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  ca. 1220 : Huntington

Keywords: Huntington manors castles crossroads borough marketplace market licences fairs quo warranto town-founding Steyning commerce competition Bramber New Shoreham Horsham Tetbury war damage

At the time of Domesday the manor of Huntington was tenantless, and its location so close to the border must have made it unattractive; from the late eleventh century it passed through the hands of a series of landed families. A stone castle was in place there before1230, placed atop a steep slope descending to a minor watercourse; it was preceded by a less substantial fortification at a site a mile distant, conceivably one of the fortresses put up by William Fitz-Osbern or his son. At some point between 1173 and 1230 the lordship transferred its administration from Kington to Huntington – possibly consequent to a devastating assault on the former and its castle in 1216 by the forces of King John. It was most likely during this period that a borough was established at Huntington, immediately south of the castle, but on more level terrain; it stood near the crossroads of east-west and north-south through-roads, the latter of which seems to have taken, or been given, a detour to loop around the castle and through the town. The church there, to the south of the town, dates from the same period and might have been built, or rebuilt, to serve the burgesses, although its distance from the castle could point to an earlier build serving an older settlement. The first reference to the castle is in 1228, though not in a context that suggests it was then new; that the lord of Kington at that period, Reginald de Braose, was collecting timber for building purposes in the years surrounding 1220 suggests the castle may have been erected then.

The involvement of the house of Braose in the establishment of market towns, although partly speculative, is significant enough to warrant a digression from our look at Huntington. The Braose provide a good example of an energetic dynasty down whose generations was transmitted some appreciation of the value of urbanization within feudal estates.

The Braose family originated in Briouze, Normandy. After participating in the Conquest, William I de Braose was rewarded with the rape of Bramber (West Sussex) as a barony, but excluding its largest manor of Steyning, which caused an awkward ambiguity. There he founded, not far from the coast, the castle-town of Bramber around 1073, perhaps not simply to service the castle but also to compete commercially with Fécamp Abbey's almost adjacent port and market town of Steyning – the principal urban settlement in the region before the Conquest; Steyning and Bramber were so close that there seems to have been some overlap in their territories, enabling William to assert a claim to 18 burgages physically within Steyning. In 1229 John de Braose claimed to be lord of Steyning Hundred, yet the abbot exercised hundredal jurisdiction over his own lands within that hundred. The abbey had a strong interest in ports, which enabled it to maintain connections (including commercial) between England and France. In 1086 William was obliged to reach a legal settlement with the abbey, which was lord of all Steyning manor and of the entire parish, whereby he acknowledged that tolls, exacted from ships venturing up the tidal River Adur to the harbour at Steyning, belonged to the abbey on weekdays, unless the ships chose to sell their cargoes near the castle, but that on Saturdays William had the right to half the tolls – suggesting that this may have been market day at Bramber. William had also built a church immediately across the river from his castle, for which he tried unsuccessfully to obtain parochial status. In 1316 William VII de Braose, his daughter and her husband, Baron Mowbray, acquired a licence for markets on Monday and Thursday, to be held in the town, and two fairs for the manor.

The 1086 agreement having frustrated WIlliam I de Braose's first attempt to steal Steyning's commerce, he or his son Philip (who succeeded him by 1096) shifted strategy. A bridge was built across the Adur at Bramber; this may have been close to where William had a wharf and his market took place (probably along the single street extending from the river crossing), for tolls were collected there, and an older bridge further south was flanked by a church with the possibly significant dedication to St. Peter. We first hear of the new bridge in the context of the 1103 resolution of a complaint by the abbot that the Bramber bridge was obstructing ships from proceeding to the port at Steyning; Philip was required to alter the bridge so that ships could pass (presumably this meant installing a drawbridge). A more effective thrust against Steyning – although also stunting economic growth at Bramber – was the Braose foundation of a port town at the mouth of the Adur within the existing manor of Shoreham (one of the forty-odd manors William had received following the Conquest); this became known as Little Shoreham, or New Shoreham Braose, as the medieval borough seal had it. Such a convenient site was bound to attract ships that would otherwise have ventured up the Adur. In consequence Steyning's port was inoperative by the early fourteenth century (estuary silting contributing to this decline) and the abbey had refocused its own attention towards the coastal ports of Rye and Winchelsea, of which it was lord. New Shoreham had by the early thirteenth century become one of the most active ports on the south coast and by the late 1280s appears the leading port in Sussex as regards wool exports, with a thriving trade in import of wine; its residents were also active in fishing – although Shoreham was not a Cinque Port, its men were attending the herring fair at Yarmouth in the thirteenth century – and ship-building for the king.

