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Michael Linton's Bayeux Tapestry: 1066 - A Medieval Mosaic and Puzzles

Medieval Mosaic







This electronic edition
was prepared by
Michael A. Linton, 2007

Glanuile :

from Glanville, near Caen. "About 1064 Rainald de Glanville witnessed a charter of Roger de Mowbray in favour of Holy Trinity, Caen." (Gall. Christ, xi. 60 Justr.) Ranulph de Glanville, probably his son, was one of the barons of William Malet, Lord of Eye in Suffolk, under the Conqueror, and a benefactor to the monks of Eye, on the foundation of their monastery. His son William, "being a very devout man, bestowed on the Cluniacs all the Churches in his Barony" in the time of Henry I.; and his grandson Bartholomew—still more devout—founded Bromholme Priory as a cell to Castleacre, where his father had been buried. Nothing further is heard of Bartholomew,[124] except that he was Sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk from 1170 to 1176, and left two sons, William and Bartholomew, who both died s. p. (vide Blomfield), but his brother Ranulph "became a great man in his time." He first served with William de Vesci in Northumberland, raising the siege of Prudhoe Castle, and taking the King of Scots prisoner at Alnwick in 1174: five years later was one of the Justices Itinerant of the Northern Counties, and in 1180 advanced to the great office of Justiciar of the kingdom, which he held till the King's death. He was one of the witnesses to Henry II.'s will when it was declared at Waltham in 1182, and employed to raise troops in England to aid the King in the difficulties that arose "in his Territories beyond the seas." Richard Coeur de Lion removed him from the office of Justiciary, in order to bestow it on Hugh Pudsey, Bishop of Durham. "Glanville had then attained an advanced age. According to one contemporary authority, the Justiciar, sinking under bodily infirmity, and disgusted by the vices of the young Monarch, became anxious to surrender up his trust. Glanville, therefore, solemnly resigned his office to less competent successors, and departed, as a crusader, to the Holy Land. It is said, that by anxiety and vexation, his intellect became much enfeebled. And dying shortly afterwards, leaving only female issue, not an individual remained who bore his honoured name. Other contemporaries inform us that Glanville was deprived of the Justiciarship by the rapacious Monarch, who at the same time removed the sheriffs and their ministers throughout the kingdom, ransoming them to the very last farthing; and Glanville himself was cast into prison, until he purchased his enlargement by submitting to a fine of,3,000. The latter account is not destitute of plausibility; for Coeur de Lion's avarice was equalled only by his extravagance."—Sir Francis Palgrave. Glanville is said to have died in the Holy Land, during the siege of Acre. He had founded and "plentifully endowed" two religious houses in Suffolk; Butley Priory (in 1171), and Leyston Abbey, both for Canons Regular of St. Augustine; the former built on a manor that his wife, Berta de Valoines, had brought him in dower. He left only three daughters, "unto whom he gave all his Lands, before he went towards Jerusalem." Maud, the eldest, married Sir William de Auberville; Amabel, John de Arderne; and Helewise, Robert Fitz Ralph, Lord of Middleham in Yorkshire. The Suffolk barony of the Glanvilles consisted in 1165 of nine and a half knight's fees; and they have sometimes been styled Earls of the county. "There be of the later writers," says Camden, "who report that the Glanvils in times past were honoured with this title; but seeing they ground upon no certain authority, whereas men may easily mistake, and I have found nothing of them in the publicke records of the Kingdome, they must pardon me, if I believe them not."

The Glanvilles of the West of England are derived by Prince from the house of the great Justiciar, though he admits that the descent could not be proved, and the arms are entirely different.[125] About the year 1400 they settled at Halwell, in the parish of Whitchurch, Devonshire, which continued in their possession till the last century, and afterwards at Kilworthy, near Tavistock. "Here," says Westcote, "is also a family deserving a due remembrance; Sir Francis Glanvile, knt, whose father was a learned lawyer, very well practis'd therein, and call'd to the degree of a serjeaunt. At this call there were two more of this county, in all three: Drewe, Glanvile, and Harris. Of whom I remember in my youth I have heard this proverb commonly spoken, one gained as much as the other two; one spent as much as the other two; and one gave as much as the other two; but how to distinguish them and give every one his right therein, I freely and truly confess it surpasseth my knowledge." The learned lawyer was Sir John Glanville, a cadet of the house of Halwell, who was one of the Justices of the Common Pleas in the reign of Elizabeth, acquired a considerable fortune, and built Kilworthy House. "He was a great lover of justice and integrity, being careful to hold the balances entrusted to him with an even and steady hand, not inclining to either side out of awe or dread, out of favour and affection."—Prince's Worthies of Devon. There is a local tradition that he actually pronounced sentence of death on one of his own children. It was a daughter, whose first imprudent love affair with a lieutenant in the navy had been nipped in the bud by intercepting her letters; and who had since married an old man at Plymouth, nicknamed "Wealthy Page," for whom she did not care. When the young lieutenant returned home from sea, and she discovered the fraud practised upon her, they agreed together to get rid of poor Mr. Page; and he was accordingly strangled in his bed by his wife and her waiting-woman. A neighbour that lived opposite stated in evidence that "hearing at night some sand thrown against a window, thinking it was her own, she arose, and looking out, saw a young gentleman near Page's window, and heard him say, 'For God's sake stay your hand!' A woman replied, ''Tis too late, the deed is done.' On the following day, it was given out that Page had died suddenly in the night, and as soon as possible he was buried."—Bray's Traditions of Devonshire. The wife, her maid, and her lover, were all three tried, condemned, and executed, and sentence was passed upon Mrs. Page by her own father,[126]

