Oksnaforda is due to our regretted friend the late
Mr. Sainthill, and is certainly right. The R and K were easily confounded one
with another.' Surely in such a case he should have put the real reading of the
coins in the text, and the emendation in the note ; nor would it have been out of
place to have made good his assertion by giving some examples of the K on coins
to show how they might be mistaken ; and better still to have given an instance of
I. The Domesday Survey relating to Oxford.
The frontispiece to this volume is a facsimile of the first leaf of that
part of the Domesday Survey which contains Oxfordshire. Being produced
by the photozincographic process, the original document is not even handled
or touched by the copyist, and the reader is enabled to refer to an exact
representation. Of course the writing in the MS. is somewhat brighter
and clearer than the copy, since, from the nature of the process, the finer
lines do not always come out so firmly as they should ; still, for all practical
purposes it serves the purpose of the original,
A few words may perhaps be given here with respect to the volume from
which the pa?;e is copied. It is in folio, of about the same size as the page
on which it is here printed, and consisting of 380 leaves (= 760 pages) of
vellum closely written throughout in a small handwriting of the end of
the eleventh century, as the specimen from Oxfordshire well exhibits.
The volume commences with Kent (Chenth), and the shires follow in
series, first running from east to west, then from west to east. In the
first series, from Kent to Cornwall, the coast counties are all included, as
well as Berkshire ; then, starting from Middlesex, the next takes in
Hertford, Bucks, Oxon (that being No. 14 of the whole series), Gloucester
and Worcester, to Hereford. The third series begins with Cambridge,
and embraces Huntingdon, Bedford, Northampton, Leicester, Warwick,
Stafford, and Salop ; and the fourth, Chester, Derby, part of Lancashire,
Yorkshire, and Lincoln, The four northern counties, Northumberland
Cumberland, Westmoreland, and Durham, do not appear in the volume.
There is another volume of large octavo size, containing 450 leaves
( = 900 pages), which gives the survey of the three counties, Essex, Suffolk,
and Norfolk. No doubt the book which is preserved is but an abstract
of the original return, and it is thought that the Book of Ely and the
Book of Exeter, as they are termed, are exact copies of the original fuller
returns. Distinct from, but of the same character, as the Domesday
Survey are the Book of Winchester, made a.d. 1148, and the Boldon Book
(or Book of Durham), made a.d. 1183.
It will be observed that besides the portion relating actually to Oxford
itself, the page contains the Table of Contents to the whole volume. This
Table of Contents appears in all the other counties at the beginning, and
frequently, as in the Oxford Survey, some special particulars are given with
respect to the chief county town or towns, apart from the entries under
THE EARLY HISTORY OF OXFORD.
the holdings of the king and those of the several tenants in capite. As
there has been no occasion to print this Table of Contents (since it refers
more especially to the county than to the city), a transcript of the remain-
ing portion of the page is given here. Many of the names however, it will
be observed, are the same as those who held mansions in Oxford, and these
have been pointed out in commenting on the Oxford list. At the same time,
the following list gives the remainder of the names of persons who, though
connected with the county, had no direct connection with Oxford. It is
here printed, like portions given in the appendix, in extended Latin, and as
it is practically only a list, no translation is needed : â€”
N OXENEFORD SCIRE,
Radulfus de Mortemer.
Ricardus de Curci.
, Berenger de Todeni.
Wido de Reinbodcurth.
Ghilo frater Ansculf.
. Gislebertus de gand.
Goisfridus de Mannevile.
Ernulfus de Hesding,
Eduuardus de Sarisberie.
Aluredus nepos Wigot.
Wido de Oilgi.
Willelmus filius manne.
Ilbodus frater Ernulfi de