Alfred Ransford.

Origin of the Ransfords : from the baronial settlement in Normandy circa 900 to the baronial settlement in England temp. Doomsday (1086), and their immediate descendants online

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Online LibraryAlfred RansfordOrigin of the Ransfords : from the baronial settlement in Normandy circa 900 to the baronial settlement in England temp. Doomsday (1086), and their immediate descendants → online text (page 1 of 5)
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Author of The Table of Descent of Rainfohd of Rainfoei:








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In attempting to give some account of the origin of this family, I am fully
aware of my limitations and the numerous difficulties to be confronted. There are
about seventy variants of the spelling, and corruptions not a few, and in some
instances their identity has become obscured by the adoption of the names of their
chief manors, a custom becoming prevalent about the time of King John

Criticism favourable or adverse will be welcome, and it is to be hoped that
genealogists, who have greater access to contemporary records than I have, will
assist me to place upon a sure foundation the early history of our f\imily.

The following are some of the variants under which the family occurs, viz. :
H'raine, Rafred, Rainey, Radneny, Ranford, Randford, Ransford, Rodney, de Rain-
ford, Raynford, Raynfry, Rainde, Rayne, Raven, Rainer, Renard, Rainfred, Fitz
Reinfred, Reinfrie, iRainsford, Raynsford, Wraynesford, De Wrenford, Wrenford,
AVrensford, Wainford, Wainsford, Ainfred, Ansfred, Ausford, Benhard, Baynhard,
Banj-ard, Ranyard, Gainford, Kettell and Criuan.

Of the last two forms, Kel or Ketil, from the mythological Kettle of the gods
which enters into many old Norsemen's names, O.N. Biornkel, Kng. Barnacle,
A.S. Beirnhard, Eng. Bernhaid (Ferguuson's "Surnames in Science") apparently
signifies a bairn, son of.

Ivo le Tailbois (signifying the Woodcutter) had a son or grandson Kettell
Tailbois, though others say 'Kettell was the first of his line. In the time of Edward
the Confessor (1042 — lOCG) one of the name held considerable lands in Norfolk,
Suffolk and Essex. He held Hainford, Norfolk, about eight miles from Norwich,
under Stigand, Archbishop of Canterbury, and was ejected by the Conqueror. He
also held land at Ketteringham, Wreningham, Carleton and Bunwell or Hadeston, the
latter place being the capital manor of his successor and kinsman Roger FitzRenard
or Rainfred or Baynard, now known as Banyard's Hall, at present a fiirm house
surrounded by a deep moat. The front is comparatively modern, the back half
timbered and dating about the sixteenth century, situate about ten miles from
Norwich. Carleton afterwards descended to the Stapletons, who were closely allied
by marriage to the Lancashire FitzReinfrids. The name of Kettell still survives in
Worcestershire in Kettell Hill or Kettell Keep (Symonds' " Malvern Chase ") near
Longdou, and Castle llorton. The lands were owned afterwards by their successors
the Wrenfords and Ranfords. The Kettells also denominated Kettelby, Line,
afterwards in possession of Roger FitzReinf red, and also Kettlestoue, Norfolk, after-
wards succeeded by the Raynes. Their ancestors the Hraefingas gave their name to
Wreuingham, Rainthorpe, Ravingham, Raynham and Hainford, Norfolk, also
Rayne and Braintree, Essex, Wrenside Ransdale in the Lake district, Rainford and
Raynhill, Lane, Bransford and Branshill, Wore, and many other places too
numerous to mention.

There was a family of Braintree, Essex, who bore for arms. Argent, on a cross
engrailed sable Jive eloiles or, being similar to the arms borne by the Lancashire and
Oxfordshire branches, namely. Argent, a cross sable.

The form Crinon or Corineus from Chrann, a Frankish form of Raban or Raven.
Meldred son of Crinon had a son Gospatrick, created Earl of March by Jlalcolm,
King of Scots, and his second daughter Grnnwelda married Orme son of Kettell
Talbois (Burke's " Royal Descents ").


