Æthelstan A

Æthelstan A is the name given by historians to an unknown scribe who drafted charters (example pictured) for land grants made by King Æthelstan of England between 928 and 935. Providing far more information than other charters of the period, they contain the date and place of the grants and an unusually long list of witnesses, including kings of Wales and occasionally Scotland and Strathclyde. The charters commence shortly after Æthelstan conquered Northumbria in 927, making him the first king to rule the whole of England. They give him titles such as "King of the English" and "King of the Whole of Britain", reflecting his claim to a higher status than previous West Saxon kings. The charters are written in the elaborate hermeneutic style of Latin, a hallmark of the English Benedictine Reform; the style became dominant in Anglo-Latin literature in the mid-tenth century. The scribe stopped drafting charters after 935, and his successors returned to a simpler style, suggesting that he was working on his own rather than as a member of a royal scriptorium.

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