Quo warranto proceedings in 1279 heard that William VI de Braose had at New Shoreham a two-day fair in mid-September – grant of this having been acquired by William III de Braose in 1202 – and markets on Wednesdays and Saturdays, plus a share in Fécamp Abbey's two fairs at Steyning, in early and late September, and in its market, held on the same two days as at Bramber. It seems extraordinary that the abbey, which had strongly defended its rights against other encroachments by William I, would not have complained about markets at Shoreham being held in direct (and intended) competition, or that any such complaint would not have been successful (given that neither market was licensed, but Steyning's was undoubtedly more ancient). Yet we have no intimation, within the quo warranto record or elsewhere, that such an objection had been raised. Perhaps the record is defective (but see below). No mention is made therein of a market at Bramber, so the Braoses may have allowed it to lapse, which would explain the licence acquisition of 1316, for days different from the markets at Shoreham and Steyning. In the fourteenth century heavy sea-storms and associated tide action eroded away parts of New Shoreham and its harbour silted up. Its economy and value to its lord declined, and by 1500 the fair was generating only 21d. in profits.

The aforementioned quo warranto record on the territorial rights claimed by William VI de Braose further mentioned a market at Horsham, also in West Sussex, inland but on the River Arun. Again the market days were Wednesday and Saturday. William also had there a two-day fair in June. We have no record of a licence for this fair or for the market, suggesting they had existed since the foundation of the town – an unofficial market there conceivably having had a much longer existence and perhaps even having been the original catalyst for settlement. No reference was made to a July fair, for which licence had been obtained in 1233 by William VI (or possibly his guardian, for William was then still a minor), very soon after the death of his father, John. Rights to market, fair, and view of frankpledge became a bone of contention between William and the burgesses of Horsham around 1335.

Horsham had doubtless been acquired as part of the manor of Washington, another of the estates William I de Braose was granted before 1073, but which of the Braoses established a town there is uncertain. It has been argued that Horsham was founded around 1200 [for the grounds for this hypothesis, see Roland Harris Horsham Historic Character Assessment Report, Extensive Urban Survey Report, 2004, pp.14, 23-25], which was the time of William III de Braose (ca. 1145-1211), the earliest member of the family explicitly documented as holding the manor and borough. The triangular marketplace with burgages (52 shilling rents recorded in 1292) laid out around it and along adjacent streets suggests the possibility of a planned layout (although triangular marketplaces are also found at unplanned settlements), while the surviving street-name of Carfax along one side of the marketplace, and the parallel routes of two of the major streets, accommodating burgages of consistent lengths, may be relics of that plan.

Horsham was just a small market town until a period of rapid growth in the Late Middle Ages and would go on to become one of the principal and most prosperous towns in Sussex. In the Middle Ages it lay on a road from London to Steyning, Shoreham, and Arundel, so perhaps the foundation of a market town there was another part of the Braose effort to capture Steyning-bound commerce; on the other hand, its location at a river crossing on an important through-route into the iron-producing region of the Weald (Horsham itself becoming a centre for the arrow trade), and in a part of the county with little market competition close at hand might have been the key factors that brought about the new town.

