Discussion:
Complete Peerage Addition: Parentage of Sir Robert de Benhale, Lord Benhale [died 1365]
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Douglas Richardson
2014-12-16 19:15:28 UTC
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Dear Newsgroup ~

Complete Peerage 2 (1912): 115-116 (sub Benhale) includes an account of Sir Robert de Benhale, Lord Benhale [died 1365], who was summoned to Parliament 3 April 1360, by writ directed Roberto de Benhale, whereby he may be held to have become Lord Benhale.

Although not mentioned by Complete Peerage, in his day Sir Robert de Benhale was considered the hero of the Battle of Halidon Hill which took place in 1333. An account of Sir Robert de Benhale's prowess is published in Gransden, Historical Writing in England c.1307 to the Early Sixteenth Century (1996): 78, which may be previewed at the following weblink:

https://books.google.com/books?id=rUj_AQAAQBAJ&pg=PT1883&dq=%22Benhall+Sir+Robert%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=cXyQVIm3JYb2yQTCsICIDQ&ved=0CEkQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=Benhall&f=false

"Another dramatic anecdote occurs in the description of the battle of Halidon Hill. Before the engagement a champion came from the Scottish camp, a formidable giant, 'a very Goliath', who was called in English Turnbull ('Turnebole'), and challenged any Englishman to single combat. At length a Norfolk knight called Robert de Benhall accepted the challenge and rode towards the champion with drawn sword. On the way, he cut in two a black mastiff 'which accompanied and supported' the champion: the latter was so maddened by the slaughter of his dog that Benhall succeeded in cutting off his left hand and then his head." END OF QUOTE.

Complete Peerage gives the following information regarding Lord Benhale's parentage in footnote a on page 116:

"His arms were, Gules, a fer de moulin Argent, overall a bendlet Azure. These were the same as those borne by Sir Guy de Ferre, a distinguished man of Gascon origin, and the two owned adjoining manors in Suffolk, known as Benhall and Benhall Sir Robert. It seems quite possible that Sir Robert was a member of Sir Guy's family, but dropped his foreign name when he settled in England, and called himself after his Suffolk place. The fact that (like Melchizedek) nothing is known of his parentage, also points to his having been of foreign extraction, The two abovementioned Benhall manors both passed to the Ufford family, which again suggests kindred between Ferre and Benhale. (ex. inform. Arthur Crawley Boevey). V.G." END OF QUOTE.

Mr. Boevey compares Sir Robert de Benhale to a person named Melchizedek, which individual is mentioned briefly in the Book of Genesis in the Bible. Few mysteries of the Bible have been as intriguing as the identity of Melchizedek. Given this comparison, one would think that Sir Robert de Benhale had literally dropped from the sky and that his origins can not be traced in English records. As we will see below, such is not the case.

Mr. Boevey's strange theory regarding the Ferre and Benhale families appears to derive from an earlier account of these families written by a certain Charles A. Buckler published in Notes & Queries 6th Series 1 (1880): 299-300, which note may be viewed at the following weblink:

http://books.google.com/books?id=HmcEAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA299

After discussing records of various members of the Ferre and Benhale family, Mr. Buckler refers to Sir Robert de Benhale without any explanation as "Robert de Ferre, Lord of Benhall." He fails to present any evidence that Sir Robert de Benhale, Lord Benhale, was ever known as "Robert de Ferre." In fact, as far as I know, there is absolutely no basis for referring to Sir Robert de Benhale as "Robert de Ferre."

Why Mr. Buckler should turn Sir Robert de Benhale into a member of the Ferre family is not explained by him. Even so, as written by Complete Peerage, Mr. Boevey's Ferre-Benhale theory does sound convincing enough. However, Mr. Boevey's statements contain factual error. For starters, the statement is made that Sir Robert de Benhale bore the same arms as Sir Guy de Ferre, a Gascon. He specifically states that both men bore the following arms: Gules, a fer de moulin Argent, overall a bendlet Azure.

However, Collectanea Topographica et Genealogica 4 (1837): 393 includes the arms of Sir Robert de Benhale in a "Roll of the Arms of Knights at the Tournament at Dunstable, in 7 Edw. III. [i.e. 1333]": His arms are described as being:

Sable ove un bend et deux wyfres d'argent.

Elsewhere, Foster, Some Feudal Coats of Arms (1902): 21 indicates that the arms of Robert de Benhale were: Argent, a bend between three fizures (cotises) wavy sable.

