The Twelfth Century




Reign of monarchsWilliam II Rufus ends (since 1087). monarchsHenry I ascends the throne.(to 1135)


Benign climatic conditions in Europe lead to new villages being set up on previously unworked land. Population increases.


`By 1100, the Normans had settled in England, Sicily, and Southern Italy. These conquests were largely by sea... a tradition inherited from their ancestors. [1]london


Lambeth Palace; Palace - home of the Archbishops ofbishopsArchbishop of Canterbury since the 12th.century... an attempt to get away from the prying eyes of Canterbury monks, and be closer to the seat of secular power.


Early 12th.century: Hospital and Church founded by an ex-court jester turned monk. It survives as the oldest remaining parish church in London.


The Danegeld aids under monarchsHenry I put Exeter fifth in importance after Winchester, Lincoln, York and Norwich


`The wording of the earliest charter to the city of whose text survives, that granted by monarchsHenry II, implies an earlier grant of commercial privileges by monarchsHenry I, which can only have been purchased by an organised group of townsmen. These may well have proceeded to restrict the privileges so acquired to themselves and their heirs, and to others whom they were prepared to admit to the circle, normally on payment of a fine...However the freedom had a constitutional, as well as an economic aspect. In the twelfth century and later, charters occur with references to the citizens (cives) of Exeter.'



The Earldom of Devon created for the first time by writ of the first Henry I, in favour of Richard Fitz-Golbert, Sire de Redvers.[2] [this earldom extinct by 1293]



bishopsExeterOsbern, bishop of Exeter, dies.



King monarchsHenry I and the pope agree that the former should invest bishops with their temporal authority, and the latter with their spiritual authority.



William of , writing about the year 1125, speaks of the greatness of the city of Exeter, the wealth of the citizens, the concourse of strangers, and the throng of foreign merchants whose ships could then reach the quay on the river.



found churchesRievaulx Abbey, in north Yorkshire.



`The name of Hugh de Auco (de Augo/Avigo/Eu) first appears as a member of the [Exeter] Chapter in two charters of 1133.'[3] [cf:1148]


1135End of monarchsHenry I's reign (since 1100). His nephew, of Boulogne ascends the throne (to 1154).



Stephen vainly besieges Exeter, held by Baldwin de for his rival, Matilda. The garrison only surrenders when their well runs dry, after three months.



Empress Matilda lands to claim the throne. Civil war begins.


The Pope bans crossbows: "... deathly and hateful to God, and unfit to be used by Christians."[4]



Queen Matilda founds the Royal , near the Tower of a hospital and sanctuary.



Robert bishopsExeterChichester, third Norman bishop of Exeter, appropriates rectoral tithes of Branscombe  & St. Marychurch, among all the churches on the manor of St. Peter, to the canons. At the time, these two churches are held by Hugh de Auco. [cf:1133] First vicar of appointed.


`The tithe system provides the traditional means of supporting the clergy in England for centuries. The tradition held that the incumbent was entitled to one tenth of the produce of the land in his parish. originally, such tithes were payable only in kind ... There was some controversy as to whether the incumbent should collect his dues personally, or whether they should be delivered to him by the farmer. Many incumbents began to accept money in lieu of tithes to avoid confrontation or expense. In a large parish there could be considerable difficulties involved in collection, and in many places a farmer could not harvest his crop until the incumbent had removed his share. The system was open to abuse on both sides, and disputes over tithes were frequent, lengthy, and often bitter, as some clergy attempted to claim as much tithe as possible, while the farmer tried his best to keep payments to a minimum.'[5]



Gothic architecture develops in the île de France, and spreads to the rest of Europe.


early Paper-making spreads from the world.


Construction of Angkor-Wat royal sepulchre and shrine, in Cambodia.



`Henry II's marriage to of Aquitaine was one of a series of alliances which brought him control of central and western France, ("the Angevin Empire") at the expense of the French kings.'[6]



End of 's reign (since 1135). monarchsHenry II Plantagenet (of Anjou), Matilda's son, ascends the throne by agreement.(to 1189)


The Aids in Henry II's time rank Exeter as sixth in the provinces.


