De Lacy

Last updated

The Lacy arms Coat of arms of John de Lacy, Lord of Pontefract Castle1.png
The Lacy arms

de Lacy (Laci, Lacie, Lascy, Lacey, Lassey) is the surname of an old Norman family which originated from Lassy, Calvados. [1] The family took part in the Norman conquest of England and the later Norman invasion of Ireland. The name is first recorded for Hugh de Lacy (1020–1085). [2] His sons, Walter and Ilbert, left Normandy and travelled to England with William the Conqueror. [3] The awards of land by the Conqueror to the de Lacy sons led to two distinct branches of the family: the northern branch, centred on Blackburnshire and west Yorkshire was held by Ilbert's descendants; the southern branch of Marcher Lords, centred on Herefordshire and Shropshire, was held by Walter's descendants.

Normans European ethnic group emerging in the 10th and 11th century in France

The Normans were an ethnic group that arose in Normandy, a northern region of France, from contact between indigenous Franks, Gallo-Romans, and Norse Viking settlers. The settlements followed a series of raids on the French coast from Denmark, Norway, and Iceland, and they gained political legitimacy when the Viking leader Rollo agreed to swear fealty to King Charles III of West Francia. The distinct cultural and ethnic identity of the Normans emerged initially in the first half of the 10th century, and it continued to evolve over the succeeding centuries.

Lassy, Calvados Part of Terres de Druance in Normandy, France

Lassy is a former commune in the Calvados department in the Normandy region in northwestern France. On 1 January 2017, it was merged into the new commune Terres de Druance.

Norman conquest of England 11th-century invasion and conquest of England by Normans

The Norman Conquest of England was the 11th-century invasion and occupation of England by an army of Norman, Breton, Flemish, and French soldiers led by the Duke of Normandy, later styled William the Conqueror.


Until 1361, the northern branch of the family held the great Lordship of Bowland before it passed through marriage to the Duchy of Lancaster. They were also Barons of Pontefract and later Earls of Lincoln.

The Lordship of Bowland is an historic feudal barony associated with the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire, England. It was once thought lost and was rediscovered in 2008. It disappeared in 1885 when the estates of the Towneleys, one of Lancashire's great aristocratic families, were broken up following the death of the last male heir. For much of the twentieth century, experts thought that the Lordship belonged to the Crown. In 1938, the Duchy of Lancaster had acquired some 6,000 acres (2,400 ha) of the Forest of Bowland, now known as the Whitewell Estate, near Clitheroe, and it was believed that the Lordship had been acquired with it.

Duchy of Lancaster royal duchy in England

The Duchy of Lancaster is, since 1399, the private estate of the British sovereign as Duke of Lancaster. The principal purpose of the estate is to provide a source of independent income to the Sovereign. The estate consists of a portfolio of lands, properties and assets held in trust for the Sovereign and is administered separately from the Crown Estate. The duchy consists of 18,433 ha of land holdings, urban developments, historic buildings and some commercial properties across England and Wales, particularly in Cheshire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Lancashire and the Savoy Estate in London. The Duchy of Lancaster is one of two royal duchies: the other is the Duchy of Cornwall, which provides income to the Prince of Wales.

Pontefract market town in West Yorkshire, England

Pontefract is a historic market town in West Yorkshire, England, near the A1 and the M62 motorway. Historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, it is one of the five towns in the metropolitan borough of the City of Wakefield and has a population of 28,250, increasing to 30,881 at the 2011 Census. Pontefract's motto is Post mortem patris pro filio, Latin for "After the death of the father, support the son", a reference to the English Civil War Royalist sympathies.

The southern branch of the family became substantial landholders in the Lordship of Ireland and was linked to the Scottish royal family; Elizabeth de Burgh, great granddaughter of Walter de Lacy, married Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland.

Lordship of Ireland Papal possession of Ireland held in fief by the King of England between 1171–1542

The Lordship of Ireland, sometimes referred to retroactively as Norman Ireland, was the part of Ireland ruled by the King of England and controlled by loyal Anglo-Norman lords between 1177 and 1542. The lordship was created as a Papal possession following the Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169–1171. As the lord of Ireland was also the king of England, he was represented locally by a governor, variously known as justiciar, lieutenant, or Lord Deputy.

