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3 1833 00730 9062



Eynsliaui Seals from casts in tlie British Mtiseuni




-tfe:^^ -

2. B.M. CIV, 59

I. B.M. CIV, 58

4. B.M. LXVI, 95

3. B.M. LXX, 72

gdinni^ad bdi jb abjsm ^(Idisdo•lq ,v9ddA aril lo l£38 sriT .i
isol 8/i7/ I/iaa 8uoi*4itf 'ipacjjirii^^' /(lUJnso riiriaaJiiriJ aril lo
.£i-8o£i ,\(onj53Bv 3riJ gnhub

r4Aa,-,Xa • 8I[TATIM[i]>IT (S)

rui ajfiagaicpi jI .Ss-gisi Joddri ,rnx;bA lo l£38 sriT .s:

.3Vodj5 blidO bn£ ni^iiV sdj ; JsjIoBid £ no gnibneJe Joddii
■ L^a . A10]A>[0 • :iaA • J/IVJJIOia— ^.bns^al TsJuO

.[ai]MAH[83HO.^ • 8ITAaaA
>iVTA:iVT • MAGA • XS - ^VTlG3.—■. hns-gsl lanni

.MAQA . 8Vaa • M[:iM]A

^riJ lo ba^l) /; o] bsrbjsjJB Ib32 b rnoil 9i£ s bn£ i 8J8£3

.8s-f_isi lo •oJaniffiiea // lo laJqjsriD bn£ ri£3(I

y'ji) c^'Ei "' 3b£rfi stisbduob ,'(3ddA aril lo l£98 i3J£l A. .f
^'iioiriJ £ no b9J£98 nigiiV aril aimso arfi nl .(vzx .q .l^i^
.K)dd£ gni[99n>I £ ei v/olsd : bioJ •iuo si evods ; bliriO djiv/
lij£S .j8 Jrf;gii sri] no ^^3s?jj^3ri| rijiv/ laJsSL J8 8i Jlal sriJ nO

.biow8 adJ ri)t 7/
:iT3XA8 ■ 3I8aJ]3D3 • MVJJI0I8— : bna^aJ
. 13 . 3mAI/: . 3[TD14A8 • T3 . SITATmmT
.[31JMAH83H03 • UVA^ • T3 • "13^ • '.SOJ^IA

i£io:Ij;£q a gfiiblori bruid ihl £ ; Jodd£ (i£ lo Ifiss odT .».

.jl/IJA8J3M13a . 81TAHHA • MJI0I8— : bnagaJ

T. The seal of the Abbey, probably made at the beghming
of the thirteenth century. Perhaps a previous seal was lost
during the vacancy, 1208-13.

The legend is :— SIGILLVM • ECCLESIE • SAInCTE •

2. The seal of Adam, abboi 1213-28. It represents an
abbot standing on a bracket ; the Virgin and Child above.

Outer legend :— SIGILLVM • ADE • GRA[CIA • DEI •

Inner legend :—EDlTVS • EX • ADAM • TVEATVR

Casts I and 2 are from a seal attached to a deed of the
Dean and Chapter of Westminster of 1213-28.

3. A later seal of the Abbey, doubtless made in 1345 (see
Pref. p. xxv). In the centre the Virgin seated on a throne
with Child ; above is our Lord ; below is a kneeling abbot.
On the left is St. Peter with the keys, on the right St. Paul
with the sword.


4. The seal of an abbot ; a left hand holding a pastoral











The Cartulary of Oseney, long promised to the members
of the Historical Society, had been transcribed and was nearly
ready for the press, when the offer of the authorities of Christ
Church to throw open their store of original Oseney charters
caused a new but fortunate delay. It was decided therefore
to issue the Cartulary of Eynsham first.

