Zouche, Alan la (DNB00)

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ZOUCHE or ZOUCH, ALAN la or de la, Baron Zouche (d. 1270), was the son of Roger de la Zouch and the grandson of Alan de la Zouch. This elder Alan, the first of the family to be established in England, was a younger son of ‘Galfridus vicecomes,’ that is, in all probability of Geoffrey, viscount of Porhoet in Brittany (d. 1141); his elder brother, Eudes de Porhoet, was for a few years count of Brittany, but with a disputed title, and his uncle, also named Alan, was founder of the viscounty of Rohan (cf. A. de la Borderie, Géographie féodale de la Bretagne, p. 29). Under Henry II Alan de Porhoet, or de la Zouch, established himself in England, and married Adeliza or Alice de Belmeis, sole heiress of the house of Belmeis [cf. Belmeis, Richard de], her inheritance including Tong Castle in Shropshire, Ashby (afterwards called Ashby de la Zouch) in Leicestershire, North Molton in Devonshire, and other lands in Cambridgeshire and elsewhere. As her husband, Alan de la Zouch became an important personage at Henry II's court. Their sons, William de la Zouch (d. 1199) and Roger de la Zouch (d. 1238?), succeeded in turn to these estates. Roger's Breton connection was almost fatal to him in 1204 (Rotuli Normanniæ, pp. 130, 139), but he managed to regain John's favour, and devoted himself to that king to the last. In the first year of Henry III's reign he was rewarded by receiving grants of the forfeited estates of his kinsmen, the viscounts of Rohan (Rot. Lit. Claus. i. 366, 385, 423). He died before 3 Nov. 1238 (Excerpta e Rot. Fin. i. 315).

On 15 June 1242 Alan was summoned to attend the king with horses and arms in Gascony (Rôles Gascons, ed. Michel, i. 25, 29). He was at La Sauve in October (ib. i. 78), at Bordeaux in March and April 1243 (ib. i. 119–26), and at La Réole in November (ib. i. 221). Before 6 Aug. 1250 (Cal. Doc. Ireland, 1171–1251, p. 458) Zouch was appointed justice of Chester and of the four cantreds in North Wales. Matthew Paris says that he got this office by outbidding his predecessor, John de Grey. He offered to pay a ferm of twelve hundred marks instead of five hundred (Hist. Major, v. 227; see, however, Grey, Sir John de, d. 1266). Zouch boasted that Wales was nearly all reduced to obedience to the English laws (ib. v. 288), but his high-handed acts provoked royal interference and censure (cf. Rôles Gascons, i. 454; Abbreviatio Placitorum, pp. 142–3). He continued in office as the lord Edward's deputy after the king's grant of Chester and Wales to his eldest son.

Ireland had been among the lands which Edward had received from Henry III in 1254. In the spring of 1256 Zouch was sent to that country ‘on the service of the lord Edward’ (Cal. Doc. Ireland, 1252–84, p. 81), and soon afterwards he was appointed justice of Ireland under Edward, his first official mandate being dated 27 June 1256 (cf. Chron. in Cart. St. Mary's, Dublin, ii. 316, which dates his appointment 1255; Gilbert, Viceroys of Ireland, pp. 103–4). In 1257 he was still in Ireland (Cal. Doc. Ireland, 1252–84, p. 89). On 28 June 1258 he received a mandate from the king, now under the control of the barons, not to admit any justice or other officer appointed by Edward to Ireland unless the appointment had the consent of the king and the barons (Fœdera, i. 373). However, he ceased to hold office soon after this, Stephen Longespee being found acting as justice on 21 Oct. 1258.