Elizabeth de Burgh Scottish royal consort

Elizabeth de Burgh was the second wife and the only queen consort of King Robert the Bruce. Elizabeth was born sometime around 1284, probably in Down or Antrim in Ireland. She was the daughter of one of the most powerful Irish nobles of the period, Richard Óg de Burgh, 2nd Earl of Ulster, who was a close friend and ally of Edward I of England.

Walter de Lacy, Lord of Meath Irish noble

Walter de Lacy was lord of Meath in Ireland. He was also a substantial land owner in Weobley, Herefordshire, in Ludlow, Shropshire, in Ewyas Lacy in the Welsh Marches, and several lands in Normandy. He was the eldest son of Hugh de Lacy, a leading Cambro-Norman baron in the Norman invasion of Ireland.

Lords of Pontefract, Bowland and Clitheroe

Pontefract Castle Pontefract Castle.jpg
Pontefract Castle
Bowland, northern England Bowland & Lancs labelled with UK.png
Bowland, northern England
Clitheroe Castle, founded by Robert de Lacy Clitheroe Castle.JPG
Clitheroe Castle, founded by Robert de Lacy

Brothers Ilbert and Walter jointly held the Norman lands that were held of the Bishop of Bayeux. [4] They participated in the Norman conquest of England. While there is evidence that Ilbert fought at William's side at Hastings, [5] there is no record of Walter fighting at Hastings. Ilbert was a major participant in the Harrying of the North (1069–70) which effectively ended the quasi-independence of the region through large-scale destruction that resulted in the relative "pacification" of the local population and the replacement of local Anglo-Danish lords with Normans. In return, he received vast grants of land in West Yorkshire, where he built Pontefract Castle.

Harrying of the North Military campaign waged by William the Conqueror in Northern England during 1069–1070

The Harrying of the North was a number of campaigns waged by William the Conqueror in the winter of 1069–70 to subjugate northern England, where the presence of the last Wessex claimant, Edgar Atheling, had encouraged Anglo-Danish rebellions. William paid the Danes to go home, but the remaining rebels refused to meet him in battle, and he decided to starve them out by laying waste to the northern shires using scorched earth tactics, especially in the city of York, before relieving the English aristocracy of their positions, and installing Norman aristocrats throughout the region.

Anglo-Saxons Germanic tribes who started to inhabit parts of Great Britain from the 5th century onwards

The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group who inhabited Great Britain from the 5th century. They comprise people from Germanic tribes who migrated to the island from continental Europe, their descendants, and indigenous British groups who adopted many aspects of Anglo-Saxon culture and language; the cultural foundations laid by the Anglo-Saxons are the foundation of the modern English legal system and of many aspects of English society; the modern English language owes over half its words – including the most common words of everyday speech – to the language of the Anglo-Saxons. Historically, the Anglo-Saxon period denotes the period in Britain between about 450 and 1066, after their initial settlement and up until the Norman conquest. The early Anglo-Saxon period includes the creation of an English nation, with many of the aspects that survive today, including regional government of shires and hundreds. During this period, Christianity was established and there was a flowering of literature and language. Charters and law were also established. The term Anglo-Saxon is popularly used for the language that was spoken and written by the Anglo-Saxons in England and eastern Scotland between at least the mid-5th century and the mid-12th century. In scholarly use, it is more commonly called Old English.

Denmark Constitutional monarchy in Europe

Denmark, officially the Kingdom of Denmark, is a Nordic country and the southernmost of the Scandinavian nations. Denmark lies southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and is bordered to the south by Germany. The Kingdom of Denmark also comprises two autonomous constituent countries in the North Atlantic Ocean: the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Denmark proper consists of a peninsula, Jutland, and an archipelago of 443 named islands, with the largest being Zealand, Funen and the North Jutlandic Island. The islands are characterised by flat, arable land and sandy coasts, low elevation and a temperate climate. Denmark has a total area of 42,924 km2 (16,573 sq mi), land area of 42,394 km2 (16,368 sq mi), and the total area including Greenland and the Faroe Islands is 2,210,579 km2 (853,509 sq mi), and a population of 5.8 million.

