A.D. 1000 x 1002. Will of Ælfflæd, including bequests of land at Dovercourt, Fulanpettæ (Beaumont), Alresford, Stanway, Byrton in Stanway (lost), Lexden, Essex; Elmsett and Buxhall, Suffolk, to the king; at Stoke, Suffolk; Hatfield (? Peverel, Essex), Stratford St Mary, Freston, Wiston, Lavenham, Balsdon, Polstead, Withermarsh, Suffolk; Greenstead (near Colchester), Peldon, (West) Mersea, Totham, Colne and Tey, Essex, to Stoke (? Stoke-by-Nayland, Suffolk); and at Monks Eleigh, Suffolk, to Christ Church, Canterbury; at Hadham, Herts., and at Tidwoldingtune (Heybridge near Maldon, Essex) to St Paul's, London; and at Baythorn, Essex, to Barking Abbey; at Woodham, Essex, to Ælfthryth, the king's mother, for life, with reversion to St Mary's, Barking; at Chelsworth and Cockfield, Suffolk, to St Edmund's Abbey; and at Nedging, Suffolk, to the same after the death of Crawe, her kinswoman; at Fingringhoe and Mersea, Essex, to the minster at Mersea; at Waldingfield, Suffolk, to St Gregory's, Sudbury, after the death of Crawe; at Rettendon, Essex; Soham, Ditton and Cheveley, Cambs., to Ely Abbey; at Lawling, Essex, to Ealdorman Æthelmær; and at Liston, Essex, to Æthelmær. With bounds of Balsdon, Withermarsh and Polstead appended. English with bounds


Bury St Edmunds


1. London, British Library, Harley Charter 43 C 4 (BM Facs., iii. 35)
2. Cambridge, University Library, Ff.2.33, f. 47r (s. xiii 2)


Wotton 1737, pp. 103-4; K, 685; B, 1289; Earle, pp. 366-9; Sweet, Second Reader, pp. 233-5 (no. 44)

Printed and Translated:

Thorpe, pp. 522-6; Whitelock, Wills, no. 15 (pp. 38-43)


BM Facs., iv, p. 7, MS 1 is of the 11th century; PN Bucks., p. 41; PN Beds. and Hunts., p. 2, cited; Whitelock, Wills, pp. 141-6; Hart, ECEE, no. 64, authentic; Hart, ECE, no. 34, authentic; Boyden 1983, on Mersea; Hart 1992, pp. 132-5, on estates; Dumville 1993, p. 36, cited; Hart 1993, p. 197 n. 33, dates it 11 Aug. 991 x c. 1002; Keynes 1993b, p. 306 n. 26, on Hadham; Williams 1997b, p. 390, perhaps compiled in 1090s; Foot 2000, II. 29-30, 80; Thompson 2006, p. 109, on script

