Roger de Lacy (1170–1211)

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Roger de Lacy
Coat of arms of Roger de Lacy, Constable of Chester.svg
Coat of arms of Roger de Lacy, recorded by Matthew Paris in Chronica Majora . [1]
TitleBaron of Pontefract
Lord of Bowland
Lord of Blackburnshire
Baron of Halton
Spouse(s)Maud de Clere
Children John de Lacy, 2nd Earl of Lincoln
Parent(s) John FitzRichard
Alice de Essex

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.


Family and Provenance

Roger de Lacy was also known as Roger FitzJohn (son of John, constable of Chester) [2] and during the time that he was hoping to inherit his grandmother's de Lisours lands as Roger de Lisours. [3] He was the son of John fitz Richard (son of Richard), Baron of Halton, Lord of Bowland, Lord of Flamborough and Constable of Chester. Roger became Baron of Pontefract on the death of his paternal grandmother Albreda de Lisours (-aft.1194) who had inherited the Barony in her own right as 1st-cousin and heir to Robert de Lacy (−1193), Baron of Pontefract. In agreements with his grandmother Roger adopted the name of de Lacy, received the right to inherit the Barony of Pontefract and its lands, and the lands of Bowland, and Blackburnshire. He gave up all claims to his grandmother's de Lisours lands. He also gave his younger brother Robert le Constable the Flamborough lands that he had inherited from his father. He married Maud (or Matilda) de Clere (not of the de Clare family).

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'.

de Lacy De Lacy Family

de Lacy is the surname of an old Norman family which originated from Lassy, Calvados. 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). His sons, Walter and Ilbert, left Normandy and travelled to England with William the Conqueror. 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.

Service to Kings Richard and John

Roger's great-grandfather, Robert de Lacy, had failed to support King Henry I during his power struggle with his brother and the King had confiscated Pontefract Castle from the family earlier in the 12th century; [4] Roger paid King Richard I 3,000  marks for the Honour of Pontefract, though the King retained possession of the castle itself. Roger accompanied his father and King Richard for the Third Crusade, succeeding to the title when his father died at the siege of Tyre. [5] .

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. He 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. He purchased the County of Cotentin in western Normandy from Robert, but his brothers deposed him in 1091. He gradually rebuilt his power base in the Cotentin and allied himself with William against Robert.

Pontefract Castle a castle in West Yorkshire, England

PontefractCastle is a castle ruin in the town of Pontefract, in West Yorkshire, England. King Richard II is thought to have died there. It was the site of a series of famous sieges during the 17th-century English Civil War.

Richard I of England 12th-century King of England and crusader

Richard I was King of England from 1189 until his death. He also ruled as Duke of Normandy, Aquitaine and Gascony, Lord of Cyprus, Count of Poitiers, Anjou, Maine, and Nantes, and was overlord of Brittany at various times during the same period. He was the third of five sons of King Henry II of England and Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine. He was known as Richard Cœur de Lion or Richard the Lionheart because of his reputation as a great military leader and warrior. He was also known in Occitan as: Oc e No, because of his reputation for terseness.

Accession of King John

At the accession of King John of England, Roger was a person of great eminence, for we find him shortly after the coronation of that prince, deputed with the Sheriff of Northumberland, and other great men, to conduct William, King of Scotland, to Lincoln, where the English king had fixed to give him an interview. King John gave de Lacy Pontefract Castle in 1199, the year he ascended the throne.

Northumberland County of England

Northumberland is a county in North East England. The northernmost county of England, it borders Cumbria to the west, County Durham and Tyne and Wear to the south and the Scottish Borders to the north. To the east is the North Sea coastline with a path 103 kilometres (64 mi) long. The county town is Alnwick, although the county council is based in Morpeth.

John, King of England 13th-century King of England and grantor of Magna Carta

John was King of England from 1199 until his death in 1216. He lost the Duchy of Normandy and most of his other French lands to King Philip II of France, resulting in the collapse of the Angevin Empire and contributing to the subsequent growth in power of the French Capetian dynasty during the 13th century. The baronial revolt at the end of John's reign led to the sealing of Magna Carta, a document sometimes considered an early step in the evolution of the constitution of the United Kingdom.

Military service

Siege of Acre

Roger was the Constable of Chester, and joined Richard the Lionheart for the Third Crusade. Roger assisted at the Siege of Acre, in 1192 and clearly earned the favour and the trust of King Richard as a soldier and loyal subject as judged by his subsequent service.

Chester City in Cheshire, England

Chester is a walled city in Cheshire, England, on the River Dee, close to the border with Wales. With a population of 79,645 in 2011, it is the most populous settlement of Cheshire West and Chester, which had a population of 329,608 in 2011, and serves as the unitary authority's administrative headquarters. Chester is the second-largest settlement in Cheshire after Warrington.

