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Chapter I - Saxon Ancestors

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CHAPTER I:  THE ARDENS IN SAXON BRITAIN

[The Charts below are images, that you can download to enlarge]

  

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CHAPTER I: THE ARDENS IN SAXON BRITAIN

Introduction

In 498 A.D., approximately 5½ centuries after Julius Caesar "came, saw, and conquered" Britain in 55 B. C. , the last of the Roman Legions were withdrawn to bolster the crumbling Roman Empire. For many years prior to their departure, even the Legions had been unable to prevent the increasing number of successful raids upon Britain by the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes who had come over in their longboats from their homelands along the Baltic shores in the regions now known as Schleswig and Holstein.

After the departure of the Legions, these raids became more frequent, motivated more by a desire to make permanent settlements than just to plunder, and by the end of the 5th century a large part of ancient Britain had been conquered by the Teutonic invaders. By the 10th century, seven kingdoms of Anglo-Saxon origin had been established: Kent, by the Jutes; Wessex, Essex, and Sussex, by the Saxons; and Mercia, East Anglia, and Northumbria by the Angles. The Celts took refuge from the Germanic invaders in North Wales, while the Picts and the Scots, who had never been defeated by either the Romans or the Anglo-Saxons, occupied the northern part of Scotland.

It is the period from the invasion of England by the Anglo-Saxons through to the invasion of England by William of Normandy in 1066 that can roughly be categorized as "Saxon Britain".

 

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I. Saxon Britain through to Alfred The Great (871-899)

Some Arden genealogists claim that Leonetta, wife of Reynbourn, a Saxon Earl of Warwick and in the direct Arden line, was the daughter of the Saxon King Ethelred I (866-871), who was the brother of Alfred the Great[1] 1/ (871-899).

If this is so, then Arden descendants can claim the ancestry of Alfred the Great (871-899), a descendant of the Kings of Wessex. (See Chart IA). Early Medieval chroniclers recorded with great specificity the genealogy of the kings of the various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, particularly of Alfred, and, indeed, retraced the invasion route to their ancestors in the Teutonic forests[2]. 2/1

 

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Little, of course, is known about the ancestry of the Anglo-Saxons before they reached Britain's shores. From the great Anglo-Saxon poems, Widsith  and Beowulf, however, it is possible to indicate at least some historic personalities, although it is difficult to strip the fiction away from the fact. Thus from Beowulf  we learn that there was a king of the Angles by the name of Offa who ruled in Schleswig during the fourth century, claimed as an ancestor of the Kings of Mercia, and of Alfred the Great on his mother's side. (See Chart IA). The ballad recites that Offa was dumb during his early years, and only recovered his speech when his father, Wermund, was threatened by the Saxons, who demanded cessation of the kingdom. Offa offered to, and did, fight the Saxon king's son and a chosen champion at the same time, killing both opponents, for which he was granted a great kingdom.

Nor is much more known of the period immediately following the withdrawal of the Roman Legions and the settlement of Britain by the Anglo-Saxons. There are no current accounts extant. It is not until the Ecclesiastical History of Bede (673-735) and the  Anglo-Saxon Chronicle  started by Alfred the Great, that any real historical sources for the period prior to Alfred appear. They tell of the interminable wars between the seven Saxon kingdoms resulting in the supremacy of first one, and then of another, and of the wars by all of the kingdoms from time to time against the Welsh

 

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(as the descendants of the Celts became known), the Picts and Scots. These wars were very bloody affairs. For example, it is recorded that in 798 Kenulph, King of the Mercians (796-820) (Chart IA) took Eadbright, the King of Kent, prisoner, cut off his hands, put out his eyes, and kept him around to remind himself of his great victory. At the same time he began the foundation of the Abbey of Winchester. He celebrated the dedication of the Abbey by "releasing" his old enemy, the King of Kent.

Ecbert, King of Wessex from 802 to 838, and the grandfather of Alfred the Great (see Chart IA), was the first Saxon king to hold the whole of England under his overlordship as the result of a series of campaigns beginning with his defeat in 825 at Ellendun of Bernulf, the King of Mercia. Bernulf had usurped the throne in 822 from Celwulf the 16th King of Mercia (Chart IA) and one of the brothers of Kenulph, whose quaint treatment of the King of Kent has just been referred to. Ecbert is thus regarded as the first Saxon King of England.