It will be observed that the variants and forms fell into two divisions — simple
(or stem) and compound. The former being the most ancient, from the Anglo-
Saxon Kfefningas, derives the English surname Eaven, Ran or Raine, originally
adopted as a personal name. We learn from Ferguson's Surnames that when the
vocabulary of single words became exhausted, men began to make an abstraction,
forming compounds by putting two names toEtether, as Eaine signifying Raven,
(Bald=fortis), O.a. Ragebald, Eng. Ravboiikr; (wal(l=rule)— Lord Gliancellor,
1050, Haydn— O.G. Reginold, A.S. Reinakl, Eng. Reynolds ; (Brit=famous), O.G.
Reiginberc, Eog. Rainbird ; (Frid=peace), O.G. Rainfred, Eng. Rainford ; (gar=
spear), O.G. Raingar, Eng. Ranger ; (Hard=fortis),O.G. Reynard, Ivainhard, Eng.
Reynard ; (Hari=warrior), O.G^Regenhar, A.S. Reiner, Eng. Rayner; (Helm), O.G.
Rainelm*, Eng. Raynham, etc.

Hainford, Norfolk, at the Survey was held by Roger of Poictiers. He was third
son of Roger de Montgomery, and according to Blomfield married Mabel Talvace
(? Talibois), son of William, son of Ivo de Bellesme, by whom he had three sons :
(1) Robert de Bellesme, who had the Normandy estates, (2) Hugh, Earl of Arundel
and Shrewsbury, and (3) Roger of Poictiers, Earl of Lancaster. When after many
invasions the Normans took possession of the land they called Normandy, Avi'anches
became the western boundary of their duchy, and Ansfred the Dane the first Count,
from whom the Norman Earls of Chester and Counts of Avranches descend. The
connection of the Earls of Chester with the manor of Tew, O.xon, is worthy of
note, as we shall see that the Rainfreds or Rainsfords held that manor continuously
from about 1150 to 1650. Rauulph, Earl of Chester, who was descended from
Ansfred the Dane (Norman people) in 1203, granted to his acknowledged cousin
Sir John de Preux the manor of Great Tew (" Visitations of Oxfordshire," p. 169).
The Preux were a branch of the FitzRainfred family settled at Coutances, Nor-
mandy, and derived their name from their estate named Pratell and their castle of
Preux Coutances. Walter FitzRainfred or de Coutances was Archbishop of Rouen
circa 1189 — 1207. About 1350, for a period of fifty years the manor was held by
a Le Strange. Bishop Rainer or Rainfred of St. Asaph bought from Le Strange
of Knocking circa 1200 the village of Wilcot, and he or one of his descendants
assumed tiie name of AVilcot, one of whom married his kinswoman Alice de Preux,
and on the male line of Wilcot failing, his daughter Elizabeth, coheir, married
Henry Rainford, Lord of Rainford, Lane, her kinsman, and the manor remained
in the line of Rainsford till about 1650. We have a similar instance in Bradfield,
Essex, which at the Survey was held by Roger de Rayne, and in 1306 (Middlesex
Rolls) tenants of St. Bartholomew's, London. The village and church of Bradfield
Essex, was held by Sir William de Reynus. John Reyneford in 1426 held the same
manor of Humphrey Duke of Gloster. This John was Constable or Deputy
Constable of the Cinque Ports, and the manor remained in the Essex line of Rains-
fords till 1559 ; and in the will of Sir John Rainsford dated in that year he leaves
the goods iu his house in Bradfield, co. Essex, called Bradfield Hall, to his relatives,
and he bequeaths to " Francis, Earl of Bedford, his especial and singular friend,
his best gown furred with sable."

Parish of Checkeudon. "Reference to law suit in 1459 between William
Gaynesford and John Catesby, plainuffs, and Edm. Rede, defendant, for the manor
of Checkeudon." Oxford Arch. See, 1693, page 18.

Jane Catesby married Gainsford of Castleton, Surrey. The ninth quartering of
Catesby is that of Wilcot. (Oxfordshire Visitations, 126.)

