In treating of the history of Coningsborough after the conquest, there appears to he no reason to adopt the analytic method, which is the only method in which its earlier history can be treated, so as to afford the reader any satisfaction. Coningsborough, and the whole of its dependent fee, as it had been held by earl Harold, was given by one sweeping grant to William de Warren, husband of Gundred, daughter to the Conqueror, and who had the title of earl in Normandy. In the descendants of William and Gundred Coningsborough remained, with a slight interruption, till the middle of the reign of king Edward III.
It will scarcely be expected or desired that we should here enter fully into the history of the great house of Warren. Easy would it be to transcribe from the two quarto volumes which have been written upon that subject the detail of their summonses to parliament, services in the Held, of their benefactions to religious houses, and of their occasional attempts to overawe the kingly authority. I shall content myself with briefly touching on these matters, supplying a fact or two to the abundant: information collected by Mr. Watson, and occasion ally offering a correction; referring those who wish for more ample information to the ” History of the House of Warren and Surrey,” into which the reader will find transferred all that has been told of the Warrens in the Baronage, and by the older writers on our genealogical antiquities.
The Warrens bore for their arms a shield checkie Or and azure, a beautiful bearing, which appears in many authorities as belonging both to the earls of the first race and to those descended of Hameline, the half brother of king Henry II by Isabel de Warren, the heiress of the first race.
The following table presents a general view of the Chiefs of this illustrious house:
William de Warren, earl of Warren and Surrey
It was to the first earl that the Cluniac priory of Lewes, which we shall soon find to have possessed a very extensive interest in the Coningsborough fee, owed its foundation. The origin of the earlÂ´s intention to found a religious house of that order is told with an engaging simplicity in the first charter granted to it. Few more agreeable books could be formed than one in which we should have a selection of the more curious and interesting facts contained in that vast collection of charters, the Monasticon. To this house the current of the generosity of the Warrens was afterwards for the most part directed, and its cemetery was the place of interment chosen by them.
Gundred appears to have been the first of the family who found interment there. She died in 1085. Not many years ago the marble slab which had covered her remains was found in the parish church of Isfield in Sussex, placed over the grave of one Edward Shirley, who died in 1558; a parallel instance to that of the lady Furnival, whose gravestone and effigies, removed from Worksop, are now to he seen in the church of Barlborough. The earl died in 1088.
William de Warren, second earl of Surrey
The second earl enjoyed the honours and possessions of the family nearly fifty years, dying in 1138. In those critical times he wavered between the claims of` Curthose and Beauclerk. The same uncertainty, and perhaps indecision; appeared in the conduct of his son, the third earl, who sided sometimes with Stephen and sometimes with the empress. He held the Warren lands about nine years, and was slain in Palestine in 1147.
Between the years l091 and l097, when he was yet young in age and new to his possessions, the second earl gave the church of Coningsborough and all its dependencies to his fatherÂ´s monastery of Lewes. The date of this donation, about which there has been some misconception, is to be collected from the names of the witnesses, among whom are three bishops, named Ralph, Gundulph, and Alkaline. These bishops were contemporary in their respective sees only during that interval.
The grant is very extensive, both in new donations and in confirmations of the gifts of his father:
” In Eborasira vero, dedi eis ceelesiam de Conyngeburg cum aliis eeclesiis decimis ct terris ct omnibus suis appendiciis; et eeclcsiam (le Wakfeld cum port suis.”
In these few words and simple terms an interest is conveyed which in these times would be estimated too low at ten thousand pounds a year. We may observe, that the gift of the church of Wakefield plainly shews that Wakefield had been granted to the Warrens before the time of Henry I. and brings the date of that grant within a narrow compass. We may also observe, that the donor does not specify the alias ecclesias which went with the church of Coningsborough. But we have a grant of the third earl (not the second), in which they are specifically mentioned, viz. Braithwell, Dinnington, Harthill, Fishlake, Hatfield with the chapel of Thorne, and Sandal with the chapel of Armthorpe. To this deed we shall have occasion, however, so frequently to refer, that I must be excused for re-printing it from Mr. WatsonÂ´s “History of the House of Warren,” 1. 91, where it is given from archbishop CorbridgeÂ´s register:
Sciant presentes et futuri, quod ego Vllillielmus Comes de Wlarrena dono concedo et hac presenti carta mea confirmo Deo et Sancto Paneratio de Lewes et monachis ibidem Deo servientibus, pro salute animm meze, et Willielmi atris mei et omnium successorum;
Ecclissiam de Conningburgh cum ecclesiis, capellis, terris, et decimis, et omnibus ad eas pertiuentibus; scilicet
Ecclesiam de Braythewell cum pertinentiis.
