Family histories are frequently referred to as 'family trees', and like them, make a practice of growing at both ends - at the root end back where they seem to begin, and at the immediately visible end where we perceive how far they reach and what they can tell us.
The History of the Bartletts of Pendomer has proved to be no exception so that, as improved technology enables more accurate interpretation of past events and records, corrections and additions need to be made.
Particular attention will be given in this section to correcting previously held beliefs as to who first brought the name to England which later became Bertelot or Bartelot, then later Bartlett and Barttelot, because upon identifying those beliefs much else is dependant, including just what relationship, if any, existed between Bartelots and Stophams.
Other matters will also be dealt with because they arise directly from new evidence brought to light which either changes or clarifies what had already been written.
Before proceeding, it would seem to be desirable to explain a little of how it is that historians and genealogists such as those who have contributed to earlier histories have so consistently disagreed upon such matters as those we are now going to address, and the first element to emphasise is the difficulty of finding reliable records the further back in time researchers go. Reliance upon what are claimed to be copies of early records rather than the originals has unquestionably led to mistakes, as has also a failure to interpret events and associations of which they are part according to practices and traditions of the time.
1. Norman origins of the Bartelot/Bartlett bloodline in England
Contrary to long held family beliefs the compilers of the History of the Pendomer Bartletts have long contended the person (or persons) who brought the bloodline to which Bartelots/Bartletts belong across the English Channel to Sussex in 1066 was named d'Eu - in the person of Robert, Count d'Eu, a named "Companion" of William, Duke of Normandy. That Count d'Eu was a relative of William and of considerable standing in Normandy and a major provider of vessels (160) as well as knights, squires, cavalry horses and armed foot soldiers for the invasion, which undoubtedly had a bearing on the extent of his rewards..
Fortunately for researchers into the period, one of the early decisions taken by Duke William after being crowned King of England and after re-distributing the whole country to new Norman owners, was to order the collection and collation of details of every piece of land and property throughout his new realm. It was a massive undertaking carried out by individual teams of scribes, each team being given a county in which they were required to visit every village and every landed property so as to record who owned it, who held it or occupied it….along with that property's potential as a source for taxation purposes.
Not content with this initial survey, new and different teams were then sent to follow in the tracks of the first… and to check the accuracy of the first record!
It is therefore to that Domesday survey of 1085/6 we must turn to search for such Norman origins of the Bartlett name, supposing as long believed its progenitor was amongst those who landed at Hastings and Pevensey, Sussex in 1066 a.d.
Because originally recorded in a mixture of Norman French, Latin with some Anglo-Saxon words…and in a kind of shorthand… Domesday has led to many seriously flawed translations. Indeed, the latest and possibly far and away the most accurate - which took a group of seven experts nearly six years until 1975 to complete, and even then represents by its own admission an incomplete interpretation of the original - contains errors, so care must be taken how applied.
In order to enable readers to follow the reasoning which led research back to Robert, Count d'Eu, certain original excerpts from Domesday will be quoted from which obvious mistakes in subsequent translations can be seen: mistakes that have misled those relying on them. These and other Domesday entries evidence the extent of the Eu family's land holdings across particular counties, and their consequent passing by inheritance to Bartelots.
Since the grant of Hastings with its port and castle (destroyed in 1066, then re-built twice by Normans) is also a vital ingredient to our understanding, it should be explained that, as the site of the Norman landing then their victory, Hastings was of very special significance to King William and Normans generally. What is more, it guarded a stretch of coast the King knew to be vulnerable to attack, so had to be in safe hands. These are important considerations to what follows!
When the king decided to build a memorial to both victory and his chosen supporters (which included Count d'Eu) it was at Hastings the great Abbey of Battel (sic) was built as that memorial, adding further to the importance of this particular land grant.
It was to Robert, Count d'Eu King William entrusted Hastings itself, as well as bestowing upon him the Honour of the Rape of Hastings! "Rape" being the term used to describe a division of Sussex stretching from the coast to the county's northern borders, and which in this case included the separate grant of the castle, town and port. The latest (1975) Domesday translation says "Hastinges..Count of Eu and Robert from him. Castle and church." confirming the place as having been held by Count d'Eu who gave it to a Robert which incidentally is the name that also appears as the first English Bartelot on the Sussex family's pedigree and has been the name given to first born sons of Dorset Bartelot/Bartletts back to when parish church records began!
