Page:VCH Warwickshire 1.djvu/332

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

A HISTORY OF WARWICKSHIRE she must have brought him his Warwickshire lands, for they had all belonged to the same man. Geoffrey himself hailed from the border of Anjou and Britanny, being lord of Pouence on its Angevin and La Guerche on its Breton side. He appears to have died childless. English abbeys in other counties which had obtained lands in War- wickshire had done so in various ways. Burton owed its land at Austrey to Earl Leofric, and Malmesbury its Newbold estate to the gift of Wulf- wine its owner on his becoming a monk of that house. But the case of Abingdon is the most interesting, for it illustrates the variety of versions that are given of these incidents. The abbey's chronicle narrates that, in the Conqueror's reign, a local magnate, Turchil of Arden, bestowed on it lands at Hill and Chesterton ; l this gift the Conqueror confirmed by his charter. 4 But it elsewhere states that the abbot obtained these lands from 'the King.' 3 Neither of these versions accords with the evidence of Domesday, which shows us the abbey holding Hill in capite, the abbot having ' bought ' it of Turchil's fee, while under Turchil's own fief we find two estates, of a hide each, at Chesterton entered as held of him by the abbey, one of them being held in pledge (vadimonium). Intermediate in position between church and lay landowners were the Bishops of Bayeux and Coutances, who held land in their personal, not their official capacity. In Warwickshire, however, their holdings were not of much importance. Early among the lay magnates we meet with two who had already ceased to hold the lands entered as theirs in Domesday. One was ' earl Aubrey ' and the other ' countess Godiva.' The former has been shown 4 to have been probably identical with Aubrey de Couci (' Coci '), and had certainly derived his title from having been appointed earl of the North- umbrians some years before. His lands, at the time of the Survey, in Warwickshire as elsewhere, had been resumed by the Crown, and in this county they are found in the charge of Geoffrey ' de Wirce,' a great baron in Leicestershire, Warwickshire and other counties. As for ' countess Godiva,' Earl Leofric's widow, her estates had doubtless passed to King William at her death. They lay in the north of the county and are entered as farmed by ' Nicholas,' who appears to have been also farming the manors of her son Earl jElfgar in Staffordshire. Most, if not all, of her land, however, must have been subsequently granted to the Earls of Chester, in whose hands it is found. 6 But all the local fiefs are dwarfed by those of the Count of Meu- lan and of Turchil ' de Warwic,' which follow one another in Domes- day and occupy between them no less than nine columns of the ' Turkillus quidam de Anglis, valde inter suos nobilis, in partibus Ardene mansitans, abbatis famt- liaritate et fratrum dum nonnunquam uteretur, de patrimonio suo terras duobus in locis ecclesiae Abbendoniae concessit' (ii. 8). ' Ibid. 'contulit a rege Cestertunam, Hull et Newenham ' (ii. 284). Another variant of this version is found in the Testa de Nevill (p. 87) : ' W. Rex Bastardus feoffavit abbatem de Abindon de iiij virgatis terrx in Hulle, que valet per annum iiij rnarcas per servicium faciendi wardam castr' de Wyndeshore.' By Mr. A. S. Ellis in his paper on The Landholders of Yorkshire in Domesday.' Dugdale, misled by the pseudo-Ingulf, made them inherit it from her by descent. 2 7 6