Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 5.djvu/532

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NOTES AND QUERIES. [9* s. v. JUNE so, im


suddenly gave over talking Anglo-Saxon and began to talk English. It is altogether beside the question, for in the time of Geoffrey much of the original flexion still existed in English, and the gen. pi. of ox was still oxene.

This leads to the equally familiar conten- tion that "ford of oxen" is an improbable name. MR. SHORE does not see that if it was an improbable name in the sixth or seventh century, it was equally improbable in the twelfth. It is, however, not a twelfth-century "corruption," for the name is recorded in MS. B. of the ' Chronicle ' under 910 and on tenth-century coins. ME,. SHORE says that the name does not occur elsewhere, although I had pointed out that it exists in the German Ochsenfurt on the Main. This Franconian Oxford is found in the eleventh century as Ohsno-fort, the exact O.H.G. equivalent, word for word and case for case, of O.E. Oxna-ford. There are three, and probably more, places of this name on the British maps besides Oxford, to wit, Oxenfoord Castle, Edinburghshire ; Oxenford, near Ilminster; and Oxenford in Witley, co. Surrey. This last is recorded as "grangia de Oxeneford" in a charter of Richard 1. (' Monasticon, 5 ii. 242), and as "grangia de Oxenef " in 1205 (' Rot. Chart.' 161 b). There was also an Oxen- ford in Staffordshire, which is mentioned in the fourteenth century (Salt Soc. pub., xiii. 150). Finally, an Oxnaford occurs in the boundaries of Burford, co. Wilts, in a charter in the Wilton chartulary dated 937 ('Cart. Sax.,' ii. 421, 32).

I have said that it is impossible to derive Oxna-ford from Eoccen-ford. MR. SHORE attempts to justify one of the changes in- volved by saying that the change of c to x occurs in the Wixena Broc (* Cart. Sax.,' iii. 587, 1), which he calmly assumes is derived from the Hwicce, the people of Gloucester- shire, Worcestershire, &c. It is very unlikely that their name should be linked with this obscure brook (now the Whitsun brook, at Abbertpn, co. Wore.?); philologically the connexion is inadmissible.

Although MR. SHORE was capable of in- terpreting Eoccen-ford as "ford of the in- creased kin " (whatever that may mean), and thus of showing the nakedness of the land in regard to O.E. grammar, he does not hesitate to charge me with having made a silly blunder in translating "garstundic suoeweardne" as "to the paddock south- wards." This idiom is peculiar to the charters, and I have paid particular attention to it. My conclusion is that the adjective is merely the equivalent of the adverb. The proofs of


this are much too long to give here. Fortu- nately it is not necessary, for the evidence that Eoccenford was at Abingdon is conclu- sive without it.

Here, I hope, I may say adieu to this tire- some discussion, for it is an unpleasant task jo have to discuss such a Hirngespinnst as jhe derivation of Oxford from Eoccenford, and to correct the numerous misapprehen- sions and baseless cavils, to say nothing of the irrelevancies, introduced into the ques- tion by MR. SHORE. W. H. STEVENSON.


"MESSUAGE" (9 th S. v. 411). We are told that

" any assertion seems good enough ; the assertion that the Late L. mansura, is all one with mensura is obviously absurd, although it did once happen that a mediaeval scribe confused them." The subject of this criticism was not the etymology of the word " messuage," but a note on ' The House as a Measure of Arable Land.'

In the last edition of Du Cange the word mensura is said to be identical with mansura ("idem quod mansura"), and is defined as " locus domui idoneus et ipsa habitatio cum agri portione," the definition being followed by this extract from a document of the year 1208 :

" Non licet burgensibus meis aliquam suscipere communiam, nisi sub me Mensuram susceperit, quamdm supra dominicum meum infra muros villse yacuam habebo Mensuram ; ita dico ; si eidem velim in venire et deputare Mensuram."

And in two other documents which he quotes the word mensura appears to Du Cange, or his editors, to have the same mean- ing. The first of these other documents is of the year 1228 :

" Ut inhabitantes villam liberam, Mensuras quin- quagiiita pedum latitudinis et centum pedum lon- gitudinis habeant ; et singulse Mensurse, singulis annis duos solidos et duos capones nobis et succes- soribus nostris solvant."

The second is a charter of the year 1279 :

"Viginti solidos annui census super duas Men- suras videlicet super duas partes Mensuras juxta

Wervum suum, et Mensuram et tertiam par tern Mensurse in Oudervliet."

In the three documents quoted the word mensura occurs nine times, and it means (1) the toft or area on which a messuage or house was, or could be, built, (2) the messuage itself, and (3) the messuage and the land held therewith. The word masura, for mansura, has the same meaning, and Du Cange defines masuragium as "census, qui ex masuris seu domibus percipitur, nostris Masurage."

All this is consisDent with the statement in the old Swedish laws that the toft, or area on