CIPM 3 and 4 - a short introduction

With CIPM 3 and 4 now available at British History Online, this post gives a short introduction to the volumes.

These volumes cover the period 20 to 35 Edward I, i.e. 1291 to 1307. They encompass the final period of Edward's reign, dominated by the conquest of Scotland. Some inquisitions document the ‘Breaking of Britain' and the creation of English and Scottish identities in border society. CIPM iv.138, for example, relates to lands in Cumberland forfeited by Alice, heir of John de Mulcastre, ‘which Alice dwells in Scotland in company of the Scots the king's rebels and enemies'. There are references to lands burnt by the Scots: in Northumberland in an inquisition of 1298, doubtless reflecting William Wallace's raid after the battle of Stirling (iii.423), and in Cumberland in in 1300 (iii.597, iii.559), 1303 (CIPM iv.142) and 1306 (ibid. 385)

Like volumes 1 and 2, these calendars were selective in the information they included. Most importantly they omitted the names of the jurors present at the inquisitions, and they did not provide details of manorial extents or surveys. (They did note when extents existed – albeit perhaps not comprehensively -- using phrases such as ‘(extent given)' or ‘(full extent given)'.) This does limit their value for social and economic history.

From volume 3 onwards, however, the editors did sometimes provide more details of the omitted extents. A typical example is the entry for Dunham (Notts.) in CIPM iii.361: “Dunham. [the manor] (extent given with field names), including a market and fair and a fishery in the Trent”. Similarly in for Hadlow (Kent) in CIPM iv.435: ‘Haudlo. The manor, a member of the honour of the castle aforesaid (extent given), including a park, and a water-mill.' It would be dangerous to assume that the calendar references to fairs, markets, mills, and other features are comprehensive. But despite their limitations, these volumes are an important record of markets and fairs, mines and mills, fisheries,  ferries and rabbit-warrens to name just some.

The editors' real interests are perhaps revealed in the subject indexes (vol. 3, vol. 4) which have a definite bias towards the unusual and eccentric. You will find exhaustive lists of vernacular words used in the documents (sometimes in Welsh as well as English). There are lists of unusual Christian names. Above all perhaps there are lists of the sometimes bizarre services by which lands were held. Spare a thought for Walter Baron, who held land at Holnicote in Somerset by the service of hanging up on a forked pole the bodies of stags in the forest of Exmoor which had died of murrain. (CIPM iv.397)