Monday, 2 May 2022




 (Acknowledgement: my grateful thanks to Peter Butler for his invaluable input into the research for this blog article)

NB. Clicking on an image will open a higher resolution image.

Kilkenny Castle, seat of the Butlers of Ireland

The surname of the Butlers of Ireland has its origins in the hereditary office of ‘Butler of Ireland’ originating with Theobald Walter, 1st Butler of Ireland.

The first misconception that needs clarification is the original surname of this family was WALTER, NOT FITZWALTER.

The ancient Latin documents do not refer to any member of this family as ‘fitzWalter’ as has often been incorrectly used down through the centuries by various historians.

Theobald was always named as Theobald Walter/Theobaldus Walteri in official records, not as Theobald fitzWalter. Similarly, his father was always named as Hervey Walter, his brothers Hubert Walter, Roger Walter and Hamon Walter, and his uncle Hubert Walter, and cousin Peter Walter.

While there were a few chroniclers and antiquarians who incorrectly named him as ‘Theobald fitzWalter’ or ‘Theobald son of Walter’, including Roger de Hoveden (d.1201) chronicler and historian to Henry II in his ‘Annals’ (v.II p.513), the ‘Annals of the Four Masters’, compiled in 1632-36 (translated by Owen Connellan, p.202), and William Camden in his ‘Brittania, a Chorographical Description of Great Britain and Ireland’ (v.II, pub. 1722, Appendix [after p.1526], Annals of Ireland, yr. MCCV, where he curiously names him as ‘Theobald son of Walter Butler Lord of Carryk’), it should be noted that these were not the original archival documents.

The surname or family name of ‘Walter’ was most unusual for the late 11th and the 12th century as it was a hereditary name used by several generations of the Walter family. The rise of hereditary surnames was attributed to the creation of the Domesday Book in 1086, where, according to records, the Norman nobility and upper classes had to create surnames to identify and distinguish between people of the same names, to prove hereditary ownership of property assigned after the Conquest. The sources of surnames included patronymic, topographic origin, occupational, and in some cases, reflecting particular physical attributes such as complexion, hair colour, stature etc. and their resultant nicknames. Many of these family names were fluid and changed for those children not in a direct hereditary line. One would assume that ‘Walter’ originated as a patronymic name after the original Norman ancestor, however, unusually, the more common form would have been ‘filius Walteri’ which evolved into ‘fitzWalter’, but not in the case of this family in which, all members of the extended family used just the singular name ‘Walter’.

The timeless question of the ancestral origin of the patriarchal founder of the Irish Butler/Ormonde family, Theobald Walter and his father Hervey Walter, has inspired much research by world-renowned historians for many centuries, and, despite much speculation, the answer has never been discovered. In fact, it is most unlikely the unequivocal answer will ever be found.

The many genealogical statements found in various publications on the family and on the web, declaring a particular ancestral genealogical line or another for this family, are all unproven. The documentation required to make such statements either does not exist, or has not yet been found. The problem with the world wide web is that many of these incorrect statements are copied and perpetuated on other websites and become an established ‘truth’ by those who don’t check their sources or do the deep research required.

The purpose of this blog article is to present the documents that have been discovered, and hopefully inspire other researchers to look at the information and documentation available on the origins of this Irish Butler/Walter family, to form their own opinion and continue the search for possibly undiscovered ancient documents deeply hidden in various British national and church archives and even French archives, that may prove or disprove the many ancestral theories and help solve the mystery of the Butler’s/Walter’s 11th century ancestors and their place of origin.

Chapter 1: Theobald Walter’s title ‘Butler of Ireland’
The Walter Family and its members
Evidence of Hervey the family patriarch, and his son Hervey Walter
The lands held by the Walter family in County Suffolk
Hubert Walter’s Foundation Charter to West Dereham Abbey
Hubert Walter the elder, son Peter Walter & his land in Fressingfield
Background information on the rise in status of this family- Hubert Walter, son of Hervey, and his rise to power, as recorded by contemporary chroniclers
Available Records of the 11th to 13th centuries
Chapter 2: The surname origins of the Walter family
Ancestral candidates named Walter in Co. Suffolk in Domesday:
A.    Walter ‘who held of this manor’
B.    Walter the arbalister (crossbowman)
C.    Walter de Caen
D.    Walter fitzGrip
E.     Others named ‘Walter’ who held lands in East Anglia in Domesday
The Malet family
Chapter 3: The theoretical origins of the Walter family in Normandy
            Analysis of the various theories of the Norman origins of the Walter family:
1.     The de Clares
2.     The Beckets
3.     The de Glanvilles
4.     Hervey de Bourges and Hubert de MonteCanisy
Chapter 4: Lands held by the Walter family in the 12th century in England
            The lands of the Walter family in Suffolk
            Theobald Walter’s Amounderness fee in Lancashire 


Theobald Walter’s title ‘Butler of Ireland’

Theobald Walter, patriarchal founder of the Butlers of Ireland, was granted the hereditary title of Butler of Ireland, or ‘Pincerna Hiberniae’, having served as butler to Prince John (b.c.1167) who was created Lord of Ireland in 1177 by his father, King Henry II. No records reveal the date Theobald was granted this hereditary title, but it probably evolved during the reign of King Richard I (1189-1199), as, before the middle of Richard’s reign, he was only referred to as ‘pincerna’ to Prince John.

Theobald and his brother Hubert (both born circa mid to late 1130’s to early 1140's) were brought up in the household of their powerful uncle Rannulf de Glanville, King Henry II’s Chief Justiciar. When Prince John was about 12 years of age, he was also placed in the household of Rannulf to be taught the business of government. Theobald and his uncle Rannulf de Glanville accompanied John on his first visit to Ireland in 1185 with 300 of his knights and administrators, and were well rewarded with lands. It was during this excursion that Theobald was first referred to as ‘pincerna’.

M.T. Flanagan in his entry on ‘Theobald Butler [Walter]’ in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, suggests that “Theobald may have been ‘pincerna’ of John’s personal household rather than the holder of an office with any specifically Irish connotations.” This possibly came about due to John’s placement in Ranulf de Glanville’s household. Flanagan then refers to two charters in Ireland to which Theobald was witness and named as ‘pincerna’.

The Calendar of Ormond Deeds 1172-1350 A.D.’ edited by Edmund Curtis (Irish Manuscripts Commission, Dublin 1932):

In Ormond Deed No.7, in Prince John’s charter (in part) to John’s chamberlain Alard fitzWilliam, Theobald, styled ‘pincerna’, witnesses along with the seneschal and dapifer, issued on the eve of John’s departure from Ireland, at Wexford in 1185 (also NL Ire., MSD.8).

This charter appears to have been the earliest reference to Theobald’s position as butler, and seems to be an isolated occurrence as Theobald is not referred to as ‘pincerna’ again until 1192, so may have been directly related to their visit to Ireland.

Curiously, the offices of seneschal and dapifer were the same, ie. the steward (‘dapifer’ is Latin for ‘seneschal’) in charge of domestic arrangements, provisions and stores, and the administration of servants, so why John had two stewards is not explained, unless de Verdun was Henry’s appointed seneschal for the expedition to Ireland, and de Wenneval was John’s personal dapifer/steward.

Of the other witnesses, Bertram de Verdun, seneschal, was a close confident of King Henry II and was appointed seneschal during Henry’s earlier excursion in 1171 to clarify his position as Strongbow’s liege lord. He was sheriff of Leicestershire and an itinerant justice, and was dispatched to Ireland in 1185 to clear up the dangerous situation caused by John’s diplomatic and military failures. Bertram de Verdun was grandfather to Rohese de Verdun (dau. of Nicholas de Verdun) who was second wife to Theobald le Boteler 2nd Chief Butler of Ireland.

William de Wennevall is listed as John’s ‘dapifer’ in Ireland in this charter. Although the position of ‘dapifer’ is Latin for seneschal (held by Bertram de Verdun), this particular office seems to imply that Wennevall was John’s ‘dapifer’ in his personal household.

Wennevall was appointed High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire during King Richard’s absence from England from 1190. As constable of Nottingham Castle, he held the castle for John during his insurrection in 1193-94, when, in 1194, King Richard placed it under siege and then made an assault on the castle. William de Wennevall surrendered the castle and threw himself on the King’s mercy. Similarly, Theobald surrendered Lancaster Castle when ordered by his brother Hubert, the archbishop of Canterbury, and pledged his loyalty to Richard. There is speculation that the character of the villainous sheriff of Nottingham in the legend of Robin Hood was based on William. (als William de Wendeval, Wendenal)

William de Cahaines/Kahaines was appointed as John’s personal seneschal after returning to England (see Dublin charter below).

Gilbert Pipard was sent to Ireland by Henry II to govern Ireland together with John Cumin and Bertram de Verdun. He was appointed High Sheriff of Lancaster Castle 1185-1189, but in consequence of his official duties as Justice itinerant, put his brother Hugh in his place to execute the office for him in 1185-86. In 1186-87, the office of Sheriff was executed by Gilbert’s brother Peter, as his deputy (Lancashire Pipe Rolls, Wm Farrer, pp.56,64).

These appointments by Henry II would suggest that many of John’s administrative officers who accompanied him to Ireland were selected by his father.

On Richard’s succession to the throne in July 1189, he granted his brother John the title of Count of Mortain.

John would establish his own ministry through which he could govern his Irish dominion, as well as his English possessions which Richard bestowed upon him. These would include Stephen Ridell as the first lord chancellor of Ireland appointed in 1186, William de Kahaignes as his seneschal replacing de Wenneval, and Theobald Walter would continue as his butler in Ireland.

M.T. Flannagan in his article on Theobald Walter in the Oxford DNB also wrote: ‘Theobald is next so described as ‘pincerna’ in John’s charter in favour of the city of Dublin 11 May 1192, witnessing alongside John’s chancellor and seneschal, suggesting that Theobald may have been pincerna of John’s personal household rather than holder of an office with any specifically Irish connotations.

This charter was translated in Curtis and McDowell’s ‘Irish Historical Documents’, in which they have translated the original document as ‘Theobald Walter, my butler,’:

However, in a Latin version of the same charter, published in the ‘Historic and Municipal Documents of Ireland A.D. 1172-1320’, although William de Kahaignes is described as ‘senescallo meo’, and Stephen Ridell, ‘cancellario meo’, Theobald is just described as ‘pincerna’ not ‘pincerna meo’.

Flannagan continued: ‘A charter of John Cumin, archbishop of Dublin, in favour of Theobald refers to him as’ “Theobald, pincerna domini comitis Moretoniae in Hibernia”/ ‘Butler of the count of Mortain in Ireland’ (Curtis, Ormond Deeds, no. 11; Cott. MS fol.266)”, indicating that the office was deemed to be attached to John’s lordship of Ireland.’

The referenced Ormond Deed No.11 translates the record as: ‘John [Archbishop of Dublin] “minister of the Church of Dublin” grants to Theobald, Butler of the lord the Count of Mortain in Ireland, and his heirs, etc. Approx. date of deed 1193.This is much more specific in its description of Theobald as John’s butler in Ireland.


During the latter part of Richard’s reign, probably after 1196, Theobald then adopted a fresh seal, adding to his name the style ‘Pincerna Hiberniae’. By this time, John had been exiled to the Continent for his 1193-94 rebellion against his brother Richard, and Theobald had sworn his loyalty to Richard.

In his benefaction to Wotheny/Owney/Woney Abbey in Co Limerick in King Richard’s reign, Theobald began the charter: “Omnibus sanctae matris ecclesiae filiis tam presentibus quam futuris, Theobaldus Walterus pincerna Hibernie salutem.” (pincerna Hibernie= butler of Ireland).

Lancashire Pipe Rolls, p.340:

“Letter of Theobald Walter certifying that his charter of grant to the monks of Wotheny, etc.

Editor notes: “The probability is that the colony of monks in Wyresdale removed to Wotheny c.1198, or between 1195 and 1199.

Theobald’s charter refers to ‘Richard King of England’ and ‘John Count of Mortain’, so must have been dated before John’s accession in 1199.

Monasticon Anglicanum, v.6. pt.2, p.1136-37:

Wotheny/Owney abbey was in the townland of Abbington, near the modern village of Murroe. It is thought that Theobald was probably buried at Wotheny Abbey.

(See Journal of the Butler Society, v.4, no.3, p443- re Charles and Rosemary Butler’s donation of a Memorial to Theobald Walter, commissioned to mark his burial place at the ruins of Wotheny Abbey)

 Theobald made another charter:

 Charter of Theobald Walter to Furness Abbey- Richard I (Carte, p.xlii):

"Omnibus sanctae matris ecclesiae filiis tam presentibus quam futuris, Theobaldus Walterus pincerna Hybernie salutem. Sciatis me pro Dei amore et beate Domini genetricis Marie, et pro anima domini mei H. regis Anglie, et Ricardi regis filii ejus, et pro salute domini mei Johannis comitis Moreton et domini Hibernie, et pro salute H.fratris mei Cantuar' archiepiscopi, et pro anima cari mei Ranulphi de Glanville, et pro anima Hervei Walter patris mei, et pro anima Matildis de Valoines matris mee, et pro salute anime mee, et pro salute Matildis sponse mee, et pro salute animarum omnium amicorum et antecessorum et successorum meorum dedisse et concessisse, et hac presenti carta mea confirmasse in puram et perpetuam eleemosinam Deo et sancte Marie, et abbati, et monachis qui exierunt de Furneis in cantredo meo de Woednicachelan, et Woednisfergan totum thuedum de Woednifichwith in quo villa de Clonken sita est, cum tota medietate atque de Molcerne in quantum praedictus thuedus se extendit super praedictam aquam de Molcerne per omnes rationabiles divisas suas, cum omnibus pertinentiis suis, &c. Hiis testibus Philippo de Wirecestre, Hamone de Valoines, Gaufrido filio Roberti, Willelmo de Burgo, Ric’ Tirel, Ric’ de sancto Michaele, Moricio fil. Moricii, Tilleberto de Kentewell, Waltero de Kentewell, Adam de Rachlesden, Willelmo fil. Martini, Amaturi de Belfago, Jordano de Lusch’, Radulpho de Sancto Patricio, Thoma de Kentewell, Ricardo de Waleton, Willelmo de Blie, Jordano fil. Jordani, Ricardo Clerico, Ranulpho Clerico, Radulpho Clerico de Tyrmi, Johanne de Rupe, et multis aliis."

The seal affixed to this charter is of green wax, on which is impressed the figure of a cavalier on horseback, in the usual method, with this inscription, Sigillum Theobaldi Walteri.

This original charter, the seal of which deserves to be engraved, is to be found among the records of the duchy court of Lancaster, kept in Gray’s Inn, in the 55th box of deeds.

Similarly, Theobald founded a monastery at Arklow, a cell of Furness Abbey, dated after 1199, as he names King John ‘Johaniis regis Angliae’ in the charter. The wording is similar to his charter for Wotheny, except this time, he includes, “for the soul of William Marshall”.

It is interesting that Marshall has been included in this list of Theobald’s family members, following his uncle Rannulf and preceding his brother Hubert, probably because William Marshall was Theobald’s overlord in Arklow which was part of his Lordship of Leinster.

Monasticon Anglicanum, v.6. pt.2, p.1128:

Translated in part: “and for the soul of Ranulph de Glanville, and for the safety of the soul of count William Marshall, and for the safety of the soul of Lord Hubert Canterbury Archbishop my brother, and for the soul of Hervey Walter my father and Matilda de Valoines my mother, and for the safety of the soul of Matilda my wife, etc.

Notably, Theobald’s mother’s name is written as ‘Matildis de Valuniis, matris mee’ in this charter, and as ‘Matilda de Waltenes matris mee’ in the Wotheny charter which the editor corrected to ‘Valoniis’.

William Marshall, married Isabel de Clare, the daughter of Strongbow and heir to his lordship of Leinster. Richard de Clare (c.1130-1177) Earl of Pembroke and Strigul, later known as Strongbow, was a Norman lord from Wales who started the Norman conquest of Ireland, initially brought to Ireland in 1170 by Dermot MacMurrough King of Leinster who was in dispute with the High King of Ireland, Rory O’Connor who had deposed him, and, in return for his support, promised Strongbow vast lands, and marriage to his daughter and heir. In 1171, when Dermot died, Strongbow inherited the kingship of Leinster which he held until his death in 1177.

In 1189, the 42 year old William Marshall was granted the hand and estates of the 17 year old heiress Isabel de Clare, and through her, acquired large estates in England, Wales, Normandy and Ireland, making him one of the richest men in the kingdom. Although he was the de facto Earl of Pembroke though his marriage to Isabel, he was officially granted the title in 1199.

Prince John disseized William of a portion of Leinster and handed it out among his friends and supporters. William Marshall appealed to King Richard who insisted upon John making restitution. John was compelled to yield, but not entirely, as he managed to secure ratification of a grant he had made to Theobald out of the Marshall’s lands. However, as a compromise, it was settled that Theobald should hold the estate as an under-tenant of William, not as tenant-in-chief of John. This is an example of John’s close relationship with Theobald at that time.

In Ormond Deed No. 31, Marshall, Earl of Pembroke, granted to Theobald and his heirs the vill and castle of Arklow by the service of one knight, plus other lands in Co. Kilkenny by service of 4 knights:

William Marshall (1147-1219), 1st Earl of Pembroke (2nd cr.), was renowned as one of the most chivalrous, romantic characters in English history, a younger son of a family that held the hereditary title of Marshall to the king. As a 5 year old child, during the civil war, William was held as a hostage by King Stephen who infamously threatened to hang him unless his father, John le Marshall, who supported the daughter of King Henry I, Empress Matilda, surrendered his castle. Equally infamous, William’s father called his bluff and responded by replying that the king should go ahead, saying “I still have the hammer and the anvil with which to forge still more and better sons!” Subsequently, a pretence was made to launch William from a pierrière (a type of trebuchet), but the king could not bring himself to harm the child. One can imagine the terror experienced by such a young child at this series of events, and the anguish of his father. William remained a crown hostage for many months, and was released following the signing of a peace treaty which ended the civil war in November 1153.

William lived an extraordinary life, beginning as a knight errant of great skill and prowess, gaining fame and fortune competing in tournaments in France, and becoming highly trusted by four kings from Henry II to Henry III, as well as by Henry’s estranged wife Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine whom he helped escape from an ambush in Aquitaine, resulting in his own capture and wounding. Eleanor would pay his ransom, and he remained a member of her household for two years, continuing to raise his reputation as a chivalrous knight, successfully taking part in many tournaments. William served as Henry II’s eldest son and heir Henry’s tutor-in-arms before his untimely death in 1183, after which William undertook a mission to the Holy Land to place his lord Henry's cloak on the altar at the Holy Sepulchre, returning to re-join the court of Henry II, serving as a loyal captain through Henry’s difficult last years. He is said to have been the only man ever to unhorse Richard while covering Richard’s father Henry II’s flight from Le Mans to Chinon in 1189 when Richard was allied with Phillip II against his father, shortly before Henry’s death. Despite this, Richard admired William’s legendary loyalty and military accomplishments which he acknowledged were too valuable to dismiss, and when Richard went on Crusade in 1190, William was appointed on the council of regency in his absence. Although he held a fractious relationship with King John, he remained loyal to John throughout the hostilities between John and his barons. It was William whom John trusted on his deathbed to ensure John’s 9 year old son Henry would get the throne. The king’s council named William to serve as protector of the 9 year old Henry III, and as regent of the kingdom. In 1216, during the First Barons' War over the succession, Prince Louis of France entered London and proclaimed himself 'King of England', supported by various English barons who had resisted the rule of King John. In May 1217, Prince Louis's army led by Thomas Count of Perche, had taken the city of Lincoln and held Lincoln Castle under siege. The 70 year old Marshall marched his forces and supporting barons to the city to break the siege and successfully routed Louis's army. Thomas Count of Perche fought to the death as the siege collapsed. Louis was forced to make peace on English terms and signed the Treaty of Lambeth in September 1217, agreeing he had never been the legitimate king of England.

In 1195, William Marshall commenced the building of Kilkenny Castle to control a fording-point of the River Nore and the junction of several routeways, completing it around 1210- nearly two centuries later, it would become the seat of the Butlers.

William died in March 1219 and was invested into the order of the Knights Templar and buried in Temple Church in London. Of his five sons, none left issue, and William’s vast estates were divided between his five daughter’s husbands, two of whom were ancestors to the Bruce and Stewart kings of the Scots, and the last Plantagenet kings Edward IV through to Richard III.

William’s son and heir, William Marshall II, was overlord to Theobald II le Botiller who was closely linked by service to William who was Lord of Leinster and Justiciar of Ireland, and from whom Theobald continued to hold some of his estates.

William Marshall was replaced as justiciar by Geoffrey de Marisco who held Theobald II’s wardship and whose daughter Theobald married.

Inverted shield of William Marshall (the incomparable knight) with obituary and epitaph by Matthew Paris, early 13th century chronicler (Historia Anglorum, v.II p.232; Chronica Majori v.III p.43; Wikipedia)

In Ormond Deed No.16, dated between 1195 and 1206, a charter between the Archbishop of Cashel and Theobald Walter, Butler (Pincerna) of Ireland:

And a further charter in Ormond Deed No.22- re Theobald Walter, Pincerna of Ireland who founded the Priory of St John the Baptist of Nenagh c.1200:

see Latin charter in Monasticon Anglicanum, v.6. pt.2, p.1145:

Priory of Nanagh, in the County of Tipperary.
Carta Fundationis ejusdem, circa Annum Domini MCC.
Universis sancta matris ecclesie filiis, ad quos presens scriptum pervenerit, Theobaldus Walter pincerna Hibernie, salutem. Etc

Although this Ormond Deed does refer to an earlier deed by Theobald Walter the first Pincerna dated A.D.1200, the list of witnesses to this “Bond by the prior and canons”, indicate that this “bond” was witnessed in the mid 1220’s, and several were closely associated with Theobald II, including his sister Maud’s husband, and those associated with his wardship after his father’s death.

Marian O’Brien was elected Archbishop of Cashel in 1224; ‘R’ Bishop of Killaloe presumably Robert Travers elected in 1217 until 1221 and again in 1226. Gerald de Prendergast d.1251 married firstly Theobald Walter’s daughter Maud Walter (b.c.1196-1205), and secondly married Maud de Burgh in c.1240.

Peter de Birmingham, son of Sir William de Birmingham who helped Strongbow invade Ireland. Peter was one of the barons in arms to secure the Magna Carta. He was the first to hold the wardship of Theobald le Boteler II, before it was granted to William de Braose and then Geoffrey de Marisco; Maurice fitzGerald c.1184-1257, 2nd Lord of Offaly married to Eve de Birmingham (m.2. Geoffrey de Marisco); Jordan de Marisco b.c.1195 d 1234, son of William de Marisco (brother of Geoffrey) and Lucy de Alneto (dau. of Alexander de Alneto d.1194); Adam de Alneto d.1244, son of Alexander de Alneto.

There are several other grants involving Theobald as Pincerna Hibernie, in the Ormond Deeds.

One of interest, concerns Theobald being excommunicated and brought to account by his brother Hubert, for overstepping his powers:

Ormond Deed No 23:

Similarly, in early 1200, Theobald fell out of favour with King John who deprived him of all his offices and lands because of irregularities as Sheriff of Lancashire.

Complaints against Theobald, the first year of John’s reign:

Several complaints by demesne tenants of Amounderness complaining of being dispossessed of lands by Theobald are outlined in the Lancashire Pipe Rolls (pp.120, 123, 135, 136).

Roger de Heaton, to whom Theobald and his father Hervey had granted lands, was granted a confirmation charter by King John, dated March 1201, whereby ‘Roger paid 15 marks for seisin of the estate of Broune (now Bourne Hall, in Thornton, Lancashire), of which he had been dispossessed by Theobald Walter, who had taken his charter of this estate from him’.

The History of the County Palatine and Duchy of Lancashire, by Ed. Baines, 1836, p.245:

For these various acts of injustice to mesne tenants in Amounderness, John deprived Theobald of the hundred together with the profits and advantages which had been included in the grant by Richard in the year 1194. Apart from his inherited lands around their estate of Weeton, the rest of the wapentake of Amounderness remained forfeit. But, by this time, knowing that old age was fast creeping up on him, Theobald’s focus was on his Irish lands and his Irish title which he intended to leave as his legacy to his son and heir.

However, John confiscated and sold Theobald’s Irish estates to one of his favourites, William de Braose, one of the most powerful barons in John’s court. His lands were not restored until January 1202, when, with the assistance of Hubert, Theobald recovered his Irish estates in Munster by payment to William de Braose of 500 marks, and became mesne tenant under him (Annals of Roger de Hoveden, II, p.513; Lancashire Pipe Rolls p.172)

Annals of Roger de Hoveden (d.1201- chronicler and historian to Henry II), p.513:

Grant by William de Braosa to Theobald Walter (le Botiller) the burgh of Kildelon (Killaloe)… the cantred of Elykaruel (the baronies of Clonlisk and Ballybrit, co. Offaly), Eliogarty, Ormond, Ara, and Oioney, etc. [A.D. 1201]. (Library of Ireland, Manuscript, D.27)

William de Braose later fell foul of King John, and fled when John hunted for him in Wales and Ireland. After allying himself to the Welsh Prince Llywelyn the Great and supporting him in his rebellion, William fled to France in 1210 where he died a year later. However, his wife and eldest son were captured in Scotland, and were reportedly starved to death in one of John’s dungeons. William’s fall was an example of John’s arbitrary, cruel and capricious behaviour towards his barons and probably played a role in the Baronial uprising that led to the signing of the Magna Carta.

Ormond Deed No.27:

Acknowledgement by Theobald Walter that he and his heirs owe to William de Brahusa [Braose] and his heirs, the service of 22 knights, of the land which he holds in Munster; so that if William de Brahusa be not able to acquire the lands and services which William de Burgh holds of the said Theobald within the said 5½ cantreds, same to be void. But if Theobald make good the said services, and de Brahusa acquire the said land which the said William de Burgh holds, the said lands and services to remain to Theobald and his heirs. Witnesses: Hubert Archbishop of Canterbury, Walter de Laci, William de Braosa, Philip de Braosa, Walter de Braosa, sons of William de Braosa, etc [A.D. 1201].

As soon as his Irish lands were restored, Theobald ‘proffered two palfreys for permission to go to Ireland’ in 1202-03 (Lanc. Pipe Rolls pp.167,171), and again in 1203-04:

As Richard spent a total of 6 months in England during his ten-year reign, his realm was administered by a Council of Regency in conjunction with a succession of chief justiciars, and his mother, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine exercised a considerable degree of influence. Between 1193 and 1198, Hubert Walter, appointed Chief Justiciar by Richard who also ordered his election as Archbishop of Canterbury, two of the most powerful positions, secular and ecclesiastical, in the land, in effect acted as regent during Richard’s absence.

Theobald’s close relationship with John ended during John’s brief rebellion against the supporters of the captive Richard in 1193-94 when Hubert had a complete victory over John, having been engaged in the reduction of John’s castles during February and March 1194. Many of John’s Lancashire dependants who had taken part in the rebellion, gathered at Kendal in support of John, and probably surrendered themselves to Theobald upon hearing of the captive King Richard’s release from his prison in Germany. Theobald then surrendered Lancaster Castle to his brother Hubert in March 1194 who convinced Theobald to pledge his loyalty to Richard. On 30th March a great court and council was held at Nottingham at which many sheriffs were removed and others appointed, and Theobald was appointed Sheriff of Lancaster, and regranted the wapentake of Amounderness.

In August 1194, Richard made a charter allowing tournaments in England, for the first time, on the purchase of licences- counts paying 20 silver marks, barons 10 silver marks, soldiers with land 4 silver marks, soldiers without land 2 silver marks, and the king ordered that, soldiers could not complete until they paid the fee first. Hubert, the king’s justiciar, appointed Theobald to collect the licence fees.

Chronica Magistri of Roger de Hoveden, (ed. Wm Stubbs, 1870, v. iii, p.268):

Richard left for Normandy on the 12th May 1194, and did not set foot in England during the remainder of his reign. In 1195-96, Theobald was excused his quota on the three Amounderness knight’s fees, as well as Robert Grelley on his 12 fees and Roger Constable of Chester on his 8 fees, as they had attended personally upon the King in the expedition to Normandy, together with their knights (Lanc. Pipe Rolls p.95).

Richard’s last five years were spent in warfare against King Philip II, successfully fighting to reclaim the lands that Philip had taken during Richard’s imprisonment.

Following the failure of John’s brief insurrection, John was stripped of his lands except Ireland and he fled to the Continent where he remained during Richard’s reign, serving in his brother’s campaigns in Normandy having regained his brother’s forgiveness and trust. Richard restored to him the Honour of Eye and the Earldom of Gloucester, but the honour of Lancaster was retained in the King’s lands.

Author Stephen David Church wrote a book (pub. 1999) on "The Household Knights of King John". He explored which of the men who served John when he was Count of Mortain, continued in his service during his exile, admitting that the size of John's household was much reduced during this period.

(p.20-21) “Very few of the men who were so prominent in John’s comital ‘acta’ during the years before 1194 stayed with the count after his fall from grace. For the most part John’s comital household seems to have been largely disbanded. Most significant for this discussion, two very important men in John’s comital household also ceased to witness his ‘acta’. Theobald Walter, John’s butler of Ireland and a man who witnessed 42 of the count’s ‘acta’ between 1185 and 1194, and Stephen Ridel, John’s chancellor and attestor of 54 of his ‘acta’ between 1189 and 1194, witnessed nothing after 1194. Both of these men seem to have actually deserted John for Richard on the king’s return from captivity in 1194. It seems unlikely that these two men were the only defectors from John’s camp in 1194.

Members of John’s comital household also kept in with the heir apparent during his years in the wilderness. For example, …., William de Wenneval, John’s dapifer, witnessed two ‘acta’ between 1195 and 1198, etc. With the exception of William de Wenneval who disappears from view, each of these other men (named) entered into the higher echelons of the royal household on John’s accession, including William de Wenneval’s son who entered royal service as a household knight during the Irish campaign in 1210.

There were yet others who, although they did not seem to remain with John during the lean years after 1194, still managed to get themselves a place in the royal household. etc”.

It is unknown when Theobald returned to England from Normandy serving with King Richard, but in 1196-97, his father-in-law, Robert le Vavasour executed the office of Sheriff as Theobald’s deputy (Lanc. Pipe Rolls, pp. 96, 99), a role that appears to have begun the previous year, as Robert claimed an allowance for expenditure that he had laid out that year, for an equivalent amount against the current year’s expenditure.

The following year, 1197-98 until Christmas 1198, Nicholas Pincerna officiated as Deputy Sheriff, as Theobald acted as a justice itinerant (Lanc. Pipe Roll, p.103). Early in 1199, Theobald appears to have been removed from office and Stephen de Turnham received charge of the county of Lancashire. Richard died in Normandy on 6 April 1199, after which Theobald was returned to the office to serve the last 6 months of the fiscal year by the newly crowned King John. Robert de Tatteshall of Lincolnshire succeeded Theobald as Sheriff of Lancaster after Michaelmas 1199.

It was not until the end of Richard’s reign that Theobald began using the style ‘Butler of Ireland’. Whether that was due to the influence of his brother Hubert who may have requested this hereditary title for his elder brother, just before he resigned as Justiciar in 1198, or whether it was a reward by Richard to Theobald for his recent faithful service, can’t be determined. And despite John’s vindictiveness, Theobald retained this title of Butler of Ireland, no doubt with the continued support of his influential and powerful brother whom John would not dare to challenge.

As Hubert officiated at John’s coronation in 1199, it would seem likely that Hubert may have asked Theobald to exercise his ceremonial role as Butler of Ireland, to present King John with his first cup of wine at the coronation banquet. As reported by contemporary chroniclers, Hubert is well known to have kept John’s excesses on a tight leash until Hubert’s death in July 1205 (only a month before his brother Theobald’s death in August), which is an indication of Hubert’s influence over John.Having virtually governed England for Richard for the six years prior to John's accession, Hubert, well known for his masterful temperament, was inclined to act rather dictatorial than deferential towards John, so much so, that when he received tidings of Hubert's death, John supposedly rejoiced and exclaimed "Now for the first time I am King of England!" ("Nunc primum sum rex Angliæ!"), according to contemporary chronicler Matthew Paris. 

Matthew Paris’ (1200-1259- chronicles of a monk of St Alban), Historia Anglorum, ii, ed. F. Madden, 1866, p.104:

The surname ‘le Botelier’ and then ‘Butler’ developed out of that title, Pincerna Hibernie, over the next generations.

Theobald Walter’s marriage

By the time of John’s succession to the throne, Theobald must have been in excess of 55 years of age, and he was soon to have his first son and heir, also named Theobald (born about January 1200, nine months after the death of Richard, and Theobald’s possible return to Lancashire), by his much younger wife Matilda/Maud (b.c.1179), daughter of Robert le Vavasour, lord of Hazlewood in Yorkshire (son and heir of Sir William le Vavasour, great grandson of Sir Mauger le Vavasour I, who held lands, including Hazlewood, in Domesday from William de Percy tenant-in-chief).

Historian William Farrer, working from Yorkshire Charters, suggested that Matilda’s mother may have been the daughter of Adam de Birkin of Yorkshire, and sister of John and Roger de Birkin, after noting that Robert le Vavasour was first witness to Adam de Birkin’s charters to Pontefract, and the hospital of St Peter in York, dated 1173-1185. Prime witnesses to charters were usually close family members. (Early Yorkshire Charters, ed. Wm Farrer, iii, p.371, 372, nos.1741, 1742; EYC, vii, p.169- Vavasour fee).

Robert was also witness to a third charter of Adam de Birkin to the church of St Mary of Rievaulx. (Yorkshire Deeds, ed. Wm Brown, i, p.78-79, no.211). A further confirmation charter (Yorkshire Deeds, i, p.97, no. 256), to the monks of St Mary of Salley of a grant made by Mauger Vavasour, brother of Robert le Vavasour, was witnessed by John and Roger de Birkin, sons of Adam.

M.S. Dodsworth (Bodleian Lib. Oxford), per Roger Dodsworth, noted in ‘Chartulary of the Cistercian abbey of St Mary of Sallay’ (vol.1, p.68, ed. Joseph McNulty, 1933), an account of the transfer of lands in Bolton to St Mary’s abbey, that reveals that Robert le Vavasour’s daughter Maud, wife of Theobald Walter, was the niece of Roger de Birkin, described in the document as Maud’s ‘avunculus’/uncle (Latin for mother’s brother), to whom her lands at Bolton were granted after her death (c.1225). The ‘Pudsay Deeds’ (p.69) gives further information on this transfer of Bolton: “Towards the close of the 12th century, Robert Vavasour gave Maud his daughter, as part of her marriage portion [to Theobald Walter], the advowson of the church of Bolton. Her son Theobald Walter [II] granted it to Roger de Birkin who granted it to Jordan de Bingley, etc. But apparently Maud Vavasour had only dower rights in this advowson, so that it could not descend to her son. About 1234, her brother John le Vavasour recovered it against Sir Richard de Goldsburg and 12 years later, he sold it, etc.”

Adam de Birkin (b.c.1130, d.1185) was married firstly to a woman named Matilda (mother of first son Robert who died early) and secondly to Matilda, dau. and co-heir of Robert de Cauz, mother of John, Peter, Roger and William de Birkin. There are no records of the births of any daughters to either wife named Matilda, but that is not unusual for those times. So, the parentage of Maud le Vavasour’s mother remains speculation, but seems likely to have been Birkin.

Roger de Birkin’s elder brother John de Birkin would feature in another charter involving Roger Walter (Theobald’s younger brother) and William de Glanville (son of Rannulf) and his wife Dionysia, sister to John de Birkin’s wife Joan. (see later for details).

These links between the de Birkin, le Vavasour, Walter and de Glanville families indicate close kinship.


The social rank of the office of ‘butler’ and other offices of state

Wace, a 12th century Norman poet, in his ‘Roman de Rou’, (commissioned by Henry II, devoted to William the Conqueror and the Norman conquest of England) tells us that, as early as the close of the 10th century Duke Richard of Normandy would have none but gentlemen in his household, as with the monarch, ie. senior royal officials in charge of managing a royal household - this included the highly ranked office of ‘butler’:

“Ne vot mestier de sa meisun

Duner si a gentil home nun

Gentil furent li chapelein, (chaplain- performing spiritual services for the monarch and his family, and often carried out some administrative/ clerical tasks)

Gentil furent li escrivain, (a scribe- responsible for drawing up acts issued in the names of the king and queen as well as a pipe roll)

Gentil furent li cunestable, (constable- governor of a royal castle- similar duties to a marshal)

E bien puissant e bien aidable (and very powerful and very helpful):

Gentil furent li seneschal (seneschal or steward/dapifer- principal administrator responsible for the entire control of domestic arrangements in a royal household, in charge of domestic, administrative services and finances; enabled to make decisions and act on behalf of the king- one of the two most senior officers of the royal household, along with the chamberlain)

Gentil furent li marescal (marshal- in command of the king’s military forces, responsible for the stables and horses of the household and in charge of discipline)

Gentil furent li butteiller, (butler- one of the top 4 ranked senior officers in the royal household, in charge of the wine cellar/buttery and a person of high social rank; served the king his wine at dinner; would present the newly crowned king his first cup of wine as monarch; and had different duties at different times)

Gentil furent li despensier. (dispenser- controls and distributes pantry provisions in the royal household)

Li chamberlence, e li ussier. (chamberlain- one of the two most senior offices of the royal household, responsible for the king’s ‘chamber’ or private living quarters, taking care of the personal well-being of the king and his family, furnishing the servants and personnel in intimate attendance on the Sovereign, and often acting as the King’s spokesman; ‘ussier’- the doorkeeper to the king’s chambers, only allowing those into the chamber whom the king wanted to see.)