As for the arms of Sir Guy de Ferre, they are discussed in the book, Johnstone, Edward of Carnarvon, 1284-1307 (1946): 15:

"Among those in 'the battle of the king's son in the Galloway of 1300 the writer includes 'Sir Guy de Ferre, gules, a mill-rind (fer de moulyn) ermine' and 'Sir Guy de Ferre, the nephew, the same arms with a baton azure. It will be noticed that these are 'canting' arms, adapted from the family name."

In spite of Mr. Boevey's claims, it can be seen at once that Sir Robert de Benhale bore a completely different set of arms from Sir Guy de Ferre. So the basis for assuming any kinship between these two men collapses at once. Neighbors yes, related no.

As for Sir Robert de Benhale's actual parentage, I recently located a lawsuit in the Court of Common Pleas dated 1353 which proves conclusively that Sir Robert de Benhale was the son and heir of a certain Geoffrey de Benhale. After locating this lawsuit, I consulted offlist with the esteemed Dr. Matthew Tompkins, who kindly provided me with an English transcript of the original Latin text. Dr. Tompkins' transcript reads as follows:

Source: Court of Common Pleas, CP40/372, image 8251f (available at http://aalt.law.uh.edu/E3/CP40no372/aCP40no372fronts/IMG_8251.htm).

Date: 1353.
"Robert son of Geoffrey de Benhale sued John son of Giles de Wesenham regarding 62 acres of land, eight acres of meadow and 5 acres of moor (mora) in Bexwell and Fordham, Norfolk, which he claimed Robert de Benhale clerk had given to Geoffrey de Benhale and the heirs of his body in the time of king Edward, 'avus' of the present king, and which after the death of the said Geoffrey ought to descend to his son and heir Robert according to the form of the gift

John through his attorney denied that Robert de Benhale clerk had granted the lands to Geoffrey de Benhale and the heirs of his body as claimed. The parties agreed that the issue of whether or not the grant had been made should be determined by a jury trial. The court ordered a jury to be summoned for the quindene of Easter in King's Lynn.

At some later date a further entry was added to the roll recording that the trial was held and the jury found that the gift had indeed been made as claimed by Robert son of Geoffrey de Benhale. It was ordered that he should recover seisin of the property." END OF TRANSCRIPT.

That the plaintiff dealing with lands in Bexwell and Fordham, Norfolk is the same person as Sir Robert de Benhale, Lord Benhale can be shown from the fact that as "Sir Robert de Benhale, knight," in 1337 he quitclaimed to the Prior and convent of Holy Trinity, Norwich, John Curteys, and Thomas de Brisele one piece of land in Riston, and one half of the advowson of the church of Fordham, Norfolk [see Turner Calender of Charters & Rolls: Bodleian Lib. (1878): 210-211; Blomefield, Essay towards a Topographical History of Norfolk 7 (1807): 395].

So Sir Robert de Benhale clearly had interests at Fordham, Norfolk.

As with the Bexwell and Fordham lands mentioned in the 1353 lawsuit, Sir Robert de Benhale appears to have derived his interest in Fordham, Norfolk from an earlier Robert de Benhale who in 1285-6 acquired a messuage, with lands valued as 60s. per annum and the moiety of the church of Fordham, with the advowson of that church from John son of Henry de Deen and Maud his wife [see
Blomefield, Essay towards a Topographical History of Norfolk 7 (1807): 395].

As per Mr. Buckler's account in Notes and Queries, Sir Robert de Benhale also appears to have derived his ownership of the small manor of Benhall Sir Robert, Suffolk from an earlier Robert de Benhale, king's clerk. The following two records cited by Mr. Buckler provide the link.

"Manerium de Benhale Sir Roberts. Carta, 20 Ed. I., A.D. 1292. "Sciatis nos concessise et hac carta nostra confirmasse dilecto clerico nostro, Roberto de Benhale," &c., datum apud Berewyk super Twedam iiij. die Junii."

7 Hen. IV., A.D. 1406, Inquisitio ad quod damnum, n. 35, 'Manerium de Benhale cum pertinen' quod nuper fuit Roberti de Benhale, mil.'"

Elsewhere I've located three other contemporary records which pertain to Robert de Benhale, clerk, who occurs in the period, 1291-1296. The third reference below indicates that he was parson of the church of Kelsale, Suffolk in 1296.

