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E05867: A probably authentic Anglo-Saxon charter records a grant by Wihtred, king of Kent (south-east Britain) and his wife Æthelburh, of land at Littlebourne, Kent, to the monastery outside Canterbury dedicated to *Peter (the Apostle, S00036). Written in Latin, probably in Kent, March 696 or 711.

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posted on 2018-06-22, 00:00 authored by bsavill
Charter of King Wihtred and his wife Æthelburh (Sawyer 16, excerpted)

Beneficiis Dei et Domini nostri Iesu Christi nobis collatis non immemores, ego Wihtredus rex Cantie et coniunx mea Adelburga pro remedio animarum nostrarum beati Petri apostolorum principis monasterio quod situm est in suburbano huius Dorouernis ciuitatis, in quo preesse dinoscitur Adrianus abbas huc missus ab apostolica sede eiusque familie que nunc futura est, terram iuris nostri quinque aratrorum que appellatur Litleburne [...] a presenti die et tempore a nostra iurisdictione transferentes inperpetuo tradimus possidendam, et quicquid exinde facere uolueritis, uestri erit arbitrii, conditione interposita ut nostri memoriam habeatis tam in missarum solemniis quam in orationibus uestris, incessanter nobis misericordiam a Domino postulantes [...] Actum in mense Martio, indictione nona [...]

'Not forgetful of the gifts of God and our Lord Jesus Christ which have been conferred upon us, I, Wihtred, king of Kent, and my wife Æthelburh, for the remedy of our souls have granted to be possessed forever from the present time and day, from our authority, a land of ours of five sulungs which is called Littlebourne, to the monastery of blessed Peter, prince of the apostles, which is situated outside this city of Canterbury, in which Abbot Hadrian (who was sent from the apostolic see) is known to preside, and his household which is there now and in future times. And whatever henceforth you wish to do there, it will be in your power, on this interposed condition: that you will keep our memory, as much in solemn masses as in your prayers, continually seeking the mercy of the Lord for us ... Enacted in the month of March, in the ninth indiction ...'

Text: Kelly 1995, no. 9, 36-7. Translation: B. Savill.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Peter the Apostle : S00036

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Documentary texts - Donation document Documentary texts - Charter or diploma


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Britain and Ireland

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Canterbury St Albans St Albans Verulamium

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Eucharist associated with cult

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - monastic

Cult activities - Places Named after Saint

  • Monastery

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - abbots Monarchs and their family Women


This charter survives only in much later copies, in manuscripts of the 13th and 15th centuries. Its most recent editor argues that it 'seems to be... authentic' (Kelly 1995, 37-8). For further details, see this charter's entry on the Electronic Sawyer:


This monastery at Canterbury would later become known as St Augustine's, after its founder Augustine, first bishop of Canterbury (597-?609). Although the house was apparently established as a monastery dedicated to both Peter and Paul (c.f. Bede, Ecclesiastical History 1.33), this early charter only records a dedication to Peter.


Edition: Kelly, S.E., Charters of St Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury, and Minster-in-Thanet (Oxford, 1995). Further reading: Sawyer, P.H., Anglo-Saxon Charters: an Annotated List and Bibliography (London, 1968); revd. S.E. Kelly and R. Rushforth et al. online at

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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