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was generally assessed and paid at the Caput honoris, rather than at the place where it accrued. The descent of this moiety of the original manor is then traced through the families of Fitzgerald, De Ripariis (or Rivers), Earl of Devon, and others, to John of Gaunt Duke of Lancaster, and we are told that “ Billing is still included within the liberties of that Duchy." The other moiety, under the name of “Ferrers or Mortimer's fee,” is then in like manner traced in its descent through these two noble houses, till “ their titles and inheritance finally merged in the Crown, on the triumph of the Yorkists over the Lancastrians, in the person of their lineal representative King Edward the Fourth.” With regard to this moiety also we are informed (by reference to the “ Testa de Nevill”) that, in the reign of Henry the Third, “Ralph Mortimer was proved to hold, of William Earl Ferrers, of the house of Tutbury, one fee in “Magna Billing,” in the town of “ Peter Barre.”
Our author next proceeds, according to the distribution of his subject above laid down, to the account of the “mesne or usufructuary manor," as held of the lords paramount of the several moieties already mentioned. We will give it in his own words, in order to render this part of the subject clearer.
“ManoR.—Having treated of the paramount manors, it remains to trace the lords who held the usufructuary possessions, or mesne manors under the paramount lords, in whom the ultimate property and reserved services of the feudatory were vested. I say manors, for each fee in this vill held by Peter Barre of Ralph Mortimer and of Margaret de Ripariis, constituted a distinct manor, and the tenure was separately noted in the inquisitions, though from unity of ownership in the family of Barry, who possessed both, no motive remained for keeping them apart, and they ceased to be distinguished.”
The descents of the family of Barry, as proprietors of this consolidated mesne manor, are then traced, by help of the Rotuli Hundredorum, Originalia, and other public and private evidences, to the 35th of Edward the Third, from which time the family is entirely lost sight of; and we have only one or two scattered notices relative to this property or its possessors previous to the 5th of Henry the Fifth, when Sir Nicholas Lillyng, of Abington, Knight, died seized of it, being held (as we find from the Book of Escheats) “ of the King by unknown service.” The subsequent conveyance of the manor by the representatives of Lillyng to Margaret, Countess of Richmond, rests only upon presumption; but that upon her attainder (in the first of Richard the Third) a reversionary grant, subject to the life interest of Thomas Lord Stanley (her third husband) was made of it, by the Crown, to John de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln, and again forfeited by the attainder of that nobleman, after the battle of Stoke (in the 2nd of Henry the Seventh), is proved by the Parliament and Patent Rolls; and a mistake in Bridges (the former historian of the county) is then corrected by the useful and important observation, that “it was no uncommon practice for our Kings to make feoffments of their lands to the uses of their wills, and that the grant (5. Henry VII.) by which this manor, together with many others, passed to Sir John Fineox (Lord Chief Justice) and others, and which is supposed by the above-named writer to have vested in Fineox the usufructuary interest, was in fact made to him and his co-feoffees in trust to settle on the Dean and *Canons of Windsor, in recompense of their prayers for the souls of the King and others of the Royal Family. By the detection of a second mistake in Bridges (arising from a confusion of names) we next find that, notwithstanding this grant (which was avoided by the King's executors) the manor remained in the Crown till the 32d of Elizabeth, when it was granted to certain persons in fee, who the next day had license to alienate it to Freeman, of Ecton. Thus far the author has been guided entirely by the light, often dim and doubtful, of ancient records. From Elizabeth, downwards, the evidences are of a different description, and need not here be followed, our only purpose in pursuing the descent of this property with such dry minuteness having been to bring into view, by a single instance, the nature of the county-historian's duty as to this branch of his office, the character of the authorities to which he must exclusively trust for his safe acquittance, and the gross errors and false conclusions into which they must infallibly lead him, unless he is previously fortified by an acquaintance with ancient laws and custom sufficiently extensive to protect him against the consequences of too implicit a reliance on the apparent evidence of names and mode of conveyance..
We now return to the prefatory address of this intelligent antiquary, for the purpose of exemplifying the method pursued by him in the remaining part of his arrangements.
“ Its restricted limits,” he says, “have not permitted him to attempt more than satisfactorily to trace a manor into and out of a family; nor perhaps is it to be regretted, for the line of blood through which it descended, especially if combined with the collateral ramifications, may be exhibited much more clearly in a genealogical table than by verbal narrative, and the technical references to the escheats or inquisition post mortem, introduced to verify the descents, remove in a great measure the necessity of abstracting them. The pedigrees have relieved the text also from the dry details of dates, matrimonial alliances, and honourable appointments. The leading authorities are placed at the head of each, but the author has taken nothing on trust which he had the means of subjecting to the test of public or private documents. Numerous as the pedigrees will be found, none uncon
nected with manorial property have been admitted, or the number might easily have been augmented, to an almost indefinite extent, from heraldic visitations, and families of respectability possessed of impropriations, advowsons, and other estates."
