Sir Godfrey de Scudamore, of Upton Scudamore

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Godfrey de Scudamore, of Upton Scudamore

Also Known As: "d' Escudamore", "Escudamore", "de scudamore", "Escudemor"
Birthplace: Upton Scudamore, Wiltshire, England
Death: after circa 1195
Immediate Family:

Son of Reginald de Scudamore and Daughter of Godfrey Mauduit
Husband of Matilda (Maud) Giffard
Father of Sir Walter Scudamore, Kt.; Elias Scudamore; Petronilla Scudmore and Godfrey Scudamore, II

Managed by: James Frederick Pultz
Last Updated:

About Sir Godfrey de Scudamore, of Upton Scudamore

Sir Godfrey de Scudamore, of Upton Scudamore is my/our 24th great uncle.
Sir Godfrey de Scudamore, of Upton Scudamore is my/our 24th great grandfather.
Janet Milburn 4/3/22


pp. 22-24

The caput of the Scudamore fief was Upton Scudamore in Wiltshire (held by Ralph in 1086) and it was known as “Upton Escudamore” before 1150. This suffix proves the earlier tenancy by the family.

Ralph holds OPTONE [Upton Scudamore] of Alfred [de Marlborough]. In the time of King Edward it paid geld (tax)for 9 hides. There is land for 6 ploughs. Of this there are in demesne 5 hides and there are 2 ploughs and 5 serfs; and there are 9 villeins and 22 bordars with 4 ploughs. There is a mill paying 20 shillings and there are 5 acres of meadow and 30 acres of pasture. The wood[land] is 3 furlongs long and 1 furlong broad. It was worth £8; it is now worth £9.51

The subsequent history of Upton Scudamore is well known since in 1166 Godfrey Scudamore held it as two of his five fees from Robert de Ewyas according to the Red Book of the Exchequer. Two years later in 1168 at the aid assessed for the marriage of Henry II's daughter we find that Godfrey held his five fees directly from the crown as a tenant-in-chief.52 The Scudamores continued as barones (tenants-in-chief) for much of the next 62 years, but their fealty reverted back to the honour of Ewyas Harold in 1230.53

Fifield Bavant in Wiltshire was another of the five fees of Godfrey Scudamore in 1166, although it is not identified there by name. It was known as Fifield Scudamore until the death of Sir Peter Scudamore in 1293 when it passed with all the rest of his lands (except Upton Scudamore) to his only daughter and heiress Alice, already the widow of Sir Adam de Bavant. It continued with the Bavants (with their name as a new suffix) until 1 July 1344 when Roger (II) Bavant, Alice's grandson, gave it and all the other lands he had inherited from her and the Scudamore family to Edward III. Ralph had held Fifield in 1086:

Alfred de [Marlborough] himself holds FIFHIDE [Fifield Bavant] and Ralph holds it of him. In the time of King Edward it paid geld for 5 hides. There is land for 4 ploughs. Of this there are in desmesne 3 hides and there is 1 plough and 3 serfs. There are 9 villeins and 6 bordars with 2 ploughs. There are 2 acres of meadow. The pasture is 1/2 league long and 2 furlongs broad. The wood[land] is 1/2 league long and 1/2 furlong broad. It was worth £4; it is now worth 100 shillings. One smith's forge pays 12 pence a year. In Wilton 2 burgesses pay 18 pence.54

Norton Bavant in Wiltshire was not one of Godfrey Scudamore's fees in 1166, and it had not been held by his predecessors from either Alfred de Marlborough or Harold de Ewyas. No undertenant is mentioned in the Domesday Book as holding “NORTONE” of Alfred, and he had kept the profits of the manor for himself as demesne.55 Harold seems to have followed the same practice for the tithes of Norton (alone of the Scudamore fees) are mentioned by Harold in his grant to the abbey of St. Peter's, Gloucester about the year 1120.

