Vol II File 11: The Paternal Ancestry of Homer Beers James
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Vol II File 11: The Paternal Ancestry of Homer Beers James
17. Despencer Line (Earl of Winchester)
Ref: Burke, pg. 165-167.
Robert le Despencer appears to be the first
person of this name in the records. In the 18th year of King
William the Conqueror he was named as such from being the steward
to the king. He was a witness to the royal charter for removing
the secular canons out of the cathedral of Durham, and placing
monks in their stead. This Robert was the brother of Urso de
Abitot, then sheriff of Worcestershire, and he appears as well
by his high official situation, as by the numerous lordships he
possessed, to have been a person of great eminence; but it has
not been ascertained whether he first came to England with his
royal master, or whether he was of Saxon or Norman extraction;
nor is it clearly known, whether he had ever been married or had
issue. In the reign of Henry I. there was a William le Despencer,
but whether he had the name from being son of Robert, or succeeded
to the post of steward, cannot be determined. The next person
we find holding this office, and in the same reign was Thurstan
18. Ferrers Line (Earls of Derby)
1. Thurstan Dispencer
2. Almaric Despencer
3. Hugh Despencer
4. Son of Hugh ??
5. Hugh Despencer, grandson of Hugh.
He married Aliva Basset
daughter of Philip Basset, Lord Basset
of Wycombe, co. Bucks, and afterwards she was the 1st wife of
Roger Bigod, Earl of Norfolk, but there were no children by this
latter marriage. They had the following
1. Hugh Despencer, Senior. See below.
2. Eleanor (Alianore) Despencer, married
Hugh de Courtenay, father of Hugh, 1st Earl of Devonshire.
6. Hugh Despencer, Senior. He married
paid a fine of 2,000 marks for marrying, without license, Isabel Beauchamp, daughter
of William de Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, and widow of Patrick
Chaworth; by this lady he had an only
son, the celebrated Hugh Despencer, Junior. He died in 1265,
slain fighting for Simon de Montfort at Evesham.
7. Hugh Despencer, Junior, was born
in 1262, died in 1326. Earl of Winchester, he bore the same christian
name as his father (d. 1265) and his son (d. 1326). In the 22nd
year of the reign of King Edward I., he was made Governor of Oldham
castle, co. Southampton, and the same year had summons to attend
the king in Portsmouth, prepared with horse and arms for an expedition
into Gascony. In two years afterwards he was at the battle of
Dunbar, in Scotland, where the English arms triumphed; and the
next year he was one of the commissioners accredited to treat
of peace between the English monarch and kings of the Romans and
of France. In the 26th and 28th years of Edward I. he was again
engaged in the wars of Scotland, and was sent by his sovereign,
with the Earl of Lincoln, to the papal court, to complain of the
Scots, and to entreat that his holiness would no longer favor
them, as they had abused his confidence by falsehoods. To the
very close of King Edward I.'s reign his lordship seems to have
enjoyed the favor of that great prince, and had summons to parliament
from him from June 23, 1295, to March 14, 1322; but it was after
the accession of Edward's unhappy son, the second of that name,
that the Spencers attained that extraordinary eminence, from which,
with their feeble-minded master, they were eventually hurled into
the gulf of irretrievable ruin. In the first years of Edward
II.'s reign, we find the father and son still engaged in the Scottish
wars. In the 14th year the king, hearing of great animosities
between the younger Spencer and Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford
and Essex, and learning that they were collecting their followers
in order to come to open combat, interfered, and strictly commanded
Lord Hereford to forbear. About the same time, a dispute arising
bestrewn the Earl of Hereford and John de Mowbray regarding some
lands in Wales, young Spencer seized possession of the estate,
and kept it from both the litigants. This conduct, and similar
proceedings on the part of the elder Spencer, exciting the indignation
of the barons, they formed a league against the favorites, and
placing the king's cousin, Thomas Plantaganet, Earl of Lancaster,
at their head, marched, with banners flying, from Sherbourne to
St. Alban's, whence they dispatched the Bishops of Salisbury,
Hereford, and Chichester, to the king with a demand that the Spencers
should be banished; to which mission the king, however, giving
an imperious reply in the negative, the irritated nobles continued
their route to London; when Edward, at the instance of the queen,
acquiesced; whereupon the barons summoned a parliament, in which
the Spencers were banished from England; and the sentence was
proclaimed in Westminster Hall. To this decision, Hugh the elder
submitted and retired; but Hugh the younger lurked in divers places;
sometimes on land, and sometimes at sea, and was fortunate enough
to capture, during his exile, two vessels near Sandwich, laden
with merchandise to the value of 40,000 pounds; after which, being
recalled by the king, an army was raised, which encountered and
defeated the baronial forces at Boroughbridge, in Yorkshire.