In the work of transcription, the rules have been followed

which were laid down at the origin of the Oxford Historical

"Society; the manuscript is exactly reproduced, except that

contractions have been expanded and punctuation has been

^j added. It has not been thought necessary to alter such

^i^eccentr^c spellings as arrabiHs, robbore, corigendos, aquietare,

- excercere, legittimus, omagium, servicia (* beer '), inhitam (for

initam), dirrutus, exibere, teshaurarium (forthesaurarium), &c. ;

some of them may be mistakes, but some are intentional, and

in no case can there be doubt what is meant. In expanding

abbreviations, where there can be any uncertainty; the added

letters are printed in square brackets.

This volume follows the lines of the Cartulary of St. Frides-
wide, issued in 1894-6; for economy's sake the opening
clauses of the charters and the clauses of warranty and sealing
have been shortened, but where they contain any additional
fact whatsoever, it will be noticed that they are given in full.
In one point there is an innovation; footnotes have been more
freely used. For the most part they give the grounds on
which the charters are attributed to certain years. An editor
who consults for his own peace will assign dates and give no
reasons ; but few things are more irritating to a reader than
to find a deed attributed to a definite year, yet not to know
whether it is a guess or a probability or a certainty. By the


help of the footnotes the reader can judge for himself. In
some cases a deed has been dated within narrower limits than
is absolutely safe, but if the reasoning is given in the notes no
one need be led astray.

The second volume will consist of some surveys of Eynsham
properties made about 1365, some charters from various
sources, extracts from the Eynsham rolls in the Harleian
collection, ending with the Vision of the Monk of Eynsham in
1 1 96. Although this last has been issued in Analecta Bollan-
diana, Vol. XXII, something remains to be said about it.

The thanks of the Society are due to the Dean and Chapter
of Christ Church for their ready loan of the Cartulary, to
all the officials of the Bodleian for much help, but above all
to Mr. W. H. Stevenson, P'ellow of St. John's College, for con-
tributing what is the most valuable part of this volume, viz.
pages 19-32 and 48-50. In particular, attention may be
called to his discoveries on page 36. The appendix promised
on page 19 is to appear in the next volume. Personally, my
own thanks, more than I can express, are due to the
President of the Society for encouragement and boundless
hospitality ; also to an unknown friend, the press proof
reader — the number of errors he has discovered fills me with
dismay and this volume goes forth with many misgivings.
If I ask for corrections, it is not that I think none can be
made, but that the appearance of a second volume will enable
me to save the members of the Society from some of my

H. Salter.


A^07). 10, 1906.


The present Introduction attempts to give (i) a brief chronicle of
the Abbey, and (2) a description of the manuscript which has been
transcribed. It is hoped to say something in the next volume about
the history and value of the properties of the monastery, and of the
way in which the income was spent.

The Benedictine Abbey of Eynsham was founded twice, once under
the Saxon kings, and again after the Norman Conquest. It was first
founded by ^thelmar the Ealderman in 1005, and endowed^ with
the manors of Eynsham ^ ' which he had obtained by exchange
from ^thelward, his son-in-law ', Shifford, Yarnton, and Shipton-on-
Cherwell, in Oxfordshire, Mickleton in Gloucestershire,* Esher and
Ditton in Surrey, ' Maranaclive ' and ' Beonetlege ', possibly Marcliff
and Bentley in Warwickshire, and ' Rameslege with its harbour or
landing-place '. The founder, we are told, ' behaving like a father
to the monks whom he established there, and living among them,^
ordained that during his lifetime he should appoint the abbot; but
that afterwards abbots should be elected according to the Benedictine
rule, and should be chosen from the members of the monastery, unless
it happened that there was no suitable person among them.' It is
generally agreed that the abbot that was appointed was ^Ifric, the
grammarian. From the year ioo6 onwards he is called ' /Elfric,
the abbot ' ; and that Eynsham was his abbey is practically proved
by the heading of a treatise he wrote on the Benedictine rule, begin-
ning ' yElfricus, abbas, Eyneshamensibus fratribus salutem. Ecce
uideo, uobiscum degens, uos necesse habere (quia nuper rogatu
^thelmari ad monachicum habitum ordinati estis) instrui ad

• See p. 20. - covered it by exchange, when he wanted

* T^e Book of Hyde Abbey, pp. 254, to found a monastery in 1005.

363 (Rolls Series) gives the will of ^ The charter also makes mention of

' Ethelmer, an Alderman', dated by the a place called ' Burtun', but afterwards,

editor 970 to 982; we find there that when the boundaries of the properties

he had property at * Ignesham '. If this are given, it is omitted,

is to be identified with Eynsham, we ' ' Vivens communiter inter eos ' : see

must assume that after making that p. 20. Perhaps the words only mean

will, he gave Eynsham to ^^thelward in ' sharing the property with them ' : see

marriage with his daughter and re- the translation, p. 27.


monachicum habitum dictis aut scriptis ^' It may be added that
^Ifric is known to have been a monk of Cerne Abbey, the earlier
foundation of ^thelmar, that y^thelmar is known to have been a
patron of ^Ifric ; nothing therefore is more probable than that he
would secure him for his new abbey of Eynsham.

Besides the properties mentioned in our foundation charter, Eynsham
also received from .-Ethelmar some land in Oxford. The charter
of Henry I "^ confirms to Eynsham ' the church of St. Ebbe, and all
that pertains to it, two mills near Oxford, and meadows ' ; nineteen
years earlier William II confirmed the church of St. Ebbe ' cum
adiacente ei terrula ' and two mills ^ : and a cartulary of Eynsham,
that has long been lost, assigned these gifts to -^thelmar. This we
learn from a manuscript, now in the Public Library at Cambridge,^
containing the collections of Nicholas Bishop. He was a litigious
ciuzen of Oxford, who about the year 1430 for the purpose of his
lawsuits made transcripts from various sources, and among them
from the 'register' of Eynsham, a volume (as will be shown) not
identical with our cartulary. His note runs as follows : — ' Registrum
cartarum, tenementorum et reddituum ecclesie de Eynesham collato-
rum in burgo Oxonie, de diuersis uiris nobilibus feoffatoribus, ut patet
in sequentibus, videlicet, in primis dominus Almarus, comes Cornubie,
contulit ecclesie de Eynesham curiam suam in Oxonia, in qua ecclesia
sancte Ebbe sita erat cum quibusdam aliis redditibus ad eandem curiam
pertinentibus, et duo prata iuxta pontem australem, que prata Colum-
banus abbas dederat Nigello de Oleio, cum duobus molendinis situatis
iuxta eandem \_sic'] pontem australem ex parte occidentali, de quibus
redditibus & eorum pertinenciis facit mencionem rex Henricus
primus ' ^ ; whereupon Charter no. 7 follows. Our cartulary makes no
mention of the transaction between Columbanus and Nigel d"Oilly, nor
of the gift of St. Ebbe's by ^thelmar, but neither statement need be
doubted. The words of Nicholas Bishop imply that when ^thelmar
gave to Eynsham this town-house {curia), the church of St. Ebbe's
had already been built on part of the ground, and was one of its
' pertinences '. It may be that yEthelmar, who certainly survived until
1013, added the land in Oxford to his original grant : or that the
' curia ' and all that went with it, was reckoned to be appendant
to one of the manors of Shifford, Eynsham, or Yarnton, and did not
need to be mentioned.

' Leechdoms, vol. iii, p. xxiii (Rolls •* Cambridge University Library, MS.

Series). ■^ p. 36. Ud. xiv. 1.

5 Lincoln Cathedral Statutes, vol. ii, * Collectanea Nicholai Bishop, fol.

p. 3 (ed. Bradshaw and Wordsworth). 68.


We have no trace of the abbey from this time until the Norman
Conquest, except that the abbot and ' congregation ' of Eynsham
are witnesses ^ with the abbot of Abingdon and many persons in
Oxfordshire to a grant to St. Albans of land in Cyrictiwa'^ between
1050 and 1052. It shows that the abbey and the succession of
abbots survived.