The Honour of Pontefract, which included the manor of Stanbury, was maintained by Ilbert's direct male descendants for the next three generations until 1192. It continued in the female line until 1348.

Stanbury village in United Kingdom

Stanbury is a village in the Haworth, Cross Roads and Stanbury civil parish, and in the metropolitan borough of the City of Bradford in West Yorkshire, England. The village is situated approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) west from Haworth, 4 miles (6.4 km) south-west from Keighley, and 7 miles (11 km) east from Colne in Lancashire. Less than half a mile north-east is the hamlet of Lumbfoot. The name Stanbury translates as Stone Fort from Old English.

This is the family tree of the de Lacys of Pontefract who were the holders of both Pontefract Castle and the Honour of Pontefract from 1067 to 1348

Some of the English holdings lost by Roger the Poitevin due to his rebellion were awarded to Robert de Lacy, the son of Ilbert de Lacy. [6] [7] In 1102, King Henry I of England granted the fee of the ancient wapentake of Blackburnshire and further holdings in Hornby, [8] and the vills of Chipping, Aighton and Dutton in Amounderness to de Lacy while confirming his possession of the Lordship of Bowland. [9] These lands formed the basis of what became known as the Honour of Clitheroe.

Roger the Poitevin was born in Normandy in the mid-1060s and died before 1140. He was an Anglo-Norman aristocrat, possessing large holdings in both England and through his marriage in France.

Henry I of England 12th-century King of England and Duke of Normandy

Henry I, also known as Henry Beauclerc, was King of England from 1100 to his death in 1135. Henry was the fourth son of William the Conqueror and was educated in Latin and the liberal arts. On William's death in 1087, Henry's elder brothers Robert Curthose and William Rufus inherited Normandy and England, respectively, but Henry was left landless. Henry purchased the County of Cotentin in western Normandy from Robert, but William and Robert deposed him in 1091. Henry gradually rebuilt his power base in the Cotentin and allied himself with William against Robert. Henry was present when William died in a hunting accident in 1100, and he seized the English throne, promising at his coronation to correct many of William's less popular policies. Henry married Matilda of Scotland but continued to have a large number of mistresses by whom he had many illegitimate children.

Vill is a term used in English history to describe the basic rural land unit, roughly comparable to that of a parish, manor, or tithing.

By marriage, John de Lacy gained more titles, including that of the Earldom of Lincoln in 1221.

Notable family members

Arms of John de Lacy,
2nd Earl of Lincoln Arm Jean de Lacy.gif
Arms of John de Lacy,
2nd Earl of Lincoln

Hugh de Lacy (c.1020, lord of Lassy (Normandy) – 27 March 1085, Hereford)

Lords of Weobley and Ludlow

The counties considered to be the Welsh Marches (in red) WelshMarches.png
The counties considered to be the Welsh Marches (in red)
Site of Weobley Castle Site of Weobley Castle - - 319723.jpg
Site of Weobley Castle

Walter de Lacy, the son of Hugh de Lacy, Lord of Lassy, was granted the lordship of Weobley in Herefordshire after the Conquest. [10] He is already attested in the Welsh Marches by 1069. [16] By the time of Walter's death, he held blocks of land in Herefordshire (including Holme Lacy) along the border with Wales with another group of lands centered on Ludlow in Shropshire. These groupings allowed Walter to help defend the England–Wales border against Welsh raids. He also had smaller holdings in Berkshire, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Oxfordshire. Walter was second in the region only to William FitzOsbern, 1st Earl of Hereford and his son, Roger de Breteuil although he was not subordinate to them. After the latter's rebellion against the king in 1075 [which Walter de Lacy helped to ensure failed] Walter became the leading baron in the region.

