The Early Lives of St Dunstan 0199605041, 9780199605040

New, accessible editions, with translation and commentary, of the two most important primary sources for the life of St

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The Early Lives of St Dunstan
 0199605041, 9780199605040

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Great Clarendon Street, Oxford 0 x 2 6d p Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University’s objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide in Oxford New York Auckland Cape Town Dar es Salaam Hong Kong Karachi Kuala Lumpur Madrid Melbourne Mexico City Nairobi New Delhi Shanghai Taipei Toronto With offices in Argentina Austria Brazil Chile Czech Republic France Greece Guatemala Hungary Italy Japan Poland Portugal Singapore South Korea Switzerland Thailand Turkey Ukraine Vietnam Oxford is a registered trade mark of Oxford University Press in the UK and in certain other countries Published in the United States by Oxford University Press Inc., New York © Michael Winterbottom and Michael Lapidge 2012 The moral rights of the author have been asserted Database right Oxford University Press (maker) First published 2012 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of Oxford University Press, or as expressly permitted by law, or under terms agreed with the appropriate reprographics rights organization. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside the scope of the above should be sent to the Rights Department, Oxford University Press, at the address above You must not circulate this book in any other binding or cover and you must impose this same condition on any acquirer British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data Data available Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Data available Typeset by Anne Joshua, Oxford Printed in Great Britain on acid-free paper by MPG Books Group, Bodmin and King’s Lynn ISBN 978-0-19-960504-0 1357910 8642


book represents the final instalment of a project conceived by the editors more than thirty years ago, namely to provide new editions of the principal saints’ Lives of tenth-century England, including (in addition to Dunstan) those of Æthelwold and Oswald. It provides Latin texts of the two earliest Lives of St Dunstan—those of B. and Adelard—based on fresh evaluation of the manuscript transmission and early phases of redaction which they underwent, as well as the first translations of these two Lives to be made into any modern language. MW has been primarily responsible for the Latin texts and translations, ML for the historical parts of the Introduction and Notes; but each of these areas of primary respon­ sibility has been the subject of so much discussion over the years that it is no longer practically possible to distinguish our individual contributions. We are grateful to the Librarians of several institutions for allowing access to manuscripts in their care or for supplying microfilms and information of various kinds, especially Gray’s Inn and the British Library (London), the Bibliothéque municipale (as it was named when visited by ML in 1979) in Arras, and the Kantonalsbibliothek in St Gallen. Several scholars took the trouble to answer queries on individual points, and we record our gratitude especially to Mechthild Gretsch and Christopher Page. We incurred further debts of gratitude when the book went into production. Once the typescript had been submitted, we received much help from the editors of OMT; Rosalind Love, in particular, read meticulously through the entire typescript, helped to clarify many obscurities, and drew to our attention a substantial number of biblical allusions. At the copy-editing stage, Bonnie Blackburn brought to bear her usual concern for accuracy and consistency, and enriched the book by pointing out many liturgical references. Finally, Anne Joshua has typeset the book in the beautiful format which, over many years, she has made the hallmark of OMT. M.W. M.L.

T he presen t

M ay 2011





XÍÍÍ lxiv



IV. V.






i h i













S. D V N S T A N I




19 6


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SM St Dunstan



N. Ramsay, M. Sparks, and T. Tatton-Brown, eds., St Dunstan, his Life, Times and Cult (Woodbridge, 1992) Thesaurus Linguae Latinae (Munich, 1896- ) Transactions o f the Royal Historical Society

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Dunstan, who died as archbishop of Canterbury on 19 May 988, was one of the most revered and influential figures of the late AngloSaxon church.1He was a Latin scholar of considerable learning who is thought to have inspired, from his base at Glastonbury (of which he was abbot from some time in the early 940s until his banishment from England in 956), the movement of reformed Benedictine monasticism which transformed most aspects of English religious life in the late tenth and early eleventh centuries. As archbishop of Canterbury (from 960 onwards) he presided over the Anglo-Saxon church during this period of spiritual renewal. But, in spite of his evident import­ ance and the fact that two Lives of Dunstan were composed within a decade or two of his death, there are many aspects of his life, and particularly of his archbishopric, which remain obscure. The principal sources for Dunstan’s life are the two works edited in the present volume. The first of these is the Vita S. Dunstani [BHL 2342] composed in the late 990s by a secular cleric who gives his name only as B. He had apparently been a member of Dunstan’s household at Glastonbury and remained in personal contact with him until the time of his election to the archbishopric of Canterbury and his trip to Rome in 960 to collect the pallium. B.’s account of Dunstan is based largely on personal reminiscence concerning the period before 960, and contains no significant information pertaining to the period of Dunstan’s archbishopric (960-88). The second text is the Lectiones in depositione S. Dunstani \BHL 2343] by Adelard, a monk of St Peter’s in Ghent (in Flanders), who at some point between 1006 and 1012 was commissioned by Ælfheah, archbishop of Canterbury, to compose twelve liturgical lessons for the cult of St Dunstan. Adelard’s principal source was B.’s slightly earlier Vita S. Dunstani, 1 See the essays collected in St Dunstan, and (more concisely) the entry in ODNB xvii. 347—53 [M> Lapidge], Earlier studies of Dunstan often still have much to recommend them—notably Robinson, The Times of Saint Dunstan (1923), pp. 81-103; Pontifex, ‘St Dunstan in his first biography’ (1933); and Knowles, The Monastic Order (1963), pp. 3156—but scholarly research of the past generation has substantially qualified the perspective of these earlier works.



but he was able to supplement this source with information supplied from Canterbury, presumably by Ælfheah himself. The accounts of Dunstan by B. and Adelard can be supplemented in turn by various other contemporary (or near-contemporary) sources: the Vita S. Æthelwoldi by Wulfstan of Winchester, composed soon after the translation of St Æthelwold’s remains in 99Ó;2 the Vita S. Oswaldi, composed by Byrhtferth of Ramsey, between 997 and 1002;3 the Passio S. Eadmundi by Abbo of Fleury, composed during Abbo’s brief sojourn at Ramsey Abbey (985-7) and dedicated to Dunstan himself;4 two acrostic poems by Abbo, likewise dedicated to Dunstan and preserved by Byrhtferth of Ramsey in his Vita S. Osmaldi;5 various entries in the AngloSaxon Chronicle;6 the Old English tract known as ‘King Edgar’s Establishment of Monasteries’, apparently composed by Æthelwold and intended to serve as the preface for his English translation of the Regula S. Benedicti;7 and the Regularis concordia, also composed by Æthelwold and promulgated after a council held at Winchester probably in the mid-90os in order to foster consistent liturgical practice among the newly reformed English Benedictine houses.8 Anglo-Saxon charters from the reigns of Kings Edmund, Eadred, Eadwig, Edgar, Edward, and Æthelred help to throw some light on Dunstan’s activities in the political sphere. Various post-Conquest hagiographers treat the life and miracles of St Dunstan—notably Osbern of Canterbury,9 Eadmer of Canterbury,10 and William of Malmesbury.11 Although these later hagiographers occasionally include anecdotes about Dunstan not found in earlier sources, the 2 BHL 2647; Wulfstan, ed. Lapidge and Winterbottom, pp. 2-68. 3 BHL 6374; Byrhtferth of Ramsey, ed. Lapidge, pp. 1-203. 4 BHL 2392; Three Lives, ed. Winterbottom, pp. 67-87. 5 Byrhtferth of Ramsey, ed. Lapidge, pp. 166-8, 318-20. 6 The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, trans. Whitelock, pp. 70-81. 7 Councils & Synods, i. 142-54. Æthelwold’s authorship of this text was convincingly demonstrated by Whitelock, ‘The authorship’. 8 Regularis concordia-, ed. Symons; ed. Symons and Spath (CCM vii/3. 61-147); Die Regularis Concordia und ihre altenglische Interlinear-version, ed. Kornexl. Æthelwold’s authorship of this text was argued by Lapidge, ‘Æthelwold as scholar and teacher’, pp. 98-100 [ALL ii. 192-4]. The date of the ‘Council of Winchester’ is conventionally given as 973; but convincing reasons for rejecting this date in favour of a date in the mid960s are given by Barrow, ‘The chronology’, esp. pp. 212-13, 222-3 (see below, p. xliv). 9 BHL 2344 (uitd) and 2345 (miracula)-. Memorials, ed. Stubbs, pp. 69-161. 10 BHL 2346 (uita) and 2347 (miracula)'. Eadmer o f Canterbury, ed. Turner and Muir, pp. 41-159 (uita) and 160-211 (miracula). 11 BHL 2348—9: William o f Malmesbury: Saints’ Lives, ed. Winterbottom and Thomson, pp. I 57- 303-



distance in time which separates them from him makes it difficult to accept the veracity of these anecdotes. B. tells us that Dunstan’s father was named Heorstan and his mother Cynethryth (3. 1). At other points of his narrative B. reveals that Dunstan’s family was well connected to the Wessex aristocracy, with links even to the royal family. Thus Ælfheah, bishop of Winchester (934-51), is described as propinquus ipsius (7. 2), linked to Dunstan causa parentelae (8. 1). Cynesige, bishop of Lichfield (946x949-963x964) is described as a ‘kinsman’—consanguineus—to Dunstan (21. 3). More importantly, the lady Æthelflæd, whom B. describes as the niece—neptis—of King Æthelstan (10. 3), is said to be related to Dunstan causa religionis simul etiam propinquitatis (10. 2). Adelard supplies the additional information, probably derived from Canterbury sources, that Athelm (apparently a hypocoristic form of the name Æthelhelm),12 sometime bishop of Wells and subsequently archbishop of Canterbury (923x925-6),13 was Dunstan’s uncle: Adelmo patruo scilicet suo (Led. III). In short, in the words of Nicholas Brooks, Dunstan’s family ‘must have been drawn from the very highest ranks of the Anglo-Saxon nobility’.14 In view of this aristocratic descent, it is perhaps odd that Dunstan’s father and mother—Heorstan and Cynethryth—should be virtually unknown. The name Heorstan, possibly Dunstan’s father, appears but once among the witness-lists to King Æthelstan’s charters, in a lease relating to land at Chiseldon (Wiltshire), dated 925x933, where he is not even qualified as minister or ‘(royal) thegn’.15 Cynethryth is not certainly recorded in any Anglo-Saxon source, but it is possible that she is named in memoranda of confraternity produced on the occasion of the visit of Cenwald,16 bishop of Worcester (928x929-958), to Sankt Gallen in 928,17 where her name is included (spelled Keondrud, in good Alemannic manner) 12 On the name, see Robinson, The Saxon Bishops of Wells, pp. 55-6 (‘The Name Æthelhelm or Æthelm’). 13 Ibid., pp. 56-8 (‘The Date of Æthelm’s Translation to Canterbury’). 14 ‘The career’, p. 6. ' 15 S 1417 = BCS 648; see discussion by Brooks, ‘The career’, pp. 6-7. The layout of the witness-list to this charter suggests that the Heorstan in question was a cleric at Winchester: an odd role, perhaps, for a member of the higher nobility? 16 On Cenwald, see BEASE, pp. 273-5, s.v. ‘Koenwald’ [S. D. Keynes]. William of Malmesbury (De antiquitate Glastoniensis ecclesiae, c. 67) provides evidence that, before becoming bishop of Worcester in 928/9, Cenwald was a monk of Glastonbury: a fact which interestingly strengthens the possibility of a link with Keondrud/Cynethryth and Dunstan. 17 See Councils & Synods, i. 42-4; Keynes, ‘King Athelstan’s books’, pp. 199-200.



