The Ledger Book of Vale Royal Abbey. Originally published by Manchester Record Society, Manchester, 1914.
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Of the doings of the bond tenants of Dernehale and Ouere.
Be it remembered that in the year 1336, the 10th year of the reign of King Edward the Third after the Conquest, the villeins of Dernehale and Ouer conspired against their lords, the abbot and convent of Vale Royal in this manner, and endeavoured to obtain their liberty. In the 13th year of the rule of the aforenamed abbot, (fn. 1) at a certain time, Sir Hugh de Fren, then justiciar of Chester, came to a place which is called Harebache Crose, at which a great number of villeins had taken refuge together, and they laid a serious complaint against the said abbot, [declaring] that, whereas they were free and held their lands and tenements from aforetime by charter of the Lord the King, the aforesaid abbot, contrary to his customs hitherto observed in his manor of Dernehale, had put them [fo. 16 (253)] in close confinement in shackles, as though they were villeins, and forced them to serve him in all villein services. And when these men returned home to their houses, by the abbot's command they were put in fetters in the house of John Badekoc at Ouer, on account of their complaints aforesaid, until they should come and acknowledge their bondage, and submit themselves to the abbot's grace. Now the names of the men, who did this on behalf of all the country people, were Richard de Holden, William Bate, William del Heet, Henry Pymmessone, Adam Hychekyn [and] John Elkyn.
After the said countrymen had made a fine at the will of the abbot, and sworn upon the holy Gospels of God that they would never again contrive any such thing against the abbot and convent and confessed that they were villeins, they and their sons after them to all eternity, according to the customs always observed in the manor of Dernehale, as you have them more in detail set forth in this same book under the heading of Dernehale, then these wretched men, seeing themselves thus frustrated, called together all their neighbours of their own condition, and plotted by night to get their liberty by rebelling against the aforenamed abbot. And they sent some of their number on behalf of them all on a pilgrimage to St. Thomas of Hereford; and these men, contrary to their oath, came to the King in the northern parts, and for many days were begging his favour, which they did not deserve to find; and afterwards they came to unforeseen misadventure, for they robbed certain people of their goods, and were all to their great chagrin carried off to Nottingham gaol, being wholly stripped of all their own goods that they had with them. Afterwards, before the justices of the Lord the King in that place, they were condemned to be hanged; but, because it was not customary by the law of the kingdom to inflict death for theft to the amount of which they were guilty, they were set at liberty after some time by the grace of the King, not without great outcries (effusione) of the other country people of Ouer. And these are the names of the men who acted as spokesmen for their fellow-villagers:—Henry Pymmessone, Adam Hychkyn, John Christian [and] Agnes his wife.
But they did not desist from the matter they had undertaken, but forthwith repaired to the Lord the King in his parliament held at Westminster, and presented a petition to parliament, setting forth that the abbot oppressed them so greatly with injuries and contumelies and villein services, that they did not dare to return to (contingere) their homes, their wives and children. And by these words they so wrought upon the King that he wrote to Sir Henry de Ferrers, justiciar of Chester, that he should do ample justice to the aforesaid men of Dernehale. And therefore the justiciar, willing to satisfy the King, diligently examined into the matter aforesaid himself and through his people, by means of the charters of the Lord the King which the abbot publicly produced, by which it plainly appeared that they were bondmen. Therefore he commanded the abbot to punish them as he pleased, as his bondmen, in such a way as to leave them no excuse for any such temerity henceforward. But, nevertheless, these country people did not desist from their evil undertaking, but presented a petition to the aforesaid justiciar, setting forth that in the manor of Dernehale there used to be ten "bondes," so called, to whom belonged and pertained all the villein services, and they besought the justiciar to compel the abbot to inquire which these now were, in order that their serfdom should never be abated. But because it was clearer than daylight to the justiciars that this was of malice and fraud on their part, they forthwith charged the abbot to punish his aforesaid bondmen so severely that they should not clamour to the King again.
But when they heard this, like mad dogs (? rabicanes), they sought out the King again at Windsor, and complained of the justiciar as well as of the abbot, saying that the abbot had spoiled them of their goods, exceeding £100 in value, with which he had so corrupted both the justiciar and all the chief people in Chester that the justice-place was not open to them. Wherefore the Lord the King wrote to Lord Edward, his eldest son, Duke of Cornwall [and] Earl of Chester, that he should in some manner assist and relieve these men, thus oppressed. Encouraged and comforted by this, the country people came in a great crowd, (for there were thirty of them or more) to the county [court] of Chester, against the abbot, who was there in person, and with the aid of some persons skilled in the law, and others, they denied they were the abbot's bondmen, and begged that the said abbot should be silenced for ever and that they themselves should be pronounced free. But as the falseness [of their claim] was obvious not only to the justiciar but also to the whole of the court then present, by the things set forth above, judgment was once more given that the abbot should punish them.
And when the bondmen were informed of this, they all fled, taking with them [fo. 16d (253d)] such of their goods as they could carry, and secretly withdrew themselves by night, and went to Philippa, Queen of England, and implored her assistance, pretending that they were the men of her son, the Duke of Cornwall, of his manor of Dernehale, and that the abbot of Vale Royal, in contempt of their lord, had spoiled them of all their goods; and they besought the queen to provide some remedy for them. Moved by these words, the Lady the Queen forthwith directed her comminatory letters to the abbot, directing him to leave in peace the men of her son, the Duke of Cornwall, of his said manor; and she ordered him in courtesy to restore the goods he had taken from them, otherwise the King, when he learnt of it, would make some other order thereupon.
Now the abbot was caught on the horns of a dilemma (intamareto positus fuit), so that he was almost in doubt by what way to avoid the threatened ills; for he feared to incur the immediate anger of the King and Queen, if he did not obey their orders; and, if he did this, he could not by any means avoid the loss of the manor of Dernhale and the bondmen thereof. He finally determined in his own mind that it would be best, in a matter so complicated, to make a personal explanation to the King and Queen; and therefore he set out, and found them at Kyggescliue, and set before them all the premises. Now when, by his advice, the King and the Queen had examined Henry de Ferrers, justiciar of Chester, and other people, together with a number of charters of the kings and Earls of Chester, granting the manor of Dernehale to the abbot of Vale Royal, and [found] that the bondmen belonged to the said abbot by reason of the manor, the abbot left the court in the peace of the King and Queen, and with the greatest honour, and the said manor of Dernehale, with the bondmen and their belongings for ever, was adjudged to him, to the confusion and shame of the country people to all eternity.
