St Thomas of Canterbury’s Murder

Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. VI, (January 1910 to October 1911), p.63.


Oswald J. Reichel

Prepared by Michael Steer

Moretonhampstead remained a royal estate immediately after the Norman Conquest, as recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, where it is listed as the 45th of the 72 Devonshire holdings of King William the Conqueror. The manor was held by grand serjeanty from the king by Richard de Burgh, 2nd Earl of Ulster (1259–1326) during the reign of King Edward I (1272-1307), for the annual yielding of one sparrow hawk. This note relates to manor history in the intervening period.  The article, from a copy of a rare and much sought-after journal can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. Google has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. These books, on which copyright has expired, are available for free educational and research use, both as individual books and as full collections to aid researchers.

47. ST. THOMAS OF CANTERBURY'S MURDER. — In the After death Inquest of John, son of John, held on 10th Nov., 3 Ed. I. [a.d., 1275] , who died seised of Moreton [Hampstead] appears the following: - The jury know not of whom nor by what tenure this manor is held ; for William de Tracy who held the barony of Braneys and Morton of the King in chief aided in the martyrdom of St. Thomas of Canterbury, for which deed he went into exile and the barony became the escheat of King Henry [II.], the King's grand-father. The same William had a son, Henry de Tracy the hunchback (le Bozu), born in Normandy, who long after came to Geoffrey, son of Peter, chief justice of England, grandfather of John, son of John, praying him to aid him in recovering his inheritance and for so doing he gave him the said manor of Morton to hold to him and his heirs of the said Henry and his heirs by service of a sparrow-hawk; and he always did homage to the said Henry. Afterwards Richard, Earl of Cornwall, to whom King Henry [III.] gave the manor of Braneys (Bradninch) exacted homage and service from the manor of Morton, which he never possessed. The jury therefore know not of whom the manor is held (Inquisitions, Ed. I., p. 96).       OSWALD J. REICHEL.