Ecclesiam de Doni thon cum pert.
Ecclesiam de Hertgill cum pert.
Ecclesiam de F ishlak cum pert.
Ecclesiam de Hetfeld cum capella. de Thorne et omnibuser:.
P Ecclesiam de Parva Sandale cum capella de Hernoldsthorp cum omnibus ert.
Ecclesiam etiam dis Wlakefeld cum capella de Horbyry t omnibus pert. suis.
Ecclesiam de Halyfax cum omnibus pert. suis.
Ecclesiam de Dewesbyry cum capella de Hertesheved et omnibus pert. suis.
Ecclesiam de Birton cum pert, suis.
Ecclesiam de Majori Sandale cum omnibus peri;. suis.
Et si forte terrae in quibus sitae sunt predicae ecclesiae in alterius alicujus dominium quam in meum, sive per homagium et servitium, sive per maritagium, sive aliquo cumgue modo devenerint, volo nihilominus et percipio, ut praedictae ecclesiae et omnes aliee qnas habent de feodo meo, priedictis monachis ad sustentationem eorum libere et quiete semper remaneant, ita ut nullus omnino hominum in eisdem ecclesiis aliquod jus advocationis sive presentationis sibi posset vendicare preter ipsos monachos meos, quibus totum jus quod unquam habui, Â·vel habere potui, in eisdem ecclesiis dedi et concessi, nullo mihi vel heredibus meis in eisdem ecclesiis jure retento. Hiis testibus, Rapdulpho de Warren, Hugone de Petroponte, Radulpho de Playz, Rob. de Frivele, Reginaldo de VVaren, Adam deg Poning, Gwyd. de Blencecourt, Will. de Drosaio, et multis aliis.
William de Warren, third earl of Surrey
It may be expected that a reason should be assigned for transferring this most important charter to the third earl from the second, to whom it has heretofore been usually assigned. In the Monasticon, xv. 15 of the second edition, is a charter of a William earl Warren, who must be the third, because one of the witnesses is Theobald archbishop of Canterbury. Among the lay witnesses to this charter we find the names which are appended to the charter above, and placed nearly in the same order. Secondly, in a chartulary of the priory of Lewes, then in possession of the earl of Dorset, Dodsworth read an account of the donation of the above churches, accompanied by the ceremony of cutting a lock of hair from the heads of the earl and Reginald his brother 1 in the presence of archbishop Theobald and other distinguished ecclesiastics. Theobald was not seated in the archiepiscopal throne till some time after the death of the second earl.
These princely donations were made by princely men. The second earl was by his mother grandson to the Conqueror, and consequently nephew to Rufus and Henry. His lady was a granddaughter of Henry I. of France, by his third son Hugh, the earl of Vermandois. The third earl was therefore nearly allied to the royal houses both of England and France, and his marriage was into a house scarcely inferior to his own, the earls of Ponthieu
At his death, in 1147, he left only one daughter his heir, who survived him about fifty years. The heralds of the Tudor reigns assigned him another daughter, and allowed her supposed descendants the quartering of `Warren, as may be seen on the monument of Sir Anthony Cooke, at Rumford in Essex.
That there was a sole daughter and heir appears, first, from the register of Lewes:
” In isto Comite defecit soboles masculini sexus: non habuit nisi unicam filiam, nominc Isabellam, quam post se reliquit heredem.”
Secondly, from the annals of Nicholas Trivet: “Hanc Comitissam [Isabellam] genuerat `Willielmus tertius Comes de Warrenna, qui cum rege Ludovico perexerat Jerusalem et ibidem obiit, relicta ista Comitissa unica iilia et herede.”
