Posts Tagged ‘Originalia Rolls’

Henry III’s Fine Rolls Blog Sunday 15 January to Saturday 21 January 1257

Friday, January 20th, 2012

We saw in the last blog the major items on Henry III’s political agenda in 1257: the Sicilian affair, the peace with France, and the rising power of Llywelyn ap Gruffud in Wales.  All of these posed problems, but  Henry had  one reason to look forward with confidence. The balance of power in Europe was about to be transformed in his favour, or so he might hope. Just after a Christmas 1256, in ceremony before Henry and his council in St Stephen’s chapel in Westminster palace, during a great storm of thunder and lightening,  his brother, Richard of Cornwall, had accepted  election  as king of the Romans. He was now busy preparing his departure for Germany where he would be crowned.

During this week, which Henry spent at Westminster,  there was more good news.  On 18 January the abbot of Westminster and the bishop elect of Salisbury got back to England with news that the pope was prepared to extend the deadline of the Sicilian enterprise.  Under the original agreement  in which the kingdom was conferred on Edmund, his second son, Henry had been obliged to pay the pope £90,000 and send an army to Sicily to conquer the kingdom by Michaelmas 1256, which, of course, was  long gone.  Henry now learnt that the pope had graciously extended the deadline down to the start of June 1257.  There was no chance of Henry actually paying the money and sending an army within that term either, but at least he might be able to show he meant business. That above all meant getting a tax to support the enterprise from parliament.  The planning of a parliament must have now become a subject of earnest discussion between Henry and his advisers.

Meanwhile the fine rolls show that the attempt to build up a gold treasure to pay a Sicilian army was continuing. There were twelve fines of gold in this week, of which eight were for respite of knighthood.  Following on from last week’s discussion of the gold treasure, it might be worth explaining the form of these fines. Let us take as an example that translated as no 358 in the Calendar of Fine Rolls 1257  Its image is six items from the bottom in, with the marginal annotation ‘De fine auri pro respect milicie’. Here the Yorkshire knight, Robert de Etton’ (probably of Etton in the East Riding) is said to give the king half a mark of gold for respite from his  knighthood, which means that he has an exemption  from having to take up the honour.  Although the fine says he ‘gives’ the gold, in fact he  is not paying cash down. Instead as the fine goes on to indicate, he is to pay the gold into the wardrobe at the coming Michaelmas.  The ‘order to the sheriff of Yorkshire’ referred to is an order to the sheriff  to take security for this payment. In fact, as the entry goes on to indicate in a later addition (note the change of ink), Robert  paid the gold to the then keeper of the wardrobe, Peter des Rivaux, on Friday after Ash Wednesday in the regnal year 42, that is on 8 February 1258, so he missed his stipulated term.  Note ‘a’ to the translation adds that ‘This entry is not in the originalia roll’. The originalia roll was the copy of the fine roll sent the exchequer so it knew what monies to collect. The absence of the fine, like all fines of gold,  from the originalia roll thus meant that the exchequer had nothing to do with the collection and audit of the gold treasure, which was entirely a wardrobe affair.  Hence the record that the fine has been paid and that Robert is ‘quit’  is made here on the fine roll not on the exchequer’s pipe roll.  Unfortunately, like most of its kind, the fine does not indicate in what form the gold came.

The fine rolls for this week also reveal another way in which the king was accumulating his gold treasure.  This was from the towns who were offering  gold, or silver to buy gold, in return for charters giving them various privileges. Thus on  21 January the citizens of Northampton offered 100 marks of silver to buy gold for a charter of liberties, while in an undated entry, the men of Guildford offered one and a half marks of gold for a charter which established moved the county court of Surrey  to Guildford. This caused great anger locally since it meant moving the county court from the much more central Leatherhead.

Does anyway know whether these charters survive?  If the Guildford one does, it will clear up a mystery over its date. Although the fine for it appears in this week, and the actual charter is enrolled with others for January and has much the same witnesses, the charter roll calendar says it bears the date 7 September. An image of Guildford castle, much visited by Henry III, appears on the Guildford Borough website.

The witnesses to the Northampton charter, which is dated 18 January although the fine is three days later, show who was at court in this week. The list is  headed by the king’s Poitevin half brothers, Guy de Lusignan and William de Valence. Peter of Savoy, the queen’s uncle, does not feature, although he was at court around this time.  Henry’s generosity  to his foreign relatives is very clear.  On Friday, 20 January,  he confirmed an earlier gift  to Peter of Savoy  which meant  he was pardoned  the £625 he owed  each year for custody of the Vescy lands during the minority of the heir, a very major concession.   On the same day Henry took steps to give Guy de Lusignan 200 marks, and also compensated one of his clerks for giving way to the queen’s request to surrender a wardship. This was  so that it could be given to her daughter the queen of Scotland. The tensions between the Savoyards and the Lusignans in this scramble for patronage were to explode in 1258.