Chascun iur orent liurisuns

E as granz festes dras e duns.” (ie. the robes and fees to which we find the officers of the King’s household entitled)

The King’s household officials were considered of sufficient importance to witness his charters. Butlers and chamberlains and seneschals appear in the will of King Edred who died in 955A.D, and who bequeathed them 80 golden coins.

Another important office was Chancellor, part of the royal household in England from the Norman Conquest, resulting from the immense pressure of work generated by the changes in land ownership following the conquest. Responsible for writing and applying the royal seal in the monarch’s name, aided by royal clerks.  In 1199, the chancery began to keep the Charter Rolls, a record of all the charters issued by the office, and then Patent Rolls and Close Rolls.

The Norman kings also appointed the office of Chief Justiciar, invariably a great noble or churchman, who would act as regent to represent them in the kingdom when the king was overseas, and act as the highest judge in the royal courts, in charge of the laws of the land. The office became very powerful and second only to the king in dignity, power and influence.

(NB. Three years after their uncle Rannulf de Glanville resigned as Chief Justiciar due to advanced age, Theobald Walter’s brother Hubert Walter Archbishop of Canterbury would be appointed Chief Justiciar in 1193 until he resigned in 1198, and after John’s accession, Chancellor in 1200.)

 Encyclopedia Britannica described the five great officers of state:

The seneschal, called in medieval Latin the dapifer (from daps, a feast, and ferre, to carry), was the chief of the five great officers of state of the French (and Norman) court between the 11th and 13th centuries, the others being the butler, the chamberlain, the constable and the chancellor.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica article on “Royal Household of the United Kingdom” (Michael Ray) explained the roles of the great officers of state:

The sovereign’s chief domestics, bearing titles suggestive of purely personal service, gradually became the great administrators of the realm. Very early in English history the royal household can be seen falling into three main divisions: the chapel with its staff of clerks, the hall where the daily life of the household was passed, and the chamber where the king could retire for sleeping and privacy and where his clothe, jewels and muniments were stored.

No account of the household staff of the Norman kings was written down before the early years of Stephen’s reign (1135-54) when the ‘Constitutio domus regis’ was compiled. It is primarily concerned with the daily wage in money and the allowance of bread, wine, and candles due to each household officer and ignores the fact that the less important royal servants generally held land of the king in ‘sergeanty’.

The ‘Constitutio’ begins with the royal chapel under the chancellor, who received the highest daily wage of all the king’s officers- 5 shillings- whether he ate at the king’s expense or his own. His second-in-command, the master of the writing office, had received tenpence, but Henry I increased his wage to 2 shillings and gave him appropriate additions to his allowance of bread, wine, and candle ends.

The king’s hall was under the care of two officers of equal rank, the seneschal (steward) and the master butler, who each received a standing wage of 5 shillings a day. When they actually served in court and were fed at the king’s expense, their daily wage was 3 shillings 6 pennies. Their two parallel departments provided food and drink through a series of officers carefully graded as to pay and allowances down to the man who counted the loaves and the slaughterers who had no pay, but “customary food” only.

After the hall, came the chamber under the master chamberlain, but beside him stood the treasurer, each of these officers receiving the same pay and allowances as the seneschal and master butler. Below them were less well-paid chamberlains: the man who looked after the king’s bed with a man and packhorse for its transport, the king’s tailor, and his bath attendant. The appearance here of the treasurer- as the head of the new financial department, the exchequer- shows that in origin the treasury was regarded as a household department. While the chancery and exchequer were still departments of the household, a hundred years later, the enormous momentum of a developing nation, had carried out of court, and the household had been obliged to create a financial and clerical department of its own, hence the gradual appearance in Henry II’s reign of the chamber as the department which received and spent money on household and national business.

The ‘Constitutio’ concludes with the two departments which between them cared for the safety, peace, order, and comfort of the household, and for the king’s sport. The chief constable had the same pay and allowances as the master chamberlain, but the marshal had not yet achieved the higher rate. He had to keep the tallies (the receipts) for all the gifts and liveries made from the king’s treasury and chamber and oversee the hearthman who made the fire in the hall from Michaelmas to Easter.

Already at the beginning of the 12th century, the chief household officers, important barons in their own right, had become too great to perform their household tasks as a matter of routine. On occasions of high ceremony, and in particular at a coronation, there was fierce competition among the greatest magnates of the land for the right to discharge any household duties which they could claim by inheritance.

As we know, the position of Butler of Ireland came with the special privilege known as the ‘prisage of wine’, a levy of approximately one tenth on wine imports into Ireland. Another special honour was that the Butler was required to serve the first glass of wine to the king after his coronation, and was further rewarded with a selection of the silver plate at the banquet.

Origins of the Walter family

For centuries, researchers of the Irish Butler/Ormonde family have been searching for the origins of Theobald Walter, with little success. Records revealed that Theobald’s father was named Hervey Walter, and Hervey’s father was also named Hervey. The Walter family flourished in the period from the late 11th to the early 13th century. However, records dating back to that period of time are few, making research difficult.

Thomas Carte published a comprehensive study of the Irish Butlers, “The Life of James Duke of Ormond” in 1736, republished in 1851. In the Introduction, Carte wrote that ‘nobody who has wrote on the subject of Herveus, father of Herveus Walter, seems to have had any notion of such a person’. He then discussed the numerous theories that have been written in past centuries of the origins of the Irish Butlers, none of which have been proven due to lack of documentary evidence, particularly birth, death or marriage records, in the 11th and 12th centuries. The primary sources of evidence are taken from official land holding records and fees due to the Crown, and ecclesiastical records of that time, very few of which date back to the 11th and early 12th centuries, and which rarely name wives or daughters.

In the 20th century, Butler family historians, the late Theobald Blake Butler and Patrick Lord Dunboyne, studied these families thoroughly over several decades, making extraordinary contributions to our genealogical knowledge of Butler families down the centuries, but again found it difficult to pinpoint the first Norman settler in the line. Blake Butler’s conclusion, based on Domesday Book land records, and lands subsequently held by the Walter family in Suffolk, was that the first in the line was probably a Norman named Walter who held a close relationship to Robert Malet, a major land holder as tenant-in-chief in Co. Suffolk in Domesday from whom Walter sub-tenanted several lands, and there are many good arguments for this conclusion. Apart from this Norman named just ‘Walter’, there were several other men also named ‘Walter’ who were sub-tenants of Malet. He was possibly ‘Walter the crossbowman’ who held lands in close proximity to this ‘Walter’s’ lands and therefore could be the same person. This ‘Walter’ could also be Walter de Caen who was Robert Malet’s most prolific sub-tenant in Suffolk and Norfolk and a close associate (if not a relative) and also held lands in this same area, a conclusion Theobald Blake Butler came to in later years. However, as will be shown, the available records are inconclusive. He may have just been a Norman knight simply named Walter.

A diverse number of pedigrees compiled in the past have claimed various exalted ancestors for the Butlers, none of which have been proven. Various respected peerage publications exemplify the widely varied theories of the origins of this family:

Debrett’s Peerage (1825), states that ‘the original descent has been variously deduced: Herveius a companion of William the Conqueror; a younger son of the house of Clare; or, Walter, son of Gilbert Becket brother of Thomas á Becket Archbishop of Canterbury’.

Burkes ‘Peerage and Baronage’ (1st pub 1826, London) states that ‘Hervey Walter was heir to Hubert Walter who is mentioned in the Sheriff’s account for Counties Norfolk and Suffolk 3 Henry II, 1158.’ (this erroneous theory will be explored in detail)

‘The Baronage of England after the Norman Conquest’, by Sir William Dugdale, King of Arms (London 1675), also referred to the record in ‘3 Henry II’ (Pipe Roll)- Dugdale concluded: ‘upon the Sheriff’s accompt for Norfolk and Suffolk mention is made of Hubert Walter in those Shires, from whom succeeded Hervey Walter’. (again, the same erroneous theory)

George E. Cokayne in his ‘The Complete Peerage’ (pub 1887-1896) did not even attempt to explain the possible ancestry of Hervey Walter.

The following analysis looks at the likelihood of the various ancestral origins claimed in numerous pedigrees produced through the centuries, including a thorough investigation of the most popular theories of descent from several Normans named Walter living in Suffolk, as well as the de Clares, the Beckets, the de Glanvilles, and individuals named Hervey and Hubert. But firstly, the information and records found on the Walter family needs to be explored in detail to establish where they were living, what lands they held, and who their close associates were.


 From whom did the first Chief Butler of Ireland descend?

The first of the Irish Butlers was Theobald Walter who was granted the title of Pincerna/Le Botelier of Ireland sometime after 1184, probably in King Richard’s reign, and his descendants assumed the surname Butler.

Theobald and his brother Hubert were educated in the household of their uncle Rannulf de Glanville Chief Justiciar of England under Henry II. Henry’s youngest son, Prince John (born circa December 1166-1167) also joined Rannulf’s household in 1179, aged twelve, where he was to remain until his education was complete. The apprenticeship in the household of Rannulf must have had a profound impact on John, and he appears to have developed a long-lasting, albeit somewhat fractious attachment to the people in Rannulf’s household.

Rannulf de Glanville, the sheriff of Lancashire and Westmoreland, was rewarded for capturing the Scottish King William the Lion in 1174, by his appointment as a justice of the King’s Court, then the role of Chief Justiciar in 1180, and held the office until Henry’s death in 1189 which meant that he was the most powerful man in the realm after the king. He sat at the Exchequer, and, in the king’s absence, presided over royal councils, the king’s courts, and acted as military commander, so he was the ideal tutor for John. His nephew Hubert Walter received his administrative and legal training under Rannulf’s tutelage and rose to prominence around the royal court during the 1180’s. As Rannulf’s chief deputy, Hubert was involved in the full range of administrative business for which the justiciar was responsible, serving as one of the barons of the exchequer during the 1180’s and sitting regularly with Rannulf and others as a justice of the exchequer court, developing considerable expertise as a justice during those years. Henry II also employed him in chancery and diplomatic work, conveying messages between England and the king of France.

Rannulf and Theobald were at Chinon Castle in July 1189 when they both witnessed Henry’s confirmation Charter to Coverham Priory, shortly before Henry’s death there on 6 July.


(Monasticon Anglicanum, ii, p648- Chinon, A.D.1189- confirmation Charter to Coverham Abbey- witnesses)


Complete Charter:

Wikipedia; and, ‘A History of the Co. of York’ v.3, ed. Wm Page, 1974, pp 243:

Coverham Abbey in Nth Yorkshire was a Premonstratensian monastery originally founded in Swainby c.1190 (error- see Henry II’s charter) by Helewise daughter of Rannulf de Glanville, wife of Robert fitzRalph 3rd Lord of Middleham, with the consent of her son and heir Waleran then living. She died in 1195 and was buried at Swainby. It was refounded at Coverham in about 1212 by her son Ranulf fitzRobert who had the body of his late mother reinterred in the chapel house at Coverham.

(NB in Domesday, the single manor of Swainby was part of Count Alan’s Honour of Richmond, tenanted by Ribald Lord of Middleham)

Robert Wm Eyton, in hisCourt, Household and itinerary of King Henry II” (1878- p.297) reported the foundation differently:

5 July 1189. K. Henry is carried from the conference of Azay, in a dying state, to Chinon, where he learns that his son John has been beguiled to the allegiance of Philip.

A Royal Charter, dated at Chinon, confirms a grant by Walleran fitzRobert to Theobald Walter’s nascent foundation at Swainby (Lincolnshire). It is attested by William Dean of Moretain; Ralph Archdeacon of Colchester; William earl of Arundel; Rannulf de Glanvill, Theobald Walter, Stephen de Turnham, Ralph fitzStephen, Gilbert fitzReinfrid Dapifer; Walleran fitzRobert (son of Helewise), Henry de Cornhill, and Gilbert d’Aumari (Monasticon, vii, 920), at Chinon.

NB. All other references indicate that Helewise was the founder with the consent of her son and heir, Waleran. 

One of the other witnesses to the Charter, Henry de Cornhill (1135-1193) a royal official under Henry II, who was in charge of purchasing cloth and other items for the royal household, was known to be present at Henry’s deathbed at Chinon in July 1189 (Wikipedia), as was a second witness Stephen de Turneham (d.1215) who was seneschal of Anjou and was in charge of the royal treasure which Richard demanded he hand over after his father’s death. Stephen would order the burning of Le Mans where the king was staying when they were attacked by his son Richard’s forces in June 1189.

Author William Glanville-Richards confirms in his book on the de Glanvilles, that Rannulf (and Theobald) were with Henry in the last tumultuous weeks of his life, (Records of the Anglo-Norman House of Glanville, London 1882, p.35-36), in which he wrote:

In July 1188, we find Rannulf collecting an army of earls, barons and knights, and a large number of Welshmen, and sending them to Henry in Normandy who was then at war with France.

In January 1189 the Archbishop of Canterbury (Baldwin), and his vicar Gilbert de Glanville Bishop of Rochester, preached before the King and assembled lords, the subject being “On the Mystery of the Cross”, they pointing out that all those who professed to be followers of Jesus, the sin and shame it was for them to all His sepulcher to remain in the followers of Mahomet, and exhorted all, or whatever station, from the King to the meanest of his subjects, to at once assume the sign of the Cross, and join those blessed expeditions, who were now marching towards Jerusalem, by assisting in the undertaking, and to insure themselves glory in this world and eternal salvation in the next.” Henry himself promised to march there was soon as he was able to leave the kingdom. But “what the astonishment”, writes Lord Campbell,of all present, when the Chief Justiciary Randulph de Glanville, known to be vigorous and energetic, but not suspected of enthusiasm, now well stricken in years, who had spent the best part of his life in studying the law and administering justice, who had a wife and many children and grandchildren, the objects of his tender attachment- rose up as soon as the King had concluded his speech, and asked the Archbishop to invest him with the Cross- was enlisted as a Crusader with all the vows and rites used on such a solemn occasion, so much in earnest was he that he wished forthwith to set forward for the Holy Land.”

Glanville did not set out at once as he desired, as weighty matters of State kept him longer in England. Prince Richard had again rebelled against his father, and had taken up the cause of Philip King of France, due to the refusal of Henry to deliver up Alice, sister of Philip, and the affianced bride of Richard. Glanville, at the command of the King, therefore waited until tranquility should be restored; but before this was consummated King Henry died at Chinon ‘of a broken heart’ on July 6, 1189. Glanville was present at the scene “when on the approach of Richard blood gushed from the dead body, in token, as people said, that the son had been the murderer of his father.

The new monarch, now stung with remorse, renounced all the late companions of his youth who had so misled him, and offered to confirm all his father’s councilors in their offices. This offer was firmly refused by Glanville, who had serious misgivings as to the sincerity of Richard, and who, now wearing the Cross, was bound by his vow, as well as incited by his inclination, to set forward for the recovery of Jerusalem. However, he discharged the duties of his office for some weeks till a successor might be appointed, and he attended, with the rank of Chief Justiciar, at Richard’s coronation, when he exerted himself to the utmost to restrain the people from the massacre of the Jews, which disgraced that solemnity. Glanville was not only witness to King Henry’s will, but also one of the executors appointed under it.

We know that Richard’s first care when he landed at Portsmouth in 1189, was to seize his father’s treasury at Winchester Castle, and that Glanville gave up to the King the enormous treasury of £900,000, besides jewels etc. He was likewise a witness to a Charter of Richard I to John de Alençon in Normandy dated April 11, 1190, before traveling on towards Jerusalem in the company of Baldwin Archbishop of Canterbury, and Hubert Walter his nephew Bishop of Salisbury, and landed at Tyre, about Michaelmas 1190, all of them having been despatched by King Richard to assist at the siege of Acre, and having previously, according to some accounts, accompanied the King himself through France as far as Marseilles. Rannulf and his companions reached Acre, before which Archbishop Baldwin first fell a victim, and then, before the end of the year, Rannulf de Glanville, but not as sometimes stated, in the heat of battle. Glanville had accumulated a very great fortune which enabled him to travel to the Holy Land as a noble of the highest rank.” 

The death of Henry II

Our knowledge of these accounts came from the pen of contemporary chroniclers, Giraldus Cambrensis (Gerald of Wales) who was present during these events, and Gervase a monk of Canterbury.

King Phillip of France played on the rifts in this tumultuous family, suggesting to Richard that his father’s favourite was John and that Henry wished to support John’s succession. Richard demanded full recognition of his position as heir, which Henry refused. Further rebellion ensued. Henry with a handful of faithful followers shut himself up at his birthplace, Le Mans and fell ill with a fever whilst there. Richard and Phillip proceeded to attack Le Mans. On 11 June, the defenders, ordered by Stephen de Turneham, set fire to parts of the town suburbs to impede their progress, which quickly spread through the city, forcing Henry and his followers to flee. While covering Henry’s retreat from Le Mans to Chinon, William Marshall unhorsed Richard and could have killed the prince, but killed his horse instead to make the point. He was to be the only man ever to unhorse Richard.

Henry sent Rannulf de Glanville (probably accompanied by Theobald) back to England to collect forces, and ‘compel soldiers and the poor to come over’ while Henry turned back to Chinon. Rannulf got little satisfaction from the clergy at Canterbury, and having stormed out of the meeting, he hastened to London to gather together a force and organize their transmission to the king in Normandy (according to Gervase of Canterbury- Historical Works of Gervase of Canterbury, vol. I, The Chronicle of the Reigns of Stephen, Henry II and Richard I, ed. Wm Stubbs, London 1879, pp.447-450).

Rannulf then returned to the King’s side at Chinon. It was at this time that Henry made the confirmation charter to Coversham Abbey endorsing the grant by Rannulf’s grandson Waleran fitzRobert, and witnessed by Rannulf and Theobald and others who were with the King at the end.

Fever stricken, Henry lay there in Chinon while Philip and Richard stormed Tours. Dragging himself out of bed, he was humiliatingly forced to meet them and agree to terms- to pardon all those who conspired against him, renew his homage to Philip, and, most hurtful of all, to acknowledge Richard as his heir to all his lands, and to give him the kiss of peace, with Henry muttering “God grant that I die not until I have avenged myself on thee” (according to Giraldus Cambrensis*). Henry’s only request was a list of those who had rebelled against him which was delivered to him at Chinon. William Marshall began to read out the list, at the top of which was his beloved son John, the son he had trusted and fought for had deserted him. Utterly crushed, Henry did not wish to hear the other names on the list. Heart-broken and disillusioned, his health quickly deteriorated, and he lay tossing in anguish and delirium, cursing his sons and himself, breathing his last on 6th July 1189. According to Giraldus Cambrensis*, Henry’s last words were “Shame on a conquered king; for shame”- “Proh pudor de Rege victo! Proh pudor!” -  as he turned to the wall and died. Other reports have him saying “Now let the world go as it will; I care for nothing more.” And as he sank into a delirium: “Shame on a conquered king! Cursed be the day I was born! Cursed be the sons I leave!”  Henry’s only family present was his beloved illegitimate son Geoffrey who had tenderly cared for him in his last days (Geoffrey would unwillingly become Archbishop of York under Richard’s orders). Henry’s body was taken to the Abbey of Fontevrault in Anjou for burial, which was to become the mausoleum of the Angevin Kings.

*Giraldus Cambrensis De Instructione Principum: Libri III, ed. J.S. Brewer, (London 1848) p.150-151.

The editor wrote in the preface:  For some years Giraldus was the daily companion of Baldwin Archbishop of Canterbury. In 1188 Giraldus accompanied Archbishop Baldwin, then engaged in preaching the Crusades. Subsequently, when the war broke out between Prince Richard and his father Henry, which ended in the death of Henry, Giraldus was sent over to France, as a mediator with Archbishop Baldwin and Ranulf de Glanville; so that he had every facility for ascertaining the truth of what he has narrated respecting the death of the King, and the cause of his dissension with his sons- means for ascertaining the truth, such as no author possessed at the time.

Hubert Walter

While Rannulf de Glanville is credited with the authorship of ‘Tractatus de legibus et consuetudinibus regni Angliae’, often called ‘Glanvill treatise’, a legal treatise on the laws and constitutions of the English written 1187-89, some historians, such as W.L. Warren, theorize that Hubert may have been the author.

Glanville's 'Tractatus' was first printed in a book in 1554 edited by Richard Tottel. The image above, is of an original first edition.

Hubert’s meteoric rise within the church began with his first appointment as rector of Halifax in 1185, promoted in 1186 as dean of York Cathedral, then appointed Bishop of Salisbury in 1189 by the newly crowned King Richard, culminating with his appointment as Archbishop of Canterbury in 1193. Hubert’s rise to ultimate power, both secular and ecclesiastic, followed the accession of Richard I.

When Richard went on Crusade in the summer of 1190, Rannulf de Glanville, Baldwin Archbishop of Canterbury and Hubert Walter bishop of Salisbury preceded him to Acre. The aging Rannulf and Baldwin soon died of sickness in the Holy Land, and Hubert was given the task of reorganizing and financing the starving army using the deceased archbishop’s possessions, handling a variety of sensitive negotiations between competing crusade leaders, and negotiating with the Muslim leader Saladin, which he accomplished with great skill over the following two years. He led sorties against Saladin’s camp, distinguishing himself in several battles, and also ministered to the religious needs of the army which raised morale. Hubert’s stature in the crusading army continued to grow after the arrival of Richard who found the army in far better shape than it had been six months before. His negotiation of a more permanent peace treaty with Saladin restored Latin services in the Holy Land and guaranteed free access for western Christians to Jerusalem, after which Hubert then fulfilled his crusader’s vow by leading one of the first contingents of Western pilgrims to visit Jerusalem. Hubert and King Richard both left the Holy Land in October 1192, with Hubert visiting Pope Celestine III in Rome in January 1193, where rumours of Richard’s captivity first reached him.

Having been captured on his return from the Crusade in October 1192 and held in captivity by the Holy Roman Emperor, Richard was found at Ochesenfurt on the River Main in March 1193 by Hubert accompanied by the exchequer clerk, and were the first of his subjects to reach him. He immediately began negotiating terms for Richard’s release. Having observed Hubert’s extraordinary diplomacy, leadership and organizational skills during the Crusade, Richard gave him letters appointing him as Chief Justiciar and ordering the church hierarchy to elect Hubert as archbishop of Canterbury, whereupon Hubert returned to England to raise the enormous ransom demanded for Richard’s release.

Biographer Robert Stacey wrote: 'The 4 1/2 years of Hubert Walter's justiciarship were characterized by the systematization of existing procedures and the creation of new ones. Under his justiciarship, the king's court became an increasingly professionalized and specialised set of institutions. This continued in chancery after Hubert's appointment as chancellor on John's accession to the throne.' (ref: Walter, Hubert, by Robert C. Stacey, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004)

Theobald's first visit to Ireland

Although at least twenty to thirty years his senior, Theobald became a favourite of Prince John who was granted the lordship of Ireland by his father King Henry II in 1177. Theobald and Rannulf accompanied John, along with 300 knights, on his first visit to Ireland in 1185, the freight of Theobald's equipment being paid for by the royal exchequer. Theobald's men, along with an Anglo-Norman party from Cork led by Geoffrey de Cogan, were responsible for the assassination of Diarmait MacCarthaig (Dermot MacCarthy), king of Desmond (co. Cork and most of Co. Kerry), during a parley in 1185.

Theobald and Rannulf were granted 5 ½ cantreds of land in Limerick, jointly held, for the service of 22 knight’s fees, which subsequently became Theobald’s land as sole beneficiary. Theobald was also granted the castle and vill of Arklow and the manor of Tullach Ua Felmeda in Carlow, and land centered on Gowran, Kilkenny, between 1185 and 1189, the deed witnessed by Ranulf de Glanville, and Hubert [Walter] Dean of York. Notably Theobald is not described as ‘pincerna’ is this document. (Ormond Deed No. 17)

Ormond Deed No. 17:

Giraldus Cambrensis (Gerald of Wales) accompanied John’s entourage to Ireland and wrote of his experiences there, ‘Expugnatio Hibernica’, which was translated in ‘The English Conquest of Ireland A.D. 1166-1185’, Pt 1 ed. by Frederick Furnivall, London 1896, pp.149-151:

Gerald described John’s companions as “Talkative, boastful, enormous swearers, bribe-takers, and insolent”.

Reporting that Dermod MacCarthy, Prince of Desmonde (King of Cork), and others attending a parley in Cork, were slain by Theobald Walter and his men in 1185:

‘Of the Prynce of Desmonde, Dermot Maccarthy, that with many othyr in a parlement besyde Corke, through Tybaud Wauter and the meny (men) of Corke, was y-Slayn.’

In the side column:

‘A.D. 1185 in colloquio prope Coreagiam, a Corcagiensibus et Theobaldi Gualteri familia ferro peremptis.’ (translated as: ‘A.D.1185. In a conference near Coreagia, in Cork, Theobald Walter’s family were slain by the sword’.

Gerald then continues to name many of those Norman and English knights slaughtered in Cork. Whether Gerald was referring to Theobald’s Norman companions, or whether members
of his actual family were killed, is not made clear.

They may have been accompanied to Ireland by a possible son and heir of Rannulf named William de Glanville who was subsequently killed:

M.T. Flannagan (Butler [Walter], Theobald, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004)  noted, “An entry in the annals of Loch Cé, recording the killing in 1185 by Domnall Ó Briain, king of Thomond, of a foster brother of Prince John, suggests that a son of Ranulf de Glanville was included among John's entourage in Ireland.” 

viz. "very many foreigners were slain, along with the foster-brother of the son of the king of the Saxons."

Records indicate that this son of Rannulf named William de Glanville appears to have died in the mid to late 1180’s, and may have died on this excursion to Ireland. He was probably the William de Glanville who witnessed Hervey Walter’s charter to Butley priory in c.1171-77. In Hervey’s charter to Butley, he dedicated the charter partly for the souls of “Rannulfi de Glanvill et Berte sponse sue et filiorum suorumwhich translates as 'Rannulf de Glanvill and Berthe his wife and their sons'. The editor of the Cartulary, R. Mortimer, noted that "this seems to be the only indication that Rannulf de Glanville had sons; he was succeeded by his three daughters". (The Cartulary of Leiston Abbey and Butley Priory Charters, ed R.H. Mortimer, 1979, p.151, No.146)

He was also probably the William de Glanville who shared a farm in Norfolk with Theobald’s brother Roger Walter which they donated to the nuns of Watton monastery in the charter of John de Birkin and his wife Joan and her sister, William’s wife Dionysia [Lenveise] who remarried c.1189. (Wm Glanville Richards, Records of the Anglo-Norman House of Glanville, 1882, p.10).

Notably, Theobald’s brother Roger Walter also ceased to appear in records beyond this time, so may have been killed at this time, which could explain the reference in Giraldus Cambrensis/Gerald of Wales’ statement ‘Theobald Walter’s family were slain by the sword/ Theobaldi Gualteri familia ferro peremptis.’ The use of the collective word ‘family’ rather than ‘brother’ or ‘cousin’, seems to indicate more than one relation died.

John O’Hart: ‘Irish Pedigrees: or the Origin and Stem of the Irish Nation’, v.1. 1892 (5th ed.)- on the MacCarthy clan, in particular Dermod MacCarthy:

“And thus did he pay for his error in woe,

His life to the Butler, his crown to the foe.”

The Victorian History of the County of Lancaster’, edit by William Farrer and J. Brownbill (London 1906), Volume I, pp.351-353:

“Immediately upon landing, Theobald received from John the grant to Glanvill and himself 5 ½ cantreds in Limerick. Before 1189 he received from John the fief of Arklow (Curtis, Ormond Deeds, No.17). Soon after his accession to the honour of Lancaster in 1189, John granted to Theobald for his homage and service all Amounderness for the service of three knight’s fee. Mr Round tells us that from 1185 to 1193 Theobald ‘was in constant attendance on John, witnessing his charters and receiving from him, as lord of Ireland, the office of his ‘butler’. He adhered to John in the rebellion of 1193-4 when he held the castle of Lancaster on the latter’s behalf; but in February 1194, being summoned by his brother Hubert, then justiciar, to surrender, he delivered it to him, and through his mediation made his peace with Richard, who immediately appointed him sheriff of the county and on 22 April 1194, re-granted to him the hundred of Amounderness, to hold as before by the service of three knights.” (NB. Theobald had only previously held a part of Amounderness in Lancashire through inheritance.)

As previously recounted, records suggest that Theobald was originally butler/pincerna of John’s personal household, rather than holder of a specifically Irish office, illustrated in the wording of a charter by John Archbishop of Dublin which was written,'Theobald, pincerna domini comitis Moretoniae in Hibernia' / 'Butler of the count of Mortain in Ireland' (viz. Prince John), (Curtis, Ormond Deeds, no. 11; Cott. MS fol.266), indicating that the office was deemed to be attached to John’s lordship of Ireland. He later adopted a fresh seal, adding to his name the style ‘Pincerna Hiberniae’ (Butler of Ireland- as seen in his charters to Wotheney and Arklow). The surname ‘le Botelier’ and then ‘Butler’ developed out of that title over the next generations.

However, the original family name was ‘WALTER’.

Theobald’s father was Hervey Walter whose own father was known as Hervey (b.c.1080-90) as found in an early 13th century document, and as ‘Hervey Walter grandfather of Theobald’ (‘Hervei Walteri Aui ipius Theobald’) in a document in 1195. Four of Hervey Walter’s sons, Theobald, Hubert, Roger and Hamon, carried the surname Walter, as found in various documents. The Walter family held lands in Amounderness in Lancashire, and in Suffolk and Norfolk, and Cambridgeshire.

There was a second family of Walters contemporary with Hervey Walter and his children- another Hubert Walter (herein named 'the elder'), who also held lands in Suffolk in the same as Hervey Walter in the 1100’s, inherited by his son Peter Walter, and records indicate they were closely related- most likely, Hervey and Hubert were brothers.

Original Charter of Theobald (T.) Walter to Cockersand Abbey, Lancashire, c.1194-99, written on velum, in which he names his father, Hervey Walt[er] and his mother Matil[da] de Wal (line 3); Hubert (H.) archbishop of Canterbury his brother, and his ‘dear’ Rannulf de Glanville (line 2).

A witness is Theobald’s cousin’s son, Elias filius Roger (viz. Roger de Hutton- son of Orm and Alice Walter, sister of Hervey Walter) (end of line 11).

This charter had a contemporary endorsement ‘Pylyn, T. Walterus’ (ie. Pilling Hay which Theobald donated). Seal broken off.


(Chartulary of Cockersand Abbey, v.2, pt.1, ed. William Farrer, 1898)


And as we have previously seen, Theobald’s charter to the Monastery of Arklow named his mother as ‘Matildis de Valuniis’ (Monasticon Anglicanum, v.6, pt.2, p.1128), and his charter to the Monastery of Wotheny named her as ‘Matildae de Waltenes’ which the editor, William Dugdale, noted as ‘Valoniis’ (Mon. Ang. v.6, pt.2, p.1136-37).

The Walter family flourished during the 12th century. To hold the surname ‘Walter’ was most unusual in this period of time, and the ‘Walter’ surname was used by multiple members of the extended family and for several generations. Thomas Carte (Life of James Duke of Ormonde, p.xxiii-xxiv) wrote that, Robert Ulvester King of Arms laboured principally to prove that the surname of the family was Walter, and that it continued down the generations. Beatrix, daughter to Theobald uses Walter as a surname in her grants of lands to the monastery of St. Thomas in Dublin, and indeed, all the descendants of Theobald still kept up the surname of Walter till the time of their being created earls of Ormond. This he proves by a great number of records, the two last of which, were: a plea roll of 13 Edward II wherein Edmund Walter, butler of Ireland sets forth his title as descended from Theobald Walter I. The second is a plea roll in 2 Edward III, wherein James the first Earl of Ormond styles himself ‘Jacobus Walter Pincerna Hibernie’.

The Walter family consisted of the following names as found in various records:

Hervey (Walter?) (b.c.1080-1090)- earliest known patriarch- granted lands in Amounderness, Lancashire by King Henry I (1100-1135) or by Henry’s nephew and heir Stephen Count of Mortain who held the Honour of Lancaster (since c.1113). An Inquest A.D.1212, named him as ‘Hervey’. An A.D.1195 suit by Theobald Walter names Theobald’s grandfather as ‘Hervey Walter’- ‘Hervei Walteri Aui ipius Theobald’ (Latin ‘Aui’= grandfather)

Married unknown.


1.Hervey Walter (b.c.1100-1115; d.c.1170’s-80’s) m. Maud/Matilda de Valoines (d.c.1195-96*), dau. of Theobald de Valoines Lord of Parham, co. Suffolk; (*“The Chronicle of Jocelin of Brakelond”, written late 12th century, p.121- reporting son Hubert, as Archbishop and Papal legate, visiting West Dereham where his mother was dying); Made a charter to Butley Priory in Suffolk c.1171-77, donating tithes of his Suffolk lands.


A-Theobald Walter le Botelier (born circa mid-1130’s to mid 1140's; died circa August -September 1205 (before Michaelmas). Issue by first unknown wife - Beatrix Walter [m.1.Thomas de Hereford; m.2. Hugh Purcel]; and, issue by 2nd wife Maud/Matilda dau. of Robert le Vavasour- Theobald Walter II le Botelier and Maud Walter (m. Gerald Prendergast). Inherited Amounderness lands before 1166; Butler of Ireland c.1185-97; granted extensive lands in Ireland and Lancashire; High Sheriff of Lancaster 1194-99 and Lord of the Castle of Lancaster 1194. 

B-Hubert Walter (b.c. mid-1130’s to mid 1140's; died 13 July 1205)- rector of Halifax in 1185, dean of York Cathedral 1186; Bishop of Salisbury 1189; Crusades 1190-1193; Archbishop of Canterbury 1193-1205; Papal legate 1195-1198; Chief Justiciar of England (under Richard I) 1193-1198; and Chancellor (under King John) 1200-1205; Founded the Abbey of West Dereham, Norfolk in 1188; In the contemporary Chronicle of Jocelyn of Brakelond (a monk at the abbey of Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk), p.122, Jocelyn recounts a dispute between the abbot of St Edmund’s and Hubert Archbishop of Canterbury and legate: “However, these and other altercations being brought to a close, the legate (Hubert) began to flush in the face, upon the abbot lowering his tone, and beseeching him that he would deal more gently with the church of St Edmund, by reason of his native soil, for he was native born of St Edmund, and had been his fosterling. And indeed, he had reason to blush, because he had so unadvisedly outpoured the venom which he had bred within him” – which appears to confirm he was born in Suffolk.

Hubert’s charter to West Dereham does not state that he was born at West Dereham, as several historians continue to state. Hubert only writes in his charter, “a monastery of the Premonstratensian order in our fief of Dereham”. [Bishop] Thomas Tanner [1674-1735], an English antiquary who wrote an account in 1695 of all abbies and priories in his ‘Notitia Monastica’ (pub. by John Tanner 1744, p.352; repeated in Wm Dugdale’s ‘Monasticon Anglicanum’ v.6, Pt 2, p.899; pub 1846), and in his brief entry on West Dereham Abbey, Tanner wrote: “Hubert, A.D.1188, then dean of York… built, at this the place of his nativity, an Abbey etc.’, without giving any source for this information, and, in fact, no birth records existthis is the ongoing source of this theory of West Dereham being the birthplace of Theobald and Hubert, but, as Hubert’s charter states, the land for the abbey was purchased from Geoffrey filius Geoffrey Earl of Essex [after 1154]. (see more detail on Hubert at the bottom of this page)

C-Roger Walter (b.c.1140’s. d.c.1180’s) witnessed his father’s Charter to Butley Priory along with brothers Hubert and Hamon in c.1171-77 (notably, while Hubert was named as Hubert Walter, significantly Roger and Hamon were only given their first names with no surname in this first appearance as witnesses:

Witnessed Rannulf de Glanville’s Charter to Leiston Abbey, c.1185-88 as Rogero Walteri along with brother Teobaldo Walteri, and with Huberto Walteri named in the Charter text.  (Cartulary of Leiston Abbey and Butley Priory Charters, ed R.H. Mortimer, pp.76,131,151)

Named in the Charter of John de Birkin and William de Glanville c.1180’s, as
Rogero Walteri, in which the farm that he shared with William de Glanville (probably his cousin, son of Rannulf de Glanville) was donated to the canons and nuns of Watton monastery.

(‘Records of the Anglo-Norman House of Glanville’, William U.S. Glanville Richards, London 1882, p.10)

Rogero Waltero, a witness to the charter, dated c.1170-81, of Theobald Hautein to Jervaulx Abbey, of lands donated by Hamone de Valoines, his maternal relative. (Early Yorkshire Charters [EYC], 5, Pt.II, p.238)

Historian William Farrer (
Lancashire Pipe Rolls, pub.1902) originally, erroneously, suggested Roger Walter was Roger Pincerna/le Boteler of Warton in Amounderness, possible ancestor of the Butlers of Rawcliffe, however, Roger Pincerna of Warton was witnessing documents as early as the 1150’s, too early to be Roger Walter, and in the 1160’s-70’s before Roger’s elder brothers Theobald and Hubert were listed as witnessing charters; and Roger Pincerna named his brother as ‘Martin’ in a charter.