Thirdly, from the admitted fact, that the titles and possessions of her family descended undiminished on her and her issue.
William de Blois, 4th Earl of Surrey and Earl of Morton
This great lady could be given to no husband but one of royal extraction. She was first married to William of Blois, one of the sons of king Stephen. He died without issue in 1159. She was afterwards given by Henry II to his half-brother Hameline, an illegitimate son of Geffery earl of Anjou, for whom an ample provision was thus made. He was earl of Warren and Surrey till his death in 1202, in the reign of king John.
A circumstance in the history of the house of Warren, which appears to have escaped former writers, demands here to be mentioned. In the Nostel chartulary, now in the Cotton library, is the transcript of a deed, which shews that another person bore about this period the name of Warren, and exercised a certain control over portions of the Coningsborough fee. This person is William, son to Henry earl of Northumberland, by Ada de Warren, a daughter to the second, and sister to the third earl. Describing himself as “Willielmus de Warrenna filius Henrici Comitis Northumbrorum,” for the health of his own soul, of his fatherÂ´s and motherÂ´s, of the elder William earl of WarrenÂ´s, and of the countess IsabelÂ´s, he confirmed a grant which Helias de Bosevile had made to the canons of Nostel, of the mill at Harlington, and lands at Barnborough. There is also in the Monasticon, 11. 203, a deed of the same person to Brinkburn priory, in which he calls himself William de Warren. This was William, afterwards named the Lion, who became king of Scotland on the death of his elder brother Malcolm in 1165.
`Mr. Ellis, in a valuable paper in the Archaaologia, xvii. 318, speaks of this as the most curious mode of investiture he had seen. De Vaines notices a charter which was attested thus :” presenti scripto sigilli mei robur apposui cum tribus pilis barbae meae.”
Hameline, 5th Earl of Surrey
Earl Hameline appears to have spent more time in England than any of his predecessors; and the title of seneschal of Coningsborough, attached to the name of Ote de Tilli, who built the cross at Doncaster, is a pertinent proof that he had there a regularly constituted household. In the little village of Braithwell, one of the dependencies of Coningsborough, and not far from the castle, a cross was erected, in the inscription on which he is mentioned by the honourable distinction of brother of the king. Once he entertained his nephew king John at Coningsborough, as may be collected from the teste of a royal letter in the second of his reign, addressed to the dean and chapter of York, which is apud Cunesburgum 1 He confirmed the grant of churches and tithe to the priory of Lewes, and gave to that house “totam culturam suam in campis de Cuningesburgh,” which formed, I presume, the material part of the land now said to be holden of the priory manor at Coningsborough. He gave also to the monks of Lewes the full tithe of all his eels, anguilloe, in Yorkshire. He gave to the monks of St. Mary at York thirty bremes yearly, to be delivered by his bailiff of Sandtoft. There is also a charter of his to the burgesses of Wakefield. All this shews that earl Hameline was much in this part of Yorkshire, and to him I am inclined to attribute the erection of the keep and of most of the other parts of the castle of Coningsborough as it now appears. Certain it is that he endowed a chapel within the castle. The terms of the charter imply that it was a first endowment, not an augmentation of revenue; whence it may be inferred that he founded as well as endowed it, for it was not usual for the first founders of religious edifices to leave them for a successor to endow. The charter follows from HopkinsonÂ´s collections:
Nos Hamelinus Comes VVarren et Isabella Comitissa Warren uxor Hamelini Comitis Warren cum favore et assensu Willielmi de VVarren filii et heredis nostri, dedimus, Ste. in puram et perpetuam et liberam eleemosynam, Deo et Sanctae Mariae matri Dei et sanctis Apostolis Philippo et Jacobo, et capellm eorundem Apostolorum qum sita est in Castello nostro de Kiningburghe L solidos annuatim in villa de Kiningburgh de molendinis nostris recipiendos, Src. Hanc autem donationem feci mus pro amore Dei j
etusalute animarum nostrarum et pro salute iegis Henrici domini et fratris mei, et pro salute animae Galfridi Comitis Andegaviensis, et pro salute omnium antecessorum et successorum Comitum et Comitissarum YVarrenim et Comitum et Comitissarum Andegaviensium.
