Communicated by the Committee on English and Foreign Research



By A. VERE WOODMAN, ESQUIRE, of Wing, Bucks., England

WHILE the great antiquity of the Putenham family has always been manifest, their early history has hitherto remained altogether obscure. Recently, however, it has been found possible to trace the descent of the lords of Putenham to an ancestor so unusually early as to have died even before the date of the great survey of Doomsday Book. Few, indeed, are they who possess so ancient a pedigree, and some account of the origin of a family able to make such a claim can hardly fail to be of interest to their many descendants, both in England and America.

For four generations the story of the Putenhams is linked with that of the prominent Norman family who left a lasting memorial of their consequence in the second name of their principal manor and castle site of Weston Turville in the county of Buckingham.

One of the greatest lords that accompanied Duke William upon his memorable invasion of England in 1066 was his half-brother Odo, Bishop of Bayeux. Among the Bishop's followers was a certain Anschitil, who may have been actually present at Hastings-possibly one of the young men whom the Bayeux tapestry shows the warlike prelate exhorting to renewed offensive against the Saxon host.* Be this as it may, all that is beyond doubt is that Anschitil was dead before 1086, when his son Roger is found holding extensive estates of the Bishop in the counties of Buckingham, Kent, and Hertford. By far the greater part of his possessions lay in Buckinghamshire where he held, besides several lesser lordships, Weston, Taplow, Chalfont, and Saunderton; in Kent, where he is called "son of Anschitil," he held Hastingleight** and Eastling; in Hertford he held the manor of Putenham***. These holdings, assessed at upwards of fifty hides, constituted a very large estate for a Doomsday under-tenant.

On Roger's death his inheritance passed to Geoffrey de Turville whose grandsons, William and Richard de Turville, were sued, in 1212, by Herbert de Bolebec, great-grandson and heir of Isabel, the daughter of Roger, son of Anschitil, for seven and a quarter knights' fees in Weston, Penn, and Taplow, and two knights' fees in Chalfont.**** The suit was obviously unsuccessful and it may therefore be fairly presumed that Geoffrey was Roger's son and heir, for it is quite unlikely that the Turvilles could otherwise have resisted so strong a claim.

There can be no doubt but that this Geoffrey is identical with the Geoffrey de Turville whose cruel mutilation by Henry I is recorded by Ordericus Vitalis. After Bishop Odo's forfeiture many of his lordships passed to Robert de Beaumont, Earl of Leicester and Count of Meulan. His son Waleran, Count of Meulan, whose fortunes Geoffrey would naturally follow, rebelled against the King in 1123, and was utterly defeated at the battle of Rougemontier, where he and some eighty of his men-at-arms were taken prisoners. At Rouen, the following year, the King pronounced judgment on the captives and caused the eyes of Geoffrey de Turville and another knight named Odard du Pin to be put out. The Count of Flanders, who was then at the court, commiserated the lot of the condemned and said to the King, "my lord King, you are doing what is quite abhorrent to our usages when you mutilate captives taken in the service of their lords;" to which the King replied, "Sir Count, I do what is right, and I will prove it by good reasons. Geoffrey and. Odard became my liege men with the consent of their lords and, breaking their oaths of fealty, proved false to me and therefore incurred the penalty of death or mutilation." It is not known for certain if Geoffrey survived this terrible punishment. It is, however, evident that a Geoffrey de Turville, either this man or his son of the same name, was, to some extent, in the King's favour in 1130, when he was pardoned £4-8-6 of geld-an amount corresponding very closely to the sum that would have been due on the Doomsday assessment-on his land in Bucks.* At the same time smaller sums, representing the geld on some twenty-five hides, were remitted on his lands in the counties of Warwick, Northants, and Cambridge.** These considerable estates were probably of the Earl of Leicester's grant.

