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By Frederick Bone - 1919.

Sample text :-
' member of the Blanchminster family having joined Prince Edward's Crusade or in his body having been laid to rest in the Holy Land. And even if, as must be admitted, no evidence has been produced, or perhaps is ever likely to be produced, to support the Crusader tradition, still it must be remembered that a certain weight must be allowed to the tradition itself, for these voices from the past are seldom without some basis of fact. All, however, that we can expect to show in the present instance from what can be discovered of the family history is that it at least leaves the way open for the genuineness of the tradition.

It can at any rate be shown that the Blanchminster family held the knight's fee in Stratton from the opening years of the thirteenth until well towards the close of the fourteenth centuries. The inference is fairly plain that it is to this family and no other that we must look for the knight whose effigy is in the church. It remains then to trace the history of the Blanchminster family in the thirteenth century from the contemporary records. It will be found that we shall be able to take it back, though not in Stratton or in Cornwall, to still earlier times.

In an undated charter in possession of the Stratton Charity Feoffees we find Lucy Turet as lady of Stratton (domina de Strattone) granting in her free widowhood, the half-acre of Ponte to Gilbert de la Hele. Other charters in their possession refer to original grants by Bartholomew Turet. Bartholomew Turet had property at Wishale in Yorkshire, in which county his grandfather had founded and endowed the Priory of Halegh Park. Owing to hostility to King John he was deprived of his land at Stratton in 1216, but on his return to his fealty King Henry III restored him his property in the following year. Bartholomew Turet dying without issue, his estates passed to his sister, Lucy Turet, and remained in her right in her widowhood, and in a Halegh Park charter dated 1254 Sir Ralph de Albo Monasterio is stated to be Lucy Turet's son artd heir. Accordingly in another Feoffee charter, also undated, it is Sir Ralph who grants the acre of Hele to Gilbert de Limaton, the same Gilbert, we may suppose, as in Lucy Turet's charter. It must then have been through his father's marriage with Lucy Turet that the original Sir Ralph Blanchminster came into possession of his knight's fee in Stratton. We have thus succeeded in finding the Blanchminsters first as a Norman family of distinction in the Shropshire town of Album Monasterium, coming by marriage with the Yorkshire heiress into possession of her manor in Stratton.

Beginning with Lucy Turet's son and heir, four Blanchminster knights followed one another in the Stratton and Yorkshire estates. The first Sir Ralph of whom we have cognizance comes on the scene in 1254, the date of the Halegh Park charter. He showed his interest in Stratton by the unsuccessful attempt which he made by a suit at Launceston in the year 1263 to possess himself of the advowson of the church at Stratton. This Sir Ralph is shown by an entry in the Episcopal Register at Exeter to have died previous to 1277, and the same entry shows that his son, Sir Reginald, had also died in early life previous to the date of the entry.

Sir Reginald's son and successor, a second Sir Ralph, lived to a considerable age and held an important place in the county. In 1314 he was returned as Member for the county, and in the same year he was summoned to the muster at Newcastle-on-Tyne to perform military service against the Scots. The Blanchminsters had also acquired the lordship of Scilly, possibly through the first Sir Ralph's marriage with his wife Isabella. His grandson now built his castle on the island in 1302, but it is hardly likely that he would have made his residence off the mainland. Some interesting stories are told of affairs on the island in the extracts from the records collected by Mr. W. B. Goulding in his Blanch-minster Charity Records, from which we gather that the relations of the lords of the island with the King's officials were not always harmonious. The lords of Binhamy must have had painful experience of the sea voyage from Efford to Land's End, when from time to time their presence was required in Scilly.

The second Sir Ralph died in 1348, leaving Dominus Richard, no doubt Richard Bode, then Vicar of Stratton, as the executor of his will, an English translation of which is given in Mr. Gould-ing's work. The will is noticeable for the number of specific bequests, and concludes with a bequest to the church at Stratton for the fabric of an aisle in the north part of the church. This Sir Ralph must have been considerably over sixty in 1335 when he fortified Binhamy. Edward III was occupied with his wars in France and Scotland : it was the time of Crecy and Agincourt, and of the Black Prince. But in England the country was peaceful and prospering, and it must have been rather with the object of adding importance to himself and to his family than for the purpose of defence that he raised his castle walls in his manor of Stratton. The family may have had their residence before this in some humbler manor house at Binhamy, or possibly at Wyk (Week St. Mary), the manor and advowson of which they also possessed.

Sir Ralph's eldest son, Gandewyn, predeceased his father, and the next possessor of the castle.... '

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