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State prisons, and its revenues were secured by an almost princely catalogue of feudal appendages. When made entire, the gift appears to have comprised, the Castle of Devizes, body and members, the towns of Devizes and Rowde with the advowsons of their churches, two parks at Devizes, the custody of the forests of Chippenham, Melksham, Pevesham, La Cofaud, and the warrens of Marlborough. The “members" above referred to, consisting of the adjacent military fiefs, or lands held of the castle by knights' services, will have to be more elaborately specified hereafter in the form of returns made to an inquistion in Edward I.'s time. It may suffice in this place just to remark that in the various references which from time to time will have to be made to the occupier of the whole, the titles “lord of the castle,” “governor," "constable,” and perhaps also “keeper" are interchangeable terms, all alike denoting the souzerain of the establishment, even though he might not in every case be entrusted with all its attendant emoluments.
Of municipal matters occurring in the town itself at this time, the Records have preserved nothing of importance. Like the rest of their countrymen, the Burgesses had to meet sundry demands ever and anon made by the Crown under the title of escheats, wardships, and talliages; besides two separate contributions levied in the ensuing reign to redeem Richard Cæur de Lion out of captivity; and a fine of twelve marks and a palfrey paid to King John for a renewal of their charter. For this form of detail, consult Madox's Hist. of the Exchequer.
THE CHRONICLE OF RICHARD OF THE DEVIZES. But it must not be forgotten that the town had recently given birth to the distinguished scholar known as Richard of
Hereford, Devizes, Exeter, Sarum, the Tower of London, Rochester, Hadleigh, Winchester, Porchester, Gloucester, and Horestan. Bridgenorth, Oxford, Sherborne,
the Devizes, the erudite author of the Exploits of King Richard in the Holy Land and the affairs of England from 1189 to 1192. Of his personal history nothing is known beyond what is furnished by his work. But we there learn that he was a Benedictine Monk of St. Swithin's Priory at Winchester, and that he there formed a strong personal attachment to the Prior Robert. When his friend was subsequently translated to Witham Charter-house, Richard paid him a visit, to discover, as he expressed it, how much nearer to Heaven was the new-founded Charter-house than Winchester. Returning to his own cell, he executed the work on which his fame rests, dedicating it to his friend, to wean him from the vain pursuits of this world and keep him in mind of his higher destiny. With this end in view, the charitable design of the friend and the interjectional reflections of the author probably went farther than the main subject of the book. In the matter of its style, Joseph Stephenson the learned curator of the edition published by the Historical Society, observes that, with the exception of the Policraticus of John of Salisbury, the Chronicle of Richard of the Devizes has more classical allusions than any production of the middle ages. His admiration of the antients is so strong that he betrays a constant tendency to put into the mouths of his interlocutors, speeches almost too correctly cast in the Homeric mould to be accepted as genuine first thoughts. With all this, his history is one of great authority; and from the allusions which it contains to John “Earl of Mortagne” which was the title borne by that Prince before he took the Crown of England, it has been inferred that the Devizes Monk is the earliest and most authentic of all King Richard's chroniclers, being anterior both to Ralph Diceto and to Roger de Hoveden. One of his qualifications we conclude to have been that of a careful observer. Among his other on dits, why should we hesitate to record that as a Devizes man it was not unnatural that his attention should be drawn to a feature in
London life, which in his own native town has been honoured with due observance and imitation from that time to the present, viz. the absorbent appreciation of the citizens for good fare. On the authority of Bale and Pitts, another extant work has been attributed to Richard of Devizes, being a history of England from Brutus to Stephen in the Corpus MS. cccxxxix, but Mr. Stephenson doubts it as his, though said to be written by a Winchester Monk.
[SURNAME, “DEVIZES.” It may here be remarked that it will not be necessary in future to take notice of all the individuals bearing the surname "de Devizes”; such a form merely indicating that they had emigrated from the town and become so called on their settling down in some other locality. As no others thus denominated appear to have been persons of any distinction (unless perhaps John the member for Salisbury 6th Edward II.) we here take leave of the family, merely observing that they now exist generally under the form of “Vyse.” The most recent instance of the soubriquet of Devizes being written in full is perhaps that of "Anthony Devizes” whose commission as a surgeon in Major General Lambert's regiment of foot may be seen in the Commons Journals 28th May 1659.]
