Montfort, Almeric of (DNB00)

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MONTFORT, ALMERIC of (d. 1292?), was a son of Simon of Montfort, earl of Leicester [q. v.], and his wife Eleanor, daughter of King John. Almeric seems to have been their fourth child, and must have been born between 1244 and 1250. Destined for holy orders, he was appointed canon and treasurer of York Minster in February 1265 (Blaauw, Barons' War, p. 333, n. 3). After his fathers fall these preferments were withdrawn, 7 Aug. 1265 (Botfield, App. p. 87). One chronicle says that he stole from the minster-treasury part of the eleven thousand marks which he and his brother Richard carried with them to Gravelines on 18 Sept. (cf. Botfield, p. 74; ib. App. p. 88; Green, Princesses, ii. 147). On 4 Dec. 1267 the Arch-bishop of Rouen granted him a license to receive ordination from any continental bishop (Bémont, p. 255, n. 10). In 1268 he went to Italy, and for the next three years studied at the university of Padua; he was also made one of the pope's chaplains. In April 1271 he was charged with complicity in the murder of Henry of Cornwall [q. v.] at Viterbo, but the bishop and chapter of Padua, the doctors and scholars of the university, and the whole body of friars in the city, cleared him by joining in a written declaration that he had never been out of Padua since October, and that at the time of the murder, 13 March, he was at death's door with fever. On 19 April 1272 he was at Rome, whence he returned to the abbot of Monte Cassino three books on medicine which he had borrowed, probably for his studies at Padua. He still called himself treasurer of York, and his only surviving brother, Guy [q. v.], being now an outlaw, he had also assumed the title of Earl of Leicester (Bémont, App. pp. 365-7). Next year he attempted to return to England in the company of his father's old friend, Stephen Berksted [q. v.], bishop of Chichester, but Edward I refused to let either Stephen or Almeric set foot in the country (Chron. Maj. Land. p. 159). In October 1274 Almeric was suing Edmund Mortimer, who had been made treasurer of York in his place, before the official of Paris, and he seems to have induced the pope to threaten Edmund with excommunication (Bémont, p. 256, n. 3). A year later he appears to have been striving for a revocation of the papal censures which still rested on his father's memory (Hist. MSS. Comm. 4th Rep. p. 396). Late in 1275, or early in 1276, when escorting his sister [see Montfort, Elenor of] into Wales, he was captured at Bristol; Edward I, who still suspected him of murder and treason, kept him in prison for six years, first at Corfe, and afterwards at Sherborne (Ann. Osney, p. 267; Rishanger, p. 87; Green, Princesses, ii. 163; Cont. Will. Tyr. l. ii. c. 22). Liberated on 21 April 1282, on condition of abjuring the realm (Fœdera, vol. i. pt. ii. p. 605), he wrote to the king from Arras on 22 May, thanking him for his grace, promising fidelity, and asking for liberty to 1 recover his rights ' by process of law in England (Champollion, Lettres de Rois, i. 301). The demand being refused or ignored, in December 1284 he began a suit in the court of Rome against Edmund of Lancaster, the king's brother, for restitution of his inheritance (Fosdera, vol. i. pt. ii. p. 651). He was in Paris again on 18 June 1286 (Bémont, App. pp. 369-70). It was reported that on his brother Guy's death in 1287-8 Almeric renounced his orders and became a knight (Flores Hist. iii. 67). He is said to have lived till 1292 (Bémont, p. 258). He was in any case the last male survivor of his family; for the fifth brother, Richard, who had accompanied him into exile in 1265, died in France shortly afterwards (Ann. Dunst. p. 259).

[Documents in Rymer's Fœdera, vol. i. pt. i.; Bémont's Simon de Montfort; Botfield and Turner's Manners and Household Expenses in Thirteenth Century (Roxburghe Club); Mrs. Everett Green's Princesses of England, vol. ii.; Rishanger's Chronicle, ed. Riley, Flores Historiarum ('Matt. Westminster,' ed. Luard), Annals of Osney (Annales Monastici, vol. iv.) and of Dunstable (ib. vol. iii.), all in Rolls Ser.; Chronica Majorum Londoniarum, ed. Stapleton (Liber de Antiquis Legibus, Camden Soc.)]

K. N.