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Held Knelle manor in Sussex near Beckley as a military fee of the Honour of Hastings of the Count of EU, as per VCH in 1190 and 1212. In the Red Book of the Exchequer V. 2, p. 623, Stephanus de Cnolle held one of the five and a half fees 'super dominio', or of the demesne of the count of Eu as 'new feoffment' 1211-12. The others were Hurste, Robert de Crevequer, William de la Wyke, Joceus de Maufe and Robert de Olinton (probably Offinton). All of them were free of castle guard at Hastings Castle. In 1166 the knights holding demesne fees in 'old feoffment' (1100-1135) had been Alured de St. Martin, Robert de Strabo, Robert de Broc, William de Bosco, William de Lancinges, Daniel de Crevequer, Roger de Freham (probably Fraelville) and Robert de Hastings. - Explanation: J.H. Round in his Feudal England p. 193 writes: When the number of knights fees created was not sufficient to comply with the knights service (to the king), the balance remained on the non-infeudated portion of the fief, that is on the demesne of the lord, and was technically said to be 'super dominium'. However, Stephen was free to sell of his 'fee of Cnelle' so that his family must have lived on the count of Eu's demesne already at an earlier date. - Count Robert received Hastings Rape 1067 of the Conquerer having repelled the Danes in the north of England, and he will have settled there relatives and retainers. His grandson Henry gave 8 s rent out of his demesne of Knelle to the Free Chapel of Hastings in 1106 (Dugdale Monasticon).

The following is based mainly on the charters of the abbeys of Robertsbridge and Tréport as well as on documents issueing from the King's court (CRR).

Alured or Alfred de St. Martin, a descendant of Rainald de St. Martin of St. Martin de Gaillard near Eu in Normandy, documented in 1036, had founded the Abbey of Robertsbridge in Sussex in 1176. He had been a companion of Henry Duke of Normandy and later one of his high officials, when he became King Henry II. For some time he made him constable of Drincourt, the modern Neufchâtel-en-Brai. After King Henry's death he became sheriff of Hastings Rape and dapifer of King Richard I. He married Adeliza de Albini, widow of John earl of Eu (d. 1170), daughter of William de Albini, Earl of Arundel, and Adeliza de Louvin, widow of King Henry I and daughter of the Duke of Lorraine and Count of Flandres who had married a French princess. They had a son Alured who after the death of his mother in 1189 inherited her dower lands in Kent, namely Elham and Bilsington, which she had received of William earl of Arundel at her marriage with John count of EU (Farrer, honours and kts fees). That they had a son Alured has been stated also by Lloyd in his Anglo-Norman Families and by the Complete Peerage and Keats Rohan.. - Alured had given almost everything he possessed in the Rape of Hastings to the abbey, followed by donations of William, Walter and Stephen de St. Martin and his entourage, who later witnessed many more charters.- Henry II Count of Eu in 1178 confirmed his mother's donation to Robertsbridge Abbey and gave the manor of Worth in the parish of Brightling for the soul of his brother Robert. He died 16 March 1183. King Richard I died in April 1199. - Raoul de Hysoud or Lusignan, Ct of Eu, died May 1219 in Poitou. His wife Alice, daughter of Henry Count of Eu, had  become Countess of Eu after her brothers had died. A few years after her husband's death, she left England and died in Normandy in 1246, having been deprived of her English holdings in 1225 - In August 1209 King Philip August of France  had restored to Alice.the county of EU and other holdings of her late husband, biut Drincourt and what had belonged to it had been confiscated by the king (Cart. Normande nº 170 by Delisle).

Shortly before 1190 Stephen confirms to Robertsbridge Abbey the land, which they hold in the fee of Setelescombe, called WORTH. This fee was held by Stephen until his death. In this deed his seal showes a fleur de lys. - Hundred of Staple, Sedlescombe,citing VCH: In 1210-12 the abbey of Robertsbridge held in free alms of Peter de Scotney, son of Walter, two-thirds and a quarter of a knight’s fee in Sedlescombe, of which the quarter was WORTH or Wortham, the ‘land of Gencelin’, granted to the abbey at its foundation in 1176, and confirmed to them by the Archbishop of Canterbury about 1180. The agreement was later renewed by purchase of Gencelin’s son Gilbert, and confirmed by Ralph Count of EU c.1197. About 1200 this quarter fee was held by Stephen de Knelle, who then acknowledged the ownership of Robertsbridge. Worth and the land of Gencelin had been holdings of Alured de St. Martin..- Sedlescombe had been held in 1086 by Walter FitzLambert or Scoteny (DB). In 1210 Peter de Scoteney had enfeoffed Robert son of Adam de Basoc of Sedlescombe of which Worth was a quarter fee. it was again ratified by Peter de Scotney in 1216 the year of Stephen's death. John de Northeye had given it to the abbey in  ca.1180 (CH 4-6), and by Robert Basok of Sedlescombe in 1220, after which it was included in the fee of Basok.” - In 1535-6 a wood was situated in a field called Nollys there (SAS FA 201). - About the same time Stephen de Cnelle witnesses a grant by Samson de Guestling to Robertsbridge Abbey, for the salvation of himself, Maud his wife and Laurencia his daughter. On 9 November 1198 staying at Roche-Andelys, King Richard confirmed once more to the abbot of Robertsbridge the gifts donated by Alured de St. Martin and others (Docs FR)..

1190 Stephanus de Cnelle, witnesses charters in which William de St. Martin, cousin of Alured de St. Martin, puts all his possessions in the Rape of Hastings into custody of the monks except his mill at Hastings. - William at that time was holding Methersham, which is situated less than a mile northeast of Knelle (VCH), and which he had bought of Gervaise de Ospringe of Kent in 1185. Those charters are also witnessed by Robert de Waliland, who himself gave a part of the land to the Abbey in c. 1180, which Alured de St. Martin had granted him. Robert appears in many charters as witness afterwards. - The same year Stephen de Cnell witnesses another charter of William de St. Martin, granting to Robertsbridge Abbey a virgate of land and rent in Eures in the moor next to the land of Samson de Guestling, and therefore also near to Stephen's marsh. The third charter by William de St. Martin, which Stephen witnesses, treats of the disposal of his land in Methersham, Smalwood and Tunstall against a yearly payment, in case William and his wife Amaphyll were to remain without heirs. One of the charters tells that he gave land in custody. Therefore it is possible that he also went to the crusade.

About 1190 Stephen confirms to the Abbey of Robertsbridge for the health of his soul and the souls of his ancestors all his land which he has below Eures in the morass, 'which is of my fee of Cnelle', except the marsh which Samson de Guestling inclosed for me before this deed". The monks have to pay 2 gold bezants yearly to him and his heirs and to enclose the land, whereby half of the land remains to him and his heirs. The other half stayes with the monks, who have to keep up the dykes as protection against sea and river water. For that reason he has received three marks as gersum. This charter is witnessed by Alured de St. Martin, Samson de Guestling, Alan de Lunsford, Robert de Waliland, Michael de Muntes and others. - Stephen's donation is contained in the royal charter of King Richard I, dated 9th Nov. 1198, confirming to the abbey their holdings with his new seal, the original one having been lost in Germany, when he was captured. Between 1199 and 1205 John, son of John earl of EU (d. 1170) confirms to the abbey of Robertsbridge their holdings, including the land lying in the fees of Cnelle, Sedlescombe, Ickelsham and Catsfield etc. 

Richard was crowned after October 1189. In December 1189-90 he came to Canterbury to see the archbishop and on 6 December he left England by ship from the port of Dover to Normandy, and from there to the Crusade. In that year Randulf de Hethinden confirms to the monks a grant of one of his retainers of land of his fee of Hectin, the later Hecton, which is sealed by an armed knight on horse riding to the dexter and holding a penon charged with a saltire. In his next deed he sells several pieces of land and tenements to the monks for 100s to finance his journey to Jerusalem using the same seal. Obviously, back from the Holy Land, he confirms to the monks all those lands under his first seal, namely those comprised in the second deed mentioned before. This charter he seals now with a fleur de lys. Ranulf was also called de Mayham and as such witnessed a charter of which Alured de St. Martin is first witness.