Farrer wrote (L.PR. p.40), “Roger Pincerna ie. “le Boteler” was probably a younger brother of Theobald Walter. He and his wife Quenilda are mentioned in the Chartulary of Cockersand, together with their sons, Richard, Robert and Adam.”

Farrer appears to have changed his view, and no longer made the same claim in his ‘A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 7’, ed. William Farrer and J Brownbill (London, 1912), pp. 171-174- the township of Warton:

Roger le Boteler attested a charter of Richard Bussell of Penwortham of the time of Henry II, at least as early as 1154-59, and another in the period 1160-80 (Lanc. Pipe Rolls, 375, 409). He paid half a mark in 1177 for some default (ibid. 38). In 1184–7 he appears to have claimed Claughton (ibid. 56).

Quenilda, daughter of Hugh son of Acard/Albert Bussel (brother of Warin Bussell of Penwortham, Lancashire, who held land in Domesday from Roger the Poitevan), who was married to Roger le Boteler, and had a number of children —Richard, Stephen, Thomas, Adam, Roger and Siegrith.

Lytham Charters at Durham, (1 a, 2 ae, 4 ae, Ebor. no. 46); a confirmation of the grant of an oxgang of land which Quenilda's husband Roger had given to the priory. Roger's grant (no. 47), made 'with the consent of my wife Quenilda and my heirs,' was attested by 'Stephen my son, Martin my brother,' and others. The family were benefactors of the religious houses at Lytham and Cockersand, Quenilda's husband (Roger Pincerna) becoming a monk of the former (Lytham Charter no.46) and was dead prior to 1200 as she rendered account in 1200-1 for part of the scutage due from the fee of Penwortham which incorporated Warton (Lanc. Pipe Roll, p.132).

The man known as Roger Pincerna (le Boteler) of Warton attested charters of Richard Bussel (son and heir of Warrin Bussell Baron of Penwortham) in the early years of Henry II, decades before Theobald Walter was granted the butlership of Ireland. Therefore, there is no explanation for Roger Walter holding the occupational surname of Pincerna, thereby negating this theory.

There were several families of the name of Pincerna in Lancashire in the 12th century. The Warrington Pincernas took the name from the hereditary office of Butler which they held under the earls of Chester, beginning with Richard Pincerna who appears in the Domesday survey holding lands in Cheshire.

There was also a Hamo Pincerna in Lancashire from whom the great family of Hoghton sprung, and do not appear to have any connection with the Warrington Pincernas. Hamo married (c.1130’s) a daughter of Warin Bussell Baron of Penwortham who held land in Domesday from Roger the Poitevan as one of his knights, Hamo’s son Richard Pincerna married the daughter of William de Valoines of Culpho, Suffolk (brother of Maud Valoines), according to Theobald Blake Butler. Roger Pincerna of Warton was probably closely related to Hamo Pincerna, hence their mutual association with the Bussels of Penwortham.

Importantly, Roger continued to use the surname Walter in the 1180’s, attesting his uncle Rannulf’s charter to Leiston, the charter of Theobald Hautein to Jervaulx, and the charter of John de Birkin. Roger also appeared to be living in the East Anglian/Yorkshire area, not Lancashire, but disappears from the records in the mid 1180’s (after witnessing the Leiston Abbey charter) and, unlike his brothers, did not witness or donate to his brother Hubert’s foundation charter to West Dereham Abbey, so probably died, possibly during Prince John’s visit to Ireland in 1185, accompanying his brother Theobald and uncle Rannulf de Glanville (as previously recounted).

D-Hamon Walter of Ickleton, Cambridgeshire; the ‘vill of Ickleton’ was donated to West Dereham Abbey by the Walter family including Hamo Walteri who resided there, sometime after Hubert Walter’s Foundation Charter: ‘terram de Iclinton, quam Hamo Walteri tenuit in eadem villa integrè’; May have died before this donation. Also witnessed his father’s Charter to Butley Priory c.1171-77. Nothing else known. 

E-Bartholomew- two records exist naming Bartholomew as a brother of Theobald and Hubert- ie. Hubert Walter, as Bishop of Salisbury c.1189-90, made a charter for a grant to the chapel of St Lawrence, Reading, which was witnessed by ‘Theobald Walter and Bartholomew his brother’/ Teodeb[aldo] Gauteri et Bartholomeo fratre ejus. A second record, in the Cartulary of Colchester Priory (i,133-34) in two grants by Geoffrey de Sackville (son of Jordan) c.1189-93, the first three witnesses are ‘Hubert Walter bishop of Salisbury, Bartholomew his brother/fratre ejus, and William de Glanville (cleric)':

It is strange that Bartholomew was not listed as a witness for any of the other Walter family charters, nor appears in any other records. It is possible he went into one of the religious orders. In the Early Yorkshire Charters (v.I, p.440, No. 561n), a Charter by Bernard de Balliol II is witnessed by Herbert (sic) dean of York, and master Bartholomew the dean’s clerk, etc. Hubert Walter was dean of York 1186 to 1189 (there was no dean of York named Herbert). De Balliol who was said to have led the attack on the Scottish King William the Lion in 1174, under Rannulf de Glanville, which led to his capture, was last found in historical records in 1189 and presumed to have died then. Hubert’s clerk could have been his younger brother. No further information known.

2.Aliz married Orm son of Magnus of Lancashire c.1130’s-40’s (Lancashire Inquests, Extents & Feudal Aids, ed Wm Farrer, 1903, p.37)- 1212 A.D.- Inquest referring to the marriage back in King Stephen’s reign (viz. 1135-1154)- ‘Hervey, father of Hervey Walter gave to Orm son of Magnus, with his daughter Aliz in marriage’… several lands in the Amounderness, Weeton fee of the Walters. A second record has ‘Warin son of Orm son of Magnus’ as witness to a charter of Richard Bussel to Eversham Abbey estimated date c.1153-64, indicating a birth c.1132-1143.  Issue: Warin son of Orm, d.s.p. before 1166; Roger de Hutton, of Hutton in Leyland Hundred, Lancashire; (issue: Elias de Hutton)

3.? Hubert Walter of Snapeshall in Fressingfield co. Suffolk (b.c 1100’s-1115, d.c.1160’s) - named in several monastic cartulary records dated: c.1123-1134 (latter date more likely), 1155, 1158, 1165, etc., and the Pipe Roll (3 Henry II) 1158. Notably, the Eye Priory Confirmation Charter of Henry I dated c.1123-1134, which included ‘Hubert Walter’s tithes’ donated to the Priory, is a much later redraft in which the named witnesses were incompatible date-wise, and the suggested date of the charter is therefore unreliable. Subsequent charters, post Henry II’s succession, confirm Henry I’s charter which includes Hubert Walter’s tithes in Fressingfield, Suffolk, with later confirmations specifying his manor of Snapeshall (see details later).   Issue: Peter Walter (b.c.1140’s- d.c.1210), als. Peter filius Hubert, married Margaret (dau. of unknown of Colton, Norfolk): issue: Hubert filius Peter b.c.1160’s); Of Snapeshall in Fressingfield by inheritance, and Instead in Weybread, Co. Suffolk, and Bylaugh in Norfolk (the last two held from Theobald Walter who held by inheritance).

In the late 1180’s Peter Walter confirmed the gift ofhis predecessors’ of two thirds of the tithes of their domestic lands in the district of Fressingfield, Co. Suffolk to the priory of Eye. Donated ½ mark from his mill at Instead/Weybread to West Dereham Abbey founded by [cousin] Hubert Walter (ie. brother of Theobald Walter). Donated the church of Bylaugh to Butley Priory and held Bylaugh from Theobald Walter. Witnessed Hervey Walter’s Charter to Butley Priory c.1171-77, and a second charter referring to Instead in Suffolk held by Theobald Walter. Witnessed several charters of the de Huntingfield family (descendants of Walter de Caen- Huntingfield near Fressingfield), indicating a close personal relationship. Described as a knight of county Suffolk. (details later)


Various sources in websites suggest there were other sons of Hervey Walter, including Walter, Osbert fitzHervey and William fitzHervey, however none have been proven, and evidence is lacking.


There has been a suggestion in several books (viz. Thomas Carte) and websites, of another son named Walter. This appears to have been a mistaken identity from two misread documents:

a)     Hervey Walter’s charter to Butley Priory names his sons, and various translations (including Thomas Carte) have added a comma which changes the translation. The document in Latin in the ‘Cartulary of Leiston Abbey and Butler Priory Charters’ has: ‘et filiis meis Huberto Walter et Rogero et Hamone’, which clearly names his second eldest son by the name he was known by, viz. ‘Hubert Walter’, just as his eldest son was known as Theobald Walter at that time. Some translations have incorrectly placed a comma between ‘Hubert, Walter’, indicating a separate son named Walter. Also, the record twice separates the brothers with the conjunction ‘and’ [ie. Hubert Walter and Roger and Hamon] indicating three brothers not four.

b   The Charter of Donors to the Abbey of West Dereham, written in Latin has abbreviated the names, which has been taken out of context:

‘Et ex dono memorate H. Cant. Archiep et T. Walteri fratis sui, terram de Iclinton, quam Hamo Walteri tenuit in eadem villa integrè,’

The translations have mistakenly read the ‘Walteri fratis sui’ as a brother of Hubert named Walter, but have not recognised that the preceding ‘T. refers to ‘Theobald Walteri his brother’, just as the ‘H. Cant, archiep.’ referred to ‘Hubert Canterbury Archbishop’.

There are no other records of a son named ‘Walter’. He does not appear in family charters, nor in charters of the de Glanville family, so we can comfortably dismiss this claim.



There is some speculation of a familial link with Osbert fitzHervey (of Dagworth and Bradewell, Suffolk- near Haughley; d.1205), a justiciar, who appears as a witness to the West Dereham Abbey Foundation Charter of Hubert Walter in 1188.

Chronicler, Jocelyn of Brakelond referred to Osbert fitzHervey as a ‘sub vicecomes/under-sheriff, active in the early 1180’s in Suffolk’ (p.51 Chronicle of Jocelin de Brakelond, ed. Sir Ernest Clarke), but did not mention that he was brother of archbishop Hubert Walter.

Osbert fitzHervey was one of the circuit judges frequently named in the ‘Feet of Fines for Norfolk and Suffolk’, from 1199 to about 1205.

In the Rotuli Curæ Regis in counties Suffolk, Norfolk and Kent, there are eight entries dating from 1194 to 1199, for Osbert filius Hervey. The following, related to the Butley Priory, is dated November 1194:

A record in the National Archives UK, “Inquisitions Post Mortem, Henry III, file 26”:

Osbert de Daggord- Writ…46…(a fragment). Inq. (undated): In the time of King John, Osbert son of Hervey of Daggord held the manor and died vested as of fee, and Richard his son and heir (being) within age, the king because of some offence done by Baldwin Filiol, gave the marriage and wardship to Sir William de Huntingfield (descendant of Walter de Caen), who married the said Isabel his daughter to the said Richard. Afterwards the said Baldwin made peace with the king, and the said William made peace with him for having the wardship. This, the said Isabel was dowered after the death of Richard her husband of Daggord manor, and died seised thereof. (C. Hen III File 26 (16))

However, if and how he is related to the Walters has not been established, nor is there an explanation for a different surname to the rest of the family. There is no known link between the ‘Walters’ and the lands of Dagworth/Daggord in Suffolk, although Dagworth is adjacent to Old Newton, held by Theobald Walter as part of the Amounderness wapentake, of the honour of Lancaster. Dagworth is between Old Newton, and Haughley which was partly held by ‘Hervey’ in Domesday from tenant-in-chief Hugh de Montfort who also held Old Newton and Dagworth. Whether this Hervey was the ancestor of Osbert son of Hervey of Dagworth is unknown.


Osbert is noted as being from a ‘middling knightly family’, and ‘of undistinguished origin’. He began his career as an obscure East Anglian knight, but at his death he had an income of over £240.

Both Osbert fitzHervey, and Osbert de Glanville son of Hervey de Glanville senior and brother of Rannulf de Glanville, witnessed the charter of Hubert Walter to West Dereham abbey, so they were two distinct individuals, contradicting suggestions by some historians that they were one and the same.

With lack of any evidence of a link, it is unlikely Osbert fitzHervey was from this family.


Speculation of a familial link with William fitzHervey/William Hervey arose from an entry in the Feet of Fines (-reign of Henry II and first seven years of reign of Richard I AD. 1182-1196, pub 1894, Pipe Roll Society, p.21), referred to in:

An Essay towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk, by Francis Bromefield and Charles Parkin (v.8, Belaugh, pp.186-189):

In the 6th of King Richard (15 July 1195) Theobald Walter was petent in a fine and William Hervey tenant of the 3rd part of a knight’s fee in the town of Belaugh, Norfolk, ‘Hulmested’, and that of Boxted in Suffolk conveyed to Theobald who reconveyed it to William and his heirs and the said William released his right in all the lands which were Hervey Walter’s, grandfather of Theobald.

(Belaugh, Hulmstead, and Boxted were part of the Walter’s Amounderness fee, as part of the Honour of Lancaster)

Summary by Carew:

Fine between Theobald Walter [“Walter sive Butler”, in margin by Carew] and William Hervei. The former grants to the latter the town of Boxted, with the appurtenances in Hulmested and Belag, which last Peter Walter holds. The said William quitted claim of all other lands of Hervei Walter, grandfather of Theobald.

(Lambeth Palace Library-MSS Manuscripts, Carew Manuscripts, Miscellaneous Notes and Abstracts, Records in Westminster, temp. Regis Richardi I)

Feet of Fines -reign of Henry II and first seven years of reign of Richard I AD. 1182-1196, p.21

The document translation:

The wording that ‘William has quitclaimed to Theobald and his heirs, from him and his heirs, forever, all the right and claim which he had, or was able to have, in all the other lands which belonged to Hervey Walter, grandfather of Theobald’, does not make it clear on what basis William Hervey was able to have ‘rights and claims’ in ‘all the other lands which belonged to Hervey Walter, grandfather of the same Theobald, which Theobald now holds’, although it does suggest a closer, familial relationship. However, it has been difficult to unravel exactly how this William Hervey was holding the lands of Theobald Walter. And the fact that the wording of this document makes it clear that Theobald held the land which belonged to his grandfather as his heir, but does not make a similar clarification of William’s relationship to Theobald or Theobald’s grandfather, seems to make it unlikely that William was a direct descendant of Hervey. Yet, for an unknown and unstated reason, Theobald granted the named lands to ‘William and his heirs to hold of him and his heirs forever’. The document also makes note that Peter Walter, Theobald’s cousin, was holding Belaugh from him.

Whether William had held this land directly as a gift from the Crown (maybe following a confiscation after Theobald’s initial support of Prince John’s rebellion against his brother King Richard), or as a family inheritance (and possibly through the family link with the de Glanvilles) is also not made clear.

The land of Boxted in Suffolk, transferred to William Hervey by Theobald Walter in 1195, remained in the family for several generations. The Lancashire Pipe Roll entry below has been translated as ‘William son of Hervey’ which in Latin, would be ‘William filius Hervey’, or William fitzHervey.

The Lancashire Pipe Roll, 8 John (1205-06), p.198:

W.A. Copinger wrote about Boxstead Hall Manor

In the 6th Richard I, Theobald Walter was plaintiff in a fine against William Hervie of the 3rd part of a knight’s fee in Boxstead conveyed to Theobald who re-conveyed to William and his heirs and the said William released his right in all the lands which were Hervey Walter’s, grandfather of Theobald. William fitzHervey was succeeded by his son and heir William Hervey who held this manor at his death in 1255 (Cal. of Inquisitions,101). He was succeeded by his son William Hervey who held the manor of Edmund the King’s brother by render of half a knight’s fee, with the advowson of the Church. He died in 1297, and was succeeded by his daughter and heir Amy who married Robert Leyes or de Lyes, and their descendants, the Poleys subsequently had this Boxstead Hall Manor in the 1300’s.

(The Manors of Suffolk’ v.1- The Hundreds of Babergh and Blackbourn’: Boxstead Hall Manor, London, 1905)

Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, v.1 (London 1904), p.101- 40 Henry III (1256):

There is the possibility that a William fitzHervey may have been part of the de Glanville family. There were several by the name of William de Glanville in the various lines and it has been suggested by researchers that the name may have been adopted by a junior line, descendants of Hervey de Glanville the elder, to distinguish from the senior line descended from William de Glanville the elder (Hervey’s elder brother).

William filio Hervey was listed as a witness to Rannulf de Glanville’s Confirmation Charter of c.1179-1185 in Yorkshire (Early Yorkshire Charters, 1, p256, No.337). Notably he is listed amongst several of Rannulf’s close relatives including nephew and prodigy Hubert Walter, Rannulf’s brothers Osbert and Gerard de Glanville, Rannulf’s son-in-law William de Auberville, Rannulf’s long term steward Reiner, cousin once removed Stephen de Glanville (son of Rannulf’s cousin Bartholomew de Glanville), nephew John de Glanville (son of Hervey de Glanville Jnr), and nephew Theobald de Valeines (II).  (Close associate, Rannulf de Gedding was appointed a justice by Rannulf in 1180’s, in Henry’s reign, and son Hervey de Gedding was a Glanville tenant in Hartest Suffolk.)

The order of the witnesses is significant.

To be included in a prominent position in such a large family group does suggest a familial link in this instance. The fact that William is placed just after Hubert Walter, implies he was of a similar family relationship, such as nephew- was he possibly an undocumented son of Rannulf de Glanville’s brother, Hervey de Glanville Jnr? If so, he may have chosen the name to differentiate from Rannulf’s son of the same name, and from Bartholomew de Glanville’s son also named William de Glanville.

Historian Richard Mortimer noted that William filius Hervey was one of several by the name of William de Glanville. (Cart. Leiston Abbey, p.68; R. Mortimer, “The Family of Rannulf de Glanville”, p.6, ‘’ article, Vol. LIV No 129, May 1981). He erroneously suggested that William filius Hervey was the William de Glanville whose wife was Dionysia/ Denise daughter of Jordan Lenveise and his wife Cecily Arundell, and whose other daughter Joan was the wife of John de Birkin’, quoting Early Yorkshire Charters, 10, No.113. (EYC Index pp.169-171). Mortimer suggests that the William de Glanville in question was brother to Rannulf, and son of Hervey de Glanville Senior. This is incorrect. Firstly, William de Glanville, son of Hervey de Glanville Senior, was the eldest son and born about 1110, too old to be married to Dionysia who was born in the 1160’s. The widowed Dionysia remarried, c.1189-92 to Hubert de Anstey whose son Nicholas de Anesty inherited, as a minor, on the death of his father in early 1210, and whose marriage and custody was granted to Robert fitzWalter (Testa de Nevill, Pt.1, 234; Pipe Roll 12 John, m.18d.). In 1218, Nicholas de Anstey sided with the barons in opposition to King John and was ordered to destroy Anstey Castle. He died in or before 1225 when his daughter and heir, Dionysia (II) was a minor- she married firstly Walter Langton and secondly Warin de Munchensi in 1234, so she must have been born c.1214 or earlier. If Nicholas was just a minor in 1210, he was probably born c.1190-92, which indicates that Hubert Anstey’s wife Dionysia’s first husband William de Glanville died before that, and left no issue.

This information on William de Glanville, husband of Dionysia, directly relates to a charter quoted in William Glanville-Richards’ book on the Records of the Anglo-Norman House of Glanville (1882, p.10)- a charter of John de Birkine (b.c.1160) and Johanna/Joan his wife, and (her sister) Dionysia wife of William de Glanville to the canons and nuns of ‘Wattun’ monastery in Yorkshire, in which John and Joan de Birkin and Dionysia donated their land at ‘Serzeuans’ (unidentified) ‘which was at the farm of William de Glanville and Roger Walter’, witnessed by Justice Roger Arundell. The fact that William de Glanville is closely linked with Roger Walter in the ownership of this farm helps identify the William involved.

The translation of the charter of John de Birkine (of West Riding):

May your whole community know that the canons and nuns of Watton received to farm our land of Serzeuans, which [was] at the farm of William de Glanville and Roger Walter, and afterwards they held it of us, with the stock and the implements, and at that time they wholly and fully yielded the farm-rent, and satisfied us concerning all the agreements made about the aforementioned farm. Thus it is that we have quitclaimed the aforenamed canons and nuns concerning the same farm, and all the agreements, and the exactions pertaining to the same farm. And because we do not have to hand the chirographs made concerning the same farm, we have firmly and faithfully promised, and we have given security to them with the interposition of our faith, that if the aforenamed chirographs be found, we will restore them to the aforenamed canons and nuns; if, however, by chance, they be not found again, we wish them to be void and useless in the future, and to have no force.

A chirograph was a medieval legal instrument like an indenture of a fine of lands, probably the original indenture between the Birkins and William and Roger concerning the farm lands, which was now missing.

The date of the charter must have been in the early to mid-1180’s when Roger Walter (b.c.1140’s) was active.  Or it may have been after the deaths of both William de Glanville and Roger Walter. The fact that William de Glanville and Roger Walter held a farm together suggests that they were close relatives, probably first cousins- therefore William was probably the son and heir of Rannulf de Glanville and died before his father in 1190, leaving his three sisters as Rannulf’s only heirs.

Author M.T. Flanagan wrote: An entry in the annals of Loch Cé, recording the killing in 1185 by Domnall Ó Briain, king of Thomond, of a foster brother of Prince John, suggests that a son of Ranulf de Glanville was included among John's entourage in Ireland. It is possible that this refers to William who probably accompanied his father and Theobald on their journey to Ireland with Prince John in 1185. (M.T. Flanagan, Butler [Walter], Theobald, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004).

However, while this theory remains speculation, the death of William de Glanville, without issue, probably occurred more than a year before his widow’s remarriage in c.1189-92. And that therefore discounts him as the William Hervey named in the fine with Theobald Walter, as William Hervey had a son and heir of the same name who inherited the Boxted lands in the fine. It also discounts him as Rannulf’s elder brother William de Glanville (b.c.1110) who was too old to be the man named in this charter of 1195.

(NB. Rannulf was called to be an advisor to Hubert de Anstey’s father Richard de Anstey in a well-known inheritance case in 1163 in which Richard challenged his uncle William de Sackville’s daughter and heir as being illegitimate and therefore ineligible for inheritance. The de Sackville family were related to the de Glanville family through the senior line.)

It is difficult to determine if and how much of this speculation of William’s identity was correct. A William filius Hervey was Sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk in 1186-87 (Pipe Roll, 33 Henry II) until 1189-1190 (PR,1 Richard), but which William filius Hervey is debatable. The question is whether the William filius Hervey sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk in 1186-1188 in Henry II’s reign and in the first two years of Richard I, and William de Glanville who is named as acting as one of the King’s Justiciars in 1177 at a trial at Caen in Normandy, and the William de Glanville who carried documents from the King in France to Rannulf de Glanvill the Justiciar in England in 1187 (Court, Household and Itinerary of Henry II, by Rev. R.W. Eyton, 1878, 209,280) are the same person. Rannulf promoted Hubert Walter and other members of the de Glanville family during his tenure as Justiciar, such as appointing his brother Osbert de Glanville as a justice, and brother Roger de Glanville appointed sheriff of Northumberland in the 1180’s, so it is possible that Rannulf’s elder brother William was appointed a sheriff and/or did act as a justiciar, but as he was probably born bef. 1110, he would have been of great age in the 1180’s, not likely to be travelling back and forth to Normandy.

William the justiciar in 1187, could also have been Bartholomew de Glanville’s second son William (b.c.1140’s-50’s), also known as 'William de Glanville cleric' in various documents, and of a more appropriate age for travelling. The William de Glanville who granted ‘half a mark annually to Leiston Abbey, from his ‘camera’ until he can assign rent’, dated late 12th century, witnessed by Geoffrey de Glanville, his younger brother, both sons of Bartholomew de Glanville, is known to have died without issue, his brother Geoffrey inheriting. This William had inherited from his elder brother Stephen (d.1190) who in turn had inherited his father Bartholomew’s debts (d.1179). William finally paid off those debts in 1203. (Cartulary of Leiston Abbey etc, p.68 No.19). He may have been the William de Glanville acting as a justiciar in the records above. (‘Camera’ meant chamber, referring to a judicial chamber.) He was probably William de Glanville the cleric who worked alongside Hubert Walter.

C.R. Cheney wrote in his book on ‘Hubert Walter’ (1906):

The first witnesses to the archbishop’s acts were a distinguished half dozen archdeacons, followed immediately by Osbert de Camera, Hubert Walter and William Glanville, clerks. The trio significantly took precedence over a large number of other men of note, clerical and lay. William Glanville must be a relative and is elsewhere recorded as in the company of Rannulf and Hubert. He was a judge in Richard’s reign”. Glanville-Richards claims William the cleric died 1228 and buried at Butley, was a justiciary 1196 and a benefactor to the Abbey of Leiston.

A ‘William de Glanville’ and a ‘William de Glanville cleric’ witnessed Hervey Walter’s charter to Butley Priory in c.1174, presumably the first being either Rannulf’s brother or his son, and the second, Stephen de Glanville’s brother.

The Chronicle of Jocelin of Brakelond (a monk at Bury St Edmunds, late 12th century), Ch.VII, p.96 recounts: The two counties of Norfolk and Suffolk were put in the "mercy" of the King by the justices in Eyre for some default, and fifty marks were put upon Norfolk, and thirty upon Suffolk. And when a certain portion of that common amerciament was assessed upon the lands of St. Edmund, and was sharply demanded, the abbot, without any delay, went to our lord the King. We found him at Clarendon; and when the charter of King Edward, which discharges all the lands of St. Edmund from all gelds and scots, had been shown to him, the King commanded by his writ that six knights of the county of Norfolk and six of Suffolk should be summoned to consider before the barons of the exchequer, whether the lordships of St. Edmund ought to be quit from common amerciament. To save trouble and expense, only six knights were chosen, and these for the reason that they had lands in either county; namely, Hubert of Briseword (Braiseworth, near Eye), W. Fitz-Hervey, and William of Francheville, and three others, who went to London with us, and on behalf of the two counties gave their verdict in favour of the liberty of our church. And thereupon the justices then sitting enrolled their verdict. (William de Francheville married Mabel, daughter of William de Sackville, related to the de Glanvilles) (c.1187)

The document indicates that the knight William fitzHervey chosen to represent the two counties, held lands in both Norfolk and Suffolk, and was obviously held in high respect, but was not described as ‘sheriff’ of the county.

In the Red Book of the Exchequer (Cartae Baronum, vol.1, p.411) a William de Glanville owed 9 ½ knight’s fees to the Honour of Eye, Suffolk, in 1166- presumably this entry referred to Ranulf’s elder half-brother William (son of Flandina).

In the same Red Book of the Exchequer (Cartae Baronum, vol.1), a William filius Hervey owed 1 part of a knight’s fee to Robert son of Hugh of Tateshale- (refer below, re: West Witton lands; possible son of Hervey filius Akaris) in Lincolnshire in 1166:

This would indicate the William de Glanville (son of Hervey de Glanville snr; and brother of Rannulf) and the William filius Hervey in the Red Book of the Exchequer were two distinct individuals in 1166.

William de Glanville, elder brother of Rannulf de Glanville, and probably the same William de Glanville named in the Red Book of the Exchequer, left only one heir, a daughter named Agnes (married to Robert de Creke) who was also heir to her uncle Roger de Glanville.

There are also several references to a William filius Hervey in earlier records.

Records of men named William filius Hervey

The earliest relevant charter, from King Stephen to the Earl of Essex, dated Christmas 1141, lists the number of knight’s fees granted by the King, including “et servicium Willelmi filii Hervei pro iii militibus” (viz.3 knight’s fees)- it is uncertain to whom this refers. (Regesta Regum Anglo Normannorum 1066-1154, iii, p.102-03, Charter 276).

Then, there are several references to William filius Hervei in the Pipe Rolls, for Norfolk/Suffolk, the earliest entry in 1156 where he paid 20 marks of silver off his debt, remaining debt at £22 11s. 2d.:

William filius Hervey of Selfleta, and the link to Hervius filius Akaris

 There was a charter by Henry II in 1175/76 in which Henry granted the manor of Leiston to Rannulf de Glanville, and an annual rent of 52s. from a place called Selfleta which ‘Williamus filius Hervei used to pay the king from the land of Selfleta, which he held by the service of half a knight’s fee’ and which, in 1182, Rannulf granted to St Mary’s church already built at Leiston and to the Premonstratensian Canons serving God there for the construction of a religious house.

(Cartulary of Leiston Abbey etc, by RH Mortimer, p.75)

Then, in the Pipe Rolls, 22 Henry II (1175-76) in the entry for Norfolk and Suffolk, there is the same reference to Rannulf de Glanville receiving 52s. ‘of the service of William filius Hervei’:

(Pipe Roll 23 Henry II, 1176-77 p.124)

This entry is repeated in all subsequent Pipe Rolls for Henry II and Richard I, until at least the first year of the reign of King John (1200).

At first glance, the link between Rannulf de Glanville and this William filius Hervey of Selfleta would appear to be a familial link. However, on closer inspection of the records, this may not be so.

Richard Mortimer, editor of the ‘Cartulary of Leiston Abbey’ etc, commented (p.31-2) on Henry II’s charter: Rannulf was granted Leiston Manor, Upton and 52s. annual rent, and that the rent was allowed off the farm of Norfolk and Suffolk; ‘Selfleta; is almost certainly Shelfley, south-west of Ipswich (now called Shelley); and that Butley priory received the churches of Upton and Leiston and the 52s rent.

In Domesday, Shelley was a berewick of [East] Bergholt in Suffolk, all belonging to the King and was considered in the largest 20% of settlements recorded in Domesday. There was also a place named Selflege/Shelley in Essex, held by Geoffrey de Mandeville in Domesday. (‘In 1182, William de Selflege in Essex, son of Emma, died in possession of Shelley and some other manors. His inheritance was divided between his two daughters.’ It is unknown whether this record is relevant to these records, but as it relates to Essex, it is unlikely. [A History of the Co of Essex, v.4, Ongar Hundred-Shelley Manor, ed. WR Powell, p.204])

And in the Testa de Nevill, (p.295) of ‘William filius Hervey tenant of Selflega held ‘in capite’ from the King for 52s.’ making a donation to Butley Priory. And it appears to be in relation to the death of (Sir) Robert de Tateschal who died before 1185:

This donation of the 52s. to Butley Priory is also mentioned in the Rotulus Cancellarii (Pipe Roll 1 John p.322).

 Richard Mortimer (Family of Rannulf de Glanville, p.5)- commented that William filius Hervey was a tenant of Robert de Tateshale, quoting Early Yorkshire Charters (v.5, 337-39)- The West Witton Fee (Yorkshire) in the Honour of Richmond:

Robert son of Hugh de Tateshale held West Witton. He was grantor of a charter and was dead by 1185. (His great great grandson also named Robert de Tateshale married Joan daughter of Ralph filius Ranulf lord of Middleham, descendant of Helewise, dau. of Rannulf de Glanville). The charter (on p.339 EYC), dated 1155-1177, was a confirmation by Robert son of Hugh de Tateshale to the Templars, and in particular to brother Walter Ruffus, of the gift made by William son of Hervey of his land of [West] Witton, with power to Walter to transfer the gift to any religious house except one of the Cistercian order; which gift had been confirmed by master Richard de Hastings with the assent of the whole chapter at London. It is clear that William’s holding in West Witton was subordinate to that of Robert’s. In 1166, William son of Hervey held a tenth of a knight’s fee of the fee of 25 knight’s which Robert son of Hugh (de Tateshale) held in chief in Lincolnshire (Red Book of Exchequer, I, 389). In 1176 his service for lands in Norfolk or Suffolk (Selfleta) had been granted by the king to Rannulf de Glanville. In 1184 he held 6 carucates in West Witton, paying 16d for sheriff’s aid. (Registrum Honoris de Richmond, p.23). From 1187 to 1190 he was sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk. At Michaelmas 1194 Robert de Tateshale (II) rendered account of a mark for having it enrolled on the roll of the exchequer that he had deraigned the vill of Wutton [west Witton] in the king’s court against William son of Hervey, who had recognised that the vill was Robert’s right and inheritance, and was to hold it for life of Robert and his heirs by the service of a sparrow-hawk yearly, with remainder to Robert and his heirs (Pipe Roll 6 Ric.I, p163). The payment was completed at Mich 1199 (I John p.43). William son of Hervey died before July 1201 when Gilbert son of Hervey quitclaimed to Robert de Tateshale [II] all right in the vill of Wittun [west Witton]. (Yorks. Fines, John p.10*)The gift made to the Templars by William son of Hervey was the nucleus of the preceptory of Penhill in West Witton. In the inquest of 1185, the Templars held in demesne 2 carucates of land at ‘Pennel’ of the gift of William son of Hervey (Records of the Templars [Brit.Academy], p.119). In 1202 the Templars recognised that 3 carucates in [West] Witton were the right and inheritance of Robert de Thathesale [II], for which recognition Robert granted them all the tenement which they had held in the life of William son of Hervey of William’s gift, whose heir Robert was, within bounds (specified in detail) and added a further gift of land (Yorks. Fines John p.26). The earlier limit of date for the present charter is governed by the fact that master Richard de Hastings was master of the Temple in England c.1155-85 and the later by the fact that Henry de Lascy one of the witnesses died in 1177.     *Pedes Finium Ebor. Regnante Johnanne (Yorkshire Fines) p.10:

NB. Gilbert filium Hervey’s fine with Robert de Tateshal (II) in 1201 over lands held by William filius Hervey, tenant of the villa de Wittun and the villa of Selfelta/Selueleia: (in Domesday, Shelley in Suffolk spelt Sceueleia.)

It is possible that the William filius Hervey and Gilbert filius Hervey named in the above charters in relation to Selfleta and Witton, were the sons of Hervey filius Akaris (b.c.1120, d.1182) of the Ravensworth fee in Yorkshire who held East Witton- (EYC, v, pp.316-331)

Akaris fitzBardolf (b.c.1080) of Ravensworth, son of Bardolf a brother of Count Alan of Brittany in Domesday, sons of Odo/Eudo Count of Penthièvre, Brittany, a relative of William the Conqueror- Son of Duke Geoffrey I of Brittany and Hawise of Normandy daughter of Duke Richard I of Normandy. Bodin brother of Bardolf held 26 lands in Yorkshire in Domesday from his brother Count Alan. Akaris fitzBardolph gave land for the founding of a monastery in 1154. He died in 1161 and in 1165 his son Hervey consented to the Abbey of Charity being relocated into the fields of East Witton on the verge of the river Jore and was renamed the Abbey of Jore Vale which became Jervaulx Abbey. Akaris also had a son named William Bardolf, Lord of Bardolf, and possibly a son named Walter.

Hervey fitzAkaris, forester of the New Forest and Arkengarthgale Co. York. According to some websites, he had sons, Alan Dictus de Cleburne, Henry fitzHervey Lord of Ravensworth of Cotherstone Castle, Richard fitzHervey, Hugh fitzHervey, William fitzHervey and Gilbert fitzHervey (as in the Yorkshire Fine above). (However, it should be noted that an article on the Library Ireland site does not attribute William and Gilbert as sons of Hervey fitzAkaris.)

The link between Hervey fitzAkaris and both William fitzHervey and Gilbert fitzHervey, is the land at East and West Witton, and it is a compelling argument that they were directly related.

(see Sir Bernard Burke, Dormant, Abeyant, Forfeited and Extinct Peerages, Burke’s Peerage London, 1883, p.207- FitzHugh, Barons FitzHugh, descendants of Akaris)

The fact that the Gilbert filius Hervey and brother William filius Hervey in the fine above concerning Selfleta and Witton, carried the same names as the supposed sons of Hervey fitzAkaris of Witton, and the fact that William’s heir is named as Robert de Tateshale, would seem to discount a familial relationship with the de Glanvilles. Whether this was the William filius Hervey who was sheriff in the late 1180’s to 1190 is unknown, but is quite possible.

There are several references in the records of men named William filius Hervey, in several counties, and the similarity in names is an example of the complexity in sorting out the various characters with similar names in documents.

There is no evidence that William filius Hervey was a son of Hervey Walter. He did not witness any of the charters of the Walter family or seem to have any other connection with them, with the exception of this one record of an accord between William and Theobald by which Theobald granted the lands of Boxted, Belaugh and Hulmestead to William.

So where does that leave the William Hervey of Boxted whose son was of the same name?

If not the William son of Hervey fitzAkaris, the only suggestion that makes sense is that, one of the men named William filius Hervey living in co. Suffolk, and closely associated with the de Glanvilles, was the son of Hervey de Glanville Jnr (viz. son of Hervey de Glanville Sen., and brother of Rannulf de Glanville).

It has also been suggested, but not proven that William Hervey or ‘fitz’Hervey was related to Osbert fitzHervey, however there is no known association, only a common patronymic. 

