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
This, in barbarous spelling, represents the great name of Devereux, borne by a branch of the sovereign house of Normandy, and one of the privileged few that have stemmed the varying times and tides of eight hundred years. While the better part of its famous contemporaries have passed away or been laid low, it has stood erect and fought the battle of life, never lacking an heir to uphold its old renown.
"Robert Count of Evreux, Archbishop of Rouen, was the son of Richard I. of Normandy, and by his wife Herleva (see Anselme, i., 477, &c.) had, 1. Richard, Count of Evreux, father of William, Count of Evreux, whose sister, wife of Amaury de Montfort, was his heir: 2. Ralph d'Evreux, Sire de Gace, whose son Robert left his estates to the Count of Evreux, and died s. p. 3. William d'Evreux."—The Norman People. The eldest of these brothers, Richard Count of Evreux, who was the founder of the great Norman abbey of St. Sauveur, furnished eighty ships for the invasion of England, and with his son, William, fought by the Conqueror's side at Hastings, "bearing himself gallantly in the battle." He died the year following, and William appears as Ebroicensis Comes in Domesday, holding a great barony in Hampshire, Berkshire, and Oxfordshire, "Shortly afterwards, King William, as if to indemnify himself for the property he had bestowed upon him in England, took from him the Castle of Evreux, and placed a garrison in it."—Planche. Nevertheless, he remained true to his allegiance, and regained his Castle at the Conqueror's death. In 1104, when Henry I. crossed over to Normandy with a strong force to settle the affairs of the Duchy, distracted by a long course of misgovernment, Duke Richard, alarmed at his brother's intervention, sought to conciliate him by the offer of the county of Evreux, together with the feudal service of the Count and his vassals. The Count very naturally demurred, "Hearing," says Orderic, "that he was to be transferred like a horse or an ox, and wishing to preserve his integrity and fealty, he said publicly to the Princes: 'I have served your father faithfully all my days, never having stained my sworn fealty in any matter hitherto. I have also observed it to his heir, and determined to labour to continue in that course: but it being impossible, as I have often heard learned doctors declare, on the faith of the Word of God, that a man can serve two masters who are opposed to each other, it is my earnest desire to be subject to one lord only. I love both the King and the Duke: both are the sons of the King, my late lord, and I wish to respect both, but I will only do homage to one, and him only will I serve.'" All approved his words; and the Duke, taking his hands, himself placed them between the King's, thus for ever constituting him the King's "man" by the usual act of homage.
He died in 1118, s. p. He had married a daughter of the great house of Nevers, "distinguished," says Orderic, "for her wit and beauty, and one of the tallest women in Evreux:" but a troublesome and mischief-making wife, who constantly embroiled him in her quarrels. Having no children of his own, he had adopted his niece, the beautiful Bertrade de Montfort. The Count of Anjou fell in love with her, and when Duke Robert of Normandy solicited his aid against the Manceaux, would only promise it on condition that he obtained for him her hand in marriage. The Duke accordingly applied on his behalf to the Count of Evreux; but he, too, was ready with a stipulation before granting his niece. "Not," he said, "till you restore to me Noyon-sur Andelle, Gassai, Cravant, Ecouchi, and the other lands of my uncle Raoul Tete d'Ane." The Duke agreed: the bargain was struck; and thes beautiful Bertrade was bartered away to a "profligate and detestable" husband, from whom she afterwards eloped with Philip I. of France.
The famous Earls of Salisbury of this name descended from Edward of Salisbury, Sheriff of Wilts, the Edwardus Vicecomes or Edwardus Sarisbriensis, of Domesday, who held a great barony in eight different counties. He was a younger son of the Count de Roumara, and I am wholly unable to explain why he was called D'Evreux, or, as Dugdale spells it, Ewrus. He witnessed the Conqueror's foundation charter of Selby, and bore Henry I.'s standard at Brenneville, where he "behaved himself with singular courage and military skill." His son died a canon in a priory he had founded in Wiltshire; and his grandson Patric, who was Steward of the Household to the Empress Maud, received from her the Earldom of Salisbury. He served Henry II. as Lieut, and Captain General of Acquitaine, where he was slain by Guy de Lusignan in 1167. The second Earl left no son, and his heiress was the famous Ela of Salisbury. She was in Normandy when her father died; and an adventurous young knight forthwith set out in quest of her. "Being," says Dugdale, "so great an Inhiretrix, one William Talbot, an Englishman and an eminent Souldier, took upon him the habit of a Pilgrim, and went into Normandy. Where wandring up and down, for the space of two months, at length he found her out.
"Likewise, it is reported that he then changed his habit, and having entered the Court, where she resided, in the garb of a Harper (being practised in mirth and jesting), he became well accepted there. Moreover, that growing acquainted with her, after some time he took her into England, and presented her to King Richard; who receiving her very courteously, gave her in marriage to William surnamed Longespe his Brother (id est a natural Son to King Henry the second, begotten on the Fair Rosamond sometime his Concubine). And that thereupon King Richard rendered unto him the Earldom of Rosmar, as her Inheritance, by descent from Edward of Saresburie." It is easy to infer that he was the same William who had won her heart in disguise, and was renowned as one of the greatest soldiers of the age.