In this action, wherein numbers were slain, the Earl of Pontefract,
and there, after a summary trial (the elder Spencer being one
of his judges), beheaded. The Spencers now became more powerful
than ever, and the elder was immediately created Earl of Winchester,
the king loading him with grants of forfeited estates. He was
about the same time constituted warden of the king's forests on
the south of Trent, the lands forfeited after the battle of Boroughbridge;
but not satisfied with those, and they were incredibly numerous,
he extorted by force whatsoever else he pleased. Amongst other
acts of unlawful oppression, it is related that he seized upon
the person of Elizabeth Comyn, a great heiress, the wife of Richard
Talbot, in her house at Kennington, in Surrey, and detained her
for twelve months in prison, until he compelled her to assign
to him the manor of Painswike, in Gloucestershire, and the castle
and manor of Goderich, in the marches of Wales; but this ill-obtained
and ill-exercised power was not formed for permanent endurance,
and a brief space only was necessary to bring it to termination.
The queen and the young prince, who had fled to France, and had
been proclaimed traitors through the influence of the Spencers,
ascertaining the feelings of the people, ventured to return; and
landed at Harwick, with the noblemen and persons of eminence who
had been exiled after the defeat at Boroughbridge, raised the
royal standard, and soon found themselves at the head of a considerable
force; when, marching upon Bristol, where the king and his favorites
then were, they were received in that city with acclimation, and
the elder Spencer being seized (although in his 90th year), was
brought in chains before the prince and the barons, and received
judgment of death, which was accordingly executed, by hanging
the culprit upon the gallows in the sight of the king and of his
son, upon St. Dennis's day, in October, 1326. It is said by some
writers that the body was hung up with two strong cords for four
days, and then cut to pieces, and given to the dogs. Young Spencer,
with the king, effected his escape; but they were both, soon afterwards,
taken and delivered to the queen, when the unfortunate monarch
was consigned to Berkeley Castle, where he was basely murdered
in 1327. Hugh Spencer the Younger, it appears, was impeached
before parliament, and received sentences "to be drawn upon
a hurdle, with trumps and trumpets, throughout all the city of
Hereford," and there to be hanged and quartered, which sentence
was executed on a gallows 50 feet high, upon St. Andrew's eve,
in the year 1326 (20th year of Edward II.) Thus terminated the
career of two of the most celebrated royal favorites in the annals
of England. The younger Hugh was a peer of the realm, as well
as his father, having been summoned to parliament as a baron,
from July 29, 1314, to October 10, 1325; but the two Baronies
of Spencer, and the Earldom of Winchester, expired under the attainders
of the father and son. Hugh the younger married Eleanor (Eleanora) Clare, daughter
and co-heir of Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester, and his wife,
Joane Plantaganet, who later married William Zouche,
Hugh and Eleanor had the following children:
1. Hugh Despencer, the successor, married
Elizabeth Badlesmere, widow of Giles de Badlesmere, but d.s.p.
in 1349, when the barony expired, but his lands devolved upon
his nephew, Edward.