We have seen now King Richard and Randulf Hethinden with seals before they took the way to Acre, and other ones when they were back. This induces me to think that Stephen de Cnelle had been with them on cruzade, as he had one seal 1190 and another one later, namely an eagle reguard pruning his wing and afterwards a fleur de lys. In the charter by Roger de St. Martin confirming a convention made between him and Randulf de Hethinden in 1191 in the King's court, he seals with a plant, probably a fleur de lys and  'secretum' a bird pruning his wing, probably also an eagle. A further indication that Stephen was going to crusade is the fact that he wanted 2 gold bezants the money used in the Holy Land and the sale of land probably to fincance his stay there. Possibly those knights who had a seal when going to crusade and another one on their return were companions of King Richard, whose ship had foundered on the way back from the third cruzade, where the Christian knights had intended to recover Jerusalem from the Saracences, which had been conquered about a hundred years ago during the 1st crusade. - Further neighbours were at the siege of Acres: John de Born - Ermine a bend Azure; Simon de Somery; Ralf de Normanville - Argent a fess cotised Gules, a fleur de lis Azure; William de Northey - quarterly Argent and Azur (The Crusaders).

In 1207 Stephen is a juror in an assize in the King's court together with William de Ore, Robert de Kitchener, Stephen de Borne and others, to determine whether Geoffrey de St. Leger had unjustly diseised Stephen Prat, Cecilia his wife and John their son of a free tenement in Grindham (Michaelmas Term - CRR). William de Ore and Stephen de Borne had witnessed a writ by Alured de St. Martin before that date.

In the same year William de Bodiham and Juliane his wife sue William de Gulafre, brother of Richard, her first husband, for half a hide or 60 acres of land out of Knelle and 31s rent in Beverington (Bevendean) near Lewes as reasonable dower due to her. William Gulafre gives them other land in Beverington. - Juliane de Normanville, widow of Richard Gulafre, had married secondly William, son of  Roger de Bodiham. William's first wife was Mathilde, and their son was Henry. In another document Juliane talks about her husband's free tenement in Knelle. But that would mean that William Gulafre and Matilde de Lunsford held Richard's part in Knelle after Richard's death. This could imply that there was a family connection between the Knelle and the Gulafre families. - In 1203 a Richard de la Cnolle and his wife Helewis had sued Lawrence of Horsey for a third part of a hide of land in Beverington and elsewhere (SSX FF).

Juliane's first husband Richard had been with her second husband William de Bodiham on crusade in the Holy Land, from where Richard had not returned by 1296. Juliane  and her sisters or cousins Margaret, Emma and Roes then petitioned for a licence to marry whom they would. Richard's brother William was also at Acre. His arms were AR three hands SA. Note: The arms of Gilbert Malmains wer OR 3 hands GU. - As Ranulf de Hethinden or Mayham had been on Crusade and Stephen de Knelle most probably as well, they did all know each other. William de Bodiham's arms were GU an inescuchon AR and an orle of bezants, the latter a sign that he had been to crusade. - Juliane, then called Juliane of Pevensey, was living in 1236. Between 1231 and 1234 she had several court suits with John de Gulafre, son of Roger de Gulafre, a cousin of William and Richard, with the Cumbe and the l'Aigle families and others for land in Bevendean and elsewhere (SSX FF). She was amerced 10 s for a false claim against Gilbert de L'Aigle (CFR 1231-2 H 3). -In those law suits appear lands in Beverington, Eastbourne and Horseley. Those lands may have constituted  part of the 4 fees of Henry de Hertfield, whose ancestor Walter de Cahanne had held  in 1086 (Domesday Bk.), and lands which Juliane petitioned were in the hands of the Gulafre family (See Dallingridge in this web page).

Juliane was probably a daughter of Norman de Normanville who held land in Pevensey area at the survey of 1166 and who was admonished to pay scutage between 1161 and 1200 (PR). He may have been a descendant of Gerold de Normanville who was dapifer of Henry I count of EU and signed one of his charters in 1106. He held land in Hastings Rape near to Knelle manor which he gave to Battle Abbey. Margaret, Juliane's sister married a Sackville. Their arms are to be seen in Withiam church, West Sussex. - Norman de Normanville bore arms AR on a fess cotised 3 fleurs de lis GU. - However, Bracton in his Notebook  V. 1, p. 654 gives a detailed document dated Easter 1234 regarding an assize beween John de Cam and Katherine his wife against Julane, daughter of Normann' for half a hide in Eastburn in 1222, and against John de Gulafre 8 acres with appurtenances there. Katherine says that she is daughter of Roesia, daughter of Radulf de Normanville who was seised of those properties in the time of King John. But John says that his son Simon who is a minor holds that land of his gift as a tenant (SSX FF). - Ralf de Normanville seems to be also a descendant of Gerold de Normanville. Ralf  held land in the West of Kent and in northern England. Norman and Ralf may have been brothers or cousins.

Richard de Lunsford's sister Matilde was wife of William de Gulafre.They were children of Hugh de Lunsford and Agatha. As a widow Mathilde donated land  to Robertsbridge Abbey in about 1220. In this charter she carries a fleur de lys in her seal. The Lunsford family held land in Lunsford of the Echingham family and were of Saxon origin. - The author of the History of Gloucestershire says that the Gulafre's were a branch of the Giffard family, counts of Longville near Dieppe and later earls of Buckingham in England. However, there is place called Goulafrière in Ouche and a Le Goulafrière situated about 14 km southwest of Argentan. Osmund Gulafre of Boissy, canton St. Pierre-sur-Dive in Normandy, is known to have lived 1045-58.

The Gulafre family came from Normandy to England with the Conqueror. Their seat was Mesnil Bernard, later called La Goulafrière, situated some miles from Drincourt (Neufch^tel-en-Bray). The place is mentioned with Roger'de Gulafre's gift in 1050 in a confirmation charter by William, then Duke of Normandy, to the abbey of St. Evroult in Ouche (Prevost, Eure V. 1). Roger de Gulafre held La Goulafrière in 1074, when his overlord William de Geroie gave the church of this place to the abbey of St. Evroult, and Roger gave the tithes. Roger is named with the other tenants of the Geroie family 'cognati' or consanguineous (Ord. Vit. V.1, p. 36). Roger was chamberlain of Ernald d'Echauffeur, whom Roger de Montgomery had deprived of that place and of Montreuil. - Probably it is this Roger who in 1088 held land in Oxfordshire, where he was summoned with other three knights to elect 12 jurors in an assize between the Prior of St. Fridewithe and the Abbot of Dorchester (Bracton's Notebook V. 1, p. 109). The name Roger appears later again in France and England and that of Osmund in France. In 1180 Roger de Gulafre had to pay 100 s for a duel (Norman Exchequer), and an Osmund appears in a confirmation charter of King Henry I in 1120 (Charpillon-Eure V. 2. p. 291). 1181-2 Roger Gulafre witnesses a charter by earl William de Albini of Chichester or Sussex (Facsimile of Royal CH)). In 1199 he had an assize of mort' d'ancestor with Alan de Withall vor half a military fee in Isted and Deinton Suffolk (CCR p. 197). On 17 March 1216 the King gave Nicholas de Nuet the land which was of Roger de Gulafre of  Norton, Suffolk, which was a fee of Nicholas (Rot. litt. chus. p. 202). This was the Roger who was cousin to Richard and William Gulafre.

The first person who received land from King William I was William de Gulafre who had accompanied the Duke to the conquest of England, documented in Domesday Book in 1086. He held 4 fees in Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Northumberland Oxfordshire and Wiltshire. His wife was Scurteuna. His eldest son Roger and his wife Aline or Aveline had the sons Robert, William and Herbert and a daughter Mathilde, aged 60 in 1185, who married Geoffrey Lord of Norton in Suffolk He died died before 1185, when she received dower in Norton, held of William de Curci, and 3 librates of land in Blakenwell which land she had given to her son Richard three years ago. His brothers were Geoffrey de Norton and William de Gulafre (see above). They had t wounnamed sisters (Rot. Dominabus p. 28, 1185).

