Posts Tagged ‘Sheriff of Gloucester’

Peter de Chauvent (Champvent)

Friday, November 18th, 2011

Dr Michael Ray writes….

In the blog for the week of 6 November to 12 November 1261, David Carpenter mentions the presence of the Savoyard Peter de Champvent.  Champvent had only just moved into the premier league of curiales.  He had witnessed his first royal charter on 23 May.

First noted in England in June 1252, the King paid ten marks for his expenses when Peter, ‘his dear squire’, was sick in London during that October.  His brother, the cleric William, arrived at about the same time.  Peter built a career in royal service and received rewards in the form of marriages and wardships as well as annual fees.  William too moved up, becoming Dean of St Martin le Grand in 1262 and being used on papal missions.  Peter was a Keeper of the King’s Arms when violence broke out in 1263 and served with the Lord Edward in the garrison of Windsor.  Spoils of war came to him in the form of lands granted to him together with his cousin Otto de Grandson who made his first appearance in England in 1265.   Otto’s father, Peter, had received a royal pension from Henry III  since 1245.  He was the brother of Henry de Champvent, the father of Peter de Champvent.  Henry’s father, Ebal, had divided his lands in the Pays de Vaud, now Switzerland, between his sons.  Peter de Grandson obtained the castle of Grandson on the shores of Lake Neuchâtel, whilst Henry was given Champvent which lies on the edge of the Jura, and where he began the castle which was later substantially built by Peter de Champvent.

Champvent Chateau

Whilst Peter de Champvent stayed close to Henry III, Otto de Grandson became part of the Lord Edward’s circle.  William de Champvent returned to Vaud where he was Bishop of Lausanne from 1273 until 1301.  (Peter’s younger brother, Otto, a notorious absentee cleric in England, became Bishop in turn in 1309).   Peter was made Constable and later Sheriff of Gloucester.   He journeyed with the King during his last months.  When the new King, Edward I, returned to England, Peter suffered something of an eclipse.  He had lost his Gloucester posts in 1273 and, although he had witnessed 65 charters for Henry III, he did not witness another royal charter for seven years.  But, by 1286, he was Steward of the royal household and was promoted to be Chamberlain in 1291.  He saw military service in Wales and Scotland including fighting at the battle of Falkirk and, in 1295, he was recorded in one entry as the King’s secretary.  When parliament met in 1299, Peter was summoned as a baron.  The last record emanating from his lifetime refers to his Scottish lands in 1302 but he died in 1303.

The Grandsons or Grandisons have left a rich legacy in England being commemorated by peerage titles, rings, ivories, an annual carol service, a book of pedigrees, paintings in Westminster Abbey, place and street names, and armorials in embroidery and stained glass.  The Champvents have disappeared but, this summer, in the beautiful church of Norbury in Derbyshire, I found the arms of both Peter de Champvent and Otto de Grandson in a marvellous array of late thirteenth-century glass.

Arms of Peter de Champvent in Norbury Church