1173-4 Tracy's Gift

 Document Ref.: CCA-DCc-ChAnt/D/20

Source: Canterbury Cathedral Archives
Language: Latin


'William de Tracy to all his men both French and English and Friends and Bailiffs and Ministers to whom these letters should come Greetings. I grant and make over to the Chapter of Canterbury, for the love of God and the salvation of my own soul and the souls of my ancestors, and for the love of blessed Thomas Archbishop and Martyr, of venerable memory, by way of alms in perpetuity and free from any and all charges, one hundred shillings' worth of land in Moreton, namely Doccombe with its appurtenances and with the adjacent lands, in such manner that those hundred shillings' worth of land may be made up from Doccombe and the other adjoining lands. I grant this therefore for the clothing and provision of one monk in that monastery for ever, who may celebrate masses there for the salvation of the living and the repose of the departed. And in order that this may be firm and right and granted and valid I have strengthened my charter with the confirmation of my seal.

These being witnesses the Abbot of St Eufemia, Master Ralph Hospital, Pagan of Tiru, William the Clerk, Stephen of Par{or c?}ford, Pagan of Acford, Roger the Englishman, Godfrey the Ribald and others.'



  • From: William de Tracy - see Doccombe Discussed article.

  • To: the chapter of Canterbury. By this was meant the Benedictine Priory within Canterbury Christchurch Cathedral - it was formally called the Cathedral Priory of the Holy Trinity of Christchurch but was usually referred to as Christ Church Cathedral Priory. - see Doccombe Discussed article.

  • What: 100s worth of land in Moreton{'hampstead' added c1430}, namely Doccombe & the neighbouring lands, to pay for the upkeep of a chantry monk. He would pray for the living and the dead i.e. to ensure their souls went to heaven. 

  • Possible Date: Undated. Most probably between Archbishop Thomas Becket's canonisation on 21 Feb 1173 (note reference to ‘St. Thomas’) & before confirmation by Henry II between July & October 1174 (dates based on knowledge of appointment dates of witnesses).

  • Seal: White wax. Pointed oval form. Representation of female figure with sleeves reaching nearly to her feet. Possibly seal of St Eufemia's Abbey, Aspromonte, Reggio di Calabria, Italy (see witnesses).

  • Location: The abbey of St Eufemia d’Aspromonte in Regio di calabria, c 18 miles from Cosenza - Tracy was on his way to the Holy Land

  • Witnesses: suggestions for their identity;

  1. Pain de Acford: Presumably related to Roger de Acford who in 1166 held of William de Tracy’s barony of Bradninch by new enfeoffment – see Red Book Vol. 1 p.255 – probably within Tracy’s Devon manor of Oakford – for which see Curia Regis Rolls vol. XIII no. 612. First found in Axford in Wilts. in 1184. Acfords had family seat at Ramsbury that includes hamlet of Axford. One of largest Wilts. holdings in Domesday then held by Bishop of Salisbury.

  2. Rogerus Anglicus: The Red Book of the Exchequer p 61, 275,351. Grant of land at Stockleigh English DRO Z1/30/1-4 ? C13th

  3. Ribaldus: = ribald, minstrel, rascal, groom, bachelor

  4. Pain de Tiru(n): presumably the same man who witnessed William de Tracy’s confirmation of land at Whipton to St Nicholas’ Priory, Exeter & Hugh de Couterne’s charter to Alan de Tracy – see Round Calendar Documents in France no. 556

  5. Stephen of Parford or Pacford: Pafford on west side of Moretonhampstead manor?

  6. Others: Might include William de Thann who had accompanied William de Tracy 'his lord William de Tracy to the holy land’ – see CCL ms Reg B fo. 400r (392r, 393r s. xiv). He made a bequest to Canterbury in honour of blessed martyr Thomas in the event of his death on that journey. His widow lived in Moreton[hampstead]. 


Doccombe is a hamlet in the parish of Moretonhampstead, Dartmoor National Park.  Our HLF funded Project has researched its unusually rich collection of remains and records that tell its story over 4000 years. The results are now being made available through this web site.

Get social with us!
  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon
  • Moretonhampstead Church
Moorthanmeetstheeyelogo-HLF-black - Copy