The same quo warranto record further mentions a Tuesday market and a fair at the Braose manor of Findon, which was just four miles south-west of Steyning. However, these had been acquired in 1261 by the initiative of Walter III de Clifford, whose father had been a close associate of William IV de Braose, while Walter himself married the widow of William's son, John de Braose; this had for some years given him possession of Findon. It subsequently reverted to William VI, who in 1275 faced a challenge to his market from the burgesses of Steyning, who argued that it was damaging other boroughs in Bramber rape. Consequently William had to defend it at the 1279 proceedings, where he claimed his right to Findon's market dated back to the Conquest, though the king's attorney perhaps expressed scepticism, since William went on to point to Henry III's licence as his warrant. William's other markets were justified on the grounds of having existed from time immemorial. The court accepted William's defence, except in the case of Findon – doubtless because Clifford's licence was not transferrable to Braose – and, for having a market and fair there, he was fined. There is no indication he went on to take out a licence in his own name, so perhaps Findon's commercial institutions were not profitable enough to make it worthwhile; yet nor was Findon's market suppressed, for the market and fair were still generating toll revenues as late as 1425.

William I and Philip I de Braose extended their holdings by military takeover of lands in the Welsh Marches – first of Radnor and then Builth; King John authorized William III to extend his conquests into mid-Wales. The inroads made by Marcher lords into Wales tended to be a piecemeal process of conquer, consolidate your hold, then use the new conquest as a base to expand further. By 1191, and possibly as early as 1181, William III was engaged in putting up a castle at Knighton, a border settlement of the Welsh (now Powys, formerly Radnorshire, though then treated as part of Shropshire). Into this settlement English colonists were imported – though names of taxpayers assessed in 1293 suggest the majority of residents remained Welsh. Whether intended from the first that a town be established in conjunction with the castle we cannot say for certain, but it seems likely, for the settlement is heard of within a year of two of mention of the castle, in 1203 we hear of burgages there, and a century later they numbered 162. In 1230 a fair licence was issued to Roger de Mortimer who, as husband of one of the daughters and co-heirs of William V de Braose, had acquired the Radnor lands as his wife's share of the inheritance; that no market licence is recorded suggests a market was likely instituted in the early days of the settlement. The core of the settlement at Knighton is on the north and east sides of the castle and incorporated the present High Street, its continuation Broad Street, and Market Street, a widened stretch of the last indicating where the medieval market was likely held (although today it is accommodated at the junction of Broad Street and High Street, along which two streets plot boundaries are suggestive of burgages, though to what extent the overall layout of the town was a result of planning remains debated [Tina Andrew, Medieval Small Towns in the Central Welsh Marches: An Analysis of their Development, Durham University MA thesis, 2017, pp.57, 66-67]. William III also rebuilt the castle as Painscastle, and named it after his wife; but in this case the establishment of a market town is thought more likely to date to a further rebuild of the castle by Henry III in 1231, tolls from market and fair being mentioned in 1265.

Builth Wells (known in the Middle Ages as Lanveyr) was also under Braose lordship, and seems a wholly English foundation, with no solid evidence of pre-Conquest settlement. The area fell under Norman conquest in the late eleventh century and a castle was put up in the early twelfth (first mentioned 1168), presumably by Philip I, to control a crossing of the Wye and thereby important land routes into Wales. A settlement developed beside it – whether planned or unplanned is unknown – and is first described as a town in 1217 when Reginald de Braose lost it to Welsh forces. This castle-town served as the caput of the lordship of Builth. Running westwards from the castle, Market Street is thought to have been the original focus for the settlement; the church of St. Mary's – a common dedication, to a protectress, in Norman castle-towns – was added at uncertain date somewhat beyond its west end and marks the western boundary of the medieval town. The castle was destroyed by a further Welsh assault in 1260, but rebuilt in 1276 and the following year a borough charter was granted to Builth, essentially confirming previously held privileges. It may have been at this period that the town saw a phase of planned development along High Street /Broad Street, which converged with Market Street at its western end, forming a triangular junction that henceforth became the focus for the market. Over the next few years Edward I redeveloped the castle to use as a base for his Welsh campaigns. Builth Wells has all the signs of originating as a Norman castle-town.

