Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Fitzalan, Brian

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FITZALAN, BRIAN, Lord of Bedale (d. 1306), was descended from a younger branch of the Counts of Brittany and Earls of Richmond. His father, Brian Fitzalan, an itinerant justice (Foss, Judges, ii. 326), and sheriff of Northumberland between 1227 and 1235 and of Yorkshire between 1236 and 1239 (Thirty-first Report of Deputy-Keeper of Records, pp. 321, 364), was grandson of Brian, a younger son of Alan of Brittany, and brother, therefore, of Count Conan, the father of Constance, wife of Geoffrey of Anjou (Dugdale, Baronage, i. 53 ; cf. Harl. MS. 1052, f. 9). He was summoned to the Welsh war of 1282, and in 1287 to the armed council at Gloucester. In 1290 he was appointed by Edward warden of the castles of Forfar, Dundee, Roxburgh, and Jedburgh. They remained in his custody till 1292 (Stevenson, Doc. illustrative of Scott. Hist. i. 207-8, 350). In 1292 he was made by Edward one of the guardians of Scotland during the vacancy of the throne (Fœdera, i. 761 ; cf. Rishanger, p. 250, Rolls Ser.) He took a leading share in the judicial proceedings which resulted in John Baliol being declared by Edward king of Scotland, and after witnessing the new king's homage to Edward surrendered his rolls and official documents to the new king (Fœdera, i. 782, 785). In 1294 he was summoned to repress the Welsh revolt. In 1295 he received a summons to the famous parliament of that year. Henceforth he was regularly summoned, but always as 'Brian Fitzalan,' though in 1301 he subscribed the letter of the magnates sent from the Lincoln parliament to the pope as 'Lord of Bedale.' In 1296 and the succeeding years he was almost constantly occupied in Scotland. On 10 July 1296 he was present at Brechin when John Baliol submitted to Edward (Stevenson, ii. 61). Though summoned on 7 July 1297 to serve in person beyond sea, he was on 12 July appointed captain of all garrisons and fortresses in Northumberland. On 14 Aug. 1297 he was appointed guardian of Scotland in succession to Earl Warenne (Fœdera, i. 874). An interesting letter is preserved, in which he remonstrates with the king for appointing one of so small ability and power as himself to so great apost. He was only worth 1,000l., and feared that the salary of his office, inadequate for so great a noble as his predecessor,would be still more insufficient for himself (Stevenson, ii. 222-4). But on 24 Sept. he was ordered to go at once to Scotland and act with Warenne (ib. ii. 232). On 28 Sept. the musters from ottinghamshire and Derbyshire were ordered to assemble under his command, and in October he was made captain of the marches adjoining Northumberland. In 1298 Earl Warenne was again the royal representative (Hemingburgh, ii. 155). In 1299, 1300, and lastly in 1303, Fitzalan was again summoned against the Scots. His last parliamentary summonses were for 1305 to Westminster, and for May 1306, for the occasion of making Edward, the king's son, a knight. He died, however, before June 1306 (see note in Parl. Writs, i. 598; cf. Calendarium Genealogicum, p. 619). He was buried in Bedale Church, 'where he hath a noble monument, with his effigies in armour cross-leg'd thereon' (Dugdale). He left by his wife Matilda two daughters, Matilda, aged 8, and Catharine, aged 6, who were his coheiresses (Cal. Geneal. p. 619). His possessions were partly in Yorkshire and partly in Lincolnshire.

[Parl. Writs, i. 598-9; Rymer's Fœdera, vol. i.; Stevenson's Documents illustr. of Hist. of Scotland; Calendarium Genealogicum; Dugdale's Baronage, i. 53.]

T. F. T.