In 1207 William de Bodiham and William de Gulafre (d. 1214) acted as pledges for Hugh de Lunsford, father of Matilde, William's wife (CCR). In 1208 Stephano de Cnelle witnesses a petition by Willelm Gulafre and Matilde, against Alice de Lunsford, widow of Matilde's brother Richard, a niece of Alured de St. Martin, whereby William de Bodiham is the first witness. Ralf de Dene, Ralph de Ickelsham, Ralph de Borne are the other witnesses. William Gulafre cites a charter by Hugh de Lunsford and his son Richard, which had been witnessed years ago by Alvredo de Sancto Martino, Ralf de Born, Amfrid de Dene, a relative of Ralf de Dene, Stephen de Cnelle, Robert de Waliland, John de Northey and others, Alured having died meanwhile (died ca. 1189)

. - This was pure family business.- (Coll. Topogr. and Geneal. V. 2, p. 163: The witnesses in early deeds were generally the near relatives of the parties).

Wills of the Archdeacony of Sudbury 19 June and 18 Joul 1448, will of John Rose the younger of Thurston regarding 3 roods of land in the field called Knellefeld near the manor of NORTON in Norfolk. This document may give a clue to two other documents: Firstly to a connection between the Knelle and the Gulafre families, as Richard and William Gulafre had a brother Geoffrey de Norton. Secondly Matthew II de Knelle had a wife Margaret represented by her attorney Henry de Thurstan in 1318-22, whose family originated in Thurstan in Essex. There was also a branch in Kent. Possibly there was a marriage between the Gulafre and the Knelle families as Richard had held land in Knelle. It would also explain the nearness of the Lunsford and Knelle families, as Mathilde de Lunsford had married William de Gulafre, and regarding the problems with Juliane de Normanville whose first husband was Richard de Gulafre.

Alured's sister Beatrice had married Lorenzo de Lunsford, and his niece Alice, daughter of his sister Mabel de Candeleworth, married Richard de Lunsford, son of Hugo and Agatha, brother of Lorenzo. John de Calceto, canon at Hastings, was a witness to the donation charter of William de Bodiham, son of Henry de Bodiam, to Battle Abbey, by which he gave all his possessions in the fee of Bodiam (Battle Abbey CH).

William de Bodiham was a descendant of Osbern FitzHugh, who had held Bodiham in 1086 (DB). My investigations show that Osbern Fitz Hugh was son of Hugo or Hugh Vicecomes or sheriff of EU, who donated to the abbey of Tréport at its foundation in 1036 where he is named uncle of Robert count of EU, later witnessed by the count and Beatrix his wife with their sons Ralph, William and Robert (p. 5, Tréport charters), confirmed also in 1057-9 by Gulbert de Duneo, son of Hugo Vicecomes, who also witnesses the confirmation charter by the counts of EU. Gulbertus de Ou or EU and Goifredi or Geoffrey de OU witness in 1060 a donation by Hugh Talbot to the Abbey of The Holy Trinity of Caen, founded by the Conqueror (Docs FR). Hugh had died shortly before 1060, as Geoffrey de Ou was then vlas de Nuers the land wich was of Rober bgjuicecomes. In the Regesta Normannorum Vol. 1 c. 1070 concerning a donation to Battle abbey by Osbern FitzHugh, he is called Osbern son of Hugh of Ou, formerly confirmed by Stigand bishop of Winchester. - The genealogy of the counts of EU showes that Hugh Vicecomes was brother of William, son of Count William d'EU and Lesceline de Harcourt his wife and that his brother Robert succeeded his father as count of EU (FMG). There we have a discrepancy between the statements. - William de Bodiham, the crusader, was great grandson of Osbert FitzHugh. He bore the arms GU an inescutchon AR and an orle of bezants (The Crusaders by James Dauntsey). Osbern Fitz Hugh had given land in Bodiham to the abbot of Battle which William count of EU confirmed in presence of King William I.

Henry, son of William de Bodiham and his first wife Margaret, married Margery Calceto. In a Robertsbridge charter this Margeret, widow of Henry, son of William de Bodiham, quitclaims to the monks her tenement in Osinden, which Alured de St. Martin, her uncle, and Burgonnia, her mother, had given to the monks. "I Alured de Sancto Martino gave to Marg' de Calcea, my niece, for her marriage what I have in Osindone" etc. (Coll. Topogr. & Geneal.). John de Calceto was Margery's brother, cousin or uncle. 2 May 1199 William de Bodiham versus Margar', daughter of Ade, regarding her dower. Thus it seems that Burgonia, another sister or relative of Alured de St. Martin, had married Adam de Calcea. This family held land in the 'fobourg' of St. Martin de Gaillard in the county of EU in Normandy.

Amfrid de Dene descended of Amfrid de Dene of Domesday, who held property in Walderne, Chalvinton, Chenenolle (Knolle) in West Sussex and other places in Sussex. He was seneschall of the count of EU, but after the count's death he made a fine with King John to have his good will after his imprisonment at Corffe castle (Charles Dawson, Hist. of Hastings). Amfrid de Dene had witnessed charters by Stephen and Alured de St. Martin, Stephen de Cnelle and others. There exists a genealogy where his and his brother's Humphfrey descent are traced from Amfrid the Dane living in the time of the Richard I, Duke of Normandy by an illigitimate son who became the first earl of EU, who was deprived of his earldom by rebellion,

Ralph de Dene held 8 hides in Dene near Eastbourne and land in Buckhurst and Romney marsh in East Sussex in 1086 (DB). - William Smith Ellis in his 'Observations of the counts of EU'  thinks that he married one of the heiresses of Osborn Fitz Geoffrey, who held Bexhill and many other properties in the Rape of Hastings, also Dene and properties of the Count of Mortain in West Sussex in 1086. His father was contemporary with William count of EU and Leceline daughter of Turquetil de Harcourt of Bourg Turold in Normandy. Geoffrey and Ansfrid his brother, also called Humfrid, appear in a charter by William and Leceline to the abbey of the Holy Trinit in Caen (see also Goisfrid above). As we have seen Osbern Fitz Geoffrey was son of Goisfrido (Geoffrey) de Ou.and held Bexhill in 1086 (DB). - A later Ralph de Dene had a daughter Ela whom he married to Jordan de Sackville, offering him land at Waldington and Chalvington together with his land in 'Geyle' in Normandy. From the charter dated c. 1170 emanates that he held more property in Normandy (Norman Chs from Engl. Sources - Nich. Vincent).

Ralph, son of Robert de Basoc, was overlord of Lunsford. His brother Stephen became the first undertenant of the demesne lands of the counts of EU at Ewhurst and Northiam in 1211 (VCH). Ralph figures in many Robertsbridge charters as first witness. In one charter he is styled 'brother' of Reinger de Northey, so that there was certainly a marriage between the families. Reinger was a descendant of the earls of EU and of the St. Martin family of Gaillard near EU. A marriage between the families would therefore explain his first witness to certain charters.

John de Northey, son of Ingelram de Northie, released all his land of Worth, which he claimed under the will of his father, and of the gift of the Earl of Ow or EU, his father (it means that William count of EU (c. 1196-1204) was father of John's father Ingelram), to the monks of Robertsbridge. First witness is Alfred de St. Martin. Renger or Reinger, elder brother of John, confirms his deed by another charter, where the first witness is Henry earl of EU, then Alured de St. Martin and Adeliza comitissa (charters 4 and 5). Reinger and John's father was Ingelram de Northey living in the time of King Henry I (1100-1135). Ingelram was the youngest brother of Henry I earl of EU, but Charles Dawson informs that Ingelram had a brother Guy, maybe they were illigitimate. Ingelram held Wilting by Hastings, the tithes of which he gave to the college of Hastings. I  believe that he was also Ingelram of Hastings and had another son who became progenitor of the Hasting family. He also held Northey and land in Barnhorn in Bexhill under Widelard de Balliol (Charles Dawson). Bexhill had belonged to Geoffrey of OU at Domesday. Reinger de Northeye, son of Ingelram, was another nephew of Alured de St. Martin, whose ward he was during his minority, as Ingelram was married to a sister of Alured de St. Martin (VCH). Thomas de Northey  styles William de St. Martin as his ´brother´ in another charter. A later William de Northeye held Methersham next to Knelle, once of William de St. Martin, which he had given to Robertsbridge Abbey.

