Westminster Abbey Charters, 1066 - c.1214. Originally published by London Record Society, London, 1988.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by London Record Society. All rights reserved.
Henry II (nos. 122–39)
122. Writ of H II, ordering that Abbot Gervase is to have all his lands, tenants and liberties as any of his predecessors held them TRE, and as King Edward and H I granted by their charters to the abbey, with pleas, including murder and theft. The sheriff may not intrude without the consent of the abbot and monks. Dover [Dec. 1154 × 1157 (? 2 × 10 Jan. 1156)]
WAM XLIV(5); WAD, f. 58; F, f. 131r–v.
Pd: NPS Facsimiles, plate 98(a), facsimile; Chaplais, 'Original Charters', plate VIII(b), partial facsimile: from original; L. Delisle, 'Notes sur les chartes originales de Henri II', B.E.C. LXVIII (1907), 279, no. 17, extracts only, from NPS Facsimiles.
Cal: S.R., no. 536, scribe not identified; Acta H II and R I, 160–1, no. H 292.
Date: Gervase was still in office c. 1 June 1157 (165–6; cf. Letters of John of Salisbury I, no. 45), but removed by H II (Symeon of Durham II, 330), prob. c. 1157 (Flete, 143). The attestations suggest that this document was among those issued at Dover, 2 × 10 Jan. 1156 (cf. Eyton, Itinerary, 15–6; Monasticon (1823) IV, 538–9, no. IX).
Note: 'Apparently genuine' (Chaplais, 'Original Charters', 96, and n. 6).
123.* Charter of liberties of H II, granted for his own soul; for those of his parents; and those of H I and King Edward, taking the abbey, the coronation church, under his protection; confirming its exemption from episcopal or other temporal authority; its right of free election, and all lands granted by his predecessors, magnates or citizens of London, and extensive exemptions. Dover [19 Dec. 1154 × ante 14 Aug. 1158 (? 2 × 10 Jan. 1156)]
WAM XLIII, with seal, attached on parchment tag, on which is written 'Prima Carta Duplicata'; BL Cotton Charter VI 5, also an 'original', damaged, therefore uncertain whether it was ever sealed; WAD, ff. 57v–58; F, ff. 72–73v; T, f. 23r–v (attestations omitted).
Cal: B.E.C. LXIX, 555, no. 32 (WAM XLIII); B.E.C. LXVIII, 276, no. 6 (Cotton Charter); S.R., no. 535: scribe not identified; Acta H II and R I, 161–2, no. H 294; 161, no. H 293 (Cotton Charter VI 5).
Date: Attestation of Warin Fitz Gerold as chamberlain. He was succeeded by his brother Henry before the king left England 14 Aug. 1158 (Eyton, Itinerary, 39–40). The witnesses all attest charters issued by Henry at Dover, 2 × 10 Jan. 1156 (ibid., 15–16).
Note: A forgery, closely modelled on the spurious charters of liberties of H I (57) and Stephen (111): cf. Chaplais, 'Original Charters', 96 n. 6. The Dei gratia formula was introduced into the royal style only in 1172/3 (S.R., 19, 35).
124. Writ of H II, ordering the abbot and monks to allow Gilbert of Hendon to hold his manor of Hendon (Mddx.) in fee farm as well and as peaceably as Abbots Gilbert and Herbert and the chapter granted it to his father, and to Gilbert himself, and as Gilbert or his father held it in the reign of H I, as H I's charter bears witness. Northampton [Dec. 1154 × ante 14 Aug. 1158 (? × summer 1157)]
WAD, f. 124.
Date: Attested by Thomas Becket as chancellor, ante his election to Canterbury, 23 May 1162 (Fasti II, 4). Prior to that date, the king was continuously out of England from 14 Aug. 1158 (Eyton, Itinerary, 40–58), and since Abbot Gervase issued a charter to Gilbert Fitz Gunter, in response to this mandate (263), Henry's writ cannot have been issued much later than June 1157.
Note: King Stephen's writ ordering the abbey to observe Gilbert's tenancy (107) makes no mention of any charter of H I. Abbot Gilbert granted Hendon in farm to Gunter (241), and Abbot Herbert confirmed it to Gunter and his unnamed heir (245). See also Harvey, WA, 352.
125. Writ of H II, ordering the sheriff of Surrey that, if the abbot has been disseised unjustly and without judgement of any part of his land of Claygate (Surr.), then the sheriff is to reseise him justly and without delay, as he was seised at the d. of H I. Winchester [1155 × c. Aug. 1158]
WAM XLII(3); WAD, f. 471.
Pd: S.R., plate XXV(b), facsimile; B.E.C. LXIX, 563, no. 66: from original.
Cal: S.R., no. 534: scribe xxvi; Acta H II and R I, 160, no. H 291.
