Unsung Normans: Herman de Edgeworth

Herman de Edgeworth


In a royal charter from King Stephen dated 1137/8 confirming the inheritance of lands of Payn fitz John to his daughter Cecily and her husband Roger fitz Miles, Earl of Gloucester, Herman de Edgeworth, spelled Herem de Egewurd, and his son William fitz Herman, spelled Willm fil Herem, are listed as the holders of six knights fees, one and five fees respectively, in Wicha 1 , now known as Painswick. Four other knights fees are held, two each, by Anfr de Cuilarduilla and Hug Puher, making ten knights fees in all of Wicha. 2The Cuilardville‟s were Norman tenants of the de Lacy 3family and Hug or Hugh Puher is an important figure in determining the identity of Herman de Edgeworth.

In  the Domesday Book,  Roger de Lacy was lord of Edgeworth 4and Painswick 5 . As  son  of the  great Norman landholder Walter de Lacy, Roger held  many manors including 96 lordships  until  his  banishment in 1096 when his lands were given to his brother  Hugh. 6Hugh‟s daughter or niece, Sybil, married Pain fitz John, a Norman  lord  of  the  Welsh Marches 7 , and  had  two  daughters. One daughter,  Cecily,  is  the  subject  of the charter mentioned  previously that  first  identifies  Herman  de Edgeworth  and  his  son, William fitz Herman,  who  held another half  a knights  fee  from  Hugh  de  Lacy  in Worcester 8.

This  connection between the Domesday  holdings  of  the de  Lacy family,  Pain  fitz  John‟s acquisition  of part  of  the Ewyas  Lacy lordship, and Hugh de Puher‟s affiliations with the de Lacy‟s, Herman, and  his  son William are  at  the  crux  of  the question: from  where  does Herman de  Edgeworth  originate? Since Herman takes  his  surname  from  his English holdings,  it  is  hard  to determine  his  Norman  origins.  To further  elucidate  Herman‟s origins, we  must  look  to  his  affiliations  with known Norman lords like de Lacy, fitz John, and Puher.

Hugh  Puher,  found  holding two  knights  fees  in the charter mentioned  above, is  the heir of Walter Ponther 9 , a Domesday lord of 15 fees in  Gloucester 10and  12  in Worcester 11in  1086,  at  least  27  fees in total. In 1166, Hugh Puher holds 12 fees  in  Worcester 12where  Walter Ponther was  lord in  1086 of  at  least 12 fees, including Phepson. Phepson is  of  interest  because the  grandson of William  fitz  Herman confirms  a gift  of  land  in  Phepson  to the  monks  of  Worcester. 13This grandson  of  William fitz Herman, named  William  fitz  Almaric, also “acquit[s]  Phepson  from  all  royal services,”  and  states  that those services  will  be  “supplied  from  his land in Shell.” 14

In the Domesday Book of 1086, Herman held Shell as a tenant of the lord  of  the  manor, Roger  de Lacy. The  manor  of  Shell  followed the same  path  of  ownership  as  another manor,  Hill  Croome. 15The  tenant  of Hill  Croome  was  William  fitz  Herman in  1182 and the  lordship  of  Hill Croome passed from the de Lacy‟s to  Hugh  Poer  (Puher)  late  in  the 12 thcentury. 16

Herman was a tenant of many de  Lacy  manors including Hill Croome 17 , Blithfield 18 , Walton 19 , Shell 20 , and possibly others. Many  of these  lands,  like  the  lands  of Edgeworth  and  Painswick 21 , passed to  Pain  fitz  John 22after  Roger  de Lacy‟s banishment  and  his  brother Hugh de Lacy‟s death. The evidence shows  that  Herman  de Edgeworth, William  fitz  Herman,  and  Hugh  de Puher  (Poer)  were  tenants  of  Roger de Lacy,  his  brother  Hugh,  and  Pain fitz  John. The  connections  between these  men  and the  lands  of Edgeworth, Phepson, Shell, Hill Croome,  Blithfield,  and  Walton solidify Herman  de  Edgeworth‟s place as one of the chief landholders of the de Lacy‟s and fitz John‟s, but doesn‟t identify any Norman landholdings of Herman.

