Norton Bavant Snow Scene
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Village History - Norton Scudamore  

Within 2 years of the Domesday Inquest Alfred of Marlborough had either died or forfeited his barony.  The king granted it to Harold, son of Ralph, early of Hereford, and grandson of Goda, sister to Edward the Confessor.  Harold also kept the profits of the manor of Norton for himself because he included the tithes of Norton in a grant he made to the abbey of St Peter’s, Gloucester, about the year 1120.  But by 1166 Godfrey Scudamore, lord of Upton Scudamore (another Ewyas fee) had become under-tenant at Norton.

The Scudamores were descended from a knight named Ralf who was sent with other knights to Ewyas after the Conquest to rebuild and strengthen the castle and do guard duty there with their men.  They also held the Ewyas fee of Fifield in south Wilts and other fees in Herefordshire.  The male line came to an end in Wiltshire in 1382, but continues to the present day in Herefordshire.

Not much is known of the Scudamores as lords of Norton but they are well documented in connection with their capital manor, Upton Scudamore.  By 1166 the Scudamores were holding 5 knights’ fees of the Ewyas barony; 2 in Upton, 2 in Norton and 1 in Fifield.  4 of these were of the ancient feoffment (before 1135) which indicates they were lords of Norton before that date.

They were made sheriffs of Dorset and Somerset by the future King John.  Later they joined the baronial opposition to the king and in 1216 the constable of Devizes Castle was ordered to take all the lands of Peter de Skydemore in Norton, Upton and Fifield and deliver them to Godeshal de Maghelin for him to hold during the king’s pleasure.  They were restored to Peter immediately after the king’s death.

The heir, Sir Godfrey Scudamore, lost all these lands again when, on the 18 October, 1222, the sheriff of Wiltshire had orders to seize them by the king’s demand because of Godfrey’s trespasses in the royal forest.  The eastern boundary of the royal forest of Selwood stretched from East Knoyle to Earlstoke so that the manors of Upton and Norton were entirely within the area designated as a hunting forest.  They were restored within a year.

The Testa de Nevill, set down in 1243, records that Sir Godfrey Scudamore held two knights’ fees in Norton from Robert Tregoz of the honour of his barony of Ewyas Harold.

In 1249 William le Fevere (the Smith) claimed that he had been unjustly dismissed of a half acre of land and a certain heath in Rodhurst by Godfrey de Eskidimor and others.  Sir Godfrey was amerced and William recovered his land and heath.  Three years later the same William acknowledged on 5 May, 1252, that he held a free tenement of 64 arable acres and 300 acres of pasture from Godfrey Scudamore in Rodhurst and Norton by rent and ward of Ewyas Castle.  This was at Butler’s Coombe.

The Inquest Post Mortem of Sir Peter Scudamore, who was slain in a quarrel with Richard de Bath, found that he held Norton worth £40 from John de Tregoz for which he paid 17s 3 ½ d by the year for the ward of Ewyas Castle.  It also found that Alice de Bavant, daughter of Peter de Escudamor, was his next heir and that she was of full age.  She had married the baron Adam de Bavant.  However, Sir Peter Scudamore had made provision for the male line to continue at Upton Scudamore by giving that manor to his nephew, Walter Scudamore.

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