At the Norman Conquest the monks fled and the place was
deserted : — 'Remigius vastatam, fugatis hostili metu fratribus, abbatiam
reformauerat.' ^ This comes to us on the authority of Adam, the
biographer of St. Hugh, one who was a monk of Eynsham and
afterwards abbot, and in connexion with the lawsuit of 1 196-7 had
good reason for examining the records of the abbey. Even without
this information there could be no doubt that the abbey of Saxon
times came to an end: for the rule with Saxon monasteries that
survived the Conquest was, that the king was reckoned their patron
and had the emoluments which belonged to that position ; whereas
the patronage of Eynsham, though often claimed by the king ^, be-
longed to the bishop of Lincoln. This alone would be a sufficient
proof that Eynsham was founded after 1066, and that the bishop
of Lincoln was the founder.

Doomsday Book shows that this step was taken before 1086;
for it records that the Abbey of ' Eglesham ' holds in Oxford one
church and thirteen houses, of which eight are in ruins : the manor
of Eynsham itself is held of the bishop of Lincoln by ' Columbanus
monachus ', but three knights occupied fifteen carucates out of seven-
teen. Columbanus also holds Shifford and Little Rollright of the
bishop of Lincoln, while ' Rogerius de lueri tenet de episcopo
Hardintone [Vaniton). Hec est de ecclesia Eglesham ' ; which appar-
ently means that Roger de Ivri held of Columbanus, and Columbanus
of the bishop. In Gloucestershire, Mickleton is held by the ' church '
of Eynsham, but in the list of tenants-in-chief at the beginning of the
Gloucestershire Doomsday, the tenant is described as ' abbatia de
Eglesham '. This manor, it may be noticed, is held not of the bishop,
but of the king. From these notices we conclude that those lands
of the original foundation, which were in Oxfordshire, had been given
to bishop Remigius, that he had refounded the abbey before 1086,
that the king had granted the manor of Mickleton, and that Colum-

' Matthew Paris, vol. vi, p. 29 the neighbourhood of Oxford, none from

(Rolls Scries). Hertfordshire.

^ No doubt Great Tew, Oxfordshire, ^ Vita sancti Hugonis, p. 189 (Rolls

not Tewin, Herts., as is suggested by Series),

the editor: all the witnesses are from * See pp. 309, 310, 372.


banus was already abbot. The manors of Shipton-on-Cher\vell, Ditton,
and Esher seem to have been lost before the Conquest ; the two former,
we are told in Doomsday, had been in the hands of Earl Harald, the
latter of Queen Eddid. Whether Little Rollright had been obtained
in exchange for one of these properties, or was a new gift by the
bishop, we do not know.

The next change took place in 1091. Eadnoth, bishop of
Dorchester,^ had founded a monastery at Stow in Lincolnshire,
retaining for himself and his successors in the see of Dorchester
a certain share of the offerings made there.^ It was assumed by
Professor Freeman' that the reference was to Eadnoth II, bishop
from 1034 to 1050; but the mention in our text* of bishop ^thelric
(1017-34) shows that the founder was Eadnoth I, who died in
1016. Between 1053 and 1055 Earl Leofric and Godiva granted an
endowment to this foundation,^ which, according to a spurious ® but
not necessarily untruthful deed, consisted of the manors of Newark in
Nottinghamshire, and Fledborough, Brampton and Marton in Lincoln-
shire. It seems that, like Eynsham, the monastery of Stow came to
an end in 1066; but at some date subsequent to 1070 the king
granted to the monks of Stow the possession of Newark, Fledborough,
Brampton, and the wapentake of Welle.'' The word ' monks ' is
probably used proleptically : in 1086 Doomsday speaks of no monks
of Stow, but all these properties are in the hands of the bishop,
and it was not until 1091 that a monastery was constituted there.
After Remigius had decided to transfer his see from Dorchester to
Lincoln, he determined to move his monastery from Eynsham to
Stow. Consequently the king renewed his grant to Stow (though 'Bran-
tuna ' is now omitted), and at the request of bishop Remigius added
' the church of Eynsham with its lands ' : an abbot was to be appointed,
and the abbey was to be in the patronage of the king ' like the other
abbeys throughout England ' : and instead of the portion of the obla-
tions which was reserved for the bishop, the king granted him the
manor of Sleaford.^ As this property is in the bishop's hands in
Doomsday, we conclude that this grant was before 1086, but its
provisions were not immediately carried into effect. Even as late as
1090 no abbot had as yet been appointed; for in a charter of

1 Hovedon (I. 103, Rolls Series) ^ See p. 30.

somewhat incorrectly says ' Eadnoth ' A^orman Conquest, ii. 49, note.