Norton was added to the Scudamore fief by Robert (I) de Ewyas sometime early in the reign of king Henry I. There was undoubtedly pressure on Robert from several of his knights demanding more land and greater security of tenure. At the same time there was pressure on Robert de Ewyas from the crown. The royal pressure came in the demand for scutage, the sum of money sufficient to hire a replacement knight or knights when the full servicium debitum of a barony was paid on demand into the Exchequer. As the memory of the Conquest receded farther into the past, the military preparedness of the knights and their sons became more open to question, and the crown over time came to prefer the professional soldier who could be bought with money raised through scutage. The amount asked for on the fee was always demanded from the knight himself. When a baron’s knights


chose to dispute payment of scutage either because their tenure was insecure, or the income from their land was insufficient to bear the cost of maintaining them as knights, the result was chaotic. Sometime early in his reign Henry I ordered his barons to undertake a general “reinfeudation” of their knights to take account of the changing circumstances. The result (in the case of the two knights of most interest to us) was that Godfrey de Scudamore got Norton Bavant in Wiltshire and Ruald de Calna had Monnington Straddle in Herefordshire as “new fees ” from Robert to be added to their holdings sometime before the death of Henry I in 1135. The change was noticed in the great survey taken in 1166, the first set down since the Domesday Book of 1086.

In Herefordshire we find that life there in 1086 was very different from that of Wiltshire where men ploughed and sowed in peace. All of Herefordshire south and west of the Wye River had been repeatedly laid waste by invasions of the Welsh, and the organization of the county is quasi-military in nature. Life revolved about the network of castles which the Normans had constructed along the border. The exposed condition of Alfred de Marlborough's castle at the very edge of the Conqueror's realm made necessary the constant presence within the castle of some part of the knights who owed it fealty. We know that the lord of the castle established a rotation of this duty and that each knight did a certain term in the year with his tenants.56 This was the essential service which the Scudamores owed for their lands in the middle of the 12th century to the honour of Ewyas, and Reginald Escudamore demanded castle-guard at Ewyas (or a money payment in lieu of this) when he enfeoffed his brother Walter Escudamore with a part of his lands.57 The same service was required of Godfrey Scudamore when he had a subsequent confirmation of his lands from Robert de Ewyas in the reign of king Stephen.58



The two Godfrey de Scudamores must be considered together, for we have no evidence at present to prove when the elder man died. They are almost exact contemporaries of their overlords, Robert (I) de Ewyas and Robert (II) de Ewyas. Robert I, like Godfrey I, was an adult in 1120 and is known to have been living in 1147 when he founded Dore Abbey, and it seems likely that he was living in 1148 when he confirmed to Godfrey Escudemor the entire village of Upton Scudamore in return for doing castle-guard annually at his castle at Ewyas Harold.

“To all his men French, English, and Welsh, and his friends, and to all persons to whom this writing may be seen or heard, Robert Ewyas sends greetings. Know that I have given, granted and by this writing confirmed, to Godfrey Escudemor and his heirs for his homage and service and for a white war-horse all the vill’ of Upton Escudemor and its pertinencies, to have and to hold freely and quietly, well and in peace, and fully, all woods, plains, meadows, pastures, ways, paths, waters, mills, Wiltshire from Robert de Ewyas.


with the keeping of hunting dogs for hares, foxes, wild cats, badgers, and wolves throughout the county of Wiltshire so that he will see his hunting more pleasing, with all the liberties and free customs in which I, Robert, am vested and well seised, doing thereafter by service of one knight's fee at the castle of Ewyas, to keep guard at the castle beginning at the Purification of the Blessed Mary lasting until the Invention of the Cross in May at his own cost except that the lord will properly provide sufficient firewood, straw and water during the said term with his hunting in the whole of our demesne during the aforesaid ward, and if he does not do guard then he will owe half a mark by the year and do the royal service that pertains. These being witnesses: Earl Patrick [d%E2%80%99Evereux] and Countess Isabel, Warin de Lusors, William fitz John, Richard de Camvil[le], Richard fitz Gilbert [de Clare], Alexander de Lymesey, Henry de Pomeroy, Philip de Hulm, Gerard Giffard, Pain de Campo, William de Caple, Guy fitz Te[s]con page, Henry Mautravers, and Hugh de Frennes, Umfred fitz William, Michell chaplain, William Contevele, William Symenel and others.”77

Purification is February 2nd and the Invention of the Cross is May 3rd, so that the Scudamores were to do guard for the months of February, March, and April, or a quarter of the year. This agrees well enough with what we know of the honour of Ewyas Harold. In 1166 Robert Ewyas had 22 fees and the Scudamores held the customary five fees (almost one quarter) of his servicium debitum. Ruald de Calne had another five and he was responsible no doubt for another quarter of the year. The remaining six months would been divided among the lesser tenants.