Notable family members

Lordship of Meath

Arms of Hugh de Lacy, Lord of Meath Buckler Hugh de Lacy.png
Arms of Hugh de Lacy, Lord of Meath
Trim Castle, County Meath, Ireland Trim Castle 6.jpg
Trim Castle, County Meath, Ireland

In addition to his substantial land holdings in Herefordshire and Shropshire, England as 4th Baron de Lacy, Hugh de Lacy was also a substantial land holder in Ireland. Following his participation in the Norman Invasion of Ireland, he was granted the lands of a Gaelic medieval kingdom by the Anglo-Norman King Henry II of England in 1172 by the service of fifty knights. The Lordship of Meath was an extensive seigniorial liberty in medieval Ireland with almost royal authority. The Lordship was roughly co-extensive with the Kingdom of Meath. At its greatest extent, it included all of the modern counties of Fingal, Meath (which takes its name from the kingdom), Westmeath as well as parts of counties Cavan, Kildare, Longford, Louth and Offaly. The Lordship's caput was Trim Castle. With an area of 30,000 m², it is the largest castle in Ireland. The design of the central three-story keep (also known as a donjon or great tower) is unique for a Norman keep being of cruciform shape, with twenty corners.

These lords were reliant on their own aggression for laying claim to their lands and for securing them. Castles, by virtue of their defensive and offensive capabilities as well as their symbolic status, were indispensable for dominating the area of the lordship. [18] Known as a great builder of castles, by c. 1200, de Lacy had settlements all over the lordship, either in his own hands or the hands of his barons. With his son Walter (1180 1240) he built Trim Castle and Kilkea Castle. Some time after 1196, Walter granted "the whole land of Rathtowth" to his younger brother, Hugh. This sub-division, named the Barony of Ratoath, was perhaps the first instance of the use of the term barony in Ireland for a division of a county. By letters patent from John, King of England, [19] the prescriptive barony was granted to Walter de Lacy and his heirs in perpetuity in 1208.

Notable family members

Hugh de Lacy, Lord of Meath (before 1135 – 25 July 1186) was the great-grandson of Walter de Lacy of the Norman Conquest.

Other possible notable members of the family

Several later families claim descent from the Hiberno-Norman Lacys.

The Lacy baronets of Ampton Hall are said to be related to Peter. [21]

It is claimed that the Limerick Lacy family that gave rise to several continental generals descends from Hugh de Lacy, Lord of Meath, [22] but this claim has been challenged by Synnott [23] , who suggested that the Limerick families may be Lees, a name of frequent occurrence in Limerick records from the 12th to the 15th century. Members of this family include:

Related Research Articles

Trim Castle Largest Norman castle in Ireland (ruin), Trim, County Meath

Trim Castle is a Norman castle on the south bank of the River Boyne in Trim, County Meath, Ireland. With an area of 30,000 m², it is the largest Norman castle in Ireland. Over a period of 30 years, it was built by Hugh de Lacy and his son Walter as the caput of the Lordship of Meath.

Fingal County in the Republic of Ireland

Fingal is a county in Ireland. It is located in the province of Leinster and, within that, is part of the Dublin Region. Its name is derived from the medieval territory of Scandinavian foreigners that settled in the area. Fingal County Council is the local authority for the county. In 2016 the population of the county was 296,214, making it the second-most populous county in the state.

Theobald le Botiller, also known as Theobald Butler, 2nd Baron Butler was the son of Theobald Walter, 1st Baron Butler and Maud le Vavasour. He had livery of his lands on 18 July 1222.

Halton (barony) succession of barons in Chester

The Barony of Halton, in Cheshire, England, comprised a succession of 15 barons who held under the overlordship of the County Palatine of Chester ruled by the Earl of Chester. It was not therefore an English feudal barony which was under full royal jurisdiction, which is the usual sense of the term, but a separate class of barony within a palatinate. After the Norman conquest, William the Conqueror created three earldoms to protect his border with Wales, namely Shrewsbury, Hereford and Chester. Hugh Lupus was appointed Earl of Chester and he appointed his cousin, Nigel of Cotentin, as the first Baron of Halton. Halton was a village in Cheshire which is now part of the town of Runcorn. At its centre is a rocky prominence on which was built Halton Castle, the seat of the Barons of Halton; the castle is now a ruin.

