Selected Correspondence of Ralph de Neville (d. 1244)

[Biographical note, copyright Martha Carlin, 2011:]

The following letters are part of the extensive surviving original correspondence of Ralph de Neville, who was Bishop of Chichester and Chancellor of England from the 1220s until his death in 1244.

Ralph de Neville was an illegitimate member of the large and wealthy Neville clan.  By 1207 he was a clerk in King John’s household, and in December1213 he became the keeper of the Great Seal, under the direction of the bishop of Winchester.  Neville accompanied the king on the calamitous expedition to France (January-October 1214), during which King John appointed him Dean of Lichfield  (April 1214), and he remained in the king’s service until at least May 1216.  Neville’s whereabouts during the next two years are unknown, but he was back at court in May 1218, and was effectively running the Chancery in the absence of the Chancellor, Richard Marsh, Bishop of Durham, who stayed largely in the north.  In October 1222 Neville was elected Bishop of Chichester (consecrated 14 April 1224). Two years later, following the death (on 1 May 1226) of Bishop Marsh, Neville succeeded him as Chancellor (so styled on 17 May 1226).  In 1231 the monks of Canterbury elected Neville to the archbishopric of Canterbury, but this election, though approved by Henry III, was quashed by the pope.  In 1238 the monks of Winchester elected Neville to the vacant bishopric of Winchester but Henry III, who wanted the see instead for his wife’s uncle, got the papal curia to quash his election.  He also removed the Great Seal from Neville’s keeping, but Neville retained the title of Chancellor and the revenues of that office.  Five years later, in September 1243, Neville was reinstated as keeper of the Great Seal, but died soon after, in early February 1244.

Fuller information about Neville and some of the people mentioned in his correspondence can be found in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004).

Source:  Most of Neville’s correspondence is now in The National Archives (TNA), London.  (One letter is in the British Library, Add. Charter 5862.)  The following English translations (and, in two cases, original Latin texts) are taken verbatim from W. H. Blaauw, “Letters to Ralph de Neville, Bishop of Chichester (1222-24) [recte 1222-44], and Chancellor to King Henry III,” Sussex Archaeological Collections, 3 (1850), pp. 35-76.

The complete text of Blaauw’s article (with many scanning errors) is available online at:
http://www.archive.org/stream/sussexarchaeolo62socigoog/sussexarchaeolo62socigoog_djvu.txt [accessed 16 August 2011]. In the letters below I have corrected the scanning errors, added extra notes in square brackets, and italicized the Latin phrases that Blaauw included in parentheses.  Where possible, I have also added current TNA reference numbers and have suggested dates for the letters.

The original Latin texts of some of these and other letters from the Neville correspondence can be found in Walter Waddington Shirley, ed., Royal and Other Historical Letters Illustrative of the Reign of Henry III, from the Originals in the Public Record Office, vol. I, 1216-1235 (London: Longman, 1862), available online at:
http://books.google.com/books?id=_sYKAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

 

LETTER 1

[Blaauw, p. 38, no. 383; now TNA, SC 1/6/13; before April 1214:]

“To his dearest companion, Ralph de Nevill, Master (magistro), Thomas de Hoiland, greeting, and the affection of sincere love. — It is reported to me, that you, being established in great power, and fully obtaining the favour of your Lord (Domini vestri gratiam plene obtinentes), are able easily, out of the abundance of venison, to satisfy your friend in need of such a thing; we scholars indeed, dwelling at Lincoln (nos quidem scolares Lincolniam moram facientes), neither find venison meats to be sold (nec carnes venatorias emendas nec largitorem comperimus), nor do we find any one to give it us; I supplicate therefore earnestly your liberality, on which I fully rely, by my friend, the bearer of this, that as it may not be troublesome to you to succour me with as much of this kind as you please, so it would be glorious to me, if I should be able by your bounty to set before my companions dwelling with me (commorantibus mecum sociis), among other things to be set on the table, such as are so rare among us; and if perchance you should not be able to satisfy my petition at present, which heaven forbid, (quod absit) arrange if you please so that within a certain period to be notified to my messenger, I may have one beast (unam habeam bestiam), from some one of our friends. Farewell.”

LETTER 2

[Blaauw, p. 39, no. 384; now TNA, SC 1/6/4; April 1214 x October 1222:]

“Ralph de Nevill, Dean of Lichefield, to his beloved and faithful Geoffry Salvage, greeting. — Know that Henry de Ver has promised me a palfrey, which he will cause to be bought at the fair of St. Edmund (in nundinis S. Edmundi), and I order you therefore to search out his arrival at the fair with every sort of diligence, with whom if you shall be able to find him, agree about this matter efficiently, and receive the palfrey, and transmit it to me, taking care that I may have my monies at the appointed periods, advancing my other matters of business which I have enjoined you and committed to you, that I may be grateful to you. Farewell.”

