12th and 13th Century Genealogy Research from Records of Ecclesiastical Land Transactions and Chancery Inquisitions

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In my research into the Duggleby family history from the reference to Difgelibi in the Domesday Book (1086) to the present day one question kept cropping up. How can we be sure that in the 12th and 13th Century Dugglebys like Sir Henry or Jollan really existed? How do we know the names of their offspring and their relationships to one another?

If you take a look at the first four pages of the Duggleby Family tree you will find these people and their immediate families described on pages one and two. Just double click on the light blue text below to download a PDF document of the family tree from 1086 to the 1600s:

130707 First 4 pages of Chris Duggleby Family Tree from 1086

For these earliest known Dugglebys I have included on the tree the various spellings of their surnames found in documents from the 12th and 13th centuries. Much of this information has come either from ecclesiastical texts or records of inquisitions.

In addition to playing an important role in chronicling early British history the monasteries and churches of the time where very careful to ensure that details about transactions like ‘gifts’ of land from medieval land-owners were carefully documented. The early Dugglebys in our family tree had land in Yorkshire. One of their favoured local religious institutions, the Bridlington Priory, played a key role in our understanding of the early family structure .

The Bridlington Priory, located in the East Riding of Yorkshire was established between the years of 1114-1124 by Walter de Gaunt for the Canons Regular of St. Augustine. Walter de Gaunt was a member of the council of King Henry I who reigned England from 1100 until his death in 1135. Henry I was the fourth son of William the Conqueror. Bridlington Priory was one of the first Augustinian houses in England and also had an adjoining convent. Its formation was confirmed in charters of King Henry. Before this time the site of the Priory had been occupied by a Saxon church and nunnery.

In the four centuries before it was suppressed in 1538 by Henry VIII (in his dissolution of English monasteries) the priory acquired considerable estates of land which provided it with valuable income. Fortunately a record or ‘Chartulary’ was kept to document these land transactions. This Chartulary still exists. It was written on 352 leaves of vellum, a fine quality parchment prepared from mammalian skin (typically calf skin). The leaves were enclosed in wooden boards, covered in deerskin and secured using two leather clasps.

Over 100 years ago W. T. Lancaster produced, for private distribution, a limited edition book (60 copies) containing abstracts and charters from the Chartulary. The ecclesiastical documents I refer to below were translated from the original Latin as part of this work. The author was given access to the Chartulary by Sir Henry D. Ingilby, Bart., of Ripley Castle whose family appeared to have been in possession of the original document since the 1600s.

There are several grants of land and related documents in the Bridlington Priory Chartulary which refer to members of the early Duggleby family, either as grantors (‘givers’ of gifts), as witnesses to grants made by others, or to confirm the release of rights over land formally in their possession. Documents on pages 278 and 279 of W. T. Lancaster’s book help us to confirm both the existence of Sir Henry de Duggleby, his son, grandson and great grandson. They also provide a good indication of the dates when these people lived. In the family tree we have estimated that Sir Henry Duggleby lived from circa 1145:

Sir Henry Duggleby (b 1145) > Adam Duggleby (b 1195) > Adam Duggleby (b 1250)

The following translation of one of the Grants mentions both Henry and his son Adam [my additions/clarification are in square brackets. Where I have provided definitions to words these are highlighted the first time they occur using red font]:

GRANT by Adam, son of Henry de Diuegelby, knight (militis), to Robert Ingelbert of Beverly and his heirs or assigns, of a toft [a farming village] in Clocton [now called Cloughton] with all the appurt. [appurtenance: rights, privileges, equipment] within and without the vill [inside or near the village or hamlet], which Henry Raimlayn sometime held from him [Adam Duggleby], lying next (propinquius) to his [Adam’s] great garden there towards the east. To have and to hold in fee and inheritance, freely, etc., rendering to the grantor and his heirs one clove [presumably of garlic – a nominal ‘rent’] yearly at Christmas, at Beverley, for all secular service and exaction. Warranty [a standard guarantee clause in Latin was included here]. Testimonium [another standard Latin clause was added to seal the grant]. Test., [an abbreviation indicating the names of the witnesses were as follows:) Gilbert de Atun, William Briscel, J. de Thorneton, brother William Wale, Henry de Flixton, William son of Eva, Geoffrey the clerk, Simon at bec, Hugh Thorphun, Walter at the Church (ad ecclesiam), Adam Haldan of Scardeburg, Huctred de Wiuerthorp, Simon Toli, Robert Farman.

