Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 5.djvu/531

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9*s.v. JUNE so, 1900.] NOTES AND QUERIES.


519


Sandford. After this it is unnecessary to dis- cuss further MR. SHORE'S ill-judged attempts to twist the evidence of the charters to prove that Eoccenford was not at Abingdon.

The charter of 955 is, like most of the Abingdon charters, a forgery. 1 said that as the date of the chartulary containing it is early thirteenth century, that, and not the seventh century, was tne only date that could be cited. Nothing need be said in defence of such a principle to scholars who work on critical lines. MR. SHORE chose to regard this as implying that the forgery occurred at the time of the writing of the chartulary, and it was necessary for me to point out that " the charters were, no doubt, forged about the year 1100." In spite of my explicit correction of his illogical deduction, he now says that I, being unable to prove that a thirteenth-century forger could have composed the boundaries in O.E., "have shifted my date back a century," and that

i "first invented the forger writing in

the thirteenth century, and a few weeks later disowned him." It is MR. SHORE who has invented this thirteenth-century forger : I have never said a word about him. Is MR. SHORE really so ignorant of these matters as to believe that forgeries were first concocted in chartularies ? A forged charter was made for use in a law court, where a chartulary was not evidence, and therefore every charter in a chartulary, whether genuine or forged, was derived trom an original, genuine or forged. These spurious Abingdon charters were certainly concocted after the Norman Conquest, and, as I said, probably about the year 1100.

I adduced the fact that the boundaries in the 955 charter are written in English and at considerable length as a further proof that it could not have been copied from an original of the time of Ceadwealla, since in the seventh century the boundaries, when given in the charters, are described very briefly in Latin. MR. SHORE calls this an " astonishing statement," and says that there are nine cnarters of about the time of Ceadwealla disproving my assertion, and he adds that any one can verify his state- ment " and thus ascertain the value of MR. STEVENSON'S assertion." Unfortunately this is not true, for the man in the street does not possess the requisite knowledge to dis- tinguish a genuine from a forged text ; nor, it would seem, does MR. SHORE, for the texts appealed to by him are spurious. In genuine early charters there is only one instance, in the latter part of the eighth century, in which the boundaries are given in English, and it is


not until well into the ninth century that th practice of writing them in English become at all common.

Then comes an argument that I am entirely unable to understand, except upon the hypo- thesis that MR. SHORE has so read his con- clusions into the texts that he believes the difficulties presented to him by their rejection equally fetter his opponent. We had an instance of this strange confusion in the difficulty that he taunted me with that of being unable to show how an identification that I held to be impossible was to be made. The present case is as follows :

"Why the supposed forger should have been so foolish as to have created new difficulties, and so have assisted in defeating the object he had in view, by inventing new boundary names such as Eoccen- ford, not contained in the recognized charters of the forger's own time, MB. STEVENSON has not explained."

The ineptitude of this is amazing ; but it is paralleled by his question how the king in 955 could have known the boundaries unless he had had Ceadwealla's charter before him. Of course, the forger was, in both cases, simply giving boundaries with which he or the monks of Abingdon were perfectly familiar. The Eoccenford was not an inven- tion, but the name then borne by the ford over the Ock at Abingdon.

MR. SHORE, it will be remembered, appealed to non-existent testimony of the thirteenth century to save him from the necessity of combating the view that Oxford was derived from oxen. In reply I produced evidence from the early part of the preceding century to prove that it was understood to mean " ford of oxen." Now MR. SHORE turns round and says :

"If the mediseval people of Oxford, when the O.E. or Anglo-Saxon language had become neglected, chose to believe that the name of the place was derived from a ford for oxen, because the syllable ox or the word oxen was contained in it, and that consequently Eoccenford could not possibly be at Oxford, is there any reason why such a conclusion should be con- sidered satisfactory now, or why it should not be

tested by modern methods of research? Is it

worthy of Oxford scholarship that for the origin of the name Oxenford we should still appeal for our authority to the dark ages of English learning, and conclude that, because the identification of Eoccen- ford with Oxford is new, it must therefore be impossible? Modern knowledge has not been ad- vanced by such methods."

How familiar this sounds to those who have had much to do with the lucubrations of the unscientific etymologists ! It entirely misrepresents the purpose for which I cited the evidence of Geoffrey of Monmouth, and it seems to assume, as in the passage that aused me to cite Geoffrey, that the English