The witness list is most helpful, as always, in dating the charter. Patrick d’Evereux was created the earl of Salisbury sometime after 1141.78

He and Warin de Lusors and Richard de Camville were “new” men of Stephen and never far from his side. Camville alone witnessed at least 63 known charters of the king. We can infer from this that the charter is likely to have been made at some time during the latter part of king Stephen’s reign and doubtless when his entourage was in Wiltshire. Richard fitz Gilbert [de Clare] is beyond doubt the man who succeeded his father (known as Strongbow in Ireland) in 1148 as the earl of Pembroke. His place on the list, which was structured in the order of rank, suggests that his father was still living.79
Gerard Giffard was the son and heir of Robert (II) Giffard of Fonthill Giffard, and his younger brother Walter was ancestor of the Giffards


of Chillington who are noticed elsewhere.80

There is nothing in the career of Warin de Lusors to assist in the dating, but it may be mentioned that he held the manor of Compton Chamberlain in Wiltshire at this date, a place where a younger branch of the Scudamores family lived later. William fitz John may have been the man who was more prominent later as one of Henry II's justices. All of this puts the date of the charter in the area of 1147 or 1148. It should be noted that Upton was already known as Upton Escudemor; evidence that the family had been there for some time previously.

Written charters become much more common in the middle of the 12th century. Previous to this most conveyancing of land had been done sine carta, but now Sir Godfrey is found now on the witness list of deeds of his neighbors and friends in Wiltshire. Sometime before 1166 Joce de Dinan gave three hides of land that Henry II had given to him at Westbury in Wiltshire to Philip Marmion who was to render thereafter the service of a third of a knight’s fee for it. Sir Godfrey Escudemor was a witness.81

The great survey of 1166 copied into the Red Book of the Exchequer was the first to be taken of the whole of England since the Domesday Book of some 80 years earlier. The honour of Ewyas is mentioned under both Wiltshire and Herefordshire, both showing that Godfrey was the largest tenant of the honour in Wiltshire. Under Wiltshire we find:

Godfrey de Scudemore holds from Robert de Weias four knight’s fees of the ancient feoffment, and of the new he holds one knight’s fee in the keeping of two knights; and of the ancient fees there are two feoffees, to wit, Waler’ de Scodimore and Waler’ de Giffard. And he makes another of his demesne. And the same Godfrey concerning this service has attorned to king's hand for judgment in the king's court; let the king make his plea thereupon.82

In the return made in 1166 by Robert (II) de Ewyas in Herefordshire to the Exchequer we find that Godfrey Escudor is shown as holding four fees of the “old” enfeoffment. That is, these four had all been in existence at the time of Henry I’s death in 1135. His one “new” fee (created after 1135), Norton [Bavant] in Wiltshire, was overlooked.


However in 1166 Godfrey was in dispute with his lord as to what services were owed, and Robert had in fact rejected Scudamore’s homage for the lands these fees represented. Godfrey, therefore, had to make his own return to the Exchequer, a course of action never found by a man who was not a tenant-in-chief. His return also says that he owes the lord of Ewyas Harold the service of four knights, but that two of these were supplied by two feoffees, namely Walter de Scudamore and Walter Giffard. The other two knights were provided by Godfrey’s own service as a knight himself, and by a stipendiary (a hired knight whose name is not given) who Godfrey paid for himself. It was to find how many knights (or their hired substitutes) that could be mustered in time of war that prompted Henry II to order the survey of 1166. The land which supported the knights is mentioned only incidentally. The five fees which Godfrey held were at Upton Scudamore (this would have been his demesne), and at Fifield and Norton. One of the old fees was certainly Corras in Kentchurch, and this was the fee held by his kinsman Walter de Scodimore. Fifield [Bavant] was probably held by Walter Giffard as we have seen.83'