THOMAS DE SANDFORD 1199. The names of the Governors of the castle during Henry II.'s reign seem to be lost; Possibly they are to be found among the Wiltshire Sheriffs for that period : and it is hypothesis only which must supply the hiatus during Richard I.'s, by supposing that, like Marlborough, Devizes had already become one of the donations made by the late King on his younger son John Earl of Mortagne afterwards King John. On coming to the throne himself, John appointed Thomas de Sandford to the constableship, who proved a trusty soldier throughout his master's changing fortunes.
While the French troops under Prince Louis, in conjunction with the disaffected part of the English Barons were overrunning the country, and Marlborough had opened its gates to the invader, the only castles which held out in this part of the island were those of Bristol, Wallingford, Corfe, Wareham, and Devizes, into all of which the King threw additional troops and furnished them with arms and provisions. Devizes moreover became the depôt of a large portion of the royal treasury, fully accounting for the numerous precepts issued during the war for maintaining its defences and supplying its commisariat. A selection of abbreviated entries from the Close Rolls will illustrate this.
7th John. The King, writing from Lambeth, apprizes the Barons of his Exchequer that a portion of the yearly rents of the town and castle are remitted to Thomas de Sandford to be expended in fortifying himself.
8th John. The King to the same. Pay to Thomas de Sandford for the carriage of eight hogsheads of wine from Southampton to Devizes sixty shillings and two-pence. Dated at Cranbourn.
13th John. The Mayor of Bristol is commanded to send twenty hogsheads of wine thence to Devizes. Dated from Trowbridge.
15th John. The King to William the Clerk. Thomas de Sandford is commanded to deliver up to you, to be given to Brian of the Isles, 20,000 marks of the moneys lying in our castle of Devizes. Dated at Stodelegh.'
15th John. The King to the Barons of the Exchequer. Pay to Simon and Hugh de Cuvier one hundred shillings for the conveyance of 50,000 marks from Bristol to Devizes to the care of Thomas de Sandford. London. In the 17th year a large parcel of the Royal jewels arrives at the castle. They are minutely detailed and described.
16th John. The King commissions Nicholas Faborum and his associates to repair to the castle and superintend the manufacture of quarrels or cross bow-bolts; and the next year “our faithful Briton the cross bowman, with his wife and child” arrive by royal order. Soon after the Earl of Gloster is directed to send to Devizes twenty carts laden with corn, and two pigs of lead (120 stone each) by the hands of Hugh de Neville. In the same year other auxiliaries, sent to aid in the defence of the castle, are named, as Allan Martell, through whom the King directs Sandford to deliver up the great gate of the castle to be defended by Oliver de Buteville, Geoffrey de Buteville, and their men: the post meanwhile which was assigned to Governor Sandford himself, with the assistance of Richard de Rivers, being the gate of the small tower janua castelletti. The Butevilles were two Generals who commanded John's foreign legions from Gascony and Poictou. Allan Martell mentioned above was a Friar and appears to have stood high in John's favour. Here is another reference to him, in 1215. The King sends his precept to Thomas de Sandford, to the effect that out of the tythes [denariis] which Friar'Allan Martell has carried to Devizes, he deliver two hogsheads of wine to our beloved Hugh de Neville to be conveyed to Marlborough.
Hugh de Neville, the ancestor of an illustrious race, and the Crusader whose performances in the service of King Richard point him out as the prototpye of Sir Walter Scott's hero in The Talisman demands also a passing notice. He was one of Richard's especially favourite knights, and proved his right to the distinction, by slaying a lion (when in the Holy Land) first driving an arrow into his breast and then running him through with his sword; on which, says Fuller quoting Matthew Paris, this verse was made “ Viribus Hugonis vires perière leonis.” The strength of Hugh a lion slew. It has been suggested indeed that the credit of this affair was allowed by its real author to pass current as the King's own, that Neville, like all prudent courties in the like circumstances, was content that others and not himself should sing
" The Knight slew the boar