Pre-Conquest Anglo-Saxon Charters
Aelfgar's Will of 946 x 951

Showing the latin or Old English text, its sources, and a summary of its authenticity according to several authors.
The reference number S 1483 refers to P. H. Sawyer's catalogue of Anglo-Saxon charters dated 1968.

S 1483

A.D. 946 x c. 951. Will of Ælfgar, including bequests of land at Cockfield, Suffolk; Fen Ditton, Cambs.; Lavenham, Suffolk; Baythorne, Essex; Monks Eleigh, Suffolk; Colne, Tey, Peldon, (West) Mersea, Greenstead, Tidwoldingstone (Heybridge near Maldon) and Totham, Essex; Ashfield and Rushbrook, Suffolk; the beneficiaries including St Edmunds, Bedericesworth; the community at Stoke (probably Stoke-by-Nayland, Suffolk); St Mary's, Barking; Christ Church, Canterbury; and St Paul's, London. English.

Archive: Bury St Edmunds

MSS: 1. Cambridge, U.L., Ff. 2. 33, 46r (s. xiii2)
2. BL Add. 14847, 16v-17r (s. xiv)

Printed: K 1222 ex MS 2; Thorpe, pp. 505-8 ex MS 1; B 1012 ex Thorpe and MS 2; Whitelock, Wills, no. 2 (pp. 6-9), with translation, ex MSS 1, 2.

Comments: Whitelock, Wills, pp. 103-8; Hart, ECEE, no. 50, authentic; Hart, ECE, no. 11, authentic; Finberg 1972, p. 481, on an assessment; Brooks 1978, pp. 87-91, on heriot; Hart 1987/1, pp. 64, 68-9; Hart 1992, pp. 127-31, 134; Dumville 1993, p. 35, cited; Stafford 1994, pp. 231-3, on testator's intentions.

[I]N nomine domini.
Þis is Alfgares quide þat is erst þat ic an mine louerd tueye suerde fetelsade and tueye bege, ayther of fifti mancusas goldes. and þre stedes. and þre scheldes. and þre speren. And me kidde Þeodred bisccop and Edric Alderman þa ic selde mine louerd þat suerd þat Eadmund king me selde on hundtuelftian mancusas goldes. and four pund silueres on þam fetelse þat ic moste ben mine quides wirde. And ic nefre forwrouht ne habbe on godes witnesse wið mine louerd buten ic so mote. And ic an Athelflede mine douhter þe lond at Cokefelð. and at Dittone. and þat at Lauenham. ouer min day. on þe red þat heo be þe bet for mine soule. and hire moder soule 7 for hire brother soule. 7 for hire seluen. And þanne ouer vre aldre day ic an þat lond at Cokefeld into Beodricheswrthe to seynt Eadmundes stowe. And ic wille þat Athelfled vnne ouer 'hire' day þo londes at Dittone into suilke halegen stowe; suilk hire redlikest þinge for vre aldre soule. And ouer vre aldreday; ic an þat lond at Lauenham mine douhter childe gif þat God wille þat heo ani haueð. buten Atelfled her wille him his vnnen. and gif heo non ne habbe; gange it into Stoke for vre aldre soule. and ic an þat lond at Babingþirne Atelflede mine douhter. And after hire day; min other douhter hire day. And ouer here bothre day; mine douhter berne gif he bern habbe. And gif he bern ne habbe; þanne go it into sancte Marie Stowe at Berkynge for vre aldre soule. And ic an þat lond at Illeye mine ginger douhter hire day. and ouer hire day; Berthnoðe his day gif he leng libbe þanne heo. gif he bern habben þanne an ic hem. gif he non ne habbeþ; þanne an ic it Athelfleð mine douhter. ouer here day. and after hire day; into Cristes kirke at Caunterbiri þen hirde de brite. And þe lond at Colne and at Tigan ic an min gingere douhter. and ouerday gif heo bern habbe. hire bern. and gif heo bern ne habbe; bequeðe it Bernothe his day. and ouer his day; into Stoke for vre aldre soule And ic an þat lond at Piltendone and at Mereseye into Stoke. And ic an þat Athelfled bruke þe lond þer wile þe hire lef beth one raða heo it on riht helde. and on þe red þat heo do þan hirde so wel so heo best may into Stoke for mine soule and for ure aldre. And ic an þat lond at Grenstede into Stoke for mine soule 7 for Athelwardes 7 for Wiswiðe. And ic Athelfled þere brice wille hire lif beth on þe red þat heo do for þa saule so wel so heo best may. nu his me god uþe 7 min lauerd. And ic an þat lond at Tidwoldingtone Alfwold ouer mine day þe he formige ilke ihere þen hird at Paulesbiri for vre aldre soule. And ic an þat lond at Totham Berchnoðe and mine gingere douhter here day. and after here day; wende lond into Mereseye Athelfled mine douhter. And ic an þat wudelond at Aisfeld into Stoke also Eakild self it her bouhte. And ic mine moder þat lond at Ryssebroc gif heo leng liuið þan hic. þanne after vnker bother day ic an it Winelme gif heo Athelfled on richte hird. And ic wille Bidden suilc louerd so þanne beth for godes luuen and for alle hise halegen. werken min bern þat he werken þat he nefre ne mugen forwerken mine quide þe ic for mine soule cueden habbe. and gif it wo awende; habbe him wið god gemaene and wið þe holi sanctas þe ic it to becueþen habbe. þat he it nefre ne bete buten on helle wite se þis quide awende boten it me seluen wende er min ende. And ic Athelgar an an hide lond þes þe Aeulf hauede be hundtuelti acren ateo so he wille.