Ralph de Ickelsham (d. 1204) was a descendant of Hamon de Icklesham, who was married to Matilde, sister of Samson de Guestling. Hamon is documented in 1160-1. In 1086 Ickelsham  was part of  the 7 fees of William de Wilcheres. Hamon was son of Elias de St. Leger (genealogy) and the St. Leger's were descended of Robert I, Duke of Normandy. Hamon's son Robert married Sibille de Dene, daughter of Ralph, and Ralph de Ickelsham was their heir whose daughter Sibille married Nicholas de Harengod. - The only connection between Ickelsham and Cnelle found so far is that Alured de Cnelle seems to have been their tenant who acted as their attorney in some cases about 1220 and later. However, Lloyd in his    ´Anglo-Norman Families´ informs that the family of St. Leger were from St.-Leger-aux-Bois, arrondissment Neufchâtel (Drincourt), canton Blangy, within the limits of the county of EU. In 1086 Robert de St. Leger held 1 hide and half in Bexhill of the count of EU and his descendant Thomas in 1166 had 4 military fees in Fairlight, Pett, Bexhill and Icklesham. - The famly had a fleur de lis semée as their arms. - Stephen's son Geoffrey had also a fleur de lis semée in his seal.

Robert de Waliland had the same or similar coat of arms in his seal as in Stephen de Cnelle's first seal. He had been enfeoffed by Alured de St. Martin with a part of his demesne in Waliland in Ewhurst, whereof he gave some part to the abbey of Robertsbridge ca.1180. It is possible that there was a marriage between the families, as Matthew, grandson of Stephen de Cnelle, bought half of the fee of Waliland in c. 1260 of a descendant of Robert de Waliland who had married a Cumboil. At the sale of Knelle manor another Cumboil had some right in this manor.

By those documents it has become clear that Stephen de Cnelle was at least part of the inner circle of Alured de St. Martin, if not related to him in some way. There are several Alureds named after him. Alured his son, Alfred or Alured de Basoc (who witnessed Robertsbridge charters with Alured de St. Martin), and Alfred or Alured de Cnelle, who may be a younger son of Stephen (see further Knelle members). - Ca.1180 John son of Stephen Harengot, grants land in Hastings rape to Robert Pollard. The witnesses are Henry Count of Eu, Robert and John his brothers, Alvred, William and Stephen de St. Martin, Alured de Calceia, Reinger de Northey, Adam de Basoc. - Nicholas de Harengod, husband of Sibille of Ickelsham was John's son.

William de St. Martin died in 1208 and Stephen de Cnelle may have died at the siege of Rochester castle on 30 October 1215 or in 1216, when King John destroyed Hastings castle and many properties in that region. Stephen's son was lord of Knelle in 1217. That year John de Northey was also dead, as in July of that year Thomas Bondong received the custody of his lands and the marriage of his heir (CCRlit). Stephen de St. Martin's parentage has not been proved yet. - Of Alured's son Alured in Sussex is only known that he held a yoke of land in Ickelsham and confirmed a holding in Ferne to one of his father's tenants at about that time (CH Robertsbridge). However, there is a charter by which Idonea de Herst in ca.1202 quitclaims to Alured de St. Martin rent received for the last 13 years for land in Promhelle or Broomhill. Farrer in his 'Honours and Knight's Fees' confirms that Alured, son of Alice, late countess of EU received two manors in Kent, Bilsington and Elmham,  in 1189, which had been her dower.. 

Another indication that Stephen my have died between around 1216 comes from the Chronicle Majora of Matthew Paris, where he tells us that at that time the whole of soutthwest England had been invaded by Louis, the son of the French King Philip August, whom the rebellious barons had called in against King John. There were certainly skirmishes at that time in Sussex. One defender had organized 1000 archers. In 1216 John had lost the assistance of his Flemish mercenaries while Louis progressed from Kent and took the vills and municipalities of Sussex. Shortly before that King John had hid himself in a ship at sea near one of the harboursof the Cinque villds. But when Louis was on the way he destroyed the castles of Hastings on April 1216 and Pevensey afterwardson his route (Dawson-Wendover). There were skirmishes between the defenders of John and Louis who then occupied all the south of England from Dover to Windsor castle which submitted. Kent and Sussex fell totally in his hands. This is confirmed  by the document cited below which states clearly that  Stephen must have died in 1216-7.

Ralph de Lusignan, de Hysoud, Hiemes or Exmes, Earl of Eu in right of his wife Alice d'EU, confirms to Robertsbridge Abbey the land which Alured de St. Martin had given them out of his fees in Ore, Icklesham and Guestling and land in Winchelsea, Clivesend and Pett. (Adam de Knelle held land in Pett in 1296 - SB).

Alured de St. Martin died in c.1189-90 (CRR and VCH), which sources state that his appointment to look after the castle of Hastings was given to another person in that year or a short time later. On 7 Oct. 1189 Alured witnessed a charter by King Henry the second shortly before his death on 25 Oct. of that year at Roche Andelys in Normandy (CCHR v, 2 p. 351). Dawson gives the latin text of a charter by King Richard I confirming to Alured de St. Martin, his steward, the gifts Henry Count of Eu (d. 1183) had granted him in presence of King Henry II. After the death of the countess Alicia, King Richard confirmed to Alured de St. Martin the lands in Eleham and Bensintone, after the death of his mother (d. 1189), which were of her dower, to be held during his life.The charter was made at Canterbury on 13 November 1189, when King Richard was staying there (Hist. of Hastings castle V. 2 p. 413-4). Alured the father had one seal which showes him as knight on a racing horse. He sealed in one charter with a lion. I believe that his father was Robert who built the Robertsbridge. Geoffrey de St. Martin, his uncle and Robert had the arms Gules a lion passant to the sinister OR.            

That Drincourt with surroundings belonged to the counts of EU is proved in about 1060, when Roger de Buslei gave to the abbey of the Holy Trinity of Rouen the tithe of Buslei rfor a payment of 73 pounds and one horse which William prince of the Normans and later Conqueror confirmed. Witnesses are Robert count of EU, Rolf, Huelin de Drincourt, as well as Richard and Turold their brothers. When Alured de St. Martin was constable of Drincourt in 1180, he had to see to the taxes. Under those tax payers mentioned in this area are Humphrey de Maneriis, Turold de Moncellis (Monceaux) and Elia de Neella (The Norman Exchequer Vol. I). The Maneriis family was seated slightly north of Drincourt or Châteauneuf-en-Brai, and a few miles further down existed half a fee called Quesnel a Sommery, which belonged to the barony of Cuverville-en-Yère near EU. In 1109 William de Somery witnessed a charter by Henry I count of EU between 1106 -1109 to Battle Abbey. In the church of Dives, Normandy was found a list of persons who accompanied William Duke of Normandy to the Conquest of England. One of those was William Quesnel.

Members of those families were seated in east Sussex very near to each other and are all mentioned in the Robertsbridge charters. - As Alured de St. Martin had later also been dapifer of John Count of EU, whose uncle was Henry de Sully, abbot of Fécamp, which abbey held land in Sussex in Rye and Winchelsee in East Sussex, and in Upper Beeding, West Sussex, it may also be possible that a member of the Quesnel family of Normandy was brought over by them to occupy Knelle manor, which belonged to the demesne land of the counts of Eu. Of course, there is no document proving these theories. Ingelram de Maneriis donated to Robertsbridge abbey some years before Stephen's charter. Hemeric de Cnelle in 1164 acted for abbot Henry de Sully in a quarrel  between the Abbey of Fécamp and John de Tregoz regarding a wood near Beeding (Docs. FR). The Knell family of Knell House in east Sussex held land in Beeding of the abbey. - There is a piece of land at that Beeding called Knelll. - See further Knelle members and Conclusions). Knell manor or Field Place lay next to the of Goring castle in West Sussex, held at that time by the Tregoz family. A connection between this de la Knelle family and the Knelle family of East Sussex has not been proved yet.

To this I would like to add tentativeley the following.

