Thursday, 2 May 2013

Healing Big Dig

It has been roughly 10 years since the last major dig at Healing Moated Manor site, or in Healing at all, and the Friends of Healing Moated Manor wants to fix this! There will be an open public meeting on June 6th, at 19:00 hours at the village hall to gauge public interest in this event: if you feel you can contribute, or just want to hear about what's going on, then please do turn up and show your support.
Please contact me for more details.

When: 7 o'clock in the evening, on June 6th
Where: Healing Village Hall

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Deciphering the Finalis Concordia in Healing - Ancient Document!

**I would firstly like to apologise for the lack of articles on the site recently; I  will endeavour to update and continue to update this blog.

This article begins with an email, sent to me by Mr. N. Sissons. Regular visitors of the site may recall his comment under the name of Amiguru on the 'Healing in Domesday' post. Attached to this email was some interesting text, simply entitled '1392 Healing'. It was, of course, my duty to decipher this, and in the process, bring it to readers of this website.

A finalis concordia can be defined as a final or conclusive agreement. It defines an act or custodial sentence that the guilty party must do, as decided by a court, or was used to make exchanges or dealings within property legal. In 1392, the owner of Healing Manor, then Thomas Mussenden (often spelled 'Myssingden' in documents), bought the manor from Sir John de Helyng. To make the deal or grant official, a Finalis Concordia was issued.

Without further ado, here is the text of the document. Abbreviations (of which there are lots) are highlighted with an apostrophe.:

Hec est finalis concordia facta in curia domini Regis apud Westm' in octava Sa' Hillarii anno regno'm Ricardi Reg' Angl' & Franc' quincodecimo coram Robto de Cherston Will'o Thirnyng Will'o Rikhill Johe' Wadham & Rico' Sydenham Justic' et postea a die Pasche in quin'decim dies anno regnor'm eiusde' Reg' Ricardi sup'd'm ibidem concessa & recordata coram eisdem justic' et aliis d'm Reg' fidelib'stunc ibi p'sentib's Int' Thomam Missyngden' quer' et Joh'em de Babyngton' & Kat'inam ux'em eius deforc' de Manio' de Helyng cum ptni'. Unde pl't'm convenc'onis sm'm fuit int'eos in eadem Cur' Scil't qd pd'a Joh'es & Kat'ma' recogn' p'd't'm man'm' cum ptn'i esse iusipius Thome Et illud remiserunt & quitumclam' de ip'is Joh'e Kat'ina & her' i'iusKatine p'dto Thome & her' fino [miss'n't] Et p' hac recogn' remissione quietaclam' fine & concordia idem Thomas dedit pdci's Johi' & Kat'rie Centu' marcas argenti

So, what does it say? Well, after much deliberation and debate, Mr Sissons sent me a translation of the document...

This is the final agreement made in the court of the lord King at Westminster, in the octave of St. Hillary, in the 15th. Year of the reign of Richard
 King of England & France; at the court of Robert of Cherston, William Thirnyng, William Rikhill, John Wadham and Richard Sydenham, justices;
 fifteen days before Easter Day, [in the] above year of the reign of King Richard. Given and recorded before the above justices and all the Lord King's
 faithful, here present. Between Thomas Mussenden, plaintiff, and John of Babyngton & Katherine his wife, defendants, of the Manor of Healing
 with appurtenances.
Hence, a plea of covenant was summoned between them in the said court. To wit, that the aforesaid John & Katherine recognised the said manor
 with its appurtenances remains to be the right of Thomas and they give it back to him; and they declare that they John & Katherine and their heirs
 quitclaim it and Thomas receives it at the end of this. And they quitclaim in favour of this acknowledged remission, and in agreement at the end of this, Thomas has given to the said John & Katherine one hundred marks of silver.

Wow! What a fantastic document! You can actually view the original in the image below; thanks again to Mr Sissons for providing this:

I hope you have enjoyed this, and my sincerest thanks go to Amiguru for providing all of the information mentioned in this text.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Who Was... Thomas de Mussenden?

According to Reverend Edmund Lynold, in his book about the owners of Healing Manor, Thomas Mussenden "was brought up in the warres in the time of Richard ye second and was captaine of the Castle of [….] in Fraunce". Thomas was a member of the famous Mussenden family, owners of much land within Healing, Aylesby, and Buckinghamshire, and also lord of healing Manor in the fourteenth century.We will examine his transition to Healing Manor in a later article about the legal process in his occupation.

Thomas was born in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, sometime in the late 1350's. He began work in the service of King Edward III, mostly as a butler, but also assisting in the wars in France. By 1359, he had acquired enough wealth to become a captain of a small band of men in the king's final campaign against France. In his efforts in the war, he served under John of Gaunt, the 1st Duke of Lancaster. After the campaign, as a reward, he became a knight of the shire for Buckinghamshire in 1363 and 1365. Thomas married Isabelle Brocas, which formed an alliance with the Brocas family and brought him land in Lincolnshire. Their support would later prove critical for the rest of the fourteenth century.

