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Result number 1 - Please quote Reference: Synopsis_of_Medway_Area_Charters/01_Synopsis_of_Medway_Area_Charters on request slip.

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Chronological list of important charters relating to the Medway Towns.

Arranged topographically, by organisation or authority and chronologically within organisation or authority, giving date (many by regnal year), action, source and location. Many of these documents are held in other repositories ( we may only hold facsmiles)

Key to to other repositories

BM British Museum/British Library
KHC : Kent History Centre (Maidstone) MALSC: Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre  RCA= Rochester City Archives, CBA= Chatham Borough Archives- held at MALSC
TNA: National Archives, Kew [prev. the Public Record Office]

TOPOGRAPHICAL

ROCHESTER AREA, PRIORY AND CORPORATION

604
King Aethelberht [cf. Ethelbert] I to St. Andrew's Priory, Rochester Textus Roffensis f119; Liber Temporalium f3
MALSC; KHC

734 & c.845
King Aethelbald of Mercia to St. Andrew's Priory, Rochester; confirmed by Berhtwulf of Mercia c.845
BM Cotton Ch. xvii 1

738
King Eadberht of Kent to St. Andrew's Priory, Rochester; confirmed by Aethelberht of Kent 738 Textus Roffensis ff119-120
MALSC

762 Actually 747
King Eardwulf of Kent to St. Andrew's Priory, Rochester Textus Roffensis f123
MALSC

762
King Sigered of Kent to Bishop Eardwulf of Rochester Textus Roffensis ff122-123;  and Liber Temporalium f4
MALSC; KHC (respectively)

764  
King Offa of Mercia to Bishop Eardwulf of Rochester Textus Roffensis ff123-125; Liber Temporalium f6
MALSC; KHC (respectively)

765
King Ecgberht [cf. Egbert] of Kent to Bishop Eardwulf of Rochester confirmed by King Heaberht of Kent and King Offa of Mercia Textus Roffensis ff126-127;
MALSC

761x764
Sigered, king of half Kent to Bishop Eardwulf of Rochester; confirmed by Eanmund of Kent Textus Roffensis ff125-126
MALSC

778
King Ecgberht [cf. Egbert] of Kent to Bishop Deora of Rochester Textus Roffensis ff129-130; Liber Temporalium f5; BM Cotton Ch viii 34;
MALSC; BM, KHC

779
King Ecgberht [cf. Egbert] II of Kent to Deora Textus Roffensis f130
MALSC

781 Actually 860-866
King Aethelberht [cf. Ethelbert] of Wessex to Bishop Deora of Rochester Textus Roffensis ff130-131; BM Cotton Ch vi 4
MALSC ;BM

788
King Offa of Mercia to St. Andrew's Priory and Bishopric of Rochester Textus Roffensis ff131-132; Liber Temporalium ff4-5
MALSC; KHC

789
King Offa of Mercia to Bishop Waermund of Rochester Textus Roffensis ff133-134
MALSC

789
King Offa of Mercia to Bishop Waermund and church at Rochester Textus Roffensis ff132-133; Liber Temporalium f5
MALSC; KHC

801
King Coenwulf of Mercia and Cuthred of Kent to Swithlun Textus Roffensis ff135-136; Liber Temporalium ff8-9
MALSC; KHC

811
King Coenwulf of Mercia to Bishop Beornmod of Rochester Textus Roffensis ff136-137; Liber Temporalium f4; BM Cotton Ch viii 31
MALSC; BM; KHC

823
King Ecgberht [cf. Egbert] of Wessex to St. Andrew's Priory, Rochester Textus Roffensis ff137-138
MALSC

838
King Ecgberht [cf. Egbert] of Wessex to Bishop Beornmod of Rochester Textus Roffensis ff138-139; Liber Temporalium f3; BM Cotton Ch viii 30
MALSC, BM, KHC

841
King Aethelwulf [cf. Ethelwulf] of Wessex to Bishop Beornmod of Rochester Textus Roffensis f139
MALSC

842
King Aethelwulf of Wessex to Ceolmund Liber Temporalium f4
KHC

850
King Aethelwulf [cf. Ethelwulf] of Wessex sub-king of Kent to Ealhhere princeps Liber Temporalium f9;
KHC

855
King Aethelwulf [cf. Ethelwulf] of Wessex to his minister Dunn; with Dunn's will Textus Roffensis ff139-140; Liber Temporalium f9
MALSC, KHC

860 & 790; actually c.975
King Aethelberht [cf. Ethelbert] of Wessex to Bishop Waermund of Rochester Textus Roffensis ff134-135; Liber Temporalium f3 BM Cotton Ch viii 29
MALSC, KHC, BM

862
King Aethelberht [cf. Ethlebert] of Wessex to his minister Dryhtwald BM Cotton Ch viii 2;
BM

868
King Aethelred [cf. Ethelred] I of Wessex to Cuthwulf, Bishop of Rochester Textus Roffensis ff140-141
MALSC

880
King Aethelwulf [cf. Ethelwulf] of Wessex to St. Andrew's Priory and Bishop Swithwulf Textus Roffensis ff141-142; Liber Temporalium f4.
MALSC, KHC

942x946
King Eadmund [cf. Edmund] I to Bishop Burhic of Rochester Textus Roffensis ff143-144; Liber Temporalium f5.
MALSC, KHC 

955
King Eadgar [cf. Edgar] of Wessex to St. Andrew's Priory Textus Roffensis ff15-152; Liber Temporalium f9; BM Cotton Ch viii 33.
MALSC, KHC, BM

987
King Aethelred [cf. Ethelred] II to his minister Aethelsige BM Cotton Ch viii 14; Liber Temporalium f6;
BM

995
King Aethelred [cf. Ethelred] II to see of Rochester Textus Roffensis ff152-155
MALSC

998
King Aethelred [cf. Ethelred] II to see of Rochester Textus Roffensis ff156-159; Liber Temporalium f8
MALSC, KHC

1012
King Aethelred [cf. Ethelred] II to Bishop Godwine of Rochester Textus Roffensis ff159-162; Liber Temporalium ff6-7
MALSC,KHC

Source for all above: Anglo-Saxon charters I: charters of Rochester ed. A. Campbell 1973.
Original sources: Textus Roffensis ref: DRc/R1; Liber Temporalium  ref: DRb/Ar2
(MALSC & KHC)

1086
Extracts from Domesday Book relating to City of Rochester both translations; copy and translations of extracts Translation and Latin extract of Domesday Book entry for Rochester
MALSC  ref: RCA/L2/32   [Westminster copy]

c.1104- c.1109
Notification by King Henry I to barons and ministers re. St. Andrew's Priory; Cartae Antiquae PRO C52 6 no.13; BM Cotton MS Dom AX9 f102 copy; PRO charter roll transcript 3EdI f6vo; Thorpe's Registrum Roffense p34; PRO Deputy Keeper's Report XXX app199 calendar; Landon's Cartae Antiquae no.194; DRc?; see Bartlett pp2 & 87; (Bartlett: Textus Roffensis CXXXI; charter roll 3EdI no2; patent roll 12EdIV pt2m 14; confirmation roll 1 Hy VIII pt.8 no. 2; Cotton MS Dom AX f104b; BM Add MSS MS29437 f7vo ex libro Roff ; printed text in Hearne's Textus Roffensis 172; Col Chart Roll ii 195; Thorpe's Registrum Roffense 527) Translations RCA/L2/ 32
TNA, MALSC ; BM

c.1130- c.1133
King Henry I: notification confirming above DRC?; Thorpe's Registrum Roffense 34-35;
MALSC

c.1142- c.1154
King Stephen: confirmation of above two BM Cotton MS Dom AX9 f181vo; Thorpe's Registrum Roffense 37; Bigelow's Placita Anglo Normannica p165
BM, MALSC

c.1155- c.1156
Pipe Roll 2 King Henry II m12, City of Rochester to Exchequer RCA/L2/32,translation; copy & extract RCA/L2/32 MALSC[copies];TNA

1156-1366
Translations and extracts from Pipe Rolls recording payments by Rochester RCA/L2/32 MALSC,TNA

c.1158- c.1159
Pipe Roll 5 King Henry II roll 9 account for 100 /- for Borough of Rochester translation RCA/L2/32 (copy) MALSC

c.1159- c.1160
Pipe Roll 6 King Henry II m7 Kent and Rochester to Exchequer copy and translation RCA/L2/32 MALSC(copy), TNA

 c.1160- c.1161
Pipe Roll 7 King Henry II m9 account for 100 /- for donum of Rochester, copy and translation RCA/L2/32 MALSC (copy), TNA

c.1167- c.1168
Pipe Roll 14 King Henry II m14 account for £9.13.4 for City of Rochester, copy and translation RCA/L2/32 MALSC (copy), TNA

c.1175- c.1176
Pipe Roll 22 King Henry II account for 40/- for a murder from Burgesses of Rochester, copy and translation RCA/L2/32 MALSC (copy), TNA

c.1176- c.1177
Pipe Roll 23 King Henry II account for 40 marks in aid of Rochester RCA/L2/32 MALSC (copy), TNA

  c.1187- c.1188
Pipe Roll 34 King Henry II Exchequer owed 75/- by sheriff for donum of Rochester, two copies and translation RCA/L2/32 MALSC (copy), TNA

1 July 1190
King Richard I to Burgesses of Rochester: charter exempting from page to crown of paage exacted on Crusaders passing through i.e. Quit Claim; Town of Rochester 
TNA copy at MALSC

C52/17 no.29 dorse ( Cartae Antiquae Rolls, Chancery records); translated Bartlett p.17 [NB MALSC copy annotated incorrectly by Bartlett as 1189]

Translation by George Henry Knight, Joint Chapter Clerk in 1865 of printed book The charters of Foundation & Dotation and the Statutes of Rochester Cathedral ed. by Thomas Rawlinson Esq. FRS, published 1777 (DE373; DRc)
Translations RCA/L2/32

c.1191- c.1192
Pipe Roll 3 King Richard I tallage of 75/- for men of Rochester copy and translation RCA/L2/32 MALSC (copy), TNA

1192/1193
Pipe Roll 4 King Richard I Great Roll account for farm of City of Rochester, livery of Hugh de Bosco, Constable of Rochester and acquittance for passage of Crusaders translation RCA/L2/32 MALSC (copy), TNA

1193/1194
Pipe Roll Great Roll 5 King Richard I account for farm of City of Rochester, fortifying City with wall and ditch and in acquittance of passage of Crusaders translation RCA/L2/32 MALSC (copy), TNA

1194/1195
Pipe Roll Great Roll 6 King Richard I account for farm of City of Rochester translation RCA/L2/32 MALSC (copy), TNA 

1198/1199
Pipe Roll Great Roll 10 King Richard I account for farm of City of Rochester translation RCA/L2/32 MALSC(copy), TNA 

1199/1200
Pipe Roll Great Roll 1 King John I account for farm and customs of City of Rochester translation RCA/L2/32 MALSC (copy), TNA

c.1201- c.1202
Pipe Roll 3 King John I debts owed for farm of Rochester, copy and translation RCA/L2/32 MALSC(copy), TNA

1205/1206
Pipe Roll Great Roll 7 King John I account for farm of City of Rochester translation RCA/L2/32 MALSC (copy), TNA

CITY OF ROCHESTER

1224/1225
9 King Henry III Pipe Roll, roll 12; ; allowance on paage for Crusaders, men of Rochester; translation RCA/L2/32  MALSC(copy)  