Now, when these things had been accomplished, the abbot was on his return to his monastery, and a great crowd of the country people of Dernehale came to meet him in the highway on the feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, about the ninth hour, at Exton in the county of Rutland; and they attacked him, and slew his groom, William Fynche, with an arrow in a place called Grene Delues. And there was also with them William de Venables of Bradewell, who at that time was suing the aforesaid abbot on account of Thomas de Venables, his brother, which Thomas claimed that he was of right entitled to fish in the stew of Dernehale; and when he saw that the aforesaid William Fynche was slain by his aid and help, he took to flight, and did not dare to stay his foot till he came to the parts of Chestershire, and he contemptibly abandoned those he had brought with him, and never looked behind him. Now Walter Welsh, the cellarer, and John Coton, and others of the abbot's servants were about half a league behind the abbot, having tarried for certain business; and when they saw the fight from afar they came up at full speed, and the said armed bondmen came up against them to assault them; but the aforesaid cellarer (blessed be his memory), like a champion sent from God to protect his house and father, though he was all unarmed, not without enormous bloodshed felled those sacrilegious men to the earth, and left all those whom he found in that place half dead, according to the law of the Lord (? in lege d'ni). But certain of them fled, and the said John Coton followed after them and took them. Meanwhile the sound of people running up on all sides was heard, and after all the abbot was ignominiously taken, with all his people, by those bestial men of Rutland, and was brought to the city of Stamford, where the King then was, together with his bondmen; but on the morrow, through the aid of the Mother of Mercy, in whose cause he was acting, the abbot, with all his followers, obtained his rights, and the bondmen were left behind there in chains and in the greatest misery, while the abbot returned in safety to his monastery.
Now the names of the bondmen who attacked the abbot are John Waryng, John Parker, Henry Pym, Jack Blakeden, Richard Blakden, Richard Bate, John Christian the younger, William Bate, John Christian of Oure, Agnes his wife, Randolph de Lutelour, William de Luteloure. And when they came before Geoffrey de Scrop and his colleagues, for the death of the abovesaid William, they were set at liberty, and obtained a writ to the abbot to deliver up forthwith their lands and goods and chattels, if they had been seized by reason of the death of the aforenamed William, and not otherwise. But since the abbot had other just causes against them [fo. 17 (254)], they derived no advantage from that writ. And at length the bondmen, finding no other place in which they might be longer concealed, returned to the abbot their lord, submitting themselves and their goods to his grace, and the abbot put them all in fetters as his bondmen. And so it came to pass that, touching the holy gospels, they all swore they were truly the bondmen of the abbot and convent, and that they would never claim their freedom against them and their successors. And for many Sundays they stood in the choir, in the face of the convent, with bare heads and feet, and they offered wax candles in token of subjection.
Some of them were still in hiding, to wit, Henry Pym, Adam Hychekyn and William del Heet, walker; therefore the abbot sued forth royal writs to apprehend them and others. But one day these three came to the county-[court] of Chester with their bills against the abbot, and they were taken by Henry Doun, bailiff of the abbot's liberty, near Hokenelplat; and there by the said Henry and Thomas de Rodb', who had come with him, by miry ways, were bound, and taken to the stocks at Weverham. And they swore on the holy gospels, as the others had done before, and submitted themselves and all their belongings to the abbot and convent. But, because Henry Pym was the author and contriver of all these wickednesses, the abbot decreed that he should be punished more than the rest. Therefore the said Henry, so long as he should live, was to offer a wax candle to the Blessed Virgin on the feast of the Assumption in the monastery of Vale Royal, at the high mass, in the face of the convent, in order that thus he might serve the convent (ei) for ever, because he had made so shameless a disturbance. And the land which, by the abbot's license, he had put to farm to the Lord the King or [? au'] to a priest, he was to make no claim to, but it was to remain to the Abbot; but the land which he first had in Swanlowe, he was to have and hold in villeinage, he and his for ever. After this one of the aforesaid bondmen, William Horn, by the hands of William de Tabbele, sued forth the King's writ against the abbot, Walter Welsh the cellarer and Thomas de Rodb', because they had violently despoiled him of his goods at Exton, etc. (fn. 2)
Commission directed to Robert Holland by the King.
The King etc. to the archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, earls, barons, knights, and all other people of the counties of Chester and Flint and the Cantred of Englefeld, greeting. Whereas on the 26th day of the month of December last past we committed to our trusty and faithful Robert de Holland the office of our justiciar of Chester, and our castles of Chester, Rotheland and Flynt, and our county of Flynt with the services, rents and all other their appurtenances, together with the purprestures and other things belonging to us in those parts by reason of our forests and parks (excepting the lead mines of Englefeld, and reserving to ourselves wards, reliefs, escheats, marriages, dowers, when they accrue, advowsons of churches, and the vert and venison of our forests and parks in those parts); provided, nevertheless, that he shall not fell nor sell any oak on this side of the water of Dee, without our licence and special mandate, to keep so long as it shall please [us], and as the said Robert bears himself well and faithfully towards us, paying to us in our Exchequer 1000 marks, that is to say, one moiety at Easter and the other moiety at Michaelmas. And moreover the same Robert shall keep our castles of Chester and Flynt and Rotheland at his own charges in time of peace, and shall pay the alms and fees underwritten, as well ancient as new, due from the aforesaid castle of Chester: to wit, to the abbot of St. Werburgh of Chester 100s. yearly out of that £15 which the same abbot says are due to him and his church for the tithes of our county of Chester: and to the same abbot £4, which the Lord Edward of famous memory, our father, late King of England, granted to the said abbot to be received at the exchequer of Chester every year in recompense of the tithes of the manor of Frodesham, which the said abbot of Chester used to receive and which the said abbot remitted to the abbot of Vale Royal; and to the prioress and nuns of Chester 24 marks yearly of the ancient alms appointed; and £4, 17s. which our said father granted to the same prioress and nuns, in recompense of the tithes belonging to the church of the same prioress and nuns of Oure, which they used to receive and which they remitted to the abbot of Vale Royal; and 105s. 2d. which our said father [fo. 17d (254d)] in like manner granted to the same prioress and nuns to receive yearly out of the rent of Middlewich in recompense of the tithes of Bradford, Lytil Ouer, Sutton and Merton, which the same prioress and nuns used to receive, and which they remitted to the abbot of Vale Royal; and to the said prioress and nuns 10s., which our said father granted to them, to receive yearly by the hands of the farmer of Middlewich from that farm, in recompense of four acres of land near Godesbache, which they surrendered into the hands of our said father, etc. In witness whereof etc. Witness myself at York on the 23rd day of January in the fifth year of our reign [1311–2].
Pleas of the county of Chester on the Vigil of St. Peter in Cathedra 21 Edward III [21 Feb. 1346–7]. Ferrers. [sic]. In this court (com') is enrolled the letter of the Lord the Earl, with the petition and the endorsement thereof on behalf of the abbot of Vale Royal, that he ought to be discharged of [supplying] the doomsman (de judicatore) for three parts of the vill of Twemelowe.
[Complaint against Warine le Grosvenor.]
