Inquisitions and assessments relating to feudal aids, with other analogous documents preserved in the Public record office; A.D. 1284-1431; published by authority of H.M. principal secretary of state for the Home department (Volume 1) online

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A.D. 1284-1431.








A.D. 1284-1431.



Vol. I.



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London: I'rintctl by Mtkr and Spottirwooi>k,
lltr Miijtwly's ^^illtt•^^.
For Her MajvHtyV Statiouery Otlice.



Peeface . - - - •- vii

Table of Materials used in Volume I. - - • - - ^^x

Inquisitions, Assessments, &c. : —

Bedford - - - 1

Berks - - - 47

Buckingham - - • - - - - /3

Cambridge - - - - - - - -135

Cornwall - -. - - - - - 195



Devon .-. - - - 311

Index of Persons __.. - - 499

Index op Places - - - * - - - 581


E 87124. a o


The present volume is the tirst instalment of a work
designed to illustrate the succession of holders of land in
the 13th, 14th, and 15th centuries. It is based on certain
books of precedents known to have existed at one time in
the Exchequer, and to have been used for the purpose of
assessing reliefs and other feudal dues. Of these books
two, those called Kirkhy's Quest and the Nomina Villarmii^
have long since disappeared. Two others, the Book of
Aids and the Book of Knights^ Fees, are still preserved
in the Public Eecord Office, among the records of the
Queen's Remembrancer of the Exchequer. Eor the
present work Kirkhys Quest and the Nomina Villainim
have been, as far as possible, reconstituted, partly from
transcripts made in the 16th century, and partly from
extant remains of the returns from which they were
originally compiled ; and the Book of Aids and the Book
of Knights' Fees have also been collated with their
original materials where such exist.

The inquisitions taken for the Aid of 31 Edward I.,
which served as a precedent for the Aid of 20 Edward III.
{the Book of Aids) have also been included, as have
those relating to a subsidy granted 9 Henry VI. which
resembles the Subsidy of 6 Henry VL, of which particulars
are given in the Book of Knights' Fees. A few similar
returns of Knights' Eees for single counties or honours
have been added to the collection, but feodaries' rolls and
lists of persons holding 20 librates of land have not been

It mil be seen that five of the returns here described
form a connected series. Setting aside Kirkhys Quest
and the Nomina Villarum, we can trace a distinct
connexion in the remainder. The Aid of 31 Edward I.


was based on that of SJ^ Henry III., and itself formed a
precedent for that of 20 Edward III., which again served
as a jDrecedent for the Aid of 3 Henry IV., and for the
subsidies of 6 Hemy VI. and 9 Hem-y VI. In this way
the series may be said to fill up the space between the
period of the Testa de Nevill and the fifteenth
centur}', and the present work may be considered
as a supplement to the Testa de Nevill. In the
construction of the text, the readings of the original
returns have been preferred to those of the hooks
compiled fi'om them, and the spellings of names have
been amended with the assistance of contemporary
documents, not always those from which the books
were compiled, but at any rate relating to the same

A short account of each of the principal series of
retiu'ns is appended : —

A.D. 1284-1285.'

Kiekby's Quest.

The survey known as Kirhbi/'s Quest appears to have
been taken in the 12th and 13th years of Edward I. No
formal commission for taking it has yet been found,
and it is possible that none was issued ; a circumstance
which would sufficiently account for the -uncertainty
whicli seems to have prevailed from comparatively
'•arly times as to the date of the survey.

The survey itself was until recently known only from
lute tninscripts, although fragments of the original
inquisitions were supposed to exist amongst the Subsidy
Kolls (Box 210, No. 251). None of the original
inquisitions were, however, known to exist in a perfect





The earliest transcript of any part of Kirkby's
Quest, which assigns to it a definite date, is the
copy of the return of Knights' Fees for Leicestershire
[Returns of Knights' Pees (Exch. Q.E.)» ^^^^' ^> ^^' 2],
written in the fifteenth century, and this purports to
have been made from a list ^^ in qitodam rotiilo feodoriim
" que tenentur de rege in capite .... secundum m-
quisiciones inde factas coram domino J. Kyrkehy et
M. de Staunfonl et sociis suis ad hoc assignatis iwr
dominum Edioardu^n primum anno regni sui xxxiiif'^,
" in Scaccario in custodia rememoratoris Thesawai^ii
*' remanente.''