1224/1225
9 King Henry III Close Roll pp.17, 43, 34, 108, 201 & 240: references to William Potin and ditch workmen, release of paage for Crusaders, ships laden with corn, timber for making [siege] engines carried to Rochester, the gaol at Rochester, M. de Patishull and Henry de Cobham RCA/L2/32 MALSC (copy)

6 November 1227
King Henry III to Citizens of Rochester: charter; also Calendar of Charter Rolls volume 1 p.64. facsimile in Bartlett p.18; translated Bartlett p.19 translation at RCA/L2/32
MALSC
For an image of this document, please click here

1235/1236
Pipe Roll Great Roll 20 King Henry III account for farm of City of Rochester translation RCA/L2/32 MALSC (copy), TNA

1237/1238
22 King Henry III Office copy extract Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer's Office roll 10 allowance from Henry III to Bailiffs of Rochester, RCA/L2/32/43; translation RCA/L2/32/44-45; translations RCA/L2/32/80/1-2
MALSC (copies)

1240/1241
Pipe Roll Great Roll 25 King Henry III account for farm of City of Rochester translation RCA/L2/32/119 MALSC(copies), TNA


1243/1244
memorandum roll no. 28 King Henry III copy RCA/L2/32/6MALSC(copy)

1245/1246
Pipe Roll Great Roll 30 King Henry III account for the farm of Rochester translation RCA/L2/32/120  MALSC(copies), TNA

1249/1250
34 King Henry III extract from Originalia Roll rendering of account translation RCA/L2/32/46, copy RCA/L2/32/47  MALSC(copies)

1250/1251
35 King Henry III extract from Pipe Roll rendering of account Office Copy RCA/L2/32/48, translation RCA/L2/32/49/1-2   MALSC (copies)

6 February 1266
King Henry III to the City of Rochester: charter; Not recorded at PRO in calendars of charter or patent rolls; calendared Bartlett p21 Remission of £8 per annum of the Fee Farm of £20 Translation RCA/L2/32/121 Two copies; one with red and green silk tag (see collection M62 for photographic negative) and second with parchment tag
MALSC (copies)

1274/1275
3 King Edward I Hundred Roll for Kent m8v Inquisition, dispute over premises of John de la Chambre next gate of City situate next river Medway translations RCA/L2/32/50-51, copies RCA/L2/32/52, 69-70  MALSC(copies), TNA


1278/1279
7 King Edward I Common Pleas, dispute over corn, herrings, sprats and oysters with Henry Parable, Constable of Rochester Castle, absenting of merchants from City and consequent loss to City, translation RCA/L2/32/53   MALSC (copies), TNA

1278
7 King Edward I Common Pleas Prior of Rochester and tolls translation RCA/L2/32/56  MALSC (copy)

4 June 1280
Letters Patent Patent Roll m15 4 June 1280 8 King Edward I to John de Cobeham [Cobham] custody and farm of City of Rochester and King's Castle at Rochester Latin copy and translations RCA/L2/32/85-87
MALSC (copy), TNA

1292/1293
21 King Edward I Common Pleas dispute over diversion of corn, fish and other merchandise from Rochester Key [i.e. Quay] to Strood Wharf, mentioning Ralph Parkyn, Ralph Edmund, John Edmund, Richard Fille, Richard Brid [Bird?], John Bryd [Bird?], John Creye [Cray] Simon Dereboght, Nicholas Dereboght, Ralph de Cobham and Nicholas de Chirgate RCA/L2/32/54
MALSC (copy), TNA

1303-1304
32 King Edward I Fines Roll m11 to Henry de Cobeham [Cobham] the farm of the City of Rochester and Rochester Castle office copy, Latin RCA/L2/32/88
MALSC (copy)

1292
21 King Edward I Common Pleas, various and tolls, translation RCA/L2/32/55
MALSC(copy), TNA

1310/1311
4 King Edward II Fines Roll m20 command to John de Saint Dionisius and John Russell, Collectors in the Port of Rochester concerning Keepers and Searchers of goods and merchandise including cloth imported by foreign merchants translation RCA/L2/32/60
MALSC (copy), TNA

1310/1311
4 King Edward II Fines Roll m14 assignment to John de Saint Dionisius and John Russell as Custodians and Searchers of coinage in Port of Rochester translation RCA/L2/32/61MALSC (copy), TNA 
 

1312/1313
6 King Edward II Common Pleas complaint against William Swetyng [Sweeting] of Maidstone and John de Pykenham for sailing in the medway without paying custom to City of Rochester translation RCA/L2/32/57 MALSC (copy), TNA

1312/1313
As RCA/L2/32/57 above RCA/L2/32/58 MALSC (copy), TNA
 

1312/1313
6 King Edward II Common Pleas, allowance to John [de Greenstreet], Prior of Rochester of certain liberties and tolls in Rochester translation RCA/L2/32/59 MALSC (copy), TNA

1312/1313
6 King Edward II Common Pleas, concerning diverting of custom i.e. ships' merchandise away from City of Rochester by persons including James the son of Albin of Gillingham, Stephen brother of same and William le Vans, to Gillingham, Andrew at Pette of Rainham, John Romeys and John de Hamme likewise of a ship to Rainham and William Swetyng [Sweeting] of Maidstone and John de Pykenham who did not declare merchandise translation RCA/L2/32/62  MALSC (copy), TNA

18 January 1331
King Edward III to City of Rochester: charter Charter Rolls C53/117 M6 no7; calendar of same vol iv pp200-201; extract only translated Bartlett p22 copy RCA/L2/32/9; translation RCA/L2/32/8; MALSC (copy), TNA

15 March 1354
Letters Patent Part 1 m18 28 King Edward III to William de Clynton [Clinton], Earl of Huntingdon, farm and custody of City and Castle of Rochester translation RCA/L2/32/79; office copy and translation RCA/L2/32/93-94 MALSC (copy), TNA

1 September 1354
Fines Roll 28 King Edward III m11 farm of City of Rochester and Rochester Castle to Jeffry [Geoffrey/Galfridus] de Say, office copy and translations RCA/L2/32/92/1-3 MALSC (copy), TNA

14 January 1359
Fines Roll m11 32 King Edward III at Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland to Henry de Cobham, farm and custody of City of Rochester and Rochester Castle translation and copies RCA/L2/32/89-91  MALSC (copy), TNA 
 

1 July 1359
Fines Roll 33 King Edward III m11 to John de Gray of Codenore [Codnor, Derbyshire] the farm of the City of Rochester and Rochester Castle office copy and translations RCA/L2/32/95/1-3; memorandum concerning, Rochester City Customal, fifth foliated section f.122 recto;MALSC (copy), TNA

20 July 1369
43 King Edward III Patent Roll grant to Prior and Convent of Rochester in exchange for certain liberties, translation RCA/L2/32/63 MALSC (copy), TNA

15 December 1376
50 King Edward III Patent Roll part 2, m6 to Simon de Burgh, Esquire the farm of the City of Rochester and Rochester Castle office copy & translations RCA/L2/32/96/1-3
 MALSC (copy), TNA

6 April 1378
 King Richard II to City of Rochester: Letters Patent; facsimile in Bartlett p24 also Calendar of Patent Rolls p178 PRO ref. C66/301 m25, (facsimile filed at RUMCC/CE/RUMCC versus Selling- MALSC)

22 April 1395
Chancery Close Roll m9 mandate from King Richard II for repairing paving in High Street, Rochester; copy RCA/L2/32/10/1; translation RCA/L2/32/10/2 MALSC (copy), TNA

10 April 1410
Confirmation by King Henry IV of charters of Kings Richard II, Edward III and Henry III of liberties of City of Rochester; Patent Roll Pt. II m28, copy RCA/L2/32/7/1, translation RCA/L2/32/7/2 MALSC (copy), TNA


12 February 1414
Patent Roll Pt. V m14 confirming charters of Kings Henry IV, Richard II, Edward III and Henry III of liberties of City of Rochester; copy RCA/L2/32/11; translation RCA/L2/32/12 MALSC (copy), TNA

14 July 1438
King Henry VI to City of Rochester: charter; a facsimile Bartlett p.26; calendar of charter rolls volume vi pp.2-4; translation at RCA/L2/32/13-16, photocopy at file ref. RUMCC/CE/RUMCC versus Selling; PRO ref. C53/187 m46; translation from charter roll calendars, PRO, filed at ref. RUMCC/CE/RUMCC versus Selling
MALSC MC8c TNA

1 June 1446
King Henry VI to City of Rochester: charter (of incorporation); calendar of charter rolls volume vi pp.61-64 translation at RCA/L2/32/17, photocopy at RUMCC/CE/RUMCC v Selling;  TNA ref. C53/188 m9
MALSC, TNA translation from charter roll calendars, PRO, filed at ref. RUMCC/CE/RUMCC v. Selling

14 December 1461
King Edward IV to City of Rochester: (mayoralty) charter; translated in Bartlett pp.33-35; calendar of charter rolls volume vi pp.176-180; translation RCA/L2/32/18; copy in English in Rochester City Customal (RCA) first foliated section ff.40 verso-49 verso and MF509;
Please click here to view an image of this charter   MALSC (copy), TNA 

[See City of Rochester Charter Celebrations 1461-1961: 500 Years of Mayoralty, 24th June- 8th July 1961, Souvenir Programme ROC352.04223 Local Studies Collection]

14 April 1511
King Henry VIII to City of Rochester: Letters Patent; patent rolls? PRO ref. C56/41 m3, facsimile at RUMCC/CE/RUMCC versus Selling
MALSC TNA

1536 & 1877
28 King Henry VIII Ministers Accounts of the Monastery of St. Sexburgh, Minster in Sheppey, Court of Augmentation with associated correspondence relating to Port of Rochester and River Medway, RCA/L2/32/97/1-8  MALSC (copy), TNA

30 May 1547
King Edward VI to City of Rochester: Letters patent; part facsmilie Bartlett p38; calendared Bartlett pp.39-40; patent rolls?
MALSC

15 November 1559
Queen Elizabeth I to City of Rochester: Letters Patent; patent rolls? part facsimile Bartlett p42 direct colour copy MALSC

4 January 1597/1598
Warrant from Sir William Cecil, 1st. Baron Burghley to Officers of Port of Rochester to allow Monsieur Caron, Agent of the States of the Low Countries [cf. Netherlands/Holland/Flanders] to export 30 demi-culverins, RCA/L2/32/65
MALSC (copy), TNA

11 September 1607
King James I to City of Rochester: Letters Patent part facsimile Bartlett p46 patent rolls? seals illustrated Bartlett p.45
MALSC

25 July 1616 King James I City of Rochester: Commission under Great Seal
MALSC

29 May 1620
KIng James I to City of Rochester: Letters Patent calendared Bartlett p.49; patent rolls?
MALSC

1619/1620
Quo Warranto 17 King James I translations RCA/L2/32/98-99 MALSC (copy), TNA

29 May 1620
Exemplification of Quo Warranto 17 King James I translation RCA/L2/32/100 (copy)
MALSC

7 August 1629
King Charles I to City of Rochester: Letters Patent partly illustrated in Bartlett p.50; translated Bartlett pp.51-75 patent rolls? See also An Authentic Copy of the Charter and Bye-Laws of the City of Rochester with an Abstract of the Customal 1809 ROC352.002; second edition 1816 same ref. Bartlett p.51 also mentions a 1749 translation; copy in English in Rochester City Customal ff.92 verso -112 recto (first foliated section) and MF509;MALSC

23 December 1664
King Charles II to City of Rochester: Chancery Warrant translated/transcribed Bartlett p76MALSC


1676-1677
28 King Charles II [sic] Copy extract from Survey of Port of Rochester, member of Port of Sandwich, made on 3 February 1676/1677 RCA/L2/32/72
MALSC (copy)

1676-1678
Commission and Certificate for setting out the bounds, metes and limits of the Port of Sandwich and Members thereof, viz. Dover, Rochester, Faversham & Deal RCA/L2/32 /103 with abstract of same RCA/L2/32/104  MALSC (copy), TNA

17 October 1686
4 King James II Proclamation for restoring Corporations to their ancient liberties, rights and franchises office copy and copy RCA/L2/32/105-106  MALSC (copy), TNA

9 & 11 February 1687/1688
King James II to City of Rochester: Surrender and Grant Both transcribed Bartlett p77
MALSC

23 January 1781
Extracts from judgments and decrees in pursuance of an act of Parliament to vest certain premises in trustees in connection with the better securing of HM Dock [Yard], ships and stores in Chatham respecting public house known as the Three Horse Shoes owned by the City of Rochester near Star Lane, Rochester RCA/L2/32/108
MALSC(copy) PRO[?]

