Page:VCH Warwickshire 1.djvu/340

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

A HISTORY OF WARWICKSHIRE stance of Osbern Fitz Richard and Hugh de Grentmesnil, the under- tenants are, as usual, Norman ; but on others the prevalence of English names is worthy of careful study. As we might expect, the fief of Tur- chil is the most remarkable in this respect. ' Bruning ' at Wigginshall, four brothers at Wolfhamcote, four franklins at Birdingbury, Wulfric at Walcote, Wulfcytel at Napton, 'Leuiet' and Godwineat Willoughby, and ' Hadulf ' at Binley, all continued to hold under him their own old estates. Brihtric was still living, as before, on his land at Baddesley Ensor. Of Turchil's other English tenants, some of whom held two and even three manors, we cannot speak so positively, for they may or may not have been related to the Englishmen entered as their predecessors ; in any case they seem to have been eighteen in number. One might have suggested that, on Turchil's fief, the prevalence of English tenants was due, either to smaller men ' commending ' themselves to their fellow-countryman in order, under his protection, to escape confiscation, or to his selecting English tenants for the lands he had obtained. But the occurrence of the same phenomenon on the fiefs of Norman lords is fatal to this explanation. On that of the Count of Meulan, which immediately precedes his own, we find a Hereward holding under him three of his old manors, Waltheof holding two, and Merewine holding one, while five of his under-tenants also have English names, one of them holding in three places. One of them, Salo, installed at Bulking- ton, was clearly, as Mr. Carter points out, the Salo who had lost his land at Bramcote adjoining. Robert de Stafford, again, had seven under- tenants bearing English names, of whom two at least held their old lands under him, while William Fitz Corbucion, William Fitz Ansculf, and Geoffrey ' de Wirce ' are responsible for ten, each of them having at least one seated at his old home. The case of Geoffrey's fief is of special interest, because after stating that his manor of Hopsford had formerly been held freely by his English tenant Wulfric, the record goes on to tell us that all his lands had belonged to Leofwine (of Newnham ?). Wulfric, therefore, had but exchanged an English lord for a foreign one ; he must formerly have held under Leofwine, as he did now under Geoffrey. Whatever may have been the cause of the prevalence of English tenants, it leads us to believe that in feudal times a goodly number of the Warwickshire gentry were probably of native origin. It is singular, and in this connection appropriate, that while not a single Warwickshire parish (except, perhaps, Brownsover) commemorates in its name a Domesday baron or under-tenant of alien birth, Wootton Wawen derives its appellation from Waga, a Warwickshire thegn who held that manor and six others in days before the Conquest. 1 The variety of classes and even of nationalities named in the Warwickshire survey is exceptionally large. On Robert de Stafford's fief we have seen there were Breton tenants, and nine Flemings (JlanJrenses) He was possibly the Wagen minister ' who attests a Worcestershire charter of Edward the Con- fessor in Heming's Worcester Cartulary (ed. Hearne), p. 398. 284