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name is expressed to be its ancient or well-known denomination. The appellation, however, is usually Saxon; though in some few places it is obviously British.
When estates were large, they comprehended many pieces of land, of various descriptions. With the arable land, meadow, marsh, wood, and fisheries, were often intended to be passed. In our times, lest the words expressly used to indicate the land conveyed should not include all the property included in the purchase, words of large and general import are added, without any specific idea, that such things are actually attached. Such expressions occur in the Saxon charters. Thus, in a grant dated in 679, after the land is mentioned, we have "with all things pertaining to it; fields, meadows, marshes, woods, fens, and all fisheries to the same land belonging." In the Anglo-Saxon grants of a more recent date, the general words are nearly as numerous as in our own present deeds.
Besides the first description of the place, and the general words, there are commonly added, at the end of the grant, the particular boundaries of the land. The grants are, for the most part, in Latin, and the boundaries in Saxon.
8th, The nature of the tenure is then subjoined, whether for life or lives, or in perpetuity, or whether any reversion is to ensue.
9th, The services from which the land is liberated, and those to which it is to continue subject, are then expressed.
10th, Some exhortations are then inserted to others, not to disturb the donation, and some imprecations on those who attempt such disturbance.
11th, The date, the place of signature if a royal grant, and the witnesses, usually conclude it. The date is sometimes in the beginning.
It may be here remarked, that the Saxon deeds had no wax seals. These were introduced by the Norman conquest (1).
The divisions of land mentioned in the Saxon charters are marked and distinguished by precise boundaries. We will mention some of them, as they will show, very satisfactorily, the agricultural state of the country. They sometimes occur concisely in Latin; but it was far more usual to express them in Saxon, even in Latin charters. This was perhaps that they might be more generally and exactly known, and, in case of dispute, easier proved. The juries, gemots, and witnesses of the day, might mistake a Latin description, but not a vernacular one.
In 866 the boundaries of two manentes run thus: "From Sture on the Honey-brook, up behind the brook on the old hedge; along the hedge on the old way; along the way on the great street; along the street on four boundaries, then so to Calcbrook, along the brook; then so to Horse-brook, along the brook; then so to the ditch, along the ditch to the Sture again; on Sture to the ditch that is called Thredestreo, along the ditch on Heasecanhill; from Hease can-hill to the ditch, along the ditch to Wenforth, along Wenforth, and then again on the Sture (2)."
"First the Icenan at Brom-bridge, up along the way to Hlide-gate; thence along the valley to Beamstead; then by the hedge to Scarneglesford; then up by Swetheling to Sow-brook; then forth by the boundary to Culesfield, forth by the right measured to the Steedlea, so to the Kids-field; then to the boundary valley, so to the Tæppe-lea; so on to Sheep-lea, then
(1) Ingulf. p. 70. 3 Gale, 409.
(2) Smith's App. Bede, 770.
to Broad-bramble, so to the old Gibbet-place, then on to the deep-dell; then by the wooden boundary mark to Back-gate; thence by the mark to the old fold; thence north and east to the military path, and by the military path to the Stocks of the high ford, so by the mere of the Hide-stream to Icenan; then up by the stream and so to the east of Wordige; thence by the right mark to the thorn of the mere; thence to the red cross; so on by the Ealderman's mark; from the mark then it cometh to Icenan up by the stream to the ford of Alders; thence to Kidburn, up and along the burn to the military path, so to the Turngate within the fish water to Sheepswick; then by the right mere to the Elderford, so to the Broad-valley, then to the Milk-valley, so to the Meal-hill, and along the way to the mark of the Forester's, south of the boundary to the hay-meadow, then to the Clean-field, so on Copper-valley, forth by the hedge on the angle field; then forth on the Icenan north of Steneford, so with the stream till it cometh again on Brombridge (1)."
"These are the boundaries of the land to Cerotesege (Chertsey), and to Thorpe That is, first on the Waymouth up and along the way to Waybridge; from Way-bridge within the eel mill ditch; midward from the ditch to the old military street, and along the street on Woburn-bridge, and along the burn on the great willow; from the great willow along the lake on the pool above Crocford; from the head of this pool right to the elder; from the elder right on the military street; along the street to Curten-staple; from Curten-staple along the street to the hoar-thorn; from the thorn to the oak tree; from the oak tree to the three hills; from the three hills to the Sihtran; from the Sihtran to the limitary brook; from the limitary brook to Exlæpesburn; from Exlæpesburn to the hoar maple; from the hoar maple to the three trees; from the three trees along the deep brook right to the Wallgate; from the Wallgate to the clear pool; from the clear pool to the foul brook; from the foul brook to the black willow; from the black willow right to the Wallgate, and along the Thames to the other part of Mixten-ham, in the water between the hill island and Mixten-ham, and along the water to Nettle-island; from that island and along the Thames about Oxlake to Bere-hill, and so forth along the Thames to Hamen-island; and so along the middle of the stream to the mouth of the Way (2).”
In 743 these boundaries occur: "First from Turcan Spring's head and along the street on Cynelms-stone on the mill-way, then and along the ridge on Hart-ford; thence and along the streams on the city ford on the fosse on the speaking place; thence on Turcan-valley on the seven springs, midward of the springs to Bale's-hill, south, then on the chalk-walk; thence again on Turcan-valley, and along again on the Turcan Spring's head (3)."
"First from Thames mouth and along the Thames in Wynnabæce's mouth; from Wynnabace to Woodymoor; from Woodymoor to the wet ditch; from the wet ditch to the beach, and from the beach to the old dike : from the old dike to the sedge-moor; from the sedge-moor to the head of the pool, and along to Thorn-bridge; from Thorn-bridge to Kadera-pool; from Kadera-pool to Beka-bridge; from Beka-bridge to the forepart of the llipes moor; from that moor within Coforth-brook; from the brook within the hedge; after the hedge to the hillock called Kett; from Kett to the bar
(1) Dugd. Mon. 37.
