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On the trail of the lost document in Surrey

By Brentwood Gazette  |  Posted: March 14, 2012

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THE man hunting for Brentwood's lost royal charter, which permits a market to be held on Thursdays, believes he has found a copy – but remains convinced that it is only a matter of time until the original is discovered.

Clive Othen thinks that a copy of the market charter, which dates from 1227, is held at the National Archives in Kew, Surrey.

Should his quest prove successful, Mr Othen would organise a Medieval-themed market in Brentwood which would, in his own words, "revolutionise" trade in the town.

The father-of-three launched his search for the market charter in the Gazette last month and has since received several leads from readers.

Clive said this week: "The ultimate goal is to find the original and bring a copy to Brentwood and we are moving closer to achieving that goal."

Back in the early 13th century, Brentwood was known as Burntwood, or Bouyfarf in Latin, and the area belonged to the abbot and canons of St Osyth.

Shortly after King Henry III assumed the throne in 1227, he granted these monks a charter to hold a market in Burntwood on Wednesdays at a site bordered by the High Street, Crown Street, Hart Street and King's Road.

In 1252, the monarch amended the document, which would have been scribed in Latin, to switch the market day to Thursdays, however following this little is known about the charter.

Clive is now corresponding with the National Archives, which has agreed to search its records for a copy for an as yet undisclosed fee.

He concluded: "We are getting very close now and hopefully the Gazette will be able to reveal the full terms and conditions of the charter very soon."

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