Edition 3.2 - 1 May 2010
Table of Contents
The information respecting the Cameys families of Flockthorpe and of Bekerton has been drawn almost entirely from the Public Records and various County Histories. To avoid the constant repetition of their titles in foot notes, a list of these authorities is given in the appendix.
In 1208 he levied a fine on his lands in Cambridge; mentioned in 1211 as holding one Knight's fee of the King in chief in Flockthorpe, Norfolk. In 1212, he claimed the right of presentation to Tansor Church, stating that Roger, Earl of Clare had granted this advowson with the lands he held in Tansor to Eobert Fitz Humphrey, his forefather. It would appear that he only had the alternate right of presentation and therefore his claim on this occasion was disallowed; but twelve years later, in 1224, he presented the living. Claimed one Knight's fee in Berton and Eastmore in Baron Burial Manor, Norfolk, from Ralph de Roucester, of which he stated Ralph Wallensis, uncle of Stephen his father, was seised in the reign of Henry II. He farmed from the Crown at one time the Manor of Hengham, Norfolk, the payment for which was £25. 7s. 6d. In 1210 was with the Royal Army in Ireland and is mentioned as receiving 3 and 4 marks at the camp at Odiham, Hants, and at Dublin, respectively, on account of disbursements; in 1212 assessed to pay 20s scutage for the war against Scotland on one fee held in Norfolk, but being granted exemption by writ he received free quittance accordingly. In 1216, he joined the forces of the Barons, combined against the King John, consequently on 25th March of that year the King granted to Imbert de Hereford all his land in Norfolk, Suffolk, Northants, Hunts, Cambridge and Essex. It seems probable however, that he never lost actual possession of his lands, as King John died shortly afterwards, and Ralph hastened to pay homage to Henry III, who by writs dated 6th September and 27th October 1217 restored his lands to him. On February 19th, 1221, he was commanded to take scutage from the Archbishop of York for all the latter's lands in his Baillia, from which it may be presumed that he was then Sheriff of certain counties. From 1242 to 1246 as "Ralph de Keymes", he appears a Sheriff of Counties Surrey and Sussex. April 20th, 1230, granted letters of protection when embarking with many other nobles from Portsmouth on the King's service abroad; in 1242, paid 10 marks as voluntary scutage for his lands in Essex, towards the fine from those Knights who did not go with the King to Gascony; 12th May 1244, the Sheriff of Huntingdon was commanded to distrain him to do homage to John de Bailliol for a quarter of a Knight's fee in that county (i.e. Stukeley Magna Manor), assigned by the King to the said John and Devorguilla his wife as part of her share of the heritage of John, Earl of Chester and Huntingdon. In 1246, granted free quittance from scutage on Flockthorpe for the army against Wales and also for scutage on half a fee in Cambridge. Prior to 1253, he appears to have granted Denchworth Manor, aforesaid to his son. In 1253-4 as "Ralph de Cameys Senior", he was granted free warren in all his lands he then held in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridge and Essex; and in the latter year was assessed to pay 20s for half a fee in Cambridge (i.e. Wood Ditton), both held in chief, towards the Aid on the King's son coming of age; the year following, he levied fines on his lands in Ditton Cammays (Wood Ditton), Kertling and Cheveley, Cambridge.
In 1256, he was summoned "with horse and arms" to the Great Council to be held in London on the Morrow of the Apostles Simon and Jude; and in 1258 was summoned to attend the King at Chester on Monday preceding the Feast of St. John Baptist, with horse and arms to do service against the Welsh.
In a Roll of Arms of the reign of Henry III and dated as between 1240-45, the armorial bearings of Ralph de Cameys are give as "d'or ung cheif de goules a trois torteux d'argent". Died prior to 1259 in which year by inquisitions post mortem, he was found to have died seised of Flockthorpe Manor, including 280 acres of land in demesne and 34 in meadow, with the advowson of the Church (i.e. Hardingham Church) and "Conteshall maner' extent" (19), all in Norfolk: Wodeton Manor, Surrey: Stivecley Magna Manor, Hunts: two Knight's fees in Essex: Ditton and Burwell Manors, Cambridge, and lands in Tisted and Hambledon, Hampshire. Married..... daughter of........ Issue.