12 January 1785
King George III to City of Rochester: Letters Patent
MALSC

1820/1821
1 King George IV Commission setting out limits of Fiscal Port of Rochester RCA/L2/32/107 MALSC (copy), TNA


King William IV to City of Rochester: Letters Patent
MALSC

28 January 1836
King William IV to Mayor of City of Rochester: Letters Patent constituting grant of Commission of Peace
MALSC

14 November 1837
Queen Victoria to Mayor of City of Rochester seal obverse and reverse illustrated Bartlett p82
MALSC

12 February 1842
Victoria to City of Rochester: Letters Patent granting separate Court of Quarter Sessions
MALSC

Above sources citing The City of Rochester charters P.H. Bartlett, 1961.

1 March 1878
Queen Victoria to the Mayor of the City of Rochester: Letters Patent constituting a Commission of Peace Charter apparently missing.
? Seal MALSC

30 March 1961
Address by Mayor, Aldermen and Citizens of Rochester to HM Queen Elizabeth II on occasion of her visit to Rochester. Illustrating City of Rochester coat of arms and with pendant wax seal of City of Rochester.
MALSC

18 March 1974
Queen Elizabeth II to City of Rochester: Letters Patent Constituting the area of the City of Rochester as the City of Rochester with effect from 1 April 1974 Illustrating heraldic lion passant guardant holding City of Rochester banner and with illuminated initial E and royal coat of arms.
[ELIZABETH THE SECOND BY THE GRACE OF GOD/ OF THE UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN/ IRELAND AND OF OUR OTHER REALMS AND TERRITORIES QUEEN/ HEAD OF THE COMMONWEALTH DEFENDER OF THE FAITH/
To all to whom these Presents shall come Greeting Whereas since time immemorial the City of/ Rochester has been a City And Whereas the City of Rochester as at present constituted will cease to/ exist on the 1st April 1974 by virtue of the Local Government Act 1972 And Whereas We are mindful of/ the long history and proud heritage of the said City and for this reason and for divers other good causes/ and considerations Us thereunto moving desire to perpetuate the ancient name of the said City Now Therefore Know Ye/ that We of Our especial grace and favour and mere motion do by these Presents ordain declare and direct that henceforth/ from the 1st April 1974 the area of the City Of Rochester as at present constituted shall be called and styled the CITY OF/ ROCHESTER In Witness whereof We have caused these Our Letters to be made Patent Witness Ourself at Westminster/ the eighteenth day of March in the twenty-third year of Our Reign./
BY WARRANT UNDER THE QUEEN’S SIGN MANUAL /
Dobson/]
MALSC With pendant seal.
[See copy of Bartlett in Local Studies Collection as above ROC352.002 for typescript transcription; 

31 March 1974
Deed of Transfer, City of Rochester to Medway District Council of land, property, assets, hereditaments, rights and liabilities. Illustrated with City of Rochester coat of arms and with pendant City of Rochester seal attached.
[Whereas:/ (1) By virtue of the Charter of King Edward IV granted on the 14th December 1461/ the Mayor and Citizens of the City of Rochester were created a body corporate/ with a common seal for the business of the said City./ (2) Under the provisions of section 17 (1) (b) of the Local Government Act 1933/ it was enacted that the said body corporate should bear the name of the Mayor/ Aldermen and Citizens of the City of Rochester (hereinafter called "the City/ Corporation") and should be capable of acting by the Council of the said City/ (hereinafter called "the City Council")/ (3) By virtue of the provisions of subsections (10 and 11) of section 1 of the/ Local Government Act 1972 (hereinafter called "the 1972 Act") the City Corporation/ and the City Council shall cease to exist on the First day of April 1974./ (4) By virtue of Schedule 3 to the 1972 Act and of the English Non-metro-/politan Districts (Definition) Order 1972 the area of the said City of Rochester/ shall on the First day of April 1974 become part of the district known as/ Medway./ (5) By virtue of subsections (2) and (3) of section 2 of the 1972 Act there/ shall for the said district of Medway be a council called the District/ Council of Medway and such council shall be a body corporate./ (6) By virtue of the provisions of 1972 Act and of the Orders made/ thereunder certain of the property of the City Corporation will be transferred/ to the said District Council of Medway on the First day of April 1974./ (7) It is desired formally to record the said transfer in manner herein-/after appearing./ Now therefore this deed witnesseth that in accordance/ with the provisions of section 254 (2) (a) of the 1972 Act and of the Local/ Authorities (England) (Property etc.) Order 1973 the City Corporation/ acting by the City Council hereby transfers to the said/ District Council of Medway such of the land, property, assets, heredit-/aments, rights and liabilities as are now vested in the City Corporation/ and are by the said Act and Order properly transferable by law to the/ said District Council./ In witness whereof the Mayor, Aldermen and Citizens of the/ City of Rochester have caused their Common Seal to be hereunto affixed/ this Thirty-first day of March One thousand nine hundred and seventy-four./ The Common Seal of the Mayor, Aldermen and Citizens of the City of Rochester was hereunto affixed in the presence of :- Philip W.B. Timms Chief Executive and Town Clerk]

MALSC

16th. century
Extracts from City of Rochester Customal RCA/L2/32/110
MALSC

There is no grant of arms to the City of Rochester. However, the coat of arms as depicted in official documents may be viewed at: click here

CHATHAM AREA

HAWKINS' HOSPITAL, CHATHAM

CH108/1
Royal Charter of Foundation (Letters Patent)
27 August 1594 With seal (Great Seal), seal box and charter box [see also TNA: State Papers Domestic ccxlix Docquet 4 July 1594].
Charter box interior lined with printed, illuminated paper and covered externally with decorated stamped leather. Box has one hook and two eyelets remaining and two iron hinges. Seal box constructed as for charter box with iron hinge, hasp and lock
2 membranes
[See also CH108/2] [For translation see CH108/18]

CH108/2
Copy of Letters Patent from Queen Elizabeth I to Hawkins' Hospital.
[27 August 1594] c. 1839 [Latin]

[See also CH108/1]
1 item/8 sheets

CH108/3
Silver Seal (electrotype) 2" diameter
1809
[A silver seal is also held at the Guildhall Museum, Rochester, which holds a broadsheet describing how the original seal was stolen. The Museum's seal is the replacement seal, of which item CH108/3 is a replica]

CH108/18
Draft case respecting the Governors of Hawkins' Hospital drafted by Twopeny [cf. Twopenny] and Essell, Rochester, Solicitors for the opinion of Solicitor of Admiralty, reciting and translating foundation charter. Endorsed to effect that Solicitor of Admiralty's reply entered in minutes 26 March 1832.
1832 1 item
[See also items /1-2]

BOROUGH OF CHATHAM

CBA/T501
Royal Charter of Incorporation (Royal Letters Patent) (Municipal Corporations Act 1882)
Reciting petition submitted by inhabitant householders of the Local Government District of Chatham in November 1888 (preamble, membrane 1);
22 November 1890 MALSC Granting the Local Government District of Chatham the status of Municipal Borough (membrane 2, paragraph 1);
Granting corporate name of Mayor, Aldermen and Burgesses of the Borough of Chatham and right to armorial bearings (membrane 2, paragraph 2);
Granting body corporate powers commensurate with Municipal Borough (membrane 2, paragraph 3);
Fixing the no. of councillors at 18 (membrane 2, paragraph 4);
Dividing the Borough into 3 wards (membrane 2, paragraph 5);
Directing that each ward elect 6 councillors (membrane 2, paragraph 5);
Stipulating arrangements with regard to the initial constitution of the Borough Council (membranes 2-3, paragraph 7);
Appointing dates of election of first councillors on 23 March 1891 and of first mayor and aldermen on 30 March 1891 (membrane 3, paragraph 8);
Designating years of retirement of first councillors and aldermen (membrane 3, paragraph 9);
Defining the first mayor's term of office (membrane 3, paragraph 10);
Confirming the applicability of the Municipal Corporations Act to the initial constitution of the Borough Council (membrane 3, paragraph 11);
Also comprising:
1st. Schedule, Part 1 (membranes 3-4)
Proposed metes and bound of the Borough
1st. Schedule, Part 2 (membranes 4-5)
Metes and Bounds of Wards
2nd. Schedule (membrane 5)
Dates of retirement of councillors and aldermen
3rd. Schedule (membranes 5-6)
Substitutions to dates and times named in the Municipal Corporations Act.
Royal Sign Manual applied to foot of m6.
1 item/6 membranes.

CBA/T502
Grant of Arms

(i) Sir Albert William Woods, Kt., Garter Principal King of Arms;
1 August 1891 Walter Aston Blount, Esq., Clarenceux King of Arms
George Edward Cokayne, Esq., Norroy King of Arms
(Their Coats of Arms or badges of office depicted at head of document)
(ii) Mayor, Aldermen and Burgesses of the Incorporated Borough of Chatham
Reciting Charter of Incorporation (see CBA/T501 above).
Giving blazoning of Coat of Arms of Borough viz.
Argent a Fesse Chequey Gules and Or between in Chief two Ancient Ships with three Masts and Sails proper Colours flying of the second and in Base a Sword of the fourth pomel and hilt of the third sumounted by a Trident in Saltire and entwined with a Wreath of Laurel also proper And for the Crest Out of a Naval Crown Or a Trident erect enfiled with a Wreath of Laurel proper as depicted in the upper left margin. [The coat of arms depicted includes the motto Loyal and True ]
Endorsed to effect that has been passed by Charles H. Athill, Richmond Herald and as having been recorded in the College of Arms, London, by William H. Weldon, Windsor Herald, Registrar.
[Accessioned as DE47 (DE series) and 63A (pre-DE series)]
1 membrane with three pendant
seals of office in skippets
27" x 21" excluding seals & tapes
(686mm x 530mm)
With box 22 1/4" x 6" x 2 1/2"
(563mm x 150mm x 62mm)
For an image of the document, please click here
MALSC

CBA/T503
Presentation of mace to Mayor and Corporation of Chatham from the Ladies of Chatham , given as a slight token of the warm interest the Ladies of Chatham take in the welfare of the new Borough , signed by several women including Mary C. Winch, Mayoress, Ellen de la Cour and Maria Stigant. (The signatories would appear to be the wives of the first councillors, cf. Chatham 100 by R. Foster, 1990, ref. CHA352)
20 October 1891 MALSC [Accessioned as DE46 (DE series) and 62A (pre-DE series)]
1 membrane
14 7/8" x 10 7/8"
378mm x 276mm

STROOD RURAL DISTRICT COUNCIL MALSC

GRANT OF ARMS 1952-1955

SRDC/74
Grant of Arms from the College of Arms to Strood Rural District Council.

