by Alex Maxwell Findlater[1]


The exact descent from the Limesi family to the Lindsays and later the Pinkenys of Crawford, and indeed to the present Lindsay earls of Crawford is still a matter of dispute. This paper examines the evidence and weighs the inconsistencies in an attempt to provide a positive statement of that descent.

Foundations (2012) 4: 63-80                                                                                                                              © Copyright FMG and the author


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The de Limesi family is claimed as one of the great medieval families of England, holding 40 lordships in the Domesday Survey. The senior line which ended in 1213 was very substantial, for Ralph de Limesi, who died in 1093, founded Hertford Priory, where he and his wife were buried. The last male of the line, John, died in 1193 without issue. His mother Amicia and sister Amabilia also endowed Hertford Priory, as did his Lindsay successors. The Victoria County History states[2] that, “The Benedictine priory of St. Mary of Hertford, a cell of St. Albans Abbey, was built about the end of the 11th century by Ralph de Limesi for six monks who were to be sent from St. Albans. Ralph gave as endowment a good hide of land at Hertford, the church of Pirton with tithe of his land and that of his men and 2½ hides of land, the mill, pasture for the oxen of the monks' ploughs with his own and feed for their pigs in his woods; a carucate of land in Itchington (co. Warw.) and certain tithes there and in Ulverley in Solihull (co. Warw.), Cavendish (co. Suffolk), Bibbesworth in Kimpton (co. Herts.), Epperstone (co. Notts.), and ‘Torp’.

The family held lands in Suffolk at Cavendish, where the patronage of the church was disputed in 1220 but was later granted to Hertford Priory by David II de Lindsay, and in Warwickshire, as noted above, but also in that county at Maxstoke, which, with its castle, came to Gerard de Limesi on his marriage to Amicia daughter of Havelad de Bidun; they also held in Oxfordshire at Bradwell and in Essex, where scutage was due in 1222.

Dugdale’s Monasticon Anglicanum[3] records the charters of the de Limesi family to Hertford Priory. Ralph de Limesi is seen as the founder of a cell of St Albans and there are charters from him, from Alan, from Gerard and from John.

These confirm the pedigree, with dates taken from Keats-Rohan[4], as shown below:


There has long been confusion in exactly how the de Limesi family ended, although it has always been accepted that the lands were partitioned between the Oddingseles and Lindsay families. The Victoria County History[5] in 1912 firmly has one of the heiresses marrying David de Lindsay and the other Hugh de Oddingseles. Farrer, in Honors and Knights’ Fees,[6] Vol.I (1923), gives, as a continuation under the ‘Honor of Bidun’, the traditional descent, that one de Limesi heiress married David I de Lindsay, the other Hugh de Oddingseles, but gives no references. By the next year in Vol.II he has himself researched the connection in relation to the Lindsays, and dismisses the earlier account, in favour of accepting that the heiress was the mother of David I, quoting as evidence[7] that Gerard de Lindsay, younger son of David I de Lindsay, calls his mother Margery, noting also that the age of Amicia de Bidun is inconsistent, and so he places the two heiresses as sisters of John II de Limesi (d.1213), not of John I (d.1193). The distinction between the two Johns had not previously been proposed and although it is persuasive, I shall argue that it is incorrect.

The account with the heiresses in an earlier generation was first proposed by W A Lindsay in his account of the family in the Scots Peerage[8] (1906) but he adduces no evidence and suggests that the Lindsay ancestress, whom he incorrectly calls Alienora, doubtless following Dugdale,[9] was the elder daughter. Like Lindsay, Hansen (2000)[10], in his paper on the Pinkeney claim to the Scottish throne through the Lindsays, assumes that the heiresses were in an earlier generation, and shows that Margery, wife of David I de Lindsay, brought with her the claim to the Scots throne, made by Sir Robert de Pinkeny in 1292. However, this evidence, of Farrer and later Hansen, is ignored in Sanders’ English Baronies (1960), Stringer’s Earl David of Huntingdon (1985) and Keats-Rohan’s Domesday Descendants (2002). This paper re-examines the matter, bringing in other material.

The Problem

The difficulty revolves around the lack of information about the heiresses, and the chronology; for Amicia de Bidun, widow of Gerard de Limesi is recorded in the Rotuli de Dominabus as being aged 60 in 1185, while Basilia, who is called the daughter of Gerard de Limesi in a 1223 court case, is noted in the Book of Fees[11] (Testa de Nevill) as having been married in the reign of King John (1199-1216). The other heir is noted in the Bradwell case as being her nephew David de Lindsay, who might be David I (b.c.1175x85, d.1213) or his son David II (b.1202/3, d.1241). However in a 1214 Pipe Roll entry Basilia is called the sister of the deceased John de Limesi, who has been taken variously to be either a John II whose name appears in the Pipe Rolls from 1206 until 1213, or the John I who died twenty years previously in 1193, who is recorded in the charters of Hertford Priory as the son of Gerard de Limesi.

The lack of corroborative data makes it easy to take the other heir as being David II de Lindsay, but a close analysis of the data shows that it was in fact David I.

The mother of David I has, since the time of Dugdale, been called Alienora, but in another court case,[12] this concerning the patronage of the church of Cavendish in Suffolk, she is described as Alicia the sister of Basilia. This record was not found, or at least noticed, until 2000 when Hansen discovered it in a Curia Regis Roll, printed in 1922. Hansen is correct, but unfortunately does not quote the evidence and continues to use the name Alienora, which makes his paper difficult to understand and therefore much less persuasive; only on finding this evidence myself did I feel convinced that the heiresses, Alice and Basilia, were the sisters of John I, not of the putative John II, despite the Pipe Roll entries for 1206 to 1213. Interestingly in the 1614 Visitation of Northamptonshire[13] she is correctly called Alice.

However Hansen’s paper emphasises the descent within the Lindsay family, showing clearly that the mother of David II, Gerald and Alicia de Lindsay was Marjorie, as Farrer[14] had noticed. This Marjorie, married to David I de Lindsay who was born in about 1175, is stated in the pleading of Robert de Pinkeney for the Crown of Scotland[15] to be a daughter of Earl Henry of Huntingdon, but this is chronologically impossible, Earl Henry having died in 1152, and modern scholars suggest that she was a daughter of his son, Earl David.

