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We are particularly interested in Hitchin manors (such as Dinsley and Charlton/Moremead ) as a possible original home of the Vtlage clan as royal saxon men, possible sokemen of Earl Harold. Both of these manors later came into possession by the Knights Templar.
Hitchin - Hitchin is first noted as the central place of the Hicce people mentioned in a 7th century document the Tribal Hidage. The tribal name is Brittonic rather than Old English and derives from *siccā, meaning 'dry', perhaps a reference to the local stream, the Hiz.
There exists credible evidence that Hitchin was the location chosen in 673 by Archbishop Theodore of Tarsus during the Synod of Hertford, the first nationwide meeting of representatives of the fledgling Catholic churches of Anglo-Saxon England, to hold annual synods of the churches as Theodore attempted to consolidate and centralise Catholicism in England.
By 1086 Hitchin is described as a Royal Manor in the Domesday Book. Evidence has been found to suggest that the town was once provided with an earthen bank and ditch fortification probably in the 10th century but this did not last. The modern spelling 'Hitchin' first appears in 1618 in a document called the "Hertfordshire Feet of Fines".
Hertford Castle - was built on a site first fortified by Edward the Elder [Son of Alfred the Great.] around 911. By the time of the Norman Invasion in 1066, a motte and bailey were on the site surrounded by a moat. William the Conqueror granted the castle to Peter de Valoignes, the Sheriff of Hertfordshire and Essex.
Hertfordshire's Templar mystery - Article Page 4 - Temple Dinsley firmly enters the historical record in the Domesday Book in 1086, when Deneslai is recorded as a manor previously belonging to King Harold.
Hitchin - A History of the County of Hertford: volume 3 - The manor of HITCHIN was the head of the group of Hertfordshire manors held by Earl Harold, to which William I succeeded after the Conquest. These at the time of the Domesday Survey were farmed out together by the sheriff, and treated for some purposes as one integral manor. (fn. 60) The manors which belonged to or 'lay in' the manor of Hitchin were Wymondley, Mendlesdene (Minsden), Welei, Westone, Waldenei (King's Walden), Wavedene (Wandon), Cerletone (Charlton), Deneslai (Temple Dinsley), Offley, Welle (Wellbury in Offley), Wilei, Flesmere, Hexton, Lilley, Flexmere, Leglege (fn. 61) (Ley Green in King's Walden [?]), assessed in all at a total of some 37½ hides.
Of these manors two were attached to Hitchin by Harold himself. These were Wymondley, which he stole from the nuns of Chatteris, as the shire mote testified, (fn. 62) and Hexton. (fn. 63) King's Walden, Charlton and Offley were attached after the Conquest by Ilbert Sheriff of Hertfordshire, (fn. 64) while Dinsley, Wellbury and Welei were attached by Peter de Valoines, his successor. (fn. 65)
Hitchin itself was assessed at 5 hides only, although there was land for thirty-eight ploughs (including the land belonging to the minster). (fn. 66) The total value of Hitchin and its appurtenances was £106, whilst the sokes belonging to the manor were worth £40. (fn. 67) The services known as 'avera' and 'inward,' rendered by some of these manors, as due from the sokemen of the king, point to Hitchin's having been once ancient demesne. (fn. 68) The services, which were carrying services performed with a horse and cart, are distinctive of the two counties of Hertford and Cambridge, and in Hertfordshire the inward (inguard) is peculiar to Hitchin and its sub-manors. (fn. 69) Extents of the manor in the 13th and 14th centuries mention the services as owed by the customary tenants of the manor. (fn. 70)
According to the legend of the foundation of Waltham Abbey, as related in the 12th-century tract 'De Inventione sanctae Crucis,' Hitchin, or a part of Hitchin, (fn. 71) was held with Waltham, co. Essex, in the time of Canute by Tovi 'Pruda,' staller to Canute, a man of great importance, ranking second only to the king. He is said to have granted both Waltham and Hitchin to the church he founded at Waltham for the reception of the Holy Cross. (fn. 72) After the death of Tovi, however, his son Adelstan, who succeeded to the lands his father held as staller, forfeited these possessions, which
were granted by King Edward the Confessor to Earl Harold. (fn. 73)
A grant of Waltham was made by Harold to his new foundation there, and confirmed by Edward the Confessor. (fn. 74) The charter of confirmation mentions Hitchin as also in the possession of the abbey, but whether it was given by Harold at the same time as Waltham is not clear. (fn. 75) No further trace, however, of any connexion with the abbey has been found. It is certain from the Domesday Survey that Earl Harold had held the manor, but in 1086 it was in the hands of William the Conqueror.
