Michael Linton's Bayeux Tapestry: 1066 - A Medieval Mosaic and Puzzles
BATTLE ABBEY ROLL.
ACCOUNT OF THE NORMAN LINEAGES.
IN THREE VOLUMES.—VOL. II
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
apparently only a repetition of the same name. But I believe it here stands for Herice, as in Leland's list it appears joined to the succeeding name as "Heryce et Harecourt." The family of Herice is said to descend from a son of the Count of Vendome, and bore his allusive arms, three urcheons (herissons) or hedgehogs, which still appear on the coats of the Earls of Malmesbury and Lord Herries. "Ivo de Heriz was Viscount of Notts before 1130: and had issue five sons: 1. Ralph, who held the Barony of Notts in 1165: 2. Robert Fitz Herice, mentioned in a charter of Barberie Abbey, executed by Henry II.: 3. Josceline, mentioned in Hunts, 1156 (Rot. Pip.): 4. William, who held, 1165, two fees in Notts and four in Lincoln: 5. Humphrey, who was of Berks, 1158 (Rot. Pip.). William Herez, thirteenth century, possessed estates in Wilts. From him descended William Harrys, one of the principal inhabitants of Salisbury in 1469 (Hoare), ancestor of the Earls of Malmesbury."—The Norman People. Collins, however, traces their genealogy no further back than William Harris, who married in 1561.
The family is first mentioned in Derbyshire. "South Winfield was held at Domesday by one Robert, under Alan, Earl of Brittany, who held under William Peverel. The baronial family of Heriz held this manor under the superior lords at a very early period, and are supposed to have descended from Robert, mentioned in Domesday. The heiress of Heriz married De la Riviere about 1330: a co-heiress of Riviere married Belers, and a co-heiress of Belers married Swillington. In the reign of Henry VI. Ralph, Lord Cromwell, Lord Treasurer, as nearest of kin to Margaret Swillington, acquired this manor by compromise, after a long law-suit with Sir Henry Pierrepont, the heir-at-law of John de Heriz, who died 1330."—Lysons. Robert's son Gaufrid held Stapleford in Notts, also of William Peverel, at the foundation of Lenton Priory in the time of Henry I., and it continued with his descendants for six more generations, till Idonea de Heriz conveyed it to John Furmery. They had a considerable estate in Nottinghamshire, where their principal seat was at Wyverton. One of the younger sons took the name of Stapleford, and founded a separate branch, which ended with Sampson de Stapleford, who died s. p. 42 Edward III.—See Thoroton's Notts. Another cadet of the house of Wyverton, William Heriz, who built Withcock Church, and died in 1512, assumed the name of Smith on acquiring Withcock by grant of his father-in-law William Ashby of Loseby, but why he did so we are not informed. He retained, however, his paternal coat. His descendants were seated at Somerby, Husband's Bosworth, Frolesworth, and Edmondthorpe: the last male heir, Hugh, died in 1755, and his daughter Lucy married Lord Strange, eldest son of the eleventh Earl of Derby. In honour of the inheritance she brought, the two next Earls added her name to their own, and it was said of the last that "he was the only nobleman left in England who had the courage to bear the name of Smith." The present Lord Derby discarded it when he sold the estate.
A branch of this house came into Scotland during the first half of the twelfth century, and settled in Nithsdale. William de Heriz witnessed several charters of David I.; and the names of Thomas, Henry, Ivon, and Nigel de Heriz appear on other deeds and charters of somewhat later date. Nigel was Forester, in the Southern districts, to Alexander II. William de Heriz was one of the barons who swore fealty to the King of England in 1296. Robert de Herris, in an original charter of Robert Brace, is designated Dominus de Nithisdale; and Sir John Herice was "of great consequence" in the reign of his successor David. Another Sir John—probably the son of the last—is first styled of Terregles, co. Dumfries, still the seat of one of his descendants in the female line. Fourth in descent from him was Herbert de Heriz, created a "Lord of Parliament" by James IV. soon after his accession in 1488, by the title of Baron Herries of Terregles. It was either he or his father that built Hoddam Castle in Annandale, and according to some accounts, pulled down a neighbouring church or chapel at Trailtrow, to use the stone for his new building. On a small hill near, stands a curious square tower, that "was anciently used as a beacon, and the Border laws direct a watch to be maintained there, with a fire-pan and bell, to give the alarm when the English crossed, or approached, the river Annan."—Sir W. Scott. Over the door are the sculptured figures of a dove and a serpent with the word "Repentance" between them; and thus the building, though its proper name is Trailtrow, is more generally called the Tower of Repentance. Some say that it was erected in memory of the sacrilegious destruction of the church; others, that it was the work of a Lord Herries, notorious as a marauder even among the Border freebooters, who went by the expressive name of John the Reif. Even as he was crossing the Solway Firth on his way home from England, with a great store of booty, and a good many captives that he had "unlawfully enthralled," his heavily laden boat was overtaken by a storm, and to relieve it of part of its freight, he cut the throats of his prisoners, and threw them overboard. For this, it is further said, he afterwards felt many qualms of conscience, and built this tower, carving over its entrance the emblems of remorse and grace, with the motto "Repentance" by which he wished to be remembered.