The Evidence

In the Rotuli de Dominabus of 1185[16], we find a record:

Amicia de Limesia est in donacione Domini Regis, et est lx annorum, que fuit filia Haveladi de Bidune habet ii filios milites, quorum primogenitus vocatur Johannes de Limesia; plures habet filias. Ipsa habet in …. xl solidatas terre de Feodo Johannis de Limesia; et de eo tenet.

This confirms that Amicia daughter of Havelad de Bidun was an elderly widow, though we may doubt the exact age, as being given as a round figure, sixty. Horace Round, in his introduction[17] to the Rotuli de Dominabus notes that ages were often rounded to multiples of ten, so she may well have been considerably younger. She had two sons, both knighted, and many daughters. The elder son was Sir John; the younger we learn from a charter in the cartulary of Hertford was called Alan, but he must have died without issue. The daughters were many, but the only ones of whom we now have record are Amabilia, Alicia and Basilia. Note that the daughters are not named, although later writers reference their names to this document.

The Close Rolls show that John de Limesi died in 1193 and that his widow was Alice, daughter of Robert de Harcourt of Bosworth, Leics, and she was again married in about 1196 as his second wife[18] to Waleran de Beaumont, Earl of Warwick. In 1200 we find the Earl of Warwick had to sue Hugh Bardolf for his wife’s terce. Whether the case came to court is not recorded but the evidence is as follows:

Robertus de Arewecurt, Hugo Scotus, Gerardus de Manegeda missi ad Amabiliam uxorem Bardolf ad sciendum quos poneret loco suo versus Comitissam Warwikensem de placita dotis dabant quod posuit loco suo Simonem Clericum vel Radulfum de Riuera.[19]

Comes Warr’ [et Comitissa sua] ponet loco suo Simonem de Berkestona vel Willielmum Clericum versus Hugonem Bardolf de placita dotis ejusdem Comitisse etc[20]

Warr’ Wigorn’ (Worcestershire) Comes de Warr’ et comitissa petierunt versus Hugonem Bardolf et uxorem suam rationabilem dotem ejusdem comitisse de terra que fuit Johannis de Limesi quondam viri ejusdem comitisse: Hugo venit et dicit quod non vult inde respondere absente uxore sua, desicut breve loquitur de illa. Dies datus est eis a die Pasche in iij. septimanas: et tunc veniat uxor ejus.[21]

Warr’ Dies datus est comiti et comitisse Warr’ et Hugoni Bard’ de placito dotis a die Pasce in tres septimanas prece partium: et interim habent licentiam concordandi.[22]

These make it quite clear that John de Limesi left as his heir his eldest sister Amabilia. I wanted this very conclusive proof to establish this fact from evidence, rather than argument, which is how Farrer erred in 1922.

Alice countess of Warwick was widowed by 1204 and paid the King 30 marks and two palfreys to be allowed not to marry at the King’s pleasure. She however did not live long to enjoy her freedom and died in the middle of Lent 1205, having paid him the two palfreys only some weeks earlier. In the Close Rolls we read:

22 March 1205[23]  Rex vicecomite Warewic’ etc.Precipimus tibi quod habere facias sine dilatione Amabil’ que fuit uxor Hugonis Bardulf plenariter saisinam de terris suis in ballivatus tua, una cum? dissaisisti per preceptum nostrum. Et cum Vic’ Norff’ et Suff’ et Hereford et Oxon’ tibi mandaverint quibus plegiis et de quanto ab ea receperint de fine suo de terra sua in ballivatibus suis tenere? nobis sine dilatione scire facias apud Oxon’ [die] Dominica proxima post mediam Quadraginta (of Lent) q’t et quos et de quanto singuli eorum plegii receperunt et quos tu recepis. Test. me ipso apud Notingham xxii die Marc’       et mandat’ est Vic’ Oxon’ et Norff’ et Suff’ et de Hereford quod faciant habere eidem Amabilie saisinam de terris suis in ballivatibus eorum et capiant ab ea plegia de fine suo de quanto poteruit et quod scire faciant Vic’ de Warewic’ quos et quantum et de quanto plegio invenerit. Ita quod Vic’ Warewic’ hoc faciat scire Domino B apud Warewic’

25 March 1205[24]  Rex Baronibus scaccarii Westmonisterio etc. Sciatis quod Comitissa Warewic’ reddidit nobis apud Wigorn’ (Worcester) in media Quadragesima ii palefreios quos nobis debuit ad eundem terminum de fine quem nobiscum fecit pro terra sua et i’o vobis mandamus quod ipsa intra quieta sit. Test’ me ipso apud Wudestok’ xxv. die Marcie      pro Justic’

26 March 1205[25]  Rex Vicecomite Eboraci.         Precipimus tibi quod justicies Abbatem de Fontibus et Henricum de Percy executores testamenti Comitisse Warewic’ qui catalla ejusdem comitisse recepuint: quod sine dilatione et secundum consuetudines regni adquieterent debita ipse Comitisse quae nobis debuit de predictis catallis et interim de debitis illis W. Briw’ pacem habere facias. T. me ipso apud Wudestok’ xxvi Marcie  

per Justiciis.

The first entry is to instruct that Amabilia widow of Hugh Bardolf (not mentioning her next husband, John de Braose, who had already himself died) should have seisin of her lands, ie the terce which had been held by the deceased countess of Warwick; the second informs the barons of the Exchequer that the countess had paid her fine by giving the king two palfreys at Worcester in the middle of Lent; the third orders the Sheriff of York to execute justice on the countess’s executors, the Abbot of Fountains and Henry de Percy, who had her chattels and that he should clear the debts which the countess owed him and that William Briwere should be acquitted of them. This incidentally shows that the countess died in the middle of Lent 1205, and not after 1214 as erroneously recorded by the Complete Peerage. This was the date when she was mentioned in the Pipe Rolls, but although a fine was due, she had in fact died.

There are no notices under the Close Rolls about a ward of any son of John de Limesi and the entries relating to the terce of his widow Alice, then wife of Waleran earl of Warwick, indicate that the lands passed to Hugh Bardolf as the husband of Amabilia.