He is probably the Walter Giffard who also held  land at Norridge in Upton Scudamore at one time, and he is likely to have been a kinsman of Godfrey de Scudamore.84
In addition to Norton [Bavant] he probably had some new smaller pieces of land from the honour none of them large enough to call for knight’s service. The Red Book of the Exchequer notes in 1166 that these fees were in dispute and that a judgement was to be given by the king. We may never find any record of what was the quarrel between Robert and Godfrey, but the verdict is certain.85


“Wiltshire. Notification to the bishop of Durham, William Brewer and Mathew fitz Herbert that the king had received the service from five fees of Robert de Ewyas which Godfrey de Escudemore held because Robert de Ewyas did not wish to receive homage from the said Godfrey for the fees, but later at the petition of Reginald, earl of Cornwall, and of Hugh de Lacy, the said Robert received homage from Hugh, and the king has given back to him [Godfrey III] his fief and his scutage on the aforesaid five fees.”86

In the Pipe Roll of 1168 we find that Godfrey de Scudamore paid into the treasury five marks for his five fees due as a tenant-in-chief at the aid assessed at the marriage of the king's eldest daughter “because Robert de Ewias is not willing to accept his homage.”87

From 1168 until at least 1172 Godfrey de Scudamore held his five fees directly from Henry II as a barony. In 1172 he paid £4 scutage (assessed at £1 on the fee) as one of those knights who did not go over in person with the king to Ireland.88

In the year following the Exchequer had caught the fact that he had only paid for his old fees, and that he still owed 20 shillings for his new fee (which he did not pay until 1176).89
Since scutage was collected only from the barons (or tenants-in-chief) we can be certain that he was holding his lands directly from the king as late as 1172. However sometime between this date and before 1 July 1175 Hugh de Lacy was put by Henry II as the intermediary between Robert de Ewyas and Godfrey de Scudamore, probably a compromise that was acceptable to both parties. Our evidence for this comes from the Memoranda Roll of 6 Henry III (1222) where it would appear that the Godfrey (III) de Scudamore of that day had petitioned to end the Lacy interference between himself and Henry III:

In 1173 the Pipe Roll notes that Godfrey de Scudimor owes 100 shillings because he was not willing to defend himself in the king’s court where he was accused.90

We hear no more of this matter, nor do we find out what the offense was. In the same year we find Godfrey and Mathew Scudmor as witnesses to a charter of Walter de Chalk to be noticed later.

They were granted plots of land in the castle precincts to sustain them for this service.” Presumably they were then reluctant to also do castle-guard at Ewyas Harold and this led to difficulties. See his Upton Scudamore (Westbury, Wilts., 1985) 4.


Even in the earliest of the charters, dating probably from the opening years of the 12th century Walter de Scudamore of Corras could pay his brother one mark (13s. 4d. in the pre-decimal currency) if he did not, or could not, do the annual castle-guard service owed by his fee in person. In the later charter, the one from 1168-9, Godfrey needed only to give Robert de Ewyas 1/2 mark annually in lieu of personal castle-guard service if he was not prepared to do the royal service appurtenant to his fee at Upton Scudamore. In other words if he were called upon by the king, by way of Robert de Ewyas, to perform royal service under the terms of Robert’s servitium debitum he need only do half his castle-guard service in that year or pay half the normal rate of compensation. At Ewyas Harold, therefore, the lord was prepared to accept money in redemption of knight’s service at a time which compares favourably with the earliest records of royal scutage. With this money he could hire a replacement for his disinclined knight, just as did the barons in the internal parts of the country. The evidence of the Scudamore charters suggests that the assumption that knights owing service at the border castles were more willing to serve in person just because they had to be in a better state of preparedness than elsewhere in the realm might be wrong.

