You say Jean de Gisors founded Portsmouth? On land that he bought off Adam de Port? But that can’t be true.
In 1172 Henry Plantagenet exiled Adam de Port for his involvement in the Scottish Lion-king’s invasion of *the Borders*; confiscated Adam’s lands, including Buckland in Hampshire where Portsmouth was soon to appear.
How then could the wily trader Jean de Gisors have bought it from him? He didn’t, he bought it from the king.
Jean de Gisors saw the advantage of an English port, a place of his own. Wood and wine from his homeland, from England, wool and grain. No doubt he turned a tidy packet. But not for long. He joined the wrong forces in a Norman rebellion.
By then, Richard Lionheart rode the throne. Lionheart confiscated de Gisors’ land, including Portsmouth. It was the Lionheart developed the port facility of PORTSMOUTH.
Written for What Pegman Saw: Portsmouth, Hampshire, UK
Inspired, you might say, by what I found when I sought the origins. Yes, de Gisors did found the town. But he did little more. And he didn’t buy the land off Adam nor any other de Port.
There was no such thing as freehold property back in that day. The king owned it, and granted it out on various terms. And kings were notorious for snatching it back, e.g. between the death of the lord and installation of his heir. The additional income helped swell their coffers. Land was confiscated immediately upon any misdemeanor, even if later it was reinstated. So there is no doubt that when Adam de Port was exiled in 1172, never to be heard of again, the *Crown* reclaimed the estate. And the same is true when Jean de Gisors got caught in a rebellion.
BTW, tucked away behind Portsmouth is the much older port of Cosham, featured on the Bayeux Tapestry, it being in the hold of King Harold, as was Buckland prior to 1066.