Re: Domesday Book Undertenants and Knight's Fees

On 20 July, 15:56, "Colin B. Withers" <Colin.With...@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
<< I could see from the Latin text of the Testa de Nevil that
Blancard's descendent, William Blanchard, was holding half a Knights
Fee in two of the manors and a third in the other, and was wondering
if this was the situation at Domesday, ie he held these subdivisions
of a Knights Fee then, as Roger had subtenanted the amount of land
equal to a Knights Fee to two or more tenants, (Blancard and others),
or whether Blancard held full Knights Fees at Domesday and between
then and the Testa they had been divided by heirs, due to a will

I don't think every holding described as a fraction of a knight's fee
had necessarily resulted from an earlier subdivision of a full
knight's fee (though many did). I'm sure many of the holdings
recorded in Domesday Book had been created (some by grants from Norman
lords after the conquest, others by grants from Anglo-Saxon lords in
the more distant past) without conscious reference to a standard-sized
knight's fee - lords just endowed their military followers with as
much or as little land as they wished. Later as the system of fees
became more regularised these holdings of variable size were fitted
into it as whatever fraction of a fee their size and wealth-generating
capacity justified.

So I think it unlikely that Roger of Poitou created a knight's fee and
then divided it between Blancard and other individuals (especially as
he had no other lands or tenants in Audlesby and Nettleton, and the
rest of his land in Laughton he kept in his own hands).

But I also hesitate to say whether Blancard's three Domesday holdings
were granted to him as a single, though dispersed, knight's fee
(though it's interesting that they totalled 3.7 carucates or 5
ploughlands - a good holding for a Domesday knight and a smallish but
respectable knight's fee by later standards). The fact that in the
Testa de Nevil one man (William Blanchard) holds all three, but as
distinct manors each equivalent to a fraction of a knight's fee,
suggests to me that they were not the result of subdivision of a full
knight's fee - but it's impossible to say for sure.