Posts Tagged ‘Salisbury cathedral’

Henry III’s Fine Rolls Blog Sunday 6 November to Saturday 12 November 1261

Monday, November 7th, 2011

For King Henry, as the kingdom  balanced uncertainly between  war or peace, this was yet another week in the Tower of London. How he must have hated being confined there.  The continuing collapse of fine roll business testified to the uncertainty of the times.  Between 5 November and 12 November only seven writs to initiate or further common law legal actions were purchased.  One membrane of the rolls was sufficient to cover everything on the rolls between 26 October and 15 November.

In this week there was one substantial piece of business.  The prior and convent of Hyde abbey in Winchester offered 100 marks to have custody of their properties during the vacancy which would be created by the death or resignation of their current abbot. They paid the money, the fine rolls noted, to a merchant of Genoa for the crossbows bought from him for the king’s use.  Henry, however, still hoped to avoid firing off his armoury. On 8 November yet another safe conduct (this one lasting till 12 November) was given to barons coming to Kingston for peace negotiations.

From the witness list of a royal charter, we know  who was with Henry in the Tower on Monday 7 November.[1] The Savoyard kinsmen of the Queen (who almost certainly there too)  were very apparent.   Peter of Savoy, Peter de Chauvent, and the king’s steward, Imbert Pugeys, sometimes  called Imbert of Savoy, all witnessed the charter.  Boniface of Savoy, archbishop of Canterbury, was probably present as well since the charter was in his favour.   The official element was headed by John Mansel and Philip Basset. Also present  was the bishop of Salisbury, Giles of Bridport. He and Mansel we later find acting as envoys of the king in the negotiations and doubtless they were already filling that role.   Giles of Bridport’s splendid tomb still survives in Salisbury cathedral.

Another witness to the charter was  Hugh de Vere, earl of Oxford. He was the poorest earl and not a man of much political weight, but  his presence may well reflect a role in the negotiations.

Henry was surrounded by wise heads. Would they be able to broker peace?

[1] This charter was actually copied at the end of the final membrane of the charter roll for the previous regnal year, another indication of the chaos in the chancery for which see also the blog for 23-29 October.

The Churches at Potterne and Bishops Cannings in Wiltshire

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Potterne in Wiltshire has but a walk on part in the  ‘fine of the month’ for March 2011.  It was from his manor there that the bishop of Salisbury, Robert of Bingham, on 17 February 1236, issued the charter assigning the money from various amercements imposed by the king’s judges to the fabric fund of Salisbury cathedral, next day travelling some  fourteen miles north east to have the charter confirmed by the king at Marlborough. Then in 1241 it was from Marlborough, perhaps after a visit by the bishop,  that Henry III made a gift of deer to stock the episcopal park at Potterne.

Last Saturday (26 March), my wife, Jane, and I went to Wooton Basset to pick up some Doulton Yorktown china we had bought on ebay. In the afternoon, we went to look at Potterne and another Salisbury episcopal manor at nearby Bishops Cannings.  Both have wonderful thirteenth-century churches, probably the work of Bingham’s predecessors, churches  large and imposing  with transepts and great square towers, precursors of that at the cathedral. They testify to the material wealth and spiritual power of the bishop, yet they are very different in tone. Potterne internally is quite austere, almost Cistercian in its lack of decorative motifs.  Bishops Cannings, on the other hand, abounds in  mouldings, shafts and stiff leaf foliage capitals, all the things one associates with thirteenth-century architecture at its most profuse and engaging.