Prior to 1253, probably on his marriage, his father granted him North Denchworth Manor, Berks. Heir to his father and aged 40 year on the latter's death. On 20th June 1259, as "Ralph, son of Ralph de Kameys", he did homage to the King as a Baron, and on giving sufficient security for payment of the usual relief for all lands and tenements which the said Ralph had held in Norfolk "ut de feodo" (i.e. Flockthorpe Manor held as a Barony), received livery of his late father's lands. By his marriage he acquired six Knight's fees in Northants, comprising Torpel Manor, (20-held in chief "per baroniam," with lands in Upton (20) with the advowson of Ufford Church (20), in Lolham adjoining Ufford, and in Helpeston, also Pilketon (Pilton) Manor and advowson (21), Glapthorne and Cotterstoke Manors (21) with the advowson of Piriho Priory (21), and probably further lands in Tansour for which he paid annually 20s to Sir John Giffard and to the Prior of Piriho apiece. He also acquired by marriage, Hengeston (Hinxton) (22) half a Knight's fee held in chief "per baroniam": certain lands in Pampesworth (22a) also held in chief; lands in Brune, and Orwell Manor (23), one Knight's fee held of the Earl of Winchester - all in Cambridgeshire: also lands in Keston, Hunts, and certain lands in Lincolnshire. In Torpel Manor were 5 virgates of arable land in demesne, each vergate containing 20 acres, 40 acres in meadow, with a wood and water mill, and in villenage 3.5 vergates; in Pilton there were in demesne 5 virgates, each virgate containing 24 acres, an assortment of 24 acres, 6 virgates in villenage, a free fishery, with cottager's rents of 14s 4d yearly value, and 3s yearly rents of free tenants. Held a quarter of a Knight's fee in chief in Hardingham, adjoining Flockthorpe, and also lands in Mouton, Norfolk, where Hy. Freman and his parcenors held from him one third part of a Knight's fee of the Honor of Huntingdon (of the portion of Henry de Hastings) which is stated in Lipscomb's History of Buckinghamshire to have been his father's in 1233. In Hants he held lands in Elynges and Lasham with the advowson of the latter church, all which he probably inherited from his father with Hambledon. He appears to have possess lands in that county by John, son of Hubert de Burgh. He also appears to have had lands in Nassington (24), Northants, since it is stated in the Hundred Rolls that in 1275 a jury found that "Ralph de Kemeys" had 11 years previous "enclosed a certain wood in Nassington called Muchhawe".
In 1253, "Ralph de Cameys junior" was granted by the King free warren in all the lands he then held in the counties of Northants, Lincoln, Cambridge, and Berks, and also the right of holding Markets and fairs in Orwell Manor; it is therefore not improbable that he resided at Orwell during his father's lifetime. Sold his Manor of Denchesworth to Adam Fettiplace, who in 1245 was Mayor of Oxford: a copy of his grant of these lands is to be seen in the Bodleian Library, Oxford (Ashmoleian M.S.S., and see Appendix); appears to have sold his lands in Lincolnshire at an early date; sold 4.25 virgates "in bondis" and a further 15 acres of land in Keston to Jomes Lovel. In 1255, he and his wife sold their lands in Brunne to Gilbert Peche, and in 1257 they levied a fine with Simon de Leudon upon a mill and 11 acres of meadow in Lolham to their own use, they giving to Simon their suit and service every three weeks, which was their due for their tenement in Helpeston. Assessed to pay 2 marks towards the Aid for marrying the King's sister to the Roman Emperor on Flockthorpe Manor, held in chief by serjeanty as one Knight's fee; also similarly assessed for one fee in Essex (i.e. in Toppesfield), held