among a list of Anglo-Saxon names of people who seem to have been relatives of Bishop Cenwald.18 If so, there may be significance in the fact that Cenwald was later succeeded as bishop of Worcester by Dunstan, who on this evidence would have been a close relative.19 But the identification is far from certain. We are left with an insoluble paradox: Dunstan was born into a family which clearly belonged to the upper levels of the Anglo-Saxon nobility, but his own parents are utterly obscure. We confront similar difficulties When we attempt to determine where and when Dunstan was born. B. states that he was born in Westsaxonum finibus (3. 1); given Dunstan’s family connections and later association with Glastonbury there is no need to doubt this statement. But where in Wessex he was born is unknown.20 Concerning the date of his birth, the evidence of the early Lives is contradictory. B. states that Dunstan ‘was born’—ortus est—during the reign of King Æthelstan: ‘huius quoque imperii temporibus ortus est puer strenuus’ (3. 1). Æthelstan reigned from 924 to 939; hence B.’s statement has the implication that Dunstan was born no earlier than 924. But such an implication brings serious difficulties in its train: for example, that Dunstan was still a teenager when he became abbot of Glastonbury between 940 and 946 (for the date, see below).21 Earlier scholars suggested that the problem could be eliminated by

taking the word oritur (or, correctly, ortus est) 22 to refer not to Dunstan’s birth but to his ‘attraction of public attention’,23 but this solution has little to recommend it. A less problematic statement—at least from the point of view of chronology—is found in Adelard, who reports that, when Dunstan was ‘in the flower of adolescence’ (iamflos adolescentiae in annis adolesceret), he left Glastonbury to join his uncle Athelm, then archbishop of Canterbury (Led. III). Athelm or Æthelhelm was archbishop some time during the years 923x926. According to the early medieval scheme of the ‘ages of man’, as defined for example by Isidore,24 adolescentia extended from the age of 14 to 28. Literal acceptance of Adelard’s terminology would imply that Dunstan was born between r.896-8 and r.910-12. Earlier scholars, unhappy with the notion of a teenage Abbot Dunstan at Glastonbury in the early 940s, fixed on a date r.910 for Dunstan’s birth: well within the parameters of Isidore’s scheme.25 Other evidence points in a similar direction, even if it does not allow us to fix the precise year of Dunstan’s birth. According to B., Dunstan was offered the bishopric of Crediton by King Eadred on the death of Bishop Æthelgar, hence in 953 (19. 2). Given that the canonical age for consecration to the priesthood and, a fortiori, the episcopacy, was 30, the offer of the bishopric of Crediton would imply that Dunstan was born no later than 923. (B.’s statement concerning the bishopric of Crediton is thus inconsistent with his earlier statement that Dunstan was born during the reign of King Æthelstan, hence later than 924.) According to Wulfstan of Winchester, Dunstan’s colleague Æthelwold was tonsured in minor orders by Bishop Ælfheah at the command of King Æthelstan, hence before Æthelstan’s death in 939 (Vila S. Æthelwoldi, c. 7); Wulfstan adds that a few years later—paucis labentibus annorum curriculis— hence in the early 940s, Æthelwold was ordained a priest by Ælfheah.


18 As Simon Keynes has suggested: ‘King Athelstan’s books’, p. 201. 19 The suggested identification of Keondrud and Dunstan’s mother was first made by Stubbs, in Memorials, p. lxxv, and repeated by Robinson, The Times of St Dunstan: ‘“Keondrud”, who is admitted to the fraternity of St Gall on that occasion, would seem to be St Dunstan’s mother’ (p. 95). Much in Dunstan’s later career would be clarified by the hypothesis that Cynethryth was Cenwald’s sister. 20 Robinson, The Times of Saint Dunstan, p. 82, stated that ‘Dunstan was born at Baltonsborough . . . four miles out [SE] of Glastonbury’, but the source of Robinson’s information is unknown (certainly no such statement is found in any of the early Lives). See also Robinson, ‘Memories of Saint Dunstan in Somerset’, pp. 13-21, and id., ‘The presidential address’, pp. xxxi-xxxii: ‘Baltonsborough then is the one spot round which all the local memories of Dunstan cluster, and we may allow the claim of the villagers that the saint was born in their midst.’ Modern students of Dunstan will be less inclined to allow the claim of local villagers, in default of any other kind of evidence. 21 DDrC i. 29-62, s.v. ‘Abbes’, esp. cols. 38-42, where numerous medieval texts are quoted to demonstrate that the criteria for becoming an abbot were that the candidate must be a priest (consecration to the priesthood normally took place at the age of 30), must have been born of a legitimate marriage, and must have been a professed monk for at least ten years. One or other of these criteria were on occasion waived; but see col. 43: ‘Toutefois on ne reconnaissait généralement que cet áge ne pouvait pas ctre inférieur á 25 ans.’ In the case of Dunstan, this provision would require that he had been born no later than 916, if the beginning of his abbacy is to be dated to 941.


22 Note that MS C here reads ortus est, but that MSS AD read oritur, the reading printed by Stubbs and hence followed by earlier scholars. 23 Thus, for example, Toke, ‘Some notes’, p. 135 with n. 2: ‘“Oritur” generally implies either “origin” or “appearance” rather than mere physical “birth”. And surely “puer strenuus” can hardly mean “a sturdy baby boy” .’ This interpretation of oritur (cf. OLD s.v. ‘orior’, 6-7) is followed, hesitantly, in ODNB xvii. 347. 24 Etymologiae xi. 2. 4: ‘pueritia . . . tendens usque ad quartumdecimum annum. Tertia adolescentia ad gignendum adulta, quae porrigitur usque ad viginti octo annos.’ 25 Toke, ‘Some notes’, p. 143: ‘the presumption is that his birth-date must be placed at least as early as A.D. 910’; Robinson, The Times of Saint Dunstan, p. 82: ‘Dunstan was born . . . just at the time that his uncle became the first bishop of Wells: let us say in the year 909’; and Knowles, Monastic Order, p. 37: ‘Dunstan was born near Glastonbury about the year 909.’ t



At the same time as Æthelwold was ordained priest, Dunstan, too, was priested by Ælfheah (ibid. c. 8).26 Given that Bishop Ælfheah died on 12 Mar. 951, the ordination must have taken place before then; and if Dunstan and Æthelwold had both reached the canonical age of 30 requisite for ordination to the priesthood, neither can have been born after 921. In any case, Wulfstan’s statement about the ordination of Æthelwold and Dunstan has the implication that both men were born in the decade after 910.27 Unfortunately, it is not possible to assign a more precise date to Dunstan’s birth. The evidence suggests that, while still a young man—and no doubt as a result of his kinship with the Wessex aristocracy—Dunstan became attached to the royal court.28 Thus, according to B., ‘the king’s [Æthelstan’s] palace (palatio) became familiar’ with the high repute of Dunstan (5. 2), but certain of his comrades at court became jealous of him and accused him before the king, thereby gaining his expulsion from their company (6. 5).29 The date of Dunstan’s expulsion from Æthelstan’s court is unknown; but it may be one of the reasons why Dunstan never appears as a witness to Æthelstan’s charters. However, during the reign of Æthelstan’s successor, King Edmund (939-46), Dunstan was commanded to appear before the king, who, according to B., intended ‘that he should be numbered among the chosen royal magnates and great men at court’ (13. 1), with the result that Dunstan ‘lived with the great in the royal palace’ (13. 5). The unambiguous import of B.’s wording is that Dunstan was a member of Edmund’s witan. As had happened under Æthelstan, Dunstan was denounced to 26 Wulfstan, ed. Lapidge and Winterbottom, pp. io, 12. 27 Dunstan and Æthelwold were therefore coevals, even though, according to Wulfstan, Æthelwold was in some sense Dunstan’s student. Æthelwold carried on studying with Bishop Ælfheah at the command of King Æthelstan {praecipiente rege), but later— postmodum—went to Glastonbury, where he ‘became a disciple of the distinguished Dunstan, abbot of that monastery’, hence in the early 940s once again {Vita S. Æthelmoldi, c. 9; ed. Lapidge and Winterbottom, p. 14). 28 It is not dear that attendance at the royal court implied de facto that Dunstan was also a member of the king’s witan. Members of the witan, as advisers to the king, had the responsibility inter alia of witnessing land charters issued by the king. The earliest surviving charter witnessed by Dunstan is dated 946, the last year of Edmund’s reign (see below): yet, on the evidence of B.’s Life, Dunstan was a member of the royal court from Æthelstan’s reign onwards, even though he witnesses no surviving charter of that king. 29 Dunstan’s presence at King Æthelstan’s court is supported by the anecdote told by Dunstan many years later to Abbo of Fleury, who was in England between 985 and 987, that, while he was still a young man (iunior) at court he had heard the story of King Edmund of East Anglia’s martyrdom (869) from an old man who had been that king’s armiger. Abbo of Fleury, Passio S. Eadmundi, praef. (ed. Winterbottom in Three Lives, p. 67).