In nomine domini.
This is Ælfgar's will. First I grant to my lord two swords with sheaths, and two armlets, each of fifty mancuses of gold, and three stallions and three shields and three spears. And Bishop Theodred and the Ealdorman Eadric told me, when I gave to my lord the sword which King Edmund gave to me, which was worth a hundred and twenty mancuses of gold and had four pounds of silver on the sheath, that I might have the right to make my will; and God is my witness that I have never done wrong against my lord that I may not have this right.

And I grant to my daughter Æthelflæd the estates at Cockfield and Ditton and that at Lavenham after my death on condition that she be the more zealous for the welfare of my soul and of her mother's soul and of her brother's soul and of her own; and then after our lifetime I grant the estate at Cockfield to St Edmund's foundation at Bedericesworth. And it is my wish that Æthelflæd shall grant the estate at Ditton after her death to whatever holy foundation seems to her most advisable, for the sake of our ancestors' souls. And I grant the estate at Lavenham after our lifetime to my daughter's child if it be God's will that she have any, unless Æthelflæd wishes to grant it to him before; and if she has no child, the estate is to go to Stoke for our ancestors' souls. And I grant the estate at Baythorn to my daughter Æthelflæd, and after her death to my other daughter for her time; and after the death of both of them, to my daughter's child, if she has a child; and if she has no child, then it is to go to St Mary's foundation at Barking for the souls of our ancestors.

And I grant the estate at Eleigh to my younger daughter for her life, and after her death to Brihtnoth for his life if he live longer than she. If they should have children, then I grant it to them. If they have none, then I grant it to my daughter Æthelflæd after their death, and after her death to Christchurch at Canterbury for the use of the community. And I grant the estates at Colne and Tey to my younger daughter, and after her death, if she has a child, to her child; and if she has no child, I bequeathe it to Brihtnoth for his time, and after his death to Stoke for our ancestors' souls.

And I grant the estate at Peldon and that at Mersea to Stoke. And I grant that Æthelflæd is to have the use of the estates as long as is agreeable to her, on condition that she holds it lawfully, and on condition that she does the best she can for the community at Stoke for the sake of my soul and of our ancestors' souls. And I grant the estate at Greenstead to Stoke for my soul and for Æthelweard's and for Wiswith's. And I grant to Æthelflæd the use of it for as long as her life lasts, on condition that she does the best she can for those souls. Now may God grant me this, and my lord.

And I grant the estate at Heybridge to Ælfwold after my death [on condition] that he pay a food-rent every year to the community at St Paul's for our ancestors? souls. And I grant the estate at Totham to Brihtnoth and my younger daughter for their time; and after their death the estate is to go to Mersea for my daughter Æthelflæd. And to Stoke I grant the woodland at Ashfield as Eakild himself bought it. And I [grant] the estate at Rushbrooke to my mother if she live longer than I; then after the death of both of us I grant it to Winehelm if he (?) serve Æthelflæd loyally.

And I beseech whoever may then be king, for the love of God and all his saints, that let my children do what they may, they may never set aside the will which I have declared for my soul's sake. And if anyone alter it, may he have to account for it with God and the holy saints to whom I have bequeathed my property, so that he who shall alter this will may never repent it except in the torment of hell, unless I myself alter it before my death.

And I grant to Æthelgar a hide of a hundred and twenty acres of land which Aeulf held. He is to dispose of it as he wishes.

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