Date: Scribe xxvi was employed from 1155, but prob. down to the early 1160s, at latest, and he worked only in England (S.R., 30, and note facing plate XXV(b)). The king was abroad from 14 Aug. 1158 to early Jan. 1163 (Eyton, Itinerary, 40–58). The contents of the writ also indicate a date soon after the king's accession (cf. Van Caenegem, 64, 66, 278).
Note: Cf. Harvey, WA, 358.
126.* Writ of H II, informing the justices, sheriffs, ministers and bailiffs in whatever shires or jurisdictions the almonry holds lands, that he has quitclaimed to the almonry all pleas, legal actions, suit of shire and hundred courts, geld, Danegeld, scots, sheriffs' aids, murder fines, and customary exactions in Paddington (Mddx.), Fanton (Essex) and Claygate (Surr.), and whatever it held in the wood and vill of Ditton (Surr.) TRE and in the reigns of W I and H I, as their charters bear witness, with sake and soke, etc. Westminster [Dec. 1154 × ante Michaelmas 1158]
WAD, f. 458v.
Date: Issued by Warin Fitz Gerold, who was succeeded as chamberlain by his brother Henry ante Michaelmas 1158 (PR 4 Henry II, 123–4; cf. PR 3 Henry II, 80–1, 107).
Note: The tone and content suggest that this writ, like others on the subject ascribed to H I and Stephen (62–4, 106), is spurious. See also Harvey, WA, 341, 353, 358.
127. Writ of right of H II, ordering Geoffrey de Jarpunville to restore to the monks without delay their tithes of Bushey (Herts.), as they held them in the reign of H I, otherwise the bp. of Lincoln will do so. Woodstock [Dec. 1154 × c. 1165]
WAD, f. 648v.
Date: Dei gratia absent from the royal style. John of Oxford attests without a title, which suggests a date before his appointment as dean of Salisbury in 1165 (L & C Foliot, 537; Letters of John of Salisbury II, xxxii–xxxiii, 112, 170; E. Turk, Nugae Curialium (Geneva, 1977), 48). He became bp. of Norwich late in 1175 (Fasti II, 56).
Note: The bp. of Lincoln, Dec. 1148–Dec. 1166, was Robert de Chesney (Fasti III, 2).
128. Writ praecipe of H II, ordering John of Bushey (Herts.), clerk, to render to the abbot, justly and without delay, the tithe pertaining to his parish of Aldenham (Herts.), as the abbey held it in the reign of H I, or else the bp. of London will see to it. There must be no delay, because of the king's sea-crossing or the appeal which he (the abbot) made to the king. Portchester [Dec. 1154 × mid March 1166]
Date: Attested by Joscelin de Bailliol, who does not attest after 1166 (Eyton, Itinerary, 91, 94, 97; cf. p. 312). The king crossed to France 16–23 March 1166 (ibid., 92).
Note: Cf. Harvey, WA, 345, 403.
129.* Writ of H II, ordering Hilary, bp. of Chichester, the justices, sheriffs and officers of Sussex, that the abbey and monks are to hold their vill of Parham, with the church and its other appurtenances, quit of shire and hundred courts, geld, Danegeld, sheriffs' aids and other exactions, as a royal demesne chapel. It is not to be disseised of anything with which it was seised on 15 Aug. next after his crossing to Normandy. Southampton [Dec. 1154 × Mar. 1166]
WAM 4075; WAD, f. 572; F, ff. 74v–75; PRO, KB 26/54, m. 18d. The copies supply the place of issue.
Pd: S.R., plate VI(b), facsimile; B.E.C. LXIX, 560, no. 54, extracts only: from original; Curia Regis Rolls VI, 177.
Cal: S.R., no. 553, 'supposed original'; imitates hand of 132 (ibid., 8 and plate VI); Acta H II and R I, 160, no. H 290.
Date: Hilary bp. of Chichester d. 1169 ('Winchester Annals', 'Waverley Annals', Ann. Mon., ci, 239). The king crossed to Normandy midMarch 1166, and returned to England 3 March 1170 (Eyton, Itinerary, 92, 135).
Note: Cf. Harvey, WA, 359–60.
130. Writ of H II, informing William de Turba, bp. of Norwich, and the barons of Suffolk, that he confirms to the monks of St Bartholomew's, Sudbury, two parts of the tithe of Torp, which Ivo gave from his demesne when he became a monk there, to hold as King Henry confirmed by his charter. Winchester [Dec. 1154 × early May 1172 (? 29 Sept. 1155)]
F, f. 79v; T, f. 24v, giving first attestation only.
Pd: Monasticon III, 459, no. II, from F.
Cal: Eyton, Itinerary, 12.