In the 13th century it was deposed by the jurors of the hundred that Hitchin was granted by William Rufus to Bernard de Baliol. (fn. 76) Nothing, however, is known of this Bernard before the reign of Stephen, and it seems more likely that the grant, if made by William II, was to Guy de Baliol, the founder of the English house, who is said to have received lands from William. (fn. 77) Bernard de Baliol was certainly holding before 1153. (fn. 78)
The Bernard de Baliol, one of the northern barons who raised the siege of Alnwick and took William the Lion prisoner, was apparently his son. (fn. 79) The younger Bernard was succeeded by his son Eustace, and Eustace by Hugh, his son. (fn. 80)
Hugh de Baliol mortgaged the manor to Benedict, a Jew of London, about
1204. (fn. 81) It descended to his son John de Baliol, who died in 1268, (fn. 82) after which his widow Devorgilda held it in dower. (fn. 83) His two elder sons Hugh and Alexander died without issue before 1278, and a younger son John then succeeded to the lands. (fn. 84)
This John (de Baliol) was crowned King of Scotland in 1292. He lost the kingdom in 1296, and his lands were forfeited.
He was the son of John, 5th Baron Balliol, Lord of Barnard Castle, and his wife Dervorguilla of Galloway, daughter of Alan, Lord of Galloway and granddaughter of David, Earl of Huntingdon. From his mother he inherited significant lands in Galloway and claim to Lordship over the Gallovidians, as well as various English and Scottish estates of the Huntingdon inheritance; from his father he inherited large estates in England and France, such as Hitchin, in Hertfordshire.
This all was a lead up to the Scottish revolution and Robert I (the Bruce) in 1306
1385 - Exchequer Lands. —The tenants jointly hold the pasturage of a cottage called Colynfield, and pay xls. John fil. Richard holds a plot and two acres of land called Outlawe, once of Simon the Headborough, 2s. .- Cleadon - Whitburn - Durham
In the time of Edward the Confessor the manor of DINSLEY (Deneslai, xi cent.; Dineslea, Dineslega, xii cent.; Dunsle, Dynesle, Dinglo, xiii cent.; Dyonyse, xvii cent.) was in the possession of Earl Harold, and in 1086 it was held by King William.
(fn. 117) It was assessed at the time of the Survey at 7 hides.
It had been held of Harold by two sokemen as two separate
, but when it came into King William's hands he gave it to Ilbert his sheriff for his term of office, and he held the two manors as one. (fn. 118) Each of these two manors rendered the service of 2 'averae' and 2 'inwardi.' (fn. 119) At the end of this time Ilbert refused to find the customary 'avera' due from the manor, and it was forcibly taken from him by Peter de Valoines, his successor, and Ralph Taillebois, who laid it to the king's manor of Hitchin. (fn. 120)
Charlton alias Moremead
The reputed manor of CHARLTON alias MOREMEAD was at the time of the Survey in the possession of King William. Before the Conquest
it had been held by two sokemen of Earl Harold,
but had been attached by the sheriff Ilbert to Hitchin, in which its soke lay. (fn. 159) The history of this manor is scanty, (fn. 160) but apparently it came into the possession of the Knights Templars, who received a grant of free warren there in 1269. (fn. 161) It was probably held by the Templars (fn. 162) and then by the Hospitallers with the manor of Temple Dinsley (q.v.) until the suppression of the latter order. The manor subsequently came to Edward Pulter, who sold it in 1582 to Ralph Radcliffe, (fn. 163) from which time it has descended with Hitchin Priory (fn. 164) (q.v).