A branch of the Gaynesfords lived at Iiidlington and Idbury, Oxon., and were
descended from Sir John Gaynsford of Crowlmrst, Surrey, who had a son George
who married Anne, daughter of Nicholas Wareham and widow of Sir William
Reade of Borestall in Com. Bucks., and his son Augustine Gaynsford of Kidliiigton
and Idbury, married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Edward de Rawley (Raleigh).
(Oxfordshire Visitutious, p. 155.) They bore Argent a chevron guhs betiveen three

* Kaiuelm was Bishop of Hereford and Chancellor to the Queen in 1101, (Haydn.)


greyhounds courant sable, collared, or; another coat similar to tliede Lancaster's or
FitzReinfreds, Or three bars gules, a canton ermine. They appear to be closely con-
nected with tlie Essex Eaynsfords, who bore for the crest a grey hound courant
p.p.r. (i.e. dark russet colour), collared and ringed or, the badge of Sir Laurence
Raynsford, being a silver grey hound.

Crowhurst church contains several ancient brasses to the Gaynsfords. According
to tradition Henry VIIL on his way to Anne Boleynat Hever Castle, visited Crow-
hurst Place, the seat of the Gaynsfords, an old mansion surrounded by a moat.
8ir John Kainsford had a grant of Hever Castle in 1463. William Raiusford the
first of the Essex line held Colchester Castle in Knights fee of the Duke of
Gloucester. The Rawleys or Raleighs, probably assumed their name from Rawly
or Kayleigh, Essex, once the head of an honor or barony of a Dane named Sweyn,
who built a magnificent castle there, some of the ruins of which still remain.

In the will of Sir John Raynesford, dated 12th September 1521 he leaves to his
son Thomas Darcy, at his age of 21, my lease which I have by the King's letters
patent of the honor of Rayle and the Hundred of Rochford. His daughter Audrey
married Thomas Darcy. There is considerable confusion with these Gaynsfords
and Raynsfords. Some authorities state Sir John Gaiusford married Audrey
daughter of Sir John Shaw, Mayor of London. The facts arc Sir John Raynsford
married Ist Ann, daughter of Sir Humphrey Starky, Chief Baron of the Exchequer
in I486, and 2nd Margaret, widow of Sir John Shaw, Mayor of London, daughter
of Flam by his wife Julian. By his first wife Ann he had John, ob. 1559, and by
his second wife he had Audrey and Julian. He leaves his household stuff (except
his plate and ornaments in his chapel, jewels, &c.) to be divided between Dame
Margaret, his wife, and his son John Reyneforth, and he leaves to his daughter
Julian on her marriage five hundred marks (she married Sir William Walgrave,
who died at Calais Dec 12, 1553, and left issue). He bequeathed to the High
Altar of the Church at Bradfield 40/-, and requested his executors to buy a cross of
silver to the value of £13 . G . 8. He desii'ed " to be buried within the monastry of
St. John's, Colchester, within Our Lady Chapel, where his father lieth buried "
(Sir Laurence Raynsford). He nominates as liis executors '" Sir Edward Ponynges,
Knt. Treasurer of the King's Household, Dr. Tunstall, Master of the Rolls, Thomas
Audly and John Strangeman, gentlemen."

it should be mentioned that the connection with the Le Stranges and the
Rainfreds, Salop, and the Wilcots of Tew came about thus : circa 1010 Berta dau.
of Guido Rainfred, Lord of Albemarle, founder of the castle of Albemarle and the
abbey of St. Martin, married Hugh, Count of Pontivy, who was of the House of
Brittany. Le Strange was of the same race.

Mr. Stapleton investigated and communicated some charters of the Abbey of
St. Martin D'Auchy near Anmalc, which state " that Guy Renfred founded the
church of St. Martin in the time of Richard, 4tli Duke of the Normans," ciixa 1020
and the charter also states that the "Venerable Guy Renfred was the founder of the
castle of Aibermarle near the river En (from whence derived the De Clares), in that
part where it divides the province of Amiens from the land of the Normans, and
that he had a daughter Berta who married Hugh, Count of Pontivi (slain 1052),
and their son Engleranus, Count of Pontivi, married Adeliza (born 1028, ob. 1087),
sister of William, King of the English," and goes on to say " the gifts of the
Countess Adeliza, the mother of the Countess Judith, daughter of the aforesaid
Countess ; of Roger de Berkley and of Rissa, his wife, and in others in tithes,
church ornaments and the like, are all specified with the utmost minuteness of