Lindicolnensis presul in loco lamoso, * See p. 30.

qui sanctae Marie Stou Anglice, Latino '^ See p. 29.

vero sanctae Mariae locus appellatnr ^ See p. 31.

&c.' 7 See p. 50. ' No. 3.


William II * of that year, the king concedes, as his father had con-
ceded, that bishop Remigius should appoint an abbot at Stow, and
that the endowments should be those granted by his father ; but in one
point the son is more liberal than his father, in that he agrees that the
patronage of the abbey should always be in the hands of the bishop
of Lincoln. Next year the bishop, with the approval of the king,*
appointed Columbanus, who was already abbot of Eynsham, to be
abbot of Stow ; and he and his monks were transferred from Eynsham
to Stow. This delay in carrying out the foundation of the abbey at
Stow is easy to understand, if we remember that though it had been
decided as early as 1073 to make Lincoln the seat of the bishop, yet
the first part of the cathedral was not ready for use until 1092 ] and
that until the bishop was able to move from Oxfordshire to Lincoln-
shire he would be unwilling to transfer his monks from Eynsham.

It was not for long that the monks occupied their new home.
Robert Bloet was consecrated bishop of Lincoln in December, 1093;
and, if we have assigned the correct date to Charter no. 26, within
a few months the bishop had reversed the action of his predecessor :
with the consent of the king he had moved the monks back to
Eynsham, and had kept Stow and the manors with which it was
originally endowed, giving in exchange the manors of Histon in
Cambridgeshire, and Charlbury and South Stoke in Oxfordshire, with
other smaller gifts.^ Giraldus Cambrensis * says that it was a good
exchange for the see of Lincoln ('laudabili commutatione '), while
William of Malmesbury,^ who writes of Robert Bloet with some
severity, says that if the monks made a good exchange, it was not
because the bishop wished to benefit them, and that he was anxious to
remove them that they should not see his evil deeds. But we need
nor attribute sinister motives to the bishop ; it was the policy of most
of the bishops to keep in their own hands the manors which, being
near Lincoln, were the more profitable and easy to manage, while
distant manors were used for enfeoffing knights or founding monas-
teries. And there can be no doubt that the properties given by the
bishop were of great value. In the Taxatio of 1291, the income of
the abbey is about £325, of which £90 comes from the manors and
churches of Eynsham, Shifford, Rollright, and Mickleton, while £160
comes from the lands granted by Robert Bloet.

Though it may not be certain that this transaction took place in
the year 1094, yet Charters 6 and 28 prove that it was before the death

' Printed in Lincoln Cathedral Sta- ^ See no. 7.

lutes, ed. Bradshaw and Wordsworth ; * Vol. vii, p. 32 (Rolls Series),

vol. it, p. I. '■" Gesta Pontificum, p. 312 (Rolls

* See nos. 5, 4, and 26. Series).


of William II, so that Eynsham can claim to be the one religious
house in Oxfordshire which existed continuously from the eleventh
century to the dissolution of the monasteries. But it seems that there
was some hitch in the reconstitution of the abbey. First the bishop
showed an inclination to withhold what he had promised,^ then it was
found that the possessions of the abbey had been plundered, and its
naiivi had fled^: this was perhaps in the spring of 1093, when the king
was supposed to be dying, when both the archbishopric of Canterbury
and the bishopric of Lincoln were vacant ; and even in the year 11 09
king Henry I describes the abbey as ' hactenus desolatam & dissipa-
tam'.^ William of Malmesbury^ actually assigns to the year 1109
the transference of the monks of Stow to Eynsham, and the re-endow-
ment of the abbey. Although, as we have seen, this is not the case,
yet the charter of Henry I, granted at Westminster on Christmas Day,
1 109, seems to have put an end to some years of unsettlement.

