Archive: Canterbury, Christ Church

A.D. 833 x 839. Will of Abba, reeve, concerning his property (the only named land being at Chillenden, Kent); with endorsement detailing the arrangements made by Heregyth, his wife, for an annual render to Christ Church, Canterbury, from an estate at Challock, Kent. English.


(1) in a contemporary hand: Abban geroefan (a)rf(e)ged(a)l: his geðinga to Kristes cirica(n).
(2) in a hand of s. xii: Testamentum Abbe cuius uxor Henhith dedit Cheafloke conventui tempore Chelnothi. Anglice.
(3) in a hand of s. xiv: Anno DCCCoXXXoVo.

+ Ic Abba geroefa cyðe 7 writan hate hu min willa is þæt mon ymb min ærfe gedoe æfter minum dæge. Ærest ymb min lond þe ic hæbbe, 7 me God lah, 7 ic æt minum hlafordum begæt, is min willa gif me God bearnes unnan wille, ðæt hit foe to londe æfter me 7 his bruce mid minum gemeccan; 7 sioððan swæ forð min cynn ða hwile þe God wille ðæt ðeara ænig sie þe londes weorðe sie 7 land gehaldan cunne. Gif me ðonne gifeðe sie, ðæt ic bearn begeotan ne mege, þonne is min willa þæt hit hæbbe min wiif ða hwile ðe hia hit mid clennisse gehaldan wile. 7 min broðar Alchhere hire fultume 7 þæt lond hire nytt gedoe; 7 him man sElle an half swulung an Ciollandene to habbanne 7 to brucanne, wið ðan ðe he ðy geornliocar hire ðearfa bega 7 bewiotige; 7 mon selle him to ðem londe IIII oxan 7 II cy 7 L scEpa 7 ænne horn. Gif min wiif ðonne hia nylle mid clennisse swæ gehaldan, 7 hire liofre sie oðer hemed to niomanne, ðonne foen mine megas to ðem londe 7 hire agefen hire agen. Gif hire ðonne liofre sie an mynster to ganganne oðða suð to faranne, ðonne agefen hie twægen mine mEgas Alchhere 7 Aeðelwold hire twa ðusenda 7 fon him to ðem londe; 7 agefe mon to Liminge L eawa 7 V cy fore hie. 7 mon selle to Folcanstane in mid minum lice X oxan 7 X cy 7 C eawa 7 C swina 7 higum ansundran D pend', wið ðan ðe min wiif þær benuge innganges swæ mid minum lice swæ sioððan yferran dogre swæ hwæder swæ hire liofre sie. Gif higan ðonne oððe hlaford þæt nylle hire mynsterlifes geunnan, oðða hia siolf nylle, 7 hire oðer ðing liofre sie, þonne agefe mon ten hund pend' inn mid minum lice me wið legerstowe, 7 higum an sundran fif hund pend' fore mine sawle. 7 ic bidde 7 bebeode swælc monn se ðæt min lond hebbe ðæt he ælce gere agefe ðem higum æt Folcanstane L ambra maltes 7 VI ambra gruta 7 III wega spices 7 ceses 7 CCCC hlafa 7 an hriðr 7 VI scep. 7 swælc monn se ðe to minum ærfe foe, ðonne gedele he ælcum messepreoste binnan Cent mancus goldes 7 ælcum Godes ðiowe pend' 7 to Sancte Petre min wærgeld twa ðusenda. 7 Freoðomund foe to minum sweorde 7 agefe ðeræt feower ðusenda, 7 him mon forgefe ðeran ðreotene hund pending. 7 gif mine broðar ærfeweard gestrionen ðe londes weorðe sie, þonne ann ic ðem londes. Gif hie ne gestrionen oðða him sylfum ælles hwæt sEle, æfter hiora dege ann ic his Freoðomunde gif he ðonne lifes bið. Gif him elles hwæt sæleð, ðonne ann ic his minra swæstarsuna swælcum se hit geðian wile 7 him gifeðe bið. 7 gif þæt gesele þæt min cynn to ðan clane gewite ðæt ðer ðeara nan ne sie ðe londes weorðe sie, þonne foe se hlaford to 7 ða higan æt Kristes cirican 7 hit minum gaste nytt gedoen. An ðas redenne ic hit ðider selle, ðe se monn se ðe Kristes cirican hlaford sie, 'se' min 7 minra erfewearda forespreoca 7 mundbora, 7 an his hlaforddome 'we' bian moten.
+ Ic Ciolnoð mid Godes gefe ærcebiscop ðis write 7 ðeafie 7 mid Cristes rode tacne hit festniæ.
+ Ic Beagmund preost ðis ðeafie 7 write.
+ Ic Wærhard preost abbod ðis ðeafie 7 write.
+ Ic Abba geroefa ðis write 7 festnie mid Kristes rode tacne.
+ Ic Aeðelhun preost ðis ðeafie 7 write.
+ Ic Abba preost ðis ðeafie 7 write.
+ Ic Wigmund preost ðis write 7 ðeafie.
+ Ic Iof preost ðis ðeafie 7 write.
+ Ic Osmund preost ðis ðeafie 7 write.
+ Ic Wealhhere diacon ðis write 7 ðeafie.
+ Ic Badanoð diacon ðis write 7 ðeafie.
+ Ic Heaberht diacon ðis write 7 ðeafie.
+ Ic Noðwulf subdiacon ðis write 7 ðeafie.
+ Ic Wealhhere subdiacon ðis write 7 ðeafie.
+ Ic Ciolwulfsubdiacon ðis write 7 ðeafie.