During the barons' wars Zouch steadily adhered to the king. He was on 9 July 1261 appointed sheriff of Northamptonshire, receiving in October a letter from the king urging him to keep his office despite any baronial interlopers (List of Sheriffs, p. 92; Shirley, Royal Letters, ii. 193). He remained sheriff until 1264, and sometimes ignored the provisions of Magna Carta by acting as justice itinerant in his own shire and also in Buckinghamshire and Hampshire. In 1261 he was also made justice of the forests south of Trent (Cal. Rot. Pat. p. 32), and in 1263 king's seneschal (ib. p. 34). In April 1262 he held forest pleas at Worcester (Ann. Mon. iv. 447). On 12 Dec. 1263 he was one of the royalist barons who agreed to submit all points of dispute to the arbitration of St. Louis (Royal Letters, ii. 252). According to some accounts he was taken prisoner early in the battle of Lewes by John Giffard [q. v.] He escaped almost immediately and took refuge in Lewes priory, where he was found after the fight disguised as a monk (Robert of Gloucester, ii. 753–4; ‘Ann. London’ in Chron. Edward I and Edward II, i. 65, however, makes his brother William Zouch Giffard's captive; see Blaauw, Barons' War, p. 201). In the summer of 1266 he was one of the committee of twelve arbitrators appointed to arrange the terms of the surrender of Kenilworth (Ann. Waverley, p. 372). On 23 June 1267, after the peace between Henry III and Gilbert de Clare, eighth earl of Gloucester [q. v.], he was appointed warden of London and constable of the Tower (Liber de Antiquis Legibus, p. 92; cf., however, Ann. Lond. p. 76, and Cal. Rot. Pat. p. 40, which says 25 June). He continued in office until Michaelmas, whereupon his tenure was prolonged until Easter 1268 (Lib. de Ant. Leg. p. 225). In 1270 Zouch had a suit against Earl Warenne with regard to a certain estate. On 19 June the trial was proceeding before the justices in banco at Westminster Hall, and Zouch seemed likely to win the case. Thereupon he was murderously attacked by Earl Warenne and his followers [for details see Warenne, John de, 1231?–1304]. Roger, his son, was wounded and driven from the hall; Alan himself was seriously injured and left on the spot. He was still surviving when, on 4 Aug., Warenne made his peace with the crown and agreed to pay a substantial compensation to the injured Zouches (Fœdera, i. 485). He died on 10 Aug., and on 20 Oct. his son Roger received seisin of his estate (Excerpta e Rot. Fin. ii. 525).

Zouch was a benefactor of the Knights Templars, to whom he gave lands at Sibford, and to the Belmeis family foundation of Buildwas, after having carried on protracted lawsuits with that house (Eyton, ii. 220). Zouch married Elena (d. 1296), one of the daughters and coheirs of Roger de Quincy, earl of Winchester [see under Qunicy, Saer de], and in 1267 succeeded to her share of the Quincy estates. Their eldest son, Roger de la Zouch, married Ela, daughter of Emelina, countess of Ulster, was summoned to parliament, and died in 1285, being succeeded by his son Alan, then aged 18, who died in 1314, being also summoned to parliament between 1297 and his death. He left three daughters as his coheirs. The youngest, Elizabeth, was a nun. The elder ones were Eleanor, who married (1) Nicholas Seymour, and (2) Alan de Charlton; and Maud, who married Robert de Holland. Between the descendants of these two ladies the estates were divided. A younger son of the elder Alan and Elena de Quincy was Eudes or Ivo, the alleged ancestor of the Zouches of Harringworth [see Zouche, Edward la].

[Rymer's Fœdera, vol. i., Cal. Rot. Pat., Cal. Rot. Cart., Rot. Lit. Claus., Abbreviatio Placitorum, Excerpta e Rot. Finium, vols. i. and ii., and Cal. Inq. post mortem, vol. i. (all in the Record Comm.); Cal. Doc. Ireland, 1171–1251, 1252–84; Trivet (Engl. Hist. Soc.); Liber de Antiquis Legibus (Camd. Soc ); Rôles Gascons, vol. i. in Documents inédits; Matt. Paris's Hist. Majora, vol. v., Stubbs's Chron. Edward I and Edward II, Annales Monastici, Rishanger, Flores Hist., Shirley's Royal Letters, vol. ii., Cartularies of St. Mary's, Dublin, vol. ii., Robert of Gloucester, vol. ii. (all in Rolls Ser.); Memoirs and Genealogies of the Zouches are in Foss's Judges of England, ii. 527–9, and Biographia Juridica, pp. 790–1; Eyton's Shropshire, ii. 208–24, Nichols's Leicestershire, iii. 563, 635, and in Dugdale's Baronage, i. 688–9. For the Zouch descent the Swavesey Charters in Dugdale's Monasticon, vi. 1001, 1002, cannot be relied upon; see rather Monasticon, vi. 263, Eyton, ii. 210, and G. E. C[okayne]'s Complete Peerage, viii. 222, corrected in viii. 529; Nicolas's Historic Peerage, ed. Courthope, p. 524.]

T. F. T.