The Manor of Essewelle: Esol and Freydevill’ under the Colkyns

The Colkyns, also Kulkin, Kalkyn, Calkin, Colekin, ect, were not members of the Anglo-Norman land-owning class but wealthy Canterbury merchants believed to have held at least a part of the Manor of Essewelle as early as the reign of King John, 1199-1216.

In 1242 Hamo Colkyn (Kalkyn) held half of the knights fee for Essewelle, the other half was held by Geoffrey Conquestor and William Nicola  and in January of 1243 they sold their half to Rogerus de Kynardinton (Roger de Kennardington). These half fees were in ward of Dover Castle and held in scutage (rent in lieu of military service) of 42 shillings yearly payable to the Barony of Say with half payable at Easter and half at Christmas.

Not long after the purchase the Kent Rolls of 1242-3 recorded: “Hamo Colekyn, Rogerus de Kynardinton’ j. feodum in Essewelle de Willelmo de Say, ipse de domino rege”,  [“Hamo Colekin and Roger de Kynardinton’, hold one fee at Esewelle from William de Say, who holds it from the King”]. However, it was not to be a happy relationship between Hamo and Roger!

In 1249 Roger de Kynardinton’ borrowed money from the Prior and Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral Priory using the £10 annual revenue from Freydevill’ [Fredville] as part of the security for the loan. This is the earliest known use of Freydevill’ [or any variant] to describe a part of Essewelle manor.

The following year Hamo Colkyn (Kalkin) was summoned to court by William de Say, his over-lord, for the non-payment of feudal dues owed for tenure of Freydevill’. Hamo asked William to acquit him of this debt as it was in fact owed by Roger de Kynardinton’ who was actually in possession of Freydevill’. The over-lord stated that it was for Hamo to pay the dues owed and obtain recompense from Roger de Kynardinton’. This indicates that Roger was in fact a sub-holder of part of the Freydevill’ part of the manor of Essewelle, and not holder in his own right directly from the over-lord.

At the same time John, son of William de Frogham, and Richard Prit also laid claim against Roger but unfortunately the claim was not specified in the court records. Roger did not turn up in court, despite being given time to do so, and an attachment was made.

Kynardinton’ appears to have at least temporarily resolved his problems and retained his holding as the 1253-54 Kent lists of knight’s fees records that Radulf Colkyn, Hamo’s successor, held three parts of one fee and Roger de Kenardynton’ held one part of one fee in the Manor of Eswall (Essewelle) from Willelm de Say. This was presumably still that part of the manor known as Freydevill’.

The Kent Hundred Rolls of 1274-75 record, “Item Radulfus Kalekin tenet dimidiam feodi in Freydevile de Willelmo de Say et idem Willelmus de rege in capite ad quod servicium nesciunt” [” Item: Then Ralph Kalekin holds half a fee in Freydevile  of William de Say and the same William of the king in chief, by what service they do not know”]. Who held the other half of Freydevile is not recorded, although it is strange that the type of service by which William de Say held Freydevile of the King is said to be unknown as it was presumably still held for service for Dover Castle.

Just over a quarter of a century later the 1303 Aids and Scutages Roll for Eastry Hundred refer to one fee held by “Johan (John) Colkyn”, presumably the son of Ralph Kalekin,  at “Esol and Fredevill” from Galfrid (Geoffrey) de Say. This indicates that John Colkyn was by then in sole possession of the old Manor of Essewelle which was  divided into the half fees of Esol and Freydevill’. John Colkyn died a couple of years after the 1303 roll and his Post Mortem Inquisition of 1306 records him as having “ died possessed property at Esol and Freydevill’” which was inherited by his son, also called John.

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