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Familial Clout and Financial Gain In Henry I's Later Reign*


To what extent were families important participants in the statecraft of Henry I? Their political influence, or clout, can best be measured by an examination of the rewards that the king bestowed upon their members for good service. Royal patronage could range from appointments to lucrative offices and marriages to heiresses to monetary gifts, pardoned debts, and exemptions from danegeld, auxilium burgi, and the murdum fine. Analysis of the Pipe Roll of 1130, the only surviving record of Henry's income and expenses, indicates that nearly seven hundred individuals received favors from the king in that account. The focus of this study shifts to royal patronage of the family groups to which these favored individuals belonged. Considered within the context of their domus, they form fifty-three fiscally-favored families and constitute the statistical sample upon which this analysis is based.

This study fits into the prosopographical framework envisioned by Timothy Reuter for the Anglo-Norman aristocracy and described by George Beech. The Pipe Roll of 1130, a document of impressive detail and accuracy, illustrates which families were powerful and in the king's good graces and is a rich source of familial activity. It provides a glimpse not only of the financial and political activities of great magnates such as Ranulf earl of Chester and Waleran count of Meulan, but of the endeavors of families of modest origins and moderate status as well. Furthermore, the Pipe Roll suggests that political service and its consequent rewards were not confined to a “closed group,” but that the power structure could include families of varied means.

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I wish to thank C. Warren Hollister and Ms. RaGena DeAragon for their comments, and Ms. Robin Fleming for her assistance in computerizing the Pipe Roll data.

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1 Danegeld was probably assessed and collected yearly at the rate of 2 shillings/hide of demesne land. The Pipe Roll of 31 Henry I (ed. Hunter J., [London, 1833]), records danegeld exemptions for the fiscal yearss 1127-1130, and royal grants issued throughout the reign include danegeld exemptions among listed privileges. It is worth noting that Richard son of Nigel, author of the Dialogus de Scaccario (ed. Johnson Charles[London, 1950], p. 54), reports a 2s/hide assessment c. 1170, apparently acknowledging the customary amount adhered to in Domesday Book. The Leges Henrici Primi (ed. Downer L.J. [Oxford, 1972], pp. 120, 15,1), however, states that the tax was 1s/hide, indicating that the amount of the tax may have fluctuated. According to the Leges Edwardi Confessons (probably temp. Henry I), it was an annual tax of 1s/hide, but was assessed in 1096 at 4s/hide (see Liebermann F., Die Gesetze der Angelsachsen, 3 vols. [Halle, 19031916], 1:634–36); on 1096, when William Rufus was raising money to “lease” Normandy from Curthose, see also Stevenson J., ed., Chronicon Monasterii de Abingdon, 2 vols. (Rolls Series, 1858), 2:38. In 1084 ad 1086, William I assessed it at 6s/hide (Galbraith V.H., The Making of Domesday Book [Oxford, 1961]. Auxilium burgi (or civitatis) was an aid of varying amounts charged against towns, presumably in special circumstances allowed by feudal custom. Murdrum was a fine of approximately 40 silver marks levied on a hundred in which a Norman (francigena) had been killed (Leges Henrici Primi 75,6a p. 234, and 91,1 p. 284).

2 Stephanie L. Mooers, “Patronage in the Pipe Roll of 1130,” Speculum (forthcoming).

3 Domus -us is used throughout as a synonym for family, but not the two generation family with its household staff inhabiting a physical dwelling, as envisioned by Duby Georges, Medieval Marriage (Baltimore, 1978), pp. 3, 9, and 8687, and Ladurie Emmanuel Le Roy, Montaillou (New York, 1978), pp. 2452.

4 Forty additional groups had probable familial connections. These bear either the same last name (such as Avenel, Bosco, Chauncy, Dinan, Grenville, or Peche), the same toponym (Rye, Ely, Caen), or received exemptions on lands held in the same region.

5 Reuter Timothy, The Medieval Nobility (Amsterdam, 1979) p. 9: “About the nobility in the kingdoms of Conquest (England, Sicily, and Jerusalem) surprisingly little can be said.” Beech GeorgeProsopography,” in Medieval Studies, ed. Powell James M. (New York, 1976), pp. 151184, stresses family ties and friendship in career and politics.