In 1185 the Pipe Roll under Gloucestershire lists a debt of a half mark which Godfrey de Scudemor owed in Herefordshire in Wales for a pledge he had made for a boor (“pro plevina Burrica”).91

Possibly it is related to the entry immediately above it in the roll where one Richard Bule is likewise indebted for half a mark for “bad forest keeping.” This unnamed boor, no doubt a very poor man, was probably a tenant of Scudamore in Herefordshire perhaps in the Treville Forest. At the same time Alfred de Walton owed the same sum for the same or a similar pledge. The Pipe Roll for the previous year does not enlighten us, and we learn nothing else about the debt. Both Scudamore and Walton refused to pay and the sum was carried forth in every Pipe Roll through 1194. In 1194 the clerks in the exchequer marked the debt with a cross (+), their symbol that there was little hope of collecting the sum (perhaps because he was already dead), and in 1195 it disappeared.92

He had been living in 1190 when his name appears on the Pipe Roll with those who owed for the Welsh scutage, but the entry on the roll of 1194 is not positive evidence that he was then living.93

He had been succeeded by his son Peter by 1196 which fixes his death at about 1195.Godfrey had at least three children. In addition to Sir Peter Scudamore, another son is likely to have been the Sir James Scudamore, a clerk, who would have had to come out of a substantial family to have afforded the place that he had at court. He was a Clerk of the Chamber to king John and served later at the court held in the name of the young Henry III. It is likely to have cost his father at least 500 marks to have found a place for his son at the royal court.94

Peter also a daughter Erneberga married to Fulk d’Aunon, and who was buried as his wife before 1217 at the priory of Bath.95


48 VCH, Herefs., I, 337

49 Ibid., I, 318, 337.

50 Ibid., I, 274.

51 VCH, Wilts., II, 142. −23−

52 I. J. Sanders, English Baronies (1960) 43. In 1166 Robert de Ewyas had 22 fees, in 1168 only 19. The difference here probably represents the subtraction of the Scudamore fees although the mathematics is not perfect.

53 Dodsworth, Collections, XV, 113; Close Rolls, 1227-1231, 330.

54 VCH, Wilts., II, 142.

55 Ibid.

56 See Sir Frank Stenton's essay on castles and castle-guard in his First Century of English Feudalism, 1066-1166 (Oxford, 1961) 192, where he quotes an incomplete text of the Scudamore charter taken from Mathew Gibson’s Views, 56. It is a pity he had not seen the full text as it proves some of the theories he had infered about the rotation of this duty.

57 Hist. Mss. Comm., Hastings, 78, pt. 1, 232-3. See Appendix I, no. 1.

58 Mathew Gibson, View of Door, Home-Lacy, and Hempstead (1727), 56-7.

77 The Latin text of this charter is to be found in the Hungerford Cartulary, fol. 111. It is extremely curious that Mathew Gibson, the first historian of the Scudamore family, printed a very truncated version of this charter (now lost) in his View of the Ancient and Present State of the Churches of Door, Home-Lacy, and Hempstead (1727) 56-7. He certainly did not use the Hungerford Cartulary since the several other useful evidences there were clearly unknown to him.

78 Patrick d' Evereux was created Earl of Salisbury after 1141 but before 31 October 1147. See R. H. C. Davis, King Stephen (1967) 136. Evreux is in the départment of Eure.

79 Gilbert fitz Gilbert, earl of Pembroke, was loyal to Stephen until 1147 when he rebelled but was reconciled to the king before his death in 1148. Richard fitz Gilbert (ca. 1130-1176) first signs as “Count of Pembroke” on 7 November 1153. (Davis, King Stephen, 136; DNB, IV, 390.)

80 R. G. Woodman, Giffard of Fonthill Giffard (Westbury, Wilts., 1985) 9-10.

81 Close Roll, 1272-9, 346. These three hides became the manor of Bremeridge. Bremeridge Farm, three miles southwest of Westbury still survives. The witnesses were Sir Arnulf de Glanville, Sir Robert Treget, Sir Godfrey de Escudemore, William Walding, William Dauntsey [de Aneseye], Walter de Leigh [Lya], Savaraic de Penleigh [Penlyge], Colswen de Leigh [Lye], and Hervey, then clerk of Joce. Joce de Dinan died about 1166. See VCH, Wilts., VIII, 154, 157.