Geoffrey de Turville was succeeded by his son another Geoffrey. In 1146 he acknowledged that, with the consent of Gundred, his wife, he had given to the church of St. Mary of Missenden, for the souls of his father Geoffrey, his brother William, himself, his wife and his sons, all the land of "la Lega" that Ralf de Haltuna held.***

By another charter of about the same date Geoffrey gave to John de "Leia" and to his heirs a hide of land of his demesne in Weston and the mill that William held, free from all service save that John and his heirs should do castle-guard in the castle of Weston for forty days in time of war, with a destrier and a rouncey, and for three weeks in time of peace. And this he did because John had surrendered to him his own inheritance, to wit, the land of "Leia" which he had given to the canons of Missenden in alms. This deed was witnessed by the abbot of Missenden, Hugh de Noers, William de Puteham, Payn de Puteham, Osbert de Saunderton and many others, including the whole halvimote of Weston.****

Before proceeding to the identification of these earliest known Putenhams, the history of the Turvilles will be briefly traced until the failure in the male line of the main branch of the family.

Weston Castle, toward the garrisoning of which such careful provisions had been made, had no long duration. In 1174 the Pipe Rolls record the payment of 59s. 6d. "for the custody of the castle of Weston which was of Geoffrey de Turville before it was razed." The entry suggests that it had been forfeited and it may, perhaps, be inferred that once again a Turville had followed his overlord into rebellion for the Earl of Leicester was, in 1173, among the chief supporters of the Princes in their revolt against their father King Henry. As, however, the Princes' adherents were reinstated in their possessions on the conclusion of peace, this forfeiture could only have been temporary.

Geoffrey died before 1177. His heir was the William de Turville, who at the beginning of the xiiith century held nineteen knights' fees of the honour of Leicester,* and he had at least three other sons: Geoffrey de Turville the clerk, to whom his father gave the church; of Chalfont; Richard de Turville the knight, to whom his brother William gave the manor of Chalfont;** and Richard de Turville the clerk, who was his brother Geoffrey's attorney in a fine, levied in 1196, concerning the advowson of the church of St. Peter of Chalfont.

William de Turville, by his wife Isabel, had a son William who died without issue before 1217*** His father survived him but was dead before 1222 when his three daughters, Cecily, the wife of Roger de Craft, Isabel, the wife of Walhamet le Poure, and Pernell, the wife of Simon de "Creullona" or, as he is usually called, de Turville,**** are named as his heirs.&

That the earliest Putenhams were descended from Roger, who was lord of the place in 1086, is, in itself, probable. Moreover, as has been seen, instances are known in which the Turvilles bestowed churches and manors on younger sons and brothers. These facts suggest the possibility that Geoffrey's brother William and the William de Puteham who attested Geoffrey's grant to John de Leia may have been one and the same man.&&

The first reference to Putenham, after its mention in Doomsday Book, occurs in the charter by which Ricard Fitz Wale, lord of Eydon, and Maud his wife gave to the priory of Canons' Ashby, in which they intended to be buried, the church of Putenham with its appurtenances, to wit, sixteen acres of land in one field, sixteen acres of land in the other field, four acres of meadow and all the moor under their garden.

By another charter Maud, the daughter of William de Putenham confirmed the above grant for the soul of her husband Ricard Fitz Wale.

These deeds show that Ricard Fitz Wale, who occurs in a XIIth century Survey of Northants* as holding two hides in "Cydona" the fee of Leicester, had married Maud the daughter, and obviously the heir, of William de Putenham.

Now in 1177 the Pipe Roll for Bucks. records that "Ricard Fitz Wale owes 40 s for the right of half a knight's fee that he has not yet had." Similar entries recur every year up to and including the 33rd year of Henry II when more precise information is afforded. "Ricard Fitz Wale owes four marks that Maud his wife may have recognition of the death of her uncle for his fee of half a knight in Penna de Tapeslawe." The following year he pays the four marks and is quit, and there is no further reference to the matter.

The Turvilles alone at this date had any interest in Penn, which was anciently accounted a member of Taplow and is so described in a fine levied in 1197, by which William de Turville granted Taplow to the prior of Merton reserving, however, to himself and his heirs "totam villan de Lapenne que dicebatur membrum de Tappelow."