LETTER 3

[Blaauw, p. 41, no. 386; now TNA, SC 1/6/3, April 1214 x October 1222. Blaauw wrote that the priory of “Nuwic” was the house of Augustinian canons at Newark, near Guildford, in Surrey.  However, he was mistaken: Shirley’s edition of the Latin text (see below) makes it clear that the priory in question was Norwich Cathedral Priory. Shirley also gives a different transcription than Blaauw of Abraham’s place-name surname: “de Cunezford,” rather than “de Cruezford.”  In addition, Blaauw’s translation of “penulam de bisis” as “grey cloak” is incorrect; rather, it means a panel or lining of squirrel skins.]

“Ralph de Neville, Dean of Lichefield, to his faithful Geoffry Salvage, greeting. — That you have sold my wheat from Thorp for 22 marcs (£14 13s. 4d.), as you have informed me, because it could not be sold for a higher price, I am content that it should be so sold. About your purchases also, concerning which you wished to inform me, I commend your prudence, requesting that you so manage my affairs, that I may thank you; know that I have spoken with Sir Richard Duket, that he shall let me have 5000 herrings and 200 wax candles, and a grey cloak, and iron and steel for my ploughs; and therefore I order you, that, as soon as you can, you go to him, and agree with him about all these things. Be mindful of the herring which the prior of Nuwic [recte Norwich] gave me, namely, 5000, in order to receive which it behoves you to be at Nuwic [recte Norwich] either the third day before the feast of St. Martin, or the third day after the feast of St. Martin ; about the other herring which you know of, I leave the whole to your discretion. Farewell. I have quite lost the letters of Abraham de Cruezford [recte Cunezford], of the tenor of which I am entirely ignorant. Farewell.”

 

[Blaauw, p. 41, n. 3, Latin text:]

“R. de Nevill, Decanus Lichefeldensis fideli suo G. Salvage, salutem. Quod bladum meum de Thorp vendidistis, pro xxii marcis sicut mihi mandastis ex quo pro majori precio vendi non potuit, placet mihi quod ita vendatur. de perquisitis eciam vestris de quibus me certificari voluistis prudentiam vestram commendo, rogans quatinus agendis meis intendatis, quod grates vobis sciam; sciatis quod locutus sum cum Domino Ricardo Duket, quod faciet mihi habere quinque millia allecis, et cc cere et unam penulam de bisis et de ferro et ascero ad carrucas meas, et ideo vobis mando quod quam cito poteritis ad eum accedatis, et de hiis omnibus eum conveniatis. mementote de allece quern Prior Nuwicensis mihi dedit, scilicet quinque millia, ad quem recipiendum oportet quod sitis apud Nuwic vel tertio die ante festum S[anc]ti Martini vel tercia die post festum S[anc]ti Martin[i]; de alio allece quod scitis totum relinquo discretioni vestre. valete. literas Abrahe de Cruezford deperdidi, quarum tenorem penitus ignoro. Valete.”

[W. W. Shirley’s edition of the same Latin text, Letter CLXV, pp. 190-191:]

“Radulphus de Neville, decanus Lichefeldensis, fideli suo G. Salvage, salutem.  Quod bladum meum de Thorp vendidistis pro viginti duo marcis, sicut mihi mandastis, ex quo pro majori pretio vendi non potuit, placet mihi quod ita vendatur. De perquisitis etiam vestris, de quibus me certificare voluistis, prudentiam vestram commendo, rogans quatenus agendis meis intendatis, quod grates vobis sciam. Sciatis quod locutus sum cum domino Ricardo Duket, quod faciet mihi habere quinque millia allecis et ducenta cerae et unam penulam de bissis, et de ferro et ascere, ad carucas meas; et ideo vobis mando quod quam cito poteritis ad eum accedatis, et de his omnibus eum conveniatis. Mementote de allece quem prior Norwicensis mihi dedit, scilicet quinque millia; ad quem recipiendum oportet quod sitis apud Norwicum, vel tertia die ante festum S. Martini vel tertia die post festum S. Martini . De alio allece quod scitis totum relinquo discretioni vestrae. Valete. Literas Abrahae de Cunezeford deperdidi, quarum tenorem penitus ignoro. Valete.”

 

[Blaauw, pp. 42-43, no. 304; now TNA, SC 1/6/75.  This letter evidently was written during the siege of Bedford Castle (June-August 1224). The sender, Martin de Pateshull or Pattishall, was a justice itinerant and, from 1217 until his death in 1229, was chief justice of the court of Common Pleas.  Earlier in 1224 he was one of the justices itinerant who were attacked by order of Falkes de Breauté.]

