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Archaeologia Cantiana -  Vol. 86  1971  page 112
Eynsford Castle and its Excavation. 
By S. E. Rigold, M.A., F.S.A., F.R.Hist.S.
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Goram, they mean William de Eynsford I. Note that the first lord is not Ralf.
   Little is known of Ralf. He was not an Anglo-Dane,15 but presumably a lay retainer from the abbatial lands of Bee or Caen. He held nothing else, except perhaps Croham, Surrey,16 which was certainly held by his descendants, also of the archbishop. He was perhaps dead before the transcription of Domesday, certainly by 1087, when Lanfranc states that he had enfeoffed his son, William I17 in language implying that this was not automatic but was a position of special trust, a trust that was later to outweigh the strict law of primogeniture in the succession of William III. It seems that the years 1087-1089 saw the organization of the knights, the creation of a lordship for William I on wider terms than his father's, and, in view of the historical circumstances, the entrusting to him of the building of the Castle on Lanfranc's authority, not his own. A fortification of this quality, a smaller version of the castle at Rochester that, in these very years, Bishop Gundulf with difficulty persuaded William Rufus was economic for him, Gundulf, to build on Rufus's behalf, would not normally have been tolerated in private hands. After Lanfranc's death, the long vacancy, with the lordship in royal hands, and then Anselm's exile, would hardly have been opportune for the founding of an archiepiscopal castle or the permission for a private one. But the years 1087-1089, when Lanfranc and Gundulf still stood in the confidence of Rufus, but on the defensive, with Odo scotched, not killed, provide the most arguable occasion for the consolidation of the militia episcopatus, with the barony and castle of Eynsford as its spearhead. This is 'Phase W'—see below.
   A long and active life confirmed Lanfranc's view of the abilities of William de Eynsford I. As chief tenant, we see him managing ecclesiastical affairs, with the general approval of Gundulf and the exiled Anselm, and with the disapproval of the ambitious Prior Ernulf.18 Later, he moves into a more independent position as sheriff of Kent for a long period19 and, briefly, of London, Essex and Hertfordshire.20 At the end of his career, he may have overreached his powers: soon
   15  Unspao occurs as a name, e.g. at Lincoln, before the Conquest, but both Ralf and his son, of age by 1087, had Norman names.
   16  Near South Croydon station, about TQ 336640. The Ralf that held it in Domesday may be fltz-Unspac, or his brother-in-law, to whom William I succeeded.
   17  Cartulary of the Priory of St. Gregory, Canterbury, ed. A. M. Woodcock (Camden Soc. 3rd ser., Ixxxviii, 1956), 2.
   18  Patrologia Latina, ed. Migne, CLIX, col. 233, Iviii, col. 235, Ixi (letters of Anselm). Ernulf is surely already prior of Canterbury, not Rochester, on this occasion.
   19  This is the natural interpretation of, e.g. Regesta Begum Anglo-Normannorum, II (ed. Johnson and Cronne), 1093, 1189, 1191, 1497, 1867.
   20  Cartul. Monasterii de Rameseia (Rolls Ser. no. 79, 1884), I, 139—sheriff of London, surely not far short of 1130; Pipe Boll, 31 Hen. I, 63 (of. H. Round, Geoffrey de Mandeville, 298)—allowance for what remained of his cancelled five-years farm of Essex from 1128.

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