Date: William de Turba d. Jan. 1174 (Fasti II, 56), although the absence of Dei gratia in the royal style indicates a date before the end of 1173 (cf. S.R., 19). The king crossed to Normandy in May 1172, and returned to England 8 July 1174 (Eyton, Itinerary, 167, 179). Possibly issued at the Council of Winchester, 29 Sept. 1155 (ibid., 12).
Note: The one surviving charter of H I for Sudbury does not mention this tithe (72). No prior is known, and there were perhaps two inmates at any one time (Knowles & Hadcock, 77).
131. Writ of H II, ordering his sheriffs and officers throughout England, in whatever bailiwicks the abbey has lands and men, that the abbey is to have its liberty, as conceded in his own charter, and in those of his predecessors. No-one is to exact more from them. Rouen [Dec. 1154 × ante Feb. 1173 (? June 1157 × 1158)]
WAD, f. 58; F, f. 87v (royal style given Henricus rex Anglorum etc.).
Pd: Regesta II, no. CCCXXVII, from F.
Cal: Regesta II, no. 1987.
Date: Dei gratia absent from the royal style. The absence of the abbot's name, and the tenor of the writ, suggest that it was issued during an abbatial vacancy, prob. that following the removal of Gervase (Heads, 77). Use of bailliva, teste, cancellario.
Note: Perhaps in consequence of the issue of this writ, murder fines levied on the abbot's lands in Essex, Herts. and Northants. during the early years of the reign were pardoned per brevem regis (PR 2–4 Hen. II, 135; PR 7 Hen. II, 66, 69; PR 8 Hen. II, 8).
132. Writ of H II, ordering his justices, sheriffs and officers throughout England that the monks are to have all lands, tithes and rents pertaining to the almonry, as they did in the time of H I. Westminster [Dec. 1154 × ante 1 July 1175 (x ante Feb. 1173)]
WAM XLI; WAD, f. 471.
Pd: S.R., plate VI(a): facsimile of original.
Cal: S.R., no. 533: scribe not identified, but 'an authentic writ of Chancery origin' (ibid., note facing plate VI(a)); Acta H II and R I, 162, no. H 295; B.E.C. LXIX, 563, no. 67.
Date: Attested by Reginald, earl of Cornwall, who d. 1 July 1175 (Diceto, I, 401). Dei gratia absent from the royal style.
133. Writ of H II, ordering the abbot [Laurence] to render right, without delay, to Hugh Fitz Warner over three hides of land which were his in Teddington and Sunbury, otherwise the sheriff of Mddx. will do so. Westminster [c. 1158]
WAD, ff. 155v–156.
Date: Eyton, Itinerary, 38, and 25–58 passim; cf. 452.
Note: Hugh surrendered this writ to the abbey following his subsequent lawsuit against Abbot Laurence (452). On Sunbury and Teddington, see Harvey, WA, 354. It was later believed that Abbot Gervase had granted a lease of three hides in these vills to Hugh Fitz Warner (Flete, 89, but see Harvey, 'Fee Farms', 129, n. 6).
134. Notification by H II, generally addressed, that William Fitz Durand declared in the king's presence his conversion to the monastic life, and requested that all his land should be confirmed to his kinswoman Margaret, wife of the king's sergeant, Alexander de Barentin. This comprised 8s. worth of land in Warnborough and Odiham (Hants.), which Durand 'the dwarf' (nanus) bought from Suffac in presence of H I and his justices, with certain herbage, and enclosures in H II's wood in Odiham. Henry therefore confirmed these lands to Alexander and Margaret, as Durand held them in the reign of H I. Woodstock [May × July 1175 (? 1–8 July 1175)]
WAM 661 (with Great Seal).
Pd: Formulare, no. DVIII, 295–6; Foedera I, i, ff. 45–6.
Cal: Eyton, Itinerary, 192; Acta H II and R I, 28, no. H 6.
Date: Outside limits given by the king's itinerary and the attestation of Herbert as archdeacon of Northampton (Fasti III, 30–1; cf. Fasti II, 14). Prob. issued during the Council of Woodstock (Eyton, Itinerary, 192).
Note: On the administrative activities of Alexander (de) Barentin c. 1173–1190, see PR 20 Hen. II, 133; PR 21 Hen. II, 187; PR 22 Hen. II, 12; PR 24 Hen. II, 112–13; PR 25 Hen. II, 125; PR 30 Hen. II, 151; PR 31 Hen. II, 239–40; PR 32 Hen. II, 180–1; PR 33 Hen. II, 207; PR 34 Hen. II, 204, 206; PR 1 Ric. I, 234.
135. Confirmation by H II, to his pincerna, Alexander de Barentin, of properties he has received from named donors, including a seld in Dowgate, London, which Richard [of Ilchester] archdeacon of Poitiers bought from Robert de Pont de l'Arche. Westminster [1175 × 1177 (? c. 18 May 1176)]
WAM 660 (with Great Seal).