of the Honor of Mandeville. Stated in the Hundred Rolls to have had in 1276 rights of gallows, of assay of bread and ale, and view of frank pledge in Stukeley Magna Manor, in which Manor moreover he did not permit the King's bailiffs to execute their writs. It is also related in these Rolls that he had rights of assay of bread and ale and view of frank pledge in Ditton Cameys (Wood Ditton) wherein also he had given up the customary payment of 2s a year to the Sheriffs Court; also rights of gallows and of assay of bread and ale in Burwell Manor and in Henxton; rights of assay of bread and ale in his lands in Pampesworth, but subject to the correction of the Crown officers, which limitation he had evaded for some ten years previous; similarly it is stated that in Essex, he had for 12 years prior to 1274 evaded the service due by him in Toppesfield twice a year at the Sheriff's Court. In 1254 Ralph de Cameys was at Bordeaux with the King, where he witnessed a Royal grant of free warren to Maurice de Birmingham. About this time he was fined for holding a tournament in Cambridge contrary to the command of the King, who had in 1245 forbidden any to be holden there or within five miles of that town. 1259 witnessed a charter of Sir Richard de St. Denys granting lands in Essex. 1264 obtained a charter to have a weekly market on Thursdays in Torpel Manor and also a yearly fair on the eve, festival and morrow of St. Giles' feast. Presented his cousin Nicholas de Cameys (see Cameys of Great Stukeley) to the Church of St. Mary's, Pilton. 1268 presented to the Church of Torpel (i.e. Ufford Church) and the same year to that of Tansor. In 1272, he was sued by Warinton de Barinton for pasturing in Barton, which adjoined Orwell. 1275 summoned by the King's Exchequer to pay a debt which he owed to on Haginus, a Jew of London, since the King had assigned the said debt to Odinus le Gask, a citizen of Genoa, in payment of a Crown debt due to the latter. In 1260 summoned to an assembly near Shrewsbury at the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, with horse and arms to give the service due to the King in an expedition against Llewelyn, Prince of Wales. Mentioned as one of the leading Barons confederate with Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, in rebellion against Henry III, and in 1265 was declared a rebel by the King; after the Baron's victory at Lewes he was summoned by the Earl of Leicester to London on 14th December 1264 as one of the council of State by whom the realm was governed. In 1267 he received the King's pardon.
At a general proffer of Knight's service taken in 1276 for the King at Tweedmouth, Ralph de Cameys offered the service of one Knight for his lands in Norfolk, to be made by Richard de Macy and John Tylnercy with two equipped horses. In a Roll of Arms of the reign of Henry III and Edward I is given "d'Camais-or, on a chief gules three plates". Died prior to 12th March 1277 in which year by inquisiton post mortem, he was found to have died seised of Hardington Manor (i.e. Flockthorpe), Norfolk, wherein he was found by juries to have possessed a messuage (i.e. in demesne) of 280 acres of arable land, 24 acres of meadow, 24 acres of alder and 50 acres of wood: Torpell Manor, with lands in Upton, Cotterstoke, Glapthorne, Pilketon and Tannesour, Northants: Stiveclay Manor, Hunts: Hengeston Manor, Orwell Manor and advowson, Woodacton (Wood Ditton) and Borewell Manors, Cambridge: and Wodington (Wotton) Manor, held of the Honor of Gloucester, Surrey. Married Ascelina, daughter and heiress of Roger de Torpel of Torpel, Northants, by his wife Mabel; the latter had Cotterstoke in dower, to the church of which she presented in 1258. Issue.