The manor of , on the near Plymouth, had come to the Foliot family by King 's time. The manor house was at Warleigh.[7]


Henry II re-inforces the defenses at Hertford Castle, and orders a stone wall, which is still there, to be built.



From the 1160s onwards there are references to a guildhall in , almost certainly standing on its present site in ExeterHigh Street, and this evidence of a is confirmed by two deeds which refer to the Stewards of the Gild.


Abott Clement of Sherborne grants Bovey to Guy Dagville.[8] [cf:1270]



Pope popesAlexander III canonises monarchsEdward the Confessor. (d.1066)


Chinese invent .


`Renaud de Courtenay [Courteney], expelled from France and leaving his daughter there, came to England with his son and was granted Sutton in Berkshire (Sutton Courtenay) before 1161. His son Renaud (d.1194), acquired broad lands in Devon by a marriage with Hawise, lady of Okehampton, and their son, Robert de Courtenay of Okehampton (d.1242) married the daughter of William de Vernon, Earl of Devon, which at length brought that earldom to their great-grandson Hugh de Courtenay (d.1340). The earldom of Devon, more than once forfeited and restored, is held at the present time by his male heir.'[9]



Fall of the Toltecs in central Mexico. Internecine war ensues.


Thomas a is murdered, at Canterbury.



Foundation of the first empire in India.



Bridge re-built in stone in the 12th.century... would last 700 years (1831). Until the middle of the eighteenth century, it remained the only bridge of the capital. Begun in 1176 by Peter , priest and chaplain (d.1205), on the same site as the old wooden structure, which he had already repaired at least once, according to Jusserand. It was completed, after his death, in 1209.


`This was a famous bridge. No Englishman of the Middle Ages, or even of the Renaissance, ever spoke but with pride of Bridge it was the great national wonder. All the nation were excited about this great and useful enterprise; the king, the citizens of London, and the dwellers in the shires endowed the building with lands and sent money to hasten its completion. The list of donors was still to be seen in the sixteenth century, "in a table fair written for posterity" in the chapel on the bridge.'[10]



Zen Buddhism founded, in Japan.


The Knights Templars build , off Fleet Street, . (still survives)



End of monarchsHenry II's reign (since 1154). His son, monarchsRichard I Lionheart ascends the throne (to 1199).



The manor of Paddington is given, by the Abbot Walter, to the Convent of St.Peter's, Westminster.[11]



In London, a bricklayer's wages are 4d a day with, and 6d a day without, victuals; a labourer's, 3d & 4d.[12]



Feudal system of government replaces centralised administration in Japan.



End of monarchsRichard I Lionheart's reign (since 1189). monarchsJohn ascends the throne (to 1216).


`The five names, Henry, John, Richard, Robert and William, together accounted for 38% of recorded men's names in the twelfth century; for 57% in the thirteenth; and for 64% in the fourteenth.'[13]


© 1996-2006 Ronald Branscombe

Email: genealogy (at) branscombe (dot) net


.Begin Index.

[1] Platt, p.25

[2] Charles Worthy, The History of the Suburbs of Exeter,  Chapter 7, 1892

[3] Morey, Bartholomew of Exeter..., p.116

[4] Gareth Rees, New Scientist, 5 June, 1993, pp.24-5

[5] Devon Record Office Guide to Sources

[6] Platt, p.56

[7] Tamerton Foliot cf: Adam de Branscombe 1346/Coplestone

[8] Bovey House brochure, 1993

[9] Wagner, English Genealogy, p.39

[10] Jusserand, 1891, p.49

[11] Walford, Old London ..., p.206

[12] Cave-Browne, Lambeth Palace, 1882, p.20

[13] P.H. Reaney, The Origin of English Surnames,   Routledge & Kegan Paul, London 1991 (1967), p.130.   ISBN 0-415-05917-8