Henry III’s blog Sunday 1 April-Saturday 7 April 1257

Henry III spent all this week at Westminster, preparing to celebrate Easter at the Abbey and the palace. The end of the parliament, which had reached its climax the week before (see last week’s blog), is reflected in the dearth of fine rolls business. There were only four judicial writs purchased and three fines of gold made. None of the latter were from lords seeking exemptions from knighthood or jury service. We will have to see in future blogs whether this revenue stream picks up. The fine rolls, however, do illustrate various aspects of contemporary life, some of it jarring. Thus Frederick Orland, a citizen and merchant of Sienna, fined in 50 marks of silver for being let off prosecution by the king for the rape of Alice la Franceis of which he stood accused. In the fine above, the abbot of Coggeshall fined in 55 marks (earmarked for the purchase of gold) for a charter allowing him to enclose with a ditch and a hedge his heath and woodland in Tolleshunt Major, Tolleshunt Tregoz, Inworth, Childerditch and Little Warley. The ditch was to be a small one, and deer and fawns were to enter and exit the enclosed area without difficulty. The way in which Henry III brought country and continent together (not always harmoniously) is shown by the fact that this charter, which the abbot must have taken proudly home to Coggeshall and broadcast locally was witnessed by Henry’s two Poitevin half brothers, Guy de Lusignan and William de Valence, his wife’s uncle, Peter of Savoy, and his Savoyard steward, Imbert Pugeis, as well as by the earl of Gloucester and some English officials. Coggeshall itself is well worth a visit to see the brick remains of the monastery and its grange barn. The places where the abbot enclosed heath and woods are just to the south. This was a quiet week for Henry. Next week will be very different.
For Coggeshall and its grange barn see
http://www.visitessex.com/what-to-do/Colchester-Coggeshall-Grange-Barn/details/?dms=13&venue=0223377
The two fines mentioned above are nos.529 and 530 in the 1256-1257 calendar.
For them on the roll, see, 27, 28 down http://www.finerollshenry3.org.uk/content/fimages/C60_54/m06.html

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