Charters From the De Vescys to the Burgesses of Alnwick

The De Vescys granted three charters to the burgesses of Alnwick. The originals, beautifully written in latin on parchment, are preserved among the Archives of the Borough of Alnwick.

First Charter From William De Vescy 1, Granted Between the Years 1157 and 1185

“Be it known to all men present and to come seeing or hearing this charter, that I William de Vesci have granted and by this my charter have confirmed to the men, my burgesses of Alnewic, to hold of me and of my heirs, they and their heirs, as freely and quietly as the burgesses of New-Castle hold of the lord the King of England, and also to have common pasture in hayden and in the moor of hayden. Theses being witnesses, Walter de Bolbec, Roger de Stuteville, John the sheriff, Rainald de Kynebel, and many others.”

A seal was affixed, but it is now broken.

(See page 96/97; appendix i Tate Vol. 1).

Second Charter From William De Vesci 2, Granted Between the Years 1226 and 1253

After a lapse of over half a century, the second William de Vescy, the grandson of the former, confirmed this grant, but gave no additional privileges. This is also without a date, but it must have been made between 1226 (when he obtained livery of the lands) and 1253 (when he died).

“Let those present and to come know that I William de Vesci, son and heir of Lord Eustace de Vesci, have granted and by this my present charter have confirmed to my burgesses of Alnewic all the liberties and free customs, to be held and had of me and my heirs to them and their heirs, quietly and peacefully for ever, which the lord the king of England has granted to his burgesses of Newcastle, and which they freely use. And also, the common pasture in Haydene and in the moor of Haydene, descending and ascending by Coliergate, as freely, quietly and peacefully in all things, as the charter of Lord William de Vesci my grandfather, which they have from him, witnesseth. In testimony of this thing, I have to the present writing put my seal. These being witnesses, the lord H. Abbot of Alnewic, William de Vesci my brother, William de Furnival, William le Latimer, Roger Fitz-Ralph, William de Bosco, Eudone le Latimer, Simon de Horseley, and others.”

The Vescy seal still remains attached to this charter.

(See Tate Vol. 1 p. 97; Appendix i).

A copy of this charter with the De Vescy seal, photograph by Mr. George Potter. Plate 1V, fig 1. Vol.1 Tate.

Third Charter From William De Vescy 3, Granted in 1290

The third William de Vescy, the son of the second William, granted this charter to the burgesses of Alnwick on the Sunday after Michaelmas in the year 1290; it confirms the former charters and gives additional privileges.

“Let those present and to come know that we William de Vescy, brother and heir of John de Vescy, have given and granted, and by our present charter have confirmed to our burgesses of Alnewyke all liberties and free customs in all things, as the charter of William de Vescy our father, which they have from him, fully testifies. We have also given and granted to the same our burgesses, certain pieces of land in the field of Bondegate, which are called Stottefaldhalch* and Ranwellestrother* with all their appurtenances, with the common in Hayden, and with all privileges in Haydenmoor in marshes, meadows, and pastures, petaries, turbaries and heaths, and with all their other appurtenances, liberties and privileges, which they were wont to use in the times of our ancestors, as well as in in the forbidden month as in others.

And be it known that in the northern part of the way from Boulton, which is called Boulton-strete, even unto the path which is called Coliergate, cultivation shall by no means be made by any one before it is pre-arranged by us and the said burgesses, which cultivation within the aforesaid bounds ought to be made for our advantage, and for the advantage of the burgesses themselves, by mutual consent. And the whole pasture there shall remain for us and the burgesses themselves jointly in common. In testimony of this thing we have put to this writing our seal. And to another writing, burgesses have put their own common seal. And be it known that the same burgesses and their heirs for the liberty they are to have in Hayden in the forbidden month with their animals, shall give to us and our heirs yearly two shillings, one half at the feast of Saint Martin and the other half at Pentecost for ever.

The witnesses being, brother Alan de Staunford, at that time Abbot of Alnewyke, Sirs Ralph Fitz-Roger, Robert de Hilton, Alexander his son, Walter de Camhon, at that time seneschal, knights : Nicholas de Haukhill, Hervy de Bilton, Robert Harang, Thomas de Rok, John de Middleton, William le Messager, and others. Given at Catthorp, on the Lord’s Day, next before the feast of Saint Michael, in the year of our lord one thousand two hundred and ninety.”

*May be read as Scottefaldhalch, for t and c much alike, Stottefaldhalch gives the better meaning as Stud (Dan.), Stut (Swed.) = a young bull, ox; fald (A.S.) = fold, an enclosure for sheep or cattle and halch = a haugh, northern word for low lying lands bordering a river; the haugh of the oxen fold. It is now called Hesleyside, from the hazel bushes which grew there.

*Ranwellestrother from Ran AS = a wild goat or deer, well and strother = a marsh. It is called the Bog, forming part of Bog Mill Farm.

(See Tate Vol. 1 p. 97/98; Appendix ii).