le Meschines

William de MESCHINES, younger brother of Ranulph Earl of Chester

Spouse: Cecilia RUMELI, only daughter of Robert de Rumeli / Roumelli

Children: Alice 2nd daughter; Ralph died young; Matthew died young; Avicia, 1st daughter, married William fitz Duncan, nephew of David King of Scotland [another source has Avicia as 2nd daughter married to Paynel and Alice as 1st daughter married to fitz Duncan]


Alice le MESCHINES al Avicia de Roumelli

Spouse: William PAYNEL died circa 1137

Children: a son who drowned; Alice; Raoul, Sheriff of Yorkshire

The biographia Leodiensis; or, Biographical sketches of the worthies of..."This Ralph Paynel, the first Norman lord who exercised jurisdiction over Leeds, was one of the leaders of the Norman army who brought his little contingent to swell the ranks of that band whose fortunes were to be won or lost at Hastings and one of the most favoured was he of the many favoured adventurers who won that terrible battle. His paternal chateau stood either upon the summit of a hill in the departement de la Manche, whose sloping sides bore the picturesque little town of Haie Paisnel with its beautiful and fascinating aspect and whose base was washed by the waters of the river Thar, or it was the renowned fortress of Moutiers Hubert celebrated in Anglo Norman history for the subsequent actions of one of his descendants. Moutiers Hubert has certainly ever been the cradle of the family of Paynel and if we recollect that the knight who first forded the Aire was called Lisois des Moutiers, by his name we shall recognize in him a feudal tenant of a Paynel of the House of Moutiers Hubert. Sprung from an old Saindinavian stock, Ralph's Norman ancestors appear to have retained the Viking's contempt for Christianity until at length that contempt gained for them the generic appellation of Paganus or the Pagan which afterwards became softened or corrupted into Paganellus and eventually changed into Paynel or Paganel. Ralph, the hero of the conquest, certainly possessed all the characteristic bravery of his ancestors although there are the most conclusive proofs that their pagan contempt for the worship of Christ had in him changed into the devotion of a true Christian without as they supposed operating inimically to the development of that fierce courage which marks the unrestrained warrior. But brave and warlike as the bravest of his redoubtable ancestors must have been, Ralph Paynel for not only do we find him possessed in fee of Leeds Headingley and the other adjacent manors but also of vast domains in several parts of the country which must have been his reward for other and former conquests. In Yorkshire the principal part of his personal estates lay along the banks of the Ouse and the Aire at its junction with the parent stream and as those districts lay in the route of the Normans during their first invasion they were probably by anticipation of eventual success given to him as the reward of his services during that campaign. The success thus anticipated followed and with it the disposal of the lands formerly belonging to a noble Northumbrian named Marlesweyn who, along with Edgar Atheling Cospatric and other celebrated chieftains, had been most prominent in their opposition to the Normans. Drax, Armine, Camblesforth, and Barlow manors formerly belonging to Marlesweyn were given to him in capite as well as considerable estates in the city and neighbourhood of York, Leeds, and Headingley as we have seen were at the same time possessed by him under Ilbert de Laci and the service due for them was reckoned at one knight's fee and a half. Adel, Arthington, Burdonhead, and Eccup devolved upon him in right of his wife Matilda the daughter and co heiress if not sole heiress of Richard de Surdeval baron of Surdeval in Normandy a town near his paternal residence. This Richard, one of the first band of Norman adventurers, had obtained large grants of land in the neighbourhood of Leeds which fell to Ralph Paynel on his marriage with Matilda and for long afterwards were the possessions of the lord of the manor of Leeds. Leeds however was never the chief seat of the Paynels. From the earliest period of their possession, Drax was undoubtedly their home and there they immediately built a strong castle which was doubtless constructed by Ralph about the same time as was Pontefract castle by Ilbert de Laci. The castle of Leeds about which so very little is known was probably built simultaneously with the other two but one thing is certain, that it never was the important feudal fortress they were being rather a strongly fortified manor house similar in its nature and construction to the one erected by Ilbert de Laci at Rothwell. Ralph Paynel founded the priory of the Holy Trinity in York and gave to it the churches of Leeds and Adel in 1089. In a charter beginning in a remarkably grandiloquent strain he states that "I Ralph, surnamed Paynel, inflamed by the fire of divine love desiring to treasure up in heaven what I can after this life receive a hundredfold having at the city of York of the fief of the king of the English a certain church constructed in the honour of the Holy Trinity formerly adorned with canons and rents of farms and ecclesiastical ornaments but now by sins which cry for vengeance almost reduced to nothing in the desire of re establishing it in the service of God which has been abandoned, I have delivered it to the blessed Martin of Marmoutier and to his monks to be in their possession for ever for the soul of my lord King William and of his wife Matilda and for the redemption and good estate of the realm of his son William who has also willingly authorized this gift with the assent of my wife Matilda and of my sons William, Jordan, Elias and Alexander in order that the abbot of Marmoutier may have free faculty of ordaining the establishment of the said church and the distribution of its endowments and the introduction of monks serving God in the aforesaid church hereafter so that we may deserve to have in time to come a share of the blessed resurrection through their assiduous prayers." He then proceeds to enumerate the list of benefactions he made to the said church a list which speaks highly as to his religious enthusiasm and in which we find that in his vill of Drax he gives one fishery and the tithe of the rest of the fisheries and also the church of Leeds and whatsoever belongs to it and the tithe of the demesne and half a carucate of land which Reginald had held in increase of the glebe which belonged to the church. Ralph's gift of the church of Adel is positive evidence of the existence of a Saxon church anterior to Domesday although that record neither mentions a church nor a priest and from its silence it has been supposed that at the time of the conquest there was no church existing there. The donation could not refer to the present structure which is known to have been built by the monks of Holy Trinity in the lifetime of William Paynel who succeeded to his father's estates in 1108 or 1109 and enjoyed them until about 1136. Prior to May 1108, Henry I at York and in the presence of the same Ralph Paynel confirmed the gift of the church of Leddes and the other donations and that confirmation was ratified by Archbishop Thomas the second of that name who was consecrated on Sunday June 27, 1109 and died February 16, 1114. Ralph Paynel was the second vicecomes or sheriff of York having succeeded in the reign of William Rufus. Hugh Fitz Baudric or Baudry who had been made governor of the city of York in 1068 when that city was the furthest northerly position to which the Normans had then penetrated. He is supposed to have died about the year 1108 or 1109 and was probably interred in the church of the priory of Holy Trinity which he had so liberally endowed. For other information see the History of the Priory of Holy Trinity and Thierry's History of the Norman Conquest &c.

