Wulfric (DNB00)

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WULFRIC, called Spot or Sprot (d. 1010), founder of Burton Abbey, was son of Leofwine, probably a thegn of Ethelred II, and himself signs charters as ‘minister’ or thegn. The assumption that his father was Leofwine, earl of Mercia, and father of Leofric [q. v.], is uncorroborated by any satisfactory evidence, and the name Leofwine was extremely common. Wulfric himself is sometimes, but probably erroneously, styled ealdorman, and Palgrave's suggestion that he was ealdorman of Lancaster is based on several misconceptions (Freeman, Norman Conquest, i. 671–2). Wulfric owned lands in many parts of England, but chiefly in West Mercia. He was killed on 18 May 1010 fighting against the Danes at the battle of Ringmere, near Ipswich. He was buried in the cloisters of Burton Abbey, where also was buried his wife Ealhswith, who seems to have predeceased him, leaving issue one daughter. The remains of an alabaster statue of Wulfric, which is believed to have replaced an earlier one, still exist at Burton Abbey.

Wulfric made his will in 1002, giving a large portion of his property for the foundation of a Benedictine abbey at Burton-on-Trent. The endowment ‘is said to have been valued even at that time at seven hundred pounds’ (Dugdale, Monasticon, iii. 33). Ethelred II's charter of confirmation is dated 1004, and to obtain it Wulfric paid the king two hundred marks of gold, each archbishop ten, and each bishop five marks. Wulfric's will is printed in Kemble's ‘Codex Diplomaticus’ (vi. 147–50), in Thorpe's ‘Codex’ (pp. 543 seq.), and in Dugdale's ‘Monasticon’ (ed. Caley, Ellis, and Bandinel, iii. 36–40). A sixteenth-century transcript is in British Museum Stowe MS. 780, ff. 1–3. The original charter of Burton Abbey belongs to the Marquis of Anglesey.

[Anglo-Saxon Chron. ed. Thorpe, i. 262–3, ii. 116; Henry of Huntingdon, p. 178, Sym. Dunelm. ii. 142, Burton Annals in Annales Monastici, i. 183, ii. 171, and Walter of Coventry (all these in Rolls Ser.); Kemble's Codex Diplomaticus, iii. 332, and Flor. Wig. i. 162 (Engl. Hist. Soc.); Chron. Johannis Bromton in Twysden's Decem Scriptores, col. 888; Tanner's Notitia Monastica; Erdeswick's Staffordshire, p. 241; Hunter's Deanery of Doncaster, i. 7, 99, 152, 281, 307; Shaw's Staffordshire; Freeman's Norman Conquest, i. 347, 671–2; notes from the Rev. G. W. Sprott, D.D.]

A. F. P.