Benefactors and Benefactions

Duke Ailwyn

The Duke Ailwyn gave to Ramsey Abbey the whole of the Isle of Ramsey, with its adjacent marshes and pools.

Also the Estate of Upwood, which had come to him as a gift* (from his Mother Alfwen who had been given Upwood by King Edgar, for looking after him in his childhood), with the fisheries of the neighbouring streams pertaining to it. Although during Ailwyns lifetime he kept his own Hall and household at Upwood , where he could hunt, fowl, and hawk among the woods and fen marshes. In addition he gave Raveley with Lordship and due service of it’s men in perpetual inheritance.

He also gave everything which fell within his jurisdiction in Sawtry, also he gave the land of Hilgay (Norfolk), which was surrounded on all sides by waters and the deep ooze of marshes, with it’s berewick Snore, because it was held outside of the island, and the nearby mill. He also gave to the church half of the fishery of the same place, and the other half to his sons.

He also gave 5 hides at Walsoken (Norfolk)and half of the fishery which belonged to him in Wella (Upwell and Outwell, Cambs) near to his death he gave the other half of the fishery and the dwellings and tofts of the fishermen.

For his own salvation and that of both his parents he gave to Ramsey the land of Brington which he had inherited after his father’s death and 10 hides which he also inherited after his mother’s death. This was the land at Weston which was given to Ailwyn’s mother by King Edgar for looking after him as a foster-mother, when he was a baby.

Ailwyn also gave 10 hides at Gidding and Wedetone (Woodwalton?) he gave 7 hides at Stukeley and a certain part of 10 hides which he had at Toft for the soul of Ethelflaed his wife. Furthermore he gave land at Oakley, which had been left to him by a priest called Kinemund in his will.

He also gave 6 hides at Wangford (Suffolk), in addition he granted enduring rights to a meadow in Houghton and a mill. Ailwyn granted to Ramsey, land at Hemingford, which had been bought from St Ethelwold of Winchester, in exchange for land owned in Hatfield, he did this because of its closer proximity to Ramsey.

First among the other Benefactors were the family and friends of Alderman Ailwyn.

The following list is taken from the Monasticon:-

AD 969 – St Oswald and Duke Ailwyn built Ramsey Abbey

AD 977 – Countess Ethelfleda first wife of Ailwyn died, gave us Saltreia (Sawtry)

AD 981 – Count Ethelwold died, the brother of Ailwyn, and is buried at Ramsey

AD 983 – Alfwen mother of Count Ailwyn died, who gave us Weston, and is buried at Chateriz ( Chatteris )

AD 985Ethelgiva died the second wife of Count Ailwyn. who gave us Stowe and Brune. Indeed Count Ailwyn had three wives, first Ethelfleda, second Ethelgiva, third Wlfgiva

AD 986 – Ethelstan Manesune married a relative of Oswald, and was father of Eadnoth (junior)the 1st Abbot of Ramsey, when he died, he gave us Chateriz and Clopham, Gravele, Weresle, Ellsworth and is buried at Ramsey. In the following year Ethelsin brother of Ailwyn died and is buried at Ramsey.

AD 988 – St Dunstan died, who gave us Warboys, and in the next year died Alfelinus, who gave land at Ecclye and Potton, and he is buried at Ramsey.

AD 990 – Count Alfwold, the brother of Alfwen, who gave to Ramsey Hotton (Houghton) and Witton (Wyton), Rippon cum Wennington, Bithern cum Elinton and is buried at Ramsey.

AD 993 – St Oswald died and in the same year Count Ailwyn.

AD 994Countess Wulgiva died, third wife of Ailwyn, who gave Brancaster to clothe the monks, and is buried in Ramsey.

AD 997 – Countess Ethelfleda died, the wife of Ethelwold, the brother of Ailwyn, who conferred many benefits on Ramsey and is buried there in a small Chapel.

AD 998 – Black Ailwyn died, who gave Clopham, Gerdington, Kembeston et Cranfield, and is buried at Ramsey.

AD 1007 – Alfwara died, who gave Haliwell and the Church of Ellesworth, of which she was Patroness, and land at Burleya and many ornaments and is buried at Ramsey.

AD 1013 – Godricus died, who was brother of Aednoth furst Abbot of Ramsey, who gave land at Eyrnington.

AD 1019 – Arnketel died and Wlfron his wife, who gave land at Hikkeling and at Kuldoton, and are buried at Ramsey. Of this father and mother was born Ethelstan, the fourth Abbot of Ramsey.

AD 1022 – Alfwin the son of Bricius died, who placed us scalp or caul, and hair, at Ramsey. He gave Lanshut and Halstede.

AD 1029 – Count Brithnoth died, who gave to Ramsey Wichington and Dodington for perpetual alms.

AD 1051 – Jol, died who gave Querington, Sleford, and Cranewell.

AD 1054 – Wak. our brother died, who gave Withlismara.

AD 1056 – Leofwina died, who gave Stotton, Dillington, Gravele, and Gillinge and one best cross, and is buried at Ramsey.

Other notable Benefactors were Kings Edgar, Edward the Martyr and Ethelred his brother-both sons of Edgar, Cnut, Hardecnut, Henry 1, Stephen, Henry 11, Richard 1, and John.

Of eminent clerics were Dunstan and Oswald, and other Abbots of Ramsey. Their gifts were ornaments for Churches and Estates, fisheries, tolls of markets and fairs, and even wreckages on the sea coast of Norfolk, bordering on the property there belonging to the Abbey.

Dugdale also tells us, that the Abbey owned the following list of Churches and Estates at the suppression of the Monasteries.

At that time Huntingdonshire was in the Diocese of Lincoln, and Ramsey owned the following Churches:-

Diocese of Lincoln

All Saints Church – Slepe ( St Ives )                 St Martin Church – Stivecle ( Stukeley )
All Saints Church – Shyllington                         St Andrew’s Church – Huntingdon
St Nicolas Church – Barton                               St Martin Church – Hemingford
St Peters Church – Cranfield                             St John Baptist Church – Haliwell( Holywell )
All Saints Church – Elyington                            All Saints Church – Allington
St Andrew Church – Abbots Ripton                 All Saints Church – Brington
St Marys Church – Houghton                            St Mary ‘s Church – Torfield
St Mary’s Church – Wardebois ( Warboys )    St Andrew Church – Bernewell ( Barnwell )
All Saints Church – Broughton                          St andrew Church – Giddynge ( Gidding )
St Andrew Church – Walton

Churches in Bishopric of Ely

St Mary Church – Quere ( Quy ? )

Holy Trinity Church – Ellesworth

St Andrew Church – Gritton ( Girton ? )

St Botolph Church – Gravele
All Saints Church – Knapwell

The Churches in the Bishopric of Norwich

St Mary Church – Bonwell              St Edward Church – Dunham
All Saints Church – Lansil              St Peter Church – Ryngsted
St Peter Church – Wells                  St Mary Church – Brancestre ( Brancaster )
All Saints Church – Walsoken        St Mary Church – Depedale
All Saints Church – Helyngege      St Albert Church – Brunham

The Abbey also had the Patronage of the Churches of Wistowe ( Wistow ), Stivecle ( Stukeley ), Giddynge Abbots, Cherfield, in the Diocese of Lincoln; and of Downham, Upwell and Walsoken in the Diocese of Norwich.

The extent of the Abbey Estates can be found in the Land section of this site.