A.D. 975 x 1016. Will of Ælfhelm (Polga), including bequests of land at Wratting, Cambs., to Ely Abbey; at Brickendon, Herts., to Westminster Abbey; at Whepstead, Suffolk, and Walton (perhaps near Felixstowe, Suffolk), to his son Ælfgar; and at Baddow and Burstead, Essex, at Stratford, (probably Stratford St Mary, Suffolk), at Enhale and Wilbraham, Cambs., at Rayne, Essex, at Carlton, Cambs., and at Gestingthorpe, Essex, to his wife; at Gestingthorpe, Essex, to Godric and Ælfhelm's daughter; at Conington, Cambs., to his wife and daughter, and to Æthelric, Ælfwold and Osmær; also at Cockayne Hatley and Potton, Beds., to Ælfmær, Ælfstan and Osgar; at Littlebury (near Saffron Walden), Essex, to Leofsige, and at Great Staughton, Hunts., to Leofsige and his wife; also at Troston, Suffolk, to his three brothers and Ælfwold; at Ickleton, Cambs., and Mawyrthe to Ælfhelm; and at Barnham (probably Suffolk), to Wulfmær. English




1. London, British Library, Stowe Charters 36 (s. xi; OS Facs., iii. 37)
2. London, British Library, Add. 4562, ff. 314r-318r (s. xviii; ex 1)
3. Oxford, Bodleian Library, Eng. hist. a. 2 (S.C. 31346), no. XVIII (s. xviii; translation, with notes)


Lye 1772, ii, Appendix, ii. 1, ex MS 1; K, 967, ex MS 1; B, 1306

Printed and Translated:

Thorpe, pp. 596-9, ex K; Whitelock, Wills, no. 13 (pp. 30-5)


Madox 1702, p. ii n; Fowler 1920, no. 9 and pp. 50-2; PN Beds. and Hunts., pp. 105, 106; PN Beds. and Hunts., pp. 182, 267; Whitelock, Wills, pp. 133-7; Hart 1964a, p. 65, contemporary, discusses descent of Hatley and Potton; Hart, ECEE, no. 24, authentic, dates 989; Hart, ECE, no. 24, original; Finberg 1972, p. 498, cited; Brooke and Keir 1975, p. 369, authentic; Harvey 1977, p. 23; Brooks 1978, pp. 87-91, on heriot; Gelling, ECTV, no. 172 (pp. 20, 86), original; Holt 1982, pp. 196-7; Whybra 1990, p. 104 n. 108; Keynes 1994, pp. 170-2; Kennedy 1995, p. 166, on legal background