The castle chapel was dedicated, it appears, to the apostles Philip and James; the endowment only fifty shillings a year, which was to be paid from the mills at Coningsborough. These mills, we may remember, are mentioned in the account of Coningsborough contained in Domesday book. The prayers of the officiating priest were to be for the earls of Anjou and the earls of Wa1Â·ren, by which was constantly kept in mind within the walls of the castle the descent of its lords from these two great houses, but especially for earl Hameline and the countess Isabella, king Henry II and Geffery earl of Anjou.
The only part of the present edifice which has any appearance of having been ever devoted to the purposes of religion is the aerial chapel in one of the buttresses of the keep; and this might be the place in which the priest was accustomed to officiate. At the same time it is proper to observe, that there appears to have been within the walls a chapel of a different construction, though no trace of it now remains, for in a warrant of the earl of Lancaster, during his temporary possession of Coningsborough, at the beginning of the 14th century, we have an order for timber out of the wood of Coningsborough for the repair of the roof of the chapel, which cannot apply to the chapel which, almost without a figure, may be said to be excavated in one of the buttresses of the keep.
William de Warren, 6th Earl of Surrey
To Hameline another William succeeded. He enjoyed the honours and lands for nearly forty years. He confirmed to Lewes the gift of their Yorkshire churches and of the fish from Hatfield and to this earl William, rather than to the second, who died before the abbey was founded, I attribute the gift of eels to the abbey of Roche from the same inexhaustible fisheries.
This great earl took to wife the eldest of the sisters and heirs of the Mareschals earls of Pembroke. She was the widow of Hugh Bigod, earl of Norfolk. To this lady the staff of marshal of England was delivered by the king as her right of inheritance. The custody of the castle of Coningsborough was committed to her in 26 Henry III which was during the minority of her son. When she died, her heart was buried at Lewes with the Warrens, and her body was consigned to its grave in the abbey of Tinterne, by her four stout sons, Roger earl of Norfolk, Hugh and Ralph Bigod, with John earl of Warren, the only son of the second marriage.
John de Warren, 7th earl of Surrey
The possession of Coningsborough was in earl William and his two successors; both named John, with a slight interruption from an accidental cause, through the long space of 140 years. Perhaps this is an unequalled instance, the average being 47 wears in three successive proprietors. John, the seventh earl of Warren, married Alice, sister by the motherÂ´s side, to king Henry III to whose party he sometimes adhered, and at other times sided with the barons against him.
What was the spirit of this great earl may be collected from the attack which he made upon Alan le Zouch and Roger his son in the kingÂ´s court at Westminster 2 and his memorable answer n the quo warranto proceedings of Edward I. when, in the presence of the commissioners, drawing an old rusty sword, he exclaimed that his ancestors required their lands by the sword, had held them by the sword, and he would defend them by the sword. 3
1Madox. Exch. 696. 2 The earl had a pardon, which may be read in Rymer, 54Â· Henry III
3 In this unimaginative age, when we are in danger of being deprived of every thing which tends to mark and individualize the members of the old baronage of England, attempts have been to represent this as a mere technicality of law, and not an effusion of a bold and indignant spirit. But if it had been merely a cool plea that he held per gladium, why do we not find the same plea from other barons who held by the same right that Warren did? Or why has any one thought it worth while to record his answer? We have, moreover, in Kirkby’s Inquest, evidence of the existence of this spirit in the earl; for it is there returned that he claimed to be lord of Coningsborough and other places
What he was among his neighbours in Yorkshire, and what use was made of his strong hold at Coningsborough, we may collect from what has been already told of the abbot of RocheÂ´s granger and forester at Armthorpe. In the same record, the Hundred Rolls, we find Richard de Heydon, his seneschal, charged with having imprisoned Beatrice, the wife of William Scissor [Taylor] of Rotherham, at Wakefield, for a whole year, because she impleaded the earl for a tenement at Greasborough, and how she was set at liberty the jury knew not. The inquest charges generally this Richard de Heydon with oppressiones diabolicas et innumerabiles ; and the constable of the castle of Coningsborough, Nigel Drury, is charged with having come into the town of Rotherham, and taken six stone of wool out of a certain chest of one who had been hung at Coningsborough, against the prohibition of the bailiffs of the town ; and that he took the horse of one Roger de Bretton, with a sackfull of oats, as he was on the kingÂ´s highway near Coningsborough, and carried them to the castle. When we read these statements, which were delivered upon the oaths of the country, we may see reason to rejoice that the cells of Coningsborough can now be contemplated only as objects of antiquarian curiosity.
