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The Grants of 688, 779 and 796 AD

There were many kingdoms in England before it became united under King Alfred. Purton Stoke (at that time it was simply Stoche) was close to the border of Wessex and Mercia and consequently changed hands as the fortunes of battle and the ownership of land changed hands. Saint Augustine arrived in Britain in 597 - he met the British Bishops in Cricklade in 604AD.

In 688 AD King Caedwalla of Wessex gave Purton to Abbot Aldhelm of Malmesbury Abbey.

In 779 AD King Offa of Mercia took it away. Abbot William of Malmesbury wrote that he thought Offa was a ....... " downright public pilferer ".
Offa died in 796 AD and King Ecgfrith of Mercia, son of King Offa, gave it back to Abbot Cuthbert of Malmesbury. By that time his sister Eadburg had married King Beorhtrich of Wessex.

The 796 Charter (in Latin)
There was a description of the bounds of Purton that went with the Grant and it describes some of the features in Purton Stoke that still exist today. However it appears that Purton Stoke was outside the boundaries of Purton. T he more obvious landmarks were
Black Mere - now Ponds Farm,
Lortinges Bourne - now called the River Key, and
Hassukesmore - now Haxmor Farm.

In 793 the Danes invaded England, sacking and plundering wherever they went. Alfred became King of Wessex in 871 and under his standard of the Golden Dragon defeated Gunthrum at Chippenham in 878, and established peace. If there was a settlement in Purton Stoke, the inhabitants must have felt the effects of an uprising there.
The Anglo Saxon Chronicles describe events in 903 AD -
Aethelwald lured the East Anglian force into breking the peace, so that they ravaged over the lands of Mercia, until they came to Cricklade ( next village North ), went over the Thames there, seized all they could carry off both in and around Braydon ( this probably refers to the Forest of Braydon which dominated the landscape at that time - Purton Stoke was a small village within the Forest ) and then went home-ward again.


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