1. In 1291 Clement de Plumstede and William de Aldeburgh acknowledged that they owed Robert de Benehale 12; to be levied, in default of payment, of their lands and chattels in co. Norfolk. Reference: Calendar of Close Rolls, 1288-1296 (1904): 192.

2. In 1291 Robert de Baygnard acknowledged that he owed Robert de Benehale, clerk, £60; to be levied, in default of his lands and chattels in co. Norfolk. Reference: Calendar of Close Rolls, 1288-1296 (1904): 192.

3. In 1296 Edmund de Hastings acknowledged hat he owed Robert de Benhale, parson of the church of Kelsale, Suffolk, a debt of £50. Reference: Cal. Close Rolls, 1296-1302 (1906): 75.

In summary, the 1353 Common Pleas lawsuit proves that Sir Robert de Benhale, Lord Benhale was the son and heir of Geoffrey de Benhale. Lord Benhale was apparently near related (nephew perhaps) of an earlier Robert de Benhale, king's clerk, who was parson of Kelsale, Suffolk. Sir Robert de Benhale, Lord Benhale appears to have been the successor to the earlier Robert de Benhale, king's clerk, at both Benhall Sir Robert, Suffolk and at Fordham, Norfolk.

In closing, I wish to extend my thanks for Dr. Tompkins for providing me the English transcript of the 1353 lawsuit. His help is much appreciated.

Best always, Douglas Richardson, Salt Lake City, Utah
Peter Howarth
2014-12-17 15:48:27 UTC
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The Benhale arms are not as straightforward as has been made out. Joseph Foster in his book of 1902, cited by Douglas Richardson, mentions some of the problems. This is a secondary source, albeit one of the better ones since Foster was one of the first to go back to mediaeval evidence. However, since his time, much more research has been done into mediaeval rolls. The evidence we have at this time consists of fifteen records. There are others, but they date from much later. Please read the footnotes since they help with assessing the probative value of the sources.

1 (1334) 'Mons[r]. Rob[te] de Benhale de sable ove un bend et deux wyfres d'argent' ([]=superscript) SD 86 [1]
2 (temp Edw III) painted shield: or, a bend cotised wavy sable 'S' Robert Bonhale' R 38 [2]
3 (c.1410) 'Robert de Benehall port de sable a une bende & deux coustees undez de argent' TJ 1522 [3]

4 (1334) painted shield: gules, a cross moline argent, over all a bend azure 'Robert de Benhale' CA 138 [4]
5 (c.1350) painted shield: gules, a cross moline argent, over all a bend azure 'Benhale' PO 50 [5]
6 (c.1400) tricked shield: gules, a cross moline argent, over all a bend azure 'Ro' Benhale' NS 40 [6]
7 (c.1400) argent, a cross moline gules, over all a bend azure 'M. Rob Benale' ARS 298 [7]
8 (c.1410) 'Monsr Robert Benhale port de goules une croice recercelé d'argent a baston d'azure' TJ 954 [8]

9 (c.1285) tricked shield: gules, a cross moline argent 'Guy Frere' FII 63 [9]
10 (1300) 'Syr Gy de Ferre, de gueules a ung fer de moulyn d'hermyne' GA 159 [10]
11 (c.1310) painted shield: gules, a cross moline ermine '[Sir Guy] Ferre' LMS 83 [11]

12 (c.1285) painted shield: gules, a cross moline argent, over all a bend azure 'Guy Ferre' G 111 [12]
13 (1300) 'Sir Gy de Ferre, le neveu, mesme les armes a ung baston d'asur' GA 160 [13]
14 (c.1312) 'Sire Guy Ferre, de goules, a un fer de molin de argent, e un bastoun de azure' N 474 [14]
15 (1320) Guy Ferre seal: a cross moline, over all a bend [15]

From this we can see that there are records for Benhale arms either with a bend as the principal charge (Nos 1-3) or else with a cross moline surmounted by a bend (Nos 4-8). This means that Arthur Crawley Boevey was correct on his facts about one of the Benhale arms.

