Discussion:
Tenants-in-Chief, "Stewards:" How Did You Get to Be One?
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Girl57
2020-02-12 14:08:30 UTC
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All, I'm an experienced amateur genealogist but total novice re: medieval or early modern Britain. Have two ancestors described, respectively, as "steward" and "tenant-in-chief."

Have read general references but seek better definitions. Also curious about the local or broader connections/relationships that led to someone playing these roles. Was person of non-noble but well-known family in the shires, etc.? Known by someone at court, closely or by word-of-mouth? Sort of a medieval "LinkedIn?"

Ancestor Christopher FitzRandolph of Nottinghamshire, "steward to his Ma(?):"

https://archive.org/details/visitationscoun01britgoog/page/n198/mode/2up/search/FitzRandolph

Ancestor Thomas Langton (see #1022), also of Nottinghamshire, tenant-in-chief?

https://www.british-history.ac.uk/inquis-post-mortem/series2-vol3/pp521-543

Re: the steward, who apparently received letters from Henry VIII, how would whoever recorded Visitation info know -- presumably (somewhat?) later -- of such letters? (How soon after the fact were Visitations recorded, and then compiled)? Could such letter still exist? Are there archives or museums that hold these kind of relics? Any way to trace them?

Re: tenant-in-chief, were you by definition a tenant-in-chief if you had an inquisition post mortem?

Will have more questions like these for answers by knowledgeable folks here who are patient with the uninitiated...or who could direct me to other helpful works/sources for medieval newbies. Really appreciate. Jinny Wallerstedt
taf
2020-02-12 15:46:31 UTC
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Post by Girl57
All, I'm an experienced amateur genealogist but total novice re: medieval or early modern Britain. Have two ancestors described, respectively, as "steward" and "tenant-in-chief."
It is easier to address these one at a time, so I will handle the latter first and get back to the former if/when time permits.

Basically, in the feudal English system, all property was owned by the king, who than allowed subjects to hold it under him in exchange for feudal service. Those holders then could sub-infeudate manor to someone who held it 'of them' for a service, and on and on down. A tenant in chief was someone who held land directly of the king, without any intervening levels of infeudation.
Post by Girl57
Re: tenant-in-chief, were you by definition a
tenant-in-chief if you had an inquisition post
mortem?
Not necessarily. Tenants in chief would be expected to have an ipm, but there were circumstances where someone might have an ipm who was not a tenant in chief. An example would be if following a sub-infeudation, the holder died while his feudal lord, the tenant in chief, was a minor whose guardianship, and hence management of his lands, was controlled by the crown. Thus any rights that would normally fall to the tenant in chief would then belong instead to the crown. The only way to know for certain is the read the accounting of land held. This will indicate if the land was held directly of the king, or held of someone else.

