Sunday, May 05, 2013

What price a gold ring? 12thC English legal business:

3 gold rings 12th and 13th centuries - British \Museum
Today's research snippet. This is being added to my ongoing research concerning John Marshal. It's a rather dry piece of legal speak concerned with a land grant, but it's interesting that John advised the young woman concerned in the dispute. It's also interesting to note the involvement on the sidelines of William Martel who was one of Stephen's big cheeses - his steward and spymaster. I do wonder what happened to Emma. She was old enough to give her pledge, but unmarried, and that was an unusual state of affairs for the time. I hope she had enough left to live on and I wonder why the Martels were claiming the land and why John Marshal had advised her as he did. Everytime you find a piece of a historical jigsaw puzzle, it leads to a lot more missing pieces!

Stephen, King of the English, greets the archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, justices, barons, sheriffs, ministers and all his faithful men of all England.
May you know that Emma, daughter of Grimbald the physician, has before me and with my consent, quit-claimed and handed back to me all the land that belonged to her father, the latter of which she was seised, as well as the land that was hers by right and of which she was not seised. And, in her presence and with her consent, I have given and granted all that land to Walter Martel in fief and as inheritance for him and his heirs after him, and she pledged that she will warrant it for him everywhere as far as possible; and as far as those lands are concerned of which she is not seised, and which Walter will claim, she will support him as far as is possible to deraign that land at Walter’s expense. She confirmed in the hand of William Martel that she and her heirs hold the land without guile. (That means by putting her hand in William Martel’s as a pledge of good faith that she had not held onto the lands fraudulently).
And in return for this grant Walter gave Emma in my presence one ring of gold, and John Marshal, on whose advice she did this, confirmed for his part that she held this without guile, and Grimbald’s wife, Atselina, will hold the land which she holds in peace from Walter as long as she lives, and afterwards the land will return to Walter’s demesne (no mention as to whether she is Emma's mother or stepmother). I therefore will and firmly command that he shall hold it well and in peace and freely and quietly in all things and places with soke, sake, toll, team and infangthief ( a technical formula for handing over various rights that come with the holding of the land). And all the freedoms belonging to it, with which Grimbald ever most freely held it or somebody else before him.

Witnesses: Waleran count of Meulan; Robert , Earl of Leicester; William Martel; Aubrey de Vere, Robert de Vere, Hugh Bigod; Geoffrey de Mandeville; and Eustace FitzJohn. At Worcester. (circa 1137/8).


Beth said...

Maybe the interesting sidelines grow - could "Emma, daughter of Grimbald the physician" be the daughter of Henry I's physician (mentioned as part of the crazy dream episode in John of Worcester's chronicle, I think)? He disappears from charter witness lists in the late 1120s, but seems to have come from Northern Italy and traveled with (and lived as part of) the king's household.

Interestingly, too, is that someone seems to think Emma Grimbald and Walter Martel got married - so perhaps this is part of a legal proceeding to tempt him into marriage and ensure the lands she held (and might in future hold) from her father would fall to her heirs as well as his?

I haven't consulted the book myself (though my uni library might have a copy), but the answers might be in here in the work listed here - - it's totally unclear whether a marriage is just assumed due to this legal matter, or whether there is other evidence.

Now I should get back to writing my dissertation plan (this was a VERY welcome distraction!!!).

Elizabeth Chadwick said...

That's interesting Beth and certainly a path worth following. Thank you for that input. If I find out anything else, I'll report back.

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