[Hinde's Pipe Rolls for Cumberland, &c.; Freeman's Norman Conquest and William Rufus; Archæological Journal; Stapleton's Holy Trinity Priory (in York volume of Arch. Institute); Ordericus Vitalis (ed. Société de l'Histoire de France); Matt. Paris's Chronica Majora, Gesta Stephani (ed. Howlett), and Symeon of Durham (Rolls Ser.); Testa de Nevill, and Pipe Roll of 31 Henry I (Record Comm.); Dugdale's Baronage; Monasticon Anglicanum; Waters's Survey of Lindsey; Greenstreet's Survey of Lindsey (facsimile); Round's Geoffrey de Mandeville and Feudal England; Sitwell's Barons of Pulford, pp. 62, 97; Eyton's MSS. and Cotton Charters (British Museum).]
Hugh FitzRanulf, who also figures in the ‘Lindsey Survey,’ was perhaps a younger brother (ib. pp. 184–5)—not a younger son, as alleged (Waters, p. 12)—of the Earl of Chester, in which case he was named after his uncle, Earl Hugh.
RANDULF, called De Gernons, Earl of Chester (d. 1153), was son and heir of Randulf ‘Meschin,’ earl of Chester [q. v.], whom he succeeded shortly before 1130. He is found in the pipe roll of that year indebted to the crown for large sums (p. 110), including 1,000l. which his father had died owing for the fief of his kinsman the Earl of Chester. His mother also is entered as paying considerable amounts, implying that her husband was lately dead. In the following year (8 Sept. 1131) Randulf attended a great council of the realm at Northampton (Round, Geoffrey de Mandeville, p. 265), but took no active part in affairs under Henry I.
It was with the accession of Stephen that the earl became an important factor in English politics. His power was by no means limited to the county which formed his earldom. In Lincolnshire he inherited the great fief of his father, Randulf Meschin, with that of their kinsman and predecessor, Earl Richard. In the same county his half-brother and staunch ally, William de Roumare, was in possession of their mother's large estates, while, through her, they claimed rights over Lincoln Castle. In the north, Carlisle, with its honour, which his father had once held, was a special object of the earl's desire. The springs of his policy, therefore, are found in Lincoln and Carlisle. To pacify the Scottish king and his son, Stephen granted Carlisle to the latter at the very beginning of his reign (Ric. Hex. p. 146). Henry of Scotland, coming south, attended his Easter court in 1136, when the special honour shown him raised the earl's jealousy (Geoffrey de Mandeville, p. 265; Sym. Dunelm. ii. 287). He is found, however, as a witness at Oxford to Stephen's charter of liberties after Easter (Geoffrey de Mandeville, p. 263). He seems to have then withdrawn to his dominions, and invaded Wales, but with ill-success (Sym. Dunelm. ii. 287). He stood completely aloof till 1140, when he endeavoured to intercept his rival, Henry, returning to Scotland (ib. ii. 306). Discontented at not obtaining as much as he wanted from Stephen, he succeeded, on the king's departure from Lincolnshire towards the close of the year, in gaining possession by a trick of the keep of Lincoln Castle (Ord. Vit. v. 125; Will. Newb. i. 39; Will. Malm. ii. 569). Stephen hurried back after Christmas, and closely besieged him with his half-brother and their wives in the castle. The earl, who was ‘the younger and more daring of the two,’ contrived to slip out, and strained every nerve to gather forces for the relief of the besieged. Besides his own followers and Welsh allies, he secured the assistance of Robert, earl of Gloucester [q. v.], whose daughter he had married before the death of Henry I (Will. Malm. ii. 569), and he made his way to the Empress Maud to offer his allegiance in return for help (ib. p. 570; Ord. Vit. v. 126; Will. Newb. i. 40). With his father-in-law and the forces they had gathered, he reached Lincoln on 2 Feb. 1141, and, in the battle beneath its walls, took a foremost part, charging the king in person (Hen. Hunt. pp. 268–74; Gervase, p. 117). Entering the city in triumph, on the defeat of the enemy, he allowed his Welsh troops to sack it (Ord. Vit. v. 129).
Having gained his immediate object, the earl again stood aloof, and is not found at the court of the empress. Conan, earl of Richmond, who had fled at Lincoln, tried to waylay and seize him, but was himself captured, thrown into prison, and forced to do homage to Earl Randulf and become his man (Sym. Dunelm. ii. 308; Gesta Stephani, p. 72). In August 1141, however, the crisis caused by the siege of Winchester drew him south, and he joined the queen's forces (Sym, Dunelm. ii. 310), but he went over to the empress (ib.; Gesta, p. 79), though ‘tardily and to no purpose’ (Will. Malm. ii. 581). Early in 1142, when Stephen was on his way to York, Randulph, with his half-brother William, now Earl of Lincoln, met the king at Stamford (Geoffrey de Mandeville, p. 159; Engl. Hist. Rev. x. 88). The king and he swore ‘that neither should prove traitor to the other, and Earl William received the royal manor of Kirton and was confirmed in possession of Gainsborough with its bridge over the Trent (Great