The Norman conquest saw the manor of Bideford pass from Brictric to William the Conqueror’s wife Matilda of Flanders. Thus becoming an ancient demesne, exempt from tax and toll by virtue of belonging to the crown. Upon her death, in 1083, it reverted to the regent, thence to be granted to Richard de Granville (the descendants of Granville adopted many versions of their surname. This history reflects those variations, whilst opting for ‘Granville’ as a generic version).
In the Domesday survey of 1086, Bideford, as a whole, had a population of only 30 villagers, 8 smallholders and 14 slaves. Salt was produced in nearby Northam (the local East-the-Water name “Salterns” preserving a link with that trade) and Bideford had the most valuable fishery in Devon. Many fish were trapped using fish weirs. The remains of such devices having survived, especially in the Taw, and visible as the tide ebbs.
Around 1089 Iestin, Lord of Glamorgan, solicited the aid of English knight Sir Robert Fitz Haymon in his attempts to regain certain territories in South Wales. Sir Robert took with him 12 other English knights, amongst whom was Sir Richard de Granville. With the help of Sir Roberts force and an alliance of local supporters, Iestin quickly achieved his objective. Following the victory, it is said that Iestin behaved arrogantly and failed to honour promises, prompting Sir Robert to seize Iestin’s properties, including Cardiff castle. Sir Robert then re-partitioned Glamorgan, allocating parts of it amongst his men, including Sir Richard.