Roger de Berkeley is the Roger of Doomsday whose ancestors lived at Dursley,
Glos., in the time of Edward the Confessor, with whom there was a close blood
connection. They appear to be of the House of Albemarle, for in the certificate of
Knights' fees returned by his grandson Roger de Berkeley 1166 (Liber Niger),
consisting of two knights and a half, we find Roger de Albemarle held one virgata
and Reginald dc Albemarle held three hides,


I sui'mise that Gny Rainfred, lord of the manor of Albemarle, which consisted
of ten knights' fees ia the diocese of Rouen, descended from Ansfred the Dane who
accompanied Rollo, son of Rogenwald (probably a near relative), in the conquest of
Normandy and was rewarded by him with a third of that province (Merk's "Nor-
mandy Coast "). Rollo had a brother Eynar, Earl of Orkney, also a brother Drogo.
Drogo or Drewe de Beurere or Brewse, who was the first lord of the great seigniory
of Holderuess (Odericus), appears to have descended from Guy Renfrid, Lord of
Albemarle (his kinsman William de Warren receiving the county of Surrey for his
share). His successors, who succeeded to the vast estates of Ilolderness, were
styled Earls of Albemarle. Many of the same lands were held later by tlie Raynes
of Burton Pidsea and Witon. We find this Drogo claiming the two principal
manors of Wickraere, Norfolk, as heir of Hainfred. Another part of the manor
belonged to Ahnaror Albemarle (Bishop of Thetford). In 1607 Nicholas Reymes
held it (Blonifield). The arms of Almar are Argent, a cross sahle between four
Cornish choughs jiroper. Roger de Brewse, living about 1180, held estates in
Somerset, his son being styled Rainfred Breure, sometimes called Roger FitzRain-
fred, ob. 1207. Alice his widow married Richard de Clare, living 1211. The
Somersetshire Breures have the same arms as the first Lord of Holderness, Gules,
two lends wavy. The mopt important member of the Norfolk branch was Ralph
Baynard of Merton or Martin, the head of whose barony was Barnard's Castle,
London. He held sixty-four manors in Norfolk. One of this line settled at Mar-
wood in the co. of Durham in the parish of Gaiaford, now called Barnard Castle.
Time and space prevent me from dealing with this well-known branch,, which ended
in Isabel, daughter of Fulk Baynard, living 1327, who married Thomas de Grey
and had Carleton Bunwell or Haddeston for their share.

From the Baynards derive the Townsends, Marshams and Kerrisons of Norfolk,
also the De Beaumonts alias De Newburghs (the Norman People). There were the
Baynards of Blagdon, Somerset, not far from Rodney Stoke, and the De Weares,
who are mentioned with the Rainfreds in connection with lands in that county, and
are also mentioned in connection with the Baynard lands in Norfolk.

The families of De Mortimer and De Warren descend from the Rainfreds of
St. Martin, Albemarle. A Walter was lord of St. Martin circa 980. He
married a daughter of Herfast, brother of Gonora, wife of Richard L, Duke of
Normandy. (Die. Nat. Biog.) Hugh De St. Martin, Bishop of Coutances, was
father of Roger, Lord of Mortimer, and of Ralph, Sir de Gareame or Warren.
The De Warrens and De Mortimers succeeded to the lands of Roger FitzRenard
soon after the grand survey. Both De Warrens and De Mortimers are mentioned
in connection with the manor of Tew, Oxon. Ralph de Mortimer, Earl of
Gloster and Hereford, bore for his arms Or, an eagle displayed vert, taken from
his seal (1301). These are almost identical with the arms borne by Preanx Willcot
and Rainsford of Worcester and Cumberland. A branch of the De Warrens lived
at St. Albans and AlJenham, Herts. John de Raynford in his will 1361 refers
to his manor of Aldenham and mentions John de St. Albans. Another considerable
branch lived before the Conquest at their castle of Pirou or Preaux Coutances,
and were sometimes called De Preaux or De Coutances in the Cotentin. From
this branch descended the branch of Pakenhara, Suffolk, whose descendants took
the name of the manor and bore similar arms to De Preaux and De Willcot.

In "The History of the Norman People " it is stated that Rodney is not found
prior to the fourteenth century. Corruption of Reiny or Rayney, afterwards
Radenay, originally came from Champagne. Arms, Three pairs of icings, from
which the present arms of Rodney (three spread-eagles) are derived. Roger de
Reigny witnessed a charter of Bishop Roger of Sarum temp. Henry I. (1100—1135).
(Mong. Angle i. 424, 1st edit.)

