Edward the Confessor's Charter, 1060

Grant of the parish of Wheathampstead (including Harpenden) to Westminster Abbey

Wheathampstead and Harpenden today are two separate places – but this has not always been so. Before 1859 they were in one ecclesiatical parish and at the time of the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 the whole area was one estate belonging to Westminster Abbey.

In a deed dated 1060, Edward the Confessor had granted an estate to Westminster, his favourite abbey.  The document describes “a holy piece of the countryside, which consists of ten hides [about 120 acres] of land”.  The Charter, which was signed by Edward the Confessor, Harold and other earls, thanes and bishops, was found in the archives of Rothamsted Manor.  It is now in the Hertfordshire County Record Office. 

The translation of the Charter, and the description of the boundaries of the parish, are reproduced from Appendix 1 to The Settlement of Wheathampstead and Harpenden, published in 1973 - Book 1 of the WEA series Wheathampstead and Harpenden.

Charter of Edward the Confessor
Reproduced from The Settlement of Wheathampstead & Harpenden, by courtesy of Hertfordshire County Record Office
Appendix 1, page i, from The Settlement of Wheathampstead & Harpenden, 1973
Appendix 1, page ii
Appendix 1, page iii

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