King Edmund by envious councillors and ‘stripped of his rank and privilege’(13.6); he was only reinstated, and made abbot of Glastonbury into the bargain, as the result of a miracle which occurred to King Edmund while he was hunting near Cheddar Gorge, following a meeting of the witan (c. 14). Thereafter, presumably, Dunstan remained a member of Edmund’s witan, although in fact he appears as a witness to only one of that king’s charters.30 Dunstan, then, was appointed abbot of Glastonbury by King Edmund, hence at some time between 939 and 946. In B.’s narrative, as we have seen, the appointment followed quickly upon Edmund’s miraculous escape from death at Cheddar Gorge (14. 5-6). The precise date of the appointment is unknown.31 If, as we have suggested,32 the incident at Cheddar Gorge took place at the time of a meeting of the mtan in 941, that date would supply the terminus post quern for Dunstan’s appointment.33 The F-version of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (composed at Canterbury r.noo) similarly assigns the beginning of Dunstan’s abbacy to 941, but this date may result from misunderstanding of the layout of the A- or Parker Manuscript of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle,34 There is also a charter dated 940 in which King Edmund grants land at Christian Malford (Wiltshire) to ‘Dunstan my loyal abbot’, and this date has conventionally been accepted as the beginning of Dunstan’s abbacy, and indeed of the socalled Benedictine monastic reform in England.35 However, the charter in question (S 466 = BCS 752) is preserved only in fourteenth-century cartulary copies, and is not calendared in the eleventh-century Glastonbury Liber terrarum, giving rise to the suspicion that it may be a post-Conquest confection, and hence that its date is unreliable.36 Otherwise, the earliest charter which Dunstan witnesses as abbot is a grant by King Edmund to his thegn Æthelnoth of land at North Wootton (Somerset), dated 946.37 In any 30 Keynes, Atlas, table XLI. The charter in question is S 509 = BCS 816, dated 946. 31 See discussion by Foot, ‘Glastonbury’s early abbots’, pp. 179-80. 32 See below, p. 46, n. 136. 33 See below, p. 50, n. 143. 34 The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: MS. F, ed. Baker, p. 80: ‘.dccccxli. Her Eadmund cing betæhte Glæstingabyri sancte Dunstane, Öar he siððan ærest abbod wearð.’ 35 It is from this date that Heads begins its record of heads of English monastic houses; cf. Knowles, Monastic Order, pp. 31, 38. 36 See below, p. xxv, n. 69. 37 S 509 = BCS 816. Dunstan signs ‘nolens sed regalibus obediens verbis hanc cartulam scribere iussi’—a very odd attestation which reveals a conflict of interest between abbot and king over an estate which owed rent to Glastonbury, and throws some oblique light on the tensions at Edmund’s court described by B. See also Keynes, ‘The “Dunstan B” charters’, p. 183.



case, Dunstan’s appointment to the abbacy of Glastonbury is to be dated to the period between 941 and 946, with perhaps a presumption in favour of the earlier date. It was above all during the reign of Edmund’s successor, Eadred (946-55), that Dunstan came to play a principal role in the king’s witan. Anglo-Saxon charters help to illuminate Dunstan’s role at Eadred’s court. In particular, there is a group of charters issued over a period of about twenty-five years (951-75) by an agency which has been called ‘Dunstan B’.38 The 'group includes some thirty-two documents mainly from the reigns of Eadred and Edgar; the earliest of them is dated 951.39 The distinguishing features of the ‘Dunstan B’ charters, which set them apart from the mainstream of tenth-century Anglo-Saxon charters, is, first, that they begin abruptly with a statement of their date of issue (e.g. ‘Anno ab incarnatione Domini nostri Iesu Christi .dccccliii.’) rather than with a verbose and quasi-theological proem to the effect that (e.g.) ‘since all things are transitory, eternal rewards are to be sought in heaven’, or, ‘it is better to give than to receive’, etc.; and, secondly, that the name of the king issuing the document is given in a standard formula, such as ‘Ego Eadred divina gratia favente40rex et primicerius totius Albionis’.41 To these formal features may be added the fact that they frequently display vocabulary of a highly unusual nature: the diminutive obsequiolum, ‘faithful service’, used in lieu of obsequium and apparently unattested elsewhere;42 the agentive noun constipulator

(sometimes varied by the equally rare nouns constipulatio and constipulatus), used of witnesses to the document and probably coined by the originator of the ‘Dunstan B’ charters;43 and the phrase circumgirari uide(n)tur to introduce the territorial bounds of the lands in question.44 The search for the origin of the ‘Dunstan B’ charters leads directly to Glastonbury,45 and to Dunstan in particular. The earliest of the ‘Dunstan B’ charters (S 555 = BCS 889), dated 951, is witnessed solely by King Eadred, Archbishop Oda, and Dunstan, whose attestation claims that he ‘ordered it to be written’ (‘ego Dunstan abbas consensi et scribere iussi sub testimonio multorum’). A closer link to Dunstan is provided by the fact that many features of the ‘Dunstan B’ charters are anticipated in the famous ‘Reculver charter’ (S 546 = BCS 880), a grant by King Eadred to Canterbury cathedral of land at Reculver (Kent), dated 949. Although this charter does not begin by stating the date on which it was issued (as ‘Dunstan B’ charters invariably do), King Eadred is described as ‘rex divina gratia totius Albionis monarchus et primicerius’ (which contains obvious elements of the later formulation); one witness signs as a constipulator and another states constipulatu munivi; and the bounds are introduced by the phrase circumgirari videtur. 46 An unusual stipulation in the


38 The term was first coined by Hart, ECNENM, pp. 19-22. 39 The ‘Dunstan B’ charters are listed by Keynes, Atlas, table XXIX, and fully discussed by Keynes, ‘The “Dunstan B” charters’ (with a detailed list at pp. 173-9). 40 In the earliest example of this formula (S 555 = BCS 889, of 951), the participle al(l)ubescente is used for favente, which later replaced it. For the unusual verb allubescere, which makes its earliest appearance in Anglo-Latin texts in the ‘Dunstan B’ charters, see DNILBS, s.v. Allubescere is an archaic Latin verb, attested in Plautus and the Metamor­ phoses of the (archaizing) second-century writer Apuleius (see TLL s.v. ‘adlubescit’ and OLD s.v.), neither of whose writings were known in Anglo-Saxon England. Possibly the draftsman of the ‘Dunstan B’ charters found the word in an unidentified glossary (cf. CGL v. 616: ‘allubesco, consentio’), or perhaps in the De nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii of Martianus Capella, who uses the word allubescat four times (i. 25, i. 31, ii. 181, vii. 726) and allubescens once (ix. 913). De nuptiis is a work which was certainly known in mid-iothc. England (see Lapidge, The Anglo-Saxon Library, p. 321). 41 Keynes, ‘The “Dunstan B” charters’, pp. 180-1. The formulation is anticipated in the charter of King Edmund of 946 (S 509 = BCS 816), discussed in the previous note: ‘In nomine Domini ego Edmund divina gracia favente rex et primicerius tocius Albionis’. 42 S 560 = BCS 900; S 561 = BCS 899; S 570 = BCS 923; S 568 = BCS 940 [where obsequium is evidently a scribal ‘correction’ of obsequiolum], and S 565 = BCS 905. The word seems to have passed out of use after 955. DMLBS cites only three occurrences of


the word obsequiolum, all of them ‘Dunstan B’ charters (S 561, 565, and 570). The word is not recorded in CGL, TLL, OLD, or the electronic databases. 43 S 560 = BCS 900; S 561 = BCS 899; S 562 = BCS 898; S 570 = BCS 923; S 564 = BCS 908; S 568 = BCS 904; S 571 = BCS 931; S 676 = BCS 1037; S 676a [not in BCS]; S 678 = BCS 1036; S 694 = BCS 1073; S 743 = BCS 1188; S 750 = BCS 1209; and S 790 = BCS 1292. DMLBS s.v. cites only S 546 = BCS 880 (the ‘Reculver charter’, on which see below) and S 563 = BCS 903, a charter of King Eadred, but not one of the series of ‘Dunstan B’ charters. Neither constipulator nor constipulatus ( m s ) is listed in TLL, OLD, or the electronic databases. Note, however, Dunstan’s personal penchant for coinages with the prefix con- in his Latin verse (see below, p. lii, and Appendix IV, below, pp. 170-1). 44 S 560 = BCS 900; S 561 = BCS 899; S 562 = BCS 898; S 570 = BCS 923; S 564 = BCS 908; S 568 = BCS 904; S 565 = BCS 905; S 605 = BCS 924; S 676 = BCS 1037; S 678 = BCS 1036; S 694 = BCS 1073; S 726 = BCS 1134; S 735 = BCS 1164; S 743 = BCS 1188; and S 802 = BCS 1315. See DMLBS s.v., which, for the verb circumgirare, cites Aldh. (prose De uirginitate, c. 11) and Frithegod, Breuiloquium uitae Wilfiidi (line 31), a Canterbury text dating from the reign of Eadred. 45 Cf. Keynes, ‘The “Dunstan B” charters’, p. 182: ‘The distinctive style of the [‘Dunstan B’] charters immediately sets them apart from the “mainstream” of con­ temporary diplomatic practices which one might choose to associate with the scribes of a royal secretariat; and a search for the origins of the “Dunstan B” formulation certainly leads at once to Glastonbury abbey.’ 46 The language of the ‘Reculver charter’ would merit thorough analysis. Note (for example) the use of verbs with the prefix per-, such as periugulo (used only here, according to DMLBS) and perscribo (used only here and in Godeman’s Winchester poem (ed.



‘Reculver charter’, that not so much as a ‘footstep’ of land be alienated (‘siquis . . . vel passum pedis segregaverit’), is found in an earlier charter of King Edmund (S 513 = BCS 817), the so-called ‘Damerham charter’, dated 944x946: ‘vel unius pedis longitudinem . . , auferatur’.47 In view of these unusual features, many of them subsequently reproduced in the ‘Dunstan B’ charters of Eadred’s reign, it is surely significant that the last witness to the ‘Reculver charter’ is Dunstan himself, who signs as follows: ‘Ego Dunstan indignus 1abbas rege Eadredo imperante hanc domino meo hereditariam kartulam dictitando conposui et propriis digitorum articulis perscripsi.’ The wording is unambiguous: Dunstan not only composed the ‘Reculver charter’, but copied it out with the lingers of his own hand. The charter survives in two contemporary or near-contemporary copies.48 Although the documents are written in a similar style of script—Anglo-Saxon Square minuscule—they are obviously the work of two different scribes. Some scholars have concluded that the charter now in Canterbury (Chart. Ant. R 14) is in Dunstan’s own hand,49 others that it was written (or even forged) in the early eleventh century in imitation of a lost, mid-tenth-century original.50 For our purposes it is important to stress that Dunstan drafted the charter, regardless of who copied it: for no one but Dunstan himself would presume to refer to him as an indignus abbas.51 Lapidge, ALL ii. 143), according to DMLBS), and pre-, such as precognosco (Aldh.) and preporto (used only here, according to DMLBS)-, the agentive noun incentor (DMLBS cites only the ‘Reculver charter’ and Adelard, Lect. VI, below, p. 126); and unusual nouns in -amen, such as guhemamen (the earliest citation in DMLBS is the ‘Reculver charter’) and uotamen. 47 See discussion of this stipulation by Chaplais, ‘The Anglo-Saxon chancery’, pp. 47-8, and Keynes, ‘The “Dunstan B” charters’, p. 184. If the ‘Damerham charter’ is, like the ‘Ucculvcr charter’, to be associated with Dunstan (see below), it may be worth noting that its proem contains a nearly verbatim quotation of Vergil’s Aeneid: ‘celum ac terram camposque liquentes lucentemque globum titanniaque astra retinens’ (cf. Aen. vi. 724-5). The same two lines of Vergil are quoted, somewhat more accurately, in a later charter of Mildred, dated 949, detailing a grant to Wulfric Cufing (S 552 = BCS 877). On Dunstan’s knowledge of Vergil, see below, p. liv. w Canterbury, Dean and Chapter, Chart. Ant. R 14 (s. x med.), with Dunstan’s subscription illustrated as the frontispiece (a) to St Dunstan-, and London, British Library, Cotton Augustus II. 57 (s. x med.), with Dunstan’s subscription likewise illustrated as the frontispiece (b) of St Dunstan. w Brooks, The Early History, pp. 232-6, and ‘The career’, pp. 17-18. Dumville, ‘English Square minuscule script’, p. 146, n. 71; see also Gough, ‘Eadred’s charter of AD 949’, esp. pp. 90-1, and Budny, ‘“St Dunstan’s classbook” ’, pp. 139-40. !1 Dunstan uses the same formulaic epithet to describe himself in an acrostic poem (printed ,below, Appendix IV, pp. 166-72) whose telestich legend reads: ‘INDIGNVM ABBATEM DVNSTANVM XPE [= CHRISTE] RESPECTES’.