The key points about William (filius) Hervey’s relationship to this Walter family:

  • ·        William filius Hervey was not a witness to Hervey Walter’s Charter to Butley Priory in c.1171-77, as were three of Hervey’s sons (with eldest son Theobald away at the time)
  • ·        He was not a witness to either of Rannulf de Glanville’s charters to Butley Priory c.1171 and Leiston Abbey c.1186; however, he was a witness to the Yorkshire Charter of Rannulf de Glanville in amongst several Glanville family members including Hubert Walter.
  • ·        He was not a witness to Hubert Walter’s Foundation Charter to West Dereham Abbey in 1188, nor was he a donor
  • ·        His only known association with any member of the Walter family occurs through this one document, an accord between Theobald and William Hervey dated 1195 (Feet of Fines)
  • ·        All members of this extended family carried the surname ‘Walter’, and there would be no explanation for this son to carry a different surname to the rest of the family, unless he was illegitimate issue
  • ·        William filius Hervey of Boxted had a son and heir of the same name. As to the suggestion his relationship to Theobald came through him being a member of the de Glanville family, he cannot be William de Glanville, brother of Rannulf de Glanville (sons of Hervey de Glanville the elder), whose only heir was a daughter named Agnes. Of the other documented William de Glanvilles living in the late 12th century, he cannot be the William de Glanville married to Dionysia (possible son of Rannulf de Glanville) as he died pre 1190 without issue, and he cannot be the William de Glanville cleric who was son to Bartholomew de Glanville and died d.s.p. The only possibility is that he could be an undocumented son of Hervey de Glanville Jnr (son of Hervey de Glanville the elder), but that does not explain why he would be granted inherited lands by Theobald Walter on condition of not claiming other inherited lands, unless Theobald was a blood descendant of a de Glanville (not just related through his mother, Maud de Valoines).


So, this relationship of William filius Hervey to the Walter family remains unresolved.


The big question that has remained a mystery over the centuries for numerous researchers:

Where and from whom did the name ‘Walter’ come from?

This period of time was before surnames were generally used, so people of high status were  individually described: by their origins or toponymic names such as ‘de Caen’, ‘de Huntingfield’, ‘de Clare’; or by the patronymic name, filius/fitz/‘son of’: ‘fitzWalter’ or ‘filius Walter’, filius Hervey; or, by their physical attributes such as ‘le Rus’, ‘le Brun’ (red or brown hair); or, by an occupational name such as ‘the crossbowman/Arbalestarius’, ‘the deacon/Diaconus’; but few were known by just a single family surname (taken from a given name) such as ‘Walter’. These surnames usually changed with each generation as individuals acquired land, and within families such as siblings who inherited different properties, or an individual was distinguished by an occupation etc. Unusually, the ‘Walter’ surname in this particular family was used by multiple members of the extended family and for several generations.

Authors, Pollock and Maitland in their History of English Law Before the Time of Edward I’ (vol.1.,1895, pp.143-44), discuss the archbishop Hubert Walter’s name: ‘Now the name ‘Hubertus Walteri’ was not merely an uncommon name, it was a name of exceedingly uncommon kind. ‘Hubertus filius Walteri’ would of course be a name of the commonest kind, but the omission of the ‘filius’ is, among men of gentle birth, an almost distinctive mark of a particular family, that to which the great archbishop belonged.’

The given name of ‘Walter’/Walther originally came from a Germanic name ‘Waldhari’ meaning ‘ruler of the army’, composed of the elements ‘wald’ or ‘walt’/rule and ‘hari’/army; spelt the French form ‘Galtier’ and the Latin ‘Walteri’ in entries in Domesday, and spelt ‘Walteri’ in various Latin documents, but there is no evidence of Hervey being a ‘leader of an army’, and that origin would also not account for Hervey Walter’s brother Hubert Walter (the elder) carrying the same surname, or their descendants.

The Normans brought the name ‘Walter’ to England as a given name, and they were numerous which makes our task difficult. Notably, in the Domesday Book there are 159 properties listed to ‘Walters’, with 55x ‘Walters’ with a ‘descriptive surname’ such as ‘of a place’ [eg. Walter de Caen/de Cadomo], ‘of an occupation’ [eg. Walter the Deacon; Walter the arblaster/crossbowman] or, a patronymic name as ‘son of’ [eg. Walter filius Alberic; Walter filius Grip]; and, under just the single name ‘Walter’ there are a further 71 separate entries listed from all counties. Many of these probably consisted of multiple entries for the same ‘Walter’, and one can also speculate that some should have had an appellation which was omitted through clerical error or incompetence, eg. on several entries in Domesday, it has been proven that Walter de Caen and Walter fitzGrip and Walter the Deacon were just named as ‘Walter’, which makes it difficult to pinpoint which other Domesday entries could also fall into that category. However, despite so many Norman settlers named Walter, while there are several unrelated descendants of Walters in Domesday named ‘fitzWalter’, this is the only family carrying the simple singular surname of ‘Walter’ in the 12th century.

One would assume that the surname ‘Walter’ most likely came from an ancestor of note, but whether a male or female ancestor can’t be determined. It possibly came from marriage with a daughter and heiress of a Walter so the ‘fitz’ doesn’t apply. The fact that they were not ‘fitzWalters’ may also indicate that their ancestor was a younger son of a ‘Walter’, as, in some cases only the elder son carried the name ‘fitz’ or ‘filius’. An example is the de Caen family- eldest son of Walter de Caen known as Robert filius Walter; second son named Roger de Huntingfield. They were born in the 1070’s, post Conquest. It is possible that Hervey was the unrecognized/unrecorded younger son of a ‘Walter’, inheriting minimal property.

Blake Butler made the suggestion that Hervey’s wife could have been the daughter of Walter de Caen- the same suggestion could also apply to Hervey’s mother. This theory could also apply to one of the other Domesday sub-tenants named Walter in Suffolk. If the wife’s family is of superior status and the mother was an heiress, their issue sometimes took the wife’s family name- in another example of the de Caen family, Walter’s eldest son Robert filius Walter’s younger son William took his mother Sybil de Chesney’s surname ‘de Chesney’ as Sybil was her father’s heir, whereas their elder son John was known as Johanne filio Rotberti vicecomitis (John son of Robert, sheriff).

As we can see, the single attached surname of ‘Walter’ is very unusual, and difficult to explain, and poses multiple possibilities as to its origin.

Hervey is calculated to have been born before 1100 probably about the 1080-90 period. Assuming his father was born before the Conquest in 1066, he would probably either be listed in the Domesday Book in 1086, or be the son of a Domesday land holder.

The unusual element is that both descendant lines of the patriarch Hervey continued to use the surname ‘Walter’ for succeeding generations, indicating pride in their forebear’s ancestry, enough to honour his memory.  And there is the one document (referred to previously) naming Hervey, the original known patriarch of the family, and grandfather of Theobald, as Hervey Walter.


There are no early contemporaneous records that name the grandfather of Theobald Walter during the period he was living. The primary document that positively records the father of Hervey Walter as ‘Hervey’ occurs in A.D. 1212 in an’ Inquest of co. Lancaster’ (an inquiry into tenures and alienations). This record reveals that it was Hervey who was granted the lands in Amounderness in Lancashire, as part of the Honour of Lancaster. Stephen Count of Mortain was given the honours of Lancaster (Lancashire) and Eye (Suffolk) in c.1113 by his uncle King Henry I, making him one of the most powerful landowners in England, and it is likely that Hervey received his lands from Stephen at some time before Stephen succeeded to the throne on the death of his uncle in 1135. Over the years, Stephen had cultivated support of many of the Anglo-Norman Barons, including those in East Anglia and Lancaster who had received lands from Stephen’s two Honours of Lancaster and Eye, prior to his succession. However, his succession was opposed by Henry I’s daughter and nominated heir, Empress Matilda (widow of the Holy Roman Emperor, remarried to Geoffrey of Anjou), who was supported by the people living in London and in the south east of England. The resultant civil war was known as ‘The Anarchy’ which was only resolved when Matilda’s son Henry (II) succeeded on the death of Stephen in 1154. While the de Glanville and Walter families appear to have supported Stephen during his reign, they deftly switched allegiance to Henry II when he succeeded to the Crown.

The Inquest record is found in the ‘Testa de Nevill’, and also in ‘Lancashire Inquests, Extents & Feudal Aids A.D. 1205-A.D. 1307’, and the ‘Lancashire Pipe Rolls of 31 Henry I A.D. 1130, and of the reigns of Henry II etc’, both transcribed by William Farrer.

Testa de Nevil, (Liber Feodorum- Book of Fees), Part I A.D. 1198-1242, (London 1920), fol. 818 p.211 -listing of feudal landholdings or ‘fees/fiefs’ compiled during the 13th century from earlier records, for the use of the Exchequer:

Date: A.D.1212

AND, the translation of the above in:

“Lancashire Inquests, Extents, and Feudal Aids, A.D. 1205-A.D. 1307”, edit by William Farrer (Record Society 1903) p.37:

(NB. The lands granted to Orm, of Rawcliffe, Thistleton and Greenhalgh are near the Walter family held seat of Weeton, all part of the Hundred of Amounderness)

Theobald Walter inherited these lands in Amounderness from his grandfather before 1166, held for the service of 1 knight’s fee.

Red Book of the Exchequer Part I (p.445)- Liber Rubeus de Scarrario- ‘Cartae Baronum’ A.D. 1166: 

As men could not become a knight until the age of 21, this record reveals that Theobald must have been born pre-1145, and may have inherited Amounderness before 1166 on the death of his grandfather Hervey, or his father handed it over to him on reaching his majority and becoming a knight.

The Cartae Baronum or Charters of the Barons, was a survey commissioned by the Treasury in 1166 requiring each baron to declare how many knights he had enfeoffed, with the names of all. The Register accurately determined the liabilities of the tenants in respect of military service or scutage (money paid to his lord in lieu of military service) or any further assessment wherein the knights’ fee served as the unit of taxation.

A knight’s fee was a unit measure of land deemed sufficient to support a knight. Of necessity, it would not only provide sustenance for himself, his family, esquires and servants, but also the means to furnish himself and his retinue with horses and armour to fight for his overlord in battle. J.H. Round believed that a Knight’s fee ranged in size between 2 and 10 hides (the hide being a notional 120 acres). Others conclude that a typical knight’s fee proves elusive as it depended on many factors including its location, the richness of its soil and the local climate etc. Much was still ‘waste’ (as in Amounderness at that time), forest and uncultivated moorland. Military service was generally to a maximum of 40 days per annum. A knight was required to maintain the dignity of knighthood, which meant that he should live in suitable style and be well-turned out in battle, with the required number of esquires to serve him and with horses, arms and armour for all. (Wikipedia- Knight’s fee)

There is a second document which possibly clarifies Hervey’s name and the first use of the ‘Walter’ surname by this family.

The’ Feet of Fines -reign of Henry II and first seven years of reign of Richard I AD. 1182-1196’ (pub.1894, Pipe Roll Society, p.21, No. 5- see original and full translation above in section on William fitzHervey), in part:


The major point of interest- the fine, dated 1195, describes Hervey Walter as grandfather (viz. ‘Aui’) of Theobald.

The original Latin entry:

This is the only document that appears to name the patriarch Hervey the elder as Hervey Walter (not to be confused with his son of the same name). As this was a redraft of an earlier document, a clerical mistake cannot be totally discounted, and it possibly confused the names of Theobald’s father and grandfather. However, it would appear to be correctly recorded, and would thereby account for both sons of Hervey Walter the elder, viz. Hervey Walter and Hubert Walter (the elder), carrying the ‘Walter’ surname on to both descendant lines of Walters. And as Hubert Walter Archbishop of Canterbury was Chief Justiciar at the time of this agreement between his brother Theobald Walter and William Hervey, and is listed in the fine as heading the panel of justiciars hearing the case, and the fact that the fine involved the family inherited lands and therefore of personal interest to Hubert, one would expect that he would have overseen the final official document to check its legality. Therefore, unless this is a later clerical copying mistake, this document appears to confirm that Hervey the elder was also named Hervey Walter.

Herveius filius Herveii

There is a record in the Pipe Rolls of Henry I, A.D.1130/31 for the county of Suffolk which has given to much speculation down the centuries and has been attributed to this family by various researchers, including Thomas Carte and Theobald Blake Butler, but can’t be verified as referring to Hervey Walter and his father Hervey, and may have referred to Hervey de Glanville and his son Hervey de Glanville (junior):

 The Great Roll of the Pipe for the 31st year of the reign of King Henry I: Michaelmas 1130’, edit. by Judith A. Green (Pipe Roll Society, London, 2012) p.78:

Translation in the same book by the editor, p.78:

Suffolk- New Pleas and New Arrangements

Hervey son of Hervey renders account of 10 silver marks for his land of Hamo Peche. In the treasury 40s. And he owes 7 silver marks.

As the record relates to the county of Suffolk, it limits the options of the identity of these two Herveys, the name Hervey being uncommon at that time. As the record is dated 1130/31, the younger Hervey must have been born pre-1110, and his father named Hervey born pre-1090.

A second reference to Hervei filius Hervei appeared in the list of attendees at an assembly of the lords of Norfolk and Suffolk about the year 1150-52, during which Hervey de Glanville made a speech revealing his advanced age of about 70 years of age (b.c.1080-83):

“…with the consent of Roger Gulafre and Will. Frechnei, then sheriffs, and of Hervie filius Hervie, Robert de Glanvill and others, of the honours of Warren, of Earl Hugh Bygod, and of Eye, presented the liberties to be good, and delivered their testimonies of it to William Martel sewer to King Stephen,” (‘An East Anglian shire-moot of Stephen’s reign 1148-53’ by Helen M. Cam -English Historical Review xxxix [1924] pp.568-71- JSTOR- as fully recounted in the blog chapter on the de Glanvilles)

As this occurred only twenty years after the first reference, one would assume that it refers to the same person. And, as his name precedes Robert de Glanville (son of Hervey de Glanville), and it relates to a speech by Hervey de Glanville, it appears to associate ‘Hervey filius Hervey’ with the de Glanville family, and could refer to either Hervey de Glanville junior, or, it could also refer to Hervey Walter if his father was still alive in 1150, as the younger son (named Hervey) of either family would carry the appellation ‘filius Hervey’ until the death of their father, and the two families were closely linked by marriage to the Valoines family by this time.

Other records of the Walters

A further record naming Hervey Walter is found in the ‘Lancashire Pipe Rolls & Early Lancashire Charters’, transcribed by William Farrer (Liverpool, 1902), p.437:

Charter No I, Series XXI

A.D. 1189, 1 Richard I- the year John Count of Mortain received the Honour of Lancaster:

Confirmation by John Count of Mortain, to Roger de Heaton of several lands. Particulars of various estates held by Roger de Heaton, son of Augustin.

Herein the Count confirms a grant of land in Wesham; and other reasonable gifts of lands and tenements made to the said Roger by the Counts and Knights and free tenants viz. ……..

(3) by the grant of Roger son of Orm (son of Magnus) the vill of Grimsargh (ie. Orm, brother-in-law to Hervey Walter)…

(5) by the grant of Hervey Walter and his son Theobald Walter, the land between Scuavlowlwath and Murderledale, and the land of Bradkirk (in Medlay).

The Charter passed at Portsmouth and was attested by the Count’s chancellor and a number of his knights.

Bradkirk is on Weeton Road about 2 kms from the family seat of Weeton (the other two lands named are unidentified).

The original grant must have been made by Hervey Walter and Theobald at a much earlier time, as Hervey Walter was deceased before 1189, and this was a confirmation charter of previous grants to Roger de Heaton, by Prince John who had just received the Honour of Lancaster from his newly crowned brother Richard I (providing a revenue of £200 per year).

The de Heaton family had previous land dealings with Orm son of Magnus in the period 1160-70. Orm originally held Heaton from the Bussell family, and Orm and Alice Walter’s son Roger de Hutton granted Augustin (father of Roger de Heaton) a moiety of Heaton in exchange for a 3rd part of Hutton which was added to other parts of Hutton held by Roger de Hutton. Maybe this grant of Hervey and Theobald was part of that exchange.

Theobald Walter’s Charter to Cockersand Abbey in 1194-99 (see full image of original in the introduction), named his parents:

Grant in frankalmoign by Theobald Walter for the health of the souls of King Henry II, King Richard his son, and John, count of Mortain, our dear Ranulf de Glanville, Hubert Archbishop of Canterbury, our brothers, Hervey Walt[er] my father and Matil[da] de Wal’ my mother- ‘Herveii Walteri patris mei et Matildis de Wal’- matris mee’.

(‘The Chartulary of Cockersand Abbey’, vol. II pt.1, transc. & ed. by William Farrer, 1898, p.375-376)

‘Sciant praesentes et future quod ego T[heobaldus] Walteri, pro diuino intuit et amore beatae Marie, pro salute animae et pro anima domini regis Henrici, et animae regis Ricardi filii sui, et animae Johannis comitis de Moreton, et animae Ranulphi de Glanville cari nostri, at pro salute animae H[ubert]. Cantuariensis archiepiscopi, fratres nostri, et animae Hervei Walteri patris mei, et Matildis de Wal’ matris mee, et pro salute animae mee et omnium amicorum meorum et benefactorium et antecessorum et successorum meorum, etc’.


‘The Chartulary of Cockersand Abbey’- in which Theobald names ‘Hervey Walter my father and Matilda ‘de Walter’ my mother’

This charter does not mention Theobald’s wife Matilda, so predates their marriage (in c.1195-96) and Theobald’s charter to Wothney Abbey (c.1195-1198), and therefore would probably be dated about 1194-95.

Dugdale’s, Monasticon Anglicanum, [v.6, pt.2, p.1035], a benefaction by ‘Theobald Walter pincerna of Ireland’ to the Monastery of Wotheney made in King Richard’s time, circa1195-98, names his parents Hervei Walteri and Matilde de Waltenes, and his wife Matilda (le Vavasour), and brother Huberti Canterbury archbishop:

"Omnibus sanctae matris ecclesiae filiis tam presentibus quam futuris, Theobaldus Walterus pincerna Hibernie salutem. Sciatis me pro amore Dei et beate Dei genitricis Marie, et pro anima domini Henrici mei regis Anglie, et Ricardi regis Anglie filii, et pro salute domini mei Johannis comitis Moretonie et domini Hibernie, et pro salute Huberti fratris mei Cant. archiepiscopi; et pro anima cari mei Ranulfi de Glanvill; et pro anima Hervei Walteri patris mei, et pro anima Matilde de Waltenes* matris mee, et pro salute anime mee, et pro salute Matilde sponse mee, et pro salute omnium amicorum et antecessorum, et successorum meorum…etc".

Footnote by editor Wm Dugdale: * Valoiines.

A second foundation charter by Theobald of a Monastery in Arklow, as a cell of Furness Abbey in Lancashire, (Ibid, p.1028) in King John’s time (after 1199), is worded similarly, but in this charter Matilda’s name is written ‘Matildas de Valuniis matris meæ’:

This Arklow charter is the only document that clearly validates Matilda’s surname as a ‘Valuniis’ (Valoines).

The other validation being the close relationship with Rannulf de Glanville, his wife Bertha Valoines, and their mutual Valoines brothers, William, Theobald and Robert, who witnessed the charter of Hervey Walter.


Due to the lack of birth, marriage, and death records in the 11th and 12th centuries, calculating the ages of people living at that time, is difficult, and one can only use the few records available to make a calculated guess.

As discussed, the 1212 ‘Inquest of Co Lancaster’ revealed that Theobald Walter’s grandfather, the earliest known ancestor of the Irish Butlers, was named ‘Hervey’, and it was Hervey who was granted the fee of Weeton and surrounding lands in the Hundred of Amounderness, Lancashire, during the reign of Henry I (ie.1100 to 1135), and subsequently granted some of these lands in marriage between his daughter Alice and Orm son of Magnus.

Translation of the document in ‘Lancashire Inquests, Extents, and Feudal Aids, A.D. 1205-A.D. 1307’, edit by William Farrer (Record Society 1903), p.37:

We can estimate the approximate age of Hervey, firstly, by looking at his daughter Alice’s marriage to Orm son of Magnus of Lancaster.

Hervey the elder must have been born in the late 11th century, c.1080’s, and therefore Hervey Walter and his siblings including sister Aliz/Alice were born c.1105-1120. Alice must have married Orm before 1147 as their son Roger de Hutton was dealing in land before 1168, and he is likely to have reached his majority well before then. (The Lancashire Pipe Rolls of 31 Henry I A.D. 1130, & of the Reigns of Henry II, Richard I and King John, ed. William Farrer, 1902, Charter III, p.410)

And a further record suggests an even earlier marriage between Orm and Alice- Orm and ‘Warin his son’ witnessed a charter of Richard Bussel of Penwortham (Lancashire), which historian William Farrer estimated was dated between ‘1153 to 1160 before Bussel’s death’. (Lanc. Pipe Rolls, pp.322-325; p.18, Farrer estimates that Richard Bussell must have died between 1155 and 1159.)

Therefore, Warin son of Orm and Alice must have been born before 1132-1138, indicating a marriage in the reign of late Henry I or early Stephen. Orm son of Magnus witnessed several of Richard Bussel’s charters, indicating a similar age, and Bussel, the heir of Warin Bussel, was born c.1100 to Warin Bussel and wife Matilda who married in King William Rufus’ reign (d.1100), therefore Orm was also born about 1100. One would therefore estimate that Alice was born c.1114-1120.

We also know that Theobald, Hervey Walter’s heir, was of age before 1166 when he owed a knight’s fee for his Amounderness lands in the Cartae Baronum, therefore born before 1145, and possibly as early as the 1130’s, considering the likely age of his younger brother Hubert. It is also unlikely that Theobald would have been granted the Walter fief of Weeton on reaching his majority, especially as his father was still living. 

Theobald Blake Butler in his "Letters to Lord Dunboyne”, referenced Carte suggesting that Theobald’s younger brother Hubert to have been born c.1135. Thomas Carte in his book “The Life of James Duke of Ormond” (v.1, Oxford, New Ed. 1851, first published in 1735; Introduction page xxxiii), wrote about the age of Hubert:

Carte wrote of Hubert’s desire to resign as Chief Justiciar, alleging that he was now “senex et valetudinarius” meaning ‘old and in poor health’, which Carte claimed was mentioned in Matthew Parker’s ‘Antiquitates’ viz. ‘Cantuariensis archiepiscopi De antiquitate Britannicae ecclesiae et privilegiis ecclesiae Cantuariensis’, first published 1572, republished in 1729, pp.223-233, chapter ‘Hubertus’. However, it should be noted that, having looked through Parker’s chapter on Hubert, this quote was not found, only an undated reference to Hubert’s entreaty to the king who had praised him for his diligence and fidelity in administering his office, claiming “quod corpore debili and valetudinario fuiffet”, meaning: ‘that he was physically weak and been in poor health’, without reference to his age; and that 'the king was retaining him against his will in the administration of the kingdom'. The date of his resignation was not 1195 as Carte suggested, but 1198, which King Richard accepted, citing the burden of work and his justiciar's ill health as grounds for the resignation.

The 12th century archdeacon of Brecon, historian and chronicler, Giraldus Cambrensis, wrote a chronicle 'Opera-De Invectionibus Lib.IV' (v.iii, published in London 1863), in which the editor John S. Brewer gave a short sketch of Hubert's life and history. He commented: "As Hubert passed for an old man at his death in 1205, the date of his birth may presumptively be carried back to the earlier years of the reign of King Stephen (ie.1135-1154

Another historian, C.R. Cheney in his book "Hubert Walter", (p.17-18, pub.1967) commented: Gerald of Wales described him (Hubert) as already grown old in the civil service at the time he oppressed Gerald's ambition, quoting Giraldus Cambrensis' De Invectionibus, ed. by W.S. Davies ( p.97). Cheney also suggested that in the case of Hubert's birth, "We shall probably not be far off the mark in assigning the event to the middle years of Stephen's reign c.1140-1145 (though his birth may have been earlier)". 

Several other researchers have also suggested that Hervey Walter’s second son Hubert was born in the 1130’s as he submitted his second resignation letter as Chief Justiciar in 1198, citing ill health due to ‘his advanced age’ which 'Richard reluctantly accepted', suggesting Hubert was at least in his 60’s.

Given the lack of conclusive evidence, we can estimate the births of Theobald and Hubert in the years between the mid 1130's and the mid 1140's.

According to J. Cox Russell (British Medieval Population, 1948, pp.180-181), data from his social class in the 13th century show that a tenth of the men at 30 years of age lived on past 70 years. Russell wrote, 'The frequency with which men served vigorously in their sixties in that period of time, marks it as less than a great age'

William Marshall was an example, aged 72 years when he died in 1219. As regent, in 2016, at the advanced age of 70, with remarkable energy, William charged and fought at the head of the army of his charge, the young King Henry III, at the Battle of Lincoln, in the war against Prince Louis of France and the rebel barons, leading them to victory.

Theobald and Hubert's uncle Rannulf de Glanville was considered to be at least 70 years of age when he went on Crusade in 1190, and had resigned from his position as Chief Justiciar the year before, following the death of Henry II. Contemporary chronicler and monk, Benedict of Peterborough in his ‘Chronicles of the reigns of Henry II and Richard I AD 1169-1192’, (ed. William Stubbs, Vol.II, p.87) wrote about the replacement of Rannulf as chief justiciar by King Richard in 1189 and gives a reason, relating to Rannulf’s ‘great age’: “quia Ranulfus de Glanvil jam senior et labore confectus”, meaning that Ranulf was replaced as justiciar ‘because Ranulf de Glanville was now old and labour worn’, or,worn out by old age and toil’, which implies he was at least in his 70’s, just as his father before him lived to the age of at least 70 as he self-proclaimed in a speech given in 1150-52. Similarly, another 12th century chronicler, William Parvus of Newburgh Priory wrote about Rannulf’s retirement: “the king (Richard) considered that he had become old (“Qui cum esset grandævus” = “for though he was of great age, and acted with much less wisdom and forethought than he had shown when new in office.”

A record of abstracts of inquisitions was taken in 1185 for the purpose of ascertaining the wardships, reliefs and other profits due to the king from widows and orphans of his tenants in capite, in which Rannulf holds custody of his niece who is ‘60 years of age and more’– therefore this document suggests that his niece, Mabel, was born in or before 1125.

“Mabel who is the niece of Rannulf de Glanville, and is in his custody, was wife of Albrici Picot, and their land in Bukeswurthe, etc…. And she is 60 years old and more (‘Et ipsa est lx annorum et amplius’), and has 2 sons and 3 daughters, and the eldest is a soldier.” Her husband Albricus Picot held one knight’s fee in Cambridgeshire in the 1166 Cartae Baronum.

(Rotuli de dominus et pueriset et puellis, Anno 31 Regis Henry II, 1185, London 1830, p.44)

Therefore, Rannulf’s (elder?) brother, the father of Mabel, must have been born c.1100-05, making Rannulf’s birth closer to the period 1110-1115, earlier than most historians estimate his birth, which would have made him in his mid-to-late 70’s when he went on Crusade in 1190 (and died there).

And therefore, one would assume that Hervey Walter, Rannulf’s brother-in-law (having married sisters Matilda and Berthe de Valoines, respectively), was born in a similar period of time.

All of these calculations suggest that Theobald and Hubert’s father Hervey Walter must have been born before 1115, probably closer to 1110, which in turn confirms his father Hervey’s approximate birth in the early to mid 1080’s.

As records indicate, it would appear that Hervey Walter had a close relative, probably a brother, named Hubert Walter (Hervey’s second son’s namesake). While Hubert is listed in various documents in the mid to late 1150’s to 1168, he was also listed in a later redraft of Henry I’s undated (pre-1135) Confirmation Charter to Eye Priory (the original charter being lost), in which the witness list was incompatible date-wise (see details below), one of whom was Stephen Count of Mortain. While Henry I is known to have made a charter to Eye Priory during his reign (as referred to by Henry II in his confirmation charter), this later redraft may have been tweaked to suit the agenda of the Eye Priory monks, following the period of The Anarchy under Stephen’s reign in which lands were disseised and reassigned to favourites, before being restored under Henry II. Notably, this confirmation charter of the original foundation charter of Robert Malet to Eye Priory in c.1103,  included a donation of tithes by Hubert Walter that was not in the original charter of c.1103, and nearly all following confirmation charters included this donation of Hubert’s, with the exception of King Stephen’s confirmation charter. The historian and editor of the ‘Eye Priory Cartulary and Charters’, Vivien Brown suggests an approximate date of Henry’s charter to c.1123-25 (although admitting this could be incorrect), but the date could be as late as Henry’s death in 1135 when Stephen succeeded to the throne- this later date would be compatible with the age of Hubert who must have been born pre-1115, his son and heir Peter Walter born in c.1140’s.

Hervey Walter’s father-in-law Theobald de Valoines was son of Hamo de Valoines who was listed in the 1086 Domesday survey holding lands in Suffolk, therefore Theobald de Valoines was probably born in the late 11th century, a contemporary of Hervey senior, and was the namesake of Hervey and Maud’s son Theobald Walter. 


Hervey Walter married Matilda, generally thought to be the daughter of the wealthy baron, Theobald de Valoines/Valoignes/Valeines, Lord of Parham in Suffolk, whose lands were inherited from his Norman forebear, named in the Little Domesday Book (East Anglia) as Hamo de Valoines/‘Haimo de Valognes’ of Parham who held nine lands in the hundreds of Parham, Plomesgate and Blything in Suffolk from Count Alan of Brittany. Theobald’s second daughter Bertha married Rannulf de Glanville.

As Hervey Walter and Matilda’s two eldest sons, Theobald Walter and Hubert Walter were thought to have been born in the 1130’s, that would indicate a marriage between Hervey and Matilda in the early to mid-1130’s (taking into account that daughters may have been born first).

In the ‘Chronicles of Jocelin of Brakelond’ (a monk at Bury St Edmund’s who took the habit in 1173 and wrote the chronicles in 1180’s-90’s), Jocelin recounts in Chapter 5 (p.122-Troubles Within):

Hubert Walter, the Archbishop of Canterbury (viz. post 1193) and legate of the apostolic see (appointed Papal Legate in England 1195 until 1198), and Justiciary of England, after he had visited many churches, and had by right of his legation made many changes and alterations, was on his way home from his natural mother, who lived at Dereham and was then dying.

As Hubert was appointed Papal legate in 1195 until 1198, his mother must have died circa 1195-96, and would have been of great age, possibly in her early eighties.

It would appear that Hervey Walter died in the period of the late 1170’s to the 1180’s, before his son Hubert’s foundation of West Dereham Abbey in 1188 (see details below), and before Rannulf’s foundation charter to Leiston Abbey, c.1186-89, in which three of Hervey Walter’s sons were witnesses but not Hervey. The last official record of Hervey was his charter to Butley in c.1171-77.

Maud’s father, Theobald de Valoines (son of Hamo) was the first lay witness to a charter of count Stephen of Mortain in favour of Rumburgh Priory in Suffolk c.1135 (‘Early Yorkshire Charters’, 5, The Honour of Richmond, part 2, Charter No. 10, ed. William Farrer, Charles Travis Clay); and was first witness after the countess to Count Stephen’s charter in favour of the abbey of Bury St Edmunds in 1135 (Charter No. 11).

Theobald Valognes and his brother Robert fitzHamon rendered account of £20 each for a breach of the peace in Suffolk, in the ‘Pipe Roll for 31st year of Reign of King Henry I for A.D.1130/1131’ (ed. Judith A. Green, London 2012, p.77,78).

Robert de Valoines, son of Theobald de Valoines, and brother of Matilda and Bertha, held joint custody of Orford Castle in Suffolk with Bartholomew de Glanville in the 1160’s-70’s, and his heirs continued to hold custody. Robert was witness, along with his son, Theobald de Valoines (II) and Robert’s brother William de Valoines (of Culpho, Suffolk), to Hervey Walter’s charter to Butley Priory c.1171-1177. Robert de Valoines died 1178.

The accepted link of Hervey Walter with the Valoines and de Glanvilles is due to association by marriage. Matilda’s sister Bertha married the very powerful and influential Chief Justiciar of England, Rannulf de Glanville, which was very fortunate for the Walter family who rose to hold great power during the reigns of Richard I and John, due to the influence of de Glanville.

Various members of the Valoines family were witnesses to several charters of the de Glanville family.

(It should be noted that Hamo de Valoines was not related to Peter de Valognes, a Norman noble who became a great landowner under the Conqueror, and was married to Albreda de Rie, the sister of Eudo the Dapifer, steward to King William- one of their daughters married secondly Hubert de MonteCanisy.)

To determine which of the many ‘Walters’ named in the Domesday survey could be relevant to our quest, we can only look at the lands, possibly ancestral, held by the ‘Walter’ family in co. Suffolk in the 1100’s which correspond with the lands held by a lord/knight named ‘Walter’ in Domesday. While this is not an accurate method, it is the only approach available to us, given the lack of records for that period of time. 


The lands in Suffolk, held by both descendant lines of this ‘Walter’ family (viz. Hervey and Hubert the elder), were located in a small area of Bishops Hundred in the county of Suffolk, near the bishop’s manor of Hoxne, and the Priory of Eye, the evidence of which will be detailed below. (A ‘Hundred’ was the division of a shire for administrative, military and judicial purposes under the common law in medieval times.)

Most of these lands were held from the Crown in the Domesday Book by a select few Norman tenants-in-chief including Robert Malet, one of the biggest landholders in East Anglia. His father William Malet who died in 1071, was a close companion of William the Conqueror during the conquest, according to contemporary chronicler William of Poitiers. Some accounts claimed he took charge of the burial of King Harold’s body after the Battle of Hastings, but there is no written evidence he did so. William Malet was granted large land holdings in Yorkshire and East Anglia, his son Robert inheriting on his death.

In turn, in the Domesday survey, Malet’s lands were sub-tenanted by various Norman lords/knights, all of whom appear to have held a long-term close association with the Malets from before the time of the Conquest, and held ancestral lands in the same area of Normandy.

It is difficult to determine when Hervey Walter’s family came into possession of their lands, and whether it was a later gift of the Crown, or held through inheritance. However, the key to this question may lie with their cousin, Peter Walter who claimed his ancestors held his land in this area since at least the early 1100’s if not earlier, according to his statement, and who continued to reside on his ancestral lands in this area, evidenced by his close association with several other local Norman families as shown in various charters to which he was witness. The ancestors of these other families held their lands from Robert Malet in Domesday, and their descendants continued to live on their inherited lands through the 12th century and beyond. It is highly possible that the Walters similarly held their lands through inheritance from a sub-tenant of Malet.

Taking into account the lands that the Walter family held in co. Suffolk during the 1100’s, viz. Wingfield, Instead (part of Weybread), and ‘Sikibroc’ (unidentified but possibly Stetebroc/Stradbroke), and Snapeshall, a manor in Fressingfield, all located in Bishops Hundred, it would appear there are four contenders for the name ‘Walter’, who are recorded as holding lands in this same area in the Domesday Book in 1086 from Robert Malet- viz. Walter de Caen, Walter the arbalester/crossbowman, Walter fitzGrip, and a fourth candidate just named ‘Walter’ (who could be one of the first two), who held all of the lands named above. These four men named ‘Walter’ will be explored in detail in the next chapter.

Notably, Wingfield and Stradbroke were also held by Robert de Glanville from Malet which could also account for Hervey Walter’s possession (discussed later), but that does not account for possession of the lands in Weybread and Fressingfield.

Also, notable is that Hervey de Glanville [jnr] son of Hervey de Glanville, and brother of Rannulf de Glanville, owed 1 knight’s fee to the Bishop of Ely for unspecified lands held in Suffolk (Red Book of the Exchequer, ‘Cartae Baronum’ A.D. 1166). The abbey of Ely also held part of Wingfield in the Domesday survey. Some speculate that Hervey de Glanville jnr was also Hervey Walter- see chapter on the de Glanvilles. 

Map of Bishops Hundred in Suffolk, showing the close proximity between Wingfield, Weybread (mill at Instead), and Fressingfield held by the Walter family. Stradbroke just south of Wingfield (possibly ‘Sikibroc’).

Bishops Hundred based around the Bishop’s Manor of Hoxne, and part of the Honour of Eye  (A ‘hundred’ was an area of land encompassing 100 ‘hides’ or households.)

The County of Suffolk (bordering Norfolk to the north, Essex to the south and Cambridgeshire to the west)


Map of Suffolk- * marks the land near Fressingfield in north Suffolk, near EYE.

But the question of the origin of the surname ‘Walter’ remains speculative as there are no surviving documents that give us a definitive conclusion, which has frustrated researchers of this family for several centuries. And, we have the added problem that, before Henry II’s reign began in 1155, the few surviving official records rarely named the daughters and wives, and often those inter-marriages are the key to land acquisitions and inheritances.


It is well established through records that Hervey was granted lands in Amounderness in Lancashire during the reign of Henry I (1100-1135), probably granted by Henry’s nephew and heir Stephen Count of Mortain who held the Honour of Lancaster and the Honour of Eye from c.1113. It is also known from records that Hervey’s family also held lands in Suffolk and Norfolk, but less is known about when, how, and from whom these lands were acquired. Some lands may have been inherited, or they could have been granted at the same time as the Amounderness lands by Stephen Count of Mortain, but available records do not reveal this information. Peter Walter claimed his lands in Fressingfield were held by his ‘predecessors’, and later claimed his lands at Weybread and Instead by recognition of ‘morte d’ancestor’ (ie. ancestral inheritance).