Mendlesden, Minsden, or Minsdenbury
The manor of MENDLESDEN, MINSDEN, or MINSDENBURY was a member of Hitchin, and passed with that manor from Earl Harold to the Conqueror. (fn. 165) In the 12th century Minsden seems to have been held by Guy de Bovencourt, whose heir (unnamed) forfeited his lands in the reign of John. It was then granted to Hugh de Baliol, (fn. 166) the lord of the manor of Hitchin.
Hichin since the conquest - Walden, Dinsley, Offley, Welle and Willei. But most already 'lay' there under Harold - they were manors held by him, and administistered from Hitchin. ... all the places in Hichin hundred which were not in Harold's hands in 1066 were held BY HIS 'MEN'.
In a chapter of the Order of the Temple held at Paris in the Octave of Easter 1147, (fn. 1) at which Pope Eugenius III was present, Bernard de Balliol gave the knights 'Wedelee,' a member of Hitchin, or land to the value of £15. (fn. 2) This estate, which was at Dinsley, (fn. 3) was confirmed to them by King Stephen, (fn. 4) who added two mills with the land and men belonging to them, (fn. 5) and granted them also sac and soc, tol and team and infangtheof, with all other free customs in Dinsley. (fn. 6)
At what date the preceptory at Dinsley was founded is not known, but that it was already established at the beginning of the 13th century is certain, since a chapter was held here between 1200 and 1205. (fn. 7) Besides, the agreement of Mabel Abbess of Elstow, c. 1218-22, (fn. 8) to pay the Templars a mark a year and 4 lb. of wax for the maintenance of a chaplain and the light of his chapel at Preston (fn. 9) was apparently later than the arrangement by which the nuns were to find a chaplain to perform divine service three times a week at Preston for the brothers of the Temple living at Dinsley. (fn. 10)
The property of the knights in the neighbourhood was increased from time to time, (fn. 11) among the larger gifts being 13 acres of land in Wandon in King's Walden, (fn. 12) and Charlton received in 1244-5 from Maud de Lovetot, formerly the wife of Gerard de Furnival, (fn. 13) and 2 marks rent in Welles in Offley (fn. 14) from John de Balliol. (fn. 15)
The Templars in January 1252-3 were granted by Henry III free warren in their demesne lands of Dinsley, Preston, Charlton, Walden and Hitchin. (fn. 16)
Not much is known about the preceptory, but it was perhaps fairly important. Chapters of the order, besides that already mentioned, were held here c. 1219-29, (fn. 17) c. 1254-9, (fn. 18) in 1265, (fn. 19) 1292, (fn. 20) 1301, (fn. 21) and 1304, (fn. 22) and, to judge from evidence given in 1310, on several other occasions. (fn. 23)
The preceptor's jurisdiction extended to Baldock, for in 1277 he was summoned to show warrant for hanging a man there. (fn. 24)
At the time when the Templars were all arrested by the king's order in January 1308 there seem to have been six brothers at Dinsley, since the manor was charged with the maintenance of that number between 14 February and 12 June while they were imprisoned in Hertford Castle. (fn. 25) Whether, however, they were resident at Dinsley, and whether they included Richard Peitevyn and Henry de Paul, 'brothers at Dinsley,' who were afterwards sent to the Tower of London, (fn. 26) is uncertain. There were besides six men then living at Dinsley as pensioners of the house: one who had meals at the squires' table and five who boarded with the brothers. (fn. 27)
After the suppression of the Order of the Temple in 1312 the manor was occupied for some years by the lords of the fee, and then let by them for 27 marks a year to William de Langford, who in 1338 was still the tenant. (fn. 28) The Knights of St. John had meanwhile become the owners in virtue of the Statute of 1324, (fn. 29) and eventually placed members of their order there, for the preceptory of Dinsley is mentioned in the reign of Richard II. (fn. 30)
How long this cell was maintained is doubtful. The manor was leased 12 September 1498 (fn. 31) to John Tong, preceptor of Ribston and Mount St. John, for the term of his life at a rent of £26 13s. 4d., Tong undertaking to find a chaplain to perform the religious services for which the lands had been given to the Templars. (fn. 32) It may, therefore, be concluded that Dinsley had then ceased to be a preceptory. Yet it seems likely that the arrangement marked a new departure and was regarded as temporary, for 9 November 1500 Prior Robert Kendal and the Chapter granted to Robert Shawe, chaplain, (fn. 33) his board in the manor of Dinsley at the table of their gentlemen there, a room and salary of 5 marks to be received from the prior, or from the preceptor, farmer or warden of the manor, and in return Shawe was to perform the services in the chapel as long as he was able.
