Michael Linton's Bayeux Tapestry: 1066 - A Medieval Mosaic and Puzzles
BATTLE ABBEY ROLL.
ACCOUNT OF THE NORMAN LINEAGES.
IN THREE VOLUMES.—VOL. II
JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET.
PRINTED BY WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS, LIMITED,
STAMFORD STREET AND CHARING CROSS.
This electronic edition
was prepared by
Michael A. Linton, 2007
from Lovetot in Lower Normandy. "The earliest person in this splendid line is William de Luvetot, founder of the priory of Worksop. His appearance in the North is subsequent to the date of Domesday, but it could not be long after that time. In Hallamshire, at the castle of Sheffield, placed at the junction of the Sheaf with the Don, the Lovetots, Furnivalls, and their successors, had their principal seat, the caput baroniae; though they had other houses dispersed throughout their fee, particularly Sheffield Manor, a house in the centre of their extensive park, the hall at Hansworth, and the manor of Worksop, to which has succeeded the present magnificent home of the Duke of Norfolk, the illustrious representative of this splendid line."—Hunter's South Yorkshire, Since then, Worksop has been sold to the Duke of Newcastle; but the feudal seignorality of Hallamshire, whose lords may be traced to within thirty years of the Conquest, is still vested in their descendant by right of inheritance; "no sale, and what is more extraordinary, no forfeiture, having ever happened to this great domain." It forms part of the high and mountainous tract compared by Dodsworth to the Apennines, "because the rain-water that there falleth sheddeth from sea to sea:" a wild untrodden upland of wood and moor, which when Hunter wrote (in 1819) comprised "no less than twenty thousand acres over which no plough has yet passed, and where scarcely a human habitation is to be found." Who first raised the axe in its forests, or fixed their abode in the romantic valley where
"Five rivers, like the fingers of a hand,
Flung from black mountains, mingle and are one,"
is not known; but at the time of the Conquest Earl Waltheoff had an aula (hall, court) at Hallam, near the present town of Sheffield. His treacherous wife, Countess Judith, was allowed to retain his lands after his execution, and held them at Domesday. "She sub-infeuded Roger de Busli; ten years afterwards Dominus William de Louvetot appears in the place of De Busli, and it continued to be held of the heirs of the Countess."—Hunter's Hallamshire.
It is not explained how De Louvetot, who had been a Huntingdonshire baron, acquired his interest in Yorkshire; nor is there any certainty as to his genealogy; but he is conjectured to have been the son of the Ricardus Surdus of Domesday, who was one of the two great sub-feudatories of the Earl of Mortaine (Nigel Fossard being the other) in this part of England. His coat of arms, Argent a lion rampant parti per fesse Gules and Sable, was allusive to his name, Luve (cognate to the German Loewe) being Danish for lion.
He found his new domain—thenceforward styled, from the caput baroniae, the Honour of Sheffield—suffering from "the skirt of the storm" of the Conqueror's wrath, that had swept across the contumacious North in ruin and devastation. But he and his successors proved wise and humane rulers. They made the castle they had built at Sheffield their chief residence; and the new town—then a rude collection of huts and smithies—grew and prospered under its protection. One of their first cares had been to plant churches throughout their territory, where in Saxon times there were none; and they built a hospital, a corn-mill, and a bridge "where one was most wanted" over the Don. Unfortunately their reign was brief; for the line ended with William de Louvetot's grandson and namesake, who died between 1175-80. He had married a De Clare, and left a daughter named Maud, then "of very tender years," to be the Lady of Hallamshire. She was first in ward to Henry II., and then to Coeur de Lion, who bestowed her hand on Gerard de Furnival, the son of one of his companions in arms at the siege of Acre. The homage-fine agreed upon by the fortunate bridegroom was 400 marks of silver; but "this sum was never paid; for not long after happened the great fight under the walls of Mirabel. To the success of that day the valour of De Furnival contributed; and in the battle and pursuit two hundred knights were made prisoners. One of them, whose name was Conan de Leon, fell into the hands of De Furnival: and this prisoner he rendered to the King, having in return a remission of his homage fine."—Ibid. Maud, who like other great heiresses, constantly used her family name, not only survived her husband for many years, but saw all her three sons go down to the grave before her. The eldest, Thomas, fell in Palestine, "probably in the great slaughter of the Christian host at Damietta:" and his mother, in her bereavement, dwelt with bitterness on "the shameful fact that he whose life had been sacrificed to Christian zeal should lie in ground that was cursed by the step of the infidel." Her younger son Gerard, with true filial piety, undertook a second pilgrimage to the East to bring back his brother's remains; and she had them solemnly interred in the Abbey founded by her great grandfather at Worksop.
