Beler, Roger de (DNB00)

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BELER, ROGER DE (d. 1326), judge, was son of William Beler, and grandson of Roger Beler, sheriff of Lincolnshire in 1256. His mother's name was Amicia. That the family was settled in Leicestershire we know from a license obtained by the judge in 1316 to grant a lay fee in Kirkby-by-Melton, on the Wrethek in that county, to the warden and chaplains of St. Peter, on condition of their performing religious services for the benefit of the souls of himself and his wife Alicia, his father and mother, and ancestry generally. In the civil dissensions of the period, in which Piers Gaveston lost his life, Beler was of the Earl of Lancaster's party, and in October 1318 was included in the amnesty then granted to the earl and his adherents. Shortly afterwards he received a grant of land in Leicestershire as the reward of undefined 'laudable services' rendered by him to the king. In the same year the offices of bailiff and steward of Stapleford, in Leicestershire, of which apparently he was already tenant, were entailed upon him. In this year he was one of a commission for the trial of sheriffs and other officers accused of extortion in the counties of Buckingham, Bedford, and Northampton. In 1322 he was created baron of the exchequer in the room of John de Foxle, and placed on a special commission to try certain 'malefactors and disturbers of the peace' who had forcibly broken into and pillaged certain manors belonging to Hugh le Despenser (amongst whom were Ralphand Roger la Zousch), and upon another commission for the same purpose in the following year. In 1324 he sat on a commission for the trial of persons charged with complicity in a riot at Rochester. On 29 Jan. 1325-6, whi1e on his way from Kirkby to Leicester, he was murdered in a valley near Reresby by one Eustace de Folville and his brother. A commission for the trial of the murderers issued next month, Roger la Zousch of Lubesthorp and Robert Helewell being indicted as accessories. They fled from the kingdom, and their goods were confiscated. One Eudo or Ivo la Zousch was 'appealed of' the murder by Alicia, and, being also threatened with death by Hugh le Despenser, made his escape to France, and died in Paris at Martinmas. Process of outlawry issued against him unlawfully after his death, for the removal of which his son William petitioned parliament next year (1327). Alicia survived her husband by nearly twenty years, dying in 1344. The judge left an heir named Roger, who, being an infant, became a ward of the crown. Alicia was placed in possession of the estates in Leicestershire during his minority. The judge was buried at Kirkby in the church of St. Peter, where a monument in alabaster, representing him as a knight in complete armour, was extant at the date of publication of Nichols's 'History of Leicestershire' (1795), though the lines of the drapery were with difficulty traceable.

[Dugdale's Monast. vi. 511; Madox's Exch. ii. 140; Tanner's Not. Monast. 245; Abbrev. Rot. Orig. i. 230. ii. 6, 171; Parl. Writs, ii. 522, 1647; Rot. Parl. ii. 432; Nichols's Leicest. i. pt. ii. 225, ii. pt. i. 230; Foss's Judges of England.]

J. M. R.