Walerand, Robert (DNB00)
|←Waleden, Humphrey de||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 59
WALERAND, ROBERT (d. 1273), judge, was the son of William Walerand and Isabella, eldest daughter and coheiress of Hugh of Kilpeck (Excerpta e Rot. Fin. ii. 252; Calendarium Genealogicum, p. 770). The family claimed descent from Walerand the Huntsman of Domesday Book (Hoare, Modern Wiltshire, ‘Hundred of Cawden,’ iii. 24). Robert's brother John, rector of Clent in Worcestershire, was in 1265 made seneschal and given joint custody of the Tower of London. His sister Alice was mother of Alan Plugenet [q. v.]; and another sister, also named Alice, was abbess of Romsey.
Walerand was throughout Henry III's reign one of the king's ‘familiares’ (Chron. Edw. I and Edw. II, i. 68; Rishanger, Chron. de Bello, p. 118, Camden Soc.). Among the knights of the royal household he stands in the same position as his friend John Mansel [q. v.] among the clerks. In 1246 he received the custody of the Marshall estates, and in 1247 of those of John de Munchanes (Excerpta e Rot. Fin. i. 458, ii. 14). In Easter 1246 he was appointed sheriff of Gloucestershire (List of Sheriffs to 1831, p. 49; Dugdale, Baronage, i. 670). In 1250 the castles of Carmarthen and Cardigan were granted to him, together with the lands of Meilgwn ap Meilgwn and the governorship of Lundy (Excerpta e Rot. Fin. ii. 87; Michel and Bémont, Rôles Gascons, vol. i. No. 2388). From June 1251 till August 1258 he was a regular justiciar (Excerpta e Rot. Fin. ii. 107–286). As early as 1252 he is described as seneschal of Gascony (Royal Letters, Henry III, ii. 95), and in 1253 he accompanied Henry III thither, sailing on 6 Aug. 1253 from Portsmouth and reaching Bordeaux on 15 Aug. Walerand was present at the siege of Bénauges (Rôles Gascons, vol. i. No. 4222). The affairs of Bergerac seem to have been especially confided to him (ib. Nos. 3773, 4301), and he was one of the deputation sent by Henry III to the men of Gensac on the death of Elie Rudel, lord of Bergerac and Gensac (ib. No. 4301). Throughout the Gascon campaign Walerand steadily rose in Henry's favour. He was one of the most important members of the king's council in Gascony.
On Henry accepting for his second son Edmund the crown of Sicily from Innocent IV and Alexander IV, Walerand was in 1255 associated with Peter of Aigueblanche [q. v.] as king's envoy to carry out the negotiations with the pope (Cal. of Papal Registers, Papal Letters, i. 312). Walerand was an accomplice of Peter's trick of persuading the prelates to entrust them with blank charters, which they filled up at Rome, and so compelled the English church to pay nine thousand marks to certain firms of Sienese and Florentine bankers who had advanced money to Alexander on Henry's account (‘Ann. Osney’ in Annales Monastici, iv. 109, 110; Oxenedes, Chron. p. 203; Cotton, Hist. Angl. p. 135; Matt. Paris, Chron. Majora, v. 511). At the parliament of Westminster on 13 Oct. 1255 Richard of Cornwall bitterly rebuked the bishop of Hereford and Walerand, because they had ‘so wickedly urged the king to subvert the kingdom’ (Matt. Paris, Chron. Majora, v. 521).
Walerand now resumed his work as judge. In 1256 he was the chief of the justices itinerant at Winchester (‘Ann. Winchester’ in Ann. Monastici, ii. 96). He was one of a commission of three appointed to investigate the crimes of William de l'Isle, sheriff of Northampton, in the famous case of 1256 (Matt. Paris, Chron. Majora, v. 577–80). On 12 June 1256 Walerand was associated with Richard, earl of Gloucester, in an embassy to the princes of Germany (Fœdera, i. 342). About this time he was entrusted with the custody of St. Briavel's Castle and manor (Dugdale, Baronage, i. 670), and a little later (1256–1257) he was made steward of all forests south of the Trent and governor of Rockingham Castle (ib.) On 20 Feb. 1257 Simon de Montfort and Robert Walerand were empowered to negotiate a peace between France and England (Royal Letters, Henry III, ii. 121; Matt. Paris, Chron. Majora, v. 649, 650, 659).
At the beginning of the troubles between king and barons in 1258 Walerand, though supporting the king, took up a moderate attitude. He witnessed on 2 May the king's consent to a project of reform (Select Charters, p. 381; Fœdera, 370, 371). He was so far trusted by the barons that he was appointed warden of Salisbury Castle under the provisions of Oxford (ib. p. 393). Other preferments followed, some of which at least must have been given with the consent of the fifteen. In 1259 he became warden of Bristol Castle (Dugdale, i. 670), while a little later he was again created warden of St. Briavel's Castle, and on 9 July 1261 made sheriff of Kent, an office he held till 23 Sept. 1262, and at the same time he was made governor of the castles of Rochester and Canterbury (Dugdale, i. 670; List of Sheriffs to 1831, p. 67). On 29 Jan. 1262 Walerand was elected one of a commission of six, of whom three were barons, to appoint sheriffs (Fœdera, i. 415). On 10 March he was made a member of the embassy appointed to negotiate peace with France (Royal Letters, ii. 138; cf. Flores Hist. ii. 423; Matt. Paris, v. 741; Fœdera, i. 385, 386). Walerand with his colleagues laid their report before the magnates in London a little later (Flores Hist. ii. 428), and peace was finally made with Louis (Fœdera, i. 383, 389).
