A fellow genealogist, Neil Ivens, who, like me, has been researching the Ivens family for many a year, has discovered an interesting entry on the National Archives.
It relates to a Robert de Ivens who ‘requests that he be granted a petit office, namely a moiety of the office of usher of the receipt for his long service to the king and his father.’
This request was put ‘Before the treasurer and barons of the Exchequer, and they should do to him whatever they consider ought to be done.’ and also mentions ‘Adam de Stretton; Countess of Aubmarle (Aumale); Earl of Warwick.’
The record is in French – as was the dominant language in political circles at that time, and ‘is dated to 1302 as the petition belongs to an original file of petitions returned to the Exchequer from the summer parliament of 1302.’ Robert de Ivens’ name can be seen on the top line.
As Neil pointed out in a subsequent e-mail, Edward I had pulled back from the war in Scotland in the winter of 1301, and it is highly likely that the Summer parliament of 1302 might be held somewhere in the Midlands, especially as the Earl of Warwick is mentioned by name. (Curiously, Adam de Stratton was an arch rogue who was removed from office in 1290 and later imprisoned in the Tower having been found with the equivalent of £11 million in his possession. “the career of Adam de Stratton deserves our attention as a striking example of the interplay of public and private, local and central, royal and baronial, financial and administrative activities in social life.” )
The appearance of the name Robert de Ivens at this time is interesting on several levels:
- It seems to be of French or Norman ancestry given the use of the ‘de’ format, and therefore possibly of some minor nobleman.
- That Robert makes a Request to the King supports the hypothesis that he might have had some standing in the community
- That he served both Edward and Edward’s father (Henry III who died in 1272) suggests that Robert was well into his late forties in 1302.
- A petit office is a small office and a Moiety is a part or share usually a half or less. This suggests that Robert is asking for some recompense for his years of service – what we might term a pension (or perhaps a role / job-share) which would enable him to earn a small living.
Perhaps Robert is old, or perhaps now unable to work at his usual trade. This was certainly a time when there was a greater number of commissions to lower orders to administer the daily affairs of the state. Did Robert see an opportunity or was he desperate? Perhaps Robert had been fighting in the Scottish wars, and was no longer able to make a living.
It has also been suggested that one asessment of the Ivens name derives from a Norse word ‘Ivo’ meaning ‘Yew’ – as in Yew Tree, from which longbows were made. From this comes Ivorsen – son of Ivo. This later become Ivon with the added ‘s’ to shorten the ‘son of’. Hence Ivons / Ivins/ Ivens or even Yvens.
With this added thought, it is possible to hypothesise that Robert brought particular family skills to Edward’s army as a bowman or bowmaker. Bowmen were certainly prevalent in the Scottish wars.
Who knows. It’s enough for now that we have an Ivens reported in the chronicles of Edward I’s 1302 Summer Parliament.