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Then said the king, “This gift is little ; but it is my will that they shall hold it so royally and so freely that neither geld nor tribute be taken from it, except for the monks alone. And thus free I will make this minster, that it be subject to Rome alone; and here it is my will that all of us who are unable to go to Rome shall visit St. Peter.'
While he was saying these words, the abbat desired of him that he would grant him what he should desire of him : and the king granted it. “I have here 'godefrihte'* monks who wish to spend their lives as anchorites, if they knew where. And there is an island here, which is called Anchorets-isle, and my desire is, that we might build a minster there to the glory of St. Mary, so that those may dwell therein who wish to lead a life of peace and rest.'
Then the king answered, and said thus : 'Behold, Sexwulf, lo ! not only that one which thou hast desired, but all things which I know thee to desire on our Lord's behalf, I thus approve and grant. And I beg of thee, my brother Ethelred, and my sisters Kyneburg and Kyneswith, that ye be witnesses for your souls' redemption, and that ye write it with your fingers. And I beg all those who come after me, be they my sons, be they my brothers, or kings that come after me, that our gift may stand, even as they would be partakers of the life eternal, and would escape everlasting torment. Whosoever shall take from this our gift, or the gifts of other good men, may the heavenly gateward take from him in the kingdom of heaven ; and whosoever will increase it, may the heavenly gateward increase (his state) in the kingdom of heaven.'
These are the witnesses who were there, who subscribed it with their fingers on the cross of Christ, and assented to it with their tongues. King Wulfhere was the first who confirmed it by word, and afterwards subscribed it with his fingers on the cross of Christ ; and said thus : 'I, king Wulf here, with the kings, and earls, and dukes, and thanes, the witnesses of my gift, do confirm it before the archbishop Deus-dedit with the cross of Christ. *' And I, Oswy king of the North-humbrians, the friend of this monastery and of abbat Sexwulf, approve of it with the cross of Christ. *'
* This word is rendered by Lye, “God-fearing,” and by Ingram, simply * good.”
And I, king Sighere, grant it with the cross of Christ. H' And I, king Sibbi, subscribe it with the cross of Christ.t' * And I, Ethelred, the king's brother, grant it with the cross of Christ. “And we, the king's sisters, Kyneburg and Kyneswith, we approve it. + 'And I, Deus-dedit archbishop of Canterbury, grant it. + After that, all the others who were there assented to it with the cross of Christ. They were by name Ithamar bishop of Rochester, and Wini bishop of London, and Jaruman who was bishop of the Mercians, and bishop Tuda, and Wilfrid the priest, who was afterwards bishop, and Eappa the priest, whom king Wulf here sent to preach Christianity in the Isle of Wight, and abbat Sexwulf, and Immine the ealdorman, and Edbert the ealdorman, and Herefrid the ealdorman, and Wilbert the ealdorman, and Abon the ealdorman, Ethelbald, Brordan, Wilbert, Elmund, Frethegis. These, and many others who were there, servants of the king, all assented to it. This writing was written six hundred and sixty-four years. after the birth of our Lord, (in) the seventh year of king Wulf here ; the ninth year of archbishop Deus-dedit. They then laid the curse of God, and the curse of all saints, and of all Christian people (upon him) who should undo any thing which there was done. “So be it,' say all, ‘Amen.'
When these things were done, the king sent to Rome to Vitalian who then was pope, and desired that he should grant by his rescript, and with his blessing, all the beforementioned things. And the pope sent this rescript, thus saying, ‘I, pope Vitalian, concede to thee king Wulfhere, and archbishop Deus-dedit, and abbat Sexwulf, all the things which ye desire, and I forbid that any king or any man have any claim thereon, except the abbat alone ; nor let him obey any man except the pope of Rome, and the archbishop of Canterbury. If any one break this in any thing, may St. Peter exterminate him with his sword : if any one observe it, may St. Peter, with the keys of heaven, undo for him the kingdom of heaven. Thus the monastery at Medeshamstede was begun, which since has been called Burh [Peterborough). · After that, another archbishop came to Canterbury, who was called Theodore, a very good and a wise man, and he held his synod with his bishops and with the clergy. There was Winfred bishop of the Mercians deposed from his
bishopric, and abbat Saxulf was there chosen to be bishop, and Cuthbald, a monk of the same monastery, was chosen abbat. This synod was held six hundred and seventy-three years after the birth of our Lord.
A. 658. This year Kenwalk fought against the Welsh at Reonna [Pen]; and he drove them as far as Pedrida, [Petherton ?] this was fought after he came from EastAnglia ; he was there three years in exile. Thither had Penda driven him, and deprived him of his kingdom, because he had forsaken his sister.
A. 660. This year Bishop Agilbert departed from Kenwalk, and Wini held the bishopric* three years, and Agilbert obtained the bishopric of Paris in France by the Seine.
A. 661. This year, during Easter, Kenwalk fought at Pontesbury, and Wulfhere, the son of Penda, laid the country waste as far as Ashdown. And Cuthred the son of Cuichelm and king Cenbertt died in one year. And Wulfhere the son of Penda laid waste Wight, and gave the people of Wight to Ethelwald king of the South-Saxons, because Wulf here had been his sponsor at baptism. And Eappa the mass-priest, by the command of Wilfrid and King Wulf here, was the first of men who brought baptism to the people of the Isle of Wight.