In 1180 Alured, William and Stephen witness a charter by Henry count of EU (d. 1183). A charter of Thomas de St. Leger regarding a grant of his pasture in Fairlight were signed by Henry earl of Eu in 1176 in 1183, witnessed by Alured, and Stephen de St. Martin. William de St. Martin receives a gift from Osspring Kent fo his homage and service of the whole land of Madresham (Methersham) as above, witnessed by Stephen de St. Martin. Walter de Scoteny confirms the land bought by the monks of the land of the son of Gencelin. This charter is signed again by Alured, William and Stephen de St. Martin. Robert de Waliland, tenant of Alured, gives land to the monks he holds from Alured. This charter is the last one signed by Alured, William and Stephen de St. Martin. This is clearly a charter to the abbey of Robertsbridge, certainly a little later than the foundation.

After 1183 Stephen de St. Martin does not appear any more. In 1190 William de St. Martin gives all his lands to the monks he had in Hastings except the mill, as a ove. At the same time Stephen de Knelle sells to the monks half of his moor in Eures for 2 gold coins yearly. The knight and warriors of east Sussex prepare themselves to follow King Richard to the crusade. At this moment Stephen de Cnelle is lord of Cnelle manor and therefore can dispose of land.

Stephen de Cnelle had the sons Geoffrey and Alured. Geoffrey was the name of Alured de St. Martin’s uncle who had exchanged land of him in France against the land Geoffrey held in Sussex. This fact and the early disappearence of Stephen de St. Martin makes me consider that Stephen took the name of Cnelle when he received Cnelle manor which belonged to the demesne of the counts of EU Alured had received land of the count in Sussex for his services. This influence may have helped that Stephen received Cnelle manor from where he then took his name as was normal at those times.



On 17 May 1217 The King orders William de Cassingham, one of his officials, to give seisin to Galfrido de CHNELLE of the land which was of William de Bodiham, which the king had conceded him (Rot. litt. claus. V. 1 p. 309). This William was a minor and grandson of William I de Bodiham mentioned above, who died in 1210. He received his inheritance in 1213-4, when he had to pay to the king 30 marks as relief and to promise to accompany him with arms and horses during one year (CFR p. 472). The Bodihams held four military fees since 1086 (DB).

Ca. 1219 Godfrey de Cnelle, son of Stephen de Cnelle, to the monks (of Robertsbridge) :
Grant in frankalmoign of 9s yearly rent out of his land of Fugesham. Witnesses: Robert de Hastings, Stephen le Borne, Robert his brother of Diedsterne (Dixter in Northiam near Knelle), Robert Besocher (Basok) of Setelescombe (Sedlescombe), Laurence de Mundifeld (Mountfield), William de Kitchinore, Helyas Foleth, who had married the daughter of Robert de Waliland. At the same time Robert de Sedlescombe, son of Adam de Basok, confirms to the monks the land in Worth, which Stephen de Cnelle had held. - Godfrey's seal: Fleurs de lys semées. Sigill: Galfridi de Cnell. - In 1296 Hecton, the former Hethinden or Hentin, where Gervaise de Fugesham appears as tax payer, was taxed with Knelle. - Robert de Basoc had also a fleur de lis in his seal: Sigill: Roberti Basoc (Robertsbridge CH). - Please compare the witnesses of this charter with those mentioned under Stephen.

Geoffrey witnessed in 1225 a grant of Mathilde, daughter of Hugh de Lundresford and sister of Richard, concerning her donation of  land to Sibille de Echingham, daughter of Simon, who is to marry Wilhelm de St. Leger, against a certain payment every Christmas. Simon de Echingham, Laurence de Mundifeld and others are also witnesses. Mathilda was married to William Gulafre (Lunsford Charters, year 1208). - Maud de Lundresford as widow grants and quitclaims to Robertsbridge Abbey her whole tenement of Henherst next to the forest of the Count of Eu, to hold in frankalmoign, which Alured de St. Martin gave to the monks at the foundation of the Abbey. Seal: a fleur de lys.

A charter by William L(h)ose is dated 2 Nov. 1229, by which he quitclaims to the Abbey the donation of his tenement in Pirfield, Kent. - Witnesses are Geoffrey de Knell, Robert Basoc, Lawrence de Mundifeld or Mountfield, Manasser de Herst or Monceaux of Herstmonceuax, Elias Foleth, son-in-law of Robert de Waliland (murdered the next year). - Emma, daughter of  William Helte, held Pirfeld in 1200. William de Cyrinthon who was married to Sibilla, Emma's sister, had wittnessed a charter of Stephen de Knelle and many other Robertsbridge charters.

In the Pipe Roll of 1241-2 under 'Pluribus Prestitis', page 277 appears a Galfridus de Cruell' as a surety. I believe that it must read Cnell' or Chnell, as I did not find a Crioll of that first name at that date. I have seen the Cnell name even spelt as Ruell. Recenttly, I found another document dated at Herefordshire in 1222, where a person who in a document of 1221  was called Walter de Cnille and in 1222 Walter de Cruel concerning the same law suit. This in the Latin text. The translator had put Kulle (Bracton's Notebook). - For the spelling of the Cnell-Cnill names please see 'Conclusions' in this web page.

As per Testa Nevill the heirs of Keyhell (Knell) held one military fee of Alice countess of Eu of her Honour of Hastings in 1242-3.  - Geoffrey died ca. 1250. At the same time whens Geoffrey was active in about 1220, Alured or Alvred de Knelle acted as attorney for Soboñ de Ickelsham.He was known as the Frenchman Given that Stephen de Knelle had been to Crusade with Richard Lionhard and others of his entourage, and his son Geoffrey had suddenly a fleur de lis seeded, which is the blason of France since Charlemagne who wore this sign and the double headed eagle, it seems to me that Stephen may have married a Norman or French lady. There is even the possibility that it was a relative of Alured de St. Martin. Why would otherwise Alured de Knelle have been called  Alured the Frenchman? Alvred de Knelle seems to be a younger brother of Geoffrey.


In April 1250 Matthew de Knelle and five others were pledges for Roger de Granglis who had taken the towns Winchelsea and Rye from the King in farm for 200 marks. The pledges promised to keep those places in good or even better estate when they have to be restored to the King (FR H. III). - On 28 Sept. 1252 Matthew paid the king half a mark for removing a plea at the justices of the Bench and on  30 Dec. 1252 The King gives Matthew de Knelle relief to become a knight within the next 3 years (CCR).

14 July 1253 - Exemption for life of Matthew son of Geoffrey de Knolle, from being put on assizes, juries or recognitions, and from being made coroner (CPR). For that he gave the King 30 gold bezants (FFH. III). - In that year Matthew appears in the scutage rolls. He, Walter de Scoteny, the two Williams de St. Leger of Fairlight and Wartling, William de Northeye, Simon de Echingham, Bartholomew de Ashburnham, Waleran de Monceaux, Mathew de Hastings, his neighbour of Kitchenor, all holding in chief, were restrained by the sheriff to go over sea with King Henry II to invade Gascony (William Dawson, Hist. of Hastings).

In 1255 Matthew and his heirs received a grant of free warren in his lands outside the King’s forest. Therefore he gives the king 12 gold bezants paying them to Artald de Sancto Romano keeper of  the Wardrobe (FFH. III). On 6 March of that year he witnessed a royal charter at Westminster with such notable persons as John de Warenne, Edmund de Lacy, both earls, and John Mansel, provost of Beverley, later King Henry III's chancellor. He was of a Sussex family, held Sedgewich castle and founded the priory at Bilsington, Kent .

1256 Matthew de Kenll' has made a fine with the king for half a mark of gold for having respite to become a knight . 7 Dec. 1257 Matthew of Knelle gives at Westminster half a mark for having a plea 'ad terminum' removed at the Bench ( The next year he gives half a mark for a writ of trespass at the Bench . - On 30 June 1259 Matthew de Knelle gives half a mark for a writ of trespass in Kent at the Bench ( all FFH. III). In the same year Matthew gives half a mark for a writ to remove a plea  and he owes 1 mark for desseisin (CPR p. 114-5).