Walerand's diplomatic skill was rewarded. In 1261 he was made warden of the Forest of Dean (Excerpta e Rot. Fin. ii. 358). In 1262 Henry entrusted to him the castles of Dover, Marlborough, and Ludgershall (Rishanger, Chron. et Ann., and Trokelowe, Opus Chronicorum, p. 9, in both of which he is called ‘Sir E. de Waleran;’ Flores Hist. ii. 468; Red Book of Exchequer, ii. 706). He also became warden of the Cinque ports (Royal Letters, Henry III, ii. 244). During the chancellorship of Walter de Merton [q. v.] in 1262, the great seal was put into the hands of Walerand and Imbert of Munster. In 1263, when Prince Edward committed his robbery of jewels and money upon the New Temple, Walerand was one of his chief helpers (‘Ann. Dunstaple’ in Ann. Mon. iii. 222).
In 1261 discord between Henry and the barons was renewed. Walerand, together with John Mansel and Peter of Savoy, were regarded as the three chief advisers of Henry (‘Ann. Osney’ in Ann. Mon. iv. 128). In 1263 the barons seized Walerand's lands. Henry restored them, save the castle of Kilpeck (Dugdale, i. 670). Walerand had rendered himself so indispensable that in February 1263 the king excused himself from sending Walerand and Mansel to France, and despatched other envoys instead (Royal Letters, ii. 239; misdated in Fœdera, i. 394). When the barons went to war against Henry in 1264, Walerand exerted himself on the royalist side. After the battle of Lewes he and Warren of Bassingbourne still held Bristol Castle in the king's name. They marched to Wallingford, where Richard of Cornwall and Edward were confined, and vigorously attacked the castle in the hope of relieving them, but failed (Rishanger, Chron. de Bello, Camden Soc. p. 40). After Evesham he was rewarded by large grants (Dugdale, i. 670), including most of the lands of Hugh de Neville (Liber de Antiquis Legibus, pp. lxvi, lxvii). Walerand pronounced the sentence of disinheritance against all who had taken up arms against the king at Evesham (‘Ann. Worcester’ in Ann. Mon. iv. 455). He and Roger Leybourne induced the Londoners to pay a fine of twenty thousand marks to the king for their transgressions (Liber de Antiquis Legibus, pp. 78, 80, 81). In 1266 Walerand was one of the original six who by the dictum of Kenilworth were elected to settle the government (‘Ann. Waverley’ and ‘Ann. Dunstaple’ in Ann. Mon. ii. 372, iii. 243; Flores Hist. iii. 12).
Walerand now devoted himself to affairs in Wales. Owning much land in and near the Welsh marches, he had necessarily been frequently employed in the Welsh wars, and was constantly consulted as to the treatment of the Welsh (Royal Letters, Henry III, ii. 219, 2 Oct. 1262; Fœdera, i. 339, 340). On 21 Feb. 1267 a commission was issued, empowering him to make a truce for three years with Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, and with Edmund, the king's son, to make peace (Fœdera, i. 472, 473, 474). He now resumed his work as judge, and from April 1268 till August 1271 we find many records of assizes to be held before him (Excerpta e Rot. Fin. ii. 441, 468–546; Abbreviatio Placitorum, pp. 181, 182). When Edward went to the Holy Land he placed, on 2 Aug. 1270, the guardianship of his lands in the hands of four, of whom Walerand was one (Fœdera, i. 487). He died in 1273, before the king's return (Ann. Mon. iv. 254).
The chronicler describes Walerand as ‘vir strenuus.’ He had throughout his career been hated as a royal favourite, though respected for his ability and strength. A curious political poem from Cottonian MS. Otho D, viii., quoted in the notes to Rishanger's ‘Chronicon de Bello’ (Camden Society, p. 145), thus refers to him:
Exhæredati proceres sunt rege jubente
Et male tractati Waleran R. dicta ferente.
Walerand married in 1257 Matilda (d. 1306–7), the eldest daughter and heiress of Ralph Russell, but left no issue (Dugdale, i. 670; cf. Cal. Geneal. p. 194). His nephew and heir, Robert, was an idiot, and never received livery of his lands, some of which passed to his sister's son, Alan Plugenet.
Robert Walerand, the subject of this article, must be distinguished from Waleran Teutonicus, custodian of Berkhamstead in 1241, to whom Henry gave the custody of several Welsh castles.[Calendarium Inquisitionum post mortem, vol. i.; Calendarium Genealogicum; Rymer's Fœdera, vol. i.; Abbreviatio Placitorum; Ex- cerpta e Rotulis Finium, vols. i. ii.; List of Sheriffs to 1831, Publ. Rec. Office Lists and Indexes, No. ix; Deputy-Keeper of Publ. Records' 32nd Rep. App. i. 259–60; Annals of Osney, Winchester, Burton, Dunstaple, Worcester, and Wykes, in Annales Monastici, vols. ii. iii. iv.; Red Book of the Exchequer, vols. i. ii.; Chronica Johannis de Oxenedes; Rishanger's Chronicle; Flores Historiarum, vol. ii.; Bart. de Cotton's Historia Anglicana; Peckham's Letters, vol. ii.; Royal Letters Henry III, vol. ii.; Chronicles of Edward I and Edward II, vol. i.; Trokelowe's Opus Chronicorum, p. 9; Matthew Paris's Chronica Majora, vol. v., the last eleven being in the Rolls Series; Rishanger's Chron. de Bello (Camden Soc.); Liber de Antiquis Legibus (Camden Soc.); Calendar of Patent Rolls; Calendar of Close Rolls; Calendar of Papal Registers, Papal Letters, vol. i.; Michel and Bémont's Rôles Gascons in Documents Inédits; Bémont's Simon de Montfort; Dugdale's Baronage, i. 670; Stubbs's Select Charters; Foss's Judges of England, ii. 504, 505; Hoare's Modern Wiltshire, vols. ii. iii.]