6 Bloch Marc, Fuedal Society, trans. Manyon L.A., 2 vols. (Chicago, 1962), 1:106, 2:283-292, suggested that the twelfth and thirteenth century aristocracy was not only exclusive, but monopolized political power structures.

7 Davis R.H.C., King Stephen 1135-1154 (Berkeley, 1967), p. 123.

9 William the Conqueror faced continual resistance from the Anglo-Saxons until 1071; in 1075, he encountered a plot to depose him and in 1079, his resentful son and future duke of Normandy, Robert Curthose, rebelled against the king in Normandy (see Garmonsway G.N., The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle [London, 1955], sub anno 1075 and 1079). William Rufus was embroiled in a succession dispute with his older brother, Robert, on his accession to the throne in 1087, which divided the loyalties of most of the Anglo-Norman land-holders and resulted in a rebellion in 1088. In 1095, Robert Mowbray led a revolt against William Rufus's seemingly arbitrary government (Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, sub anno 1095). Henry I met a similar contested succession when he seized the crown in 1100, but peace was restored in 1102. The wars Henry conducted in Normandy in 1104-1106, and again in 1117-1119 and 1123-1124, were attempts to win control over the province and then to defend his authority against the incursions of Louis VI, the Angevins and his nephew and potential rival, William Clito.

9 Was this, as R.H.C. Davis supposed, even an impetus to rebellion? C. Warren Hollister has argued in Henry I and the Anglo-Norman Magnates,” in Brown R. Allen, ed., Procedings of the Battle Abbey Conference III (Ipswich, 1980), that the barons “made war in Stephen's reign, not because they sought freedom from a predatory Anglo-Norman regime (for they had been part of it), but because they sought effective royal lordship and could find it nowhere” (p. 106).

10 Cronne H.A., The Reign of Stephen (London, 1970), p. 168.

11 R.W. Southern, “King Henry I,” in idem., Medieval Humanism and Other Studies (Oxford, 1970), pp. 206-233.

12 See Hollister C. Warren and Baldwin John W., “The Rise of Administrative Kingship: Henry I and Phillip Augustus,” The American Historical Review 83 (1978): 867–91.

13 Davis R.H.C., “What Happended in Stephen's Reign?,” History 64 (1964): “They demanded that the King should recognize their hereditary right in specific and unambiguous terms.… That was what the barons fought for in Stephen's reign and that is what they won” (p. 12).

14 RaGena DeAragon, “The Growth of Secure Inheritance in Norman England,” Journal of Medieval History, forthcoming.

15 See Painter Sidney, “The Family and the Feudal System in Twelfth Century England,” Speculum 35 (1960): 116, and Holt J.C., “Politics and Property in Early Medieval England,” Past and Present 57 (1972): 352.

16 Painter, “Family and Fendal System,” p. 3

17 Ibid., p. 5

18 Holt, “Politics and Property,” p. 21

19 Vitalis Orderic, Historia ecclesiastica, ed. Chibnall Marjorie, 6 vols. (Oxford, 19691980), 4:122.

20 Potter K.R. and Davis R.H.C. eds., Gesta Stephani (2nd ed.; Oxford, 1976), p. 2.

21 Hollister, “Henry I and the Anglo-Norman Magnates,” p. 96.

22 Ibid., p. 94.

23 Hollister C. Warren, “Magnates and ‘Curiales’ in Early Norman England,” Viator 8 (1977): 6381.

24 Green Judith A., “‘Praeclarum et Magnificum Antiquitatis Monumentum’: the Earliest Surviving Pipe Roll,” Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research 55 (1982): 117 computed total royal revenue and taxes paid, outstanding and pardoned. Her statistics, however, do not include individual or familial benefits or transactions, and her approach to the Pipe Roll is not prosopographical.

25 The Pipe Roll of 1130 and the narrative sources singled out certain individuals who received preferment because of the royal love (pro amore) for their patrons. The Pipe Roll alone designates twelve such cases (pp. 28, 55, 59, 61, 71, 97, 102, 116, 123, 146-7, 147).

26 Davis H.W.C., et al., Regesta Regum Anglo-Normanorum, 4 vols. (Oxford, 19131969), 2:no. 1599a.

27 P.R. 31 Henry I, pp. 2 and 121. The desirability of obtaining tax exemptions in the twelfth century becomes clearer when it is remembered that £1 in 1130 was roughly equivalent to £500 in 1982.