2. Edward Despencer, married Anne Ferrers,
sister of Henry, Lord Ferrers, of Groby, and dying in 1342, left
an only son, Edward. He succeeded his uncle, Hugh. He married
Elizabeth Burghersh, daughter and heiress of Bartholomew de Burghersh,
Baron Burghersh, and had issue:
1. Thomas Despencer, married Constance Plantaganet,
daughter of Edmund Plantaganet, surnamed De Langley, Duke of York,
5th son of King Edward III.
2. Hugh Despencer, died in 1424.
3. Cicely Despencer, who died young.
4. Elizabeth Despencer, married (1) John
Fitz Alan, of Arundel, and (2) Hugh Zouch, Lord Zouch.
5. Anne Despencer, married Hugh Hastings,
and afterwards to Thomas Morley, Lord Morley.
6. Margaret Despencer, married Robert Ferrers,
Lord Ferrers of Chartley.
3. Gilbert Despencer, of Melton Mowbray.
4. Philip Despencer, married Margaret Gousell,
and died in 1313.
5. Elizabeth Despencer, married Maurice
de Berkeley. See the continuation of this lineage in the Berkeley
Line in Volume II.
6. Isabel Despencer was the 1st wife
of Richard Fitz Alan,
Earl of Arundel, who later married (2) Eleanor Plantaganet. See the continuation
of this lineage in the Fitz Alan Line in Volume II.
Ref: Crispin and Macary, pg. 56.
Ref: Burke, pg. 196-199.
1. Walcheline de Feriers was a Norman (according
2. Henry de Ferriers, son of Walcheline
de Feriers, obtained from William the Conqueror, a grant of Tutbury
Castle, co. Stafford, with extensive possessions in other shires,
of which one hundred and fourteen manors were in Derbyshire.
He must have been of considerable rank, not only from those enormous
grants, but from the circumstances of his being one of the commissioners
appointed by King William to make the Grand Survey, the Domesday
Record, of the kingdom. He was the founder of the priory of Tutbury,
which he liberally endowed.
Crispin and Macary report: " Henry de
Ferrieres is referred to by Wace thus;" Henri li sire de
Ferrieres," and he who then held Tillieres. He was seigneur
de Saint Hilaire de Ferriers near Bernay and the son, of Walkelin
de Ferrers, who fell in a contest with Hugh de Montfort I. early
in the reign of Duke William, in which both of these noblemen
were killed. He had an older brother William, also reported at
Hastings, undoubtedly well advanced in years at that time, who
died before the compilation of Domesday, where his name does not
appear. Henry de Ferrers received 210 manors, 114 of which were
in Derbyshire. The seat of his chief barony was Tutbury Castle
in Staffordshire, which had previously belonged to Hugh Lupus,
but upon the latter becoming the Earl of Chester in 1071, it was
granted to Henry de Ferrers, who founded nearby a Cluniac monastery.
Henry was appointed one of the commissioners for the general
survey in 1085 and richly endowed the priory of Tutbury in 1089.
He married Berta _________,
whose identity is unknown, by whom he had three sons: Enguenulf,
William, and Robert."
They also had two daughters. The following
children are reported by Burke, 196-197:
3. Robert de Ferrers, 1st Earl of Derby,
having contributed, at the head of the Derbyshire men, to King
Stephen's victory over King David of Scotland, at Northallerton
(commonly called the battle of the Standard), was created by that
monarch, the first Earl of Derby, in 1138.. He married Hawise,
and they had the following children:
1. William de Ferrers.
2. Robert de Ferrers, his successor. See
3. Walcheline de Ferrers., of Okeham.
4. Isolda Ferrers, married Stephen de Beauchamp.
5. Maud Ferrers, married Bertram de Verdon.
The earl died in 1139.
4. Robert de Ferrers, 2nd Earl of Derby
or Earl of Ferrers, was living in 1141. He was distinguished
by his munificence to the church. He was buried at the abbey
of Meervale, co. Warwick, one of the religious houses that he
founded, wrapped in an ox's hide, according to his own desire.