Roger de Lacy

Roger de Lacy was an Anglo-Norman nobleman, a Marcher Lord on the Welsh border. Roger was a castle builder, particularly at Ludlow Castle.

Henry de Lacy, 3rd Earl of Lincoln English noble

Henry de Lacy, 3rd Earl of Lincoln, Baron of Pontefract was an English nobleman and confidant of King Edward I 'Longshanks'. He served Edward in Wales, France, and Scotland, both as a soldier and a diplomat.

Hugh de Lacy, Lord of Meath, 4th Baron Lacy, was an Anglo-Norman landowner and royal office-holder. He had substantial land holdings in Herefordshire and Shropshire, England. Following his participation in the Norman Invasion of Ireland, he was granted, in 1172, the lands of the Kingdom of Meath by the Anglo-Norman King Henry II, but he had to gain control of them. The Lordship of Meath was then the most extensive liberty in Ireland.

Joan de Geneville, 2nd Baroness Geneville, Countess of March, Baroness Mortimer, also known as Jeanne de Joinville, was the daughter of Sir Piers de Geneville and Joan of Lusignan. She inherited the estates of her grandparents, Geoffrey de Geneville, 1st Baron Geneville, and Maud de Lacy, Baroness Geneville. She was one of the wealthiest heiresses in the Welsh Marches and County Meath, Ireland. She was the wife of Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March, the de facto ruler of England from 1327 to 1330. She succeeded as suo jure 2nd Baroness Geneville on 21 October 1314 upon the death of her grandfather, Geoffrey de Geneville.

Egidia de Lacy, Lady of Connacht, was a Cambro-Norman noblewoman, the wife of Richard Mór de Burgh, 1st Baron of Connaught and Strathearn (c.1194–1242), and the mother of his seven children, including Walter de Burgh, 1st Earl of Ulster. She was also known as Gille de Lacy. Egidia was the daughter of Walter II de Lacy by his second wife Margaret de Braose.

Roger de Lacy (1170–1211) English Baron

Roger de Lacy (1170–1211), Baron of Pontefract, Lord of Bowland, Lord of Blackburnshire, Baron of Halton, Constable of Chester, Sheriff of Yorkshire and Cumberland, also known as Roger le Constable, was a notable English soldier, crusader and baron in the late 12th and early 13th centuries.

Maud de Lacy, Baroness Geneville was a Norman-Irish noblewoman and wealthy heiress who inherited half the estates of her grandfather Walter de Lacy, Lord of Meath, upon his death in 1241. The lordships of Trim and Ludlow passed to her second husband Sir Geoffrey de Geneville, 1st Baron Geneville by right of his marriage to her; although she helped to rule and administer the estates in an equal partnership. She is sometimes referred to as Matilda de Lacy.

Maurice FitzMaurice FitzGerald was an Irish magnate born in Ireland; a soldier, and Justiciar of Ireland from 1272 to 1273. His family would come to epitomize the ideal of cultural synthesis in Ireland, becoming More Irish than the Irish themselves, fusing Gaelic and Norman customs in Irish identity. "But others say that he never enjoyed that lordship himself, but passed it the son and grandson of his eldest brother Gerald."

Honour of Clitheroe

The Honour of Clitheroe is an ancient grouping of manors and royal forests centred on Clitheroe Castle in Lancashire, England; an honour traditionally being the grant of a large landholding complex, not all of whose parts are contiguous. In the case of Clitheroe, this complex was loosely clustered around the ancient wapentake of Blackburnshire.

John de Lacy, 2nd Earl of Lincoln 2nd Earl of Lincoln, 7th Baron of Halton Castle, 5th Lord of Bowland and Constable of Chester

John de Lacy was the 2nd Earl of Lincoln, of the fourth creation.

Richard fitz Eustace English noble

Richard fitz Eustace was a prominent 12th-century noble. He was a son of Eustace fitz John and Agnes de Halton. He inherited the titles of his mother, becoming Baron of Halton, and the position of Constable of Chester. Richard died c.1163.