In short, the ways in which the ‘Reculver charter’ anticipate the wording of the ‘Dunstan B’ charters indicate unambiguously that Dunstan must have had some role, perhaps the major role, in the production of the ‘Dunstan B’ charters of Eadred’s reign.52 In any event, the role played by Dunstan in the production of the ‘Dunstan B’ charters helps to throw light on the nature of King Eadred’s government. One curious feature of the ‘Dunstan B’ charters issued by Eadred in 953—no charters, oddly, survive for 954—and 955, the year of his death, is that, although they are in the king’s name, they are not attested by the king, suggesting that he was not present when they were drawn up.53 One possible explanation for the king’s absence is the debilitating illness from which he suffered and which is described graphically by B. (20. 3). During the king’s absence, the affairs of state were apparently conducted by persons empowered to act in his name, as Simon Keynes has suggested.54 The ‘Dunstan B’ charters, in combination with B.’s statement that Eadred ‘conceived so ardent an affection for the blessed father Dunstan that he preferred almost none of the nobles to him’ (19. 1: ‘beatum patrem Dunstanum tanto caritatis ardore dilexit ut nullum paene ex primatu sibi pretulisset’), suggest that Dunstan acted as a sort of vice-regent during the years 953-5. Meanwhile, it is scarcely surprising that a hatred of Dunstan built up among other members of the mtan during these years, and that it erupted shortly after Eadred’s death, as we shall see in due course.55 Let us return to Glastonbury, and to the nature of the establishment over which Dunstan presided as abbot. By the mid­ tenth century, Glastonbury had a long history behind it; its existence , 52 There is no need to suppose that, once the formulary had been devised, all the charters in question were composed by one draftsman. Furthermore, Dunstan apparently had several Latin secretaries in his retinue, among them B., the later author of the Vita S. Dunstani (see below, p. lxxv). And, as Simon Keynes has shown, the latest example of a ‘Dunstan B’ charter (S 802 - BCS 1315), dated 975, was expressly composed by one .. Ælfwine, who seems to have succeeded Dunstan’s brother Wulfric as ‘estates bursar’ of Glastonbury: see ‘The “Dunstan B” charters’, pp. 192-3, and below, p. xxviii. 53 The charters in question are: S 560 = BCS 900 (953); S 561 = BCS 899 (953); S 562 = BCS 898 (953); S 570 = BCS 923 (‘956’ for 953x955); S 563 = BCS 903 (955); S 564 = BCS 908 (955); S 568 = BCS 904 (955); S 565 = BCS 905 (955); S 579 = BCS 1023 (95IX 955); and S 571 = BCS 931 (‘956’ for 953x955). See discussion by Keynes, ‘The “Dunstan B” charters’, pp. 173-5. 54 Ibid., pp. 185-6. 55 Suspicion and hatred evidently attended Dunstan from the point of his very first appearance at the king’s court, as we learn from B. (6. 1-6 [Æthelstan’s court], 13. 5-6 ’ [Edmund’s court]).



as an English house is attested since the late seventh century, especially from the reign of King Ine (688-726) onwards.56 A marginal entry in the Parker manuscript of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle states (s.a. 688) that it was Ine who ‘built the minster at Glastonbury’.57 Various charters pertaining to Glastonbury date from the later years of the seventh and early years of the eighth century.58 For modern historians, Glastonbury has always been seen as the pivotal centre of reformed Benedictine monasticism.59 Certainly B.— who was a secular cleric, not a. Benedictine monk—states that Dunstan ‘shone out as the first abbot to follow the teaching of St Benedict’: ‘saluberrimam sancti Benedicti sequens institutionem primus abbas Anglicae nationis enituit’ (15. 1). But B.’s statement is not tantamount to saying that the Glastonbury to which Dunstan was appointed was a Benedictine monastery in the strict sense. There is much evidence to suggest the contrary. In the first place, it was the king who appointed Dunstan to the abbacy (14. 5-6). Such an appointment, by royal intervention and command, was wholly contrary to the spirit of the Regula S. Benedicti, which stipulated unambiguously that the abbot was to be chosen from among the congregation of monks, not imposed on them by an outsider.60 When

Æthelwold left Glastonbury c.954 to establish the reformed monastery at Abingdon on Benedictine principles,61 we learn from Wulfstan’s Vila S. Æthelwoldi that he took with him three younger men (Osgar, Foldbriht, and Frithegar). Wulfstan (who was a monk) describes these three men not as monachi but as clerici.62 It was thus at Abingdon under Æthelwold, not at Glastonbury under Dunstan, that these three clerics were tonsured as monks, and from where they went on to become leading lights of the Benedictine reform movement, Osgar as abbot of Abingdon itself,63 Foldbriht as abbot of Pershore,64 and Frithegar as (perhaps) abbot of Evesham.65 The implication is presumably that Glastonbury, at the time of Dunstan’s election, was a community of secular clerics,66 and that, under Dunstan’s abbacy, Benedictine monks such as he and Æthelwold mingled freely with secular clerics (among them B. himself). Furthermore, there is reason to suspect, from the circumstances of Dunstan’s appointment and from the role played at Glastonbury by his elder brother Wulfric, as described by B. (18. 1), that in the early tenth century Glastonbury was a royal estate held continuously by Dunstan’s family.67 Charter evidence suggests that vigorous efforts were made during Dunstan’s abbacy to increase Glastonbury’s endowment.68 Among surviving charters, there is a grant by King Edmund, dated 940, of twenty hides of land (S 466 = BCS 752) at Christian Malford (Wiltshire),69 and two by King Eadred, each of twenty-five hides,


56 Later (i2th-c.) tradition associates its origins with St Patrick in late Roman Britain. See Finberg, ‘St Patrick at Glastonbury’, in his West-Country Historical Studies, pp. 70-88, and esp. Abrams, ‘St Patrick and Glastonbury Abbey’. 57 ASC, trans. Whitelock, p. 24, n. 4. 58 Robinson, Somerset Historical Essays, pp. 47-53. For one such charter, S 248 = BCS 113 (dated 705), see the detailed discussion by Abrams, ‘A single-sheet facsimile’. There is as yet no volume of Glastonbury charters in the British Academy’s series of Anglo-Saxon Charters. 59 This notion was first stated explicitly by Æthelwold, in the (OE) tract known as ‘King Edgar’s Establishment of Monasteries’: ‘ær þæm lyt muneca wæs on feawum stowum on swa miclum rice þe be rihtum regule lifdon. N^s þæt na fealdre þonne on are stowe, se is Glæstingabyrig gehaten, ðær his fæder Eadmund cynincg munecas ærest gestaþolode’ (Councils & Synods, i. 148-9: ‘Before that there were only a few monks in a few places in so large a kingdom who lived by the right rule. This was in no more places than one, which is called Glastonbury, where his [Edgar’s] father, King Edmund, first established monks’). 60 Regula S. Benedicti, c. 64: ‘in abbatis ordinatione illa semper consideretur ratio, ut hic constituatur quem sive omnis concors congregatio secundum timorem Dei, sive etiam pars quamvis parva congregationis saniore consilio elegerit.’ This stipulation was well known in the reforming circles of Edgar’s England, particularly those associated with Æthelwold and Abingdon: note the wording in the confirmation of privileges for Abingdon, dated 958 for 959 (S 673 = BCS 1047: Charters o f Abingdon Abbey, ed. Kelly, ii. 342 (no. 84)): ‘quem sibi uniuersa prefati cenobii congregatio apto elegerit consilio secundum regularia beati Benedicti instituta, abbatem iuste ex eodem fratrum cuneo eligens constituat’; and the ‘New Minster Foundation Charter’ of 966 (S 745 = BCS 1190; ed. Rumble, Property and Piety, p. 87): ‘abbatem ex eadem ordinent congregatione quem sibi omnis concors congregatio siue pars quamuis minima congregationis sulubriori [mV] elegerit consilio’.


61 Cf. the wording of Wulfstan, Vita S. Æthelwoldi, c. 11: ‘quatinus in eo [Abingdon] monachos ordinaret regulariter Deo seruientes’ (ed. Lapidge and Winterbottom, p. 20). - 62 Ibid.; and see also Brooks, ‘The career’, p. 13. 63 Heads, p. 23. 64 Byrhtferth, Vita S. Oswaldi iv. 8 (Byrhtferth of Ramsey, ed. Lapidge, p. 112, n. 74). 65 Wulfstan, ed. Lapidge and Winterbottom, p. 20, n. 4. 66 This situation is admitted even by Dom David Knowles, the pre-eminent historian of monasticism: Glastonbury ‘was a church of clerks in the possession of the king’ (Monastic Order, p. 34); and ‘All this gives us a consistent account, bearing all the marks of truth, of a small familia of clerks at Glastonbury’ (ibid., p. 696); cf. Costen, ‘Dunstan, Glastonbury’, p. 26, and esp. Abrams, quoting the unpublished opinion of Neil Stacy, who ‘envisaged a pre-reform familia of clerici living in cells in the abbey-precinct at Glastonbury, each clericus supported by a holding of the church’s endowment’. 67 See discussion by Abrams, Anglo-Saxon Glastonbury, pp. 7, 337-45, and Blair, The Church, pp. 302-3: ‘the community had a continuous existence, and identity as a landholding corporation, between the mid ninth century and the revival of royal patronage under Eadmund’. 68 On Glastonbury’s (modest) endowment at the beginning of Dunstan’s abbacy, see Costen, ‘Dunstan, Glastonbury’, pp. 25-30, and Abrams, Anglo-Saxon Glastonbury, PP- 337—4 i> and cf. the remarks of William of Malmesbury, Gesta pontificum Anglorum ii. 94 (ed. Winterbottom, p. 308). 69 There are doubts about the authenticity of this charter (preserved only in i4th-c. cartularies), particularly its date, inasmuch as it was not calendared in the Glastonbury