The reign of Ecbert's son, Ethelwulf, King of Wessex from 829 to 858, was principally concerned with repelling the raids of the Danes, who came over in their large open boats from the Scandinavian coasts and from Jutland beginning in 793. These raids bore a remarkable counterpart to the raids of the Anglo-Saxons, four centuries earlier -- beginning as raids for plunder and ending with settlement expeditions.

It was Alfred the Great (87]-899), the son of Ethelwulf, how- ever, who saved Saxon civilization by defeating the Danes, first at Ashdown (871) and later at Edington (878). He then turned his attention to the

 

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administration of his kingdom, developing a code of laws drawn from earlier laws and the Scriptures, fostering education, and inaugurating the first volumes of the  Anglo-Saxon  chronicles.

II. Saxon England from Alfred the Great to Edward the Confessor (1042-1060)

Most Arden genealogists begin with Turchill of Arden, son of Alwin, the Sheriff of Warwickshire, during the reign of Edward the Confessor (Chart I), both of whom are referred to in Domesday. This is for the very good reason that the only reliable pre-Conquest records are concerned with the royal families or the church, and unless one can establish a "tie-in" to the royal family, genealogical records are nothing more than an educated guess, if that.

There is, however, in the Library of the Ashmolean Museum of Oxford a manuscript, No. 839 folio, said to be bequeathed by the last Arden of Park Hall, Warwickshire, Robert Arden, who died at Oxford, unmarried, in 1635. (Chart V) This manuscript includes the arms and honours of the "Earl of Warwick" from Rohandus through Turchill (Chart I) and states that "this roll was laboured and finished by Mr. John Rous of Warwyke". Rous (1411-1491) was a scholar of the University of Oxford and a chantry priest of Guy's Cliff, Warwickshire, in the 15th century.[3]

 

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Many scholars indicate considerable skepticism about the "Roll" largely because of the absence of any designation by Rous as to the source of his information! Thus Burgess says: "As far as we know, Rous had little or no authority for statements contained in the roll."[4]  And Lisle in his Warwickshire, says: "Some of these men undoubtedly existed, but they were not earls. In all probability they were under-earls owning large tracks of land and possibly occupied the position of shire-reeve (sheriff)."

But others, such as Drummond and French, accept the authenticity of the "Roll". Shirley, in Noble and Gentle Men of England (1866) also says:

"No family in England can claim a. more noble origin than the house of Arden, descended in the male line from the Saxon Earls of Warwick before the Conquest. ... there are not many of the House of Peers of an origin so illustrious."

Further, County Families of England (1868), purporting to rely upon Drummond says: "The Ardens descend from Saxon kings. Their ancestors were Alwyne (Sheriff of Warwickshire in the time of Edward the Confessor), Turchill, Siward, and Guy, Earl of Warwick, by which title they were dispossessed by the Normans."

Perhaps the best authority supporting the "Roll" is the following headnote posted on the pedigree of Arden in the Visitation of Warwickshire (1619

 

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"The House of Arden is meerly English of the
auncient blood of the Saxons, and they were
before the Conquest lords of Warwick, and
of the most part of Warwickshire."

Heraldic visitations, which ceased about 1686, were journeys throughout England by heraldic officials of the College of Heralds with a commission under the great seal to examine into pedigrees and claims to bear arms. The visitation to Warwickshire in 1619 is of particular significance because it was conducted by William Camden, a prominent Elizabethan antiquary and his­torian, who was Clarenceux King of Arms in the College.

A copy of the pertinent part of the Rous Roll follows this page. I share the view of those who believe that Rous coupled a few shadowy facts with a lively imagination. For example, Rous was in error in his notation under Rohand (ca. 9th century) that Oxford University was founded at that time - there being little evidence of its existence prior to the 12th century. Further his identifica­tion of personage is not altogether clear. Thus he references a successful duel with a Danish "giant" fought by Guy of Warwick in the third year of the reign of King "Ethelred", and the marriage of Reynbourn, Guy's son, to the King's daughter. It is not clear, however, whether "Ethelred" was Ethelred I1/ , who was in Mercia in 868 fighting the Danes, or Ethelred, Earl of Mercia, who married Aethelflaed, the eldest daughter of Alfred the Great (Chart IA), and who, with his wife, was often given a royal title by the chroniclers because of their independent authority in Mercia during the reigns of Alfred and of his son Edward, because of their valiant resistance to Danish and Norwegian invasions. (See Chart IA).[5]

