England, Flordon, Norfolk, ca. 1175 CE. This is a fantastically well-preserved vellum charter from the late 12th century, handwritten in Latin. Attached to the bottom by another strip of vellum is a dark green wax seal. The translation is below; the seal depicts an ear of wheat, and the legend in Roman capitals "SIGILL WILELM FIL ROBERTI"'; this seems to be the seal of the grantee's father, William de Florend. Flordon, Norfolk, is in the Fens, the marshy region near Norwich. The word charter, from Latin charta, came to mean by this time period any single-sheet legal document, including royal grants (like the Magna Carta) or agreements between individuals. The movement of land between owners is a very common subject of medieval charters. This would look beautiful displayed in a frame. Size of page (without seal): 7.25" W x 3.5" H (18.4 cm x 8.9 cm).
In translation: William de Bukeham grants to Robert son of William de Florend and his heirs for the homage and services due three perches of land [one perch is 16.5 feet or 5 m] called Langeheg [a piece of land whose name is no longer used but that can be found in other charters - see below] and abutting upon the lands of John de Upgate and upon Chemin(?) Regale, paying annually three half pennies' at the Nativity of St John the Baptist one halfpenny exaction save foreign service of the Lord King; namely for twenty shillings scutage [money paid by a vassal to his lord in lieu of military service] for the Lord King and confirming the Charter to Robert for a fine of three shillings and three pence. Witnessed by: Paul de Wro, John de Wro, Robert Picot, Hamot son of Richard, Walter de Carlet, Symone Franc, William son of John, Richard son of Baldwin, Walter son of Alueric, Geoffrey de Mor, William de Snape, John de Mor, and others.
For further information on Langeheg and other charters, see: 'Deeds: A.2101 - A.2200', in A Descriptive Catalogue of Ancient Deeds: Volume 2, ed. H C Maxwell Lyte (London, 1894), pp. 38-50. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/ancient-deeds/vol2/pp38-50 [accessed 28 March 2016].
Provenance: ex-Bastiaan collection, acquired at Artemis Gallery in 2004
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