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    • Herein is the declaration of how Ælfhelm has disposed of his property and his goods in fulfilment of his duties both to God and men. First to his lord a hundred mancuses of gold and two swords and four shields and four spears and four horses, two of them harnessed and two unharnessed. And for his soul he grants to St Etheldreda's the estate at Wratting except the two hides which Æthelric has. And I grant the estate at Brickendon to St Peter's at Westminster, but it is my wish that when there is mast, two hundred pigs be fed for my wife's sake, to benefit whatever foundation she pleases. And I grant to my son Ælfgar the estate at Whepstead and that at Walton for his lifetime, and after his death they are to go wherever he pleases, for the souls of both of us. And I declare what I gave to my wife as a marriage-gift, namely, Baddow and Burstead and Stratford and the three hides at Enhale. And when we first came together, I gave her the two hides at Wilbraham, and Rayne and whatever pertains to it. And I grant her Carlton and I grant her the chief messuage at Gestingthorpe, and all the possessions that are on it, including produce and men; but I grant to Godric and my daughter half the woodland and open land, except that which I grant to my priest. And I grant to my wife and my daughter half the estate at Conington, to divide between them, except the four hides which I grant to Æthelric and Ælfwold, and the half hide which I grant to my servant Osmær. And I grant to Ælfmær and his brother Ælfstan, to divide between them the two estates, Hatley and Potton, except what I Grant to Osgar. And I grant to Godhere what I bought from Wimund. And I grant Littlebury to Leofsige after my death, on condition that the agreement which we concluded before the ealdorman shall hold good. And I grant to him and his wife the estate at Stockton for a hundred mancuses of gold, and I wish that the gold be given to my lord in payment of my heriot. And I grant to be divided among my three brothers the estate at Troston, except that I grant to Ælfwold that which Æthelric had. And I grant Ælfhelm the hide at Ickleton and the property at Maworth. And I grant Wulfmær what I had at Barnham. And for my soul's sake I grant my long-ship to Ramsey, half for the abbot, and half for the community. And I grant to my wife half the stud at Troston, and half to my companions who ride with me. And my wife is to succeed to half of what is on the woodland, and my daughter to half. And I wish that my wife shall in all cases receive half the stock at each village, whoever may succeed to the land, as it was granted to her. Now I pray you, dear lord, that my will may stand, and that you will not permit it to be wrongfully altered. God is my witness that I was as obedient to your father as ever I could be, and thoroughly loyal in thought and deed, and was ever faithful to you with perfect loyalty and devotion; of this God is my witness. That man who shall alter my will (unless it be you, Sire, and I am confident that you will not), may God drive him from his kingdom, unless he will quickly alter it back again; and may God and all his saints maintain each of those who give their support that the will may stand. Endorsed: If anyone ever alters or removes anything in this will, may God's grace and his eternal reward be taken from him for ever; and may he never be found in his favour, but be excommunicated from the society of all Christ's chosen companies, both now and in eternity, unless he will quickly desist from that and also make full restitution.
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    • Her is on sio swutelung hu Ælfhelm his are. 7 his æhta geuadod hæf∂. for gode. 7 for wurulde. ˇæt is ˇonne ærest his hlaforde. an hund mancosa goldes. 7 twa swurd. 7 feorwer scyldas. 7 feower speru. 7 feower hors. twa gerædode. twa ungerædode. 7 he gean for his sawle ˇæs landes. æt Wrættincge. into sancte Æˇeldry∂e. buton ˇam twam hydon ˇe Æˇelric hæf∂. 7 ic gean ˇæs landes. æt Brycandune. into sancte Petre. to Westmenstre. buton ic wylle ˇæt man mæste minum wiue. twa hund swyna. ˇænne ˇær mæsten sy. ˇider hire leouest sy. 7 ic gean Ælfgare minum suna. ˇæs landes æt Hwipstede. 7 'ˇæs' æt Wealtune. his dæg. 7 æfter his dæge. ga hyt for uncra begra sawle ˇider him leouest sy. 7 ic cyˇe hwæt ic minum wiue to morgengyue sealde. ˇæt is Beadewan. 7 Burgestede. 7 Strætford. 7 ˇa ˇreo hyda æt Heanhealan. 7 ic gef hire ˇa wyt ærest togædere comon. ˇa twa hyda æt Wilburgeham. 7 æt Hrægenan. 7 ˇæt ˇærto li∂. 7 ic gean hire Carletunes. 7 ic gean hire ˇæs heauodbotles æt Gyrstlingaˇorpe. 7 ealra ˇara æhta ˇe ˇæron standa∂. mid mete. 7 mid mannum. buton ic gean Godrice. 7 minre dehter healues ˇæs landes. be wuda. 7 be felda. buton ˇam ˇe ic minum preoste gean. 7 ic gean minum wiue. 7 minre dehter healues ˇæs landes. æt Cunningtune. to gedale. buton ˇam feower hydon ˇe ic Æˇelrice 7 Alfwolde gean. 7 ˇa healuan hyde ˇe ic gean Osmære minum cnihte. 7 ic gean Ælfmære. 7 his bre∂er Ælfstane. ˇara twegra landa. to gedale. æt Hættanlea. 7 æt Pottune. buton ˇam ˇe ic Osgare gean. 7 ic gean Godere ˇæs ˇe ic æt Wimunde gebohte. 7 ic gean Leofsige Lytlanbyrig æfter minum dæge. on ˇæt gerad ˇe ˇæt stande. ˇe wyt beforan ˇan ealdormen lucan. 7 ic gean him 7 his wiue ˇæs landes æt Stoctune. wi∂ an hund mancosa goldes. 7 ic wylle ˇæt man selle minum hlaforde ˇæt gold. to minum heregeatum. 7 ic gean minum ˇrym broˇron. to gedale ˇæs landes æt Trostingtune. buton ˇam ˇe ic gean Alfwolde. ˇæs ˇe Æˇelric hæfde. 7 ic gean Ælfhelme. ˇære hyde æt Icelingtune. 7 ˇæs æt Mawyrˇe. 7 ic gean Wulfmære ˇæs ˇe ic æt Byornham hæfde. 7 ic gean minre scæ∂e. for mire sawle into Hramesege. healfe ˇan abbode. 7 healue ˇam hirede. 7 ic gean minum wiue healues ˇæs stodes æt Trostingtune. 7 minan geferan healues ˇe me mid rida∂. 7 fo min wif to healuan ˇe on wealde is. 7 min dohter to hea'l'uan. 7 ic wylle ˇæt min wif fo æfre to healfan æhtan on ælcon tune fo to lande se ˇe fo. swa. hio to forgyuen wæs; Nu bydde Ic ˇe leof hlaford. ˇæt min cwyde standan mote. 7 ˇæt ˇu ne geˇauige. ˇæt hine man mid wuo wende. god is min gewyta ic wæs ˇinum fæder swa gehyrsum swa ic fyrmest myhte. 7 fullice hold on mode. 7 on mægene. 7 ˇe æfre on fullon hyldon hold. 7 on fulre luue. ˇæs me is god gewyta. se man se ˇe minne cwyde wende. buton ˇu hyt sy leof. 7 ic hæbbe geleauan ˇæt ˇu nelle. god afyrre hine of his rice. buton he ˇe hraˇor ongen wende. 7 god 7 ealle his halgan gehealde æcne ˇara ˇe ˇærto gefyrˇryge ˇæt he standan mote. In bottom right hand corner: Gif hwa Endorsed: Gif hwa æfre ænig ˇinc of ˇysum cwyde awende oˇˇe ætbrede. sy him godes ar 7 his ece edlean æfre ætbroden. 7 he næfre ne wurˇe on his myltse gemet. ac he sy amansumod of ˇam gemanan ealra gecorenra Cristes heapa. ge nu ge on ecnysse buton he ˇe hrædlicor ˇæt forlæte. 7 on riht eac eft gewende.