A. 662. 663.
A. 664. This year the sun was eclipsed on the 5th before the Nones of May ;f and Earconbert king of the Kentish-men died, and Egbert his son succeeded to the kingdom ; and Colman, Ş with his companions, went to his country. The same year there was a great pestilence in the island of Britain, and bishop || Tuda died of the pestilence, and was buried at Wagele. T And Chad and Wilfrid were ordained ; and the same year archbishop Deus-dedit died.
A. 665. 666. A. 667. This year Oswy and Egbert sent Wighard * Of Wessex, at Winchester. See p. 191. + “Father of Cædwalla, king of Wessex. See A. 685.”-Petrie.
1 May 3. “This happened on the 1st of May ; but the error is Bede's.” –Petrie.
§ Bishop of Lindisfarne. Il Of Lindisfarne. See note at p. 162.
the priest to Rome, that he might there be consecrated archbishop of Canterbury; but he died soon after he came thither.
A. 667. This year Wighard went to Rome, even as King Oswy and Egbert had sent him.
A. 668. This year Theodore was ordained an archbishop, and sent to Britain.
A. 669. This year king Egbert gave Reculver to Bass the mass-priest, that he might build a minster thereon.
A. 670. This year Oswy king of the North-humbrians died, on the 15th before the Kalends of March ;* and Egfrid his son reigned after him; and Hlothere, † the nephew of bishop Agilbert, obtained the bishopric over the WestSaxons, and held it seven years. Bishop Theodore consecrated him. And Oswy was the son of Ethelfrid, Ethelfrid of Ethelric, Ethelric of Ida, Ida of Eoppa.
A. 671. This year was the great destruction among the birds.
A. 672. This year king Kenwalk died, and Sexburga his queen reigned one year after him.
A. 673. This year Egbert, king of the Kentish-men died ; and the same year there was a Synod at Hertford, and Saint Etheldrida began the minster at Ély.
A. 674. This year Escwin succeeded to the kingdom of the West-Saxons ; he was the son of Cenfus, Cenfus of Cenferth, Cenferth of Cuthgils, Cuthgils of Ceolwulf, Ceolwulf of Cynric, Cynric of Cerdic.
A. 675. This year Wulf here, the son of Penda, and Escwin, the son of Cenfus, fought at Beadan-head; and the same year Wulfhere died, and Ethelred succeeded to the kingdom.
Now in his time he sent bishop Wilfrid to Rome to the pope that then was, he was called Agatho, and showed him by letter and by message how his brothers Peada and Wulfhere, and Sexwulf the abbat, had built a minster, which was called Medeshamstede, and that they had freed it against king and against bishop of all services; and he besought him that he would assent to it with his rescript and with his blessing. And then the pope sent his rescript to England, thus saying :
February 15th. Eleutherius, bishop of Winchester. See p. 191.
“I, Agatho, pope of Rome, greet well the worshipful Ethelred, king of the Mercians, and the archbishop Theodore of Canterbury, and the bishop of the Mercians Sexwulf, who was formerly abbat, and all the abbats who are in England, with the greeting of God and my blessing. I have heard the desire of king Ethelred, and of archbishop Theodore, and of bishop Sexwulf, and of abbat Cuthbald ; and it is my will that it be in all wise even as you have spoken. And I ordain, on behalf of God and St. Peter, and of all saints, and of every person in orders, that neither king, nor bishop, nor earl, nor any man have any claim, nor any tribute, geld, or military service ; neither let any man exact any kind of service from the abbacy of Medeshamstede. I also ordain that the shire-bishop be not so bold that he perform any ordination or consecration within the abbacy unless the abbat beseech it of him, nor have any claim there for proxies, or synodals, or for any kind of thing. And it is my will that the abbat be holden as legate of Rome over all the island, and that whatsoever abbat shall be there chosen by the monks, he be consecrated by the archbishop of Canterbury. I will and concede that whatever man shall have made a vow to go to Rome, which he may be unable to fulfil, either from sickness or his Lord's need (of him), or from poverty, or be unable to come there from any other kind of need, be he of England, or of whatever other island he be, let him come to the minster at Medeshamstede, and have the same forgiveness of Christ and St. Peter, and of the abbat and of the monks, that he should have if he went to Rome. Now I beseech thee, brother Theodore, that thou cause to be commanded throughout all England, that a synod be gathered, and this decree, be read and observed. In like manner I command thee bishop Sexwulf, that even as thou didst desire that the minster be free, so I forbid thee and all the bishops that shall come after thee, from Christ and all his saints, that ye have any claim upon the minster, except so far as the abbat shall be willing. Now will I say in a word, that whoso observeth this rescript and this decree, let him be ever dwelling with God Almighty in the kingdom of heaven ; and whoso breaketh through it, let him be excommunicated, and thrust down with Judas and with all the devils in hell, unless he turn to repentance. Amen !”