Warren le Grosvenour made purprestures after the Earl's death, year by year and day by day, upon the King in the forest, and upon the abbot and convent of Darnhale of 80 acres of land and more, in the woods and without. And these are the lands which the aforesaid Warren occupies, and deforces them from the abbot of Dernehale and his men: to wit, le Drochurst. Item, le Rauenehurst. Item, le Huvyng and the whole wood towards the glass-works next Heytelegh. Item, on the other side of the vill of Buddeworth, towards Ruston, the land next Wilymescroft, and the other lands aforesaid. And the same Warren made a great purpresture, where he raised his buildings, to wit, his great court and new mill. Also he has destroyed, and continues from day to day to destroy, the wood of the Lord the King, the soil of which belongs to the Lord the King. And the abbot of Dernehale and all his men ought to have common therein, and to take there all their estovers. Item, the same Warren deforces the bridge of Woodford, where the abbot and all his men were accustomed to have free crossing to their common aforesaid, and to take their estovers in the woods, as all the men of the lord of Dernehale had done in times past. Item, the same Warren deforces the men of the abbot of Dernehale from having their hog-runs [portarias (sic)] in the woods, as they used to have freely and without impediment in the times of the other lords. Item, he deforces our ditcher (? dichario) from doing his office, as he was accustomed to do in the times of the other lords.
[Cost of the Buildings.]
To our Lord the King (fn. 3) and his council his chaplains, the abbot and convent of Vale Royal, show that, whereas they were founded by the most honourable King Edward, his ancestor, and since the time of their foundation, from year to year according as they were able, they have made a part of their church and a part of their dwelling-house (herbege), so that, by reason of the great sums spent by the convent and the bad years there have been, they must forthwith perish unless they receive some timely assistance; therefore they pray our said Lord the King, that for the love of God, as a work of charity and for the souls of his ancestors, he will be pleased of his especial grace to grant them some assistance, so that they may maintain and continue their works; which cost £37,000 from the treasury of our Lord, who founded the house. And whereas the aforesaid ancestor of our Lord (whom God assoil !) of his grace assigned to them £1000, £490 thereof are in arrears, for, from the manor of Asseford in the Peak, which was assigned to them for the same sum, they have received only £80 [fo. 18 (255)]. May it therefore please the King to continue to assign that manor to them to provide for that sum, until they shall be paid, or else the vill of Northwich in the county of Chester, or else to deign to order the chamberlain of Chester to pay that sum to the said works out of his exchequer.
[Liberties of the Abbey Confirmed.]
Be it remembered that in the year 1328, in the time of Abbot Peter, Oliver de Ingham, then justiciar of Chester, William de Legh the forester and a number of other officials maliciously impugned the liberty of the aforesaid house, as well in the forest as in all other places: to wit, the abbot's estovers in the forest and the pasture of the tenants. And the said foresters entered the abbot's lands to take pledges, asserting that the abbot ought not to have such liberties, according to the will of the King, from whom we have no deed. Therefore the aforenamed abbot went in person to the parliament held at Northampton, and referred all these matters to the King in due order; and he obtained in redress the charters which follow. After these had been publicly read in the county[-court] of Chester, it put a stop to the malice of all the officials.
(1) Confirmation of liberties to the abbot of Vale Royal.— To his well-beloved and trusty Oliver de Ingham, his justiciar of Chester, or to his lieutenant there, greeting. Whereas Edward, late King of England, our grandfather, for the health of the soul of his father Henry of famous memory, formerly King of England, and of the souls of his heirs, his ancestors and successors, by his charter (which our father Edward, King of England, confirmed) gave and granted to the abbey of Vale Royal, which our said grandfather had founded in accordance with a vow made once when he was in peril at sea, certain lands and tenements with the appurtenances in the county of Chester, and also divers liberties and acquittances in the aforesaid charter contained, to possess for ever; the which freedoms and liberties our wellbeloved in Christ, the abbot of the place aforesaid, and all his predecessors, abbots there, from the time of the foundation aforesaid have always hitherto peacefully used and enjoyed, as he says: We command you to suffer the aforesaid abbot to use and enjoy all and singular the liberties and freedoms aforesaid without impediment, according to the tenor of the charter and confirmation aforesaid, and as he and his predecessors aforesaid have always hitherto from the time aforesaid been accustomed to use and enjoy the same liberties and freedoms. Witness myself at Northampton on the fifth day of May in the second year of our reign .
(2) Concerning the estovers and pastures in the forest.— Edward, by the grace of God King of England, Lord of Ireland and Duke of Aquitaine, to his well-beloved and trusty Oliver de Ingham, his justiciar of Chester, or his lieutenant, greeting. Our well-beloved in Christ, the abbot of Vale Royal in the county of Chester, has shown us that, whereas the said Edward, formerly King of England, our grandfather, by his charter, which was afterwards confirmed by Edward, late King of England, our father, and which we have inspected, granted for himself and his heirs to the then abbot of the place aforesaid and the convent of the same place, that they and their successors should have pasture and their reasonable estovers, with other easements, in the forests of our said grandfather in the county aforesaid; and although the said abbot and all his predecessors, abbots of that place, from the time of the grant and confirmation aforesaid have always hitherto had such pasture and such their reasonable estovers and other easements in peace in the forests aforesaid, as well in the time of our aforesaid grandfather and father as in our own time: nevertheless you and your officials of our forest of La Mare in the county aforesaid now of late unjustly hinder the said abbot, and prevent him from having such pasture, reasonable estovers and other easements in that forest, as he was formerly accustomed to have, putting the said abbot to considerable expense and injury, and contrary to the tenor of the charter and confirmation aforesaid. And because we are unwilling that the said abbot should be injured in this behalf, we command you that, if it is so, you forthwith desist from causing [fo. 18d (255d)] such impediment to the aforenamed abbot in this behalf, ordering your officials aforesaid to desist; and suffer the said abbot to have such pasture and such his reasonable estovers with the other easements in the forest aforesaid and in our other forests in the county aforesaid, according to the tenor of the charter and confirmation aforesaid, and as the same abbot ought to have the same there, and as he and his predecessors aforesaid have been accustomed to have such pasture and such their reasonable estovers and other easements in the forest aforesaid and in our other forests in the county aforesaid; and cause to be released to him without delay the distraint, if any shall have been made upon the said abbot on this occasion. Witness myself at Northampton on the third day of May in the second year of our reign .
(3) Of the penalty of £20.—To his well-beloved and trusty Oliver de Ingham, his justiciar of Chester, or his lieutenant, greeting. Whereas the Lord Edward, late King of England, our grandfather, by his charter, which he made to the abbot and monks of Vale Royal, which abbey our said grandfather founded in accordance with a vow made once when he was in peril at sea, forbade any one, upon pain of forfeiture to do amiss to, or oppose, the said abbot and convent, or their men or tenants, in any thing, contrary to the tenor of the charter aforesaid, under penalty of £20; and we now understand that a number of men of those parts have done amiss to, and opposed, the said abbot, and his men and tenants there, in several matters, contrary to the tenor of the charter aforesaid, and that no redress has been made, to the damage of ourselves and the manifest depreciation of the estate of the aforesaid abbot and his tenants: We, willing as well on our own behalf as on behalf of the aforesaid abbot and his tenants, that redress should be made, command that, upon sight of this charter, you forthwith proceed to do what shall seem to you best to be done according to the tenor of the aforesaid charter, and has heretofore been accustomed to be done in similar cases, with regard to such injuries as well to ourselves as to the aforenamed abbot and his tenants. Witness myself at Northampton on the fifth day of May in the second year of our reign .