There is a place called Remy, not far from Arras and near to Rancourfc and
Reincourt, and it is probable that it is from this district some of our race is indebted


for its name. From the " Calendar of Documents in France," by J. Horace Round,
I extract the following : —

Abbey of St. Martin Troarn, Lower Normandy.

A.D. 10(i9. Nute of the property willed by K. William.—" At Tallivalli Robert
son of Rainfrid and others have given all they held, for the weal of their lord and
their souls," etc.

A.D. 1150. Abbey of Savigny.— Charter of Rob., Bishop of Exeter, refers to
" Pagano filio Rainfridi."

A.D. 1175. Cathedral of Rouen.— Notification witnessed by " Gillebertus

A.D. 1180. Public Library of Rouen, " Gilleberto filio Rainfridi."

A.D. 1184— 89 Abbey of Silly

Do. Abbey of Cherbourg „ „ ,,

A.D. 1185-6. Abbey of Caen

A.D. 1191 — 99. Rouen Cathedral, "Gisleberto filio Reinfridi."

A.D. 1192. Abbey of Caen.— Final Concord made in the King's Court at
Westminster 4 Richard before Walter, Archbishop of Rouen, and Roger son of
Raiufred, and others.

A.D. 1193. Rouen Cathedral. — Charter witnessed by " Rogerio filio Remfredi."

The above Walter is styled de Coutances, and according to G.E.C. there is
evidence to shew he is of the'FitzReinfred family ; but more of him later.

Barber on British Family Names gives Reinfred or Rainfred as under-tenant of
land temp. Doomsday.

The three great stems of the family holding land, either as tenants in cnpi/e
(i.e. directly of the King) or as sub-tenants of tenants in chief 1086, may be divided
as follows, viz. : — /

1. The Eastern, including Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex. I

2. The North Western, including Lancashire and a strip of Cumberland. \

3. The South Western, including Somerset, Devon and Cornwall.

I. Eastern. — This branch was founded by Roger FitzRenard, wlio was tenant
in capite 1086 of thirteen manors in Norfolk, amongst which were, in the hundred
of Grimshoe : Stanford, Buckcnham Tofte, Igborough ; hundred of Smethdon :
Ingoldesthorpe ; hundred of Shropham : Attleboro, Rockland, etc.; hundred of Holt:
Kelling; hundredof Lodden : Mundham ; hundred of Deepwade: Hudeston; hundred
of Clavering : Ravingham.

Roger FitzRenard also held Kirkenhall lloynes and Gurneys, which were at
first distinct manors. The first was held by Udo the Sewer and the second by
Riugull, at the Confessor's, and by Roger FitzRenard at the Conqueror's survey,
and1n 1334 John Le Moyne's heiress had it, Sir John de Broxesbourne having
married her, for he presented then. In 1377 Edmund son of Sir Edmund de
Broxesbourne, Knt., had it, and in 1401 Richard Chamberlain and John Sumpter
held it of Thomas de Bardolph, and he of the Earl Warren. In 1415 John Fitz-
Ralph, Esquire, and Tliomas Elyngham settled it for life on William Rainforth and
Eleanor his wife, who was the daughter of Edmund de Broxesbourne. Their son
Sir Laurence married 1st Elizabeth Fiennes, daughter of James, 1st Lord Saye and
Scale, and indly Ann Percy, dau. of Henry, 2nd Earl of Northumberland (son of
the renowned "Hotspur") by Elizabeth Neville, dan. of Ralph Neville, K.G.,
1st Earl of Westmorland by Joan Beaufort (or Plaiitagenet), dau. of John of
Gaunt. In his will dated 14'JO he gives to his son Edward "my manor called
Rocklond Toftes in Norfolk to hold to him and the heirs of his body, with contin-
gent remainder to ray son John," and he nominates John de Vere, Earl of Oxford,

Roger FitzRenard also held Plassct or Plassingham, at whose death it was


rejoined to the Castle (Old Buckenham). He also held Sciilton Mortimers and Old
lands or Ollands.