A copy made in 1542 of the return for Devon
[Misc. Books (Exch. Tr. of Receipt) Vol. 72] gives the
date as 24 Edward I., and the name of Adam de Kirkby
as treasurer; a copy of the return for Yorkshire \_Ibid.
Vol. 67] of a similar date, and a later copy of the return
for Devon, belonging formerly to Su' Joseph "Williamson,
also give the date as 24 Edward I., but mention John
de Kirkby as treasurer.

The Rev. Joseph Hunter, the first modern antiquary
to bestow much attention on the matter, attributed the
survey to 5 Edward I. {South Yorkshire. Preface.
A.D. 1828.) In 1853, Mr. F. S. Thomas, secretary of
the Public Record Office, in his handbook to the
Becords, gave the date as 35 Edward I., and specified
Adam de Kirkby, treasurer, as the person before whom
the survey was taken.

As a matter of fact no such person as Adam de Kirkby
is known to have held the office of treasurer ; and
John de Kirkby, who Avas appointed treasurer in the
twelfth year of Edward I., died in the eighteenth year
of that reign.


All the dates thus suggested were, therefore, more or
less improbable. It was, however, just possible that John
de Kirkbv, the Remembrancer of the Exchequer, might
be intended, as he survived the treasurer of the same


To Mr. R. A. Skaife, the editor of a collection of
surveys of Yorkshire published by the Surtees Society
in 1867, belongs the credit of determiuing the date
of Kirkby's Quest for that county. An Inquisition
for Langbergh Wapentake (printed by him from
Rawlinson MS. 450 B.) is dated 10 March, 1285,
and certain definite statements in the Fountains Abbey
Coucher Book, which quotes from the ite?' of John de
Kirkby, confirm this date. The internal evidence also
agreed with the date thus arrived at. Mr. Skaife was
also the first to discover that the return known as
Klrhy's Quest consists in most cases of abridg-
ments only of original inquisitions ; of some of which
lie succeeded in finding late copies. From these he
extracted a fairly complete list of the Capitula, or
heads of the enquiry. He failed, however, to discover
the occasion or the maiD object of the survey.

The late Mr. F. H. Dickinson, the editor of a
somewhat similar A'olume published by the Somerset
Record Society, accepted the date arrived at by Mr.
Skaife as valid for Somerset also, on the strength of the
internal evidence of the return for that county.

When the present work was undertaken, further
search was made for the commission under which the
survey was taken, but again without success. A writ
was, however, discovered among the Brecla pro Itege
on the Memoranda lloli ol' the Lord Treasurer's Remem-
])mnc4T for 13 Edward I. directed to certain persons
ent;ai;ed in making a financial enquiry in various counties,


and these persons were found to be, in most cases, the
same who are stated to have taken the surveys known as
Kirkhi/s Quest. This clue eventually led to the dis-
covery that an inquisition for the hundred of Manshead,
in Bedfordshire, printed in the Rotuli Simdredoriim, was
one of the original inquisitions from which Klrkhy's
Quest had been compiled. Subsequently, further
original inquisitions were discovered amongst the Mis-
cellanea of the Queen's Uemembrancer, under the title
of Hundred Rolls, which related to most of Somerset
and Dorset, one Hundred of Buckingham and one of

Erom this new evidence the following conclusions have
been drawn.

