Curia Regis Rolls Vol XII p132

Curia Regis Roll 90 (m9)

Trinity Term, 9 Henry III (1225)

‘Ebor’.- Dies datus est Willelmo de Percy querenti et Ricardo de Percy per attornatum suum de audiendo judicio suo de fine facto inter eos de maneriis de Tatecastr’ et de Linton’ et Spoford’ de Gisburn’ de Sadeleg’ et de medietate ville de Bukeden’ et ville de Litton’ et terra de Nafreton’ in octabis sancti Martini, eo quod vicecomes mandavit quod Willelmus nolu(i)t permittere eum vel milites ad hoc summonitos facere perambulationem inter terras eorundem Willelmi et Ricardi. Et ideo preceptum est vicecomiti sicut prius per ultimum breve; et apponatur in ultimo quod sine dilatione, assumptis secum xij. etc. quos prius elegit etc., accedat ad terras illas et per eorum sacramentum diligenter inquirat que yerre vel redditus vel pasture vel foreste vel hujusmondi sint de terris et pertineant ad terras que eidem Willelmo remanserunt per finum illum et que terre vel pasture vel foreste vel hujusmondi sint de terris et pertineant ad terras que eidem Ricardo remanserunt per finum illum: et scire faciat predictis Ricardo et Willelmo quando et quo die inquisitionem illam facere voluerit, ita quod, sive venerint sive non, nichilominus faciat inquisitionem illam: et illam habeat ad predictum terminum evidenter et distincte et aperte per litteras suas sigillatas et per quatuor legales milites ex illas etc’.

York – the same day given to William de Percy of complaint of Richard de Percy via his attorney to a judicial hearing to take place regarding the boundaries within their manors of Tatcaster and of Linton of Spofforth of Gisburn of Sawley and of the mid-point town of Bukeden and the town of Litton and land of Nafferton in October St Martin, but the Sheriff declares that William did not permit him or his knights to proceed with a perambulation within the lands of the same William and Richard. And the same order of the sheriff as a final ultimatum, that this (perambulation) is to be appointed without delay, added to the seventh (?) xjjj etc previously chosen etc, and agreement to be made by the same order that diligent enquiry is to be made of rents and pastures and forests and of lands pertaining to land which the same Richard continues to hold in the former boundaries, and know the aforesaid Richard and William are to decide which day of inquisition is to be preferred, therefore that, if whether or not the inquisition is held, (the results) are to be clearly and openly presented by letters/accounts and figures presented to four legally appointed knights and others etc.

Magna Carta had provided for the election of twelve knights in each county whose task would be to reform the evil customs of the forest and the malpractice of foresters; these commissions may have functioned, and their findings could be behind the 1217 Forest Charter, issued during the minority of Henry III, which called for the deforestation of all new forests created by Henry II; major deforestation took place under the reissued Forest Charter of 1225.(1) This resulted in perambulations, which effectively meant the re-defining of boundaries, and the subsequent loss of land and revenue caused discontent, as can be seen in the example above, which concerns the Percy family who were powerful land owners in Yorkshire. In a probably unrelated event in 1224, William de Percy and some of his tenants attacked the mill at Hornington (south of York) which was owned by Robert de Percy. In the attack, millstones were smashed and servants were beaten and robbed; one of the malefactors was a Robert of Linton,  possibly an abbreviation of Robert Hod de Linton. There is also a record of a Robert Hod as a witness to a land grant, and there are other grants that are similar which mention Robert de Linton, and all relate to the area within one or two miles of  Linton/Wetherby. A Robertus Hode (also written as Robertus Hudi), a landowner, appears in a Percy Cartulary concerning Whitewell, a vill near Linton, and in an earlier incident in 1219, Robert of Linton robbed Ivo of Wetherby. Still earlier in 1211, the Sheriff ordered the arrest of Robert de Linton, Nigel Pincerna, Matthew de Bram and others, apparently concerning a case of Mort de Ancestor. All three were present at the Hornington attack.(2) 

In the Patent rolls of 1224, Hugh de Neville is commissioned by the king to inspect his forests(3)and in 1225 soon after the reissue of the Charters, the king ordered new perambulations of the forests throughout England. As chief justice of the forest, Hugh de Neville presided over them along with his deputy Brian de Lisle and others, and they were carried out by sheriffs and knights of the various counties, and appear to have caused widespread turmoil,(4) and may as Lynley suggests, account for many of the fugitives and outlaws (including Robert Hod fugitive) in the Pipe Rolls from 1226; but whether or not Robert Hod de Linton was Robert Hod fugitive who committed a forest offence and fled the Forest eyre, or had resisted perambulations and fell foul of the law, or had committed some other crime, is impossible to say for sure.

1. For detailed research on the subject see: The Origins of the English Gentry, (Peter R. Coss); The Forests of England and the Management of Them in Bye-Gone Times, (John Croumbie Brown); The Domesday of crown lands: a study of the legislation, surveys, and sales… (Sidney Joseph Madge).

2. From the research of Robert Lynley and David Pilling.

3. The Royal Forest of Knaresborough was near Linton.

4. The fervour with which the perambulations were carried out were recorded by Chroniclers: ‘All new forests throughout England were disafforested’ exclaimed one monastic annalist, (C.R. Young, The Royal Forests of Medieval England, Leicester, 1979, p. 70) and according to the chronicler Roger of Wendover, after the confirmation of the Charters, ‘all put their liberties into practice, making assarts, hunting game, ploughing the land which was formerly uncultivated, so that all did as they chose in the disafforested woods’. (Matthew Paris, Chronica Majora, vol III, pp. 94-5)