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BOOK largest in Europe, as the Seine, the Elbe, the Rhine, and the
Danube, were so frozen, that, for above thirty days, waggons passed over them as if over bridges.36
823. The harvests devastated by hail. A terrible pestilence among men and cattle.
824. A dreadful and long winter. Not only animals, but many of the human species, perished by the intenseness of the cold.3
832. This year began with excessive rains. A frost succeeded so sudden and intense, that the iced roads were nearly impassable by horses."
834. Great storms and excessive falls of rain.
874. A swarm of locusts laid waste the provinces of France. A famine so dreadful followed, that, in the hyperbolical language of the writers, nearly a third part of the population perished.
875. A long and inclement winter, succeeded with unusual falls of snow. The frost lasted from the first of November to the end of March.43
913. A severe winter.
976. A severe famine in England. A frost from Ist November to end of March.
986. A great mortality amongst cattle in England.4s
38 Adelmi Benedict. p.422. Ann. Astron. 42 Asser, p. 20.
Aimoini de gestis Fran.p. 489. Sigeb. 37 Adel. B. 425. Sigeb. Gemb. 561. Gembl. 569.
38 Ann. Fuld. 6. Bouquet's Recueil, p. 208. 44 Regino Chron. p. 568. 74. 79. Annales apud Ruberi, p. 49.
45 Sax. Chron. 123, 125. Sim. Dun. 160. 39 Annales Ruberi, 56. Adel. Bened. 463. Sig. Gemb. 587. 40 Annales Ruberi, 58.
46 Flor. Wig. and Sim. Dun, 161, 4. Sigeb. Gembl. apud Pistorium, p. 565.
unfruitful. Great drought and famine; much snow and rain; CHAP. and no sowing. *?
1005. A great and dreadful famine in England.
1041. Inclement seasons all the year, and unproductive; and great mortality amongst the cattle.So
1043-4. A dreadful famine in England and the continent. A sester of wheat sold for above sixty pennies.sk
1047: An uncommon fall of snow. Trees broken by it.52
1048. Earthquake at Worcester, Derby, and other places; and a great mortality.”
Of the Anglo-Saxon husbandry we may remark, that Domesday Survey gives us some indications that the cultivation of the church lands was much superior to that of any other order of society. They have much less wood upon them, and less common of pasture; and what they had appears often in smaller and more irregular pieces ; while their meadow was more abundant, and in more numerous distributions.
47 Lamb. Schaff p. 158. Sigeb. Gembl.589. sextarius of wheat sold for five shillings, 48 Sim Dun. 165. Sig. Gembl. 591. p. 129. Henry of Huntingdon says the 49 Sax. Chron. 146. Lamb. Schatt. 158. same, adding, that a sextarius of wheat used
Sig. Gembl. 593. Sim. Dun. 180. to be the burthen of one horse, p. 365. so Sax. Chron. 157. Sig. Genibl. 596. 52 Sim. Dun. 180. Sig. Gembl. 597. The MS. Claud. C. 9. mentions that the 53 Sax, Chron. 133.
Their Proprietorship in Land and Tenures.
BOOK WHEN the Anglo-Saxons established themselves in Bri
tain, a complete revolution in the possession of landed property must have taken place, so far as it concerned the persons of the proprietors. They succeeded by the sword. All the chieftains of the octarchy had many years of warfare to wage, before they could extort, the occupation of the country. In such fierce assaults, and such desperate resistance, the largest part of the proprietary body of the Britons must have perished.
What system of tenures the Anglo-Saxon conquerors established, will be best known from the language of their grants. Some antiquaries have promulged very inaccurate ideas on this subject; and we can only hope to escape error, by consulting the documents, and studying the legal phrases, of the Anglo-Saxon period.
We find the land distinguished in their laws by various epithets. We there meet with boc lande, gafole land, folc land, bisceopa land, thegne's land, neat land, and frigan earthe.* The proprietors of land are called dryhtne, hlaforde, agende or land blaforde, and land agende.ss The occupiers of land were named ceorl, geneat, landesman, tunesman, and such like.
From Domesday-book, we find, that of some lands, the king was the chief proprietor; of others, the bishops and abbots; of others, several earls and persons of inferior dignity. A few specimens may be given. Thus in Sussex The king had
59; hides. Archbishop of Canterbury, 214 ** Wilkins, Leges Sax. p. 43. 184.108.40.206. ss Ibid. p. 2. 10. 11. 15. 21. 8. 58, 63.
56 Ibid. p. 18. 47. 101. 105.
Bishop of Chichester,
7 135 149 33 605
21 196 520
6207 458 10
These were the tenentes in capite, the great proprietors in demesne. The men who resided on the land, and in the burgs under these in this county, may be seen in Domesday-book. In other counties, we find the same description of persons possessing land, with the addition of others. Thus the great proprietors in Hertfordshire were the king, the archbishop of Canterbury, five bishops, three abbots, an abbess, two canons, four earls or comites, twenty-four less dignified individuals, and three ladies. Two of these ladies are described as wives. Thus: “ Rothais, wife of Richard, son of earl Gislebert, holds Standor, and defends herself for eleven hides ; Adeliz, wife of Hugo of Grentmaisnil, holds Brochesborne, and defends herself for five hides and a half.” The other was the daughter of Radulf Tailgebosch, and held four hides in Hoderdon.
In Buckinghamshire the chief proprietors were, the king, the archbishop, five bishops, two abbots, an abbess, a canon, a presbyter, two earls, thirty-eight other individuals ; the queen, countess Judith Azelina, wife of Radulf Tailgebosch, the king, thane, and eleemosiners.
But subordinate tenures are also mentioned in this valuable record. Thus the abhess of Berching held Tiburn (Tyburn) Vol. II.
BOOK under the king, and the canons of St. Paul held of the king
five hides in Fulham. Many tenures of this sort appear. 57
To several tenures, it is added, that the possessors could not give or sell the land without leave.s
Other tenants are mentioned, who could turn themselves, with their land, wherever they pleased.59
Land held in elemosinam, or frankalmoigne, also appears."
Of other tenants it is said, that they held certain manors, but rendered no service to the abbot, except thirty shillings a year.“
Sochmanni, and the terra sochmannorum, are mentioned : of two of them it is expressed, that they could sell without leave; while another is declared unable to give or sell without his lord's leave. Two other sochinanni are called Men of the bishop of London.
One of the sochmen, who could do what he chose with the land, was a canon of St. Paul's.
Of the tenures which appear from the Anglo-Saxon grants, the first that may be noticed is that of pure freehold of inheritance, unconnected with any limitation or service. Thus, in a conveyance made between 691 and 694, the kinsman of the king of Essex gives some land, amounting to 40 manentium. The conveying words are, “ I Hodilredus, the kinsman “ of Sebbi, in the province of the East Saxons, with his con" sent, of my own will, in sound mind, and by just advice, “ for ever deliver to thee, and, from my right, transcribe into “ thine, the land, &c., with all things belonging to it, with " the fields, wood, meadows, and marsh, that, as well thou
as thy posterity, may hold, possess, and have free power to do with the land whatsoever thou wilt.
In another, dated in 704, from a king to a bishop, of 30 cassatorum, at Tincenhom, in Middlesex, the words are,
* Domesday-book, fo. 12.
63 MS. Augustus, 2. 26. printed in Smith's Appendix, to Bede, p. 748,