Translation Information Source: S1431a

Edition information
Translator Whitelock, Dorothy
Book Title English Historical Documents, c.400-1042
Edition 2nd edition
Series English Historical Documents
Publication Location London and New York
Publisher Routledge
PublicationDate 1999 [reprint of 1979 edition]
Pages 867-9 [no. 210]
Additional information
Notes We know indeed that it is known and manifest to many who faithfully trust in God, and yet nothing in it seems pleasing to those who belong to the English peoples, that Offa, king of the Mercians, presumed in the days of Archbishop Jænberht with very great fraud to divide and cut asunder the honour and unity of the see of St Augustine our father in the city of Canterbury; and how, after the death of the aforesaid pontiff, his successor, Archbishop Æthelheard, by the gift of the grace of God, happened after the passage of years to visit the thresholds of the Apostles and Leo, the most blessed pope of the apostolic see, about many rights of the churches of God. Among other necessary matters of business he related also the division that had wrongfully been made of the archiepiscopal see; and the apostolic pope, as he heard and understood that it had been done wrongfully, immediately made a decree by the privilege of his authority, and sent to Britain and ordered that the honour of the see of St Augustine should be completely restored with all its dioceses, according as St Gregory, the apostle and teacher of our race, had arranged, and should be given back in all thins to the honourable Archbishop Æthelheard when he returned to his country; and Cenwulf the pious king of the Mercians, carried this out along with his councillors, in the year of our Lord's incarnation 803, the eleventh indiction, on 12 October. I, Archbishop Æthelheard, with all the twelve bishops subordinate to the holy see of the blessed Augustine, command by the apostolic injunctions of the lord Pope Leo, in the synod held in the famous place which is called Clofesho, with the unanimous advice of all the holy synod, in the name of the Almighty God and of all his saints, and by his fearful judgment, that never shall kings or bishops or principes or men of any tyrannical power presume to diminish the honour of St Augustine and his holy see, or to divide it in the slightest extent, but it shall always remain most fully in all things in that honour and dignity in which it certainly is held in the constitution of the blessed Gregory and in the privileges of his apostolic successors, and also as is considered right in the decrees of the holy canons. Now also, with the co-operation of God and the lord apostolic, Pope Leo I, Archbishop Æthelheard, and the others our fellow-bishops and with us all the dignitaries of the synod, unanimously confirm with the sign of the Cross of Christ the primacy of the Holy Cross: that an archiepiscopal see shall never be placed from this time in the church of Lichfield, nor in any place anywhere except only in the city of Canterbury, where is the church of Christ, and where first the catholic faith shone forth in this island, and holy baptism was celebrated by St Augustine. Moreover, we pronounce, with the consent and permission of the lord apostolic, Pope Leo, that the charter sent from the Roman see by Pope Hadrian about the pallium and the archiepiscopal see in the church of Lichfield is invalid, because it was obtained by deception and misleading suggestion; therefore by the manifest tokens of the heavenly king we have decreed that the supremacy of archiepiscopal rule is to remain, with canonical and apostolic support, where the holy gospel of Christ was first preached in the province of the English by the blessed Father Augustine, and was then by the grace of the Holy Spirit spread widely abroad. If, indeed, anyone in defiance of the apostolic injunctions and those of us all dare to cut the coat of Christ and divide the unity of the Holy Church of God, let him know that he is damned eternally unless he makes fitting amends for what he wickedly did against the holy canons. Here are the names of the holy bishops and abbots who confirmed the afore-written chirograph in the synod which was held at Clofesho, in the year from the coming of the Lord 803, with the sign of the Holy Cross of Christ.