Carte in the Introduction to his “Life of Ormond” (p.xlvii) has the following:

“It must have been a very large estate that Theobald possessed in Norfolk and Suffolk, for though he was not sheriff of these counties in 1st John (1199-1200) yet in the Pipe Roll for that year he is mentioned among other tenants in capite in the following entry (for Suffolk and Norfolk) ‘Theobaldus Walterus reddit [comptum] de £76.0.4’. As a comparison, Theobald Walter’s grant of 22nd April 1194 from Richard of the whole of Amounderness was held by service of three knight’s fees which were included in the scutage of £73.6.8.”

(‘Tenants in capite’, or tenants-in-chief, held their lands directly from the Crown, not from an overlord)

The primary document for establishing the lands held by Hervey Walter in the county of Suffolk is found in the Butley Priory Charters, in which Hervey Walter donated the tithes of his lands to the priory sometime after the foundation in 1171 of Butley Priory in Suffolk by Hervey’s brother-in-law Rannulf de Glanville on land which had come to him as the marriage-portion of his wife, Bertha de Valoines.

Notably, although the given date range in the Cartulary by the editor is 1171-86, one of Hervey’s witnesses was his brother-in-law Robert de Valoines who died in 1178, so the date must range from 1171 to 1177.

Importantly, the charter is endorsed “Herveus Walter of his fee in Wingfield”, with his seal attached.

The Cartulary of Leiston Abbey and Butley Priory Charters, ed R.H. Mortimer, 1979, p.151 - Charter 146 - donation by Hervey Walter to Butley Priory:


Hervey Walter in the presence of all his friends, and to all French and English people present, future Health. Know ye that I have given and granted, and by this my present charter have confirmed to God and the church of the Holy Mary of Bute (Butley) and the canons there serving the Lord, for the salvation of my soul and Maud, my wife, and of our children, and for the salvation of the souls of Rannulf de Glanvill, and Bertha, his wife and of their children, and all of our ancestors and our parents, and of our friends, and the whole of the fee shall be in pure and perpetual alms, the whole fee shall be in Wingefeld (Wingfield, Suffolk) in the homage and rents of all, and in all other things, and the whole fee in the Sikebro (unidentified),  as Oudin held of me, and the whole fee for Isted (Instead, Suffolk) that Godfrey held of me. Witnesses, William Alberville, William de Valoines, Stephen de Glanvill, Theobald de Valoines, Roberto de Valoines, William de Glanvill, Peter Walter, Robert fitz Rocelin (of Huntingfield), Rannulf de Baldressie, Geoffrey de Ykeling, Robert de Blanchevill, William de Glanvill cleric, and my sons Hubert Walter and Roger and Hamon.

Endorsement (contemporary) Hervey Walter of his fee in Wingfield

Seal: round, 5 cm; white wax varnished red/brown; repaired with red/orange wax; on tag.


Device: equestrian, to right

The witnesses:

Notably, the family witnesses included Peter Walter, and Hervey’s sons ‘Hubert Walter, and Roger and Hamon’, plus close relations by marriage, the de Valoines and de Glanvilles.

Also notably, Robert de Valoines died in 1178, thereby dating the charter before 1178.

Hervey’s son Theobald and Rannulf de Glanville were not witnesses, so were probably in northern England defending it from William King of the Scots whom Rannulf is credited as capturing in 1174.

William Alberville was either Rannulf de Glanville’s son-in-law or his father of the same name.

William and Robert de Valoines were the brothers of Hervey’s wife Maud, and Theobald de Valoines II, her cousin.

Stephen de Glanville and ‘William de Glanville cleric’, were the sons of Bartholomew de Glanville who was cousin to Rannulf de Glanville (and of the senior de Glanville line).

‘William de Glanville’ was probably the son of Rannulf de Glanville, who predeceased his father (and probably died in Ireland in 1185), and is probably one of 'filiorum surum' (ie. their sons) referred to in the charter.

Robert fitzRocelin of Huntingfield appears to have been closely related to the descendants of Walter de Caen, and is often named as witness in charters of the de Glanvilles and the de Huntingfields (descendants of W. de Caen).

Ranulf of Bawdsey (Baldressie), most likely the son of ‘Osberti clerico de Baldressie/Bawdsey’ a signatory to Rannulf de Glanville’s endowment charter to Butley Priory in c.1171. One of Rannulf de Glanville’s demesne properties was at Bawdsey which he inherited from his father, Hervey de Glanville, and in turn, from Robert de Glanville in Domesday.

Richard Mortimer, the editor of The Cartulary of Leiston Abbey and Butley Priory Charters, on pages 47-48, discusses Seals and Sealing:

The small collection of seals on the Butley muniments is very well preserved considering its early date. The impressions have hardly deteriorated since then for no unrepaired seal is badly damaged now. The earliest seals are of white wax covered with a darkish varnish (ie. Hervey Walter No.146 and Gilbert of Hawkedon No.147). This was, par excellence, the 11th and 12th century method of taking an impression. Hervey Walter’s and Gilbert of Hawkedon’s seals are attached on tags fed through a series of parallel slits in the base of the charter.

Of the secular seals, the equestrian seal of Hervey Walter is of particular interest because it seems to reflect a change in design introduced into England around 1180. The earliest English representative of this pattern is on the second seal of William de Manderville, earl of Essex (b.c.1130’s d.1189- replaced de Glanville as Chief Justiciar). His seal closely copies another seal of his friend Philip d’Alsace count of Flanders dated 1168. The distinguishing feature is the horse whose back legs are thrust out behind and whose forelegs are off the ground in parallel curves in front of its chest.

                              Philip d’Alsace Count of Flanders- seal dated 1168

In 13th century England the equestrian seal declared membership of its bearer to the knightly order.

Similar equestrian seal of Gilbert fitzGilbert 1st Earl of Pembroke d.1149, father of Strongbow.

Significantly, Wingfield was partly held in the Domesday survey by a Norman named ‘Walter’

Leiston Abbey Charter

Ranulf de Glanville also founded Leiston Abbey in Suffolk in the early 1180’s, and a later charter was witnessed by three of Hervey Walter’s sons.

The Cartulary of Leiston Abbey and Butley Priory Charters, ed R.H. Mortimer

Charter 27 (p.76)- of Ranulph de Glanville endowering Leiston Abbey, Date: 1186-89:

Omnibus sancta matris ecclesie filiis presentibus et futuris Rannulfus de Glanvilla Salutem.… et confirmationem domini mei Henrici Regis secundi, quasi ipsi canonici de Buttele resignaverunt ipsis canonicis de Leestun’ coram domino Johanne Norwicensi Episcopo, et coram me, et Walkelino Archidiacono et Galfrido capellano, Huberto Walteri,..Rogero de Glanvill et Osberto et Gerardo (de Glanville), Alan de Valeines, etc....

Testibus hiis, William de Aubervill, Radulfo de Ardene, Rogero de Glanvill’, Osberto de Glanvillo’, Willelmo de Valeines… Teobaldo Walteri, Rogero Walteri, William filio Willelmo de Auberville (son-in-law), Thomas de Ardene (son-in-law), etc.

Notably, all three brothers, Hubert, Theobald and Roger used the surname ‘Walter/Walteri’.

Also notable is the absence of their father Hervey Walter who must have been deceased at the time of this charter.

The significant information provided in the Butley Priory Charter, is that Hervey Walter held the tithes of Wingfield, Instead (in Weybread), both in Bishops Hundred in Suffolk, and ‘Sikebro’ (unidentified).

Butley Priory’s holdings in Weybread (including Instead) were assessed in A.D.1270 at £1. 6s. 9d. and Wingfield at 19s. 4d. (Cartulary of Leiston Abbey & Butley Priory Charters, p.27)

Map of Wingfield, Instead/Weybread, and Fressingfield (viz. ‘Snapeshall’ or ‘Lances garden’ held by Peter Walter), and Stradbroke (possibly ‘Sikibroc’) in Bishops Hundred, Suffolk

Ordnance Survey First Series 1805-1869- Sheet 49 ( (Copyright permission: "This work is based on data provided through and uses historical material which is copyright of the Great Britain Historical GIS Project and the University of Portsmouth".)

In the charter following Hervey Walter’s charter in the same Butley Priory Cartulary (No. 147), Gilbert de Hawkedon granted rent in Instead (to Butley Priory) that he held of Theobald Walter, with one witness being Peter Walter, plus Osbert de Glanville (brother of Rannulf). (dated ‘pre-Theobald’s death in 1205’; notably, Osbert died mid 1190’s)

Historian and editor of the Leiston and Butley Cartulary, Richard Mortimer wrote (p.14): Gilbert de Hawkedon granted 6d annual rent in Instead to Butley at the request of his lord Theobald Walter, a request that the charter implies was rather pressing.


Know present and future that I, Gilbert of Hawkedon have given while preserving, and by this my present charter I supported the church of the holy Mary of Butley and to those serving God there, a rent of 6d. in Instead, by the prayer and will of my lord Tedbald Walter, in perpetual alms without doing service, not least because my lord Tedbald brought it about that I have granted the aforesaid rent to the aforesaid church in perpetual alms.

Witnesses: Hernaldo priest, Osbert de Glanville, Roger of Kenteville, Peter Walter, John de Tudham (son of Rannulf de Glanville’s daughter Maud), Roger Blencio, Aumari de Bellaf’

Peter Walter’s relationship to this family and his association with lands associated with the Walters is of prime importance to unravelling the mystery of when these lands in Suffolk came into their possession.

A mid-14th century Butley Priory text revealed, Peter Walter gave the church of Bylaugh (Norfolk) to that house (Butley) in conjunction with Hervey Walter and Robert son of William.

A list of Butley’s donations:

(‘The East Anglian: Notes and Queries…’, New Series, Vol. xi, 1906, ed. Evelyn White, p.46- Untitled (An Unpublished Fourteenth Century Rent Roll of the Priory of Butley, Suffolk)

(The preceding donation was of land in Weybread by Guthe de Glanville, sister of Rannulf de Glanville, and of Alan de Withersdale [adjacent to Weybread- whose wardship was held by Peter Walter].) 

Peter Walter was a tenant of Hervey’s son Theobald Walter at Bylaugh, Norfolk, part of the Amounderness fee in the honor of Lancaster as revealed in a fine between Theobald Walter and William Hervey in 1195:

‘Feet of Fines of the reign of Henry II, and of the first 7 years of the reign of Richard I, AD. 1182 to AD. 1196’ (refer Ch 2 for original)- a translation:

15 July 1195 

Fine between Theobald Walter ["Walter sive Butler," in margin (by Carew).] and William Hervei. The former grants to the latter the town of Boxted, with the appurtenances in ‘Hulmested’ and Belag (Norfolk), which last Peter Walter holds. The said William quitted claim of all other lands of Hervei Walter, grandfather of Theobald.


According to Theobald Blake Butler, the Belaugh in question was Belaugh St Peter in the South Erpingham Hundred, near the Abbey of St Benet of Holme. Despite the quitclaim of 15th July 1195 between Theobald and Hervey William, it is clear that the Irish Butlers either parted with a part only of their holding in Belaugh or recovered the holding recorded in this quitclaim as The Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem Vol 1. Page 153 on the death of Theobald 3rd Butler of Ireland in 1249 contained the following:

“Writ of Extent for Norfolk 7th July 1249 to 6th August 1249: Belhagh als Belaugh.”

(‘Letters to Lord Dunboyne’, by Theobald Blake Butler, p.76- The Butler Society)



Peter Walter, in 1190’s, donated ½ mark of his rent in the mill of Instead to Hubert Walter’s foundation of West Dereham Abbey. (Monasticon Anglicanum, 6, Pt.2, p.900)

He disputed land in Instead and Weybread with the abbot of W. Dereham, with a final concord on 19 April 1209, which revealed that Peter had also donated 20 acres with appurtenances in ‘Ysted’/Instead and three shillings worth of rent in Weybread to the Abbey of West Dereham, and the dispute was based on the recognition of ‘mort d’ancestor’, which indicated that the lands were held from his ancestors. (Feet of Fines for County of Norfolk for the reign of King John 1201-1215 and Suffolk 1199-1214, ed. Barbara Dodwell, London 1958, p.238, No. 497)

Peter Walter also held his demesne lands in the district of Fressingfield (the manor of Snapeshall), which is adjacent to Weybread and Wingfield. In the late 1100’s he made a confirmation charter to the monks of Eye Priory, of the gift ‘made by my predecessors’ (including his father Hubert Walter the elder) ‘of 2/3rds of the tithes of all his demesne lands in the district of Fressingfield’(Eye Priory Cartulary and Charters, I, ed. V. Brown, p.231, no.319)

In 1308, the portion of Snapeshall held by Eye was leased out when possible and was worth 1 mark a year (ie. 13s. 4d.). (Eye Cart. II, p.120, No.396)

All the above indicating a close blood relationship between Hervey Walter, Theobald Walter and Peter Walter. Peter Walter was the son of Hubert Walter (the elder), probably the brother of Hervey Walter and no doubt the namesake of Hervey’s son Hubert Walter. The two records referring to Peter Walter’s ancestors holding these lands in Fressingfield and Instead, are of particular importance as they are the only records of any of the Walter family that indicate that the lands of Bishops Hundred in Suffolk were held for at least 3 generations, and possibly earlier. The co-ownership of Instead would seem to indicate a shared ancestor, probably Hervey Senior. Peter Walter held a close association with several landholders near Peter’s demesne lands of Fressingfield, evidenced by his witnessing their charters, including the descendant of Walter de Caen (viz. Roger de Huntingfield II).

Henry II appears to have made an effort to confirm that Peter Walter’s father Hubert Walter held his manor of Snapeshall in the district of Fressingfield during the reign of Henry I, pre-1135 (reign of King Stephen), however, whether by inheritance or gift of the Crown is not revealed. (see section on Hubert Walter).

An example of a gift of the Crown from Stephen Count of Mortain (1113-1123) to one of the Walter’s neighbours in Bishops Hundred, revealed in a much later confirmation record (Henry III, 1227- Calendar of Charter Rolls, v.1, p.46-47), was ‘the gift to Ernald Ruffo (Russo/le Rus) son of Roger, by Stephen Count of Mortain of the manor of Stradbroke of the Honour of Eye, with all appurtenances and freedoms etc that belong to that manor, the soke and advowson of the churches of Stradbroke and Wingfield, the pastures, paths, waters and mills and revenues etc, to Ernald and his heirs in fee and inheritance, freely, quietly, honourably and in peace, paying thence annually 28 pounds of silver in firm fee for all services, and grant King Henry, my uncle, for homage and his service and for 20 marks and for a single hawk. Etc’.  Witnesses Robert fitzWalter (de Caen)- sheriff, Henry nepote meo/my nephew (future Henry II), Hervey de Glanville, Richard Cameraro etc.

This charter by Stephen was followed by a second confirmation charter of King Henry I, and a third by King John.

Ernald’s son, also named Ernald Ruffo/Russo, recovered the manor of Stradbroke on 17 May 1199 in the first year of King John’s reign to hold as his grandfather held it, the title having been given to the canons of Woodbridge before 1194 when he lost the manor, having supported John’s rebellion against Richard.

The said Ernald son of Ernald the second, in the 3rd King John, gave by deed for his soul’s health and that of his wife Isabel, and his ancestors, and all the faithful deceased, in pure alms, to God, St Mary and the church of Wodebryge, and the canons thereof, all the tithe of ‘Northaghe’ and ‘Hunteswyk’ in the village of Stradbrook, saving a pension of 4s per ann. to be paid to the convent of Eye, dated at Wytingham (viz. Whittingham near Fressingfield) in 1201. (An Essay towards a Topographical History of the Co. of Norfolk, v.8, by Francis Blomefield, London 1808, pp. 266-69)

This gift of the manor of Stradbroke and the churches of Stradbroke and Wingfield to Ernald Russo would initially appear to negate the Walter’s inheritance of these lands of the same name. However, we need to look back at the holders of these lands in the Domesday Book survey. There were two major tenants-in-chief holding lands in this area- Robert Malet and Roger the Poitevin.

Ernald Russo’s father Roger filius Ernald was a tenant of Roger the Poitevin in the Domesday Book in Clopton and Hasketon, and while no tenant is given in Domesday for Roger the Poitevin’s holdings in Whittingham and Akenham, it seems probable that Roger son of Ernald held there as well, as his descendants held Whittingham (near Fressingfield) in 1201. In 1094, Roger filius Ernald witnessed Roger the Poitevin’s foundation charter of Lancaster Priory, and his son Ernald gave two thirds of his tithe of Whittingham and Hasketon to Robert Malet’s foundation charter to Eye Priory in c.1103. In Domesday, in Stradbroke, 2 free men by commendation held 30 acres from Roger the Poitevin (he did not hold Wingfield). Sometime between 1113 and 1123, Ernald was gifted the manor of Stradbroke and the soke and advowsons of the churches of Stradbroke and Wingfield.

Notably, while Roger the Poitevin held some lands in Stradbroke in Domesday, other parts of Stradbroke and its berewick of Wingfield (5 ½ carucates) were held by Robert Malet in Domesday, which are the parts of Malet’s lands that were probably inherited by the Walter family, while Ernald held the parts originally held by Roger the Poitevin.

Stradbroke, at the time of Henry III contained a considerable population and several manors were included in the parish, of which the largest was granted in the days of Stephen to Ernald, in the hands of whose descendants it remained for several generations. (Eye Priory Cartulary and Charters, ii, p.25)

It is notable that the gift of Stradbroke was in the same vicinity as their ancestral lands of Whittingham.

Similarly, the Walter family may have been granted their lands by the Crown, in Wingfield, Instead, Weybread and Fressingfield (and possibly a part of Stradbroke, as ‘Sikibroc’) at the same time as the Le Russ/Russo family, possibly on lands held by an ancestor in Domesday (as in the case of the Russo family), but the relevant records no longer exist. Notably, the charter of Stephen to Ernald was witnessed by Hervey de Glanville (father of Rannulf) and Robert fitzWalter (son of Walter de Caen), both close supporters of Stephen before and after he acceded to the throne.


Hubert Walter, second son of Hervey Walter, and brother of Theobald, founded an abbey at West Dereham in Norfolk in 1188, as Dean of York.

Monasticon Anglicanum: A History of the Abbies and Other Monasteries…, Volume 6 part 2, p.899-901, by Sir William Dugdale, London 1846

Num. I. Charter of the Abbey of West Dereham in Norfolk founded by Hubert Walter (p.899-900):

foreword: Rev. Dr. Thomas Tanner (Notitia Monastica: An Account of all the abbeys, priories and houses of friars, 1844) wrote:

Hubert then dean of York, afterwards bishop of Salisbury, and at last archbishop of Canterbury, built, at this the place of his nativity, an Abbey of Premonstratensian canons from Welbeck, to the honour of the blessed Virgin Mary’.

(Comment: Tanner’s assertion that West Dereham was the place of Hubert’s birth is not backed by evidence, nor in the wording of Hubert’s charter. The family purchased the land well after Hubert’s birth, from Geoffrey de Mandeville III 2nd earl of Essex (son of Geoffrey de Mandeville 1st earl of Essex) who died in 1166. Joscelin de Brakelond in his ‘Chronicles’ recounted Archbishop Hubert saying that he was born in Suffolk.)

Carta Fundationis eiusdem, per Hubertum Eboracensis Ecclesie Decanum


Charter of the foundation (of the Abbey of West Dereham) by Hubert [Walter] the Dean of the Church of York (Eboracensis ecclesie decanus)

The sons of the holy mother church to all, present and to come; Hubert, by the grace of God, the dean of the church of York, in the eternal salvation of the Lord…. That understanding, in honor of God and of the glorious Virgin Mary, his mother, founding a Premonstratensian order, in our fief of Derham for the salvation of my soul, and of my father and my mother, and my lord Ranulf de Glanville and Bertha his wife who nourished us; and for the souls of our brothers, sisters, cousins, servants, and of all my friends….. confirm the total tenements in the same town, and purchased appurtenances from Geoffrey fitz Geoffrey &c.

The Charter was witnessed by Rannulf de Glanvill, Osbert de Glanville, Theobald de Valoines (II), Theobald Walteri, Osbert fitz Hervey, Robert de Scales, and Walter fitzRobert (de Clare family), William de Warren (5th earl of Surrey), John bishop of Norwich, Geoffrey fitz Peter (1st earl of Essex, 2nd cr.), Radulph archbishop of Colchester, etc

Notably, Hubert not only mentions his parents and his uncle and aunt, Ranulph de Glanville and wife Bertha, he also mentions their brothers and sisters, plural. Sisters could account for close relationships with certain families in East Anglia, but their names remain elusive.

The list of witnesses is of interest:

Rannulf de Glanville, Chief Justiciar of England; uncle (by marriage) to Theobald and Hubert Walter.

William de Warenne 5th earl of Surrey was the son of Hamelin de Warenne (Plantagenet)- half-brother to Henry II- and Isabel daughter of William de Warenne 3rd Earl of Surry. His wife was Matilda daughter of William d’Aubigny 2nd earl of Arundel (son of William d’Aubigny 1st earl and wife Adeliza widow of Henry I).

Walter fitzRobert of Little Dunmow Essex (m. Maud de Lucy and Margaret de Bohun), 1124-1198; son of Robert fitzRichard (constable of Baynard’s Castle, London, from 1110) steward under Kings Henry I and Stephen, son of Richard fitzGilbert (de Clare, Lord of Clare and Tonbridge) and Rohese Gifford dau of Sir Walter Gifford. Walter’s son Robert fitzWalter was one of the Sureties of the Magna Carta.

In the Domesday survey, Ralph lord Baynard held 50 acres of land with a further 1 carucate and a half in West Dereham valued at 10s. On the later forfeiture of William lord Baynard’s estate for rebellion against Henry I, this land came by the king’s grant to Robert fitzGilbert (de Clare), father of Walter fitzRobert one of the witnesses to the foundation. A further 32 acres in West Dereham held by Rainald son of Ivo, also came after to the earls of Clare. In the second charter by King John for West Dereham abbey c.1199, of ‘donations, concessions and confirmations’, it appears to confirm “the service of Walter fitzRobert of land of his fee in Dereham”.

Osbert de Glanville- brother of Rannulf de Glanville; justiciary in 1182, 1189, disappeared from records in the mid 1190’s.

Theobald de Valoines (II)- son of Robert de Valoines son of Theobald de Valoines (Hubert’s grandfather). Theobald II supposedly died at Acre in 1191 (Crusades). Cousin to Hubert and Theobald Walter. (see Early Yorkshire Charters, 5, Honour of Richmond part II, The Valognes Fee pp.234-238)

Osbert fitzHervey (of Dagworth in Suffolk)- sheriff of Suffolk in the 1180’s; justiciar in the 1190’s and early 1200’s.

Geoffrey fitzPeter, 4th (1st  earl, 2nd cr.) earl of Essex (c.1162-1213), prominent member of the government of England during reigns of Richard I and John, son of Piers de Lutegareshale, forester of Ludgershall. Married Beatrix de Say, daughter and co-heiress of William de Say II. William de Say’s mother was the sister of Geoffrey de Mandeville 1st Earl of Essex (1st cr.), and Geoffrey fitzPeter was eventually granted the title. Principal advisor to Hugh de Puiset Chief Justiciar after Richard left on crusade. Then Richard appointed Geoffrey as Chief Justiciar following Hubert’s resignation in 1198. Geoffrey’s son John fitzGeoffrey (Lord Justice of Ireland; m. Isabel Bigod) would hold Theobald le Botiler IV’s wardship, and John’s daughter Joan would marry Theobald c.1268.

Warin de Bassingbourne, an earlier steward of Richmond manor c.1175 (village of Bassingbourn-cum-Kneesworth, SW of Cambridge) and joint sheriff of Cambridgeshire 1169 and 1177. Part of the Richmond manor was subinfeudated to Warin of Bassingbourn in the 1170’s. He died c.1192 and his son and heir Wimar held the Bassingbourn land in 1214 and died c.1218. (History of the County of Cambridge & the Isle of Ely: v.8, 1982, p12-30)

Robert de Scales, of Middleton, Norfolk, lord of the manor of Scales-Hall (15kms N of W. Dereham). Son of Roger de Scales, descended from Hardewin or Harlewin de Scalariis (Scales), lord of Whaddon in Cambridgeshrie, who was lord of this manor in the reign of Henry II. Robert de Scales, his son, gave to the abbey of Bury, in Suffolk, by fine levied in the 9th of Richard I, the advowson of the church of Wetherden in that county. Hardwin of Scales held Ickleton in Domesday, sub-tenanted by Durand (Malet)- is this a coincidence? The Walter family donated their land at Ickleton to West Dereham Abbey.

 (An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 9. Orig. pub. by W. Miller, London, 1808: Middleton-Scales-Hall, Norfolk.)

Map of old Abbey of West Dereham, and West Dereham Manor farm, SE of Downham Market in Norfolk (19th century map of West Dereham-

("This work is based on data provided through and uses historical material which is copyright of the Great Britain Historical GIS Project and the University of Portsmouth".)

Num. II – Charter of Donors to the Abbey of West Dereham (p.900)

Carta Regis Johannis, Donatorum Concessiones recitans et confirmans

A second confirmation charter by King John in the Monasticon names a long list of previous donors to West Dereham Abbey and include:


i.)Et ex dono memorate H.(Hubert) Cant. (Canterbury) archiep. (archbishop) et T. (Theobald) Walteri, fratis sui, terram de Iclinton, quam Hamo Walteri tenuit in eadem villa integrè, cum omnibus pertinentiis suis, solutam et quietam ab omni seculari servicio. Exceptis xxx. Solidis, quos moniales de Iclinton debent et solent indè annuatim percipere, et amodò percipient per manus praedictorum canonicorum.



And from the gift of H..(Hubert) Cant. (Canterbury) archiep. (archbishop) and T. (Theobald) Walteri, his brother, the ground of Iclinton (Ickleton, Cambridgeshire), which Hamon Walteri held in the same villa, with all their appurtenances, and quit from all secular service. With the exception of 30s., which the nuns of Iclinton the Virgin and annually receive, and from now on they will receive through the hands of the above canons.

(see detailed information on Ickleton below)


Et ex dono ejusdem Hubert arch. Cant.  totam terram et domos, quas tenuit in Oxonio, de feodo prioris de sancta Fredesuith.

= And the gift of Hubert archbishop of Canterbury, the whole land and houses, which he held in Oxford, of the fee of the priory of St Fredesuith.


ii.) Et ex dono Petri Walteri redditum dimidiae marcae in molendino suo de Isted percipiendum, ad emendum sibi vinum ad celebrationem missarum in ecclesia sua.

And of the gift of Peter Walteri rent of half mark in his mill of Isted (Instead) therefore, to buy him wine for the celebration of mass in his church.

NB. the charter states ‘Hamon Walteri held in the same villa [of Ickleton]’, implying he was then deceased.

This donation is endorsed in ‘Feet of Fines for County of Norfolk’ dated 19 April 1209 (p.238 No. 497):

Between Peter son of Hubert, the claimant, and Henry abbot of Dereham, the holder of 20 acres with appurtenances in Ysted/Instead and three shillings worth of rent in Weybread, under the recognition of ‘mort d’ancestor’, was summoned in and called from himself and his heirs to the aforesaid abbot and his successors, and the church of the Holy Mary in Dereham, all the permanent right and the claim that he had in aforesaid land and in the rent with pertinences. And for this quit claim and fine and concord, the aforesaid abbot and the local convent in the receipt of him in each of the benefits which are made in the church in perpetuity.

Importantly, this reveals the land in Instead and Weybread was held by Peter Walter as an inheritance (‘mort d’ancestor’). Notably, in 1209, Theobald was deceased (1205) and his heir was a minor whose father’s lands were taken back by the Crown until he came of age. This fine in 1209 implies that the lands in Bishops Hundred must have been inherited from their mutual ancestor, Hervey senior or his wife, and was not lost to the Crown, but inherited by Peter Walter.

This also implies there were no descendants of any of Theobald’s brothers.


The Dereham lands:

According to Thomas Carte (in ‘Life of James Duke of Ormond’ [Intro p.xxxiv], no source quoted), and by author, C.R. Cheney, in his book Hubert Walter’ (London-Edinburgh, 1967, p.29-30, no source quoted),

re: “the cost to found a monastery- the principal endowment was the estate at West Dereham, and Hubert had bought this from Geoffrey fitz Geoffrey (who held it from three separate tenants-in-chief of the Crown), for 220 silver marks together with a gold ring for Geoffrey’s wife. There was also a tenement at Ickleton, Cambridgeshire, formerly held by one of Hubert’s brothers (viz. Hamon): this was given to the abbey, some time before 1199, jointly by Hubert and his brother Theobald. Later in life, Hubert gave other properties to Dereham: land in Norfolk which cost him 40 marks, and a fine house in Oxford, afterwards known as Le Oriole which gave its name to the college founded on its site.”

Geoffrey fitz Geoffrey was Geoffrey de Mandeville, 2nd earl of Essex, second son of Geoffrey de Mandeville 1st earl of Essex (d. 1144) who rebelled against King Stephen and joined Empress Matilda, thus losing his lands inherited from his grandfather Geoffrey de Mandeville who accompanied William the Conqueror and held large grants of lands in the Domesday Book (but notably, he did not hold West Dereham). However, he had been granted Ickleton in 1141 by King Stephen.

Geoffrey fitz Geoffrey's lost Mandeville lands were reconfirmed by Matilda and son Henry II, but not those lands granted to his father during the civil war. He served as an itinerant royal justice with Richard de Lucy in 1165-66, but died, without issue, from illness in 1166.

So, the Dereham lands must have been purchased by either Hervey Walter or Hubert, after the accession of Henry II in 1154, and before 1166 (too late for the birth of Hubert at Dereham, as some researchers, including Tanner, suggest).

Map of West Dereham-

( Ordnance Survey First Series 1805 to 1869- Sheet 65) ("This work is based on data provided through and uses historical material which is copyright of the Great Britain Historical GIS Project and the University of Portsmouth".)

‘Papal Judges delegate in the Province of Canterbury 1198-1254: A Study in the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction and Administration’ by Jane E. Sayers (Oxford Uni Press, 1971. xxv):

Innocent III (reigned 1198-1216) instructed Robert, abbot of Walden (Essex), William, prior of Barnwell, and Robert, rector of Haddenham (Cambs.) to hear a suit about the land of Hervey Walter in the town of Ickleton (Cambs.) disputed between Hericus, abbot, and the canons of West Dereham and Eufemia, prioress, and the convent of Ickleton (Ben.Cambs.). Arbiters (Eustace, bishop of Ely, and Master Elias of Dereham) settled the suit: each convent was to have some of the land, and the canons of West Dereham were to pay the nuns one pound of cumin each year.

A History of the County of Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely: V.6, pp.230-246, by Victoria County History, London, 1978: A connection between the W. Dereham and Ickleton lands:

Ickleton-In 1141 the king (Stephen) gave Ickleton to Geoffrey de Mandeville, but presumably resumed it after Geoffrey's downfall in 1143. After the death of Stephen's son Count William in 1159 Henry II took possession of the honor of Boulogne (including Ickleton). The demesne in Ickleton was later divided, being partly held in feefarm.  By c.1183 the largest portion of Ickleton was held by Roger de Lucy. The Cistercian abbey of Calder (Cumb.) received lands in Ickleton before 1213 from Richard de Lucy, from whose successors they were held as ¼ Knight’s fee.’

Ickleton priory was founded in the mid- 12th century for Benedictine nuns, probably by a member of the Valoines family. The estate which it held at Ickleton by the 1180’s was possibly derived in part by exchange or otherwise from that of Colne priory, for in 1279 it was apparently said to have been given by a count of Boulogne and his wife Eufeme.

Priory or NUNS Manor, which produced most of the priory’s income in 1535 comprised 714 ac in 1536 and was known as the chief manor of Ickleton, being the largest single estate in the parish. The priory was dissolved in 1536 and the Crown granted its manor to the bishop of Ely in 1538, together with the Ickleton lands of the dissolved abbeys of West Dereham, Calder and Tilty, in exchange for the manor of Hatfield (Herts.).

Hamon Walter, whose mother was of the Valoines family, held an estate in Ickleton which his brothers Hubert Walter, archbishop of Canterbury, and Tibbald had by 1199 granted to the Premonstratensian abbey of West Dereham, founded by Hubert in 1188. The estate, later called Durhams Manor was assessed at 1 hide c.1235.

By 1183 Ralph Brito** (d. by 1186) held land at Ickelton of the honor of Boulogne. The daughter of his successor Thomas Brito, tenant c.1218, was given in marriage to Robert Hovel*, who held the estate by 1221 and to whom William Brito, presumably Thomas’s heir male, released a carucate at Ickleton in 1222.

Map of Ickleton south of Cambridge-

( Ordnance Survey First Series 1805-1869- sheet 47) ("This work is based on data provided through and uses historical material which is copyright of the Great Britain Historical GIS Project and the University of Portsmouth".)

HUBERT WALTER THE ELDER, and his land in Fressingfield, inherited by son, PETER WALTER

The placement of Hubert Walter the elder, and son Peter Walter in this family appears to be an important key to unravelling this mystery. The fact that Peter Walter donated to, and witnessed various charters of Hervey Walter’s family and held lands from Theobald, would indicate a close family connection.

Peter Walter inherited the lands held by Hubert Walter in Fressingfield, Suffolk.

A document confirms that Peter Walter was the son of Hubert Walter, naming him as Petrum filium Huberti. The document also links Peter Walter with the lands held by Theobald Walter in Bishops Hundred, Suffolk, and with Theobald Butler’s brother Hubert Walter Bishop of Salisbury and his foundation charter of West Dereham Abbey, confirming a close relationship between the two Walter families.

This case involves the abbot of West Dereham trying to recover lost advowsons in Instead and Weybread donated to the abbey by Peter Butler after the foundation of the abbey in 1188:

Feet of Fines for the County of Norfolk for the reign of King John 1201-1215, and for the County of Suffolk 1199-1214, ed. Barbara Dodwell, London 1958 (p.238 No. 497 [Case 154, File 30, No. 435])


Final concord at St Edmunds, 19 April 1209.

Between Peter son of Hubert (Petrum filium Huberti), the claimant, and Henry abbot of Dereham, the holder of 20 acres with appurtenances in Ysted/Instead and three shillings worth of rent in Weybread, under the recognition of ‘mort d’ancestor’,…


Noteworthy is the terminology ‘under the recognition of mort d’ancestor’ which refers to a claim of inheritance from the death of an ancestor and indicates that the lands of Instead and Weybread were held by inheritance by the Walter family, which also indicates a shared ancestor between Theobald and Peter. By 1209, Theobald and Hubert were deceased and the fate of their younger brothers is unknown- it would appear that Roger Walter died in the 1180’s; no further records of Hamon Walter after the donation of his vill of Ickleton to West Dereham Abbey in the 1190’s, and the wording of the Dereham donation charter appears to indicate that Hamon was deceased; no further records of Bartholomew who appears to have become a cleric, and possibly in a monastic order. Therefore, Peter may have then had a claim of inheritance of these lands from a mutual forebear who would have to have been Hervey [Walter the elder] or Hervey’s parents .

HUBERT  WALTER (the elder)

Hubert Walter, father of Peter Walter, appears in the Pipe Rolls of Henry II in 1158.

The Victoria History of the County of Lancaster, Vol. 1, edit. by William Farrer and J Brownbill, London 1906, p.351:

“In 1158 Hubert Walter rendered account of 40s. of the pleas of Wandelbery, for the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk.” (Pipe Roll- 4 Henry II)

(ref: ‘The great rolls of the pipe for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th years of the reign of King Henry II, A.D. 1155,1156,1157,1158’., pub.1844-

Full Latin: Id[em] vic[ecomes] redd[it] Comp[otum] de xl s[olidis] de Hub[er]to Walt[er]o

In th[esauro] lib[er]avit. Et Quiet[us] est.


The same sheriff renders an account of 40s from Hubert Walter. He has delivered it into the treasury. And he is acquitted.

Hubert then appears in several monastic confirmation charters by reigning monarchs as well as two popes, and bishops, confirming Hubert’s donation of tithes from his demesne lands of Fressingfield in Bishops Hundred in Suffolk to Eye Priory. Although the Eye Priory was founded in the late 11th century, the foundation charter by Robert Malet appears to be dated c.1103, after the succession of Henry I in 1100, but it could be a compilation of this charter and an earlier foundation charter.

Hubert Walter is not specifically named in Robert Malet’s original charter to Eye Priory in c.1103, nor his demesne land of Snapeshall in Fressingfield. His tithe donation appears in later confirmation charters to Eye, which then begs the question, when did he take possession of this land? And was it held by inheritance from a Domesday land holder, or by a later gift of the Crown?

The translation of the beginning of Robert Malet’s Charter, No. 1

(Eye Priory Cartulary and Charters, Part1 and Part 2, ed. by Vivien Brown, Boydell Press, 1992, 1994)

Dated: 1100-1105 (after succession of Henry I in 1100, although the introduction may be from an earlier charter).

In Latin:


This same list of manors occurs in the following confirmation charters, one dated c.1123-1135, and the others between 1155 and 1168, however, there is an added inclusion of decimam Huberti Walteri’/ ‘tithe of Hubert Walter’, and in later charters, more specifically: ‘decimam de dominio Huberti Walter de Snape/ tithe of the lordship/ownership of Hubert Walter of Snape’ (ie. Snapeshall in Fressingfield) placed between Badingham and Kelton in Malet’s original list of his demesne lands.