 

“To the Reverend Father in Christ Ralph, by the grace of God Bishop of Chichester, his M.de Pateshull, greeting and due reverence. — Since, in the siege of castles, physicians are necessary, and especially they who know how to cure wounds (in obsidione castrorum necessarii sunt medici et maxime vulnera curare scientes), there comes to the army of our lord the king, by my advice, Master Thomas, the bearer of this, whom I have known to be skilful in such knowledge, and I entreat on his behalf, that if you please, you will be willing to consider him commended, and that you will make known his skill to those who shall need his assistance (qui ejus auxilio indigebunt). May your paternity fare well and long.”

 

LETTER 5

[Blaauw, p. 45, no. 667; now TNA, SC 1/6/79; October 1224 x May 1226:]

“To his Reverend and excellent Lord Ralph, by the grace of God Bishop of Chichester, his faithful servant, Simon de Senliz, greeting, and faithful service.
— I send you now 19 pigs, from your manor at Aldingeburn, and, as soon as the pigs of your other manors shall be fat, I will send them to you. Signify to me, if you please, if Thomas of Cirencester (Cirecestrie) has sent to you any message about procuring oxen, and if he shall not have done so, let me know; also whether you wish that I should buy any oxen in those parts, and how many you wish I should buy, since intelligence has been given me of a certain fair in those parts, in which good oxen are often sold at a reasonable rate. Let me know, if you please, about these and other matters, your good will and pleasure, by the bearer of this. — May my lord fare well.”

 

LETTER 6

[Blaauw, p. 51, no. 672; now TNA, SC 1/ 6/???; October 1222 x May 1226. Blaauw notes that Bishop Neville had obtained the grant of a market at Preston on 28 June 1226:]

” To his Reverend Lord, Ralph, by the grace of God Bishop of Chichester, his devoted Simon de Senliz greeting, and both devoted and due obedience and reverence in all things. — I am informed that the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, about this coming Lent, will come to Malling, and will go in one day from Slindon as far as his manor of Terringes, on the morrow, being about to come to your manor of Preston, and to tarry there for one night ; but he will provide himself there out of his own means, and wishes to accept nothing of yours; wherefore, if you please, it would be well that you should write to him, that he should reside there at your cost, since I know well that he by no means wishes it, but yet it shall be to your honour, although he will by no means accept of yours. If you please, I will pay attention to him, so that it shall turn to your advantage and honour; and you may know for certain that as long as he has sojourned at Slindon, attention was paid him competently in presents from your manors of Aldingeburn and Amberle. Besides these matters, send me, lord, if you please, a writ of our Lord the King to search after William le Weite, your native [i.e., villein] and fugitive. I am also informed that Fulco de Echingeham, canon of Hastinges, has died, so that, if you think fit, be pleased to write in favour of one of your clerks, to Sir Symon de Echingeham, his brother, to whose presentation the prebend belongs, as he says, since he is your friend as I believe. Upon these and other matters deign to signifyyour pleasure to me. May your holiness for ever prosper in the Lord.”

[Blaauw, pp. 51-52, n. 6, Latin text:]

“Reverendo domino suo Radulpho Dei gracia Cycestrensi Episcopo devotus suus Simon de Senliz, salutem, et tam devotam quam debitam in omnibus obedientiam. —Datur mihi intelligi quod Dominus Cantuarensis Archiepiscopus circiter hanc instantem quadragesimam venturus est apud Mallinges, et ibit una die de Slindon usque ad manerium suum de Terringes, in crastino venturus ad manerium vestrum de Preston, et ibidem moram facturus per unam noctem, sed ex suo proprio ibidem se ipse exhibebit, et nichil de vestro vult accipere, unde, si placet, bene esset ut scriberetis ei, ut ibidem residereret super custum vestrum, quoniam bene scio quod nullo modo vult, sed tamen ad vestrum cedet honorem; etsi nullo modo de vestro vult accipere, si placet, faciam ei regardum, ita quod ad vestrum cedet commodum et honorem, et sciatis pro certo quod quamdiu moram fecit in Slindon, competenter factum fuit ei regardum in exenniis de maneriis vestris de Aldingeburn et Amberle. preter hec, Domine, si placet, mittatis mihi breve Domini Regis ad perquirendum Willelmum le Weite, nativum et fugitivum vestrum, datur etiam mihi intelligi quod Fulco de Echingeham canonicus de Hastinges diem clausit extremum, unde, si videtis expedire, scribere velitis pro uno de clericis vestris Domino Symoni de Echingeham fratri suo, ad cujus collacionem spectat prebenda, ut dicit, quoniam amicus vester est, ut credo, super hiis et aliis bene placitum vestrum significare dignemini. Valeat sanctitas vestra semper in Domino.”