28 P. R. 31 Henry I, pp. 3, 8, 18, 21, 26, 34, 37, 43, 53, 59, 64, 66, 81-83, 85, 87-88, 94, 110-112, 125, 136, 139, 142, 154 and 158. In 1129, Henry allowed the marriage of Payn Peverel's daughter, Matilda, to Hugh son of Fulbert of Dover with a manor in Berkshire (Regesta, 2: no. 1609).

29 For example, Henry and Richard Esturmit each received one small danegela exemption for lands in- Wiltshire (P.R. 31 Henry I, pp. 22-23), and did not witness any of Henry I's charters. Henry Esturmit was a royal forester associated in the Pipe Roll with Marlborough Forest (ibid., p. 17, bis); Richard Esturmit seems to have died by 1130, since Adam of Haredena renders account of the farm of his land to the king (ibid., p. 23). A William Esturmit attests Regesta 2: nos. 825 (a) and 1042 (cf. no. 1509). Similarly, Geoffrey and Hugh of Walterville were exempted danegeld payments on five hides in Northampton totalling £2 (ibid., p. 86). Except for Hugh's temporary position as baillif of the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds in 1132 the family was politically obscure (Regesta, 2: no. 1733).

30 The Conches family, for instance, does not appear in the Pipe Roll of 1130.

31 These occur in Somerset, Worcester, Hereford, Shropshire, Chester, Lancaster, Westmoreland, Cumberland, Hampshire, and the Bishopric of Durham.

32 Sanders I.J., English Baronies: a Study of Their Origin and Their Descent, 1086-1327 (Oxford, 1960), p. 75; see also The Beauchamp Cartulary Charters 1100-1268, ed. Mason Emma (Pipe Roll Society, NS, 43, 1980), p. 2, nos. 4 and 5.

33 Cheshire, Cumberland, Durham, Glamorgan, Hampshire, Hereford, Lancashire, Pembroke, Shropshire, Somerset, Westmoreland, Worcester, and Monmouthshire.

34 Yorkshire, Northumberland, Blythe, Winchester, Arundel, Isle of Wight, Surrey, Cambridge, Huntingdon, Gloucester, Northampton, Leicester, Carmarthen, Norfolk, Buckingham, Bedford, Warwick, Wallop, Wargrave, Berkeshire, Windsor, Durham, and Berkeley.

35 This potential problem occurs rarely in this statistical sample since the concern is with a single generation of families mentioned in the Pipe Roll. Mathilda de Laigle, who married Nigel d'Aubigny but was divorced by him after failing to bear him an heir, is included with the Laigle family rather than with the Mowbray (see The Complete Peerage, ed. Cokayne G.E., 12 vols. (London, 19101959), 9:366371.

36 Southern, Medieval Humanism, p. 233.

37 Henry, grand-son of Ilbert I de Lacy of Pontefract, married Aubrey, daughter of Eustace de Vesci (Early Yorkshire Charters, eds. Farrer William and Clay C.T., 12 vols. (Edinburgh, 19141965), 3:198), and Eustace Fitz John married Ivo de Visci's heiress, Beatrice (Complete Peerage, 12:268274, and Appendix B): Sybil Fitz John was the daughter of Hugh de Lacy and Adeline. See Wightman W.E., The Lacy Family in England and Normandy (Oxford, 1966), p. 169: Early Yorkshire Charters, 8: pedigreee facing p. 1. Studies pertinent to family networks are Geoffrey Barraclough, “Some Charters of the Earls of Chester,” pp. 25-43; Cazel Fred A. Jr., “Norman and Wessex Charters of the Roumare Family,” pp. 7788; and Dodwell Barbara, “Some Charters Relating to the Honour of Bacton”, pp. 147165 in A Medieval Miscellany for Doris Mary Stenton, eds. Barnes Patricia M. and Slade C.F. (London, 1962). Also see Early Yorkshire Families, eds. Clay Charles and Greenway Diane E. (Yorkshire Archeological Society, 1973).