When considering what that means in terms of this history, it should be remembered Domesday was compiled 1085/6, at which time it is known the Count Robert here named had already returned across the Channel following the death of his brother the Bishop of Evreux in 1077, after which his interest in English land possessions was desultory. That the Domesday entry shows the Count to have given the grant of Hastings to someone else named Robert begs the question : Who is this second Robert?
Count Robert had two sons, William the elder son (who inherited title, French lands including Eu itself and such English grants as his father had specifically given him) and Robert, the younger who, as a cadet, could expect only what had been given him during his father's lifetime or he had won for himself.
But in Hastings we are considering more than an ordinary manor, mill or piece of land ! The King himself would not have approved its transfer to just anyone! It might be expected the Count would have put it into the care of his eldest son, and we shall examine why William was inappropriate for such a responsibility a little later, but that he was points convincingly to Robert d'Eu, the other son as the logical person to whom the Count, his father, would have turned! The fact that William and Robert are recorded together elsewhere as joint as well as individual recipients of other paternal land bequests leaves no room to doubt what was done about Hastings was deliberate!
Accepting then that this history is looking at Robert d'Eu, son of the Count d'Eu, as holding Hastings in Sussex, let us now turn to Stopham, another Sussex land grant claimed by the Bartelots of that county to have been in their possession since Norman times, in order to see what, if any, connection can be established between that grant and the Eu's.
Reference to the published translation of Domesday tells us only the following"-
"Stopeham…Robert from Earl Roger, 3 fisheries."
Whereas the entry in original Domesday reads as follow:-
"Stopha ten Robt de com. Radulf de eo. Quinq. libi hoes
tenuer in alodiu. Tcfe defd p,v. hid.m p.iii. hid. Tra.e. v.
car. In dnio.e una.7iiii. uitti 7iiii. bord cu. I. car.Ibi. I
feru. 7 vIII. ac pti. 7 iii. piscariae. 7 filua: x. porc. 7
In Cicestre. I. Haga de. III. den."
An example of just how difficult the original is to translate, the Stopham entry is also typical of the kind of mistakes made when doing so, for the opening words - critical to establishing (i) the owner (ii) the lessee or other person to whom given - have been all too clearly misinterpreted! Indeed not just misinterpreted, but a misleading substitution made!
The correct English translation is:-
"Robert holds Stopham from the count, and Radolphus from him.
5 freemen held it in freehold. Then it answered for 5 hides:
now for 3 hides. Land for 5 ploughs. In lordship 1. 4 villagers
and 4 smallholders with 1 plough. 1 slave. meadow, 8 acres;
3 fisheries; woodland, 10 pigs. 1 site in Chichester at 3d."
and is clearly meant to record that it is "the Count" to whom the grant was originally made and that he had passed the place to "Robert" who, in turn, either leased or passed it on to "Radolphus". We need not be concerned with other detail from which taxes were to be calculated, which is also omitted from the translation.
Given that this original entry is so clearly specific in identifying the owner of Stopham at the time Domesday was prepared as "the Count" , there can be no conceivable justification for substituting "Earl" for "Count"….and thereby not only deciding the Domesday scribes to have been mistaken about tax liability by failure to know the difference, but also distorting history! Whatever the reasoning for this alteration, the fact is that much had altered over the intervening 19 or so years since land grants were issued - many properties had changed ownership - so such speculative mis-translations should not occur!
If, as seems likely, translators have simply been persuaded by the same mistake made by earlier versions, then it is an example of the kind of errors met with in copies of copies of copies!
Nothing about the original wording contradicts or is at odds with such private records of Stopham as are known, or in the possession of the Barttelots who live there and have lived (and been buried) there ever since those Norman times….yet seems never to have been recognised as important to family research! Rather, it appears the presence of a succession of "Ralphs" known as "..of Stopham" has led to speculative guesswork and been the cause of consistent debate and disagreement! Whether mistake or intended, it would be patently wrong when dealing with the intended basis for taxation, to so assume a different intention to what is so clearly spelt out. Even to substitute "Earl" for "Count" makes no sense.
