Michael Linton's Bayeux Tapestry: 1066 - A Medieval Mosaic and Puzzles
BATTLE ABBEY ROLL.
ACCOUNT OF THE NORMAN LINEAGES.
IN THREE VOLUMES.—VOL. I
JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET.
PRINTED BY WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS, LIMITED,
STAMFORD STREET AND CHARING CROSS.
This electronic edition
was prepared by
Michael A. Linton, 2007
for Clairvaux; either from Clairvaux, near Rodez, Acquitaine; or from the castle of Clairvaux, in the comte of Anjou, held in 1185 by Richard, Count of Poitou (Magn. Rotul. Scaccarii Normanniae). Leland gives this and the following name as "Cleravalx et Clarel." It was borne by a Yorkshire family of ancient lineage and high degree, long resident in the North Riding. Their ancestor, Hamon de Clervaux, is said to have come over to England in the train of Alan the Red of Brittany; and this tradition is confirmed by an illumination in the Coll. MSS. Faustina, B. 7, that represents the Earl receiving from the Conqueror the grant of his Honour of Richmond, for among the banners displayed behind him is delineated the golden saltire of Clervaux. Croft, near Darlington, was their seat for about three hundred and fifty years; and their alliances attest the position they held in the county. Ralph and John de Clervaux occur in the Pipe Rolls about 1272. In the time of Henry IV. Sir John Clervaux of Croft married Margaret Lumley (whose mother Eleanor was a Nevill of Raby), and his descendant Ralph, who died in 1490, is consequently styled, on his altar-tomb in Croft Church, "cousin, in the third degree, to the Kings of the House of York." The last heir in the direct line was another John Clervaux, who lived in the reign of Henry VIII., and had no child but a daughter. In an old poem of the time, he is included among the Yorkshiremen present at Flodden:
"John Clarvis then was nex'd near,
With Stapylton of stomach stern;
Next whom Fitzwilliam forth did fare,
Who martial feats was not to learn."
"The Baron of Hilton in the Bishoprick of Duresme," says Leland, "maried the Heyre of Clarevalx by Tese: but she hath been long maried and hath no Children." On her. death Croft reverted to her uncle Sir William Clervaux, whose daughter Elizabeth eventually became the last representative of the family, and conveyed it to her husband Christopher Chaytor. She succeeded, however, to but a small part of the once "princely inheritance of Clervaux," for her brother John, Esquire of the Body to Henry VIII., had been "an unthrift, much given to dicing, carding, and riotous gambling." The property is still held by her descendants, and one of them, Sir William Chaytor, early in the present century, built Clervaux Castle on his manor of Croft. When it finally passed away from the Clervaux in 1591, they had held it, without interruption, from the time of Henry III.
"A humble race of cadets occur at Darlington long after the broad lands of their parent tree had passed into another name, and they seem to have gradually sunk into utter pauperism. The pedigree will show them to have been nearly related to the main branch, as the Chaytors had to buy out any claim they had."—Longstaffe's History of Darlington. The name degenerated into Clarvis or Clarfax.
This is by no means a solitary instance of decadence. Often and often a noble name, supposed to have perished, has in fact only been lost sight of, and sunk into oblivion. Probably many a humble artisan toiling in the purlieus of our great cities, or poor peasant digging for his daily bread, might boast with the braggart Frenchman—
"D'apres mon blason
Je crois ma maison,
Aussi noble, ma foi,
Que celle du Roi!"