It is clear, however, that the preceptory was never re-established. The manor was let in 1507 at £26 13s. 4d. a year to Thomas Hobson, who was to provide the chaplain and maintain for two days and nights the officials sent once or twice a year by the Prior of St. John to survey the property. (fn. 34) In 1514 it was let on the same terms to Reginald Adyson and his wife Dorothy for fifty years, (fn. 35) and their lease becoming void in 1519 through non-payment of the rent, to John Docwra for forty years. (fn. 36)
The receipts of the Templars' estate at Dinsley from Michaelmas 1311 to Michaelmas 1312 were £82 19s. 9¾d., (fn. 39) but of this sum the amount derived from rents and profits of court was only £24 12s. 8d. In 1338, as has been said, the manor was let for £18, (fn. 40) in 1535 it was valued at £29 3s. 4d. a year. (fn. 41)
Tunnels, page 1
-Here is a fascinating news story about Templars, tunnels and treasure, which has
been reported in the Hertfordshire Mercury newspaper in England.
People have for centuries been searching in Hertfordshire for the missing treasure believed to have vanished from locations including Temple Dinsley in Hertfordshire when the Knights Templar were disbanded in 1307:
" ... a significant part of the demise of the English Knights Templar in the 13th Century, took place in Hertfordshire under the orders of King Edward II." (Page 1)
"Scores of the Templars managed to evade arrest and went into hiding and in doing so, they had to hide most of their wealth which had been amassed from their forays in the Holy Land." (Page 3)
Hertfordshire's Templar mystery
(The Templars were also the pioneers of international banking: the bankers of kings and of nations.)
A massive labyrinth of ancient and (until now) secret underground passages, built by the Knights Templar and linked to the Holy grail, has been found in the historic town of Hertford in South-East England, not far from the site of the major Templar preceptory, of Temple Dinsley. Incredibly, most of the labyrinth remains hidden along with its secrets. It is possible that parts of the underground network are still in use by the Knights Templar.
Informers claiming links to the original Templars - who are said still to be operational in Hertford - notified the Hertfordshire Mercury newspaper. The paper was unable to publish all the information because it includes secret underground routes to several bank vaults! (This is all the more intriguing given the Templars? historic connections to banking, treasure and secret excavations.)
Temple Dinsley and the surrounding area has been a focus for treasure hunters, including king Edward III, as well as people on their own quest to find the Holy Grail and the Ark of the Covenant, which many people believe to be in the care of the Templars.
When the Templars dissolved, most of the Order vanished along with their unparalleled hoard of treasure and religious/esoteric knowledge. Many people believe that the Templars discovered the Ark of the Covenant and the Holy Grail and hid these somewhere in the UK. Until now, many people have sought to excavate various places, including Scotland's Rosslyn Chapel and various sites in Hertfordshire, to look for these items.
A Royal Commission, set up in 1309, to inquire touching concealed goods of the Templars in the County of Hertfordshire, found none of the gold, treasure or jewels believed to have been hidden by the Templars. Neither did the two men granted a patent to dig for treasure at Temple Dinsley by Edward III on condition that the Crown took half the spoil. No trace of the treasure, or the Ark of the Covenant, or the Holy Grail has yet been found.
