Archiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2004-11 > 1101870764

From: "Todd A. Farmerie" <>
Subject: Re: Champernoun/Champernowne - an RPA omission?
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 2004 20:12:55 -0700
References: <003c01c4cdc3$8da40530$> <41a7f608@news.ColoState.EDU> <> <41a92e96@news.ColoState.EDU> <> <>
In-Reply-To: <>

Mark Harry wrote:
> As I do not have my notes with me in the internet cafe, I am doing the
> following from memory ......
> Pole describes the reference as occurring in a grant by Earl Edmund of
> the assize of bread and ale to the said Richard Chamnpernowne and his
> wife in the reign of Edward I.
> Pole and Risdon are the only sources that I am aware of for the
> descent of the Champernownes from earl Richard.

Also a Visitation pedigree (Monk family) shows such a descent, although
it is impossible (it makes Joan, wife of Alexander de Oxton the daughter
of Edmund, Earl of Cornwall).

> Pole's reference is ambiguous in that it is open to debate whether the
> "sister" in question is Joan wife of Richard Champernowne, or else her
> mother, Joan senior, the widow of Ralph de Valletort and subsequent
> wife of Alexander de Okeston.

This is only the case of the sentence is removed from context (and even
then, it is a difficult argument). In context, the meaning is
unambiguous. (Fortunately, last night while I was looking for something
else, I found a portion of the Pole quote in my hand-written notes, and
one of Benson's D&CN&Q articles has the whole thing, which, although
they disagree in certain incidental particulars, are in general agreement.)

Quoting Benson (D&CN&Q 18:109-110):

Modbury was conveyed by Roger de Valletort "unto Sr Alexander de
Okeston, wch married Jone, the widow of Raph de Valletort, wch woman (as
it is probable) was the concubine of Richard Erle of Cornwall & Kinge of
Almayne or of ye Romans; they had issue Sr James de Okeston, wch died
wthout issue; wth commandement of King Edw. 2 (hee) conveyed Modbiry, &
all other landes, formerly granted unto his father by Roger de
Valletort, unto Sr Richard Champernon wch was sonne of Richard
Champernon & Jone, daughter of Jone beforementioned, whom Edmond Erle of
Cornwall calleth by the name of his sister, in a grant made by him unto
the said Richard and Jone, of thassise of bread & ale, dated anno 12 of
King Edw. I; the said Richard the father was yonger son of Sir Henry
Chambernon of Clyst Chambernon."

I don't think it can be doubted what Pole had in mind here. Clearly
Richard married Jone, daughter of Jone (wife of Alex de Oxton),
"probable" mistress of Richard. (Note that Benson lit on "it is
probable" as an indication that Pole was making the whole thing up, but
Prideaux quoted a dictionary indicating that in the 17th century, "it is
probable" meant "it is provable", and that in the next century it had
only started to drift toward its current meaning of "likely but not
certain" - I do not have access to resources that would enable me to
support this, but that does not bear directly on the later part of the
paragraph.) As I read this, Pole had seen a charter dated 12 E. I, and
in that document Edmund, Earl of Cornwall called Jone, wife of Richard
Champernon 'his sister'.

Next, then, we have the Fines.

> However, James Oxton's fine of 1316

20 Jan. 1315/6 to be exact. (Dev.F.F. #1031)

> whereby he transferred Modbury to Richard Champernowne junior is
> strong evidence that Joan was a legitimate daughter of her mother and
> hence not a daughter of Richard. This is because she and her then
> husband Peter de Fishacre had their claim to Modbury recorded as part
> of the fine, a claim which would not exist had Joan not been the
> legitmate daughter of Alexander de Okeston.

Do we know that Joan, wife of Peter de Fisshacre is Joan, widow of
Richard Champernoun? I was of the impression that this conclusion was
reached because she challenged the fine, but the argument becomes
circular (she challenged the fine because she was James' sister, and she
was James' sister because she challenged the fine). In fact, could this
have been Joan, widow of Alexander? She would have been elderly (Ralph
died in 1256, while James reached majority 28 Dec. 1285), but I know the
chronology no better. I note that the other claimant (in addition to
Mr. & Mrs. Fisshacre) was Robert de Oxton, son and heir of Alexander de
Oxton. If Modbury was Valletort land, I don't understand why Henry de
la Pomerai and Peter Corbet did not likewise challenge, as they did with
a similar fine for Bridford (Dev.F.F. 1023 - for which, notably, Peter
and Joan de Fisshacre did not put in a claim, while Robert, son of Alex
de Oxton did. The Pomerai and Corbet claims are as Valletort coheirs,
based on Roger de Valletort being _non compos mentis_ when he alienated
various lands to Richard, Earl of Cornwall and Alexander de Oxton, most
of which appear to have ended up as Champernowne land - Corn.F.F.

> The conflict that therefore arises between this document and Pole's
> statement can however be reconciled if Earl Edmund's sister was Joan
> the mnther, not Joan the daughter.

I just don't think this is a valid reading of Pole (it seems to be
trying to make Pole bend but not break). He clearly makes Joan, wife of
Oxton the same as the ("probable") mistress of Richard, and this would
mean Edmund was calling his father's mistress his sister. I guess it is
possible that Pole himself got confused while writing this paragraph,
but it is a tricky business to start saying that an author meant
something different than what he said. Likewise, it seems odd to me
that Edmund would call 'the beforementioned Jone' his sister in a grant
to Richard and Jone de Champernoun - if he called the younger Jone
"daughter of my sister Jone" I would think Pole would have been more
explicit (although I guess it could have been in a context like "that I
had previously granted to my sister Jone, wife of Alexander de Oxton").

> This gains support from Risdon, who
> says that Earl Richard gave certain rights pertaining to a river when
> he gave his daughter in marriage to Ralph de Valletort. Risdon does
> not give his source, but one would presume that it was a (second)
> contemporary document, which would also be worth looking for -- if it
> has survived.

Benson suggests that Risdon's version arises from a misreadong of Pole,
while Prideaux suggests Risdon was trying to 'fix' the Visitation
pedigree described above (simply removing Edmund). I do not have the
Risdon quote handy, but unless he refers specifically to one, I would
not be too hasty to posit a second document.

We are still back to the conflict between Pole's description of a lost
document, and the claim in one (but not the other) fine of the transfer
to Champernoun.


This thread: