Medieval Bendings - William Bending - Sheriff of Somerset and Dorset

These two counties were historically linked together for many years through the office of Sheriff and according to several sources, including a booklet by Sophia Rawlins, published by S.A.N.S., William de Bendeng was Sheriff for the years 1182-1184 in the reign of Henry II. Different spellings of the surname will occur in the course of this article.

He was one of the six judges appointed to the Northern Circuit. With Godfrey of Luce, John Comyn, Hugh of Gloucester, Ranulf de Glanville and Alan de Furnelle, they heard pleas of the people in the king's court covering the shires of Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Northumberland, Westmoreland and Cumberland, and between the Ribble and the Mersey

In 1184/5 William owed viij li (8 pounds) in Dorset at Meleburn but it is not clear to me whether this was connected with his duties as sheriff.

The Pipe Rolls reveal that he paid 40s. for land at "Chent, Dover Castle" and a similar sum to the Archbishop of Canterbury, both in 1170 & 1171. In Hampshire in 1173 he began to pay an annual sum for Lissa (Liss) and Odiha (Odiham) since Henry II had granted land to William at Liss and by inference this included the manor of Polling. The annual payment for Odiham was 100s.

I have not seen any clearcut clue as to his parents but descendants are known. In mentioning his son, Adam, and the lands he held it suggests that William is related to Stephen of Winchfield whose distinguished wife and brother in law could account for William's positions and appointments



1. Stephen Bendeng of Winchfield (1/4 knight's fee of Abbot of Chertsey) married Julienne fitz Peters, sister of Geoffrey, Earl of Essex (1/3 vill of Hartley Wintney). Whence Morice, died before 1213 (King John gave all Maurice's lands to John fitz Hugh. Restitution by 1211). Whence Stephen (livery of lands 1213) who married Alda. Whence Maurice and Godfrey or Geoffrey (ref Bianco Roll 1226/7 etc)

2. William de Bendengs, Sheriff of Somerset Dorset (died 1192/3) married Gunnora, widow (4 Richard 1). Whence Sir Adam de Bendeng, died 1229. He married before 1216; had 2 sisters; held land of Abbot of Chertsey, 1212. Married Alice, dau. and co-heiress of Stephen de Thurnham, knight. The couple had issue

Using Pipe Rolls and V.C.H. these two descents seem proven, but not linked. It is circumstantial that Stephen Sen. held Elvetham in 1166 and Adam in 1212. The Catalogue of Ancient Deeds refers to land in the Honour of Wallingford when two of the parties were Juliana Bennenges and Gunnora Bennenges, i.e. the two widows of William and Stephen.

It is worth recording that on the death of William his son Adam began to owe money to Aaron the Jew of Lincoln, and the Pipe Rolls show Adam, son of William, owing 27/10/ 9 for William's debts in Somerset and Dorset. The Bending device was a fesse cotissed. The armorial device of Stephen de Thurnham was "A Bend"

Arthur Bending

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