Saturday, 12 November 2016

(Jewish) OTD: 12 November


Today we have two letters from the Close Rolls. Although I am now only doing one document per day, given that these two appear side by side, are dated on the same day, and relate to the same individual, I feel that it is only proper to keep them together. The orders start out fairly conventionally, addressed as they are to the Justices of the Jews and also to William de Middleton. Middleton was a fairly experienced royal administrator and had worked closely upon Jewish affairs. Additionally, de Middleton was a churchman. In the month prior to the issue of these orders, he had been appointed archdeacon of Canterbury and three years later would be consecrated as the bishop of Lincoln.[1] The orders themselves relate to Benedict of Winchester, son of Licoricia of Winchester, who is famous for having been made a guildsman (among other things). The first entry is a little bit complicated by virtue of all of the names. The basic gist of it, however, is that Benedict’s wife, Floria le Blund had inherited some debts from her first husband, Solomon l’Eveske. Floria had also died prior to the issue of these letters, but before she did so she had granted the debts originally owed to Solomon to Eleanor of Castile (wife of Edward I). Consequently, this order details that where Benedict had originally been tallaged £22 2s 2d in relation to these debts, this sum was now to be acquitted. As one final point in this document, Eleanor then granted the debts to Benedict.

                The second order is much easier to understand. It details that Benedict was indebted to the Crown for the sum of £25, in relation to such things as fines and outstanding tallage payments. Consequently, it order the Justices of the Jews and William de Middleton to “retain” £25 worth of “more clear debts”. This just means that those debts of Benedict’s which could realise this sum easily were to be taken into the hands of the Crown. Thereafter, Benedict was to be acquitted of the specified sum.

Calendar of the Close Rolls Preserved in the Public Record Office: Edward I, 1272-1279, ed. and trans. H. C. Maxwell Lyte (London, 1900), p. 221.

[1] Christopher Harper-Bill, “Middleton, William”, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, 2004), available online at accessed on 11 Nov. 16.

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