Watt of Sussex

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Watt [a]was a king in what is now the county of Sussex in southern England. His existence is attested by three charters that he witnessed, in the reign of Noðhelm, as Wattus Rex. He probably would have ruled between about AD 692 and 725 and there is some suggestion that he may have been King of the Hæstingas.

Charter evidence[edit]

Some of the Anglo-Saxon charters that date from the Kingdom of Sussex provide evidence which suggests the existence of two separate dynasties in Sussex. The charters of Noðhelm (or Nunna), who ruled Sussex in the late 7th and early 8th century regularly attest a second king by the name of Watt .[1][2][3][4] Watt witnessed a charter from Noðhelm in 692,[b] without any indication of his territory, he also witnessed (again as Wattus rex) a charter where Bruny (Bryni), dux of Sussex, grants to Eadberht, abbot of Selsey 4 hides. The charter lacks a dating clause but as Eadberht was known to have been appointed bishop in 705 or slightly later, then the charter would have been created in 705 or slightly earlier. Watt is named as a witness on the charter together with Nunna.[3][6] Watt is also listed as a witness (as Uuattus rex[c]) of another charter, erroneously dated 775, which is believed to be a late copy or forgery.[d][9]

King of the Hæstingas[edit]

The historian C.T. Chevalier has suggested that Watt may have ruled the Haestingas tribe, who settled around the Hastings area of East Sussex. This is because place-names with the name Watt or What occur only in the Hastings area of Sussex.[10][11] The theory has been seen as a plausible by other historians.[11][12] Chevalier goes on to suggest that the Haestingas may have been of Frankish origin, but other historians reject this part of the theory as it is based solely on a misinterpretation of the place-name evidence.[10][11][12][13]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ also Wattus or What
  2. ^ A.D. 692. Nothhelm (Nunna), king of Sussex, to Nothgyth, his sister; grant, in order to found a minster, of 33 hides (cassati) at Lidsey, Aldingbourne, Lenstedegate (? Westergate in Aldington) and (North) Mundham, Sussex. Latin[5]
  3. ^ In the 7th century scribes wrote uu for /w/; later they used the runic symbol known as wynn [7]
  4. ^ A.D. 775 for c. 705 x c. 717. Nunna, king of Sussex, to Eadberht, bishop; grant of 20 hides (tributarii) at Hugabeorgum and Dene (probably East and West Dean near Chichester). Latin with English bounds.[8]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Kelly. Charters of Selsey. p. lxxvi
  2. ^ Charter S.45 Northelm, king of South Saxons grants land to his sister. Retrieved 1 April 2013
  3. ^ a b Charter S.1173 Bruni dux of South Saxons grants four hides to the Abbot of Selsey Retrieved 1 April 2013
  4. ^ Charter S.43 Nunna, king of Sussex, to Eadberht, bishop; grant of 20 hides (tributarii) at Hugabeorgum and Dene. Retrieved 1 April 2013
  5. ^ Miller, Sean. "S 45". Retrieved 2008-01-08. 
  6. ^ Kelly. Charters of Selsey. p. 23
  7. ^ "Why is 'w' pronounced 'double u' rather than 'double v'?". OUP. Archived from the original on 12 October 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  8. ^ Miller, Sean. "S 43". Retrieved 8 January 2008. 
  9. ^ West Sussex Records Office Cap/I/17/1. Retrieved 5 June 2017
  10. ^ a b C.T. Chevalier. The Frankish origin of the Hastings tribe in Sussex Archaeological Collections Vol 104. pp. 56-62
  11. ^ a b c Martin Welch. Early Anglo-Saxon Sussex in Peter Brandon's. The South Saxons. pp. 23-25.
  12. ^ a b R. Coates. On the alleged Frankish origin of the Hastings tribe in Sussex Archaeological Collections Vol 117. pp. 263-264
  13. ^ Kelly. Charters of Selsey. p. lxxix

References[edit]

  • Chevalier, C.T. (1966). Bedwin, Owen, ed. "The Frankish Origin of the Hastings tribe". Sussex Archaeological Collections. Lewes, Sussex: Sussex Archaeological Society. 104. 
  • Coates, Richard (1979). Bedwin, Owen, ed. "On the alleged Frankish origin of the Hastings tribe". Sussex Archaeological Collections. Lewes, Sussex: Sussex Archaeological Society. 117. 
  • Kelly, S.E (1998). Anglo-Saxon Charters VI: Charters of Selsey. OUP for the British Academy. ISBN 0-19-726175-2. 
  • "The National Archives". London: The National Archives. Retrieved 5 June 2017. 
  • Miller, Sean. "Anglo-Saxon Net: England c.450-1066 in a Nutshell". Retrieved 28 October 2010. 
  • Welch, Martin (1978). "Early Anglo-Saxon Sussex". In Brandon, Peter. The South Saxons. Chichester: Phillimore. ISBN 0-85033-240-0. 

External links[edit]