Copies of divers petitions as well for aid in the new work, etc., as for redress against divers wrongs, and also of writs coming in the said businesses.
(1) For the use of the liberties granted by the charter.— Edward etc. to his well-beloved and trusty Reginald de Grey, his justiciar of Chester, greeting. Whereas we have granted by our charter to our well-beloved in Christ, the abbot and convent of Vale Royal, which house is of our foundation, certain liberties, which we will that the said abbot shall use and enjoy in all particulars, as in the charter aforesaid is more at large contained, we command that you shall not hinder the aforesaid abbot, nor suffer him to be hindered by your people, from using and enjoying his liberties aforesaid in your bailiwick freely and without impediment, according to the form of our grant aforesaid etc., so that we may be troubled with no further petitions on that subject through your default [c. 1290].
(2) Of the pardon of a certain amercement of 100s. etc.— Edward etc. to his Treasurer and Barons of his Exchequer, greeting. Know ye that we have pardoned to our well-beloved in Christ, the abbot and convent of Vale Royal, 100s. at which they were amerced before our well-beloved and trusty William de Vescy and his associates, our justices, at the last eyre for pleas of the forest in the county of Lancaster, by reason of his acknowledgment (cōus suū) made before them in the eyre aforesaid, and therefore we command you to cause the said abbot to be quit thereof. Witness myself at Rayleigh (Reileg') on the second day of September in the seventeenth year of our reign . (fn. 4)
(3) Of the amercements payable to the abbot etc.— Edward etc. to the sheriff of Lancashire, greeting. Whereas by our charter we have granted to our well-beloved in Christ, the abbot and convent of Vale Royal, the amercements of their men whensoever they should happen to be amerced in your court, we command you to cause the said abbot to have the 20s. at which Grymbald, the said abbot's tenant, was amerced before our well-beloved etc. William de Vescy and his associates, justices etc., which you demanded from the said Grymbald by summons in our Exchequer,—according to the tenor of our charter aforesaid. Witness myself at Estwode in the seventeenth year of our reign .
(4) Discharge [fo. 19 (256)] of the sheriff of Lancashire from a certain amercement on the abbot's behalf.—Edward, by the grace of God, etc., to the sheriff of Lancashire, greeting. Know that you are discharged at our Exchequer concerning those 100s. with which you were charged, upon your last account rendered at our said Exchequer, on behalf of the abbot of Vale Royal, because he did not come, and therefore we command you to suffer the said abbot to be in peace from the demand you made of him for the said money, and to deliver his cattle, if you have taken any on this occasion. Witness myself etc. on the fifth day of May in the eighteenth year of our reign .
On the Pipe Roll of the 17th year at the end of the roll.
(5) For an inquiry as to the services and customs which the men of the manor of Darnhale ought to do.—Edward etc., to his well-beloved and trusty Guncelyn de Baddlesmere, his justiciar of Chester, greeting. Whereas heretofore, when we founded the abbey of Darnehale, we gave and granted to the abbot and convent of that place the manor of Darnhale, with all things to that manor belonging, to have to them and their successors as wholly as we or our ancestors, or Randolph, formerly Earl of Chester, held that manor, in demesnes, villeinages, rents, customs and all other things; and now, by the complaint of the said abbot and convent, we understand that certain men of the manor aforesaid are endeavouring to withdraw certain customs and services, which they ought to do to the said abbot and convent, and which they and their ancestors in times past have been accustomed to do to the Earl abovesaid and the other lords of the manor aforesaid, to the considerable expense and injury of the abbot and convent aforesaid: We, willing to take care for the interest of the said abbot and convent and to be certified as to the premises, command you diligently to enquire by the oath of honest and lawful men of your bailiwick, by whom the truth of the matter may best be known, what customs and services the men of the manor aforesaid ought to do for their lands and tenements in the same manor, and what customs and services they may have now withdrawn from the aforesaid abbot and convent, and since when; and to send to us the inquisition thereof distinctly and openly made, under your seal and the seals of those by whom it shall be made, together with this writ. Witness myself at Westminster on the 22nd day of October in the third year of our reign .
(6) Of the mill of Chester, formerly assigned to the new work.—Edward etc., to Guncelyn de Baddlesmere, his justiciar of Chester, greeting. Whereas we have been given to understand that Richard Lengynur, farmer of our mills of Chester, has not paid the farm, as he ought, we command you to take the aforesaid mills into our hands, and let them to farm to some honest and trusty farmer by the view of Leo son of Leo, our chamberlain, which farmer shall faithfully answer to our said chamberlain for the farm aforesaid, for the carrying on of our work of Vale Royal. And you shall distrain, upon the aforenamed Richard, with continuous distraints to pay the arrears of the farm aforesaid to our chamberlain. Witness myself at Westminster on the 23rd day of January in the seventh year of our reign [1278–9].
(7) Of bounds to be made between the vills of Kirkham and Riggeby.—Edward etc. to the sheriff of Lancashire, greeting. We command you to cause reasonable bounds to be [defined], justly and without delay, between the land of the abbot of Vale Royal in Kirkham and the land of our brother Edmund in Ribby, as they ought and are used to be; for the said abbot complains that the said Edmund takes more thereof into his fee than to him belongs; that we may hear no more complaint of want of justice herein. Witness: Edmund, Earl of Cornwall, our cousin, at Westminster on the 25th day of June in the 15th year of our reign .
(8) Of the casks of wine.—Edward etc., to Reginald de Grey, his justiciar of Chester, greeting. We command you to cause our well-beloved, the abbot and convent of Vale Royal, out of the farm of your bailiwick, to have two casks of wine of our right prise for the 14th and 15th years, and for that cask of wine [fo. 19d (256d)], which we granted to them to be received from the same prise in our city by the hands of our justiciar there for the time being, for the celebration of divine service in the monastery aforesaid, unless you shall have delivered them to him already upon our other writ. And we will cause you to have due allowance thereof in our Exchequer. Witness: Edmund, Earl of Cornwall, our cousin, in the sixteenth year .