[W. W. Shirley’s edition of the Latin text, Letter CCXXIX, pp. 276-277:]

“Reverendo domino suo R[adulpho], Dei gratia Cicestrensi episcopo, devotus suus S[imon] de Seinlice, salutem, et tam devotam quam debitam in omnibus obedientiam.
“Datur mihi intelligi quod dominus Cantuariensis circiter hanc instantem mediam quadragesimam iturus est apud Maulinges, et ibit una die de Slindone usque manerium suum de Terringes, in crastino venturus ad manerium vestrum de Prestone, et ibidem moram facturus per unam noctem; sed ex suo proprio ibidem se ipsum exhibebit, et nihil de vestro vult accipere. Unde si placet bene esset ut scriberetis ei, ut ibidem resideret super custum vestrum, quoniam bene scio quod nullo modo vult, sed tamen ad vestrum cederet honorem. Et si nullo modo de vestro velit accipere, si placet faciam ei regardum, ita quod ad vestrum cedat commodum et honorem. Et sciatis pro certo quod quamdiu moram fecit apud Slindone competenter factum fuit eidem regardum in exenniis de maneriis vestris de Aldingeburn et Amberle.
“Praeter haec, domine, si placet, mittatis mihi breve domini regis, ad perquirendum Willelmum le Weite nativum et fugitivum vestrum. Datur etiam mihi intelligi quod Fulco de Echingeham, canonicus de Hastinges, diem clausit extremum; unde, si videretis expedire, scribere velitis pro uno de clericis vestris domino Simoni de Echingeham fratri suo, ad cujus collationem spectat praebenda, ut dicitur, quoniam amicus vester est, ut credo. Super his et aliis beneplacituin vestrum significare dignemini. Valeat sanctitas vestra semper in Domino.”

LETTER 7

[Blaauw, pp. 52-53, no. 679; now TNA, SC 1/6/???; May 1226 x ?June 1232. On Sir Robert de Laxington, see David Crook, “”Robert of Lexington,
Senior Justice of the Bench, 1236-1244,” inLaws, Lawyers and Texts: Studies in Medieval Legal History in Honour of Paul Brand, ed. Susanne Jenks,
Jonathan Rose, and Christopher Whittick, Medieval Law and its Practice, volume 13 (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2012), 149-75.]

“To his Reverend Lord Ralph, by the grace of God Bishop of Chichester, Chancellor of our Lord the King, his devoted Simon de Senliz, greeting, and with the greatest reverence due and devoted service (famulatum) in all things. — Know, most dear Lord, that I have been in London, where, to the best of my powers, I have laboured, and made provision that you should there have a sufficiency of good wine [or grain? Blaauw notes: The MS. is faint, and the word uncertain, whether vinum or frumentum], and wood for burning [and brewing and baking] (ligna ad comburendum, braciandum et forniandum); and by the grace of God, all your affairs, both at Westmuln [i.e., Westmill, co. Hertfordshire] and elsewhere, go on duly and prosperously. I have provided that you have lamb’s fur (fururam agnorum) in sufficiency, as I think, against the winter, for the use of your household. Moreover, my lord, please to think about procuring sheep (de multonibus perquirendis) at the Abbey of Vaudey, or elsewhere, and sending them to Sussex. Speak also to Sir Robert de Laxington about having oxen for your larder (ad lardarium vestrum), in London. Deign to inform me, if you please, the certainty about your condition and your arrival iu London, inasmuch as I consider your advice and handling necessary for your affairs. If you should think it fit, lord, I recommend (laudo) that a part of the old wheat at Westmuln should be ground, and sent to London against your arrival. I will employ myself, both in Sussex and elsewhere, vigilantly. I send to the feet of your holiness, my brother Simon, as you have directed. May your holiness always fare well in the Lord.”