Robertsbridge Charter (c.1260)
John, son and heir of Walter and Burgonia de Waliland, to Matthew de Knelle: Quitclaim in fee of all his right in the half fee of Walilonde, formerly held by his father and mother; to hold of him and his heirs, subject to the yearly payment of one pound pepper at the house of Knellee. Consideration money, 60 pounds .- Witnesses: Edme de Knelle and others. It is not clear whether Edme was his brother, son or a kinsman. (This charter was found stabbed in 4 places). - Robert de Waliland who witnessed Stephen de Knelle's charter, had a daughter Maud who married Elias Foleth of Winchelsea. They had a daughter Cecily, who married Richard Cumpayn and Walter who was married to Borgonia, held land of his mother in 1248. It may also be significant that Matthew's descendant Edmund de Knelle was sued by William earl of Huntingdon and a Campayn for Knelle manor about 80 years later.

1261-2 Matthew gives another half mark for a writ 'ad terminum' concerning Essex. That means that he must have had some interest in that county (CFR). - In 1262 The warden of the Hospital of Playden induced Sybil of Yarmouth to set fire to the buildings and ricks of Mathew de Knoll in Beckley. Sybil forswore the country. - May 23, 1263 - William de Wilton was appointed to find out who wasted the manor of Matthew de Knelle in Beckley and carried goods away (CPR). - On 8 July 1262 Peter de Sabaudia, half brother of the king receives the honour of Hastings in exchange with other lands to be held by Edward, King Henry's son (CCHR V. 2 p. 44). Matthew has now another overlord.

In 1264 Matthew assisted Simon de Montfort, earl of Leicester, with armed riders at the siege of Rochester Castle, as did Matthew de Hastings, till prince Edward relieved the castle.The siege began on the 17th April and lasted to the next day which was Good Friday (GBS). Matthew was at the battle of Lewes, where he charged with his his followers against the King on 14 May 1264 (Kts of Edw. I). Thus it may be assumed that he took also part in the battle of Evesham considering the difficulties he had to survive afterwards, and was judged according to the edict of Kenilworth in 1265, where he probably stayed with Simon's son and therefore survived the battle of Evesham. - Farrer Knights of Edward I: Matthew was a friend of Simon de Montfort, earl of Leicester, and was at Rochester with horses and arms at the siege of the castle. He bore his own charges against the king at Pevensey and at other times.

From the Chronicle of London 1263-4: In the week before Easter the Barons and the Londeners attacked Rochester and took it. Then they laid siege to the castle there and took the bailey. But then they heard that the King approached so that they withdrew to London. The negotiations with the King did not prosper and therefore the contending parties met 9 days later before Lewes where the King of Germany (Richard of Cornwall, brother of  the King) stayed with the King. The battle lasted all day but finally the Barons won and took the King of England and Richard King of Germany. The Barons and the King agreed that the Provisions of Oxford should be uphelt...

1265 Sir William de Apuldrefield placed one his men in Matthew de Knoll's manor of Knoll or Great Knelle, Sussex. He took nothing  except what he ate and drank (Inq. Misc., V. 1, p. 275 nº 912)), i.e. after the Battle of Evesham, where Simon de Montfort was so cruelly cut to pieces. - On 3 Sept. of that year Matthew de Cnolt received simple protection until All Saints (CPR). - In 1265-6 the King gave to Roger de Shirland all the lands and tenements of Mathew de Cnolle in Sussex (CCR).

14 Feb. 1266 - Simple protection until the octaves of Michaelmas for Matthew de Knolle (CPR). - 1267, July 19 simple protection, without clause, for 1 year for Henry de Frome and Matthew de Knelle, provided that he stand to the award of Kenilworth and redeem his land (CPR). [Dictum of Kenilworth October 1266: Fines were levied for those adherent to Simon de Montfort, which ranged between one and five years valour of their income, in order to be pardoned and have their lands restored]. Matthew consequently was received into the King's peace on condition of future good conduct (27 Dec. 1267).

1268, Thomas Palastre and Joan his wife acquired land in Wittersham from Matthew de Knelle (GBS). - In that year Matthew witnesses a charter of William de Northeye, kt., granting to Robertsbridge Abbey two acres of land near Mayham Bridge (over the Rother) in Beckley. He also witnesses Robert de Crevequer's charter to the monks, confirming the grant of William de Northeye. Robert was Northeye's overlord. Here the name is spelt Cnelle (Robertsbridge CH) - William de Northye was descendant of a niece of Alured de St. Martin. - 1270, Sept. 10 - Simple protection, without clause, for one year, for Matthew de Knelle (CPR).

A writ from the King dated 1Nov. 1271 - After Matthew had obtained an adjournment into parliament orders were issued that land and tenements from Matthew's lands in the county of Sussex had to be assigned to Robert de Cokefeude (Cockfield) following his part in the baron's war, according to the dictum of Kennilworth. From 'Knights of Edward I': - In that year Matthew de Cnelle was assured to live peacefully in Sussex (CCR). - A translation of the latin text reads as follows: Due to Matthew de Knelle's transgressions during the period of disturbances we conceed to Robert de Cockfield 20 librates of land and tenements in Sussex according to the Dictate of Kenelworth...Robert was admonished not to make waste etc. According to that document Matthew obviously maintained that during the disturbances he had been in service with Gilbert de Clare, earl of Gloucester and Hertford, and that he had adhered to Edward, the King's son, and to the King's cause. A warrant of the earl was to be presented at the following court. Matthew came but was not able to present a document from the earl confirming his plea so that Robert de Cockfield received seising of the 20 librates of land.

Consequently, Matthew had fallen into debt and had to mortgage part of Knelle manor to Robert Paulyn of Rye. He had petitioned King and Council for part payments of the 40 marks owed to the king, with the argument that his land was lying fallow. He was allowed to pay 100s annually (VCH and TNA SC 8/201/10042). - Due to his misfortune he seems to have become a knight of Henry de Lacy, earl of Lincoln, as on 1 July 1277 he had protection to go with him to Wales. Robert Paulyn was married to Alice, daughter of Walter Gurgeys of Shoreham, and her sister Maud to Richard Serle. VCH states that Serle held that portion of Knelle land for some time.

30 Jan. 1271 Simon de Creye, justice of oyer and terminer, was ordered to enquire into the redemption due by Matthew de Knolle according the 'dictum of Kenilworth. He is admitted to pay redemption on 20 librates of his land. But the enquiry also showed that he was a friend of Simon de Montfort, that he was at the siege of Rochester castle with arms and horses. At the battle att Pevensey he charged with other against the King as well as at other occasions. The judges did not know whether he did that by his own will or not  He was allowed to pay a redemption for 20 librates of land (Inq Mesc. v. 1 p. 131, nº 391.) -

On 29 Sept.1271 Matthew claims the land, which belonged to Amicia de Solincote, alleging that he had given the tenement to his son Matthew. The Exchequer wants to have the opinion of jurors as there exists an amercement relating to the tenement. The barons are ordered to demonstrate at what day Matthew's son was enfeoffed in this tenement and to give an answer within 10 days from St. Hilary's. - Hillary term 1271-2, St. Hillary 14th Jan. - Order to the barons of the Exchequer concerning Matthew de Knelle: We command those barons to enfeoff the son of Matthew de Knelle immediately against payment of 10 lbs for which he has been amerced in the court of those barons, payable into the hanaper at the next quinzaine of Easter in their court. - Robert de Cockfield to redeem his 20 virgates of land (in Knelle) according to the Dictate of Kenilworth (Cal. Geneal. V.1).

1272 The King ordered Master Richard de Stanes to let have Augustine de Auger, his valet, 40 marks out of fines and amercements received in his court instead of the 40 marks out of the redemption which Matthew de Knelle has to pay (CCR). On 6 April of that year commission to Hugh de Kendale, king's clerk, to enquire by jurors of Sussex into a complaint by Matthias de Knelle that while he was under the king's protection, Matthias de Hastings, William de Echingham and others inflicted diverse grievances upon him, especially in the houses, woods and gardens, belonging to his lands and tenements. They threatened his life and maimed some of his men. Their excuse was that they had done this because of his attitude against the king in the recent disturbances for which he had been amerced (CPR). However, Matthew de Hastings had had his land confiscated by the earl of Gloucester for the same reason, having been at Rochester as well, but had changed sides at the siege of Dover. He is described there as being in company of Joan, wife of Simon de Montfort, daughter of King Henry at Dover ('The Baron's War').