This Countess Ela was the first and only woman who ever served as High Sheriff. She had already three times filled the office for Wiltshire when, in 1230, she "gave the King 200 marks to have the Custody (id est Sheriffalty) of that County, and the Castle of Sarum, during her whole life." She was "a devout Woman," the benefactress of at least six religious houses; and seven years after her husband's death founded an abbey of her, own at Lacock, when she took the veil, and presided as Abbess for eighteen years. She likewise gave a sum of money for the use of pore scholars at Oxford, to be kept in a common chest, from which they might borrow without interest whenever they were in need. She lived to be a very old woman, surviving her heroic son, William Longespe II., by many years. He died in 1250 in the Holy Land. "It is reported, that the night before his death, Ela, his mother, then Abbess of Lacock, saw in a Vision the Heavens open, and her Son armed at all parts (whose Shield she well knew) received with joy by the Angels; and, that she then asking 'Who is this?' it was answered, 'Do you not know your Son William and his Armor?' and she said 'Yes.' And it was replied, 'It is he whom thou his Mother now beholdest.'Moreover, that she keeping in mind the time, about half a year after, when it was told her, held up her hands, and with a chearful countenance said, 'I thy Handmaid, give thanks to thee, O Lord, that out of my sinful flesh, thou hast caused such a Champion against thine Enemies to be born.'" Her grandson proved the last of his race; and his daughter Margaret brought the Earldom of Salisbury to Henry de Lacy, the great Earl of Lincoln.
The existing family is derived from William, the youngest brother of Richard, Count of Evreux (see p. 323). "He married, according to William of Jumieges, the widow of Robert de Grentemesnil, and his daughter married Roger, Count of Sicily. By his second marriage he had a son of his own name, who came to England in 1066 with Roger d'Evreux, his brother (who was of Norfolk, 1086), and married the sister of Walter de Lacy of Hereford. Helewysa, his widow, gave lands to Gloucester Abbey (Mon. i. 115). Her son Robert de Evrois was a benefactor to Brecknock t. Henry I. (Mon. i. 320). In 1165 there were two branches of this family in Hereford."—The Norman People. They remained in the county for many generations. One of them, William d'Evreux, a Baron Marcher, fell at Evesham; another, Sir John, who served abroad in the Black Prince's train, was Captain of Rochelle, Seneschal of the Limousin, Constable of Dover, Warden of the Cinque Ports, a Knight Banneret, and a K.G., was summoned to Parliament 8 Ric. II. But the title expired with his only son, who left no children. Of another branch, seated at Bodyngham, was Sir Walter Devereux, who in the time of Henry VI. laid the foundation of the family honours by his marriage with Anne, sole daughter and heir of Lord Ferrers of Chartley. She brought him not only a great inheritance, but an ancient barony, and a descent in blood from the illustrious Earls of Derby. He was summoned as Baron Ferrers in 1461, and fell at Bosworth Field, on the side of Richard III. The second Lord made a still greater alliance, for his wife Cecily was of the blood of the Plantagenets, and the heiress of her brother, Henry Bourchier, Earl of Essex. Their only son was created Viscount Hereford by Henry VIII.; and in 1272 his successor was advanced by Elizabeth to the Earldom of Essex. The year following, "being a stirring man, not unacquainted with warlike discipline from his very youth," he asked the Queen's leave to undertake an expedition against the rebels in Ireland, at that time "the great school of rude soldiership." The enterprise utterly failed; its sole result was the wasting of his estate and the ruin of his hopes; and he died, neglected and miserable, at Dublin, in the flower of his age. "He desired the standers-by to admonish his son, who was then scarce ten years old, to have always before his eyes, the six and thirtieth year of his age, which neither he, nor his father had passed, and which his son never attained to."—Camden. This son was Queen Elizabeth's unhappy favourite, that "masterpiece of court and camp whose beauty enamelled his valour," and yet, after having "slept long in the arms of fortune," died on the scaffold at the age of thirty-three. He was the Queen's kinsman through his mother, Lettice Knowles, and from the first day of his appearance at Court under the wing of his step-father Leicester, distinguished by her especial regard. Not only was he young, handsome, devoted, and chivalrously brave, but a scholar and poet as well, who wrote sonnets in her honour, and read aloud to her in the long summer afternoons. She was miserable when he went on foreign service, repeating, "We shall have this young fellow knocked on the head as foolish Sidney was, by his own forwardness." At twenty he was already her Master of the Horse: then became a General and a Knight of the Garter; and in 1591 was appointed to command the forces sent to aid Henry IV. at Rouen. A few years later he went with Lord Howard to fight the Spaniards at Cadiz, and is reported to have tossed his cap into the sea with delight when the Admiral gave the signal to attack. On his return home he was named Master of the Ordnance and Earl Marshal of England, and received in grants, pensions, and offices, first and last, close upon .300,000. But his prosperity sat ill upon him; he grew arrogant, presumptuous and domineering, till, one day