Sunday, 20 September 2009
A Character in Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Series: AEthelwold
Saint Æthelwold of Winchester (also spelled Aethelwald, Ethelwold, etc) (909-984) was a 10th century Bishop of Winchester and leader of the monastic reform movement in Anglo-Saxon England.
Æthelwold was born in Winchester of good parentage in about 909. After a youth spent at the court of King Athelstan, Æthelwold placed himself under Alphege the Bald, Bishop of Winchester, who gave him the tonsure and ordained him priest along with Saint Dunstan. Æthelwold became a monk at Glastonbury Abbey, where he was dean during Dunstan's abbacy, until about 955 when he was appointed Abbot of Abingdon.
On 29 November 963, he was consecrated Bishop of Winchester by Saint Dunstan, and with Oswald of Worcester, he worked zealously in combating the general corruption occasioned by the Danish inroads into the country. At Winchester, both in the Old and the New Minster, he replaced the secular clergy with monks and refounded the ancient nunnery known as Nunnaminster. His labours extended to Chertsey, Milton, Ely, Peterborough, Thorney and elsewhere; expelling the unworthy, rebuilding and restoring. The epithets "father of monks" and "benevolent bishop" summarize Æthelwold's character as reformer and friend of Christ's poor. Though he suffered much from ill-health, his life as scholar, teacher, prelate and Royal counsellor was ever austere, said to be "terrible as a lion" to the rebellious, yet "gentler than a dove" to the meek. He is said to have written a treatise on the circle and to have translated the "Regularis Concordia". He died on 1 August 984 at Beddington in Surrey.
A century later he had acquired a great reputation as a goldsmith, and was credited with the production of a range of metal objects at Abingdon, including many figures and objects in precious metal, bells and even a pipe organ. While his disreputable successor at Abingdon Spearhafoc clearly was, like Dunstan, a significant artist, that Wulfstan's contemporary life of Æthelwold mentions him undertaking other forms of manual work, in the gardens and in building, but nothing about metalwork, suggests this legend was a later elaboration, though one that shows the high status of goldsmithing at the time.
Æthelwold was certainly bishop during the period when the Winchester school of manuscript illumination reached its peak, and the most important surving manuscript of the school, the Benedictional of Saint Æthelwold (British Library), was commissioned by him. He also rebuilt Winchester Cathedral, completed in 980.
He was buried in the Old Minster at Winchester, his body being translated by Alphege, his successor, and then again into the new Cathedral. By the 12th century, Abingdon Abbey had acquired an arm and a leg.
His liturgical feast is kept on 1 August.
Æthelwold and Abbot Ealdulf and Sumerlida the priest, who took the security for the estate at Warmington, the first is Hudeman of Achurch, the second is Ælfweard of Denton, the third is Sumerlida of Stoke, the fourth is Othulf of Barnwell, the fifth is Fastulf of Finnesthorpe, the sixth is Steigncytel of Luddington, the seventh is Ogga of Southwick, the eighth is Thurferth of Warmington, the ninth is Cytel his brother, the tenth is Oswi[g] of Elton, the eleventh is Osmund of Catworth, the twelfth is Cytel, son of Clac of Warmington, the thirteenth is Sumerlida the priest, who took the security.
These are the sureties whom Osferth and Thur found for Bishop Æthelwold and Ælfric cild and Abbot Ealdulf at a meeting of 8 hundreds at Wansford, on behalf of their kinsmen, with regard to the estate at Benefield, the first is Osferth himself, the second Ealhstan of Islip, the third Wulfnoth, Stric's son, the fourth is Sumerlida of Stoke, the fifth is Ætheric the Long.
These are the sureties whom Frithulf and his brothers found for Abbot Ealdulf with regard to the estate at Walton, which consists of 80 acres of woodland and open country. The sureties are Frena and Wulfnoth, Clac's son, and Ætlebrant of Pilsgate and Cnut and Styrcyr of Upton and Boia of Milton and Drabba his brother. When Abbot Ealdulf bought the homestead from Goding of Walton, his sureties were Ulf and Eincund and Grim of Castor. When Earl Ælfric bought the estate at Leobrantestune from Frena at a meeting of the whole host at Northampton, the whole host was security on his behalf that the estate was unburdened.
These are the sureties whom Osgar found for Abbot Ealdulf, when he bought the estate at Maxey, the first is Frena, the second is Ulf, Dodd's son, the third is Osbern, the fourth is Hundulf, the fifth is Boia of Milton, the sixth Wigulf, Sunte's son, the seventh Eadric of Thorpe, the eighth Grim his brother, the ninth Brenting.
There are 24 acres of woodland and 22 of arable land, apart from the other land held in common, which Abbot Ealdulf bought from Cyneferth, and Ulf, Dodd's son, was security, and Eadric of Thorpe and Eincund and Orm; and he bought 12 acres from Orm, and Ulf was security, and Eincund and then all the wapentake, and 20 acres from Hungifu, and Eadric the Small was security and Fastulf the priest and Orm.
These are the securities whom Osgot found for Abbot Ealdulf on behalf of the estate at Castor, which he paid over to him for the outlawry he had incurred through slaying Styrcyr, Oggod and his two sons, Oswig the priest, Grim, Boia, Drabba, Æthelstan of Upton, Clac and Styrcyr. It consists of a homestead and 40 acres of arable land and meadow.
The estate at Wittering which Mannel gave to Bishop Æthelwold consists of one hide less and oxgang. These are the sureties, Gyreweard, Gyrping, Thurwold of Maxey and Steigncytel. Then Clac gave a hide less an oxgang. These are the sureties, Oggod of Castor, Ulf, Dodd's son, Thurwold of Helpston, Clac of Castor. The sureties for Ufi were Ulf, Eorl's son, and Cytelbearn and Osferth, Frithegist's son, and Clac of Barnwell. The sureties for what Æthelred gave to Bishop Æthelwold are Ulf, Dodd's son, Thurwold of Helpston, Clac of Castor, Thurlac Farthing.