[W. W. Shirley’s edition of the Latin text, Letter CCCXI, p. 496:]

“Reverendo domino suo R[adulfo], Dei gratia Cycestrensi episcopo, domini regis cancellario, devotus suus S[imon] de Seinliz salutem, et tam devotam quam debitum in omnibus famulatum.
“Sciatis, domine carissime, quod fui Londoniae, ubi pro viribus laboravi, et procuravi quod vos ibidem habetis . . . . . bonum ad sufficientiam, et ligna ad comburendum braciandum et firmandum; et gratia Dei omnia agenda vestra tam apud [West]mulne quam alibi rite et prospere procedunt. Procuravi etiam quod vos furruras agnorum habetis, ad sufficientiam, ut credo, contra hyemem, ad opus familiae vestrae. Inter cetera, si placet, domine, pensetis de multonibus perquirendis in abbatia de Valle Dei, vel alibi, et mittendis in Sussexiam. Loquimini etiam cum domino Roberto de Laxintone de bobus habendis ad lardarium vestrum Londoniae. De statu vestro, si placet, et de adventu vestro Londoniam, certitudinem mihi significare dignemini, quoniam de agendis vestris necesse habeo consilium vestrum et tractatum. Si videritis expedire, domine, laudo ut pars veteris frumenti de Westmulne trituretur, et mittatur Londoniam contra adventum vestrum. De his et aliis beneplacitum vestrum et voluntatem, si placet, mihi significare dignemini; quoniam de omnibus quae vos contingunt tam in Sussexia quam alibi me intromittam vigilanter. Mitto ad pedes sanctitatis vestne Simonem fratrem meum, sicuti praecepistis. Valeat sanctitas vestra semper in Domino.”

LETTER 8

[Blaauw, pp. 53-55, no. 673; now TNA, SC 1/6/144; 1227 x ?June 1332. According to the Victoria County History, A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 3,the Broyle was a former royal park to the north of Chichester; in 1227 Henry III granted it to Bishop Neville with licence to disafforest and cultivate it:]

“To his Reverend Lord Ralph, hy the grace of God Bishop of Chichester, his devoted Simon de Senliz, greeting, and both devoted and due obedience and
reverence in all things. — On the Monday next before the Feast of St. Michael, I received your letters at Bueause, which you transmitted to me first, that I might inquire about the land (ut inquirerem de terra) of John de Nevill, knight, and immediately after the receipt of these letters I sent on to make the inquiry (ad inquisitionem faciendam), according to the tenor of your command (mandatum), since I was not able then, in my own person, to give attention to it, inasmuch as your sir official (dominus officialis vester) and I are employed, and are diligent about auditing the account of your manors, but as soon as the inquisition of that land shall have been made, which will be shortly, I will transmit to you that inquisition, distinctly and openly reduced to writing. I retain in Sussex the friar of Vaudey (de Valle dei) until I shall have held the audit, inasmuch as I have proposed to keep sheep (bidentes), in your hands, on your manors, and therefore I keep back the friar, in order that the sheep may more advisedly and usefully be provided for through him. Know, besides, lord, that, after auditing the account of Roger de Hertford, I will, if you please, commit the custody of your manor of Bissopestone to Henry, a serving-man of Burn, and chiefly on account of the sheep (bidentes), which I keep in your hands, because I think that the said Henry will manage, in such like business, well and competently, and also will, if you please, be able easily to keep (custodire) the manor of Burn, together with the manor of Bissopestone, and easier than Burn and Buxle (Bexhill?), on account of the crossing over the water of Pevenesell, and then some one else will be able to keep (custodire) the manor of Buxle without a horse. To Richard, whom Thomas de Cirencester sent you, I have delivered the manor of Preston to keep, because, as I believe, he knows how to manage about keeping sheep, and I will take care that your Broyle (Brulliusvester) at Chichester shall in the meanwhile be well treated, and advanced to the proper state (bene tractabitur et ad statum debitum producetur). I also wish it not to be concealed from your excellency, that Master R(eginald), your official (officialis), and I will be at Aldingeburn on the Sunday next after the feast of St. Fides [i.e., St. Faith] (Oct. 6) to make the boundary there between the Lord of Canterbury and you; and, if it please you, your long cart (longa caretta) might easily come to Aldingeburn on that day, in which I will forward to you in London venison taken in your parks, and other provision (aliam warnisturam), and also the cloth bought for the use of the poor, as much as you shall like, three hundred ells of which I bought at Winchester fair, since the above things cannot be forwarded at present by your small carts (per caretas vestras parvas) from the manors, on account of the time for sowing, which is at hand. Among other things, know that the crops on your manors are safely and usefully gatheredin for your advantage, and are deposited in barns (in horrea deponuntur), and all your other affairs go on well, by the grace of God, and are duly carried on, and for this I will diligently labour with all my strength. As soon as your sir official (dominus officialis vester) and I shall have made the round of your manors (transitum fecerimus per maneria vestra) for auditing accounts, we will come to you wherever you please. May your excellency ever flourish in the Lord.”