The Furnivals continued in possession for five generations; till the last Lord Furnival died in 1383, leaving an heiress married to Sir Thomas Nevill, who in her right was Lord Furnival. Their only child, Maud Lady Furnival, was the wife of the great Earl of Shrewsbury, first summoned to parliament as "John Talbot of Hallamshire." The inheritance she brought remained with the Talbots for two hundred years. At last, in 1623, the seventh Earl left three coheiresses; Mary, Countess of Pembroke, Elizabeth, Countess of Kent, and Alethea, Countess of Arundel and Surrey; and as neither of the two elder sisters had children, the whole succession devolved on the last born. Lady Alethea Talbot thus conveyed Sheffield, Worksop, and the three baronies of Talbot, Furnival, and Strange of Blackmere to the head of the great house of Howard; and her grandson Thomas, soon after the return of Charles II., was restored to the forfeited title of Duke of Norfolk.
There had been another branch of the Louvetots, derived from a second son of the first Baron of Hallamshire, named Nigel, who remained in their old home in Huntingdon, and made Southoe, "on the land of Eustace the Sheriff, the seat of that Seignory, on which, in this Shire, thirteen and a-half knight's fees were dependent. But from this line, by gift of Verdon and Vesey, drowned were these in the Honour of Gloucester."—Cotton MS. He had five sons; one of whom, named like himself Nigel, held the Honour of Tickhill in 1201; and, as heir male, had a great contest with Gerard de Furnival, which lasted six years. At length Gerard "gave one thousand Marks and fifteen Palfreys to the King that he might quietly enjoy those lands." Roger, the next, Constable of Bolsover and Sheriff of Derby and Notts in 39, 40, and 41 Hen. III., fell on the Baron's side at the battle of Evesham, and the inheritance was shared by his three sisters, one married to Amundeville, one to Braunford, and the third to Patric. One of the first Nigel's younger sons was, however, still represented in Nottinghamshire till the following reign, when Oliver de Louvetot, of Carcolston in that county, left only female heirs.
- ↑ One of these "cloud-kissing mountains" is "so high that on a cleere day a man may from the top thereof see both the minsters of York and Lincolne, neare sixty miles off us; and it is to be supposed that when the Devil did look over Lincolne as the proverb is, he stood upon that mountaine or neare it." In the "woody, rocky, stony wildernesse" of Wharncliffe Chase the Dragon of Wantley had his home;—a cleft in the rocks is still shown as the Dragon's den; and old Sir Thomas Wortley "causyd a lodge to be made for his plesor to heare the hartes bell." The first man who ever shot grouse on the wing died in 1687.
- ↑ "The nameless and mutilated effigies in an obscure corner of this church," supposed to represent some of the De Louvetots, are all that is now left of the once splendid monuments that commemorated these great barons.
- ↑ "Queen Elizabeth was her godmother, and gave her a name till then unknown to the baptismal vocabulary of England; and Vincent informs us, 'out of her maiestie's true consideration and judgment of that worthy family, which was ever true, to the state:... AYnOela signifying in our English, veritie or truth.'"—Ibid.