Norton Bavant Snow Scene
Norton Bavant Snow Scene Norton Bavant Snow Scene Norton Bavant Snow Scene Norton Bavant Snow Scene Norton Bavant Snow Scene
Village History - The Bavants  

An ancestor of the Bavants had ridden in battle with the Duke of Normandy before the Conquest.  Their fees in England were mainly in the south-east where they were tenants-in-chief of the king as barons.  Sir Adam de Bavant, who had been called to parliament, died on 11 November, 1292.  His widow, the heiress Alice Scudamore, took to the Bavant family on the death of her father, Sir Peter Scudamore, the manor of Norton Scudamore (subsequently to become Norton Bavant) with demesne, other lands and tithes, farm, a corn mill two fulling mills and the rectory with tithes.  Also the manor of Fifield Scudamore (now Fifield Bavant) with lands and services in the towns of Wilton, Gurston and Brydesmere.  The manor of Trowe, Alvidiston, Wilts.  The manor of Bradle, Isle of Purbeck.  The manor of Bilhay, Wilts.  Woods and lands at Emwell (Corsley), Widhill, Ditchampton, Fugglestone and Little Durnford, Wilts.  The manor of Colwinston, Glamorgan, with rents and farms.  The manor of Moldeston, St Keyne, Herefordshire, and the manors of Poston and Parva Hatfield in the same county.

The son and heir, Roger de Bavant, was a minor at the time in the wardship of the king.  He did not enter upon his inheritance until 1306 when he proved his age and was later summoned to parliament as a baron.  He was succeeded by Sir Roger de Bavant II who had married Hawise.  By 1344 the family had amassed great debts of some £5,000, an enormous sum in those days and far more than their net worth.

What caused the decline in the Bavant fortunes is not clearly known.  How could he have wasted this great inheritance which included his father’s barony as well can only be conjectured.  Possibly high living with easy money borrowed from the Jewish moneylenders.  Sir Roger granted all his lands (except two manors in Sussex) to the king who subsequently gave him an income from them for life, then returned them to Roger but with reversion to the king.

The day before Roger Bavant died he devised all his lands back to the king at the same time disclaiming a deed which had been sealed with a forged seal, wherein his estranged wife, Hawise, claimed that his estates were entailed to her and her issued.  In 1358 the king granted Norton Bavant to William Thorpe and William Peek for their lives, and they ensured an annuity to Hawise.  After their deaths it was to go to the Dominican nuns of Dartford, Kent.  Thorpe was connected with that house and was probably acting for it.

Hawise and her son and heir, John Bavant, also contrived to obtain Upton Scudamore and tithes and rents in Thoulstone.  Hawise finally surrendered her rights to the Bavant inheritance in 1361.  Joan, daughter of Roger Bavant and Hawise, and Sir John Dauntsey, her husband, also put in their claim to the manor of Norton Bavant but finally relinquished all rights in 1373 in return for the grant of the manor of Marden from the king.

John Bavant, the heir, came of age in 1358.  When he found he had no inheritance and had surrendered all claims to the former possessions of the Scudamores – Sir Walter Scudamore paid him 100 silver marks – he went off to Italy to become a Franciscan monk.  In 1372 the king included the Bavant lands in a great endowment of the Dominican Priory of Dartford, Kent (See Appendix I).

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