Ancient / Devon

Ancient Bruttons / Devon, England

From Domesday: (summarized)

Alfred or Auvrai Le Breton came from Brittany in the train of Count Alain Le Roux (Red) Count of Penthievre. The Count, son of the Duke of Brittany, was sent by his father with a huge contingent of knights to the invasion of England. Count Alain was made Earl of Richmond by Duke William for his assistance at the Battle of Hastings. Auvrai Le Breton held 22 Lordships, mostly in Devonshire, at the taking of the Domesday Book. Throughout England there were another eight Le Bretons. Each probably had a different genealogy and it is not known what their relationship was to each other, if any. However, it must be reasonably certain that Auvrai Le Breton was no mere knight, judging from the size of his grants. We may conjecture that he was the son of Count Alain.

Battleford / Bradninch / Creacombe (Witheridge) / Peters / Tavy / South Milton / Sprytown / Tamerton / Foliot / Ugborough / Willsworthy / Battisborough / Blaxton / Creacombe (Newton Ferrers) / Curworlhy / Grimpstone / Grimpstonleigh / Ingleigh / Moreleigh Budshead

DEVON / The Village Story

Today the village of Peter Tavy nestles into the western borders of Dartmoor some three miles north of Tavistock. The name comes from the dedication of its church to St Peter and the river Tavy which forms the western boundary.

The early history of Dartmoor with its Bronze Age (2500 b.c.) settlements is shared by hut circles found within the parish at Wedlake and the Neolithic enclosures above the village at White Tor. The Tavi or Towi settlements comprising what is now Mary Tavy and Peter Tavy appear to have developed in Saxon times and were separately shown in the Domesday Book (1086) What is known is that a Saxon Lord called Siward owned the lands of Peter Tavy in 1042 but lost them to Alfred the Breton when the Normans distributed their conquests. Alfred the Breton also gained the Manors of Huntingdon and Wilsworthy, which were to form the original parish extending north as far as Beardown and east to the boundary with the Forest of Dartmoor. When the village changed hands to the Foliot family around 1200 it was known as Tavy Foliot but within a few short years it had been sold to Ralph de Gorges and by him granted to Rolf de Satchville. The greater part of the land then passed to Adam de Brankescombe who seems to have broken it up between five freehold landlords. The smaller portion had been given by Satchville to the Abbey at Tavistock, so that at the Reformation only a relatively small holding which included the Lordships of the Manor of Peter Tavy, and Huntingdon passed to the Russell family later to become the Dukes of Bedford.

'Prebendaries and Canons: 1300-1350', Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1300-1541: volume 9: Exeter diocese (1964), pp. 21-34.
M. John de Bruton ?-1339.
M. Thomas de Astley 1326.
Bruton occ. Easter term 1305 (D. & C. Ex. 2779). Said to be dead by 12 Dec. 1326, and royal gr. to Astley (CPR. 1324-1327 p. 342). But Bruton not dead; occ. Easter term 1327 (D. & C. Ex. 2787). D. by Midsummer term 1339, and succeeded by William de Crouthorne (D. & C. Ex. 2792; Reg. Grandisson 111 1325-6; see below p. 30).

M. William de Crouthorne D.Cn.L. 1339.
Succeeded John de Bruton c. Midsummer term 1339; exch. 3 Oct. with John de Northwode for another preb. in Exeter (D. & C. Ex. 2792; Reg. Grandisson 111 1325; see above and p. 23, and below).

'Deans', Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1300-1541: volume 9: Exeter diocese (1964), pp. 3-6.
M. John de Bruton 1309.
M. Roger de Otery 1309.
M. William de Kingscote D.Cn.L. 1309.

Report and Transactions - The Devonshire Association for the Advancement of Science, Literature ... By Devonshire Association for the Advancement of Science, Literature and Art

[1274] Robert De Penilles and Richard le Brette hold 1 fee in Baleford [Battleford in Ipplepen] of the earl of Devon thro' divers middle-lords of the Honour of Plymton (Testa, 694, p. 182a; Trans. xxxviii. 322).

In Domesday, Bacheleford (W. 1145, p. 1039; Vict. Hist., 535) held by William of Alured the Breton. In 1285 Guy de Brian held Bakeleford for 1 fee of Peter de Fishacre and Peter de Fishacre of the Countess of Devon (Feud. Aids, 317); in 1303 William de Penill and others (ibid., 348); and in 1346 Guy Bryan, the last named holding it for 1/2 fee (ibid., 443).

