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Celtic Ipolitp.


The earlier condition of society, when land was rather the property of the tribe or community than of individuals, did not admit of grants either symbolical or written. But when this state of things had passed away, and individual rights in land came to be recognised, these were not constituted by writings, but by a verbal gift, with the use of some appropriate symbol of investiture, as shadowed out in a statement of the so-called Chronicle of the Abbey of Croyland, by Ingulf—" Conferebantur etiam primo multa praedia nudo verbo absque scripto vel charta, tantum cum domini gladio, vel galea, vel cornu, vel cratera; et plurima tenementa cum calcari, cum strigili, cum arcu, et nonnulla cum sagitta;"1 and many such articles, delivered at the time when grants were made, are yet to be found in repositories of early muniments.

1 Hist . Croyland, p. 70. However little (Arch. Journal, vol . xix. pp. 32,114), the

weight we may now attach to the authen- extract in the text correctly expresses the

ticity of Ingulfs charters and chronicle, in early conditions of investiture, and has been

the light of Mr. Riley's masterly exposure adopted by Ducange, Gloss, voce Inrntitura. 1 Of this character apparently was the tute gladii parvi quem Culenus rex olim

A knife was a common symbol, and occasionally the act of delivery was accompanied by the opening and shutting of the blade, after which it was laid on the altar.1

In the life of St. Grellan, a contemporary of St. Patrick, we find a gift of land to the saint by the King of Connaught noticed, and the delivery of a branch in token of possession.2

When Hungus, the Pictish king, bestowed on the church of St. Andrew a territory freed from secular services, the grant was accompanied by the "altar sod," "In memoriale datae libertatis Rex Hungus cespitem arreptum coram nobilibus Pictis hominibus suis usque ad altare Sancti Andreae detulit et super illud cespitem eundem obtulit."8

The conformity of ceremonial which accompanied the Pictish grant, with that of other countries at the time, does not end here; for the procession by which the ground of Chilrymont, at St. Andrews, was solemnly set apart for purposes of religion is exactly analogous to that used in a like case by the congenerous people of Wales. Seven times, as we learn from the Register of St. Andrews (quoting from the ancient Chronicles of the Picta), did the solemn procession wind round the land thus bestowed—St. Regulus the missionary bearing on hia head the relics of St. Andrew, followed by the king on foot, with the nobles of his country; and thus “locum ipsum Deo commendarunt et pace regia munierunt.” When King Iddon, son of Ynyr Gwent, granted to the church of Llandaff his town and territory of Llann Garth, “Rex circumiens totum territorium, et portans evangelium in dorso, cum clericis ferentibus cruces in manibus, et aspersa aqua benedicta simul cum pulvere pavimenti ecclesiae et sepulchri, in omnibus finibus perambulavit per totum.” Other examples occur in the Register of Llandaff, in one of which the king, carrying the Gospels on his back, went round the territory in presence of the bishop and his clergy, thereby “confirmans eleemosinam factam pro anima patris sui Mourici in perpetuo.” The first approach to written evidence of grants is to be found in short memoranda or notitia, in which the gift is described, and the names of the witnesses before whom it took place are specified." These notitiae are of frequent occurrence in the chartularies of religious houses on the continent, and are described by Mabillon in his dissertation “de origine atque usu veterum notitiarum” as “notitiae privatae.” The earliest specimens of such memoranda among ourselves, hitherto known, occur in the Chartulary of St. Andrews.1 They appear to have been engrossed in that register in the twelfth century, but profess to have been extracted at that time from an ancient volume, "antiquo Scotorum idiomate conscripto." These record the foundation, in the island of Lochleven, by Brude, the Pictish king, of a monastery for St. Serf and the Culdee hermits abiding there, and describe gifts of various lands and franchises subsequently conferred on the house by Macbeth and other Kings of Scotland.

sword by which the lands of Lany, in symbolice dedit Gillespie Moir predecessori

Menteith, were held. It is thus referred sue pro dicto singulari servitio.—(Archae

to in a charter of Alexander II., to Alan ologia, voL xi. p. 45.) de Lany and his wife, declaring that 2 The Tribes and Customs of Hy-Many,

the lands were to be held "adeo libere by O'Donovan, p. 9.—(Irish Arch. Soc.) et quiete sicut ipsa Margareta tenuit seu 'Chronicles of the Picts and Scots, p.

possedit ante hanc resignationem, vir- 187.

* Chronicles of the Picts and Scots, p. 186.

° Liber Landavensis, p. 114, printed for the Welsh MSS. Society, 1840.

* Idem, pp. 152, 157, 358.

* Unless we should regard as a still earlier step the descriptive titles attached to the symbols of investiture. To these Mabillon refers, quoting Sirmundus— “Quin etiam extant hodieque in Sancti

Albini coenobio, et in aliis plerisque veteris moris monumenta; baculi, inquam, et chirothecae, et alia investiturarum traditionumque quas signarant titulis inscripta.”—(De Re Diplomatica, lib. iii. cap. 4, edition 1681. Ducange, voce Investitura)

* Acta SS. ord. Benedict. Saec. iv. pars prima, p. 714; and De Re Diplomatica, lib. iii. cap. 4. See also Ducange, Glossar. voce Motitia.

They are destitute of the formality of charters, and are rather notes, in which are recorded, by the receivers of the grants, the names of the donors, and of the witnesses who were present at the time when delivery was given.

Verbal grants were of frequent occurrence among the Celtic people of Brittany; and in the Chartulary of the monastery of St. Salvator of Bedon they are recorded under the name of " Notitia,"3 in the same style as the memoranda of the Begister of St. Andrews.

Of this nature are many of the grants in the Book of Llandaff, already quoted, describing the subject of the gift, with its boundaries, and the names of those who witnessed the grant.

The Irish entries in the Book of Kells, which record various grants of lands and privileges to the ecclesiastics of Kells, dating

1 Regiatr. Priorat. S. Andree, p. 113. year 1036, where a disputed point about

* Cartulaire de L'Abbaye de Bedon en certain lands was settled, sets forth that

Bretagne, pp. 290, 303, 331, 369. In after the Court, the gainer of the plea, with

these early times we have instances of the consent of all the folk, rode to St.

such memoranda being entered in the Ethelbert's monastery, and caused the

register of a religious house, not to estab- judgment to be set in Christ's Book

lish the rights of the monastery, but (the Gospels).—(Thorpe's Diplomatar. Ang

to preserve the evidence of a private title, liae, iEvi Saxonici, p. 338. London,

Thus the record of a shire-moot, in the 1865.)

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