Posts Tagged ‘relief’

Sunday 27 July 1264: heirs, courts and ships

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

The fine rolls record a transaction this week which shows both the continuation of the normal mechanisms concerning inheritance, and the way in which de Montfort’s regime used its position of power to reward supporters. Alfred of Lincoln was a member of a gentry family, long established in Dorset and Somerset (he was the fifth with the same, rather confusing, name). Alfred had succeeded his father, Alfred IV, in 1240, when he paid a relief of £100. Alfred V died in 1264, without male heirs, and his estates were divided between his three sisters, or their heirs. On 11 July, the fine roll recorded that the king had taken homage from the three heirs: Albreda of Lincoln, Alfred’s sister; Robert fitz Payn, the son of Alfred’s sister Margery; and William de Gouiz, the son of Alfred’s sister Beatrice. In each case, the escheator was to give them seisin of their share of the family estates, having accepted security for payment of relief. On 21 July, there was a further entry in the fine roll, pardoning fitz Payn and Gouiz payment of the relief they owed, for their praiseworthy service to the king and the damages they had sustained in his service in the conflict at Lewes. (CFR 1263-64, 136-8, 147; John Walker, ‘Lincoln family’, ODNB; CIPM, I, 580; Close Rolls 1261-64, 350)

There were other signs that the routine processes of administration were beginning to function, at least in parts of the country. The county courts of Nottinghamshire and Kent both met on Monday 21 July, with the sheriffs appointed by the new government presiding. The sheriffs’ accounts show only that a few minor amercements were imposed at each court, but they indicate that there was at least a measure of order and justice being established in those counties. Similarly, William de Wendling was appointed escheator for the southern half of the country, with authority to appoint or replace each county’s local escheator; the escheators played a key role in administering lands that fell into the king’s hands, and delivering the revenues to the Exchequer, as in the case of the lands of Alfred of Lincoln. (E 389/81; E 389/121; CPR 1258-66, 338)

The government was increasingly concerned about the threat of invasion, and the need to assert its authority over Bordeaux and Bayonne. Two masters of Gascon ships were thanked for refusing to carry enemies from Flanders, but ships from Bristol and Southampton had been detained in Bordeaux. Eleanor of Provence may have had more influence in Gascony than de Montfort’s government: she was in France, with cash to pay for shipping, and influential support. On 24 July, she wrote to Alphonse of Poitiers, as she was sending messengers to La Rochelle to recruit ships to carry the invasion force assembled at Damme. (CPR 1258-66, 338, 363; Howell, Eleanor of Provence, 215-6)

Henry III, under de Montfort’s control, wrote to the king of France, proposing that negotiations should begin. Henry would be at Dover by 7 August, and messengers from Henry and his barons would be at Boulogne the following day. Henry also wrote to Simon de Montfort and Gilbert de Clare about these arrangements, to ensure that they would have their representatives at Boulogne, and that lord Edward and Henry of Almain, the hostages, would be brought to Dover. (Close Rolls 1261-64, 398-9)

Henry III’s Fine Rolls Blog Sunday 11 February to Saturday 17 February 1257

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Henry III spent all this week at Westminster.  At its start, the bishop of London, the bishop of Lincoln, the elect of Salisbury, Richard earl of Cornwall, and Simon de Montfort, earl of Leicester all appeared at court. On 11 February Simon obtained a recognition that custody of lands in Toddington in Bedfordshire  belonged to him rather than the king. Toddington, has of course, given its name to a service station on the M1 from which there are pleasant views over surrounding fields. Simon held the manor as part of Eleanor’s dower from the lands of her first husband, William Marshal earl of Pembroke.  With major players at court, Henry now took an important decision. On Monday 12 February he sent out the writs summoning the lay and ecclesiastical magnates to  meet him in London at mid Lent (18 March).  The writs announced that Richard was to leave immediately afterwards to take up his kingship in Germany. Henry, therefore, wished to have discussion with his prelates and magnates ‘about great and arduous affairs touching ourselves and our kingdom for the common utility of you and us and all our kingdom’.  These affairs included, although it was not said, the Sicilian enterprise.  The archbishop of Messina had now arrived in England from the papal court to stir Henry into action. On 15 February Henry ordered the exchequer to give him fifteen marks to distribute to knights and others coming with messages from Sicily.  Action for Henry meant  more than anything else securing a tax from parliament. Without it there was no hope of him  ever sending an army to Sicily to wrest control of the kingdom.  Making the case for such a tax would therefore by high on the agenda of the parliament summoned for mid Lent.

The fine rolls reflect Henry’s need for taxation to fill his coffers in this  Magna Carta world. On 13 February, Henry took the homage of Henry of Lexington (or Laxton), the bishop of Lincoln, for the lands he had inherited from his elder brother, the former royal steward, John of Lexington. The bishop’s relief or inheritance tax was £5, which was strictly in accordance with  Magna Carta. This laid down £5 as the relief for a knight’s fee which was all that John held from the king. John’s estates, however, were far greater than this single fee. Orders to put the bishop in possession of John’s  properties were sent to the king’s officials in London and six counties.  A relief of much larger size might seem to have been justified but was prevented by Magna Carta. The fine rolls of this week also underlined the necessity of a tax  in another way for there were only two of the fines of gold from which, as we have seen, Henry was hoping to support his Sicilian army. If this pattern continued it would be worrying indeed.  See future blogs to find out what happened to the gold treasure.

For the bishop of Lincoln’s fine, count up eleven from bottom on the membrane and no.434 in the Calendar.