82 Red Book of the Exchequer (Rolls Ser.) I, 245. It is curious to find that on 22 October 1371 Sir Peter Scudamore, the last of his name at Upton Scudamore, had a writ directed to the treasurer and the barons of the exchequer directing them to search the Red Book of the Exchequer to ascertain the particulars of the knight’s fees held by Godfrey de Scudamore in 1166. What use Sir Peter made of this information when it was returned to him does not appear. (Wilts. inq. p. m., 1327-1377, 311.)

83 As J. H. Round points out “Waler” would be Waleram rather than Walterus, but Walter was probably meant. Walter Giffard had apparently held his fee for some time since he, or another man of the name, had been a witness to the grant of Reginald de Scudamore. The Giffards took the same arms as the Scudamore (three stirrups, or) differenced by a change in colour of the shield from gules (Scudamore) to azure (Giffard) and the strirrups canted. It is a matter of record that a knight often took his lord’s arms for his own, but differenced. Thus the arms of the Giffards of Chillington are assumed to have come from Walter Giffard (the knight to Scudamore) and father of Peter Giffard who was the first of his name at Chillington in Staffordshire. Chillington is still held (1989) by the Giffards and Peter Richard de Longueville Giffard of Chillington is the 28th in succession there. (His sister Diane was created Baroness Airey of Abington following the assassination of her husband, Airey Neave, by the Irish Republican Army.) Walter Giffard’s younger brother Robert (uncle of Peter Giffard) married a de Warenne heiress with extensive estates in Devon. The Devon Giffards was recently represented by the earl of Halsbury, Fellow of the Royal Society, scientist and parliamentarian. Halsbury’s son succeeded in 2000, but does not use the title. See J. H. Round, “Giffard of Fonthill Giffard” in The Ancestor, VI, 137.

84 In 1205 the king confirmed to the abbot of Waverley in Surrey a virgate of land in Norridge and certain lands in Corsley given them by Walter Giffard. (Rot. chart [Rec. Com.] 161). Thomas de Cormeilles acknowledged that he owed rent to the abbot for these lands seven years later. (PRO, CP25 (1)/250/3/40).

85 R. G. Woodman thought that when Stephen was king “he required Sarum Castle to be manned by certain Wiltshire knights in time of war and the Scudamores were among those chosen.

86 Memoranda Roll 1222 (6 Hen. III).The petition of Reginald of Cornwall, a bastard son of Henry I, must have been before his death on 1 July 1175. How long the Lacy interest survived in the Scudamore fees is uncertain, but Hugh de Lacy, lord of Meath, was assassinated on 28 July 1186 at Durrow in Ireland.

87 Pipe Roll 1168 (PRS 12) 160.

88 Pipe Roll 1172 (PRS 18) 127.

89 Pipe Roll 1173 (PRS 19) 100. See also the Pipe Rolls for 1174, 1175, and 1176.

90 Pipe Roll 1175 (PHS 22) 104. Entered under “new pleas and agreements made through Thomas Basset and William de Lanvaley.”

91 Pipe Roll 1185 (PRS 34) 148. See also the Pipe Rolls for every year between 1186 and 1194. Burricus (a boor, a local peasant) was a word I could not translate in my Upton Scudamore and made into a personal name in error.

92 Pipe Roll 1194 (PRS, n. s. 5) 233.

93 Pipe Roll 1190 (PRS, n. s. 1) 122.

94 Sir James had a long career at court, and was living as late as 1220 for which see my Upton Scudamore, 25-7.

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Sir Godfrey de Scudamore, of Upton Scudamore's Timeline

Upton Scudamore, Wiltshire, England
Kentchurch, Hereford, Herefordshire, England
Upton Scudamore, Wiltshire, UK
Age 79