1273 Hundred Roll, Kent: They say that the abbot of Robertsbridge and Matthew of Knoll have obstructed a road leading from the vill of Oxney, Kent, to Newenden in Sussex to the damage of the realm. In 1274-5 Matthew was fined for obstructing the way between the Cross of Wyte and Maythambridge (VCH). - On 24 June 1277-8 Matthew, his son Geoffrey, John and Springet Knell, Adam de Clopton and two others were distrained for knighthood to be taken till Christmas.The decree had been issued on 26 June 1276 (Parl. Writs).

1278, Feb. 4, The King notifies the treasurer and barons of the Exchequer that Matthew de Knelle may pay the 20 lbs due by 10 marks at easter, 10 marks at Michaelmas and the rest of 10 marks at the following Easter into the Exchequer (CCR). On 26 June 1278 Matthew was summoned to war as knight of Sussex having been restrained for knighthood (CPR and Kts of E 1 V. 2 p. 291) - A French source puts it like that: "On the 26th June 1278 King Edward I convoked for military service the knights from the counties of Surrey and Sussex, who possessed at least one knight's fee in chief. Further there were summoned Simon de Somery, Richard de Ashburnham, Robert de Burgersh, William de Hastings, William and Richard de Soknersh (St. Leger).

2 Nov. 1280 Matthew owes further 40 m for old fines of which he is granted to pay 100s yearly (CFR). - On 17 Jan 1290 Matthew and his sons Geoffrey, Matthew and James, as well as Ralph Benteley, were detainded and imprisoned at Brede. They came free having paid a fine. All that came about because they had deseised Edmund de Passele (the justice), overlord of Beckley, and Maud his wife of a tenement in Beckley (CFR). On 18 Feb. an order was issued to free them from the prison of Reygate (in Surrey) for the same purpose (CFR). - Possibly, Ralph de Benteley was son-in law to Matthew.

In 1292 Robert Paulyn accuses Mathew and two of his sons to have obstructed gutters at Beckley during the night with his men of Beckley. The Jury says that he did it and for the damage caused he is in mercy for 12 lbs (Abbrev. Plac.).


problably son of Geoffrey and brother of Matthew according to the following documents: Matthew de Knell' of Sussex has made fine with the king by half a mark of gold for the respite of knighthood. Afterwards the king, at the instance of Joan de Knelle, servant of Beatrice, the king's daughter, has given Matthew respite from rendering that gold in the King's wardrobe in the fourty first year (1257) from one month of Easter (CFR).- Please see the fine under Matthew. - In 1224 the King had ordered the sheriffs to compell all laymen of full age who held one knight's fee or more to be knighted (William Stubbs).

1255 Joan de Knelle, lady in waiting (donicella) to Beatrice, the King's daughter, is excempt from being summoned in the county of Kent (CCR). - 1255 At Dover castle is present Johanna de Knolle 'donicella' of Beatrice, daughter of the King (married to John of Brittany, Duke of Richmond) (CCR).

1256, June 7. The king, on instance of Johanne (John) de Knylle, servant of Beatrix, the king's daughter, permits William Siwell respite from getting himself knighted, for one year from the feast of St. John the baptist in the 40th year. The sheriffs of Northampton and Sussex were ordered to restore to him immediately the goods taken from him. (CFR).

Beatrix's marriage to John, eldest son of John Duke of Brittany, was being considered in 1259. She was second daughter of King Henry III. As per Royal Genealogies she was married on 22 Jan. 1260 at the Abbey of St. Denis in France (Dawson). John received as wedding portion in that part in France, which King Henry had just received from Louis of France instead in Normandy. At their return a tourney was held in England (Dawson). In 1274 the king confirms to John of Brittany the honour of the rape of Hastings, and in 1283 he receives the honour of Richmond. In 1294 he was lieutenant of Gascony (Syllabus of Rymer's Foedora V.1). Later John became Duke of Brittany. He sealed chequy, a canton (Birch). John died at Lyon on 18 Nov. 1305-6 (CIPM, he was born on 4 Jan. 1239,) and Beatrix died in 1272 (Royal Genealogies). John was son of John  Duke of Brittany and Blanche of Navarra. His banner was chequered GU and AZ, with a border GU and leopards OR in remembrance of Dreux, Normandy, Brittany and England (Knights of K. E I, V. 1, p. 148).

Beatrix was probably godmother of Beatrix, who with her brother John de Knelle appear in the 1296 subsidies at Hecton, east Sussex, which in that year was taxed with Knelle manor (44 tax payers). They are supposed to be children of John and Joan de Knelle. - John de Knelle paid 6s 5 3/4 d in the Villat de Hecton near Peasmarsh and Beatricia 1s. In 1327, when there were 28 tax payers in the Villat de Knelle, where John de Knelle paid 1s 7 3/4d. But he also pays 1s  6 1/2d in Wivelrugg, a tithing which does not exist any more (SB). John filius of John de Knelle pays 1s 7 1/2d. In 1332 John de Knelle pays 3s 4 1/2d in Knelle and 9 1/2d in Heghton, Johanna 11 1/2d there and John atte Knelle 2s 8 3/4d. She was probably named after her grandmother. - There was a Beatrix married to John de Havekeson, his widow, in 1299 in Kent. She had gone to court for her dower. The lands of some persons like Walter de Welles and others in Kent had been seised for default of court on her behalf and at that date tried to replevy their lands by their attorney William de la Den (CCR). Possibly this was the Beatrix of 1296 (SB).


On 1 Aug. 1258 Richard de Knelle gives half a mark for taking an assize of novel disseisin in Sussex before Nicholas of Hadlow (CFR).  - In 1259 Ricardus de Knelle gives half a mark for an assize same as William de Northey, and half a mark for a false claim (CPR p. 116). - It is not certain that he was a younger brother of Matthew de Knelle or his son. But they are mentioned in the same document one after the other. - Richard de Cnolle was at the siege of Rochester castle but his land had not been taken which is worth 40s yearly. Richard must havve died during the disturbances as Sarah his wife held the land with the wardship of the heir afterwards (Inq. Misc. V. 1 p. 314).


VCH - Ewhurst manor, Staple Hundred, East Sussex, KNOLL now surviving as Knowle Corner, was a reputed manor which first appears in 1541. William de Knolle owes half a mark in 1259 but does not appear to pay (FFH3). William atte Knolle 1296 pays 2s 6d in Sedlescombe and also tax in Wyvelrugg. In 1332 Willi Knoller pays 1s 8d In Ewhurst and 1s 8d in Wyvelrugg. William atte Knolle or Knoller in 1332 pays 1s 8d. tax in Wyvelrugg  and in Northiam (SSX SB). - On 2 Nov. 1780 was made a copy of bargain and sale concerning Footlands Farm containing 200 acres in Sedlescombe. Also the manor of Knowle, otherwise Knolle, co. Sussex, and a farm and lands in Ewhurst (SAS-AN/289). Alured de St. Martin held Footlands or Fudilande in the 12th C. Ewhurst and Sedlescombe as well as Northiam belong to the Hundred of Staple, whereas Wivelrigg is part of Goldspur Hundred. - William de Knolle of 1296 may be the son of William who owed money to the exchequer in c. 1260 (see Matthew I de Knelle). - Mabel de Waliland, daughter of Robert de Waliland gave land in Ewhurst to the Abbey of Robertsbridge. Her father had witnessed many charters to the abbey from 1176. - It is not clear whether William I was a son or cousin of Matthew.

In this context I would like to draw attention to Richard of Cornwall, brother of King Henry, who recently had been voted King of Germany, where he had made a process along the left side of the Rhine during one year. At his coronation at.  Aachen (Aquis Gran) he had appeared with a long train of followers (Thomas B. Costain). - Farrer in his 'Knights of Edward 1, V. 5, p. 153 states that Sir Thomas Warbleton of Hampshire had protection to go to Germany with King Richard on 16 June 1260. So far my investigations in Germany about the left rhenish families of Knell, of which part my family hails, have not produced any persons of that name before the end of the 13th C. Therefore I have been surmising that one member of one of the English Knell families could have accompanied Richard and may have stayed there for some reason. Richard himself found his third wife there,  who was a niece of the archbishop of Cologne, one of the seven peers allowed to vote for the king if the succession was not clear and who had voted for Richard.


