Lacy, Walter de (d.1241) (DNB00)

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LACY, WALTER de, sixth Baron Lacy by tenure and second Lord of Meath (d. 1241), was elder son of Hugh de Lacy (d. 1186) [q. v.], by Roysya de Monemue (Monmouth), and was elder brother of Hugh de Lacy, earl of Ulster (d. 1242?) [q. v.] On his father's death he became entitled to the ancestral estates in Normandy and England, and to his father's conquest of Meath in Ireland, but the last was taken into the king's hands, and he did not obtain seisin of the English or Norman lands till 1189 (Eyton, v. 256–7); it is, of course, possible that he may have been a minor at his father's death. He does not seem to have had possession of Meath till 1194, at which time he seized Peter Pippard, one of the Irish justiciars (Henry of Marleburgh ap. Butler, Hist. of Trim, p. 6). It seems probable that he is the ‘son of Hugh de Lacy’ who supported John de Courci in 1195 in his warfare with the English of Leinster and Munster (Four Masters, iii. 101–3), for we know that his lands were escheated about this time, and that in 1198 he paid a fine of 2,100 marks (Eyton, v. 257–8); Stapleton, Rot. Normanniæ, ii. lxxi); moreover, in 1197 Ludlow Castle was in the royal hands (Hoveden, iv. 35), and on 4 Sept. 1199 reference is again made to Walter de Lacy having been concerned with John de Courci in ravaging the king's lands in Ireland (Sweetman, i. 90). But before this he had made his peace with the king, and in October 1199 was with John in Normandy. In the autumn of 1200 he came over to England, and remained there till early in 1201 (Charter Rolls, pp. 24, 67, 69, 79 b, 84 b). He then crossed over to Ireland, and shortly afterwards attempted to kill John de Courci at a conference there (Hoveden, iv. 176). In 1203 he accompanied Meiler Fitz-Henry [q. v.] on his invasion of Munster to expel William de Burgh [see under Fitzaldhelm, William], and in March next year was appointed at the head of a commission to hear the complaints against Meiler (Cal. Rot. Pat. i. 39 b). During these years Walter had also assisted his brother Hugh against John de Courci, and on 31 Aug. 1204 was rewarded by the promise of eight cantreds of De Courci's land in Ulster. When in 1205 De Courci attempted to re-enter Ireland, it was Walter de Lacy who drove him away (Munch, Chron. Manniæ, p. 15). Walter also supported his brother in his warfare with Meiler FitzHenry in 1207–8. On 14 April 1207 he was summoned to England on pain of forfeiture, and before 16 July left Ireland. He spent the winter in England, and after making his peace with the king, obtained, on 23 April 1208, a confirmation of Meath at fifty knights' service, and of Fingall at seven. He returned to Ireland in June (Cal. Rot. Pat. i. 70 b, 80 b, 84 b; Cal. Rot. Claus. i. 81, 106 b; Charter Rolls, 167 b, 170 b, 173 b, 178).

No doubt it was Walter's influence which secured for William de Braose [q. v.] the support of the De Lacys, who were consequently expelled from Ireland. Walter made his submission to John on 28 June 1210, almost immediately after the king's landing in Ireland; he pleaded that both he and his tenants had suffered much from his brother Hugh (Sweetman, i. 402). Both his English and Irish estates were taken into the king's hands, and he probably retired to France; for though the story of his sojourn at St. Taurin is somewhat legendary, he had special leave to come to England on 1 July 1213 (Cal. Rot. Claus. i. 134 b). On 29 July 1213 all his English lands except Ludlow Castle were restored to him (ib. i. 147). Walter de Lacy took part in John's expedition to the south of France in 1214, landing at La Rochelle with Henry FitzCount in March; in April he was sent on a mission to Narbonne to purchase horses (Cal. Rot. Pat. i. 112, 113 b). After his return Ludlow was restored to him on 23 Oct. 1214, and next year he recovered his Irish lands, except the castles of Drogheda and Airemaill, on paying a fine of four thousand marks (ib. i. 131, 132 b, 151, 181; Cal. Rot. Claus. i. 175, 224). During the next two years he was actively employed in John's service in England, and apparently stood high in the royal favour (see numerous references in the Close and Patent Rolls). On 18 Aug. 1216 he was put in charge of the castle and county of Hereford, and retained his office as sheriff of that county till November 1223 (Cal. Rot. Pat. i. 193 b; Shirley, i. 508). After John's death Walter de Lacy became one of the chief supporters of the young king (Fœdera, i. 145, Record ed.) In 1219 he was appointed on the forest inquisition for Gloucestershire (Cal. Rot. Claus. i. 435). In 1219 or 1220 he was sent into Ireland on the royal service, being given full seisin of his lands except the castle of Drogheda (ib. i. 408 b, 415 b, 427; Loch Cé, i. 261; Four Masters, iii. 199). In 1220 he led an army to Athliag, now Ballyleague, being part of Lanesborough in Connaught, and began to erect a castle, which the Irish, however, soon destroyed (ib. iii. 201). During this year he also captured the crannog of O'Reilly. Walter was at this time in charge of the lands of his brother Hugh, which had been entrusted to him in 1215 (Cal. Rot. Pat. i. 150; Cal. Rot. Claus. i. 501). In 1223 he was in England on the royal service, but next spring was sent over to Ireland on account of the war which his brother had raised (ib. i. 575 b, 590 b). In consideration of the excesses committed by his men of Meath in support of Hugh de Lacy, Walter had to make an agreement with the king, under which he put his castles of Trim and Ludlow into the royal hands for a period of two years from Easter 1224, and agreed to go over to Ireland and exert all his influence in opposition to his brother (Shirley, i. 507). Walter was in Ireland by 30 March (Cal. Rot. Claus. i. 590 b). How far he kept his promise to act against his brother is not clear; one statement in the ‘Annals of Loch Cé’ (i. 271) implies that he actually supported him. At any rate it was not thought prudent that he should remain in Ireland after the suppression of the rebellion, and his Irish estates were for a time taken into the royal hands. On 15 May 1225 he paid a fine of three thousand marks for seisin of these lands, but Trim, Drogheda, and other castles were not yet restored. Walter, moreover, was kept in England, and did not recover full seisin till 4 July 1226 (Cal. Rot. Claus. ii. 39 b, 64, 104, 126). Previously he had been put in charge of his brother's lands in Ulster for three years, but he only held them till the following April (ib. ii. 182 b; Sweetman, i. 1371–4). By August Walter was once more in Ireland, when Geoffrey de Marisco reported that no danger was to be apprehended from him on account of the agreement which his son Gilbert had made with William Marshal. De Marisco at the same time reported that the king of Connaught had been summoned to Dublin under conduct of Walter de Lacy (Shirley, i. 292). Walter was summoned for the French war in 1228 with four knights (ib. i. 358). In June 1230 he was one of those appointed to hold the assize of arms in Herefordshire (ib. i. 374). On 26 Aug. he had leave to go to Ireland (Sweetman, i. 1850), and there assisted Geoffrey de Marisco in his invasion of Connaught, commanding one of the three divisions of the army (Matt. Paris, iii. 197). On 15 Dec. 1233 he was again sent to Ireland on the royal service (Sweetman, i. 2079), and next year appears, like his brother Hugh, in opposition to Richard Marshal. In 1235 he took part in the raid into Roscommon (Loch Cé, i. 321). In his later years Walter became blind and infirm (Sweetman, i. 2429, December 1237). He died early in 1241, apparently before 24 Feb. (Excerpta e Rot. Finium, i. 337; Matt. Paris, iv. 174, ‘circa Paschalem’). The ‘Annals of Clonmacnoise’ describe him as the ‘bountifullest foreigner in steeds, attire, and gold that ever came to Erin’ (Four Masters, iii. 302 n.; Gilbert, p. 101). Matthew Paris calls him ‘the most eminent of all the nobles of Ireland’ (iv. 43).