The Red Book of the Treasury[26] has various de Limesi entries:

1160/61         Essex and Herts     Gerard de Limesi             xv milites

1161/62         Warks & Leics        Gerard de Limesi             ii milites

1196/97         Warks & Leics        Johannes de Lymese        xl solidos per H Bardolf: ii milites

1199/1200                                    Johannes de Lymesie       iiij milites per H Bardolf

However a close look at the life of Amabilia shows that in a Hertford charter, to be quoted later, she was described as daughter of Amice and thus sister of Sir John. Her, probably second, husband was Hugh Bardolf, Justiciar and a royal official of King Richard and King John, who lived from about 1150 to 1203. In April 1194 Hugh de Puiset, Bishop of Durham, resigned the earldom of Northumberland into the King’s hands, and was charged to deliver it to Hugh Bardolf. We might be right to date to this time the entry in the Durham Liber Vitae,[27] recording Hugh Bardolf with his wife Amabilia and daughter Beatrix and also Amabilia’s daughter Adaliza (or Alice.)   Evidently Beatrix was dead by 1203, when Hugh Bardolf’s brother Robert was found to be his heir. When Amabilia herself died, about 1213 or early 1214, her heirs were David Lindsay and her sister Basilia de Odingseles, so equally her own daughter Adaliza also must have died. The implication of this entry is that Amabilia had been already married before Bardolf, but no record of this earlier husband is evident. This might therefore suggest that she was born as early as 1155. That she was the eldest daughter is evident from the above Close Roll references and also a Pipe Roll record of 1193, when Hugh Bardolf is stated to hold the heir of John de Limesi.

After Bardolf’s death[28] she married again. King John made a gift[29] in 1203 to William's son, John de Briouse, of Amabile de Limesi, widow of Hugh Bardolf, for a fine of £1000. After his death she obtained permission to marry at her will, the fine being fully recorded[30] in the Rotuli de Finibus. Before 1207 she married Robert de Ropesley and she appears to have died before 1214 when her sister Basilia claimed half her lands. £44 and 3 palfreys, probably the balance of her fine, is carried forward in the Pipe Rolls, noted below. Her last husband, Robert de Ropesley, on Amabilia’s death had the heir of David Lindsay interdicted from interfering with his crops[31] (see below) and he himself retained possession until he died in 1218. It is not clear how he achieved this, as he could not have been holding by the ‘Courtesy of England’, as he and Amabilia had apparently had no child, she doubtless being by now far too old. Pleadings in one of the Curia Regis cases quoted later[32] show that this Robert was married to ‘a daughter’ of Gerard and Amicia, also confirming him as the husband of Amabilia. On Amabilia’s death the Limesi heritage was divided into two parts, that of David Lindsay and that of Basilia de Odingseles, indicating that Amabilia had no surviving issue.

Thus the chronology is indeed extremely stretched. The two brothers are recorded in the Rotuli Dominarum of 1185 as knights, probably indicating full age. On the other hand Basilia is stated in the Testa de Nevill to have been given in marriage by King John, so still in ward. So Basilia married after 1199, while her sister Amabilia was married nearer 1175. It will be shown later that the chronology of the Lindsay family indicates that the other surviving sister Alicia, wife of William de Lindsay, had a son old enough to witness in 1185x95 and her grandson was born in about 1203, so indicating her comparably earlier birth.

For this to be possible, Amicia’s age in 1185 must have been exaggerated. To indicate the difficulty of the chronology, a table showing approximate birth dates has been prepared (see Fig.1). I had indeed originally worked on a hypothesis that the Limesi heiress married David I de Lindsay, this being consistent by the chronology, but it is evident that she in fact married his father, William.

Close Roll and Pipe Roll evidence

It is at this point that Farrer was led astray into thinking that John was not the last of the line, for in the Pipe Roll[33] is recorded:

1195       Johannes de Limesi l m. (50 merks or £33 13s 4d) pro habendo recto de Bradewell’ versus Radulfum de Wirecr’. Sed debent requiri ab Hugone Bard’ qui habet custodiam heredis predicti Johannis

1206 (Northants)   Johannes de Limesi r.c. de dim. m.[half a mark or 6/8d] de scutagio. In Thes lib.   Et Q. E.


Johannes de Limesi debet xx s ……..

1207       Johannes de Limesi debet xx s. de quibus Robertus de Poppesl’ habet quietantiam. Per breve G filii Petri.

Here all the entries refers to the lands of the deceased John, and as such they are recorded as debts owing on his lands, even though he is dead. Imagining how a scribe would view it at the time, this is not so strange. The first entry shows Amabilia’s second husband, and the last her fourth husband answerable for John de Limesi’s debts.

Fig 1.   de Limesi, de Lindsay and de Odingselles showing chronological relationships


It is in 1213/14 that Amabilia dies, which leads to this Close Roll[34] entry:

1214        Preceptum est vicecomite Oxon’, Suff’ et Norf’ ut faciant habere plenarie Roberto de Roppel’ per breve domini Regis bladum quod idem Robertus seminavit in terras heredum Davidis de Lindesay etc

So the sheriffs of Oxfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk are directed to let Robert de Ropesley have the corn which he has sown in the lands of the heirs of David de Lindesay, indicating that David de Lindsay I had already died by 1213/14, not by 1218 as noted in the Scots Peerage account. But in 1213 we also have a Close Roll[35] record

    De obsidibus Regis Scottie

Rex Saiero Comite Wintonie etc. Mandamuus vobis quod statim visis litteris istis faciatis venire ad nos per bonos et salvos nuncios Regin[aldum] filium vostrum et filium Willielmi de Veteri Ponte obsides Rege Scottie qui sunt in custodia vostra per preceptum nostrum. Ita quod sint ad nos apud Portesm’ in vigiliam instantis festi Sancti Johanne Baptisto. Testibus ut proximo supra.

Eodem mense scribitur Roberto de Vallibus de filio Willielmi de Vallibus, Willielmo de Mobbray de Nigello filio Philippo de Mobray, Willielmo filio Wakelini [de] filio Gervasii Avenell’, Petro de Brus de fratre Roberti de Brus. Preterea Thomas de Samford’ liberatus fuit custodiendus Comitis Davidis [et] de filio Davidis de Lindesay. Roberto de Ros de fratre Walteri de Clifford, Willlielmo de Albini patri de filio Comitis Gileberti de Strau[thern]a, Priori de Dunolmo de filio Laurentii de Abernethen’. Testibus ut proximo supra.

