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Ancient documents should be preserved at all costs. Back in the 600s up through the turn of the first century, documents that were highly religious in nature were used as business instruments indicating land ownership, land possession, land use requirements. During these times, correspondence was took on a multifaceted nature. Not only was it business oriented it was spiritually oriented.

What Are Anglo-Saxon Charters And Who Were They For?

When looking at Anglo-Saxon history, there are a number of different directions you can go in. One of the most interesting, and yet one of the most overlooked, aspects of Anglo-Saxon history involves Anglo-Saxon charters.


The history of these charters is quite fascinating. However, if you are new to Anglo-Saxon history, or if you’re simply unfamiliar with this particular aspect of Anglo-Saxon history, it is well worth starting out with a definition of Anglo-Saxon charters. From there, you can also learn who these charters were designed to benefit.


Anglo-Saxon Charters Information

Simply put, an Anglo-Saxon charter was designed to provide certain individuals with certain privileges and rights, although this was not the only example of when a charter would be drawn up and put into action. Charters were primarily utilized in the early medieval period in England, and they often dealt with matters pertaining to land or a declaration of rights.


There were several different forms of charters, the earliest of which dates back to the 670s, with the largest assortment of surviving Anglo-Saxon charters being diplomas. These were royal documents that dealt in granting someone or a specific body a certain series of rights and privileges. As mentioned before, these rights and privileges usually involved land to some degree. A great deal of the language that was utilized in diplomas evoked God and religious imagery. It was not uncommon for a diploma to firmly establish itself in the Christian mentality that dominated social and political matters in this time period.


However, diplomas were not the only type of charter in existence. Writs had certain similarities to diplomas, but they were also quite different in a number of ways. A writ was generally an instruction that extended from the king to one or more subjects. The writ would begin with a greeting, and it did not require witnesses to be considered authentic.


Finally, there were wills. These were rarer than both diplomas and writs, but they were nonetheless extremely significant. Although you wouldn’t consider a will to be the same as the type of will that someone draws up in modern times, they were considered to be a form of one individual granting a gift of property to another, in the event of the first individual’s death. As mentioned before, this type of Anglo-Saxon charter is considered to be highly rare.


Charters were obviously essential for a variety of reasons in their time. They offer fantastic intrigue and compelling study.