Page images

"From this Adam," says Dugdale, "King Henry II took the castle of Danby, with the lordship and forest thereto appertaining, and gave him, instead thereof, the Grange of Micklethwaite, with the whole of the fee of Collingham and Berdsey."

It was part of the King's policy to break up, as far as possible, the estates of powerful barons, and de Brus, moreover, had been a strong supporter of his rival, King Stephen. Although the exchange does not appear to have been an unfair one, the loss of the castle and forest of Danby was much resented by the Bruces. Accordingly, in 1200, Peter de Brus arranged to give up the lands just mentioned, and, in addition, to pay King John the enormous sum of £1,000 sterling, equivalent in purchasing power to perhaps £15,000 of modern money, in exchange for their old property, finding sureties to the extent of 700 marcs (Rotuli de Oblatis, 109).

After taking up his residence at Danby, Marmaduke entered into an agreement with Walter de Fauconberg, lord of Skelton, with whom he jointly held the patronage of the great Priory of Guisborough, with regard to the form of presentation, and charter No. 216 (Cart. Prior de Gyseburne) puts this agreement on record. The presentation of the Prior-Elect was to take place alternately at Skelton and Castleton, and the agreement cannot but suggest the idea of great ceremony and pomp, when the stately cavalcade accompanying the new Prior travelled across the moors to get him confirmed by the patron" (Ibid., Introduction, vol. i, xx).

[ocr errors]

In 1279, Robert, Marmaduke's eldest son, died, leaving an only daughter and heiress, Lucia. Marmaduke then, with perhaps the royal consent, and certainly with that of Lord Percy, arranged that the ancestral estates of the Thweng family, viz. the fiefs of Kilton, Thwing, and Lund should, after his death, pass to his second son, Marmaduke, and that Lucia, Robert's heiress, should only succeed to the property which had come into possession of the Thwengs by the Brus partition of 1271.

He then handed over to to Marmaduke, who some years previously had married Isabella, daughter of Sir Robert de Roos, Knt., of Ingmanthorpe, the whole of the Kilton fief, with the exception of the lordship of Hinderwell.

"Ego, Marmaducus de Thweng, Dominus de Danby, dedi Marmaduco filio meo, Castellum de Kilton, et Manerium de Kilton, et Maneria de Lithum et Cotum" (Dodsworth, 68, p. 10).

Marmaduke I died in the same year, and was interred, with all the pomp and ceremony befitting the joint patron of the house, in the north aisle of the chancel of Guisborough Priory. In all probability, a monument bearing effigies of himself and his wife was erected over his tomb.

The Priory Church was burnt down in June, 1289, and a new church, of which the magnificent east window is now practically all that remains, was commenced in 1309. The church destroyed by fire appears to have been a remarkably beautiful Early English edifice, erected between 1230 and 1250, in place of the original Norman church. On the north side of the magnificent east window a shield, bearing the now famous arms of the de Thwengs of Kilton, and which was evidently placed there in the time of Marmaduke II, first Parliamentary Baron de Thweng of Kilton, still remains in situ.

Of the effigies, which were undoubtedly placed in this church in memory of several members of the Thweng family, not a trace now remains.

SIR ROBERT DE THWENG, eldest son and heir of Marmaduke, feudal Baron de Thweng of Danby, was born and baptised at Kilton Castle in 1255. In 1271, at the age of 16, he married Matilda, third and youngest daughter and co-heiress of Roger III, last feudal Baron de Merlay, of Morpeth Castle, Northumberland.

The Merlays were a family of considerable influence and importance, being descended from Sir William de Merlay, to whom the Conqueror had given the lordship of Morpeth. William's son, Ralph de Merlay, married Julian, daughter of Earl Gospatric, and Rilton and Wyndegates were granted to him by Henry I on his marriage. He founded, in 1137, the Cistercian Abbey of Newminster. Roger III, the last of this baronial house, died in 1265, leaving three daughters, Mary, the eldest, who married Sir William de Greystoke, Knt., and received the castle and lordship of Morpeth; Isabel, who afterwards married Sir Robert de Eure, Knt., to whom Wytton, with the service of Wyndegate, was assigned on the partition of the Merlay property (Inq. p. m. 50 Hen. III, No. 39, 55 Hen. III, No. 35), and Matilda, who at the age of eight years (Cal. Gen., 120) married young Robert de Thweng.

On the occasion of his marriage, Kilton Castle was handed over to Robert by his father, the latter removing to Castleton, as we have already seen,

The sole issue of the marriage was a daughter and heiress, Lucia, born at Kilton Castle on the Friday before Palm Sunday, 7 Edward I (Yorkshire Inquisitions, Yorks. Arch. Society, Record Series, 1898, p. 170). Robert died in May, 1279, at the age of 24, and was interred in the north aisle of the chancel of Guisborough Priory. By one of his mistresses, Matilda, daughter of Sir Robert Hansard, Knt., he had issue two sons, Marmaduke, born at Kilton in 1273, who was subsequently killed in the Scottish wars, and Robert, born at Kilton in 1275, who was afterwards a priest.

LUCIA DE THWENG, the only daughter and heiress of Sir Robert de Thweng, of Kilton Castle, by his wife, Matilda de Merlay, was born at Kilton Castle on the 24th March, 1279, and baptised on Palm Sunday in the chapel of St. Peter, "infra castellum de Kilton," by Alan, private chaplain of the castle. There were present at the ceremony Sir Richard de Thweng, the infant's great-uncle; Peter Mariscallus, a knight in the Percy service; Richard le Estyvor; Lucia, the infant's grandmother, wife of Marmaduke, 1st Baron de Thweng of Danby; and the infant's great-aunt, Margery (de Brus), widow of Robert, Lord de Roos (Cal. Gen., 513).

