His Will

Book 2, Chapter 5, 878 AD to 901 AD – Summary of Alfred’s Character

One of his latest acts was in beautiful harmony with the general tenor of his life, and it serves to show, incidentally, the mode of transmitting property at that time by testamentary bequests. By the will of Ethelwulf, certain lands had been entailed to his sons in succession, and on the death of Ethelred, the last survivor excepting himself, Alfred tells us , ” I laid before our witenagemot at Langden, the will of King Ethelwulf, which was read before all the West Saxon nobility, whom I therefore entreated, as they loved me, (pledging myself to them in the meantime that I would bear no ill will to any of them for declaring what he deemed to be right,) that none of them would be deterred by love or fear from pronouncing what was just, lest any man should say that I had defrauded my kinsfolk, whether old or young. Whereupon they, unanimously declared that no more rightful title could be conceived, or by deed assured. ‘Now,’ said they, ‘it is all delivered into thy hand, and thou mayest bequeath and give it either to a kinsman or a stranger, as seemeth thee best.’ And they all pledged themselves to me under their hands that so long as they should live, no man should frustrate whatsoever I should on the following day declare to be my purpose.

“After having provided for the distribution of his property, Alfred’s will proceeds to say, ” I do entreat, in the name of God and his saints, that none of my kindred or heirs abridge the liberty of those whom I have redeemed from slavery. The West Saxon nobility have pronounced it lawful for me to leave them bond or free, whichever I will. But I, for God’s love, and for my soul’s weal, desire that they remain free and at their own disposal. And I do entreat, in the name of the living God, that no man disturb them by exactions of money, or in any other manner, but that they are at liberty to serve any lord whom they may choose.  Lastly, I will that men seek with a living sacrifice for the health of my soul, in the best manner that may be, as it is fitting also it should be, and in proportion as ye are inclined to forgive me yourselves.”


Chapter 5, Alfred’s Fortifications

Effects of the Danish Ravages

Alfred’s Measures for the Defence of the Country

Fortifications

Navy

New Attacks under Hasting

Chapter 5, Revolt in the Danelagh

Revolt in the Danelagh

Four Years of Conflict

Chapter 5, Alfred’s Educational Efforts

Ultimate Success

Hume’s Estimate of Alfred

His care for Internal Prosperity of the Country

State of Learning

Educational Efforts

Asser’s Friendship

His Computation and Division of Time

Chapter 5, Alfred’s Industry and Zeal

Alfred’s Industry and zeal

Application of his Revenue

Chapter 5, Saxon Laws

The Domboc

Saxon Laws

Alfred’s Watchfulness over the Executive

Origin of Jury

Divisions of the Country

Chapter 5, Summary of Alfred’s Character

The king’s Illness and Death

His Will

Summary of Character

Authorities



Categories: Book 2

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