He had a daughter and a son as follows:
5. William de Ferrers, 3rd Earl of Derby.
in the 12th year of King Henry II., upon levying the aid for marrying
the king's daughter, certified the knight's fees then in his possession
to be seventy-nine in number, for which he paid the sum of 68
marks. He was known as a favorite of King John, from whom he
received large grants of land, among which was the great Northampton
estate of William Pevrel, whose daughter one of his ancestors
married. Earl William was largely instrumental in placing Henry
II. on the throne and took an important part in the siege of Mount
Sorrel and the battle of Lincoln. In 1230 he was one of the three
chief counselors recommended to the king by the barons and died
in 1240. He was also a liberal benefactor of the church. He
married Margaret Peverel,
daughter of William Peverel, of Nottingham,
by whom he had two sons as follows:
6. Robert de Ferrers, 4th Earl of Derby,
rebelled against Henry II., and marching at the head of the Leicester
men (in the 19th year of Henry II.), upon Nottingham, then kept
for the king by Reginald de Luci, got possession of the town,
which he sacked, putting the greater part of the inhabitants to
the sword, and taking the rest prisoners. He was soon afterwards,
however, reduced to submission, and obliged to surrender to the
crown his castles of Tutbury and Duffield, which were demolished
by order of the king. He married Sibilla Braose, daughter
of William de Braose, Lord of Abergavenny and Brechnock,
by whom he had the following children:
1. William de Ferrers, his successor. See
2. Millicent Ferrers, married Roger Mortimer, Lord Mortimer, of Wigmore.
See the continuation of this lineage in the Mortimer Line.
3. Agatha Ferrers was a concubine to
and had by that prince a daughter as follows:
1. Joane _______, 3rd consort of Llewellyn the Great,
Prince of North Wales ap Iorwerth Drwyndwn, by her, who died in
1237, and was buried at Llanfaes, Anglesey, where, over her tomb
Prince Llewellyn erected the Friary of Llanfaes, had issue as
1. David ap Llewellyn, Prince of North Wales
by usurpation, living May 5, in the 4th year of King Henry III.,
1229; d.s.p. in 1246, having married Isabella Braose, daughter
of William de Braos, of Brecknock.
2. Helen _______, eldest daughter, married
circa 1220, (1) John le Scot, 8th Earl Palatine of Chester and
Earl of Huntingdon, brother of William the Lion, King of Scotland,
who d.s.p. June 7, 1244. She married (2) Robert de Quincy, who died in the 41st
year of Henry III., 1277, son of Saier de Quincy, created Earl
of Winchester, circa 1210. See lineage elsewhere in Quincy Line.
3. Margaret _____, married circa 1217 (1)
John de Braose, surnamed Tadody, who died in 1231/2, and
(2) Walter de Clifford, who died in 1263.
4. Gwladys Ddu _____, married circa 1215,
(1) Reginald de Braose, who dying 1221, left no issue by her.
She married (2) Ralph de Mortimer,
of Wigmore, who living November 1227, died in 1245/6. His widow
died at Windsor, 1253. From the marriage of Gwladys Ddu and Ralph
de Mortimer, derived by direct representation, Edward IV., King
of England. See continuation of this lineage elsewhere.
5. Angharad ______, married Llewellyn Vychan
ap Maelgwyn, grandson of the Lord Rhys, Prince of South Wales,
the only Welshman to marry into this family.
The earl, who was a benefactor to the church,
having founded the priory of Woodham, commonly called Woodham-Ferrers,
in Essex, was succeeded by his son, William.
7. William de Ferrers, 5th Earl of Derby,
was ousted from his dignities of Derby and Nottingham by King
Richard I., but they were soon afterwards restored to him, and
we find him accompanying the lion-hearted monarch to the Holy
Land, where he lost his life at the siege of Acon, in the year
1191. He married Sibel ________.
8. William de Ferrers, 6th Earl of Derby,
was ousted of his dignities upon the return of King Richard from
captivity, took arms in his behalf, and joining the Earl of Chester,
besieged Nottingham Castle, which, after a brief resistance, surrendered.