Herman took his surname from Edgeworth manor,  which  likely means  this  was  his primary  estate which  eventually  passed  to  his son William. Herman‟s  first  name  is  of Germanic or Norman origin 23and his son  uses  the  term fitz which  is  a Norman  naming method 24providing evidence of Norman origins.

Other  instances  of  the  name Herman in  the  Domesday  Book are associated  with Hamstall  Ridware  in Staffordshire 25and Garway, Bredenbury, and Queenhill in Herefordshire  and  Worcestershire. 26Herman  de  Dreux was  a  tenant  of Roger  de  Lacy 27and  also a  tenant-in-chief in  1066,  holding  from King William at Castle  Eaton  in Wiltshire and Marston in Herefordshire. He also held Bishops Cannings and Luckington in Wiltshire. 28

Regardless of Herman‟s other land holdings,  we  know  that his  son William fitz  Herman took  the  name William  de  Egeswurth 29and had  at least  three  sons: William,  Peter, and Thomas 30 .  Peter de  Edgeworth did well  for  himself  becoming  a  knight 31and  the Sheriff  of  Gloucestershire  by 1230 32 . In  1236,  Peter  held  half  a  fee at  Edgeworth Manor,  the  other  half being held by the Helion 33 , or Elyun 34 , family. By 1285, Stephen de Edgeworth held this half a fee, which passed  to  Thomas  de  Edgeworth  in 1303,  then to  Robert  de  Edgeworth by  1346, and  finally  to another Stephen de Edgeworth in 1362. 35This seems to be the last of the male line to hold Edgeworth manor in Gloucestershire, but the name Edgeworth also  lived  on in other places associated  with  the  de  Lacy family including Edgeworth in Lancaster 36and  Edgware  manor  in Middlesex 37.

Modern Edgeworth‟s hail from diverse regions including  Wrexham and historic Denbighshire in  Wales, Edgeworthstown in Ireland, as well as the Edgeworth‟s  from North and South Carolina who  descend  from Richard Lovell Edgeworth‟s first son, Richard, who immigrated to America after the Revolutionary War. Unfortunately, there  is  not  enough genetic information yet to determine if  all of  these  Edgeworth‟s descend from  the first  of  the  name,  the Norman knight, Herman de Edgeworth.

Currently,  there  is  a  genetic genealogy  project 38to  determine  if modern Edgeworth‟s descend from the Norman knight Herman or if they have varied origins. One sample has tested  in the  haplogroup  R1b-FGC28370 39 ,  a  subgroup  of  R1b-Z195 which  is  a Scandinavian  Viking genetic  marker  associated  with  the MacNeil 40 , MacDonald 41 , and MacLeod 42clans  that  once  ruled  in the Norse Viking Kingdom of the Isles.

Now  that  there  is  genetic proof  that  at  least  some  modern Edgeworth‟s  descend  from Vikings based  on  the  Scandinavian  Viking genetic  marker  R1b-Z195,  more Edgeworth male  Y-DNA  samples  are needed  to  determine  if  there  is  one predominate Norman genetic  origin for Edgeworth‟s. If so, then Herman de Edgeworth and his son William fitz Herman  may prove  to be  the Norman  Viking  ancestors of  the Edgeworth family.

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ALEXANDRA EDGEWORTH is a dark fantasy empress who builds worlds from across the Multiverse. She currently lives in Tampa, FL with her husband, Daniel, and her daughter, Katana. She is also known for her science-fantasy, general adventure science fiction, horror, supernatural, and short story collections. As the stories stack up, she invites you to accompany her into the worlds, realms, and lands she has envisioned for all. Alexandra Edgeworth’s Author Page on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00U4XYHX4 Yaverse Books Homepage: www.yaverse.com Fan art submissions can be sent to [email protected]