From another part of the same rolls we learn that the earl of Warren claimed to have at Coningsborough, gallows, assize of bread and beer, the regulation of measures, pleas of effusion of blood, and namio vetito, and all other transgressions and claims; also wayf; and that these he had enjoyed for twenty years last past, the jury knew not by what warrant. He pleaded that he and his ancestors had enjoyed them for time immemorial, except the de namio vetito, which he was willing to relinquish. He claimed also, as an inheritance from his ancestors, a free chace in the manor of Wakefield, and also at Coningsborough and its dependencies: to wit, Thorne, Fishlake, Dowsthorpe, Hatfield, Stainford, Butterbusk, Dalton, Braithwell, Clifton, Crookhill, Firsby, and Mikelbring, together with free warren in all his lands, whether of fee or demesne, by prescription and charter. This was in 1277.
John de Warren, 8th and last earl of Surrey
John, the eighth and last earl of Warren, was the grandson of the former, his father having been killed in a tournament in 1286. He was about eighteen at the death of his grandfather in 1304, and at his death in 1347 there was an end of the connection of the name of Warren with Coningsborough.
To this earl king Edward I. gave his granddaughter, Joan de Barr, in marriage. The marriage was issueless, and not a happy one. Both parties earnestly sued for a divorce, but the law of the church was uncompromising, it could not, however, prevent the earl from estranging himself from her, and she lived on a revenue derived from the Warren estates. She was alive in the year of the earlÂ´s death, when, under the description of ” Domina Joan de Barr, Comitissa Surrey,” she presented a clerk to one of the WarrensÂ´ churches in the diocese of Salisbury;` so that it is probable there is no pretence for naming any second wife, Isabel de Houland standing, we may presume, in the same relation to him with Maud de Neirford, who produced him a numerous offspring. In all that relates to the marriages, real or supposed, and issue of this earl, Mr. WatsonÂ´s book, which was written to support an hypothesis, must be read with great caution.
One intrigue of this earl produced consequences which threatened for a time a premature separation of Coningsborough from the possessions of the house of Warren. The northern border of the lands in Yorkshire, forming the Warren fee, touched in a great extent of its course on the fee of the great lord of Pontefract. Disputes seem from time to time to have arisen between these great chiefs; and in the year 1268 it appears that, in a dispute about a pasture, the Warrens and the Lacis had armed each their retainers, and prepared for one of those lawless encounters of which there are several instances in our baronial history, but were prevented by the king.
Alice de Laci, the heiress of Pontefract, was of about the same age with the eighth earl of Warren. She was given in marriage to Thomas earl of Lancaster, grandson to Henry III who lived for the most part at her castle of Pontefract. This lady, on the Monday before Ascension-day, in 1317, was carried off by violence, and conveyed to a castle of the earl of Warren, at Reigate in Surrey. There was much mystery in this affair at the time ; and the antiquary and historian, it is to be feared, too often deceives himself with the hope of throwing light upon transactions which were wrapped in impenetrable darkness at the time of their occurrence. Concerning the broad fact that she was taken to the earlÂ´s castle at Reigate against the consent of her husband, there is no room for doubt. Certain also it is that she was divorced by her indignant husband, and that the earl of Lancaster proceeded to avenge himself by laying siege to the castles in Yorkshire belonging to the earl of Warren, which must have been Coningsborough, and Sandal near Wakefield, a writ issuing from the ring, dated 3 November 1317, that he should cease from doing so 2 and further, it is certain, that when in 1318 the earl of Lancaster engaged to pardon every one all trespasses and felonies done against him, he made an exception of the trespasses and felonies of the earl of Warren.
