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E03513: The will of the deacon Adalgyselus-Grimo of Verdun, of 634, leaves property to several churches and monasteries in the area around Verdun and Trier (both eastern Gaul). Includes references to churches or monasteries dedicated to *Agatha (virgin and martyr of Catania, S00794), *Peter (the Apostle, S00036), *Vitonus (bishop of Verdun, ob. c. 529, S01458), *Martin (ascetic and bishop of Tours, ob. 397, 00050), *Maximinus (bishop of Trier, ob. c. 347, S00465), and *George (soldier and martyr, S00259). Written in Latin in Verdun.

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posted on 2017-08-02, 00:00 authored by dlambert
Will of Adalgyselus-Grimo

The will of 'Adalgyselus, also known as Grimo' (Adalgyselus qui et Grimo), is dated the 3rd day before the Kalends of January in the 12th year of King Dagobert (= 30 December 634). Adalgyselus states that he was a deacon (line 2), of the church at Verdun (line 20). The will is witnessed by Paul, bishop of Verdun, by four presbyters and deacons (presumably of the church at Verdun), and by two laymen.

While the will leaves some bequests to individuals, the great majority of Adalgysus' property is left to churches and monasteries in the cities of Verdun and Trier and the region surrounding them, at the time the heartland of the Frankish region of Austrasia. The following institutions are mentioned:

1) A monastery and residence for the poor (monasterio sive xenodocio) dedicated to St Agatha (sanctę domnę Agathę - line 8), which Adalgyselus had founded at Longagio (Longuyon, Meurthe-et-Moselle, France). The xenodochium was a home for sixteen chosen poor people (pauperes). The abbot of the monastery is charged with making sure they are properly supplied with food, clothing and shelter, and with always maintaining the same number of residents (line 28). This institution benefits the most from Adalgyselus' will, receiving several 'villas' (estates) or portions of villas, as well as houses and vineyards.

2) The church of St Peter (basilica domni Petri) in the village of Tamaltio (Temmels, Rheinland-Pfalz,Germany) receives estates or portions of estates, a mill, and flocks of sheep with their shepherds (line 13).

3) The church of St Peter and St Vitonus at Verdun, 'where the lepers live' (basilica sancti domni Petri et domni Vitoni oppidi Virdunensis, ubi leprosi resident ) receives an estate (line 26).

4) Adalgyselus says that 'he built places of the saints' (loca sanctorum aedificavi - lines 31-2) at Teulegium (Tholey, Saarland, Germany), served by clergy appointed by the bishop of Trier. Adalgyselus now leaves this institution, with its land and all its property, to the church of Verdun (lines 32-34). In a later passage Adalgyselus states that because the bishop of Trier had consecrated the loca sanctorum, he should retain the right to carry out baptisms there, for which the church at Verdun is to pay him 31 gold pieces each year for chrism (lines 50-53).

5) 600 solidi are donated to 'the poor [supported by the church] of St Martin of Tours, where he rests in the body' (matricolas domni Martini Turonis, ubi in corpore requiescit) - lines 36-7.

6) Adalgyselus says that he possessed the usufruct to vineyards belonging to the church of St Maximinus at Trier and the church of St George at Amanium (Amay, Liège, Belgium). When he dies, these are to return to the churches concerned. In addition he leaves part of an estate and two cowherds with their cows to the church of St Maximinus, 'where he rests in the body' (lines 41-43).

7) Bequests are also left to other religious or charitable institutions including the church of Verdun (lines 19-20), the church at the village of Choium (Huy, Liège, Belgium - line 40), 'the lepers of Metz' (line 36), and 'the lepers of Maastricht' (lines 38-40), but without referring to the saints to whom they may have been dedicated.

Text: Levison 1932. Summary: David Lambert.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Agatha, martyr of Sicily : S00794 Peter the Apostle : S00036 Martin, ascetic and bishop of Tours (Gaul), ob. 397 : S00050 Maximinus, bishop of Trier, ob. c. 347 : S00465 George, soldier and martyr of Diospolis/Lydda : S00259 Vitonus, bishop of V

Saint Name in Source

Agatha Petrus Martinus Maximinus Iorgius Vitonus

Type of Evidence

Documentary texts - Will


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Gaul and Frankish kingdoms

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Verdun Tours Tours Toronica urbs Prisciniacensim vicus Pressigny Turonorum civitas Ceratensis vicus Céré

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Places Named after Saint

  • Monastery

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy


The will of the Frankish deacon Adalgyselus, also known as Grimo, was drawn up in the year 634. It survives in a copy dating from the 10th century (Landeshauptarchiv Koblenz, Bestand 1A, Nr 1).


Adalgyselus-Grimo was a member of a powerful Frankish aristocratic family. This is shown most obviously by the extent of the landed property which he owned and disposed of in his will. His nephew, one of the individuals mentioned in the will, was a dux ('my nephew Duke Bobo' - line 36; possibly PLRE IIIA, 'Bobo 2'). It is likely that he was a member of the same family as the Adalgyselus who was Mayor of the Palace in Austrasia from 633 to 639 (PLRE IIIA, 'Adalgiselus'), though the precise relationship between them is unknown. Adalgyselus' bequests show that he had wide-ranging links within the churches of his native region, but (with one exception) these do not extend beyond that region: all his lands, and the recipients of all but one of his bequests, are located in the area of the Moselle and Meuse valleys, from Verdun and Metz in the south to Maastricht in the north. The exception is the church of Martin at Tours, for which Adalgyselus makes a financial donation for the benefit of the poor supported by the church there - an indication of the continuing pre-eminence of Martin's cult in 7th century Francia. The will of Adalgyselus-Grimo provides evidence for the range of saints whose cult was present in 7th century Austrasia. Two of these, Maximinus of Trier and Vitonus of Verdun, were local bishops. Apart from the universally venerated Peter, Adalgyselus' will provides a relatively early attestation for the presence in the west of the cult of St George, in the form of a church dedicated to him in the village of Amay, on the river Meuse in what is now eastern Belgium. The will refers to two institutions founded by Adalgyselus himself. One of these, the monastery and xenodochium at Longuyon, was dedicated to St Agatha. She was presumably chosen by Adalgyselus, but the will gives no indication as to why he dedicated his foundation to this 3rd century Italian martyr. More obscurely, Adalgyselus says that he had established loca sanctorum at Tholey in the Hunsrück. He refers to the foundation being served by clergy (clericis) appointed by the bishop of Trier and to baptisms taking place there, but makes no reference to any monastic community, suggesting that it was a church or complex of churches rather than a monastery (see Herrmann 1975, 84; Wood 2006, 27-28). The saint(s) to whom it may have been dedicated are not mentioned.


Edition: Levison, W., "Das Testament des Diakons Adalgisel-Grimo vom Jahre 634," Trierer Zeitschrift 7 (1932), 69-85. German translation: Herrmann, H.-W., "Das Testament des Adalgisel-Grimo," Bericht der staatlichen Denkmalpflege im Saarland 22 (1975), 67-89 (wiith commentary). Further reading: Gauthier, N., and Picard, J.-Ch. (eds.), Topographie chrétienne des cités de la Gaule des origines au milieu du VIIIe siècle, vol. 1: Province ecclésiastique de Trèves (Belgica Prima) (Paris: Boccard, 1986). Wood, S., The Proprietary Church in the Medieval West (Oxford, 2006).

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