5: The Norman Years

The Heirs of Hugh?: 12th Century deQuettevilles in Normandy

Posted on April 27, 2019 by Craig Cameron deQuetteville

Église de Sainte-Marie de Cretteville (Cheteville), ancient canton of La Haye-du-Puits, today Carentan: est. 12th-Century (Xfigpower)

What is known is that several deQuettevilles appear in the records related to Cretteville in the decades between 1155 and 1204. These may be among Hugh’s children and grand-children or related to Hugh more distantly. Now we are in the era of Plantagenet Normandy when a general prosperity takes hold and there is an increase in trade between England and Normandy, Brittany, Poitou, Anjou, Angoulême and Aquitaine, with the Channel Islands acting as a significant link.

Chetevilla – Ketelvilla – Crettevilla vs Ketelvilla – Ketevilla – Ketrevilla

In a charter issued by Richard de Bohon (priest of Coutances, 1151-1179), Richard confirms the donation of the church of Ste-Marie of Cheteville (Cretteville) with the approval of Richard de la Haye to the Abby of Blanchelande in 1157[i]. Richard de la Haye (1125?-1169), seigneur de la Haye-du-Puits and Varenguebec and 2nd Baron of Shipbrook had established the Abby of Blanchelande in 1154. He was scion of the de la Haye family who had risen to prominence after 1042 when William the Bastard emerged victorious following the battle of Val es Dunes. They replaced the Néel-St. Sauveur family, who had rebelled against the young Duke, as the most powerful family in the Cotentin.

Richard de Bohon confirms that “Geoffrey remet dans la main de l’évêque tout le droit héréditaire qu’il possède sur cette église et reconnait qu’en qualité de clerc et des confrères de chanoines de Blanchelande il doit leur rendre 5 quartiers de froment et 20 chandelles à la purification de la Vièrge; après sa mort l’église entière appardiendra à l’abbaye (1157). Geoffrey is the son of Roger de Cheteville, who has probably died by this time, and brother of Hébert.

It is not clear whether Hébert or Geoffrey is the elder of the brothers, because some time later, perhaps a few years later, Hébert issues his own charter to confirm the donation: “charte de Hebert, fils de Roger de Cretteville (Ketevilla), concédant à l’abbaye de Blanchelande la donation faite par Richard de la Haye de l’église de Cretteville et abandonnant tout le droit qu’il pouvait y avoir; en l’assise de Bayeux devant les justiciers du Roi Guillaume Tolemer et Richard d’Argences, tenant l’assise; témoins : Hamon le Boutillier (Pincerna), Robert de Grouchy (de Groce), Odon le Boutillier, Roger de Chevrecy (de Kevres), Raoul fils d’Odon, Guillaume de Longueau (de Longa Agua), Luc de Vaux et Adam d’Arganchy (de Argence; original)”. It is an open question why at this time Hébert would be relinquishing all remaining rights he once held to the fees of the church in Cretteville. Maybe Geoffrey has also died by then.

On the other hand, Geoffrey may still have been alive in 1193 when Guillaume de Tournbu (priest of Coutances, 1184-1202) issues a charter in his own name in 1193 that reconfirms Geoffrey’s donation: “charte de Guillaume, l’évêque de Coutances, notifiant la résignation faite en ses mains, en faveur de l’abbaye de Blanchelande, par Herbert de Queteville, laïque, fils de Rogers, de tout le droit qu’il pouvait avoir au patronage de Queteville et la reconnaissance de Geoffrey, frère dudit Herbert, portant qu’il ne dessert l’église que comme clerc des chanoines de Blanchelande (1193; original)”. Hébert is apparently still alive in this year. Furthermore, as it appears that Geoffrey was obliged to continue serving the church as one of the Premonstratensian canons of Blanchelande Abby, it can be surmised that he was the younger of the brothers.

