Other researchers have compiled a comprehensive website for information regarding the Durnford families.
There is a comprehensive family website: www.durnfordfamily.com
The descendants are located primarily in the UK, Canada and US, with only a handful in Australia.
Within the website, are two distinct references, one called the Military Durnfords, (our line) and the other line which was established in Newfoundland by Samual Durnford, who travelled from Poole, Plymouth. There are many in Canada and the US from the Military Durnfords.
Where did these ancestors come froum?
One theory is that it came from a Knight travelling with King William and the other that it is a very old Anglo Saxon family.
Looking at the two prospects, there doesn't seem to be anyone in the published list of Knights who traveled from France with King William, from any place in France called Derneford nor with a resemblance of that name.
In those times people were known as William de Normandy, or Hugh de Averenges, meaning the first name, de - "of" -place name.
Prior to leaving France the Knights and William attended a church service to wish them well, from research it is the records of this service which provides the list of his supporters.
King William rewarded his knights with massive amounts of land throughout the length and breadth of the country. They became the nobility of the day, as many of our ancestors were, and due to their position within the regal courts and churches, there is plenty of evidence which substantiates their lives after the invasion.
Before learning he was a great grandfather, and doing our trip, I never realised just how much influence William had .
I am sure we never learnt that at school, just the boring old King Henry V for me!
The Knights and their barony
William the Conqueror established his favoured followers as barons by enfeoffing them as tenants-in-chief with great fiefdoms to be held per baroniam, a largely standard feudal contract of tenure, common to all his barons.
Such barons were not necessarily always from the greater Norman nobles, but were selected often on account of their personal abilities and usefulness. Thus for example Turstin FitzRolf, the relatively humble and obscure knight who had stepped in at the last minute to accept the position of Duke William's standard-bearer at the Battle of Hastings, was granted a barony which comprised well over twenty manors.
Lands forming a barony were often located in several different counties, not necessarily adjoining. The name of such a barony is generally deemed to be the name of the chief manor within it, known as the Caput, Latin for "head", generally assumed to have been the seat or chief residence of the first baron. So, for instance, the barony of Turstin FitzRolf became known as the barony of North Cadbury, Somerset.
The exact date of creation of most feudal baronies cannot be determined, as their founding charters have been lost. Many of them are first recorded in the Domesday Book survey of 1086.
As many of the family came from Somerset and Dorset areas, the following list from the
Curry Malet Somerset Roger de Courcelles
Beverstone Gloucestershire Robert de Gurney
Erlestoke Wiltshire Roger I de Mandevill
Stowey Somerset Alfred de Hispania
North Cadbury Somerset Turstin FitzRolf in 1086
Winterbourne St Martin Dorset widow of Hugh FitzGrip
Chitterne Wiltshire Edward of Salisbury 1086
Hastings Sussex William, Count of Eu 1086
The one of interest is Turstin Fitz Rolf (son of Rolf)
His first name appears as Tosteins, Thurstan and other variants. He appears to have originated in Bec-de-Mortagne, Pays-de-Caux, Normandy, according to the Roman de Rou poem written by Wace in about 1170.
He was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as holding as a sub-tenant, the castle of Caerleon, at the southern end of the English frontier with unconquered Wales.
He also appears to have been the first holder of the extensive Barony of North Cadbury, Somerset, which included several manors in nearby counties. He is chiefly remembered as the standard bearer of William the Conqueror at Hastings, as recorded by the reliable 12th-century chronicler Orderic Vitalis
For his loyalty, William gave him 77 manors!
Held from the King
- Alvington, Gloucestershire (Alwintune)
- Ampney Crucis, Gloucestershire (Omenel). There were 2 other holdings here, “Baldwin” from the King and Humphrey the Chamberlain.
- Fretherne, Gloucestershire (Fridorne)
- Hillesley, Gloucestershire (Hildeslei). Sub-enfeoffed to Bernard (Pancevolt?)
- King's Stanley, Gloucestershire (Stantone). Tovi also held a manor here.
- Oakley, Gloucestershire (Achelie). There were 3 manors here, thought to have lain to the immediate west of Cirencester, by Coates. Turstin's is thought to have been Oakley Wood.
- Tortworth, Gloucestershire (Torteword)
- Blackford, Somerset (near Wincanton) (Blacheford/Blachafort). There were 2 manors here, one held by Glastonbury Abbey, sub-enfeoffed to “Alwaker”, the other held by Turstin sub-enfeoffed to “Alfward”.