The Lordship of Meath was an extensive seigniorial liberty in medieval Ireland that was awarded to Hugh de Lacy by King Henry II of England by the service of fifty knights and with almost royal authority. The Lordship was roughly co-extensive with the medieval kingdom of Meath. At its greatest extent, it included all of the modern counties of Fingal, Meath, Westmeath as well as parts of counties Cavan, Kildare, Longford, Louth and Offaly. The Lordship or fiefdom was imbued with privileges enjoyed in no other Irish liberty, including the four royal pleas of arson, forestalling, rape, and treasure trove.

Hugh Tyrrel, 1st Baron of Castleknock was an Anglo-Norman nobleman and crusader who played a prominent part in the Norman invasion of Ireland and took part in the Third Crusade.

The Honour of Pontefract, otherwise known as the Feudal Barony of Pontefract, is a medieval English feudal barony which has existed since 1068 in present-day West Yorkshire.

John fitz Richard soldier and landowner

John fitz Richard was an Anglo-Norman soldier and nobleman, and constable of the Earls of Chester. He was also Baron of Halton, but historical records refer to him as 'John, constable of Chester'.



  1. De Lacy - 1000 years of history, published 2013 by Bernhard Lascy , pg. 35
  2. De Lacy - 1000 years of history, published 2013 by Bernhard Lascy , pg. 79
  3. Battle Abbey Roll - Names of Normans following William the Conqueror - Lacy can be found in Volume 1.
  4. Lewis "Lacy, Walter de (d. 1085)" Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  5. Adalae Comitissae (To Countess Adela), by Baudri, abbot of Bourgeuil, who suggests that Ilbert led the feint that led to the death of King Harold).
  6. VCH Lancaster 6 pp.230-234
  7. Farrer and Brownbill (1911). The Victoria History of the County of Lancaster Vol 6. Full text at pp. 57, 273, 280.External link in |publisher= (help)
  8. "The Medieval Borough of Hornby (Lancashire)", pp 187-92, Alan G Crosby, ed., Of Names and Places: Selected Writings of Mary Higham (English Place-Name Society 2007)
  9. VCH Lancaster 1 p.282
  10. 1 2 3 Keats-Rohan Domesday People p. 452
  11. 1 2 3 4 5 VCH Lancaster 1 pp.312-319
  12. "The Legacy of the de Lacy, Lacey, Lacy Family, 1066-1994". Lacey, G. p25. (1994). Publ: G. Lacey.
  13. Nickson 1887 , p. 144.
  14. Farnham, G; Thompson, AH (1926). Transactions of the Leicestershire Arch and Historical Society - Volume: 14. Full text at University of Leicester. pp. 33–40.External link in |publisher= (help)
  15. VCH Lancaster 6 pp.56-61
  16. Green Aristocracy of Norman England p. 44.
  17. Roger of Lacy, Lassy. Alternative spellings: Roger de Laci, Roger de Lacie, Roger de Lascy.
  18. The Irish Story - Joanna Pierce, "The Castle in the Lordship of Ireland, 1177-1310".
  19. John, previously Prince, Lord of Ireland and Earl of Mortain, was crowned King of England in 1199: "Rex Angliae, Dominus Hiberniae, Dux Normanniae et Aquitanniae, et Comes Andegaviae, coronatus fuit in festo ascensionis Dominicae, A.D. 1199"
  20. Richardson, D. & Everingham, K.G., Magna Carta ancestry: a study in colonial and medieval families
  21. De Lacy - 1000 Years of History, pages 151-157, Jeanee Clare de Lacy granddaughter of the first baronet, Sir Pierece Thomas de Lacy provided the information
  22. "The Role of the House of de Lacy" by Edward de Lacy-Bellingary published 1928; "De Lacy - 1000 Years of History" by Bernhard Lascy published 2013
  23. Nicholas J. Synnott. "Notes on the Family of De Lacy in Ireland" The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, 1919, vol. 9, pp. 113-131


Barons of Halton -additional reading