[W. W. Shirley’s edition of the Latin text, Letter CCCCX, pp. 494-5:]

“Reverendo domino suo R[adulpho], Dei gratia Cicestrensi episcopo, domini regis cancellario, devotus suus S[imon] de Seinlice, salutem, et tam devotam quam debitam in omnibus obedientiam et reverentiam.
“Die Lunae proxima ante festum B. Michaelis recepi literas vestras apud Bueause, quas mihi primo transmisistis, ut inquirerem de terra Johannis de Nevill qual . . . .  Et statim post literarum ipsarum susceptionem transmisi ad inquisitionem faciendam juxta tenorem mandati vestri, quoniam in propria persona non potui tunc vacare, quoniam dominus officiarius vester et ego intendimus et diligentes sumus circa compotum maneriorum vestrorum audiendum. Sed quamcito de terra ipsius Johannis facta fuerit inquisitio, quod erit in brevi, ipsam inquisitionem distincte et aperte in scripto redactam vobis transmittam. Fratrem de Valle Dei retineo in Sussexia quousque compotum audierim, quoniam proposui retinere in manus vestras bidentes in maneriis vestris, et ideo ipsum fratrem retineo, ut per eum consultius et utilius possit bidentibus providere. Ad haec sciatis, domine, audito compoto Rogeri de Hertford, committam, si placet, Henrico servienti de Burn custodiam manerii vestri de Bissopeston, et maxime propter bidentes, quas retineo in manus vestras, quoniam credo quod idem Henricus in hujusmodi negotio bene et competenter se intromittet; et etiam de facili poterit manerium de Burn una cum manerio de Bissopeston, si placet, custodire, et facilius quam Burne et Buxle, propter transitum aquae de Pevenselle; et tunc poterit aliquis alius manerium de Buxle sine equo custodire. Ricardo, quem Thomas de Cyrencestria vobis transmisit, tradidi manerium de Prestone custodiendum, quoniam, ut credo, de bidentibus custodiendis scit se intromittere, et providebo quod brullius vester Cycestriae interim per gratiam Dei bene tractabitur, et ad statum debitum perducetur. Nolo etiam excellentiam vestram latere quod magister R. officiarius vester et ego erimus apud Aldingeburne die Dominica proxima post festum S. Fidis, ad divisam ibidem faciendam inter dominum Cantuariensem et vos. Et si placeret vobis de facili posset longa caretta vestra ea die apud Aldingeburne venire, in qua transmittam vobis Londoniam, si volueritis, venationem in parcis vestris captam, et aliam warnesturam, et etiam pannum emptum ad opus pauperum, quantum volueritis, de quo trecentas ulnas emi ad feriam Wintoniensem, quoniam per carettas vestras parvas de maneriis ad praesens non possunt praemissa transmitti, propter tempus seminandi quod instat. Inter cetera sciatis quod fruges in maneriis vestris salvo et utiliter ad commodum vestrum colliguntur, et in horrea deponuntur, et omnia alia agenda vestra bene procedunt, gratia Dei, et rite aguntur, et ad hoc pro viribus laborabo diligenter. Quamcito dominus officiarius vester et ego transitum fecerimus per maneria vestra ad compotum audiendum, veniemus ad vos, quocumquo vobis placuerit. Valeat excellentia vestra semper in Domino.”

 

LETTER 9

[Blaauw, pp. 60-61, no. 676, now TNA, SC 1/6/80; October 1224 x May 1226:]

“To his Reverend Lord Ralph, by the grace of God Bishop of Chichester, his devoted Simon de Senliz, greeting, and both devoted and due obedience and reverence in all things. — I have looked into the letters of Sir H. de Kynard directed to you, which Itransmit to you, informing your holiness that he misunderstood (male intellexit) your order about buying iron, writing to you that he was to buy 10 marcs worth of one sort and 100s. worth of another; wherefore, since the said H. has misunderstood your order, be pleased to write to him, that he is to procure you 10 marcs of small iron (de minuto ferro) if it can be found, but if not, then 6 marcs of the large (de grosso), and 6 marcs of the small iron, and that he must have it carried to Gloucester. Write also, if you please, to the lord abbot of Gloucester, that he may have it carried on to Winchester, to the house of your host (ad domum hospitis vestri), which can be easily done, and without expense. I lay affectionate entreaties at the feet of your holiness, humbly and most devoutly supplicating your excellency that for charity’s sake (caritatis intuitu), and at my instance and petition, you will be pleased to write to the lord prior of Boxgrave, that he, at your instance, may confer upon your clerk Philip a certain small vicarage, now vacant, at Wauburton, which belongs to his donation, if you have not already intreated him for some other clerk; for I well understand, that he will most willingly attend to your request. Deign, my lord, to inform me of your pleasure as to your condition, since I very much delight to hear the certainty of your safety and prosperity. Moreover Sir H. de Kynard advises you that the iron should be freighted (sit cariatandum) at Bristoll, and not at Gloucester; but if it agrees with your pleasure, I advise you that it should be brought to Gloucester, inasmuch as it will be able to be carried to Winchester more easily, and at less expense to your advantage. May your holiness always fare well in the Lord.”