- Little Keyford, Somerset (Caivel/Chaivert/Kaivert). 2 manors, one held by Geoffrey de Montbray, Bishop of Coutances, sub-enfeoffed to “Nigel”, the other held by Turstin, sub-enfeoffed to “Norman”.
- Maperton, Somerset (Malpertone/Malperettona). Sub-enfeoffed to “Geoffrey”.
- North Cadbury, Somerset (Cadeberie/beria). The later caput of the eponymous barony which retained many of Turstin's landholdings.
- Pitcombe, Somerset (near present Godminster Farm) (Pidecome/coma)
- South Cadbury, Somerset (Sudcadeberie/Sutcadaberia/deberia). Sub-enfeoffed to Bernard Pancevolt “a clerk and an Englishman”. Thought to be the site of Camelot Castle.
- Syndercombe, Somerset (now flooded by Clatworthy Reservoir) (Sindercome)
- Woolston, Somerset (in South Cadbury) (Ufetone/tona/tuna). There were 2 holdings here: Robert, Count of Mortain, 1st Earl of Cornwall, held one part, sub-enfeoffed to “Drogo”, the 2nd part was held by Turstin FitzRolf, seb-enfeoffed to “Leofgeat”. The connection to Robert Mortain should not be taken as evidence of any identity of Turstin with Turstin Sheriff of Cornwall, as Robert held many hundred manors throughout the kingdom.
- Sparsholt, Berkshire (now Oxon.)
- Coleshill, Berkshire. (now Oxon.)Turstin held 1 of 5 manors here.
- Childrey, Berkshire (now Oxon.) (“Celrea”). Turstin held 1 of 3 manors here, sub-enfeoffed to Roger.
- Upton, Berkshire (now Oxon.). (“Optone”)
- Little Kimble, Buckinghamshire (“Kemble Parva”). Sub-enfeoffed to Albert.
- Hardwick, Buckinghamshire (“Harduic”). 1 of 3 manors held by Turstin, others held by Robert of Mortain and Miles Crispin, both sub-enfeoffed.
- Gillingham, Dorset (“Gelingeham”) Turstin held 1 manor of 5 or 6, subenfeoffed to Bernard (Pancevolt?)
- Allington, Dorset (“Adelingtone”)
- Nyland, Dorset (“Iland”/”Inlande”) 1 of 2 manors held by Turstin, the other by Robert of Mortain.
- Stoke Wallis, Dorset (“Stoche”) 1 of 2 manoprs held by Turstin, sub-enfeoffed to Ranulf.
- Little Marcle, Herefordshire (“Merchelai”). 1 of 2 manors held by Turstin, sub-enfeoffed to another “Turstin”. The other manor was held by Roger de Lacy.
- Newton Valence, Hampshire (“Newentone”)
Held from Bishop of Worcester
- Aust, Gloucestershire (Austreclive). 5 hides.
- Gotherington, Gloucestershire (Godrinton).
Held from Abbot of Westminster
- Hasfield, Gloucestershire (Hasfelde). 1 ½ hides.
- Eckington, Worcestershire (“Aichintune”) 1 of 3 manors held by Turstin.
Held from Walter GiffardWalter Giffard, 1st Earl of Buckingham(died 1102) was a Norman magnate and fellow proven Companion of William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The caput of his feudal honour was at Crendon, Buckinghamshire.
- Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire
The Barony of Wiltshire
Most of Turstin's lands, which later constituted a feudal barony, did not pass to his son, if indeed such existed, but to another apparently unrelated Norman magnate Wynebald de Ballon, who served for a time as seneschal of Caerleon Castle, whilst his elder brother Hamelin de Ballon had founded Abergavenny Castle 15 miles higher up the River Usk, and founded a barony seated at Much Marcle, i.e. next to, and possibly subsuming, Turstin's own manor of Little Marcle.
Wynebald also inherited, almost intact, the lands comprising Turstin's fief, which is known collectively as the barony of North Cadbury. The reason for this transfer is not clear, whether by death or by his having fallen out of royal favour.
It is possible that Turstin was a supporter of Duke Robert of Normandy, the Conqueror's eldest son who tried to wrest the kingdom of England from William Rufus, his younger brother who had had himself crowned very rapidly at Westminster following the Conqueror's death.
