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
for Normanville; "a branch of Basset of Normandy, descended from Hugh Fitz Osmond, who held in capite in Hants in 1086. From him came the barons of Normanville, a younger branch of whom held the barony till about 1500. (La Roque, Maison d'Harcourt.)"—The Norman People. Gerold de Normanville was a benefactor of Battle Abbey: his grant of "Bocestepe" was confirmed by Henry I.; and in one of the charters of Henry, third Earl of Ewe, he is styled Dapifer meus. Norman de Normanville, according to the Liber Niger, was a baron of Sussex in 1165. "Not long after the Conquest, the Normanvilles held the towns of Empingham and Normanton in the county of Rutland. A Family of eminent note in those days for military affairs; for I find that about the latter end of King John's reign Ralf de Normanville was sent by the King with forces to the defence of Kenilworth Castle against the rebellious barons; and paid sixty marks, one Dextrarium (horse for the great saddle) and Palfrey for having the Farm of the Co. and Free Warren at Empingham. In 5 Hen. III. the King ordered Henry de Nevill to deliver from Clive Forest six Oaks and six Furchias for the building of a certain Hall by him design'd to be built at Empingham. His son Thomas left an heiress Margaret, whose husband, William de Basing, died Lord of this manor 9 Ed. II."—Wrights Rutland. Normanton sounds like an Anglicized Normanville. It is added that they were also seated at Kenarton, in Blackburn Hundred, Kent; and several branches existed in Yorkshire, where Ralph de Normanville was joint Sheriff in 1203. One of them was "dependant on the Percies" in Craven, and held Coniston from the time of Ed. II. till 1 Henry VIII., when it was sold by Sir John de Normanville.—Whitaker's Craven. In South Yorkshire we find Avice de Normanville holding land at Brinsworth 4 John; and her descendant Ralph 44 Henry III. had a grant of free warren at Brinsworth-Thribergh, and held Dalton in the same county, as well as Stainton in Lincolnshire. The heiress of the Normanvilles married Ralph Reresby early in the reign of Edward II. The last male heir, Sir Adam, "must have been an aged man at the time of his decease in 1316; for as early as 1279 he presented a rector to the church of Thribergh. And this fact must, I fear, entirely destroy the credit of a romantic story connected in village tradition with the first settlement of the Reresbys at this place. This tradition speaks of the plighted vows of the beautiful heiress of Thribergh at a cross, the fragment of which is still to be seen in a lane near the village; of the journey of her knight to the Holy Land; of a rumour reaching Thribergh of his death; of the lady's unwillingly allowing herself to be betrothed to another lord; of her visiting the cross on the morning of her intended nuptials, and of her meeting Reresby there in palmer's weeds; and finally, of her union with him in fulfilment of her earliest vows. Whatever little truth there may be in this tradition, which has been handed down, as supposed from the time, it is clear that the heiress of Normanville, through whom the inheritance passed to the Reresbys, was no heiress at the time of her marriage."—Hunter's South Yorkshire. I cannot see why this fact should "entirely destroy the credit" of Margaret de Normanville's love story. Even though she was not then Lady of Thribergh, she may have met her lover—a lover evidently unacceptable to her family—in secret at St. Leonard's Cross, and plighted her troth to him there on the eve of his departure for Jerusalem. Nothing was heard of him for years after, during which she waited with patient constancy, till at last, convinced that he was dead, she agreed to give her hand to another. On the very night before her wedding, she received a mysterious message bidding her repair to the old trysting place, where she found a travel-stained pilgrim in whom she recognized her true knight. The tale seems familiar to us, for it is found in many forms and in many places.
These Normanvilles bore Argent on a fesse between two bars gemelles Gules, three fleurs-de-lis Or. The motto of their representatives the Reresbys was "Mercy, Jesu!" The latter held Thribergh till the end of the seventeenth century, when they ended ignobly with a Sir William Reresby, who gambled away the whole of his property, and became a tapster in the King's Bench prison. He is said to have staked and lost the estate of Dennaby on a single main.
Thoresby, in his History of Leeds, gives the pedigree of a Reginald de Normanville, to whom the Conqueror gave the Barony of Laxton, and the custody of the Forest of Sherwood. His son Ralph  left an only daughter, Basilia, married to Robert de Caus, Caux, or Calx, by whom she had a son and two daughters. The son's line ended in the next generation; and the two daughters, Matilda and Constance, thus became co-heirs, and married two brothers; Adam Fitz Peter, named De Birkin from the place of his residence; and Thomas Fitz Peter, styled De Leedes. The name, however, long continued in the county; for Edmund Normanvyle is on the list of the gentry of Notts furnished to Henry VI. in 1433.
The latest notice I have met with of the Normanvilles is in Hunter's South Yorkshire. He gives the pedigree of Sir John Normanville of Kilnewick, and nine generations of his descendants, of whom the last, Thomas, was nineteen years old in 1585. Sir John's son, Sir Ralph, had married Agnes, daughter and heir of Sir Stephen Walleis of Little Haughton. The family was afterwards seated at Billingley.
The name extended itself in Scotland. In the Monastic Records of Teviotdale, I find that Hugh de Normanville, the husband of Alicia de Berkeley, gave to Melrose Abbey some land "on the confines of Rutherford." His successors, John and Thomas, were also benefactors of Melrose. Thomas bestowed on them "his land called the Ploughgate inter les denes, for which they were bound to pay him, at Roxburgh fair, a pair of gilt spurs."
- ↑ This must be the Sir Ralph who witnesses John Fitz Matthew's grant to Worksop, and was a benefactor of Sawtrey Abbey, Huntingdonshire.