Fine of the Month: December 2005
1. The first agenda for a meeting of the king's council, 1218
⁋1Although primarily a record of fines, the fine rolls from the earliest time also contained a good deal of miscellaneous material. A striking example of the latter are the memoranda written on the dorse of membrane 7 of the roll for 2 Henry III (28 October 1217 to 27 October 1218). It is unusual to find material on the dorse of the rolls (they are for the most part left blank), and these memoranda are written in a noticeably less formal hand than the fines on the face of the rolls. The face of this particular membrane records business from January to April 1218, and it seems likely that the discussion referred to in the memoranda was intended to take place towards the end of March when the dating clauses of royal letters place the regent, William Marshal, at Oxford. How large an assembly was gathered there, and whether we could call it a great council, does not appear but it certainly transacted important business: see PR 1216–25, pp. 144–46. The memoranda which are all related to matters concerning Devonshire and Dorset were almost certainly made as a result of the regent’s visit to Exeter in February 1218. (See Carpenter, The Minority of Henry III, p. 71.) Perhaps their chief interest is to shed further light on the way men described as ‘men of Devon’ (Devonienses) were binding themselves together to pursue their political goals. One goal was to secure a local man as sheriff, and it is interesting to note that at Oxford in March 1218 it was indeed a local knight, Robert de Albermarla, who was appointed to that office. The intention here, in fact unfulfilled for Albermarla’s appointment never took effect, was to replace the great local baron Robert de Courtenay, who was presumably the sheriff who had forced the Devonienses to pay 200 marks so as not to have give hostages for their faithful service. (See PR 1216–25, pp. 144, 554; no. 40 below; and Carpenter, Minority, p. 81). A good deal more could be written about all this and the other matters referred to in the memoranda, but that would go beyond the scope of this short note. William de Thoriton’ was removed from Shebbear after half a year’s tenure in 1217–1218: see Pipe Roll 1218, p. 86 where the writ of the king referred to does not seem to have been enrolled. For Iwerne, Ferrington, Gillingham (all in Dorset) and the Courtenays see Book of Fees, I, pp. 91, 260. There is no sign on the pipe rolls of Robert de Courtenay’s fine of 5 marks so presumably the offer was not accepted.
1.1. C 60/9, Fine Roll 2 Henry III (28 October 1217–27 October 1218), membrane 7d.
⁋1The following entries are numbered as they appear in the first volume of the Calendar of the Fine Rolls of Henry III.
⁋1 Memorandum concerning the stannaries of Devon, which are in the hand of the queen by order of the king’s council until she has been assigned her dower in full. This matter is to be discussed at Oxford.
⁋1 Item, concerning the 200 m. that the men of Devon [Devonienses] offered to the sheriff before they came into the king’s peace, so that they need not give hostages as security for their faithful service, but only their charters.
⁋1Item, concerning the oath sworn and the confederacy which the men of Devon [Devonienses] entered into amongst themselves after the Earl Marshal was at Exeter.
⁋1 Item, concerning the vill 1 of Shebbear of the king’s demesne, which the king’s council surrendered to William de Thoriton’ for his sustenance in the king’s service during his [the king’s] pleasure which land now he destroys and wastes.
⁋1 Item, concerning the hundred of Farrington which Robert de Courtenay 2 says is his and pertains to his manor of Iwerne, which hundred, and the hundred of Gillingham, was withdrawn from him and his ancestors and he offers 5 m. to have a jury.