Turstin would therefore have found himself on the losing side, and as is known to have happened to others in that situation, would have forfeited his lands. It is interesting to note that such banishment is known to have been the fate of Turstin's other 2 neighbours at Oakley in Gloucestershire, Gislebert FitzTurold and Roger de Lacy, both banished from the kingdom in 1088.
The name Cadbury means Cada's fort and refers to Cadbury Castle.
The parish was part of the hundred of Catsash.
Feudal barony of North CadburyIn the Domesday Book of 1086 the manor is recorded as held as part of the extensive fiefdom of Turstin FitzRolf, the supposed standard-bearer to William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
The lands held by Turstin were subsequently proved to have been held under the feudal tenure per baroniam, making the holder a feudal baron. The caput of this barony is stated by Professor Ivor Sanders (1960) to have been North Cadbury, although Turstin's central area of operation seems to have been around Caerleon Castle on the English border with Glamorgan, South Wales.
Turstin seems to have been banished in about 1088, possibly having opposed King William II of England in his struggle for the English crown with his elder brother Robert Curthose, Duke of Normandy. The fiefdom then passed to Wynebald de Ballon, newly arrived with his brother Hamelin de Ballon from Maine, France.
Wynebald was a close associate of King William Rufus, and probably received Turstin's fiefdom as a reward for services unknown. Wynebald's centre of operation was at Caerleon Castle, on the River Usk, higher up which was founder Abergavenny Castle by his brother Hamelin. Even further up the river Usk was situated the caput of the great Marcher Lordship of Bernard de Newmarch at Brecon. Wynebald de Ballon's 2 sons died without issue and his heir to the barony became his daughter Mabilia, the wife of a certain "Henry de Newmarch".
No evidence has survived as to the ancestry of Henry de Newmarch, but circumstantial evidence suggests that he was descended from Bernard de Newmarch, Marcher Lord of Brecon, by a first marriage. Bernard's sole heiress was certainly his only daughter by his last marriage to Sibila. Bernard is said to have had children by a first marriage, as mention of them is made in a charter to the monks of Brecon, in which he speaks of sons and daughters, especially devising the lands of Costinio for the welfare of the soul of his son Philip.
The barony of Wynebald, which can at this stage in its history be termed the "barony of North Cadbury", descended into the family of his son-in-law Henry de Newmarch (d.1198). Henry had 2 sons, Henry (or possibly William) the eldest who died without issue in 1204, and James (d.1216) who according to Wiffen (1883)
He married Maud, later the wife of Otto FitzWilliam. James had no son but left 2 co-heiresses, Isabel and Hawise, who being heirs of a tenant-in-chief became wards of the king.
The king (either King John just before his death in 1216, or more likely the council of his infant son King Henry III (1216–1272)) granted the wardship, which included the marriage also, of Isabel the elder daughter to John Russell (d.1224) of Kingston Russell, Dorset.
Russell had been a household knight of Kings Richard I (1189–1199) and of his brother King John (1199–1216) and of the latter's infant son Henry III, the latter whom he also later served as household steward. The wardship of Hawise the younger the king granted to John de Boterel, confirmed to the latter by Henry III in 1218, per the Close Rolls.
Russell was by then elderly and already married with a family so he married-off Isabel to his eldest surviving son Ralph Russell, which action raised Ralph to the status of a feudal baron and gave him possession of a moiety of the lands comprising the barony of North Cadbury.
John de Boterel was clearly then unmarried and perhaps younger for he exercised his grant by marrying Hawise himself; however he was not to live much longer and following his death without issue Hawise married secondly in about 1230 Nicholas de Moels.
The descendants of both daughters retained all or some of the North Cadbury baronial lands they inherited until the 16th. c., when the Russell moiety was then held by the Denys family of Siston, Gloucestershire.
On the death of Thomas Russell in 1431, the 21 year old son of Maurice Russell, knight (d.1416) of Dyrham, Gloucestershire, the heirs to the Russell lands became Thomas's elder half-sisters Margaret, whose first husband had been Gilbert Denys, knight (d.1422), upon the issue of which marriage her inheritance had been settled, and Isabel, then wife of Stephen Hatfield, her 4th husband.
The de Moels share passed successively by marriage to the Barons Botreaux (1337), (who may by coincidence have been from the same family as Hawise's first husband John de Botrel), Barons Hungerford (1462) and the Barons Hastings in 1468.