36. BARONIAL RETURNS (1166)[1]

(A) From the Archbishop of York

To his most beloved lord, Henry, by the grace of God king of England, duke of Normandy and of Aquitaine, and count of Anjou, his Roger, by the same grace archbishop of York and legate of the Apostolic See, greeting. Your majesty has commanded that all your faithful men, both clerical and lay, who hold of you in chief within Yorkshire, shall signify to you by their sealed letters patent[2] how many knights each of them has who were enfeoffed by old enfeoffment in the time of King Henry, your grandfather, namely, on the day and in the year that he was alive and dead; and how many he has who were enfeoffed by new enfeoffment after the death of your said grandfather of blessed memory; and how many knights are charged against the demesne of each. And the names of all those men, both of the new enfeoffment and of the old, are to be inscribed in that writ, because you wish that, if there are any who have not yet sworn fealty to you and whose names are not yet inscribed in your roll, they should swear fealty to you before the first Sunday of Lent. As one of which [faithful men], being subject in all things to your command, I have with all diligence, and in so far as the brevity of the time would permit, made investigation within my tenement and by the present writing signify to you, my lord, [the results].

Wherefore, my lord, be it known to you in the first place that no knight is charged against the demesne of the archbishopric of York, since we have enough knights enfeoffed through whom to perform all the service that we owe you, as also our predecessors had; and we have more than we owe, as you may see from the present writing. For our predecessors, not through necessity of the service that we owe, but because they wished to provide for their relatives and serjeants, enfeoffed more [knights] than they owed the king. Now these are the names of those enfeoffed from the time of King Henry [I].[3]... After the death of King Henry, however, [the following men] were enfeoffed: Peter the Steward with half a knight's fee; Earl Peter with the twentieth of a knight; Geoffrey of Burton with the twelfth of a knight; Gervaise of Bretton with the third of a knight. And since, my lord, of these there are some from whom I demand more service than they are performing, while others are withholding what is said to belong to the table (mensam) and demesne of the archbishop rather than to those men themselves, I humbly ask that this writing shall not be held against me or my successors if we are unable to restore or to retain the rights of the church. Fare thee well, my lord!

(Latin) Liber Niger Scaccarii, pp. 303 f.

(B) From the Abbot of St. Albans

To his most benign lord, Henry, by the grace of God illustrious king of the English, Brother Robert, humble minister of the church of St. Albans, greeting and faithful service. With regard to the knights, whose number and names you order reported to you in writing, we truthfully give you this information. We have six knights enfeoffed from old enfeoffment of the time of King Henry [I], but from new enfeoffment none. Nor have we any knight who performs the full service of a knight except Hugh Wach, who holds of us one knight's fee.[4]... Our demesne, moreover, owes you no [knight]. May Almighty God preserve to you in peace and for long the integrity of your realm!

(Latin) Ibid., p. 244.

(C) From the Earl of Essex

To Henry, king of England, duke of Normandy and of Aquitaine, and count of Anjou, Geoffrey, earl of Essex, greeting and faithful service. Know that the names hereinunder written are those of the knights who hold of me by old enfeoffment.... Total of the knights by old enfeoffment, ninety-seven knights and the third of a knight. These are the names of the knights by new enfeoffment.... Total of those newly enfeoffed.[5]... And my men tell me that I owe the king sixty knights.

(Latin) Ibid., pp. 228 f.

(D) From Baderon of Monmouth

To his lord, Henry, king of the English, Baderon of Monmouth, greeting. Lord, I have heard your precept in the county [court] of Hereford: namely, that I should notify you, signifying to you by my letters patent under seal, how many knights I have who were enfeoffed by old enfeoffment. Accordingly, prepared to obey your precept, I have noted their names as follows.... These ten are of the old enfeoffment; of [knights] newly enfeoffed I have none. Besides, I am bound to furnish you five [knights] from my demesne.

(Latin) Ibid., p. 152.

(E) From Gilbert of Pinkney

To his lord, the king, Gilbert of Pinkney gives this notification. It is ascertained that I have eleven and a half knights enfeoffed by old enfeoffment from the time of King Henry [I]: namely.... And afterwards, from my demesne, I gave to Henry, my son, one knight's fee; and to Gilbert, my son, half a knight's fee. In addition there remains against my demesne the service of two knights.

(Latin) Ibid., p. 196.

(F) From Peter de la Mare

To Henry, by the grace of God king of the English, Peter de la Mare, greeting. Be it known to you that, by your grace, I hold Lavington in demesne for the service of two knights; but that I there have no knight enfeoffed, either by old or by new [enfeoffment]. Farewell!

(Latin) Ibid., p. 113.

(G) From William of London

To his dearest lord, Henry, by the grace of God king of the English, William of London, greeting. Know that I have no knight enfeoffed, either by old or by new enfeoffment; but that I am bound to defend my fief through the service of my body.

(Latin) Ibid., p. 113.


[1] On all problems of interpretation raised by these returns, see Round, Feudal England, pp. 236 f.; also his Studies on the Red Book of the Exchequer for criticism of the edition published in the Rolls Series.

[2] Letters patent had the seal attached to a strip of parchment run through the bottom of the document, so that it might be freely opened. For letters close the strip was run through the folded document, so that it should be read only by the person to whom it was addressed. Cf. no. 41 for examples of the difference in style. What here follows in the archbishop's letter obviously reflects the terms of the king's original mandate.

[3] The text here lists 39 tenants with over 41 knight's fees.

[4] Various lesser holdings are enumerated.

[5] Twelve knights plus a number of fractions.


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