Writ-charter notifying the shires of England that the king has commanded shires and hundreds to meet only where and when they used to meet in King Edward’s time. May × July 1108

Digital edition

Edited by Richard Sharpe

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by Richard Sharpe

Date: After Richard de Belmeis was nominated bishop of London, 24 May 1108; before the death of Urse d’Abetot, 1108. The king left England for Normandy in July 1108. Farrer was unaware of the evidence from the Winchcombe annals for Urse’s death and so allowed a longer period, May 1108 × August 1111, when the king left England for the last time before Bishop Samson’s death; the editors of Regesta were the first to date the act correctly. Liebermann’s mistaken dating, May 1109 × August 1111, when the king was in England, was constrained by his disallowing the period before Bishop Richard’s consecration in July 1108; it was followed by Davis in his edition of Select Charters, and by Douglas in English Historical Documents.

Address: Shire court of Worcestershire. This is one of a group of acts sent out to all shires for which the Worcestershire text was copied in the Red Book.

Witness: Richard de Belmeis, bishop of London; Roger, bishop of Salisbury; Ranulf, as chancellor; Robert, count of Meulan.

Place: Reading, Berks, a large royal manor.

Context: The act can be quite narrowly dated. In Quadripartitus, it follows a copy of the canons of the council convened by Archbishop Anselm during the king’s Whitsun court at Westminster in 1108 (Councils and Synods, i. 694–9, where manuscripts TGK and BcBt represent this branch of the transmission). These two documents were the only additions made to Quadripartitus at this date. The king may have stopped at Reading on his way from London after Whitsun.