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The Anarchy of King Stephen'S Reign *

  • Edmund King

IN the late 1140s William d'Aubigny, Earl of Chichester, wrote to all his men both French and English, to say that he had sinned and that he was very sorry. He had made many exactions on the churches and the lands of those in the bishopric of Chichester and under my authority (sub potestate mea). A few years earlier Gilbert Earl of Pembroke had written to Theobald Archbishop of Canter-bury to tell him that there is a place in Wales called Dungleddy, and that it lay in those regions which by divine mercy have recently been added to our authority (potestas again). And from the last few years of the reign there is a well-known agreement between the earls of Chester and Leicester, designed to keep the peace in Leicester-shire. In it each party made specific promises, intended to reduce the damage should they have to fight against each other for their different lords. At the end of each set of promises there was a statement in this form: the earl of Leicester ought to guard the land and the goods of the earl of Chester which are in the power (in potestate) of the earl of Leicester without ill-will; the earl of Chester gave an undertaking in the same words. There are four earls here, and three different regions. They speak the same language, and that language reflects the same pattern of thought. They think in terms of territorial lordship: the bishopric of Chichester, the county of Leicester, the regions of Wales.

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1 Chichester, West Sussex Record Office, Ep. VI16 (= Chichester Dean and Chapter Liber Y), f. 126r v; printed inaccurately in Dugdale, W., Monasticon Anglicanum, eds. Caley, J. et al. (1846), vi. 1169; and calendared in Chartulary of the High Church of Chichester, ed. Peckham, W. D. (Sussex Rec. Soc., xlvi, 1946), no. 297. The charter must date from before the death of Queen Adeliza in March 1151, and it could well date to 1147 x 1148: cf. Mayr-Harting, H., The Bishops of Chichester 10751207 (Chichester, 1963), 910.

2 The Cartulary of Worcester Cathedral Priory, ed. Darlington, R. R. (Pipe Roll Soc., N.S. 38, 1968)no. 252.

3 SirStenton, Frank, The First Century of English Feudalism 10661166, 2nd edn. (Oxford, 1961), 2503, 2868; and for commentary King, E. J., Mountsorrel and its region in King Stephen's reign, Huntington Library Quarterly, xliv (1980), 110.

4 Gesta Stephani, eds. Potter, K. R. and Davis, R. H. C. (Oxford, OMT, 1976), 14851.

5 The Historia Pontificalis of John of Salisbury, ed. Chibnall, Marjorie (NMT, 1956), 836.

6 The Letters and Charters of Gilbert Foliot, eds. Morey, A. and Brooke, C. N. L. (Cambridge, 1967), no. 26; and their Gilbert Foliot and his Letters (Cambridge, 1965), 10523.

7 For the peace discussions of 1140 see Historia Novella, ed. Potter, K. R. (NMT, 1955), 445; for those of 1146 see Gesta Stephani, 1867.

8 The Peterborough Chronicle, ed. Clark, Cecily, 2nd edn. (Oxford, 1970), s.a. 1137, 557.

9 The Registrum Antiquissimum of the Cathedral Church of Lincoln, i, ed. Foster, C. W. (Lincoln Rec. Soc., xxvii, 1931), no. 283 ( = Holtzmann, W., Papsturkunden in England, 3 vols in 4 (Berlin and Gttingen, 1930 1952), II. ii, no. 25).

10 The Ecclesiastical History of Orderic Vitalis, ed. Chibnall, Marjorie, 6 vols (Oxford, OMT, 1969 1980), vi. 11011, 3989 (cf. ibid., 21819, 2801); Gesta Stephani, 945; Lot, F., Etudes critiques sur I'abbaye de Saint-Wandrille (Paris, 1913), 148, the release of a church in Normandy from the lay tyranny of the lord of the neighbouring castle.

11 Gesta Stephani, 1589; compare Orderic Vitalis, iv. 3001 (and ibid., 2967); and note that for John of Salisbury the attempt to levy Danegeld from the demesnes of St Edmunds, Bury was improper servitude: Ioannis Saresberiensis Episcopi Carnotensis Policratici, ed. Webb, C. C. J. (Oxford, 1909), ii. 394 (Book VIII, chap, xxi), a text dated to 1156 x 1159 by Constable, Giles, The alleged disgrace of John of Salisbury in 1159, Eng. Hist. Rev., lxix (1954), 6776.

12 Foliot Letters, no. 3.

13 as cited in note 1.

