De Barentin

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Origin of Surname

The name is thought to be derived from the Eastern Normandy village of Barentin.

Warden of the Isles

The most famous holders of this name, father and son Drouet de Barentin (Drew, Drogo) were Warden of the Isles, firstly in 1235 and then in 1241-1252. Some historians combine the two into one person and suggest that he was born in Jersey, but if they were father and son, as suggested (below) by Payne, it is more likely that the first came to the island as Warden and his son was born here and succeeded him.

Payne's Armorial of Jersey

At what precise time this family quitted Normandy, where it had attained to distinction from the earliest historic period of that duchy, is not certain. It appears that previous to its emigration it was settled near, and took its name from, the village of Barentin, near Rouen. The first mention made of the name in England is in the person of Alexander de Barentin, who is stated by Brayley, in his "History of Surrey", to have been baker to Henry II, circa 1160, and to whom the King gave much land in Cavcham or Cobham.

Shortly before the year 1220, Drew, Duit, Drocus, Drogo, or Drouet De Barentine, obtained, through circumstances upon which history throws no light, the important Seigneurie of Rozel; and, in 1367, his descendants were possessed of extensive and valuable estates in Jersey, consisting of the manors and lordships of Rosel, Samares, Longueville, Dielament, and Les Augres. Upon the authority of notes appended to the record of a lawsuit, that attended the eventual transfer of this property, it has generally been alleged that these large possessions were bestowed, as a free gift, by the King upon this eminent person — part or all of it having escheated to the Crown, by the adherence of Engelramus de Fournet, Seigneur of Rozel, to the French monarch, at the period of the revolt of the Normans.

But, as this same De Fournet appears in a Liberate Roll of Henry III, as having been at that period in the King's service, it may, with greater probability, be surmised that part, if not all, of the property, was acquired by purchase. Owing to his influential position. Drew de Barentine was constituted Warden of the Isles or Governor of the Norman Isles in 1220. Although their names have not reached us, it appears probable he, at some period, governed by deputies, for in 1223 he is mentioned as having been in the King's service in Wales, and in 1225-6 he served among the English knights in Gascony. In 1230 he held, with Jane his wife, the manor of Cheveres, in Norfolk, in which year he was granted a weekly market, and a fair yearly, with free warren on his demesne lands there. In 1239, being very aged, he appears as being accredited ambassador to Rome. He was succeeded in his English and Jersey estates by his son, William De Barentine, who died young, and who founded a chapel and hospital for lepers at Cheveres, and gave considerable lands and part of his lordship to endow them.

His son, Drew De Barentine, was Governor of the Scilly Isles in 1251, and shortly afterwards held the same dignity in the Norman islands ; vested with which, he was slain in 1253, in a gallant defence of the Castle of Mont Orgueil from an attack made on it by the French. Dying without issue, his estates were inherited by his nephew William, of whom presently. He appears to have had other relatives, not mentioned in the pedigree, among whom were Henry, who is mentioned with Eleanor his wife, of the county of Essex, in 1271; Stephen, with Matilda his wife, also of the county of Essex, in 1248 ; Drew, who was Seneschal of Gascony in 1260, and in 1264 was Constable of Windsor Castle, and who, by an Issue Roll of Henry III, is paid for "going as the Queen's Messenger beyond the seas, 30 marks for his expenses"; and in the same year is paid " £10 for palfreys, sumpter-horses, and harness for his two nephews, whom the King, in Gascony, decorated with the belt of a knight."

William De Barentine, who succeeded his uncle Drew in his possessions in Jersey, had three sons : Philip, of whom presently ; Thomas, who will be referred to in connection with the English branch of the family ; Drew ; and one daughter, Mabel, who was the wife of Raulin Payn, Jurat of the Royal Court of Jersey.

Philip De Barentine, who succeeded his father as Seigneur of Rosel, etc, was accused by his relatives of being tainted with leprosy, and who made this a pretext for endeavouring to deprive him of his property. This allegation may have been true, as his ancestor, William, who founded a hospital for lepers, may have done so from the fact that this disease was hereditary in the family. Philip, however, to disappoint his descendants, made a hasty sale of his lands to Raoul Lempriere and Guille Payn in 1367-8.

He had two sons, Philip and Gilbert, who, to revenge a scandalous imputation, cast by one Jolin de St Martin, on the character of their mother, entrapped, and, at her instigation, murdered him, with circumstances of singular barbarity, on a road leading from St Martin to Trinity. On the site of this outrage was erected a stone cross, which was called John's Cross, the socket of which still exists by the roadside, and the spot is vernacularly termed "La Croix au Maitre". The cross itself, with part of the shaft, was preserved near one of the neighbouring houses, until within a few years ago. The inhabitants who dwell in the vicinity of this spot, although ignorant of the circumstances of the tragedy, relate the reminiscences of their Catholic forefathers respecting the annual masses said at the cross, and point out the route of the priestly procession. The murderers, upon the completion of their design, fled to France; Gilbert, the younger, was pursued, apprehended, and hanged at Caen; but Philip, more fortunate, settled peaceably at Rouen, and there founded a family which still exists in that neighbourhood. From this period the name has been extinct in the island.


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