 

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Accepting the validity of the "Roll", however, we are not bound by it in gathering information for the first three generations of Earls, Rohandus, his son-in-law, Guy of Warwick, son of Siward, and Guy's son, Reynbourn. (Chart I). In the 13th and 14th centuries these men were all very familiar personages, being the subject of a number of ballads.[6]  Although there is no doubt that at least Guy was a historical personage (see Ency. Brit.), it must be admitted that his exploits have been so heavily romanticized, that he emerges, along with Roland of France during the reign of Charlemagne, as an almost legendary figure.

The ballads commence in the court of Rohand, Earl of Warwick, who was the son of Archegall, a "counsul" of Warwick in the time of King Arthur. Rohand is described as "the most valiant of a thousand", and his wife, the Dame Felye, as "wiffe to the most victorious knight". Rohand's steward, and counsellor, was Siward, Lord of Wallingford, and father of Guy.

Siward, apparently, was a most faithful steward. The ballad recites that he punished every "insulter" of his patron's authority, pursuing one to a great distance --

"And with strength him nim wolde
Though he to Scotland ace him sholde."

 

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Siward's son, Guido or "Guy", was brought up in Rohand's court. He was a cup-bearer, and was taught by father's friend, Sir Heraud de Ardenne, the mysteries

"Of wood and rive and other game,

of hawks and hounde

Of estrich, falcon of great maunde. "[7]

At an early age, Guy fell in love with Felice, the daughter of Rohand, described as follows:

"Gentile she was, and as demure

As ger-fawk, or falcon to lure

That out of mew were y - drawe,

So fair was none, in sooth sawe.

She was thereto courteous and free and wise,

And in the seven arts learned withouten miss. "

Felice (as is the way of all ballads) at first scorned Guy. She said (translated into modern English):

"With her should virginity live and die. Her
growth and beauty were now in bloom and
these must not be thrown away on inferiors."

Poor Guy was devastated! But the cold-hearted Felice relented and eventually said that she might marry him when he had obtained knighthood and had proven hi valour in perilous adventures in foreign parts! Guy (reported as nine feet tall!) then set off with his tutor, Sir Heraud. He wandered through the courts of Europe winning great honors in tournaments; and did all the things a knight in shining armour is supposed to do, such as rescuing a beautiful damsel named Dorinda from being wrongfully burned at the stake; and killing a wild boar, an enormous dun cow, an



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even a green dragon! He finally ended up in Constantinople, then besieged by the Saracens, where he slew a Saracen giant in single combat. Finally he returned to Warwickshire and married Felice, who, we gather, had decided he had done enough to prove his valour in foreign parts! Upon the death of her father, Rohand, Earl of Warwick, he succeeded, jure  uxoris (by right of his wife) to the title of Earl of Warwick.

The ballad then recites that, seized with remorse for the violence of his past life, Guy left his wife and fortune to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He returned home, after many years, in 869 A. D. , just as King Ethelred, the Saxon King from 866 to 871, and brother of Alfred, was fighting off vigorous invasions of the Danes. It seems that the Danes had demanded that Ethelred either pay an annual tribute and hold his kingdom as a dependent of Denmark, or that Ethelred should appoint a champion from his army to fight the Danish champion "Colbrand", with the fate of the kingdom dependent upon the victor.[8] None of Ethelred's men were anxious to fight Colbrand, who, apparently, was a giant of a man. Earl Guy, in the guise of palmer, arrived in the nick of time and offered to fight the Danish champion. He did so and, in a colorful tournament, killed Colbrand. Guy, however, refused all of the subsequent supplications of King Ethelred to remain under his banner and only secretly told him his true identity. He returned to Warwick, retired to a cave as a hermit (which has since been known as "Guys cliffe" }, and

 

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daily made his way to his castle gate (still in disguise) as a bedesman to receive a charitable allowance of bread. Only on his deathbed did he send a ring to his wife, which she had given him in former days. With this sign of recognition, she rushed to his side. In best ballad tradition, he died in her arms; and she died shortly thereafter. They were both buried together in the cave.[9]

Reynbourn, Earl of Warwick, the son of Guy and Felice, according to the Ballad, became almost as famous as his father. His dramatic life starts off at the tender age of 4, while his father was on his pilgrimage:

"So on a day, I understand,
Merchants came into England
Into London out of Russie.
So on a day withouten be
The Saracens gave this child espie,
Guy's son, faith Reynburn,
And sole him away with treson."