In 1379, Thomas returned to England, and married Joan, daughter of Sir Robert Hawley, lord of the manor at Mablethorpe. Thomas and his wife took up residence at Healing, and became a friend of Sir John de Helyng, who was also mentioned as living in Healing in the census issued by Edward III. The Helyng family had held Healing Manor since the 12th century, and had some great renown.

By the time Thomas returned from his latest military campaign in France, he had amassed enough wealth to buy land from Sir John de Helyng. Thomas now owned land in Aylesby, Great Coates, Little Coated and Healing. Thomas added the coat of arms of Healing to his own, enforcing his authority on the area.

John of Gaunt died some time in 1398, and five months later, in February 1399, his exiled son, Henry of Bolingbroke, landed in the Humber on a lost spit of land known as the Ravenspur, which stretched, according to some sources, from Healing. At this time, the ruling king, Richard II, was fighting in Ireland, and Henry was able to ally himself with the former Archbishop of Canterbury. Under his guidance, Henry began confiscating land. Thomas Mussenden quickly became one of his appointees in the regional network Henry was setting up, and subsequently became 'esquire of the king' only a fortnight after his coronation.

Later, in 1400, Thomas was asked to help the king in an effort to assert his authority in Scotland. Thomas gathered together  archers, and travelled to York, perhaps in the hope of forming an allegiance with the king. However, the campaign failed, and Thomas went home profitless.

Thomas died shortly before the 21 February 1404. A stained glass window was once put up in Healing Church, which no longer survives. It was supposed to be spectacular, depicting Thomas in full military glory. His wife Joan went on to marry William Hilton.

From my research, it seems that the Ravenspur, that Edward IV also landed on in 1471, has been washed up by the tides, and nothing remains.
What an incredible tale! I hope you have enjoyed this,

You can view Thomas' will by clicking this link here.
More information about the purchase of Healing Manor.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Archaeology: Artifacts Shown At Healing Heritage Weekend 2012

Many people enjoyed last year's article about the artifacts shown at the village fete, so I am beginning another about the articles shown at this year's village history event. The weather was fantastic, and this was a great opportunity to find out more about the village and its long and varied history.

The first find, pictured below, is of an animal's jawbone. This was probably killed and eaten as a meal. The shape and formation of the teeth suggests that this was a herbivore, and the size and shape of the jaw itself suggests that this was probably a pig. The site itself most probably kept farm animals, as would most self-sufficient farmsteads at this time.

The next find is a common one on the site - the remains of shellfish. During the medieval period, Healing would have been surrounded by marshes, each of which provided an abundance of shellfish, such as cockles and oysters. These would be carted back to the settlement, and wrenched open. The meat on the inside would be eaten, and the shells would remain. More often than not, these would be buried in the ground. During the 1995 excavation, archaeologists found a haul of these shells (near Trench One), which they compared to a 'medieval McDonald's'.

In total, the archaeologists dug six pits, spread out over where the New Estate is in Healing. In Trench One, near to where the original manor house would have been, they found this brick. Dating from the 14th century, bricks were a symbol of status, as only the very richest would be able to afford them.

As I mentioned in the introduction, Healing has a long history, even dating back to the Neolithic times. One of the main tools of the time would have been flint tools, examples of which were found on the site. In total, archaeologists found 19 pieces of worked flint - 13 flakes, 4 chunks, 1 core and a hammerstone. An example of this can been seen below.

Flint Tool

I hope you have enjoyed this look at the evidence of occupation in Healing. If you missed the Healing Heritage Weekend, you may want to visit next year - planning begins in January, and the event usually takes place in the first or second week of September. More information to follow. 


Sunday, 23 September 2012

The Healing 'Chalice'

In 1985, there were plans to build an extension to Healing Church. Because of the historical significance of the site, an archaeological dig had to take place on the site. When they excavated it, they found an interesting 'chalice-like' object, now known as the Healing Chalice.

Firstly, I would like to say a big 'thank you' to Healing SS Peter & Paul Church, for organizing this wonderful event and allowing me to handle the chalice, and to the Friends of Healing Moated Site, for putting on a wonderful show, and several guided walks.

At the recent Healing Heritage Weekend, visitors had the opportunity to see this wonderful artifact. Shown in the New Outlook, the very place where the chalice was found. This was a wonderful opportunity for the local historian.

It was found, in the words of archaeologist Hal Bishop, in a, "small pit which had been dug into a bank of redeposited material, which contained a curious vessel". This was, of course, our chalice.

The word 'chalice' is placed in inverted commas, because that is actually not what this artifact actually is! Later investigations led the archaeologists to believe that this was probably a 'sanctuary lamp', which is a light that is placed or hung before the altar of the church. Below is an artist's representation of what the chalice would look like when it was being used (credit to the archaeologists who excavated the site)

When in use, the chalice would be hung by the loop at the top, and the cross would be at the bottom. The total weight of the lamp is approximately 2500g, and is made of a copper-zinc alloy. The whole object had been given a coat of gesso and then gilded. Archaeologists are unsure about the dating of the object; some suggest it could be early medieval, however, the amount of zinc (30%) suggests a more probable late medieval date.

Thank you once again to the organizers of the Healing Heritage Weekend for putting on  a really memorable event, and to everyone who attended, for their support.