(9) For Brother John Lewis, formerly cellarer, against Robert de Wenynton etc. for trespass.—Edward etc. to R. de Holand and his lieutenant, greeting. We understand from the serious complaint of our well-beloved in Christ, the abbot of Vale Royal, that when Brother John Lewis, a monk of the said abbot's house, after having done some business concerning his house aforesaid at Chester, was returning through the vill of Tervyn, Robert de Wenynton, John de Wenynton, William, Lawrence and Roger, his brothers, Hugh de Leghton and Roger de Bulkyley of Northwich, and certain other malefactors and disturbers of our peace lay in wait for the aforenamed Brother. John at Tervyn, and pursued him thence with violence as far as the house of Master Simon Blaby, and would have cut off the head of the said Brother John, if he had not speedily found refuge with the said Simon. And they continued day by day to threaten to kill the said John, and they assaulted the men and servants of the said Brother John there, who were appointed by the said abbot to be with him in the service of the house aforesaid, and they beat, wounded and ill-treated them etc., to the damage of the abbot and the terror of our people of those parts, and the manifest injury of our peace. And therefore we command you to cause the said abbot, Brother John, and their men and servants, to have our firm peace from the aforesaid John and Robert de Wenyngton, William, Roger, Lawrence, Hugh and Roger, for the avoidance of evils in the future, so that you may be certain that no damage or peril shall come to the same abbot etc., in person or in goods, from the said Robert etc. And you shall summon before us the aforesaid abbot and Brother John, and obtain from them fuller information as to the trespass aforesaid, and, according as it shall be found therein, you shall cause full justice to be done to the parties aforesaid, according to the law and custom of those parts, so that no complaint may reach us again. Given at London on the 20th day of October in the fourteenth year of the reign of our aforesaid father, the King .
(10) For John de Boddeworth, the abbot's servant, killed by the Brethren of Oldynton.—Edward etc. to his well-beloved and trusty R. de Holand, his justiciar of Chester, greeting. We command you diligently to enquire by the oath of honest and lawful men of your bailiwick, by whom the truth of the matter may best be known, who are the malefactors and disturbers of our peace who villainously slew a certain servant of our well-beloved in Christ, the abbot of Vale Royal, at Darnehale, and afterwards cut off his head, and carried it away with them, and kicked that head with their feet like a ball and made their sport therewith; and who afterwards knowingly received those malefactors, and the whole truth of all details touching that felony in any way whatsoever. And all those whom, by that inquisition, you shall find guilty thereof, you shall take and cause them to be delivered into the prison of our county aforesaid. And from that prison they shall in no wise be set free by fine or redemption, or in any other manner heretofore accustomed to be used in such case in those parts, because we specially reserve to ourselves henceforth the fines and redemptions to be taken from men convicted or to be convicted of homicide. And for the rest, you shall bear yourself so circumspectly in the premises that that felony shall by no means remain unpunished. Given at London on the 20th day of October in the fourteenth year of the reign of our aforesaid father the King .
(11) Petition for a declaration on points of the charter against the foresters etc.—The abbot of Vale Royal prays that redress may be given him in the following particulars: to wit, whereas the King, for the health of his soul, by his charter granted to the aforesaid abbot and monks of the same place, and their successors, pasture for their animals in his forests [fo. 20 (257)], and deafforested their lands and tenements, putting them outside all power of the foresters, verdurers, regarders, agisters and all other officers of his forest, and forbade, under penalty of £20, that any one should enter their lands or tenements in wood or plain to take any distraint or pledge, or to take any other thing which belongs to foresters or officers of a forest; nevertheless the foresters, disregarding the aforesaid grant and prohibition, daily and continually harass and annoy the aforesaid abbot and monks in the particulars above written, by impounding their animals, entering their lands and taking pledges there, to their considerable expense and hurt. Wherefore the said abbot begs that a declaration of the King, his patron, may be made to him, according to the tenor of the charter aforesaid, as they have enjoyed from the time of the making thereof, because the Prince, when humbly petitioned on these matters by the said abbot, refused to make any redress without the King's declaration and command [temp. Edw. I.]. (fn. 5)
(12) Petition (fn. 6) for exchange of lands with Randolph, son of Richard de Merton.—To their Lord. Whereas one "Rondolf le Fitz Richard" of Merton, tenant of the abbey and convent of Vale Royal, being indicted on suspicion in the Forest of Mare is anxious (voleit) to remove further from the cover of the forest aforesaid, by making some exchange with the said abbot and convent; will [the Prince] of his especial grace grant him leave to do this ? (fn. 7) [temp. Edw. I.]
(13) Petition to remove the pillory of Chester.—To their Lord. Whereas the mayor and commonalty of Chester as a nuisance to them have lately erected in front of their tenements a pillory, where none was used to be, and their tenements are for this reason unlet, will he, of his especial grace, command them to cause it to be removed?
(14) Petition for support for the new work.—To our Lord the King. His poor chaplains, the abbot and convent of Vale Royal, pray that he may be pleased of his grace to grant them something for the continuance and support of the work of their church and abbey aforesaid, which work for want of [such support] can go forward only at great cost, for everything has cost so dear. If it please him, will he do this thing for the souls of his father and his mother, who began the said work? and for the vow of the most honourable lord his father, perform it for God? [temp. Edw. II.]
(15) Petition on behalf of the same work, to wit, for the money from Ashford withdrawn etc.—To our Lord the King. His poor chaplains, if it please him, the abbot and convent of Vale Royal, pray him, that whereas of his especial grace he had ordained and assigned £80 a year, to fulfil the ancient assignment of his beloved father, and to perform his vow, to be received for the work of their church of Vale Royal from the issues of the manor of Ashford in the Peak by the hands of Walter Waldescheff, and the said manor of Ashford has been given entirely to Mounser Eadmound, his brother; and therefore since St. Michael they have received nothing of the assignment aforesaid. Wherefore may it please him of his especial grace to assign them something elsewhere, from which they might receive something certain for the completion of the work of their church aforesaid, for it proceeds only at great cost, etc. [temp. Edw. II.].
(16) Petition against the foresters for the twigs (croppis) and branches of timber.—To our Lord, the Earl of Chester, and his council. His poor chaplains, the abbot and convent of Vale Royal, show that, whereas they have estovers in the forest of la Mare by the charter of our Lord the King, the foresters of the same forest come and take the twigs and branches of all the trees [fo. 20d (257d)] which they fell for timber for their abbey aforesaid, to the great destruction of the said forest and the damage of the petitioners; and for this they pray redress for God's sake.
Our Lord the King directed his letters to Oliver de Ingham justiciar of Chester, to cause the abbot to be served with the twigs. And likewise to Sir William de Clynton [c. 1330].
(17) Petition for Remersshe.—To their Lord. Whereas our Lord the King by his charter has granted to them the church of Frodsham, with all the franchises and profits to the said church belonging, and they ought to have a passage for their sheep to the pasture which is called Remershe, (fn. 8) as a profit pertaining to the church aforesaid, in order to pasture their sheep in the same pasture, John de Thornton, bailiff of the manor of Frodsham aforesaid, disturbs them, and will not suffer them to have the passage or the pasture according as they have been used and accustomed. Wherefore they pray redress [temp. Edw. I].
