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Oshere
Oslac
311

Men of the Time, 7th ed.; English Cyclopædia; Laurie's Anglo-Indians, 1st ser. pp. 281-2; Burkes, Fosters, and Dod's Peerages, &c.]

A. F. P.


OSHERE (fl. 680), under-king of the Hwiccii, was perhaps a brother of Osric, who was also king of the Hwiccii [see Osric, d. 729]. Bishop Stubbs, on the other hand, thinks it probable that Oshere was a son of Oswald, the brother of Osric (Dictionary of Christian Biography, iv. 160, 164). This theory would, however, seem to put him a generation too late. On the first nypothesis, which is well supported, Oshere was a member of the royal house of Northumbria, and a nephew of the queen of Ethelred, king of the Mercians. Under Ethelred he ruled the Hwiccii, the people of the present Gloucestershire and Worcestershire, then subject to Mercia. In a spurious charter, granting land for a monastery at Ripple in Worcestershire in 680, Oshere is represented as calling himself king, though acting under Ethelred, and he is also described as King among the witnesses to a charter of 793, granting land for a monastery for the abbess Cutswythe. In another deed he appears as under-king and as a follower of Ethelred, and as counselling him to make a grant of land at Withington, in Gloucestershire. A letter from the abbess Egburga or Eadburh, apparently the second abbess of Gloucester and sister of the first abbess Kyneburga and of Osric and Oswald, to Bishop Wynfrith or Boniface, written 716-722, speaks of her brother Oshere as then dead. Oshere had at least two sons, Æthelward and Æthelric, who ruled over the Hwiccii, though they are not, as far as we know, described as kings.

[Kemble's Codex. Dipl. Nos. 17, 36,82,56, 57 (Eng. Hist. Soc.); Jaffe's Monumenta Moguntinn, p. 64; Dict. Chr. Biogr. iv. 160, art. 'Oshere,' by Bishop Stubbs.]

W. H.


OSKYTEL (d. 971), archbishop of York, whose name also appears as Oscytel, Oschitel, Oschetel, Osketell, Asketillius, Uscytel, Usketillius, Oscekillus, was a Dane by birth, and was related to the Danes, Turketyl, abbot of Bedford; Odo [q. v.], arch-bishop of Canterbury; and Oswald (d. 972) [q. v.], his successor in the see of York. In 950 he was consecrated bishop of Dorchester; his first signature occurs 952. In 966 he was translated to the see of York, with the consent of Edward and his council (Flor. Wig. s. a.) He journeyed to Rome for the pall with Oswald, who, according to Eadmer, had helped him in the government of his first diocese (Historians of the Church of York, ii. 14). On the death of Odo, arch-bishop of Canterbury, in 968, Oskytel invited Oswald to live with him. He showed him much kindness, and introduced him to Dunstan. From Oswald he learned the new monasticism then being introduced into England from Fleury. In 968 he consecrated Elfsig bishop of Chester. His name occurs among the signatures of many charters, showing that he was often absent from his diocese. He died at Thame, 1 Nov. 971, and his remains were carried to Bedford Abbey, and buried there by Turketyl. He was a man of learning and piety (Anglo-Saxon Chron. sub anno).

[The lives of Oswald by Senatus and Eadmer in Historians of the Church of York, ii. 13, 14, 71 (Rolls Ser.); Oswald's life in the Hist. Rames. (Rolls Ser). pp. 24-5; Ordericus Vitalis, ed. Le Prevost, ii. 282; the best modern life is in Raine and Dixon's Lives of the Archbishops of York.]

M. B.


OSLAC (fl. 966), Northumbrian earl, witnessed a charter as dux or earl in 963 (Kemble, Codex Dipl. No. 604; Green, Conquest of England, p. 316 n.) In 966 King Eadgar [q. v.] divided the Northumbrian earldom, over the whole of which Oswulf or Osulf had ruled since 953 or 954, and appointed Oslac earl of the portion described by Symeon of Durham as York and its dependent lands ('fines'), that is, of the ancient kingdom of Deira (Historia Regum ap. Symeonis Opera, ii. 94, 197, 382). The connection between Northumbria and the southern parts of England seems to have been drawn closer during Oslac's term of office. The Danelaw was becoming anglicised, and Oslac appears several times as witnessing charters of Eadgar, though not nearly so often as would have been the case had he held a more southern earldom, and he no doubt had a large measure of independence. Eadgar, indeed, expressly recognised the right of the northern people to their own laws and customs, decreeing that 'secular rights should stand among the Danes with such good laws as they best might choose' (Ancient Laws, i. 273). To his more or less independent position Oslac probably partly owed the reverence with which he was regarded. He is styled the 'great earl' (A.-S. Chronicle) and the 'magnificent earl' ('dux magnifies,' Florence, an. 976). On the death of Eadgar in 975 Oslac was banished from the kingdom — unjustly according to the opinion of the monastic party — and went over sea. His banishment, which is lamented in a song inserted in the 'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle' (an. 975), seems to have been connected with the predominance of Ælfhere, the Mercian earl, the