The account of Hugh of St Philibert 1226

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This article by John Le Patourel was first published in the 1952 Annual Bulletin of La Société Jersiaise

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The wardens' and receivers' financial accounts, taken together, provide almost more information about the administration of the Channel Islands in the Middle Ages than any other series of documents. Speaking generally, these accounts appear in two forms, the "particulars," ie a preliminary statement setting out all forms of receipt and expenditure, often in very great detail, and the "enrolled account" ie the final form of the account, audited, corrected and highly generalized. To the historian, it goes without saying, the "particulars" are by far the more useful; for, if a figure may be wrong here and there, the details given of each item can be most informative. The "enrolled account", on the other hand, is often so highly generalized that it preserves little but the terminal dates of the account and the bare totals of revenue and expenditure.

Nearly all the surviving medieval accounts relating to the Channel Islands date from the 14th century, from the reign of Edward III. Before 1327 and after 1377 survivors are rare. Little has been found so far dating from the 13th century. There are summary enrolled accounts for several years to be found on the Pipe Rolls of King Henry Ill's reign, together with occasional references to expenses incurred by the sheriff of Hampshire or the burgesses of Southampton in connection with the shipping of men and munitions for the defence of the Islands; but until these rolls have been printed or indexed it will be impossible to make a list of such accounts and references without a totally disproportionate expenditure of labour, for they are difficult to find on these manuscript rolls and, being summary, they are not always very informative when found. So far, however, only one particular account had been discovered dating from the 13th century, a fragment of Henry of Cobham's account of Jersey for the year 1294-5, which is now in the possession of this Society.

It is therefore a matter of some interest that a detailed account, rendered by Hugh of St Philibert, warden of Jersey in 1226, some 70 years earlier, should recently have turned up among the Unsorted Miscellanea of the Chancery in the Public Record Office. (2) The terminal dates of this account are zath March to rst August, 1226. It is concerned chiefly with the payment of the garrison and the building of Gorey Castle, and it belongs to that critical period when it was still being decided that the Channel Islands, unlike the rest of Normandy, should remain in the English allegiance.

The following is a translation of the account :-

Money received by the lord Hugh of St. Philibert from the lord Geoffrey de Lucy:


  • 24 March, from the lord Geoffrey de Lucy - £82
  • 30 June, from the Exchequer - £66 13s 4d
  • From the farm of Jersey, Easter term - £18 7s 7d
  • From the land of Thomas Paynel - £7 5s
  • From perquisites (Richard de Gray received the remainder of the perquisites, £7 14s, *with the Eperquerie and he is answerable for this) - £2 4s 3d
  • From the sale of 52 fothers of lead - £3 18s
  • Total - £180 8s 2d

Hugh's expenses

  • First payment made in Jersey by Hugh, for the period 24 March to 2 May, ie 40 days inclusive, to 4 knights at 2s a day, 1 clerk and 6 sergeants at 12d a day and 44 serjeants at 7½d a day, making 42s 6d per diem - Total for 40 days - £85
  • Second payment from 3 May to 11 June inclusive, ie 40 days, to the same knights, clerk and sergeants - £85
  • Third payment from 12 June to 21 July inclusive, ie 40 days, to the same knights, clerk and sergeants - 85 0 0
  • Fourth payment from 22 July to 1 August inclusive, ie 11 days, to the same knights, clerk and sergeants - 23 7s 6d
  • Sub-total £278 7s 6d

Note that he made no payment to 20 of the said sergeants for five days during which they were in the king's service. As no allowance was made for this in the fourth payment, deduct - £3 2s 6d

  • Total - £275 5s
  • Works in Jersey Castle, viz setting out walls, improving the wells, making and repairing ditches, and in purchasing 8 acres of land in front of the Castle gate £17 17d 5d
  • Sum total - £293 2s 5d

Therefore the sum of £112 14s 3d is due to Hugh, from which £1 13s 4d is to be deducted for a hauberk, a habergeon and two crossbows as shown on the dorse of this roll. Thus £111 11d are still due to Hugh.


Munitions handed over to Richard de Gray by Hugh of St Philibert in Jersey Castle on Sunday, 11 June, 1226 : 7 hauberks, 11 habergeons, 3 helmets, 18 crossbows (of which one de cornu, three ad Tur and 13 ad unum pedem) and 7,250 bolts.

Note that Hugh owes 1 hauberk and 1 habergeon (worth 2 marks) and 2 crossbows (worth half a mark). Total, 2½ marks (£1 13s 4d) for which he answers on the other side of the roll.

Administrative processes

Some of the administrative processes that lie behind this account can be traced in other contemporary documents. The payment of 100 marks which St Philibert drew from the Exchequer on 30 June was authorized by a writ of liberate dated 29 June, the text of which is preserved on the Close Roll and the Issue Rolls for this year:

"The King to his Treasurer and Chamberlains, greeting. Deliver 100 marks from our treasury to Hugh of St Philibert for the pay of the knights and sergeants who were in Jersey Castle at the time when the castle was in Hugh's custody by our order. Witness myself at Reading, 29 June, in the tenth year of our reign."

The 52 fothers otlead referred to in the account were probably a remnant of the five cartloads which the burgesses of Southampton had been ordered to provide and send to Geoffrey de Lucy for the building operations in the Channel Islands earlier in the year, and for which they claimed allowance in their account on the Pipe Roll:

"The men of Southampton ... for 5 cartloads of lead purchased and delivered to Geoffrey de Lucy for the castle-works in the islands of Jersey and Guernsey, £8 14s 5d, by the king's writ."

