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


Bury St Edmunds


1. Cambridge, University Library, Ff.2.33, f. 46r (s. xiii 2)
2. London, British Library, Add. 14847, ff. 16v-17r (s. xiii/xiv)


K, 1222, ex MS 2; Thorpe, pp. 505-8, ex MS 1; B, 1012, ex Thorpe and MS 2

Printed and Translated:

Whitelock, Wills, no. 2 (pp. 6-9), ex MSS 1, 2


Whitelock, Wills, pp. 103-8; Hart, ECEE, no. 50, authentic; Hart, ECE, no. 11, authentic; Finberg 1972, p. 481, on an assessment; Hart 1974, p. 31, 120-acre hide perhaps in Cambridgeshire; Brooks 1978, pp. 87-91, on heriot; Hart 1987a, pp. 64, 68-9; Hart 1992, pp. 127-31, 134; Dumville 1993, p. 35, cited; Stafford 1994, pp. 231-3, on testator's intentions; Foot 2000, II. 29

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    • 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 ancestorsÆ 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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    • [I]N nomine domini. ˝is is Alfgares quide ˇat is erst ˇat ic an mine louerd tueye suerde fetelsade and tueye bege, ayther of fifti mancusas goldes. and ˇre stedes. and ˇre scheldes. and ˇre speren. And me kidde ˝eodred bisccop and Edric Alderman ˇa ic selde mine louerd ˇat suerd ˇat Eadmund king me selde on hundtuelftian mancusas goldes. and four pund silueres on ˇam fetelse ˇat ic moste ben mine quides wirde. And ic nefre forwrouht ne habbe on godes witnesse wi∂ mine louerd buten ic so mote. And ic an Athelflede mine douhter ˇe lond at Cokefel∂. and at Dittone. and ˇat at Lauenham. ouer min day. on ˇe red ˇat heo be ˇe bet for mine soule. and hire moder soule 7 for hire brother soule. 7 for hire seluen. And ˇanne ouer vre aldre day ic an ˇat lond at Cokefeld into Beodricheswrthe to seynt Eadmundes stowe. And ic wille ˇat Athelfled vnne ouer 'hire' day ˇo londes at Dittone into suilke halegen stowe; suilk hire redlikest ˇinge for vre aldre soule. And ouer vre aldreday; ic an ˇat lond at Lauenham mine douhter childe gif ˇat God wille ˇat heo ani haue∂. buten Atelfled her wille him his vnnen. and gif heo non ne habbe; gange it into Stoke for vre aldre soule. and ic an ˇat lond at Babingˇirne 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; ˇanne go it into sancte Marie Stowe at Berkynge for vre aldre soule. And ic an ˇat lond at Illeye mine ginger douhter hire day. and ouer hire day; Berthno∂e his day gif he leng libbe ˇanne heo. gif he bern habben ˇanne an ic hem. gif he non ne habbeˇ; ˇanne an ic it Athelfle∂ mine douhter. ouer here day. and after hire day; into Cristes kirke at Caunterbiri ˇen hirde de brite. And ˇe 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; beque∂e it Bernothe his day. and ouer his day; into Stoke for vre aldre soule And ic an ˇat lond at Piltendone and at Mereseye into Stoke. And ic an ˇat Athelfled bruke ˇe lond ˇer wile ˇe hire lef beth one ra∂a heo it on riht helde. and on ˇe red ˇat heo do ˇan hirde so wel so heo best may into Stoke for mine soule and for ure aldre. And ic an ˇat lond at Grenstede into Stoke for mine soule 7 for Athelwardes 7 for Wiswi∂e. And ic Athelfled ˇere brice wille hire lif beth on ˇe red ˇat heo do for ˇa saule so wel so heo best may. nu his me god uˇe 7 min lauerd. And ic an ˇat lond at Tidwoldingtone Alfwold ouer mine day ˇe he formige ilke ihere ˇen hird at Paulesbiri for vre aldre soule. And ic an ˇat lond at Totham Berchno∂e and mine gingere douhter here day. and after here day; wende lond into Mereseye Athelfled mine douhter. And ic an ˇat wudelond at Aisfeld into Stoke also Eakild self it her bouhte. And ic mine moder ˇat lond at Ryssebroc gif heo leng liui∂ ˇan hic. ˇanne after vnker bother day ic an it Winelme gif heo Athelfled on richte hird. And ic wille Bidden suilc louerd so ˇanne beth for godes luuen and for alle hise halegen. werken min bern ˇat he werken ˇat he nefre ne mugen forwerken mine quide ˇe ic for mine soule cueden habbe. and gif it wo awende; habbe him wi∂ god gemaene and wi∂ ˇe holi sanctas ˇe ic it to becueˇen habbe. ˇat he it nefre ne bete buten on helle wite se ˇis quide awende boten it me seluen wende er min ende. And ic Athelgar an an hide lond ˇes ˇe Aeulf hauede be hundtuelti acren ateo so he wille.