Example: Charter 40, c.1155:

Later, in the late 1180’s, Hubert’s son Peter Walter makes a confirmation charter (Eye Cartulary and Charters, no.319- p.231)
‘to the monks of the gift of his predecessors of two thirds of the tithes of all his demesne lands in the district of Fressingfield’.

The fact that he refers to ‘his predecessors’ appears to indicate that the lands were held by his family for at least two prior generations.

The demesne land in the ‘district of Fressingfield’ named by Peter Walter refers to Snape/Snapeshall held by his father Hubert.

It is also difficult to establish exactly who ‘his predecessors’ were. Hubert Walter of Snapeshall, Fressingfield first appears in a confirmation charter of Henry I, dated c.1123-1135 (Charter No. 3). The difficulty with the validity of this charter is that it is a later redraft and there are inconsistencies with the listed witnesses who are not compatible date-wise.

The three witnesses named were, William (de Corbel) Archbishop of Canterbury (1070-1136, archbishop from 1123-1136), Herbert (Losinga) Bishop of Norwich who died in 1119, and Stephen Count of Mortain who was granted the title of Count de Boulogne in 1125, before succeeding to the throne in 1135). The compatibility issue is that William was not appointed archbishop until 1123, whereas Herbert died in 1119. This makes the accuracy of the estimated date of the redrafted charter highly suspect, and therefore the whole wording of the charter is also suspect. (Vivien Brown, ed., Eye Priory Cartulary and Charters, II, p.68-69). The author of the Calendar of Charter Rolls (CChR), published in 1903, described the charter as ‘spurious’. Similarly, the editor of Regesta regum Anglo-Normanum, ii, p.19 (1956), commented “The charter can only be genuine if ‘Herbert’ Bp. of Norwich is a mistake for ‘Everard’ (who was elected bishop in 1121)”, which could be possible if the Bishop of Norwich was not actually named in the original charter. However, Henry II, in his confirmation charter c.1160, confirmed to the priory of whatever they possessed as in his grandfather Henry I’s charter (‘rex Henricus avus meus concessit eidem ecclesie,’ etc), confirming that a prior charter of Henry I did exist, and the wording of Henry II’s charter was very similar to Henry I’s charter. It is noticeable that Henry II did not refer to his predecessor Stephen’s charter, nor to the original charter of Robert Malet. That may be due to the fact that Stephen’s charter differed considerably from Henry I’s charter.

Witnesses listed in Henry I’s charter redraft, followed by Brown’s assessment of the date:

Vivien Brown notes that Hubert and his tithe of Fressingfield is not named in the Cartulary confirmation charter of Henry I’s successor King Stephen (charter no.15) in c.1137/38. She also notes that the wording of the charter of Henry I, was very similar, apart from the list of witnesses and a few additions, to that of Henry II in 1155 (No. 5). She says that the appearance of Hubert’s tithe in that of Henry I, a later redraft, cannot be certain evidence that the monks possessed this tithe as early as the 1120’s. However, she does note that Peter does speak of ‘predecessors’ in the plural. And that, if this was a new gift in the mid-twelfth century, it might not have held such a definite position in the texts, implying that the land must have been held by Hubert from a much earlier date than the 1150’s.

Vivien Brown (Eye Priory Cartulary II, pp.90-91, further discusses the confirmation charter of Henry I:

The charter copied into the cartulary and surviving as a late 12th century document cannot be considered an original. The text itself supports this view, for not only is the witness list incompatible, but it is almost word-for-word identical to the general confirmation of Henry II (Charter 5). …. The tithe of Hubert Walter appears for the first time in a charter of 1155 and its appearance, therefore, in that of Henry I must be suspicious, even granted that Stephen’s charter does leave several things out. There seems no reason to doubt that the monks did possess a general confirmation of Henry I and in view of the help and protection he gave the priory, which appears to have been still in process of establishment when he became patron, such a confirmation would not be surprising. Clearly no conclusion can be come to as to its date. The survival of Henry’s charter only in a later text does however make it difficult to ascertain to what extent the original may have been used as a model for subsequent confirmations. Several churches which occur in the foundation charter and in that of king Stephen’s charter are all missing from Henry II’s charter, presumably because by then the advowsons had passed into other hands; their absence from Henry I’s charter is more difficult to explain away. Conversely, several items (churches and tithes) specified in the foundation charter but not in that of Stephen, recur in that of Henry II and appear in identical form and order in that of Henry I.

The original charter of Henry I, would be unlikely to present a true list of the monk’s possession held in the 1150’s, by which time, some of their original endowment had been lost during the land grab during Stephen’s reign. That could then explain why the wording of the redraft of Henry I’s charter mirrored the wording of Henry II’s charter in 1155 and the charters of Popes Adrian and Alexander, and of Bishop Turbe. The monks needed clarification of all of their possessions dated back before the crisis of King Stephen’s reign. It would appear that Stephen based his charter on Malet’s original charter, rather than on his predecessor Henry I’s charter, while omitting some and adding a few new donations. However, Henry II’s charter, as well as those of the Pope and bishops were basing their charters on that of Henry I, thereby ‘setting legal memory to the day Henry I was alive and dead’.

J.C. Holt’s article “1153: The Treaty of Winchester”, between Empress Matilda (daughter of Henry I, and mother of Henry II) and King Stephen was discussed in Robin Fleming’s “Domesday Book and the Law”, stating that the Treaty of Winchester in 1153 was an agreement that ended the anarchy of Stephen’s reign. In this settlement, setting legal memory to the day Henry I was alive and dead, “inheritances,” as Holt persuasively argues, “were to be restored; acquisitions were at risk; unlawful acquisitions would be revoked.” This very general set of solutions to disputes over land that arose during the civil wars of Stephen’s reign bears a striking resemblance to the pragmatic judgements of the Domesday inquest. And like the hierarchy of rights of property worked out at the Domesday inquest, the provisions of the 1153 settlement were workable because they provided only the broadest of guidelines, and could be enforced in radically different ways, depending on the parties involved, the desires of the king and the circumstances of the dispute. This was not common Law stature and procedure. But it was a hardy and flexible mix of Norman and English legal custom, and it provided just enough structure to legal expectations, and just enough support for predictable resolution, that the King and his laws, rather than private war, was looked upon as the primary means of resolving land disputes.

It does appear as if the settlement at the end of Stephen’s reign in some way simply restored the most basic norms governing rights to land worked out at the Domesday inquest, and that both in 1086 and in 1153, are the founding conventions of Anglo-Norman land law which remained the guiding legal principles for landholding, acquisition and inheritance.

In 1086, the Domesday inquest brought every piece of property in England under the scrutiny of local courts, the sheriff, and the King’s commissioners. It was in the process of hearing many thousands of complaints over the course of a few short months, that those responsible for the making and enforcing of law began forming a consensus about the legal norms determining what gave men rights to land. The inquest, seems to have formalized the notion that inheritance was one of the best forms of title. This was a familiar notion for well-to-do Normans, but this precept was confirmed literally thousands of times during the course of the inquest, and must, as a result, have become one of the commonplaces of English land law. Here we can see agreement forming across England, in the minds of hundred jurors and tenants-in chief, about the importance of inheritance and a particular set of legal procedures. In their crudest and most basic form, the courts and commissioners of 1086 upheld the notion that land inherited from a Norman father or an English antecessor, if it had been taken away, should be restored; that acquisitions of land were more open to claim, and that if such acquisitions were unlawful, they should be taken away

(Domesday Book and the Law: Society and Legal Custom in Early Medieval England, by Robin Fleming, Cambridge Uni Press, 1998, p.83-4)

It is notable that the confirmation charters of Eye’s possessions were primarily written in the 1150’s-60’s, following the Treaty of Winchester, and it is highly likely that Henry I’s charter redraft was also written in this period, although confirming donations of tithes for lands held before Stephen’s reign.

The fact that the Treaty restored ‘inheritances’, would seem to confirm that Hubert’s possession of Fressingfield, was in fact, his inheritance. And it is also probable that Hervey Walter’s possession of his fee in Wingfield, adjacent to Fressingfield, was similarly held by inheritance. As were the jointly held lands of Instead and Weybread.

Notably, this is the only instance in the group of manors of Malet’s demesne in his donation to Eye that specifies the name of the owner of the manor granting the fee (viz. Hubert Walter), which would appear to indicate that, at the time of Malet’s charter c.1103, the manor named Snapeshall in Fressingfield was held by inheritance from Malet or one of his sub-tenants, as opposed to the remaining listed manors which were all held by Malet and granted to Eye. The inclusion of Snapeshall in this list of Malet’s manors, as opposed to an individual donation on a separate line of the charter such as the tithe donations of the numerous other donors, seems to specifically link it with Malet’s manors in his demesne in Bishops Hundred, all of which belonged to Malet’s ‘antecessor’ Eadric of Laxfield pre-Conquest, and were held by a small selection of Malet’s supporters as sub-tenants post Conquest in the Domesday survey.

Also notably, in Malet’s original charter, neither Snapeshall manor in Fressingfield, nor Wingfield nor Weybread were named in the list of donations (all held by Malet in Domesday), only the ‘churches of Stradbroke and Wingfield with their lands and tithes’ (later granted to Ernald Russo [le Rus] by Stephen Count of Mortain).

The original Charter of Robert Malet c.1103: translation and summary:

The Confirmation Charters to Eye Priory

Hubert Walter’s tithe in Snape (Fressingfield) was listed in the following various confirmation charters:

Charter of Henry I (No.3- p.16) – note the placement of “decimam Huberti Walteri”, between Badingham and Kelton

Date: c.1123-1135 (a later redraft- note the similar wording to the following Charter of Henry II):


Charter of Henry II (No.5- p.20)

Date: At Le Neubourg. October 1159-1162, possibly November 1160

N.B. “decimam Huberti Walteri, between Badingham and Kelton”.

Confirmation in free alms by Henry II to the priory of whatever they possess, as in Charter no. 3 (Henry I) of ‘my grandfather King Henry I’/ “rex H(enricus) avus meus concessit eidem ecclesie” with a few additions. They are to hold all their tenements freely etc. because the church and monks of Eye are in his protection and custody.

Charter of King Stephen (No.15- p.25)

Date c.1137/38:

No additional entry for Hubert Walter between Badingham and Kelton

In fact, Stephen combines several of Malet’s listed donations into one combined entry on a separate line:

All the land of Bedfield, Stoke Ash, Thornham Magna and Fressingfield”.

In Malet’s original charter, it had:

“With the assent of Walter fitzGrip, all the land which he had in Fressingfield with the mill”.

It is possible that Hubert was dispossessed of his inherited land during Stephen’s reign, a period known as ‘The Anarchy’.


Charter of Pope Adrian IV (No. 55- p.56), the earliest confirmed date in which ‘decimam Huberti Walteri’ occurs:

Date: 10 May 1155: 

Charter of William Turbe bishop of Norwich (No.40- p.43)

Date: 1155-1161

NB. This is the first charter that names Hubert Walter’s Fressingfield land as ‘Snape.

Confirmation by William Turbe bishop of Norwich to the monks of all their possessions, including (xii): “decimam de dominio de Badingeham, decimam de dominio Huberti Walter de Snape, de Keleton” …etc.

The wording of this charter differed by using the words ‘decimam de dominio Huberti’ etc which means the ‘tithe of the lordship of Hubert Walter in Snape’, suggesting the land was held through inheritance rather than a recent gift of the Crown (this exact wording is not reflected in the cartulary editor’s translation below)

Charter of Pope Alexander III (No.56- p.59)

Date: c.1166-68:

The editor’s summary of this charter noted several changes to that of Pope Adrian IV in 1155 (No.55):

Confirmation to Prior Osbert and the monks of their possessions, as in No. 55 (Pope Adrian IV) with the following additions, omissions and variations:….

ii.- The tithe of Hubert Walter in Snape/ ‘decimam Huberti Walteri in Snape’ (cf.55,vi)- added ‘in Snape’


NB. iii- the tithe of the demesne of Benhall- belonged to the de Glanville family since the Domesday Book when Robert de Glanville held part from Robert Malet- not included in Charter no. 55 of Pope Adrian. Malet’s original charter had “the church of Benhall with lands, tithes and appurtenances”.

Latin entry:

The last paragraph of the charter is noteworthy: “and all the possessions which the convent has held without legitimate interruption for the last 40 years”, ie. since 1128, during the reign of Henry I, before the reign of King Stephen.

Eye Cartulary II, p.120, Charter No 396- a list of lesser tithes

Date: 1308:

‘The portion of Snapishale* (in Fressingfield), is leased when possible, nevertheless worth usually 1 m(mark). (*This early 14th century document revealed that ‘Snape’ referred to Snapeshall in Fressingfield, later known as Launceshal)


Charter of John Count of Mortain (No.28- p.35)

Date: At Dunwich, August 1189-March 1190

Confirmation in free alms by John count of Mortain (future King John) to the monks whatever they possess, as in Charter no. 3, (Henry I), with additions and variations.

He confirms all their tenements which they have obtained from the gifts of their donors. They are to hold them freely, and in peace etc. in all particulars… as they did in the time of John’s father king Henry II, because the church and monks of Eye are in his custody and protection:

The point that has not been made clear is the purpose of Hubert’s tithe inclusion in the redraft of the earlier confirmation charter of Henry I, if not in the original document. If Hubert’s tithe was added in a later redraft of Henry I’s charter, copying the wording in the confirmation of Pope Adrian IV in 1155 and of Henry II c.1160, what was the purpose of inserting it in Henry I’s charter dating back to the period 1123-1135? Was it to establish that the Walter family held this land by inheritance from an early predecessor who in turn held the land from Robert Malet, rather than a later gift of the Crown, and had therefore personally granted part of the tithe to the priory, not subject to the holder of the Honour of Eye at the time, such as Stephen Count of Mortain? Was it also aimed at separating this specific donation of Hubert Walter from the confirmed donation of “all of the land of Fressingfield” as specified in King Stephen’s Charter”?

And the wording in Bishop Turbe’s charter of ‘the tithe of the lordship of Hubert Walter in Snape’, suggests the land was held through inheritance, rather than a gift of the Crown.

In the late 12th century (post 1180), Peter Walter witnessed many charters of close neighbours in northern Suffolk, many of whom had inherited their lands from ancestors who held under Robert Malet. He was particularly prominent in witnessing charters in association with Roger II de Huntingfield (grandson of Walter de Caen’s second son Roger I de Huntingfield). Peter held the wardship of Alan of Withersdale and Weybread (near Fressingfield); he paid the king to obtain the hand of the widow of Robert Brito, Philippa Gulafre daughter of William Gulafre of Okenhill in Badingham, (another neighbour) for his son Hubert; he donated his ‘tithe of his mill at Instead’ to cousin Hubert Walter’s charter to West Dereham, as well as rents from Weybread; and was witness to several documents which included Ernald Russo his neighbour in Stradbroke, and was noted as a ‘knight of co. Suffolk’, which all would appear to indicate his primary residence continued to be at his demesne lands of Fressingfield. Notably, the de Huntingfields, the Gulafres and the ancestor of Ernald Russo (Ernald filius Roger) were all listed as donors to Malet’s original charter.


NB. Fressingfield in Bishops Hundred, was not specifically named in the Domesday survey but was part of the adjacent lands of Chippenhall.

The Hundreds of Bishop and adjacent Hartismere were all part of the Honour of Eye (Priory), first held by Robert Malet.

(Domesday Book, A Complete Translation, pp.1219, 1296; The Manors of Suffolk; notes on their history and devolution, etc.” by W.A. Copinger, 1909, pp.34, 50)

Domesday Book- County of Suffolk: Chippenhall in Bishops Hundred totalling nearly 450 acres:


Land of Robert Malet- The soke of Chippenhall (ie. including Fressingfield) is in Hoxne (manor), but Eadric (of Laxfield) held half of it of Bishop Aelmar (TRE- ie. pre-Conquest). Of this manor Walter holds 4 freemen with 1 carucate of land (? possibly Walter de Caen, or Walter the crossbowman?). It is worth 30s and it is in the same valuation of £6. The mother of Robert Malet holds 3 sokemen with 80 acres of land worth 45s in the same valuation. Humphrey holds 1 sokeman with 20 acres It is worth 5s. in the same valuation. Walter fitzGrip holds 1 freeman, 120 acres. It is worth 40s in the same valuation.

(carucate= medieval unit of land area approximating the area of land a plough team of 8 oxen could plough in a year, usually 60-160 acres, averaging 120 acres)

In relation to Walter fitzGrip’s land in Fressingfield (viz. Chippenhall in Domesday), the following Eye Priory Charters are relevant:

In Robert Malet’s Foundation Charter to Eye Priory c.1103-05, one donation entry has:

 ‘with the assent of Walter fitzGrip, all the land which he had in Fressingfield with the mill.” (ie. 120 acres)

-Charter 11 (p.23)- Precept of Henry I to Stephen count of Mortain and all his ministers, that the prior and monks shall have all their lands, churches and property specifically at Fressingfield, as they held them on the days when William I and Robert Malet were alive and dead. Dated c.1120-1123.

This implies there may have been a dispute between the priory and Stephen count of Mortain, over lands of Fressingfield, specifically those donated by Walter fitzGrip in Malet’s Charter.

-Charter 24 (p.32)- Grant by William Martel steward of king Stephen to the monks,… confirming the gift in Fressingfield which Walter son of Grip, his uncle, made them. Dated c.1141-1154.

“Quin etiam concede et confirm donationem quam walterus fitzGrip avunculus meus eidem monasterio de Fresingef, ita ut a modo ego vel nullus heredum meorum versus monachos quicquam in ea reclamabimus.”

This charter confirms that William Martel was the nephew of Walter fitzGrip and had inherited fitzGrip’s Fressingfield lands (ie. 120 acres held from Robert Malet in Domesday, as part of Chippenhall), confirming that Walter fitzGrip did not have any male heirs. The translation of the last part appears to say “so as a way, I (William Martel) or none of the heirs of my line can reclaim it from the monks.” In 1155, William Martel founded Snape Priory, a cell of the abbey of St John’s Colchester, donating Walter fitzGrip’s other Suffolk lands at Aldeburgh and Snape (near Aldeburgh, in the Hundred of Plomesgate) that Martel inherited. (not to be confused with Snape/Snapeshal in Fressingfield held by Hubert and Peter Walter.)

(Eye Priory Cartulary and Charters, Pt. 1, ed. Vivien Brown, 1992)

Notably, in the Domesday entry, the 120 acres of land held by Walter fitzGrip in Fressingfield, was separate to the one carucate of land held by ‘Walter’ in Fressingfield/Chippenhall.

The important part of this Domesday entry for Chippenhall for our purposes, is that of ‘Walter’, who held 4 freemen and 1 carucate of land, and was listed firstly of the several lords, including Malet’s mother, holding lands from Robert Malet in the district of Chippenhall.

The same ‘Walter’ significantly also held land in Wingfield and Weybread, the lands held by Hervey Walter. This cannot be a coincidence.

The questions that arise –

Was this the Walter who gave rise to the surname Walter? And who was this ‘Walter’?

Was Walter related to, or closely associated with Robert Malet, or even Eadric of Laxfield who held these lands pre-Conquest? Was Malet also related to his ‘antecessor’ Eadric whose lands in Suffolk and Norfolk were all granted to Malet in Domesday?

Was ‘Walter’ actually Walter de Caen who held lands all around this area from Robert Malet, or was he Walter the Arbalester/crossbowman who also held lands from Malet near the Priory of Eye in Hartismere Hundred?

Did the Walter family patriarch Hervey inherit these lands of Fressingfield, Wingfield and Weybread from this ‘Walter’ who was a sub-tenant Robert Malet, and lord of these lands?

These questions will be explored in greater detail in further chapters.


Vivien Brown comments on Charter No. 15: King Stephen’s confirmation to the monks of all their possessions, c.1138:

Charter wording: “They are to hold them free and quit of all exactions in all particulars as they did in the time of Robert Malet and of Stephen before he became king, as on the day when Henry I was alive and dead and on the day when Stephen became king, with soke and sake and toll and team and infangenetheof, and they are not to be impleaded. The church of Eye shall be in the king’s demesne and he confirms specifically to them.”

“The list of donations omits several churches listed in the foundation charter, and several tithes, which reappear in Henry II’s confirmation. Hubert Walter’s tithe donation in Fressingfield is omitted from this charter.

It also has some new inclusions, including:

xxxiv- 3s. worth of land which John son of Robert holds (viz. son of Robert fitzWalter de Caen), and,

xxxv- the land of Alwin son of Wlstan in Bedfield.

This confirmation charter has many inconsistencies. Though it may have drawn upon the original charter of Henry I, some clauses are straight repetitions of those in the foundation charter (of Robert Malet) and yet the order is erratic”. (Eye Priory Cartulary & Charters, II, p.91)


1.Eye Cartulary and Charters, Pt 1, pp.231-232

Charter No.319: Confirmation by Peter Walter to the monks of the gift of his predecessors of two thirds of the tithes of all his demesne lands in the district of Fressingfield.

In addition, he grants them two thirds of the tithe of the assart of 1 ½ acres which he has made, and likewise if the assart shall be extended. The monks are to receive all the tithes in the autumn. Warranty clause.

Probably late 1180’s.


Charter Of Peter Walteri

To all to whom the present writing arrives for the salvation of Peter Walter. Know your community that I, Peter Walter,  (confirm) the gifts and grants of my predecessors to the monks of Eye, two parts of the tithes of all the land of my own in the territory of the Fresingefeud, as the monks of my predecessors ever had, better and more freely, just as the same had in the times I have, and I confirm and approve this; Moreover, the two sheaves/120v from the cleared, namely about an acre and a half or more if I am about to do the same monks in lasting as alms to give and grant that I am, and my heirs, in perpetual alms, and I corroborate with the protection of my seal, and seal it. All the same, however, in the autumn, at the time of the tithes, he shall remain in the fields of the aforesaid to the monks themselves. This donation and confirmation I and my heirs will warrant. The witnesses are, master of (The) chaplain of the bishop, J. de Loges dean, A. person of Wirlingword’, Geoffrey person of Dinnevetun’, A.priest of Hoxa, Hernaldus son of Peter, William son of Robert, William of Blanchvill;, Adam of Weybrede, Hugo Germayne, Symon de Thornham, Richard of Ludham, Geoffrey son of Walter

2.The Cartulary of Leiston Abbey & Butley Priory Charters (ed. R.H. Mortimer 1979) p151

No.146:  Date: 1171-77 (NB. witness Robert de Valoines died 1178)

Hervey Walter’s Charter to Butley Priory, granting all his fee in Wingfield, ‘Sikebro’, and Instead (Weybread).  Witnesses included Petro Walter.

3.The Cartulary of Leiston Abbey and Butley Priory Charters, (ed R.H. Mortimer 1979), p151

No. 147:  Date: (NB. witness Osbert de Glanville died 1195), so pre-1195

Gilbert of Hawkedon has granted 6d rent in Instead to Butley Priory.

Know present and future that I, Gilbert of Hawkedon have given while preserving, and by this my present charter I supported the church of the holy Marie of Buttele (Butley) and to those serving God there, a rent of 6d in Instead, by the prayer and will of my lord Tedbald Walter, in perpetual alms without doing service, not least because my lord Tedbald brought it about that I have granted the aforesaid rent to the aforesaid church in perpetual alms.

Witnesses, Hernaldo priest, Osbert de Glanville, Roger of Kenteville, Peter Walter, John of Tudham, Roger Blencio, Aumari of Bellaf’.

4.Feet of Fines -Reign of Henry II and first seven years of reign of Richard I AD. 1182-1196, pub. 1894, Pipe Roll Society, p.21

Translation by Carew:

Date: 15 July 1195

Fine between Theobald Walter and William Hervei. The former grants to the latter the town of Boxted, with the appurtenances in Hulmested and Belag, which last Peter Walter holds. The said William quitted claim of all other lands of Hervei Walter, grandfather of Theobald.

(NB Boxted and Belag and ‘Hulmestead’, part of the Amounderness fee held by Theobald Walter. Inherited from grandfather Hervey. Unclear how or why William Hervei had a right to these lands.)


5.A Fourteenth Century Rent Roll of the Priory of Butley, Suffolk

Peter Walter gave the church of Bylaugh (Norfolk) to that house (Butley) in conjunction with Hervey Walter and Robert son of William (viz. a witness to Peter Walter’s charter to Eye Priory [319]).

(‘The East Anglian: Notes and Queries…’, New Series, Vol. xi, 1906, ed. Evelyn White, p.46- Untitled (An Unpublished Fourteenth Century Rent Roll of the Priory of Butley, Suffolk)


6.Monasticon Anglicanum: A History of the Abbies and Other Monasteries…, Volume 6 part 2, p.899-901, by Sir William Dugdale, London 1846

Num. II – Charter of Donors to the Abbey of West Dereham (p.900- see previous chapter for full text)

Date: c.1199

Et ex dono Petri Walteri redditum dimidiae marcae in molendino suo de Isted percipiendum, ad emendum sibi vinum ad celebrationem missarum in ecclesia sua.


And of the gift of Peter Walteri rent of half mark in his mill of Isted (Instead) therefore, to buy him wine for the celebration of mass in his church.

7.Feet of Fines for the County of Norfolk for the reign of King John 1201-1215, and for the County of Suffolk 1199-1214, ed. Barbara Dodwell, London 1958 (p.238 No. 497 [Case 154, File 30, No. 435])

Norfolk-  Final concord at St Edmunds(bury),

Date:19 April 1209.

Judges Gerald de Camville, William de Huntingfield, Eustace de Faucunberg, Jacob de Poternis, Walter de Crepping, Robert de Aumaur, and William de Furnell, itinerant judges and barons of the king who were present.   Between Peter son of Hubert (Petrum filium Huberti), the claimant, and Henry abbot of Dereham, the holder of 20 acres with appurtenances in Ysted/Instead and three shillings worth of rent in Weybread, under the recognition of ‘mort d’ancestor’ (death of an ancestor), was summoned in and called from himself and his heirs to the aforesaid abbot and his successors, and the church of the Holy Mary of Dereham, all the permanent right and the claim that he had in the aforesaid land and in the rent with appurtenances. And for this quitclaim and fine and concord, the aforesaid abbot and the local convent in the receipt of him in each of the benefits which are made in the church in perpetuity.

This case involves the abbot of West Dereham trying to recover lost advowsons in Instead and Weybread donated to the abbey by Peter Butler after the foundation of the abbey by his cousin Hubert Walter.

 8.Vivien Brown discusses Peter Walter:

EYE PRIORY Cartulary and Charters, II, ed. Vivien Brown, 1994, page 68-69 (Introduction)

9.Charter No 396 (p.121, Eye Cartulary):  Dated 1308

A list of lesser tithes:

Deanery of Hoxne

… The portion of ‘Snapishale’ (in Fressingfield) is leased when possible, nevertheless worth usually 1m (mark= 160 pence, or 13 shillings and 4 pence, post Conquest)


10.Eye Priory Cartulary and Charters vol.II- Charter No.416 (p.131)

Dated early 14th century

Memorandum of an inquisition* (*entry headed ‘Fresingfeud’) made before the dean of Hoxne concerning the tithes of the demesne formerly of Peter Walter in Fressingfield. These jurors say that the tithe from the demesne formerly of Peter Walter in Fressingfield pertains to the prior and convent of Eye, that is to say two thirds of the tithe, and that Peter de la Hose held these of the prior and convent for an annual rent of 5s, and similarly Peter of Dunwich.


11.Eye Priory Cartulary and Charters, vol.II (p.59)

Robert Brito suffered forfeiture of his lands twice. His Eye fees were escheated to the Crown at Easter 1183 and at Michaelmas 1184 Geoffrey bishop of Ely accounts for his lands and was allowed £18 for the maintenance of Philippa from easter 1183 to Easter 1184 by the king’s writ. He recovered his lands in 1188. He suffered forfeiture and imprisonment again for supporting John’s rebellion. (Richard gave him the harsh punishment of starvation to death). He died there, for in 1199 his widow paid £100 relief to have seisin of his lands as he had them on the day he was put in prison, and Peter Walter gave 120marks and a palfrey, together with 60 marks already promised, to have Philippa for his son Hubert.

(Ed. Notes: it is difficult to ascertain whether Philippa married Hubert. Peter Walter’s debt remains on the pipe rolls unpaid until 1202 and then disappears, and Philippa continues to be called Philippa Gulafre.)

p.59 cont:

Roger Gulafre (of Okenhill) was succeeded by another William. He witnessed two charters of William count of Mortain as lord of the honour of Boulogne between 1156 and 1159, and was dead by 1166, by which date his daughter and heir, Philippa, had been given in marriage by the king to Robert the son of Ralph Brito, an unknown Breton who rose to prominence during the early part of Henry II’s reign. The marriage is referred to in a letter of bishop Gilbert Foliot of London, dating 1163-6. Robert Brito’s heir, William, still a minor, was in the custody of Peter of Edgefield (Pipe Roll 1 John, 291). When William came of age is uncertain but possible in 1209 when the debts of his grandfather and father begin to be paid off. It was about this time that Philippa granted 4s rent in Okenhill to the monks. Philippa was still alive in 1221(Pipe Roll 5 Henry III, 38). In 1209, Roger Gulafre vouched Philippa to warranty in a plea against Alan of Withersdale over lands in Instead. (Feet of Fines, Suffolk, no.530).

In 1209, Philippa sued Hugo de Auberville (grandson of Rannulf de Glanville) over land in the hundred of Plomesgate (Fines, Suffolk, no. 504)

It is difficult to date Philippa’s age, given she was given in marriage in the mid 1160’s. She was probably a minor when given in marriage by the king, given her father’s death at that time and she being his heir. Her son and heir was born in the late 1180’s; and she was still alive in 1221. It therefore appears to indicate that Peter Walter’s son Hubert was probably born well before 1170.

12.Eye Priory Cartulary II, p.117-118 -Charter No 391:

Peter Walter had held custody of Alan de Withersdale, (adjacent to Fressingfield, in Bishops Hundred), son of William de Withersdale- heirs to Humphrey fil Robert who held 28 lands from Robert Malet in Domesday.

Date: 1227-8

Record of an assize of ‘darrein presentment’ to the church of Playford, the advowson of which the prior of Eye claims against the bishop of Norwich and Alan of Withersdale.

“… Et episcopus non venit set Alanus venit et dicit quod iniuste hoc dicit quare quidem Petrus Walter in cuius custodia ipse fuit ratione custodie quam de ipso habuit presentavit eundem Willilmum qui ad presentationem suam admissus fuit et inde point se super iuratam”.

(=‘Peter Walter in whose custody he was in’)

NB. Alan de Withersdale inherited lands in Weybread, Instead, Withersdale, Fressingfield and Playford and many others from his grandfather also named Alan of Playford, and Alan de Weybread who donated tithes of Weybread to Butley Priory with Gutha de Glanville (14th Century Butley Priory Rent Roll).


13.Apart from Peter witnessing his uncle Hervey Walter’s Butley Charter c 1171-77, Peter Walter first occurs in official records in 1180:

 Pipe Roll 26 Henry II [vol. 29], 1179-1180, p.22

(translation: And of 1 mark of Peter Walter for holding a market over an assize)


14. In 1182 Peter disputed a moiety of the church of Fressingfield with the abbot of Bury St Edmunds:

Feudal Documents from the Abbey of Bury St Edmunds, v.8, ed. D.C. Douglas, London 1932, p.185, No.227:

15.Peter Walter, was one of the knights of honour (including neighbours and friends Roger de Huntingfield and Ernald Russo of Stradbroke and Hubert de Braiseworth) , “and many others, barons and the knights present in the same court” , before whom a fine was made in the court of John Count of Mortain in c.1190:

Cartularium Monasterii Sancti Johannis Baptiste de Colecestria, II, ed. by Stuart A. Moore, London 1897, p.514:  

16.Feet of Fines for the County of Norfolk for the reign of King John 1201-1215, and for the County of Suffolk 1199-1214, ed. Barbara Dodwell, London 1958

p.89- No. 185 [Case 154, file 27 No 371]


Final concord at St Edmunds, 19 April 1209. Judges Gerald de Camville, William de Huntingfield, Eustace de Faucunberg, Jacob de Poternis , Walter de Crepping, Robert de Aumaur, and William de Furnell, itinerant judges and barons of the king who were present. Between Peter son of Hubert and Margaret his wife, petents/plaintiffs, and William filium Warin holding seven acres of land with appurtenances in Colton, claim by writ of ‘morte d’ancestor’ (of their father’s land) were summoned between them in the same court, namely that said Peter and Margaret resuming and quit claim themselves and their heirs to the aforesaid William and his heirs forever the whole right and claim which they had in the aforesaid land with pertinences. And for this quit claim and fine and concord the aforesaid William gave to aforesaid Peter and Margaret half a silver mark.

The succeeding case, p.91- No. 190 [Case 154, File 29 no.401], 19 April 1209, was identical except Peter and Margaret’s claim was against Hugh le Brun who held 15 acres of land in Colton. Under recognition of ‘mort d’ancestor’, was summoned between them in the aforesaid court. For this quit claim and fine and concord the aforesaid Hugh gave to aforesaid Peter and Margaret one silver mark.

A third case p.95- No. 198 [Case 154, file 29, No. 425], heard in the same court on 19 April 1209, between Peter and Margaret, and Hagen filium Warin, holding of seven acres of land and pertinences in Colton, in which, for this quit claim, the aforesaid Hagen gave to the aforesaid Peter and Margaret half a silver mark.

Considering that Peter’s wife Margaret was included in these fines, it suggests that Peter held this land in right of his wife, possibly as a marriage portion, or by her inheritance from her now deceased father.


17.Eye Priory Cartulary Pt 1, p38 (Charter No.31)

Grant in free alms by Henry duke of Lotharingia (Brabant), margrave of the Roman Empire and lord of the Honor of Eye, and Mathilda his wife, to the monks of the land of Dosolf (?) in Eye, which had been given to the monks of Eye by John Count of Mortain

Dated c.1199

Witnessed by Rogero de Huntingfeud, Ernald Russo (of Stradbroke- descendant of Ernald son of Roger of Whittingham in Fressingfield), Petro Walteri, Ada(m) de Bedingfield, etc.

Editor’s notes: Date- the witnessing of so many knights of the honor make it certain that this charter was given in England. Roger II de Huntingfield died in 1204 and the only time Henry is known to have been in England was for John’s coronation in 1199, the day after which (28 May) John gave him seisin of his lands in England.

Vivien Brown explains (Eye Cart. II, p.31-32):

Prince John held the Honor of Eye until Easter 1197, but in 1198 Richard granted Eye to Henry Duke of Lotharingia, Duke of Brabant and Count of Louvain, in right of his wife Mathilda, as the price for his alliance with England.


18.Vivien Brown also states (p.69) that:

In 1209, a Peter son of Hubert was one of several knights of the honor before whom an inquest was heard in a dispute involving Geoffrey of Louvain (2nd son of Duke Godefroi of Louvain by his 2nd wife Alice widow of Ralph of Cornhill).


19.Cartulary of Leiston Abbey and Butley Priory Charters, ed. R.H. Mortimer, 1979 (nos. 124, 125 and 127)-

Charter of Gerald son of Benedict of Dennington who has granted 11 ½ acres in Dennington, with his body for burial

Dated after 1200 and before 1230

Witnessed by Petro filio Huberti, et Huberto filio eius (his son).

(Gerald son of Benedict- the Parcarius or Parker family of Dennington, were donors to both Leiston and Butley- see Leiston Cartulary p.15; Dennington is in Bishops Hundred, near Badingham, both a few kms south of Fressingfield.)


20. Three Rolls of the King’s Court in the reign of Richard the First A.D. 1194-95, (London, 1891) p.49

Peter Walter named as one of the justices in two pleas in Norfolk:

 21. Peter Walter and the de Huntingfield family (descendants of Walter de Caen)

 (see Huntingfield on map in relation to Stradbroke):

Vivien Brown wrote in the Eye Cartulary, II, p68-69:

Peter was closely linked also to the Huntingfield family, though whether as a tenant or relative, or both, is not clear. In the 1190’s Peter witnessed, with Hubert his son, a charter of the prior of Mendham, the Huntingfield’s foundation (87), and both father and son witness charters of Roger of Huntingfield to Mendham and to the nuns of Bungay (Byng).

Peter Walter had a close relationship with Roger de Huntingfield (II), son of William de Huntingfield (I), son of Roger de Huntingfield (I), son of Walter de Caen. Roger’s son, William de Huntingfield (II) was one of the 25 Barons who were signatories to the Magna Carta, appointed as sureties for the enforcement of the Magna Carta (issue in 1215, passed into law 1225).

(William de Huntingfield [II] 1167-1221, s.o. Roger [II] 1141-1204, s.o. William [I] 1115-1155, s.o. Roger [I] c.1070’s-?, s.o. Walter de Caen)

NB. All successive generations of de Huntingfields named their son and heir, alternatively, Roger and William, until William de Huntingfield b.1330 d. 1376- see G.E. Cokayne, vol. 6, and Mendham Priory family tree.

