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The Bolle's Landholding in Coningesby

Back to  The Question of The Bolles as Lords of Swineshead

William Bolle's ipm in January 1327 shows that his land around Swineshead was largely held as a tenant under another local landholder but significantly he held one small 'plot' in Coningesby, parcel of the Manor of Scrivelsby, north of Boston, directly from the king which made him a Tenant-in-Chief.  For that one small plot, he had the technical requirement of holding land directly from the King that a Baron would have and the technical-Lordship of that plot. That sounds insignificant but it was a huge honour at the time and this one carried with it the even bigger honour of 'grand sergeantry', the requirement to personally serve the king when called upon.  I don't have any way to exhaustively check this but William is the only one that I can find that held land in Scrivelby directly from the king other than the Lord of Scrivelsby and since Scrivelsby was the traditional home of the Champion of England, held by the Marmion family since 1066, that knightly service may have been also called on when the Champion of England was needed.  William's responsibility to provide 'grand sergeanty' is stated in his ipm.  There were two ipm's after Cecily's death in 1332.  The first states that she held the plot in Coningesby by paying 1d per year to Edward Hillary.  The second ipm was held to correct that and states that she held Coningesby of the king in chief as a parcel of the manor of Scrivelby and that it was held of the king in chief specifically by “grand serjeantry, that is finding on the day of the coronation of the king for the time being, an armed knight on horseback, to prove by his body if necessary against all comers that the king who is crowned that day is the true and right heir of the kingdom”. 

It seems to me that may mean that William had some role in the responsibility that the Lord of Scrivelby, Champion of England, had.  I cannot find any other references to another landholder in this position.  If there are a couple of others, yet to be found, who held plots in Scrivelby as tenants-in-chief they would also likely just share that same responsibility.  In 1100 this would have been an obligation that very well may have resulted in the King’s Champion actually having to fight a challenger sent by the king’s cousin or someone but by the 1300’s this had become largely an honourary role, although a very prestigious one.  It would put William Bolle's status up in the ranks of the larger local landowners but not into that of the Lords of Swineshead, the Grelleys and de Warres.

In that role, William may have been at the coronation of Edward II in 1308 when Thomas de Ludlow, Lord of Scivelsby under his wife Joan Marmion's right, appeared in the ceremony as Edward's Champion, challenging all comers and William almost lived long enough to be there when Edward Hillary, Champion of England as Joan Marmion's second husband, faced all challengers at Edward III's coronation in January 1327 but William had died in July 1326.  After his death the plot at Coningesby continued to be held by his heirs although as tenants of Scrivelby not as tenants-in-chief and more.  The king took that back when he seized Cecily's lands when she died and although William's brother John obtained William's land back in 1333 there is no more talk of grand serjeantry.  Randolph Bolle (m. Katherine Pulverton) sold the tenantry of a plot in Coningesby to his brother William in 1369 and William's grandson William (m. Anne Kyme, they were the parents of John Bolle of Haugh) is probably the William Bolle who appears in a tenant list of Coningesby in 1435.  As Coningesby is quite a ways from Bolle Hall and all their other landholdings were in the immediate area, this is probably the same plot which William held ‘in grand serjeantry’ in 1326.

In July 1326, in almost one of Edward II's last orders, the king ordered the escheator of Lincolnshire, to conduct an ipm for 'William Bolle of Swineshead, deceased, Tenant-in-Chief'.  It actually meant 'William Bolle of Bolle Hall near Wigtoft, a Tenant-in-Chief of a small plot quite a ways north of there that he probably hardly ever sees' but I think it would have been pretty easy for the Bolles of Haugh to spin that order to the Heralds to mean that the Bolles were "Lord of Swineshead and of three several manors within the same called Bolle Hall".

Excerpt from The History, Gazetteer, and Directory, of Lincolnshire, and the city & diocese of Lincoln, William White, 1882

This site was last updated 04/04/19