Page images

England who had it in command that no danger should happen to his person, those keepers who were bound to defend him from harm were afterwards removed, he knows not by whom; so that he was reasonably in fear for himself; and particularly since the Bishop of Winchester became Council. lor for the lord the King, who had threatened him, as all England knows, and the castle of Devizes was placed in the custody of Peter de Rival. As therefore the guard which by agreement should have protected him while he was so in custody, was removed, it was no wonder if he fled for shelter to the church: and this he would on no account have done if the agreement as to safe custody had been kept with him. As to what is said of the outlawry he made no such agreement: it was not possible that any good man and true could be outlawed by agreement, such being the punishment of evil-doers, not of well-doers. For himself, he had always desired and offered to stand to the judgment of his peers. He also reminded his judges that when at length he returned to the peace of the King, all the premises were pardoned, and the outlawry proclaimed void by all the Earls of England, by the King's letters, and judgment made at Gloucester before all the Bishops and Barons,” &c., &c.

Matthew Paris says he fully proved his innocency, notwithstanding the King's efforts to secure the prisoner's conviction: but in order to evade an unjust sentence he found it necessary to make a peace-offering by surrendering to the Crown four of his favourite castles, viz., Blanch, Grosmund in Wales, Skenefrith, and Hatfield. This trial took place in 23rd Henry III. See the State Trials where it is recorded in full. Hubert survived the prosecution six years, and was buried in the monastery of the Friars-preachers now called Blackfriars. His daughter Margotta who inherited the manor and royalty.of Elmore, Co. Gloucester, became the wife of Anselme de Guise, whose descendant Eleanor Guise marrying Lawrence Washington of Garsden, Sheriff of Wilts in 1651, became the ancestor of Lawrence Earl Ferrars who perished at Tyburn for murder in 1760. The baronetcy of Guise became extinct in the person of Sir William Guise who died in 1783. To the last they bore the arms of Hubert de Burgh, Gules, seven lozenges vair three; three and one. Foss's Judges.

PETER DE MAWLEY 1233. Of Upavon and Netheravon. Of this baron it is recorded that he was created lord of Devizes 18th Henry III. as a reward for his allegiance during a troublesome period. But as this was the time of Hubert de Burgh's imprisonment, when the Bishop of Winchester was seeking to place his own nephew Peter de Rival at Devizes, the coincidence of dates suggests that of the two persons De Mawley and De Rival, one could have been only the nominal lord. De Mawley married Joan daughter of Peter de Bruce of Skelton and died 1241. His son bearing the same name does not appear to have inherited Netheravon, the reason apparently being that it went back to its rightful owner Gilbert Bassett of Compton. The first Peter de Mawley (father of the Devizes governor) according to Dugdale, a Poictevin by birth, has been charged with the murder of Prince Arthur. It is certain that King John rewarded him with extensive lands, and gave him moreover the privilege of holding a market at Upavon by the annual tribute of a palfrey.

JOHN DE PLESSITIS EARL OF WARWICK 1235. This nobleman, a Norman by birth, is constantly mentioned in conjunction with Hugh de Plessitis, Nicholas de Boleville, and Drogo de Barentin as “the King's knights.” They were no doubt servants in the royal household. Plessitis advanced rapidly in Henry's good graces, and for his services in the Welsh wars was appointed Governor of Devizes Castle, warden of Chippenham forest and Sheriff of Oxford. In 1251 he also became a Justice Itinerary. To raise his fortunes to the highest point, the King had also contrived that Margery sister and heir of Thomas de Newburgh, Earl of Warwick, whose first husband John Mareschall had lately died, should accept Plessitis as her second husband and through that channel convey to him the title of Earl of Warwick. In 28th Henry III. he was appointed constable of the Tower of London; and the remainder of his life is chiefly remarkable for the liberal proofs which he continued to receive of the King's confidence and regard. He died in 1263. After the first succeeding generation his descendants cannot be traced. Foss's Judges, ii. 443.

