The Barons & Barony of North Cadbury – Then & Now
Baron of North Cadbury is a feudal title of England. The barony was created by William the Conqueror in about 1066 as a gift for one of his Norman barons – Turstin FitzRolf – who fought for him as his loyal standard-bearer at the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066. The name of the barony refers to (North) Cadbury in the county of Somerset.
Turstin FitzRolf, first Baron of Cadeberie, appears to originate from in Bec-de-Mortagne, Pays-de-Caux, Normandy, five miles away south-east of Fécamp, according to the Roman de Rou poem written by the Norman poet Robert Wace (c.1110-after 1174). Robert Wace was born in Jersey and brought up in mainland Normandy (c.1115-1183):
“Tosteins fitz Rou-le-Blanc out non,Al Bec en Caux aveit meison.”
“Turstain fils de Rou le Blanc eut pour nom, au Bec-en-Caux avait maison.” (modern French)
“Turstin FitzRou the White was his name, had home at Bec-en-Caux.” (modern English)
The only existing picture of Turstin FitzRolf is that from the Bayeux tapestry, depicted as standard-bearer of William the Conqueror.
After Turstin the barony went to Wynebald de Ballon, a Norman magnate and passed via his daughter Mabilia to Henry de Newmarch and the de Newmarch family. It was a very wealthy family with huge amounts of baronial estates, not only in the county of Somerset. Even many landholdings lay in other adjacent counties.
North Cadbury in Somerset was the seat of this extensive barony, but it was not only connected to William the Conqueror (King William I) and the early feudal barons. There are many well-known historic facts as well as numerous legends which based on actual facts.
It is said that the nearby hill fort Cadbury Castle in South Cadbury is the most probable site of King Arthur’s famous Court called Camelot and the place where the barony takes its name from. Furthermore Cadbury Castle is a site rich of archaeological interest. Many excavations have taken place in the past and many archaeological highly interesting artifacts have been unearthed.
A few years ago the chairman of the North Cadbury Village Hall Committee contacted me about a contribution for maintenance works of the local Village Hall, which were urgently required. As the current Lord I’ve seen it as my obligation to give my support for this project. The Village Hall is used very much by the local community and has a professional theatre stage. After all my wife and I, we had the great honour to be invited several times to North Cadbury. Each time the residents welcomed us as friends. They guided us through this lovely village and the surroundings, which has some magnificent historic landmarks. In late summer 2015 we had also here in Germany, where we live, a return visit from a very nice couple from North Cadbury. We had the great pleasure to show them around in our homeland.
Held on for the future
Some years ago I was very delighted to commission the portrait painter Max Scotto to paint a portrait for me. Ever since the Renaissance, the nobility, the gentry and the fashion-conscious have chosen to be recorded for posterity by a portraitist. Portrait genre has thrived in Germany and Britain with artists like Dürer, van Dyke, Reynolds, Gainsborough and Raeburn. This consideration motivated me to commission a Scottish based artist, Max Scotto, to paint his portrait. As I could see on his website portfolio he has an excellent expertise in paintings. In my case the result was a wonderful classical painting and Max told me that he was influenced by the Grand Manner, a style promoted by Sir Joshua Reynolds.
The painting is now hanging in our living room. The painter produced an outstanding piece with a very classic taste, depicting me and a view of Cadbury Castle in South Cadbury.
I was so delighted with my portrait that I commissioned the artist again to paint my wife, the Baroness. Mr Scotto, who is based in Scotland, painted a bust composition of the Lady of North Cadbury and told that he felt inspired by portraits in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh.
As successor of the early Barons and as the present Baron and custodian of the barony, I’m obliged to preserve this nearly thousand years old piece of English history for future generations.
For more information of one of the oldest feudal baronies of England which existing still today, I would like to refer you to the barony’s website http://www.baronyofnorthcadbury.co.uk
With great pleasure I have written this short article for Manorial Counsel, from the creation of the barony for about 950 years with its history, legends and developments to the present day.
‘The future is nothing without the past’.