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About Baldwin Malet
Baldwin Malet is undoubtedly the first of the Malets of Enmore, but there are two different theories as to how he came into the possession of that estate during the first half of the 12th century. Arthur Malet, writing in 1885 and using as his base a theory put forward earlier by Sir William Pole, suggests that Hugh Fichet was the biological father of Baldwin Malet. According to this theory, Hugh was born a Malet, but changed his name to Fichet when his father fell into disfavour with the King and was banished from England. The main argument for this comes from a deed of land in which Baldwin describes Hugh Fichet as his father and Basilea as his mother (written in Latin).
G.E.G. Malet, writing in 1938-9 in "The Genealogist" magazine, argues that the Latin terms used in the deed could equally be interpreted as meaning "Father-In-Law" and "Mother-In-Law", and therefore there is no reason to follow Sir William Pole's theory. He posits that it is much more likely that Baldwin was a younger son of Robert Malet, Baron of Curry Mallet, who married Emma, step-daughter of Hugh Fichet, and heiress to the Enmore Estates, held by her mother Basilea in her own right.
The latter theory has been followed here, but the former is presented for interest below.
Excerpt from "Notices of an English Branch of the Malet Family", by Arthur Malet, published 1885, pp 27-28, appendix D1-D2:
BALDWIN MALET OF ENMORE
Baldwin Malet was the son of Hugh Fichet and his wife Domina Basilea, and succeeded his father at Enmore. The first notice with a date that we have of him is in Lord William Malet's return of his fees in 1156, the second of the reign of Henry II, in which we find Baldwinus Malet 2 milites et 3m. partem.*
There are extant two deeds of Baldwin's,** in one of which he writes, "I Baldwin Malet son of Hugh Fichet of Enmore," and to which "Domina Basilea my mother," and "Constantia daughter of Basilea," are among the witnesses. To this deed is affixed a seal the device of which is "a man armed cap-a -pied with sword and shield on horseback, circumscribed 'sigillum Baldwin Malet.'" The other is a deed by which he confirms a grant of land which " Hugh Fichet my father gave," and with the "agreement and consent of Domina Emma my wife and of my heirs." To this deed is affixed the remarkable seal adverted to in the immediately preceding account of Hugh Fichet. I have transcribed both of these deeds from Sir A. Malet's copy of Sir Wm. Pole's collections. It seems to me that the first deed must have been executed shortly after his father's death; it is probable that his accession to the estate and the resumption of his family name required a reconciliation with the King, after which he adopted the seal which was affixed to the second deed, which must have been executed at a later period.
Baldwin had issue by his wife Domina Emma, daughter of Hugh de Neville, William his heir.
- To William Malet, the son of Robert Malet, of Curry and Shepton. Charta Willielmi Malet, 12 R. Hen. II [A.D. 1166.] de Militibus suis in Com. Som: Ex Libro Nigro Schaccarii.
Isti sunt milites de veteri feoffamento Willielmi Malet de feodo quod tenet in capite de Rege. Willielmus filius Reginaldi 7 milites et 3m partem militis. Baldwinus Malet 2 milites et 3m partem. Tho's de Halsway 1 mil: Osbert de Eston 3 mil: Roger Arundel 1 mil: Robert de Woda 1 mil: Serlo de Braicot I mil: Jordan de Cnolla 1 mil: Walter de St'o Quintino 1 mil: Jordan de Stafford 1 mil: Radulphus Hosatus dimid mil: Isti sunt de verteri feoffamento, et tot debet Regi. Robert Malherbe 1 mil: et 4 partes mil: Helias de Meigs 4m partem mil. Joh'es Belet et Henry de Lopene 1 mil: PHilip Buzar 5m parem mil. Willielmus Hostiarius 20 part mil.
De novo feoffamento isti subscripti. Robertus filius Bernardi 1 mil: Osbert de Bamville 10m partem mil: Malgerious 5m partem. Will'us de Northfolc 10m partem mil: Ipse Willielmus debet Regi in Kent de Honore quem ei dedit dimi: mil:
These knights' fees in Somerset of the old and new feoffment which this Baron William Malet held of King Henry II in capite in the twelfth year of his reign, were in number twenty-two entire fees, besides the parts of fees.
- * Sir. A.M.'s MSS., Vol. II, p. 45.
Notum sit omnibus, etc. Ego Baldwinus Malet filius Hugonis Fichet de Enemere dedi Philippo filio Gerardi de Sidenham et haered: in feodum virgatam terrae de Bereford et aliud ferlingum terrae quod Ailmar tenuit quare ut haec mea donatio firma maneat in perpetuum sigillo eam confirmavi. Teste Dno. Basilea matre mea, Constantia filia Basileae, Galfrido filio Walteri de Edington, Radulfo et Gervasio de Ralega, Galfrido Fichet, et aliis. The seal, a man on horseback armed cap-a-pied, with sword and shield; circumscribed, "Sigillum Baldwini Malet."
- * Sir A. M.'s MSS., Vol. 1, Sup. 1, p.3.
Noverint qui sunt et futuri sunt quod ego Baldwinus Malet cum consensu et voluntate Dno. Emmae uxoris meae et haeredum meorum concessi et reddidi et praesenti charta confirmavi Nicho frati Galfridi clerici de Sowydimid: virgat: terrae in Sutton quam Hugo Fichet pater meus dedit Willo Cantok patri dicti Nicolai pro servitio tenend: sibi et haered : suis: Dict: dimid: virgat: terrae libere et quiete de me et haered: meis per unam libram pipersis singulis annis solvendam apud Sutton ad fest: Paschae. Debet etiam dictus Nicolaus servitium Dno Regi et de parco Cory claudendon quantum ad tantum terram pertinet. Teste, Gaudfrido Fichet, etc. The seal to this deed is very large; on the one side a man, armed with sword and shield, on foot, cap-a -pied, with his sword in this right hand, striking at a lion leaping upon him; on the other, two men in gowns talking together, the one having a crown on his head. The circumscription, "Sigillum Baldwini Malet." 
1. [S397] Article, Malets of Enmore, Origin of, Malet, G. E. G., (June 1939), M8B908S397..
2. [S136] Family History, Malet, Arthur Malet, (Harrison & Sons, St. Martin's Lane, London, England, MDCCCLXXXV (1885)), M8W994S136., pp 27-28, appendix D1-D2.