Friday, August 23, 2013

Marriage of Warin de Vernon & Alde Malbank

I've recently been looking through some of the volumes from the successive Randle Holmes which are now in the Harley Manuscripts at the British Library.

Harl.MS.2065 contains extracts from early Cheshire Inquisitions Post Mortem and on f.25, dated to 32 Henry III (1248) is the order to John de Grey, justiciar of Chester, to make the inquisition into which lands Warin de Vernon held of the king in chief.

The interesting elements come from the jurors comments on his heir.

My rough translation is:

"When Warin was a young man he loved a certain woman named Auda who was first betrothed to Roger de Altaribus, and he took her into England after which the said Warin returned to Cheshire and held her as his own, and by her was born outside marriage a certain Annore by name, and Warin and William, and after censure from the church he married her, and after the marriage was approved was born Ralph"

I need to check my transcription/translation when I next return to the BL, as (typically) I found it fifteen minutes before the manuscripts room closed for the day and cameras are not allowed. It does though seem to pick up on, and clarify, a few elements of the Vernon/Malbank story.

After the death of Warin de Vernon in 1248, his inheritance was quickly divided between his son Ralph, and his grandson Warin, (the son of the Warin mentioned in the 1248 IPM). Ralph and Warin made a fine with the King of 100 marks on 15 Feb 1248/9 for his confirmation of their agreed split. (National Archives, C60/46 m.10 - also online at This arrangement though had always struck me as a slightly unusual arrangement, and indeed a relatively mutual and civil agreement. If, as the jurors in the IPM suggest, there was general doubt over the legitimacy, but not the actual parentage of Warin, then this eventual split of the Vernon inheritanace could have been a practical resolution to this.

Another element from this IPM is the naming of Roger de Altaribus. Auda's first husband is sometimes stated to be Hugh de Altaribus, but there seems to have been a son by this first marriage of that name and confusion could have crept in from this. BL Harl MS 2077, f.63, is a transcript of a charter which dates from before c.1230 from Hugh de Altaripus son of Alde Malbank to "Warin de Vernon my father in law and Warin his son, my brother." However this transcription will need some further corroboration as Harl MS 1988, f.159 has another copy of the same charter in which it is transcribed, not as Hugh, but as "Auda de Altaribus filia Alde Maubank concessi Warino de Veron patri meo in lege et Warino filio suo fratri meo." If Hugh de Altaribus was a son, he may also have taken the name of his step-family as a Hugh de Vernon appears c.1216-c.1230 as parson of Davenham in a charter by Warin de Vernon to his son Nicholas of land at Haslegrove (BL Harl MS.2008, f.52). Who Roger de Altaribus was, or what his background was, I am not yet sure. Indeed given that the jurors were recollecting details of a presumably brief marriage from almost 50 years earlier, then there is a chance that the name of Roger could have been incorrectly recalled.

Another element to note from the transcript of the IPM are the jurors comments that Warin took Auda into England. At this time Cheshire was distinguished politically from the Kingdom of England and not viewed as part of it, so this comment would refer to Warin and Auda simply heading out of the county. (See H.Hewitt, Medieval Cheshire, Chetham Society, 1929, p.7 for more on this perspective plus other examples of this turn of phrase). Indeed, this might have some corroboration from an essoin recorded under the county of Oxfordshire that was provided by Nicholas son of Thomas in 1201 for the case between Warin de Vernon and the King in a plea over why Warin had married without the consent of the King. (see D.Stenton, Pleas before the King or his Justices 1198-1201, Selden Society Vol.67, 1953, p.337).

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