The Templars and the mysteries surrounding them have gained much publicity in recent times, especially in the wake of several sensational books including The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail and The Da Vinci Code.
But until now Hertford has escaped the attention of pilgrims and treasure hunters. Could the treasure, the Grail, the Ark, or all of these, be in Hertfordshire?s County Town? The Hertfordshire Mercury newspaper thinks it's possible and a growing number of people agree.
Hertford's underground Templar labyrinth could soon provide the first evidence for the popular idea that the Templars, who officially ceased to exist on Friday 13th October 1307, actually evolved into a secret organisation, operating underground - both metaphorically and literally - in England.
Photographs of two different parts of the tunnel network published in the Mercury prove that at least two tunnels do indeed exist. The leading local historian questioned by the paper, however, did not know anything about these tunnels. But the historian did know about one tunnel, making three at least. The historian said that even the one tunnel they knew about was supposed to be secret and may once have been used by Judges. (The British legal system is based at Temple Bar, at the modern main Templar Temple in Central London, opposite the Royal Courts of Justice.)
This is a fascinating story. It may only be the first taste of a greater story that could have profound repercussions for Judaism and Christianity, for historians and for treasure hunters throughout the world.
Unfortunately the Mercury do not archive their stories for long. But a copy of this and other related articles will be available at www.theinsider.org...
Knights Templar in England - The largest portion of former Templars joined the Hospitallers, while other remaining members joined the Cistercian order, or lived on pension as lay members of society.
The loss of the Holy Land as a base for war against the heathen had removed the primary reason for Templar existence, and the dissolved order now faded into history, in England as well as the rest of Europe. No clandestine secret-keeping, hiding, or underground organizations were necessary, though stories from later centuries often make use of the idea of a continuing, secret Templar presence.
The Destruction of the Second Temple - There were great quantities of gold and silver there which had been placed in the Temple for safekeeping. This melted and ran down between the rocks and into the cracks of the stones. When the soldiers captured the Temple area, in their greed to obtain this gold and silver they took long bars and pried apart the massive stones. Thus, quite literally, not one stone was left standing upon another. The Temple itself was totally destroyed, though the wall supporting the area upon which the Temple was built was left partially intact and a portion of it remains to this day, called the Western Wall
Ewyas Harold Castle - lies at the Southern end of the Golden Valley. The castle, c300yds west of the church, occupies the end of a spur running out from the west side of the valley.
Description of the site today. This castle is a remarkable example of a motte and bailey earthwork. The almost circular motte measures an average of 74m NW – SE and 64m transversely. It rises 13m above the ditch, which separates it from the spur. The motte is 10m above the kidney shaped bailey.
This is a very historically important castle as it is one of only 4 pre-conquest castles in the country. Along with Hereford Castle and Richards Castle it helps demonstrate the importance of Herefordshire as a border county at the time of the Norman Conquest.
It is unclear why the castle is called Ewyas Harold but it has been suggested that it was after the first resident lord of the castle, Harold, who founded a religious house against the castle walls. Harold's son Robertus de Ewyas founded the Abbey of Dore at the commencement of Stephen's reign (1135) and built the parish church of Ewyas Harold. (Robinson - Castles of Herefordshire and their Lords)
1052: Earl Godwin returned from exile. Godwin was returned to his power and it was decided that the French lords should be exiled or even executed. Some of the Normans of King Edward the Confessor’s court retreated to the castle. They were outlawed and all fled except for Osbern, who surrendered his castle to Earl Leofric.
The castle was dismantled and the lands of Ewyas given to Osberns nephew.
Isle of Ely - Outlawe - Templar Priory monks
1406 - Essex. A. 780. Demise by John Charteseye and Simon Outelawe to William Skryne, the elder, John Martyn, Willian Lewyn, and John Eylysforde, clerk, of all their lands, in Waltham Holy Cross. 19 February, 7 Hen. IV. Two seals
Waltham Abbey, Essex - The name Waltham derives from weald or wald "forest" and ham "homestead" or "enclosure". The name of the ancient parish as a whole is Waltham Holy Cross Waltham reverted to the King (Edward the Confessor), who gave it to the Earl Harold Godwinson (later King Harold). Harold rebuilt Tovi's church in stone around 1060, in gratitude it is said for his cure from a paralysis, through praying before the miraculous cross.
