Foundations Volume 9

Online edition, published  June 2017

Link to cover picture: Lothar III, Holy Roman Emperor

Printable list of contents

Lindsay Leonard Brook, 1942-2017


in memoriam

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by Ann Williams[1]


The class of documents known as Anglo-Saxon wills differ in some significant ways from the later concept of a last will and testament, mainly in the fact that they are not in themselves legal documents; actual bequests were made orally, and the texts we have are simply memoranda of what was said. Often they exist only as copies made for ecclesiastical beneficiaries, and therefore tend to emphasize any bequests to the church. A further difficulty is that much landed property was not in the testator’s gift, but passed according to customary laws which are imperfectly understood, and therefore is not mentioned in the will. This especially affects inheritance by sons, who are under-represented in the surviving texts (because they were already provided for). Despite these problems, the wills have much to tell about the families and connections of the aristocratic testators, many of them women, as well as their landed resources and (especially in respect of women’s wills) their moveable property (clothing, jewellery, furnishings). Though there was a common pattern, each will has to be read individually, and the example chosen is that of the tenth-century aristocratic lady, Wynflaed.

Foundations (2017) 9: 3-20                                    © Copyright FMG and the author

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The Royal Descent of Emperor Lothar III († 1137):
Did the German kings all have royal blood? [1]

by Armin Wolf[2]

Translated from German by Patrick Evans


Up to now, the election to the German throne of Lothar of Saxony-Süpplingenburg in 1125 has been regarded as a model example for the “principle of the entirely free election” of German kings – with no requirement for the candidate to have a royal descent. This article shows 1) that Lothar was descended from the Empress Gisela, who has been known since the middle ages to have been a descendant of the German king Heinrich I as well as of Charlemagne, and 2) that Lothar was the last member of the Liudolfingians, whose various lines became kings and emperors (Ottonians, Henricians) or candidates for the throne (Ekkehardians, Brunonians, Ekbertians). In consequence, it makes the case that the German royal elections were not “entirely free”, but that they were bound by the law of succession. Kings were elected only within the circle of descent from former kings. They had royal blood, as was common for kings in other European countries.

Foundations (2017) 9: 21-34                                   © Copyright FMG and the author

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by Léa Chaillou [1]


The family of Constance, Duchess of Brittany, has been the subject of several studies in the last forty years. In 1977, Malcolm A Craig proved the existence of her second daughter Matilda and in 1999 and 2000, historians Judith Everard and Michael Jones published important works about her reign and role in the politics of the 12th-century Duchy of Brittany.

Although she is usually believed to be the only daughter of Duke Conan IV and to have five children, several charters seem to show that she had more close relatives. The aim of this article is to introduce three of these relatives who have been rather ignored up till now. This online version has been updated (2020) with corrections supplied by the author and published in Vol.12 of the journal.

Foundations (2017) 9: 35-46                                © Copyright FMG and the author

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by Timothy Gordon Barclay [1]


With several inconsistencies in the history of the first family of Berkeley having been exposed in the last few decades, there has gradually become a need for a complete re-examination of the material upon which this history has been based. The following investigation reveals a startling number of spurious records and misconceptions forming much of the basis for the accepted story. By careful comparison and evaluation of both the older and new evidence, a much improved account of the descendants of the first reeve of Berkeley has also been produced. This has implications for a vast body of contemporary research.

Foundations (2017) 9: 47-70                                   © Copyright FMG and the author

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Robert Davye (d.1570) of Crediton, Devon, Clothier; his real property acquired at the dissolution

by Michael P Bodman [1]


King Henry VIII of England ushered in a new middle class by granting unprecedented access for the merchants to purchase huge estates from the spoils of the dissolution of the monasteries. Among the Devonshire merchants forming this new Henrician middle class was Robert Davye (d.1570), of Crediton, co. Devon. By c.1560 he had acquired a number of former ecclesiastical properties late of the collegiate church of the Holy Cross in Crediton, proprietor of twelve manors or prebends prior to the dissolution. This article documents Robert's real property acquisitions at the dissolution and gives new information on his purported 'second wife', whom Burke et al. incorrectly state was a daughter and co-heiress of John Thomas alias Bardolph, of Titchfield, Hants, by the daughter and co-heiress of William Bardolph, of Titchfield, Hants.

Foundations (2017) 9: 71-88                                   © Copyright FMG and the author

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[The viscounty of Lautrec in the middle ages]

by Philippe Zalmen Ben-Nathan

Published by Groupe de Recherche Archéologique et Historique du Lautrecois, 2011; card cover, 310 pages, ISBN: 978-2-950-06682-4

Reviewed for FMG by Charles Cawley [1]

Foundations (2017) 9: 89-90                                © Copyright FMG and the reviewer

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Edited by Peter Sinclair

Published by Frontline States Limited, 2016; 67 pages, paperback, ISBN 978-1-873639-07-8.

Reviewed for FMG by Morris Bierbrier [1]

Foundations (2017) 9: 91                                     © Copyright FMG and the reviewer

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