(All of which means he was kidnapped!) His father's faithful tutor, Sir Herauld, set out to find his ward. Reynbourn, grew up, however, in captivity, performed great deeds of valor, and eventually returned to Warwick as a famous knight. Some time after his father had performed his great service for King Ethelred, the King granted his daughter "the beautiful Lady Leonetta in marriage" to Reynbourn.

 

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And so ends the ballads. From here on it is necessary to primarily rely on Rous' Roll.

Uffa, Earl of Warwick, the son and heir of Reynbourn, was called "Rune the Hubyd". He is recorded, independently of Rous, as having been a devout man who was a benefactor of the monks of Evesham, having granted them the manors of Wixford and Little Grafton. This is a reference to the Benedictine house founded at Evesham, in Worcester, by St. Egwin in the 8th century. It became a wealthy abbey, but was almost wholly destroyed at the Dissolution in 1540 during the reign of Henry VIII.

The life of Uffa probably spanned the reigns of King Athelstan's brothers, Edmund (940-945) and Edred (946-955), and of Edmund's sons, Edwy (955-959) and Edgar (959-975). (See Chart IA). His grants to Evesham were made in 975, the first year of the reign of Edward the Martyr (975-978). This Edward, the son of King Edgar, received the appellation of "the Martyr", after he was assassinated at Corfe Castle at the instigation of his stepmother, who was ambitious for the succession of her son Athelred II, the Unready (978-1016). (See Chart IA).

Wulfgeat was the son and heir of Uffa. There is some indication that in 1006 his earldom and estates were taken from him by King Athelred for "his wicked course and oppression". Unfortunately, we do not know how Wulfgeat erred.

 

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Wigot, the son and heir of Wulfgeat, is described by Rous as "an outstanding man, a soldier of great reputation and power." There is also some indication that he married a sister of Earl Leofric of Mercia, of whom mention will be made shortly.

Wigot lived through the reign of the Danish Kings and died during the reign of Edward the Confessor. The reign of "the Danish Kings" began in 1014. King Ethelred (978-1014) (Chart IA) was a singularly inept monarch, aptly named the "Unready" (without counsel or "rode"). He tried to stop new Danish invaders by bribery, and, upon finding that this course of action was not success­ful, ordered a wholesale massacre of the Danes then living in England.  This massacre invited the invasion of England by Sweyn Forkbeard, King of Denmark, in 1014, forcing King Ethelred to flee to Normandy.[10] r Sweyn's son, Canute, completed the conquest of England in 1016, at Ashingdon 2/, in Essex, with his defeat of Edmund Ironsides, Atheldred's son.[11]  There followed a generation during which England was part of a vast dominion including Denmark and Norway, ruled by Canute (1016-1035), his illegitimate son, Harold I (1035-1040), and his legitimate

 

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son, Hardicanute (1040-1042). On Hardicanute's death, the English nobility recalled as King Edward the Confessor (1042-1066), the son of Ethelred, who had been brought up in the court of Normandy to which his father had fled upon his deposition.

III. The Ardens under Edward the Confessor (1042-1066)

With the reign of Edward the Confessor, we leave all doubt as to precise Arden ancestry and come to the son of Wigot, Alwin, the Sheriff of Warwickshire under Edward the Confessor. Alwin (d. 1066) is referenced a number of times in Domesday as the prior owner of property then owned by his son, Turchill of Arden.

A. Leofric of Mercia (d. 1057)

Before turning to Alwin, however, we should begin here the

outline of the most "famous" of the ancestors of the Arden family, Leofric

of Mercia (d. 1057) and his equally famous wife, the Countess Godiva (1040-

1080).,

Leofric is connected with the Arden family in three ways:

It was noted earlier that Wigot, the father of Alwin, is thought

to have married Erminild, the sister of Leofric. (Chart I)

It also seems clear that Turchill of Arden's second wife, Leverunia., was a daughter of Leofric. (Chart I)[12].