Legend has it that after Harold's death at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, his body was brought to Waltham for burial near to the High Altar. Today, the spot is marked by a stone slab in the churchyard (originally the site of the high alter prior to the reformation).
The grave of King Harold - see : Earl Godwin his son Earl Harold and his "Utlagh" men
Hertfordshire - History of Hertfordshire - King Henry IV moved his government temporarily to St Albans early in his reign for fear of public opinion in London. He married Catherine of France on 2 June 1420, and gave her Hertford Castle.
Queen Elizabeth I lived at Hatfield
House near Hatfield
as a girl.
When plague ravaged London, she held parliaments at Hertford Castle in 1564 and 1581. (Baas Manor is very close to Hertford Castle)
Hormead - Ilbert the Anglo-Saxon Sheriff:
Hitchin - Introduction and manors A History of the County of Hertford volume 3
MANORS - Hitchin
King's Walden, Charlton and Offley were attached after the Conquest by Ilbert Sheriff of Hertfordshire, (fn. 64) while Dinsley, Wellbury and Welei were attached by Peter de Valoines, his successor.
On Christmas Day 1066 William was crowned King of England in Westminster Abbey. He then attached Edgar to his train of followers, to keep a close watch on him.
William was so far in advance of controlling England within six months after his
victory at Hastings, that he could return to Normandy. He divided responsibility for
the government of England between his seneschal William fitz Osbern (whom he created Earl of Hereford) and his half brother Odo, Bishop of Bayeux (whom he
made Earl of Kent). William then departed for Normandy. Edgar the Aethling was prominent in the series of rebellions that followed William’s departure. By the
summer of 1067 the rebellions had been suppressed by the Normans with the help of many Englishmen, who thereby lost for the native aristocracy all that remained of its
position and influence.
Edgar continued to make trouble for William, in Scotland and then in France where he threatened to launch attacks on Normandy. William had to
come to terms with him. Though he had been given great lands by William, he forfeited many and only retained this small portion in Hertfordshire after 1067. He
held the largest demesne in Hormead. It would be while he was in disgrace that Ilbert the Sheriff placed the seven freemen, plus Wulfwin and Alnod in this manor.
The Anglo-Saxon reeve (or Sheriff of post-conquest documents) was appointed by the
king and responsible to him alone for the administration of local finance, the
execution of justice and the maintenance of the customs by which the shire was governed. In some shires he farmed the king’s demesnes (see Stonebury) for a round
sum to be rendered each year. He was expected to maintain the assessment of his shire to public taxes such as the Danegeld.
High Sheriff of Essex
Robert FitzWimarc - (c.1015, Moyaux, Calvados, Normandy - before 1075, Theydon Mount, Ongar, Essex) was a kinsman of both Edward the Confessor and William of Normandy, and was present at Edward's death bed.
Prosopography of persons occurring .in English documents, 1066-1166, Volume 1 By K. S. B. Keats-Rohan
Domesday make no obvious distinction between Ilbert de Lacy and any tenant ... He was probably the Ilbert who was mentioned as sheriff of Hertfordshire
de Lacy - The first records are about Hugh de Lacy (1020–1049). Descendent of Hugh de Lacy left Normandy and travelled to England along with William the Conqueror. Walter and Ilbert de Lacy fought in the battle of Hastings. The family took a major role in the Norman conquest of England and Ireland.
The family is linked to the Scottish Royal family; Elizabeth
de Burgh, whose great grandfather was Walter
de Lacy, married Robert
Another link exists to the Royal Windsor family by Sarah Ferguson via Wingfield, Meade, O'Brien, Fitzgerald, De Burgh and therefore back to Walter de Lacy and Hugh de Lacy.