Precept’ domino Wintonie Episcopo ore quod filius Thome de Galweya apud Portesm’ die predicto habat. Et Roberto de Veteri Ponte quod ad eundem diem habat Willielmum filium Comitis Patricii et obsidem Regis Scottie. Et sciendum est quod filia Alani de Galweya que fuit in custodia Roberti filii Rogeri mortua est. Et filius Willielmi Cumin qui fuit in custodia Eustachii de Vescy quietus est.

This indicates that Earl David of Huntingdon and David, the son of David de Lindsay, then aged about nine or ten years, were being held together as hostages for King William. David de Lindsay the father is not noted as being dead at this stage, although this is possible, even probable.

In the Pipe Roll under Leicestershire we find:

1214       Hugo de Hodingseles et Basilia uxor eius   D m. pro habenda hereditate que ipsam Basiliam hereditarie contingit de terris et tenementis que fuerunt Johannis de Limesi quondam fratris sui, ita quod reddant D m. (£333. 6s.8d.) infra tres annos

Given the other evidence discussed above, this refers to the only John de Limesi, who died in 1193. Amabilia is also recorded in the Pipe Rolls:

1214        Amabilia de Limesi debet cc et xliiij li. et xiij s. et x d. [£244/13/10d] et iij palefridos.   ut non distringitur sicut continetur in rotulo viijo

1214        Amabilia de Limesie debet cc m. et xliiij li.. et xiij s. et x d. et iii palfredos et non distringitur sicut continetur in rotulo viij

1221       Heredes Amabilie de Limes’ debet cc et xliiij li. et xiij s. et x d. et iij palfredos et non distringitur sicut continetur in rot. viij R.J.

Again she is named although dead; her heirs appear again in 1222 for the same amount, and also for some scutages, but we also find this entry:

1222       Hugo de Oddingseles qui habet unam heredum Amabilie de Limesi debet v m. pro eadem Amabilie de fine et scutagio quod requirebatur in Essex’. David f. David’ de Lindes’ alter heres eiusdem Amabilie debet v m. pro eadem pro eodem quod requirebatur ibidem.

So we learn that the heirs of Amabilia are Basilia and David II de Lindsay. Note here that although Hugh “has one of the heirs of Amabilie”, ie is married to one of the heirs, “David son of David de Lindesay is the other heir”, so the heiress through whom he was entitled has died and he has the absolute right as co-heir.

At the end of 1218 notifications[36] had been sent to the sheriffs of the counties within which David had held lands; below is that to the sheriff of Oxford:

1218       Rex Vic’ Oxon etc, Scias quod commisimus dilecto et fideli nostro Engel’ de Cygoinny custodiam tocie terre cum pertinentiis que fuit Davidis de Limesia in ballivata tua quam Robertus de Roppell’ tenuit. Et id precipimusquod eidem Engel’ inde plenam seisinam habere facias sine dilatione. Teste domino P Wintonie Episcopo apud Westmonisterio, xiiij die Dec’

Here we find that David de Lindsay described by the surname de Limesi, showing the great value of this inheritance. Engelard de Cygoinny had been granted the ward of David de Lindsay’s lands and heirs, and this was because Robert de Ropsley had died, having these lands, not by the courtesy of England, but rather by a private arrangement of either Basilia or of the King. Some time seems to have elapsed before arrangements of the wardship were finalised, perhaps indicating the importance of the matter.

In the Pipe Rolls we find:

1221       Et Willelmo de Cantilup’ c m. pro terra David de Lindes’ quam R concesserat eidem Willelmo ad se sustentandum et quam R postea concessit R Scotie per finem quem fecit cum eo (per breve Regis) …..

1222       Alexander Rex Scott’ r.c. de cc li [£200] pro habenda custodia heredum David’ de Lindes’ cum maritagio eorumdem In Thes c. et xxxiii li. et vi s. et viij d. Et debet c m.

The former suggests that William de Cantelupe had some Limesi lands for his sustenance by gift of the King, and was to be compensated for their loss, while the latter corresponds to the record in the Close Rolls for 1222:

1222       Rex E Thesaurio et F et R [Camerariis] salutem. Liberate Egel’ de Cygoyny de fine trescentarum marcarum (£300) per quas A Rex Scott’ finem fecit nobiscum pro habenda custodia terre et heredis Johannis de Limesye ducentas marcas in recompensiationem exituum terre ipsius Johannis quam eidem Engelardo prius comiseram. Testibus ut supra.[37]

Engelard de Cygoyny is excused the £300 which he owed for the purchase of the wardship and is granted a further 200 marks to compensate him for the loss of the profits (exituum, meaning literally issue) of the lands. This indicates how profitable the wardship of lands could be.

1224       Rex Vic’ Suff salutem.            Precipimus tibi quod David de Lindes’ qui est in custodia Alexandri Regis Scottorum de omnibus terris suis cum pertinentiis in bailli[vat]a tua quas in manum nostram cepisti per preceptum nostrum eo quod non fuit nec habuit nobiscum servicium suum nobis debitum in exercitu nostro Wallense sine delatione resaisias. Test H[enrico] etc apud Westm’ xxxj die Oct’.[38]

The Pipe Roll also records “heredum”, rather than “heredis”, indicating that the scribe was apparently not aware whether there was a single heir or multiple heirs in this case. However the Book of Fees[39] includes the following relating to Cavendish, Suffolk:

Filius David de Lindeseye similiter [in custodia domini Regis] debet esse et cetera, et Engelard’ [de Cygoyny] constabularies de Windleshore habet terram eius in Kaftndich’ et terra valet c.s. [100 shillings], set nescimus per quem tenet.

Basilia de Limesi est de donatione domini regis, et est maritata Hugoni de Hodesell’ per dominum Regem Johannem, et valet terra eius in Kavenedis c.s.

So we learn that Cavendish was worth £10 and was shared by David, the son of David I de Lindsay, and Basilia, who was given to her husband by King John (1199-1216). This would suggest that she was much younger than Amabilia and Alicia, whose name we learn from a court case.

Curia Regis evidence

There are two Curia Regis cases which bear on the descent of the family and it seems sensible to quote all the evidence. The first relates to the presentation to the living of Cavendish. An attorney, Lucas, chaplain of Henry the Justiciar, was appointed under letters patent[40] dated 22nd January 1219/20 to deal with this matter, acting because “the lands of David de Lindese were in the hands of the king”, but he did not appear in 1220, and neither was the death of David de Lindsay acknowledged, as we see below.