(18) Petition (fn. 9) for the new work touching Kyngesclier.— Most honourable Lord, we thank you to the best of our power and ability, and we are bound to pray for you and for your ancestors, and we will always do it; and God repay you for having caused an answer to be made to us touching the supplication (bille) you lately received from us, that we should name some certain place which might support and maintain the work of our church and of the abbey of Vale Royal. Sire, if it please you, of your honourable grace grant us, for the making and maintenance of our church and of the abbey aforesaid, the church of Kingesclier, to have to our own use for the maintenance and making aforesaid [temp. Edw. II.].
(19) Petition against the foresters impeding [our] liberties.— To our Lord, the Earl of Chester, and to his council. His poor chaplains, if it please him, the abbot and convent of Vale Royal show that, whereas they are enfranchised by the charter of our Lord the King, his beloved father, whom God preserve, so that no forester or officer of the forest may enter their lands or tenements to take attachments or make distraint, under pain of forfeiture of £20 to the King, Piers de Thornton, William de Dutton, and other officers of the forest of la Mare, enter their said lands and tenements contrary to the tenor of their charter aforesaid, not having regard to the forfeiture abovesaid, and attach the crops and chattels of their tenants and detain them wrongfully. Wherefore, for God's sake, they pray grace and redress [temp. Edw. I.].
(20) Petition against the same for estovers and for our own dead wood.—To the same. Whereas they are granted by their said charter reasonable estovers in the said forest of la Mare, the said Piers de Thornton has disturbed them, taking their horses, carts and axes. Wherefore they pray redress.
That [whereas] they may approve their demesne wood by assart, or in any other way that may seem most to profit them, the said Piers de Thornton disturbs them, so that they cannot sell their dead wood nor make any profit thereof for themselves. Wherefore they pray grace and redress for God's sake.
(21) Petition against the sheriffs beadles entering the liberty without process, contrary to the franchise.—To the same. Whereas they have return of writs and no bailiff ought to enter their liberty without the award of the Earl on their default, there often come Hugh de Copenale, Thomas de Moresbarwe and Randolf de Darnahale, beadles, and enter their liberty aforesaid, as into their granges and manors, and take their oxen and ploughs without warrant, and drive them to Chester, by the which driving they lose their profits and their beasts aforesaid, to their great loss and damage; and they pray relief and mercy therein for God's sake.
(22) Letter [fo. 21 (258)] from the Earl sent to the Chamberlain for delivering the wine everv year, etc.—Edward, son of the illustrious King of England, Earl of Chester, to his well-beloved clerk William de Burstowe, his chamberlain of Chester, greeting. In their petition to us, exhibited before us and our council, our well-beloved in Christ, the abbot and convent of Vale Royal, have besought us that we would order to be delivered to them one cask of wine which the Lord Edward of famous memory, formerly King of England, our grandfather, granted by his charter (which we have inspected) for himself and his heirs to the late abbot and convent of that place for the celebration of divine service in their monastery of Vale Royal, to be received every year from the right prise of our said grandfather in the county of Chester, as in his charter aforesaid is more at large contained, and which is in arrears to them during our time; we, inclining our ears to the petition of the said abbot and convent and wishing to accede to their prayer and do them favour in this behalf, command you to cause the said abbot and convent to have one cask of wine every year from our right prise of Chester, and we will cause due allowance to be made to you for the same in your account. Given under our privy seal at Stretford-ate-Bogh on the third day of June in the ninth year of the reign of the said King Edward, our father .
(23) Writ for wine.—Edward, by the grace of God King of England, Lord of Ireland and Duke of Aquitaine, to his wellbeloved and trusty Oliver de Ingham, his justiciar of Chester, or his lieutenant there, greeting. Whereas the Lord Edward of famous memory, late King of England, our grandfather, by his charter granted for him and his heirs to the then Abbot and convent of the monastery of the Glorious Virgin of the Cistercian order at Dernahale, which our same grandfather founded in the county of Chester in fulfilment of his vow made when he was in peril on the sea, one cask of wine to be received every year out of his right prise in the county of Chester by the hands of the justiciar there for the time being, for the celebration of divine service in their monastery aforesaid, and our said grandfather afterwards removed the said monastery from that place of Dernahall, and founded it in a certain place called Whethenhalews and Munchenwro, and called that place Vale Royal, as in the charters of our said grandfather thereupon is more at large contained; and the Lord Edward, formerly King of England, our father, willing to do further grace in this behalf to the abbot and monks of the said place of Vale Royal, granted to them, for himself and his heirs, that they and their successors for ever should receive the said cask of wine every year from the right prise of himself and his heirs in the county aforesaid, by the hands of the justiciar of Chester or of the receiver of his said wines of the said prise in the same county for the time being, for the celebration of divine service in the monastery of Vale Royal aforesaid, as in the letters patent of our said father thereupon made more fully is contained —we command you to cause the said abbot to have the aforesaid yearly cask of wine from the time since you have been our justiciar there, and for such time as you shall continue to be our justiciar, out of our right prise, according to the tenor of the charters and letters aforesaid; and we will cause you to have due allowance thereof in your account at our exchequer. Witness myself at Eltham on the 25th day of January in the fourth year of our reign [1329–30].
(24) Writ for the allowance of scotpeny and toll.—Edward, son of the illustrious King of England, Duke of Cornwall and Earl of Chester, to our bailiffs of Middlewich, greeting. Whereas by the charter of the Lord Edward of famous memory, formerly King of England, our [great-grand] father (fn. 10) (which we have inspected), it appears that the abbot and monks of Vale Royal, and their men and tenants, are quit, and they and their predecessors have always hitherto from the first foundation of the abbey aforesaid been quit, from the custom called scotpeny and from all toll to be taken upon their goods and merchandize, which they sold, or which they bought for their own use in all places whatsoever throughout the power and dominion of our aforesaid great-grandfather and of ourselves, and that all the goods of them and their men are likewise quit from all tolls in the aforesaid places,—we command you, firmly enjoining that you shall suffer the aforesaid abbot and monks, and their men and tenants [fo. 21d (258d)] to be quit of the aforesaid custom and toll to be taken for anything whatsoever, and that you shall not henceforth meddle further therewith, and that you release without delay to the said abbot and monks, their men and tenants, any distraints which may have been taken from them on this account. Witness: Henry de Ferrers, our justiciar of Chester, at Chester, on the 20th day of January in the 16th year of the reign of the Lord Edward our father [20 Jan. 1342–3].