The significance of this gift to the priory will become apparent in the documents below. The next entry in the Chartulary is a confirmation of this and related transactions in favour of Robert Ingelbert and indicates the approximate timing of the gift (This transaction is also referred to in the Calendar of Charter Rolls for this period where Robert’s surname is spelt Ingelberd and the name Diuegelby is spelt Dungilby).

CONFIRMATION by King Henry (III) to Robert Ingelbert, burgess [Freeman] of Beverly, of the donation which the Chapter of St. John of Beverley made to him of all their part of the new land (de nona terra) which is called Brakenwait and Storthes, with the appurt., in Clocton, and all right and claim which the Chapter had in those places by the gift of Adam son of Henry de Diuegelby. To hold and to have to Robert and his heirs or assigns well and in peace, freely and quietly, as the charter which he has from the Chapter witnesses. Test., the venerable fathers R. of Durham, J. of Bath, W. of Carlisle, and W. of Exeter, bishops, W. de Fer(rers), Earl of Derby, J. de Lascy, Earl of Lincoln and Constable of Chester, Roger le Bygot, Earl of Northf(olk), Ralph son of Nicholas, J. son of Phi(lip), Amaury de St. Amando, G. Despenser (dispensatore), Bartholomew Pech, H. de Capella and others. By the hand of the venerable father R. bishop of Chester, chancellor, at Westminster, 30th April, in the nineteenth year.

Since King Henry III ruled from 1216 – 1272 I would presume this Confirmation to have been made on the 30th April 1219. In the Duggleby family tree we have estimated that Adam son of Sir Henry Duggleby (the Grantor) was born around 1195 so he would have been in his mid-twenties. The next entry in the Chartulary explains why this transaction was of importance to the Canons at the Bridlington Priory. This was because the land refered to above was granted to them by the son of Robert Ingelberd (who was also called Robert).

GRANT by Robert son of Robert Ingelberd of Beverley to the Canons, in free and perpetual alms, all his land with a toft which he had by the gift and quitclaim of Beatrice his sister in the territory and vill of Clocton, of the fee [a fief or fiefdom: heritable lands or revenue-producing property and associated rights granted by an overlord to a ‘vassal’ in return for feudal allegiance and service, potentially on the battlefield] of St. John of Beverley, and which Beatrice had by gift of his father, and all that of the new land (noue terre) of Clocton which is called Brakenwait and Storkes, and that toft which his father had by the gift of Adam son of Henry de Dugelby, with all manner of appurt., etc., within and without the vill. To have and to hold to the Canons and their successors or assigns freely, etc., rendering yearly to the grantor and his heirs seven pence for all service, etc. Warranty, and acquittance from service, etc. He has delivered to the Canons the feoffment [the subject of the fee] of the Chapter of St. John of Beverley, and the King’s confirmation respecting the said holding, and the charter of Adam de Dugelby respecting the said toft. Testimonium. Test., Sirs (dominis) Robert Constable, William de Bozhale, T. de Heselerton, kts, Dom. Richard de Vescy, parson, Walter de Bucton, Bartholomew de Scalleby, Thomas de Morpath and others.