Earl of Lancaster
In the same year, 1318, the earl of Lancaster, who was then in the plenitude of his power, took from the earl of Warren a grant of his manor of Wakefield for the life of the earl of VVarren: if a make-peace, it must be allowed a noble one; but it is also certain, that the earl of Lancaster obtained also Coningsborough, thus banishing his rival entirely from the north. We have several evidences shewing his occupation of it between 1317 and 1321. In 1322 the discontents of the earl of Lancaster drove him into open rebellion. Amongst others to whom the kingÂ´s warrant issued to pursue and take he earl, was the earl of Warren. And we find the name 0f the earl of Warren among the peers present in the castle of Pontefract, when sentence of death was passed on the earl of Lancaster, and he was led forth to execution.
1 She certainly survived her husband, for Elizabeth de Clare, in her will, dated 1355, leaves to dame Johanne de Bars, Countesse de Garenne, an image of gold of John the Baptist in the desert. see NicholsÂ´s Royal Wills, p. 37.
2 Foedera, 11. 345.
The alienation which the earl of Warren had made of his Yorkshire inheritance appears to have been with proper legal forms, and the possession of it by the lord of Pontefract complete. On his death these lands would escheat to the crown. And we find accordingly, in the patent-rolls, that king Edward II granted custody of the castle of Coningsborough, late belonging to Thomas earl of Lancaster, the kingÂ´s enemy, to Simon de Wodeham, valeto regis.
Nor did the earl of Warren recover possession till some years after the death of his intruder. In the 1st Edward III 1327, a warrant issued to the kingÂ´s escheator, north of Trent, not to meddle with the castles of Sandal or Coningsborough, or any of the manors of Wakefield, Thorne, Sowerby, Hatfield, and Stainford, to which the earl of Warren laid claim, they being, by consent of the said earl, and of Henry earl of Lancaster, who was brother of earl Thomas, and his next heir in blood, to remain in the kingÂ´s hands, to be delivered to the said Henry. But some arrangement was made by which the earl of Warren was restored; for we find him, in the 5th and 6th of Edward III making grants of small portions of land in the fee of Coningsborough. It is not improbable, however, that this was the easier as arrangements had been made which transferred the Yorkshire possessions of the Warrens to the crown on the death of this earl without issue, in contravention of the reasonable claim of the house of Arundel, descended of his sister. I annex two original warrants of the earl of Lancaster, during his temporary possession of Coningsborough:
Thomas Counte de Lancastre et de Leicestre, Seneschal dÂ´Engleterre: A Johan de Lassell n’re Conestable de Kyngeburgh salutz. Nous vous mandonis qe de nÂ´re bois deKyngesburgh facetz liverer a nÂ´re bien ame compaignoun MonsÂ´ Nichol de Segrave quatre funz pur merym de n’re doun ur redrester ses oxlyns qe sunt ars a Dunitton. Et
cette ljettre vous sera garaunt. Done a nÂ´re chastel de Pountiiett le xxuu jour de JanÂ´ en lÂ´an unzime.
This warrant authorized John de Lassell, the constable of Coningsborough, to give to Nicholas de Segrave four timber trees from the wood of Coningsborough for the repairs of some building which had been burnt at Dinnington. The next is a similar warrant for the delivery of two oaks to the friars of Tickhill:
Thomas Counte de Lancastre et de Leyeestre Senesch. dÂ´Engleterre a Johan de Lasseles nre Conestable de Conynggesburgh Salutz. Nous vous mandonis qe de nÂ´re boys de Conynggesburgh facez liver deux cheignes a les freres de Seint Austin de Tikhull de nÂ´re doun. Et caste lettre vous serra garant. Done a nÂ´re Chastel de Pountfreitt le xxiii jour de Fehr. en lan du regne le Roi Edward filz a tresnoble roi Edward unzime.
The last is printed by Watson, who gives also a third to the same constable: ” facez liverer un fust por marim por repailler la lcoverture de la chapele de Conyngsburgh de nÂ´re doun,” dated at Beaurepaire, 28 March, ll Edward II.