1219[41] Basilia de Limesie ponit loco suo Adam de Limesie versus priorem de Hertford’ de placito assise ultime presentacionis etc

1220[42]   Assisa venit recognitura quis advocatus tempore pacis presentavit ultimam personam, que mortua est, ad ecclesiam de Kavenedis’, que vacat, etc, cujus advocationem Hugo de Odingsel’ et Basilia uxor ejus clamant versus priorem Hertford’: qui venit per attornatum suum et dicit quod non debet ad hoc breve respondere, quia David de Lindesie, filius Alicie sororis predicte Basilie, adeo magnum jus habet in advocatione illa sicut et ipsa Basilia, si quod jus haberet; et desicut ipse non nominatur in brevi, non vult respondere ad hoc breve, nisi curia consideraverit: et Hugo hoc cognovit. Et ideo sine die: et juratores sine die similiter.

1221[43]   Assisa venit recognitura quis advocatus tempore pacis presentavit ultimam personam, que mortua est, ad ecclesiam de Kavenedish’, que vacat, ut dicitur, cujus advocationem dominus rex et Hugo de Oddingsel’ et Basilia uxor ejus clamant versus priorem de Hertford’: qui venit per attornatum suum et dicit quod revera Johannes de Lemisia presentavit ultimam personam que mortua est, scilicet Hugone Ledet. Set postea dedit idem Johannes ei ecclesiam illam; et inde profert cartam suam, que testatur quod dedit Deo et ecclesie de Hertford’ et monachis etc ecclesiam de Kavenedis’ cum pertinentiis suis etc habendam quiete post decessum Hugnis Ledet tunc persone. Profert etiam cartam J quondam Norwicensis episcopi. Que confirmat eis ecclesiam de Kavenedis’ cum omnibus pertinentiis in usus suos proprios ex donatione Johannis de Limis’. Profert etiam cartam J quondam episcopi secundi, eodem modo ecclesiam illam eis confirmantem. Unde non videtur ei quod assisa debeat inde fieri.

Et dominus rex et predicti Hugo et Basilia bene congoscunt quod Johannes de Limesia presentavit predictum Hugonem qui ultimo obiit persona in ecclesia illa: set idem Johannes fuit seisitus de advocatiione illa omnibus diebus vite sue, et obiit inde seisitus; et petunt talem seisinam qualem idem Johannes habuit. Et bene patet quod idem Johannes obiit inde seisitus, quia post mortem ejus predictus Hugo persona dedit vicariam ejusdem ecclesie cuidem Gaufrido Clerico, qui presens est et hoc testatur, ad donationem predictorum Hugonis de Oddingsel’ et Basilie [uxoris ejus] et Roberti de Roppell’ et uxoris ejus, heredum ipsius Johannis de Limesia; unde bene patet quod fuerunt seisiti de advocatione, cum assensum prebuerunt et per eorum presentationem fuit idem Gaufridus admissus ad vicariam. Et, si hoc non sufficit, dicunt quod carta Johannis non debet eis nocere, quia idem Johannes nunquam illam fecit; immo illam fecit Alicia comitissa [de Warewic’] uxur ejusdem Johannis post mortem ipsius Johannis; et inde ponunt se super testes super tested nominatos in carta et super juratam patrie.

Et Hugo capit se ad monstrandum quod carta facta fuit post mortem Johannis, sicut predictum est; et inde ponit se super testes etc cum visneto vel, si curia voluerit, super juratores de assisa.

Et prior non ponit se super juratores, immo super testes cum visneto. Et ideo testes summoneantur quod sint in crastino Ascensionis Domini ad recognoscendum simul cum novem juratoribus ejusdem assise et cum octo liberis et legalibus hominibus de comitatu Warewic’ de visneto de Makestoc’, per quos etc, ad recognoscendum si predictus Johannes in ligia potestate sua fecit cartam illam eidem priori vel si facta fuit post mortem ejusdem Johannis etc Idem dies datus est novem juratoribus concessis hinc inde, etc Walterus de Bidun, Radulfus de Colingeham, Radulfus de la Rivere testes in carta.

Et Hugo et Basilia ponunt loco suo Silvestrum de Monfread’ vel Radulfum de Araby etc

1225[44]   Prior de Hertford’ in misericordia pro injusto deforciamento versus dominum regem et Hugonem de Oddingesel’ et Basilia uxorem ejus de advocatione ecclesie de Kavenediss’, unde dominus rex clamavit mediaetatem ratione heredis David de Limes’, qui fuit in custodia regis et qui fuit particeps predicte Basilie de hereditate Johannis de Limes’, sicut patet in recordo de termino Pasche anno quinto et iterum de termino sancti Hillarii anno sexto. Et ideo mandatum est episcopo Norwicensi quod admittat clericum ad presentationem Hugonis et Basilie et participis sui.

Apart from showing that the Prior of Hertford was prepared to forge documents, no doubt justifying himself in the belief that John de Limesi would had granted the deed had he lived, this gives us interesting information about the family, that David de Lindsay’s mother was Alicia, sister of Basilia, that John’s widow had married the earl of Warwick[45] and that Robert de Ropelle was married to a further sister, known from elsewhere to be Amabilia, who with Basilia, was one of the heirs of the John de Limesi who had presented previously. It is evident that David de Lindsey had died, both from previous records quoted, but also because the King had appointed an attorney. This fact is not reflected in the Prior’s 1220 pleadings, although they do appear to be correct in relating the family relationships, in that David is said to be the son of Alice de Limesi. Given that there is good evidence[46] that David I de Lindsay was married to Margery, and that she was the mother of William, David II, Gerard and Alice, the eventual heiress through whom Sir Robert de Pinkeny inherited his claim to the Scots throne, which was itself based on descent from this very Margery, the David mentioned could not have been David II. On the basis of this other evidence, we must accept that either the Prior’s attorney was confused in 1220, or that the transcript is inaccurate – perhaps it should have read adeo magnum jus habuit rather than habet. In 1225 it is recorded that ‘the heir of David de Lindsay’ was in the custody of the King, but the past tense is used so he must have come of age after the end of the Hilary Term in 6 Henry III, ie 1222, and we know that this must be David II, known from other records to have been in ward since 1214 and still in ward on 31 October 1224[47].