[W. W. Shirley’s edition of the Latin text, Letter CCXXXI, pp. 278-279:]

“Reverendo domino suo R[adulfo], Dei gratia Cicestrensi episcopo, devotus suus S[imon] de Seinliz, salutem, et tam devotam quam debitam in omnibus obedientiam et reverentiam.
“Literas domini H. de Kynard vobis directas inspexi; quas vobis transmitto, sanctitati vestrae significans quod mandatum vestrum de ferro emendo male intellexit, scribens vobis quod decem marcas ferri ex una parte et centum solidos ex altera emere debuit. Unde, cum idem H. mandatum vestrum non sane intellexisset, si placet scribere ei velitis, ut ipse habere vobis faciat decem marcas do minuto ferro, si inveniri potest, sin autem quinque marcas de grosso et quinque marcas de minuto ferro, et quod cariare illud faciat Gloverniam. Scribatis etiam, si placet, domino abbati Gloverniae ut illud cariare faciat Wintoniam ad domum hospitis vestri, quod de facili fieri potest et sine dispendio.
“Ad pedes vero sanctitatis vestrae preces porrigo affectuosas excellentiae vestrae, humiliter et devotissime supplicando quatenus caritatis intuitu, et ad instantiam et petitionem meam, scribero velitis domino priori de Bosgrave, ut ipse ad instantiam vestram conferat Philippo clerico vestro quandam parvam vicariam vacantem apud Wauburton, quae spectat ad ipsius donationem, si pro alio clerico prius illum non exorastis. Bene enim intelligo quod petitionem vestram libentissime exaudiet.
“De statu vestro, domine, si placet, beneplacitum vestrum mihi significare dignemini, quoniam de incolumitate et prosperitate vestra certitudinem quamplurimum delector exaudire. Praeterea dominus H. de Kynard consulit vobis, quod ferrum sit cartatum apud Bristolliam, et non apud Gloverniam; sed si vestrae sedeat voluntati consulo vobis ut ducatur apud Gloverniam, quoniam facilius et sine majore dispendio ad commodum vestrum usque Wintoniam duci poterit. Valeat sanctitas vestra semper in Domino”

LETTER 10

[Blaauw, pp. 68-70, no. 685, now TNA, SC 1/6/87; October 1224 x May 1226:]

“To his Reverend Lord Ralph, by the grace of God Bishop of Chichester, his devoted Simon de Senliz, greeting, and both devoted and due obedience and reverence in all things. — Know, dearest lord, that I have spoken in London with Master William deKaynesham, about his collecting your dues, which belong to you, in Sussex (de officiis vestris que vos contingunt in Sussex, per eum procurandis), by whose hint I learnt that he does not vigilantly employ himself in your business, because, as I believe, he thinks shortly to be removed from your service, wherefore it is necessary for you to hold opportune counsel about this. Moreover, I have had a conference with Sir John, canon of Dorekceaster [i.e., Dorchester], to lower the rent of the garden, which youbought from Nicholas at London (a Nicolao London), wherefore I hope that at my instance, and for the small value (for a small consideration, pro parvo precio), you may be able to diminish the rent annually, by a payment henceforth every year of one pound of pepper, or cinnamon, or something of that sort. Your excellency ought also to know that it has been hinted to me by Thomas, your servant, at Westmuln [i.e., Westmill, co. Hertfordshire], that Sir John de Rocheford, Knight, is ready to mortgage(pignori obligare) for eight years, a ploughland (carucatam) of his land neighbouring your land of Westmuln, whereof 60 acres have been sown with wheat, and for each acre 6s. are offered him ready money (pre manibus). But of the residue (de residuo) of the same ploughland, a hundred and four score acres are to be sown with oats and barley; about that business, as well as the other aforesaid matters to be procured and to be completed for your honour and advantage, as your discretion may feel and see to be fitting, may your holiness advise, informing me, if you please, of your will and pleasure in these matters, since I will show myself vigilant in all your affairs, to the best of my power. Know also, dearest lord, that a day has been appointed you before the justices (justiciarios) at Westminster, in 15 days from the feast of Saint Hilary, to hear the dispute which is between you and the Lord Abbot of Hyde. May your holiness always prosper in the Lord.”