WILLIAM PAYNEL or Paganel.  Ralph was succeeded by his son William Paynel whilst of his other sons Alexander the youngest appears to be the only one who established another branch of this house having settled at Manby a hamlet of Broughton where one of his descendants Ralph Paynel lived in 1310. Jordan his second son married Gertrude the daughter of Robert Fozzard who was the widow of Robert de Mainil and died childless. Elias the third son from a knight became a monk entering the priory of the Holy Trinity and in due time becoming prior of that corporation which office he continued to fill down to the year 1143. His father had been a benefactor to Selby abbey and when in the year above named the abbey became vacant, Elias Paynel was chosen abbot. He ruled the monastery until 1153 when he was deposed by Archbishop Murdac who desired to fill that dignified situation with a creature of his own and. accordingly. Germanus the prior of Tynemouth was instituted in the stead of the deposed Elias Paynel. On the death of Ralph when the manors of Leeds Headingley etc. as well as the other domains he had held of the king in capite descended to his son William Paynel. One of his first acts was to confirm the gifts of the churches and lands given to the priory of the Holy Trinity in York by his father. Thurstan Archbishop of York in a charter granted circa 1120 ratifies William's confirmation in the following words. "We grant and by the present charter confirm whatsoever Ralph Paynel, and William and Jordan his sons and their vassals, and other benefactors have given to the monastery of the Trinity of York as well in tithes as in other possessions and by name the church of Leeds with all things belonging to it. We also prohibit lest any one either a hermit or any one else should presume to construct a chapel or any sort of oratory within the territory of the church of the same parish without the permission or spontaneous free will of the prior and chapter of the aforesaid monastery nor may any one receive the parishioners of the same church or their benefactors." This prohibition appears to bear some obscure reference to the chapel of Holbeck. That village is not mentioned in Domesday and there is the most conclusive proof that at the time of the gift of the advowson of Leeds to the priory of the Holy Trinity parts if not the whole of the present township were included in the lands then conveyed. Robert de Gaunt who was lord of the manor of Leeds for the period between the years 1152 and 1199 gave to the priory the chapel of Holbeck which had probably been erected by the monks upon their lands there and which were then inclusive of the manor of Leeds. On the 18th of February 1418, we find that one William Haryngton chevalier obtains a licence from the king on condition of paying him six pounds thirteen shillings and fourpence to endow a chapel or chantry within the parish of Leeds, the chaplain of which was to be provided for out of the rents of his lands or tenements in Holbeck in the same parish, and Kirkeby upon Quarf which lands were not held of the king in cnpite. This grant is made by virtue of the king's licence to give in mortmain and as the estates of religious houses were generally held in mortmain it is probable that the king's concession to Haryngton bore upon the priory's estates in Holbeck and that Haryngton's chantry was added to the chapel previously erected by the priory. The priest was to pray for the good estate of the king so long as he lived for his soul when he departed this life and also for the souls of all his ancestors and successors as well as for the soul of Robert Kevile of Hornby and for the souls of all the faithful defunct. Between the years 1109 and 1114 by the admonition and advice of Thurstan, Archbishop of York, William Paynel founded the priory of Drax for black canons of the order of St Augustine which he endowed with thirty bushels of unground corn from his mill in Hunslet and the church of Bingley which was confirmed by Archbishop Roger. Peter Dautrey (de alta Ripa) one of his feudal tenants paid XI per annum to the convent which his father had given to them out of his mill in Hunslet. William Paynel had also given to the canons half a carucate of land in Beeston together with the tithe of all his mills in Leeds and for that half carucate of land John, son of Peter Dautrey, gave the homage and service of Richard de la Haye who was probably one of his Saxon vassals living upon Rothwell Haigh. William Paynel married Alicia, second daughter of William de Meschines, who by his marriage with Cecilia only daughter of Robert de Rumeli became possessed of the extensive fief composing the honour of Skipton. In right of his wife, William Paynel was presumptive lord of the manor of one part of that fief the ancient barony of Harewood but as he did not survive his father-in-law, that honour was never possessed by him. The male succession to the honour of Skipton had been cut off by the death of his two sons, the younger of whom was drowned in attempting to leap over the Strid. Followed by a forester the lad had taken a hound to hunt in Wharfedale and when crossing that fearful spot where the concentrated waters of the Wharfe tear through the narrow orifice between the rocks the brute appalled by the roaring of the waters, hung back and the leash by which he was secured broke his master's bound and hurled him into the foaming torrent. The miserable vassal beheld the death of his young lord by an agency which scoffed at all human efforts and when he returned to the castle to indirectly impart his mournful tidings by asking the mother who doted upon her only son the question, "What is good for a bootless bene?" his blanched cheek told to her quick eye the extent of her loss and the sadly pathetic answer immediately arose to her lips -- "Endless sorrow!" Her sorrow humanly speaking was endless but it was the sorrow of a Christian, and when the bereaved mother overcame the poignancy of her first distraction, she vowed that "many poor men's sons should be her heirs" and in accordance with her vow, founded the priory of Bolton. The only fruit of William's union was a daughter named Alice who was first the wife of Richard de Courcy, a younger brother of Robert de Courcy baron of Courcy in Normandy, and after his death which occurred ante 1152 of Robert de Gaunt. William Paynel did not long survive the accession of King Stephen, as Richard de Courcy was in possession of his barony in right of his wife prior to the year 1138. One of William's last acts appears to have occurred in Normandy in October 1136. The Anjevins invaded Normandy with a large army and after assaulting the tower of Montreuil unsuccessfully, they laid siege to the castle of Moutiers Hubert then commanded by a Paynel and eventually carried it by storm making prisoners the commandant and thirty men at arms for whose ransom they received a large sum. The chronicle does not mention the Christian name of the knight but he is supposed to have been William Paynel who is said to have exasperated the Anjevins by the many outrages he had committed upon them during that same year. He died in England about the year 1137, and was probably buried in the priory of Drax.