From 4th June to Machaelmas 1320, he acted as one of Hugh le Despenser's attorneys. In this year, he obtained a confirmation of two grants which he had made to various persons of all his lands in Hardingham and also a commission of oyer and terminer for the trial of various persons who had fished in his stews in Stowbedon Manor. In 1322, it is related in the Close Rolls that Sir Thomas Wake of Blisworth and Thomas Wake of Liddell owed him 100 marks secured upon their lands in Northamptonshire, but in 1328 Ralph and his son Thomas appear as owing the latter 1000 marks, secured upon their lands in Sussex; between 1322 and 1334 there are many similar enrollments of debts due by and to Ralph de Cameys, and, from 1328, by him and his son Thomas jointly. In 1324, the Manor of Cokeham in Sumpting, (38) Sussex, and the advowson of the hospital of St. Anthony annexed thereto, were settled by fine upon Ralph and his wife Elizabeth for life, and on their son Ralph for life, remainder to their grandson John, and on failure of his issue to his sisters Margaret and Isabella and their heirs in succession, remainder to the right heirs of Ralph. In 1327, he obtained license at the request of Sir Thomas Roscelyn to grant to his son Thomas de Cameys and his wife Margaret the Manor of Flockthorpe and the advowson of Hardingham Church. Ralph appears at the same time, probably the occasion of his son's marriage to Margaret de Roscelin, to have also granted the latter Pilton Manor, Hunts, and lands in Sussex. In Volume 6 of the Sussex Archaeological Collections in a description of Edward II visit to Battle Abbey the following occurs: "On Friday September 7th the expenses at Petworth were £8. 17s. 5.75 and the presents consisted of bread, 3 eels, 1 trout, 3 large pikes, 3 bream, 4 mullets, a fish dinner for the Friday; but the day was not passed in gloom, for there is and entry of 20s paid to Nicholas the Harper, minstrel of Sir Ralph de Camoys, and playing before the said lord King, as a gift by his own hands." In 1288, Ralph de Cameys had a remittance of Common summons for the Common Pleas in Sussex (i.e. as being a minor). In 1305 and again in 1313, he received letters of protection whilst going beyond the seas on the King's affairs with Hugh le Despenser the Elder. In 1307, he was summoned for Sussex with his consort to attend the coronation of Edward II in the train of the King and Queen. The next year and apparently again in 1310, summoned to perform military service against the Scots, on the latter occasion he preferred the service of one Knight's fee for all his lands held in chief in Norfolk (i.e. Flockthorpe Manor) to be performed by two "servientes" with two barbed horses; in 1315, he was requested by the King to continue stationed in the northern parts during the winter campaign and to repair to him on the Feast of All Saints, then next; in 1318, 1319, 1322, and 1323 summoned again to perform military service in person against the Scots, but discharged from the summons on the last occasion; he was again summoned for the same purpose to muster at Newcastle on Tyne in 1335. Summoned to Parliament in the 7th, 8th, 9th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, Edward II, as also in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, Edward III. In 1316 and 1318, one of the Conservators of the Peace in Sussex and in 1317 one of the Justices appointed in that county to suppress illegal meetings, and also appointed Warden of the City of Chichester. Addressed in 1318, as one of the "Majores barones:" next year one of the Commission of the Peace for Hampshire; in 1319, commissioned with other justices to deliver Chichester gaol. In this year Hugh le Despenser the younger, Ralph de Camoys and Elizabeth his wife obtained a pardon for acquiring for themselves and the heirs of Ralph the bailliwick of the forestership of Assheholte and Wolmere from Richard de Venuz, tenant in chief. In 1320, Ralph de Camoys was appointed Governor of Winsor Castle and Warden of the forest, which important post he held until the end of the reign of Edward II. In this year in consideration of services sent by him in 1311 he obtained his writ of scutage; the same year and also in 1325 and 1326 one of the Conservators of the Peace for Surrey and Sussex, in the first mentioned year being commanded to act vigorously, and in the last to disperse seditious assemblies and to apprehend offenders: also in this year appointed for counties Bedford and Bucks pursuant to Act of Parliament, for the punishment of offenses committed by Sheriffs and others by colour of the offices; 1321 was one of the justices appointed in counties Beds and Bucks for the punishment of offenses and extortions of collectors of aids and also one of the justices in the said counties to decide, pursuant to ordinance of Parliament, causes by bill: the same year