Thomas de Canville

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Sir Thomas Canville (died 1234), also written de Camville, was an Anglo-Norman landowner and judge in medieval England. [1]

Anglo-Normans Medieval ethnic group in England

The Anglo-Normans were the medieval ruling class in England, composed mainly of a combination of ethnic Anglo-Saxons, Normans and French, following the Norman conquest. A small number of Normans had earlier befriended future Anglo-Saxon King of England, Edward the Confessor, during his exile in his mother's homeland of Normandy. When he returned to England some of them went with him, and so there were Normans already settled in England prior to the conquest. Following the death of Edward, the powerful Anglo-Saxon noble, Harold Godwinson, acceded to the English throne until his defeat by William, Duke of Normandy at the Battle of Hastings.



The family originated from Hugh I (died after 1098), seigneur of Canville-les-Deux-Églises in Normandy, whose elder son Hugh II inherited the ancestral lands in the Pays de Caux while the younger son Richard I Canville went to England around 1135. [2] It is possible that Hugh II, who remained in Normandy, [2] was the father of Hugh III (died about 1194) who married Christina, daughter of William le Moine, and held lands at Godington in Oxfordshire, Shenfield and Fobbing in Essex, Westerham in Kent and unspecified places in Buckinghamshire and Huntingdonshire. Their son was Thomas. [1]

Seigneur, was the name formerly given in France to someone who had been granted a fief by the crown, with all its associated rights over person and property. This form of lordship was called seigneurie, the rights that the seigneur was entitled to were called seigneuriage, and the seigneur himself was the seigneur justicier, because he exercised greater or lesser jurisdiction over his fief. Since the repeal of the feudal system on 4 August 1789 in the wake of the French Revolution, this office has no longer existed and the title has only been used for sovereign princes by their families.

Canville-les-Deux-Églises Commune in Normandy, France

Canville-les-Deux-Églises is a commune in the Seine-Maritime department in the Normandy region in northern France.

Normandy Administrative region of France

Normandy is one of the 18 regions of France, roughly referring to the historical Duchy of Normandy.


Probably born before 1175, he served under King Richard I in Normandy in 1194. By April 1206 he had been knighted and was one of the panel of knights holding land in Kent who were eligible to sit in the Grand Assize. In or before 1208, he gave land at Fobbing to the nuns of Barking Abbey. [1]

Richard I of England 12th-century King of England and crusader

Richard I was King of England from 1189 until his death. He also ruled as Duke of Normandy, Aquitaine and Gascony, Lord of Cyprus, Count of Poitiers, Anjou, Maine, and Nantes, and was overlord of Brittany at various times during the same period. He was the third of five sons of King Henry II of England and Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine. He was known as Richard Cœur de Lion or Richard the Lionheart because of his reputation as a great military leader and warrior. He was also known in Occitan as: Oc e No, because of his reputation for terseness.

The Grand Assize was a legal instrument set up in 1179 by King Henry II of England, to allow tenants to transfer disputes over land from feudal courts to the royal court.

Barking Abbey building in London, England

Barking Abbey is a former royal monastery located in Barking, in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. It has been described as "one of the most important nunneries in the country".

Though he normally met calls for military service by payment in cash, in 1210 he went in person with King John to Ireland. By the end of 1215, when he joined the rebel barons in the First Barons' War, the king ordered the confiscation of his land at Godington. Once the civil war ended, he made his peace with the new government of King Henry III and by the end of 1217 had regained his lands. A false report of his death in 1220 led to his under-age heir and lands being put under the care of Philip Oldcotes. [1]

Scutage is a medieval English tax levied on holders of a knight's fee under the feudal land tenure of knight-service. Under feudalism the king, through his vassals, provided land to knights for their support. The knights owed the king military service in return. The knights were allowed to "buy out" of the military service by paying scutage. As time passed the kings began to impose a scutage on holders knight's fees, even in time of peace.

Events from the year 1210 in Ireland.

First Barons War civil war in the Kingdom of England

The First Barons' War (1215–1217) was a civil war in the Kingdom of England in which a group of rebellious major landowners led by Robert Fitzwalter and supported by a French army under the future Louis VIII of France, waged war against King John of England.

Holy Trinity church, Godington Godington church - - 134992.jpg
Holy Trinity church, Godington

After the death of his mother, he had given Godington church to the nuns of Elstow Abbey, but by 1221 tried to reclaim it. A lawsuit next year resulted in him confirming his grant, in return for which the nuns promised to pray for him and his heirs. In 1227 he secured the right to hold a weekly market at Westerham and both a weekly market and a yearly fair at Fobbing. [1]

Elstow Abbey Grade I listed abbey in the United Kingdom

Elstow Abbey was a monastery for Benedictine nuns in Elstow, Bedfordshire, England. It was founded c.1075 by Judith, Countess of Huntingdon, a niece of William the Conqueror, and therefore is classed as a royal foundation.

In that year he was named a justice in eyre for Essex, Kent and Hertfordshire, serving under Martin Pattishall. Promotion followed in 1228 when he acted as a justice of the Common Bench, though he does not seem to have sat after 1229. The next year he did not serve on the English expedition to Brittany, but in 1232 was one of those responsible for collecting tax in Kent. [1]

In English law, the justices in eyre were the highest magistrates in medieval forest law, and presided over the court of justice-seat, a triennial court held to punish offenders against the forest law and enquire into the state of the forest and its officers.

Martin of Pattishall was an English judge.

Court of Common Pleas (England) common law court in the English legal system

The Court of Common Pleas, or Common Bench, was a common law court in the English legal system that covered "common pleas"; actions between subject and subject, which did not concern the king. Created in the late 12th to early 13th century after splitting from the Exchequer of Pleas, the Common Pleas served as one of the central English courts for around 600 years. Authorised by Magna Carta to sit in a fixed location, the Common Pleas sat in Westminster Hall for its entire existence, joined by the Exchequer of Pleas and Court of King's Bench.

Still alive in July 1234, he was dead by 22 January 1235. [1]


With his wife Agnes, who after his death married the Essex landowner William Marney, he had sons called Robert and John, who were born after 1214. [1] Thomas may have had an earlier marriage without surviving children.

After his death, the wardship of the heir Robert together with the right to hold his inherited lands and choose his bride, was sold to Hamo de Crevecoeur for the considerable sum of £400. [1] Sir Robert married Joan, probably a daughter of Hamo's, and they had a son Roger who died after 1285. [3] Joan survived him.

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Summerson, Henry (23 September 2010), "Canville [Camville], Sir Thomas de (d. 1234/5)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Subscription or UK public library membership required) , retrieved 28 March 2018
  2. 1 2 Aubert de la Chesnaye des Bois, François-Alexandre (1771), Dictionnaire de la Noblesse, 2 (2 ed.), Paris: La Veuve Duchesne, pp. 479–481, retrieved 27 March 2018
  3. C 241/1/112 Debtor: Robert de Camville [Westerham Hundred], knight, of Kent, and Roger his son, 6 January 1285, retrieved 28 March 2018