Walter de Lacy figures in the earlier part of the ‘Romance of Fulk Fitzwarine’ as the opponent of Joce de Dinan and the captor of Ludlow Castle. So far as Walter is concerned this is pure legend, and Joce's true adversaries were Walter's father and grandfather, Hugh and Gilbert de Lacy. The substitution of Walter's name in the romance may, however, serve to show the fame which he acquired as a great marcher lord. It is interesting to find Walter de Lacy twice mentioned in connection with Fulk Fitzwarine; on the first occasion in 1207, with reference to the quarrel between the king and William de Braose, when they were opponents (Cal. Rot. Claus. i. 92), and secondly, nearly twenty years later, when Walter de Lacy asked Hubert de Burgh to forward a marriage between his niece, the daughter of Madoc ab Griffith of South Wales, and Fulk's son (Shirley, i. 306).

Walter de Lacy married, before November 1200, Margaret, daughter of William de Braose [q. v.], who was still living in 1255. By her he had two daughters, Egidia, who married Richard de Burgh (d. 1243) [q. v.], and Katherine, who was alive in 1267; also a son, Gilbert, who married Isabella, daughter of Ralph Bigod, and died in 1234, leaving a son, Walter, and two daughters, Matilda and Margaret. Walter de Lacy the younger was alive in 1238 (Sweetman, i. 2451); he married a daughter of Theobald Butler (Reg. St. Thomas, Dublin, p. 420), but died without issue in his grandfather's lifetime; possibly it is his death which the ‘Annals of Clonmacnoise’ record in 1240 (Four Masters, iii. 301 note x). Margaret and Matilda thus became their grandfather's heirs. Margaret married John de Verdon, son of Theobald Butler. Matilda married (1) in 1240 Peter de Geneva, a foreigner of low extraction, and (2), in 1249, Geoffrey de Genville, or Joinville, a brother of the famous Sieur de Joinville (Matt. Paris, v. 91). Geoffrey de Genville held Ludlow and part of Meath, and was for a time justiciar of Ireland under Edward I. His wife died 11 April 1303, and he himself on 19 Oct. 1314; their son Peter, who died in 1292, left a daughter, Johanna, who brought her inheritance to Roger Mortimer, earl of March (d. 1330) [q. v.] (see further, Dugdale, Mon. Angl. vi. 135–6; Eyton, Shropshire, vi. 240).

Walter de Lacy is said to have brought monks from St. Taurin and settled them at Fore in Westmeath (Chartulary of St. Mary's, Dublin, ii. 11). He was also a benefactor of St. Thomas, Dublin (Reg. St. Thomas, p. 11), and founder of Beaubec Abbey in Meath (Archdall, Monast. Hibern. pp. 516, 711). In England he founded Cresswell Priory, Herefordshire, and was a benefactor of the two Lanthony priories in Monmouthshire and Gloucestershire. His wife founded the nunnery at Acornbury, Herefordshire, before 1218 (Cal. Rot. Claus. i. 368 b; Sweetman, i. 1909; Dugdale, Monast. Anglic. vi. 138, 489, 569, 1034, 1129).

[For authorities, see under Lacy, Hugh de (d. 1242?), where also fuller information will be found on some points. See also the Romance of Fulk Fitzwarine, ed. T. Wright for the Warton Club; Eyton's Antiquities of Shropshire, v. 256–72; Butler's History of the Castle of Trim.]

C. L. K.