ROBERT LORD NEVILLE OF Raby 1263 Appears to have come next in succession. He was one of the barons who pledged themselves to the King's observance of the Ordinances commonly known as the “Provisiones Oxonienses," and during that turbulent crisis was made General of all the royal forces beyond the Trent: till Henry having reason to suspect that the intrigues of Simon Montford Earl of Leicester had sapped the General's allegiance, displaced him from all his posts whether of honour or emolument, transferring that of the lordship of Devizes to,

Philip Lord BASSETT OF WYCOMBE 1263. This nobleman, who combined in his one person the offices of Chief Justiciary of the courts and Commander-General of the King's armies, in short, the two principal posts in the kingdom, had greatly distinguished himself before the walls of Northampton, and eventually taken the place from the Earl of Leicester. But in 1264, the year following his appointment to Devizes, the battle of Lewes was fought which for a period cost the King his crown and liberty. Philip Bassett who fought near the person of Henry long maintained by his courage and example the combat with Leicester's forces, but sinking through loss of blood, his retainers fled; and the King whose horse had been killed under him

was compelled to surrender to the Earl. He was confined in the Priory of Lewes, and the royal castles fell into the hands of his enemies. Hugh le Despencer, who had married Aliva the daughter of Philip Bassett, obtained that of Devizes by the authority of Leicester and the twenty-four "Baronsregent,” as they were termed, of which conclave he was in fact a member. Lord Bassett meanwhile was imprisoned in Dover Castle, where he remained till the victory of Evesham in 1266 restored his royal master to the throne, and himself to his Wiltshire baronies. It is observable that from this period he was no longer Chief Justiciary, the union of so high an office with that of Commander of the forces being no doubt deemed too perilous a responsibility for one man; though he continued nevertheless to enjoy the royal favours and to be a member of the King's council. Jis death must have happened in the autumn of 1271, for in the Fine Roll under date 2nd November 56th Henry III. there is an entry of an order for the resident constable of Devizes Castle to give it up, “ because Phillip Bassett his lord had gone the road appointed for mortality.” The successor to whom the surrender is ordered to be made is,

ELYAS DE RABEYN 1271. Whether this baron occupied in his own name or merely acted as the locum tenens of Ralph de Sandwich who soon after appears, may admit of a doubt, seeing that on the Parliamentary Rolls he is conspicuous for little else than a marriage, out of which, contention grew. The King gave him the wardship of Matilda and Johanna, daughters and heirs of Stephen of Bayhus; whereupon Elyas married Matilda, and in order to monopolise the estate of Bayhus; affianced the other daughter to some person beyond the sea. But this expatriated daughter had a son (Peter Bandrat) who lived to come over and assert his rights against Peter Mallary, Matilda's second husband, and against Peter de Rabeyn the son of Elyas aforesaid.

This was in the 18th of Edward I.

Rotuli HUNDREDORUM. During the close of Henry III.'s reign and the commencement of Edward I.'s were compiled the interesting documents entitled the Rotuli Hundredorum, or general returns touching the state of the royal demesnes and the execution of justice. A selection from those relating to Devizes furnish the following facts.

Concerning the garrison of the castle, the Jury declare, that it can be kept in a state of defence for 25 marks per annum and no less. Then follows a list of knights holding lands of the lord of the castle by military tenure; of whom, those who held at £20 (solidi] or a whole knight's fee were bound in time of war to do suit to the lord for forty days in the year, in their own persons and at their own charges; those holding half a knight's fee, to do service accordingly.

Walter de Dunstanville, lands at Stert, by one entire knight's fee. John Fitz-Alan, houses at Keevil by one knight's fee. Robert de Maundeville, houses and lands at Bratton by one knight's fee. William Paynell, Richard Esturmy, and Humphrey de Schoverille, lands at Littleton by one knight's fee conjointly. Robert de la Mare, houses in Lavington by one knight's fee. Richard de Rockley, houses in Lavington by one knight's fee. Ralph de Wilton, lands at Calstone by half a knight's fee. Richard de Hetchilhampton, lands there, by half a knight's fee. Robert de Salceto,

'A memorial of Rabeyn's posses- for I hear that your brother Lawsions in this county possibly survives rence will go into Berry's house in the following passage occurring in within this se'nnight; or whether a letter written in 1607 from Lon- jou may go unto his house called don, by John Noyes, M.P. for Calne, Rabbines, for you had better go any to his wife, when the plague was whither than tarry at Calne, if the raging both at Calne and Devizes. plague do encrease.” In another "If your hearts will not serve you letter he warns them not to venture till I come home, then see whether near Devizes. Noyes MSS. you may not go into Stockley house,

« PreviousContinue »