The survev, as Mr. Skaife had alreadv shown, has in
most cases reached us only in the form of extracts from
the original inquisitions made for a special purpose. The
enquiry itself was a much wider one, and was a necessary
consequence of the reforms in the Exchequer ordained by
the so-called " Statute of Bhyddlan," or " Statute of the
Exchequer," dated 23 March, 12 Edw. I.

This Statute {Statutes of the Realm, I. 69) provides
that the Corpus Comitatus shall no longer be set out
every year on the Pipe Roll, but that a roll of Corpora
Comitatuum shall be made and read over yearly at the
sheriffs account. It regulates the issue of TTrits of
Allocate, and provides for the transference of " desperate
debts " to another roll, and thus gives rise to a series
of rolls called " Exannual Rolls." Tallies for sums paid
into the Exchequer and not yet allowed are to be sent in
through the sheriff, who is to give a receipt for them.*
Tallies not so sent in will be declared void and their
holders held liable for the whole debt, notwithstanding

* Two such indentures are attached to Assize Roll 1 IG.


the payments they have made. Further, in order to clear
off those debts which are still charged in the summons of
the Exchequer although the debtors produce tallies for
them against various sheriffs, certain persons to be
assigned by the king are to be sent into every county
with full powers to make inquisition and summon any
persons whom it may be necessary to call. These persons
are to return statements of such debts into the Exchequer
so that the proper charge can be made against the sheriff.
The identity of this enquiry with Klrkhy's Quest will
sufficiently appear from the Gapitula subjoined, which
are extracted from the inquisitions for the hundreds of
Hasilor in Dorset and North Petherton and Bempstone in
Somerset. They may be compared with the inquisition
for the hundi'ed of Roulowe in Buckingham, printed
on p. 86, the only inquisition printed in full in this

•[ De extractis [et] summonicionibus Scaccarii per quas debita
Regis in comitatu tarn infra Hbertates quam
nquismon^^^or^ asi oi ^^^^^ ^^ ^^j gg^g receperunt a vicecomite et

balUvis et a quo tempore et quando primo inde
scysinam habuerunfc et per quern et si HdeUter de debitis Regis
responderint vel non.

H Item quot \'ille in hundredo et que sunt regales et que non, et
si status earum mutatur per quos mutatur et a quo tempore et qui
eas modo tenet.

H Item de feodis miUtum que tenentur in capite de Rege qui ea
tenent et in quibus villis et qui sunt tenentes sui et ubi sunt ut
sciatur ubi distringendum sit pro servicio Regis si a retro fuerit.

1[ Item quis annualis redditus debetur de singulis vilUs vice-
comiti tarn ad turnum vicecomitis quam ad visum franci plegii
quocuin(|ue alio modo (jui pertinere debet ad firmam vicecomitis.

1l Item [quantum] (|uilibcL hundredarii dant pro firma sui
hundredi nunc et (luautuiu solebaut hundredarii.

1[ Item de ([uibus rebus et redditibus seu pcrquisitis lirma
wapeutugii con.si.'itat sou levutur seu levari solebat.


% Item de religiosis et aliis qui dicunt se habere libertatcs per
cartas Kegum quibus usi sunt et a quo tempore liberfcates sibi
concedebantur et a quibus Regibus et qualiter et in quibus
terris et qualiter eis usi sunt et si iidem religiosi vel alii predicti
post datam carta[ru]m illarum de libertatibus sibi terras et tene-
menta sive de feodo Regis sive aliorum adquisierint et libertatibus
hiis in terris illis ea occasione usi fuerint nee ne,

^ Item de pecunia quam vicecomites receperint de prisonibus
contra statuta et de quibus prisoni[bu]s et quanta et qua de causa.

^ Item si ballivi infra libertates vel extra veteribus extractis
utantur per quas pecuniam maliciose adquirant.

1[ Item de illis qui clamant habere libertates et wapentagia a
quo tempore ea habuerint qualiter et si teneantur facere aliquod
servicium domino Regi aut redditum annuum.