In the document above, which was presumably added later than the first two it is interesting to see the evolution of the spelling of the Duggleby name from Diuegelby to Dugelby. The next document (an Acknowledgement), in addition to providing an indication of the value provided by the land in Cloughton, has a date (17th June 1285) and also mentions Adam de Dugelby. However the Adam here is most likely ‘Adam the son of Adam de Dugelby’ referred to in the document below it which was dated 1299.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT by Adam de Dugleby [presumably son of Adam and grandson of Henry, knight] that he is bound to acquit and defend the Prior and Convent and their tenants against all men from all suits, services, customs, and demands, arising from the tenements which they hold from him in Clocton; and if it should happen that he fails to defend or acquit he grants that the Prior and Convent may distrain on all the ferms [rents] of his tenants in Clocton for all damages, costs and expenses occasioned by such default. The names of his tenants in Clocton and their annual ferms are these, the Prior and Convent of Bridl(ington) twelve pence, Stephen Pye 2s 6d [2 shillings and 6 pence or 30 old English pennies – an English pound comprising of 20 shillings and each shilling having 12 ‘old’ pennies], Ann Burger, 2s 6d, Ivo de Clocton 15d, Lambert de Clocton 3d, the same Lambert 4s, after the term contained in a chirograph [this is a document, written in duplicate, triplicate or quadruplicate on a single piece of parchment, having the word “chirographum” written across the middle, and then cut through. Thus both parties were able to possess a written record of an agreement, which could be verified as genuine by comparing whether the parts matched each other. Forgeries could be reduced by using a wavy line when cutting through the copies] made between him and the present grantor, William son of Ivo 1d, Peter de Bradelay 1d, John son of Henry 6d, whose ferms and tenements or yearly ferms may not be transferred to anyone except under this charge (onere). Testimonium. At Bridel(ington), 17th Cal. June, 1285. Test., Dom. Walter de Bucton, J. de Marton, Geoffrey son of Bartholomew de Scalleby, Lambert de Clocton and Ivo of the same, and others.

The following document supports the view that the last Acknowledgement was by a later Adam who was actually the son of Adam (and grandson of Henry de Duggleby, Knight). It provides another indication of the timing of the end of this sequence of transactions.

To all, etc., Roger son of Andrew de Grimeston, greeting. Whereas Gerard, Prior, and the Convent of Brid(lington), formerly (quondam) held in free and perpetual alms from Adam son of Adam de Dugelby their capital messuage [dwelling house with outbuildings] in Clocton and three bovates of land [a bovate is the amount of land tillable with one Ox during a ploughing season. Depending upon the land fertility this could be between 15 and 20 acres] with four crofts and the appurt. in the same, by service of twelve pence yearly for all services and the same Adam granted the said service to me, Roger, and my heirs, and the Prior attorned himself [assigned] to me and my heirs of the said service of twelve pence, I grant for myself and my heirs that for the said service we are bound to acquit and defend the said tenements to the Prior and his successors and Church from all suits of Court and other secular services for ever. Testimonium. At Brid(lington), on Sunday after the feast of the Purification B.M., 1299. Test., William de St Quintin, John de Heslarton, Robert de Bouington, Kts Arnald de Bucton, Robert de Wyern, Robert de Place, Thomas de Poynton, and others.

The precise date when these two Adam Dugglebys lived is also indicated in documents from the Chancery Inquisitions conducted at the time of King Henry III (1216-1272) and King Edward I (1272-1307). The following information is from a 1892 book edited by WILLIAM BROWN, B.A., a member of the Council of the Yorkshire Archaeological and Topographical Association ( YORKSHIRE INQUISITIONS OF THE REIGNS OF HENRY III. and EDWARD I. VOL. I.).

Inquisitiones post mortem were, strictly speaking, surveys made by an officer of the Crown, usually the Escheator, of the estates held by tenants in chief at the time of their death. The object of this survey was fiscal, to ascertain the annual value of the deceased’s property, so as to enable the Exchequer to calculate the amount payable by the heir on succeeding to his ancestor’s estate, or as it was called his ‘relief’. The age of the heir was another subject of inquiry, because if he was a minor the king would be entitled to retain the property and receive the rents until such heir came of age.

