after 1130, having laid down, or been
forced out of his office, he retired as a monk to Christ
Church,21 which, with his wife Hadwisa, he had
endowed with Ruckinge without derogation of his obligation of
knight-service.22 It appears that it was he that
acquired most of the considerable possessions of the family
outside the barony, in particular large holdings of the bishop
of Lincoln in Buckinghamshire and Huntingdonshire.23
A man of patient business, a bulwark of ecclesiastical power,
and, if we can judge from his acceptance as a quire-monk, an
early instance of a literate knight.
His successor was a less considerable figure. His
public activities were slight, and to him is ascribed the
beginning of the alienation from the see that was to flare up
briefly under William III.23a His tenure coincided,
approximately, with the disturbed years of Stephen. This is,
historically as well as arehaeologically, the most likely
occasion for the building of the Hall and gate and the
heightening of the curtain (Phase X), in every sense a
re-fortification and one for private benefit, totally and
permanently changing the Castle's character. Such would have
been frowned upon under Henry I and probably forbidden under
Henry II. William II, called Gurham, was dead or retired by
the late 1140s; it is his son, William III, who about this
time attests frequently, as attendant knight, usually in
association with Ralf Picot, later sheriff, to deeds of
Archbishop Theobald.24 That is to say that he
served in that archbishop's famous and educative household. He
named one of his sons Theobald, and was personally obliged to
the archbishop for his succession to lordship, in preference
to the children of his deceased elder half-brother John. From
John descended the line of Lese, or Peckham, who on many
occasions, one the instance of the deposition of 1261,25
tried to reclaim their interest or part of it against the
21 Op. cit. in
note 9, 46; 'c. 1135', but it may have been a little earlier.
22 Ibid,, 109, etc.; A.
Saltman, Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury (1956),
269-70. Hadewisa may have been an heiress (! of William of
Adesham, the Domesday tenant of Ruckinge).
23 In Stoke Mandeville and Great
Staughton—Bed Book of the Exchequer, I, 376; the Pipe
Boll—Mag. Sot. Scace., 31 Hen. I, 48—suggests that
at least Staughton goes back to William I. Other holdings
included Foots Cray (Bed Booh, 191), the Canterbury
tenures (op. cit. in note 13, passim), and,
possibly connected with these, tenements assigned to the
Templars, as of, but not necessarily in, Strood (B. A. Lees, Records
of the Templars in England in the XIII cent.—Br.
Acad. Bee. Soo. Econ. Hist., IX (1935), xcvii, 20; see op.
cit., in notes 27 and note 5, 66 for small enclosures in.
the Weald. These do not exhaust the widespread interests of
23a Op. cit. in note 9,
109; pater meua et ego ipse (William HI) mouimus
calumpniam . . .
24 Saltman, op. cit. in
note 22, charters nos. 69, 60, 61, 151, 163, etc.
25 See note 12. The Lese estate
"was on the southern edge of Eynsford, perhaps extending
into Shoreham; the names of Lese and Peckham are preserved in
Leize and Pecken Woods, about N.G.B. TQ 657615, just in
Shoreham. Pace Douglas, op. cit. in note 9, 45,
it was not John, who was already dead, but his unnamed
successor, who was excommunicated with William III.