Domesday Studies: RADULFUS PAGENEL. This was Ralph Paynell of Drax Yorkshire. He acquired his Devon and Somerset estates in virtue of a general grant of the escheated estates of Marlesweyn one of the rebels of 1069 and up to that date Sheriff of Lincolnshire. A descendant of Ralph Paynell, marrying Juliana de Bahuntune, acquired Bampton and other estates in Devon and Somerset parcel of the Domesday Barony of Walter de Douai sometime called Walter de Bahuntune, Thus in the reign of Stephen there were two Baronies of Paynell, one seated at Drax the other at Bamptone. A very tangled story ensues. All we can say here and with confidence is that the elder male line of Paynell of Drax expired in the reign of Henry II that many of the estates of the said line went to collaterals claiming through Alice Paynell, granddanghter of Ralph Paynel, now under notice danghter of William Paynell and danghter and sole heir of a wife of the said William viz of Avicia le Meschin al Avicia de Roumelli who was danghter and co heir of William le Meschin and Cecilia de Roumelli, that Drax itself and many associated estates went to other collaterals whose claim was in a male line viz as descended from William Paynel of Bridgewater and Bampton the husband of Juliana de Bahuntune. The heirs of Paynell of Drax Bridgewater &c  adhered to Philip of France in the reign of John and so lost their English estates though one of the family was reclaiming a part of them as late as AD 1261. Meantime another scion of the House of Paynel had made good a claim or established a plea which gained some part of the forfeited estates. He for aught we know retained the same. So far as our purpose is concerned the gist of all this is that wherever we find a Somerset or Devon estate to have been held in the 13th century by Manrice de Gant or by Hugh de Nevile or by any Luttrel or any Paynell we shall do well to look for the antecedents of such estate in the Domesday Fiefs of Ralph Paynell and Walter de Douai.

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