14 The edition reads unde factum est quod oportuit prefatum abbatem xxiiii castellanis vel amplius singulis mensibus pro rusticis suis redemptiones seu tenserias prestate, and notes than the MS reads castellas: Chronicon Abbatiae Rameseiensis, ed. Macray, W. D. (Rolls Series, 1886), 334. But the MS reads castell' as, with the last two letters underlined with dots for deletion and the abbreviation mark supplied at the same time: Public Record Office, E 16428, f. 159V. That suggests the scribe had difficulty in interpreting his text, which encourages emendation; might the correct reading be bussellis, or catella?

15 Liber Eliensis, ed. Blake, E. O. (Camden 3rd ser., xcii, 1962), 3267( = Papsturkunden, II.ii, no. 36), Round, J.H. devoted an appendix to tenserie in his Geoffrey de Mandeville (1892), 41416.

16 Prefatos autem laicos, et alios qui taillas. tenserias. indebitas quoque operationes. et alia iniusta gravamina terris et hominibus eiusdem monasterii imponunt: British Library, Add. MS 46487, f. 38r (= Papsturkunden, III, no. 58). Wormald, F., The Sherborne Chartulary, in Fritz Saxl: a volume of memorial essays, ed. Gordon, D. J. (1957), 1089.

17 Stephenson, C., The origin and nature of the taille, Revue Beige de Philologie et d'Histoire, V, no. 4 (1926), 80170, esp. 8045: for which reference I have to thank Dr Judith Green.

18 Yver, J., Autour de l'absence d'avouerie en Normandie, Bull, de la Soc. des Antiquaires de Normandie, lvii (1965), 189283, esp. 18994. The help of Dr Marjorie Chibnall has been invaluable here.

19 Salisbury Chapter Muniments, Lib. Evid. C, nos. 281, 323; Trowbridge, Wiltshire Record Office, D112 (= Salisbury Diocesan Records, Lib. Evid. B), nos. 241321; printed Sarum Charters and Documents, ed. Macray, W. D. (Rolls Series, 1891), 201. The document must be later than Papsturkunden, II. ii, nos. 534, dated 26 Nov. 1146, which mention both the churches and the knights fees, and single out Humphrey for special concern. In the bishop of Salisbury's carta in 1166 it was stated that Humphrey had been disseised of three hides in Imber by the king: Red Book of the Exchequer, ed. Hall, H. (Rolls Series, 1896), i. 2378.

20 The site of the castle is identified in VCH, Somerset, iv. 5, bu t these charters ar e not noted there.

21 It may simply be the result of a scribal error, following from Imber (Immemera) a few words before; but if so, the error was in the original charter, for the two later copies read differently and are independent of one another.

22 Harvey, Sally P.J., The extent and profitability of demesne agriculture in England in the later eleventh century, in Social Relations and Ideas. Essays in honour of R.H. Hilton, ed. Aston, T. H. et al. (Cambridge, 1983), 4572, esp. 4950, 656, and quotation from p. 70.

23 Papsturkunden, II.ii, no. 75.

24 Nullus minister de cetero, dapifer videlicet vel pincerna, camerarius, dispensator, ianitor seu prepositus per manum regis vel alicuius principis violentia vobis contradicentibus et invitis in vestro monasterio vel in locis ad ipsum pertinentibus constituatur: Papsturkunden, III, no. 70, for St Albans, dated 2 Aug. 1147.

25 Stephenson, , Origin of taille, 826.

26 Papsturkunden, III, no. 69 describes the custom more fully than Regesta Regum Anglo-Normannorum, iii, eds. Cronne, H. A. and Davis, R. H. C. (Oxford, 1968), no. 742, an order of Stephen in its support. On Pentecostals see Brett, M., The English Church under Henry I (Oxford, 1975), 1624.

27 Early Yorkshire Charters, ed. Farrer, W., i (Edinburgh, 1914), no. 113 ( = Papsturkunden, III, no. 97).

28 On which see English Episcopal Ada I. Lincoln 10671185, ed. Smith, D. M. (British Academy, 1980), no. 34. On bishop's aid see ibid., no. 3 (printed in Eynsham Cartulary, ed. Salter, H. E., i (Oxford Hist. Soc, xlix, 1907), no. 5), where it is described as a tessera.