The following text was taken from part 6 of the Yorkshire Inquisitions (P256 of the book): ….Ralph de Gaugi, Walter Rispaud, John Brun, Walter de Lutton, and Adam de Diuelkeby [Duggleby – referred to in the Domesday book as Difgelibi and Dighelibi], who say upon their oath that after the death of Robert de Chancy there fell into the King’s hand in fifteen days after the Annunciajtion of Blessed Mary in the 30th year of the King’s reign (8 April 1246) a dower, in which a lady named Matilda Murdoc had in demesne ten bovates of land, 16 acres of meadow (2s.), in bondage six bovates, in rents marcs by the year, and in rents of cottars with the capital messuage of the same lady, 23s.6d. [I think] She also had in Toraldeby [Thoraldby, in the parish of Bugthorpe, near Pocklington] of farm by the year 6s.

This Chancery Inquisition is most likely to be referring to Adam the son of Sir Henry de Duggleby wereas a later entry contained another reference to an Adam Duggleby but at a later period:

Writ dated at Rhuddlan [Wales] Oct., of the 10th year [of the reign of King Edward, therefore 1282, followed by the recording of the…]….INQUISITION made at Poclington [Pocklington], on Sunday after the feast of S. Edmund (22 Nov., 1282) before Sir Thomas de Normanville, by Adam Arundel, William de Yedingham, Adam de Dugelby…….[and others] , who say on their oath that Agnes de Athewike held nothing of the King in chief; but she held for the term of her life, in the town of Bugethorp, one messuage and seven bovates of land of Sir Waller de Grey ; and after his death she did the service appertaining to the land to Sir Thomas de Chauncy, as chief lord. The messuage is worth by the year lis. 40′., and every bovate, [?] s. She held the land of the said Sir Thomas de Chauncy by the service of scutage, and died without an heir of her body, because she held of the aforesaid Sir Walter de Grey for the term of her life.

This reference here, being nearly 40 years after the one above, most probably referred to Adam the son of Adam and grandson of Sir Henry de Duggleby. The use of the spelling Dugelby by the younger Adam is also consistent with the same simplified version of the name used in the later documents from Bridlington Priory. It may indicate that the younger Adam had started to use this spelling of his surname in official documents.

With the help of the Bridlington Priory Chartulary it is possible to identify the next generation of the direct line from Sir Henry de Duggleby, namely his great grandson Ralph. The next Grant not only names Ralph as the later Adam’s son but also indicates a linkage to other Dugglebys living at the same time. To see the linkages visually I recommend you refer to the first page of the family tree. The Grant mentions that (the younger) Adam is the uncle of (another) Henry, son of Thomas de Duggleby. Thomas appears to be directly descended from Jollan Duggleby (see below) who lived around the same time as Sir Henry de Duggleby. The use of the term ‘avunculi’ (uncle) in this Grant can lead one to assume that Sir Henry and Jollan were brothers. The Latin word avunculus can be translated as maternal uncle (mother’s brother, mother’s sister’s husband) or great uncle. In our family tree we have assumed the meaning to be great uncle.

GRANT by Henry, son of Thomas de Dugelby to Ralph son of Adam [son of Adam, son of Henry, knight] the Grantor’s uncle (avunculi) [from the Latin word avunculus: maternal uncle, mother’s brother, mother’s sister’s husband; or great uncle] and his heirs, for his homage and service, of 7 1/2 roods [a rood is one quarter of an acre] of land in the territory of Clocton in the culture which Hugh Carpenter formerly held, and one plot of land and meadow lying between Marewath and the land which Walter the weaver held, with the toft and croft which Hawisa held which lies between the town beck and the toft which Richard Hallem(an) held……[a further Grant was then made of this land by Ralph de Dugelby to the Canons of Bridlington Priory]

As mentioned above the Bridlington Chartularies can also be used to identify the names of family members who are probably the forbears of Thomas Duggleby (great nephew of the second Adam Duggleby) mentioned in the last Grant. In the text below Henry is probably the great Nephew of Sir Henry de Duggleby described above (see page 1 of the family tree). Page 276 of W. T. Lancaster’s 100 year old book describes the following grant:

GRANT by Henry son of Thomas son of Jollan de Diuegelby and his heirs to Geoffrey de Staint(on) and his heirs of a bovate of land in the territory of Clocton, with toft and croft and all other appurt., for his homage and service for seven marks of silver which Geoffrey has given him in his great need; namely that bovate which lies between Walter de Bouington and Beatrice, sister of said Henry. To hold from the grantor and his heirs freely, etc., rendering to them yearly twelve pence for all services; doing foreign service as belongs to a bovate of land where twelve carucates [the area of land that eight oxon could till in a single season – a carucate is usually considered to be about 120-160 acres – it is therefore equivalent to 8 bovates – defined above] make a knight’s fee [the amount of land the king or a Baron would provide to a knight for his services on the battlefield – approx. 1500-2000 acres]. Warranty. Test., Gilbert de Atun, Baldwin de Auuerstain, Ralph de Bolebech, Alan Buscel, J. de Atun, Gervase de Preston, Ralph de Bolebech the younger, W. Buscel, W. de Angoteby, Robert de Irton, G. de Gedding, William brother of Henry de Diuegelby, Alan de Diuegelb(y), Roger son of Aldan, Adam his brother, T. de Flixton, Ralph son of Walter, G. his brother, William on the hill (super montem), Fulk de Clocton.

In this Grant we can identify the line Jollan Duggleby (born circa 1135), his son Thomas (born circa 1160) and grandson Henry (born circa 1185). The use of the ‘older’ spelling Diuegelby may be taken to indicate that this is of a similar period to the references to Sir Henry and his son Adam in the first Grant (see above). In the Grant by Henry, grandson of Jollan, reference is also made to his brother William and his sister Beatrice (both are included on page one of the Duggleby family tree). Another Duggleby is mentioned among the witnesses, Alan, although there is no direct family connection mentioned. We have further confirmation of a land holding Adam Duggleby around the time of Henry grandson of Jollan due to the Grant described below. This is most probably Adam the son of Sir Henry de Duggleby.

GRANT by G. de Stainton son of Nigel de Aldetoftes to the Canons, in free and perpetual alms, of a bovate of land in the territory of Clocton, with all appurt., etc., within and without the vill, without any retention except the toft; namely the bovate which he had by the gift of Henry son of Thomas son of Jollan de Diuegelby. to hold and to have freely, etc. from all secular service, etc. Rendering yearly to Adam de Diuegelby and his heirs 12 pence, and doing foreign service as belongs to one bovate of land where twelve carucates make a knight’s fee. Warranty. Testimonium. Test., Henry de Flixton, Geoffrey the clerk of Cloct(on), Stephen his son, Simon Birier, Simon Albec, T. Son of Ralph de Clocton, William son of Eva, Walter le Teler, Robert de Redenesse, Walter his brother, Stephen Calf, Stephen de Merflet, Simon de Kippais, Gilbert Siluer, Thomas son of Thomas le mercer, Reginald the porter (portario) and others.

Hopefully this description has helped to explain how some of the pieces of the mediaeval jigsaw puzzle have been assembled to create the early parts of the Duggleby family tree. Clearly this is not a precise science but because the Duggleby name is so unusual there were only probably a handful of people with the name in the 12th century. Therefore if your name is Duggleby, Dugleby or Dugelby there is a good chance that you may be descended from people mentioned here. The evolving family tree may also help you to find some of the more recent connections. Over the next few months I will be adding the rest of the UK names and also extending the tree with more international Duggleby links (thanks to much appreciated help from Ellen Reid). I also hope to review some of the early results from the DNA analysis.

Although the documents described here focus mainly on Clocton (now called Cloughton) and Pocklington, there are other references to land transactions mentioning the Duggleby family (for example in Croom near Driffield which was then called Crohum, and Acklam which was then spelt Acclum). The documents also confirm that these early Dugglebys actually did own land around Duggleby village itself (offering it, for example, as surety in case other transactions did not deliver the expected value). This seems to indicate that the gifts referred to here were only a fraction of the total land that this core Duggleby family had available to it.