Notes and Queries By William John Thomas, Doran (John), Henry Frederick Turle, Joseph Knight, Vernon Horace Rendall, Florence Hayllar

"...Among these manors is one named Laurochesbere in Edward's time, but afterwards Larkbeare, which at the Conquest passed from Saxon Almer to Alured Brito. I cannot say whether this place and Loxbeare are one and the same, but if so, the inscription on the key-stone would point to a period prior to the Conquest. The Saxon Ailmers, Earls of Cornwall, built and endowed many colleges and churches....

UGBOROUGH, in the hundred of Ermington and in the deanery of Plympton, lies about three miles from Modbury, nine from Kingsbridge, eight and a half from Totnes, 11 from Ashburton, and 14 from Plymouth. The villages of Ludbrooke, Nilham, Wrangaton, Cheston, and part of Ivybridge, are in this parish. A great cattle-market is held at Ugborough on the third Tuesday in every month.
The manor of Ugborough (Ulgeberge) belonged, at the time of the Domesday survey, to Alured Brito. It was afterwards in the baronial family of Briwere, or Brewer, from whom it passed by a female heir to the Mohuns. Sir Nigel Loring appears to have purchased it in the reign Edward III., and with his co-heiresses it passed in moieties to Broughton and Harington. Harington's moiety descended to Bonville and Grey.

From: 'Parishes: Uffculme - Willand', Magna Britannia: volume 6: Devonshire (1822), pp. 538-62.
URL: Date accessed: 29 May 2007.

The Dependent Priories of Medieval English Monasteries by Matin Heale;
The Dependent Priory as Daughter House, page 54:

"... Walter de Clavile, the founder of Canonsleigh, had previously given much of that priory's property to plympton Priory, whereas Ralph Brito of Annesley granted the church of Felley to Worksop in 1151 five years before establishing a priory there... in all these cases, the authority of the mother house was circumscribed and evenetually challenged and completely overturned...

Galsworthy, now and for long divided into two farms North and South, was a small pre-Conquest estate which belonged to Ansger the Breton in 1086. One Edwi had held it in 1066, in the time of Edward the Confessor, "and he could go to what lord he liked." He was a free man, but he was dispossessed at the Conquest and he disappears forthwith from history. The full Exon Domesday entry relating to Galsworthy is as follows:

"To this manor [i.e. Buckland Brewer] has been added a manor called Galeshora which Edwi held in the time of king Edward and he could go to what lord he liked and it paid geld for half a virgate. This one plough can till. Ansger [the Breton] holds it of the count [of Mortain]. There Ansger has three villani who have one plough and twenty acres of pasture. It is worth ten shillings and was worth the same when the count received it."

The pedigree put forward by William de Bikeleg is worth reproducing in full. "He says that one Kin was villein of Walter le Bret in his land of Galeshor' in the time of king Richard, uncle of the present king (1189-99). And afterwards Walter le Bret gave the said land, with all its appurtenances and with the aforesaid Kin his villein, and all his brood, to William Bruer the elder. And William Bruer the younger, son of the foregoing, gave the premises with all (&c. as before) to Huward de Bikele, father of the aforesaid William, whose heir William is. And the aforesaid Kin had four sons, viz. Robert, William, Curnell, and Aleuric. And from Robert issued one Elvas, and from Elyas Gilbert the present plaintiff. From William no issue. From Kernell (sic) one Estrilda. From Estrilda two daughters, Agnes and Emelota. From Agnes one Thomas, who is present and avows that he is a serf. From Emelota one Roger, who is also present and avows himself a serf. From Aleuric two daughters, Claricia and Ragenilda. From Claricia issued Jordan; and from Jordan issued Gilbert and Roger, who are present and avow that they are serfs. He also says that the aforesaid Kin, the ancestor, had a sister, by name Aluina [AeIfwynn], from whom issued Gunnilda. From Gunnilda issued Robert, and from Robert John, who is present and avows himself a serf."
The Devonshire Assoc. for the Advancement of Science, Literature.
page 348: The Honours of Mortain and Okehampton.