The title "Count" (Compte) came to England with those amongst the invaders who already held it by reason of their possession of counties in Normandy or France etc., and was not applicable in England: whereas "Earl" derived from Anglo-Saxon "Eorl" and already familiar throughout England, was adopted by King William and applied to those he chose for similar roles in England.... usually, but not always those without cross-Channel fealty. History shows how right he was to do so, for the Counts almost universally (including King William himself) attached more importance to, and spend more time in, their properties on the Continent than those in England!
Turning next to that part of the Sussex coast included in the Rape of Hastings given to Count Robert d'Eu, and where the Normans landed, it is curious that no mention of the place is to be found in the original Domesday Survey yet, despite this, the latest translation does include "Hastinges", not only therefore at variance with the original but even creating an appropriate spelling!
There is no mystery about its absence at the time of the survey because the original Saxon settlement and timber fortification had been completely destroyed during the landing in 1066! Duke William did erect new temporary land barriers such as a trench and fence further inland, as well as a new timber structure which became described as a "castle", but it was not until much later the stone castle we known today as Hastings Castle was built and, as was the custom of the times, people began to move close by so as to ultimately become "Hastings Town".... but all that took place at a more suitable site about one mile distant!
This stone castle was probably still under construction when Battle Abbey was also being built, and that was completed and dedicated in 1094.
If we wish to discover something about this Norman founded Hastings we must look at what Domesday tells us about Guestling, which is:
"Guestling…. In this manor is the new burg, and there are 64
burgesses returning 8 pds, less 2 shillings. In Hastinges 4
burgesses and 14 bordars return 63 shillings. Of this manor
Robertus de Hastings holds… etc. etc."
Here then, in the year 1085/6, we can see evidence of the "new burg" already known by the name of the new stone castle "Hastinges", taking shape at the Manor of Guestling and of a substantial importance……but at the same time the fact is established that Robertus d'Eu is being described as "Robertus of Hastings"!
Just who ordered the stone castle to be built is questionable, although it is known that the actual building of it was put in the charge of a Humphrey de Tilloul.
The Eu name and standing was about to suffer the terrible loss of prestige brought about by the new Count William - probably brought to that end because the father had died and was no longer there to intercede for his elder son..
Unlike his brother, William who inherited French title and the vast Eu estates on the other side of the Channel (and later to William's son), Robert's future lay in England where he held the many land grants given him by his father. This, together with the fact that William rebelled twice against King William - forgiven the first time after intercession by his father, blinded, castrated and executed the second - suggests their father made a wise choice when giving Hastings to Robert!
For those interested in the history of the Bartletts of Pendomer (or other branches of the same blood-line) it is with this Robertus of Hastinges descent can be said to have started in England.
The foregoing is, however, not the only evidence contained in Domesday of Bartelot descent from the d'Eu's, for by tracing the course of inheritance of various other properties it records as belonging to d'Eu, (other than Stopham) far too many have been found to continue as Bartelot properties to be explained as coincidence. An excellent example is East Preston, Sussex, shown in Domesday as held by Robertus, but a Bartelot possession through to the 14th century. (see later reference); also Swyre in Dorset; Harnham in Wiltshire et al, all held by the Eu's in 1085/6 but then by Bartelot/Bartletts.
Faced with so much data, the only conclusion that can be reasonably reached on the facts as contained in Domesday is that in Sussex generally, Stopham in particular and elsewhere through the West of England, it is to Robert of Hastings (son of Robert, Count of Eu) we must look, together with the "Radolphus" somehow also involved at Stopham, to find out more about what followed.
The identification of this Radolphus, or Ralph as he has become known, has been a mystery created by the inclusion of his name - and the succession of "Ralphs" descended from him described as ".. of Stopham" - in the Bartelot pedigree put together in the reign of Elizabeth I.