Signed by Sir George Rothe Bellew, Principal King of Arms, Sir Arthur William Stuart Cochrane, Clarenceux King of Arms and Sir Gerald Woods Wollaston, Norroy and Ulster King of Arms.
6 June 1953

The blazoning is:
Vert two Quill Pens in saltire points downward Or between in chief a Port between two Towers Argent and in base a Cornucopia Gold the Fruit proper two Flaunches barry wavy of six also Argent and Azure And for the Crest On a Wreath of the Colours Issuant from a Saxon Crown Or a Ship's Mast proper the sail Gules charged with a Horse rampant Argent Pennon flying also Gules

[The following description of the coat of arms is quoted from The Coronation Book 2nd. June, 1953 written by Ralph Arnold for Strood RDC, 1953 (Local Studies collection ref. 942STR p.18):

The shield is an heraldic map of the Rural District. The green central portion of the shield, representing the rich agricultural area of the Rural District, particularly the Hoo Peninsula, is placed between blue and white waves representing the [Rivers] Thames and Medway. On the green portion is depicted the main entrance to Cooling Castle, two quill pens crossed refer to the literary associations with Charles Dickens, whilst the Horn of Plenty (Cornucopia) stands for the principal industry, agriculture.

The shield is surmounted by the closed helmet proper to civic Arms with its crest-wreath and decorated mantling (the Mediaeval tournament cloak). The crest includes the Saxon crown in reference to the sites of Saxon settlements in the Rural District, and the ship's sail alludes to the maritime activities on the Medway, the sail being charged with the White Horse of Kent.]

 

With three pendant seals contained in skippets.
1 membrane
For an image of the document, please click here

SRDC/75
Obtaining Grant of Arms and publication of Souvenir 1 book to commemorate Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II
1952-1955 MALSC Coronation Celebrations 1953 and Coronation Book (ZE-1)
File of correspondence between Clerk and Anthony R. Wagner, Richmond Herald, College of Arms, London EC4 and others concerning the design of a Coat of Arms and Crest culminating in Strood RDC obtaining Grant of Arms (26 June 1953) and with Ralph Arnold, Constable & Co. Ltd., London WC2 author, and others, discussing preparation and distribution of Strood RDC commemorative souvenir gift book for children in the District, entitled as above.
Includes typescript short history of Vigo Village , Meopham by D.P. Terry, Engineer and Surveyor [?] with extract from Planning Basis for Kent concerning proposed London satellite town at Meopham, January 1953 intended for Ralph Arnold to use in souvenir book.
Includes Copy of letter of request for Grant of Arms from F.C. Laurence. Chairman of Strood RDC, to Duke of Norfolk, Earl Marshal, 7 October 1952.
Includes Three alternative Coats of Arms considered by Wagner January 1953.
Includes Letters and independent design for Coat of Arms from Rowland Bretton, 16 Mayfield Drive, Halifax, Yorkshire 1952-1953.
Includes Letter from Town Clerk to Bretton explaining and blazoning new Coat of Arms and translating Latin motto Spes Patriae Rus as The Hope of the Country is the Countryside , 15 October 1953.
(All SRDC/75/1)
Includes Pencil draft of Strood RDC coat of arms and crest by Wagner, as described in letter 13 January 1953 (SRDC/75/2).
Includes Two printed brochures from printers and scroll writers in connection with Coronation, 1953 (SRDC/75/3)
Includes Printed souvenir programme for Coronation Celebrations organised by Frindsbury Extra Parish Meeting, for 6 June 1953. (SRDC/75/4)
[See also Grant of Arms (SRDC/74)]
1 file /c.300 pp
+ booklets

POST-1974 AUTHORITY

19 June 1974
Queen Elizabeth II to Medway District Council: Letters Patent Granting status of Borough; confirming powers exercisable before 1 April 1974 by City of Rochester to new Borough; confirming privileges and rights likewise; appointing Mayor of Borough of Medway as Admiral of the River Medway and Constable of Rochester Castle; confirming powers of City of Rochester previously in respect of Rochester Oyster and Floating Fisheries and Admiralty Court. Pendant seal attached.

[Elizabeth the Second/by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and/ of Our other Realms and Territories Queen,/Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith:/to all to whom these presents shall come, greeting!/Whereas certain new local government areas known as districts have been/ established by the Local Government Act 1972:/ And whereas a Petition praying for a grant of a Charter conferring/ upon the district of Medway the status of a borough has been presented unto Us/ by the council of the said district:/ and whereas We are pleased by the advice of Our Privy Council to/ grant a Charter for such purpose:/ And whereas the area of the said district includes the areas of the former city of Rochester and the former/ borough of Chatham in respect of which divers/ charters had been granted./ Now therefore know ye that We, by virtue of Our Prerogative/ Royal and in pursuance of the Local Government Act 1972 and of all other/ powers and authorities enabling Us in that behalf, have granted and declared and/ by these Presents do grant and declare as follows:-/ 1. The district of Medway shall have the status of a borough./2. Any powers to appoint local officers of dignity exercisable immediately/ before the first day of April, One thousand nine hundred and seventy-four by the/ mayor, aldermen and citizens of the former city of Rochester shall be exercisable/ by the council of the borough of Medway in respect of the whole of the borough./ 3. Any privileges or rights belonging immediately before the first day of April,/ One thousand nine hundred and seventy-four to the citizens of the former city of/ Rochester shall belong to the inhabitants of the whole borough of Medway./ 4. The mayor of the borough of Medway shall have the office of Admiral of/ the water of Medway from Sheerness to Hawkwood and the office of Constable/ of Rochester Castle./ 5. Subject to any provisions made under or by virtue of any statute in force on/ the first day of April, One thousand nine hundred and seventy-four, all powers/ exercisable before the first day April, One thousand nine hundred and seventy four,/ by the mayor, aldermen and citizens of the former city of Rochester in relation to/ the Rochester Oyster and Floating Fisheries by virtue of the common law,/ prescription or otherwise, shall vest in and be exercisable by the council of the/ borough of Medway who shall for this purpose act by a Court of Admiralty/ consisting of the mayor of the borough (who shall preside) and such members of/ the borough council as the said council may appoint at their annual meeting and/ the mayor and the members so chosen shall duly hold a Court of Admiralty at/ such times and in such manner as may be necessary or proper in like manner as/ the Court of Admiralty was held prior to the first day of April, One thousand/ nine hundred and seventy-four./6. The provision contained in Article 3 of this Our Charter is in lieu of that made/ by section 246 (1) of the Local Government Act 1972./In witness whereof We have caused these Our Letters to be made Patent./ Witness Ouself at Westminster the nineteenth day of June/ in the twenty-third year of Our Reign./By warrant under the Queen's Sign Manual/Dobson]colour negative M98 MALSC 1 March 1977   Call no: RUMCC/C1/01

C
Grant of Arms
(i) Sir Anthony Richard Wagner, Kt., Garter Principal King of Arms
MALSC John Riddell Bromhead Walker Esq., Calrenceux King of Arms
Walter John George Verco Esq., Norroy and Ulster King of Arms
(ii) Medway Borough Council
Or on a Cross between in the first and fourth quarters a Cornucopia Gules a Lion passant guardant of the field And for the Crest Out of a Naval Crown Or three Towers Gules, Mantled Gules doubled Argent; and a device or badge The Head of a Trident Argent within an Annulet masoned and embattled on the outer edge rompu in pall or and Supporters On either side a Sea Horse Argent finned and tailed Or gorged with a Collar chequy Or and Gules the dexter supporting a Trident & the sinister an Oar Gold
Includes at top, illustrations of badges or coats of arms of the Heralds
[NB no motto* appears with the illustration or in the text]
[* See City of Rochester-upon-Medway: List of Members of the Council since Day One [i.e. 1973] by Mr. D. Barrow, Administration Section, Chief Executive's Department, Rochester Upon Medway City Council copy in the Archives Library.]
With three attached pendant seals in skippets.
MALSC
Please click here for an image of the grant of arms

3 June 1989
Rochester Upon Medway City Council Cadiz, Spain twinning agreement CEN/GM/24
MALSC

Dated 25 January 1982
Queen Elizabeth II to Borough of Rochester-upon-Medway: Letters Patent
MALSC Confers status of City and rank, liberties, privileges and immunities incident to a City. [TS transcription in Bartlett as above ROC352.002]

A transcript is as follows:

ELIZABETH THE SECOND/ BY THE GRACE OF GOD OF THE UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN/ AND NORTHERN IRELAND AND OF OUR OTHER REALMS AND TERRITORIES/ QUEEN, HEAD OF THE COMMONWEALTH DEFENDER OF THE FAITH/To all whom these Presents shall come Greeting Whereas part of the Borough of Rochester upon Medway/being the area of the City of Rochester as constituted immediately before the 1st April 1974 has from that date/been called and styled the City of Rochester by virtue of Our Letters made Patent on the 18th March 1974/And Whereas We deem it meet and proper that the whole of the said Borough and not the said part of the Borough as heretofore should/have the name style and status of a City and for this reason and for divers other good causes and considerations Us thereunto moving/We are graciously pleased to confer on the said Borough the status of a City Now therefore Know Ye that We of our special grace and /favour and mere motion do by these Presents ordain declare and direct that the BOROUGH OF ROCHESTER UPON MEDWAY/shall henceforth have the status of a CITY and shall have all such rank liberties privileges and immunities as are incident to a City/In Witness whereof We have caused these Our Letters to be made Patent Witness Ourself at Westminster the twenty-fifth day of/January in the thirtieth year of Our Reign/BY WARRANT UNDER THE QUEEN'S SIGN MANUAL/Bourne

MALSC

GILLINGHAM AREA

GILLINGHAM BOROUGH COUNCIL

17 August 1903: King Edward VII, charter of incorporation, 3 membranes attached into 6 pages; numerous printed copies also available. (GBC: MTC/MR/16) MALSC

22 April 1904: grant of arms, Clarenceaux and Norroy Kings of Arms to mayor, aldermen and burgesses of Gillingham, 1 membrane, two pendant seals attached.
Blazoning: argent a cross gules in the first quarter an ancient harp, in the second on waves of the sea an ancient ship, in the third issuing out of waves of the sea a rock thereon a fort, and in the fourth quarter a sprig of broom all proper, and for the crest on a wreath of the colours in front of a fouled anchor erect two swords in saltire point upwards that pointing to the dexter sheathed all proper.
(GBC; MTC/MR/13) MALSC
For an image of this document, please click here

Achievement of arms of Gillingham Borough Council including motto: with fort and fleet for home and England from Somerset Herald, Heralds College, London 27 May 1904; parchment mounted on wood.
Facsimiles available. (GBC: MTC/MR/9) MALSC

MEDWAY COUNCIL

Grant of Arms from College of Arms, London to Medway Council, the arms blazoned as follows:
Azure issuing in a base a Bridge of four arches the parapet enarched Argent and statant thereon a Lion passant guardant Or armed and langued Gules And for the Crest Upon a Helm Issuing from a Naval Crown Or three Towers Argent that in the centre wreathed below the battlements with a Garland of Broom proper the outer Towers similarly wreathed with a Garland of Oak Azure Mantled Azure doubled Argent
for a badge: Statant upon two Pallets wavy their apexes conjoined to a chevron reversed wavy Azure a Lion Passant Guardant Or and langued Gules
with for supporters: On either side a Sea Horse Argent the piscene parts Azure each supporting a Trident palewise Or and gorged with a Collar Checky Or and Gules pendent therefrom by a ring a Harp Or stringed Argent.
22 November 1999
Call no.: ACE/DS/CC/2
MALSC

Royal Letters Patent
HM Queen Elizabeth I
Medway Towns District Council
Elizabeth the Second by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Our other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith:
To all to whom these presents shall come, greeting!
Whereas certain new local government districts have been established by Orders made under the Local Government Act 1972:
And whereas the Council of the District of the Medway Towns are, until the first day of April One thousand nine hundred and ninety-eight, a shadow authority who by virtue of regulations made under the Local Government Act 1992 are empowered by provisions of the Local Government Act 1972 to present unto us a Petition praying for the grant of a Charter conferring upon the said District of the Medway Towns the status of a Borough:
And whereas a Petition praying for the grant of a Charter conferring upon the said District the status of a Borough has been presented unto Us by the Council of the said District:
And whereas We are pleased by the advice of Our Privy Council to grant a Charter for such purpose:
And whereas the area of the said District includes the area of the former Borough of Gillingham and the City of Rochester Upon Medway in respect of which divers charters have been granted:
Now therefore know ye that We, by virtue of Our Prerogative Royal and in pursuance of the Local Government Act 1972 and of all other powers and authorities enabling Us in that behalf, have granted and declared and by these Presents do grant and declare as follows:
1 The District of the Medway Towns shall have the status of a Borough.
2 Any powers to appoint local officers of dignity exercisable immediately before the first day of April, One thousand nine hundred and ninety-eight by the mayor, aldermen and burgesses of the former Borough of Gillingham of the Council of the City of Rochester Upon Medway shall be exercisable by the Council of the Borough of Medway Towns in respect of the whole Borough.
3 The Mayor of the Borough of the Medway Towns shall have the office of Admiral of the Water of Medway from Sheerness to Hawkwood and the office of Constable of Rochester Castle.
4 Subject to any provisions made under or by virtue of any statute in force on the first day of April One thousand nine hundred and ninety-eight, all powers exercisable before the first day of April One thousand nine hundred and ninety-eight by the City Council of Rochester Upon Medway in relation to the Rochester Oyster and Floating Fisheries by virtue of the common law, prescription or otherwise, shall vest in and be exercisable by the Council of the Borough of the Medway Towns who shall for this purpose act by a Court of Admiralty consisting of the Mayor of the Borough (who shall preside) and such members of the Borough Council as the said Council may appoint at their annual meeting and the Mayor and the members so chosen shall duly hold a Court of Admiralty at such times and in such manner as may be necessary or proper in like manner as the Court of Admiralty was held prior to the first day of April One thousand nine hundred and ninety-eight.
5 Any privileges or rights belonging immediately before the first day of April, One thousand nine hundred and ninety-eight to the burgesses of the former Borough of Gillingham or to the citizens of the City of Rochester Upon Medway shall belong to the inhabitants of the whole of the Borough of the Medway Towns.
6 This Our Charter shall come into force on the first day of April, One thousand nine hundred and ninety-eight.
In witness whereof We have caused these Our Letters to be made Patent.
Witness Ourself at Westminster the first day of April in the forty-seventh year of Our Reign.
By warrant under the Queen’s Sign Manual
Legg
Call no.: MTC/CE/CE/2 MALSC
2 membranes with Great Seal, fabric tie and case.

This handlist is not inclusive of all charters held in the Archives.

NB some reference nos. are temporary e.g. CBA/T

Compiled August 1996

File updated by Archivist Nov 2013


Date: N/A
Quantity: N/A

Result number 2 - Please quote Reference: DRc_Rochester_Priory_and_other_Religious_Houses_1080_1541/DRc_R1 on request slip.

Path: Ecclesiastical_Regular_and_Capitular_Foundations/ DRc_Rochester_Priory_and_other_Religious_Houses_1080_1541/ BA07_Registers_of_the_Cathedral_Priory_C12_C14/ DRc_R1.html

WITHDRAWN

The Textus Roffensis

(Textus de Ecclesia Roffensi per Ernulphum episcopum) * (The Book of the Church of Rochester through Bishop Ernulf)

12th. - 14th. Centuries

For the newly launched digital images of the Textus Roffensis, please follow this link (to Rochester Cathedral website)

 http://www.rochestercathedral.org/news/categories/cathedral-news/288-textus-roffensis-online

 

Introduction

The Textus Roffensis is more properly two distinct books, though written at about the same time, and largely by the same scribe, which were only bound together some time after 1300. The first part contains one of the most important of all surviving collections of Anglo-Saxon laws, from the conversion of King Aethelberht of Kent to the coronation charter of King Henry I of 1100.

The second part is the oldest and most precious of the cathedral registers. It can best be described as a memorandum book, created for ease of reference and security. Both parts were compiled in part from individual or single sheet original documents or exemplars, many now lost, in part from the collective memory of the cathedral community.

Dr. Patrick Wormald of Oxford is more explicit and humorous in his explanation of the purpose of the book. He says of the Textus Roffensis: it would have made an impressive weapon for a churchman seeking to defend the position of his English foundation against prowling Norman predators, compiled as it was soon after the Norman Conquest.

The compilation represents the first documentary evidence of the compromises made between the new Norman rulers and their indigenous English subjects, hinting at a convergence rather than a collision between the English language and English laws on the one hand and Romance laws and language on the other.

The book contains two foundation charters of Rochester Cathedral and Diocese of 604 (DRc/R1 f.119 recto - f.119 verso and DRc/R1 f.177 recto), two pre-Conquest and pre-Domesday Book lists of Kent parishes and copies of the earliest English law codes to survive (contained in part i of the book, i.e. the first of the two separate books prior to their being bound together)

The book would have been placed on the high altar in the presbytery, or stored very near by, not in the nave as some scholars have supposed. The first suggestion that it was known as a Textus comes from the enigmatic mid-thirteenth-century (Brett) or fourteenth century (Flight) note as quoted above *, which is long after its compilation. The term Textus signifies a book with an ornamented or decorated cover of the kind kept in the church rather than the cloister thus differentiating the volume from a liber de claustro Roffensi or book from the cloister of Rochester. The title is sometimes erroneously taken to mean a text concerning the church of Rochester.

It was highly unusual for a non-sacred book to be accorded such status, evidence of the politico-religious importance attached to its mainly secular content.

Compilation

The compilation dates from the episcopate of Ernulf of Bec (1115-1124) and more specifically from the period 1122-1123 (Hough, 2001) or 1123-1124 (Wormald, 2001). At that time there was little distinction between the possessions of the priory and the bishopric, and the bishop lived in the priory buildings with the monks. Ernulf’s involvement is commemorated on the first folio.

Both parts were written by a single scribe. Flight surmises it was the prior of the day, Ordwine. Wormald suggests he was a trusted servant of Bishop Ernulf (talk transcript, 2004). Whoever he was, he was no ordinary scribe and possessed advanced scholarly and editorial powers and was responsible for seeking out and ordering as well as transcribing the book’s contents. Similarly, A. Campbell has stated the texts……when compared with the single sheets, inspire considerable confidence in the care, honesty, and accuracy of the scribe (1973).

Physical description.

The volume now contains 235 vellum leaves.

The main hand in both parts is an early twelfth century bookhand but a number of leaves, particularly in the second part, have been replaced, and there are also additions made down to the mid-fourteenth century in a variety of later hands, which mostly imitate the work of the first scribe with more or less success. Some of the dominant capitals are coloured but on the whole very little colour has been used. There is one fully illuminated capital letter, marking the beginning of the second part on f.119r. After the two parts were brought together they were foliated throughout except for ff. 234v-235v in arabic numerals and thus must have been foliated after c.1300, see below.

Nothing is known of the original bindings of the two parts while separated, but the new binding of c.1300 comprised wooden boards with a leather covering. This wooden binding almost certainly survived until the early eighteenth century as it was noted by Dr. John Harris, Prebendary of Rochester, who borrowed it (presumably just before it was rebound in 1718) for his History of Kent published in 1719.

On 21 December 1708 the Chapter meeting ordered the Dean to take the book to London for binding following a request for the loan of it to Dr. Edward Elstub [cf. Elstob] on security of £200 (DRc AC/5 p.55 recto). It is not certain the book was bound on that occasion but at some stage between 1708 and 1712 it was lent to Elstub as on 25 June 1712 the Chapter ordered him to return it (DRc AC/5 p.95 recto). The book was rebound in 1718 along with the Customale Roffense (DRc/R2) but as both were bound in Russia leather and only the latter retains its Russia leather cover, the present binding of the Textus Roffensis must be later. However, comparison with the Customale Roffense provides an indication of the appearance of the Textus Roffensis between 1718 and c.1750. That the present covering is not Mrs. Jane Steel's of 1718 (see below) is also confirmed by the absence of corners itemised in her bill. We may surmise that as the binding of the Customale Roffense is a conventional board and leather binding, Steel's rebinding of the Textus Roffensis was given the same treatment and was the occasion on which the medieval wooden boards were dispensed with. Harris' published reference to the wooden boards in 1719 therefore post-dates the rebinding by Steele and refers to the binding of the book whilst in his possession c.1716.

The cover was repaired by Charles Lamacraft in 1937.

Custodial history of the book

William Lambard had access to the Textus in 1573 and annotated several folios.

The first recorded removal of the book from the cathedral’s custody occurred in c.1631 when it appears to have been lent to Sir Henry Spelman (c.1564-1641) the antiquary, in London, for scholarly research. Spelman seems to have employed Thomas Somer, a clerk to Edward Robinson, Clerk of the Court of Chancery to privately transcribe the volume’s contents. At any rate, on completion of the task, the Dean and Chapter arranged for John Lorkin (alias Larkin), Prebendary, to collect the volume from Somer who delivered the book to Lorkin’s lodgings in London but finding the prebendary absent, left it in the hands of the landlord’s wife. Here began a sorry train of events.

Before Lorkin could lay his hands on the volume, a fellow lodger, Dr. Thomas Leonard, a physician of Canterbury, purchased the volume from the landlord’s wife or their servant, probably for the sum of 5 shillings. It took a legal action in the Court of Chancery for Dr. Leonard to surrender the book back into the Dean and Chapter’s custody in 1633.

During Dr. Leonard’s unauthorised custody of the book it was transcribed by Sir Edward Dering whose copy was the basis of Thomas Hearne’s published transcription of 1720. Dering like Lambard made numerous notes in the margins.

In the late 1650s or early 1660s the book was borrowed by Sir Roger Twisden who returned it safely in 1663. Hasted (History of Kent, 1782) believed the Chancery suit to have occurred after the Restoration but would appear to have confused Twisden’s borrowing of the book with its earlier unlawful alienation by Dr. Leonard.

It appears likely the book was loaned to Dr. Edward Elstub in 1708 for transcription by him and the infant prodigy James Smith. It was in the hands of Francis Atterbury, bishop of Rochester in 1717 (DRc AC5/5 pt.ii p.68) and loaned to Dr. John Harris in 1716 (whose History of Kent was published in 1719) (see DRc AC5 pt.ii pp.15-16). It seems the chapter supported Harris in a tussle with the Dean for its possession (DRc AC/5 part ii p.15)

Sometime between 1708 and 1718 the volume was accidentally immersed in either the River Thames or River Medway while being transported to or from London, to or from either Elstub or Harris (Harris, according to Hasted, in which case c.1716-c.1718). The immersion resulted in the margins of the vellum pages being slightly shrunk and stained by a white crystalline deposit. That the damage was limited may have been because of tight brass clasps connecting the wooden boards. The shrinkage and staining were successfully treated by Lamacraft in 1937.

