Chapter Five – From Custom to Competition
The original Maltby Norman, Roger de Busli, had a sister, Beatrix, and a brother, Arnaldus. Through their history the de Buslis seem to have been handicapped by early deaths in the family and childless marriages. Roger and his wife Muriel had a son, also Roger. He died in infancy about 1100 AD. His father, the elder Roger, died a year or so earlier. The child Roger’s death started an intense struggle among the Norman Barons. The vast de Busli Estates became the subject to claim and counter claim. Even so soon the order was changing.
“For the two centuries after 1100 the West was in the grip of an urge for power and mastery to which the appeared no obvious limit. This new drive did more than anything else to break down the old social and religious harmonies of the primitive age”. (Prof R W Southern – Western Society and the Church in the Middle Ages).
Fortunately for Maltby in all this new struggle among powerful families, the older Roger had willed his Maltby Manor to his brother Arnaldus. This shrewd step secured a relationship between the Manor of Maltby and Sandbeck and the de Busli family which lasted for 390 years.
Some of Roger’s other numerous manors passed from family to family through litigation. Because of the death of Roger’s infant son the manors became very vulnerable. Maltby and Sandbeck were indeed fortunate that they were safeguarded through Arnaldus. When Arnaldus died, his son Jordan inherited the manors of Maltby and Sandbeck. It was this Jordan’s son, Richard de Busli, who helped to found the Cistercian Monastery of Roche in Maltby’s valley. Richard shared the founding with another Richard – Fitz Turgis of Hooton Levitt. It is a hamlet on the limestone spur opposite to Maltby. The foundation was made in 1147.
The co-founder of Roche Monastery, Richard de Busli, left his possesions to his only child Idonea. Her inheritance was Maltby and Sandbeck. In the fashion on the day she married a great Westmoreland Baron, Robert di Vipont. The riches of two great families had been conjoined. Idonea died in 1241. Thus the name of de Busli passed from Maltby. Before she died Idonea bequeathed her Manor of Sandbeck to the Monastery at Roche.
The record of her gift is the first time the name Sandbeck is mentioned, although sometime after the founding of the Abbey a Manor House had been built where the present Sandbeck House stands. There is no trace of that early house except that it is mentioned in instructions concerning the second house of 1626.
Idonea and Robert di Vipont left a son, John. He married Sibil, daughter of the Earl of Derby. Their son died leaving no male issue. Again the inheritance passed to the female line. However, John di Vipont did leave two daughters, Isobel and Idonea. On their father’s death the were aged ten and four. Isobel married into the great Clifford family of the Yorkshire Dales.
Her sister, the second Idonea di Vipont, likewise married a Dalesman, Robert de Leyburn. He died in 1284. Idonea took a second husband who had local connections. He was Lord of Maltby, Kimberworth and Bawtry. Idonea lived on until 1334. Like so many of the de Busli family she died childless. She had, however, made careful legal arrangements for her estates to be transferred to her sister Isobel’s grandson, Robert de Clifford.
So little Maltby was transferred from Norman family to Norman family! The Manor of Maltby remained with Robert de Clifford’s family until 1587. During all this time Maltby and Sandbeck seem to have been little troubled by outside events. In 1322 the War of the Roses came briefly to the lovely Maltby valley! The quiet of the valley was violently disturbed. John of Mowbray arrived in the district.
He was a Lancastrian. On behalf of the Barons he challenged the power of the Crown. He arrived in the valley of Roche with 80 men at arms and 400 foot soldiers, all adherents to the Earl of Lancaster. Mowbray’s men ravaged the country all around Roche, Maltby and Laughton. At Laughton they despoiled the town and carried awway all the cattle and goods. They besieged Tickhill Castle but it was successfully defended.
Maltby’s association with the great Clifford family gave it one of its other few contacts with national events. The Lord of Maltby died fighting for the Lancastrian cause in the Second Battle of St. Albans on 1454. There is also a romantic interlude in these savage events. Before the final battle of the Wars of the Roses at Bosworth Field in 1485, the young Earl Clifford, of the Lancastrian cause, was in obvious danger. His family managed to remove him far from the warring clans.
The Lord of Maltby was taken from the family’s Wharfedale Estates to be brought up in remote Londesborough in Westmoreland. So the heir to the great lands and possessions grew up as a humble shepherd lad. He came to be know as the Shepherd Earl. With the defeat and death of Richard III at Bosworth the Yorkist cause was defeated. The Shepherd Earl received back his inheritance including Maltby and Sandbeck on the accession of the Lancastrian Henry VII.
In these relatively peaceful times the Shepherd Earl managed to stay alive until 1523. He left his son, Henry, to be the new Earl. Henry was created Duke of Cumberland by Henry VII. However, the days of the de Buslis, di Viponts, Cliffords, the great monasteries and convents were doomed. The Norman families and their descendants who had held the power for 500 years were ousted as effectively as William of Normandy had removed the Saxon Earl Elsi and his like. The old Manorial system had survived for centuries and to good effect. However, changes occur slowly, but inevitably. By the Sixteenth century the Middle Ages were at an end.
The ancient open field system was being replaced with by a system of the enclosure of the common lands. The ancient rule of ‘custom’ was fast disappearing. In the Fourteenth Century money payments began to take the place of labour services. The Lords of the Manor found it more economic to pay wage labourers, using the money they had received in payment for the freeing of their serfs. Sons of the villeins became day labourers, bordarars likewise. The frequent visitations of plague upset economic patterns.
Labour became scarce after the Black Death of 1348-49. With the advent of the Tudors in 1485, personal services became almost a thing of the past. Personal freedom came to most of the English peasantry before 1500 AD. By the Sixteenth Century the leasing of the Lord’s demeane was very common. A state of natural economy in which goods and services were exchanged in kind had given place to a money economy in which the use of currency facilitated all economic transactions.
“The competitive spirit was arising. Man was entering modern time”, (Southgate – Economic History of England).
The next phase of Maltby’s history illustrates Southgate’s comment perfectly.