one dated 950 (S 553 = BCS 887) concerning land at Pucklechurch, Gloucestershire, and witnessed by Dunstan, the other a ‘Dunstan B’ charter dated 955 (S 568 = BCS 904) concerning land at Badbury, Wiltshire. However, the meagre record provided by surviving charters can be supplemented by the evidence of the Glastonbury Liber terrarum, an eleventh-century cartulary concerned with Glastonbury endowments, now lost, whose contents were discussed by William of Malmesbury in his De antiquitate Glastoniensis ecclesiae (c. 1129) and recorded in a thirteenth-century manuscript now in Cambridge, Trinity College, R. 5. 33.70 These contents include four (undated) grants by King Edmund to Glastonbury: half a hide at Escford (S 1723), thirty hides at Pucklechurch, Gloucestershire (S 1724), eight hides at Stone, Somerset (S 1725), and four hides at Whatley, Somerset (S 1726); and two grants (undated) by King Eadred: two hides at Christchurch, Hampshire (S 1741), and two hides at Nunney, Somerset (S 1742). In sum, these surviving (or historically attested) charters indicate that, during the period of his abbacy, Dunstan acquired from Kings Edmund and Eadred a landed endowment totalling some 116 hides. But this (relatively modest) figure may represent only a fraction of the endowment acquired by Dunstan during his abbacy. In the chapter dedicated to St Dunstan in his De antiquitate Glastoniensis ecclesiae (c. 55), William of Malmesbury lists a grand total of 368^ hides granted to Glastonbury by King Edmund;71 and William lists a further twenty-eight hides acquired by Dunstan from King Eadred.72 Although many of the estates mentioned by William of Malmesbury cannot be verified by surviving documents, his figures give some indication of the scale of Glastonbury’s wealth. A further reflection of that wealth is the property amassed during the same period by Dunstan’s elder brother, Wulfric.73 As B. explains Liber terrarum (see above); but some scholars accept it as authentic (e.g. Finberg, The Early Charters of Wessex, no. 251). One charter that is almost certainly spurious—which does not, however, contain any mention of individual estates—is a confirmation by King Edmund, dated 944, of privileges granted to Glastonbury: S 499 = BCS 794. 70 Printed in Adami de Domerham Historia, ed. Hearne, i. 1-122; its contents are listed S 1665—1781. On the cartulary itself, see Robinson, Somerset Historical Essays, pp. 44-7, and Crick, ‘The marshalling of antiquity’, pp. 220-1. A thorough study of the Liber terrarum is in preparation by Simon Keynes. 71 William of Malmesbury, De antiquitate Glastoniensis ecclesiae, ed. Scott, pp. 114-16. 72 Ibid., p. 118. 73 Wulfric is a common name in the sources of this period, and it is extremely difficult to disentangle the various persons bearing this name who (for example) witness royal



at one point, Wulfric was appointed by Dunstan ‘with full authority to see to the business of his estates outside the monastery precinct, thus making sure that neither he himself [Dunstan] nor any professed monk should have to go out to trouble himself with the senseless bustle of this world’ (18. i). B. describes Wulfric’s office as that of prepositus, a sort of reeve or, in Benedictine terminology, a ‘prior’:74 what in modern parlance would be called an ‘estates bursar’. Either on his own behalf, or on behalf of Glastonbury, Wulfric acquired a substantial number of estates from both Edmund and Eadred, up to the time of his death (in, apparently, 951).75 These estates are recorded in surviving charters and include the following: (from Edmund) twenty-five hides at Grittleton, Wiltshire (S 472 = BCS 750); thirty hides at Kington Langley, Wiltshire (S 473 = BCS 751); twenty hides at Nettleton, Wiltshire (S 504 = BCS 800); and (from Eadred) five hides at Idmiston, Wiltshire (S 530 = BCS 829); another five hides at Idmiston (S 541 = BCS 867); and twenty hides at Merton, Surrey (S 551 = BCS 878). Lost charters whose former existence is recorded in the Glastonbury Liber terrarum include grants of (from Edmund) five hides at Tintinhull, Somerset (S 1728); a grant of unspecified extent at Turnworth, Dorset (S 1729);76 ten hides at Yarlington, Somerset (S 1731); and (from Eadred) ten hides at Horton, Somerset (S 1743), and a further grant of unspecified size of land at Cumbe, perhaps Culm Davy, Devon (S 1745). In sum these estates amount to at least 135 hides, a very substantial fortune for a layman.77 What needs to be stressed is that, on his death in (probably) charters. Thanks to the inspired detective work of C. R. Hart, Nicholas Brooks, and Susan Kelly, it is now possible to distinguish confidently between a man called Wulfric Cufing, a ' wealthy landowner in Berkshire whose property is largely recorded in Abingdon charters ; (Wulfric I) and Dunstan’s brother Wulfric, a wealthy landowner in Wiltshire and Dorset, the record of whose properties has been preserved in charters kept in the Glastonbury archive (Wulfric II). See discussion by Hart, ECNENM, pp. 370-2; Brooks, ‘The career’, pp. 8-10; and Charters of Abingdon Abbey, ed. Kelly, i, pp. clxxiv-clxxxv. 74 See DMLBS s.v. ‘praepositura’, 2, and the ‘Consuetudines Floriacenses antiquiores’, c. 5: ‘Previdet \scil. prepositus] autem ea que foris sunt necessaria’ (CCM vii/3. 13). . 75 See below, p. 58, n. 165. 76 According to William of Malmesbury (De antiquitate Glastoniensis ecclesiae, ed. Scott, p. 114), the estate at Turnworth consisted of five hides. 77 See Hart, ECNENM, pp. 371-2; Brooks, ‘The career’, p. 8; and Charters of Abingdon Abbey, ed. Kelly, i, pp. clxxxiv-clxxxv. For the area entailed by these various estates, see ' detailed discussion in Abrams, Anglo-Saxon Glastonbury, pp. 132-4 (Grittleton: S 472), ,■141 (Horton: S 1743), 143-5 (Idmiston: S 530, 541), 149-52 (Kington Langley: S 473), 173-4 (Merton: S 551), 179-81 (Nettleton: S 504), 229-31 (Tintinhull: S 1728), 234 (Turnworth: S 1729), and 256-7 (Yarlington: S 1731).



951, Wulfric bequeathed much of this property to Glastonbury;78 other estates descended indirectly, first through his wife and then to his son Ælfwine, who gave them to Glastonbury when he became a monk there at some point during Edgar’s reign. This Ælfwine first appears in the record as a beneficiary of a grant by King Eadred, dated 952, of three hides at Barkham, Berkshire (S 559 = BCS 895), where he is described explicitly as Eadred’s thegn: ‘cuidam vassallo qui a gnosticis Ælfwine nuncupatur’. The charter implies that Ælfwine had assumed his father >Wulfric’s role as prepositus of Glastonbury within a year of his father’s death.79 The crucial point is that, by whatever routes the documents pertaining to these estates ultimately came into the possession of Glastonbury, they were all preserved there either as single sheets or copied into (or inventoried in) later Glastonbury cartularies, such as the (lost) Liber terrarum (s. xi), the inventory in the above-mentioned manuscript in Trinity College, Cambridge (s. xiii med.),80 the socalled ‘Great Cartulary’, now Longleat House, Marquess of Bath, MS 39 (s. xiv),81 and a later manuscript also at Longleat House, MS 38 b 2 (s. xv). The unavoidable conclusion is that, during Dunstan’s abbacy, Glastonbury acquired much of the landed wealth that made it, by the time of the Domesday surveys just over a century later, the richest abbey in England.82 Some of this wealth was used by Dunstan for the reconstruction and refurbishment of the monastic buildings at Glastonbury itself. At the time of his appointment to the abbacy, there were two principal churches on the site: the so-called ‘Old Church’ (uetusta ecclesia), of possible pre-Anglo-Saxon date, dedicated to St Mary and constructed either of wattle or wooden staves; and the stone-built church of SS Peter and Paul, constructed to the east of the Old Church during the

reign of King Ine (688-726). In B.’s narrative, the young Dunstan saw in a vision ‘the monastery buildings (aedificia) which were to be built during [his] abbacy’ (3. 4). Various excavations conducted at Glastonbury during the twentieth century—none of them fully published—have identified a number of constructions datable to the mid-tenth century and presumptively to the period of Dunstan’s abbacy.83 These include various additions and alterations to the church of SS Peter and Paul, such as a tower and crypt at the east end, and two porticus added on the north and south sides of the (pre-existing) choir; and, at the westernmost extremity of the monastic precinct—to the west, that is, of the Old Church—a tower which served as gatehouse and had a chapel dedicated to St John the Baptist on its upper floor, and which is described cursorily by B. (35. 2); and finally, walls sequestering the monks’ cemetery (which lay to the south of the church of SS Peter and Paul).84 Since none of these building-works survives, and since they are known only through excavation, it is impossible to form any more than a vague impression of the appearance of Glastonbury during Dunstan’s abbacy. But, given the abbey’s wealth, we can easily surmise that it was richly furnished and that it communicated to the visitor a great sense of splendour. During the period of his abbacy, Dunstan also managed to increase the prestige of Glastonbury by the acquisition of a number of significant relics. According to William of Malmesbury, King Edmund, during one of his northern expeditions,85 ‘discovered’ and gave to Glastonbury the relics of Hild, abbess of Whitby (d. 680), Ceolfrith, abbot of Monkwearmouth and Jarrow (d. 716), and Aidan, first bishop of Lindisfarne (d. 651).86 These relics then took their place alongside those which Glastonbury already possessed, such as St Patrick and the Irish martyr Indract. The possession of prestigious relics such as these made the prospect of burial at Glastonbury ad sanctos an attractive one, and King Edmund and his son Edgar were buried there in due course.


78 As stated by William of Malmesbury, De antiquitate Glastoniensis ecclesiae, ed. Scott, p. 114 (Yarlington and Turnworth, with Tintinhull granted for Wulfric’s ‘soul-scot’: ‘idem Wilfricus postea cum corpore suo Glastonie commendauit’). 79 It was presumably this same Ælfwine who drafted the last in the series of ‘Dunstan B’ charters, namely S 802 = BCS 1315, a grant by King Edgar dated 975, which was said to have been made at the request of his kinsman, the monk Ælfwine: ‘rogante me uenerabili propinquo et monacho Ælfwino’. See Keynes, Atlas, table XLVI, and id., ‘The “Dunstan B” charters’, p. 192. The date at which Ælfwine was professed as (Benedictine) monk is unknown. 80 Full description by Crick, ‘The marshalling of antiquity’, pp. 221-34. The manu­ script includes on fos. 1-18 the earliest copy of William of Malmesbury, De antiquitate Glastoniensis ecclesiae. 81 The Great Cartulary, ed. Watkin. 82 Knowles, The Monastic Order, p. 702.


83 See below, p. 12, n. 34. 84 See Cramp, ‘Monastic sites’, pp. 245-6, and Rahtz, Glastonbury, pp. 76-7. 85 The expedition in question is probably that of 944 when, according to the AngloSaxon Chronicle, ‘King Edmund reduced all Northumbria to his rule’ (ASC, trans. Whitelock, p. 71). 86 William of Malmesbury: Gesta pontificum Anglorum, ii. 91. 8-9 (ed. Winterbottom, p. 310). For the commemoration of these saints in liturgical kalendars associated with Dunstan, see below, p. lxi.



