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The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity


from its origins to circa AD 700, across the entire Christian world


The will of Burgundofara, disciple of Columbanus and monastic founder, includes donations to her monastic community, dedicated to *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033) and *Peter (the Apostle, S00036), at Faremoutiers, northern Gaul. Will written in Latin at Faremoutiers, 633/4.

Evidence ID

E07793

Type of Evidence

Documentary texts - Will

Will of Burgundofara

The will is dated 26 October, in the 5th regnal year of King Dagobert I (633 or 634; the reference is to Dagobert's reign as king of all Francia, which began in 629). Burgundofara begins (1-3) by stating that she has withdrawn from the world and founded the monastery of Eboriacus (Faremoutiers). She wishes to set down a will to confirm what she is leaving to the monastery. She then begins to list her bequests.

4. Itaque ego Burgundofara, honorans praedictum locum Eboriacum situm in pago Briegio quod est constructum in honore domnae ac sanctae Mariae et sancti Petri apostolorum principis, bona quae videbar habere in saeculo, id est ...

'4. Therefore I, Burgundofara, honouring the aforesaid place, Eboricacus, situated in the district of Brie, which has been built in honour of Mary, Lady and Saint, and of saint Peter, prince of the Apostles, give in perpetuity those goods which I seem to have in the world, that is ...'

Burgundofara goes on (4-5) to specify her share of two villas, together with their agricultural land, serfs, and toll-rights. She then states the following:

6. Volo esse in praedicto monasterio donatum villam cognomento Dulgofaiacus sitam in pago Aliodrense, medietatem illam quam mihi bonae recordationis genitor meus Agnericus quondam per testimenti sui paginam delegavit, cum terris, mancipiis, vineis, silvis, pratis, pascuis aquis aquarumve decursibus ecclesiae domnae Mariae et sancti Petri Eboriacis monasterii.

'6. I also wish to be given to the aforesaid monastery that half of the villa called Dulgofaiacus, situated in the district of Augers, which my father Chagneric, of good memory, formerly conferred on me through the text of his testament, together with the lands, serfs, vineyards, woods, meadows, pasturage, ponds and watercourses, for the church of Lady Mary and saint Peter of the monastery of Eboriacus.'


She bequeaths another villa to the monastery (7), then leaves her share in another villa to her brothers Chagnulf and Burgundofaro, and sister Agnetrada (9). She makes bequests to the monastery of property in the town of Meaux, and of two water-mills (10-12), then adds:

13. Et ut festi dies ante sanctum altare solemnius recolantur, dare volo vineas, id est pedeturas duas in Cavaniaco villa in [pago] Kalense, quas contra germanum meum Chagnulfum in concambio visa sum accepisse, supradictae basilicae domnae Mariae et sancti Petri Eboriacis monasterii.

'13. And that feast days might be commemorated more solemnly before the holy altar, I wish to give to the aforesaid basilica of Lady Mary and saint Peter, of the monastery of Eboriacus, the vineyards, that is the two portions of land in the villa Cavaniacus, in the district of Chelles, which I have been seen to accept in exchange from my brother Chagnulf.'

Burgundofara goes on to confirm the freedom of all mancipia (slaves or serfs) freed by her in her lifetime (14), and concludes by calling on God to ensure that her wishes are carried out (15), and that anyone who attempts to alter her testament will be cursed.


Text: Guérout 1965. Translation: O'Hara and Wood, 2017, adapted.

Festivals

Saint’s feast

Cult Places

Cult building - monastic

Non Liturgical Activity

Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings

Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - monks/nuns/hermits
Women

Source

Burgundofara's will survives in later copies preserved in the cartularies of the abbey at Faremoutiers, the earliest dating from the 13th century (Guérout 1965, 763). As usual with such documents when the original does not survive, the authenticity of the will was periodically disputed in modern scholarship, but it is now regarded as genuine (for detailed discussion, see Guérout 1965, 763-788).


Discussion

For other Merovingian wills, see those of Adalgyselus (E03513), Desiderius of Auxerre (E05912), Desiderius of Cahors (E05965), Bertram of Le Mans (E06095), Aredius of Limoges (E06895), Caesarius of Arles (06932), and Remigius of Reims (E07668). Burgundofara's is unusual in that all her property, with the exception of a small bequest to her siblings, is left to a single beneficiary, her own monastic foundation at Eboriacus, or as it became known, Faremoutiers (literally Farae monasterium, 'Fara's monastery').

Burgundofara's brother Chagnulf or Chainulf was murdered in 641 by a rival aristocrat named Ermenfred as part of a family/political feud (see E05941). The killing took place at Augers-en-Brie, one of the places mentioned in Burgundofara's will.


Bibliography

Edition:
Guérout 1965 (below), pp. 817-820.

Translation:
O'Hara, A., and Wood, I. (trans.), Jonas of Bobbio: Life of Columbanus, Life of John of Réomé, Life of Vedast (Translated Texts for Historians 64; Liverpool, 2017), 311-314.

Further reading:
Guérout, J., "Le testament de sainte Fare, matériau pour l'étude et l'édition critique de ce document," Revue d'histoire ecclésiastique 60 (1965), 761-821.


Record Created By

David Lambert

Date Last Modified

24/11/2019

Related Saint Records
IDNameName in SourceIdentity
S00033Mary, Mother of ChristMariaCertain
S00036Peter, the ApostlePetrusCertain


Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL:
David Lambert, Cult of Saints, E07793 - http://csla.history.ox.ac.uk/record.php?recid=E07793