Close this window to return to
copyright Glenn Luttrell 2020
Roll of Battle Abbey
The name of Luttrell does not occur in Domesday Book. It is almost needless to remark that the Roll of Battle Abbey,
in which it is to be found, has no historical authority.
From A History of Dunster by H. C. Maxwell-Lyte, pg. 59
Battle Abbey Roll
The Battle Abbey Roll is supposed to have been a commemorative list, lost since at least the 16th century, of the Companions of William the Conqueror, which had been erected or affixed as a memorial within Battle Abbey, Hastings, founded ex-voto by Duke William on the spot of the slaying of King Harold in the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
It is known to modern historians only from supposed 16th century copies of it published by Leland, Holinshed and Duchesne, all imperfect and corrupt.
Several names on the role are disputed; Camden, as did Dugdale after him, held them to have been interpolated at various times by the monks, "not without their own advantage." Later writers went further, Sir Egerton Brydges denounced the roll as "a disgusting forgery," and E.A. Freeman dismissed it as "a transparent fiction."
It is probable that the character of the roll has been quite misunderstood. It was not apparently a list of individuals, but only of family surnames, and seems to have been intended to show merely which families had "come over with the Conqueror," and to have been compiled in about the 14th century.
In 1866 a proposed list of the Conqueror's followers, compiled from Domesday and other authentic records, was set up in the church of Dives-sur-Mer in Normandy by Léopold Delisle, and is reproduced in the Duchess's work. Its contents are sufficient to show that the Battle Roll is of dubious evidential value. The fact remains that only 15 of the combatants at Hastings in 1066 can be named with certainty, as given in GEC's Complete Peerage, which select group is known as the Proven Companions of William the Conqueror.
THE BATTLE ABBEY ROLL.
WITH SOME ACCOUNT OF THE NORMAN LINEAGES.
BY THE DUCHESS OF CLEVELAND.
IN THREE VOLUMES.—VOL. L
LONDON : JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET. 1889.