The significant number of gifts made to the priory in Bridlington can also be taken to indicate that these Dugglebys were not geographically limited to their own village. Actually Bridlington had a strong link with the village of Duggleby stretching back to prehistoric times. The magical stream called the Gypsey Race starts in the village of Duggleby and enters the North Sea at Bridlington. As I have described in the Duggleby History page that the intermittent and irregular watercourse of this stream is thought to be due to the siphoning action in underground reservoirs. As a result it can come into flood apparently regardless of any recent rainfall in the vicinity.

Due to these ‘strange occurrences’ the Gypsey Race has had important symbolic significance since Neolithic times. This is why there are many Neolithic sites along its course including the large Neolithic burial mound at the village of Duggleby itself. This mound, called Duggleby Howe, is one of the largest Neolithic round barrows in the UK (for more information see my Duggleby history page). About half way along the path of the Gypsey Race, from Duggleby to Bridlington, is the Rudston Monolith which is the tallest megalith or standing stone in the United Kingdom (it is over 25 feet/7.6 metres tall weighing approx. 40 tonnes). It was probably erected around 1600 BC and has fossilised dinosaur footprints on one side which probably contributed to its ancient mystical qualities.

Through this geographical connection via the Gypsey Race it is perhaps not surprising that the early Dugglebys developed religious ties with Bridlington. However the Bridlington Priory was not the only recipient of early Duggleby gifts. The Chruch of St. Peter in York and the Hospital of Jerusalem also received land gifts as described in the Demesne Charters of the Percy Fee:

229: Gift by Thomam filium Joellani de Diuegelby [Thomas son of Jollan de Duggleby] to the church of St. Peter, York, and the hospital of Jerusalem in equal shares of two tofts in Cloughton and 3 acres of his demesne [ land retained by the Lord of a manor for his own use and support, under his own management, as distinguished from land sub-enfeoffed by him to others as sub-tenants ] there………… [Circa 1180-1200 taken from the Early Yorkshire Charters: Volume 11: the Percy Fee. P.299]

If your family’s origins are in Yorkshire you may also find references to them in these mediaeval land transactions. Keep in mind however that, as with the Dugglebys the names of your ancestors may be different to the spelling you use today.  If you are interested in reading more from the Bridlington Priory Chartulary I have found copy number 10 of W. T. Lancaster’s 1912 limited edition book in the University of Toronto Library. You can read it online or download a PDF copy using the link here. The Duggleby references can be found in the name index at the back of the book.

Happy ancestor hunting!

Chris Duggleby.

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3 thoughts on “12th and 13th Century Genealogy Research from Records of Ecclesiastical Land Transactions and Chancery Inquisitions”

  1. Hi Chris,

    Just a quick note to let you and other visitors to your website know that I will be continuing to maintain a master list of global Dugglebys for you to use as an input to the family tree you are publishing. I recommend that anybody who has information relating to the family communicates this via your site and then we can make sure we are all aligned and minimise any confusion or duplication. Like you I will be regularly monitoring communications to the site and reflect this in my own database. When you are ready to take the DNA project further I will be happy to continue as the project administrator – just let me know. Again the communications regarding the DNA project are best addressed via yourself using the site’s comments boxes (with the word ‘confidential’ built into the first line if the communication is sensitive and the sender prefers for it not to be published). I look forward to seeing your next article on this subject.

    Kind regards,


    1. Hello Ellen,
      Thanks for these kind offers which I gratefully accept. Over the next few weekends I will focus on updating the family tree and then publish another update. Apologies to all visitors to the site who are anxious to see the latest information. It is a rather laborious process formatting it to try and get each generation onto a single page and then prior to publishing I have to hide data for living people to comply with data privacy regulations. As a result I tend to wait until I have several changes ready before publishing. Everyone’s patience is appreciated – having waited nearly a thousand years hopefully a few more weeks is bearable.
      All the best,

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