The same might be said of New Radnor, where Philip I is the main suspect as the person responsible for erecting, atop a hillock controlling an important valley pass into Wales, an earthwork castle whose motte is very similar to that at Builth Wells; the castle was in place by about 1095. It was built two miles away from an existing settlement (Old Radnor) whose site was less defensible. The new settlement that grew up below the castle, on more level terrain, may have been of some small significance by 1188, when the Archbishop of Canterbury made it his starting-point for a Welsh journey on which he preached Crusade; at that time it was in Welsh hands, but Matilda de St. Valery, the assertive wife of William III de Braose, recaptured it in 1195 and, although Rhys ap Gruffydd promptly sacked the castle in revenge, William was back in control by 1200. The castle again suffered in assaults by King John in 1216, the Welsh in 1231, and the Montfortian rebels in 1264, which must have inhibited growth of the adjacent settlement. A church dedicated to St. Mary may conceivably have been built as part of the original settlement, but the earliest mention of it dates to 1291 and the current build is of the 1840s.

Whether New Radnor was urban from its origin is doubtful, but a planned borough (grid-pattern street layout) planted at the foot of the castle is evidenced by 1257, when it – now in the hands of the Mortimers – received the first in a series of murage grants. In more peaceful times it underwent rapid expansion from 97 burgesses in 1301 to189 in 1304, when Edmund de Mortimer is recorded as having there a market and fair, which – since no licence is known – may have been in existence for some while. A second fair was licensed to Edmund's widow in 1306, and the town seems to have prospered until the time it and its castle were severely damaged by Glendower; from this setback it was slow in recovering, for Speed's plan of the town (1611) shows large open areas where apparently no rebuilding had taken place on burgage plots, and the nearby market towns of Kington and Presteigne had the opportunity to capture more of the region's commerce – New Radnor's charter of incorporation (1562) made reference to the decline of its market share. New Radnor subsequently served as the county town only because castles in other towns of the region were in even worse shape.

Philip I's son William II married the Earl of Hereford's daughter, who inherited the Marcher lordships of Brecon and Abergavenny, while he himself inherited a share of the barony of Barnstaple from his mother. Brecon included Hay-on-Wye, a Norman castle-town, with adjacent church dedicated to St. Mary; the town itself was only first heard of in 1216, when targeted by King John (see below), but was probably established in the early twelfth century. William II's son, William III de Braose, having added Kington to his barony in the 1190s, was granted by John the lordships of Gower (Wales), which would become the principal possession of the senior branch of the family, and Limerick (Ireland, excluding the city), and in 1206 gained control of a share of the barony of Totnes (which had belonged to his grandmother's family). In this way he brought the Devon towns of Barnstaple and Totnes into the family estates. As these were both boroughs prior to the Conquest, and the Braose name is not associated with any market or fair licences, they need not detain us here, except to note that Eva de Braose (widow of William V and youngest child of William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke) in 1233 complained that her market at Totnes was being damaged by competition from that of Dartmouth (licensed 1205, but with its day changed in 1231) and that she was losing port customs because mercantile ships that should have docked at Totnes were doing so at Dartmouth. The owner of the Dartmouth market denied damage and, when a jury found otherwise in 1234, he objected that the jury members were all Braose tenants. It is not clear that there was any short-term resolution to this contest, for in 1242 William de Cantilupe (husband of one of the co-heiresses of William V) brought the same complaint into the king's court.

William III de Braose had thus brought his family to an apex of power and landed wealth, of which market towns were one component. Besides those mentioned above, William was lord of part or all of the Gloucestershire manor of Tetbury, which is thought to have had a minster church by the close of the seventh century (possibly briefly the seat of a bishopric around A.D. 900) and whose name may indicate a burh – there being earthworks south of the settlement – though the Domesday entry gives no hint of urban character. William III came into possession in 1197 through his wife, Matilda de St. Valery, and at some point in the next few years established a borough there, granting a charter of liberties which assigned it the Hereford use of the customs of Breteuil. These were confirmed by his successors – his son Reginald and grandson John – while in 1291 William VI de Braose, very soon after attaining the barony, gave to his "free Burgesses of the Boroughe of Tedburie" [Alfred Lee The History of the Town and Parish of Tetbury, London, 1857, p.268] pasture which they claimed as common land associated with their burgages. By this time there were over a hundred burgages. The commercial viability of Tetbury owed something to its position on a route connecting Oxford and Bristol, via Cirencester, as well as to the prominent role of sheep-farming in the locality and the region. No market or fair licence is recorded as having been acquired by William III, but in 1287 William VI's attorney claimed (against a plea of quo warranto) that a market and fair had taken place as appurtenances of a borough which William's descendants had held from time immemorial; a jury confirmed this, but the king's attorney seems already to have accepted the argument and the only sticking point was Braose exercise of view of frankpledge in the borough. In 1296 revenue of £11 10s. was credited to market and fair, and Tetbury had become a regional centre for the wool trade.