The second case relates to six hides in Bradwell, Oxon and our first record is in 1223:

1223 no 538[48]       Magister milicie Templi per atornatum suum optulit se iiij. die versus David de Lindeya de placito quod warrantizet ei simul cum Hugone de Odingel’ et Basilia uxore ejus vj. hidas terre cum pertinentiis in Bradewell’, quas tenet et de eis tenere clamat et unde cartam Alani patris Basilie et avi David etc. Et David non venit etc; et attachiatus fuit per Robertum filium Radulfi et Gerardum de Falkingelac’ etc. Et ideo ponatur per meliores plegios quod sit a die sancti Michaelis in v. septimanas: et primi etc. Idem dies datus est Hugoni in banco, qui cepit in manum habendi uxorem suam ad diem illum, prece parcium etc.

1223 no 1018[49]     Magister militie Templi in Anglia petit versus Hugonem de heddingesel’ et Basiliam uxorem ejus quod warrantizent ei simul cum David de Lindes’ sex hidas terre cum pertinentiis in Bradewell’, quas tenet et de eis tenere clamat et unde cartam Alani de Lymesia et Gerard filii sui, patris Basilie et avi predicti David, quorum heredes ipsi sunt, habet, quam profert et que testatur quod idem Alanus et Gerardus dederunt etc. Deo et beate Marie et fratribus etc decem libratas terre in Bradewella libere et quiete ab omnibus secularibus exactionibus et servitiis sicut aliqua elemosina unquam eis melius data fuit; unde idem magister queritur quod, sicut tenet terram illam in liberam et puram elemnosinam, ipse Hugo et Basilia et ballivi sui et ballivi predicti David ditringunt eum et homines suos per terram illam et per catalla sua ad arandum et ad herciandum et ad alias consuetudines faciendas; per quod deterioratus est et dampnum habet ad velentiam viginti marcarum etc. Et preterea inparcant averia sua in communa pastura etc

Et Hugo et Basilia veniunt et defendunt eum et contra sectam suam quod non vexant eum nec homines suos; et bene defendunt deteriorationem viginti marcarum etc et totum de verbo in verbum, sicut curia consideraverit; et bene cognoscunt cartam et quod nichil ab eo exigunt de servitiis et consuetudinibus contra cartam illam etc; et hoc offerunt defendere sicut curia consideraverit.

Dies datus est eis de audiendo judicio suo a die Pasche in unum mensem prece partium. Et interim teneat magister in pace sicut carta sua testatur, quia hoc ei concedunt. Et Basilia ponit loco suo Selvestrum de Monte Freardi.

Interestingly the same attorney, Silvester de Monte Freardi, is used by Hugh and Basilia as in the Cavendish case. In this case we find that the descent of Basilia and David given in No 538 is incorrect and amended in No 1018, where Basilia is shown as daughter of Gerard and aunt of David, but which David is not specified. Given that the case was heard some ten years after the death of David I, we might be forgiven for taking it that here we are dealing with David II, but it is clear that both heiresses are the daughters of Gerard de Limesi, and that a David is the son of one. Again we know from other sources that there were two Davids, of whom the younger recorded[50] his mother as Margareta. Again we find that the recorded pleadings are not entirely accurate, although perhaps one should not be surprised, for many cases were decided not on a point of law, but on a point of fact. These two court records show that the pleadings cannot be relied on for accuracy, and that the evidence has to be confirmed as consistent with other records.

Charter evidence from Hertford Priory Cartulary

Finally we have a series of charters to Hertford Abbey, the second and third of which were not recorded by Dugdale. The first charter[51] is by John de Limesi, while the second[52] and the third[53] are by his great-nephew and senior heir David de Lindsay II. These charters were transcribed in the 1600s and so do not use the medieval ‘-e’, which is shown as ‘-ae’:

[Charter of John de Limeysye]

Johannes de Limeysye Omnibz hominibz et amicis suis Clericis et Laicis tam futuris quam p’sentibz Salutem. Sciatis me dedisse & Concessisse et hac mea Charta Confirmasse deo S’tae Mariae et eclesiae de hertford et monachis ibidem deo seruientibz intuitu pietatis et p’ salute animae meae et predecessorum meorum eclesiam de Cauenedis Cum Omnibz suis p’tine’ libere et quiete habendz post decessum hugonis Laidet et ideo volo vt p’dicti monachi p’scriptam ecclesiam teneant et possideant sicut aliqua elimosina potest et debet & melius haberi et teneri test hiis Amicia matre mea W’o Capellano meo Guarino Capellano Ricardo de Limesy Dauid nepote meo Alano de Sommeruill Robto filio henrici Waltero de Bidun Gislebt’o fill Willi Airun Columbani Radulph de Colingham. Radulph de Riuera Ricardo fratre suo Radulph de Limesy. Galfrido fratre suo Can’ malehel.

[Charter of David de Lynsei II]

Sciunt p’sentes et futuri q’d Ego Dauid de Lynsei Concessi et hac p’senti Carta mea confirmasse deo et ecclesie St’e Marie de hertford et monachis ibidem deo Seruientibz p’ salute anime meae et Omn’ antecessorum et successorum meoru’ in puram et liberam et p’petuam Elimozinam totum Jus patronatus q’d habui vel habere p’toni in ecclesia de Cavendis et p’tine eiusdem ecclesiae que ad patronum poterant p’tinere Concedo p’teria et Confirmo p’dictis monachis totam terram cum Bosco et messuagio et omnibus p’tin’d’ quos Domina Amabillia de Limsey eis dedit et carta sua confirmauit in villa de Bibesworth insuper concedo et confirmo eis dua virgatae terrae cum omnibz p’tin’ suis quas habent ex dono dominae Amiciae matris p’fatae Amabilis in villa de Nichethun et volo q’d p’fati monachi habeat et teneant absqu’ omni calumpnia mei vell heredz meorum integre quiete pacifice et ita libere plenni jus patronatus memoratae ecclesiae cum suis p’tin’ et e’um. Omnibz aliis terris et rebus ex donacione antecessorum meorum eis Concessis sunt aliqua elimozina alicui eclesiae melius vell Liberius potest vell potent - exhiberi et vt hec donatio et carta mea confirmatio p’petuum Robur optineat p’senti Scripto Sigillum meum apposui his testibz Domino Gerardo de hippewelle Domino Johanni de hubestaut Domino Ricardo de Bichertun Domino Will de hussebane Johanni de Sefford Thoma Bacun Bartholomeo de Riparia henrico Clerico de hertford et aliis.

