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John Monyn, William Halden and Stephen Bettenham: Transactions 1378 to 1385

The Monyn family (also spelt Monyns, Monyng, Monin and Monins) have long been connected with East Kent, and can trace their roots back to the time of William the Conqueror. The founder of the family was Sir Symond de Monyn of the castle of Mayon in Normandy, who accompanied Duke William on his expedition to England in 1066. His grandson Sir Alexander Monyn became possessed of the estate of Poulton near Dover and the family settled in Kent thereafter. It was the Monyns family that built the manor house of Waldershare on its present site and they owned the manor from 1422 until 1678.
Several members of the family were Members of Parliament for Dover: – in 1368 Simon Monin sat in the Parliament of Edward III, ten years later John Monyn was a Member in the time of Richard II and finally in 1413 Thomas Monyn (John’s son) sat in the Parliament of Henry V.
John Monyn was MP for Dover at various dates between 1379-1399 and MP for Canterbury in 1419. He also held the position of Mayor of Dover or Mayor of Canterbury at various dates between 1372 to 1404. Over the years Monyn substantially increased his family’s landed interests along the coast near Dover, while retaining property in the town itself. Thus, he acquired holdings in Great Mongeham in 1370, and interests at East Hougham and elsewhere in 1378. His first wife, Isabel, whom he married before 1380, brought him land and rents in Eythorne.
There exists two documents concerning land in Eythorne in the possession of John Monyn and Isabel which may describe the “land and rents“ Isabel brought to John on marriage. Both documents would appear to describe the same property and transaction but provide differing information. The first, held by Canterbury Cathedral Archives and Library, consist of two leaves of paper, four pages in all that are torn, badly stained and faded in parts but would appear to be possibly from a register, containing copies of various documents. In all, ten transactions made in and around Eythorne are described. The one relating to John Monyn and Isabel is interesting because it goes into great detail describing the location of the land and its environs. It should be noted that at this time in English history there is no standardised spelling of either places or people’s names and how either was spelt was down to the original scribe of the document. The modern transcriber may also interpret the written word differently.
Dated and witnessed 11th November 1378, at Eythorne.
Grant From: John Monyn of Dover; Isabel, wife of John Monyn of Dover To: William of Halden; William Betehame; Stephen, brother of William Betehame 1 toft, 20 acres of land and 40 acres of pasture in Eythorne, of which 7 acres lie with ‘Scheteporte crouche’ to north, 4½ acres lie with the land of the prior and convent of Canterbury Cathedral Priory to north and east, 4½ acres lie next to the king’s highway ‘Bynorthe Crauthorne’, 4½ acres lie in ‘Crauthornedane’ with the land of the heirs Thomas Baily to north and the land of the heirs of John Crauthorne to south, 3½ acres and ½ an acre lie at ‘Crouthorne crouche’, 5 acres lie at ‘Burghwyldele’, 1 acre lies next to the gate of the heirs of John Crouthorne, 2 acres lie at ‘Schorefere’, 7½ acres lie next to the gate of the heirs of John of Craythorne [in Tilmanstone] with the priory’s land to north, 3½ acres lie with the land of John Norman to south and the land of the heirs of John of Craythorne to north, 3 acres, 3 virgates and 12 feet lie with ‘Crouthornedane’ to north and the priory’s land to east, and 3 acres, 3 virgates and 12 feet lie with ‘Crouthornedane’ to south. Also 2 acres of land lying at ‘Brettiscrouch” in Eythorne, with the land of John Pilholte to east, the King’s highway to west, and north, and the land of Richard hogekyn’ to south. Also 2 acres of land lying at ‘Sayston’ in Langdon (‘atlangedone’) in Eythorne, lying with the land of John Edward to west, the land of John Moly to east and south and the King’s highway leading to Langdon to north. Also annual payments of 26s 9d, 5 cocks, 10 hens and 155 eggs and the services as specified of their tenants in Eythorne, Venson (‘Wendlestone’) [in Eastry] and ‘Stormistone’. Witness list.
Virgate is a varying measure of land, typically 30 acres Primarily a measure of tax assessment rather than area, the virgate was usually (but not always) reckoned as 1⁄4 hide and notionally (but seldom exactly) equal to 30 acres. Vill is the smallest administrative unit under the feudal system, consisting of a number of houses and their adjacent lands, roughly corresponding to the modern parish
The land granted by Monyn is fragmented in and around the village and many of the place names used are lost in time. Since the grant concerns at Toft which is a site for a dwelling and its outbuildings and also an entire holding comprising a homestead and additional land, it can be assumed that there is a respectable building at the heart of this holding. Exactly where it was is not clear but it is not Eythorne Manor (see later). The fact that poultry were associated with a building in medieval times (larger farm animals were tenant owned) would seem to confirm the presence of a reasonable sized building.
The document also reveals that the convent of Canterbury Priory are still land owners to the north east and east of Eythorne (having been granted land in Eythorne in 824 by Archbishop Wullfred).