29 Knowles, D., The Episcopal Colleagues of Archbishop Thomas Becket (Cambridge, 1950, 1722).

30 The hundreds were singled out, and named first, in the papal bull obtained on 26 Nov. 1146: Papsturkunden, II.ii. no. 54.

31 Regesta, iii, nos. 7946.

32 Earldom of Gloucester Charters, ed. Patterson, R. B. (Oxford, 1973), no. 171, with valuable discussion suggesting a date c. 1148. The charter distinguishes between lands which intra posse nostrum sunt, and those which are not: cf. the passages cited in the first paragraph of this paper.

33 Wormald, , The Sherborne Chartulary, 1089. The abbey's agreement then to help the bishop to recover Sherborne castle seems to have been given without great warmth:Register of St Osmund, ed. Rich-Jones, W. H., i (Rolls Series, 1883), 2356.

34 Cal. Docs, preserved in France 9181206, ed. Round, J. H. (1899), no. 1438.

35 In 1157 Henry II granted the bishop land in exchange for the castle of Devizes, and promised not to stand in the bishop's way in redintegrandi episcopatum: Saltman, A., Theobald Archbishop of Canterbury (1956), 4656; see further Knowles, , Episcopal Colleagues, 212.

36 Mayr-Harting, , Bishops of Chichester, 712, and his Hilary, Bishop of Chichester (11471169) and Henry II, EHR, lxxviii (1963), 20924; Knowles, , Episcopal Colleagues, 247.

37 The Chronicle of Battle Abbey, ed. Searle, Eleanor (Oxford, OMT, 1980), quotations from 1469.

38 (1) The count's grant: Chichester Liber Y, ff. 126v127r, calendared in Chichester Chartulary, no. 299, and printed Monasticon, vi. 1171. It is dated 14 Nov. 1148. The royal court at the same meeting had discussed Hilary's case against the monks of Battle, : Battle Chronicle, 1503. (2) Letter to the count's bailiff: Liber Y, f. 127r, calendared Chichester Chartulary, no. 300. (3) Royal grant: Regesla, iii, no. 183. The three documents concerning Bexhill are clearly drafted by the same individual.

39 Liber, Y, f. 126V, calendared Chichester Chartulary, no. 298, is a letter from the earl to his spiritual father Hilary.

40 Councils and Synods, with other documents relating to the English church, eds. Whitelock, Dorothy et al. (Oxford, 1981), I. ii. 8216.

41 ibid., 794804; clause 14 (803) forbade omnes exactiones et indebitas castellorum operationes.

42 The editors note (ibid., 823 note 4): tallagias is the first known use in English sources of a word which later became very common for tallages or taxes; a slightly earlier date is suggested for William d'Aubigny's charter, as cited in note 1, where the word appears as taillagiis. Even earlier is Early Yorkshire Charters, ed. Clay, C. T., viii (Yorks. Arch. Soc. extra ser. vi, 1949), no. 28, dated c. 11308; it is a grant for a French house, but from a magnate with a Sussex base (see further note 44 below).

43 Henry of Blois as dean of St Martin le Grand granted Mashbury in Essex, terra ilia sit quieta de danegeld et murdro et ceteris que ad regem pertinent, ubicumque nos potuimus habere per donum et quietantiam de rege: Voss, Lena, Heinrich von Blois (Berlin, 1932), 149. William de Warenne, earl of Surrey, promised Lewes priory in 1147, ego autem de meo proprio adquietabo ilia erga regem de danegeld et de omnibus aliis servitiis. que ad regem pertinent: Early Yorkshire Charters, viii, no. 32 (with facsimile).

44 At the end of the reign, the aged Robert of Bath, Jocelin of Salisbury, and Hilary of Chichester, though originally connected with Henry of Winchester had moved on: Barlow, F., The English Church 10661154 (1979), 103.But note those who were present at Devizes on 9 Apr. 1153: Regesta, iii, no. 796. They had not gone far.

45 Salisbury Lib. Evid. B, no. 238; Lib. Evid. C, no. 278; printed Sarum Charters, pp. 234, where the text is reliable save that factam should read fuero on the top line of p. 24.

46 Davis, R. H. C., King Stephen 11351154 (1967), 113.

47 Chronicon Monasterii de Abingdon, ed. Stevenson, J. (Rolls Series, 1858), ii. 94.

48 White, G. J., The restoration of order in England, 11531165 (Univ. of Cambridge, Ph.D. thesis, 1974), 2612. I am most grateful to Dr White for allowing me to make use of his thesis. On the subject of waste, Dr White and myself have worked independently to very much the same conclusions: see his The Devastated Midlands? The Remissions for Waste in the Dangeld accounts of 1156;, Midland History (forthcoming).

