Page images
PDF
EPUB

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 feature of the ruin, was probably built exist of Whorlton Castle, long the resi- late in the reign of King Richard II (and dence of the baronial house of Menyll, bears the arms of Menyll, D'Arcy, and which appears to have been of great Gray) by Philip, Lord D'Arcy and Menyll, extent. The original fortress was pro the second son of John, Lord D'Arcy, bably erected, like those of Skelton, by Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Kilton, and Castleton, in the reign of Nicholas, Lord de Menyll, Lucia de Stephen. The gatehouse, now the chief Thweng's illegitimate son.

a

old. William le Latimer then applied for and obtained a divorce. In consequence of this, the King's Escheator took the manors of Yarm, Brunne, Skinningrove, and Brotton, part of Lucia's inheritance, into the King's hands (Ing. p. m. 5 Edward II,

, No. 10).

After the pronunciation of the divorce in the Consistory Court of York, Lucia, with the intention of preventing her estates descending to the children born to her whilst she was living with Latimer, conveyed all her lands to the Rector of Rudby, in trust for her issue by Menyll. Latimer, who appears to have been afraid that Menyll would attempt to deprive him of the property which had come to him through Lucia, then applied to the King for a letter under the Privy Seal ordering all persons to assist him in recovering the wife he had just divorced. But the influence of the Thweng, Mauley, and Menyll families was so strong that after enrolling the King's order in the Assize Roll, nothing further was done in the matter.

Latimer then concocted a scheme which was probably characteristic of the man. He bribed a broken-down soldier, one Robert de Bordesdeyne, to swear that he had been hired by Menyll to murder him-Latimer. He threatened Bordesdeyne that if he would not enter into the plot he had sufficient influence with the King to have him imprisoned for life in the Tower of London, and promised him 50 marcs and all out-ofpocket expenses for carrying out the plot, and that he would see that he came to no ill consequences. Bordesdeyne then bribed one Robert son of Philip the blacksmith, of Scampston, and Thomas of Roston, to swear in court that they had been engaged by him to murder Latimer. Bordesdeyne, on being examined by the Justices, confirmed everything these two men had said, and swore that he himself had been engaged by Menyll.

Now, Menyll was notoriously violent, and only a short time previously had caused the murder of a whole family at Easby, near Stokesley, consequently the Justices took a serious view of the case, and calling upon Latimer, asked him if he wished to proceed against Menyll as the principal criminal. On his answering in the affirmative, they bound him over with two sureties to prosecute at the next assizes.

They then threw Bordesdeyne and his two accomplices into York Castle to await trial. But this imprisonment greatly annoyed Bordesdeyne, for Latimer had promised him that he should come to no hurt, and at the next assizes he made a full

[ocr errors]

confession of the plot, and the Justices declared Menyll guiltless (Cart. Prior. de Gyseburne, No. 227a).

In 1307, Lucia bore Menyll an illegitimate son, Nicholas, who eventually succeeded to the barony and estates, and being summoned to Parliament 9, 10, 12, 13, and 14 Edward III, died 16 Edward III, at the age of 36 years. By his wife Alicia, daughter of William, Lord de Roos of Helmsley, he had issue an only daughter and heiress, Elizabeth, who married, first, Sir John D'Arcy de Knayth; and, secondly, Peter, sixth Baron de Mauley of Mulgrave, eldest son and heir of the Peter already mentioned as one of the lovers of Lucia.

In 1313, at the age of 34, Lucia married her second husband, Sir Robert de Everingham, a younger brother of Sir Adam Fitz-Robert de Everingham. But three years later Sir Robert was killed in the Scottish wars, and interred in the north aisle of the chancel of Guisborough Priory. By an inquisition, dated the Tuesday after the feast of St. John ante Portam Latinam, 9 Edward II (May 11th, 1316), it was found that Lucia and her late husband had been enfeoffed of the manors of Brotton and Kirkburn, of ten marcs rent in Skinningrove, and of half the Bailiwick of Langbargh, in special tail, with remainder to Robert's heirs, and of the manor of Yarm, with remainder to Nicholas de Menyll, her illegitimate son (Inq. p. m. 9 Edward II, No. 50).

Lucia married again, at the age of 41, in 1320, Sir Bartholomew de Fanacourt, a foreigner, who had been page to her first husband, Sir William le Latimer. He bore the arms, Sable, une crois patey d'argent, une border d'or recercele (Roll of Arms of the time of Edward III, published by Sir Harris Nicolas in 1829, p. 5). Fanacourt fought against the royalist forces at the battle of Boroughbridge, 1322, where he was captured (Parliamentary Writs, i, app. 197); but, largely owing to the influence of the Lords Mauley and Thweng, was subsequently pardoned and released. Curiously enough, the commander of the royalist forces at this battle was Latimer, Lucia's first husband. By an inquisition dated Thursday before Easter, 13 Edward III (March 25th, 1339), it was found that it would not be to the King's loss if he allowed the whole of the property which had come to the Thwengs by the Brus partition of 1271, with the exception of the lordship of Danby, amounting altogether to eight knights' fees and half the advowson of the Priory of Guisborough (all held in capite), to be settled on de Fanacourt and Lucia for their lives, with remainder to his heirs (Add. MSS. 26720, fo. 1846).

William, Lord Latimer, Lucia's first husband, died in 1328, and his son William, born in 1294, instituted a somewhat belated inquiry into the question of his legitimacy, and on July 1st, 1326, the following very convenient finding was arrived at, viz.:—“William, the reputed son of Sir William le Latimer, was not illegitimate, but was the son of Latimer and Lucia de Thweng " (Fasti Ebor., i, 377n). Unfortunately, the fact that his grandfather, only a few weeks after his birth, had received the grant of the lordship of Danby for life on account of his illegitimacy, and that for some thirty-four years this illegitimacy had never been disputed, goes far to disprove the accuracy of this “finding."

Lucia, who had been the means of introducing the bar sinister into two great baronial houses, died at her manor house at Brotton on the 8th January, 1346, at the age of 67. The funeral ceremony took place in the chapel of St. Peter, at Kilton Castle, in which she had been baptised and married, and her body was then conveyed to Guisborough Priory and interred alongside that of her late husband, Sir Robert de Everingham. From the Inq. p. m. dated the second week in Lent, 20 Edward III (1346), it appears that Adam Fitz-Adam de Everingham, of Laxton, was the nephew and heir of her late husband, and that he was then 30 years of age and upwards. William Fitz-William le Latimer, her grandson, then a boy of sixteen, was her nearest blood-relation, but Lucia had expressly stated that no inheritance should descend from her to him. By her will, dated early in 1346, she appointed her husband, Sir Bartholomew de Fanacourt, her sole executor and residuary legatee (Test. Ebor., i, 32). Fanacourt died on Tuesday of the second week in Lent (March 6th), 1352. his Inq. p. m. the jurors certified ignorance as to his heirs, as he was a Frenchman (Inq. p. m. 26 Edward III, Second Nos., No. 44).

MARMADUKE, the first Parliamentary Baron de Thweng of Kilton Castle, was second son of Marmaduke, feudal baron of Danby, by his wife, Lucia de Brus, and was born at Kilton Castle in 1256. He married, in 1273, at the age of 17, Isabella, daughter of Sir Robert de Roos, of Ingmanthorpe, Knt., and on his brother's death, six years later, took up his residence at Kilton Castle. By the arrangement already referred to, he

« PreviousContinue »