Soulis, John de (DNB00)

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SOULIS, Sir JOHN de (d. 1318), ambassador and soldier, belonged to one of the Anglo-Norman families which settled in Scotland under Malcolm III [q. v.] In 1284 he negotiated a marriage between the Scots king and Joletta or Yolande, daughter of the Count of Dreux (Fordun, i. 309; cf. art. Alexander III). As an official under the crown, he received on 5 Feb. 1289 a fee of 20l. sterling from the chamberlain of Scotland (Stevenson, Documents relating to Scotland, i. 53). But he was also employed officially in England. In Feb. 1292 he was custodian of the lands of Hugh Lovel, a tenant-in-chief of the king of England, and in March received from Edward I a writ of protection while staying beyond seas for a year. On 14 Nov. he had sufficient influence with Edward to gain, along with William de Soulis, a pardon for Richard de Soulis (possibly brothers) for causing Richard le Tayllur to be taken by force from England to Scotland (Cal. Pat. Rolls, Edward I, 1281–92, pp. 474–81, 511). On 6 Nov. 1292 he, concurred as one of the arbitrators in Edward I's judgment in favour of Balliol's claim to the Scottish crown (‘Annales Regni Scotiæ’ in Rishanger, p. 264). When Balliol in 1295 decided to defy Edward, he sent de Soulis and three others to negotiate a treaty with France, which began a long alliance between the two countries (Rishanger, p. 151; cf. Stevenson, Documents, ii. 12). Sir John made his submission to Edward I in 1296 along with the rest, and witnessed a charter of that king at Northallerton on 10 Oct. (Stevenson Documents, ii. 112). But he did not keep his oath to Edward long. In 1299 he was appointed by John Balliol, who had escaped, co-guardian of the realm of Scotland with John Comyn the younger. Acting as if he were sole guardian, he sent envoys to Boniface VIII complaining of the conduct of the English king (Fordun, i. 331, 332). In the same year he went on an embassy to France, and in June, July, and August Edward commissioned ships to intercept Sir John and his companions on their return to Scotland (Cal. Pat. Rolls, Edward I, 1292–1301, pp. 422, 425). On the night of 7–8 Sept. 1301 Soulis and Sir Ingram de Umfraville made a fruitless attack on Lochmaban Castle (Stevenson, Documents, ii. 432). The terms accepted by the Scots in 1304 included Soulis's banishment for two years from Scotland and the country north of the Trent (Palgrave, Documents relating to Scotland, Rec. Comm. i. 281). Soulis was apparently in France at this time (Flores Hist. iii. 118, 315). In 1314 he was one of the leaders of a Scottish host which in August of that year ravaged Richmondshire and levied blackmail on Copeland and the bishopric of Durham (Chron. de Lanercost, Maitland Club, p. 228). He seems to have accompanied Edward Bruce on his ill-fated expedition to Ireland in 1315; he was slain with the latter near Dundalk 14 Oct. 1318 (‘Gesta Edwardi’ in Stubb's Chronicles of the Reigns of Edward I and Edward II, ii. 56).

[Authorities cited in text.]

W. E. R.