49 Round, J. H., Feudal England (1895), 14950; Davis, H.W.C., The anarchy of Stephen's reign, EHR, xviii (1903), 63041.

50 Poole, A. L., From Domesday Book to Magna Carta, 2nd edn. (Oxford, 1955), 151 3.

51 Green, Judith A., The last century of Danegeld, EHR, xcvi (1981), 252.

52 Wightman, W. E., The Lacy Family in England and Normandy, 10661194 (Oxford, 1966), 4353, and more fully in The significance of waste in the Yorkshire Domesday, Northern History, x (1975), 5571, quotation from p. 70.

53 Goffart, W., Barbarians and Romans AD 418584 (Princeton, 1980), 11213, citing Whittaker, C. R., Agri Deserti, in Studies in Roman Property, ed. Finley, M. I. (Cambridge, 1976), 13765.

54 Abbot Gervase of Blois an d the convent of Westminster granted to Robert their marshal land in Wheathampstead (Herts) which was described as vasta et deassisa, a phrase which we should probably understand to mean untenanted and yielding no rents: Harvey, Barbara, Abbot Gervase de Blois and the fee-farms o f Westminster Abbey, Bull. Inst. Hist. Res., xl (1967), 12742, quotation from p. 133, charter o np. 141.

55 Pipe Rolls 24 Henry II, ed. Hunter, J. (Rec. Com., 1844), 65.

56 Red Book of the Exchequer, ii. 649.

57 Ibid., ii. 6578; Pipe Rolls 24 Henry II, 335, 801.

58 In 11556 only 16 religious houses were exempt, while in the following year 20 more houses were pardoned sums left owing in the previous year. In 11612 about 90 houses were pardoned. White, , Restoration of Order, 27880.

59 Pipe Rolls 24 Henry II, 12; Pipe Roll 8 Henry II, 47.

60 Chron. Abingdon, ii. 1601.

61 Pipe Rolls 24 Henry II, 345; Pipe Roll 8 Henry II, 44.

62 Dialogus de Scaccario, ed. Johnson, C. (NMT, 1950), 51.

63 Dr White has an excellent discussion of this topic in his thesis, as cited, 2815, which is followed here. He cites as an example of what the barons of the Exchequer required a writ addressed to them in May 1157, in favour of St John's, Colchester, specifying the number of hides in each township: Cartae Anliquae Rolls 1120, ed. Davies, J. Conway (Pipe Roll Soc. N.S. 33, 1960), no. 608.

64 Dialogus de Scaccario, 106.

65 Even a charter granted to the monks of Westminster, of 1149X 1152, granted them simply acquittance from all gelds and customs; and it had to be improved. The two texts are set out in parallel in Chaplais, P., The original charters of Herbert and Gervase abbots of Westminster (11211157), in A Medieval Miscellany for D.M. Stenton (Pipe Roll Soc. N.S. 36, 1962), 10910( = Regesta, iii, nos. 9389).

66 See above, pp. 13940.

67 These four counties occupy scarcely four pages of printed text in 11556: Pipe Rolls 24 Henry II, 3840, 446.

68 Regesta, iii, no. 7; for alienations of royal demesne in Berkshire before 1135 see Green, Judith, William Rufus, Henry I and the Royal Demesne, History, lxiv (1979), 340 and note 24.

69 Regesta, iii, no. 272; Pipe Rolls 24 Henry II, 19, 72, 152; Cam, Helen, Liberties and Communities in Medieval England (Cambridge, 1944), 98, 106.

70 The diocese of Winchester's claim to Wargrave was dubious, and not all its title-deeds are beyond suspicion: Regesta, iii, nos. 9479, and discussion there; BL, Add. Ch. 28658 ( = Facsimiles of Royal & other Charters in the British Museum, eds. Warner, G. F. and Ellis, H. J. (1903), no. 38, and discussion there).

71 Pipe Rolls 24 Henry II, 34, 80, 123. Eyton suggested that the manor was granted in exchange for lands around Ludlow granted to Gilbert de Lacy: Wightman, , Lacy Family, 188.

72 Pipe Rolls 24 Henry II, 34, 80, 123; in the last of these years the manor had passed to Warm's brother, Gerold, Henry fitz, for whose activities as castellan of Wallingford during the civil war see Chron. Abingdon, ii. 207.

