The twelfth century was the heyday of Byland’s expansion,
and the community acquired a number of lands at a remarkable rate.
There were various ways in which the monks could expand their holdings.
They might receive these as gifts, freely given by men and women
who hoped in this way to secure their salvation. Land might be
given in return for money or goods, or in exchange for other land.
Moreover, the monks themselves might solicit certain lands and
rights, especially if they were trying to develop interests in
areas where they already had estates or worked a grange. Unfortunately,
it is often difficult to tell which grants were freely given and
which were the result of coercion, or even disguised sales.
A thirteenth-century grant
In the late thirteenth century, Brother Imbert, Master of
the Templars, granted Byland pasture land, some four
the east of Thirsk. Byland had already made an enclosure
near their sheep-fold (bercariam) here, at Whitestonecliff.
Brother Imbert stipulated that should any animals belonging
to the Templars’ men of Kereby stray within the monks’ enclosure,
the animals should simply be driven back and not harmed in
Byland attracted a wide range of benefactors.
They included members of the great magnate families, chiefly the
family and household
of the community’s founder, Roger
de Mowbray, but also members
of the Percy family. One less renowned, but no less
important benefactor was Turphin of Warcop. Whilst Turphin was
chief lord of his vill and a notable figure within the locality,
he was little known outside Westmorland. Byland acquired extensive
holdings in Westmorland through the generosity of Turphin and
his family. This subsequently became an important area for the
and the monks had established at least one of their three granges
here by the late twelfth century.(11) Byland
received grants from individuals, from husbands and wives acting
jointly, and widows.
John of Bateby and his wife, Margery, granted the community various
lands, including all their meadows in Claverley. In the late
twelfth / early thirteenth century, John of Harding’s,
widow, Margery, confirmed all the lands her husband had given
to or exchanged with
the monks. (12)