Juhel DE TOTNES, Lord of Barnstaple
(-By 1129)


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Juhel DE TOTNES, Lord of Barnstaple

  • Born: Mayenne, Pays-de-la-Loire, France
  • Married:
  • Died: Between 1099 and 1129, Barnstaple, Devon, England

  General Notes:

Compiler's 25/27 x great-grandfather

  Research Notes:

…Whali [Rahel?] filii Aluredi…” witnessed the charter dated 1082 under which William I King of England granted land at Covenham to the church of St Calais. It appears likely that "Whali" is a transcription error for "Juheli". His parentage is confirmed by the undated charter under which “Joelis filii Aluredi” founded Barnstaple Priory.

His name suggests Breton origin. Domesday Book records “Iudichael of Totnes” holding numerous properties in Devonshire, and Froxton in Cornwall. “Juhellus filius Aluredi” founded Totness Priory by undated charter, dated to the reign of William II King of England. An undated charter records that King William II expelled “Juhello de Totenesio" from "hæreditatem eius" and granted it to "Rogerio de Novant”. 1


The estates which Juhel de Totnes held in Domesday Book later formed part of the barony of Totnes. It is stated that when William the Conqueror died, in 1087, Juhel was expelled from Totnes, which was granted by William II to Roger I de Nonant. This finds support from the fact that in 1091 Roger's gift of the church of St. Mary, Totnes, to the abbey of SS. Sergius and Bacchus, Angers, was confirmed by the king; this was confirmed by King Henry I in 1102-5. He is also called Juhel fitz Alfred or Juhel de Mayenne....

The estates which Geoffrey de Mowbray, bishop of Countances, held when Domesday Book was compiled formed the basis of the barony of Barnstaple. Geoffrey d. 1093, his lands passed to his nephew Robert de Mowbray, Earl of Northumberland, who lost his estates when he rebelled in 1095. The great majority of the lands in Devon passed to Juhel, Domesday lord of Totnes, some time before 1100. Juhel was living in 1123 but he d. ante 1130 when he was followed by his son Alfred who d.s.p. ante 1139 possibly leaving an unnamed SISTER and a sister called Aenor. The major part of the town of Barnstaple was in the king's hands, but the bishop and Baldwin de Brionne, lord of Okehampton, also had interests there. 2


The "Guido de Totteneyes" of this charter seems to be identical with the "Wido de Nunant" of the charter granted by Henry II. to this priory. This conjecture is confirmed by the entry in the Pipe Roll of 31 Hen. I.: "Wido de Nunant reddit comp. de x. marcis pro concessione ferie de Totneis" (p. 154). There is a story quoted by Dugdale, under Totnes priory, from the records of the abbey of Angers, that Juhel "of Totnes," the Domesday baron, was expelled by William Rufus, and his lands given to Rogert de Nunant. I certainly find Roger de Nonant attesting in 1091 the foundation charter of Salisbury Cathedral in conjunction with William fitz Baldwin (see pp. 330, 472); and Manors belonging to Juhel in 1086 are found afterwards belonging to Valletort, Nonant's successor, as part of his honour of Totnes. But it would seem that Juhel retained part as the honour of Barnstaple, while the Nonants held the rest as the honour of Totnes. Indeed, he must have held both "capita" so late as 1113, when, say the monks of Laon, "venimus ad castrum, quod dicitur Bannistaplum, ubi manebat quidam princeps nomine Joellus de Totenes," etc. ("Hermannus", ii. 17), adding that they afterwards visited Totnes "præfati principis castrum: (ibid. 18). 3

  Marriage Information:

Juhel married Unknown DE PICQUIGNY, daughter of Eustache DE PICQUIGNY, Vidame d'Amiens. (Unknown DE PICQUIGNY was born est 1075 in Picquigny, Somme, Picardy, France.)


1 Foundation for Medieval Genealogy, Medlands, Juhel de Totnes.

2 English Baronies, A Study of Their Origin and Descent 1086-1132, I. J. Sanders, pp. 89, 104.

3 Feudal England - Historical Studies on the XIth and XIIth Centuries, J. H. Round, M.A, p. 486, note 4.

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