Abbot Ealdulf bought the mill at Ashton from Martin for two pounds, and his sureties are Frena and Sigeferth and Osferth.
Here it is declared that Abbot Ealdulf bought a hide of land at Ashton from Ælfwold, with the cognisance of the three hundreds at Wy?re?e cross, and his sureties are Osferth, Frithegist's son, and Brihtsige, Warmund's son, and Sumerlida the priest and Hudeman of Achurch.
When Earl Æthelwine and Abbot Ealdulf gave Æthelstan and Ælfwold the final penny for the estate at Peterborough, the sureties were Frena and Æthelsige, the earl's uncle, and Osferth, Frithegist's son, and Ælfnoth, Bada's son, and Sumerlida the priest.
The estate consists of 20 acres of woodland and open country, apart from the pasture which pertains to it, that Abbot Ealdulf bought from Osgod of Bainton with the cognisance of the two hundreds at the Dykes, and his sureties are Thurlac and Herulf and Ætlebrant and Hundulf. Abbot Ealdulf and Ælfwold bought 1.5 hides from Swift for 8 pounds. These are the sureties, Frena and Ulf, Eorl's son, and Osferth, Frithegist's son, and Hudeman and Sumerlida, with the cognisance of the three hundreds attached to Oundle.
These are the sureties whom Wulfgeat and Gyrping found for Abbot Ealdulf, when they paid over the estate at Maxey for the outlawry which he pronounced on Wulfnoth, the first in Hundulf, the second is Ulf, Dodd's son, the third Thurlac, the fourth Sigar, the fifth Thurwold of Maxey. The estate consists altogether of 29 portions.
In this document it is declared who are the sureties for the purchase of land which Bishop Æthelwold made from various men out at Wittering; first of all 24 acres from Gyreweard, and a good dwelling-house in addition, and it was given him for 12 mancuses of gold and 8 ores of pure white money, and his sureties were Frena and Sigeferth and Oggod. Then from Tuce and her son Clac 60 acres were bought for 10 pence each, and her sureties were Gunna and Hundulf and Saxa and Thurferth. And for the 20 acres which were bought from Ufi for 28 pence each, the sureties were Tunna his father, and Ulf and Usulf, and from his mother Aswig 60 acres were bought for 10 pence each, and the sureties were Wulfgar and Eadric and Osferth and Styrcyr and Ætlebrant.
Then from Wulfnoth the painter was bought Oxney. The amount of woodland and open country and meadow at Oxney is 25 acres by measure, and outside the island 60 pieces of land which amount to 30 acres, and in the wood outside every third tree. And for Oxney and what lay outside were given 25 mancuses of gold, and his sureties were Gyreweard and Æthelnoth, son of Æthelferth the Stout, and Wulfnoth's own son. For Wittering and for Oxney 15 pounds were paid.
These are the sureties for the three hides at Thorpe which Bishop Æthelwold bought from Sigeferth for 16 pounds, namely first Frena and Ælfsige and Ælfnoth, Bada's son, and Osferth, Frithegist's son, and Hudeman and Oggod and Ælfweard and Gyreweard and Maneboia, and this was done at Wansford.
These are the sureties whom Herulf, Ada's son, found for Abbot Ealdulf and Godwine, Ælfsige's son, when they bought the estate at Bainton, namely Æthelstan, Catla's son, and Leofsige, Thurlac's son, and Tufes of Helpston, and Æthelstan of Upton and Osulf of Castor and Osferth, Oggod's son, and at the west end Ælfweard of Denton and Sumerlida the priest and Oswig of Elton and Thurferth, Rolf's son, and Cytel his brother, and Sumer[lida] of Stoke and Osulf, Hudeman's son, and this was done at Oundle with the cognisance of the 8 hundreds.
These are the sureties whom Eincund found for Abbot Ealdulf for the estate at Anlafestune which he bought from him, namely Eadric of Thorpe and Æthelstan, Catla's son, and Tufes of Barnack and Tufes of Helpston and Leofsige, Thurlac's son, and Grimketel and Ulf, his own brother, and 2 hundreds in addition.
These are the sureties whom Swuste and her daughter found for Abbot Ealdulf for the 1.5 hides at Lutton, with the cognisance of the 8 hundreds at Oundle, namely Godwine, Ælfsige's son, and Ælfnoth of Creast and Sumerlida the priest and Sumerlida of Stoke and Osulf, Hudeman's son, and Æthelwold, Frithegist's son, and Leofsige, son of Ealhstan of Islip, and Thurferth, Rolf's son, and Cytel his brother and Oswig of Elton, and in addition the 8 hundreds attached to Oundle.
These are [the sureties] whom the widow of Wineman of Raunds found for Abbot Ealdulf for the one hide at Warmington, namely first her own son and her three brothers - Osulf and Fastulf and Beornheah - and Æthelwold, Frithegist's son, and Sumerlida the priest and Sumerlida of Stoke and Thurferth, Rolf's son, and Cytel his brother and Oswig of Elton and Edwin, Eadric's son, and Ælfweard of Denton.
This is the declaration [of the agreement] which Ælfweard of Denton made with Abbot Ealdulf when he gave up to him the estate at Warmington which he had wrongfully taken, [and produced sureties], namely Frena and Osferth, Frithegist's son, and Æthelwold his brother and Sumerlida the priest and Osulf, Hudeman's son; and on his security granted the estate at Warmington with their cognisance to St Peter's after his death on behalf of his soul.