With this charter of Henry I we may connect No. 698, issued at
Handborough, near Eynsham and Woodstock, by which he grants that
whenever his household is resident in the neighbourhood the men of
Eynsham should be exempt from stahilitio, the duty of joining in the
chase and beating the woods. For reasons assigned in the notes, the
deed must be of 1109 or mo, a date which is not without
significance. For this is the time at which Woodstock was im-
parked ; and the journey of the king to Handborough ^ and the
phrase which shows that he contemplated a frequent residence in the
neighbourhood of Eynsham become easily intelligible. We can
conceive that the king's knowledge that Eynsham was in ruins
{dissipatam 6f desolaiavi) was gained from what he saw, when he
was at Handborough, giving directions about his new park and
residence, and that it was his interest in Woodstock which was to
some extent the cause of his interest in the neighbouring monastery
of Eynsham.

The series of abbots given in the Motiasticon begins with the
names 'Adam, Nicholas (in the year 11 15), William (in the year
T 138), Richard'. This list is copied from Willis's History of Abbeys,
vol. ii, p. 176; and he in his turn says that it was derived from the
registers of Lincoln and Dean Rennet's collections. These first
names certainly do not come from the Lincoln registers, nor in
Bishop Rennet's collections among the Lansdowne MSS. has it been
possible to find anything of the kind : and if it be there, it needs

* No. 6. " No. 28. ' See no. 7. '- And perhaps actually to the town

* Gesta Pontificum, p. 312 (Rolls of Oxford: see no. 37.


to be remembered that Bishop Kennet was a bold guesser, and his
work must be received with caution. A list so precise looks as if
it were genuine, but there can be no doubt that, whatever the source
of the error, all these names are erroneous. For the correct list
we are not merely dependent on our cartulary ; but in a manuscript
in the Bodleian,^ which contains the Rule of Eynsham, we have a list
in French of the abbots for whom the monks should pray. It runs : —
'labbe uel, labbe Columbel, labbe Walter, lautre Walter, labbeWill',
labbe Godef, labbe Rob',' &c., i.e. the old abbot — a phrase perhaps
meant to cover the unknown abbots of the Saxon period - Columbanus,
Walter, Walter, William, Godfrey, Robert.

I. Columbanus. We have seen that he was alive in 1086 and 1094,
but nothing more is known. In the cartularies of Lincoln Cathedral,
where some mention of Eynsham might be expected, we do not find
the names of any of the first four abbots.

II and III. Waller and Waller. The annals of St. Albans ^ inform
us that Walter, abbot of Enysham, came from St. Albans, while
Walsingham ^ adds the facts that he had been prior of St. Albans,
and that he was present, as abbot of Eynsham, when the remains of
St. Alban were examined on August 2, 11 29. At the dedication of
Godstow in the spring of 1 139, the abbot of Eynsham was named
Walter *, and our cartulary gives the same name in connexion with
deeds which are almost certainly after 1142.^ But we cannot tell
whether these all refer to the second Walter, as we do not know the
dates when either of them died.

It was no doubt during the time of one of the Walters that the
death of Robert Bloet occurred, June 8, 11 23. His bowels were
buried at Eynsham,^ ' which he had founded,' his body at Lincoln.

Another important event of this time was the grant to Eynsham,
in the year 1138, of the 'processions ' of Oxfordshire.^ The nature
of this privilege is discussed in Appendix II, where it is shown that
it was much more valuable, if it was joined with permission to hold
a fair. In the reign of Henry II, Eynsham had the grant of a fair
twice a year, as well as a weekly market ^ ; but, though we know that
the previous king had granted the latter,^ we have no deed by which

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