The first three records are awkward to draw conclusions from. A bend cotised is a diagonal stripe with narrower stripes, or cotises, on either side. In 2 and 3 the bend is straight and the two cotises are wavy (undy is another word for wavy). But in the Dictionary of British Arms (DBA) i. p 389 the first record is described as 'sable, a bend between 6 wyverns argent'! The DBA, despite the dates of its eventual publication (1992-2014), is based on index cards compiled by a large group of volunteers working between 1940 and 1970. For some reason there is no indication of which compiler worked on the Second Dunstable Roll. Since C E Long's transcription is clear about the number 'deux', and since Gerard J Brault, 'Early Blazon' (1972, rev 1997) gives the meaning of 'wivre' as a fess dancetty, it seems much more likely that 'de sable ove un bend et deux wyfres d'argent' means 'sable, a bend between two cotises dancetty argent'. Heralds at this time are unlikely to have worried about the difference between wavy and zig-zag. With two out of three records making the tinctures black and white, rather than gold and black, I am inclined to accept the version in the third record, 'sable, a bend between two cotises wavy argent'.

Records 4-8 are agreed on the alternative arms of 'gules, a cross moline argent, over all a bend azure'. We therefore have examples of two different coats of arms all attributed to Sir Robert de Benhale. The easiest explanation is that they refer to two different men. But which arms goes with Lord Benhale? Since he was a neighbour of Guy Ferre the younger (died s.p. in 1323 [16]) and survived him, it would seem likely that he adopted Guy Ferre's arms after his death. This can only be a supposition.

There are various possible explanations for this.
(a) Robert de Benhale was adopted by Guy Ferre; cf. the adoption by Alan de la Zouche of Ashby of his distant cousin, William de Mortimer, who then used Alan's coat of arms differenced with a label, which label he threw away when Alan died in 1314.
(b) Robert de Benhale married the heiress of Guy Ferre, possibly Guy's sister; cf. Robert de Willoughby of Willoughby in the Marsh, son of Margaret, sister of Walter Bek of Eresby, who abandoned his father's coat of arms for the Bek arms on inheriting Eresby when Walter died s.p. after 1301.
(c) Robert de Benhale and Guy Ferre were 'brothers-in-arms'; cf. Saher de Quincy, Earl of Winchester, and Roger fitz Walter of Dunmow, each of whose seals included a shield of the other's coat of arms.

There is one other possibility that would unite both Benhale arms: that Sir Robert, Lord Benhale bore 'sable, a bend between two cotises wavy argent' before the death of Guy Ferre the younger and 'gules, a cross moline argent, over all a bend azure' afterwards (cf. Robert de Willoughby above). But that has to be pure supposition.