Hasted describes the events thus: Since which they have been again in great danger of being deprived of it; for Dr. [John] Harris [DD FRS], having borrowed it for the use of his intended history of this county, sent it up to London by Water [cf. Rivers Thames and Medway], and the vessel being by the badness of the weather overset, this Mss. lay for some hours under water before it was discovered, which has somewhat damaged it. If accurate, this event can be dated to c.1716-c.1718.

The book is noted as having been returned and presented to the Chapter on 7 July 1719 after being new bound. It is also apparent from this entry (DRc AC/5 pt.iii p.34) that the proper or normal storage place of the book was the chapter room. The rebinding referred to is almost certainly that of Mrs. Jane Steel, whose bill was settled on 15 July 1718 (DRc FTv/54/10). It is thus obvious the book was absent between 1718 and 1719 perhaps being used by another borrower, most likely the bishop who seems to have prompted its repair, being named on Steel's bill, but the point to note is that the rebinding could have been the result of the water damage which can thus be dated to c.1716-1718 perhaps whilst being returned by Dr. Harris. The book was rebound by Steel along with the Customale Roffense (DRc/R2)

The book was borrowed for one year by Edmund Barrell (variously prebendary, vice-dean and treasurer of the cathedral and vicar of Boxley) by authorisation of the chapter on 25 November 1719 (DRc AC/5 pt.iii p.40), returned on 12 December 1719 (DRc AC/5 pt.iii p.47) and borrowed again by him on 27 January 1719/1720 (DRc AC/5 pt.iii p.47).

The Textus Roffensis was transcribed and published by Thomas Hearne in 1720 from a copy in the Surrenden library (cf. Sir Edward Dering), but as there are no papers extant relative to the recovery of the register in the seventeenth century, it cannot be determined whether the original was ever part of the Surrenden library. The register was also used extensively by John Thorpe in his compilation of the Registrum Roffense in 1769.

David Wilkins had access to the book for his Leges Anglo-Saxonicae published in 1721 and in the 19th. century further work was undertaken on the book by Richard Price, Benjamin Thorpe and Felix Liebermann.

The book was disbound for photography for Sawyer’s facsimiles published in 1957 and 1962.

Conservation work was undertaken by James Wayre at Canterbury Cathedral Archives in 1996.  The book was also photographed in its entirety in black and white, the prints being lodged with Rochester Cathedral Library and the negatives with Canterbury Cathedral Archives.

The book was fully digitally photographed in high resolution and colour for Medway Council in 2004 for publication in the CityArk Imagebase (click view images button above) and the binding and thirty pages (p.iii-4 recto, 31 verso - 32 recto, 49 verso - 50 recto, 53 verso - 56 recto, 95 verso - 97 recto, 110 verso - 111 recto, 118 verso - 119 recto, 166 verso -167 recto, 176 verso - 177 recto and 220 verso - 221 recto) were scanned at the British Library on 19 September 2007 following its winning of first place in the Turning the Pages 2 competition for local hidden treasures to be included in the British Library's Turning the Pages web site for three years, published on 23 January 2008.

No cover to cover translation of the Textus Roffensis is known to exist.

Bad staining occurs at ff.126v-127r. This appears to have been caused subsequent to the book's immersion in the River Thames and pre-Sawyer as it appears in his facsimile.

The book was deposited by the Dean and Chapter of Rochester at Kent Archives Office in Maidstone in 1969. Prompted by the creation of the more local Rochester upon Medway City Archives Office in 1990 the cathedral archives including the Textus Roffensis were transferred to Strood in 1992. This office was managed by employees of Kent County Council until 1998 when management and custody passed from Kent County Council to the new Unitary Authority (i.e. County Borough) and Archives Authority, Medway Council.

The English Language

The book contains the putative first record of the English language, in the form of the Laws of Ethelbert of c.604 but see also the foundation charters also of 604. The Laws of Ethelbert begin:

Godes feoh and ciricean xii gylde. Biscopes feoh xi gylde. Preostes feoh ix gylde. Diacones feoh vi gylde. Cleroces feoh iii gylde. Ciric frith ii gylde

(The property of God and of the church, twelvefold; a bishop's property, elevenfold; a priest's property, ninefold; a deacon's property, sixfold; a clerk's property, threefold; churchfrith, twofold) (translation Fordham University).

The English used in the constituent Old English books is the Jutish dialect of Old English. The Textus is important because it preserves this rarer dialect of English, West Saxon becoming the predominant literary dialect of Old English. The modern English language is derived successively from the Mercian and East Midland dialects.

The book is thus an important record of an emerging language and the earliest recorded Germanic language after Gothic, which became extinct, and the fourth oldest recorded European language, excluding Gothic, after Greek, Latin and Irish.

The Old English texts contained in the Textus Roffensis also represent the creation of a new alphabet, possibly the first vernacular alphabet after Greek and Latin, combining a Celtic variety of Latin characters, two Germanic runes named thorn and win and a third new letter comprising a modified d called eth.

English Law

The Laws of Ethelbert and the other Kentish laws of the seventh and eighth centuries are the earliest of their kind to survive and are the earliest law codes to be recorded in the vernacular, as against the Latin usage of the Roman Empire.

Dr. Patrick Wormald states: Aethelbert’s code is best seen as the law of the Cantwara; a signal that they had joined Franks and Romans in the ranks of civilized because law-abiding peoples. Aethelbert’s laws were largely accepted laws but the later law codes preserved in the book show how English law had developed into innovatory law. Wormald also states: more than any other legal manuscript, it was both memorial to the past and instrument of its adaptation in a new world.

Anglo-Saxon Historical Research

The Textus Roffensis is a crucial primary source for the history of the Anglo-Saxon period, the more so because the scribe was scholarly and accurate in selecting and copying from his originals.

Wormald states the book matters crucially for the study of Anglo-Saxon charters…because the second part of the MS is a cartulary containing three dozen pre-conquest documents.

A source for Ancient History

The law codes may provide an insight into the Barbarian peoples of northern Europe at the height of the Roman Empire as their customary origins may pre-date the Germanic settlement of Britain and therefore provide glimpses of customs and rituals referred to by Roman writers which are not otherwise contemporarily or disinterestedly recorded. This particularly applies to feud and blood money or compensation in money or in kind.

A Medieval Renaissance

The scribe of the Textus Roffensis is a striking exponent of a distinctive form of Caroline miniscule handwriting or bookhand that was developed at Canterbury and Rochester around 1100 and which became influential nationally.

The later foliation of the book is an early example of the use in English documents of Arabic numerals, which made a first tentative appearance on any scale in France in the thirteenth-century, but only became widespread in the fifteenth century. The Arabic foliation cannot be earlier than c.1300 and probably dates from c.1400 (Liebermann).

The Textus Roffensis defines a unique moment in English history, in which a mixed community of Anglo-Saxons and incoming Normans assembled the materials of the past of the ancient church in which they all served, associated them with the whole history of Christendom, and deployed them in defence of a profound reform of the life of the cathedral. (In 1077 the original secular foundation had been converted into a Benedictine regular foundation.)

The compilation of ancient English documents forming part of the Textus Roffensis itself represents a new self-conscious attempt at recording an English heritage, after the Norman Conquest. The incomers needed an effective guide to the law of King Edward (i.e. King Edward the Confessor) as the Conqueror and King Henry his son promised to observe it; incomer and native alike needed all the resources of the book to preserve their ancient rights and recent acquisitions.

The book, chiefly in the form of the law codes, also records an important stage in nation-building and one that influenced the constitutions of England, Great Britain, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and many Commonwealth countries.

Wormald explains this more eloquently: there is an at least indirect connection between the fact that England is today the world’s oldest continuously functioning state and that English is its most widely spoken language. Its language and law are the most enduring marks of Englishness, its main claims to anyone else’s attention. The history of both begins with Aethelbert.

The book may thus be considered as evidence of a 12th. Century and 13th. Century European renaissance that some historians consider to have anticipated the better known 15th. Century renaissance. Aside from its liturgical value and the cartulary in Part II, it also serves the dual purpose of preserving the main corpus of pre-Conquest English law codes that would not otherwise have survived intact and as self-conscious evidence of statehood.

Examples of documents included in the Textus Roffensis

The laws of King Ethelbert of Kent c.604
(DRc/R1 f.1 recto - f.3 verso)

Ethelbert was born c.560 and ruled c580 x c590-616.

The first two lines Dis syndon da domas de aethelbirht cyning asette on agustinus daege (these are the dooms [or laws] that King Ethelbert set in Augustine's days) were composed and added at the time of the compilation of the Textus Roffensis 1123 x 1124 and constitute the first example of the scribe’s many rubrications throughout the text. The rubrication acts as a useful heading and is evidence of the scribe’s editorial control over the whole compilation.

The mid-13th. Century footnote Text[us] de ecc[lesi]a Roff[en]si p[er] Ernulfu[m] ep[iscopu]m (The Book of the Church of Rochester through Ernulf, Bishop), attributes the compilation to the orders of Bishop Ernulf of Rochester. This note has lent itself to the document’s name (see above).

The words of the first 5 lines Godes feoh and ciricean xii gylde. Biscopes feoh xi gylde. Preostes feoh ix gylde. Diacones feoh vi gylde. Cleroces feoh iii gylde. Ciric frith ii gylde (The property of God and of the church, twelvefold; a bishop's property, elevenfold; a priest's property, ninefold; a deacon's property, sixfold; a clerk's property, threefold; churchfrith, twofold) are putatively the earliest surviving words of the English language.

The marginal notes were made by William Lambard in 1573 and Sir Edward Dering in 1632.

The Laws of Aethelbert of Kent of c 604 were entered up 1123 x 1124, They are immediately preceded by notes on Old English characters made by Elizabeth Elstob in 1712 and followed by the Laws of Hlothere and Eadric of Kent 673-c685, also entered up 1123 x 1124.

List of the Archbishops of Canterbury
(DRc/R1 f.110 verso)

This list is naturally the first of the lists of bishops of English dioceses contained in the Textus Roffensis, Canterbury having precedence as the primatial see.

The list begins with Augustine (Augustinus), appointed to Canterbury in 597 and extends to Walter (Walterus) in 1314. However, the main scribe’s hand is evident only down to Ralph (Rodulfus) (succeeded 1114) after whose name other hands have added to the list. This possibly helps date the principal compilation of the Textus Roffensis or at any rate Part 2 to 1123 or just before 1123 when William de Corbeil succeeded. This evidence is by no means determinate however as the list of bishops of Rochester in the main hand extends only to Godwin II who died c.950 with the inference that the main scribe used his discretion in including recent or current archbishops and bishops.

List of the Bishops of Rochester
(DRc/R1 f.111 recto)

This list has pride of place among the lists of bishops of the dioceses following the list of archbishops of Canterbury, beginning with Justus in 604 and ending with Hamo of Hythe in 1316. However as with the Canterbury list, the list was compiled by the main scribe only down to Godwin II who died c.1050 after whose name other hands have added to the list.

These two lists have proved crucial in dating the book. Note additional archbishops and bishops' names in later hands.

Grant of land to St. Andrew’s church at Rochester 28 April 604
(DRc/R1 f.119 recto - f.119 verso)

This page marks the beginning of Part II of the Textus Roffensis, the cartulary of Rochester Priory.