5. With the Somersetshire honour of Odcombe ("Lib. Niger" 98) went all the estates held in "Domesday" under the Count (1) by Ansger Brito or the Breton, to wit, Buckland Brewer (W.276; "testa" No 948, p 184b; A.-D. Inq. 36 Ed. III, No. 37, p.247), 1/16 fee ("feudal Aids," p. 358), East Putford (W.277; "testa" No. 949, and 1650), p.200), 1/2 fee (Feudal Aids," 358), Bulkworthy (W. 278) 1/2 fee ("Testa" 950; "F. Aids" 358), and Smytham (W. 279; "Trans." XXXIII, 376); (2) by the Englishman, Alward, to wit Clist St. laurence.... and (3) one estate held by Alured the count's butler (pinerna), to wit, Sutton Satchvil and Upcot (W. 301), 1/4 fee ("Testa" 951 and 1644, p.200). In 1126 this honour was held by Ansger Brito, a great benefactor to Bermondsey Abbey (Collinson's "Somerset" III, 223); in 8 Henry II by Roger Brito (Risdon's "Notebook" 74), and in 1166 by Walter Brito ("Lib. Niger" 98), when it was returned as consisting of 15 Mortain or small fees. From Walter it descended to his sister's son, Walter Croc ("Lib. Niger" 372), who in 1200 sold a moiety of it to Richard, son of William Briwere. (fn18) .... [Wm. Briwere was sheriff of Devon 1179-1189, of Cornwall 1202-3, of Dorset and Somerset 1209-1210 (Maclean's "Trigg Minor," III, 148).]

18. Red Book, quoted "Trans." XXXIII, 373, by Mr. Whale:
Richard, son of William Brewer, holds the barony of Walter Brito. RIchard was the eldest son of the well-known judge, William Briwere, and lost his life before 1196 fighting against the Welch...

Domesday Book and the Law: Society and Legal Custom in Early Medieval England By Robin Fleming

Exchequer Domesday Book
p 130
378 i, 104v (15-12) Count of Mortain; Buckland Brewer: TR W Ansgar the Breton holds three hides less half a virgate in Buckland Brewer from the Count of Mortain. TR.E. Eadmaer Atre held them. A half virgate in Galsworthy has been added to this manor. Eadwig held it as a manor TR.E.

442 i. 116r (39-10) Alvred Brito; Larkbeare: TRE Ulf held half a hide in Larkbeare. Now Alvred Brito holds it. A half hide, which belongs to Whimple, Baldwin's manor, has been added to this manor.

443 i, 116r (39-14) Alvred Brito; Battisborough: TRE Almaer held a hide in Battisborough. Now Alvred Brito holds it. A half hide in Creacombe (in Newton Ferrers), which Almaer held in parage as a manor TRE, has been added to this manor.

444 i, 116r (39-16) Alvred Brito; Moreleigh: TRE AElfric held half a hide in Moreleigh. TRW William holds it from Alvred Brito/ This land has been added to the manor of Grimpstonleigh.

p 166
735 i, 184v (10-41) Roger de Lacy; Strret: King Edward held a hide in Street. Earl William gave (dedit) it to Ewen the Breton. Now William holds it from Roger de Lacy.

738 i, 184v (10-50) Roger de Lacy; King's Pyon: King Edward held five hides in King's Pyon. Ewen the Breton held this land from Earl William. King William, however, gave (dedit) it to Walter de Lacy. Now Roger de Lacy holds it.

814 i, 142r (39-1) Mainou the Breton; Dunsley: TR.W Mainou the Breton holds the third part of half a hide in Dunsley. TR.E Ingelric held it. It lay in Tring, and is of the sieven hides which the Count of Mortain took (assumpsit).

1156 i. 377r (CK-32) Clamores; Kesteven: Waldin the Breton claims (clamat) fourteen bovates of land in Quarrington against the Abbot of Ramsey. The wapentake, however, says that he hoes not rightly claim them (non recte clamat).

2019 ii, 81b (38-1) Tihel the Breton; Yardley: TR.E two freeman held a hide of land in ardley. Now Serlo holds it from Tihel the Breton. Tihel claims (reclamat) this land by the King's gift (de dono regis).

2020 ii, 82a (38-3) Tihel the Breton; Radwinter: TRE Leofsige held half a hide and a half vingate of land in Radwinter. Now Guthothr holds it from Tihel, who claims (reclamat) it by the King's gift (de domo regis).

3184 ii, 445a (70-1) Reginald the Breton; rubric: [An "f," for "fecit retomam," appears in the margin, opposite the rubric which marks the beginning of Reginald the Breton's holdings, indicating that he made a return.]

3185 ii, 445a (70-1)Reginald the Breton; rucric: TRE three freeman held four carucates of land in Lidgate. Now Reginald the Breton holds it, and he vouches (revocat) it as the King's alms. The men of William de Vatteville, however, claim (calumpniantur) this land in William's fee.