requested to co-operate in appeasing disturbances and to refrain from attending illegal assemblies, particularly that of the "Good Peers" convened by the Earl of Lancaster to be held at Doncaster on the Sunday next after the quinzaine of St. Martin - 29th November: the same year commissioned with Nicholas atte Hull to deliver certain persons from Odiham Castle: also in this year granted the chief custody of the Manors of Berhampton, Hants, and Woking, Sutton and Braggeshut, Surrey. The following extract from the process by Parliament in 1321 against Hugh le Despenser the Elder (Earl of Winchester) and Hugh le Despenser the Younger, -the King's favourite- throws a light upon many of the offices filled by Lord Ralph de Camoys, the suits brought against him and the lands he acquired - "also in order to obtain their evil and covetous wishes --- they (the Despensers) removed the good and suitable ministers who were appointed by assent and replaced them by other false and bad ministers of their conspiracy who would not suffer right to be done and appointed sheriffs, escheators, constables of Castles and others in the King's offices who were not suitable for the King of his people, and caused judges who were ignorant of the law of the land to hear and determine matters touching the magnates and the people, such as Sir Hugh, the father, Sir Ralph Basset, Sir Ralph de Camoys, Sir John Inge and other their allies and sworn (adherents), and by conspiracy of such ministers and their false procurers and aiders caused the peers of the land to be falsely indicted by false jurors of their alliance, to wit the Earl of Hereford, Sir John Giffard of Brymmesfeld and Sir Robert de Mohaut and other good men, coveting their lands -- also they counselled the King evilly to take into his hands the lands and chattels of Sir Hugh D'audele, the son, and forjudged him of his lands without process of law, coveting to accroch those lands to Hugh (Despenser) the son." In 1322 Ralph de Camoys was enjoined to raise as many men at arms and foot soldiers as he could and to appear at Coventry with them on the first Sunday in Lent for the purpose of proceeding against the rebels and adherents of the Earl of Lancaster (i.e. the "Good Peers"): the same year exonerated in consequence of his continuance with the King from the fine imposed upon the Knights and esquires of the counties of Southampton, Sussex and Northampton; the same year empowered to attack Robert Lewer and to take the Castle of Odyham by force, also to act jointly and severally with John de S'c'o Johanne in pursuing the said Robert and his accomplices, for the trial of whose offenses he made one of the justices of oyer and terminer in the County of Southampton: 6th May 1324 he was appointed to enquire the names of those who took or concealed any goods of the said Robert Lewer now deceased, and on 30th July the Sheriff of Southampton was ordered to release Margery late the wife of Robert Lewer, a late rebel, and to deliver her to Ralph Cammoys. In 1327, Margery Lewer brought an action against Ralph de Camoys to recover her late husband's Manor of Westbury, Bucks, which she pleaded had been unjustly seized by him after her husband's attainder in the previous reign. Ralph produced in defence a charter of Edward II, dated 1324, granting Westbury to him and his wife Elizabeth with remainder to their sons Hugh, but Margery having proved that he had obtained unjust possession of Westbury long before that date, judgement was given in her favour. In 1331, William de Holhurst brought an action against Ralph de Camoys and three others relative to the Manor of Bromley, Kent, similar to that brought by Margery Lewer in 1327. He was met by a similar defence and although the result does not appear it was probably in favour of the plaintiff, as Bromley Manor does not figure again as the property of the Camoys family. On 30th July 1322 the justices of Assize in Sussex were ordered by the Prior of Hernyngham before them against Ralph de Camoys concerning tenements in Sountynge, Lanncynge, New Shorham, Horsham and Stangemerynge, for so long as the said Ralph remained in the King's service in the Scottish war; on 5th August following Ralph was granted a protection on going to this war with the Earl of Winchester, the same month he was ordered to certify the King of the tenor of the record and process and pronunciation of judgement at Wyndesore upon Francis de Aldeham, the King's enemy and traitor, by him and others appointed by the King for this purpose, and of all thing touching the same, and of the day of the pronunciation of judgement. In 1323 commanded to provide packsaddles for the army (?against the Scots) in case it should be necessary to advance without the wagon train. In this year he obtained license to enfeoff Jno. de Hampton and Peter de Gosele of his Manor of Elinge and their