There are two mentions of a king’s highway in the document and presumably refers to a public highway or right of way that has to be maintained to permit passage of the King or his ministers etc.
The land described as Crouthorne may be another spelling of Craythorne in Tilmanstone. However in the 1840 map of Eythorne there is a group of fields that all include crawthorne in their names. They lie at the north east side of the village adjacent to Tilmanstone are bordered by Sandwich Road and Monkton Road (extended).
“Storminstone (also written Stormistune is a holding in Eastry of 100 acres, rent per annum 1s 8d, 6 sulung). Venson is also is in Eastry (Upper Venson farm hosted East Kent ploughing match in 2021).
From the record of his public service in the reigns of Edward III and Richard II it would seem that William Halden (also written de Halden and Haldenne) was a lawyer. In 1360 he was a Member of Parliament representing Kent (“Knight of Kent”) and in an entry in the Patent Rolls of 1366 he is called Recorder of London. He was a Justice of the Peace for Kent in 1374, 1379, 1381 (Sussex also), 1382, 1383 and possibly for some of the intervening years. Between 1360 and 1383 he was a member of fourteen commissions “wallis et fossatis” (Latin, walls and ditches) dealing with the encroachments of the sea and the draining of the marshes on the coasts of Kent and Sussex.
William Halden’s son, John Halden (1339-1370 had died without a male heir and William’s granddaughter, Joan Halden (ca 1360-1411) married William de Guildford (also spelt Guldeford, Gyldeford, 1348-1394). Joan was heiress of William Halden of the manor of Halden, parish of Rolvenden, and she brought to William Guildeford that manor on marriage which thereafter became their home (Lady Jane Grey lived at Halden Manor). The arms of Guildeford (a saltire between four martlets) quartering those of de Halden (a bend engrailed Gules) (see picture) survive on the Christchurch Gate of Canterbury Cathedral, built in 1517 (see picture below). Quartered arms were used when a heraldic heiress married a man with his own coat of arms. The arms of the two separate families were combined to produce a new family arms for their children.
It is said that following this transfer of ownership, William Halden retired to Eythorne and resided at Eythorne Manor. This may explain why William Halden was interested in adding the Monyn land to his holdings and why a further six of the ten transactions on the Canterbury Cathedral Archives and Library document relate to acquisitions by William Halden. William Halden’s residency at Eythorne Manor is confirmed by the document detailing the sale by Thomas Holbem and his wife Maud to Robert Dane in 1377/8 of a quarter part of the manor of Eghethorne and moiety advowson of Eghethorne church. The quarter part of the manor is held (and occupied) by William Halden but reverts to the Holbem’s on his death. It is assumed William Halden or the Guildefords’ also held the remaining three quarters of the manor at this point. That it is Willim Holden that holds the majority or all of the manor comes from two documents in the Calendar of Close Rolls of Richard II held at the Public Records Office for 1382 concerning quitclaims by William Wightrynge. A person who quitclaims renounces or relinquishes a claim to some legal right, or transfers a legal interest in land.
William Wightrynge quitclaimed to William de Halden, his heirs and assigns, a moiety (half) of the manors of Eyhethorne (Eythorne) and Silerswelde (Sibertswold or Shepherdswell) and a moiety of the advowson of the church at Eyhethorne, in 1382. William de Halden and Emma, his wife, deceased, already held a life interest in the two manors by a grant from Sir John Boudon (also Bourdon), knight, uncle of Wightrynge. Advowson is the right to nominate a person to be parish priest the benefit to the lord of the manor being retention of tithe income within their estates. John Boudon had possessed these holding since at least 1340 which were held before by Thomas Boudon
The entries in full are;
William Wightrynge of the hundred of Manewode (modern name Manhood, South of Chichester) co. Sussex to William de Haldene of Kent, his heirs and assigns. Charter with warranty of a moiety of the advowson of Eghethorne church co. Kent, which fell to the grantor as one of the heirs of John de Boudon knight his uncle. Dated Tuesday after St. Dunstan 5 Richard II. Witnesses: Simon Monyn, Nicholas Monyn his son, William Loteriche, William Tidedecombe, Edmund Eghethorne, John Neel.
William Wyghtrynge of the hundred of Mancwode co. Sussex to William de Haldene in Kent, his heirs and assigns. Quitclaim with warranty of a moiety of the manors of Eghethorne and Sibertcswelde co. Kent, which manors, the advowson of Eghethorne excepted, William de Haldene holds for life by demise of John Boudon knight uncle of William Wyghtrynge, one of whose heirs he is, to William de Haldene and Emma his wife deceased, with reversion of one moiety to William Wyghtrynge. Dated Tuesday after St. Dunstan, Richard II. Witnesses: Simon Monyn, Nicholas Monyn his son, William Loteriche, William Tidecoumbe, Edmund Eghethorne, John Neel.

The manor of Eythorne, where William de Halden spent his last years, (one source says he died in Eythorne) was quitclaimed by Edward Guildford 1385-1449 (son of William de Guildford and Joan Halden), esquire, about 45 years after William Halden’s death, to Sir Walter Hungerford, knight, William Darrell, Thomas Broun (also spelt Browne) and John Fortesque on March 5, Henry VI (1429), but the advowson of the parish church he retained.