It follows, from these facts, that Maud's uncle was Geoffrey de Turville and that her father was his brother William mentioned in the deed of 1146.

The exact descent of the Putenhams from Ricard Fitz Wale and Maud de Putenham, which must remain, for the present, doubtful, will probably be revealed when the muniments of the monastic houses to which they were benefactors become once more available. Additional information may well be provided by the Canon's Ashby cartulary and Ricard Fitz Wale's grant of Eydon church to the abbey of St. Mary of Leicester, which was subsequently confirmed by charters and final concords** preserved in the cartulary of that convent.*** Together these sources should supply the evidence necessary to complete the pedigree of the family.

While it is apparent that Maude de Putenham had a daughter Alice, who by a recorded charter gave her marriage of Stoke to the monks of Wardon,**** nothing has so far been discovered concerning her sons. There are, however, slight indications that Ricard Fitz Wale was succeeded by a son Henry& and perhaps the Ralf who held Putenham during the first third of the XIIIth century was Ricard's younger son. But that Ralf was not the heir of the Fitz Wales is evident, for in 1219, while he was still living, a Ricard Fitz Wale was at law with the abbot of Leicester concerning the advowson of Eydon church which his grandfather Ricard had given to the convent.* Presumably Ralf died without issue, for the manor seems to have reverted to the Fitz Wales, and when it is next mentioned- in 1265-was held by Hugh de Herdebergh, knight-one of the heirs of the Turvilles-as guardian of John Fitz Wale of Putenham.**

It was this John who abandoned the patronymic and took as his surname the de Putenham by which his descendants were henceforth known. In 1278, as John Fitz Wale, he confirmed the grant of the church to Canon's Ashby, "as in the charter of his uncle Richard de Puteham."*** In 1288 he attests as John, lord of Putenham.**** In 1305 Sir Thomas Wale, lord of Eydon, granted-or rather confirmed as mesne overlord-to Roger, son of John de Putenham, the manors of Putenham and Penn to be held for the service of one knight's fee and a pair of gilt spurs.&

In conclusion it must be stressed that this attempt to elucidate the origin of the family is based almost entirely upon records already in print, and no claim is made that it has involved research in original documents. Even before the contributor had appreciated the significance of the Turvilles association with the manor, the cartularies indispensable to the completion of the pedigree had all been removed for safety and will be wholly inaccessible until the War is over. But, defective as his account is, he submits that there can be no doubt of essential accuracy, and he looks forward to the time when it may be possible not only to trace the descent of the Fitz Wales more perfectly but also, perhaps, to add details of interest to what is known of the later history of the Putenhams.

Since writing the above, I have become aware that Baker, under Woodford, mentions the confirmation, to St. Andrew's priory Northampton, by Ralf, son of Osmund Basset, of a virgate of land in Woodford which Osmund his father gave to Alice, his sister in marriage with Richard Fitz Wale of Eydon and which Henry their son gave to the priory. Obviously this charter, which implies that the Putenhams were descended from Richard Fitz Wale and Alice Basset, is a most important piece of evidence. It is, however, incompatible with Baker's pedigree of the Fitz Wales, which states that Alice Basset married Ralf Fitz Wale, Richard's brother, and this assertion is to a certain extent supported by the fact that a Ralf Fitz Wale is known to have had some interest in Woodford, where Walkelin, son of Richard of Eydon, gave six acres, "quas Radulfus filius Walonis dedit miehi pro servitio et homaglo meo," to the monks of Wardon [Wardon Cartulary, no. 125]. It is, of course, possible that Alice Basset may have been Richard's first wife and that the Putenham inheritance reverted to his children by her on the failure of his issue by his second wife Maud de Putenham. Judgment on this matter must, however, be suspended until the cartulary of St. Andrew's priory [Cott: M. S. Vesp. E XVII] has been examined. [A. V. W.]