% Item quod omnes qui tallias habent de debito domini Regis
soluto vicecomiti vel ballivis quod eas tunc deferant ibidem et eas
habeant coram Thesaurario vel hiis quos ad hoe deputaverit prout
ulterius ordinaverit liberandas.

% Item quod omnes qui querelam facere velint de vicecomitibus
vel ballivis quod sint ibidem coram Thesaurario et eam proponant,

IF Quod illi qui tallias habent de Scaccario quod eas habeant

IF Item si quis bis vel ter vel pluries debita domini Regis soluerit
quod queremoniam suam tunc inde proponat.

IF Item si aliquid fuerit domino Regi substractum de jure suo
per quos et quo tempore et quid et quantum.

^ Item si quid in wappentagiis predictis ad Regem pertinere
debeant (sic) unde seisitus non est.

Inquisition for ^ Item de scrjanciis alienatis et nondum

North Petherton .

Hundred. arentatis.

^ Item de inprisonamentis et prisoni[bu]s ubicumque captis
qualiter et quibus locis deliberantur.

Inquisition for ^ Item si vicecomites vel eorum ballivi aliquid

Bempstone Hundred. ^

receperint pro debitis domini Regis respectuandis.
% Item si vicecomites vel eorum ballivi aliquid rece2)erint pro
falsis responsis dandis.

% Item de officio coronatorum qualiter officia sua secuntur.
^ De assartis et purpresturis.

It wiU be seen tliat the enquiry differs from an ordinary
eyre in that it was taken by officers of the Exchequer, and


tliat it is not concerned Tvith ])leas of the Crown. It
also diflfers from the enquiries, also made by the justices,
which resulted in the Hundred Rolls. The most cmious
point about it, however, is that the return of Knights'
Fees, which eventually determined the importance of
this survey to later Exchequer officials, and to modern
students, was apj^arently a subordinate part of the
enquiry, not required by the statute, and possibly
designed to facilitate the collection of the scutage of
10 Edward I. Had not the main object of the enquiry
been thus lost sight of, it is probable that no confusion
would ever have arisen as to the date.

The persons employed on this enquiry are not known to
have had any commission under the seal either of the
Chancery or the Exchequer. They may, perhaps, have
been appointed by word of mouth, and have proceeded to
carry out their instructions under the orders of the
treasurer. It is significant that most of them were officers
of the Exchequer. They were : —

John de Kirkby, Treasurer.

Philip de Wileby, ChauceUor of the Exchequer.

John de Northwode "1 ^ „ ^, ^ ^

> Barons of the Exchequer.
John de Cobham J

WiUiam son of Nigel, Chamberlain of the Exchequer.

Nicholas de Castello, King's Remembrancer of the


Brother Richard de Stauuford, Clerk in the Exchequer.

Richard Rowell, King's Clerk.

Reginald de la Legh.

Geoffrey de Sandiacre.

The exact dates of the enquiries in the different counties
arc known in a lew instances only, but it is clear that tlic
inquisition lor the limulrcxl of RouJowo was taken by


deputies in 1284. One of Ihe inquisitions for Yorkshire
shows that Kirkby was at Ormesby on this business on
the 10th March, 1285, while he was in London on the
29th June in the same year ( Chronicles of Edward I. and
Edward II. Eolls Series, I. 94), engaged in holding an
enquiry at the Tower, with the assistance of Richard de
Boy land and John de Cobham. This enquiry, which
resulted in the taking of the city into the king's hand,
may possibly have been connected with Kirkhys Quest.
Assize Roll 194 shows that Kirkby was at Exeter with
liichard de Staunford on the 20th of August, 1285, and
Assize Roll 116 shows that he was at Launceston in the
same year. Both these rolls deal with complaints against
the king's ministers ; but they are not printed here, as they
contain no topographical information.

The entry on the Memoranda Roll mentioned above
(p. X.) is as follows :

Memoranda. Exchequer L.T.R. 13 Edw. I. (Roll 60^, m. 31 d.)