Peter Howarth

[1] see DBA i. p 389!? Second Dunstable Roll 1334 transcribed by C. E. Long, 'Roll of the Arms of the Knights at the Tournament at Dunstable, in 7 Edw. III', Collectanea, Topographica et Genealogica, iv. (1887) 389-395, from MS Cotton, Otho. D IV, ff. 187-92b (a 16th-c. copy much damaged by fire), and MS Sloane 1301, ff. 257-61b (a copy by James Strangman c.1590). The original, presumably in blazon only, has been lost.
[2] see DBA ii. p 87; Styward's Roll, alias Second Calais Roll, Sir Symond d'Ewes' Roll (temp Edward III), a lost roll of painted shields with names over, but with several later copies usually in trick but also included amongst the Hatton-Dugdale facsimiles.
[3] not in DBA; Thomas Jenyns' Book c.1410 edited by E de Boos, 'L'armorial ordonné de la reine Marguerite al. Livre de Thomas Jenyns', Paris: Leopard d'or, 2004, adapted by Steen Clemmensen, Ordinary of Medieval Armorials, CD-ROM, rev. edn., Copenhagen: http://www.armorial.dk/, 2013. A lost original (but Queen Margaret's copy may be near contemporary), with the first part (2-1260) an ordinary, based on earlier works including Cooke's Ordinary (c.1340), and the second part (1261-1660) an armorial of mixed contemporary and earlier arms. There is a marked Yorkshire element, possibly from the neighbourhood of Richmond.
[4] see DBA iii. p 172; Carlisle Roll 1334, an original roll with painted shields, blazons and names of 277 earls, bannerets and knights present in the vanguard of Edward III's army at Carlisle on 12 July 1334.
[5] not in DBA; Powell's Roll c.1350 edited by Steen Clemmensen (2004), Ordinary of Medieval Armorials, CD-ROM, rev. edn., Copenhagen: http://www.armorial.dk/, 2013. An original roll of 25 painted banners (earls and bannerets) and 627 shields (knights) similar in content to the Antiquaries' Roll (c.1360).
[6] see DBA iii. p 172; Norfolk and Suffolk Roll c.1400; the original roll of 150 painted shields of Norfolk and Suffolk knights and families is lost, but there are two 16th-c. copies in trick.
[7] not in DBA; Armorial Anglais c.1400 edited by Steen Clemmensen, 'Armorial anglais temp. Richard II de BA. Ms.5256' (2002) in Ordinary of Medieval Armorials, CD-ROM, rev. edn., Copenhagen: http://www.armorial.dk/, 2013. A lost roll of 447 English arms in blazon, now found only in a 17th-c. French copy. It begins with Henry IV and members of the royal family (both Lancaster and York), followed by nobility and gentry, many of them the same as those in the great equestrian armorial of the Toison d'Or. It then has part of an ordinary and finally a general armoury.
[8] not in DBA; Thomas Jenyns' Book c.1410 see [3] above.
[9] not in DBA; Charles' Roll - Additions c.1285, edited by Gerard J Brault, Aspilogia III: The Rolls of Arms of Edward I (1997) i. p 303; original, presumably of painted shields with names, now lost, but two 16th-c. copies in trick.
[10] see DBA iii. p 140; Galloway Roll 1300, edited by Brault, op. cit., i. p 460; a 16th-c. copy, often garbled, of a lost roll of 261 names and blazons of some of the knights present at the Battle of Galloway, which probably took place on 8 Aug 1300.
[11] see DBA iii. p 140; Lord Marshal's Roll Old c.1310, a roll of painted shields with names and blazons, the original now lost, but copied as one of the Hatton-Dugdale facsimiles.
[12] see DBA iii. p 172; Segar's Roll c.1285, edited by Brault, op. cit., i. p 315; a lost roll of 212 painted shields.
[13] see DBA iii. p 172; Galloway Roll 1300, see [10] above.
[14] see DBA iii. p 172; Parliamentary Roll c.1312, transcribed by Nicholas Harris Nicolas, A Roll of Arms of Peers and Knights in the Reign of Edward the Second, London: William Pickering, 1828; an original roll with 1,110 names and blazons, beginning with earls and knights banneret, then knights bachelor arranged by county, followed by a list of additional names. This entry comes under the heading 'Suthfolk'.
[15] see DBA iii. p 172; card index of Public Record Office Seals by Sir W H St John Hope with additional notes by O Barron and T D Tremlett.
[16] Moor, Knights of Edward I (1929) ii. p 14 (Inq. p.m.)
Peter Howarth
2014-12-17 17:49:19 UTC
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My apologies. One correction and one addition to the records I gave.

It should have been
5 (c.1350) painted shield: argent, a cross moline gules, over all a bend azure 'Benhale' PO 50 [5]

and there should also be
14a (temp Edw II) painted shield: gules, a cross recercely argent, a baston azure 'Sr Gui ferre' ' HA 88 [14a]

I don't think they alter my conclusions, such as they are.

Peter Howarth

[5] not in DBA; Powell's Roll c.1350 edited by Steen Clemmensen (2004), Ordinary of Medieval Armorials, CD-ROM, rev. edn., Copenhagen: http://www.armorial.dk/, 2013. An original roll of 25 painted banners (earls and bannerets) and 627 shields (knights) similar in content to the Antiquaries' Roll (c.1360).
[14a] see DBA iii. p 172; Harleian Roll (temp Edward II), a vellum book with miscellaneous contents and painted shields in the top margins, most of them with names, transcribed by James Greenstreet, The Genealogist, n.s., iii. (1886) pp 37-41, 118-121
Douglas Richardson
2014-12-18 20:26:22 UTC
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Dear Peter ~

You seem to be falling into the same trap into which Complete Peerage. You have assumed that the alleged use of the Ferre arms by Sir Robert de Benhale implies that he had some kinship to Sir Guy de Ferre.

Setting the evidence of the various rolls of arms aside, other available contemporary records give no support to the notion that Sir Robert de Benhale [died 1365] was related to Sir Guy de Ferre the younger [died 1320].