The line of these fierce Border chieftains failed with the fourth Lord Herries, and the barony was re-granted in 1566 to his daughter Agnes and her husband Sir John Maxwell, a cadet of the great house of Carlaverock, who, as Lord Herries, is often honourably mentioned in contemporary Scottish history. As a "man of unshaken loyalty and approved worth," he was throughout the faithful follower of Queen Mary, and twice in his life, at least, found bold enough to give her honest advice, that was, each time, disregarded. On the first occasion, he told her she must "remember her honour and dignity" and not marry a man so "loaded with infamy" as was Bothwell; and on the second, after the defeat of Langside, when the Queen announced her sudden intention of crossing the Solway, Herries again knelt at her feet, and implored her not to put her trust in Elizabeth. He was afterwards nominated as one of her Commissioners, and made a celebrated speech in her behalf at York in 1568. John, eighth Lord Herries, who fought under Montrose, and was in consequence excommunicated by the General Assembly, succeeded a distant cousin as Earl of Nithsdale on the extinction of the senior branch in 1667, and was grandfather to the unhappy Earl engaged in the Jacobite rebellion of 1715, and commemorated in the Border Lament,
"Make mane, my ain Nithsdale, thy leafs i' the fa'."
He was thrown into the Tower, and condemned to death; but on the very eve of his execution, his brave Countess, Winifred Herbert, planned and effected his escape. She dressed him in "all her petticoats, excepting one," covered him with a long cloak, and with his head muffled in a riding hood, and a handkerchief held to his eyes, "the better to pass for the lady [Mrs. Mills] who came in crying and affected," herself led him by the hand through the guard-room. She feigned to be in great anxiety and distress, and spoke to him "in the most piteous and afflicted voice," entreating him to send her tiring-woman to her immediately. "She forgets that I have to present a petition to-night; and if I let slip this opportunity, I am undone—My dear Mrs. Betty, for the love of God run quickly, and bring her to me!" Everyone, she adds, "seemed to compassionate me exceedingly, and the sentinel officiously opened the door." The brown camlet cloak worn by Lord Nithsdale on that eventful night is retained as a valued relic by the family, and while the story of his escape was still fresh in men's minds, similar cloaks, named "Nithsdales," were extensively worn, and became the fashion of the day. The rescued Earl and his Countess betook themselves to the mock court of the exiled Stuarts, and ended their lives in Italy, steeped to the very lips in poverty, of which her selfish and ungrateful husband made his wife bear the chief brunt. He had secured his estate by transferring it to his son, Lord Maxwell, and his life-interest only was declared forfeited. His honours were of course extinguished by his attainder; but on his death, Lord Maxwell assumed the title of Earl of Nithsdale, and the granddaughter that proved to be his heiress was styled Lady Winifred Maxwell. She married in 1758 William Haggerston Constable, of Everingham, co. York, who took her name; and—exactly one hundred years afterwards—the ancient barony of Herries was restored to their grandson.
Another cadet of the Herizs of Notts settled at Claxton, co. Durham, about the time of Henry II.; and his descendants, after a few generations, assumed the local name. They retained, however, the three herissons of their paternal coat, varying only the tincture; and continued to be one of the leading families of the Bishopric for more than five hundred years. One of them fell at Bosworth, bearing the standard of Richard III. Another—Sir William Claxton—succeeded in 1416 to the barony of Devylstoune (Dilston) in Northumberland, as heir to Emma de Tyndale, in right of his great-grandmother, who had been one of that family. But it soon passed away through another heiress, married to John Cartington, whose only daughter, Lady of Dilston, Cartington, &c. conveyed it to the Radcliffes. At length, in 1596, Robert Claxton, of Old Hall, co. Durham, wrought the downfall of his house by joining—hesitatingly and unwillingly—in the fatal Rising of the North. A pathetic old ballad, named 'Claxton's Lament,' records how he pondered and wavered when he received the Earl of Westmorland's peremptory summons:
"I charge thee, Claxton, ride with me."
His family, in all its branches, had always been zealously attached to the Nevills; the Claxtons of Holywell were Constables of their Castle of Brancepeth; and he owed to them a portion at least of his lands. He could not choose but go; and yet he shrank from the doom he was bringing on his two hopeful sons:
"To Wetherby I needs must ride,
No better chance since I may see:
My eldest son is full of pride—
My second goes for love of me.
"Now bide at home, my eldest son!
Thou art the heir of all my land."
If I stay at home for land or fee,
May I be branded on forehead and hand!
"The Percies are rising in the north,
The Nevills are gathering in the west:
And Claxton's heir may bide at home,
And hide him in the cushat's nest?"
"Now rest at home, my youngest son!
Thy limbs are lithe, thy age is green."
"Nay, father, we'll to Wetherby,
And never more at home be seen.
"We'll keep our bond to our noble Lord—
We'll tyne our faith to the Southern Queen:
And when all is lost, we'll cross the sea,
And bid farewell to bow'r and green."
And so it was to be. They were pardoned, and one of the sons was knighted by James I.; but their fair inheritance was gone from them for ever, and the old home knew them no more.