Mr. Watson obtained them, through his friend Mr.Beckwith, from the archives of the Foljambe family at Aldwark; where also was deposited the original of the bill of expences of sir Ralph de Beeston and sir Simon de Baldirston at Coningsborough, in the 14 Edward II. It is unnecessary to trouble the press again with what has been so often printed; but in the same collection was another bill of expences of nearly the same date, which may not improperly be inserted:
ExpensÂ´ Dni Had. de Beiston DÂ´ni Simonis de Baldriston et DÂ´ni Elyae de Stapilton apud Connyngb. Die Mar. in vig. Apostolorum Philip. et Jacobi anno regis E. fil. regis E. xiiimo.
In pane emlpto ……… xvm d.
Item in 11. ag’ cum dim. quarto vini empt. xiii cl. ob.
Item in xxvr. 1agÂ´ cervisÂ´ empt. . . . irs.
Item in carne empt …….. 111 s. vd.
Item in II auc’ empt cum vi pull. gallinÂ´ empt. xvi d.
Item in una lib. cand. empt …… U d.
Item in feno empt. …….. XII d.
Item in di qÂ´rt cum II bÂ´ et di. avenÂ´ empt. II s. II d.
Sma argentÂ´ xn s. X d. ob.
These persons were officers under the earl of Lancaster; and it appears by other papers in the possession of Mr. Foljambe that they were employed to superintend falls of wood on the Warren fee, which the earl had ordered at Hatfield. Considering the circumstances under which he came into possession, and the probability that the lands might revert to the former owner, it is no improbable surmise that he sought to derive from them t11e utmost annual profit they could afford.
The grant of his Yorkshire lands to the earl of Lancaster had been made by the earl of Warren only pro termino vitae, that is of himself. Indeed no more than a life interest inhered in him at the time of the grant; for a little before he had settled the remainder after his own decease on certain parties who must now be mentioned.
Estranged from his wife, he took to his bed one Maud de Neirford, a lady of a family of rank in the county of Norfolk; and if either of his pleas would have been allowed to enable him to obtain a divorce from Joan de Barr, proximity of blood and precontract with Maud, it appears that she would have become countess of Warren. She had produced him two sons, who were called John de Warren and Thomas de Warren; and on these sons it was the desire and design of the earl that Coningsborough and his other property north of Trent should descend, while the rest was left to take the course appointed by law, and become annexed to the property of the earls of Arundel.
For this purpose he conveyed to the King ” castra et villas meas de Coningsburgh et Sandal ; et maneria mea de Wakefeld, Hatfeld, Thorne, Sowerby, Braithwell, Fishlake, Dewsbury, et Halifax.” This charter is dated on the Thursday next after the feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, in 9 Edward II. 1316. That feast day is the 29th of June; and on the 4th of August following, which was the 10 Edward II., the king by charter, having its teste at Lincoln, reconveys all that had been passed to him, to the earl for life, remainder to Maud de Neirford for life, remainder to John de Warren son to the said Maud and the heirs male of his body, remainder to Thomas de Warren another son of the said Maud and the heirs male of his body, remainder to the heirs of the body of the earl lawfully begotten; and in the event of the extinction of these parties to revert to the king
But this remarkable disposition did not take effect in the manner which the earl intended; for the two sons died before the earl without leaving issue; and he also survived Maud de Neirford. In his latter years the earl appears to have sought to be on better terms with the church than he had been in the busier and more active period of his life. He made a gift of the rectory of Hatfield to the neighbouring abbey of Roche, the profits of which were sufficient to enable them to add thirteen monks to their foundation.
The earl made his last will at his castle of Connesburgh on the 24th June 1347, and on the 30th of the same month he closed what must have been a truly unhappy life.