A plan-analysis by Antonia Catchpole [The small towns of medieval Gloucestershire : origins and development, unpublished Ph.D thesis, University of Birmingham, 2005, app.], building upon her earlier work as co-author of the Extensive Urban Survey report for Tetbury, concludes that the triangular marketplace, arising at the point of convergence of two roads through the settlement, may have existed from the Anglo-Saxon period, but that William III introduced laid-out burgages around the marketplace and along adjacent streets. A second marketplace, known as The Chipping, was established at later date as Tetbury prospered, perhaps to provide more space for the growing trade in wool and locally manufactured cloth; by the sixteenth century Tetbury was perceived as having one of the best markets for wool in the county. By that period a Tolsey stood at the entrance to Chipping Lane.

Although William III de Braose was a loyal servant of Richard I – his sheriff of Herefordshire 1191-93, 1195-99 – and at first a close supporter and favourite of King John (it being speculated he had intimate knowledge about the death of Prince Arthur), the king suddenly turned against him, seized his estates in Sussex and Devon, invaded Wales to attempt to seize or destroy Braose possessions there, and imprisoned his wife and eldest son (married to Matilda de Clare, daughter of the Earl of Hertford), who were starved to death in prison in 1210. William himself was forced into rebellion, but died in exile in 1211. William's brother Giles, Bishop of Hereford, after initially joining William in rebellion, made peace with John, and began the process of restoring the family to royal favour, holding in his own right the barony of Bramber (but of course dying without offspring); he became guardian and guarantor for the good behaviour of William III's grandson John, a claimant to the Braose estates. Meanwhile, William III's younger brother Reginald continued in rebellion and had some success taking back by force Braose lands in Wales through alliance with Llewellyn the Great. However, after the deaths of his brother Giles (1215) and King John (1216) Reginald made terms with the minority government of the young Henry III, in return for restoration of most of his lands, although this then made an enemy of Llewellyn . To compensate his nephew John, thus denied his ambition to succeed to all the Braose power, Reginald conceded him the lordships of Gower – which John, with assistance from Llewellyn , either his father-in-law or his grandfather [the genealogy in Edmund Cartwright's Parochial topography of the Rape of Bramber, London, 1830, vol.2, p.174 though incomplete, seems reliable in most regards, but not perhaps on this point], had already seized in 1219 – and Bramber; John inherited other Braose possessions, including Tetbury, after Reginald's death..

Reginald took as his first wife the sister and co-heir of another town-founder William Brewer; one of Brewer's foundations was at Axminster (1204) but it seems that Reginald acquired lordship there, presumably through his marriage, for in 1224 he is seen pursuing a complaint that the market at Teignmouth (licensed 1220) was damaging to his at Axminster. Reginald's second wife was a daughter of Llewellyn , although that marriage was childless. Reginald died in 1228 and was succeeded by his own son, William V, but the latter fell into the hands of Llewellyn , who hanged him in 1230. William V left only four daughters and so much of the Braose estates came into the hands of the husbands to whom they were married off: David ap Llewellyn (son of William V's executioner), Roger Mortimer, Humphrey V de Bohun, and William III de Cantilupe.

It fell to John de Braose (d.1232) to continue the family name. His strictly speaking senior line continued in the barony of Bramber to 1326. John's eldest son William VI de Braose, the first of the line to be summoned to parliament as Baron Braose, is seen adding a fair to Horsham in 1233, while in 1280 he obtained licence for a Monday market and April fair at his Sussex manor of West Grinstead, which however did not go on to acquire urban status, unlike East Grinstead which is referred to as a borough in 1235. William's aim may simply have been to capture some of the same commerce, between London and Sussex coastal ports, that East Grinstead was already attracting, although the two places were too far apart to be considered direct competition, and the shift of East Grinstead's market-day from Sunday to Saturday in 1285 cannot necessarily be considered a response to a perceived threat from West Grinstead's market. William's like-named son's only contribution to economic development of Braose estates seems to have been the addition (1316) of markets and fairs at Bramber (see above). He left only daughters and much of his lands thereby came to the Mowbray and Howard dukes of Norfolk.