William Halden’s involvement in Eythorne is highlighted in his will of 1384, which unusually mentions none of the members of his family. It also confirms a relationship with the Bettenhams (spelt Bettynham in the will). Will of William Halden, 18 April 7th year of the reign of King Richard the Second (1384). To be buried in the church of the Abbey of Roberts Bridge (de Pount Robert). To the parson of Eghethorne [Eythorne] for tithes and oblations forgotten 40d. To the parish clerk of Eghethorne 3s. 4d. To William Betynham a bed which he has at Eghethorn. Residue of all my goods and chattels to Sir Robert atte Pitte, parson of the church of Eghethorne, William Guldeford, Stephen Bettynham and Henry Perot my executors to dispose in works of charity &c. (French). Proved 18 May 1386 at Otteford and administration granted to executors (as named above).
William Bettenham (variously spelt including Betehame and Betanhamme) (known to be active 1386–1400) was an English politician. He was the Member of Parliament for Kent in 1386 and 1388. He is described as coming “from the least affluent group” of Shire Knights (revenue less than £40 per year, the affluent having annual incomes from land exceeded £120). He possibly had a background in law as on occasion he acted as a feoffee (trustee who holds a fief (or “fee”), that is to say an estate in land, for the use of a beneficial owner) of property for his neighbours and as he did in 1380 on behalf of John Monyn of Dover. Further references to Bettenham offer little help in providing an explanation as to why he was twice elected knight of the shire.
As some point before June 1389, Bettenham married his wife, Alice. William never became a landowner of any consequence and played no more than a minor role in local administration. The only property he is known to have held was a tenancy in Eythorne (by 1387) and some 130 acres of land in Staplehurst, the latter apparently coming into his possession through marriage. The Eythorne tenancy may be the grant of land from John Monyn and his wife Isabel above.
Stephan Bettenham was William’s brother as noted in the document above. Stephen Bettenham (d. 1415) of Cranbrook was a lawyer and his successful legal practice enabled him to acquire landed holdings in Kent estimated as worth more than £100 a year, and led to his attaining a place on the commission of the peace, that is become a Justice of the Peace (JP).
A Stephen Betanhamme (assumed Bettenham) was commissioned to view and repair the waterways and banks between the “Towns of Grethe and Sandwiche” 2nd year of the reign of Henry IV (1401). Grethe doesn’t exist as a modern place name. The estate of Margaret Manor in the Parish of Doddington was originally known as Gritt (sometimes spelt Greet or Grete) after Thomas de Grete, the owner in 1327 during the reign of Edward III. The waterway therefore may be the Upper Great Stour. The present source of the river is near the village of Lenham and is at a high elevation close to the North Downs escarpment However since the path of rivers in 1400 is different from those of today its uncertain and there would have been more important drainage waterways then than is the case now. It’s through this commission that Stephen that he may have become well acquainted with Willam Halden as he was also appointed to them.
Virgate is a varying measure of land, typically 30 acres Primarily a measure of tax assessment rather than area, the virgate was usually (but not always) reckoned as 1⁄4 hide and notionally (but seldom exactly) equal to 30 acres.
The transaction between Monyn and Halden and the Bettenham’s is also recorded in the “Feet of Fines”. This documents compliments that above in that it gives the names of those who owe service to the holder of the land in question.
Octave of the Purification 3 Richard II; Trinity in 15 days same. The third years of Richard II’s reign runs from 22 June 1379 -21 June 1380 and the Octave of Purification is the last quarter of Hilary term which runs from January to March.
Q (Querent or buyer); William Haldenne, William Betenhamme & Stephen Betenhamme.
D (Deforciant or existing owner); John Monyn & wife Isabel.
A toft, 20 acres of land, 40 acres of pasture, 26s 9d rent & rent of 1 cock, 14 hens & 40 eggs in Eghethorne, Eastry & Tilmanston & the homage & service of John Howebon, Adam Carpounter, John Thaccher, John Wenlyfton, Jon Wille, Thomas Oppedoune, Thomas Oppedoune jun, Peter Chapman, Thomas Chapman, John Pylholte, Nicholas Papegay, John Borstalle, Richard Weylonde, Thomas, Cheseman, Alice Golsmyth, Joan Golsmyth, John Hogelyn, John Tropham & wife Christian, Thomas Brewer, William Tylmeston, John Lorchon, John Berfold & Thomas Stonweye & their heirs for tenements which they formerly held of John Monyn & Isabel in the said vills. To hold to William, William & Stephen & the heirs of William Haldenne. Warrant against the heirs of Isabel. William, William & Stephen gave 100 marks.
For the purposes of accounting marks were used and was worth 13 shillings and 4 pence. At this time the Noble was the highest value coin in England. At 6s. 8d. it was worth a third of a pound or half a mark. There were no coins equal to pounds and shillings and would not be until Henry VII’s reign.

Vince Croud

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