+ Heregyð hafað ðas wisan binemned ofer hire deg 7 ofer Abban ðæm higum et Cristes cirican of ðæm londe et Cealflocan. ðæt is ðonne ðritig ombra alað 7 ðreo hund hlafa, ðeara bið fiftig hwitehlafa, an weg spices 7 ceses, an ald hriðer, feower weðras, an suin, oððe sex weðras, sex gosfuglas, ten hennfuglas, ðritig teapera, gif hit wintres deg sie, sester fulne huniges, sester fulne butran, sester fulne saltes. 7 Heregyð bibeadeð ðem mannum ðe efter hire to londe foen, on Godes noman, ðæt hie fulgere witen ðæt hie ðiss gelEsten ðe on ðissem gewrite binemned is ðem higum to Cristes cirican, '7 ðæt sie simle to higna blodlese ymb twelf monað agefen'. 7 se mann se to londe foe, agefe hire erfehonda XIII pund pendinga; 7 hio forgifeð fiftene pund for ðy ðe mon ðas feorme ðy soel gelæste.

The distribution of the Reeve Abba's property and his covenant [with the community] at Christ Church.

I, Reeve Abba, declare and command to be written what are my wishes as to the disposal of my property after my time.

In the first place, with regard to the land which I have, and God gave me, and I received from my lords, it is my desire that if God will give me a child, he shall have the land after me, and enjoy it with my wife; and similarly, that after him my descendants [shall continue to hold it], as long as it is God's will that there be any of them able and qualified to hold land. If, however, it is my lot not to have a child, then I desire that my wife shall have it as long as she is willing to keep it without marrying again. And my brother Alchhere is to give her his support and to see that she has the profits from the land; and he is to be given half a ploughland at Chillenden for his possession and use, in order that he may the more zealously attend to and look after her needs; and with the land are to be given him four oxen, two cows, fifty sheep, and a horn. If, however, my wife is not willing to remain unwedded, and prefers to contract another marriage, then my kinsmen are to take the land and to give her own property to her. Again, if she prefers to enter a convent or to journey south, then my two kinsmen Alchhere and Aethelwold are to give her two thousand, and to take possession of the land; and fifty ewes and five cows are to be given to Lyminge on her behalf. And at my funeral, ten oxen, ten cows, one hundred ewes, and one hundred swine are to be given to Folkestone, and to the community severally, five hundred pence, in order that my wife may have the privilege of entering there, either at my funeral, or at a later day, whichever she may prefer. If, however, the community or their head will not grant her admittance into the convent, or if she herself does not desire it, but prefers some other course, then one thousand pence are to be given at my funeral for my resting-place, and to the community severally, five hundred pence on behalf of my soul.

And whosoever may have this land of mine, I pray and command him to give annually to the community at Folkestone fifty ?ambers? of malt, six ?ambers? of meal, three weys of lard and cheese, four hundred loaves, one bullock and six sheep. And whosoever may succeed to my property is to distribute to every priest in Kent a mancus of gold, and to every servant of God a penny, and to St Peter my wergeld of two thousand. And Freothomund is to have my sword, and he is to give four thousand for it, and of this sum, thirteen hundred pence are to be given back to him.

And if my brothers have an heir capable of holding land, then I give the land to him. If they have no heir, or if anything happens to him (or them), after their death I give it to Freothomund, if he be alive at the time. If anything happens to him, then I give it to whichever of my sisters? sons is willing to receive it and succeeds in getting it. And if it come to pass that my family dies out so utterly that there be none of them able to hold land, then let the community at Christ Church and their lord take it, and procure by means of it benefits for my soul. On this condition I give it to them, that whoever is head of Christ Church shall be the advocate and patron of myself and my heirs, and that we may be under his protection.
I Ceolnoth, archbishop by God's grace, consent to this in writing and confirm it with Christ's cross......

Heregyth has specified the following terms for the community at Christ Church [with regard to payments] from the estate at Challock, after her death and Abba's: namely, thirty ?ambers? of ale, three hundred loaves, fifty of which shall be white loaves, a wey of lard and cheese, a fullgrown bullock, four sheep and a pig, or six sheep, six geese, ten hens, thirty tapers if it is in winter, a ?sester? full of honey, a ?sester? full of butter and a ?sester? full of salt. And Heregyth enjoins, in the name of God, upon those persons who succeed to the estate after her, that they be very careful to carry out what is stipulated in this document for the community at Christ Church, and that payment always be made annually, when the community are bled. And whosoever succeeds to the estate is to give to her administrator(?) thirteen pounds in silver; and she remits fifteen pounts in order that this food-rent may be the better provided.