In the male line junior branches of the Braose family, descended the from thrice-married William VI, survived as landed lords until the early sixteenth century, and their holdings spread wider afield than the traditional Sussex and Marches bases of the family. One of William's sons by his third marriage, a Richard de Braose, acquired on 3 May 1267 a market licence for his manor of Whittingham (Suff.), and on the following day he and his wife Alice (le Rus) jointly obtained one for market and fair at Ludborough (Lincs.); Alice had just come of age. It may have been a half-brother of this Richard who, as Giles de Brewosa, is identified in 1311 as co-owner of the market of Heydon manor (Norf.), along with his wife Joan and their son Richard; a half-share of this manor had been in Braose hands since the 1240s. Heydon, however, did not descend to Richard but to his brother John. This Richard might perhaps be the Richard de Brewosa who received in 1309 a licence for a fair at Stradbroke (Suff.). But according to Copinger [The Manors of Suffolk, 1909, vol.3, p.50, vol.4, p.35] it was the Richard son of William VI who first brought Stradbroke (with Whittingham and other manors) into the family, through marriage to Alice le Rus and the above-mentioned Giles was his son; yet the elder Richard is said to have died in 1296.

Blomefield [An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk, Vol. 6, p.241] equated the manors of Heydon and Stinton, which lay in adjacent Norfolk parishes (possibly with Stinton manor straddling both), a seeming confusion perhaps stemming from the existence of more than one Heydon manor, or from the fact that Alice le Rus seems to have been a common denominator. The genealogy of the prolific Braose is itself somewhat confusing, given the limited number of Christian names for both the male members and for their wives. Alice le Rus was the sole surviving heiress of that lineage and appears to have brought to her marriage interests in Ludborough, Heydon, and Stinton, in addition to Stradbroke; it was her ancestor, Hugh le Rus (or Rufus) who received in 1227 royal grant of markets at Stinton and Woodbridge (Suff.) according to Blomefield [op.cit., vol.8 p.266; more strictly, to Parkin, continuator of the work]; he however is again in error, for the Charter Roll entry indicates Stradbroke, not Stinton. A junior line of the Braose remained lords of Stinton, and perhaps resided there, down to the end of the fifteenth century. We might wonder whether was ever actually a market at Stinton; Letters cited David Dymond as her authority, and he is on the whole trustworthy, though over-reliant on Blomefield & Parkin, as in this instance, or (for example) the case of Trunch in Norfolk, where there was no market, Dymond having misunderstood a reference by Parkin, which is actually to the market in Gimingham manor, of which Trunch was a part. Yet a market at Stinton seems plausible, given the lordship of the le Rus and then the Braose families, both very active in fostering markets; furthermore, the inquisition post mortem on Giles de Braose in 1311 mentions a market pertaining to the manor of Stinton (despite including this under the perquisites of Heydon), though the post mortems on Giles' son Robert (1324) and on William le Rus (1260) say nothing of it. Any market that existed, licensed or unlicensed, did not fare well enough to prevent Stinton suffering the fate of so many Norfolk villages, becoming depopulated and derelict, a process not necessarily completed by the close of the Middle Ages, for Stinton Hall manor continued as an administrative unit into the eighteenth century, for a while more closely associated with Heydon manor through the common ownership of the Townshends.

Another of William VI's sons, Peter, inherited Tetbury and it was his son Thomas who in 1350 and again in 1355 acquired licensed extensions to the July fair there. In 1342 another Peter de Brewosa (probably the son of the elder Richard's brother William) received a licence for market and fair at Whitford (Devon, near Axminster) which had a century earlier been briefly perceived as a borough. Harder to pinpoint in the family tree is the Robert de Braose who, in 1239 with his wife Beatrice, was granted licence for a market and fair at Theydon Mount (Essex); the market grant apparently being a renewal of one obtained in 1225 by Paulinus de Theyden, who died in 1233 leaving the underage Beatrice as his heir, she marrying Robert in 1236. This was probably the same Robert who had in 1233 been issued a licence for market and fair at Stapleford Fitzpaine in Somerset.