Peter witnessed the following de Huntingfield charters

(A)Eye Priory Cartulary and Charters, I, No.87, p92-93)-

Prior William & the convent of St Mary’s, Mendham

Dated 1187-c.1200 (notes, the witness list in general points to a date in the 1190’s)

Acknowledgement by prior William and the convent of St Mary’s, Mendham, that they are bound to pay 2m a year to the prior and convent of Eye for the tithes of Huntingfield, Byng (in Pettistree) and of the land of Rocelin of Linstead and of Alice the wife of William son of Rocelin and of Girard the clerk of Huntingfield, which tithes the convent of Eye have granted to them.

Witnesses: Rogero de Huntingefeud et Willelmo filio eius, Petro Walteri et Huberto filio eius, Ernald Ruffo, Matheo de Stradebroc, Roberto filio Rocelini, Willelmo filio Roberti, Willelmo cleric de Eya, Gaufrido de Mendham, etc

Notably, there is also a long-term close relationship between the de Huntingfield family with the Rocelin family of Linstead, probably indicating a blood relationship. Linstead was held in Domesday by Walter de Caen, and Jocelin/Rocelin of Hollesley granted his tithe of 100 acres of Huntingfield to the foundation charter of Robert Malet, while Roger de Huntingfield gave two thirds of his tithe of the demesne of Huntingfield, Linstead and Byng (in Pettistree) to Eye.

While Malet’s charter names ‘Jocelyn’, the Charter of Henry I states “the tithe of Rocelin in Huntingfield.”

Notably, Hollesley in Domesday was held by Robert de Glanville from Robert Malet.

The de Huntingfield charters to Mendham were witnessed by the Rocelin of Linstead family, Robert filio Rocelin and William filio Rocelin.

Robert filio Rocelin witnessed Rannulf de Glanville’s charter to Butley Priory in 1171 and also Hervey Walter’s charter to Butley c.1174.

(B).Monasticon Anglicanum, Vol 5, Wm Dugdale, p56- Charter to Mendham

(also see de Huntingfield family tree p56-see below)

Priory of Mendham in Suffolk- Cartae ad Mendhamensem Prioratum in agro Suffolciensi spectantes:

In King Stephen’s time, upon the island of Hurst or Bruninghurst in this parish William the son of Roger de Huntingfield [the elder] founded a Cluniac priory subordinate to Castle Acre in Norfolk, which he dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

Charter Num.1 (p58)

Dated 1155

Carta Willielmi filii Rogero de Huntingfield etc

William de Huntingfield gives to the monks of Castleacre the isle of St Mary of Mendham, with Ulveslage, and the granges there, and various other lands, rents and homages, etc on condition that as many brethren as might be requisite should be placed in it

Witnesses included: Willielmus filius Rocelini, Robertus frater ejus, Rocelinus filius Humfridi, Willielmus Malus-nepos.


Charter Num.IV (p58).

No date given- c.1180-90’s

Pro ecclesiis de Mendham, Sancte Margarete, et medietate ecclesie Sancti Petri de Linsteded, et ceteta de Cella de Mendham:

Sciant presents et future quod ego Rogerus de Huntinfeld (d.1204, son of William) et hac mea carta confirmavi Deo et S. Marie de Mendham etc..  Hiis testibus, Willielmo decano de Ridenhall, magistro Ricardo de Sotesham, Petro Walterio, Roberto filio Rocelini (of Linstead), etc.

Roger de Huntingfield, the son of the founder, gave to the monks there the church of St Margaret at Linstead; a moiety of the church of St Peter at Linstead; the third part of the tithe of his demesne in Suttorp etc.

The family tree of the de Huntingfields given in Monasticon Anglicanum, v.5, p.56

NB. the alternating names of William/Gulielmus and Roger

NB. the tree starts with William de Huntingfield, who was son of Roger de Huntingfield (and Emma de Craon), second son of Walter de Caen

(C).“A Farmer’s Year: Being his Commonplace Book for 1898” by H. Rider Haggard, 1899, p.25:

The famous fiction author ('King's Solomon's Mines'), in a non-fiction book about the area near Bedingham, Bishops Hundred, wrote about a Benedictine Nunnery at Bungay (Byng), founded in c.1160-1185 by Roger de Glanville and his wife Gundreda, widow of Hugh Bigod 1st Earl of Norfolk, upon lands of her maritagium.

Haggard explained that he had in his possession a deed executed by Roger de Huntingfield under which he confirms his grant to Bungay Convent:

(No date given- before 1204)

To all Christ’s faithful, to whom this present writing comes, Roger of Huntingfield wishes health. Let our acquaintance know that I have given and granted, and by this present charter of mine have confirmed, to God and to the Church of the Holy Cross at Bungay (Byng) and to the nuns there serving God, Alveva the wife of Roger Brunulan, and Thomas his firstborn son, with their whole tenement which they held of me in the village of Metfield, of the purtenances of Mendham, for free, and pure, and perpetual charity for the salvation of the souls of my father, and of my mother, and of my ancestors and successors. Saving the service of our lord the King, to wit, for ward, one penny a year on a thousand shillings, and for scutage of our lord the King on twenty shillings two pence, and on more and more, and on less, less.

And this donation and confirmation may remain firm and settled I have strengthened it by the muniment of my seal for myself and for my heirs.

These being witnesses: William of Huntingfield (Roger’s son), Walter Malet, Peter Walter, Robert of Huntingfield (Roger’s second son), William of Corton, Hubert Walter (Peter’s son), Alan of Withersdale (in Fressingfield), etc.


 D).The UK National Archives-

Record held by Lincolnshire Archives- Ref: 3ANC2/1

Title: Huntingfield Cartulary- between the de Huntingfield family and the de Craon family

Date: 1183.

Ref: 10(f5)

Carta Toft and Frampton

Notification of enfeoffment

Maurice de Greun (Creun/Craon) to Roger son of William de Huntyngfeld

Property: 1. All the vill of Toft except the advowson

2. all his fee in Frampton except the services of Hugh de Boeby (Dongington) Thomas de Muleton, Walter son of Matfrey (Pinchbeck), Walter Malegard (Tytton). All these Alan (de Craon) the grantor’s father had given to William de Huntingfeld

3. Manor of Suthorpe in exchange for the manor of Warneburn which Roger claims as of his gift

4. 2 plots of land in Boston market place, Herbert the clerk north

5. The service of 1 ¾ knights is remitted of the 4 owned by Roger (de Huntingfield)


1. Service of 2 ¾ knights

2. quitclaim of right of the advowson of Toft, the vill Freiston all lands in Boston except the specified plots, the vill of Warnburn and the service of William Laengium of Whaplode, Alan de Roches of Freiston and Walter son of Matfrydy of Freiston.

Witnesses: Rannulf de Glanvill, justiciar of the Lord King, Roger son of Remfre, William Bassett, William Mald', Michael Belet, Gervase de Cornhill, Richard Malebiss', Wydo of Creun, Peter Walter, Hugh de Boeby, Alexander de Poynton, Alan de Roches, Walter son of Matfryd, Ingeram of Dysney, Jordan son of Aldan, Conan son of Robert.


Ref: 11 (f5vo)

 Secunda carta.

Date: after 1183

Confirmation by Wydo of Creun to Roger son of William of Huntyngfeld of the grants made by his grandfather Alan to William of Huntyngfeld and by his father Maurice to Roger (de Huntingfield).

Witnesses: Rannulf de Glanvill justice of the lord king, Roger son of Kenifre, William Bassett, Willim Maud' Michael Bolet.


Ref: 35 (f10) tertia.

Date: between 1147-8 & 1156

Notice by King Stephen to G. earl of Lincoln that Alan of Croun granted to William son of Roger (de Huntingfield) in his presence all his land in Holland and that Maurice of Croun granted the same land to him after he had received his father's inheritance from the king.

 Witness: Wm. Martel at Ipswich


Ref:39 (f10vo) Notification of an agreement for exchange.

Date: c.1200

 Roger, son of William of Huntyngfeld and Ralph of Fenna.

 1. Roger gives to Ralph all the land of Reginald Croyde, Toli of Hoga and Gyppe le Newcome in languas in Fenna.

 2. Ralph gives to Roger (de Huntingfield) all his land in Hestecroft.

Witnesses: Eudo the chaplain, Ingeram de Gyney, Walter of Coventry, Oliver of Curcun, Hubert son of Peter Walter, Hamo son of Ralph, Peter the clerk, Eudo the reeve.


Alan de Craon was born c.1090 in Freiston, Lincolnshire, died bef.1155 (son Maurice paid taxes in Lincolnshire), son of Wido de Craon and Isabella FitzBaldric. Married to Muriel Beauchamp. Father of Maurice de Craon and Cicilia de Woodthorpe.

Brother of Emma, wife of Roger de Huntingfield [I] (son of Walter de Caen).

Alan de Craon granted land to Freston priory with the consent of his son Maurice, and William fitzRoger [de Huntingfield] his nephew (nepotis mei). The deed mentions his sister Emma (5 Calendar of Charter Rolls, V.3 p.102)


It is important to look at the reasons that led this family’s rise in status in the mid to late 1100’s, which was a direct result of their close relationship to the de Glanville family.

Hubert Walter, son of Hervey Walter, and his rise to power

Much has been written about the life and deeds of Hubert Walter, and this blog is not going to go into such detail. Two highly researched books were published on Hubert's life and are recommended reading:

Hubert Walter, lord of Canterbury, and lord of England, by C.R. Young (1968)

Hubert Walter, by C.R. Cheney (1967)

and a detailed outline of Hubert's remarkable life and accomplishments, 'Walter, Hubert' by Robert C. Stacey in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004 

However, looking at the writings of Hubert's contemporaries in the church, and the details of his burial in Canterbury Cathedral, gives us an interesting insight into his personality and character.

Under Rannulf de Glanville’s sponsorship and tutorage, Hubert Walter received a wealth of administrative and legal training and rose to prominence around the royal court during the 1180’s. According to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: “as Ranulf de Glanville’s chief deputy in England, Hubert Walter was involved in the full range of administrative business for which the justiciar was responsible, serving as one of the barons of the exchequer during the 1180’s and sitting regularly with Glanville and others as a justice of the exchequer court. He developed considerable expertise as a justice during these years, despite not having spent any time in the schools, and in later life his lack of formal education was sometimes an embarrassment to him and was a target of a series of tales from the pen of the chronicler Gerald of Wales (Giraldus Cambrensis).

During the last few years of Henry II’s reign, the king employed him in chancery and diplomatic work also. Hubert carried money to south Wales for the king’s troops, and conveyed messages between England and the king in France.”

Rannulf de Glanville is credited with writing, or overseeing the writing of ‘Tractatus de legibus et consuetudinibus regni Anglie’ (The Treatise on the Laws and Customs of the Kingdom of England), the earliest treatise on the laws of England. The actual authorship has been widely debated, and Hubert Walter and Geoffrey fitzPeter are actually considered to be the likely authors.

Hubert was often a witness to various charters sponsored by Rannulf, including a confirmation charter by Prince John c.1189-90 confirming Rannulf’s donations to Leiston Abbey also witnessed by Theobald (R.H. Mortimer, ed., Cartulary of Leiston Abbey and Butley Priory Charters, No. 29, p.78); a Charter for an agreement between Butley and Leiston over the parish churches of Leiston and Aldringham and the demesne tithes of Leiston c.1186 (Cartulary of Leiston Abbey…, No. 31, p.79); and Rannulf’s Foundation charter to Leiston Abbey c.1186, also witnessed by Theobald and Roger Walter (Ibid, No. 27, p.76)

1185- Hubert was rector of Halifax in Yorkshire;

1186- during a vacancy at York, King Henry II appointed Hubert dean of York Cathedral;

1188- Hubert founded a Premonstratensian monastery at West Dereham;

1189- he was appointed Bishop of Salisbury by King Richard;

1193- Hubert was elected Archbishop of Canterbury until his death in July 1205;

1193- King Richard appointed Hubert, Chief Justiciar of England, until his resignation in 1198;

1199- King John appointed Hubert, Chancellor, until his death in 1205.

Shortly after the first coronation of King Richard I on 3 September 1189, Hubert Walter was appointed Bishop of Salisbury, as recounted in ‘The Chronicles of Henry II and Richard I’ by Benedict of Peterborough (ed. By William Stubbs, 1867, v.II p.85):

After attending Richard’s coronation in September 1189 as Dean of York, he was appointed as Bishop of Salisbury, and, in 1190, along with his uncle Rannulf de Glanville and Baldwin Archbishop of Canterbury, Hubert Walter followed King Richard to the third Crusade which had been launched to retake Jerusalem after its fall to the Muslim leader Saladin in 1187. Hubert became the chief negotiator with Saladin following the deaths of Archbishop Baldwin and Rannulf de Glanville at the siege of Acre. He became the leader of the English contingent, and quickly reorganized the camp, using the dead archbishop’s possessions to pay wages and buy food for the starving soldiers. He distinguished himself in several battles and his stature grew. When Richard fell ill, Hubert Walter arranged a truce in the fighting, and soon after, on 2nd September 1192, negotiated a more permanent peace treaty with Saladin, acceding Muslim control of the city, but guaranteeing free access for unarmed Western Christian pilgrims and merchants to Jerusalem. He then led one of the first contingents of Western pilgrims to visit Jerusalem. When Richard was captured and ransomed on his way home in 1192-93 by the Duke of Austria, Hubert visited him, negotiated terms for Richard’s release, and then returned to England to raise his enormous ransom through taxes. Richard had been so impressed with Hubert’s skills, he gave him letters concerning his ransom, and giving the command that Hubert be appointed Chief Justiciar of England and elected as the Archbishop of Canterbury.

During his time in captivity, there was political turmoil in England between the political authority appointed by Richard before he left on the Crusade. On hearing of his captivity, Richard's brother John set himself up as an alternative regent and possibly the next king. John went to Paris and formed an alliance with King Philip. Fighting broke out between John's supporters and those loyal to Richard. Contemporary chronicler Roger de Hoveden gave an account of Hubert's role in intercepting damning letters sent by John from Normandy (Annals of Roger de Hoveden [d.1202], Vol. II A.D. 1181-1201, translated by Henry T. Riley, 1853,   p.313):

"There came into England, not long before the king's arrival (in March 1194), Adam of Saint Edmund's a clerk, and one of the household of earl John, being sent by him to England with letters for the purpose of fortifying his castles against the king, his brother. Having come to London, and it being in his power to cross over without any hindrance, he went to the mansion of Hubert, archbishop of Canterbury, and dined with him; where he uttered many boasts about the prosperous circumstances of his master, and the familiar acquaintanceship that existed between the king of France and his master, and mentioned that the king of France had delivered up to him the castle of Driencourt and the castle of Arches, which were to have been placed in the hands of the archbishop of Rheims, and said that he would have delivered still more to his master, of his master had had men in whom he could place confidence. The consequence was, that with these and similar boasts he exasperated the lord archbishop of Canterbury, and all who heard these speeches; but still, from respect to the table, no one laid hands on him. However, after dinner, when the before-named Adam was on his return to his lodging, the mayor of London laid hands on him, and detained him, and took possession of all his documents, in which were contained the commands of earl John, and gave them up to the archbishop of Canterbury. On the following day, having convened in his presence, the bishops, earls and barons of the kingdom, he shewed them the letters of earl John, and the purport thereof; immediately on which, by the common consent of the council of the kingdom, it was decided that earl John should be disseised of all his lands in England, and that his castles should be besieged; which was accordingly done. On the same day, Hubert archbishop of Canterbury, Hugh bishop of Lincoln, Richard bishop of London, Gilbert bishop of Rochester, Godfrey bishop of Winchester, the bishops of Worcester and Hereford, and Henry bishop elect of Exeter, together with the abbats and many of the clergy of the province of Canterbury, met together in the chapel of the Sick Monks at Westminster, and pronounced sentence of excommunication against earl John, and all his abettors and advisers, who had disturbed the peace and kingdom of the king of England, or should disturb the same, unless, desisting from their hostilities, they should come to give him satisfaction. Upon this, all the persons who had charge of the siege of the castles belonging to earl John, returned to their homes. The archbishop, with a large force laid siege to Marlborough, which was in a few days surrendered to him;  In like manner, the castle of Lancaster, of which Theobald Walter, his brother had charge in behalf of earl John, was surrendered to him;  Saint Michael's Mount in Cornwall was also surrendered to him, which Henry de la Pomeroy, after expelling the monks, had fortified against the king; and the said Henry, on hearing of the king's arrival died of fright. These three castles, however, Marlborough, Lancaster and St Michael's Mount, were surrendered before the King's arrival; while Nottingham and Tickhill made a stout resistance to the besiegers. But on hearing of the king's arrival, the people in the castle of Tickhill, after conferring with the bishop of Durham, who had promised then safety to life and limb, surrendered to him, in the king's behalf, the castle of Tickhill." (The garrison of the castle of Nottingham, under William de Wendeval and Roger de Montbegum, continued to hold out against the king, and after a long siege and battle, threw themselves on the king's mercy.)

As Hoveden revealed, Hubert personally accepted the peaceful surrender of Lancaster castle by its constable, his brother Theobald Walter whom Hubert now reconciled with the king. Theobald appears to have been instrumental in securing the submission to King Richard of John’s Lancastrian supporters. The threat of excommunication would have been a strong incentive for Theobald's quick capitulation to his brother.

Chronica Magistri Rogeri de Hovedene, ed. William Stubbs, (London 1871), iii, p.237

Theobald surrenders Lancaster castle to brother Hubert in February 1194, after the surrender of various castles including Marlborough:

When King Richard returned from his captivity in March 1194 and seized John’s most important castle at Nottingham, John’s rebellion was over and he fled to Normandy. John was stripped of the Honors of Lancaster and Eye, but was allowed to keep Ireland. Theobald was handsomely rewarded for transferring his loyalty to Richard, appointed sheriff of Lancaster and re-granted the whole of the wapentake of Amounderness in Lancaster in which his hereditary fee of Weeton was situated. He was also appointed collector of the revenue raised by licences to hold tournaments, and in 1197-8 acted as a justice itinerant.

Chronica Magistri Rogeri de Hovedene, ed. William Stubbs, (London 1871), iii, p.268

Theobald appointed collector of tournament license revenues, by Hubert.

Richard left for Normandy on the 12th May 1194, and did not set foot in England during the remainder of his reign. In 1195-96, Theobald was excused his quota on the three Amounderness knight’s fees, as well as Robert Grelley on his 12 fees and Roger Constable of Chester on his 8 fees, as they had attended personally upon the King in the expedition to Normandy, together with their knights (Lanc. Pipe Rolls p.95).

Archbishop of Canterbury, Hubert Walter took part in Richard’s 2nd crowning at Winchester just before Richard returned to Normandy in May to wage war against King Philip II of France who had taken Richard’s French lands during Richard’s captivity. By the time of his death, Richard had recovered all his lands, which John subsequently lost again when Philip successfully invaded Normandy and Anjou.

As Richard spent a total of 6 months in England during his reign from 1189 to 1199, Hubert was responsible for governing the country in his absence, and he had the reputation as an extremely capable, systematic and efficient administrator and lawmaker. He held the confidence of the king’s subjects despite having to raise enormous sums needed for war and the king’s ransom.

Pollock and Maitland in their ‘The History of English Law Before the Time of Edward I’ v.1, p.169 (1898-1903), noted how hard-working Hubert was. ‘The system created by Henry II was so strong that it would do its work though the king was an absentee. Term after term, at least from 1194 onwards, a strong central court sat at Westminster. Until the middle of 1198, its president was the archbishop Hubert Walter, and shortly after he had resigned the justiciarship he became chancellor. During the autumn term of 1196, for example, we may see him presiding in court on October 13, 15, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 24, 28, 29, 30, November 4, 6, 12, 13, 14, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 27, 28, 29, and December 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6, until we wonder when he found time for the duties of his archiepiscopate.” (Feet of Fines, 7 & 8 Ric.I)

The Pope and the ecclesiastical magnates of England objected to Hubert’s secular position of chief justiciar as incompatible with his role as Archbishop of Canterbury. When Hubert tried to resign as justiciar in 1196, Richard reportedly rejected the request, declaring that ‘there was no one else upon whom he could rely to rule the county’. In 1198, Hubert again resigned, citing ill health due to his advanced age, which Richard accepted. However, Hubert returned to Normandy at Richard’s request to negotiate peace with France, where the news of Richard’s death reached him.

When Richard died in April 1199, Hubert Archbishop of Canterbury crowned King John in Westminster Abbey on the 27 May 1199, on which day John appointed Walter his chancellor, who, upon taking office, instituted a new, fixed schedule of chancery fees. He kept John’s excesses on a tight leash, until his death in July 1205, within months of his brother Theobald’s death. Unleashed, John’s unreasonable demands and behavior led to an uprising by the barons and landholders in his realm leading to the signing of the charter of rights named the Magna Carta in 1215, a year before his death.

Hubert had been replaced as chief justiciar in 1198 by Geoffrey fitz Peter who had worked closely with Hubert and was equally skillful in the laws. King John, on receiving the account of Geoffrey’s death in 1213, reportedly exclaimed: “then by the feet of God! Now am I, and not before, King of England!” and again: “Fitz-Geoffrey! Is now in Hell! Where most certainly he and archbishop Hubert of Canterbury will cordially shake hands” (Hollingshead, Baker’s Chronicle, p79).

(NB. The family link continued: Geoffrey fitzPeter’s son by his second wife Aveline de Clare, John fitzGeoffrey justiciar of Ireland, held the wardship of Theobald 4th Chief Butler (1242-1285), transferred to him in January 1251 on payment of a substantial sum, and in c.1268, Theobald married Joan, the daughter of his former guardian John fitzGeoffrey, and had at least 8 sons and one daughter together.)

Hubert died on 13 July 1205, a couple of months before his brother and heir Theobald who died August-Sept 1205.

According to chronicler Matthew Paris, when John received tidings of Hubert’s death, he supposedly rejoiced and exclaimed “Now for the first time I am King of England!” (“Nunc primum sum rex Angliæ!”). (Matthew Paris’, Historia Anglorum, ii, ed. F. Madden, 1866, p.104 [written early 13th century])

Hubert died at the manor of Teynham, Kent, reportedly of a high fever resulting from an untreated carbuncle on his lower back. He was buried the following day in Canterbury Cathedral. His tomb was opened in 1890, and the vestments and ornaments removed, now displayed in the cathedral library. His effigy can be found on the external wall of the cathedral.

Photos courtesy of Peter Butler

(NB. Dates of justiciarship incorrect)

Images of Hubert on his tomb

Hubert's tomb is illustrated in Matthew Parker's Cantuariensis archiepiscopi De antiquitate Britannicae ecclesiae et privilegiis ecclesia Cantuariensis’, 1572, repub. 1729 (although incorrectly ascribed to Archbishop Theobald who died in 1161):

An article published in the Archaelogia Cantiana, vol.20, 1893, pp.280-288 "Burial Places of the Archbishops of Canterbury" by Canon Scott Robertson, describes Hubert's tomb:
"Of the 16 Primates' tombs still visible in Canterbury Cathedral, the earliest is that of Hubert Walter, who died in 1205, and was buried beside a window on the south side of the Retro-choir, called Trinity Chapel. The tomb is shrine-like, with no effigy, but it bears six carvings of heads. These heads are differently attired. On two of them are mitres, which suggest that the prelate here commemorated held only two sees in succession, as Hubert Walter did. He was elevated to the primacy in 1193 from the See of Salisbury to which he had been consecrated in 1189. A third head wears a cap, which may be that of a Dean or Canon, as Hubert Walter had been Dean of York from 1186 to 1188. As he had been a Judge or Justiciary in the reign of Henry II; the Chief Justiciary of England under King Richard I; and Lord Chancellor under King John (who, like his brother Richard, was crowned by Hubert Walter), the other three heads may have represented him in these dignities.
On Saturday the 8th of March 1892, one of the top or roof stones of the pyramidal tomb was lifted and a lighted taper was inserted. To the surprise of those who were looking in, there was seen a complete stone coffin with moulded lid. on Monday the 10th March, the contents of the coffin were fully examined."

"The coffin of Caen stone tapers from a width of 30 1/2 inches at the head to 22 1/4 inches at the foot. The lid of Purbeck marble is 7 inches thick. The total length of the coffin lid is 6 feet 9 3/4 inches.
When the lid was lifted, the body of an Archbishop in full pontificals was disclosed. His crosier was lying across the body from the right foot to the left shoulder. A chalice and paten had been placed beside him. His head rested upon a stone pillow, in which a hollow had been hewn to receive the head. Upon the head of the Archbishop was a plain mitre made of silk, without any embroidery or ornament. This silk was merely folded into shape; the two infulae or pendants seem to have been attached to it with a couple of stitches.
The woollen pallium had decayed away; but two gilt pins, each 4 1/2 inches long, which fastened the pallium to the chasuble, near the shoulders, still remain, and the leaden weights which kept down the ends of the pallium were also found. They were flat pieces of lead which had been covered with black silk. The heads of the pallium-pins were shaped like daisies or marguerites. Each marguerite has 16 petals. Some prefer to call the flower a marigold.
Around the primate's neck was the collar of his amice. it was lying loose, as the amice itself had decayed away. This collar is a wonderful example of embroidery in gold thread on silk. The width of it is only 3 1/2 inches and its length 22 1/4 inches. yet within this small space are embroidered seven distinct figurines, each within a roundel. A jewel (of mock turquoise) was originally inserted between each pair of roundels, but these are gone
The chasuble of the Archbishop is of that ample form  which was used in the 12th century. It is composed of silk, perhaps white originally but now of the old-gold colour seen also in the mitre, in the ground work of the amice collar, and in the primate's sanctuary shoes. This very ample chasuble is bordered, at its edges, by a gold ribbon, about 1 inch wide, formed of green silk and gold thread woven together. etc
Part of the stole, woven in silk with various combinations of the tau and the filfot patterns, still remain, and a piece of the Primate's hair shirt was found near the waist.
The hands having withered away to little more than mere bones, the Archbishop's signet ring of gold was lying loosely. It contains a Gnostic gem of the 4th century, formed of a green stone called plasma, and adorned with a figure of a serpent standing erect, about whose head are rays of light. Probably Hubert had worn this signet when he was Bishop of Salisbury, and did not discard it when he became Primate. Pope Innocent III settled in AD 1194 that thenceforward an episcopal ring should be of gold, solid and set with a precious stone on which nothing was to be cut, plain without device.
The sanctuary shoes of Archbishop Hubert Walter are very remarkable. They are of silk, covered with a profusion of embroidery in gold thread. Their depth is such that they must have surrounded the ankles. The principal design is formed of a large pear-shaped open curves. Two of these are interwoven at the toe. Between the toe and the instep are five of these pear-shaped curves, their broad ends being towards the toes, and the pointed end of each is finished with a jewel (a garnet) set in gold thread as in a ring. On both sides of the instep are two figures; the upper pair being large heraldic lions passant; the lower pair being bird-headed monsters, with tails that end in heads. Around the heel of each shoe we see several repetitions of a square figure, from each corner of which projects a fleur-de-lis, while a similar fleur-de-lis projects from the centre of each side of the square. 
Upon the Primate's legs were buskins or leggings of silk, adorned with the filfot in various combinations.
Near the feet was the 'apparel' of the alb, that garment itself had entirely disappeared having gone to dust.
The crozier is in fragments, but it had been quite 5 1/2 feet long. Its round stem is of cedar wood, about three-quarters of an inch in daimeter. At the bottom was a long spiked ferule of metal, which was found close to the Primate's right foot. Near the top was a large silver gilt boss, in which were four antique red gems, one of which has dropped out. The crook itself was small and plain, of silver gilt, and has become separated from its staff. The crosier was found lying across and resting beside the left shoulder of the Archbishop.
The chalice is unique. It is more ornamented than any early coffin-chalice previously found. The broad hemispherical bowl is wholly gilt inside, and has a decided lip curling outward. The exterior is adorned with engraved patterns which are parcel gilt.... etc. Inside the bowl there is, on one side, at the bottom, a discoloration of the surface. Whether this was produced by wine or by other action one cannot be sure. The gilding is perfect beneath the stain."

"The small plate-like paten has especial interest from its double inscription in 12th century capitals. Upon the rim is one inscribed band, gilt, and upon the curved central part there is a second. That upon the dished centre surrounds a carefully engraved figure of the Holy Lamb. A cruciform nimbus encircles the head of the Lamb. 
The inscription around this central figure is:
= 'Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.'
The inscription around the rim is:
"Ara crucis, tumulique calix, lapidisque patena,
Sindonis oficium (sic) candida bissus (sic) habet."
Canon Francis Holland translates it thus:
The Alter, Chalice, Paten, Veil,
O Lord of Quick and dead,
These are the Cross, the Tomb, the Stone,
And napkin round They Head."

Photos of Hubert's vestments including his exquisite shoes, can be viewed on the Canterbury Cathedral website:

Archbishop Hubert Walter's armorial
Lambeth Palace Library Archives: MS 555: Armorial of the Archbishops of Canterbury (also contains notes on the etymologies of the surnames of the Archbishops)- ff.12v-13r Hubert Walter

 [written for Archbishop John Whitgift (Archbishop 1583-1604)]

The heraldic symbols used include the golden cross; stars which symbolize honour, achievement and hope; and the eagle which in early medieval iconography usually represented St John the Evangelist.

Carte wrote (p.xxv): this noble family of Butler, bears for its crest ‘a falcon within a plume of feathers’. Whether that is also the origin of Hubert’s falcon/ eagle can’t be determined.


Much of what we know of Hubert comes from the pen of contemporary chroniclers such as Giraldus Cambrensis and Gervase of Canterbury.

The editor of Giraldus Cambrensis’ book, John S. Brewer commented:

“It is not often our good fortune, at least in these earlier periods of history, to see the same events presented from opposite points of view, especially by contemporaries, each of whom possessed such excellent opportunities of knowing the truth, as Gervasius and Giraldus.”

1.Historical Works of Gervase of Canterbury: The Chronicle of the Reigns of Stephen, Henry II and Richard I, by Gervase, the Monk of Canterbury, ed. by William Stubbs, (2 vols, London: Longmans 1879-80)

Gervase of Canterbury (c.1141-c.1210) was an English chronicler, a monk of Christ Church Canterbury. In 1193 he attended the new archbishop Hubert Walter in capacity of sacristan until c.1197, and was a great supporter of Hubert. He continued writing until his death c.1210.


2.Giraldi Cambrensis- Opera, ed. by J.S. Brewer, vol. iii, (London 1863)

-De Invectionibus, Lib.IV

-De Menevensi Ecclesia Dialogus

-Vita S. David

Giraldus Cambrensis, or Gerald of Wales, (c.1146-c.1223) was a Cambro Norman archdeacon of Brecon (Wales), and an historian and chronicler. As a royal clerk and chaplain to King Henry II and two archbishops, he travelled widely and wrote extensively. He accompanied Prince John in 1185 on John’s first expedition to Ireland and wrote his Topographia Hibernica, an account of his journey. He followed with an account of Henry’s conquest of Ireland, Expugnatio Hibernica, and wrote a further eight volumes before his death. He was often in conflict with Hubert Walter as archbishop of Canterbury who refused to support his appointment as Bishop of St David’s in Wales. As a result, his writings scathingly attacked Hubert’s character, which is revealed in the following volume:

Giraldi Cambrensis- De Invectionibus, Lib. IV- The editor, John Brewer, in the Preface, wrote:

“This is a bitter and merciless attack on the real or supposed enemies of Giraldus, more especially those who had taken an active part in hindering or contesting his advancement to the see of St David, foremost amongst there, as might be supposed, stands Hubert Walter, and his officials, witnesses and his dependents come in for their share of that ‘black salt’ which Giraldus administers with unsparing hand, and with ruthless disregard to the conventional decorum of later times. He launches the weapons of ridicule and abuse at the archbishop of Canterbury, with an unction and absence of discrimination which show that the task was by no means an unpalatable one. He is hardly at the pains to conceal the delight with which he holds up to the world’s laughter the imperfect scholarship of his dignified adversary, and reproduces the scandalous anecdotes which circulated from mouth to mouth among the ribald followers of Richard I and King John.

But his bitterest indignation, as might be expected, was reserved for the archbishop, the only opponent whose hostility was of real importance, and whose temper was as cool as it was inflexible. It was quite enough to irritate one of so fiery a temperament, and proud of his Welsh descent as Giraldus, to find that a man of obscure parentage, and of no reputation for scholarship, should not only calmly and successfully counteract all his measures, and frustrate his most cherished designs, but reject almost scornfully those proffers of ‘accommodation’ (viz. other bishoprics), which Giraldus more than once stopped to make. The archbishop would listen to no terms:- he could be moved by no threats and no promises. He had resolved that Giraldus should not be bishop or archbishop of St David, and that resolution taken, no influence of earth would shake it. With the dogged determination, which belonged to his nation, the archbishop set to work to resist and counteract the appointment. All because Giraldus was a Welshman, allied by blood or affinity to all the magnates of Wales, and proud of his descent and who would, by his eloquence, exercise an influence over the excitable minds of his countrymen, and might prove dangerous to the peace of the two countries and injurious to the ecclesiastical supremacy of Canterbury, which he explained to the Pope.

Smarting under the sense of injustice, Giraldus could not prevent his thoughts from reverting to his own condition, and that of his great rival, and drawing comparisons by no means favourable to the latter. Giraldus has collected and preserved a number of little traits and anecdotes of the archbishop. Throwing aside the more scandalous, to which he himself attaches no credit, and which he afterwards publicly retracted, these charges amount mainly to two: first, an absence of that ecclesiastical scholarship which was to be found in most of Hubert’s contemporaries; and secondly, an excessive devotion to secular occupations, more suited to his position as the highest judicial officer in the realm than to his spiritual functions as archbishop of Canterbury.

It is thus that Giraldus taxes him in this treatise, and repeats the charge in his Retractions:

“From the time of the archbishop’s boyhood, when he ought to have been laying the foundation of his education in Donatus and Cato**, he was mixed up with the public officials of the realm, and did not fail to oppress the poor with arbitrary exactions”. “That good man, the bishop-elect of Bangor”, he tells the Pope, “was called from the cloister, and I from my study. But from what place was the archbishop called? From the Exchequer, forsooth! And what is the Exchequer? It is the place of the public treasury in England, viz. a kind of square table in London where the king’s dues are collected and counted. This was the study, and this the gymnasium in which the archbishop had grown old, this was the training from which he was summoned to all gradations of his promotion in the church; like most of your English bishops. For in England, ‘qui bene computat, bene disputant!’”

(**- Aelius Donatus, c.354 A.D. was the most famous Latin grammarian of late antiquity and his works were widely used throughout the middle ages.

The Distichs of Cato is a Latin collection of proverbial wisdom and morality by Dionysius Cato from 3rd or 4th century, widely read and admired in medieval schools)

It was at this period of the archbishop’s life, and during the fiscal disorders doubtless of the reign of Richard I, that those acts took place of which Giraldus on public record accused the archbishop, though probably he was only acting in his official capacity. This Giraldus states that Hubert was deposed from  the justiciarship the year before, for sending letters abroad in the king’s named without the king’s authority. And besides similar letters and other acts of dishonesty contrary to the statutes of the realm, victuals and vendibles were shipped by the archbishop into France; and on this charge before I had left England, he had been several times summoned to Normandy to make his answer before the prince”.

Another accusation is of a graver character, but rests on no better foundation. It arose probably from the archbishop’s disputes with the monks of Canterbury, with whom he was no favourite.

 “In his negotiations”, says Giraldus, “he uses two kinds of measures; he sells by the small and buys by the large. Though the whole of the lands belonging to the church of Canterbury, which are many and extensive, he has issued an enactment that no one shall sell a blade of corn to any but himself or buy any except himself”.

Instead of supplying the necessities of the churches in his province, as his predecessor St Thomas (Becket) did, Giraldus accuses him of exporting corn in bad years; of buying arms and armour when a war was imminent between France and England, foreseeing, and in fact advising a muster and scrutiny to be made shortly after, and thus enhancing the price.

 “His wickedness”, he continues, “is incomparable. The convent of the Holy Trinity at Canterbury has felt the effects of it. So has the church of St Mary, London, when it was set on fire. ‘Barbatus’ felt it, when he was hanged although innocent. Wales felt it shortly after in the bloody massacre of 3,000 of its inhabitants. The elect of Bangor felt it, over whose head an Englishman was thrust. And now in the last place the abbot of St Augustine’s, Canterbury, has felt it:- that special son of the Church of Rome, who was thrown upon the ground in his own church as he was celebrating mass, beaten, and thrust out of doors.”

In a general review of his writings compiled by himself late in life, after he had been reconciled to the archbishop, and when the latter had closed his career, Giraldus in a more genial mood admits that he was prompted in these accusations more by a feeling of bitterness than strict regard to justice, and guided rather by common fame than actual sight and hearing; yet even with these admissions he has reiterated the charge of worldliness and ambition with which he here taxes the archbishop.

 “To say truly and briefly what I think of him; he was a man of high stomach and great activity, and among all his other good qualities he was remarkable for unparalleled munificence. To obtain the means and money proportioned to the grandeur of his conceptions he outstepped the bounds of moderation in acquiring riches, and was every way too careful and anxious. Would that he had been as wise in spiritual as he was in worldly things; as great a lover of divinity as he was a hankerer after vanity; as fervent in charity as he was full of cupidity; as hungry and thirsty for divine grace as he was for worldly pomp and popular favour! However, he was a bridle to the king (John) and a bulwark against tyranny; the peace and comfort of the people; a refuge in his own days for great and small alike against the oppression of the government, as was seen shortly after. For immediately after his death tyranny reigned supreme, and as if the bar imposed by his presence upon the imprudent and impudent self-will had been swept away and broken, it raged high, not only against human but divine things”.