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    • Ælfflæd declares in this document how she wishes to have her property disposed of, in fulfilment of her duties to God and to men. First I grant to my lord after my death the eight estates, namely Dovercourt, Beaumont, Alresford, Stanway, Barton, Lexden, Elmset and Buxhall; and two armlets of two pounds in weight, and two drinking-cups and a silver vessel. And I humbly pray you, Sire, for God's sake and for the sake of my lord's soul and for the sake of my sister's soul, that you will protect the holy foundation at Stoke in which my ancestors lie buried, and the property which they gave to it as an immune right of God for ever: which property I grant exactly as my ancestors had granted it, that is the estate at Stoke to the holy foundation with everything that belongs to the village there, and the wood at Hatfield which my sister and my ancestors gave. Then these are the estates which my ancestors bequeathed to it after my sister's lifetime and after mine: Stratford, Freston, Wiston, Lavenham, Balsdon, Polstead, Withermarsh, Greenstead, Peldon, Mersea and the woodland at Totham which my father granted to Mersea, and Colne and Tey. Then these are the estates which my ancestors bequeathed to other holy places: namely the estate at Eleigh to Christchurch at Canterbury for the use of the community; and the estate at Hadham to St Paul's minster at London as episcopal property, and the estate at Heybridge for the use of the community at St Paul's minster; and the estate at Baythorn for the use of the community at Barking. And I grant Woodham after my death to Ælfthryth, my lord's mother, and after her death it is to go to St Mary's foundation at Barking just as it stands, with the produce and with the men. And I grant for the use of the community at St Edmund's the two estates Chelsworth and Cockfield, just as my ancestors have granted them, and the estate at Nedging after the death of Crawe my kinswoman. And I grant to Mersea after my death everything that my lord and my sister granted, that is Fingringhoe and the six hides on which the minster stands. And I grant after Crawe's death the estate at Waldingfield to St Gregory's at Sudbury according to the agreement my sister made about it. And I grant to St Peter and St Etheldreda and St Wihtburg and St Sexburg and St Eormenhild, at Ely, where my lord's body lies buried, the three estates which we both promised to God and his saints; namely, Rettendon, which was my marriage gift, Soham and Ditton, just as my lord and my sister have granted it; and the one hide at Cheveley, which my sister obtained, and the pair to the ring which was given as burial fee for my lord. And I grant to the ealdorman Æthelmær the estate at Lawling after my death, with its produce and its men, just as it stands, on condition that during my life he shall be a true friend and advocate to me and to my men, and after my death, be a true friend and advocate of the holy foundation at Stoke, where my ancestors lie buried, and its property. And I grant the estate at Liston to Æthelmær my [lord's kinsman?] with the produce and with the men just as it stands, and humbly pray him that he will be my true friend and protector during my life, and after my death will help to secure that my will and my ancestors' wills may stand. These are the boundaries of Balsdon: from the stream at Humelcyrre; from Humelcyrre to Heregeresheafod from Heregeresheafod along the old hedge to the green oak; then on until one comes to the paved road; from the paved road along the shrubbery until one comes to Acton; from Acton until one comes to Roydon; from Roydon back to the stream. And there are five hides of land. These are the boundaries of Withermarsh and Polstead: from Loppandun to Shelley; from Shelley to the Brett; along the Brett to the Stour; along the Stour to Leofman's boundary; along Leofman's boundary to the Amalburn; from the Amalburn to Northfield; then on to Bindhæcc; from Bindhæcc to Tudanhæcc; from Tudanhæcc to Giffords Hall; from Giffords Hall to Nurstead; from Nurstead to Hwitingho; from Hwitingho to Wudemannestun; from Wudemannestun to Kersey boundary; from Kersey boundary to Hadleigh boundary; from Hadleigh boundary to Layham boundary; from Layham boundary back to Loppandun.