A subsequent reconfirmation takes place sometime in the 1190s when Richard du Hommet, son-in-law of Richard de la Haye, assumes prominence over the the de la Haye estates: “charte de Richard du Hommet, notifiant la confirmation faite à l’abbaye de Blanchelande par Herbert, fils Roger de Ketreville, de la donation de l’église de Ketreville par Richard de la Haye (copie de XIIIième siécle)”. The du Hommet family, along with the seigneurs de Say, had also risen to power on the side of William the Bastard and had been made seneschals of the county of Mortain under Robert, Count of Mortain (1049-1104), half-brother of William.

Then, sometime between 1199 and 1202, Guillaume de Tournebu issues another charter conceding the rents to be paid to a Guillaume de Ketreville, clerk, out of the parish of Cretteville by the monks of Blanchelande: “charte de Guillaume, évêque de Coutances, portant que l’abbé et les chanoines de Blanchelande ont concédé, devant lui, à Guillaume, clerc, de Ketreville, deux gerbes de dimes de ladite paroisse pour 10 quartiers de froment par an”. Whether or not Guillaume de Ketreville is related to Geoffrey and Hébert deCretteville is another open question. However, the 17th century copyist may have given us a clue by inserting an ‘r’ after the ‘t’ instead of after the ‘c’ or ‘k’, both of which became common practice sometime during and after the mid-13th century. In all likelihood, this Guillaume deQuettreville came from Quettreville-sur-Seinne, but he may have straddled both families in some way.        

Guillaume appears as a witness in another document from around the years 1199 or 1200 and he is also identified as a clerk. This time he is witness to a charter issued under Guillaume de Rollos, brother-in-law of Richard du Hommet and seigneur of Roullos in Calvados and La Bloutière in La Manche. On his marriage to Isabelle du Hommet he acquired the lands around St-Denis-le-vetu and donated their income to the Abby of Blanchelande: “1199-1200 – St. Denis-le-Vètu: charte de Guillaume de Rollos, donnant a l’abbaye de Blanchelande pour son âme, l’âme de Ysabeau, sa femme, [Isabella, daughter of Richard de la Haye], les âmes de son père et de sa mère et les âmes de tous ses amis, l’église de Saint-Denis-le-Vètu (ecclesiam Sancti Dionisii le Vestu) avec tous ses appartenances; temoins : Richard de Varenguebec, prêtre, Robert le Roux (Rufus), de Desebi [Easby], chevalier, Richard de Hommet (Humetis) [son-in-law of Richard de la Haye], fils de Richard de Hummet, maitre Hugues de Surreham, Guillaume de Keteville, clerc, Robert, fils Alueve, Bertrand, sergent (serviens) de dame Mathilde [wife of Richard de la Haye]”. [ii] Depending on the context, Guillaume,s designation as a “clerc” can mean that he was a clergyman, a scholar, a record-keeper or any combination of the three.

Guillaume de Rollos is interesting, because his grandfather was in possession of lands in Richmondshire in North Yorkshire in the time of King Stephen, lands that Guillaume still had title to. In fact, Guillaume’s grandfather, Richard, founds the church of Ste. Agatha, Easby, sometime in the early 12th century. Quettreville is located in the county of Mortain and it is possible that Guillaume deQuettreville was employed in the service of Guillaume de Rollos. This could also be the impetus for deQuettevilles who appear in Yorkshire in the 1150s, as we will see later. While it appears that our Guillaume de Quettreville, clerk, was probably in the service of Guillaiume de Rollos and, perhaps, Richard du Hommet, de Rollos and du Hommet will side with King Philippe Augustus after 1204, thereby forfeiting their claims to lands in England. In contrast, we see evidence of a William deQuetteville, identified as a Norman, who owns land by marriage in the Cumberland region of northern England in the first decades of the 13th century. If this is one and the same with Guillaume deQuettreville, then it would argue for an allegiance with King John that separated this branch of the deQuettevilles from Normandy.

