Posts Tagged ‘Peter de Maulay’

Peter de Maulay’s Debts: A Contribution by Dr Richard Cassidy

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

The fine roll entry for Peter de Maulay’s 60m. fine includes a marginal note that he had paid the first half into the Wardrobe. This payment is also noted in the 1258 pipe roll. This shows that Maulay accounted for a fine of 60m. of silver , for having the King’s grace for the contempt of neither coming nor sending his service for the King’s expedition to Wales, and had paid 30m. to Peter de Rivallis, the keeper of the Wardrobe (E 372/102 rot. 20d). This first instalment was due on 5 January 1258; the remainder at Easter 1258. Maulay’s failure to carry out his duty in Wales may have been compounded by the fact that, just a few months before the fine was made, in July 1257, he had been given permission to let the manor of Doncaster at farm for five years, specifically in order to do the service due to the King for the expedition to Wales (CPR 1247-58, 572).

The remaining 30m., or £20, was actually paid, but fell behind the schedule set out in the fine roll. That was not unusual; more significantly, the payments were made, not to the Wardrobe, but to the Treasury. The receipt rolls show that Maulay paid £10 on 30 October 1259, and £10 on 14 May 1260, ‘because he did not send his service to Wales’ (E 401/41 m. 4 and E 401/42 m. 6). The first of these payments was made in time to be recorded in the 1259 pipe roll (E 372/103 rot. 17). These payments were made after the baronial seizure of power in 1258, and thus after the reforms intended to establish tighter controls over royal finances, by directing payments to the Treasury rather than allowing Wardrobe autonomy.

The fine roll also mentions Maulay’s liability for scutage, the payment of £2 per knight’s fee for the Welsh expedition. This too appears in the 1258 pipe roll, which shows that Maulay was liable for £63 scutage for the 31½ fees of the Fossard barony, and that he had paid £21 (E 372/102 rot. 20). He paid a further £10 on 30 October 1259 (E 401/41 m. 4, E 372/103 rot. 17d). The threat in the fine roll of having his lands confiscated no doubt helped to concentrate his mind on paying his debts.

But Maulay’s troubles were not over, for the Exchequer began to pursue some old debts contracted by his father, one of King John’s ‘evil counsellors’, who had died in 1241. The 1261 pipe roll notes that Maulay owed 10m. for a prest from the Wardrobe, made by Brother Geoffrey, the keeper of the Wardrobe, in 1236-37. That prest is indeed recorded in the 1237 accounts, where a note has been added that Maulay answered for the debt in 1261 (E 372/105 rot. 2; E 372/81 rot. 13d). The 1262 pipe roll revived another 10m. prest, this one made by Brother Geoffrey in 1238/39. After more than 20 years’ neglect, this appears among the new debts incurred in 1262, and was still being pursued in the 1264 roll (E 372/106 rot. 2; E 372/108 rot. 1; original debt in Wardrobe account, E 372/83 rot. 7). What must have made this pursuit still more galling for Maulay was that his father had actually been pardoned the first of these debts, back in April 1238 (Close Rolls 1237-42, 44).


Henry III’s Fine Rolls Blog Sunday 4 November to Saturday 10 November 1257

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Henry’s itinerary for this week is revealed in the dating clauses of the writs enrolled on the fine rolls.

Henry began the week at Westminster and then went to Windsor.  In the fine roll business, one item stands out. This is the fine  (37 down in the above image and no.37 in the translation)  made by the baron, Peter de Maulay, lord of Doncaster and other lands in Yorkshire. Peter offered 60 marks (so £40) to be pardoned Henry’s indignation and rancour. He had incurred this through failing  either to muster personally or to send his due quota of knights to the king’s recent expedition to Wales. As a result, the sheriff of Yorkshire had been ordered to take his lands into the king’s hands. These were now to be restored to him.  Henry was arguably well within his rights in seizing Peter’s lands. After all,  Peter had failed in the most basic obligation of a baron, namely to provide the military service due from his barony.  It would be interesting to know, however, whether the seizure was ordered after some kind of ‘judgement by peers’ had been given against Peter. After all, Magna Carta had laid down that no one was to be disseised save by ‘the lawful judgement of his peers or by the law of the land’.  If there was no judgement, was Henry covered by the ‘law of the land’, which might be thought to sanction seizure when there was so blatant and basic a failure to fulfil  obligations?  The episode shows the power of Henry’s kingship when he chose to exercise it, for Peter was brought to heel and forced to offer his fine of 60 marks. On the other hand, the amount was hardly very large and one can imagine King John being far more punitive.  Henry himself,  admittedly for very different offences, had been far more punitive himself  in his treatment, at this time,  of John de Balliol and Robert de Ros for which see the fine of the month for last August.