[Charter of David de Lindesey II]

Omnibz Christi fidelibz p’sens scriptum visur’ vell auditur’ David de Lindesey Salutem nouerint universitas uestra me divine pietatis intuitu’ Concessisse et hac p’senti Carta mea Confirmasse in Liberam puram et ppetuam elimosinam deo et ecclesie S’te Marie de Hertford et monachis ibidem deo seruientibz totas terras et redditus et decimas et quascunqz possessiones et Libertates Radulphus de Limesey fundator ejusdem ecclesie de Hertford et Alanus de Limesey et Gerard de Limesey et Johannes de Limesey antecessores mei eisdem monachis dederunt concesserunt et Cartis suis confirmauerunt sicut eorundem venerabilum antecessorum meorum carta prestantur hanc autem Concessionem et carte mee confirmacionem feci eisdem monachis p salute mea propria et p animabz patris mei David de Linsei et matris mee margareta et Omnium antecessorum meorum Vt autem hic concessio et Carta mea ppetuam optineat firmitatem p’sens scriptum sigilli mei numinime Coroboraui his testibz Johannes hubesaut milite Thoma filii Johannis Will Reuel Will de Aula Radulph de Riparia Bartholomeo fratre ejus et multis aliis.

The first charter is by John de Limesi, with witnesses including Amicia his mother and David his nephew. David II’s first charter grants the previously disputed patronage of the church of Cavendish to Hertford Priory and also recites the grant of Amabilia, daughter of Amicia. In the last of these charters David confirms the grants of his ancestors back to the founder Ralph de Limesi, but also makes the grant pro animabus patris mei David de Linsei et matris mee Margareta.

This confirms that Amabilia, called Domina Amabilia, was indeed a daughter of Gerard de Limesi and Amicia de Bidun. It also shows that David II de Lindsay was the son of David I and Margery, here called Margaret[54]. David I was the son of William de Lindsay, as we know from a charter[55] to Newbottle Abbey in Scotland.


The records present incompatible evidence. Amicia de Bidun is recorded as being 60 in 1185, her sons were of full age, but probably not all her daughters, for Basilia was not married until the reign of King John, so after 1199. Alicia, Basilia’s sister, is the mother of David I de Lindsay, and cannot have been the mother of David II and Gerard de Lindsay, as their mother is named[56] as Margareta, or the French version of the same name, Margery, despite the apparently contradictory evidence in the court cases. Furthermore the two court cases which have come down to us suggest that Alicia’s son was the first David de Lindsey, although the Cavendish case does indicate that the David who is mentioned in 1223 was described in 1225 as the father of ‘the heir of David de Lindsey’, who can in that year only be David II de Lindsey.

These evidences are fundamentally incompatible, and the answer which does least violence to the evidence must be that the mother of David II and Gerard de Lindsey was indeed Margery, as recorded by both sons, and also by Robert de Pinkeny[57] in 1292. Thus Alicia was married to the father of David I de Lindsey, and the age of Amicia is inaccurately stated. If she were aged say 45 or 50 rather than 60, it would be consistent with her two sons being both knights and of age in 1185, and also consistent with her having a daughter Basilia, who was not married until after 1199. While Amabilia is the eldest daughter, Alicia is evidently the elder of the two daughters and co-heiresses who had issue, while we might guess that Basilia was one of the youngest, if not the youngest, of the many daughters recorded in 1185. We know of five children who survived to adulthood, and that might suggest, given a number who might have died prematurely, a period of child-bearing of up to twenty years. It is therefore consistent that David II de Lindsay should be born only some five years or so after his youngest great-aunt is married.

This would suggest the pedigree as shown in Fig.2.

Fig 2.   Proposed pedigree for the de Limesi descent



I am grateful to the editor (Steve Edwards), to the FMG referees, and to Rosie Bevan and John Ravilious for their help in this difficult matter.


Bain, Joseph, ed. Calendar of Documents relating to Scotland [CDS]. Edinburgh: General Register House, 1884.

Clay, Charles. “Hugh Bardolf the Justice and his Family.” Lincolnshire History and Archaeology 50: 5-28, 1966.

Dugdale, William. Monasticon Anglicanum. London: James Bohn, 1846 edition.

Dugdale, William. Antiquities of Warwickshire, 3 vols. London, 1730.

Farrer, W. Honors and Knights’ Fees [HKF] 3 vols. London & Manchester, from 1923.

Hansen, Charles M. “The Pinkeny Claim to Scotland.” The American Genealogist 75: 277, 2000.

Keats-Rohan, K S B. Domesday Descendants: A Prosopography of Persons Occurring in English Documents 1066-1166. Volume II Pipe Rolls to Cartae Baronum. Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2002.

Marshall, George William, ed. The Visitations of the County of Nottingham in the Years 1569 and 1614, with many other descents of the County. London: Harleian Society, 4: 75, 1871.

Maxwell Lyte, H C, ed. Liber feodorum : the book of fees, commonly called Testa de Nevill, Vol 1. London: HMSO, 1920.

Linzee, J W. The Lindeseie and Limesi families of Great Britain. Boston, Mass: privately printed, Fort Hill Press, 1917.

Painter, Sidney. The Reign of King John. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1949.

Paul, James Balfour, ed. The Scots Peerage. Edinburgh: David Douglas, from 1904.

Round, J H, ed. Rotuli de dominabus et pueris et puellis de XII comitatibus, 1185. Pipe Roll Society, 35. London, 1913.

Sanders, I J. English Baronies. A Study of their Origin and Descent, 1086-1327. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1960.

Stevenson, J, ed. Liber Vitae Ecclesiae Dunelmensis. Durham: Surtees Society, 1841.

Stones, E L G & Grant G Simpson. Edward I and the throne of Scotland, 1290-1296. Oxford: OUP for the University of Glasgow, 1978.

Stringer, K J. Earl David of Huntingdon 1152-1219: a study in Anglo-Scottish history. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1985.




