Æschere 2 had a single estate in west Sussex of 4 hides worth £4, held of Earl Godwine before 1053.
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Æschere 'of Chancton'
William de Briouze
Richard 'the man of William de Briouze'
The name Æschere occurs just once TRE. His only holding was 4 hides at Chancton, running in a narrow strip from the heights of the South Downs near the great Iron Age hillfort of Chanctonbury Ring, across the Greensand vale below the scarp of the Downs, and northwards into the fringes of the Weald, with a detached piece of common land just to the west and probably some outliers of Wealden wood-pasture much further away (VCH Suss. VI (1), 247–8, 251–2, 253, 254).
A century earlier, Chancton (including a hide held separately in 1066: Suss. 13:18) had been part of the neighbouring Washington estate given by King Edgar to Bishop Æthelwold (S 525, 714; Charters of Abingdon, I, no. 40; II, no. 98; Milner-Gulland 2005). Most of Washington remained intact in the hands of Earl Gyrth in 1066 (Suss. 13:9), a connection which may be reflected in the fact that Æschere was said to have held ‘of Earl Godwine’; Godwine was Gyrth’s father and can be presumed to have owned Washington until his death in 1053. The other hide of Chancton was held in the same way as Æschere’s 4 hides, as also were the two parts of Ashington detached from the Washington estate only after 1066 (Suss. 13:47, 51).
A large hoard of silver pennies packed into an ordinary earthenware pot was buried on Æschere’s land in 1066 or early 1067 and never recovered. The spot chosen was not at all remote and perhaps near a farmstead. The date of deposit is established by the fact that the hoard contained no coins later than ones struck in Harold’s name. The hoard, discovered in 1866, was reckoned to contain some 3,000 coins, one of the largest stashes of Anglo-Saxon pennies ever found but still only about three times the annual value of Æschere’s landed estate in 1066 (Lucas 1868; Blackburn and Pagan 1986: no. 255; Knowles 1981; Holden 1982). Was it Æschere’s ready cash? Did he hide it before going off to fight for King Harold in 1066, never to return? Or before fleeing his home for who knows where some time after Hastings? The Chancton hoard raises questions about the wealth of eleventh-century thegns and the use of coins in the economy, as well as unanswerable ones about Æschere’s fate in 1066.
Blackburn and Pagan 1986: Mark Blackburn and Hugh Pagan, ‘A revised check-list of coin hoards from the British Isles, c. 500–1100’, Anglo-Saxon Monetary History: Essays in Memory of Michael Dolley, ed. M. A. S. Blackburn (Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1986), 291–313
Charters of Abingdon: Charters of Abingdon Abbey, ed. S. E. Kelly, 2 vols, Anglo-Saxon Charters 7 and 8 (Oxford: Oxford University Press for the British Academy, 2000–1)
Holden 1982: E. W. Holden, ‘The Chancton hoard of Anglo-Saxon pennies’, Sussex Archaeological Collections, 120 (1982), 214–15
Knowles 1981: Loraine Knowles, ‘Seven Anglo-Saxon pennies from the Chancton (Sussex) hoard’, Sussex Archaeological Collections, 119 (1981), 216–17
Lucas 1868: John Clay Lucas, ‘The hoard of Anglo-Saxon coins found at Chancton Farm, Sussex’, Sussex Archaeological Collections, 20 (1868), 212–21
Robin Milner-Gulland, ‘The Washington estate: new evidence on an ancient boundary’, Sussex Archaeological Collections, 143 (2005), 205–14
S: P. H. Sawyer, Anglo-Saxon Charters: An Annotated List and Bibliography, Royal Historical Society Guides and Handbooks 8 (London, 1968), revised by S. Kelly, R. Rushforth et al., The Electronic Sawyer: Online Catalogue of Anglo-Saxon Charters, published online through Kemble: The Anglo-Saxon Charters Website, currently at http://www.esawyer.org.uk/about/index.html
VCH Suss. VI (1): The Victoria History of the Counties of England: A History of the County of Sussex, VI, Part I, ed. T. P. Hudson (London: Oxford University Press for the Institute of Historical Research, 1980)