19. RECORDS CONCERNING A SUIT (1079-86)

(A) Writ of William I (1079-83)

William, king of the English, to Lanfranc, archbishop [of Canterbury], and Geoffrey, bishop of Coutances, greeting. See to it that sac and soc,[1] as between Bishop Wulfstan and Walter, abbot of Evesham, are determined as they were on the day that, in the time of King Edward, geld[2] was last taken for the building of a fleet. And for holding this plea, be you, Geoffrey, president (praesul) in my place; and be sure that Bishop Wulfstan fully has what is his right. Also see to it that the bishop justly has the houses in Worcester which he claims as against the abbot, and that all those who hold lands of him are always prepared for my service and his.

Witness, Roger d'Ivry.

(Latin) Bigelow, Placita Anglo-Normannica, p. 287.

(B) Writ of Geoffrey, Bishop of Coutances (1086)

Geoffrey, bishop of Coutances, to Remi, bishop [of Lincoln], and Walter Giffard and Henry de Ferrers and Adam [de Port] and the other barons of the king, greeting. Know that, as I now give testimony, when by the king's precept I held the plea between Bishop Wulfstan and the abbot of Evesham, the bishop proved the three hides at Bengeworth and the houses in the city [of Worcester] to belong to his fief, so that the abbot thence owes him service like his other vassals (feudati). And he proved that the sac and soc of Hampton belong to his hundred of Oswaldslaw; that the pleas [of Hampton] should be heard there; that geld, host,[3] and other lawful services should be rendered to him from those fifteen hides [at Hampton]; and that church-scot[4] and burial fees (sepultura) should be paid at his vill of Croppethorn. This was sworn and proved before me and Urse d'Abetot and Osbern Fitz-Escrop, and other barons of the kingdom, by the judgment and testimony of the whole county [court].

(Latin) Ibid., p. 287.

(C) Writ of William I (1086)

William, king of the English, to Urse, sheriff [of Worcestershire], and Osbern Fitz-Escrop and all men, French and English, of Worcestershire, greeting. I will and command that Bishop Wulfstan shall have sac and soc and services and all customs belonging to his hundred and to his lands as fully as he best had them in the time of King Edward. And with regard to the lands which he has proved to be held of his fief by the abbot of Evesham — namely, the four[5] hides at Bengeworth and the houses in the city — I command that, if the abbot wishes to keep them, he must thence do service to the bishop like the other vassals of the latter. And with regard to the fifteen hides at Hampton, whence the bishop has proved soke and geld and host and other services of mine to belong to his hundred, and church-scot and burial fees to belong to his vill, I forbid any one to obstruct his tenure, but command that he shall enjoy all those [services] for my benefit and his, as was by my precept sworn and proved before Bishop Geoffrey and before you. By the witness of the said Bishop Geoffrey and of Roger d'Ivry.

(Latin) Ibid., p. 19.


[1] See above, p. 30, n. 23.

[2]Geld, like scot, was a general word that could be used to denote any tax or exaction; see above, p. 31, n. 26, and below, no. 27A. More specifically, as in Domesday Book, the term was used to refer to the Danegeld.

[3]Expeditio — the Anglo-Saxon fyrd, not the feudal service established after the Norman Conquest.

[4] Obscure payments in kind for the support of a local church; see Maitland, Domesday Book and Beyond, p. 321.

[5] Either this figure or the one given above is an error.


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