Koger FitzRenard's son and heir William assumed the name of Haddiston and
was sub-tenant to his kinsman Earl Warren. He had a son William who died
young without issue, and his sisters were his coheirs. Alice married William de
Multon and Catherine became the wife of Roger Talbot, who released their rights
in 1198 to Agatiia de Healston the sister, who married William de Boswell. At
the Visitation of AVarwickshire 1G19 AVilliam de Huddiston is described as of
Warwick and Guy's Cliff, and bore Gules, a chevron argent hettceen three imin of
annulets interlaced. The arms of Huddiston are the ICth quartering in the shield
of Beaufoy, and the 15th quartering being Argent, a cross sable, fur Rainsford of
Tew Magna, and the 4th quartering Azure, an eagle displayed argent, for Wileotes
of Tew. These latter arms, with a slight difference, were also borne by the Wren-
fords or Rainsfords of Longdon, Worcestershire, five miles from Tewkesbury, which
were Azure, an eagle displayed argent, ducallg gorged or.

There was a well-known family of Ingoldstliorpe in Norfolk who took their
name from that manor. They were also Lords of Raynham, Norfolk, and it is
probable they derived from Roger FitzRenard the tenant in capite, temp. Doomsday,
who was succeeded by Ivo Le Tailbois or Rainfred. This line ended in an heiress,
dau. of Sir Edmund Ingoldsthorpe (ob. 1456), who married Sir John Neville,
the grandson of Ralph, 1st Earl of Westmorland by Lady Joan Beaufort, dau. of
John of Gaunt by Catherine Swinford. These Ingoldsthorpes sometimes wrote
themselves de Snettisham ; they bore for arras Gules, a cross engrailed argent.
This connection with the Neville family was again renewed in the seventeenth
century, when Richard Rainsford, son of Sir Ricliard Rainsford, Chief Justice of
the King's Bench 167(5-9, married Ann dau. of Col. Richard Neville of Billing-
beare ; and, as already stated, the mother of Sir Laurence Rainsford's secend wife,
Ann Percy, was a dau. of Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland. Another daughter
Cicily married Richard, Duke of Gloucester, father of Edward IV., Richard IIL
and George, Duke of Clarence and Earl of Warwick. Sir Laurence's son Sir John
Rainsford in 1520, with Sir Henry Marney, Sir John Vere, Sir John Tyrell and
others attended Henry VIIL on the Field of the Cloth of Gold.

Roger de Ramis came into England at the Conquest and had the honour of the
Barony of Raines or Raynes consisting of ten knights fees in Essex ; he also held
four manors in Norfolk, in conjunction with the Baynards of Merton, from whom
descended the family of Rames or Reams of Overstrand. Morant says, " the name
appears to be taken from Rayne or Little Rayne in Essex, but others say Rennes
in Brittany, which seems hardly probable." Apparently he was a cousin of Roger
FitzRenard the Norfolk Baron.

II. North- Western. — From " the Norman People and their existing descendants,"
published in 1874, I take the following : " Preston or Tailbebois. Renfred Tailebox
of Normandy circa 1050 had issue.

1. Ralph Taileboise, Viscount of Bedford, a tenant in capite, Bedford 1086.

2. William Taileboise of London aud Norfolk, 1086.

3. Ivo Taileboise of Lincoln and Norfolk, 1086.

4. Gilbert FitzReinfred, the latter was provided for by his brother Ivo who held
Kendal Westmorland and inherited Barony temp. William I.

His son William de Lancaster had issue Reinfred who was father of:

1. William de Lancaster II.

2. Roger whose son Gilbert married the heiress of William II de Lancaster aud
dying 1219 left William III whose sisters were his heirs.

3. Warren de Lancaster to whom Henry II. confirmed the estates at Preston
formerly held by Gilbert FitzRenfred (his great grand father). In 1199 confirmed
the rent of Preston to Henry FitzWarren de Lancaster (Baines IV, 2978). King
John, in the ninth year of his reign (1208) gave to Henry FitzWarren de Lancaster
un estate near Preston forming part of the possessions of the honor of Lancaster in


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Online LibraryAlfred RansfordOrigin of the Ransfords : from the baronial settlement in Normandy circa 900 to the baronial settlement in England temp. Doomsday (1086), and their immediate descendants → online text (page 1 of 5)