Staffordshire Historical Collections, Vol. 5 Part 1. Originally published by Staffordshire Record Society, London, 1884.
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Additions and Corrections, Part I.
The Burton Chartulary.
Page 1, paragraph 1. According to the "Chronicon Abbatum de Burton," quoted in the "Monasticon," Wulfric Spott was afterwards Consul ac Comes Merciorum; and the same Chronicle states he was of the royal stock, and was killed in battle against the Danes, a.d. 1010. Sir Francis Palgrave describes his will as "a singular and important document, requiring much topographical and legal illustration;" and he adds that Dugdale's translation of it is not particularly accurate. The document hardly answers to the modern idea of a will, for it was confirmed by King Ethelred in the lifetime of the testator.
It was this singularity of the instrument which first suggested to the writer that the Abbey might have been founded as an expiatory offering for the testator's share in the massacre of the Danes. This statement of course is little more than a surmise, but it receives support from some collateral circumstances: for in addition to the above fact of the will having been drawn up and confirmed by the King when the testator was in the prime of life, one of the chronicles quoted by Holinshed states that the massacre commenced at Marchinton, in Staffordshire, and Marchinton was one of Wulfric Spott's manors.
Page 1, paragraph 2. This paragraph is founded on the sentence already quoted from the "Annals of Burton," that Wulfric Spott had endowed the monastery with the whole of his possessions, but Bishop Hobhouse reminds me that many of the devises of land in Wulfric's will are made to his own kindred. In some cases they are made with reversion to the Abbey; but the paragraph requires considerable modification.
Page 6, line 11. This is incorrect; the Abbots of Burton, I have since found, were not summoned to Parliament. The summonses to Parliament of the heads of religious houses appear to have been confined to such as held by barony, and had military tenants under them. Coventry was one of these, and although only a priory the head of it was always summoned, and I presume it was on this account.
Page 2, line 6 from bottom. The Rev. J. Charles Cox, the author of "The Churches of Derbyshire," informs me that the Cotes of Burton Abbey was Cotonon-the-Elms, in Lullington Parish. It is spelt Cotune in the Domesday Survey, though the word Cotes is written over it.
Page 59, line 45, for "Fristobald," read "Friscobald." Mr. Mazzinghi informs me that the Frescobaldi of Florence had a banking house in London a.d. 1304. Edward I. calls them his dearly beloved merchants, and requests them to provide £1,000 for the journey to Rome of Walter de Langton, Bishop of Lichfield, and William, Bishop of Worcester, for which they are to have as security the customs on wool. See the letter in Rymer's "Fœdera," p. 1014.
Page 59, note. The best account of Frankpledge I have met with is in Palgrave's "English Commonwealth;" but even that learned author makes the mistake of confounding the View of Frankpledge with the institution itself. The View of Frankpledge, as is shown by the suit in the text respecting Hanson or Hunsedon, was the presentment made by a member of the tything of those things which pertained to the frankpledge, or collective liability of the members of the tything, and this presentment was made by a single inhabitant of the township, who was also called its frankpledge, or "francumplegium." Writers on the subject have hitherto assumed that all presentments had to be made by the Reeve and four men of the township. This may have been the case in some localities, and if so it would quite account for the importance attached to retaining the view of frankpledge at the Manorial Court, for the obligation to send five of the tenants of a manor to every Hundred Court must have been intolerable.
Palgrave also shows that in the later phase of the institution the Decennary or Tything was synonymous with the township or manor; and his account also clears up a difficult point in the Plea Rolls, pages 72 and 73 of Vol. IV., where the defendants in some criminal cases are stated not to be in frankpledge, because they were freemen. The words "liberi homines" in these cases should have been translated freeholders, for it appears that persons were exempted from the frankpledge if their property was of sufficient amount to be considered as a permanent security for their good behaviour. Palgrave also states that for purposes of frankpledge villains were always considered freemen, and there are instances where they are styled freemen in the Anglo Saxon period. In the grant of the 40th of all movable property made to the King, 16 H. III., the villains are stated to have concurred together with the earls, barons, knights, and freemen, i.e., freeholders of the kingdom.
Mr. Mazzinghi points out that the assize of bread will be found in the Statutes of the Realm, Vol. I., p. 199, where various readings of it have been collated together. The texts do not all agree with one another, nor with that in the Burton Chartulary. No doubt if the latter had been known to those employed by the Record Commission, it would have been collated with the others.
Page 88, note. Bishop Hobhouse suggests that as John Hotham the Bishop of Ely had been Chancellor of the Kingdom shortly before this date, viz., a.d. 1318, he had probably intervened in his capacity as Chancellor.