taf
Girl57
2020-02-12 16:28:26 UTC
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Post by taf
Post by Girl57
All, I'm an experienced amateur genealogist but total novice re: medieval or early modern Britain. Have two ancestors described, respectively, as "steward" and "tenant-in-chief."
It is easier to address these one at a time, so I will handle the latter first and get back to the former if/when time permits.
Basically, in the feudal English system, all property was owned by the king, who than allowed subjects to hold it under him in exchange for feudal service. Those holders then could sub-infeudate manor to someone who held it 'of them' for a service, and on and on down. A tenant in chief was someone who held land directly of the king, without any intervening levels of infeudation.
Post by Girl57
Re: tenant-in-chief, were you by definition a
tenant-in-chief if you had an inquisition post
mortem?
Not necessarily. Tenants in chief would be expected to have an ipm, but there were circumstances where someone might have an ipm who was not a tenant in chief. An example would be if following a sub-infeudation, the holder died while his feudal lord, the tenant in chief, was a minor whose guardianship, and hence management of his lands, was controlled by the crown. Thus any rights that would normally fall to the tenant in chief would then belong instead to the crown. The only way to know for certain is the read the accounting of land held. This will indicate if the land was held directly of the king, or held of someone else.
taf
taf, Thank you so very much for all great insight posted here. Will do some reading. Really appreciate it. Jinny
Ian Goddard
2020-02-12 16:08:50 UTC
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Post by Girl57
"steward to his Ma(?):"
The citation has "tie" as a suffix to "Ma". In other words he was
steward to "his Majestie". It sounds as if he would have been an
official in charge of a royal estate.
Girl57
2020-02-12 16:29:31 UTC
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Post by Ian Goddard
Post by Girl57
"steward to his Ma(?):"
The citation has "tie" as a suffix to "Ma". In other words he was
steward to "his Majestie". It sounds as if he would have been an
official in charge of a royal estate.
Ian, Thank you...Wondered if this was notation for "majesty," but not sure. Will do lots more reading. Expertise here great and will advance my basic research so much.
taf
2020-02-12 16:15:01 UTC
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Post by Girl57
Ancestor Christopher FitzRandolph of Nottinghamshire, "steward to his Ma(?):"
That reads "steward to his Ma^tie^" (the 'tie' is superscripted) - i.e. steward to his Ma[jes]tie
Post by Girl57
Re: the steward, who apparently received letters from Henry VIII, how would
whoever recorded Visitation info know -- presumably (somewhat?) later -- of
such letters? (How soon after the fact were Visitations recorded, and then
compiled)? Could such letter still exist? Are there archives or museums that
hold these kind of relics? Any way to trace them?
There are two ways this might have ended up in the published pedigree.
First, one of the things the heralds did when they carried out the visitation was examine any muniments the family had in their possession that might confirm their armigerous status, and hence it is possible this was in the family's hands at the time. If the family still holds whatever property was once theirs, then their documents might still be in their possession. Often, however, they were lost, destroyed, or passed out of the family. They are sometimes now in a repository of some sort - the National Archives, the British Library, the Society of Genealogists, a local Antiquarian society collection, etc. or in private hands.

The other way is linked to your other question: the heralds went around the countryside and compiled a 'rough draft' of the pedigrees. They then, after they returned to London, prepared a finely written copy to deposit with the College of Arms as the official visitation record. If they retained their rough copy (or made a fine coupy for themselves at the time), this would be part of their private manuscript collection, and there was a market for these collections among antiquarians, so over the centuries they would pass from person to person. Likewise, an antiquarian with access to the visitation in the College of Arms might make a copy, and this too might pass down by inheritance or sale. At any time, the owner of the manuscript might make additions to the manuscript, interpolating information that was not in the original.

When the early Harleian Visitation volumes were prepared, they were not done from the official visitations in the College of Arms, but these private copies. Thus the document naming Christopher as stewart might not have been in the original visitation, but only added later by a subsequent owner. Were that the case, then your best bet is to track down the current location of the manuscript visitation used to prepare the publication, and the document may be held by the same repository, having also been part of the antiquarian's collection.

I should add that the pedigree in this visitation does have material that would not have been in the original visitation - and indeed, what appears to be multiple sequential additions. The original visitation was performed in 1614, and you see who the head of the family was at that time, and the name and age of their heir. Then, someone added information in 1640 - we are given another family head in that year, with his sons and their ages (John, aged 4 and Edward, 2), but then someone has come back and added additional sons and a daughter, clearly born after the shorter list was compiled in 1640. So that is at least two separate rounds of adding things to the pedigree, and the document you ask about could have been added at either time, or later. At the top of the pedigree it says it comes from Harl. 1400. Look at the forward of the book and see what it says about this manuscript, which I think would now be part of the British Library collection.

taf
c***@dickinson.uk.net
2020-03-09 10:00:34 UTC
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Post by Girl57
All, I'm an experienced amateur genealogist but total novice re: medieval or early modern Britain. Have two ancestors described, respectively, as "steward" and "tenant-in-chief."
Have read general references but seek better definitions. Also curious about the local or broader connections/relationships that led to someone playing these roles. Was person of non-noble but well-known family in the shires, etc.? Known by someone at court, closely or by word-of-mouth? Sort of a medieval "LinkedIn?"
Ancestor Christopher FitzRandolph of Nottinghamshire, "steward to his Ma(?):"
https://archive.org/details/visitationscoun01britgoog/page/n198/mode/2up/search/FitzRandolph
Ancestor Thomas Langton (see #1022), also of Nottinghamshire, tenant-in-chief?
https://www.british-history.ac.uk/inquis-post-mortem/series2-vol3/pp521-543
Re: the steward, who apparently received letters from Henry VIII, how would whoever recorded Visitation info know -- presumably (somewhat?) later -- of such letters? (How soon after the fact were Visitations recorded, and then compiled)? Could such letter still exist? Are there archives or museums that hold these kind of relics? Any way to trace them?
Re: tenant-in-chief, were you by definition a tenant-in-chief if you had an inquisition post mortem?
Will have more questions like these for answers by knowledgeable folks here who are patient with the uninitiated...or who could direct me to other helpful works/sources for medieval newbies. Really appreciate. Jinny Wallerstedt
If you get interested in the evolving role of the steward in early modern Britain then the best book to read is:

