EXTRACTS FROM THE WILL OF AELFGIFU
Translation as given in “Anglo-Saxon Wills,” edited by Miss Dorothy Whitelock; reproduced by her kind permission.
This Aelfgifu’s request of her royal lord; she prays him for the love of God and for the sake of his royal dignity, that she may be entitled to make her will. then she makes known to you, Sire, by your consent what she wishes to give to God’s Church for you and for your soul. First she grants to the Old Minister, where she intends her body to be buried, the estate of Risborough just as it stands, except that, with your consent, she wishes that at each village every penalty enslaved man who was subject to her shall be freed ….
And I grant to my royal lord the estate at Wing, Linslade, Haefaeresham (i.e. Haversham), Hatfield, Masworth, and Gussage; and two armlets, each of a 120 mancuses, and a drinking cup and six horses, and as many shields and spears. And to the Aetheling the estate at Newnham and an armlet of 30 mancuses. And to the Queen a necklace of 120 mancuses and an armlet of 30 mancuses and a drinking cup.
And I grant to Bishop Aethelwold(1). the estate at Taeafirsceat, and I pray him that he will always intercede for my mother and for me …. And to each abbot 5 pounds of pence for the repair of their minster.
And, Sire, with your consent (I wish) that I may entrust the surplus to the Bishop and the Abbot for the repair of the foundation, and for them to distribute for me among the poor men according as seems to them most profitable for me in God’s sight.
And I beseech my royal lord for the love of God, that he will not desert my men who seek his protection and are worthy of him.
And I grant to Aelfweard a drinking cup, and to Aethelweard(2) an ornamented drinking horn.
(1) Aethelwold was bishop of Winchester 963-984
(2) Aethelweard was her brother and was Ealdorman.