Posts Tagged ‘free warren’

Henry III’s Fine Rolls Blog Sunday 18 March to Saturday 24 March 1257

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Henry III’s great parliament opened on or soon after 18 March. On 18th March itself  the witnesses to a royal charter were merely the king’s Poitevin half brothers, Guy de Lusignan and William de Valence, and an assortment of household officials. But in the ensuing days, charters were witnessed  by Richard de Clare, earl of Gloucester, Simon de Montfort, earl of Leicester, Peter of Savoy, the archbishop of Canterbury and the bishops of Worcester and Norwich.  The stated purpose of the parliament was to say good bye to Richard of Cornwall who was about to leave England for his coronation as king of Germany. On 27 March Henry sent an order about the equipping of 100 ships gathering at Yarmouth for the voyage.  No more, however,  is heard of Henry’s enthusiastic but impractical  idea of actually accompanying his brother.  The second purpose of the parliament was to consider Henry’s appeals for funds to support his Sicilian project, the project that is to put Edmund his second son on the throne of Sicily.  To stir the emotions,  Henry  (according to Matthew Paris) paraded the twelve year old Edmund in Sicilian robes before the assembly  and begged it not to let him down.

Henry could take comfort from the fact that the parliament brought a large increase in fine roll business. Whereas in the previous week there had been only three items of business, in this week there were seventeen. These included thirteen fines for writs to initiate or further common law legal actions, and four fines of gold. Two of the latter were for respite of knighthood, one for exemption from jury service, and one, worth two mark of gold or twenty marks of silver, from the Kentish knight, Nicholas of Lenham, for a charters conceding him a market and fair, and a free warren. As the charters, issued on 18 March show the free warren (essentially a private hunting park) was to be for all of Nicholas’ s manors which included Lenham and Lamberhurst in Kent and Redenhall in Norfolk.  The market and fair were to be at Hunton in Kent. The establishment was not, however, very successful.  An inquiry of 1312 said the market had never been held and the fair was only worth 3d a year. See the Gazetteer of Markets and Fairs, edited by Samantha Letters. Nicholas’s fine is the twentieth entry from bottom the bottom of this membrane (click here). It would be interesting to know whether Nicholas of Lenham  attended the parliament and saw Edmund in his Sicilian robes. Would such tactics work?  Read next week’s blog to find out.

For this parliament, see J.R. Maddicott, The Origins of the English Parliament 924-1327, pp.471-2.

Nicholas of Lenham, it may be noted, fought against the king at the battle of Lewes.

Two Fortified Manor Houses in Northern England

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

During Henry III’s reign two fortified and moated manor houses belonging to the Foliot family of Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire played a small part in national affairs, and I have been able this summer to visit both of them and take the photographs displayed here.  It seems that they were of the kind classified by archaeologists as ‘ring works’, illustrated in the reconstruction of the one at Grimston, Notts made by Ray Straw for a publication issued by Nottinghamshire County Council in 2008.  This was the subject of one of the project’s Fines of the Month, the one for February 2009, which can be read elsewhere on this site.  It lies on the cattle farm of Sydney and Janet Carr at Wellow, near the site of the lost village of Grimston, which stood on a nearby hill in what is now the parish of Wellow.  It was built, or at least renewed, following the inheritance of the manor by the Yorkshire knight Jordan Foliot, who had served in the armies of King John during the later years of his reign.  It came to him in 1225 as part of his share of the property of his deceased uncle, Robert Bardolf.  The young Henry III and his advisors spent several nights in the manor house during 1227, 1228 and 1229, when travelling to or returning from visits to counties further north; at the time his chamber at his nearby ‘palace’ at Clipstone, a favourite hunting lodge of Henry II and John, and where the monarch usually stayed when visiting the area, was in a state of disrepair.  Among the rewards for these acts of hospitality was a grant to Jordan of a buck and eight does to stock the park he was then creating at Grimston to the north of the manor house.  Later, after Jordan’s death in 1236, the king allowed his son and heir Richard Foliot, still well under the age of 21, to inherit his father’s property immediately, allowing him to avoid the inconvenience and dangers of a long minority.  In 1252 Richard acquired from the king a charter of free warren, granting him control of hunting of the beasts of the warren on both his Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire manors.  He enjoyed his estates until his death in 1299, and in 1264, in return for his renewed adherence to the king’s cause after earlier siding with the rebels, he was granted licence to enclose the manor house at Grimston with a ditch and wall of stone and lime, and to fortify and crenellate it.  The site was later, and still is, called Jordan Castle, and the Carrs’ farm as Jordan Castle Farm.

On a lovely sunny evening in May I was invited by Sydney and Janet to tour the farm at Wellow in the company of a group of visitors from the neighbouring village of Laxton, famous for the survival of its medieval open fields.  I gave a brief talk about the manor house as part of the tour.  In August my family and I made a return visit to Fenwick, in an area of southern Yorkshire north-east of Doncaster, and not far from the former mining village of Askern, to photograph the remains of what I believe to be the original manor house of this branch of the Foliot family, and the home of Jordan Foliot before he inherited Grimston.  We had been to Fenwick before, many years before, and were given to believe that the Foliot manor house there had been on what was then the site of an old hall in the village, in a very dangerous state of disrepair and then in use as a chicken run.  Dissatisfied with this, over a long period I wished to return to have another look, and eventually came to the conclusion that a moated site marked on the map, in a corner of the parish of Fenwick a couple a miles to the south-east of the village itself, might be the right place, an opinion confirmed by its appearance on the relevant aerial photograph on Google Earth.  We were fortunate that we arrived just after the crop that had been sown in the field was harvested, because most of what was there would have been effectively concealed a few days earlier.  The site was somewhat flatter than the slightly undulating one at Grimston, but included a well-defined, roughly-rectangular moat that can be seen in the illustration.  Its relative angularity may make it inaccurate to describe it as a ringwork in the usual sense, and on a single occasion in 1272, when the sheriff of Yorkshire was ordered to seize it because Richard Foliot had harboured some notorious criminals there, it was described as a castle.  I am now happy that the twelfth-century home of the Foliot family of Fenwick, Norton and Stubbs in Yorkshire has, at last, been correctly identified.

Jordan Castle Farm, Wellow, Notts

Fenwick, Yorks