 

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Further, from Turchill and Leverunia are descended the Brace- bridge family (Chart VA) of Kingsbury Manor of Warwickshire, which Leverunia inherited from her mother, the Countess Godiva. The Bracebridge family enters the Arden family history twice. Thomas of Arden (ca. 1207) unsuccessfully claimed the ownership of Kingsbury Manor in Warwickshire from John de Bracebridge, (Thomas was somewhat confused as to how many wives his famous ancestor, Turchill, had had!). Later XIII Sir John Arden (1448-1526) married Alice Bracebridge during the War of the Roses under circumstances which, as will be noted later, form one of the most romantic legends of Warwickshire.

Besides a strong family relationship, there appears to have been a close fealty of the Ardens of Warwickshire to the Earls of Mercia, of which Warwickshire formed a part. Whether the Saxon Ardens were "Earls" or not, they were unquestionably large landowners in Warwickshire, and, naturally, supported the political fortunes of the House of Mercia. We shall find, for example, that Alwin the father of Turchill, followed Leofric's grand­son, Edwin, Earl of Mercia, to Northumberland early in 1066 to defend the lands of Edwin's brother, Morkere, Earl of Northumberland, from an attack by the Norwegians, and fell at the Battle of Stamford Bridge.

But let us leave to the next chapter the political fortunes of the House of Mercia, which so vitally affected the fortunes of the House of Arden. Right now let us focus on the life of Leofric, and his fair wife, Lady Godiva. Leofric's life spanned the period of the Danish Kings and Edward the Confessor. Lady Godiva lived through the period of Edward the Confessor, Harold, and William the Conqueror.

 

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First, a word about Leofric's title as "earl". Unlike an English earl whose title was hereditary, the Saxon Earl held his position by appointment from the King. The position of "ealdorman", later contracted to "Earl", reflected the degree of political unity which began to appear in England with Ecbert (802-839),who held the first of the great Saxon overlordships of England. Administrative difficulties arose, and the manner in which this was handled was through the appointment of "ealdormans" to administer a number of "shires". Technically, as we have already seen in the case of Wolfgeat, the grandfather of Alwin (Chart I) the king always had the right to "fire" his appointment to this position for malfeasance in office. As a practical matter, however, the appointments usually remained lifetime affairs, with the oldest son appointed in succession. By the time of Edward the Confessor, the Earls had reached a position of tremendous political power, and, as we shall see later, the history of the reign of Edward the Confessor was greatly influenced by the tension of Leofric, Earl of Mercia, and Godwin, Earl of Wessex.

The ancestry of Leofric of Mercia (Chart I) dates back to another Leofric who held the "ealdorman" of Chester (some say Leicester) during the reign of King Ethelbald (858-860). His great-grandfather, Algar II, was killed during one of the numerous raids of the Danes which preceded the final complete conquest by Canute in 1016 when he defeated Edmund Ironsides, son of King Ethelred the Unready, at Ashingdon.•

 


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Leofwine, Leofric's father, had apparently been appointed "ealdorman" of Mercia by King Ethelred sometime around the year 1000. He is also recorded as having received in 998 from King Ethelred (978-1016) properties in Ladbroke and Redbourn in Warwickshire, which will turn up later as Arden properties.

How, or why, Leofwine, and his son Leofric, survived the invasion of Canute, is unknown and somewhat baffling since, it has been said, most of the Saxon nobility was wiped out at Ashingdon where Canute defeated the  combined Saxon forces in 1016. Further, there is also some evidence that another of Leofwine's sons, Norman, was slain by Canuteb,[13] The answer Is shrouded in history. In any event we find that for a considerable period of time before Canute's death, Leofric had been appointed by Canute to the earldom of Mercia and, it is said, was "Captain General of his forces".

Some time shortly before his death Leofric married the Countess Godiva, an heiress of an old Saxon family. Her brother was Thorold of Bukenhale.