(3) Heming. Chart. 57.
rows; from the barrows to Lawern; from Lawern into the ditch; and after the ditch to the Ship-oak; and from the Ship-oak to the great aspen, and so in to the reedy slough: from the slough within the barrows; from the barrows to the way of the five oaks, and after that way within the five oaks; from the oaks to the three boundaries; from the three boundaries to the bourn of the lake; from that bourn to the mile-stone; from that stone to the hoar apple-tree; from that apple-tree within Doferie; after Doferie to Severn, and along the Severn to the Thames mouth (1)."
In one of the boundaries a wolf-pit occurs (2).
Some Particulars of the Names of Places in Middlesex and London, in the Saxon Times.
It appears from Domesday-book, that in the Saxon times the county of Middlesex had been divided into hundreds, which were distinguished by the names that they now bear, with small variations of pronunciation or orthography.
Domesday Names for the Hundreds
Among the places mentioned in the county in Domesday-book, we may easily discern the following ancient and modern names to correspond :
(1) Heming. Chart. 75.
The local denominations by which the various places in England are now known seem to have been principally imposed by our Anglo-Saxon ancestors. Most of them, in their compositions, betray their Saxon origin: and whoever will take the trouble to compare the names in Domesday-book, which prevailed in the island during the time of the Confessor, with the present appellations of the same places, will find that the greatest number of them correspond. The hundreds in the county of Sussex were sixtythree, and still remain so of these, thirty-eight bore the same names as now; and of the villæ or maneria, which are about three hundred and forty-five, there are two hundred and thirty with appellations like their present.
London is mentioned in Bede as the metropolis of the East Saxons in the year 604, lying on the banks of the Thames," the emporium of many people coming by sea and land (1)."
In a grant, dated 889, a court in London is conveyed "at the ancient stony edifice called by the citizens hwæt mundes stone, from the public street to the wall of the same city (2)." From this we learn that so early as 889 the walls of London existed.
In 857 we find a conveyance of a place in London called Ceolmundinge haga, not far from the West Gate (3). This West Gate may have been either Temple Bar or Holborn Bars.
(1) Bede, I. 2. c. 3. (3) Hem. 44.
Ethelbald, the Mercian king, gave a court in London, between two streets called Tiddberti-street and Savin-street (4).
Snorre, the Icelander, mentions the battle in Southwark in the time of Ethelred II. He says the Danes took London. On the other side of the Thames was a great market called Sudrvirki (Southwark), which the Danes fortified with many defences; with a high and broad ditch, and a rampart of stone, wood, and turf. The English under Ethelred attacked these in vain.
The bridge between the city and Southwark was broad enough for two vehicles to pass together. On the sides of the bridge, fortifications and breast-works were erected fronting the river. The bridge was sustained
(2) Heming. 42.
(4) Dugd. Mon. 138.
by piles fixed in the bed of the river. Olave, the ally of Ethelred, assailed the bridge, and succeeded in forcing it (1).
Ethelbald grants the vectigal, or custom, paid by one ship in the port of London to the church of Rochester (2).
Lawsuits about Land.
We have some account of their legal disputes about landed property in some of their documents, from which we will select a few particulars.
One charter states that Wynfleth led her witnesses before the king. An archbishop, a bishop, an ealdorman, and the king's mother were there. They were all to witness that Alfrith had given her the land. The king sent the writ by the archbishop, and by those who had witnessed it, to Leofwin, and desired that men should be assembled to the shire-gemot. The king then sent his seal to this gemot by an abbot, and greeted all the witan there. Two bishops, an abbot, and all the shire were there. The king commanded to be done that which was thought to be most right. The archbishop sent his testimony, and the bishop; they told her she must claim the land for herself. Then she claimed her possessions, with the aid of the king's mother. An abbot, a priest, an etheling, eight men, two abbesses, six other ladies, and many other good thegns and women were there. She obtained her suit (3).
In another transaction, a bishop paid fifteen pounds, for two hides, to Lefsius and his wife at Cambridge. Ten pounds of the money were paid before several witnesses. A day was appointed for the other five pounds. They made another convention between them, which was, that Lefsius and his wife should give the fifteen pounds for the five hides at Cleie, with the condition that the bishop should give, besides, a silver cup of forty shillings which the father of Lefsius, on his death-bed, bequeathed to the bishop. This agreement being made, they exchanged all the live and dead stock of the two lands. But before they had returned to the bishop those ten pounds at Cleie, king Edgar died. On his death Lefsius and his wife attempted to annul their agreement with the bishop, sometimes offered him the ten pounds which he had paid them, and sometimes denied that they owed anything. Thus they thought to recover the land which they had sold; but the bishop overcame them with his witnesses. Presuming on success, Lefsius seized other lands. This violence occasioned these lands to remain two years without being plowed or sowed or any cultivation. At last a generale placitum was held at London, whither the duces, the princes, the satrapæ, the pleaders, and the lawyers, flowed from every part. The bishop then impleaded Lefsius, and before all expounded his cause, and the injury he had sustained.
This affair being well and properly and openly discussed by all, they decreed that the lands which Lefsius had forcibly taken be restored to the bishop, and that Lefsius should make good all the loss and the mund,
(1) Snorre, excerpted in Johnstone's Celto-Scand. p. 89. 92. (2) Thorpe, Reg. Roff. 14.
(3) MS. Cott. Aug. 2. p. 15.