Cum nuper Rex miserit dilectos et fideles suos Johannem de
^^^^, Kirkeby, Johannem de Cobbeham et Nicholaum

Pro rege et populo-de Castello ad comitatum predictum ad inquir-
endum tam de juribus et aliis artieulis scaecarium contingentibus
quam de debitis Regis solutis diversis vicecomitibus et ballivis
que adhuc veniunt in summonicionem scacearii predicti, ac iidem
fideles Regis de omnibus debitis sic solutis coram eis convictis
et confessis rotulos vicecomiti Suht' libeiaverunt, ex parte Regis
ei injungentes, quod, pro predictis debitis nullam faceret distric-
tionera, donee aliud a Rege inde reciperet in mandatis, Rex
mandat eidem vicecomiti quod districtioni faciende pro eisdem
debitis, supersedeat in forma predicta. Et interim rotulos suos
per rotulos predictos ei liberatos, ita signet et punctet ut ex
inspectione eorumdem sciri possit super compotum suum proximo
ad idem scaecarium reddenduai, in quibus originalibus dicta
debita inveniri debeant et acquietari. Proviso quod omnes
tallias de eodem scaccario de debitis nostris ibidem solutis anno
regni Regis E. xij° penes ipsum vicecomitem per visum duorum
railitum de comitatu predicto ad hoc per eos quos dicte tallie


The result appears in another MS. from wliich most of
Subsidy Eou, Box 240, the remaining MSS. seem to be descended.

This is now known as Subsidy E>oll,
Box 240, No. 251, and consists of 33 membranes, all
mutilated. The largest measures 21 x 9 inches. They
appear to be portions of a roll or perhaps of two rolls.
Some of them have endorsements which look like those
usually found on the ends of successive membranes of
rolls made up Exchequer fashion.

Of the two rolls to which they appear to have belonged,
one must have related to Yorkshire and the other to the
rest of England. The Yorkshire roll was numbered with
Eoman, the other with Arabic, figures. The Yorkshire
roll consisted of Membranes 32, 33, 31, 25, 29, 24, 1, 2,
3, 26, 4, 5, and 30, more or less in the order given
(Nos. 3, 26, 32, and 33 have been placed conjecturally).
The earliest number is iij. and the latest xiij., to which
was attached a supplementary rotulet (Membrane 30)
which bears a distinctive mark.

The first number on the other roll (in Arabic figures),
is 15 (Membrane 7) and the last, 38 (Membrane 23),
so that it may possibly have begun with 14, and
been attached to the roll for Yorkshire. It consists of
Membranes 6 to 20, 22, 21, 23, and 27, and contains
matter relating to the counties of Devon, Somerset and
Dorset, Salop and Stafford, Kent, Buckingham, Bedford,
Oxford and Leicester (Membranes 6, 20, and 27 are
not numbered). The writing is apparently of the 14th

This roll, or more probably a copy of it, must at some
time have been in the custody of the Lord Treasurer's
Bemcmbranccr, since the roll of Knights' Pees for


Lciccstorsliiro, ali'(>ady iiicntioiicd, purports to bo luken
from a roll oi" ices in tliat office.

The roll for Leicestershire apjw'ar.s to have Ix-en ^v^itton
Ketiinu of KuiKhtu' in tlic l.")!}! ('oiiturv, and erroneously
iwic. 3. No. 2. refers to the survey as having been made

in 34 Edward 1.

Thcr next MS. in order of dat(; was copied in 1512
,,. ,, , ,r , „, by order of AVilliam Poulet, Lord St.