For starters, there is a long and well written biography of Sir Guy de Ferre the younger [died 1320] available at the following weblink:

http://www.novelguide.com/reportessay/biography/historical-figures/career-sir-guy-ferre-younger-1298-1320

There is also an excellent discussion of Sir Guy de Ferre's widow, Eleanor, published in Archaeological Journal, 11 (1854): 374-377, which may be viewed at the following weblink:

https://books.google.com/books?id=seI9AAAAcAAJ&pg=PA374

There is also a petition of Eleanor, widow of Guy de Ferre dated 1334 found in the online Discovery Catalogue at the following weblink:

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C9294405

Using the above and other sources, the surviving records document the train of events relating to the manor of Benhall, Suffolk. I find that Sir Guy de Ferre purchased the manor of Benhall, Suffolk from Nicholas de Crioll in 20 Edward I [i.e., 1291-2]. See Rye, Calendar of the Feet of Fines for Suffolk (1900): 95, which may be viewed at the following weblink:

https://books.google.com/books?id=h7DrCiAe9ucC&pg=PA95

As will be seen from a lawsuit dated 1351 below, the overlord of the manor of Benhall, Suffolk at the time of Sir Guy de Ferre's purchase was evidently Sir John de Clavering, Lord Clavering. In 1311 Sir John de Clavering obtained the king's license to settle upon the king his castle of Warkworth and manor of Rothbury, Northumberland in reversion upon his own death, the manor of Eure, Buckinghamshire in reversion upon his own death and that of Hawise his wife, and the reversion of the manors of Newburn and Corbridge, Northumberland in default of male issue. In return for the grant, which comprised lands of the yearly value of £700, the king granted him a life interest in various manors and hundreds in the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk and Northamptonshire to the yearly vaue of £400. I assume therefore that in 1311, the overlordship of the manor of Benhall, Suffolk passed to the king.

Sir Guy de Ferre held the manor during his lifetime, and, on his death without issue in 1320, it passed to his widow, Eleanor, who presumably held it in right of her dower. Sir Guy de Ferre's heir in 1320 is identified in contemporary records as his nephew [nepos], Simon de la Borde (or de Bordes), who the king accepted as his prospective heir as early as 1299-1300. I assume, however, that the manor of Benhale, Suffolk was scheduled to revert to the king as overlord once the death of Sir Guy's childless widow, Eleanor, took place.

During Eleanor's long widowhood, the king first granted the expected reversion of Benhall, Suffolk after Eleanor's death to his brother, John of Eltham, Earl of Cornwall. In 1345, however, the king changed his mind and granted the reversion instead to Robert de Ufford, Earl of Suffolk. For the grant to Robert de Ufford, see Calendar of Close Rolls, 1343-1346 (1904): 437, which may be viewed at the following weblink:

https://books.google.com/books?id=F5kKAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA437

Following Eleanor de Ferre's death in 1349, the manor duly passed to Robert de Ufford, Earl of Suffolk. Two years later, Sir Robert de Benhale and his wife, Eve, sued Robert de Ufford, Earl of Suffolk regarding the manor of Benhall, Suffolk [Reference: Court of Common Pleas, CP40/366, image 3044f]. Sir Robert and Eve claimed that the manor ought to descend to them since Guy de Ferre, who held it of John de Clavering (Eve's father), died without issue. Sir Robert de Benhale made no claim on the basis of kinship, will, or adoption. Rather, Sir Robert de Benhale based his claim to the manor on the right of his wife, Eve, as the heir of Sir John de Clavering, Lord Clavering.

The 1351 lawsuit may be viewed at the following weblink:

http://aalt.law.uh.edu/E3/CP40no366/aCP40no366fronts/IMG_3044.htm

Bothwell, Edward III and the English Peerage (2004): 119 alleges that Sir Robert de Benhale and his wife, Eve, were unsuccessful in their lawsuit. But it appears some arrangement must have been made for Sir Robert de Benhale to hold the manor, possibly a life grant in favor of himself and his wife, Eve. On their respective deaths without issue in 1365 and 1369, I presume the manor passed back to the Ufford family.

Some years later the earldom of Suffolk passed to Michael de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk. I assume Earl Michael was granted the overlordship of Benhall, Suffolk on the creation of his earldom. List of Inquisitions ad Quod Damnum 2 (PRO Lists and Indexes 22) (1906): 722 indicates that Earl Michael had license in 7 Henry IV [1405-6] to grant the manor of Benhall, Suffolk, including a message, land, and rent in Benhall, Saxmundham, Farnham, etc., Suffolk to the master and chaplains of a chantry in the church of Wingfield, Suffolk.