Lucia's father died a few weeks after her birth, and her mother, who never seems to have recovered from the illness which followed the birth of her daughter, died in June of the same year, at the age of 16. On the death of her grandfather, in December, 1279, Lucia became one of the chief heiresses in Yorkshire and a ward of King Edward I. This well-descended heiress was related to the de Mauley, de Brus, de Merlay, and de Roos families, and the custody of her person was given to her uncle, Sir Marmaduke, then 22 years of age, who was now lord of the ancestral Thweng estates.

Lucia spent her childhood at Kilton, and in August, 1294, when fifteen years and five months old, she was given in marriage by the King to Sir William le Latimer, Junior, the eldest son of a brave but needy and avaricious soldier, William le Latimer, Senior, a personal friend of the King, who had taken a very prominent part in the Welsh wars.

Marmaduke was bitterly opposed to this match, as he wished his niece to marry his eldest son, Marmaduke, born in 1274, then about 20 years of age, in order to keep the Brus property in the family. Lucia would not seem to have been averse to such a match, but she both disliked and despised the husband

chosen for her by the King. Nor would young Latimer seem to have had any very enthusiastic views regarding the alliance. Although only a little over fifteen, Lucia had already given ample proof of the laxity of morals for which she subsequently became so notorious, and was likely soon to become a mother. But the elder Latimer urged his son to marry the heiress, as such an alliance would at once put him in the enviable position of being a great baron in capite.

The marriage was solemnised in the chapel of St. Peter, at Kilton Castle, in August, 1294, and a son was born in December of the same year; and in this month Latimer, Junior, obtained a writ to have seisin of all the lands which had come into the Thweng family through the Brus partition. On the ground of the illegitimacy of Lucia's child, Latimer, Senior, then induced the King to so far pervert the royal prerogative as to grant him the lordship and forest of Danby for life.

William Latimer, Junior, and his wife resided first at the old Brus castle on the Danby lordship; but the proximity of Lucia's cousins at Kilton led him to move to the manorhouse at Brunne, which had also, as had everything he possessed, come to him through his wife. The very low sexual morality of the period permitted a considerable degree of laxity to a young married woman, more especially to a beautiful young heiress married against her wishes; but Lucia seems to have exceeded even these very generous limits, and when, within a year of her marriage, she left her husband and lived. for some months at Kilton as the mistress of her cousin Marmaduke, Latimer, Senior, obtained a confirmation from the King of the previous grant to him of the lordship of Danby for life, with free chase there, and remainder to William his son and Lucia his wife, and to the lawful heirs of the said Lucia.

In 1300, the Latimers abandoned to decay the old feudal fortress of Castleton, and commenced what is now known as Danby Castle, some two miles east of the original stronghold. Military feudalism was already dying out, and the laws made by Edward I especially, perhaps, the Statute of Quia Emptores— considerably hastened its decay. Purely fortress castles, such as Kilton and Castleton, had already become an anachronism. The dissolution of the old feudal ties prevented their owners filling them with retainers, and with the growing demand for comfort and even luxury, the barons became dissatisfied with

the very uncomfortable and inconvenient residences which had been handed down to them by their predecessors.

Danby Castle is the earliest example known to the writer of the type of palace-fortress, which came more prominently into vogue a century later, and of which Lumley, co. Durham, Bolton-in-Wensleydale, Wressle, and Sheriff Hutton are wellknown north country examples. Danby, of which extensive remains still exist, is a quadrangular building with towers at the angles built round a small court-yard, and was probably finished about 1302, and occupied by Latimer, Senior, until his death in 1305, his son residing principally at the manor house of Brunne.

As showing the strained relations existing between the Latimers and Thwengs, although the Danby lordship had come into the possession of the former family by Lucia's marriage, no shield bearing the Thweng arms occupies a place on the walls of Danby Castle, although two shields bearing the arms of the Latimers, one those of the Brus family and another those of De Roos still remain in situ.

In 1304, when her husband was fighting in Scotland, Lucia fled from Brunne and became the mistress of young Peter de Mauley, afterwards the notorious Peter V. He was an intimate friend of Lucia's cousins, and was at this time a boy of some eighteen years of age. Of this escapade, Dudgale says:Lucia, his wife, residing at his manor house of Brunne, com. Ebor., was taken away (with divers goods there) by certain unknown persons. Whereupon the King sent his Precept to the Sheriff of Yorkshire to make strict search for her throughout all that county, commanding him, in case he did find her out, he should, if need were, raise the power of the county, and carry her back to Brunne."

But Lucia never returned to her husband. From Mulgrave she went to Kilton and from Kilton to Whorlton, where she became the recognised mistress of Nicholas, Baron de Menyll of Whorlton, one of the most violent and warlike of the northern nobles. Lucia was now 26 years of age, and Menyll, who had succeeded his father four years previously, 29 years

1 Some considerable remains still exist of Whorlton Castle, long the residence of the baronial house of Menyll, which appears to have been of great extent. The original fortress was pro bably erected, like those of Skelton, Kilton, and Castleton, in the reign of Stephen. The gatehouse, now the chief

feature of the ruin, was probably built late in the reign of King Richard II (and bears the arms of Menyll, D'Arcy, and Gray) by Philip, Lord D'Arcy and Menyll, the second son of John, Lord D'Arcy, by Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Nicholas, Lord de Menyll, Lucia de Thweng's illegitimate son.

« PreviousContinue »