"Stewards, Lords and People: The Estate Steward and His World in Later Stuart England (Cambridge Studies in Early Modern British History)" by D. R. Hainsworth

Excellent scholarship and a fascinating read.

Chris
Girl57
2020-03-09 15:58:48 UTC
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Post by c***@dickinson.uk.net
Post by Girl57
All, I'm an experienced amateur genealogist but total novice re: medieval or early modern Britain. Have two ancestors described, respectively, as "steward" and "tenant-in-chief."
Have read general references but seek better definitions. Also curious about the local or broader connections/relationships that led to someone playing these roles. Was person of non-noble but well-known family in the shires, etc.? Known by someone at court, closely or by word-of-mouth? Sort of a medieval "LinkedIn?"
Ancestor Christopher FitzRandolph of Nottinghamshire, "steward to his Ma(?):"
https://archive.org/details/visitationscoun01britgoog/page/n198/mode/2up/search/FitzRandolph
Ancestor Thomas Langton (see #1022), also of Nottinghamshire, tenant-in-chief?
https://www.british-history.ac.uk/inquis-post-mortem/series2-vol3/pp521-543
Re: the steward, who apparently received letters from Henry VIII, how would whoever recorded Visitation info know -- presumably (somewhat?) later -- of such letters? (How soon after the fact were Visitations recorded, and then compiled)? Could such letter still exist? Are there archives or museums that hold these kind of relics? Any way to trace them?
Re: tenant-in-chief, were you by definition a tenant-in-chief if you had an inquisition post mortem?
Will have more questions like these for answers by knowledgeable folks here who are patient with the uninitiated...or who could direct me to other helpful works/sources for medieval newbies. Really appreciate. Jinny Wallerstedt
"Stewards, Lords and People: The Estate Steward and His World in Later Stuart England (Cambridge Studies in Early Modern British History)" by D. R. Hainsworth
Excellent scholarship and a fascinating read.
Chris
Thank you, Chris. This sounds perfect for me...have just found a used copy on Amazon. Am new to this and want to understand more. Have great day. I'll be back and may have more questions! Jinny Wallerstedt
c***@dickinson.uk.net
2020-03-09 18:01:12 UTC
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Post by Girl57
Post by c***@dickinson.uk.net
"Stewards, Lords and People: The Estate Steward and His World in Later Stuart England (Cambridge Studies in Early Modern British History)" by D. R. Hainsworth
Excellent scholarship and a fascinating read.
Chris
Thank you, Chris. This sounds perfect for me...have just found a used copy on Amazon. Am new to this and want to understand more. Have great day. I'll be back and may have more questions! Jinny Wallerstedt
It's not going to help you much on the medieval. It's focus is on the job as it evolved during the seventeenth century. As an example, one important change was the increasing habit of gentry and aristocracy to gravitate to London for the social amenities and gambling tables. How did that affect the Steward? Well, his headache now was how to get cash to them from very distant estates.