This was not the first time Peter de Maulay had been in trouble with the king.  In January 1254, while in Gascony, Henry had sent a furious letter home to the queen, his regent in England (Close Rolls 12534, p.295). This complained that Peter had come out to Gascony late, and then done more harm than good. Indeed, he had insulted the king to his face, and tried to undermined the allegiance of  ‘the faithful men of England’  by persuading them to return home. Having, nonetheless, been placed in charge of fifty knights,  forming the king’s body guard, Peter  had gone off  without leave, placing the king in great peril. The queen and the home government were, therefore, ordered to ‘pay him back as you think expedient’. Given the depth of Henry’s anger, this seems a fairly mind form of punishment, and perhaps voices were already being raised on Peter’s behalf.  In the event, the letter was not sent, and Peter was soon back in favour. The storm in 1257 seems similarly to have passed away. Peter remained loyal during the subsequent civil war.  There are signs he was in financial difficulties, which perhaps explain why, in November 1258, he leased Doncaster and other properties for ten years to Simon de Montfort (Cal.Patent Rolls 1258-66, p.5)  Perhaps  Peter did not find  the great earl an altogether congenial tenant.

Peter de Maulay’s father, Peter de Maulay I,  had been one of King John’s most notorious foreign imports.  The reputed murderer of Arthur, his marriage to the Doncaster heiress had been one of the episodes which lay behind Magna Carta’s stipulation that heirs should not be ‘disparaged’ by being married to someone of a lower social class.  Henry III’s allegation that Peter de Maulay II, in Gascony, had tried to undermine the allegiance of the ‘fideles Angliae’,  suggests that he was now fully accepted as one of their number. Peter de Maulays were to continue, one after the other, as lords of Doncaster all the way down to 1438. A great deal about Peter de  Maulay I, may be found in N. Vincent’s Peter des Roches and D.A. Carpenter’s Minority of Henry III.

About another person making a fine  this week, much is known, although we are now at the level not of the baronage, but of the country gentry. Again, as in so much else, there is a Magna Carta angle. In the fine 27 down in the above image, and 27 in the translation, Thomas de Hotot offered one mark of gold (worth 10 marks of silver) to be exempted from assizes, which meant essentially he did not have to appear on juries. Thomas was lord of Clopton in Northamptonshire, and other properties, many of them acquired by his father Richard. It was Thomas who put together and partly wrote a fascinating register which contains  a family history,  surveys of  land, and records of  acquisitions. The register shows how politically aware were gentry lords for it also contained a text of the 1225 Magna Carta and the 1217 charter of the forest, as well as the charters in which King John made the kingdom a papal fief. The register is printed in A Northamptonshire Miscellany, ed. E. King (Northamptonshire Record society, xxxii, 1983).  The fine itself to be exempted from juries adds a little to our picture of Thomas’s world.  He had to come (or send) twice to court in connection with it.  The initial fine was made on 4 November 1257 at Westminster, while payment, (as a note  added to the fine shows)  was made to Peter de Rivallis, keeper of the wardrobe, at Windsor in the following January. It is a testimony to the business sense we see in the register, that Thomas paid in the whole of the one mark of gold in January, although only half was due then, the other half being due at Easter.

Thomas’s fine of gold shows that Henry was still trying to build up a gold treasure to finance the army which would help him conquer Sicily, a vain ambition if ever there was one, for which see the fine of the month for February 2012.

The ambition had recently become even vainer  because, while Henry was still receiving gold for his treasure, he was also spending it at a far quicker rate.  He had no alternative given his financial problems.  In order to spend it, Henry came up with a brilliant idea or so he thought. He would turn his treasure into his own gold coinage, the first minted in England since the Norman Conquest. The gold coin weighed two silver pennies,  and thus was worth twenty pence of silver. Unfortunately, the new coinage proved extremely unpopular.  In response, on Sunday 4 November, Henry summoned the mayor and citizens of London to come before him at the exchequer. He charged them on their allegiance to say if the new coinage was ‘of value for the common benefit of the kingdom or not’. The answer was that it was not!  This was partly because it was irrelevant for poor people whose total wealth was not worth one gold penny. It was also because (and here the goldsmith lobby spoke) because the sudden appearance of so much gold, as the king broke into his treasure to pay his expenses, was bringing down the value of the metal.  Henry, defiant, said he still wished the coinage to run, but it was not a success, which is why so few of his gold coins survive, making it the most valuable British coin at auction. The penny shows Henry sitting elegantly on his throne, crowned and holding orb and sceptre. As so often in Henry’s kingship, there was a glaring contrast between image and reality.

For an image of one of the coins, click here.