In conclusion Giraldus expresses his conviction that if the piety and learning of Hubert’s predecessor could have been combined with his activity, firmness, and courage, he might have proved a worthy successor to the martyred St Thomas (Becket- Archbishop of Canterbury).”

The editor then gives a short sketch of the archbishop’s life and history:

“As he passed for an old man at his death in 1205, the date of his birth may presumptively be carried back to the earlier years of the reign of king Stephen.

It is probably that his early intimacy of Hubert with Ranulph de Glanville and his training under the justiciary may have given occasion to the sarcasm of Giraldus, that whilst other lads were employed on Donatus and Cato, Hubert was less creditably engaged in mastering the quirks of the law or counting money at the table of the exchequer.

According to an account by Gervasius (Gervase of Canterbury), Hubert’s admirer, the future archbishop was tall in stature. And such an excellent soldier that even Coeur de Lion admired him. But, adds Gervasius, he was more a man of the world than a scholar; more prudent in advising than skillful in rhetoric, “ingenio calleus licet non eloquio pollens.” In conjunction with Ranulph de Glanville, according to the same authority, he ruled in a measure the whole kingdom of England, for the justiciary had great faith in Hubert’s advice. “So, devoting himself to politics and intent on the business of state, he cared more for human than divine things, and was skilled in all the laws of this kingdom.”

In the midst of the din and bustle of preparation for the Crusade, he was created bishop of Salisbury by Richard in the abbey of Pipewell in the autumn of 1189; was consecrated in October by archbishop Baldwin, the patron of Giraldus; and in February 1190 passed over from England to Normandy with a gay and royal company, intent more on pleasure and crusading. The company consisted of the queen mother Eleanor, who as wife and widow had twice taken part in these expeditions, Alice the sister of Philip Augustus (of France), of whom Giraldus has preserved a sinister rumour as the main instrument of dissension between Richard and his father Henry II, Baldwin archbishop of Canterbury, the common friend of Hubert and Giraldus, John earl of Montaigne, the king’s brother, (and Ranulph de Glanville) with others of less note. This is not the place to tell how the motley assemblage straggled through France, without apparently one serious thought of the preparations required for such a distant expedition; how the most enthusiastic fell off by degrees, and under one pretense or another found means to stay behind or return. Among the truants must be numbered Giraldus himself, who pleaded poverty- Pope Innocent, made him pay a fine proportioned to the expenses he would have incurred had he joined the expedition in person.

From Marseille, Baldwin and Hubert took shipping in August for Sicily; were dispatched in company of Ranulph de Glanville from Messina, at the latter end of September 1190 to the succour of the besieging army at Acre; arrived at Tyre shortly after Michaelmas, whilst Richard was still loitering about Messina, and quarrelling with the Greek population. On the 12th of November, we find them at the head of the Crusaders ready to give battle to Saladin beneath the walls of Acre. The narrator singles out from many others the valorous bishop of Salisbury, who took part in the engagement, “as a brace soldier in arms, in the camp an experienced general, in the church a true shepherd.” His two dearest friends, de Glanville and Baldwin, died before the close of the year, and Hubert was left executor to the latter. Amidst the confusion caused by their loss, and the insubordination of the ill-disciplined and disorderly host whose ranks were daily thinned by fever, famine and debauchery, the genius of Hubert alone shone conspicuous. He alone gave indications of that aptitude for business he had previously displayed in England. In that ill-managed and hapless expedition of which the history has yet to be told in its amplest pages of enthusiasm, misery, vice and dishonour, it was Hubert’s forethought alone that made provision for the starving host. It was he who saved the Franks from discomfiture by the Turks. When Richard fell ill of typhus at Jaffre, and despair and disorder rose to an ungovernable height, the rapidly diminishing host would have melted away like snow had not Hubert compelled it to remain and assume a confidence it did not feel; and by this device he obtained an honourable truce from Saladin.

It was by his prudence that Richard was induced to bring to its termination an adventure, for the successful prosecution of which he lacked all the requisite qualities, courage alone excepted. The bishop’s judgement and conduct were appreciated by the Turks. Of the few that were permitted to gratify their curiosity and devotion by a visit to Jerusalem, the bishop of Salisbury was the only one that Saladin treated with respect, and to whom he offered hospitality. He condescended even to ask an interview with him. And when Saladin demanded what sort of a person was his great rival Richard, and what did the Christians think of the Saracens, Hubert had the art of the courtier to say, that Richard was the bravest, the manliest, the most magnificent prince in the world, and the only difference between him and Saladin consisted in the difference of their religion. When told by the Turk, who was highly pleased with the interview, to ask what he would, Hubert only requested that mass might be celebrated according to the Latin rite, at the Holy Sepulchre, Bethlehem, and Nazareth.

When Richard had been taken prisoner on his return, he sent Hubert to England to quell the disturbances occasioned by his own captivity, and the designs of his brother John. The bishop reached England in April 1193; here he displayed the same skill in quieting internal dissension as he had shown capacity for managing a campaign in the Holy Land. At this time the see of Canterbury fell vacant; but the least appearance of interference in the election would have been resented by the monks of Canterbury, and Richard was not in a condition to enforce obedience. In this dilemma he wrote to his mother Eleanor from Worms, urging her to visit Canterbury in person, and use all her influence to obtain the election for Hubert. The impressive and even passionate terms of the letter show in what estimation he was held by Richard. She is entreated by all the devotion of which he is capable, by all the love she entertains for her son, to see to this business at once, and get it successfully accomplished:

“For you know, whilst I am in captivity I am compelled to yield to the importunities of great men, and supplicate for those whom I would on no account have promoted. Whatever I may have written or shall write hereafter, my resolution is settled and unalterable, that the bishop of Salisbury shall be promoted to Canterbury; my choice is fixed upon him and on no other. If he is not yet elected, or if by any untoward circumstances, he cannot be elected (which God Forbid!), then I strictly enjoin that Canterbury remain without a pastor until my return”.

In this instance the king’s apprehensions were groundless, the monks spontaneously elected Hubert.

It was the beginning of March when the archbishop and Richard once more met on the soil of England after many months of separation and many dangers shared in common. It was a meeting that both must have regarded with the profoundest emotion, and the old chronicler who narrates the story was evidently affected by it. They caught sight of each other half-way between Canterbury and Rochester, when Richard dismounted and stooped with bended knee to the earth. The archbishop prostrated himself before the king, and then both rising, rushed with tears of joy into each other’s embrace.

The Historical Works of Gervase of Canterbury, i, p.524:

The editor, Brewer continues:

The gratitude of Richard, though profuse, was no more than the archbishop had deserved: he had by his good management preserved for Richard his kingdom; he had counteracted the ambitious and dangerous designs of John; he had been the main instrument in procuring Richard’s ransom. Very few prelates in those days would have ventured on the urgent measures required for obtaining the sum demanded, or could have succeeded in extorting from the religious bodies, who owned a precarious obedience to the secular power, so large a sacrifice of their revenues. Certainly, no archbishop had ever before contrived to keep the monks of Canterbury in good humour, whilst stripping them of their most precious relics, and melted down chalices, crosses, and massive candelabra to satisfy the avarice of Richard’s captors.

The same year saw the highest judicial and spiritual offices in the realm accumulated in Hubert’s person. Next year he was appointed legate, with power of visiting all churches in England.

His favour with king John, whom he had conquered, controlled and opposed, was even greater than his influence had been with his brother Richard. On the day of his coronation, John appointed Hubert his chancellor, much to Hubert’s delight, if the story by Knighton be true. (ie.Chronicon Henrici Knighton, Monachi Leycestrensis, ed Joseph R. Lumby, London 1889, pp177-178- Henry Knighton, d.1396, English chronicler and an Augustinian canon, wrote a history of the period 1066 to 1337, in a compilation of earlier works:

Deinde in Paschate Johannes accinctus est gladio ducatus Normannie apud Rothomagum, et in Ascensione domini coronatus est in regem apud Westmonasterium ab Huberto Cantuariensi episcopo. Quo dis Johannes rex fecit Hubertum esse suum cancellarium. Cui de hoc officio nimis postmodum glorianti, ait quidam, “Domine non deberes gloriari de jugo servitutis, audivimus enim de cancellario archiepiscopum factum, sed non e converso.”)

The Charter Rolls of King John contain numerous proofs of the favours bestowed by that monarch on his zealous partisan. The honours and emoluments accumulated in his person have no parallel in English history, with the exception of Cardinal Wolsey. Besides the highest ecclesiastical and judicial offices, he had a special grant of all clerks-prisoners and their forfeitures (Ch. Rolls p68); a confirmation of all wardships granted him by Richard I, not to mention a number of minor instances of honour and emolument, all indicating the confidence reposed in him by his sovereign.

His admirer, Gervasius, a monk of Canterbury, when commenting on this part of the archbishop’s history, has given us various indications of the grand and munificent ways in which the archbishop disposed of his ample revenues. He provided at his own cost all the expenses required for the coronation of John and his queen Isabella.

“Hubert was so liberal, large, and bountiful in the entertainment of the poor and of strangers that whatever he possessed seemed to be the common property of all. He was wonderful in the construction of great and magnificent buildings. He was devout in the performance of divine service. He was a man of such unparalleled magnificence that men of inferior minds thought him arrogant. In recovering property which had been alienated or lost to the church, he was zealous and pertinacious that people called him covetous”

Then after enumerating several instances in which the archbishop had succeeded in regaining ecclesiastical estates usurped by laymen, the historian proceeds thus:

“ But because no man is perfect in all things, and nothing can be done by any man, however justly, which may not be misinterpreted by malicious critics, he gave too ready a hearing to detractors, thinking perhaps that what they told him proceeded from charity, whilst it proceeded only from malice; and so it was that he sometimes gave offence to his best friends. This however, was one great proof of his constancy, that he employed about him those whom he found faithful in their obedience and truthful in their words. Like Solomon he hated ‘lying lips and a deceitful tongue’. The dispute which Giraldus, archdeacon of St David’s, had stirred up to the contempt and hatred of the archbishop was brought to nothing; so that Giraldus himself, who a little before attempted to become archbishop of St David’s, and laboured hard to withdraw seven bishops from their lawful subjection to the see of Canterbury, threw himself at the feet of the archbishop, making humble satisfaction for his wickedness and presumption, and resigned his archdeaconry into the archbishop’s hands. After a short interval the archbishop gave Giraldus a living of twenty-five marks, and he became the sworn clerical subject of the archbishop, of whom he had once been the unrelenting enemy, And because the same Giraldus affirmed in the court of Rome, that he had been elected to the see of St David, the archbishop had his election annulled and another chosen in his place.” Let others say what they please of the deeds of Hubert, I consider this to be the greatest of all, that he retained seven bishops in their subjection to the church of Canterbury, and trampled down the rebellious craft of Giraldus,

Little more remains to be said of the archbishop. The residue of his life was spent in comparative tranquility. Even the monks of Canterbury began at last to appreciate the integrity of his motives, and respect the firmness which never stooped to unworthy or ignoble purposes. His conduct might not perhaps correspond exactly to that ideal of religious forbearance and holy contemplation which men are accustomed to associate with monastic vows and expect in a spiritual guide and father, yet he was not indifferent to the best interests of religion, or backward in those works of charity in which the piety of that age loved to display itself. He was careful in his visitation of monasteries and churches; zealous in enforcing strict discipline.

A few days before his death, the archbishop paid a visit to Canterbury to view the works then going on under his directions, and after he had heard mass, and summoned the chapter, he addressed the assembled monks in a few touching words; the more touching considering the speaker and his audience, and that these were the last gleams of the setting sun soon to sink and he hid from them forever. He and they had been ranged face to face in better and pertinacious opposition; they had impeached him in the court of Rome as an incendiary and a homicide; they had been instrumental in his disgrace, and the loss of the justiciaryship under Richard I, to whom he had proved a most diligent and faithful servant; they had compelled him to pull down his church of Lambeth, a work on which he had evidently set his heart, and which was endeared to him by the memory of his predecessor Baldwin, whose eyes he had closed in the sad and eventful pilgrimage in the Holy Land.

Addressing the monks, he said, “Consider, dearly beloved, consider diligently what things among you need reform and apply to them due correction. I shall die when it shall please God, and be seen no more; but do you who cannot die give your best diligence to advance the honour and usefulness of your church. If I have offended any of you in anything, I now crave pardon; and I entirely forgive all those who have offended me. And be assured, brethren, I have incurred opposition more for your advantage than my own.”

So, giving his benediction, he took his final leave of the convent, and retired to Teynham, where he died unexpectedly on the 13th July 1205.”

Historical Works of Gervase of Canterbury, The Chronicle of the Reigns of Stephen, Henry II and Richard I, by Gervase, ed. William Stubbs (2 vols, London: Longmans 1879-80), Gervase reports on the death of Hubert, Volume ii, p.413:

The Chronicle of Jocelin de Brakelond, a monk at the abbey of Bury St Edmunds, reveals some personal information about Hubert’s mother and his birthplace:

p.121- Hubert Walter, the Archbishop of Canterbury and legate of the apostolic see, and Justiciary of England, after he had visited many churches, and had by right of his legation made many changes and alterations, was on his way home from his natural mother, who lived at Dereham and was then dying. (ie. Hubert was papal legate from 1195-1198)

p.122, Jocelyn then recounts a dispute between the abbot of St Edmund’s and Hubert Archbishop of Canterbury: However, these and other altercations being brought to a close, the legate began to flush in the face, upon the abbot lowering his tone, and beseeching him that he would deal more gently with the church of St Edmund, by reason of his native soil, for he was native born of St Edmund, and had been his fosterling. And indeed, he had reason to blush, because he had so unadvisedly outpoured the venom which he had bred within him.

This confirms that Hubert was born in the County of Suffolk, not at West Dereham as suggested by Tanner in his introduction to the founding of West Dereham abbey by Hubert Walter.

The following is the whole chapter in Jocelin’s Chronicle, recounting the events of Hubert’s encounter with the abbot of St Edmund’s:

troubles within

{118} THE cellarers quickly succeeded each other, and every one of them at the year's end became involved in a great debt. There were given to the cellarer, in aid, twenty pounds out of Mildenhall, but this did not suffice. After that, fifty pounds were assigned to the cellarer each year from the same manor; and yet the cellarer used to say that this was not enough. The abbot, therefore, being anxious to provide for his security from loss and comfort, as well as for our own, knowing that in all our wants we must have recourse to him as to the father of the monastery, associated with the cellarer a certain clerk of his own table, by name Ranulf, so that he might assist him both as a witness and companion in the expenses and receipts. And lo! many of us speak many things, murmurings thicken, falsehoods are invented, scandals are interwoven {119} with scandals, nor is there a corner in the house which does not resound with venomous hissing.

One says to another, "What is this that is done? Who ever saw the like? There never was such an insult offered to the convent before. Behold! the abbot has set a clerk over a monk; see, he has made a clerk a master and keeper over the cellarer, as if he could do no good without him. The abbot thinks but lightly of his monks; he suspects his monks; he consults clerks; he loves clerks. 'How is the gold become dim! How is the fine gold changed!'" Also one friend says to another, "We are become a reproach to our neighbours. All of us monks are either reckoned faithless or improvident; the clerk is believed, the monk is not. The abbot had rather trust the clerk than the monk. Now is this clerk a whit more faithful or wise than a monk would be?"

And again, one friend would say to another, "Are not the cellarer and sub-cellarer, or can they not be, as faithful as the sacrist or the chamberlain? The consequence is, that this abbot or his successor will put a clerk along with the sacrist, a clerk with the chamberlain, a clerk with the sub-sacrists to collect the offerings at the shrine, {120} and so on with all the officials, wherefore we shall be a laughing-stock and derision to the whole people."

I, hearing these things, was accustomed to answer, "If I, for my part, were cellarer, I had rather that a clerk were a witness for me in all my transactions; for if I did well he would bear witness of the good. If, again, I had, at the end of the year, become laden with debt, I should be able to gain credence and to be excused by the testimony of that clerk."

I heard, indeed, one of our brethren, a man truly discreet and learned, say something upon this subject which struck myself and others very much. "It is not," he said, "to be wondered at, should the lord abbot interpose his exertions in the safe conduct of our affairs, especially as he wisely manages that portion of the abbey which belongs to him, and is discreet in the disposing of his own house, it being his part to supply our wants in case of our carelessness or inability to do so. But there is one thing," he added, "which will prove dangerous after the death of the abbot Samson, such as has never come to pass in our days or in our lives. Of a surety, the King's bailiffs will come, and will possess themselves of the abbey, I mean the barony which belongs to the abbot, as was done in the past after the deaths of other {121} Abbots. As after the death of Abbot Hugh, the King's bailiffs likewise desired to appoint new bailiffs in the town of St. Edmund, alleging as their warrant that Abbot Hugh had done this, in the same way the King's bailiffs will, in process of time, appoint their clerk to keep the cellary, in order that everything shall be done therein by him, and under his discretion. And then we shall be told that they are entitled to act in this manner because Abbot Samson did so. Thus they will have the power of intermixing and confusing all the concerns and rents of the abbot and of the convent; all which, indeed, Abbot Robert, of good memory, had, with due consideration, distinguished in account, and had separated one from the other."

When I heard these and such like expressions from a man of great thought and foresight, I was astonished, and held my peace, not wishing either to condemn the lord abbot, or to excuse him.

Hubert Walter, the Archbishop of Canterbury and legate of the apostolic see, and Justiciary of England, after he had visited many churches, and had by right of his legation made many changes and alterations, was on his way home from his natural mother, who lived at Dereham and was then dying. {122} He sent two of his clerks over to us, bearing the sealed letters of their lord, wherein it was contained that we should give credit to what they should say and do. These men inquired of the abbot and convent whether we were willing to receive their lord, the legate, who was on his way to us, in such wise as a legate ought to be received, and, in fact, is received by other churches. If we were agreed to this, he would shortly come to us, for the purpose of making order concerning the matters and affairs of our church according to God's will; but if we were not agreed, those two clerks could more fully communicate to us their lord's behest. Thereupon the abbot called together most of the convent, and we came to the decision that we would give a gracious answer to the clerks thus sent to us, saying that we were willing to receive their lord as legate with all honour and reverence, and to send together with them our own messengers, who, on our part, should communicate the same to the lord legate.

Our intention was that, in the same way as we had done to the Bishop of Ely and other legates, we would show him all possible honour, with a procession and ringing of bells, and would receive him with the usual solemnities, until it should {123} come to the point, perhaps, of his holding a visitation in chapter. If he were to proceed in doing this, then all of us were to oppose him might and main to his face, appealing to Rome, and standing upon our charters. And the lord abbot said, "If at this present time the legate will come to us, we will do as is aforesaid, but if indeed he shall defer his arrival to us for a time, we will consult the lord Pope, and inquire what force the privileges of our church ought to have, as being those which have been obtained from him and his predecessors, against the archbishop who has now obtained power from the apostolic see over all the privileged churches of England." Such was our determination.

When the archbishop had heard that we were willing to receive him as legate, he received our messengers graciously and with giving of thanks. And he became favourable and kindly disposed towards the lord abbot in all his concerns, and for certain pressing causes deferred his visit to us for a time. Therefore, without the least delay, the abbot sent to the Pope the same letters which the legate had sent to him and the convent, wherein it was contained that he was about to come to us by authority of his legation, and by the authority of the {124} Pope, and, moreover, that to him was given power over all the exempt churches of England, notwithstanding the letters of exemption obtained by the church of York or any other.

The abbot's messenger expediting the matter, our lord the Pope wrote to the lord of Canterbury, asserting that our church, as his spiritual daughter, ought not to be accountable to any legate, unless he were a legate of our lord the Pope sent a latere, and enjoined him that he should not stretch forth his hand against us; and our lord the Pope added as from himself a prohibition against his exercising jurisdiction over any other exempt church. Our messenger returned to us, and this was kept a secret for many days. Nevertheless, the same was intimated to the lord of Canterbury by some of his adherents at the court of our lord the Pope.

When, at the end of the year, the legate made his visitation through Norfolk and Suffolk, and had first arrived at Colchester, the legate sent his messenger to the abbot, privately letting him thereby know that he (the legate) had heard say that the abbot had obtained letters contravening his legation, and requesting that he, in a friendly way, would send him those letters. And it was done accordingly, for {125} the abbot had two counterparts of these letters. The abbot, indeed, did not pay a visit to the legate, either by himself or by proxy, so long as he was in the diocese of Norwich, lest it should be thought that he wished to make fine with the legate for his entertainment, as other monks and canons had done. The legate, disconcerted and angry and fearing to be shut out if he came to us, passed by Norwich, by Acre and by Dereham to Ely, on his way to London.

The abbot meeting the legate within the month, between Waltham and London, on the King's highway, the legate censured him for having refused to meet him, as being justiciary of our lord the King whilst he was in that country. The abbot answered that he had not travelled as justiciary, but as legate, making visitation in every church; and alleged the reason of the time of year, and that the passion of our Lord was nigh at hand, and that it behoved him to be concerned with Divine services and cloister duties.

When the abbot had opposed words to words, and objections to objections, and could neither be bent nor intimidated by threatening language, the legate replied with scorn that he well knew him to be a keen wrangler, and that he was a better clerk than {126} he, the legate, was. The abbot, therefore, not timidly passing by matters inexpedient to allude to, nor yet arrogantly speaking upon matters that were to be discussed, in the hearing of many persons made answer that he was a man who would never suffer the privileges of his church to be shaken either for want of learning or money, even if it should come to pass that he lost his life, or was condemned to perpetual banishment. However, these and other altercations being brought to a close, the legate began to flush in the face, upon the abbot lowering his tone and beseeching him that he would deal more gently with the church of St. Edmund, by reason of his native soil, for he was native born of St. Edmund, and had been his fosterling. And, indeed, he had reason to blush, because he had so unadvisedly outpoured the venom which he had bred within him.

On the morrow it was communicated to the Archbishop of Canterbury, that the lord Archbishop of York was about to come as legate into England, and that he had suggested many evil things to the Pope concerning him, stating that he had oppressed the churches of England by reason of his visitation to the extent of thirty thousand marks, which he had {127} received from them. The legate, therefore, sent his clerks to the abbot, begging him that he would, with the other abbots, write to our lord the Pope and justify him.

This the abbot willingly did, and thereby offered his testimony that the lord of Canterbury had not been to our church, nor had he oppressed any other church, speaking according to his conscience. And when the abbot had delivered those letters to the messengers of the archbishop, he said before us all that he did not fear, even if it were the archbishop's wish to deal deceitfully with those letters. The clerks answered on the peril of their souls, that their lord did not contemplate any subtle dealings, but only wished to be justified. And so the archbishop and the abbot were made friends.{128}


The rise to power of Hubert Walter and his elder brother Theobald can be directly attributed to the rise in power of their uncle Rannulf de Glanville, and their close relationship with Henry II and his sons and successors, Richard and John. However, Richard would recognize the extraordinary talents of Hubert, and his subsequent promotion to an even higher level of power than his uncle was entirely due to his own skills and personality.

Rannulf’s father, Sir Hervey de Glanville distinguished himself in many of the affairs of state under Henry I, particularly those connected with his counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. In mid-1147, he was part of a contingent sent to Lisbon to drive out the Moors from that city, which they accomplished later in the year, after a long siege and battle. In 1150, Sir Hervey informed the assembled Lords of Norfolk and Suffolk when they had met to consider the liberties that belonged to the Abbot of Bury, that “he was a very old man, having constantly attended the County and Hundred Court for above 50 years with his father, before and after he was knighted, as they all knew.”. That indicates he was born about 1080. (Ref: ‘Records of the Anglo-Norman House of Glanville from A.D. 1050 to 1880’, by Wm. U.S. Glanville-Richards, London 1882, p.26)

After a period as sheriff of Yorkshire, Warwickshire and Leicestershire (1163-1170), Rannulf was appointed High Sheriff of Lancashire and Westmorland and Northumberland in 1173-74, due to the outbreak of a major war with William the Lion, King of Scots. William was a key player in the Revolt of 1173-74 against Henry II, led by Henry’s sons. In 1174, at the Battle of Alnwick, during a raid in support of the revolt, William recklessly charged the English troops shouting “Now we shall see which of us are good knights!”. He was unhorsed and captured by Henry’s troops led by Rannulf de Glanville and taken in chains to Newcastle, then Northhampton, and then transferred to Falaise in Normandy. Henry sent an army to Scotland and occupied it. As ransom, and to regain his kingdom, William had to acknowledge Henry as his feudal superior and agree to pay for the cost of the English army’s occupation of Scotland by taxing the Scots. William acknowledged this by signing the Treaty of Falaise and was allowed to return to Scotland. In 1175, he swore fealty to Henry II at York Castle. (Wikipedia) The successful campaign leading to the capture of William resulted in Rannulf’s promotion by Henry II. It would appear that Theobald had accompanied his uncle on this campaign in the north, as he is the only brother missing from his father Hervey’s donation charter to Butley Priory about this time. After a long career as sheriff and justice itinerant, Rannulf was appointed Chief Justiciar in 1180. This was the beginning of the rise in the fortunes of the Walter family.


Of all works in the history of English antiquities, King William’s magnificent land survey manuscript, the ‘Domesday Book’ of 1086, is a starting point for research. William sent men over all England into each shire, assessing each man’s holdings and their values, to determine what taxes were due to the Crown and assess where power lay after the wholesale redistribution of land following the Conquest. Many of these lands passed down through the family heirs, making it a useful document for determining possible inheritances in the early 12th century.

The Domesday survey is divided into the ‘Little Domesday Book’ covering Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex and is a more detailed survey down to numbers of livestock and types of land use, which has been useful in this particular research project; and, the ‘Great Domesday Book’ covering much of the remainder of England except for lands in the far north, County Durham, and parts of Wales, and contains far less detail. The survey recorded who held the lands, and the value of the lands, pre- and post- Conquest, in 1066 and 1086. Both volumes are organized into a series of chapters listing the fees held by a named tenant-in-chief of the king. William had granted lands directly to his Norman followers, making them tenants-in-chief who owed homage and fealty to the king and held their land in return for military service. The tenants-in-chief formed the highest stratum of Norman feudal society below the king, namely religious institutions, bishops, Norman warrior magnates, and a few Saxon thegns who had made peace with the Norman regime. Some of the Norman magnates held several hundred fees, some in more than one county, eg. Robert Malet who features prominently in this research quest, son and heir of one of King William’s companions at the Conquest, William Malet, granted 221 lands in Norfolk/Suffolk (mostly held by his Saxon predecessor Eadric of Laxfield) plus 46 lands in several other counties including Yorkshire.

Only a few of the holdings of the more prominent magnates were held in demesne (ie. retained for his own use and occupation), most having been subinfeudated to knights, generally military followers of the tenant-in-chief who were often his feudal tenants from Normandy, who thereby became their overlord and was owed payment, such as military service and tax collection by their sub-tenant. In turn, the sub-tenant was overlord of the freemen, bordars, and villans who worked the lands and occupied the villages, and managed the lands under their control, and the collection of taxes from the proceeds of the crown lands.

While the original Domesday Books were written in abbreviated Latin, the publication of books such as ‘Domesday Book: A Complete Translation’ edited by Dr Ann Williams and Prof. G.H. Martin (Penguin Books, 2003), and ‘Domesday Book and the Law’ by Robin Fleming (Cambridge Uni Press, 1998) make it much easier for researchers; Domesday Book websites giving summaries of landholders; and the original page images can be viewed in several publications of the different counties in Domesday which can be found in ‘’ and ‘’.

Most of the following records are freely available online at and, with lists of available medieval records and website links at (go to Sources- Public Records- particularly useful for accessing the numerous Pipe Rolls).

The term ‘charter’ represents official documents, often written or issued by a religious, lay or royal institution which typically provides evidence of the transfer of landed or movable property (ie. grants, leases and agreements) and the rights which govern them. It was very rare to find dated charters, and historians date these documents within a certain time frame using information gathered on the witnesses eg. from the monarch’s years of reign and known itinerary; the period the witnesses were active in office as bishop, justice, sheriff etc.; reference to a datable event; contextual clues; Latin language patterns and the usage of particular phrases and vocabulary which changed over time etc.

Between the time of the Conquest in 1066 and about the start of the reign of Edward I in 1307, of the estimated one million charters that have survived over that 240 year period, over 90% of charters do not bear dates, and very few charters survive before 1160. William I introduced into the royal chancery the then-current Norman custom of issuing charters without dates or other chronological markers. This custom continued until the reign of King Richard I, when, for the first time, documents issued from the royal chancery began regularly to include a date, probably during Hubert Walter’s term as justiciar.

Some survived as originals, but most as copies in cartularies, which were produced periodically during the 11th to 15th centuries, and which would occasionally introduce transcriptional or other changes and inaccuracies, and sometimes forgeries ‘to alter past intent’. Another difficulty is that multiple and legitimate rewritings of documents have been made by scribes who may have modernized or slightly altered the language and punctuation of the documents being transcribed which can completely alter the meaning and intent of the document. (ref: Dating Medieval English Charters, by G.Tilahun, A. Feuerverger & M. Gervers, The Annals of Applied Statistics, Dec 2012, v.6, No.4, pp.1615-1640- JSTOR)

Regesta Regum Anglo Normannorum 1066-1154’ is a calendar/collection of royal acts of the period- charters and writs, and some related documents, of Kings William I and II, Henry I, and Stephen and Empress Matilda, in four volumes:

v.1 Regesta Willelmi Conquestoris et Willelmi Rufi 1066-1100 (ed. H.W.C. Davis,1913)

v.2 Regesta Henrici Primi 1100-1135. (ed. Charles Johnson and H.A. Cronne, 1956)

v.3 Regesta Regis Stepheni ac Mathildis Imperatricis ac Gaufridi et Henrici Ducum Normannorum, 1135-1154 (ed. H.A. Cronne and R.H.C. David, 1913)

 v.4 Facsimiles of Original Charters and Writs of King Stephen, the Empress Matilda and Dukes Geoffrey and Henry 1135-1154 (ed. H.A. Cronne and R.H. C. Davis, 1919)


The ‘Pipe Rolls’ (Great Rolls of the Pipe), the ‘Testa de Nevill’ (or Book of Fees), and the ‘Red Book of the Exchequer’ give particulars of many noble families, but apart for one surviving Pipe Roll from A.D.1130 Henry I, there are no other surviving Rolls until the time of Henry II (1154-1189), when a continuous series of Rolls contain matter referring to every social grade. The Pipe Roll of 1130 is described as the earliest comprehensive account of royal income and expenses to have survived anywhere in Europe. Its detail and scope are not equaled for 25 years in England.

Unfortunately, the Pipe Rolls for the reigns of Richard I and John are not freely available online.

The Pipe Rolls were collections of financial records maintained by the English Exchequer. They record payments presented to the Treasury by the sheriffs and other royal officials, rolled into a tight roll. They include payments made to the government and debts owed to the Crown.

The sheriffs appointed to each county were the king’s representative in the county, performing a variety of administrative and judicial functions, and were responsible for collecting the revenues from the royal estates and other sources. They also convened and led military forces of the shire, executed all writs and judged both criminal and civil cases, although from the time of Henry II, the sheriff’s jurisdiction was severely restricted as a result of the growing jurisdiction of the king’s court (curia regis).

The ‘Red Book of the Exchequer’ (Liber Rubeus de Scaccario) was a 13th century manuscript compilation of office memoranda of the English exchequer including some 12th century fragments of documents. This includes the Cartae Baronum or Charters of the Barons, a survey commissioned by the Treasury in 1166 requiring each baron to declare how many knights he had enfeoffed with the names of all. The Register accurately determined the liabilities of the tenants in respect of military service or scutage (money paid to his lord in lieu of military service) or any further assessment wherein the knights’ fee served as the unit of taxation.

The ’Testa de Nevill’/’Liber Feodrorum’, also called the Book of Fees, was a listing of feudal landholdings, complied in 1300 from earlier records back as far as John’s reign, for the use of the Exchequer. It records the names, titles and holdings of families of rank who held fiefs held ‘in capite’ or in-chief, ie. directly from the Crown, including the feudal tenures of either knight fees and services or serjeanty (specified duty either than knight) provided to the crown for the lands and privileges they received in return.

Other useful records from the 12th century and early 13th century are:

The ‘Feet of Fines for the County of Norfolk and County of Suffolk for the reign of King John 1199-1214’ (copies of agreements in land disputes held in the itinerant courts);

Feet of Fines of the reign of Henry II and of the first 7 Years of reign of Richard I, 1182-1196;

Feet of Fines of reign of Richard I- (7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th Years);

Calendar of Feet of Fines for Suffolk; ‘Rotuli Curiæ Regis’ (the Rolls and records of the courts held before King John’s Justiciars);

Curia Regis Rolls of reigns of Richard I and John’ (records of the Court of Common Pleas, held before the King’s justiciars), and Rotuli Cancellari (Chancellor’s Rolls);

Calendar of Charter Rolls (CChR); and others.


Various publications by eminent historical researcher and record transcriber and editor William Farrer (1861-1924) including the ‘Lancashire Pipe Rolls of 31 Henry I AD 1130 and of the Reigns of Henry II (1155-1189), Richard I (1189-99) and King John (1199-1216)’;

Lancashire Inquests, Extents and Feudal Aids 1205-1307’;

Early Yorkshire Charters (several volumes);

 ‘The Outline Itinerary of Henry  I’;

and the ‘Victoria History of the County of Lancaster’-‘The Barony of Butler of Amounderness’, pp.350-357, are of particular relevance to this family;

and various publications by other historical researchers.

A further important source of information on land ownership in the 12th century can be found in the various monastic cartularies of that period, and the ‘Monasticon Anglicanum’ which is a history of the ancient abbeys and monasteries, including their various charters noting founders and donations by land holders, and naming witnesses to the charters, most of whom held close ties with the founder/donor.

In this study, the Cartularies of the abbeys and priories of Co. Suffolk and Norfolk, where the Walter family held lands are of particular interest (specifically, the Cartularies of Eye Priory, Leiston Abbey and Butley Priory, Bury St Edmund, Sibton Abbey, all in Suffolk, and various others in Suffolk and Norfolk). Cartularies are medieval manuscript rolls or folders containing Latin transcriptions of original documents and charters relating to the foundation, privileges, and legal rights of ecclesiastical establishments, and records of land deeds and donated tithes from land holders supporting those establishments. Several historians have collected these charters for specific priories and abbeys and published them, eg. Vivien Brown edited and published the ‘Eye Priory Cartulary and Charters, I and II’, and Richard Mortimer edited and published the ‘Cartulary of Leiston Abbey and the Butley Priory Charters’, both of which have been very useful in this quest.  Also, the ‘Feudal Documents from the Abbey of Bury St Edmunds’ ed. By D.C. Douglas (1932).

Highly respected historian Dr. Katherine Keats-Rohan of the History Department at Oxford University has specialized in prosopography which examines the whole of a past society, its structure and the individuals who made it up, and she has produced two books, “Domesday People: A Prosopography of Persons occurring in English Documents 1066-1166” (pub.1999) and followed up with “Domesday Descendants: A Prosopography of Persons occurring in English Documents 1066-1166” (pub.2002). The information she has collected and collated in these books on the Norman families living in the 11th and 12th centuries is invaluable to researchers.

One reference of particular importance to Butler researchers are the Ormond Deeds, a collection of manuscripts, formerly preserved in Kilkenny Castle, the family seat of the Butlers, earls and later dukes of Ormond, now in the National Library of Ireland. The Calendar of Ormond Deeds, Vol.1, date 1172-1350 (6 volumes, pub 1932-43), edited by Edmund Curtis and published by the Irish Manuscripts Commission is available to download as a PDF on their website- .

And finally, various chroniclers from the 12th century have provided invaluable information about the people in power, both secular and ecclesiastical, and recounted historical events of that time (albeit rather biased in reporting)- Roger of Hoveden (historian employed by Henry II; d.1201), Benedict Abbot of Peterborough (d.1193), Giraldus Cambrensis (Gerald of Wales- a royal clerk and archdeacon; 1146-1223), Gervase of Canterbury (a monk at Canterbury from 1163 to 1210), Jocelin of Brakelond (a monk at Bury St Edmunds from 1173 to 1202), William Parvus of Newburgh (a 12th cent. historian and Augustinian canon), and Orderic Vitalis (an English chronicler and Benedictine monk, 1075-1142), among others.

The next blog chapter will look at the surname origins of the Walter family in County Suffolk


Email contact:  butler1802     @     hotmail.    com    (no spaces)

Links to chapters in this blog, published in 2022: 

Part 1: The Ancestral Origins of Theobald Walter, Ancestor of the Butlers of Ireland (Chapter 1):

Part 2: Possible candidates for the Walter surname named 'Walter' in the Domesday Book

Part 3: Analysis of the various theories of the origins of the Walter family

Part 4: Lands of the Walter family

Chapters of the earlier blog on the Butler History, published in 2013:


History of the Butlers, Earls of Ormond and Chief Butlers of Ireland (Chapter 1):


Butler Pedigree (Chapter 2):


History of Irish Butlers- various Butler Branches (Chapter 3):


History of the MacRichard Line (Chapter 4):