23 February, 2011

Hugh Despenser Builds A Cattle Shed And Edward II Grants The Carmelites A Tunnel

A somewhat hotch-potchy post today mostly from Calendar of Inquisitions Miscellaneous 1308-1348, which might be titled 'random stuff about buildings I found interesting'.

Edward II spent a lot of time in the spring of 1317 at his palace of Clarendon in Wiltshire, of which very little remains today, sadly.  An inquisition of June 1315 found numerous defects which needed repair, and gives a lovely insight into the palace rooms ('l' means pounds, a pentice was a covered walkway and a garderobe was a toilet):

"The repairs required in the king's manor of Claryndone would cost 1830l besides timber, viz.
the king's chapel near the king's chamber 40l
the king's chamber 20l
the hall with pantry and buttery 100l
two kitchens with a passage and pentice between the hall and kitchens 120l, including the larder and saucery
the chamber with garderobe on the east side of the hall 40l
the chamber called 'Antioche' with garderobe 40l
the queen's chambers, with passage and pentice towards the hall and the queen's chapel 60l
the great cellar for the king's wine with the chamber above 400l
two chambers called the 'brethren's chambers' 140l
the chamber for the chancellor and the clerks of the chancery 20l
the chamber of the chaplains and clerks of the king and queen 20l
the east gate with the chamber above 20l
two chambers for the clerks 20l
the steward's chamber with the passage and pentice to the hall 50l
the chamber of the king's children with passage and pentice and staircase to the king's chamber 40l
the building for the chandlery 40l
the treasurer's chamber 40l
the chapel for the king's household 60l
the king's almoner's chamber 10l
the buildings for the marshalsea 100l
the chamber near the west gate with garderobe 60l
4 chambers of office 60l
the west gate with the chamber above 40l
walls, ditches, hedges and fences about the manor 300l.

All the defects...were caused by long neglect of roofing."

I love the fact that the 'chamber of the king's children' (though Edward II only had one legitimate child in June 1315) was connected to Edward's chamber.

Fulfilling his vow "when in danger" after the battle of Bannockburn to found a friary in Oxford, Edward II granted the Carmelites his palace of Beaumont in February 1318, and by 1324 had also granted them plots of land covering seven and a half acres, including "a plot of vacant land in the suburb of Oxford, adjacent to their new dwelling place, containing 100 feet in length, and 1 foot at either end, and 30 feet in width in the middle, to hold to them and their successors for the enlargement of their dwelling place: licence also for them to make a subterraneous way, 50 feet in length and 10 feet in width from their old dwelling place in the same suburb passing under the king's highway to their new house."  The Carmelites promised in return to celebrate divine service daily "for the good estate of the king and queen Isabella and their children so long as they shall live, and for their souls after death."

An inquisition taken at Winchester Castle in May 1314:

"The hall of Winchester castle needs repair to the value of 100l; the king's hall to the value of 100s; the buildings covered with Cornwall stone called 'Esclate' have been much damaged by storms, and need repair to the value of 20l; buildings adjoining the wall of the castle need repair to the value of 100l; buildings covered with lead and lead gutters need repair to the value of 10 marks; the king's chamber and several other chambers adjoining there too were burned in the time of the late king, while he was at the castle, and the jurors cannot estimate at what cost they might be repaired; the bridge without the great gate needs repair to the value of 10l."

I like that bit "the jurors cannot estimate at what cost they might be repaired."  It gives me a mental image of a group of men wandering around going "Hmm, that bridge needs a fair bit of work, doesn't it?  Five pounds' worth, do you think, John?"  "Nah, I reckon closer to ten, Will."  "Right you are, John; I'll stick ten down.  What about all those burned chambers, Robert?  How much do you reckon to rebuild them?"  "Bloody hell, they're a right mess!  Haven't a clue, mate, sorry."

Inquisition taken in Lincolnshire, July 1331:

"A house at Est Hanyngefeld, which was called the Nurse's house [domus Nutricis], was so ruinous at the time that the king committed the wardship of the said manors to Roger de Mortuo Mari [Mortimer] that it could not stand longer without being rebuilt, and suddenly fell down in the year 1 Edward III [1327].  Hugh Despenser [the Younger], who held the said manors by commission of King Edward II, caused to be raised a house at West Hanyngefeld for a cattle shed, placing there only the timber of the house, which is not roofed or walled, but it has in no way deteriorated."

Inquisition taken at Scarborough in September 1312 by, among others, the excellently-named Tallifer de Tillio or Tilliolo, constable of the castle:

"From the port of Le Sandyat towards the east there is a staith made on the king's soil towards the sea upon which is a common road for men to walk upon and cross, especially at high tide, over which staith and road hangs a solar of Sir Thomas de la Ryver too low, so that men cannot cross directly, 18 feet long and 3 feet wide.
Other similar solars are described, also a pigsty on the same staith and road; refuse heaps obstructing the harbour; solars and stalls in and over the harbour, and encroachments upon the castle moat and the town wall.  Thomas son of Robert Uttred has a house near the wall 100 feet long, and the king's wall was destroyed by Thomas Uttred the elder for the length of the said house; William Nessigwyke has a similar house 30 feet long, and the king's wall was destroyed by John Codelyng for the length thereof."

Inquisition in Northampton, May 1323:

"The buildings of Northampton Castle need repairs estimated to cost 1097l 6s 8d.  An old tower called 'Faukestour', begun in the time of King Henry the elder, is mentioned."  I assume that means Henry II.

Inquisition on the manor and castle of Oakham, which belonged to Hugh Audley and Margaret de Clare, in April 1340:

"The castle is well walled and within are a hall, four chambers, a chapel, a kitchen, two stables, a grange for hay, a house for a prison, a chamber for the gatekeeper, and a drawbridge with iron chains; within the walls are two acres of land by estimation; within the castle is a garden of the yearly value of 8s and a preserve with a dyke of the yearly value of 3s 4d."

Inq. taken on the castle and manor of Fotheringhay, which belonged to the dowager countess of Pembroke, also in April 1340:

"The castle is well built, walled, and crenellated, and has a stone tower and a moat; there are therein a great hall, two chambers, two chapels, a kitchen and a bakery of stone, a gatehouse with a chamber, underneath which is a drawbridge; within the castle there is another plot within the walls built over with houses and called the manor, where are a grange, a granary, a great stable, a longhouse used as a stable, cowhouse, dairy and larder, a forge, and a house for the outer gate with a chamber above."

6 comments:

Gabriele C. said...

They had a lot of problems with leaky roofs back then, it seems.

I also like 'a house for a prison'. So it wasn't always the dungeon or a tower oubliette. :)

Anerje said...

I'm stunned all this detail still exists!

Carla said...

1830 pounds plus timber sounds like an awful lot of money. Do we have an idea of how much it was in real terms?

Kathryn Warner said...

Gabriele: yes, leaky roofs were a big problem, and I love the 'house for a prison' too! :-)

Anerje, I love looking through the chancery rolls, chancery warrants and so on - there's so much great detail there!

Carla, it's really a huge amount of money - a yearly wage for a labourer at the time would only be 2 or 3 pounds or thereabouts.

Gabriele C. said...

Maybe someone was making a bit extra money out of that timber. :)

Kathryn Warner said...

Heh, I wouldn't be at all surprised. :-)