Leofric, and his wife, Godiva, were one of the first great philanthropic pair of English history. If one were to go through Domesday, he would shortly discover that, as of 1087, many of the great monasteries and cathedrals of the midlands of. England held lands previously given to them by Leofric and Godiva, particularly those of Worcester, Evesham, Chester, Leominster,

 

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Wenlock and Stow-in-Lindsey. Their great achievement, however, was the Priory of Coventry which they founded in 1063 for an abbot and 24 monks of the Benedictine order. It surpassed all others for splendor and they literally gave a fortune, including 1/2 the town of Coventry and 23 manors, to build and maintain  it.

And, of course, we cannot leave Leofric and Godiva without mention of the famous legend of the ride of Lady Godiva. This legend first arose in the 13th century and is generally ascribed to that most unreliable "historian", Roger of Wendover (d.1236), who, as noted above, accomplished that notable feat of tracing the genealogy of Alfred the Great back to the Garden of Eden, thereby allowing the Arden family to trace its genealogy back to God! The story is also inconsistent with the character of Leofric, insofar as we know it. But it still is a good story.

It seems that Leofric had levied some very heavy taxes on the good citizens of Coventry. They, therefore, waited upon Countess Godiva and pleaded with her to intercede for them with the harsh Leofric to lower the taxes. Leofric's reply, which has startled the ages, was:

"Ride you naked thro' the town
and I'll repeal it."

Godiva held him to his promise, and having made arrangements to make sure that all of the good citizens of Coventry remained indoors with shutters barred, rode through the streets of Coventry clad only in her long hair. It seems, however, that there was an adventuresome and curious tailor by the name of Tom who took a good look, and, thereby, gained for himself immortality under

 

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the appellation of "Peeping Tom". In standard ballad tradition, Tom was forthwith struck blind;

B. Aiwin, the Sheriff of Warwickshire (d. 1066)

We return now to Alwin, the Sheriff of Warwickshire, in the direct male Arden line as the father of Turchill of Arden, (Chart I), who lived during the reign of Edward the Confessor (1042-1060), and antedated that reign for an undeterminable time when Canute, Harold, and Hardicanute were kings of England.

Most of our information about Alwin comes from Domesday. We have some idea of his land holdings because of the listing of some of the manors he held such as Bickenhall, Baginton, Barston, Flickends, Lilliford, Bericote, Etone, and Ryton on Dunsmore in Warwickshire. Domesday, as of 1087, notes with regard to these manors that Aiwin, the Sheriff of Warwickshire, "held it freely in King Edward's time" (Edward the Confessor), or "Alwin, the father of Turchill held it." Domesday also records that "Alwin the Sheriff gave Clystone (Clifton)[14] to the Prior of Coventry being "with the consent of King Edward and of his sons, for the health of his soul, and with the approbation of the county."

But Domesday obviously does not reflect all of Alwin's holdings because, it is also recorded, that, upon his death in 1066, his wife, the mother of Turchill (whose name is unknown) was given in marriage by William the

 

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Conqueror to a "certain young Richard" together with most of his lands. This was a custom frequently followed by William -- to require the widows of Saxon lords to marry his Norman adventurers, thereby allowing the Normans to acquire considerable holdings under at least a "color" of rightful holding through their wives' inheritance!

Alwin's position of Sheriff in Anglo-Saxon and early English history was one of considerable importance. Again, as in the case of the "ealdorman", it developed after the Kings of Wessex began to acquire an overlordship of most of England and some form of administrative control was required. A sub­ordinate officer administered each shire under the Earl who ruled the group of shires. This shire officer became known as the "shire-reeve", later "sheriff". He served in a dual capacity, primarily as the representative of the King's interests, but for some purposes as an officer and agent of the Earl.

