MALE Ordgar

Ealdorman of Devon.

Ordgar appears as minister in a charter of king Eadwig dated 958 ["Ego Ordgar Minister" Cart. Sax. 3: 239 (#1035); Codex Dipl. Sax. 5: 398 (#1214)], and he appears under that title in several charters through 963 [Cart. Sax. 3: 359 (#1121); Codex Dipl. Sax. 6: 61 (#1247)]. In 964, king Eadgar married his daughter Ælfthryth [ASC(D) s.a. 965; John Worc. s.a. 964 (1: 140); see the pages of Eadgar and Ælfthryth]. Ordgar was still a minister when he witnessed the grant of land in Easton or Aston-Tirrel, co. Berks by the king to his wife in 964 [Cart. Sax. 3: 394 (#1143); Codex Dipl. Sax. 6: 69 (#1252)], but he appears as ealdorman ("dux") in the same year ["Ego Ordgar dux" Cart. Sax. 3: 393 (#1142); Codex Dipl. Sax. 6: 71 (#1253)]. According to John of Worcester, he was "dux Domnaniæ", that is ealdorman of Devon (and perhaps also of Cornwall) [see below]. He appears in charters as "dux" through 970 [Cart. Sax. 3: 565 (#1269); Codex Dipl. Sax. 6: 99 (#1270)], and he died in 971 [see below]. [For a list of the charters in which Ordgar appears, and an account of his family, see Finberg (1943).]

Date of birth: Unknown.
Place of birth:

Date of death: 971.
Place of burial: Exeter.
["Non multo post Ordgarus dux Domnaniæ, socer regis Eadgari, decessit, et in Exanceastre sepultus est." John Worc. s.a. 971 (1: 142)]

Father: Unknown.
Geoffrey Gaimar makes him the son of an earl/count (ealdorman?) ["Fiz a conte fu son pere," ("Her [i.e., Ælfthryth's] father was an earl's son") Gaimar, 3629].

Mother: Unknown.

Spouse: NN, d. bef. 981, bur. at Tavistock.
The foundation charter of Tavistock, dated 981, states that king Æthelred's grandmother (and Ordwulf's mother, name not given) was buried there [Finberg (1943), 198-200; Codex. Dipl. Sax. 3: 182-5 (#629)]. Geoffrey Gaimar's legendary account states that she was of royal descent ["Des reis gentilz nasqui sa mere." ("Her [i.e., Ælfthryth's] mother sprang from noble kings.") Gaimar, 3630].


MALE Ordwulf, fl. 975-1005, minister, founder of the abbey at St. Mary's, Tavistock.
In the foundation charter of Tavistock, the unnamed mother and brother of Ordwulf are called the grandmother and uncle of king Æthelred ["... mater eius fraterque, aua videlicet mea et auunculus ..." Finberg (1943), 198]. He attests charters in 975 [Cart. Sax. 3: 650 (#1315), Codex Dipl. Sax. 3: 124 (#590)] and then regularly from 980 [Codex Dipl. Sax. 3: 177 (#624)] through 1005 [Codex Dipl. Sax. 6: 154 (#1301)] or 1006 [Codex Dipl. Sax. 3: 348 (#715), a doubtful charter]. [See Finberg (1943), 191 for a list of charters attested by Ordwulf]

FEMALE Ælfthryth;
m. (1) Æthelweald, d. ca. 963, ealdorman of East Anglia;
m. (2)
Eadgar, d. 8 July 975, king of England, 959-975.

MALE NN, d. bef. 981, bur. at Tavistock.
The foundation charter of Tavistock, dated 981, states that king Æthelred's uncle (and Ordwulf's brother, name not given) was buried there [Finberg (1943), 198-200; Codex. Dipl. Sax. 3: 182-5 (#629)].


Falsely attributed wife: Eadgifu.
Based on some manumissions which appear in the Leofric Missal, and involve manumissions by both an Ordgar and an Eadgifu, Warren identified the Ordgar of those records with the Ordgar who died in 971, and further suggested that Eadgifu was Ordgar's wife [Warren(1883), lx-lxi]. However, as noted by Finberg, the date of the manumissions must be between 1030 and 1050 (as they appear to be contemporary with the manuscript), and Warren's identification is therefore chronologically impossible [Finberg (1943), 196].

Falsely attributed daughter:

FEMALE Æthelflæd;
m. Æthelwine "Dei amicus", d. 24 April 992, earl of East Anglia.
In his Onomasticon, William Searle states that Æthelflæd, first wife of Æthelwine "Dei Amicus", was a daughter of ealdorman Ordgar, with the Chronicle of Ramsey being the only source cited [Onom Anglo-Sax., 36]. The Chronicle of Ramsey was searched unsuccessfully for mention of Ordgar, and Searle did not include the claim on his later genealogical tables [Searle (1899), 407, 430].


ASC = Charles Plummer, Two of the Saxon Chronicles parallel, based on the earlier edition by John Earle, 2 vols. (Oxford, 1892-9). ASC(A) indicates the "A" manuscript of the chronicle, and similarly for the other manuscripts.

Cart. Sax. = Walter de Gray Birch, ed., Cartularium Saxonicum, 4 vols. (1885-99).

Codex Dipl. Sax. = John M. Kemble, ed., Codex Diplomaticus Aevi Saxonici, 6 vols. (London, 1839-48).

Finberg (1943) = H. P. R. Finberg, "The House of Ordgar and the Foundation of Tavistock Abbey", English Historical Review 58 (1943): 190-201.

Gaimar = Thomas Duffus Hardy & Charles Trice Martin, ed. & trans., Lestorie des Engles solum la translacion Maistre Geffrei Gaimar, 2 vols. (London 1888-9).

John Worc. = Benjamin Thorpe, ed., Florentii Wigorniensis monachi chronicon ex chronicis, 2 vols., (London, 1848-9). (The work formerly attributed to Florence of Worcester is now generally attributed to John of Worcester.)

Onom. Anglo-Sax. = William George Searle, Onomasticon Anglo-Saxonicum (Cambridge, 1897).

Searle (1899) = William George Searle, Anglo-Saxon Bishops, Kings and Nobles (Cambridge, 1899).

Warren (1883) = F. E. Warren, ed., The Leofric Missal (Oxford, 1883).

Compiled by Stewart Baldwin

First uploaded 20 June 2010.

Return to Henry Project home page

Go to Henry Project index page

Go to Henry II ancestor table