For this and other acts of fidelity, he was chosen by the king
to sit with the rest of the peers in the great council held at
the said castle of Nottingham in the ensuing March. Moreover,
at Richard's second coronation he was one of the four that carried
the canopy over the king's head. Upon the accession of King John,
William de Ferrers, with the Earls of Clare and Chester, and other
great men, swore fealty to the new monarch, but on the condition
that each person should have his right. William was present at
the coronation of King John, and on June 7, following, being solemnly
created Earl of Derby, by special charter, dated at Northampton,
he was girt with a sword by the king's own hands (being the first
of whom in any charter that expression was used). He had also
a grant of the third penny of all the pleas before the sheriff
throughout the whole country, whereof he was earl, to hold to
him and his heirs as amply as any of his ancestors had enjoyed
the same. Moreover, in consideration of 4,000 marks, he obtained
another charter from the king of the manor of Higham-Ferrers,
co. Northampton, with the hundred and park; as also of the manors
of Bliseworth and Newbottle, in the same shire; which were part
of the lands of his great grandfather, William Peverel, of Nottingham.
King John also conferred upon him a mansion-house, situated in
the parish of St. Margaret, within the city of London, which had
belonged to Isaac, a Jew, at Norwich, "to hold by the service
of waiting upon the king (the earl and his heirs) , at all festivals
yearly, without any cap, but with a garland of the breadth of
his little finger upon his head." These liberal marks of
royal favor were felt so gratefully by the earl, that in all the
subsequent struggles between the king and the refractory barons,
he never once swerved from his allegiance, but remained true to
the monarch; and after King John's decease, he adhered with the
same unshaken loyalty to the interests of his son, King Henry
III. He assisted at the coronation of the new monarch; and immediately
after the ensuing Easter he took part with the famous William
Marshall (governor of the king and the kingdom), the Earls of
Chester and Albemarle, and many other great men in the siege of
Mountsorell Castle, in Leicestershire, then held by Henry de Braybroke,
and ten other stout knights. And the same year, was likewise
with those nobles at raising the siege of Lincoln, which place
the rebellious barons with Louis, King of France, had invested.
He married Agnes ________,
sister and one of the co-heirs of Ranulph,
Earl of Chester, by whom he had two
sons, William and Thomas. He died of the gout in 1246, and his
countess died in the same year, after a union, according to some
authorities of seventy-five, and by others, of fifty-five years.
He was succeeded by his eldest son, William.
9. William de Ferrers, 7th Earl of Derby,
who upon doing homage in the 32nd year of Henry III., had livery
of Chartley Castle, and the other lands of his mother's inheritance;
and the same year he sat in the parliament held in London; wherein
the king made so stout an answer to the demands of his impetuous
barons. He married (1) Sybil Marshal, one of the daughters and
co-heirs of William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke. They had seven
daughters as follows:
1. Agnes Ferrers, married William de Vesci.
2. Isabel Ferrers, married (1) Gilbert Basset,
of Wycombe, and (2) Reginald de Mohun.
3. Maud Ferrers, married (1) William de
Kymes, and (2) William de Vyvon, and (3) Emerick de Rupel Carnardi.
4. Sibil Ferrers, married (1) John de Vipont,
and (2) Franco de Mohun.
5. Joane Ferrers, married William Aguillon,
and (2) John de Mohun.
6. Agatha Ferrers, married Hugh Mortimer,
7. Eleanor Ferrers, married (1) William
de Vallibus, and (2) Roger de Quincy, Earl of Winton, and (3)
Roger de Leybourne, but had no issue.
The earl married (2) Margaret Quincy, one
of the daughters and co-heirs of Roger de Quincy, Earl of Winchester,
and had the following children:
1. Robert de Ferrers, his successor, was
the 8th and last Earl of Derby. See details of his life on pg.