By the time of King Ethelred the Unready (978-1016) he presided over the shire courts dealing with every aspect of local government, both ecclesiastical and secular, but principally with land disputes. "Lesser" problems, such as theft and rounding up stray cattle, were handled by the meeting of the "hundreds" into which each shire was divided.[15]

 

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The best evidence indicates that in the summer of 1066 Alwin followed his lord, Edwin, the Earl of Mercia, to Northumberland to resist the invasion of Northumberland by King Harold Hardrada, of Norway, who claimed the throne of England by descent from Canute. This invasion threatened the position of Morcar, Earl of Northumberland and brother of the Earl of Mercia. Badly defeated in their first encounter with Hardrada the Earls of. Mercia and Northumberland were thereafter joined by Harold, who had succeeded to the throne of Edward the Confessor. In the Battle of Stamford Bridge, in York, this, the last of the Scandinavian invasions of England, was turned back. Hardrada was hit by an arrow in the throat, and it only required 24 ships of the original invasion fleet of 300 ships to carry the survivors back to Norway. It is said that Alwin, the Sheriff of Warwickshire, also fell in this battle. Thus died a man described by Rous as "a man upright and illustrious in all things" and "of the most excellent memory".

 

[1] French, Shakespeariana Genealogica (1869); Drummond, Histories of  Noble British Families  (1846). As will be noted later, this claim is largely based upon medieval ballads concerning Reynbourn's father, Guy of Warwick, and the unauthenticated Role of the Earls of Warwick by John Rous (14th century).

[2] At some point, these genealogies become entirely fanciful. The Medieval chroniclers asserted that Woden, the chief God of the Ger­mans, had seven sons from whom sprang the ancestors of the kings of the seven kingdoms of Anglo-Saxon Britain referenced above. Then, in order to fit this historical "fact" into the tight little world they knew, they proceeded to trace the ancestry of Woden back to Adam himself! A typical example of this genealogical absurdity -- from Adam to Alfred -- by one of the Medieval chroniclers is by Robert of Wendover (d. 1236). On the basis of this lineage, the Ardens can go back to Adam himself -- created by God -- which is as far as anyone can go!!! (See Appendix A.)

[3] Another of Rous' documents was published in 1716: Joanni Rossi. Antiquarii Warwicenses, Historia Regnum Angliae. There is also reference to the Arden "Earls of Warwick" in that document.

[4] Legends, Traditions, and Romances of Warwickshire (1876)

[5] I have assumed the Rous reference to Ethelred I, however, because evidence indicates that Earl Ethelred and his wife only had one daughter, Aelfwyn.

[6] The ballads here followed are the three early Metrical Romances "Syr Guy of Warwyk", "Syr Reynburn", and "Syr Heraud de Ardenne".

[7] Syr Herauld de Ardenne was apparently not related to the Arden family. He, like the Ardens at a later date, simply added a surname taken from the forest of Arden in Warwickshire.

[8] The Rous Roll gives the name of the giant as "Affricus". On the other hand, the ballads often refer to the duel as taking place during the reign of King Athelstan (924-840).

[9] There was, apparently, a tapestry representing the achievements of Guy which hung in Warwick Castle until the 15th century when it disappeared. It was of great value because Richard II (1377-1399) conveyed "that suit of arras containing the story of Guy Earl of Warwick together with the castle of Warwick and its possessions to Thomas Holland Earl of Kent." (Dugdale) It is also mentioned in a patent of Henry IV in the first year of his reign, 1399.

[10] Lest anyone think that the treatment by Kenulph, King of Mercia, of his enemy, the King of Kent, discussed above, was typical only of the Saxons, he should be quickly disabused! Winston Churchill reports in his Birth of Britain the quaint custom of the Danish invaders of building their cooking fires after a battle on the stomachs of their captured foe!

[11] One historian reports that, according to the chroniclers, "all of the nobility of the English race were destroyed at Ashingdon", and cites this as an additional reason for the inability to trace Saxon ancestry beyond the Conquest. This is not quite accurate, because Canute later brought many Englishmen into his court, and gave them positions of responsibility.

[12] Rous' Roll, infra, states that it "is thought" that Edwin, Earl of Mercia, (d.1072) and brother of Leverunia, was the first husband of Turchill's daughter. But this creates a rather improbable step, but not altogether impossible for these times, of Margaret marrying her uncle!

[13] A third son Edwin is also said to have been killed by Griffin, Prince of North Wales in the Welch-Mercian wars of these times.

[14] Clifton is on the River Avon and is today a suburb of the city of Bristol.

[15] The term "comitatus" stands for the profits of the pleas in the courts of the county and the hundreds. The accounts for the fact that Alwin is referred to in Domesday often as "Vice Comitatus". From this title anciently applied to sheriffs only, came the title "Viscount" first granted by Henry VI.

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