Gifts Of Guy De Baliol

Some time after Guy de Baliol became Lord of Stokesley, he made a gift of the church together with a large parcel of land, to St Mary's Abbey in York, thus handing over his rights over the church and its income. The charter of gift below is drawn from the account given by John Walker Ord in his History and Antiquities of Cleveland, published in 1846.

The original document listed several other churches in Guy's other lands, but the version here omits some of the other gifts. It should be noted, however, that the gift of 1 carucate of land with Stokesley church was far more generous than that given with any of the other churches.

Carta Guidonis de Balliolo de ecclesia de Stokesley
A charter of Guy de Balliol concerning the church of Stokesley

Omnibus videntibus vel audentibus tam modernis quam posteris has litteras Guido de Balliolo salutem
To all who see or hear these letters now and in the future, greetings from Guy de Balliol

Sciatis me dedisse in puram elemosinam deo et Sancte Marie et Abbatie Ebor et Ric’o abbati
May you know that I have given in pure alms to God and St Mary and the Abbey of York and to Abbot Richard

et monachis Sc’e Marie Ebor ecclesiam de Stokesley et unam carucatam terrae in eadem villam
and to the monks of St Mary’s of York the Church of Stokesley and one carucate of land in the same town

et deciam de dominio meo eiusdem villae et ecclesiam de Geynesford et duas bovatas terrae et deciam
and the tithe of my demesne in that town, and the church at Gainford and two bovates of land and the tithe

de dominio meo in eiusdem manerii et ecclesiam de Steynton et duas bovatas de terrae et decimam de
of my demesne in that manor and the church of Stainton and two bovates of land and tithe of

dominio meo eiusdem ville pro anima Henr(ici) Reg(is) domini mei et p(atr)is ei’ Regis Will(elm)i et m(atr)is
my demesne in that town, for the soul’s health of my lord King Henry and his father King William and his mother

eius Reginae Matildae et f(rat)ris eius Will(elm)i et filii eius Will(elm)i et pro anima mea et Dionysi(a)e
Queen Matilda and his brother William and his son William and for my soul and that of Denise

ux(or)is meae et Bernardi de Balliol nepotis mei et pro animabus om(n)i fidelium defunctor’
my wife and of Bernard de Balliol my nephew and for the souls of all those who have died in the Faith.

Et hoc sciatis quod hanc d(edic)acione feci sine om(n)i t’reno servicio
And be this known, that I made this gift free of all earthly service.

Teste Reynero dapifer meo et Vitali de Stokesley et Huttelardo et Rob(er)to p(re)sb(ite)ro et Sauhala
Witness Rayner my dapifer, and Vital of Stokesley, and Huttelard and Robert the priest and Sauhala

presbitero et hanc elimosinam feci pro animabus patris mei et matris meae et omni parentum meorum
the priest and I have made this gift of alms for the souls of my father and mother and all my ancestors.


1. Date: The persons mentioned in this charter are a mixture of people alive at the time and already dead. However, the date can be narrowed down by reference to ’my lord King Henry’ and to ’his son William’. This means the charter cannot be before Henry’s son was born (1103) or after Henry’s death (1135). However, the dedication to Abbot Richard of St Mary’s of York is even more precise, as there was only one Abbot Richard in Henry’s reign, who became abbot in 1112 and died in 1122. It is interesting that although he mentions the souls of many people, both male and female, in his charter, Guy mentions no children of his own, and his nephew Bernard (who is mentioned) succeeded to Guy’s lands after his uncle’s death.

2. Status and wealth of the Church: The gift of tithe with the church is surely what made the holding a rectory - as it remains to this day! In the 1530’s, when Henry VIII was investigating the wealth of the chhurch lands, the rector, Brian Hygdon, valued the rectorial house and glebe together at 30s, the tithes of calves at 20s, of lambs at 60s, of wool at 60s, small tithes at 20s, oblations 13s4d, and unspecified perquisites at another 20s. These amounts were dwarfed by the £20 value assigned to tithes of corn and hay. The total profit returned was £30 6s 10d. These sums must have included the tithes of the manor.

3. Land Measurements: The terms carucate and bovate are both derived from the Latin. A plough (Latin: caruca) was pulled by a full team of 8 oxen (boves) and was estimated to be capable of tilling about 120 acres in a year. This was a carucate. However, measures were not exact and in some places carucates might be up to 140 acres. A bovate was reckoned as one eighth of a carucate – about 15 acres. 2 bovates were known as a virgate, the area a two ox team could till in one year. Traditionally, land was divided into long narrow strips, to minimise the problem of turning the cumbersome plough and its ox-team. Typically, a strip was notionally 220 yards long (a furrow long or furlong) and 4 rods (22 yards) wide, giving a total of 4840 sq yards or one acre, so a bovate would consist of 15 such strips.

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