One of these is a grant of a manor in Doflisc (i.e., Dawlish) from Edward to Leofric, then his chaplain only, in 1044 (six years before); it is signed "Eadsinus Xti eccl. Archi prsesul." (This has been photographed by the Albert Museum, Exeter.) But (3) says Dr. Hickes, "Archbishop Eadsinus is only so called by later, i.e., Norman writers, who could not pronounce his real name, Eadinge." Ans. In this respect, too, Edward's Norman scribes anticipated the results of the Conquest; writing "Eadsinus" in five genuine charters dating from 1044 - 1058 (including the one just referred to), "Eadsi" (evading the consonant) in five, and "Eadsige" in one only. (See Kemble, 709-796). But (4) "There is no day of the month given, the forger fearing detection; no cross nor mention of cross or seal." Ans. Neither is there in the great body of charters I have referred to any date of day, or any such mention. A cross there is prefixed to this, and to Leofric's grant of 1044. (5) "History makes no mention of any such great gathering at Exeter." Ans. The event was of local interest, however important for Exeter. And early history omits many such things, for which charters, etc. are the sole evidence. Thus, e.g., no historian says anything of the line taken by William the Conqueror towards the ecclesiastical authorities, after his capture of Exeter in 1068.
But an existing charter in the Chapter Archives (photographed by the Albert Museum), shows that he then gave Leofric permission to bestow on the Cathedral seven manors in Bampton, Dawlish, and elsewhere. He calls himself in it "Wilhelm, the victorious Basileus of the English," and Leofric "his faithful Bishop." It bears his dot, and that of his Queen Matilda, of Archbishop Stigand, of Odo, Bishop of Bayeux (who fought mace in hand at Hastings), and of Leofric himself. But (6) Dr. Hickes objects that, in our charter, the Epact (i.e., the age of the moon on Dec. 31st) for the year 1050, is wrongly given as xxv, instead of vi. Now even such an error as this might conceivably have proceeded from the ignorance or neglect of the scribe. But the truth is, as it should seem, that the charter is right, and Dr. Hickes wrong. The "Golden Number" for a.d. 1050 (i.e., the number of the "Metonic cycle," or of the recurrence of eclipses), is (Ducange s.v. Annus) vi, and when that is the case, the Epact, as anyone may see in the Prayer Book, is xxv, as the charter says. Dr. Hickes seems to have looked at the next year (1051), in his tables, when the Epact is vi.
Thus every objection alleged against our Charter is fully refuted. Aid its genuineness is confirmed, on the other hand, by the early character of the Saocon endorsement on the back of it. The Rev. Prebendary Earle, late Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford, and one of the first authorities in the kingdom on such a point, inspected the document at the late visit of the Archaeological Institute, and has kindly sent me the following opinion of the endorsement: -
"I consider the general aspect of the writing to be that of the latter years of the Confessor's reign, and I think it unlikely that it could have been written (at latest) much after the Conquest. The technical feature is the substitution of the continental/for the Saxon s. In this endorsement they are pretty equally distributed. I have before my eyes a fac simile of a small Saxon charter by William, which, from its contents, would most likely have been rather early in his time, and it has, but one instance of the Saxon s left standing, though the number of words in the document is nearly double of that in your endorsement"
I add to this, that in the charter itself, the same equal distribution of the two forms of s obtains - characteristic of Edward's reign. Of the Saxon subscriptions, ten end in the small s (others are in capitals); and of these five are Saxon and five Continental The Latin in the body of the document has the long s throughout, the work, no doubt, of a foreign scribe. The contents of the endorsement, as rendered by Prebendary Earle, are as follows: -
"This is the Charter (lit Liberty) to the bishopric in Devonshire and in Wales (or, among the Wealas, i.e., West Wealas) which Edweard King decreed (vet gesette, or established) with the counsel of his witan, for his soul's redemption, into the Bishop-stool (See) at Exeter to Leofric Bishop, and his successors in perpetual inheritance."
I will only add that it were to be wished that the very early Norman tomb in the Lady Chapel, discovered some years since behind the shelves of the then Library, and ascribed by Britton and others to Bartholomew or Osbern, could be proved to be (as good antiquarians have thought) as certainly Leofric's as the Charter is.