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Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper

Thursday 29th November 2018: 1:00pm GMT

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Lot 1

William I [known as William the Lion], King of Scots, c. 1142-1214) Charter grant by William I to his clerk Helyas de Munros (i.e., Elias of Montrose) of rights of passage and the land of Alan close by, which Richard de Banet [had] held of the King; granted to Elias and his heirs, for an annual rent of two marks of silver, manuscript charter in Latin, between 1172 and 1177.

 

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William I [known as William the Lion], King of Scots, c. 1142-1214) Charter grant by William I to his clerk Helyas de Munros (i.e., Elias of Montrose) of rights of passage and the land of Alan close by, which Richard de Banet [had] held of the King; granted to Elias and his heirs, for an annual rent of two marks of silver (payable in halves, at Pentecost and Martinmas). Witnessed by Matthew, bishop of Aberdeen [1172-99], Andrew, bishop of Caithness [d. 1184], Walter de Bidun, Chancellor [Chancellor from 1171; d. as bishop elect of Dunkeld 1178], Richard de Morevill, Constable [d. 1189 or 1190], Walter FitzAlan [steward of William I and founder of the Stewart line; d. 1177], William de Veteri Ponte [or Vieuxpont], Walter Olif[ard the Elder, royal justice], and five others, manuscript charter in Latin, written in a fine early gothic documentary cursive hand with elaborately flourished ascenders and descenders, on vellum, in black ink, 14 lines, lacks seal, torn at tail where seal tag was originally appended not affecting text, early and 17th century (1656) ink dockets on verso, 176 x 140mm, between 1172 and 1177.

Unpublished and hitherto unrecorded original charter. Not mentioned in the standard scholarly edition of The Acts of William I, King of Scots 1165-1214, ed. G.W.S. Barrow and W.W. Scott (Edinburgh, 1971).

The grantee, Elias of Montrose, is almost unknown today, but he was doubtless a man of substance as well as influence: the remarkable set of witnesses is one sign of his status. The late G.W.S. Barrow wrote of the royal clerks in the twelfth century that it was "they more than the moneyers or seal-makers, very much more than the chroniclers, who ensured that the rulers of Scotland were kings of Scots", and that "It is clear that much discretion was given to them by the country's potentates, that they bore a good deal of responsibility for the way in which royal authority was communicated and for the language which formed the continuous framework of governmental and legal tradition" [G.W.S. Barrow, Scotland and its Neighbours (London, 1992), p. 101.

The charter is undated, but is datable to between 1172 and 1177 and thus to quite early in William's reign. It is also known that Elias of Montrose had died by 1187 at latest, and perhaps by 1178 [Barrow, Acts of William I, pp. 270-1, no. 228]. Barrow ascertained that there were eight professional scribes in William's service, although only six were identifiable as named individuals (and three of these became bishops). Elias may be identifiable as a seventh; and it is possible that he died too early in his life to gain promotion to high ecclesiastical office.

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Full Lot Details

William I [known as William the Lion], King of Scots, c. 1142-1214) Charter grant by William I to his clerk Helyas de Munros (i.e., Elias of Montrose) of rights of passage and the land of Alan close by, which Richard de Banet [had] held of the King; granted to Elias and his heirs, for an annual rent of two marks of silver (payable in halves, at Pentecost and Martinmas). Witnessed by Matthew, bishop of Aberdeen [1172-99], Andrew, bishop of Caithness [d. 1184], Walter de Bidun, Chancellor [Chancellor from 1171; d. as bishop elect of Dunkeld 1178], Richard de Morevill, Constable [d. 1189 or 1190], Walter FitzAlan [steward of William I and founder of the Stewart line; d. 1177], William de Veteri Ponte [or Vieuxpont], Walter Olif[ard the Elder, royal justice], and five others, manuscript charter in Latin, written in a fine early gothic documentary cursive hand with elaborately flourished ascenders and descenders, on vellum, in black ink, 14 lines, lacks seal, torn at tail where seal tag was originally appended not affecting text, early and 17th century (1656) ink dockets on verso, 176 x 140mm, between 1172 and 1177.

Unpublished and hitherto unrecorded original charter. Not mentioned in the standard scholarly edition of The Acts of William I, King of Scots 1165-1214, ed. G.W.S. Barrow and W.W. Scott (Edinburgh, 1971).

The grantee, Elias of Montrose, is almost unknown today, but he was doubtless a man of substance as well as influence: the remarkable set of witnesses is one sign of his status. The late G.W.S. Barrow wrote of the royal clerks in the twelfth century that it was "they more than the moneyers or seal-makers, very much more than the chroniclers, who ensured that the rulers of Scotland were kings of Scots", and that "It is clear that much discretion was given to them by the country's potentates, that they bore a good deal of responsibility for the way in which royal authority was communicated and for the language which formed the continuous framework of governmental and legal tradition" [G.W.S. Barrow, Scotland and its Neighbours (London, 1992), p. 101.

The charter is undated, but is datable to between 1172 and 1177 and thus to quite early in William's reign. It is also known that Elias of Montrose had died by 1187 at latest, and perhaps by 1178 [Barrow, Acts of William I, pp. 270-1, no. 228]. Barrow ascertained that there were eight professional scribes in William's service, although only six were identifiable as named individuals (and three of these became bishops). Elias may be identifiable as a seventh; and it is possible that he died too early in his life to gain promotion to high ecclesiastical office.

Condition Report

Please add your question to the description field below.