Inspeximus of a charter of King Æthelred the Unready from Henry III, England, 13th Century

This is the finest and earliest manuscript of Æthelred the Unready’s grant of privileges and lands once owned by his mother Queen Ælfthryth, to Abbess Heanflæd and Wherwell Abbey. The original grant was made in 1002, and at its base a note was appended in 1008 confirming in Anglo-Saxon a further unit of land (29 messuages) in the town of Winchester: “wintaceastre”. The prefactory text here records that the original charter had become damaged and unreadable by 1259, and thus this copy was made and reissued by King Henry III (1207-72). It contains the most accurate text of any surviving manuscript of the charter and was evidently the exemplar of the fourteenth-century Wherwell Cartulary.

The inspeximus is written in Latin and Anglo-Saxon on vellum for Abbess Heanflæd and Wherwell Abbey, Hampshire and it’s from Westminster, dated 26 October 1259 with the original silk tags stitched through (once red, now faded), holding a substantial remnant of the great seal of Henry III in green wax.