Pd: Formulare, 47–8, no. LXXXVI, from WAM; Recueil des actes de H II, DLXXXIX (from Formulare).
Cal: Eyton, Itinerary, 202–3; Acta H II and R I, 27–8, no. H 5.
Date: The attestation of Gilbert Malet suggests a date no later than April 1177 (HBC, 75), while that of Herbert le Poer as archdeacon of Canterbury is no earlier than 1175 × 1176 (Fasti II, 14). Possibly issued during the Council or Synod of Westminster.
136. Notification of H II, generally addressed, that he has conceded and confirmed to William of Darnford and his heirs the manor of Deerhurst (Gloucs.) with all appurtenances, to be held of the abbot and convent at an annual rent of £30, as specified in the charter of the former Abbot Gervase, and in the charter of the convent. The king concedes all liberties and free customs which King Edward granted, and confirms any which may be granted by future kings. Oxford [May 1172 × ante Dec. 1184]
WAM 32669; WAD, f. 317.
Date: Attested by Count Geoffrey: prob. this is the king's son, usually styled 'count' rather than 'duke' of Brittany. He left England for the last time c. Dec. 1184 (Gesta Henrici, 320). Dei gratia absent from the royal style.
Note: Abbot Gervase's charter (271) had been confirmed by the empress, prob. in 1141 (98). The convent's charter apparently dates from shortly after Gervase's dismissal, c. 1157 × 1158 (341). Abbot Walter de Wenlock (1283–1307) purchased Deerhurst from the William of Darnford of his own day (Flete, 116), hence the presence of this charter among the Muniments. Cf. also Harvey, WA, 344–5.
137. Writ of H II, ordering the justices, sheriffs and bailiffs of Gloucs. and Worcs. that the abbot and monks and their possessions are under his protection, and everything belonging to them must be treated as though it is royal demesne. All tenants of the abbey are to be compelled to render the service they owe, without delay. Droxford [May 1172 × ante 10 July 1188 (? April 1173 × ante 8 July 1175)]
WAD, f. 58; F, ff. 131v–132.
Date: Before the king's final departure from England (Eyton, Itinerary, 288). Dei gratia in the royal style. The contents of the writ, and the omission of the abbot's name, suggest that it was issued in the interregnum between the d. of Abbot Laurence, 10 or 11 April 1173, and the election of Abbot Walter, post 8 July 1175 (Heads, 77). In that period, Henry was in England April–July 1173, and 8 July–8 Aug. 1174 (Eyton, 173, 179–83), and returned for a longer visit 8 or 9 May 1175 (ibid., 190).
138.* Confirmation by H II, in reverence for St Edward, and for his soul; and those of his predecessors and successors, of the manor of Denham (Bucks.), which Martin de Capella held, to hold in demesne. Westminster [c. 1181 × July 1188 (prob. c. 1181 × March 1182)]
WAD, f. 178v; LN, f. xxxiij verso; CAY, f. xxxvj recto–verso.
Cal: Bentley, 14, no. 137, from CAY.
Date: The first attestation to the WAD text is that of Abp. Richard, who d. 16 Feb. 1184 (Fasti II, 5), so that the limit would be the king's departure from England 10–11 March 1182 (Eyton, Itinerary, 247), since he returned only on 10 June 1184 (ibid., 256). The LN text gives the archbp. as B[aldwin], which would extend the limit to the king's final departure on 10 July 1188 (Eyton, Itinerary, 288). Since Hugh Bardulf attests as dapifer, an opening limit of 1181 is indicated (ibid., 239).
Note: Textually, this is plainly a product of the Westminster scriptorium, rather than of the royal chancery, and prob. spurious. Abbot Walter's confirmation of Denham to Martin de Capella in fee-farm dates from 1175 or later (301). Martin evidently held land of Westminster in Denham in 1172 (PR 18 Henry II, 47). See also Harvey, WA, 338–9.
139. Confirmation by H II, at the petition of Richard of Ilchester, bp. of Winchester, to Alexander de Barentin and his sons Richard and Thomas, the bp.'s nephews, and to their heirs, of the gifts which the bp. made them, as his charter bears witness. These properties in London, include the messuage of John Burgundian, in the Fishmarket. Clarendon [(1181 ×) Feb. 1187)]
WAM 662 (with Great Seal).
Cal: Acta H II and R I, 28, no. H 7.
Date: Attested by Hugh of Morwick, d. 1187. His appearance, and that of Hugh Bardulf, as dapifers, suggests a date of 1181 or later (Eyton, Itinerary, 312, 330). Within the period 1181–1187, the king was abroad c. 10 March 1182–c. 10 June 1184; c. 16 April 1185–27 April 1186; and c. 27 Feb. 1187–30 Jan. 1188 (ibid., 246–56; 263–7; 277–84). A likely time of issue would be Feb. 1187 (cf. ibid., 277).