Mohun, William de (fl.1066) (DNB00)

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MOHUN or MOION, WILLIAM de (fl. 1066), baron and sheriff of Somerset, took his designation from the lordship of Moyun, near St. Lo in Normandy, which remained in his family until 1204 (Lyte, Dunster and its Lords, p. 2 ; Somerset Archæological Society's Proceedings, xix. ii. 96). He followed Duke William when he invaded England in 1066 (Wace, Roman de Rou, 1. 13620 ; by a curious error he is stated to have had in his following forty-seven or fifty-seven of the greatest lords in the army, Leland, Collectanea, i. 202 ; Dugdale, Baronage, i. 497 ; Collinson, Hist. of Somerset, ii. 7; for the correction of this misstatement, see Planché, The Conqueror and his Companions, ii. 120, and Lyte, u.s.) In calling him 'le viel,' Wace merely distinguishes him from his son ; for as William de Moion the elder was alive in and perhaps after 1090 he can scarcely have been old in 1066. He received as many as sixty-eight manors in the west of England, one being in Devonshire, one in Wiltshire, eleven in Dorset, one of them Ham, which fell to a younger branch of his descendants, and was called Ham-Mohun, or as now Hammoon (Eyton, Key to Domesday, Dorset, p. 12), and fifty-five in Somerset. In the ' Domesday Survey ' it is noted that he himself held 'Torre, and there is his castle.' Torre is Dunster, where on the conical hill, or tor as it is still called, William no doubt found a fortress of older days, which he probably to some extent remodelled, though no remains of Norman work have been found on the tor (Clark ap. Lyte, Dunster, u.s. p. xiv). His home estate consisted of the an- cient hundreds of Cutcomb and Minehead, in the parishes of Minehead, Cutcomb, and Dunster, with some additions, being in all 19,726 acres. He evidently paid some attention to the breeding of horses, for both at Cutcomb and Nunney, near Frome, where he had a tenant, there were kept large numbers of unbroken brood-mares (Eyton, Domesday Studies, Somerset, i. 129, ii. 19, 25). Either in his lifetime or shortly afterwards his estates were formed into an 'honour,' Dunstan being the 'caput honoris.' He was sheriff of Somerset, whence his estate at Brompton-Ralph is in a coeval index called 'Brunetone Vicecomitis' (ib. i. 110). William de Moion is usually spoken of as the founder of Dunster priory (Monasticon, iv. 200). What exactly he did in this matter was that at some date between 1090 and 1100 he granted the church of St. George, at Dunster, where some Norman work still remains (Somerset Archceological Society's Proceedings, vi. ii. 6), together with certain land and tithes and a tenth of his mares, to the abbey of St. Peter at Bath and John de Villula (d. 1122) [q. v.], the bishop, that they might ' build and exalt ' the said church. The convent of Bath accordingly made at Dunster a cell of their own abbey under the rule of a prior (Lyte, u. s. pp. 4 and 27, where William's charter is given from a manuscript at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge). William in this charter declared his wish to be buried in Bath Abbey (he was therefore not buried at Dunster as Leland, u. s., records). His wife's name was Adelisa, and he had three sons, William de Mohun, earl of Somerset [q. v.], who succeeded him, Geoffrey, and Robert, all living at the date of his grant to Bath.

[Lyte's Dunster and its Lords, reprinted for the most part from the Archaeological Journal of 1880, 1881, with an account of the castle, by G. T. Clark, pp. xiii, xiv, 1-5, 26, 27, contains nearly all that is known about W. de Moion. See also Wace's Roman de Rou, 1. 13620, ed. Pluquet; Leland's Collectanea, i. 202 ; Dugdale's Baronage, i. 497, and Monasticon, iv. 200 ; Ellis's Introduction to Domesday, i. 214, ii. 355; Eyton's Domesday Studies, Somerset, i. 45, 110, 129, ii. 19, and passim; Eyton's Key to Domesday, Dorset, p. 12; Planche's Conqueror and his Companions, ii. 120 sq. ; Somerset Archæol. Soc.'s Proc. 1856, vi. ii. 6, 1875, xix. ii. 96; Collinson's Hist, of Somerset, ii. 7 ; Hutchins's Hist, of Dorset, i. 273.]

W. H.