The illumination comprises the illuminated letter R of Regnante formed out of an angel and winged dragon coloured green, lake and vermilion and introduces the charter of King Aethelbert (or Ethelbert) of Kent granting land in Rochester to Bishop Justus and the church of St. Andrew. The charter seems to assume the church already exists. It should be noted the church did not become a priory until Archbishop Lanfranc instituted monks of the Benedictine order here in 1083, at which time Bishop Gundulf began his rebuilding and endowment programme. Down to that time, the church had been a college of lay clerks.

The document is dated 28 April by reference to the imperial Julian Calendar and to 604 by reference to the Indiction. Calculation by indiction was first used in imperial documents, though different forms of it were also used in ecclesiastical documents for centuries. The year of the Incarnation is not given in the document, but Bede places the consecration of Bishop Justus and the foundation of the diocese in 604.

The rubrication or heading was added by the main scribe in the 1120s and the marginalia by Sir Edward Dering in 1632.

The charter breaks into Old English to describe the boundaries of land in the south-western corner of the city granted by the king to the church, the area of the Roman fortress and the later medieval castle:

Fram suthgeate west and langes wealles oth north lanan to straete and sra east fram straete oth dodding hyrnan on gean brad geat

(From South Gate in the west and along the walls to North Lane, to the Street, and so east from Street to Doddinghern Lane and then to Broad Gate).

If the boundary clause is indeed very ancient, this document contains the first record of placenames or street names in the English language and the earliest firmly dated record of the English language. The Street is Watling Street i.e. Rochester High Street; Doddinghern [Lane] is now Boley Hill (formerly King’s Head Lane), in Rochester, see Gordon Ward MD FSA's map in Archaeologia Cantiana LXII 1949 p.38.

However, the document is in part at least a later forgery in common with many charters of the Anglo-Saxon period and was devised to give legal basis to rights not otherwise recorded.

The document is immediately preceded by a note of an inquisition made in 1199 concerning the debts of Rochester Priory.

Grant of land to St. Andrew’s church at Rochester 604
(DRc/R1 f.177 recto)

This document, recording the principal gifts to the church from its foundation to the grant made by King Henry I at the consecration of the new cathedral in 1130, is one of the early additions to the book. The date given, 600, is not accepted by historians. Justus was sent to England by Pope Gregory in 601 and ordained bishop of Rochester in 604.

The area of land conveyed by King Ethelbert is described thus: Omnem terram quae est a medu waie usque ad [?] orientalem portum civitatis in australi parte (All the land which is on the southern side from the Mead Way as far as the east gate of the City).

The land in question is thus the land upon which the church was built, see Gordon Ward MD FSA's map in Archaeologia Cantiana LXII 1949 p.38.

It should be noted that the street named as Mead Way on Ward's map is erroneous. The Latin medu waie in the original document is certainly the River Medway, not an earlier name for Northgate, formerly Pump Lane, as suggested by Ward. Thus an earlier translation by R.C. Fowler OBE BA FSA is correct (Victoria County History of Kent, volume ii p. 121 1926)

The entry represents at least the collective memory of the community at Rochester by the mid-twelfth century; if there had ever been a charter to record this early grant, it appears to have been long lost.

Coronation Charter or Institutiones of King Henry I, 1100
(DRc/R1 ff. 96 recto-97 verso)

This is the earliest document of its kind to survive, a promise made by a new king faced by dangerous enemies that he would govern according to good law. Its importance was underlined when Sir William Blackstone published his famed work Commentaries on the Laws of England between 1765 and 1769.

A version of King Henry’s charter was certainly known to the opponents of King John in 1215, and provided a very general precedent for the demands which were met (at least briefly) in Magna Carta of 1215, by which for the first time a king was constrained to acknowledge that he too was bound by the laws which he enforced on his subjects. In Statutes of the Realm published in 1810, Henry’s charter was deemed to outrank Magna Carta in importance.

The Rochester version of the charter, contained in the Textus Roffensis, is the earliest of the numerous surviving copies; the form is broadly that which seems to have been known to the barons in the months before the grant of Magna Carta. John’s opponents seem to have used a version not dissimilar to that in the Textus, but almost certainly one they found in an early-thirteenth-century copy of the Leges Londinienses.

In the charter Henry declared he had been made king by the common consent of the barons; forbade evil customs introduced by William the Conqueror, his father, or William Rufus, his brother; made the church free; abolished abuses of feudal relief, marriage and wardship; upheld allegiance to the king irrespective of traditional feudal lordships; instituted a reform of the coinage; agreed justice would be administered to those who had made or kept bad money; authorised the bequeathing of personal estates by will; agreed men who suffered forfeiture were no longer to be at the king’s mercy; agreed in return for supplying men and horses for the defence of the realm, knights were to be allowed their demesne lands free of tax; agreed peace was to be kept; reinstated the laws of Edward the Confessor as amended by William the Conqueror; and asserted the forests were to remain as they had been under William the Conqueror, with the agreement of the barons.

The document was witnessed by Bishop Gundulf. It is immediately preceded in the book by Bequeathing Form.

Service of Bridgework: list of personages, parishes and manors liable to repair Rochester Bridge, early 11th. century
(DRc/R1 f.166 verso)

This document probably constitutes a description of liabilities for the repair of Rochester Bridge. It is useful as a physical description of the partly English, partly Roman bridge of the period prior to the erection of the later medieval bridge completed in about 1398. However it could also be read as specifications for a proposed new bridge.

The Bridgework list was probably compiled in the first half of the 11th. century. The Textus Roffensis also contains a Latin copy of the original, written by the main scribe at the same time as this transcription in the 1120s (DRc/R1 f.164 verso).

The document was no doubt included in the Textus Roffensis because of the obligations for repair placed on the bishop and his parishes. In this latter regard, historians have used the list as a source for the origins and development of Kent parishes, in conjunction with the slightly later Domesday Book of 1087.

The document begins with the scribe’s rubrication: This is thaere bricce geweorc on hrovecaestre (This is the Bridgework at Rochester) and continues from the original source, the first clause of which states:

Her syndon genamad tha land the man hi of scale weorcan; Aerest thaere burge biscop fehth on thone earm to wercene tha land peran and threo gyrda to pilliane and iii sylla to lycanne, thaet is of Borcstealle and of Cucclestane and of Frinondesbyrig and of Stoce

(Here are named the lands from which the labour is due. First the bishop of the city undertakes to construct the land pier on the [eastern] arm and to plank three rods and to set in place 3 beams, that is from Borstal, Cuxton, Frindsbury and Stoke.)

The document is preceded by an unruled later 12th. Century addition.

List of churches receiving Holy Chrism from St. Andrew’s Church c.1080
(DRc/R1 ff.220 verso – 222 recto)

Holy Chrism was consecrated oil used in the rite of baptism. It was an old custom for the mother church to distribute chrism oil to the subordinate churches of the bishopric at Easter for which a fee of either sixpence or nine pence was charged, known as the Chrism Fee.

The list therefore served as an accounting record of the Chrism fees due from each church.

The list is important as it comprises a list of parishes and chapels nearly contemporary with the Domesday Book of 1087 and may even have been in use pre-Conquest (1066).

Additionally, the list supplies information on chapels and manors and the development of parish areas. For example, in addition to an entry for Frindsbury Church, Strood, Islingham and Thorndun are recorded as chapels of Frindsbury. This indicates that St. Nicholas’ Church Strood was a daughter church of Frindsbury and that the parish of Strood was carved out of Frindsbury.

The list begins with the scribe’s rubrication De numero ecclesiaru[m] Rofensis ep[iscop]at[us] et de redditib[us] q[u]os sing[u]l[a]e reddu[n]t quando accipiu[n]t s[an]ctu[m] crisma a mat[re] eccl[esi]a ep[iscop]at[us] (Concerning the number of churches of the bishopric of Rochester and the payments which they each make when they received the holy chrism from the Episcopal mother church)

The parishes mentioned on the first page include Tonbridge (Tonebrigga), Yalding (Ealdinga), Brenchley (Braencesle), Horsmonden (Horsbundenne), Pembury (Peppingeberia), Wateringbury (Wotringaberia), Cowden (Cudena), Aylesford (Aeilesford), East Malling (Meallingis), Ryarsh (Reiersce), Chatham (Caetham), Cuxton (Cuclestena), Penshurst (Pennes hurst), Ightam (Ehteham) and Lewisham (Leueseham).

synopsis of contents

Part 1 is preceded by various miscellaneous notes added by much later hands.

p.i recto memoranda and notes in early modern hands

p.i verso list of Old English characters

p.ii recto Latin inscription pertaining to book's return to custody following a law suit 1633

p.ii verso palimpsest

p.iii recto transcription by Dr. John Harris of inscription found on the medieval wooden cover of book, as above 1633

p.iii verso a list of Old English characters by Elizabeth Elstob entered up in 1712

Part 1: Quedam instituta de legibus regum Anglorum (Some enactments from the laws of the kings of the English) (DRc/R1 f.58 recto) [translation Flight]

i.e. legal texts, law codes and regnal lists stemming from the kingdoms of the English Heptarchy, England

ff.1 recto- 3 verso: Ethelbert [cf. Aethelbert] king of Kent [commencing Dis syndon da domas de aethelbirht cyning asette on agustinus daege (transliteration Morris/Sawyer) ( these are the dooms [or laws] that King Ethelbert fixed in Augustine's days) (translation Fordham University.)] It should be noted modern scholars (Hough, Richards and Wormald) suggest this heading to be a later rubrication prefaced by the scribe to the text of the original document from which he copied. (For a 35mm colour slide/transparency see collection M51)
ff.3 verso-5 recto: Hlothere [cf. Lother/Lothair] and Eadric [cf. Edric], kings of Kent
ff.5 recto-6 verso: Wihtred [cf. Wightred], king of Kent
f.7 recto-verso: Hadbot [cf. Hadbote/had; compensation for affront or injury to a person in holy orders, see The Oxford English Dictionary edited by J.A.H. Murray [etc.] 1970, Archives library]
ff.7 verso-8 verso: West Saxon (Wessex) regnal table i.e. list of kings of Wessex
ff.9 recto-31 verso: Alfred [cf. Aelfred] (ff.11 recto- 24 verso) and Ine (ff.24 verso-31 verso), kings of Wessex;
ff.31 verso-32 recto: be blaserum (About Arsonists) and Forfang [rescue of stolen money or reward for rescuing stolen money]
f.32 recto-verso: Ordeal (cf. Ordal)
f.32 verso: Walreaf (despoiling the dead) [cf. Wealreaf, Weilreif, Walaraupa, A Treatise of Gavelkind [etc.], William Somner, 1660]
ff.32 verso-37 recto: II King Athelstan [cf. Aethelstan]
ff.37 recto-38 recto: V King Athelstan [cf. Athelstan]
f.38 recto: IV King Athelstan [cf. Aethelstan]
f.38 recto: Pax [i.e. the king’s peace]
ff.38 verso-39 verso: Swerian [i.e. oath forms]
f.38 verso: f.39 verso: Mirca Laga (Of Mercian Law)
ff.40-41: Laws of Edward [cf. Eadward] the Elder, king of England and Guthrum (or Aethelstan/Athelstan), king of the Dane-Law +; after c.901;
ff.41 verso-42 recto: Wergeld the price set upon a man according to his rank, paid by way of compensation or fine in cases of homicide and certain other crimes to free the offender from further obligation or punishment ( The Oxford English Dictionary, q.v. ); ff.42 recto-43 recto: I King Edward
ff.43 recto-44 recto: II King Edward
ff.44 recto-45 recto: I King Edmund
ff.45 recto-46 recto: II King Edmund
ff.46 recto-47 recto: I King Ethelred
f.47 recto-verso: King William I, On Exculpation
ff.48 recto-49 verso: III King Ethelred
ff.49 verso-57 recto: Iudicia Dei I_III i.e. the judgment of God, comprising Exorcismus-aquae (f.49 verso), Exorcismus-ferri (f.53 verso) and Exorcismus-panis (ff.55 verso -56 recto) i.e. the ceremonies of ordeal by red-hot iron, boiling water, immersion in water or by barley bread and cheese
f.57 verso: Canute, king of England, Charter for Christ Church, Canterbury
ff.58 recto-80 recto: Instituta Cnuti, I II III
ff.80 recto-81 verso: III King William I, Ten Articles
ff.81 verso-87 recto: Exceptiones, ex decretis pontificum, quales accusatores
ff.88 recto-93 recto: VI King Athelstan
f.93 verso- 94 recto Northleoda laga (Of the North people's law)
ff.93 verso-94 recto: Wergeld
ff.94 verso-95 recto: On betrothal/wedding
f.95 recto: charm against theft
f.95 recto-verso: Bequeathing form
ff. 96 recto-97 verso: King Henry I; Institutiones henrici regis
ff.98 recto - 100 recto: Excommunication
f.101 recto-verso: West Saxon [i.e. Wessex] genealogy
ff. 102 recto-104 recto: English royal genealogies, Adam to Edward Ironside (f.101 recto), Northumbria (f.102 recto), Mercia (f.102 recto), Kent (f.103 recto), Wessex (f.103 verso)
ff. 105 recto-116 recto: lists of popes, Roman++ emperors f.107 verso), oriental patriarchs [i.e. of Jerusalem [Palestine/Israel] (f.107 verso), Alexandria [Egypt] (f.109 recto) and Antiocha/Antioch [Syria] (f.109 verso)), and of English archbishops and bishops (ff.110 verso-116 recto) (Canterbury f.110v., Rochester f.111r.)
f.116 verso: a list of popes, seven archangels
f.117 recto: concerning pope Celestine
f.118 verso: note of an inquisition made in 1199 concerning debts of Rochester Priory.

