PASE: Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England


[Image: Excerpt from the Domesday Book]
[Image: Durham Liber Vitae, folio 38r (extract)]

Guthmund 5 Guthmund ‘of Haughley’ (Suffolk), fl. 1066

Author: SDB
Editorial Status: 4 of 5

Discussion of the name  


Guthmund 5 was a thegn of King Edward (Edward 15) and the brother of Wulfric, abbot of Ely (Wulfric 71). The Liber Eliensis and Little Domesday combine to establish that Guthmund leased a substantial proportion of his holding from Abbot Wulfric. Two spurious Westminster charters claim that he granted three estates (Kelvedon, Latchingdon and Rayne) to Westminster Abbey, but these lands were held by his successor, Hugh de Montfort, in 1086. He has, for these reasons, attracted notice in the secondary literature (Baxter 2007: 232; Clarke 1994: 67, 69, 71−2, 96−7, 119−20, 312−4; Williams 2008: 4−6).

Distribution map of property and lordships associated with this name in DB


List of property and lordships associated with this name in DB



All but one of Guthmund 5’s demesne estates passed to Hugh de Montfort. Although Tollesbury passed to Count Eustace, it is located in close proximity to the other estates and is of a similar size, and so may confidently be attributed to the same Guthmund. This identification is identical to that of Clarke 1994. Guthmund’s name is rendered Gudmundus in Essex, Gutmundus in Suffolk and Godmundus in a single entry Norfolk. He is described as a ‘king’s thegn’ at Kelvedon, and as a ‘free man’ in Tollesbury and Purleigh, and the entry for Occold identifies him as the brother of Wulfric, abbot of Ely (c. 1044−c. 1066). Haughley is the largest estate by fiscal assessment and value. The relevant entry states that Guthmund held it ‘under King Edward as a manor with 8 carucates of land together with the soke and sake over the hall demesne only’. This suggests that Haughley was Guthmund’s principal seat. All of Guthmund’s estates are described as manors; he is said to have enjoyed soke rights in respect of Stanstead and Occold.

A passage in the Liber Eliensis describes how Guthmund acquired a portion of his estate from Abbot Wulfric. It explains that Guthmund sought to marry the daughter of a certain powerful man. ‘But because Guthmund, although noble, certainly did not hold the lordship of 40 hides of land, he could not be counted, at that time, among the foremost nobles, and the girl rejected him’ (Sed quoniam ille quadraginta hidarum terre dominium minime optineret, licet nobilis esset, inter procures tunc numerari non potuiot, eum puella repudiavit). Guthmund therefore entreated Wulfric to help him augment his holdings, whereupon the abbot ‘Leased to him, not with legal entitlement or written witness but merely as a loan, the following estates, namely: part of Marham, with the court of the village, Livermere, Nacton, Occold, Bensted and Garboldisham, and he did this secretly, so that it would not become known to the monks’ (absque titulo et subscriptionis testimonio hec subiuncta maneria illi sed tantum in presto dimisit, partem videlicet de Merham cum curia ville, Liveremere, Nachentune, Acholt, Berdenesteðe, Gerboldesham, et hoc non manifeste, ne monachis innotesceret). When the monks discovered this they rebuked their abbot, who publicly confessed he had committed a sin and a crime against God, and retreated to Occold where he soon became ill and died. Guthmund then negotiated a life lease of the estates in question from Wulfric’s successor, Abbot Thurstan, but soon afterwards Hugh de Montfort gained possession of them (Blake 1962: 166−7; trans. Fairweather 2005: 198−200).

Little Domesday contains some support for this passage. The Norfolk Domesday records that an Ely Abbey held land worth £10 at Marham in 1066 and 1086, but notes that 27 sokemen were attached to his man ‘with every customary due but after King William came, Hugh de Montfort had them except for one’ (LDB 212b (Norfolk 15:1); cf. 238a (Norfolk 23:9)). This was presumably the part of Marham that Wulfric loaned to Guthmund, and which Hugh subsequently acquired. The entry for Great Livermere says that ‘Guthmund held it TRE under St Æthelthryth and he could not sell it’; that for Nacton says that Guthmund it ‘from St Æthelthryth on the day when King Edward died in such a way that he could not sell or give it away from the church, on the agreement that after his death it must return to the church demesne’; and that for Bensted states that ‘the monks of Ely claim that this manor was in the abbey's demesne TRE, and the Hundred testifies to this’. The entry for Occold states that Guthmund held it ‘from (de) his brother Wulfric, abbot of Ely’, and goes on to say that Guthmund had ‘soke over whole’. The entry for Wick in Garboldisham, makes no mention of Ely’s claim to that estate, but an entry in the Inquisito Eliensis records that a sokemen held half a carucate in Garboldisham ‘whom Hugh de Montfort held and his antecessor Guthmund TRE; the hundred testifies that it has always pertained to the abbey’ (IE, 140).

Guthmund is said to have been the lord by commendation of one named dependent (Leofsunu), 6 anonymous sokemen, 95 anonymous free men, and 1 anonymous free woman, all in Suffolk. The rarity of Guthmund’s name, the scale of his landholdings in Suffolk, and the fact that he is specifically described as the antecessor of Hugh de Montfort in respect of Finborough, Dagworth, Wetherden, and Torpe make these identifications secure. The sokemen of Haughley lacked power of alienation, which suggests they held in dependent tenure from Guthmund. As the map illustrates, the lands of Guthmund’s commended men were mostly located in close proximity to his demesne estates.

Two spurious Westminster charters (S 1040 and S 1043) purport to record King Edward’s confirmation of Guthmund’s grant of Kelvedon, Latchingdon and Rayne and to Westminster Abbey.


Baxter 2007: S. Baxter, The Earls of Mercia: Lordship and Power in Late Anglo-Saxon England (Oxford, 2007)

Clarke 1994: P. A. Clarke, The English Nobility under Edward the Confessor (Oxford, 1994)

Williams 2008: A. Williams, The World before Domesday: The English Aristocracy, 900−1066 (London, 2008)

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