Page 98, line 23, for "taken openhanded (manuoperte)," read "taken with the manner" (manuopere), that is taken flagrante delicto. The expression "to be taken with the manner" became proverbial in former days, and the reader will observe here the origin of it.
Page 115, line 8, "ad communia de Lichfeld." This should have been translated, I am informed by Bishop Hobhouse, "to the common fund of the Chapter," i.e., the fund distinct from the "præbendum," or separate endowment of each office in the Chapter.
Mediæval Mensuration of Land.
A large number of passages from ancient writers relating to this subject have been industriously collected together by Sir Henry Ellis in his "Introduction to Domesday," Vol. I., page 145, but the reader will rise from a perusal of them more bewildered than ever. It is quite clear that the same word had a different signification according as it is used as a portion of land under tillage, or as a measure of taxation. In some counties also eight virgates went to the hyde in place of four; and a further source of confusion is engendered by the use of the same contraction for the words "caruca" and "carucata." The latter word is frequently used as synonymous with a hyde of land, and Orderic Vitalis speaks of the carucate quam Angli hydam vocant.
As regards the carucate, virgate, and bovate, the reader will find some very curious and interesting information in Seebohm's "English Village Community." The hide or carucate he considers to be the holding corresponding with the possession of a full plough team of eight oxen. The half hide corresponds with the possession of one of the two yokes of four abreast; the virgate with the possession of a pair of oxen, and the half virgate or bovate with the possession of a single ox, all having their fixed relation to the full manorial plough of eight oxen. There is much to support this view in the "Extenta terrarum" of the Abbey of Burton, temp. H. I., pp. 18–30 of this volume; but the monks do not treat the hide and the carucate as synonymous.
On looking again at the Table of Mensuration in the Evesham Chartulary, which had been transcribed by me many years ago, I find that it is written on a fly leaf of the book in a modern hand. It has not therefore the authority which I supposed it to possess when I first made use of it, for it seems to be the compilation of an annotator of the last century. I suspect too that the writer has mistaken the Roman numerals XXX for XII, and has written twelve acres to the virgate in place of thirty in consequence. Seebohm is of opinion that the normal virgate was about thirty acres; but virgates of much larger dimensions are frequently mentioned on the Rolls, and I should be inclined to fix thirty-six as the normal number of acres to the virgate, viz., two bovates of eighteen acres each. But all that can be said positively on the subject is, that a virgate was the normal holding of the "villanus;" and this holding included in addition to the land under tillage, rights of common on the manorial waste, and of pannage and estover in the manorial woods. The villanus in fact was really a well-to-do and usually prosperous tenant, with fixity of tenure; for the obligation of his possession was reciprocal; and though he could not remove from his holding, the lord could not dispossess him so long as he performed his accustomed service. There is no trace of servitude in his position or status, and Domesday always distinguishes the "villani" from the "servi."
In the comparison made by me between the mediæval and modern measures of land, the former are used only in their sense of units of taxation. For instance, if the hide is employed to signify a carucate of land, or terra ad unum aratrum, it will represent about 250 acres, but if it is used as a unit of assessment, and compared with modern surveys, it will include all the wood, waste, and pasture of a manor, and may mount up, as it does in Staffordshire, to 1,000 acres.
The Forest Rolls.
Pages 125 and 126. The statement that nothing but pines and heather will grow in the New Forest requires qualification, as oaks are grown in some parts of it, but it is true of the general character of the soil, and the above fact will not affect the argument in the text.
Page 168, footnote. At the time I was engaged upon the forest pleas, I had great difficulty in translating the word "Saltatorium;" for the popular impression of a deer leap, and one which I shared, was that it was a belt of privileged land round the outside of a park; but by the kindness of Sir Charles Wolseley I have been enabled to inspect and make a sketch of one of the deer leaps still maintained at Wolseley Park, an engraving of which is now annexed to these notes. These contrivances for entrapping deer have always been known as deer leaps at Wolseley, and the grant which legalized them styles them "Saltatoria."
"Edwardus, Dei gratiâ, etc. Omnibus ad quos presentes literæ pervenerint, salutem. Sciatis quod nos de gratiâ nostrâ speciali ac pro bono servicio per dilectum nostrum Radulphum Wolseley, etc., quod ipse et heredes sui totam illam terram et aquam infra sive pertinentem manerio sen dominio de Wolseley in Comitatu Staffordiæ, unde ipse Radulphus seisitus existit, includere palis et imparcare, necnon saltatoria in terrâ predictâ sic inclusa aut imparcata facere et habere possit, etc. In cujus rei testimonium has literas nostras fieri fecimus patentes. Teste me ipso apud Westmonasterium tertio die Julii anno regni nostri nono."