Chris
Girl57
2020-03-09 20:47:30 UTC
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Post by c***@dickinson.uk.net
Post by Girl57
Post by c***@dickinson.uk.net
"Stewards, Lords and People: The Estate Steward and His World in Later Stuart England (Cambridge Studies in Early Modern British History)" by D. R. Hainsworth
Excellent scholarship and a fascinating read.
Chris
Thank you, Chris. This sounds perfect for me...have just found a used copy on Amazon. Am new to this and want to understand more. Have great day. I'll be back and may have more questions! Jinny Wallerstedt
It's not going to help you much on the medieval. It's focus is on the job as it evolved during the seventeenth century. As an example, one important change was the increasing habit of gentry and aristocracy to gravitate to London for the social amenities and gambling tables. How did that affect the Steward? Well, his headache now was how to get cash to them from very distant estates.
Chris
Chris, Though it might not help me much re: medieval, it will give me great general insight I am looking for. Love this site...Am learning so much, and really thrilled with knowledge level here. Thank you again, so much...Have lots of reading to do! Jinny
Jan Wolfe
2020-03-10 18:20:13 UTC
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...How did that affect the Steward? Well, his headache now was how to get cash to them from very distant estates.
Chris
According to John Harold Clapham, that problem was solved by Thomas Farrington, who contributed to the development of the modern checking account:

Though the old-style desmesne agriculture, with villein services, was dying by 1500, many great men in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries retained direct control of extensive 'homefarms', often added to by purchase or enclosure. Such men were interested in markets for corn or wool or cattle. Late in Elizabeth's reign, for example, the Temples of Stowe sold wool to 'staplers'--the term was becoming used to describe any wool-dealer--and fat beasts to London butchers. They had an agent in London, Thomas Farrington, merchant, who took the proceeds and acted as their banker, paying out to their order--the habit from which the cheque developed--and even lending money of theirs that was lying with him till wanted, like a true banker.

Source: John Harold Clapham, _A Concise Economic History of Britain of Britain from the Earliest Times to 1750_ (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1949, reprinted 1951), 193, https://books.google.com/books?id=5RU9AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA193

The checking account was further developed in the 1640s:

When King Charles closed the Mint in 1640 and seized the bullion, treasure found its way into goldsmiths' strong rooms for safety. They kept it at call as 'running cash' (our current account) and found they could afford to pay interest on it. Until it was wanted, they could lend it out or buy (discount) bills of exchange. A series of these--say, three months' bills--due for payment one after another, provided a steady inflow of cash to meet depositors' demands. The goldsmiths then began to give people their promises to pay, the first bank notes; and people often wrote notes telling the goldsmith banker to pay, the early cheque, of which a Temple note to Mr. Farrington was a forerunner.

Source: Ibid., 266-267, https://books.google.com/books?id=5RU9AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA266.
c***@dickinson.uk.net
2020-03-10 19:19:21 UTC
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Post by Jan Wolfe
...How did that affect the Steward? Well, his headache now was how to get cash to them from very distant estates.
Chris
Though the old-style desmesne agriculture, with villein services, was dying by 1500, many great men in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries retained direct control of extensive 'homefarms', often added to by purchase or enclosure. Such men were interested in markets for corn or wool or cattle. Late in Elizabeth's reign, for example, the Temples of Stowe sold wool to 'staplers'--the term was becoming used to describe any wool-dealer--and fat beasts to London butchers. They had an agent in London, Thomas Farrington, merchant, who took the proceeds and acted as their banker, paying out to their order--the habit from which the cheque developed--and even lending money of theirs that was lying with him till wanted, like a true banker.
Source: John Harold Clapham, _A Concise Economic History of Britain of Britain from the Earliest Times to 1750_ (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1949, reprinted 1951), 193, https://books.google.com/books?id=5RU9AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA193
When King Charles closed the Mint in 1640 and seized the bullion, treasure found its way into goldsmiths' strong rooms for safety. They kept it at call as 'running cash' (our current account) and found they could afford to pay interest on it. Until it was wanted, they could lend it out or buy (discount) bills of exchange. A series of these--say, three months' bills--due for payment one after another, provided a steady inflow of cash to meet depositors' demands. The goldsmiths then began to give people their promises to pay, the first bank notes; and people often wrote notes telling the goldsmith banker to pay, the early cheque, of which a Temple note to Mr. Farrington was a forerunner.
Source: Ibid., 266-267, https://books.google.com/books?id=5RU9AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA266.
Thank you for that.

It's really a basic problem that (to get it back into medieval times) first began to become a serious problem in the Papacy's fight against the Hohenstaufen. The creation of the first layer of modern banking.