This record may be viewed at the following weblink:

http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015079757376;view=1up;seq=362

Although the published record above does not say so, Mr. Buckler indicates that the original Quod Damnum record includes the following statement:

"Manerium de Benhale cum pertinen' quod nuper fuit Roberti de Benhale, mil.'"

That is, the manor of Benhale with appurtenances which was lately held by Robert de Benhale, knight.

So it would appear that Sir Robert de Benhale must have held the manor of Benhall, Suffolk sometime after his lawsuit in 1351 and before his death in 1365.

I don't have an immediate explanation to why Sir Robert de Benhale might have borne the Ferre arms sometime in his life. I can say that Sir Robert de Benhale appears to have had an earlier first wife named Joan, whose burial is recorded at Langley Priory, Norfolk. See Blomefield, Essay towards a Top. Hist. of Norfolk 10 (1809): 149, which may be viewed at the following weblink:

https://books.google.com/books?id=wdsvAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA149&lpg=PA149

It is certain that Joan de Benhale was neither the daughter or heiress of Sir Guy de Ferre. However, if she was an heiress of one of Sir Guy's male relatives, Sir Robert de Benhale might have borne her arms during her lifetime. On her death without issue, however, Sir Robert would have reverted to his own arms. If this is the correct explanation, then Joan de Benhale would have to have died before 1334, the date of the Dunstable Tournament in 1334. Sir Robert de Benhale married the next year in 1335 to Eve de Clavering.

Best always, Douglas Richardson, Salt Lake City, Utah
John Watson
2014-12-19 02:12:12 UTC
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Post by Douglas Richardson
Dear Peter ~
<snip>
For starters, there is a long and well written biography of Sir Guy de Ferre the younger [died 1320] available at the following weblink:

http://www.novelguide.com/reportessay/biography/historical-figures/career-sir-guy-ferre-younger-1298-1320

I'm not so sure about well written. The complete absence of the apostrophe makes it a bit hard going in places.

Regards,
John
Peter Howarth
2014-12-19 10:08:32 UTC
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My main concern is that mediaeval heraldry should be subject to the same standards of evidence as are used in other branches of history. That was why I felt the need to comment on the wild statements about the Benhale arms in the first post.

As part of that I gave some examples of why a man might adopt the arms of someone not his father, including where there was distant kinship or no kinship.

The genealogy of Benhale (and Ferre) has been subject to extensive evidence, which I am happy to accept. Would that the same attention to evidence had been given to the heraldry.

Peter Howarth
Douglas Richardson
2014-12-23 05:30:30 UTC
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Dear Newsgroup ~

In my previous post, I had assumed that Sir Robert de Benhale had obtained the manor of Benhall, Suffolk previously held by Sir Guy de Ferre following his lawsuit in 1353 against Robert de Ufford, Earl of Suffolk. I was following Mr. Buckler's statement that Sir Robert de Benhale had owned the manor of Benhall, Suffolk, previous to the gift of this manor by Michael de la Pole in 1405-6 to the master and chaplains of a chantry in the church of Wingfield, Suffolk.

Copinger, Manors of Suffolk 5 (1909): 100-102, 106 includes histories of the two adjacent manors, Benhall, Suffolk and Benhall St. Robert, Suffolk. This material may be found at the following weblink:

http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=njp.32101079831887;view=1up;seq=116

Copinger makes it clear that Sir Robert de Benhale held only the manor of Benhall St. Robert, Suffolk (not Benhall Sir Robert). This is the manor which was granted in 1292 to an earlier Robert de Benhale, king's clerk. Copinger further states that Benhall St. Robert, Suffolk is the manor which was granted by Michael de la Pole to the master and chaplains of a chantry in the church of Wingfield, Suffolk.

It is apparent now that Sir Robert de Benhale never had the manor of Benhall, Suffolk which was held earlier by Sir Guy de Ferre. Thus Bothwell, Edward III and the English Peerage (2004): 119 is correct that the lawsuit by Sir Robert de Benhale and his wife, Eve, in 1353 for the Ferre manor was unsuccessful.

One last thing. Copinger gives the following arms for the Benhale family:

"Arg, a cross flory Gu. over it a bend Az. frimbriated Or, charged with a fillet."

Best always, Douglas Richardson, Salt Lake City, Utah

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