King Eadred, who, as B. reports (20. 3), had long suffered from a debilitating but unidentifiable illness, finally died on 23 November 955, and was succeeded by Eadwig, the eldest son of King Edmund, then a teenager of fifteen years. As we have seen, Dunstan had been one of Eadred’s principal advisers, and he enjoyed a special relationship with Eadred’s mother, the dowager queen Eadgifu, as we learn from B. (19. 4). This privileged position came to an abrupt end under Eadwig. The evidence of the numerous charters issued by Eadwig, particularly at the beginning of his reign in 956, reveal that the new king undertook a large-scale redistribution of royal property, endowing many new landholders with estates, above all in Wessex. Such redistribution inevitably involved the confiscation of estates which had been held by others under Eadred, and Queen Eadgifu was one of those whose properties were confiscated. Eadwig’s policy inevitably had repercussions for Dunstan, and led to the confiscation of Dunstan’s land (at Glastonbury) and his banishment from the kingdom.87 We have seen that on two previous occasions, under both Æthelstan and Edmund, Dunstan had been banished from court through the machinations of enemies, and it is not improbable that it was these same enemies who now secured his banishment from Eadwig’s court and kingdom. B., however, attributes Dunstan’s banishment to the jealousy of young Eadwig’s consort Ælfgifu and her mother Æthelgifu. According to B., on the occasion of Eadwig’s coronation (which we know from other sources to have taken place at Kingston on 25 January 956), Eadwig had absented himself from the feasting which normally accompanied such events in order to indulge in sexual frolics with Ælfgifu and her mother (21. 1-2). The king’s behaviour so enraged Oda, archbishop of Canterbury (who had just consecrated the king), that he asked for volunteers to separate the king from Ælfgifu and bring him back, willy-nilly, to the feast.88 No one volunteered except Dunstan and his kinsman, Bishop Cynesige (21. 3), who duly accomplished the unwelcome task, thereby incurring the implacable hatred of Ælfgifu

and Æthelgifu, who were able—with the support even of some of Dunstan’s own pupils (see below)—to prevail upon Eadwig to banish Dunstan and Cynesige from the kingdom (22. 2-3). Eadwig subsequently married Ælfgifu, but the union was quashed by Archbishop Oda on grounds of consanguinity.89 Ælfgifu was the sister of Æthelweard,90 who later in the century was ealdorman of the western shires and the author of a Latin Chronicon based on the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle; and, as we learn from the preface of the Chronicon, Æthelweard was the descendant of Æthelred (I), the brother of King Alfred.91 Ælfgifu’s marriage to Eadwig would therefore have greatly strengthened his claim to the throne; furthermore, any male offspring which they might have produced would have dashed the hopes for Edgar’s succession nourished by the Eádgifu-Dunstan faction (see following paragraph). In any case, after the enforced separation of Ælfgifu and Eadwig, and following the king’s early death in 959, Ælfgifu made many gifts to churches in Wessex, notably Winchester, Romsey, Abingdon, and Bath.92 She was, in other words, a member of the highest Wessex nobility and a generous patron of the church—scarcely the ‘whore’ (lupa) described by B. (21. 2). Dunstan’s vigorous action in separating Eadwig from Ælfgifu at Eadwig’s coronation feast may have been the immediate cause of his banishment, but there were certainly underlying causes as well, which


87 Dunstan last witnesses charters as abbot in early 956 (Jan. or Feb.): S 597 = BCS 949; S 605 = BCS 924; and S 663 = BCS 1002; see Keynes, Diplomas, p. 49; id., Atlas, table XLVIII, and discussion by Brooks, ‘The career’, p. 15. 88 Another version of this story is found in Byrhtferth of Ramsey, Vita S. Oswaldi, i. 2, according to which Eadwig eloped with the (unnamed) woman, whereupon Archbishop Oda, ‘aroused with the zeal of Phineas’, took to horseback and rode to the estate where the woman was staying, seized her and took her out of the kingdom, and then delivered a stern rebuke to the young king {Byrhtferth of Ramsey, ed. Lapidge, p. 12). Neither Dunstan nor Cynesige is mentioned in Byrhtferth’s account of the event.


189 ASC 958D (trans. Whitelock, p. 74, who points out that the event properly belongs to 956). It is difficult not to suspect that B.’s account of the separation of Eadwig and Ælfgifu at their coronation-feast by Dunstan and Cynesige, at the instigation of Archbishop Oda, is a misremembered and much-embroidered version of Oda’s action in suppressing their marriage on grounds of consanguinity: in other words, that we are dealing with a single event, not two, and that B.’s account is a lurid fabrication of Oda’s implementation of the procedures of canon law. 90 See Whitelock, Anglo-Saxon Wills, pp. 20—3 (no. VIII), with commentary on pp. 11819. Ælfgifu, who seems to have been dead by 975, leaves estates ‘to a certain Æthelweard in a context which implies that he is her brother, and he is very probably the chronicler and future ealdorman . . . for [in the will] Ælfgifu speaks of her brother’s wife Æthelflæd, and we know from a manumission that the wife of Ealdorman Æthelweard was called Æthelflæd’ (p. 119). Hart (‘The will ofÆlfgifu’) identifies the various estates mentioned in the will, but makes no comment on the identity of Ælfgifu’s brother. For Æthelweard, see The Chronicle o f Æthelweard, ed. Campbell, pp. xii-xvi, and ODNB i. 432-3 [P. Wormald]. 91 The Chronicle of Æthelrpeard, ed. Campbell, p. 1. Nicholas Brooks has calculated the relationship of Ælfgifu to Eadwig as follows: ‘If Ælfgifu is correctly identified as the sister of the ealdorman and chronicler, Æthelweard, then she was Eadwig’s third cousin once removed’ {The Early History, p. 225; repeated by Yorke, ‘Æthelwold and the politics’, P- 77)92 See Whitelock, Anglo-Saxon Wills, pp. 20-2, and Brooks, ‘The career’, p. 15.




had their origins in the political factions at the royal court.93 During the reigns of Edmund and Eadred, the power behind the throne was their mother Eadgifu, the dowager queen of Edward the Elder (899924). Dunstan and his kinsmen—his brother Wulfric and Cynesige, bishop of Lichfield—were closely associated with Eadgifu; Dunstan’s association, in particular, is accurately conveyed by B. (19. 4). Other powerful noblemen were allied to this axis, such as Oda, archbishop of Canterbury (941—58), and Æthelstan ‘Half-King’, ealdorman of East Anglia (932-56).94 Æthelstan ‘Half-King’ resigned his ealdormanry in 956 in favour of his son Æthelwold (who held the ealdormanry from 956 until his early death in 962) and retired as a monk to Glastonbury. Æthelwold was married to the daughter of a nobleman from Devon, Ælfthryth, who after her husband’s death married King Edgar. (After the murder of his father, King Edmund, in 946, the young Edgar had been raised in the household of Æthelstan ‘Half-King’.) Unsurprisingly, given these family links, the Eadgifu-Dunstan-Æthelstan ‘Half-King’ axis strongly backed the claims of Edgar to the throne (as, in future years, Dunstan was to back the claims of Edgar’s son Edward to the throne, as we shall see). However, when Eadred died on 23 November 955, he was succeeded not by Edgar (who was then only 12) but by his older brother Eadwig. Through his marriage to Ælfgifu, Eadwig allied himself to another powerful kin-group, which, as we have seen, could claim descent from Alfred’s brother Æthelred (I). Allied to this axis were a number of ‘new men’ who were promoted to positions by Eadwig immediately after his accession: Ælfhere, ealdorman of Mercia (956-83); his brother Ælfheah, ealdorman of central Wessex (959-71); and Byrhtnoth, ealdorman of Essex (956-91). B. speaks contemptuously of these ‘new men’ as ignaros quosque sibi consimiles (24. 1), ‘ignoramuses like himself [Eadwig]’: a clear reflection, nearly half a century after the event, of the animosity between the two rival factions which were jockeying for power. It would appear that Æthelwold, the future bishop of Winchester and at that time the abbot of Abingdon, threw in his lot with Eadwig by offering support for the legitimacy of his marriage to Ælfgifu. This much seems clear from the fact that Ælfgifu’s will contains a personal bequest to

Æthelwold,95 and that in a memorandum in Old English from Abingdon, dated 956x7, in favour of Æthelwold as abbot of Abingdon, Ælfgifu is described—uniquely among sources of the period following Archbishop Oda’s suppression of the royal marriage—as þæs cininges mif ‘the king’s wife’.96 Such support will have seemed a betrayal to partisans of the Eadgifu-Dunstan axis, and this sentiment may underlie B.’s bitter words on the subject: ‘it was not the madness of this crazed woman [Æthelgifu, Ælfgifu’s mother] that was notable so much as the astonishing secret machinations of the young pupils whom Dunstan was bringing up, steeping them in the nectar of his teaching’ (22. 3)—an especially pointed remark, if its unnamed subject is Æthelwold. The bitterness between the rival factions, exacerbated by the power exercised by Dunstan during the years of Eadred’s illness, will no doubt have been the underlying cause of Dunstan’s expulsion from Eadwig’s kingdom. In any event, following his expulsion and the confiscation of his Glastonbury estates, Dunstan went into exile in Flanders, probably in early 956. He seems to have appealed in the first instance to Count Arnulf I of Flanders (918-65), who housed him in his recently reformed (Benedictine) monastery of St Peter’s, Ghent.97 B. knows—and reports—nothing of this exile; but we learn some detail from Adelard (Lect. VI), who was a monk at St Peter’s in the late tenth and early eleventh centuries. Why should Dunstan have turned to Count Arnulf? Arnulf’s mother was the English princess Ælfthryth, a daughter of King Alfred and the wife of Arnulf’s predecessor as count of Flanders, Baldwin II (879-918). There were accordingly established links of kinship between the comital house of Flanders and the English royal house, to which Dunstan was related, albeit remotely, as we have seen.98 We have no information


93 See the important discussion by Yorke, ‘Æthelwold and the politics’, pp. 74-81, and Jayakumar, ‘Eadwig and Edgar’, pp. 88-9. 94 See Yorke, ‘Æthelwold and the politics’, pp. 74-5, and esp. Hart, ‘Athelstan “HalfKing” and his family’, pp. 124—6 .

9’ Whitelock, Wills, pp. 20-1 (no. VIII): ‘And I grant to Bishop Æthelwold the estate at Tæafersceat and pray him that he will always intercede for my mother and for me’; see also above, n. 90. 96 S 1292 = BCS 972 = Charters of Abingdon Abbey, ed. Kelly, no. 76. See discussion by Yorke, ‘Æthelwold and the politics’, p. 80: ‘The evidence in the will, in conjunction with the Abingdon memorandum, suggests that Æthelwold may have taken an active role in championing the legitimacy of the union of Eadwig and Ælfgifu after the separation.’ 97 On Arnulf I, see Mohr, Studien zur Klosterreform des Grafen Arnulf I, pp. 126-37, a°d Vanderputten, ‘Canterbury and Flanders’, pp. 219-20. 98 It should be noted, however, that the noblewoman Ælfgifu, whom Eadwig had married, had even closer ties to Arnulf I: in the prologue to his Chronicon her brother Æthelweard proudly reports that he was descended from King Alfred’s brother Æthelred (see above, n. 91), and hence was related by marriage to Count Arnulf I.



concerning what Dunstan did at Ghent—what books he found there, or what impression the discipline of the reformed Benedictinism practised at St Peter’s under the influence of Gerhard of Brogne made on him. It is clear from correspondence between St Peter’s and Dunstan during the period of his archbishopric that he was thought to have incurred an ongoing debt during the period of his residence there:99 shortly after his election to Canterbury, Count Arnulf wrote to him, reminding him of their friendship;100 and Wido (Guido), abbot of St Peter’s (981-6), wrote tb him seeking financial aid in the wake of a crop failure in Flanders.101 Dunstan remained at St Peter’s for over a year, from early 956 until autumn 957, by which time changed political circumstances made it possible for him to return to England. According to B., ‘as the years went by, it came about that King Eadwig was totally abandoned by the people north [of the Thames]’ (24. 1) and Edgar was ‘chosen to be king by the northerners’ (24. 2). It is not possible to know the causes behind this division of the kingdom, which took place in 957.102 Eadwig was left with Wessex, Edgar with Mercia and Northumbria. The division can scarcely have taken place without the consent of King Eadwig, especially since at least two of the northern ealdormen—Ælfhere of Mercia and Byrhtnoth of Essex—had recently been appointed to their ealdormanries by Eadwig. In other words, the division is unlikely to have been an open revolt by the northerners, as B.’s words suggest. And given that in earlier centuries (seventh-eighth) it had been the practice in Wessex to appoint sons of kings other than the first-born as subreguli,103 some scholars have suggested that the intention may simply have been to make Edgar subking of Mercia in the hope of appeasing his more powerful supporters.104 Another factor may be that in 957 Edgar reached the age of 14, thereby passing from pueritia to adolescentia in the Isidorian

scheme of the ‘ages of man’.105 In any event, in late 957 Dunstan was recalled from exile (perhaps at the insistence of the dowager queen Eadgifu) and resumed his influential position as councillor to Edgar; in B.’s words, Edgar ‘gave back the old office of which he had been robbed, and also made amends to his own grandmother [Eadgifu] and various other people’ (24. 3). B. then goes on to say that ‘later a great meeting of the witan was held at a place called Bradford, and there Dunstan was unanimously selected and marked out (?) for a bishopric, in particular because he had constantly been at the king’s side giving him the benefit of his advice’ (25. 1). And B. goes on to say that Cenwald, bishop of Worcester, died at this time, whereupon Dunstan was appointed to the bishopric (25. 2). B.’s account of these events raises many problems. The ‘great meeting’ of the witan at Bradford (Bradanford) is not recorded in any other source,106 and its date and even the identity of Bradford are uncertain.107 The year of Bishop Cenwald’s death is not certainly known, and opinion varies between 957 and 958.108 But the greatest problem is posed by the sequence of the events as described by B.: (1) the meeting of the witan at ‘Bradford’, at which, in B.’s vague wording, Dunstan was selected (or elected) and marked out for a bishopric; (2) the death of Bishop Cenwald; and (3) Dunstan’s election to the bishopric of Worcester. Earlier scholars, beginning with William Stubbs, and including Dorothy Whitelock, Nicholas Brooks, and Simon Keynes,109 have


99 Brooks, ‘The career’, p. 16. 100 Memorials, ed. Stubbs, pp. 359-61. 101 Ibid., pp. 380-1; and see discussion by Vanderputten, ‘Canterbury and Flanders’, pp. 219-25. 102 ASC s.a. 957 C (trans. Whitelock, p. 74): ‘In this year the atheling Edgar succeeded to the kingdom of the Mercians.’ Note also the wording of the so-called ‘Sunbury Charter’ (S 1447 = BCS 1063 = Robertson, Anglo-Saxon Charters, no. XLIV): ‘Myrce gecuran Eadgar to cynge and him anweald gesealdan ealra cynerihta’ (Robertson, p. 90). 103 Chadwick, Anglo-Saxon Institutions, pp. 282-90. 104 Cf. Williams, ‘Some notes and considerations’, pp. 144-5 aI,d I 5 I> an(l Yorke, ‘Æthelwold and the politics’, p. 78: ‘It may always have been intended that Edgar would rule as subking in Mercia under Eadwig.’


105 See above, n. 24, as well as Williams, ‘Some notes and considerations’, p. 155. There is, however, no independent evidence to indicate that the Anglo-Saxons followed the Isidorian scheme when assessing the eligibility of æthelings to become king. 106 Keynes, Diplomas, pp. 269-73, provides a convenient list of meeting-places of the witan during the tenth and eleventh centuries; for Bradford, mentioned only by B., see p. 269. : 107 ‘Bradford’ is a common English place-name (at least nine places are named Bradford: Ekwall, DEPN, p. 58). One might think in the first instance of Bradford on Avon; but since this Bradford lay in the heart of Eadwig’s kingdom, it cannot very well have been the meeting-place of Edgar and his councillors—assuming that this meeting of the witan is indeed to be dated to the years 957x959: see the comments of Whitelock in Councils & Synods, i. 86-8 (no. 24), esp. p. 87, n. 2. 108 HBC, p. 224. In charters issued during the period between the division (957) and reunification of the kingdom (959), Cenwald last witnesses at some point midway in 957: see Keynes, Atlas, table LII. The day of his death—28 June—is known from William of Malmesbury, De antiquitate Glastoniensis ecclesiae, c. 67: ‘Quarto kalendas Iulii [28 June] obiit Keneualdus episcopus, monachus Glastonie’ (ed. Scott, p. 138). The latest precisely datable charter witnessed by Cenwald is S 646 = BCS 999, dated 9 May 957. (We discount : the evidence of S 675 = BCS 1042, dated 958: see discussion below.) All this suggests that Cenwald died on 28 June 957. 109 Memorials, ed. Stubbs, p. xci (‘was consecrated as an unattached bishop’); Whitelock, ‘The appointment of Dunstan’, p. 233 (‘was not elected to any particular see’); Brooks,



adhered to B.’s chronology and concluded that Dunstan must in the first instance have been consecrated a bishop ‘without portfolio’ (as it were), and only attached to the see of Worcester when it was vacated by the death of Cenwald. And some support would appear to be given to this view by the evidence of a charter dated 958 (S 675 = BCS 1042) which is witnessed, one after the other, by ‘Cenwold episcopus’ and ‘Dunstan episcopus’, implying that Dunstan held a bishopric while Cenwald was still alive. However, this charter is preserved only in a twelfth-century cartulary (London, BL, Add. 15350, from Winchester), and its witness-list is problematic in many ways, implying that it has been tampered with by the twelfth-century Winchester scribe.110 In these circumstances, the attestation of ‘Cenwold episcopus’ would seem to be a late and unthinking interpolation.111 However, the principal argument against the supposition that Dunstan was appointed ‘bishop without portfolio’ is that such a practice was wholly contrary to the stipulations of canon law.112 If we set aside the (doubtful) authority of S 675 = BCS 1042, the true sequence of events may plausibly be reconstructed as follows: Cenwald, bishop of Worcester, died on 28 June 957; the king’s witan met at Bradford shortly thereafter, and expressed the opinion that Dunstan would be a suitable candidate for the vacant bishopric; Dunstan was then summoned back to England and appointed without delay to the vacant bishopric. Dunstan was an obvious successor to Cenwald, because he was a close relative (perhaps the nephew) of the deceased bishop. At approximately this time (summer 957), Brihthelm, bishop of London, also died;113 and since London, like

Worcester, lay within Edgar’s jurisdiction, Dunstan was appointed to that see as well, as B. reports: ‘seeing the vigilant and correct care that Dunstan brought to the rule of the church in his trust, Edgar gave him London, which had lost its devout shepherd’ (25. 4).114 For the time being, Dunstan held these two sees in plurality. Then followed a bizarre sequence of events which culminated in Dunstan’s appointment to the archbishopric of Canterbury. Archbishop Oda died on 2 June 958. Eadwig appointed Ælfsige, bishop of Winchester (951-8) and a loyal supporter of Eadwig, to the vacant post. But, as B. relates, Ælfsige froze to death in the Alps during the winter of 958/9 while on his way to Rome to collect the pallium, thereby creating another vacancy in Canterbury (26. 1-2). This time Eadwig nominated Byrhthelm, bishop of Wells (956-9), to the vacant post (26. 2).115 But Eadwig himself died on 1 Oct. 959, while still a young man (the cause of his death is not stated in any of our sources), and without male issue. There was thus no obstacle to Edgar assuming control of the entire kingdom.116 In one of his first acts in this role, Edgar rescinded his late brother’s appointment of Byrhthelm, and appointed Dunstan in his place. Byrhthelm was apparently persuaded to relinquish the see of Canterbury (by resignation), and to return to that of Wells, which he had held since 956. (Since he had not yet travelled to Rome to receive the pallium, there was nothing uncanonical about his removal from a post to which he had merely been nominated.) According to B., Byrhthelm ‘was a mild, modest, humble and kindly man’ (26. 2)—so humble, indeed, that he was failing in his duty to correct sin and wickedness. For this reason, according to B., Edgar ‘told him to retrace his steps and take back the office he had given up [i.e. the bishopric of Wells]’. Whether Byrhthelm resigned the archbishopric voluntarily, out of innate


‘The career’, p. 20 (‘initially Dunstan was not appointed to any specific see’); and Keynes, ‘Edgar, rex admirabilis’, p. 8, n. 28 (‘Dunstan was initially a bishop without portfolio’). 110 For example, ‘Æþelmund dux’ is listed twice; there are attestations of ‘Ealdred episcopus’, who is unidentified and appears only here in the record, followed by ‘Ealdred abbas’, likewise unidentified (see Heads, p. 226). 111 See Keynes, Atlas, Table LII, where Cenwald’s attestation to S 675 stands out like a sore thumb. 112 See DDrC v. 237-48, s.v. ‘election’: ‘Selection ne peut pas avoir lieu avant que l’office á pourvoir soit réellement vacant (can. 150 §1); l’imminence d’une vacance certaine n’autorise pas á l’anticiper’ (col. 238). This point is made explicitly in the canons of early church councils: the Council of Nicaea (ad 325), canon 15; the Council of Constantinople (ad 381), canon 2; and especially the Council of Chalcedon (ad 451), canon 6: ‘No one is to be ordained absolutely, neither a presbyter nor a deacon nor anyone at all of ecclesiastical status, unless the one ordained is appointed to a particular church in a city or village or martyrium or monastery’ (The Acts of the Council o f Chalcedon, trans. Price and Gaddis, iii. 96). 113 HBC p. 220, and esp. Hart, ECNENM, p. 302.


