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The Manor and its Decline - Documents

Document # 4

An account of the manor of Alwalton,

Huntingdonshire from the Hundred Rolls of 1279

The abbot of Peterborough holds the manor of Alwalton and vill from the lord king directly; which manor and vill with its appurtenances the lord Edward, formerly king of England gave to the said abbot and convent of that place in free, pure, and perpetual alms. And the court of the said manor with its garden contains one half an acre. And to the whole of the said vill Alwalton belong 5 hides and a half and I virgate of land and a half-, of which each hide contains 5 virgates of land and each virgate contains 25 acres. Of these hides the said abbot has in demesne I hide and a half of land and half a virgate, which contain as above. Likewise he has there 8 acres of meadow. Also he has there separable pasture which contains I acre. Likewise he has there three water mills. Likewise he has there a common fish pond with a fish-weir on the bank of the Nene, which begins at Wildlake and extends to the mill of Newton and contains in length 2 leagues. Likewise he has there a ferry with a boat.

Free tenants. Thomas le Boteler holds a messuage with a court yard which contains I rood, and 3 acres of land, by charter, paying thence yearly to the said abbot 14s.

Likewise the rector of the church of Alwalton holds I virgate of land with its appurtenances, with which the said church was anciently endowed. Likewise the said rector has a holding the tenant of which holds I rood of ground by paying to the said rector yearly 12d.

And the abbot of Peterboro is patron of the church.

Villeins. Hugh Miller holds 1 virgate of land in villenage by paying thence to the said abbot 3s. Id. Likewise the same Hugh works through the whole year except I week at Christmas, I week at Easter, and I at Whitsuntide, that is in each week 3 days, each with I man, and in autumn each day with 2 men, performing the said works at the will of the said abbot as in plowing and other work. Likewise he gives I bushel of wheat for benseed and 18 sheaves of oats for foddercorn. Likewise he gives 3 hens and I cock yearly and 5 eggs at Easter. Likewise he does carrying to Peterborough and to Jakele and no where else, at the will of the said abbot. Likewise if he sells a brood mare in his court yard for 10s. or more, he shall give to the said abbot 4d., and if for less he shall give nothing to the aforesaid. He gives also merchet and heriot, and is tallaged at the feast of St. Michael, at the will of the said abbot. There are also there 17 other villeins, viz. John of Ganesoupe, Robert son of Walter, Ralph son of the reeve, Emma ate Pertre, William son of Reginald, Thomas son of Gunnilda, Eda widow of Ralph, Ralph Reeve, William Reeve, William son of William Reeve, Thomas Flegg, Henry Abbott, William Hereward, Serle son of William Reeve, Walter Palmer, William Abbot, Henry Serle; each of whom holds I virgate of land in villenage, paying and doing in all things, each for himself, to the said abbot yearly just as the said Hugh Miller. There are also 5 other villeins, viz. Simon Mariot, Robert of Hastone, Thomas Smith,john Mustard, and William Carter, each of whom holds half a virgate of land by paying and doing in all things half of the whole service which Hugh Miller pays and does.

Cotters. Henry, son of the miller, holds a cottage with a croft which contains 1 rood, paying thence yearly to the said abbot 2s. Likewise he works for 3 days in carrying hay and in other works at the will of the said abbot, each day with I man and in autumn I day in cutting grain with I man.

Likewise Ralph Miller holds a cottage with a croft which contains a rood, paying to the said abbot 2s.; and he works just as the said Henry.

Likewise William Arnold holds a cottage with a croft which contains half a rood, paying to the abbot 2d.; and he works just as the said Henry.

Likewise Hugh Day holds a cottage with a croft which contains I rood, paying to the abbot 8d.; and he works just as the said Henry.

Likewise Sara, widow of Matthew Miller, holds a cottage and a croft which contains half a rood, paying to the said abbot 4d.; and she works just as the said Henry.

Source: Taken from Department of History, University of Pennsylvania, Translations and Reprints from the Original Sources of European History [1897], vol. III, 5, 4-8.

Document # 5

A Dispute Over Exaction of the Corvée, 1081

At Chauvency a certain advocate, Alberic by name, in demanding undue corvees so threatened the serfs of the monastery that the cow of a certain poor man miscarried while ploughing and the poor man himself bore its yoke all day instead. And the abbot heard of this unjust exaction and was amazed at the inhumanity of Alberic and so he hastened to ask Adelo de Dun how his advocate treated the serfs of the monastery who were making such complaints and prepared to prove that a corvec of this kind was not due to him or to any other. Adelo, enraged against Alberic, blushed for this deed, and determined on a day for the abbot to prove the case. A certain Herbert who was exceedingly faithful and honest was then reeve of Chauvency; on the day arranged for the case between the abbot and Adelo, he took the oath lawfully and confirmed his oath by the water ordeal, and proved the severe exactions of the advocates, in truth that those corvées were not at all due. At this public trial there were present Adelo de Dun, Rambald, Count of Murvaux, Peter of Mirowald, with many other nobles.

Done in the year of the Incarnation 1081.

Source: From: Godefroid Kurth, ed., Chartes de l'Abbaye de Saint-Hubert en Ardenne, (Brussels: Academie Royale de Belgique, 1903), pp. 50-51, reprinted in Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, A Source Book for Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed., New York: Biblo & Tannen, 1965), p. 299.