29 April, 2012

A Cowhouse, A New Bakehouse And A Dairy: Dower In 1317

I recently found this interestingly detailed entry on the Close Roll of 8 November 1317: assignation of dower to 'Margaret late the wife of Laurence de Tany' in the Hertfordshire manor of 'Estwyke' (i.e. Eastwick, just north of Harlow and not far from Stansted airport).  Laurence de Tany's effigy still exists; he and Margaret had no children and his heir was his sister, confusingly also named Margaret.  In his father Roger's inquisition post mortem of August 1301 - Roger was himself only in his early twenties at the time of his death - Laurence was said to be two years old, so must have been just eighteen when he died in the autumn of 1317.  Margaret the sister and heir performed homage and received livery of her lands on 24 December 1317 (Fine Rolls 1307-1319, p. 349); Margaret the widow received the following in Eastwick:

"A house called 'the new bakehouse', on the east side of the manor, lying east and west, and a house called 'the dairy' with two doors, lying before the said bakehouse, lying north and south, and a plot of land before these two houses, extending thence to the corner of the porch of the great hall and to the corner of the kitchen and to the garden enclosure; and a new stable with two doors within the inner gate of the manor and with a porch over the doors, of which stable one end is towards the outer gate and the other towards the kitchen; and a third of the barn, to wit one door of the same on the south with all the end of the barn towards towards the common way to the church of Estwyk; and a third of the cowhouse, to wit one door of the same on the east with all the end of the cowhouse from the door to the barn; and all the plot of land from the gate of the enclosure before the barn to the door of the same towards the common way on one side in length, and from the said door to the bottom of the ditch between the cowhouse and garden in breadth, extending the length of the said ditch on the other side from the garden behind the barn to the two parts of the cowhouse that remain to the heir [i.e. Margaret's sister-in-law]; and a small house near the gate on the east.  The inner and outer gates of the manor and the plot of land extending from the outer gate to the inner gate in length, and from the gate of the enclosure of the barn to the garden behind the kitchen and stable in breadth, and the plot of land from the inner gate of the manor to the plot before the bakehouse and dairy above assigned to her shall remain in common, so that she shall have free ingress and egress to all the houses and plots abovesaid by day and by night for all her things whensoever she pleases.

There are assigned to her one and a half acres of the garden called 'Isewellegardyn', one end of the one and a half acres begins near the gate of the manor and extends between the kitchen and the common way between the bakehouse and the enclosure of the garden to the field called 'Isewelleschote' on the east; and a third of the garden called 'Wynyard' and of the pasture called 'Roumore' in the same garden, which third contains two and a half acres lying near the field called 'Calstokstret'...[more details of lands assigned, snipped].  There are also assigned to her twenty-five acres of wood in the wood called 'le Perk', whereof one end abuts upon the way to the wood that belonged to W[...] le Parker on the south, and the other end abuts upon the field called 'Wydefordeleye' on the north, and one side near the lord's* wood in the west...There are also assigned to her the rents and services of five free tenants, to wit Robert de Geldeford, William le Frere, William de Westmulle, William de Theydon, and Simon Roche, who render yearly fifty-eight shillings and do suit of court. There are also assigned to her the rents, works and customs of Richard Bosse, customary-tenant in the same manor, of the yearly value of four shillings and four and a half pence; and three capons from certain tenements that John de Farnham and Roger Bataille, free tenants, hold, worth sixpence.  There are also assigned to her three messuages with twenty-two acres of arable land that Adam Saeles, Richard le Hunte and Peter le Hopare, villeins, held at one time, which are now in the hands of the lord on account of the default of the tenants, of the yearly value of thirteen shillings and eightpence...and two cottages that belonged to Matilda Coleman and John Cutbert, in the lord's hands for the above cause [default], which are not extended because they are decayed."

It ends by assigning to Margaret part of a fishery and rent from a water-mill, and "pleas and perquisites of court, fines, reliefs and heriots of all the tenants above assigned to her, of the yearly value of twenty pence.  [Calendar of Close Rolls 1313-1318, pp. 573-574]

* The lord of Eastwick in 1317 was Thomas Wake, brother of Margaret, future countess of Kent, who was still a minor and in Edward II's wardship.

I love this description of the manor; it's so detailed I feel like I could draw a diagram of it.  :-)


Carla said...

It is wonderfully detailed. You medievalists are lucky to have records like this!

Kathryn Warner said...

That's a good point, Carla! We sometimes forget that we're blessed when it comes to sources, in comparison with earlier eras. :)

Anerje said...

I can only agree about the detailed description.

Suffering from horrible flu right now.

Kathryn Warner said...

Oh no, so sorry to hear that, Anerje. :( I was hoping you just had a cold (not pleasant either, of course, but nowhere near as bad!). Take care, and I'll write soon!

Cherith said...

It seems like Margaret was something of a rich widow, for the time. Are dowers usually described with such detail in the Close Rolls? If this is an unusual example, could it be that Margaret (or one of her relatives) provided the highly descriptive information? Or would it have been a local solicitor?

Kathryn Warner said...

Hi Cherith! I've never seen a dower described in such detail, so found this one fascinating. Unfortunately it's not stated who provided the information - I'd guess Margaret's solicitor, or the escheator.