Reginald de Argentein
(-Bef 1130)
(-After 1130)
John de Argentein
(-After 1170)
Reginald de Argentein of Wymondley
(1144-Bef 1203)


Family Links

1. Isabel

Reginald de Argentein of Wymondley

  • Born: 1144
  • Marriage (1): Isabel
  • Died: Bef 1203

  General Notes:

Reginald's father and grandfather were essentially local landowners with only a handful of manors in the eastern counties, and they seem to have played no role beyond their locality. But with Reginald the family began to achieve a wider prominence, which was to be reinforced by his son and grandson.

Reginald was active in local affairs, and acted as sheriff in the eastern counties through most of the 1190s. He served in Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire in 1193, 1194 and 1195, and in Essex and Hertfordshire in 1197 (for half a year) (Pipe Rolls).

More significantly, he was appointed a justice, and sat both at Westminster and in the provinces. Numerous records survive of fines made before him: the earliest I have found was at Norwich in September, 1191. The records continue until 1202 (apparently the year before his death), when sufficient information survives to trace his movements in detail. On 16 June he was sitting at Westminster, and later in the same month at Cambridge. In July he was at Norwich, King's Lynn and Ipswich, where he remained until early August. In September he was at Hertford and Chemsford, and in October and November he was again at Westminster (Pipe Roll Society).

Reginald continued to hold the property he had inherited, though not without difficulties. The manor of Great Wymondley, although it had been held by the family since his grandfather's time, was claimed by one Alan de Vitrie, who had apparently succeeded in dispossessing him. Unfortunately we do not know the basis of Alan's claim, but by 1190 the court at Westminster decided in Reginald's favour (perhaps unsurprisingly, given his official connections), and in 1195 Richard I issued a charter, confirming the manor to him and his heirs.

Another legal dispute concerned the advowson of Great Wymondley church, which, according to Reginald, had been granted to his grandfather together with the manor. However, the advowson was also claimed by the Abbess of Elstow, according to whom it had been given to the abbey, as an appurtenance of Hitchin church, by its foundress, the Countess Judith, in the time of William I. The dispute dragged on for about 10 years, and was finally settled after Reginald's death, when his son Richard gave up the claim to the advowson. In return, the nuns were to remember him in their prayers.

Reginald also had problems concerning his inheritance from the estate of Guy the son of Tieca. In 1190 the Pipe Roll tells us that Reginald was to pay 100 for justice concerning these lands and those claimed by Alan de Vitrie (i.e. Great Wymondley). In the following year, however, Nicholas, the son of Robert, the son of Harding, appears owing 200 marks, to have peaceful possession of the lands of Guy the son of Tieca, which Reginald claimed. The entries concerning Nicholas - which seem somewhat confused - appear in the Pipe Rolls under Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire and Gloucestershire, and continue until 1196 and 1195 respectively. In 1195, Richard I issued a charter for Reginald (dated the day after the one referred to above), in which his original payment of 100 was replaced by a fine of 200 marks, in return for which he was confirmed as the holder of Great Wymondley, and promised justice concerning the lands of Guy.

The difficulty concerning these lands seems to have arisen because Guy had somehow been involved in the castration of a certain Alan of Wales, which is mentioned both in a charter of Henry II for Guy, and in Richard's second charter for Reginald. It seems that the lands may have initially been confiscated as a result (and perhaps granted to Nicholas' family), but that the offence was finally forgiven. Be that as it may, the trouble was not over yet. In 1202 Reginald again had to go to court, to secure another part of his inheritance from Guy. This time he sought the advowson of the church of 'Chederton', in Bedfordshire, against the prior of St Neots. The result of the action is not known.

In addition to the property which he inherited, he had various interests in a number of counties:
- He held the manor of Cholderton, Wiltshire, of the Bernard family; and the Bassingbourn family held it as his sub-tenants (VCH Wiltshire).
- He was a plaintiff in a plea of novel disseisin in Letchworth (just north of Wymondley) in Hertfordshire in 1198 (Curia Regis Rolls)
- He was granted a tenth of a knight's fee in Pelham [?Middlesex] by William son of Robert (before 1212) (Curia Regis Rolls).
- Ralph de Tyvill demanded against him a tenement in Ramsey in Huntingdonshire in 1199 (Farrer, vol.3, p.180, citing R. Cur Regis i 396 or 401).
- He held a carucate of land at Wissett (near Halesworth) in Suffolk, c.1199 (Placit. Abbrev.).

Reginald must have died either at the end of 1202 or in early 1203. At his death he left a widow Isabel, who renounced her dower rights in favour of Reginald's son Richard, in return for a house to live in at Wymondley. We do not know whether Isabel was the mother of Reginald's children - indeed, there seems to be no evidence at all about the identity of their mother.

As well as Richard, his son and heir, Reginald had at least three more sons:
- Oliver, who fought for the baronial party in the reign of King John
- John
- Reginald.

[Medieval English Genealogy]

Reginald married Isabel.

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