Misc. ItookH (Exch. Tr. »' '

ofKeoei,.t). v..i.7i. JqIjj^^ ^Laster of the Court of Wards
and Liveries. It contains, toG^ether with a i^ood deal of
other matter, a copy of Kirkhy's Quest for Devon, taken
from a hook then in the custody of the Lord Treasurer's
Ilcmembraneer. It attributes the survey to Adam dc
Kirkby, and gives the date as 24 Edward I. This ^[S.
has not been used in pre])aring the present volume, for
although the names of the tenants correspond in some
cases Avitli those given in the return of 13 Edward I.,
in other cases the names of more recent tenants have
been substituted. These do not appear to be all of one
date, but some of them seem to be of the reign of
Edward IV. and some may possibly be later. Tliis
volume might well be of special value to a local historian.

Three more MSS. already described by Mr. Skaife
are apparently of much the same date.

The most importimt of these (C. m ^\v. Skaifc's

description) belongs to the Queen's

^y!k)^oM7!^''*""" Remembrancer's Department (:Misc.

Books, Vol. 17). This was discovered by
the Rev. Joseph Hunter in the latter part of 181:3
{Fiflli Report of the J)ejpuly Keeper^ -^PP- ^- P- ^)-
It is a narrow folio, 10?, x ins., containing 457 heaves.
Ff. 120-319 contain a copy of tho abstract of Kirkliy^s
Quest for the countless of lUickingham, Bedford, Cam-
bridge and ILimlLngdon, Devon, York, Gloucester, Kent,

b 2


Lincoln, Northampton, Nottingham and Derby, Oxford,
Salop and Stafford, Somerset and Dorset, Surrey and
Sussex, and Leicester. It also comprises a return for
Cornwall dated tlie 34th year of Edward I. The rest
of the book is composed of memoranda relating to the
tenure of land, apparently extracted principally from
Escheators' Accounts and Inquisitions of the reigns of
Edward I. and Edward 11. The writing is late 16th

The other two MSS. were formerly preserved in the
Chapter House [Misc. Books (Exch. Tr. of Eeceipt),

Misc. Books (Exch. Tr. ^^l^' ^7 and 68]. The first (Mr. Skaife's
ofReceipt)Voi.67. ^) fg a foHo, 11^x91 ius., Containing

Kirkhy's Quest for Yorkshire, with copies of the Nomina
Villarum, and some of the Inquisitions of 31 Edward I.
The writing is of the 16th century.

The second (Mr. Skaife's B), a foUo, loj X 10 ins.,
>r- T, , ,T^ 1, a, containins^ almost exactly the same matter

Misc. Books (Exch. Tr. ° «'

of Eeceipt), Vol. 68. j^g -j^j^g prcccdiug, of wMch it may possibly
be an amended copy. The writing is of the late 16th or
early I7th century.

One of these books, possibly Vol. 67, w^as preserved
in the treasury of the Court of Beceipt in a bag hanging
on the wall, as appears from Agarde's list made in 1610
{Kalenclars and Inventories of the I]xchequer 11. p. 322).
It is there described as " alsoe a coppie of the book called
" Kirhy quest E. 1 in Yorkshire and Nomina Villaf
" E. 2."

A volume, formerly the property of Sir Joseph

Sir Jos. Williamson's Williamsou, Secretary of State, and

MSS., Vol. 2. preserved among the State Papers, contains

a copy of the abridgment of the survey for Devon. It is

a folio, llf X 8^ ins., bound in vellum, and entitled " A


*' hook of lands hoiildon in oappilc." Tt contains also an
account of the Aid of 20 Kdward III. for Norfolk, and
various evidences as to tenures in the county of Uereford.
Tli(» writing appears to he of the 17th centur}'. Kirkht/n
Qnrst is there stated to have heen made in 21< Edward I.
—as also in Misc. Books (Kxch. Tr. of Heecipt), Vols. 07
and (18 — and at the end of the return for Devon arc the
words " This Role was copied onto of an Auncient hooko
" in the JCxchecquei* called the hooke of the KniLjhtcs

Online LibraryUnknownInquisitions and assessments relating to feudal aids, with other analogous documents preserved in the Public record office; A.D. 1284-1431; published by authority of H.M. principal secretary of state for the Home department (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 82)