To get philosophical for a moment. I love financial/economic history and, for me, the delight in genealogy is not just in sorting out the intricacies of a line of descent, but in understanding the economic truths or modules that lie behind family power.

Chris
Girl57
2020-03-11 14:20:32 UTC
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Post by c***@dickinson.uk.net
Post by Jan Wolfe
...How did that affect the Steward? Well, his headache now was how to get cash to them from very distant estates.
Chris
Though the old-style desmesne agriculture, with villein services, was dying by 1500, many great men in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries retained direct control of extensive 'homefarms', often added to by purchase or enclosure. Such men were interested in markets for corn or wool or cattle. Late in Elizabeth's reign, for example, the Temples of Stowe sold wool to 'staplers'--the term was becoming used to describe any wool-dealer--and fat beasts to London butchers. They had an agent in London, Thomas Farrington, merchant, who took the proceeds and acted as their banker, paying out to their order--the habit from which the cheque developed--and even lending money of theirs that was lying with him till wanted, like a true banker.
Source: John Harold Clapham, _A Concise Economic History of Britain of Britain from the Earliest Times to 1750_ (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1949, reprinted 1951), 193, https://books.google.com/books?id=5RU9AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA193
When King Charles closed the Mint in 1640 and seized the bullion, treasure found its way into goldsmiths' strong rooms for safety. They kept it at call as 'running cash' (our current account) and found they could afford to pay interest on it. Until it was wanted, they could lend it out or buy (discount) bills of exchange. A series of these--say, three months' bills--due for payment one after another, provided a steady inflow of cash to meet depositors' demands. The goldsmiths then began to give people their promises to pay, the first bank notes; and people often wrote notes telling the goldsmith banker to pay, the early cheque, of which a Temple note to Mr. Farrington was a forerunner.
Source: Ibid., 266-267, https://books.google.com/books?id=5RU9AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA266.
Thank you for that.
It's really a basic problem that (to get it back into medieval times) first began to become a serious problem in the Papacy's fight against the Hohenstaufen. The creation of the first layer of modern banking.
To get philosophical for a moment. I love financial/economic history and, for me, the delight in genealogy is not just in sorting out the intricacies of a line of descent, but in understanding the economic truths or modules that lie behind family power.
Chris
Jan and Chris: Fascinating. Thank you. I worked for a big finance company for 25 years as a writer and editor, and as a voracious reader and armchair historian, I always wondered about financial/economic history.

My company's mortgage-backed securities were bought and sold on Wall Street, and I remember getting a book about how Wall Street got its start, and developed. Also wonder how recent historians gather data on the personal financial and banking history of their subjects, including impactful single transactions that involved that man or woman. Where is this info? In the subject's personal papers, or are there repositories of records of financial institutions, either/both modest/powerful? Also absorbing is probate/inheritance/dower law in America as it pertained to and affected women. It's hard to understand records unless one knows something about this.

Chris, I mostly love finding lines of descent of ancestors and learning about their social and cultural history. But, sooner or later, I start to wonder about their livings and how commerce worked way back then.

Thanks to you both. Really enjoying being here.
Jan Wolfe
2020-03-11 20:40:54 UTC
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...
Post by c***@dickinson.uk.net
Thank you for that.
It's really a basic problem that (to get it back into medieval times) first began to become a serious problem in the Papacy's fight against the Hohenstaufen. The creation of the first layer of modern banking.
To get philosophical for a moment. I love financial/economic history and, for me, the delight in genealogy is not just in sorting out the intricacies of a line of descent, but in understanding the economic truths or modules that lie behind family power.
Chris
Jan and Chris: Fascinating. ...
Chris, I mostly love finding lines of descent of ancestors and learning about their social and cultural history. But, sooner or later, I start to wonder about their livings and how commerce worked way back then.
Thanks to you both. Really enjoying being here.
I, too, like to learn about the social and economic lives of the people. For more about Thomas Farrington, you can read my notes here, http://www-personal.umich.edu/~bobwolfe/gen/mn/m25038x28550.htm. I welcome any suggestions about the ancestry and lives of Thomas Farrington, his son-in-law Henry Polstead, and their their families.
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