Thame Local History
Thame as a 7th Century Minster

Wulfhere was the Christian King of Mercia from 659 to 675, and is regarded as a keen patron of the new religion, founding monastic communities, or 'minsters', and also conferring sainthood on several of the female members of his family.

Wulfhere pushed the boundaries of Mercian territory as far south as the Thames in the seventh century.

Identified as a 'sub-king', Frithuwold was married to Wulfhere's sister. His palace was at Quarrendon, near Aylesbury, and he may have ruled over large parts of Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and even Surrey.

In or around 675, Frithuwold endowed a minster at Chertsey, and the charters were ratified by Wulfhere himself.

It was a common practice at this time for kings such as Wulfhere to confirm such charters by themselves drawing an image of the Holy Cross on the charter. It was also common for this to take place whilst the King was within physical reach of an altar within a religious house.

The text of Frithuwold's endowment of Chertsey minster, in transalation, contains the words ..

"Confirmed by Wulfhere, king of the Mercians, for he both placed his hand on the altar in the residence which is called Thame and subscribed with the sign of the Holy Cross in his own hand."

The Latin expression used for 'in the residence which is called Thame' is 'in villa quae vocatur Tamu'.

From this evidence, and from other sources, John Blair in Anglo Saxon Oxfordshire suggests that Wulfhere and his family may have founded minsters at Thame, Aylesbury and Bicester in the early 670's.

The 7th Century Charters Signed at Thame

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  Thame, Oxfordshire, England