Anglo-Saxon land charters at Winchester College
Amongst the archives at Winchester College are 4 Anglo-Saxon charters which conveyed lands to the monastery in Winchester known as New Minster. These charters are the only pre-conquest documents from the New Minster (later known as Hyde Abbey) to survive. The monastery was founded on the initiative of the West-Saxon royal family. It is not certain how these documents came to be preserved amongst the archives at Winchester College, but it is thought that they passed to us in 1543 with other title deeds relating to lands owned by Hyde Abbey in Hampshire. Between the dissolution of the abbey and 1543, the charters and other documents had been in the possession of John Fisher of Chilton Candover and his signature can be seen at the bottom of each charter. The charters are all written in both Latin and Anglo-Saxon. Transcripts of them can be found in Liber Monasterii De Hyda, edited by Edward Edwards (London, 1866). The charters can be described as follows: Item 12091: a grant dated 940 by King Edmund, brother of King Athelstan, of the manor of Pewsey in Wiltshire to the monastery in Winchester dedicated to God and St Peter. Item 12092: a grant dated c925-933, of the manor of Chisledon in Wiltshire Item 12093: a grant dated 1019 of the manor of Drayton in Hampshire by King Cnut to Hyde Abbey Item 12091: this charter purports to be a grant dated 900 by King Edward the Elder, son of King Alfred, of lands in Micheldever, Hampshire, to the Monastery of Holy Trinity in the city of Winchester. However, the charter is actually a forgery of the 11th century. The purpose of the forgery is thought to be to vindicate the legal jurisdiction of New Minster over the hundred of Micheldever. More information about this charter, with a transcript and maps showing the lands it relates to can be found in an article by NP Brooks, 'The Oldest Document in the College Archives? The Micheldever Forgery' in Winchester College Sixth Centenary Essays, ed. Roger Custance (OUP, 1982).