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The Early History of Glastonbury Abbey: A Hypothesis Regarding the 'British Charter'


Grimmer, MR, The Early History of Glastonbury Abbey: A Hypothesis Regarding the 'British Charter', Parergon, 20, (2) pp. 1-20. ISSN 0313-6221 (2003) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1353/pgn.2003.0069


The so-called 'British charter' of Glastonbury Abbey in Somerset, contained in William of Malmesbury's De antiquitate Glastonie ecclesie of c. 1129, records a grant made in AD 601 by an unnamed king of British Dumnonia of land at 'Ineswitrin'. As William regarded this to be the British Celtic name for Glastonbury, the charter has been used to proclaim a pre-Saxon foundation for the Abbey. When the characteristics of the charter are considered, in particular the use of a scribal attestation, it appears however that it is West Saxon in form and should be dated to the later seventh century when Somerset was within West Saxon control. The charter cannot therefore substantiate the Abbey's existence before this time, though it does imply some level of cooperation between the West Saxon Church and the kingdom of Dumnonia.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:History, Heritage and Archaeology
Research Group:Historical studies
Research Field:British history
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Understanding past societies
Objective Field:Understanding past societies not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Grimmer, MR (Professor Martin Grimmer)
ID Code:28051
Year Published:2003
Deposited By:History and Classics
Deposited On:2003-08-01
Last Modified:2007-11-26

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