38 Hollister, “Henry I and the Anglo-Norman Magnates,” pp. 99100.

39 P.R. 31 Henry I, passim: Robert of Gloucester's holdings were in the counties of Oxford, Dorset, Wiltshire, Hampshire, Cambridge, Huntingdon, Surrey, Essex, Hertford, Kent, Sussex, Gloucester, Northampton, Norfolk, Suffolk, Buckingham, Bedford, Warwick, Lincoln, Devon, Cornwall, and Middlesex.

40 Gloucester was favored 64 times; Roger of Salisbury, 38 times; William of Warenne, 19 times; William of Corbeil, 18 times; and Stephen of Blois, 34 times.

41 These families are listed among Sanders' 132 baronies or 72 probable baronies; they were tenants-in-chief of the crown, or, according to the Pipe Roll, possessed demesne lands of baronial magnitude-50 hides valued at £10 per year (Richardson H.G. and Sayles G.O., The Goverance of Medieval England (Edinburgh, 1963), p. 229.)

42 Chibnall Marjorie, Select Documents of the English Lands of the Abbey of Bee (London, 1951), pp. 9, 11, 15, 19-21 and 2324.

43 Monasticon Anglicanum, ed. SirDugdale William , 6 vols. (London, 18171830), 3:2224; Knowles David and Hadcock R.N., Medieval Religious Houses, England and Wales (Rev. ed.; New York, 1971), pp. 65 and 77.

44 RR. 31 Henry I, pp. 6, 10, 12, 46, 72, 76, 86, 88-89, 95, 108, 126 and 135.

45 Ibid., pp. 15, 48, 60, 62, 67, 86, 95, 99, 104, 138-139.

46 Farrer William, An Outline Itinerary of Henry the First (Oxford, 1920), p. 128.

47 Potter, Gesta Stephani, p. 4.

48 P.R. 31 Henry I, p. 97.

49 The arrangement was noted by Simeon of Durham, Historia Regum, in Opera Omnia ed. Arnold Thomas, 2 vols. (Rolls Series, London, 1885), 2:283: “Datus est et episcopatus Coventrensis, qui et Cestrensis, Rogerio nepoti Goffridi Dedintun, qui ut dignior tanto esset honore, tribus hune marcarum milibus promeruit.”

50 P.R. 31 Henry I, pp. 37 and 44.

51 Simeon of Durham, Historia Ecclesiae Dunhelmensis, in Opera Omnia, 1:142. Geoffrey made valuable gifts to the chapter at Durham, but he was reluctant to allow the monks under his supervision their customary rights.

52 Hollister and Baldwin, “The Rise of Administrative Kingship,” p. 888, and Regesta, 2, passim. Geoffrey Rufus attested 115 charters as Chancellor, 4 as chaplain and 2 as Bishop of Durham. His predecessor in the chancellorship, Ranulf, likewise attested at the rate of 11.5 charters per year between 1107 and 1122.

53 His exemption was £1.17s. (P.R. 31 Henry I, p. 15).

54 See Kealey Edward J., Roger of Salisbury (Berkeley, 1975), for Roger's vice-regal activities as “the king's confidant, troubleshooter, and executive” (p. 78), and for his enormous accomplishment in English finance and justice. Roger of Salisbury's total monetary patronage was £238.04.10, second in value only to Robert of Gloucester's.

55 Hollister C. Warren, “The Origins of the English Treasury,” English Historical Review 93 (1978): 262275.

56 247 charters (Hollister and Baldwin, “The Rise of Administrative Kingship,” pp. 873-877, and p. 888).

57 Potter, Gesta Stephani, pp. 9698; Kealey, Salisbury, pp. 98-100 and 104-114.

58 Potter, Gesta Stephani, p. 72.

59 Other Salisbury kin were not so overtly sponsored. Roger's nephews (or sons) Adelhelm archdeacon of Dorset, David archdeacon of Buckingham, and William archdeacon of Northampton never advanced beyond these positions, nor did they or Roger's brother Humphry, obtain fiscal patronage in 1130. See Kealey, Salisbury, pp. 272275, for a discusion of Roger's family.

60 See Hollister, “The Origins of the English Treasury,” pp. 271273.

61 P. R. 31 Henry I, pp. 4, 6, 12, 22-23, 41, 49, 56, 86, 89, 102, 104, 121, 126, 135, 152.

62 Hollister and Baldwin, “The Rise of Administrative Kingship,” p. 888.

63 Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, sub anno 1123.

