Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




My dissertation is a study of the charters of the Worcester diocese from its foundation in approximately 680 to the tenth century. Bishops of Worcester, men is control of one of the wealthiest sees in Anglo-Saxon England, used charters to acquire land, obtain rights and privileges for their existing estates, and manage trade within limits imposed by the king. Rights associated with bookland, land held by charter, gave bishops and their agents the ability to direct settlement and field systems in order to maximize estate productivity and encourage trade through a system of urban and rural marketing of timber, salt, surplus foodstuffs, and other commodities. To isolate these processes, I study two aspects of charters from the Worcester archive. First, charters are responses to major political developments such as Viking invasions or the transition from Hwiccian to Mercian to West Saxon rule. Second, charters are legal instruments used to exert control over local land use and market conditions. Charters read from these perspectives enrich scholarship in a number of fields including political history, geography, archaeology, and textual studies. Charters written, copied, and archived by the religious community of Worcester linked all levels of Anglo-Saxons from the bishops and kings mentioned by name in the documents to the ordinary clerics, monks, and layfolk who managed and worked the land in ways that enrich our understanding of their daily lives.

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Creative Commons License
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