that his advice was not taken in council, he shrugged his shoulders and turned his back upon the Queen. She, for her part, walked straight up to him, boxed his ears like a froward child's, and bade him, "go and be hanged!" Essex, clapping his hand on his sword, swore a great oath that he would never pardon such an affront—no, not even from old King Hal himself: and strode away without another word. For some months he sulked and kept aloof, till at length, pressed by his friends, he condescended to make an apology, which was accepted by the Queen: and not long after he was sent over to Ireland, with the title of Lord Lieutenant, to quell Tyrone's revolt. But it proved "too knotty a service for his smooth disposition." Although he received all the re-inforcements he asked for, and "Elizabeth moaned that she paid him 1,000 a-day," he had to conclude an unfavourable truce with Tyrone, and even, according to Froude, "entered into a disloyal correspondence with him." The Queen, though greatly displeased, bade him remain at his post till further orders: but Essex disobeyed her, hurried home, and suddenly presented himself in the bed-chamber, where Elizabeth, at her toilet, "was sitting with her hair unbrushed, and falling about her face and shoulders." He threw himself at her feet, and kissing her hands, "implored her not to judge him by the counsels of his enemies." The Queen, thus taken unawares, received him graciously, and he went away rejoicing that after "many storms abroad, he had found a sweet calm at home."
He exulted too early. On reflection, the Queen's mood had changed; he was ordered into close arrest, and confined for nine months in the Lord Keeper's house, not being permitted even to see his wife. When he was in the end released, he hurried down to his country seat at Ewelme, and day by day waited for the coming messenger that was to summon him back to Court. None came; and each successive disappointment left him more restless and resentful. His house became the general resort of malcontents, crowded with a "miscellaneous crew of swordsmen proffering their services, some of one persuasion, some of another. Their specious pretence was, to take evil counsellors from the Queen; though it had been happy if they had been first taken away from the Earl."—Fuller. At length, when Elizabeth had roughly refused him the renewal of a former grant, declaring that "an ungovernable beast must be stinted in his provender," Essex, stung to the quick, rose in open insurrection. He called together his friends and retainers, and rode into the City at the head of two hundred gentlemen armed with rapiers, summoning all whom he met to join him. But not a single man was found to stir at his bidding, and, baffled and mortified, he made his way to Queenhithe, and there took boat to Essex House. He had prepared for a siege: but the Queen swore she would not sleep till Essex House was taken, and it was surrendered to the Lord Admiral the same night. Essex was tried for high treason, found guilty, sentenced and executed. Elizabeth signed his death-warrant with great reluctance and many tears; and the document (still extant) shows how her hand shook as she wrote her name. She had put off the evil necessity from day to day, for she lived in hourly expectation of a token that never came. In his fortunate days she had given Essex a ring, desiring him to keep it, and to remember her promise, that whatever offence he might thereafter commit should be pardoned on his returning this pledge. Essex, in his extremity, had sent it by a trusty messenger to the Queen's cousin, Lady Nottingham, desiring her. to give it into the Queen's own hand. But it was never delivered. Soon after Essex's execution, Lady Nottingham fell desperately ill, and being given over by the physicians, sent word to the Queen that she had an important secret to reveal to her. The Queen came to her bed-side, and then Lady Nottingham unburdened her conscience by telling the whole truth, and entreated her forgiveness, pleading that her husband, the Lord Admiral, who was very hostile to Essex, had prevented her from delivering the token. Elizabeth burst out into passionate lamentation. "God may forgive thee," she cried, "but I never can!" She went home utterly overwhelmed with grief, and for a fortnight afterwards could scarcely taste food, or take rest in her bed.
The unhappy Earl left a son, who in 1603 was restored in blood, and when a boy of fourteen had the misfortune to be married to "a court beauty of the first magnitude," the infamous Lady Frances Howard, afterwards Countess of Somerset (see Karre). He was a general in the Parliamentary Army, and died without issue in 1647. With him the Earldom of Essex became extinct. The Ferrers and Bourchier baronies, passing in the female line, were eventually granted by Charles II. to the descendants of his sister, Lady Dorothy, who had married Sir Henry Shirley, and was the ancestress of the present Earl Ferrers. But the title of Hereford reverted to the heir-male, Sir Walter Devereux of Castle Bromwich, descended from the first Viscount by his second wife, Margaret Garnish 5 and is now borne by his representative as head of this illustrious house, with the place and precedence of Premier Viscount of England.
- ↑ He sent M. de Villars, the Governor of Rouen, the following cartel: "Si vous voulez combattre vous meme a cheval ou a pied, je maintiendrai que la querelle du Roi est plus juste que celle de la Ligue, que je suis meilleur que vous, et que ma maitresse est plus belle que la votre."