Another possible son or grand-son of Hugh is Petrus/Pierre/Peter de Ketelvilla. It is clear that Pierre’s farm is in Cretteville, for the records show it in proximity to Goisberville, whose church was donated to Blanchelande Abby along with that of Ketelvilla by Richard de la Haye in 1154. Pierre is mentioned on three occasion in the Pipe Rolls of Normandy; in 1180, 1195 and 1198. Each time the rente due is the same, 5 solidos; roughly what is normally due for a bouvée of land. (“Et de 5 sol. de Petro de Ketelvilla. Et de 40 sol de auxilio assiso in Goisbervilla.”). In 1180 and 1195, he is named Petro de Ketelvilla. But in 1195, we see the name change slightly to Petro de Ketenvilla. (A fief of Ketenvilla is mentioned in 1257 Pipe Rolls of Henry III as belonging to a Philippe de Mesnil). For Petro to have been of age to own property by 1180, he would have had to have been born at the latest in 1159. He might well have been 10 or 20 years older than that. If born in 1150, for example, he would have been 48 years old in 1198 at the time he last appears in the Rolls. Possibly, Petro died in the years immediately following, or he continued to live and gave up his property after 1204 in favour of lands he held in Jersey. But what would have been his motivation for doing so? If he held land on Jersey and Cretteville simultaneously, his caput would have had to be in Jersey for him to do so. But, perhaps Petrus was a member of a cadet branch that remained in Cretteville even after 1204, as we will see with the following examples.

Finally, there is the interesting case of a Muriel de Ketelvilla who appears in the Norman assize rolls of 1203. In the Magnus Rotuli for the ‘Ballia de Constanciis’ (Membrane 3), Muriel is fined 5 solidos for not appearing at the assize (‘pro defectu recognita’), a fairly common occurrence at this time. We can presume to some extent that De Ketelvilla here signifies modern Cretteville. It raises the question in the context of the war between King Philip Augustus and King John, whether Muriel – perhaps the heiress of property in the balliage of Coutances – had failed to appear because she had taken the side of the English, forfeited her property and left to join family on Jersey. Is Muriel the last of her line in the Cotentin? Or does she marry and pass her property on to a spouse whose name is lost to history?

Note: Of unknown origin is a Nicole or Nicholas deQuetteville to whom a coat of arms is purportedly granted around the year 1166, according to one Albon[iii]. (A primary source for this reference is lacking). If the date of this grant is indeed correct, it would place Nicolas in the range of an older son of Hugh. The description of the coat of arms does speak to a forebear having been on crusade. Albon describes the coat of arms as “Ermine, with chevron gules charged with three ancient or Eastern crowns”. ‘Ermine’ has an origin in Breton heraldry, so the significance here is difficult to guess at, unless there is a presumed connection to Breton influence on the Channel Islands. ‘Eastern crowns’ are said to have come from the eastern Mediterranean, though they figure in the coats of arms of Sweden, Munster in Ireland and East Anglia in England. Three eastern crowns on a red background are significant in the Scottish Grant clan family arms. As a prominent member of the Grant clan from Scotland married a deQuetteville woman from France in the 14th century, it might be that Albon is mistaking a coat of arms granted later to a Nicholas deQuetteville who flourished in that time and who had four daughters, one of whom married a Grant. (More about this family later).


[i] 1) https://books.google.ca/books?id=MspLAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA136&lpg=PA136&dq=keteville&source=bl&ots=i9MoGdFATT&sig=zv24NblXfaV6wNE7-IPhDjq9q-o&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi_lervzMjYAhWJ44MKHRaiAK4Q6AEITjAH#v=onepage&q=keteville&f=false

2)https://books.google.ca/books?id=IsReAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA76&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=3#v=onepage&q&f=false
(p. 2, 8, 10, 71, 76)

[ii] Inventaire sommaire des archive départementale … manche; Série H, Vol. 1, 1866, p. 91.

[iii] (http://www.archive.org/stream/collectionsrelat00butt/collectionsrelat00butt_djvu.txt).