Dugdale says concerning the will that it was entered in the register of archbishop Zouch ; but when Mr. Watson inquired for that register he was told that it was lost; and it did not occur to him that all the early registers of the see were abstracted by Dodsworth, and that his abstract was in safe keeping at the Bodleian. Dugdale has a few notes from the will, but the following copy of DodsworthÂ´s abstract will bring the reader better acquainted with its contents:
Jehan counte de VVarrenne, de SurrÂ´, et de Stratherne, seigneur de Bromfeld, de Yal, &c. enterre en lÂ´eglise seynt Pancrace de Lewes-Vililliam de Vilarrene mon filz–Jeo devys a Mons? RobÂ´t de Holand, 8;c.-Jco devys a Monss Otes de Holand, &c.-Jeo devys a Edward de VVarren mon filz $20, et a Johanne de Basing ma fille une coupe dÂ´argent. Jeo devys a Katerine ma fille dys mares, et a Isabelle ma fille, noveyn de Sempringham, vynt livers. J eo devys a Mons. Wvilliam de Fryskennay 2 botell dÂ´argent, une eschocheon dÂ´arrnes Mons. John de Breouse. Jeodevys a Isabel de Holand ma cornpaigne mon avel dÂ´or one le bone ruby.-Tesmoigne dame .t laud de Holand, hrlons.
Thomas de Holand, Mons. John de Eland, Thomas Dayvill, sir Raufe Bigot, VVilliam Mauduit. f. 317 of Zouch.
The precise force of the word compaigne, as applied to Isabel de Holand, is not apparent. Joan de Barr was beyond question then alive, and bearing the title of countess of Surrey; but it is thought by many that the marriage was dissolved, and that
Isabel was in truth his wife, a relation which was expressed by the word compczigne, of which we have a pertinent proof in the will of Richard Fitz Alan earl of Arundel and Surrey, nephew to the earl of Warren, who desires to be buried in the priory of Lewes, ” pres de la tombe de ma treschere compaigne Alianore de Lancastre.2 Watson also says that she is found in the court rolls of Wakefield after the earlÂ´s decease as Isabel countess of Warren.
VVilliam de Warren his son. In 12 Edward H1. 1338, this William, then prior of Horton in Kent, had occasion to show that he was a son of the earl of Warren; when he averred that he was so, and that he was born in the castle of Conesburgh. (3)
Edward de Warren, his son. This is by far the most remarkable name which occurs in this will for I venture to think that the discovery of the existence of a son of the earl of Warren who bore the name of Edward was all that was wanted to destroy the argument of the author of the history of the House of Warren, by which he labours to show that the Warrens of Poynton in Cheshire did not descend, as was generally believed, from an illegitimate son of the last earl, but from some junior member of the first house of Warren.
Mr. Watson admits that the Warrens of Poynton descend from an Edward de Warren who must have been contemporary with this Edward. The material question in the descent is who was the father of that Edward? Vincent had asserted that he was a son of that John de Warren who is mentioned in the settlement of 1316. This supposition Mr. Watson triumphantly refutes. But in showing the descent of his Edward from a John, son of another John de Warren, persons of whose existence there is no sort of proof, and whose marriages with daughters of Townsend and of Port of Etwall have every appearance of being fabrications, he had nothing to support him but a pedigree constructed by Flower and Glover, who here, as in some other instances, seem to have sacrificed truth on the altar of family vanity.(4)
If the Edward de Warren of the will he not the Edward de Warren the undoubted progenitor of Warren of Poynton, we have then two Edwards de Warren contemporary, men of equal rank and pretension ; we have further the Warrens of Poynton bearing the arms which this Edward would naturally assume, Warren, with a canton of Neirford; and we have a strong current of tradition that the Warrens of Poynton did descend of an illegitimate son of the last earl of Warren, with an illegitimate son living and grown up to manhood, bearing the name which was borne by his contemporary, the first undoubted ancestor of the Poynton family. I shall add, that the existence of this Edward was known to the compiler of a beautiful collection of Cheshire pedigrees, either Ralph Starkey or Sampson Erdeswick, who show the descent of Warren of Poynton from him.
1 These charters may be read at length in the History of the House of Warren, 11. 10-16; where is also a third grant, which perhaps never was perfected, in which the king gives to the earl only, making no mention of the other parties, his Yorkshire possessions, with reservation of the manors of Thorne and Hat
2 Vincent, 526.* 3 Inq. ad quod darn
3 Inq. Ad quod damnum, 12 Edw. 111, No. 29.
4 In this pedigree they represent Warina, sister to Herfastus, the first ancestor of the house of Warren, as having, by Osmund de Cornitis Villa, Hugh Caper king of France. Such fables could be sanctioned by high authority in the infancy of history and criticism, but surely such a man as Glover could not actually have believed them.