The coronation oath records the three-fold promise made at their coronations by Anglo-Saxon kings in the tenth and eleventh centuries. The text refers to a king consecrated at Kingston by Dunstan, archbishop of Canterbury (959-988), which would indicate that it was composed for either Edward the Martyr (r. 975-978) or Æthelred II (r. 978-1016). The vernacular coronation oath now survives in a single manuscript that was produced at Exeter between 1050 and 1072 under the guidance of Bishop Leofric.

Digital edition

Edited by Clayton Mary

Manuscripts

Other versions of this law

Introduction

by Clayton Mary

The coronation oath, or promissio regis is an Old English text composed of a translation of the three-fold promise made at their coronations by Anglo-Saxon kings in the tenth and eleventh centuries, followed by two paragraphs on the duties of kingship, addressed to king and people. According to the text itself, it is copied letter by letter from the document which Dunstan, archbishop of Canterbury from 959 to 988, gave to the king, 'urum hlaforde', when he was consecrated king at Kingston. From this, we can deduce that the text was addressed to an Anglo-Saxon king who had been consecrated by Dunstan and who was still alive at the time of writing.