heirs. In 1324 commanded to hold himself in readiness to perform military service in person for the defence of the Duchy of Aquitaine and to raise all the forces he could in addition to his contingent due by tenure and to lead them to Plymouth: subsequently in consequence of his being ill he was ordered to send some expert person in his place; the same year summoned to perform military service in person in Gascony, but the muster was prorogued until the following year when he was discharged from attendance; the same year returned Knight of the shire by the sheriffs of Sussex and Southampton severally and summoned to attend the Great Council of the Magnates at Westminster by subsequently discharged from attendance; the same year appointed one of the commanders or keepers of the sea shore of Kent, Surrey and Sussex, a "dedimus" being issued empowering the Archbishop of Canterbury to swear him in the due execution of the office, afterwards the Archbishop and the Bishop of Winchester were requested by writ to assist him in his capacity of "custos" of the sea shores; the same year appointed one of the Manucaptors for the good behaviour of Thomas de Byngham, an adherent of the Earl of Lancaster, and responsible for his fine. In 1325, 1326 and again in 1327 appointed jointly with Robert de Kendale Constable of Dover Castle and Warden of the Cinque Ports, on 30th September 1326 being ordered to be diligent in arresting suspected persons and in searching for letters. The same year one of the chief Inspectors of Array in Sussex and Surrey to whom special powers were granted, and that year also appointed one of the Chief Supervisors of Array for the counties of Southampton and Wilts in the room of the Earl of Winchester; on 18th July of this year the King notified that he had explained his pleasure as to the ware with France to Ralph de Camoys. On the imprisonment and murder of Edward II, Lord Ralph de Camoys obtained a pardon from Edward III for his adherence to Hugh le Despenser the Younger, lately a rebel, dated 19th February 1327. In 1329, he and two others received a commission of oyer and terminer to try certain persons who had trespassed and stolen timber from the park of Edmund, Earl of Kent, at Arundel. On 24th January 1331, an order issued from the King and Council to Ralph de Camoys to attend in Chancery on the quinzaine of the Purification next to inform the King's Council concerning certain matters which should be said to him on the King's behalf, and on 28th November of the same year his accounts for the custody of Red Castle and the Castle of Egemundon, the Hamlet of Marchumle, Manor of Forde and Township of Newport, county Salop, the property of Nicholas de Audele, and for the custody of the Castle of Helegh and Manors of Tunstall, Horton and Endon belonging to the same, were settled to the 15th February 1327 when the King had granted the said custodies to Roger de Mortimer of Wyggemore. In 1333 a commission of oyer and terminer was granted to try Sir Ralph de Camoys and others on complaint of John de Moubray, Lord of the Honor of Brembre, that they had carried away 4 tuns of wine, £20, and other goods driven ashore in a storm at Worthing and that they had broken four of his parks, entered his free chase at St. Leonards, hunted there and carried away deer, and had assaulted his servants at Horsham and Shoreham. In 1335, a similar commission was granted for the trial of various persons who had broken Lord Ralph de Camoy's parks at Trotton, Demford, and Alkesbourne, Sussex, hunted there and carried away deer and his goods, and also his goods at Elnestede, Dydelinge, Rogate, Broadwater, Duryngton, Beningden and Berecampe (39). In a Roll of Arms of the time of Edward III is given "Rauf de Camays porte d'or un cheif de goules et trois torteaux d'argent on le chief." Died prior to 24th June 1336, in which year he was found by inquisition to have died seized of a messuage in Tanesoure, Northants; his inquisitions in other counties do not seem to have been preserved. Married first, circa 1303, Margaret, daughter of William de Braose who held large estates in Surrey and who bore "Gules, 3 bars vair," she was probably buried in Trotton Church where there is a mural tomb against the south wall and in the pavement a long slab of black marble, a brass portrait of a lady being inlaid, with a flowing mantle into which several inescutcheons were inserted, probably emblazoned in enamel but since removed. Ther marginal brasses are inscribed "Margarite de Camois gisc ici - Dieu de sa alme eyt merci." Second, circa 1314, Elizabeth, daughter of Hugh le Despenser the Elder, Earl of Winchester, who bore "quarterly argent and gules, in the second and third quarters a fret or, over all a bend sable." Issue by his first wife,
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Camoys of Bekerton
John L. & Irene Kemmis