LETTER 11

[Blaauw, p. 72, no. 302; now TNA, SC 1/6/134. Dated by Shirley to c. Nov. 1226, following the king’s grant to Neville on 7 July 1226  (Rot. claus. ii p. 128) of the garden in Chichester mentioned in the letter:]

“To his Reverend Lord Ralph, by the grace of God Bishop of Chichester, Chancellor of our Lord the King, his devoted Simon de Senliz greeting, and with the greatest reverence due, and devoted service (famulatum) in all things.— Know, lord, that Williamde St. John is not in these Sussex parts, so that I cannot at present complete the business which you enjoined me; but as soon as he shall be come into these Sussex parts, I will strive with all my might to expedite and complete it, as I shall see it result to your honour. I send you fourscore and five ells of cloth, bought for the use of the poor, and to be distributed. I am not able to sell for your advantage the wine which is in your cellar in Chichester, on account of the too great abundance of new wine which there is in the town of Chichester. Know also, lord, that a certain burgess of Chichester holds one croft, which belongs to the garden granted to you by the Lord King, for which he pays every year 11 shillings, which (quos) the sheriff of Sussex exacts (exigit) from him. Wherefore since the said land belongs to the said garden, and has been of old time subtracted from it, about the aforesaid rent be pleased to signify your advice to me. In your manor of Selesey I am marling effectually, so that, on the departure of this, five acres have been marled. Please to intimate to me your will upon the premises and other matters, as I will show myself vigilant and watchful, to the utmost of my strength, about taking care of and completing your business. May your excellency prosperin the Lord.”

 

[W. W. Shirley’s edition of the Latin text, Letter CCXLIII, p. 297:]

“Reverendo domino suo R[adulfo], Dei gratia Cicestrensi episcopo, domini regis cancellario, devotus suus, S[imon] de Seinlice, salutem, et cum summa devotione debitum et devotum famulatum.
“Sciatis, domine, quod dominus W[illelmus] de S. Johanne non est in partibus Sussexiae, unde non possum ad praesens negotium quod mihi injunxistis perficere, sed quam cito in partes Sussexiae venerit, laborabo pro viribus ad illud expediendum et perficiendum, prout videro ad vestrum cedere honorem. Mitto ad vos octoginta et quinque ulnas panni ad usus pauperum emptas et distribuendas. De vino veteri quod est in cellario vestro apud Cicestriam non possum vendere ad commodum vestrum, pro nimia abundantia vini novi quae est in villa Cycestriae. Ad hoc, domine, sciatis quod quidam burgensis Cicestriae tenet unam croftam quae pertinet ad gardinum vobis a domino rege collatum, pro qua solvit singulis annis duo solidos, quos vicecomes Sussexiae ab eo exigit. Unde, cum eadem terra pertineat ad dictum gardinum, et ab illo antiquitus sit subtracta, super praedicto redditu consilium vestrum mihi significare velitis. In manerio vestro de Selese facio marlare cum effectu; ita quod in recessu praesentium marlatae fuerunt quinque acrae. Super praemissis et aliis voluntatem vestram mihi significare velitis, quoniam circa agenda vestra procuranda et perficienda me vigilem et intentum pro viribus exhibebo. Valeat excellentia vestra semper in Domino.”

 

 

LETTER 12

[Blaauw, pp. 75-76, no. 282; now TNA, SC 1/6/50; October 1224 x May 1226. According to Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066-1300: volume 5: Chichester, the Precentor of Chichester Cathedral at this time (until 5 March 1231) was Master William de Leukenore:]

“To his Reverend Lord and Father in Christ, Ralph, by Divine clemency Bishop of Chichester, his clerk W(illiam) Precentor (cantor) of Chichester, eternal greeting, and both devoted and due reverence. — Although the common advantage of the kingdom is to be preferred before the private advantage of individuals, yet since the glorious solemnity of the Passion and Resurrection is at hand, in which it is no less honorable than laudable for the cathedral church to be adorned with its own prelate (suo decorari antistite), and for sheep to rejoice in their own shepherd, I beseech you, with all the devotion in my power, that, if it can in any way be done without offence to the Lord King, you will be pleased to visit your church, and celebrate the paschal services. Both the clergy and the people would congratulate indeed your presence, and I hope that, for the space of three days at least, it would be agreeable to your paternity to attend to the divine mysteries in your church of Chichester, laying aside in the meanwhile the anxieties and cares of the court, which, incessantly harassing you, scarcely permit the least, if any, period of tranquillity by day or night. Despising in all your business the threats of men, may you place your hope and trust in Him, who has the power to castboth body and soul into hell (in gehennam); and if it should perchance happen that you do not come into these parts, I implore the kindness of your paternity, that you will be pleased to make known to me, according to your opportunity, a day and place after Easter, or within it, where I may enjoy a much desired conference with you, for I have many thmgs to consult with you upon, in my business and secrets. May your paternity prosper in the Lord.”