64 P.R. 31 Henry I, p. 106.

65 Ibid., p. 125.

66 Ibid., pp. 81 and 94.

67 Sanders, English Baronies, p. 91. The main part of Trowbridge passed through Edward of Salisbury's daughter, Maud, to Humphrey of Bohun.

68 The Pipe Roll reveals similar efforts by William of Pont de l'Arche, sheriff or fermor of Arundel, Berkeshire, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and Winchester, to increase his own and his family's status. For a sum of 1000 silver marks (£666.13.04), he purchased the office and daughter of Robert Mauduit; for additional fees, he acquired two offices in the camera curiae as well as custody of a wardship (P.R. 31 Henry I, p. 37).

69 Henry II of Ferrers inherited his father's Norman lands by 1130 and some scattered English estates (Complete Peerage, 4:19in, and P.R. 31 Henry I, passim). Robert of Ferrers, Henry II's uncle, inherited most of the family's English lands and seems to have served as a local justiciar early in the reign (Regesta, 2: nos. 538, 723 and 726). He was elevated to the earldom of Derby in 1138.

70 P.R. 31 Henry I, pp. 3, 6, 23 and 80.

71 Complete Peerage, 12:268274.

72 Southern, Medieval Humanism, pp. 218219.

73 Regesta, 2: no. 1748.

74 Ailred of Reivaulx, Relatio de Standardo, in Howlett R. ed., Chronicles of the Reigns of Stephen, Henry II and Richard I, 4 vols. (Rolls Series, 18841889), 3:191; and Potter, Gesta Stephani, p. 55.

75 Ritchie R.L.G., The Normans in Scotland (Edinburgh, 1954), pp. 145146.

76 P.R. 31 Henry I, p. 35.

77 Regesta, 2: no. 1667n.

78 Sanders, English Baronies, p. 12; Regesta, 2: nos. 556, 828, 1326, 1396, 1455, 1671 and 1719.

79 Regesta, 3: no. 32.

80 See note 37. Eustace Fitz John was granted royal demesne lands in Northumberland c. 1121 (Regesta, 2: no. 1279).

81 Eustace received exemptions of £9.15s on four occasions; Payn, £4.08s (three times); William two exemptions totalling £1.16.08; and Roger of Valognes, Agnes Fitz John's husband, acquired three pardons equalling £7.

82 Hollister and Baldwin, “The Rise of Administrative Kingship,” p. 888.

83 William Peverel of London, who inherited the Domesday barony of Hatfield Peverel, Essex (Sanders, English Baronies, p. 120), and who was exempted twice in the Pipe Roll of 1130 for £3.17s. (P.R. 31 Henry I, pp. 60 and 99), may or may not have been related closely to the Dover Peverels.

84 Hamo was patronized twice and gained £1.10s; Payn, four times, £5.12s; and William II, four times, £4.00.04.

85 Regesta, 2: nos. 1547 and 1556.

86 Sanders, English Baronies, pp. 19 and 151.

87 Six members of the Clare household received fiscal patronage in 1130: Richard Fitz Bladwin, 15s. (once); Baldwin Fitz Gilbert, £6.03.04 (seven times); Richard II Fitz Gilbert, £10.01s (five times); Roger Fitz Richard II, £9.03.04 (six times); Walter Fitz Richard, £10.06s (five times); and Maud de Senlis, wife of Robert Fitz Richard, obtained one exemption of 15s.05d. The most complete geneology of the family is provided by Altschul Michael, A Baronial Family in Medieval England: The Clares, 1217-1314 (Baltimore, 1965), opp. p. 332.

88 Liber Eliensis, ed. Blake E.O. (Camden 3rd Series, 1962), p. 225.

89 Altschul, A Baronial Family, p. 20.

90 Richard Fitz Baldwin attested 19 charters; Baldwin, none; Richard II, 5; Roger, 33; Walter, 13; and Maud, none.

* I wish to thank C. Warren Hollister and Ms. RaGena DeAragon for their comments, and Ms. Robin Fleming for her assistance in computerizing the Pipe Roll data.

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