What Pegman Saw: Don’t Listen to Local Talk

Portsmouth by Zee Tseng on Google Maps

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.

Wordcount 145

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.





About crispina kemp

Spinner of Asaric and Mythic tales
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43 Responses to What Pegman Saw: Don’t Listen to Local Talk

  1. Great research! And great story! 👌👍👏

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Loving these snippets of English history.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. An interesting bit of history. Back then it paid royally to stay on good terms with the king, but it was a difficult thing to do. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Violet Lentz says:

    Another brilliant historical revelation….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Brian Bixby says:

    I’ve just finished reading Kishlansky’s “A Monarchy Transformed,” in which royal “acts of resumption” were used to similar effect. Naturally, the people whose property was being “resumed” by the king were not happy. Safer taking it from rebels and minors.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dale says:

    Another fabulous history lesson wrapped up in a short story.
    You do excel at these Crispina.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Dale says:

    Don’t I know it!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Love the historical tales!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Joy Pixley says:

    Interesting bit of history! I’m always amused by stories that have gotten twisted over time to seem to favor someone they shouldn’t – usually the person responsible for that version of the tale, naturally. I saw that roofless church when I was “touring” the area on Google maps and it’s really quite striking. Didn’t have any time to figure out why it’s roofless though; maybe later.

    Liked by 2 people

    • crimsonprose says:

      I didn’t delve into the identlty of the building; it was just the right period. It could have been the leper hostel, though it looks too grand for that; or a priory. They proliferated in the Norman and Plantagenet periods. Everyone trying to buy salvation for their souls, and washing clean their awful sins. Thou shalt not kill. And they did it in spades

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Prior... says:

    when I was reading up for my entry this week, I did read a little about the King changing his mind – and how property changed hands – and your pots here brought it a lot more to life – thanks – and such an interesting tidbit about Port of Cosham,

    Liked by 1 person

  11. A great peek into history, Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. k rawson says:

    Fascinating history for sure. I especially enjoyed the rhythm of this piece. Sorry it took me so long to make it here! I’ve been traveling.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Awesome history lesson, Crimsonprose. That land of those buck’s, next to Peter’s field. And the Garrison’s Church lost its roof in World War II is where I went for school services whenI were a wee lad schooling in Old Portsmouth.

    Liked by 1 person

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