The Book of the Foundation of Walden Monastery

By Diana Greenway; Leslie Watkiss | Go to book overview

Geoffrey's anxiety to stabilize and strengthen his territorial position in north-west Essex is readily understood in the context of what the late Warren Hollister has called 'the misfortunes of the Mandevilles'--the disgrace and punishment of Geoffrey's father, William, and the confiscation of three prime manors which had been gained after the Norman Conquest by the first Geoffrey de Mandeville, William's father.1

Before the loss of its first five chapters, The Book of the Foundation of Walden Monastery opened with an account of the Norman Conquest and the establishment of the founder's grandfather, the first Geoffrey de Mandeville, as a leading tenant-in-chief in England (below, i. 1-2, and Appendix 1). Geoffrey's origin was Manneville, near Dieppe, in Seine-Maritime.2 Domesday Book records a spread of his properties in twelve counties, with lands held in chief in eleven of these worth in all about £740 p.a. in 1086, putting him in the top

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1
C. Warren Hollister, "'The misfortunes of the Mandevilles'", History, lviii ( 1973), 18- 28; repr. in his Monarchy, Magnates and Institutions in the Anglo-Norman World ( London and Ronceverte, 1986), pp. 117-27.
2
Manneville, arr. Dieppe, lies between Thil and Colmesnil. It is divided as Thil- Manneville, cant. Bacqueville-en-Caux, and Colmesnil-Manneville, cant. Offranville. The identification by L. C. Loyd, The Origins of some Anglo-Norman Families, ed. C. T. Clay and D. C. Douglas (Harleian Soc., ciii; Leeds, 1951), p. 57, is supported by the evidence relating to five families from the near vicinity who were to hold of the Mandeville honour in England--Criketot (ibid., p. 36), Gweres (pp. 48-9), Martel (p. 60), Oseville (p. 75), and Saint-Ouen (p. 91). Adigard de Gautries, "'Les noms de lieux de la Seine-Maritime attestés entre 911 et 1066'", Annales de Normandie, viii ( 1958), p. 303, was misled into believing that the two parts of Manneville were two alternative places of origin. D. C. Douglas , William the Conqueror ( London, 1964), p. 269, wrongly located the place of origin as Manneville in the Bessin.

Earl William I de Mandeville gave the church of Manneville to the abbey of Mortemer, where he was buried; see below, ii. 21. The Mandeville fee in Normandy accounted for five and one quarter knights' fees in the inquisition by Philip Augustus, 1204 × 12: Receuil des historiens des Gaules et de la France, ed. M. Bouquet, xxiii ( Paris, 1894), p. 64ok. In 1214 it was said to be worth £100: CRR vii. 111.

But C. Warren Hollister, 'The aristocracy', The Anarchy of King Stephen's Reign, ed. E. King ( Oxford, 1994), pp. 37-66, at 42, states that the first Geoffrey's estates in pre- Conquest Normandy were 'so modest as to be untraceable'. In an earlier article Hollister casts doubt on the identification of the Domesday tenant with the G. de Magnauilla who appears as witness in two pre-Conquest charters for Rouen houses: Recueil des actes des dues de Normandie (911-1066), ed. M. Fauroux ( Caen, 1961), nos. 182 (Saint-Amand) and 204, 204 bis (Saint-Ouen); see C. Warren Hollister, 'The greater Domesday tenants-in-chief', Domesday Studies, ed. J. C. Holt ( Woodbridge, 1987), pp. 219-48, at 229-30. That the Domesday tenant was a man of importance in Normandy is shown by K. S. B. Keats- Rohan , "'The prosopography of post-Conquest England: four case studies'", Medieval Prosopography, xiv ( 1993), 1-52, at pp. 8-12.

An important study of the Mandevilles is the unpublished dissertation: Anne R. Charlton , 'A Study of the Mandeville Family and its Estates' (Reading Ph.D., 1978).

-xii-

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