Fine Rolls and Pipe Rolls

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Richard Cassidy writes…

I have been looking at the way in which fines make their way from the Chancery’s fine rolls, via the originalia rolls which transmit the information to the Exchequer, onto the pipe rolls. The pipe rolls are said to relate to a given Exchequer year – that is, a year ending at Michaelmas. But I have noticed that the fines recorded in the pipe rolls do not necessarily match either the Exchequer year, or the regnal year used in the fine rolls.

For example, the Staffordshire account in the 1259 pipe roll is supposed to cover two years, from 30 September 1257 to 29 September 1259. The Nova Oblata section, recording the new entries for this roll, begins with a fine made by the abbot of Burton on 28 December 1257. The rest of the Staffordshire fines follow, more or less in the order in which they appear in the fine rolls, up to the last fine for the county from the 1258-59 fine roll, made on 24 October 1259. This fine must have been included on the section of originalia roll covering the last part of the Chancery’s year 1258-59, which the Treasurer received on 25 November 1259; the summonses derived from this roll had all been sent out to the sheriffs by Christmas 1259, according to a note on the dorse of the originalia roll. In other words, the Staffordshire entries on the pipe roll include fines made after the end of the year it is meant to cover, but before the day on which the county accounts were examined by the Exchequer (9 February 1260).

This is not entirely surprising – it is fairly well known that the pipe rolls include payments made up to the date of each county’s account, after the nominal year end. What does seem odd is the pattern of fines recorded over several years for a conveniently small county, Sussex. The Sussex fines from five years’ fine rolls can nearly all be traced in the pipe rolls (about 110 out of 120). They appear in chronological order, with one pipe roll taking over from another, but with the sequence breaking at irregular intervals:

the 1254-55 pipe roll includes fines dated up to 16 June 1255;

the 1255-56 pipe roll includes fines from 2 November 1255 to 6 June 1256;

the 1256-57 pipe roll includes fines from 12 June 1256 to 14 October 1257, plus one out-of-sequence fine from 22 November 1255;

the 1257-58 pipe roll includes fines from 16 November 1257 to 20 April 1258;

the 1258-59 pipe roll includes fines from 2 June 1258 to 30 June 1259;

the 1259-60 pipe roll includes fines from 4 July 1259 onwards.

From this sample, it seems that in most years the listing of fines in the pipe roll ended with the batch of fines sent in June in an instalment of the originalia roll. This seems odd, on the face of it, and raises the question of what exactly it means to say that a pipe roll relates to a particular year, when there seems to be no clear relationship between the nominal year of the roll and the events which it covers. I would be grateful for any suggestions which might clarify this, particularly from anybody who has already undertaken the tedious task of matching up fine roll and pipe roll entries.

Originalia Roll Jottings

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Users of the website will be aware that the Project Team decided to collate the surviving Originalia Rolls (copies of the Fine Rolls sent to the Exchequer) to the Fine Rolls. This usually includes noting marginal annotations and any significant differences to entries between the two sets of rolls. However, sometimes more puzzling things pop up. Take this, for instance:

What could ‘P. m. R. d. m.’ mean?

The answer, we suspect, is ‘p[ost] m[ortem] R[icardi] d[e] M[iddleton]’. The scribe who created the originalia roll has left a gap sufficient to copy the entry contained in the Fine Roll describing death of Richard de Middleton, the chancellor. This entry reads:

‘On Sunday next before St. Laurence Richard de Middleton, sometime king’s chancellor, died and the king’s seal was delivered into the king’s Wardrobe under the seal of J. de Kirkby, to whom the same king had committed the custody of that seal at the king’s goodwill and — the same John saw writs to be sealed and folded them, as is custom, and in this he associated to himself Sir P. de Winton, then keeper of the king’s aforesaid Wardrobe.’

What was the scribe thinking when he left this gap? Perhaps he was undecided whether to record this information or not. To a Chancery clerk, the death of the chancellor was a momentous event, but, then again, this wasn’t an entry concerning money and therefore didn’t need to be communicated to the Exchequer. In the end, as a compromise, he may have just gone back and made the note ‘P. m. R. d. m.’. In any case, it certainly acts as a useful marker in the Originalia roll between those fines made under the aegis of Richard de Middleton, and those made under his successor.