[1]     Contact details: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Alex is a published author specializing in early medieval prosopology and heraldry.

[2]     VCH Herts, vol.4: 419-21.

[3]     William Dugdale, Monasticon Anglicanum (1846 edition) iii, 300.

[4]     K S B Keats-Rohan, Domesday Descendants [DD] (2002), sub de Limesi.

[5]     VCH Herts, vol.3: 44ff, sub parish of Pirton.

[6]     W Farrer, Honors and Knights’ Fees [HKF], vol.i (1923), vol.ii (1924) & vol.iii (1925).

[7]     HKF ii, 344/5, quoting J Bain, Calendar of Documents relating to Scotland [CDS] (1884) I: 31. See also Munimenta Prioratus de Hertford in Liber Ricardi S’ti Georgii, Lansdowne MSS 863 folio 157, the third charter quoted later in this paper.

[8]     Sir James Balfour Paul, ed., The Scots Peerage, (from 1904).

[9]     William Dugdale, Antiquities of Warwickshire (1730) i: 342-3; ii: 847; iii: 300-301.

[10]    Charles M Hansen, “The Pinkeny Claim to Scotland,” The American Genealogist 75, (2000): 277.

[11]    Liber feodorum : the book of fees, commonly called Testa de Nevill 1 (ed. H C Maxwell Lyte, 1920), 283.

[12]    Curia Regis Rolls 9: 292.

[13]    George William Marshall, ed., The Visitations of the County of Nottingham in the years 1569 and 1614, Harleian Society 4 (1871): 75. Although the name is correct as Alice, here she is shown incorrectly as married to David I de Lindsay, described as ‘a Scott’ and her father, Galfrey, is named also de Lindsey, showing the old confusion of the de Limesi and de Lindesi families, also spelled Limesey and Lindesey.

[14]    HKF 2: 344: In 1243 Gerard de Lindesei, son of Margery de Lindesei, granted by agreement to Geoffrey son of Simon de Barton 2½ virgates which Geoffrey’s father had held by charter from the said Margery (CDS 1: 31).

[15]    E L G Stones & Grant G Simpson, Edward I and the Throne of Scotland, 1290-1296, ii (1978), 135‑6.

[16]    Rotuli de dominabus et pueris et puellis de XII comitatibus, 1185, Pipe Roll Society, 35 (ed. J H Round, 1913), (or Grimaldi’s 1830 edition, p.51).

[17]    Rotuli de dominabus, op.cit. (1913), p. xxxviii.

[18]    Close Rolls folio vol.1: 17; see also CP 12(2): 364.

[19]    Rotuli Curiae Regis 2: 211.

[20]    Rotuli Curiae Regis 2: 215.

[21]    Curia Regis Rolls 1: 130.

[22]    Curia Regis Rolls 1: 301.

[23]    Close Rolls folio vol.1: 22b.

[24]    Close Rolls folio vol.1: 24a.

[25]    Close Rolls folio vol.1: 24b.

[26]    Liber Rubeus de Scaccario, Rolls Series (1896), pp. 693, 29/30, 110, 126, 149, 505, 560.

[27]    Liber Vitae Ecclesiae Dunelmensis (ed. Joseph Stevenson, 1841), f.53, p.84.

[28]    Sir Charles Clay, “Hugh Bardolf the Justice and his Family,” Lincolnshire History and Archaeology 50 (1966): 5-28.

[29]    Sidney Painter, The Reign of King John (1949), 45, citing Pipe Roll 5 John, p.197. I thank John Ravilious for this reference.

[30]    Rotuli de Finibus p.244.

[31]    Close Rolls, folio vol.1: 208.

[32]    Curia Regis Rolls 10: 70-71.

[33]    published by the Pipe Roll Society, London, as Rolls of the Pipe, with the year to which the individual volume refers.

[34]    Close Rolls, folio vol.1: 208 (quoted in Farrer, op.cit., HKF, ii, 343).

[35]    Close Rolls, folio vol.1: 137.

[36]    Close Rolls, folio vol.1: 384, 386, 387.

[37]    Close Rolls, folio vol.1: 494a.

[38]    Close Rolls, vol.1 (1204-1224): 628b.

[39]    Book of Fees, 1: 283.

[40]    Patent Rolls 1216-1225, 185-186.

[41]    Curia Regis Rolls 8: 9.

[42]    Curia Regis Rolls 9: 292.

[43]    Curia Regis Rolls 10: 70-71.

[44]    Curia Regis Rolls 12: 103, no.509.

[45]    confirmed by CP 12(2): 364. Thomas de Beaumont earl of Warwick married c.1196 Alice daughter of Robert de Harcourt and widow of John de Limesy.

[46]    Sir Robert de Pinkeny in his pedigree produced in 1292 claims descent from Margery (Stones & Simpson, op..cit. (1978), ii, 135-6). “Gerard de Lindesei, son of Margery de Lindesei” in 1243 made an agreement that Geoffrey son of Simon de Barton should have the 2½ virgates held by a charter from the said Margery (CDS i, 294). David II de Lindsay calls his mother Margareta, a variant of Margeria, in the Hertford charter quoted below.

[47]    1214: Close Rolls folio vol.1: 208; 1224: Close Rolls folio vol.1: 628b.

[48]    Curia Regis Rolls 11: 103.

[49]    Curia Regis Rolls 11: 204-5.

[50]    see third charter quoted later.

[51]    Munimenta Prioratus de Hertford in Liber Ricardi S’ti Georgii, Lansdowne MSS 863 f.157 (old pagination), the same source of the charters recorded in Dugdale’s Monasticon, in The Lindeseie and Limesi families of Great Britain by John William Linzee (1917), vol 1, pp.172-173. I am grateful to John Ravilious for drawing my attention to this book.

[52]    folio 157b.

[53]    folio 157.

[54]    She is recorded more than once by each name.

[55]    Register of Newbottle, no.137; the dating of the Newbottle charter is based on the Royal confirmation of the Lindsay charter, where the style of earl David as David Comes, which was adopted in 1185, and the lack of a year date, which was added by the Royal Chancery from 1195, place it between these two dates. The Lindsay charter itself would be likely to precede only slightly the Royal confirmation. As David I was a witness to this charter, it suggests that he was at least 14 years old, so born c.1175.

[56]    See note 45.

[57]    See note 46.

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