Finally, in 1333 a fair licence for Walton-on-the-Hill (Surr.) was issued jointly to John de Warenne, Earl of Surrey and to John de Brewosa (the aforementioned Giles having a son and heir of this name) and his heirs, and precisely two years later the licence was reissued along with a market licence; the earl was to be the owner for life, after which the manor and its commercial institutions were to pass to John de Braose. Although the earl would live for another twelve years, he and his estranged wife had no children; possibly Braose had married a sister or one of the illegitimate daughters of the earl, or perhaps he had simply purchased the reversion of the manor (which would otherwise have descended to the earl's Fitz-Alan relatives) on condition the earl acquire the developmental licences. In his will [Testamenta Eboracensia, vol.1, p.43] the earl bequeathed two silver bottles bearing the arms of Sir John de Braose, but how he came to have these is unknown and it does not clarify the relationship between the two men.

It should be noted that none of these market licences of the later generations of the Braose family is known to be associated with any town foundation initiative, nor did any of the places where the markets were set up develop into towns.

To return to Huntington, this is the only place where we can, if only tentatively, credit Reginald de Braose as a town-founder, unless we consider New Kington as his work. But his foundation had difficulty flourishing, for most Kington residents did not relocate there; Huntington continued to serve as a manorial administrative centre, but Kington remained the commercial centre. This problem may explain why a royal charter for market and fair was acquired in 1257 by Humphrey V de Bohun (son but never successor of the like-named Earl of Hereford and Essex), who had by marriage obtained possession of Huntington in 1230; the licence may have been an (unsuccessful) effort to reinvigorate moribund commerce there. Huntington is referred to as a borough in 1267 and again in 1298, when the newly-deceased Humphrey VI de Bohun was said to have had 47 free tenants (not all burgesses) in Huntington borough, compared to 59 still in Kington.

Like his grandfather Henry, Humphrey V seems not to have been particularly interested in using markets as a tool to build manorial profitability, though this may have been because he held few manors in his own right and did not live to inherit those of his father. His son Humphrey VI also showed no great inclination to a role as founder of markets, nor even to maintaining those already in existence: Kimbolton (Hunts.) had been provided with a market in 1200, thanks to Geoffrey Fitz-Peter, then its lord, but in 1286 Earl Humphrey was unable to prove in court his right to it, having evidently failed to renew the licence after acquiring the manor. Humphrey VII was rather more active in this regard, obtaining in 1303 licence for a market and two fairs at Enfield (Middx.), the same for Fobbing (Essex) in 1318, and a few months later for a market and fair at Pinchbek (Lincs.), as well as granting the Welsh borough of Brecon a fair in 1308; none of these cases involved any town-founding, Brecon having developed as a castle-town in the twelfth century and being granted a borough charter (which simply confirmed the burgesses the same liberties and customs as Hereford) by Humphrey VI in 1276, shortly after becoming earl, and we should probably understand this as part of his suppression of rebellion in the Brecon region and reconquest of lost territory in the Marches.

In a later age Huntington's markets were held on a 'green' at the junction of the street heading south to the church and the detour loop of the through-road; this could have been the site of a medieval market. Earthwork remains suggest house plots clustered around this marketplace, but Huntington became depopulated at too early a date for any indication of a planned layout of burgages (if indeed there were one) to survive in the landscape. That in 1267 the value of burgage rents from Huntington were little over a third of those from Kington, where a new planned urban element had been added to the older town, is an indicator that the former's market still could not compete with the latter's. By late fifteenth century Huntington had declined to the condition of a village – possibly it had suffered damage from the rebellion of Owen Glendower – and today barely warrants that description; the detour looping into Huntington later assumed a more direct route through the bailey of the decommissioned castle, which in 1460 was said to be worthless, suggesting it was so ruinous as to be indefensible.

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Created: December 31, 2018. Last update: November 10, 2019
© Stephen Alsford, 2018-2019