73 Regesta, iii, nos. 694, 694a, 7034.

74 I must thank Miss Marion M. Archibald of the Department of Coins and Medals at the British Museum, and Mr George C. Boon, Keeper of Archaeology and Numismatics at the National Museum of Wales, for their great kindness in showing me coins in their collections, and for discussing the problems of Stephen's coinage with me.

75 The types are those established by Brooke, G.C., A Catalogue of English Coins in the British Museum. The Norman Kings, 2 vols (1916); the most comprehensive study is that of Mack, R. P., Stephen and the anarchy 11351154, British Numismatic Journal, 35 (1966), 38112; and the most up-to-date is that of North, J. J., English Hammered Coinage, i, 2nd edn. (1980), which will normally be cited in the discussion which follows.

76 Ibid., i. 1646. That Type I circulated until c. 1150 was argued by Seaman, R. J., A re-examination of some hoards containing coins of Stephen, Brit. Num. Jnl., 48 (1978), 5872. Miss Archibald argued against this in a paper read to the Royal Numismatic Society in January 1983, showing that the short obverse title of the king occurred early, before Matilda arrived at Bristol, and so was not a valid index of a prolonged period of mintage.

77 Coin Hoards, i (Royal Num. Soc, 1975), no. 360 provides an initial listing of these coins.

78 For Pevensey see Mack, , Stephen and the anarchy, 44; for Carlisle and EDEN see ibid., 978, and F. Elmore Jones in Brit. Num. Jnl., 41 (1972), 206.

79 F. Elmore Jones, Stephen Type VII, ibid., 28 (1958), 53754.

80 Radulphi de Diceto Opera Historica, ed. Stubbs, W. (Rolls Ser., 1876), i. 297.

81 Boon, G. C., Welsh Hoards of 11th14th Century English Coins, 19791981, part II (National Museum of Wales, forthcoming).

82 North, , English Hammered Coinage, i, nos. 9356, deleting London and adding Cardiff.

83 Ibid., 173.

84 Ibid., no. 945.

85 Boon, G. C., Henry of Northumberland, Type I, Spink's Numismatic Circular, xci (1983), 226.

86 The two known coins were found at Winterslow (Wilts) and at East Tytherley (Hants), in the nineteenth century. Spink Coin Auctions, catalogue of sale no. 20 (1982), coin no. 99, noting the attribution of these coins to both Patrick and the Salisbury mint remains conjectural; North, , English Hammered Coinage, i, no. 947.

87 D. Crouch, The early history of the marcher lordship of Gower 11071166, Bull, of the Board of Celtic Studies (forthcoming).

88 North, , English Hammered Coinage, i, nos. 92933.

89 Seaby, P.J., Some coins of Stephen and Eustace and related issues of Western Flanders, in Coinage in the Low Countries (8801500), ed. Mayhew, N. J. (Brit. Arch. Soc, int. ser., 54, 1979), 4953 raises important questions.

90 North, , English Hammered Coinage, i, no. 934.

91 Mack, , Stephen and the anarchy, 502; North, , English Hammered Coinage, i, 16970.

92 Seaby, as cited in note 89. It is noteworthy that some of the more remote of the counties which accounted in 1155 6 had the lowest figures for waste: Devon had 93 per cent (and Dorset 68 per cent), Shropshire had 51 per cent and York 67 per cent. Were they keeping up-to-date records of landholding? and (if so) was that because the magnates in those areas were collecting regalian dues? Reginald Earl of Cornwall might be thought to be saying just this, in the passage cited at note 45.

93 As cited at note 4.

94 White, , Restoration of Order, 21518.

95 Red Book of the Exchequer, ii. 6501, 6534; PipeRolls, 24 Henry II, 8, 43, 79.

96 Dialogus de Scaccario, 910. The very existence of Stephen Type VI is known only from coins found outside England: Mack, , Stephen and the anarchy, 525; Dolley, R. H. M., The Anglo-Norman coins in the Uppsala University cabinet, Brit. Num. Jnl., 37 (1968), 314.

97 Petit-Dutaillis, C., La Monarchie Feodale en France et en Angleterre. X-XIII sicle (Paris, 1933), 109.

98 Foliot Letters, no. 20.

* I have to thank the British Academy for a grant towards my research expenses, and several friends and colleagues for their comments; I could not have attempted this paper without their help.

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