A HISTORY OF WARWICKSHIRE additional 16 already described. 1 Beyond this, however, there was a payment in those measures of honey which play so important a part in the Crown dues of Domesday. And the nature of this payment is by no means easy to ascertain. What Domesday actually says is that under the Confessor the total payment was 65 and thirty-six sestiers of honey, or 24 Ss. 'for all the things that belonged to the honey,' 2 while at the time of the Survey the render was twenty-four sestiers of honey ' cum majori mensura,' and from the borough six sestiers the sestier, that is, for fifteen pence of which the count of Meulan receives six sestiers and 5j. 3 Here at least we are on sure ground ; for at fifteen pence to the sestier the count's share was equivalent to ten out of the thirty, that is, to the comital third. 4 But this reckoning, it will be observed, is wholly incom- patible with the sum of 24 8s. as the equivalent of thirty-six sestiers.* The words, however, ' all the things that belonged to the honey ' seem to point to the obscure ' consuetudines mellis,' which occur at Ipswich and elsewhere in the three eastern counties. So far as the number of sestiers go it is interesting to find that at Warwick the unit seems to have been six. For while twelve sestiers were due from Gloucester, Oxford, Norwich and Ipswich rendered six apiece. Colchester, however, and Thetford paid no more than four each. 6 In addition to these sources of revenue derived from his predecessor, King William had reserved for himself most of the forfeited estates of the local earl. This was Eadwine, son and successor of Earl jElfgar of Mercia, and grandson of the famous Earl Leofric, to whom the church at Coventry owed many of its lands. Warwickshire was but one of the counties com- prised in Eadwine's earldom, but his official rights and revenue for each county were distinct. On these it was William's practice to seize when the earldom was vacant by its owner's forfeiture. The third penny of the pleas of the shire and that of the issues of the county town were the normal perquisites of the earl ; that is to say, they were the share he received of the local revenues if he received any. Here again the Warwick- shire evidence is of institutional importance. For in the latest edition of the Dialogus de Scaccario 7 the learned editors observe that It would appear, therefore, that the third penny of the pleas is the final remnant of the judicial functions of the earl, and is originally due to the Prankish empire. Whether this imperial institution reached the England of Henry II. through William the Conqueror, or whether it came with earlier importations from the same source, admits as yet of no exact determination. 1 'Modo inter firmam regalium maneriorum et placita comitatus reddit per annum cxlv lib. ad pondus," etc. ' xxxvi sextaria mellis aut xxiv lib. et viii sol. pro omnibus quae ad mel pertinebant.' ' ' Praeter haec reddit xxiv sextar' mcll' cum majori mensura et de burgo vi sextar' mell', sextar' scilicet pro xv denar'. De his habet comes de mellent vi sext' et v. solid'.' This was not, however, the ' earl's third penny,' which came from the pleas of a shire or the issues of a borough. The other money equivalent of the sestier, viz. in Wilts, is even lower than in Warwickshire, a shilling instead of fifteen pence. At Colchester, as at Warwick, the money commutation seems strangely high. i Oxford University Press (1902), p. 205. 272
Page:VCH Warwickshire 1.djvu/328
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.