Family:Turstin (s1045-a1086)

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"Turstin fit Rolf" - MS. 350, folio 40 recto

Turstin, parentage unknown, was born say 1045[1] and died after 1086.[2] Turstin was perhaps the same as Turstin, son of Rolf (also known as "Toustain fitz Rou le Blanc" and Thurstan Fitz Rolf). This Turstin held estates in Hereford and the Marches of Wales - the same area where our Turstin held land. Another possibility is that he was the same as Turstin, son of Guy. However, this Turstin did not own any posessions in the west of England.

In 1066, William, Duke of Normandy invaded England and defeated the Anglo-Saxon army led by King Harold II at the Battle of Hastings. Among the men fighting with William was certainly a man named Turstin who came from Flanders, an area now encompassing portions of Belgium, France, and the Netherlands. An inhabitant of Flanders is called a 'Fleming', and he was therefore called "Turstin the Fleming".

A section of the Bayeux Tapestry showing Duke William, doffing his helmet to show his troops that he is alive, and Toustain fitz Rou le Blanc, who is pointing to the Duke and carrying the papal banner

Turstin, the son of Rolf (which, as stated above, was probably although not conclusively identified as being the same person as this Turstin) was a prominent figure in the Battle of Hastings. "About nine in the morning the army began to move, crossed the interval between the two hills, and slowly ascended the eminence on which the English were posted. The papal banner, as an omen of victory, was carried in front by Toustane the fair, a dangerous honor, which two of the Norman Barons had successively denied." One chronicler wrote "He bore the Gonfanon boldly, high aloft in the breeze, and rode beside the Duke, going wherever he went. Whenever the Duke turned he turned also, and wherever he stayed his course there he stayed also." Another chronicler says "Fast by the three brothers" (Duke William, Odo and Robert) the consecrated banner, says he, "was borne by Toustain the white, the son of Rou, a knight of the less famous Bec in the land of Caux. Two men of higher rank and greater age had already declined the honorable office... Thick around Toustain and the chiefs beside whom he rode were gathered the chivalry of Normandie, the future nobility of England." This indicates that Rolf, or Rou, father of Turstin, was a knight in the land of Caux, perhaps Pays de Caux, an area in Normandy and from Bec, perhaps Bec Abbey.

"Then the Duke called for the standard which the Pope had sent him, and, he who bore it having unfolded it, the Duke took it and called to Raoul de Conches. 'Bear my standard,' said he, 'for I would not but do you right; by right and by ancestry your line are standard-bearers of Normandy, and very good knights have they all been.' But Raoul said that he would serve the Duke that day in other guise, and would fight the English with his hand as long as life should last.
"Then the Duke bade Walter Giffard bear the standard. But he was old and white-headed, and bade the Duke give the standard to some younger and stronger man to carry. Then the Duke said fiercely, 'By the splendor of God, my lords, I think you mean to betray and fail me in this great need.' 'Sire,' said Giffart, 'not so! we have done no treason, nor do I refuse from any felony toward you; but I have to lead a great chivalry, both hired men and the men of my fief. Never had I such good means of serving you as I now have; and, if God please, I will serve you; if need be I will die for you, and will give my own heart for yours.'
"'By my faith,' quoth the Duke, 'I always loved thee, and now I love thee more; if I survive this day, thou shalt be the better for it all thy days.' Then he called out a knight, whom he had heard much praised, Tosteins Fitz-Rou le Blanc by name, whose abode was at Bec-en-Caux. To him he delivered the standard; and Tosteins took it right cheerfully, and bowed low to him in thanks, and bore it gallantly and with good heart. His kindred still have quittance of all service for their inheritance on this account, and their heirs are entitled so to hold their inheritance forever. - SIR EDWARD SHEPHERD CREASY, NORMAN CONQUEST OF ENGLAND, BATTLE OF HASTINGS, A.D. 1066 as found in The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 5, by Various, Edited by Rossiter Johnson.

Sometime between 1066 and 1070, William Fitz Osborne, who had been made Earl of Hereford and had been granted large areas of land along what is now the English - Welsh border region, granted land at Wigmore Castle (but not the castle itself) to Turstin, and granted the castle at Ewyas Harold to Alured de Merleberge. Earl William was killed in battle in 1070, and his son Roger succeeded him as Earl of Hereford. Earl Roger rebelled against King William and was sent to prison. The land that he oversaw, including the land that his father had granted to Turstin and Alured, was redistributed. The King granted Ewyas Harold to Alured and Wigemore to Ralph de Mortimer. Turstin probably stayed at Wigemore as an under-tenant.