Part 2: Incipiunt privilegia aecclesiae sancti andreae hrofensis concessa a tempore ethilberhti regis, qui fide christiana a beato augustino suscepta, eandem ecclesiam construi fecit (Privileges granted to the church of Saint Andrew of Rochester, from the time of king Aethelbert onwards, who, converted to the Christian faith by Saint Augustine, caused this church to be built) (DRc/R1 f.119 recto) [translation Flight]

i.e. cartulary of Rochester Cathedral Priory

Part 2 begins with an illuminated letter R formed out of an angel and winged dragon coloured green, lake and vermilion.

ff.119 recto-222 recto: cartulary, here partly summarised:

[604]
King Aethelberht [cf. Ethelbert] I of Kent to St. Andrew's Priory, Rochester of land in south-western part of the city, f.119. For an image of folio 119 recto, please click here

738
King Eadberht [cf. Edbert, Eadbert] of Kent to St. Andrew's Priory, Rochester ff119-120

762 Actually 747
King Eardwulf of Kent to St. Andrew's Priory, Rochester f123

762 King Sigered of Kent to Bishop Eardwulf of Rochester ff122-123;

764
King Offa of Mercia to Bishop Eardwulf of Rochester ff123-125;

765
King Ecgberht [cf. Egbert] of Kent to Bishop Eardwulf of Rochester confirmed by Heaberht of Kent and Offa of Mercia ff126-127;

761 x 764
Sigered, king of half Kent to Bishop Eardwulf of Rochester; confirmed by Eanmund of Kent ff125-126

778
King Ecgberht [cf. Egbert] of Kent to Bishop Deora of Rochester ff129-130;

779
King Ecgberht [cf. Egbert] II of Kent to bishop Deora f130

781 Actually 860-866
King Aethelberht [cf. Ethelbert] of Wessex to Bishop Deora of Rochester ff130-131

788
King Offa of Mercia to St. Andrew's Priory and Bishopric of Rochester ff131-132;

789
King Offa of Mercia to Bishop Waermund of Rochester ff133-134

789
King Offa of Mercia to Bishop Waermund and church at Rochester ff132-133;

801
King Coenwulf of Mercia and Cuthred of Kent to Swithlun ff135-136

811
King Coenwulf of Mercia to Bishop Beornmod of Rochester ff136-137

823
King Ecgberht [cf. Egbert] of Wessex to St. Andrew's Priory, Rochester ff137-138

838
King Ecgberht [cf. Egbert] of Wessex to Bishop Beornmod of Rochester ff138-139

841
King Aethelwulf [cf. Ethelwulf] of Wessex to Bishop Beornmod of Rochester f139

855
King Aethelwulf [cf. Ethelwulf] of Wessex to his minister Dunn; with Dunn's will ff139-140

860 & 790; actually c.975
King Aethelberht [cf. Ethelbert] of Wessex to Bishop Waermund of Rochester ff134-135
868

King Aethelred [cf. Ethelred] I of Wessex to Cuthwulf, Bishop of Rochester ff140-141

880
King Aethelwulf [cf. Ethelwulf] of Wessex to St. Andrew's Priory and Bishop Swithwulf ff141-142
942x946

King Eadmund [cf. Edmund] I (of Wessex) to Bishop Burhic of Rochester ff143-144

955
King Eadgar [cf. Edgar] of Wessex to St. Andrew's Priory ff150v-152

995 King Aethelred [cf. Ethelred] II to see of Rochester ff152-155

998 King Aethelred [cf. Ethelred] II to see of Rochester ff156-159

1012
King Aethelred [cf. Ethelred] II to Bishop Godwine (cf. Godwin) of Rochester ff159-162

[ff.163-221: here are charters and other documents mainly post-Conquest

including ff164v-167r list of persons and parishes liable for the repair of Rochester Bridge (Old English), an account of a trial on Penenden Heath, ff.168 recto-170 verso (Latin) and a list of churches and chapels in the diocese of Rochester liable to pay Rochester Cathedral a fee for receiving Holy Chrism or consecrated oil at Easter ff.220v-222r (written c.1115 but thought to have been composed c.1089 and possibly in use pre-Conquest); also including charter of King Ethelbert to St. Andrew's Church of land in south-eastern part of city 600 [actually 604] [forged] (f.177 recto)

ff.222 recto-223 verso: list of offices, masses etc. that ought to be said for members of religious houses in confraternity with Rochester

ff.224 recto-229 verso, 230 recto: lists/catalogue/inventory of books in Rochester Cathedral Priory Library [f.228 recto, line 1, mentions the first part (i.e. the laws) of the present Textus Roffensis as above

ff.232 verso-235: assize of ward of King Edward III

a version of the Domesday account of the Rochester fief, ff.209 recto-210 recto;

benefactions, mainly royal, 8th. Century - King William II, ff.215 recto-216 recto;

a list of knights, f.217 recto;

confirmations of privileges by archbishops of Canterbury William [Corbois/Corbyl] and Theobald, ff.203 recto, 204 verso-222 recto;

a judgment by Imar of Tusculum [cf. Frascati, near Rome, Italy] ff.203 verso-204 recto;

copy of a bull of Pope Eugenius III of 1146, ff.206 recto-208 recto.]

The above list has been compiled from Sawyer (Part 1) pp.15-18 and from Liebermann Archaeologia Cantiana volume xxiii (1898) p.112.

[+ cf. Denmark; Northumbria, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Norfolk, Suffolk, Northamptonshire, Huntingdonshire, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Essex]
[++ cf. Rome, Italy]

Notes, general.

The original document (DRc/R1) is not produced. Instead, facsimiles of various kinds are made available, from which any reprographic work is undertaken. The following is a list of facsimile sources or secondary sources relating to the Textus Roffensis. This list is not intended to be exhaustive.

Microfilm MF411 (searchroom duplicate).

Microfilm copy also held by University Microfilms, Annarbor, Michigan, United States of America

The book was digitally photographed in high resolution colour on 2 June 2004 by Ian Booth of Medway City Estate . These images (jpegs) are available here on Cityark- see Imagebase.

Notes, bibliographical

Fordham University website translations of Old English Laws or Dooms click here

Printed book Textus Roffensis facsimile, edited by P. Sawyer 1957, 1962 2 volumes, i.e. Parts I & II, Local Studies collection, Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre ref. qROC283

Printed book Textus Roffensis edited by Thomas Hearne [q.v.], 1720, containing a transcription and translation of the original Anglo-Saxon text (DRc/R1 chapters 81-82) describing and concerning Rochester Bridge (at pp.379-383), Local Studies collection, Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre ref. ROC283Y

Printed book entitled An Historical Account of that Venerable Monument of Antiquity the Textus Roffensis; including Memoirs of the Learned Saxonists Mr. William Elstub and his sister [Elizabeth] by Samuel Pegge MA 1784 ref. qROC091 Pegge

Printed booklet entitled Rochester Cathedral Library: its Fortunes and Adventures through Nine Centuries W.H. Mackean, canon and librarian, 1953

The Local Studies Unit, Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre has a set of glass plate negatives (formerly held at the Guildhall Museum) comprising a partial copy of the Textus Roffensis, ref. Box 1B negatives 3097-3105 and Box 1D negatives 3110-3144

Printed book Textus Roffensis and Customale Roffensis by H. Pratt Boorman, Kent Life March 1974, Local Studies collection, Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre

Printed booklet entitled The First Code of English Law (originally a lecture given at Canterbury Cathedral Archives under the title King Aethelberht of the Kent-people and the First English Code of Law) by Dr. Patrick Wormald, published by the Canterbury Commemoration Society, 2005, Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre

Article entitled The Textus Roffensis in Chancery AD1633 contained in Archaeologia Cantiana XXX 1914 pp.225-232 by A.A. Arnold, 1913 Local Studies collection Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre

Printed book The Laws of the Earliest English Kings F.L. Attenborough, 1922

Printed book The Making of English Law: King Alfred to the Twelfth Century - Volume I Legislation and its Limits Patrick Wormald 2001

Printed book The Beginnings of English Law L. Oliver, 2002

Printed article The List of Saxon Churches in the Textus Roffensis by G. Ward MD FSA Archaeologia Cantiana volume XLIV pp.39-59 1932

Printed book The History of Kent by J. Harris (q.v.) 1719: containing also a transcription and translation from the Anglo-Saxon text describing and concerning Rochester Bridge (at pp.260-261), Local Studies collection, Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre, ref. Y942HAR

Printed book A perambulation of Kent [etc.] by William Lambarde, first published 1576; reprinted 1826. Also containing a transcription and translation of the Anglo-Saxon text describing and concerning Rochester Bridge, (at pp. 347-352). Local Studies collection, Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre, ref. Y942LAM;

Printed book Diocesan Histories: Rochester by Rev. A.I. Pearman MA 1897 (ROC283)

Printed book The Bishops and Monks of Rochester 1076-1214 by Colin Flight, no. vi in monograph series, Kent Archaeological Society, 1997, copy in local studies collections at this centre, ref. ROC283FLI. This book, chapter 2, pp.17 et seq. includes information on the title of the document and a description of the document's composition.

The Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England click here

Off-print of article entitled Palaeographical evidence for the compilation of Textus Roffensis by Dr. Carole A. Hough of the Department of English Language, Glasgow University, published in Scriptorium: international revue of manuscript studies Tome LV 2001,1 Archives Library OA/LIB/358

File updated by Borough Archivist, Medway Council 28 January 2008. Updated Nov 2014 by Archivist, Medway Council.


Date: 12th.-14th. centuries
Quantity: 1 volume 9 1/2" x 7" x 2 1/4" (240mm x 175mm x 55mm)
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