Third Crusade attempt by European leaders to reconquer the Holy Land from Saladin

The Third Crusade (1189–1192) was an attempt by the leaders of the three most powerful states of Western Christianity to reconquer the Holy Land following the capture of Jerusalem by the Ayyubid sultan, Saladin, in 1187. It was partially successful, recapturing the important cities of Acre and Jaffa, and reversing most of Saladin's conquests, but it failed to recapture Jerusalem, which was the major aim of the Crusade and its religious focus.

Château Gaillard

King Richard reconquered some castles along his Norman border from Philip II of France in 1196 and de Lacy was likely in his retinue. In 1203, de Lacy was the commander of the Château Gaillard in Normandy, when it was besieged and finally taken by Philip, marking the loss of mainland Normandy by the Plantagenêts. Under de Lacy's command the defence of the castle was lengthy, and it fell only after an eight-month siege on 8 March 1204. After the siege, de Lacy returned to England to begin work reinforcing Pontefract Castle.

Philip II of France King of France from 1180 to 1223

Philip II, known as Philip Augustus, was King of France from 1180 to 1223. His predecessors had been known as kings of the Franks, but from 1190 onward, Philip became the first French monarch to style himself "King of France". The son of King Louis VII and his third wife, Adela of Champagne, he was originally nicknamed Dieudonné (God-given) because he was a first son and born late in his father's life. Philip was given the epithet "Augustus" by the chronicler Rigord for having extended the crown lands of France so remarkably.

Château Gaillard castle

Château Gaillard is a ruined medieval castle, located 90 metres (300 ft) above the commune of Les Andelys overlooking the River Seine, in the Eure département of Normandy, France. It is located some 95 kilometres (59 mi) north-west of Paris and 40 kilometres (25 mi) from Rouen. Construction began in 1196 under the auspices of Richard the Lionheart, who was simultaneously King of England and feudal Duke of Normandy. The castle was expensive to build, but the majority of the work was done in an unusually short period of time. It took just two years and, at the same time, the town of Petit Andely was constructed. Château Gaillard has a complex and advanced design, and uses early principles of concentric fortification; it was also one of the earliest European castles to use machicolations. The castle consists of three enclosures separated by dry moats, with a keep in the inner enclosure.

Siege of Château Gaillard

The Siege of Château Gaillard was a part of Philip II's campaign to conquer the king of England's continental properties. The French king besieged Château Gaillard, a Norman fortress, for six months. The Anglo-Normans were beaten in the battle and the consequence was the fall of Normandy.

Siege of Rothelan

In the time of this Roger, Ranulph, Earl of Chester, having entered Wales at the head of some forces, was compelled, by superior numbers, to shut himself up in the castle of Rothelan (Rhuddlan Castle), where, being closely besieged by the Welsh, he sent for aid to the Constable of Chester. Hugh Lupus, the 1st Earl of Chester, in his charter of foundation of the Abbey of St. Werberg, at Chester, had given a privilege to the frequenters of Chester fair, "That they should not be apprehended for theft, or any other offense during the time of the fair, unless the crime was committed therein." [6] This privilege made the fair, of course, the resort of thieves and vagabonds from all parts of the kingdom. Accordingly, the Constable, Roger de Lacy, forthwith marched to his relief, at the head of a concourse of people, then collected at the fair of Chester, consisting of minstrels, and loose characters of all description, forming altogether so numerous a body, that the besiegers, at their approach, mistaking them for soldiers, immediately raised the siege. For this timely service, the Earl of Chester conferred upon De Lacy and his heirs, the patronage of all the minstrels in those parts, which patronage the Constable transferred to his steward; and was enjoyed for many years afterwards. [6]

High Sheriff

He was appointed High Sheriff of Cumberland for the years 1204 to 1209. [7]

Death and succession

Roger died in 1211, and was succeeded by his son, John de Lacy, 2nd Earl of Lincoln. He was buried at Stanlow Abbey.

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  1. Lewis, S (1987), The Art of Matthew Paris in Chronica Majora, California Studies in the History of Art (series vol. 21), Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, p. 448, ISBN   0-520-04981-0
  2. Some references show Roger de Lacy as Roger FitzEustace but this is not correct as he was not the son of Eustace, his father was, and FitzEustace did not become a surname.
  3. Certainly Lisors near Lyons-la-Forêt, Normandy
  4. "Pontefract Castle Index". Archived from the original on 16 May 2008. Retrieved 22 July 2008.
  5. Nickson 1887 , p. 144.
  6. 1 2 Burke, John, A general and heraldic dictionary of the peerages of England, Ireland, and Scotland (1831) Pg 301
  7. "The History of the Worthies of England , volume 1 by Fuller" . Retrieved 21 July 2011.