Sometime before 1086, Turstin married Agnes, the daughter of Alfred of Marlborough.

In 1085, King William decided that he needed an inventory of all of the new lands that he now held in England, and instructed his men to begin a survey. This survey is now called the Domesday Book. Turstin is named in at least three entries in the Domesday Book survey.

The first is the entry for "Cuure" in Radelaw Hundred. Cuure is an older word for Cowarn, so this entry therefore references Cowarne, as well as Pencombe which is about a mile and a half north. It was held by Agnes, the daughter of Alured and the wife of Turstin.

In Radelaw Hundred the same Alured holds Cuure. Earl Harold held it. There are 15 hides paying geld, but King William acquitted 6 hides from payment of geld. Agnes, daughter of Alured, the wife of Turstin de Wigemore, holds this Manor. In demesne there are 2 ploughs, and a priest and a bailiff and 26 villeins and 8 borders. Amongst them all they have 32 ploughs. There are four serfs and a smith, and the meadow and wood renders nothing, and one hide of this land lies in the King's Wood. In the time of King Edward, the third penny from the three hundred belonged to this Manor. Now it is taken away--Then it was worth £25, now 100 shillings less.

The second entry in the Domesday survey which mentions Turstin is for the Castle of Wigemore in the Hundred of Hezetre. This castle was held by Ralph de Mortimer. A mention was made that a section of land had been given to Turstin, but it is unclear if he still held it or resided here.

The land of Ralph de Mortimer in the Hundred of Hezetre. Ralph de Mortimer holds the Castle of Wigemore. William the Earl built it on waste land which is called Merestum, which Gunuert held in the time of King Edward. There are two hides paying geld. Ralph has in demesne two ploughs and 4 serfs - A borough which is there renders £7. In Hezetre Hundred the same Ralph holds Duntune and Oiddard from him. Aelmar and Ulchet held for 2 Manors and could go where they pleased. There are 4 hides - two of these paying no geld. In demesne are 2 ploughs and 3 villeins and 3 borders and half a plough - There are 6 serfs and a fishery. Wood half a mile long and five furlongs wide - There are 2 enclosures. It was worth 30 shillings, - now, the same. Earl William gave that land to Turstin the Fleming.

The third entry in the Domesday survey which mentions Turstin is for the Hundred of Stratford, as follows:

In Stratford Hundred the same Alured holds Stratford. Earl Harold held it. There are 2 hides paying geld - Gilbert holds from Turstin and Turstin from Alured - In demesne are 1 plough, and 1 villein and 4 borders with half a plough and there is room for 3 ploughs. There are 3 serfs and the meadow renders 3 shillings. There are woods. In the time of King Edward it was worth 30 shillings - now, 20 shillings.

The following record describes Turstin and his relationship to the Lingen family:

Lingen Castle was less important as a fortress than as the seat of one of the most ancient Herefordshire families, which derived its name from the little village of Lingen on the borders of Shropshire. The Mortimers were the chief Lords of the entire district, and under them one Turstin held the Manor of Lingen. He was usually styled Turstin de Wigemore, and with his wife Agnes, daughter of Alured de Merleberge, he obtained the Lordship of Great Cowarne. His descendant Rolf de Wigemore, Lord of Lingen in the reign of Richard I (1189-1199), was founder of the Priory of Lyngbroke or Limebrook, which Leland erroneously attributes to the Mortimers, and there can be no reasonable doubt that Lingen became the patronymic of his family from thenceforth.

Note that according to the Domesday Book survey of 1086, the area known as Whitney was uncultivated and was owned by the King himself. It would only be granted to one of Turstin's descendants in later generations, and that branch of his family would begin to be known as "de Whitney". Turstin had other descendants, as the de Wigemore and Lingen families also count him as their ancestor.

Turstin also held the Manor of Lingen, about 4 miles west of Wigemore. One of his descendants was Rolf de Wigmore, Lord of Lingen. For a discussion on this, see Antiquities of Shropshire, Volume 5, pp. 73-79.

Children of Turstin and Agnes:

i. Eustace, b. say 1075;[3] m. ----- -----.
ii. Turstin, listed as "Turstinus Flandrensis frater meus" (Turstin the Fleming, my brother) in a manuscript documenting the gift of a parcel of land named Suthenhale in Pencombe by his brother, Eustace to the church of St. Peter at Gloucester.


1.^  Source_of_parentage.

2.^  Source_of_birth.

3.^  Source_of_death.

4.^  Source_of_marriage.

Copyright © 2006, Tim Doyle and the Whitney Research Group