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    • Ælflæd gæswytelaˇ on ˇis gewrite hu hæo wile habban gefadad hiræ æhta for gode. 7 for worldæ. Ærest ˇæt ic an minum hlaforde ˇara . VIII . landa æfter minum dege ˇæt is erest æt Douorcortæ. 7 æt Fulanpettæ. 7 æt Ælesforda. 7 æt Stanwægun. 7 æt Byrætune. 7 æt Læxadyne. 7 æt Ylmesætun. 7 æt Bucyshealæ. 7 twægra bæha on twera punda gewihte. 7 twa sopcuppan. 7 an sæolfran fæt; 7 ˇæ leof æadmodlice bidde for godes luuan. 7 for mines hlafordæs sawle lufan. 7 for minræ swystor sawlæ lufan ˇæt ˇu amundie ˇa halgan stowæ et Stocæ ˇæ mine yldran on restaˇ. 7 ˇa are ˇæ hi ˇiderin sæadon a to freogon godæs rihte; ˇæt is ˇonno ˇæt ic gean æalswa mine yldran his 'er' gæuˇan ˇæt is ˇonne ˇæt land æt Stoce into ˇeræ halagan stowæ. 7 æal ˇæt ˇæt ˇær to tunæ gæhyr∂. 7 ˇonæ wuda æt Hæˇfælda ˇæ min swystar gæuˇæ. 7 mine yldran. ˇonne synd ˇis ˇa land ˇæ minæ yldran ˇærto bæcwædon ofær minre swystor dæg. 7 ofær minne. ˇæt is ∂onne Stredfordæ. 7 Fresantun. 7 Wiswyˇetun. 7 Lauanham. 7 Byliesdyne. 7 Polstyde. 7 Wifærmyrsc. 7 Grænstydæ. 7 Peltandune. 7 Myræsegæ. 7 ˇæt wudæland æt Totham ˇæ min fæder geuˇæ into Myresiæ. 7 Colne. 7 Tigan; ˇonne synd ˇis ˇa land ˇe minæ yldran becwædon into oˇrum. halgum stowum. ˇæt is ˇonne into Cantwarabyrig to Cristæs circan ˇan hired to brece ˇes landes æt Illanlege 7 into Paules mynstre into Lundene. ˇes lan'des' æt Hedham to biscophame. 7 ˇes landes æt Tidwoldingtune ˇan hirede to brece into Paules mynstre. 7 into Beorcingan ˇam hirede to brece ˇes landes æt Babbingˇyrnan. 7 ic gean Ælfˇ'r'æ∂e minæs hlauordæs medder Wuduhamæs æftær minum dæge. 7 æfter hiræ dege gange hit into sancta Marian stowæ into Beorcingan æalswa hit stænt mid mæte. 7 mid mannum; 7 ic gæan into [s]ancte Æadmunde. ˇara twegra landa Cæorlesweorˇæ. 7 Cochanfelde ˇam hirede to bre[ce] æalswa mine yldran his er geuˇan. 7 ˇæs landes æt 'H'nyddinge æftær Crawan degæ miræ magan. 7 ic gæan into Myresie. æfter minum degæ ealswa min hlaford 7 min swester geuˇan. ˇæt is Fingringaho. 7 ˇara six hida ˇæ ˇæt mynstær on stent; 7 ic gæan ef[te]r Crawan dege ˇes landes æt Wealdingafelda into Su∂byrig to sanctæ Gregoriæ ealswa min swestar hit er foræwyrde; 7 ic gean into Ælig sanctæ Petre. 7 sanctæ Æˇældryˇe. 7 sancte Wihtburhe. 7 sanctæ Sexburhe. 7 sancte Æormenhilde ˇer mines hlafordes lichoma rest ˇara ˇreo landa ˇe wit buta geheotan gode. 7 his halga[n]. ˇæt is æt Rettendune ˇe wes min morgangyfu. 7 æt Sægham. 7 æt Dictune ealswa min hlaford. 7 min swæstar his er geuˇan. 7 ˇaræ anre hide æt Cæafle ˇe min swystar begeat. 7 ˇes bæahges gemacan ˇe man sæalde minum hlaforde to sawlescæatte. 7 ic gean Æ∂elm[æ]re æaldorman ˇes landes æt Lellinge ofer mine deg mid mete. 7 mid mannum. æalswa hit stent on ˇet gerad ˇæt he beo on minum life min fulla freod. 7 forespreca. 7 mira manna. 7 efter minum dege beo ˇara halgan stowe. 7 ˇeræ are ful freod. 7 forespeca æt Stocæ ˇe mine yldran on restaˇ. 7 ic gean ˇes landes æt Lissingtune E∂elmere mines . . . . . . e mid mete. 7 mid mannum ealswa hit stent. 7 hine eadmodlice bi'd'de ˇæt he min fulla freod. 7 mundiend beo on minum dege. 7 efter minum dege gefelste ˇæt min cwide 7 mira yldran standan mote: ˇis sind ˇa landmearca to Byligesdyne of ∂a burnan. æt Humelcyrre. fra[m] Humelcyr[re . . . . . . ] Heregeresheafode. fram Heregeresheafode æfter ∂am ealdan hege to ∂are grene æc. ˇonne for∂ ˇæt hit cym∂ to ˇare stanstræte. of ˇare stanstræte 7lang scrybbe ˇæt hit cym∂ to Acantune fram Acyntune ˇæt hit cym∂ to Rigendune. fram Rigindune æft to ˇara burnan. 7 ˇær. Is. landes fif hida. ˇis sind ˇa landgemæra to Hwifermirsce 7 to Polestede. of Loppandune to Scelfleage. fram Leage to Mercyl 7lang Mercyl into Sture. 7lang Sture to Leofmannes gemære. 7lang Leofmannes gæmære to Amalburnan. fram Amalburnan to Nor∂felda. ∂onne for∂ to Bindhæcce. fram Bindhæcce to Tudanhæcce. fram Tudanhæcce to Giddincgforda fram Giddingforda to Hnutstede fram Huntstede to Hwitincgho fram Hwitingho to Wudemannestune. fram Wudemannestune to [Cær]esige gæmære. fram Cæresige gemære to Hædleage gemære. fram Hædleage gæmære to Hligham gemære. Fram Hligham gemære eft to Loppandun.