Separated from the Bartelots on that pedigree, but seemingly still somehow part of them in some way, these Ralphs and their offspring are all described as ".. of Stopham" indicating they were associated with the place.... but then so were the Bartelots or whatever they were called in those early Norman times! That each displayed its own coat-of-arms only added to the confusion this dual appearance on the pedigree has caused down through the centuries since the time of Elizabeth, even though Richard Grosvenor Bartelot pointed out crescents displayed on the coat of arms of the Ralph's of Stopham are the appropriate armorial charges for a cadet branch of a family.
Interestingly, but explained by what follows here, is the fact that various branches of Bartelots do not seem to have been fussed which coat of arms they adopted for themselves - that with gloves or that with crescents - thereby sometimes adding to past confusion!
As it happens the answer has been available since the 12th century in the form of 35 title documents of properties in Yorkshire the subject of transfers, but which apparently have not previously been found. The properties concerned are Weston, Baildon, Burley, Askwyth, Hamersthwaite and Newton, and the documents comprise transfers, gifts, reversions and quit claims.
For the purpose of evidencing what relationship, if any, existed between Bartelots and Stophams only four of these need be included here: these are:-
i……. "GIFT..Newton..c.1234….By Brian de Insula to Robert de Stopham his nephew of all his land in Newton in the parish of Rippelay together with his rents in Hamersthwaite for 1 lb. of cumin or 2d p.a."
ii……… "INDENTURE OF LEASE FOR LIFE..18th May, 1320.. of Robert son of Rauf de Stopham to John son of John le Vavasour in 100 pounds to indemnify him should he lose his title to the manor of Newton by legal process and pledging his lands at Askewyth as security.
iii………………."..C.1300….By William de Stopham Kt., to William his son and heir, of the lordship and services of a messuage, 3 tofts, 4 bovates of land and meadow in Askewyth to hold of the chief lord of the fee for himself and his legitimate heirs, failing which the property is to revert to the heirs of the grantor."
iv……….. "ND 1314/17….GIFT INDENTED.. by Roger son of Alan de Rochester to William son of Robert de Stopham and Alice his wife of the manor of Weston near Otterlay to hold of the chief lord of the fee with reversion to William son of the said William and his heirs, or to John son of John le Vavassour of Askewyth and his heirs, or to the heirs of the aforesaid William son of Robert de Stopham."
Here, in these documents which uniformly ascribe names of both Bartelots and Stophams as "of Stopham" whilst specifying their definitive relationships, is positive evidence establishing both were part of the one blood line, even if living separately on the one property!
Furthermore, the Robert and Alice named in iv above, are the same Robert and Alice Bartelot to whom the East Preston property to which reference is made earlier (bottom,p.4) belonged at the time of this Indented Gift - 1314.!. In Sussex Subsidy records (Sussex Records Vol.II."Fines"..see below) this same Robert and Alice are named "Barthelot", whilst several others liable for tax on other Sussex properties are variously recorded as "Bartelot' and "Bartlett" - clear evidence the family we are concerned with was known in Sussex by its family name, but in Yorkshire by the property with which the family was associated!
"1332..Robto Barthelot 2s. 0 1/2d. In the Villat de Est Preston. Hundr. de Polinge."
Examination of Sussex entries in Domesday discloses that 250 years earlier East Preston is included amongst the properties then held by Robert! Faced with such a trail of conclusive evidence, how is it possible to dispute what is now so evident?
Domesday also identifies a ring of properties encircling Stopham at distances of up to only a mile or so and it is entirely possible these had already become part of a single large estate. That this was certainly the case later can be seen in the claim by Bartelots living on Stopham in the 17th century they could walk the 23 miles from Petworth to Horsham without stepping off their own land!
In light of the display by Bartelots/Bartletts of either gauntlets or crescents, is possible the first Ralph (Radolphus) may have been a son of one of the early Roberts….legitimately or as the consequence of birth to a mistress?
Is there anything which might suggest the latter? As has been pointed out by Richard Grosvenor Bartelot, crescents displayed on an armorial indicate the bearer to be a cadet son.... but there is more!