We cannot pass over this, paragraph without saying a few words on the subject of the genealogical part of a County History. While we fully agree with our author as to the necessity of imposing some certain and definite restrictions on the adoption of matter of this description, which would otherwise swell to so. abundant an increase as wholly to swallow up every other department in a county history of almost any assignable dimensions ; we suspect that the particular limits to which Mr. Baker proposes to confine himself have been dictated by an attachment, in this instance too, partial, to the forms of methodical arrangement. The object of CountyHistory, so far as it regards property in the descent of families, is too general to be narrowed to that which relates to ore species of property, and the possessors of that property onlymore especially when we reflect that, since the introduction of modern law and usage, the manor (eo nomine) is often the least considerable in point of extent and value, of all the properties into which a district may happen to be divided ; and, therefore, while we acknowledge the greatest positive inconvenience as necessarily attendant on admitting the principle of universal suffrage into the question of, who are the parties to be entitled to the honours, of genealogical distinction in a County-History, we cannot allow either the good sense or policy of excluding all but such as happen to have, or to have had, either in themselves or their ancestors, the property of a manor within the parish. The actual amount in value, and, in some instances, length of possession merely, would form a much better criterion of admission or rejection. Among the yeomanry even, especially of the more distant counties, it frequently happens that a farm of fifty or a hundred acres has been transmitted from father to son in a course of lineal descent for many centuries; and the pedigree of such a family, * we
* On this branch of our subject, we would beg leave incidentally to suggest to the county-historian that the humble memorials of the church-yard, and the neglected pages of the parish register, are often calculated to convey local information, and lead to local inquiries, more curious and instructive than the costly tablets, or prouder effigies, of the church or chancel. It is useful, even with reference to general and statistical history, to mark the different degrees of adhesiveness to their native soil which characterize the inhabitants of different districts.' It is interesting to the imagination to discover, or
do not hesitate to aver, is a subject of much greater local interest and attraction than that of a Rivers or a Mortimer, whose sole connexion with the district may have arisen from the possession of a manor within its limits during the reign of one of the Edwards, or of a more recent proprietor, who may have purchased for a few hundred pounds, and upon the speculation, possibly, of an inclosure, or of some other source of latent profit, the empty title and disused privileges which, upon Mr. Baker's principle, would give him the right of enrollment in his genealogical archives. It is of no little importance to the County Historian, in the light of worldly prudence and policy, to be on the best possible terms with the principal land-owners of the district, whether they be, or be not, the lords of manors; and, were it upon this principle only, we should counsel him to give up a little, even of the best conceived arrangement and method, to meet the wishes of those without whose assistance he can do nothing, and to whose patronage he must look not only for the reward, but even for the bare continuance of his labours.
But to proceed
“ The monastic establishments, and possessions of the religious houses, follow the manorial history; for, though ecclesiastical in their origin, yet having been converted into lay property by the dissolution, this seemed the most natural arrangement.
“ In describing the pictorial embellishments of the manor-houses and mansions, the portraits may be thought to engage a disproportionate attention, but it should be remembered that they not only command a strong local and family interest, but are the frequent ob
think we discover, in the sturdy yeoman, or yet ruder mechanic, whom we meet in our chance peregrinations, the unconscious descendant of some Saxon Ceorl, or British bondman, planted in the same district that is still occupied by those of his own name and race, and the date of whose original settlement in it is lost in the shades of impenetrable obscurity. And it affords room for much of profitable, as well as melancholy reflection, when, in the name of some present proprietor of a mere cottage with half an acre of garden-ground, we are enabled to trace the fallen fortunes of some once noble or illustrious family—the owners of many manors, extending over half a county-degraded, perhaps, by the folly or extravagance of a single individual perhaps, by a course of misconduct pursued from generation to generation-perhaps, by the consequences of political convulsions, and an unfortunate, though honest and respectable adherence to a losing party. These are speculations which tend to enhance the importance, and elevate the dignity of the science of Archæology.
jects of inquiry to the amateur and collector for the purposes of topographical and biographical illustration.
“ The history of a parochial benefice naturally suggests three divisions ;-by whom founded, and to whom the patronage belongs ; of what it consists; and by whom held. Where the impropriate rectory and advowson of a vicarage have been severed, the descent of each is separately deduced from the crown grantee, or the period of separation. Their ancient and modern state are also distinctly treated. A brief explanation of the ecclesiastical taxations and surveys is introduced under Abington, the first parish *. In the general summary of each benefice, the Easter offerings and surplice fees are always implied though omitted ; and where the rectorial and vicarial rights have been regulated under acts of inclosure, the official allotment of the land has been adopted, which in many cases is several acres less than the modern admeasurement.
“ The series of incumbents, down to the middle of the 16th century, is (with occasional additions) copied from Bridges, or the authority of the Lincoln Registers; and continued to the present time, from a transcript which the author has been kindly permitted to make from the Episcopal Registers at Peterborough."
* “ Much conjectural ingenuity has been exercised on the origin and primary constitution of parishes; and it is now generally contended by the most intelligent ecclesiastical antiquaries, that the “ Parochia" of the seventh century, so often confounded with the modern parish, was synonymous with the diocese; and that the distribution of the kingdom into parishes, in the present acceptation of the term, did not originate in any specific decree, but was the work of ages. The episcopal registers of Lincoln commence in the reign of King John, and presentations to most of the benefices in this county occurring in them, within a few years of their first establishment, it may safely be inferred that the parochial division of this county, as it now stands, was nearly completed by the end of the 12th century. A comparatively few parishes were formed in the Saxon æra; but, being too extended in their boundaries for the accommodation of a thinly-scattered and dispersed population, or for the spiritual superintendence of a single priest, the Norman lords were encouraged to erect churches within their manors, and endow them with the whole or a portion of the tithes of a certain circuit of ground, which thus became a parish; with the patronage of the living vested in the founder and his heirs as the reward of his piety.
." The first fruits and tenths of all the spiritualities in the kingdom were at an early and undefined period obtained by the see of Rome; and pope Innocent the Fourth having assigned them for three years to king Henry the Third, to incite his co-operation in the Crusades, Walter, bishop of Norwich, was delegated to take a survey (1254, 38 Hen. III.), which has been usually termed The Norwich taxation."