Judge Glanville's eldest son, Francis, proved a dissolute spendthrift; and judging him unfit to bear the honours of the family, he bequeathed Kilworthy and the whole estate to his younger son John, who was, like himself, a distinguished lawyer. This second Sir John was born at Tavistock, "that fruitful seed-plot of eminent and learned men"; but practised his profession at Lincoln's Inn, and with such success that in 1637 he became Serjeant at Law, and was soon afterwards chosen Speaker of the House of Commons. Clarendon calls him "a man very equal to the work, of a ready, voluble expression, dextrous in disposing the House, and very acceptable to them." He kept his popularity through all the stormy scenes that followed; and when the King dissolved the parliament, loyally attended him to Oxford. For this he was thrown into prison at Exeter in 1645 as "a desperate malignant," and only bought his liberty three years later by the payment of a heavy fine. At the Restoration he was appointed King's Serjeant, "shining the brighter for being so long eclipsed"; but died the year following at his house of Broadhinton, in Wiltshire.

Kilworthy, his father's bequest, had long before passed out of his possession. Francis, the disinherited elder brother, had been struck with remorse and consternation at his father's will. Though often warned of his fate, he had treated his father's words as idle threats, and was altogether unprepared to meet the blow. It sobered him at once and for ever; thenceforward he was an altered man, and having once set his foot in the right direction, he never either faltered or drew back. Sir John, while anxiously watching his amendment, for some time kept aloof, not choosing to interfere till he had convinced himself that the change was real. When he could no longer doubt that Francis's penitence was sincere and lasting, he invited him to a grand banquet at his house of Kilworthy.

Great preparations had been made for this entertainment, and a great number of guests were assembled. Friends and neighbours had come from far and near, with many of the first magnates and dignitaries of the county; and when all were gathered round the board, Sir John took the repentant prodigal by the hand, and seated him in the place of honour. After the many courses had been duly served, and his guests had partaken of his good cheer, he called for one last dish, ordered it to be placed before his brother, and "with a cheerful countenance" bade him raise the cover. It contained only a heap of parchments—the title-deeds of Kilworthy; and placing these in his brother's hands, Sir John solemnly called the honourable company there present to witness that he freely and fully restored them to him. He wished that all should know the respect in which he now held his reformed brother; "and in giving him back his birthright," added he, "I do no more than my father himself would have done, had he lived to see this day." Francis burst into tears, fell on his brother's neck, and sobbed out his thanks, declaring that he should never have reason to repent of his generosity. He kept his word, and filled his place worthily as the head of the house; but his line ended with his son, and Kilworthy passed to his niece, Mrs. Manaton. The noble-hearted younger brother is, however, still represented. His three eldest sons left no posterity, and the fourth, Julius, who became eventually his heir, removed into Cornwall, and bought Catchfrench, their present seat, in 1726.

The elder line of the Glanvilles ended in abject poverty. Harwell had been long since sold; and the last heir-male, Jack Glanville, died not many years ago in the poorhouse at Bradstone. He had been in the service of Mr. Kelly of Kelly as his huntsman; and is said to have been a man of shrewd good sense, and much humour and mother-wit. He prided himself on his blood, boasting that better was not to be found in all Devonshire. Yet none of his kith and kin—not even the old master whom he had served—were found willing to rescue him from the degradation of ending his days as a pauper!

There was also a Cornish branch of the Glanvilles, seated at Launceston; of which Lysons finds the first mention early in the seventeenth century. They held fast to the traditions of their Devonshire cousins; for it used to be an old saying in the county that "a Godolphin was never known to want wit, a Trelawney courage, and a Glanville loyalty."


  1. "In the time of Henry I., when Bartholomew de Glanvile was Governor of the Castle of Oreford, some fishermen happen'd to catch a wild man in their nets. All the parts of his body resembled those of a man; he had hair on his head, and a long picked beard; and about the breast, was exceeding hairy and rough. But at length he made his escape privately into the Sea, and was never seen more."—Camden's Britannia. Was it not something to have been brought face to face with an actual merman? Which of us, in these days, is likely to enjoy a similar distinction?
  2. They bore Azure, three saltires Or; whereas the coat of the Suffolk family was Argent a chief dancettee Azure.
  3. There is, however, no certainty that Mrs. Page was his daughter; and a nearly similar story is told of Judge Hody (another Devonshire man, who lived in the reigns of Henry VII. and Henry VIII.) and his son.