(25) One Henry le Chapman of the county of Lancaster slew Richard, son of William le Salter of the same county, within the liberty of the abbot of Vale Royal at Weuerham, and when the said Henry was taken to the prison of the said abbot at Weuerham, the King wrote to the abbot's bailiffs in these words:
Edward, by the grace of God King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Aquitaine and Earl of Chester, to the abbot of Vale Royal's bailiffs of Weuerham, greeting. Willing for certain reasons to be certified as to the cause of the taking and detaining of Henry le Chapman in the prison of your aforesaid lord of Weuerham, by you, as we are informed, we command you without delay to certify our justiciar of Chester distinctly and openly under your seals as to the reason of the taking and detention of the said Henry in the prison aforesaid, sending him this writ. Witness: Richard Dammory, our justiciar of Chester, on the 8th day of July in the first year of our reign .
Return of the abbot's bailiff.
We have received by writ the mandate of the Lord the King
and Earl of Chester. The coroner of the liberty of the abbot of
Vale Royal with four townships presents that Henry Chapman
of Halsslade feloniously slew Richard, son of William le Salter of
Dytton of the county of Lancaster at Weuerham, with a knife,
on Wednesday next after the feast of St. Barnabas the Apostle
in the first year of the reign of King Edward [the third] after
the Conquest. And afterwards the friends of the said Henry
made peace with the Lord the King or Earl of Chester, wherefore the King wrote to the bailiffs in these words:
Edward, by the grace of God etc. to the abbot of Vale Royal's bailiffs of Weuerham, greeting. Whereas for a fine, which Henry le Chapman of the county of Lancaster made with us, we have pardoned the said Henry the suit of our peace, which belongs to us, for the death of Richard, son of William de Dytton, whereof he is indicted, charged, and for that reason taken and detained in the prison of the aforesaid abbot at Weuerham, as we are informed, and have granted him our firm peace in the same, provided that he shall answer the charge in our county [-court] of Chester, if any one wishes to imparl him concerning the death aforesaid; and we have commanded our sheriff of the same county to cause our said peace thus granted to the same Henry to be publicly proclaimed wheresoever it shall seem expedient to him in his bailiwick, and to be kept. Wherefore we command you without delay to cause the said Henry to be delivered from the said prison, if he is detained therein for this reason only and for no other. Witness: Richard Dammory, our justiciar of Chester, at Chester on the 23rd day of August in the first year of our reign .
And thereupon the said abbot consulted persons skilled in the law, whether such delivery would not be contrary to the liberty of the said abbot, and they all agreed unanimously that it would not derogate in any way from the said liberty although the body of the said Henry should be thus delivered by the abbot's own bailiffs; provided that he not be in any way delivered by the officials of the Earl or into the gaol of Chester.
And the opinion of John Lancaster and the other persons skilled in the law upon this point was as follows: (fn. 11) —
To his very dear, honoured and reverend Lord. I should not propose (leou) that you should deliver your prison[er] that you have at Weuerham in any way to the justiciar of Chester, to the derogation of your franchise, but that you should retain him in prison until he will put himself upon the people of your liberty; and if suit is made by a party for felony, then in no wise [deliver] him, with writ or without. God be with you and keep you, my very dear Lord.
On Saturday next after the feast of St. Richard the Bishop and Confessor [9 April] in the year 1328, before Abbot Peter and Thomas de Erdeswyke, then steward of the same abbot, and John de Cotton, Richard de Squetenham and many others in the full court of Weuerham, Robert le Grouenour of Ruddheth did his homage and fealty, and acknowledged that he held the manor of Lostok from the manor of Weuerham by the service of one knight's fee, paying 17s. a year to the said abbot and convent [fo. 22 (259)] with wards, marriages and reliefs, when they accrue, and two customary pigs by the year, and suit every fortnight at the court of Weuerham; and in time of war in Wales, when Weuerham finds eight men, Lostok shall find four, when Weuerham finds six, Lostok shall find three, when Weuerham finds four, Lostok shall find two, for all service.
[Weaverham and Frodsham Churches.]
Be it remembered that in the year of Our Lord 1331 the lord bishop Robert de Nortborn visited the Archdeaconry of Chester, and in the course of his visitation came to visit the church of Weuerham. And he allotted to himself the grange of Hefferston (p'tiuit sibi), together with a procuration due to be paid him by the abbot and convent by reason of the visitation. As they did not appear before him, he lodged himself in great indignation in the vicarage buildings, and, after long altercation of these questions, at length the abbot and convent by their proctor (to wit, Robert de Hall, then prior), in the church of Prestbury, appeared before Master Hammond de Belers, Walter de Chylterne, and other commissaries of the Bishop, and exhibited for judgment (in judicio) the ordination of the vicarage of Weuerham, in which it was contained that the vicar should acknowledge all the ordinary charges whatsoever; and therefore the Bishop dismissed the abbot and convent entirely from inclusion in this matter by his decree. On the same day he dismissed them in like manner as regards the predial (p'ciales) tithes, which [the abbey] received within the bounds of the parish of Oure and Sandbach, under the Apostolic privilege concerning the ninths granted by Benedict VIII. to the whole order. And all these things were done in the church of Prestbury on Wednesday the feast of SS. John and Paul [26 June] in the year abovesaid, Master Jordan de Maxfeld being "patron" on behalf of the abbot in these matters.
Moreover Abbot Peter demanded from Richard de Hall, vicar of Weuerham, a portion of the extraordinaries touching his vicarage by reason of the tenths granted by the Pope and the clergy for the Holy Land and also to the King of England; and the abbot's reason for demanding this portion is (fn. 12) because it is contained in the ordination of his vicarage that the vicar is bound to acknowledge all ordinary and extraordinary charges for (pro) his portion. But the vicar on his side alleged that his portion had been taxed by itself before the appropriation was made. The abbot replied that the church was taxed before the appropriation was made, but before that taxation no vicar presided in the said church. At last the vicar agreed to pay the said abbot in his monastery of Vale Royal, in part payment of the said charges, 40s. in the year of Our Lord 1336.
Moreover the vicar of Frodysham is a portioner (? pencinar) because he had . . .(. . tes) tithes in farm; then he paid for a procuration the half part, 6s. 8d., and the lord abbot paid for his part, 6s. 8d.; and for the synodals the vicar paid the half part, 9d., and the lord abbot paid for his part, 9d.; total 18d. And the vicar of Weuerham is a portioner; he pays all the ordinary and extraordinary charges for his portion. Total, 13s. 4d.
My Lord, (fn. 13) in harty maner I recommande me to you, thanking your Lordship for the respite of myne apparens at the courte of Weuerham; & if it wold please you to be so gud Lord to me at this one tyme to take & admitte this berer myne atturney to answer for me there, or else to contynue unto tyme I speke with your Lordship, which shalbe afore the next court but this whith God grace (who kepe you); & I shalbe eftsones as glad to do you any servys or pleasur I can at Eester. The last day of September.
Yours to his little power
Edward Molyneux, Prest. (fn. 14)
To the reverend and my singler gud lord, my lord abbot of Vale Roiall.