Finally, St Philibert obtained an order for the payment of the £111 11d due to him at the end of his account by a writ dated 10 December 1226, and in this writ it is clearly stated that he had spent this money on the works in Jersey Castle and in the wages of knights and sergeants in the garrison while the castle was in his custody.


The form of this account is straightforward. On the recto are set down the sums of money which St Philibert had received and for which he must account, and the various payments he had made. In this case his payments exceeded his receipts; consequently the government, as we should say, owed him the balance. On the dorse is a statement of the stores in Gorey Castle which he had handed over to his successor, together with a note of one or two items for which he had apparently failed to account, for their value is charged against him. So far so good; but this document presents many little problems which will not be satisfactorily solved, nor the full significance of the information it has to give be appreciated, until the surviving records of the first half of the 13th century, so far as they concern the Channel Islands, have received a good deal of careful study. A few preliminary remarks may, however, be offered.

St Philibert's status

First, Hugh of St Philibert's official position is anomalous and not at all clearly defined. His predecessor and colleague, Geoffrey de Lucy, had held what was coming to be a normal commission as warden of the Channel Islands since the autumn of 1224. St Philibert was given custody of Jersey with its castle, during the king's pleasure, by a patent dated 12 February, 1226, and the knights, freemen and all others dwelling in the island were bidden to obey him "as the king's bailiff in all things pertaining to the island".

Apart from the fact that his authority was limited to one island, this also was a normal form of commission, for the term "bailiff" had no special sense in the Channel Islands at this time. But nothing is said of his relationship to de Lucy. When Richard de Gray was appointed warden of the Islands, he succeeded to both; de Lucy was ordered to surrender to him "the island (sic) of Gernere and Gerese and the other islands which are in his custody" and St Philibert "the island of Gerese with the king's castle there".

This might be interpreted to mean that St Philibert was a sort of subordinate or assistant warden in Jersey while de Lucy retained a general responsibility for the whole group. Similarly, in St Philibert's account, if the heading "Money received by the lord Hugh of St Philibert from the lord Geoffrey de Lucy" is taken to refer to all the receipts, it could be argued that St Philibert was dependent upon de Lucy for money. But neither interpretation is certain; St Philibert was appointed directly by the king and seems to have had direct dealings with the Exchequer.

Period of appointment

The precise duration of St Philibert's tenure of his office in Jersey is equally open to doubt. His patent of appointment is dated 12 February and the order to hand over to Richard de Grey is dated 16 May 1226. In his account he states that he received money from Geoffrey de Lucy on 24 March and from the Exchequer on 30 June. His payments to the garrison run from 24 March to 1 August; but he handed over the stores in Gorey Castle to his successor on 11 June. Between which of these dates did he hold the custody of Jersey?

Fortunately his activities as warden are less obscure, for, apart from paying the garrison, his account shows him to have been concerned with constructional work at Gorey Castle, and there is plenty of evidence that there were important castle-building operations going on in both islands at this time.

Very soon after de Lucy's appointment in 1224, the Exchequer had been ordered to pay him £40 "for the works of the island of Jersey" (9 January 1225). Timber was ordered to be sent to him in Jersey for fortifications; the Constable of Porchester was commanded to furnish him with 20 oaks from the forest of Bere and the bailiffs of Southampton to provide 5 cartloads of lead for the works in Guernsey and Jersey.

Two castles

It is difficult to resist the impression that the two castles were being built together, more or less in step with one another and as one operation. Since there was normally one warden for all the islands, this was perhaps to be expected. Certainly the garrisons seem to have been about equal at this time. In February, 1226 Geoffrey de Lucy and Hugh of St Philibert were each to have £250 for the wages of the garrisons respectively under their commandt; and de Lucy was given £171 10s for the wages of both garrisons during the 40-day period beginning 25 November 1225, which is little more than twice the £85 which St Philibert paid out in wages for the Jersey garrison alone during each of the three 40-day periods from 24 March to 21 July, 1226.

Similarly, while de Lucy had taken with him, in the autumn of 1224, 8 knights, 35 mounted sergeants and 60 foot-sergeants to garrison both islands, St Philibert, in the spring of 1226, was paying the wages of 4 knights, 1 clerk, 6 mounted sergeants and 44 foot-sergeants in Jersey alone. That Gorey Castle was already a considerable structure is clear from St Philibert's account; the indications are that the construction of Castle Cornet was not lagging behind.

It is very likely that the reason for sending St Philibert to Jersey lay precisely in this intense building activity. The English government had good reason to fear an attack from France. The truce which had been in operation since 1214 finally ran out in 1224. King Louis VIII quickly overran Poitou and proclaimed his ambition not only to clear the English out of France but to invade England itself. It was not until Louis' premature death in November 1226 that the danger to the Islands could be considered to have passed for the time being.

The origins of Castle Comet and Gorey Castle are to be found, it seems clear, in the reign of King John; but it is not unlikely that they were now, under the direction of Geoffrey de Lucy, Hugh of St Philibert and Richard Gray who succeeded them, endowed with their first permanent structures.

The difficulty of commanding two garrisons and supervising two brigades of workmen in two islands separated by 20 miles of Channel tides at a time of considerable danger may well have moved Geoffrey de Lucy to ask for assistance. Though little is known of Hugh of St Philibert's career, that may be significant. He was in the king's service beyond the seas in company with Geofrfrey de Lucy as far back as 1206; while as recently as 1224, when de Lucy was commissioned to guard the sea coast from Pavensey to Bristol at the same time as he was appointed warden of the Channel Islands, St Philibert seems to have been associated with him in the coastguard work.

It seems then that they were old colleagues, and it may be that any attempt to define their constitutional relationship in the islands would be superfluous simply because that relationship was friendly and informal.

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