s. ix. Alfred, aldormon, and Wærburg, his wife, declare that they have ransomed holy books from the Danish army and now wish to donate them to Christ Church, Canterbury. English


Canterbury, Christ Church


1. Stockholm, Kungliga Biblioteket, A. 135 (Codex Aureus), f. 11r (s. ix med.; Campbell 1982, p. 136; Making of England, p. 199 (no. 154); Nordenfalk 1977, p. 107; Vikings in England, p. 57; Westwood, Facsimiles, pl. 2; etc.)


O.S. Facs., iii, p. viii; B, 634; Sweet, Reader, p. 205


Whitelock, EHD, no. 98 (pp. 539-40); Vikings in England, p. 63

Printed and Translated:

Harmer, SEHD, no. 9 (pp. 12-13, 46-7)


Harmer, SEHD, p. 88; Sweet, Reader, p. 289; Vikings in England, p. 63; Brooks 1984, pp. 151, 360 n. 70, scribe also wrote S 1268 (face only) and 1438 MSS 1, 2 (text and Canterbury witnesses only); Ker, Catalogue, p. 456 (no. 385), dates s. ix med., rather earlier than the will of Ealdorman Alfred (cf. S 1508); The Making of England, pp. 199-200 (no. 154); Foot 1992, p. 191 and n. 148, on a formula; Keynes 1996, p. 55, first two lines printed by by Harmer do not belong to the Alfred text; Lowe 2001, Appendix I.8; Pratt, Alfred, p. 86

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    • + In nomine Domini nostri Iesu Christi . Ic Aelfred aldormon 7 Werburg min gefera begetan ðas bec æt hæðnum herge mid uncre claene feo ðæt ðonne wæs mid clæne golde 7 ðæt wit deodan for Godes lufan 7 for uncre saule ðearf[e] ond for ðon ðe wit noldan ðæt ðas halgan beoc lencg in ðære haeðenesse wunaden. 7 nu willað heo gesellan inn to Cristes circan Gode to lofe 7 to wuldre 7 to weorðunga 7 his ðrowunga to ðoncunga. 7 ðæm godcundan geferscipe to brucen[ne] ðe in Cristes circan dæghwæmlice Godes lofe rærað . to ðæm gerade ðæt heo mon arede eghwelce monaðe for Aelfred 7 for Werburge 7 for Alhðryðe heora saulum to ecum lecedome. ða hwile ðe God gesegen haebbe ðæt fulwiht æt ðeosse stowe beon mote .., Ec swelce ic Aelfred . dux . 7 Werburg biddað 7 halsiað on Godes almaehtiges noman 7 on allra his haligra ðæt nænig mon seo to ðon gedyrtig ðætte ðas halgan beoc aselle oððe aðeode from Cristes circan ða hwile ðe fulwiht stondan mote. Aelfred Werburg Alhðryð eorum [filia]
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    • + In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I Ealdorman Ælfred and Werburg my wife acquired these books from the heathen army with our pure gold, that was with pure gold, and this we two did for the love of God and for the good of our souls and because we did not wish these holy books to stay any longer in heathen hands. And now they desire to give them to Christ Church for the love and the glory and honour of God, and in thanksgiving for his Passion, and for the use of the religious community which daily nourishes God’s praise in Christ Church; on condition that they shall be read every month for Ælfred and Werburg and Alhthryth, for the eternal salvation of their souls, as long as God has provided that there must be baptism in this place. Also I Ealdorman Ælfred and Werburg pray and beseech in the name of Almighty God and of all his saints, that no man be so presumptuous as to give away or remove these holy books from Christ Church, as long as baptism may endure. Ælfred. Werburg. Alhthryth, their [daughter]
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    Old Text

    • + Orate pro Ceolheard pr', Niclas 7 Ealhhun 7 Wulfhelm aurifex 1. + In nomine Domini nostri Jhesu Christi. Ic Aelfred aldormon 7 Werburg min gefera begetan ∂as bec æt hae∂num herge mid uncre claene feo, ∂æt ∂onne