Be it remembered [fo. 22d (259d)] that in the year 1342, on the feast of St. Mathias the Apostle [24 Feb. 1342–3], Randolph de Swettenham, son and heir of Thomas de Swettenham, came and did his homage and fealty to Robert, then abbot, in the said abbot's chapel, and acknowledged he held Swettenham from the manor of Weuerham, by the service of one fourth part of a knight's fee and other services heretofore accustomed to be acknowledged in the court of Weuerham.
On Saturday [26 March], the morrow of the Annunciation of the Blessed Mary in the year of Our Lord 1351, William del Mere, vicar of the church of Weuerham, came into the court of Weuerham before Thomas, then abbot of Vale Royal, Roger de Hopewell, then steward of the same abbot, Richard Doune, forester, Randolph le Roter and a number of others, and did homage and fealty, and acknowledged he held the bailiwick of the liberty of Weuerham, with the land to the same bailiwick belonging, from the aforesaid abbot and the convent of the same place by the services therefrom due and accustomed.
On the 13th of September in the year 1354 Adam de Wallerescote came before Thomas, abbot of Vale Royal, and Randolph le Roter and others, and did homage, and acknowledged that he held the bailiwick aforesaid in the same way as the aforesaid Sir William de Mere acknowledged, etc.
On Friday [6 Dec.], the feast of St. Nicholas the Bishop in the year 1353, Hugh del Heth came before Abbot Thomas of Vale Royal, Randolph le Roter and others, in the said abbot's chapel, and did his homage and fealty, and acknowledged that he held one messuage [and] 24 acres of land in the vill of Great Stanthurle from the abbot and convent of Vale Royal by the service of one twentieth part of one knight's fee, with homage and fealty, relief, ward and marriage, and other escheats, when they accrue; paying yearly to the aforesaid abbot and convent and their successors 6s. of silver at the four terms of the year usual at the vill of Ouere, and one appearance once a year at the court of Ouere, when he shall be lawfully summoned.
On the 8th of May in the year 1356 John le Vernoun came before Thomas, abbot of Vale Royal, Randolph le Roter and others, in the said abbot's garden in the abbey aforesaid, and did his homage and fealty, and acknowledged he held the bailiwick of the liberty of Weuerham in the same way as Sir William de Mere formerly acknowledged.
15th November 1363. William del Lowe came before Thomas, abbot of Vale Royal, Walter de Lydebury, a monk of the same house, John de Olton the younger, Nicholas Ragoun and others, in the said abbot's hall, and did his homage, etc., and acknowledged he held, etc., and paid for his relief 10s., for which the Lord afterwards took 6 bushels of the oats of the larger measure.
1st August 1366. Thomas de Swettenham, heir and lord thereof, came before Thomas, abbot of Vale Royal, John de Rodeburn, Walter de Lydebury and William de Bispham, monks of that house, William de Bostok, then deputy steward, Thomas de Somerford, John de Swettenham and a number of others in the said abbot's chamber, and did his homage and fealty to the said abbot, and acknowledged he held the manor of Swettenham from the manor of Weuerham by the service of one fourth part of a knight's fee, to wit, by finding two foot-men for 40 days in Wales in time of war for (ad) the manor of Weuerham, with homage, ward and relief, and also with suit at the court of Weuerham every fortnight, and paying such scutage as belongs to one fourth part of a knight's fee for all service.
And be it remembered that the aforesaid abbot presented to the church of Swetenham, during the time when the said Thomas was in the said abbot's custody, the first time John de Wodehull, who was instituted and inducted into the same; on a second occasion John Clement, by reason of an exchange with the said John de Wodehull, and the said John Clement [fo. 23 (260)] was instituted and inducted by procuration, and died rector of the same church. On the third occasion he presented John de Asschwell, brother of Symon the Clerk, who was instituted and inducted into the same in person. On the fourth occasion he presented David de Grafton, by reason of exchange with the said John de Asschwell, but the said David was not instituted nor inducted into the same, but left it for the church of Aldeford. On the fifth occasion he presented Robert de Wermyncham, who was instituted and inducted into the same personally, and died rector thereof; and then, on the sixth occasion, he presented Hugh de Eynesham, brother of William de Eynesham, monk of Vale Royal, [who] was instituted and inducted into the same. (fn. 15)
This is the final concord made in the full county [-court] of Chester on Tuesday, the feast of St. Lawrence, in the 24th year of the reign of King Edward the third after the Conquest [10 Aug. 1350], before Thomas de Ferrars, then justiciar of Chester, Sir John de St. Peter, Sir Geoffrey de Werburton the elder, Sir Peter de Thorneton [and] Sir John de Legh, Knights, William de Praers, Philip de Eggerton, Thomas Danyers, and others of the Lord's faithful people of the county of Chester then sitting there, between Richard de Pole of Hertyngdon, plaintiff, and Robert de Morlegh, chivaler, deforciant, of a moiety of the manor of Nether-Peuere with the appurtenances, whereof a plea of agreement was summoned between them in the same court: to wit, that the aforesaid Richard recognized the aforesaid moiety, with the appurtenances, to be the right of the same Robert, and for this acknowledgement, fine and agreement the same Robert granted to the aforesaid Richard the aforesaid moiety, with the appurtenances, to wit, with the homage and the whole services of David de Eggerton, William Gerard the younger and Maud his wife, William Torond, Philip de Eggerton, William de Bouker of Wemme, David son of Madoc son of William, Hugh son of Ralph Loucokessone of Aldreseye, Thomas de Swettenham, the heirs of William de Swettenham, John de Radeclyfe and Joan his wife, Richard de Sydynton and Agnes his wife, Robert de Weuere and Margaret his wife, John Fyton and Christian his wife, and Robert de Pull, and their heirs, for all the tenements which they formerly held from the aforesaid Robert in Ledesham, Molynton Torond, Wordhull, Codynton, Caldecote, Great Aldereseye, Somerford, Kerchyncham, Legh in the Hundred of Halton, Sydinton, Ouer-Alderedelegh and Leghton in Wyrhale, and gave the same back to him in the same court, to have and to hold to the same Richard and his heirs from the chief lords of that fee by the services which pertain to the moiety aforesaid for ever. And the aforesaid Robert and his heirs will warrant to the aforesaid Richard and his heirs the moiety aforesaid, with the appurtenances, against all men for ever. And this agreement was made in the presence of the aforesaid David son of Madoc son of William, Thomas de Swettenham and the heirs of William de Swettenham, who granted the same, and they did fealty to the aforesaid Richard in the same county [-court].
On Friday [13 Dec.], the feast of St. Lucy the Virgin in the year of Our Lord 1364, John de Pole came to the abbey of Vale Royal, and before Thomas, then abbot of Vale Royal, Walter de Lydbury, monk of the same house, Henry de Pole, William de Bostok and others, did his fealty to the said abbot there as for the moiety of the manor of Nether Peuer, which moiety he acknowledged he held from the said abbot by the service of paying 12d. yearly at the feast of St. Michael only; and he paid to the same abbot for his relief 2s.