197 of Burke. He married (1) Mary le Brun, daughter of Hugh le
Brun, Earl of Angoulesme, and niece of King Henry III., by whom
he had no issue; and (2) Eleanore Basset, daughter of Ralph Basset,
Lord Basset, by whom he had an only son, John.
1. John Ferrers, only son of Robert de Ferrers,
after the forfeiture of his father was summoned to parliament
as Baron Ferrers of Chartley, co. Stafford, February 6, 1299.
This was a seat which came into the family of Ferrers, by the
marriage of William, 5th Earl of Derby, with Agnes, sister and
co-heir of Ranulph, Earl of Chester. This John inherited the
turbulent spirit of his father, joined the Earl of Hereford and
others, in the 25th year of Edward I., in opposing the collection
of the subsidies granted by the parliament then held in St. Edmundsbury,
to the crown, but the ferment was allayed by the king's confirming
Magna Charta, and the charter of the forests; and by declaring
that in the future no tax should be imposed upon the subject
without the consent of the parliament, and at the same time granting
a pardon to the discontented lords and their adherents, in which
pardon John de Ferrers is especially named. Soon after this he
petitioned Pope Nicholas III., that his holiness should interfere
to procure him the lands of his late father which had been conferred
upon Edmund, Earl of Lancaster, but his suit was ineffectual.
He was subsequently in the Scottish wars, and was then raised
to the peerage as stated above. He married as her 2nd husband,
Hawise Musegros, daughter and heiress of Robert de Musegros, of
Charlton, co. Somerset, by whom he acquired a great increase in
fortune. She married (1) William de Mortimer, (2) John de Ferrers,
and (3) John de Bures. In the 34th year of Edward I., he was
again in the wars of Scotland, and, subsequently, in the
4th year of Edward II., the year following he was constituted
seneschal of Aquitaine. He died in 1324, and was succeeded by
his son, Robert de Ferrers, of Chartley, who married Agnes Bohun,
daughter of Humphrey de Bohun VI., Earl of Hereford.
2. William Ferrers, 2nd son of William,
7th Earl of Derby, obtained, by gift of Margaret, his mother,
one of the daughters and co-heirs of Roger de Quincy, Earl of
Winchester, the manor of Groby, co. Leicester, whereupon he assumed
the arms of the family of De Quincy. He married (1) Joane Despencer,
daughter of Hugh le Despencer, and (2) Eleanor, daughter of Matthew
Lovaine. From the first marriage there two children as follows:
1. William Ferrers, of Groby, his successor.
William Ferrers did his homage and had livery of his lands in
England, in the 21st year of Edward I., and in the 24th, of the
lands which he inherited in Scotland. In the following year he
was summoned to parliament as Baron Ferrers of Groby. He was
engaged in the wars of Scotland in the reigns of King Edward I.
and King Edward II. He married Margaret Segrave, daughter of
John Segrave, 2nd Lord Segrave, and dying in 1325, left two sons
and a daughter as follows:
1. Henry Ferrers, 2nd Baron Ferrers, of
Groby, summoned to parliament, from June 5, 1331, to November
20, 1342. He was actively engaged in the wars of King Edward
III., both in Scotland and France, and acquired very large territorial
possessions, by grants from the crown, for his services. He married
Isabel Verdon, 4th daughter and co-heir of Theobald Verdon, 2nd
Lord Verdon, and in the 5th year of King Edward III., upon doing
homage, had livery of the lands of her inheritance lying in Ireland.
They had the following children:
3. Joan Ferrers,
married Thomas Berkeley, Lord Berkeley. See below.
4. Agnes Ferrers, married Robert de Musegros, Lord of Deerhurst.
See continuation of this lineage elsewhere.
10. Joan Ferrers married Thomas de Berkeley, Lord Berkeley.
See continuation of this lineage in the Berkeley