Uncle, brother or son of Matthew I. He witnessed in ca. 1260 Matthew's purchase of a half fee of Waliland of the family of that name.


The year 1290 saw him imprisoned in Brede and Reygate with his brothers and his father, having taken part in deseisin various times Edmund de Passele and Maud his wife of a tenement in Beckley.

26 Jan.1305 James de Knelle and William de la Hamme acknowledge that they owe Wisbach to Henry de Blund of Rye for 20s to be levied, in default of payment, of their lands and chattels in Sussex and Kent (CCR). - William is documented in RYE/136 in 1303-4. William atte Hamme paid subsidies in the tithing of Hope and Wivelrigg in 1296 in Sussex. In 1327 it is a John atte Hamme.


In 1276 Geoffrey de Knelle was imprisoned in Promhull (Broomhill) for presumably having killed Walter Kynet, but received letters from the sheriff of Sussex to bail him. He was also imprisoned at Brede, but was released on fine on 17 Jan. 1290 (CFR). He was qualified for knighthood (Kt's of Edw. I)

Geoffrey held Knelle manor as one military knight’s fee of the barony of Hastings, having succeeded his father in 1290 (VCH). - But his father was still living in 1192 (Abbr. Plac.). - On 14th June 1294 all persons were summoned who owned military service, to be present at Portsmouth in order to be transferred by ship to the invasion of Gascony. Therefore John of Brittany came to England and on 1 July was appointed King Edward's lieutenant in Gascony. But meanwhile there was trouble in Wales and the plans for Gascony had to be altered. Troups had to be sent to Wales. The Welsh war lasted till May 1295. According to this statement Geoffrey must have been one of them.

Cal. IPM. III, and CFR: On 5 April 1295 the king gave order to the escheator south of the Trent, Malcolm de Harley, to conduct an 'inquisition post mortem', to be carried out at Knelle, for Galfrido de Knelle deceased, and to see what he held in chief in his bailiwick. This document was issued at Aberconway, Wales, where King Edward I stayed that day on account of the rebellion of Madoc ap Llewelyn, son of the late prince of Wales, which had begun on 30 Sept.1294. The army had mustered at Worcester beginnung of October and fought their progress to Conway where they arrived on Christmas Eve. On 22 January 1295 there was a skirmish near Conway where the baggage train was lost. The next battle with the Welsh was fought on 5 March at Maes Moydog northwest of Montgomery. Madoc fled but was captured and was sent to the Tower of London. King Edward stayed on for some time in Wales to quelch the rebellion totally. This may suggest that Geoffrey was with the king in Wales and died there from wounds received. A similar writ was issued by the king to the exchequer dated May 13  and order was given to seise Geoffrey's land (CIPM p. 766) 

On Friday, the 20th day before the feast of the apostles St. Philip and St.Jacob, May 1, the inquisition was held by 12 jurors at Knelle manor, to which belonged John and Robert Oxebrugg, William de Ketchenor, his immediate neighbours, two Johns de Wodeland, and others. The inquisition showes that he died seised of Knelle manor, which he had held as military fee of John de Brittany, Count of Richmond, of his barony of Hastings, but which was in the King's hands at that moment.  At that time Iden manor was in Geoffrey's hands (Dawson Hist. of Hastings V. 2 p. 455).  

The manor included 250 a of arable 'upland', 100 a arable of 'broke' (brushwood) and quarterly rents from the tenants. Besides that Geoffrey held two and a half acres of land of his tenement in the manor of Iden, which had been of John de Tregoz of Ewias, and now was in the king's hand also. The rent of 12d yearly of those two and a half acres had to be paid at the manor of Iden to Robert Paulyn of Rye and Winchelsea who at that time was custodian of Iden on behalf of the king, and still held a moiety of Knelle manor's lands and rents due to the new statute of debts which Geoffrey's father had incurred at the time of the disturbances. The manor of Great Knelle was held as one military fee and owed suit on the court of the King and yearly 8s to the canons of the royal chapel Beate Marie in Hastings castle. Count Henry I of EU had given them this amount out of Knelle manor shortly after 1106. Matthew, younger brother of Geoffrey, was his sole heir, aged 40 and more. The sum due to the king amounted to 20 pounds and 6d (CIPM). Afterwards Matthew received a letter of seisin of his brother's land (CIPM p. 766). Geoffrey died sp, as per fine Roll, shortly before 5 April 1295. - Malcolm  de Harley belonged to an ancient and prominent Shropshire family (Eyton).


Succeeded his brother in 1295. His brother's IPM says that he was then 40 years old and upwards.

On 25 June 1295 the escheator on this side of the Trent received order to deliver to Matthew de Knelle, brother and heir of Geoffrey de Knelle, tenant in chief, the lands late of his brother, he having done feality (CFR). The king takes the homage of Matthew de Knelle, brother and heir of Galfrido de Knelle who has died and gives him all the land and tenements which his brother held of thhe king (Abbrev. Rot. Orig. p. 81) - In 1296 he was enrolled for the defence of the coast. - However,  Matthew  is not mentioned in the Sussex Subsidy of 1296, probably because he had to pay his relief.

Farrer in his 'Kts of Edward I' V. 2, p. 291:  In 1301 Sir Matthew de Knelle was summoned for the counties of Surrey and Sussex to serve against the Scots. He had to muster at Berwick-upon-Tweed on 24 June (CPR), apparently during the struggle with Robert Bruce. Unfortunately, his arms have not been found in the rolls of arms consulted.

1310 Fifteen virgates of land were held in Wittersham, Kent, Isle of Oxney, in fee from Matthew (CFR).

1312 - Order to the bailiffs for a fine of 100s made before the bishop of Worcester, John de Sandale, and Walter de Norwich, not to destrain Matthew de Knelle for two years for not taking the arms of a knight (CFR V. 2, p. 157).

On 25 Jan.1313-4 Matthew received a commission of 'walliis et fossatis' with John Malemeyns of Stoke and Robert de Echingham for either side of the river (Rother) from Newenden between Methersham and the bridge of Bodiam in the counties of Kent and Sussex (History of Romney Marsh p. 100). - Matthew de Knelle figures in a list of the most important families under Edward II in Sussex (dto. p. 114). Therefore it is to be wondered, why so little evidence exists about family connections.

On May 12, 1316 and Aug. 8 he was part of other commissions with Edmund Passele and Stephen Alard of Winchelsea for controlling the dykes in the marshes of Tillingham, Sussex, to preserve the marshes of this place and of Estwytenham (East Withersham), in order to prevent inundations (CPR). In the latter two documents his name is spelled Knolle.

Matthew is mentioned holding Knelle in 1319, when he received back that half of his manor which had been mortgaged to Robert Paulyn (CFR): Matthew de Knelle and Margaret his wife (by Henry Thurston) v. Geoffrey Solace - half the manor of Knelle - to Matthew and Margery and heirs of their bodies with contingent remainder to right heirs of Matthew. Note: Henry de Thurston was an attorney. He appears also in a suit for John Chauvent and Eve his wife against Edmund FitzAlan, earl of Arundel in 1320. The family originated in the village of Thurston in Essex. Maybe there is a connection to Matthew, I's  interest in Essex. The Thurstan family held also property in Kent in Loringden and Deane, estates called Baylis Propchauntis and Parvocke (William H. Ireland).

Inquisition by John Filliol and William de Northey collexctors of scutage for the army of Scotland for the years 1300, 1303 and 1306. in 1320. Matthew de Knelle held one fee in Knelle, William de Septwans one fee in Morhalle (Inq. Misc. V. 2 p. 103.).

Matthew died in 1323 (CIPM). - By documents which will be referred to later on it is probable that his wife was Margaret Lyvet.

According to the De Banco Roll Hillary 49. E. 3. m. 314 (1375) Henry Auchier and Alice, his wife, and John, brother of Henry, and Joan, his wife, sued William de Welles for a moiety of the manor of Knelle, which Geoffrey Solace gave to Matthew de Knelle and Margaret his wife, and the heirs of their bodies.