114 There is one charter witnessed by Dunstan as bishop of London: S 681 = BCS 1052, dated 959. His appointment to London may have taken place in late 957 or some time in 958 or in early 959: the surviving evidence does not allow us to choose between these alternatives. 115 The numerous attestations of bishops named Byrhthelm in charters of this period pose difficult problems of interpretation. Attempts to disentangle the various Byrhthelms have been made by Robinson, The Saxon Bishops of Wells, pp. 62-7; Whitelock, ‘The appointment of Dunstan’, pp. 233-6; Hart, ECNENM, pp. 302-6; and Kelly, in Charters ofSelsey, p. lxxxviii. In effect it is necessary to distinguish between three persons: (1) the Byrhthelm/Brihthelm, bishop of London, who died in 957; (2) the bishop of Selsey (9568) and then of Winchester (958-63); and (3) the bishop of Wells (956-9), who was briefly appointed to the archbishopric of Canterbury (959) and then resigned and retired to his former bishopric at Wells, where he died in 973 (see Keynes, Atlas, Table LII). 116 On the nature of Edgar’s rule, see Keynes, ‘Edgar, rex admirabilis’, esp. pp. 9-26.



‘modesty’, or he was pushed (as B. implies), we cannot know.117 The point is that, once Byrhthelm had resigned, Edgar was free to appoint Dunstan to the now-vacant archbishopric, which he promptly did, probably in November or December 959.118 B. reports that ‘as soon as he had taken up office, Dunstan, making the long journey customary for archbishops, set out for Rome’ (27. 1) in order to collect the pallium. The journey presumably took place in spring or summer 960; and the pallium was bestowed on Dunstan by Pope John XII (955-64) on 21 September 960. The precise date is known from the text of a papal privilege issued by John XII and preserved in a tenth-century English pontifical now in Paris, Bibliothéque Nationale de France, lat. 943 (fos. 7r-8v).119 This manuscript is widely known as ‘St Dunstan’s Pontifical’, and to all appearances it is a manuscript copied in the 970s or 980s at Christ Church, Canterbury, for the personal use of Dunstan himself:120 not least because the papal privilege bestowing the pallium would have had personal significance for Dunstan, but for no other Anglo-Saxon archbishop.121 In any event, there is reason to suspect that Dunstan delayed his consecration as archbishop until his return from Rome with the pallium. An Anglo-Saxon liturgical kalendar preserved in Cambridge, CCC 422 (? New Minster, Winchester, s. xi med.) [Gneuss h i ], has the following entry against 21 Oct.: ‘Hie ordinatus fuit Dunstanus archiepiscopus’.122 A consecration such as

this will normally have taken place on a Sunday, and 21 Oct. fell on a Sunday in 960 (but not in 959).123 If Dunstan and his party left Rome after 21 Sept., they must have made rapid progress in order to arrive back at Canterbury in time for the consecration on 21 Oct. From the fact that B. was able to report one incident that occurred during Dunstan’s trip to Rome (27. 2-5), it would appear that he had accompanied Dunstan to Rome. On the return journey, while they were passing through Flanders, B. apparently left Dunstan’s service and joined the household of Ebrachar, bishop of Liege, where he spent the next twenty years or more.124*His departure from Dunstan’s household unfortunately deprives us of an eyewitness to Dunstan’s activities as archbishop of Canterbury (960-88), and an account of those activities needs to be pieced together from incidental references in various sources. 12S It is clear, in the first instance, that Dunstan was an indefatigable member of King Edgar’s witarv. he appears as a witness to every single charter issued during that king’s reign,126 and this record of attendance squares with the comment in the Old English treatise known as ‘King Edgar’s Establishment of Monasteries’, to the effect that Edgar ‘availed himself continually of the counsel of his archbishop, Dunstan’.127 We learn from Byrhtferth’s Vita S. Osmaldi that Dunstan sought from King Edgar the permission to appoint Oswald to the bishopric of Worcester in 961,128 and, probably in the same year, he secured the appointment of one Ælfstan to the bishopric of London (this is not in Byrhtferth),129 thereby filling the two vacancies caused by his promotion to Canterbury. , In the following decade, Dunstan participated in various activities connected with the royal house. According to Byrhtferth, Dunstan officiated at the imperial ‘coronation’ of King Edgar at Bath, on 11 May 973.130Byrhtferth gives what appears to be a detailed eyewitness


117 See discussion by Whitelock, ‘The appointment of Dunstan’, p. 238, and Brooks, The Early History, pp. 238-40. 118 Dunstan attests a single charter dated 959 as ‘archiepiscopus’ (S 680 = BCS 1051): presumably this charter was issued in the last months of the year (see Keynes, Atlas, Table

LII). 119 On the manuscript [Gneuss no. 879], see Dumville, Liturgy and Ecclesiastical History, p. 84; Ebersperger, Die angelsdchsischen Handschriften, pp. 32-44; and Gameson, ‘The origin of the Exeter Book’, pp. 173-5. The privilege is printed in Councils & Synods, i. 88-92. 120 Brooks, The Early History, p. 244, and esp. Rosenthal, ‘The pontifical of St Dunstan’. 121 After Dunstan’s death, the manuscript came into the possession of Wulfsige, bishop of Sherborne, who had been a student of Dunstan at Glastonbury, before his appointment as abbot of St Peter’s, Westminster, and eventual appointment to Sherborne in 993, as is clear from a letter addressed to Wulfsige and copied at the beginning of the manuscript (fos. 2r-3 r): see Rosenthal, ‘The pontifical of St Dunstan’, pp. 162-3; Keynes, ‘Wulfsige, monk of Glastonbury’, pp. 62-6; and below, p. xlviii. 122 English Kalendars before A.D. 1100, ed. Wormald, p. 193. Dunstan’s ordinatio (without mention of the archbishopric) is also recorded against 21 Oct. in two postConquest kalendars from Christ Church, Canterbury: English Benedictine Kalendars after A.D. 1100, ed. Wormald, i. 60, 77.


123 See Cheney, Handbook o f Dates, p. 219. 124 See below, pp. Ixvii-lxx. : 125 There is a useful outline in Brooks, The Early History, pp. 247-53. 126 Brooks, ibid., p. 247: ‘He was certainly most diligent in attending the royal court. Every extant diploma of Edgar which preserves its witness-list is attended by Dunstan.’ .' For the evidence, see Keynes, Atlas, Table LIV. 127 Councils Synods, i. 149: ‘breac [scil. Edgar] þa gesinlice Dunstanes his ercebisceopes rædes’. 128 Vita S. Osmaldi, iii. 5 (Byrhtferth of Ramsey, ed. Lapidge, p. 58). 129 Hart, ECNENM, pp. 269-70; Brooks, The Early History, p. 247; and Keynes, Atlas, : Table LIV. 130 The date is known from ASC, trans. Whitelock, pp. 76-7.



account of the ceremony;131 but his account is in fact copied verbatim from the so-called ‘Second English Coronation ordo'. Because this ordo is preserved inter alia in ‘Dunstan’s Pontifical’ (Paris, BNF, lat. 943, discussed above), there is an abiding suspicion that it was Dunstan himself who composed this ordo; 132 but the fact that it is also found in various contemporary English and Continental manuscript pontificals points to composition early in the tenth century by someone other than Dunstan himself.133 King Edgar died on 8 July 975, and was succeeded by his elder son Edward, whose mother was one Æthelflæd ‘the White’.134 The succession of Edward was opposed by a party of nobles led by Edgar’s widow Ælfthryth, who favoured the succession of Edgar’s younger son Æthelred (then a boy of 9), whose mother was Ælfthryth herself.135 Among the supporters of Ælfthryth and Æthelred were Ælfhere, ealdorman of Mercia, and Æthelwold, bishop of Winchester. According to the late eleventh-century Passio S. Eadwardi, it was Archbishop Dunstan who secured the succession of Edward: ‘After his [scil. Edgar’s] death, his elder son Edward was chosen, in accordance with his father’s wishes, to govern the realm, by St Dunstan and several ealdormen.’136 The same source records that, at the time of Edward’s coronation, a number of leading men of the realm wished to oppose the succession, but that Dunstan, persevering resolutely in Edward’s election, seized the replica of the Holy Cross which was always carried before him, and consecrated the king on the spot.137 If there is any truth in this story—recorded 131 Vita S. Oswaldi, iv. 6-7 (Byrhtferth o f Ramsey, ed. Lapidge, pp. 104-10). 132 Brooks, The Early History, p. 248. 133 See The Sacramentary o f Ratoldus, ed. Orchard, pp. cxxix—cxxxvi, and Keynes, ‘Wulfsige, monk of Glastonbury’, p. 84 n. 68. 134 Some detail concerning Æthelflæd is preserved by Eadmer, Vita S. Dunstani, c. 56 (Eadmer of Canterbury, ed. Turner and Muir, p. 136). 135 See Keynes, Diplomas, p. 166; Yorke, ‘Æthelwold and the politics’, pp. 81-4; and Keynes, ‘Edgar, rex admirabilis', pp. 52-3 . 136 Passio S. Eadwardi, ed. Fell, Edward King and Martyr, p. 2: ‘quo mortuo, filius eius senior Eadwardus ex uoluntate patris . . . a sancto Dunstano et quibusdam principibus ad regni gubernacula suscipienda eligitur’. 137 Ibid.: ‘sed dum consecrationis eius tempore nonnulli patriae optimates resistere uoluissent, sanctus Dunstanus in electione eius perseuerans, uexillum crucis sanctae quod ex consuetudine prae se ferebatur, arreptum in medio statuit, eumque cum reliquis religiosis episcopis in regem consecrauit’. The same story is told, with more or less elaboration, by John of Worcester (JW ii. 426); Osbern of Canterbury, Vita S. Dunstani, c. 37 (Memorials, ed. Stubbs, p. 114); Eadmer of Canterbury, Vita S. Dunstani, c. 59 (ed. Turner and Muir, p. 144); and William of Malmesbury, Vita S. Dunstani, ii. 18. 2 (William of Malmesbury: Saints’ Lives, ed. Winterbottom and Thomson, p. 268).

T H E l i f e OF ST D U N STA N


over a century after the coronation—Dunstan’s strong-arm tactics can scarce y ave endeared him to the supporters of Æthelred. In the event, seet ing resentment among those whom Byrhtferth calls sui jratns ze antes ministri (‘thegns who were ardent supporters of his rot er) precipitated the murder of Edward at Corfe Castle orset), on 18 Mar. 978.139 History does not record the names of nvf ° CSe mur