Original Anglo-Saxon owners of Stopham are believed to have been Saxons named "atte Forde" and been guardians of the ford over the river there: it is a fact that this name appears in the histories of Bartelots and Stophams in both Dorset and Sussex. More to the point, when Stopham became solely a Bartelot property with the marriage of Joan de Stopham and John Bartelot in 1379, provision was included in the marriage settlement for atte Fordes still on the place! After three hundred years this takes some explaining….unless the first Radolphus mentioned in Domesday was fathered by an Eu …but born out of wedlock to an atte Forde female! Normans made a practice of looking after base born sons and such an arrangement would be in keeping with tradition.
2. Other Matters
2a) Brian de Insula
The History of the Bartletts of Pendomer to which this is an attachment is in error in confusing the name Guy de Bryan with that of Brian de Insula (de L'Isle..see also (i) on page 5) for they are not the same family, even though both were associated with Bartelots during the Norman era and later.
The fact that in the transfer of his "gift" made in 1234 Sir Brian de Insula refers to Robert Bartelot as "my nephew" identifies that Robert as a child of the marriage of Sir Brian's daughter and heir Amabil to Ralph Bartelot of Stopham.... their marriage having taken place one year earlier, as a consequence of which several Dorset properties came to the Bartelots. Sir Brian was of considerable standing and influence, being Lord of All England's Forests for a number of years, whilst from him were descended the Marquis of Dorset and Dukes of Suffolk through the Greys of Dorset, and a family with which Dorset Bartletts had an ongoing relationship.
As recorded elsewhere in this history, Dorset Bartelots/Bartletts were parties to property transfers with the Greys, one of which led to Thomas and Edith Bartelot moving from Piddleton, Dorset, to Pendomer, Somerset, at a time when Bartelot/Bartletts actually occupied de L'Isle (de Insula) owned manors in both counties. The John le Vavasour named in the Yorkshire properties transfers on page 5 is of the family of Sir Robert le Vavasour, Lord Hazlewood of York, and John was married to Maude, daughter of Sir Robert Bartelot of Stopham.
2b) Sir William Bartelot
Since this Pendomer history was first included on a family web-site more has also come to light about the Sir William Bartelot (born c. 1450) of Sock Dennis Som., and Piddleton, Dors… discovered in papers of Thomas Phelips, Lord of Montacute, Somerset. Referring to the manor of Sock Dennis (which was part of the Montacute estates) is the following:-
The Phelips papers also disclose that Sir Thomas Phelips married a young woman from Pendomer named Abbott: a family name that figures among employees of George Bartlett, but one who lived in his master's house!
2d) Origins of the "Bartelot" name
One further matter with which progress has been made towards clarification is how the name "Bartelot" came into being. The family generally has in the past believed it to have derived from "Berthelot", accepting that this had some connection to the nephew of Charlemagne supposedly killed over games of chess! Whether or not that is the case remains an open question.
However, it is not difficult to see how "Ro..bert d'Eu" or possibly "Ro..bert de l'Eu/Ou" as sometimes written could have become mistaken for ",,R..of,,,bertelou" with descendants then becoming known as "de bertelot": this suggestion finds support in a Land Court finding of 1194 (Curia Regis Rolls I57) in which the person to whom the grant had originally made was recorded by the Court clerk as "quidam Bertelot": "quidam" is Latin for "known as" and intended to convey a first name was either not included in, or more possibly illegible in the source from which those adjudicating established the original owner..
That " de Bertelot" then "Bertelot" is part of earliest Bartelot history in England is evidenced by its presence in (i) the Calendar of letter-books of the City of London, 1275-1325, where Richard BERTELOT admits to a debt of six pounds owed Simon de Burgo, goldsmith, (ii) the Will of Thomas BERTELET in Archival records of Somerset, Taunton, and (iii) appointment of Thomas BERTHELOT as King's Printer on 2 February, 1548 , followed by another Richard Bertelot, Royal Confectionaire to the Court of Queen Elizabeth I. If there is truth in the legend of Bertelot and the belief Bartelots are descended from him, it has yet to be established.
As research continues, there will be further corrections and additions that will need to be included in this history: those interested in trying to keep it up to date will, I am sure, do their best to keep this web-site up to date and to reply to all who seek clarification of, or other information about contents of the history.
Peter & Martin Bartlett