Poer, Roger le (DNB00)

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POER, ROGER le (d. 1186), one of the conquerors of Ireland, belonged to a family which is said to have derived its name from Poher, one of the ancient divisions of Brittany; other accounts make the name the equivalent of Puer, or, still less probably, of Pauper. In the reign of Henry II, William le Poer held lands in Oxfordshire, Herefordshire, and Gloucestershire, and Robert le Poer in Oxfordshire (Pipe Rolls, 18 Henry II. p. 32; Sweetman, i. 41, 129, 132). Roger, Robert, William, and Simon le Poer are all said to have taken part in the conquest of Ireland. Roger Poer is first mentioned as a handsome and noble youth who took part in the invasion of Ulster under John de Courci [q. v.] in 1177, and won distinction at the battle of Down. Afterwards he obtained lands in Ossory, and was governor of Leighlin under Hugh de Lacy, first lord of Meath [q. v.] Payment was made for his expenses in going to Ireland in 1186 (ib. i. 86). In the same year he was killed, with many of his followers, while fighting in Ossory (Gir. Cambr. Expugnatio Hibernica, ap. Op. iv. 341, 354, 387; Book of Howth, pp. 81–4). He had married a niece of Sir Amory de S. Laurence (ib. p. 88). There is a charter of his in the ‘Chartulary of St. Mary, Dublin,’ i. 252.

Robert le Poer (fl. 1190) was one of the marshals in the court of Henry II. He accounts for lands in Yorkshire, 1166–7, and had charge of the forest of Galtris in that county in 1169 and 1172. He is mentioned in the royal service in 1171, and apparently accompanied Henry on his Irish expedition (Pipe Rolls, Henry II. esp. 18, pp. 32, 56). In 1174 he was in charge of Brabançon mercenaries who were being sent home from England (Eyton, Itinerary of Henry II, p. 183). In 1176 he was one of four knights sent into Ireland by the king, and was made custos of Waterford, his territory including all the land between Waterford and the water of Lismore, and Ossory. Giraldus, who calls him a marcher lord, blames him as ‘tam ignobilis, tam strenuitate carens’ (Op. iv. 352–3). He was still in charge of Waterford in 1179 (ib. iv. 65; Sweetman, i. 58). In 1188, when returning with Ralph Fraser from a pilgrimage to St. James of Compostella, he was seized by Count Raymond of Toulouse. Richard, the future king, who was then Count of Poitou, would pay no ransom for the knights, declaring that Raymond's conduct in seizing pilgrims was an outrage. Philip Augustus ordered Raymond to surrender his prisoners, but Raymond refused, and thus the incident led to Richard's invasion of Toulouse in 1188 (Gesta Henrici, ii. 35). Robert occurs as witness to a charter in Ireland between 1186 and 1194. He is said to have been an ancestor of the Poers, barons of Dunoyle, of the Poers, barons le Poer and Coroghmore, and of Eustace le Poer, viscount Baltinglas, in the time of Henry VIII. He may be the father of that Robert Poer who was one of the great Irish nobles in 1221, and died before November 1228, having a son and heir, John le Poer (Sweetman, i. 1001, 1635, 2646, 3014).

Of other members of the family, William and Simon le Poer were brothers (Chart. St. Mary, Dublin, i. 4, 21). William was governor of Waterford about 1180 (Gir. Cambr. iv. 354), and is mentioned as crossing to Ireland in 1184–5, and his name occurs as late as 1200 (Sweetman, i. 75, 129, 132; Chart. St. Mary, i. 114, 116, 123, 126). Roger, Robert, William, and Simon may all have been brothers. Ranulf le Poer (d. 1182), who held land in Shropshire, and was killed by the Welsh when sheriff of Gloucestershire in 1182, may have been of an elder generation (Gesta Henrici, i. 351, Eyton, Itinerary, pp. 186, 193). Walter le Poer (fl. 1220) was another member of the family, who was employed in various missions in Warwickshire and Worcestershire in 1215. He was sheriff of Devonshire in 1222, and a collector of the fifteenth in Worcestershire in 1226. In the last year he was a justice itinerant in Gloucestershire, and in 1227 held the same post for the counties of Oxford, Hereford, Stafford, and Salop (Pat. Rolls, p. 128; Close Rolls, i. 226, 449, ii. 145, 151, 205).

[Giraldus Cambrensis, Expugnatio Hibernica in vol. iv. of the Rolls edit.; Gesta Henrici, ascribed to Benedict Abbas; Book of Howth in Calendar of the Carew MSS.; Eyton's Court and Itinerary of Henry II; Pipe Rolls for Henry II (Pipe Rolls Soc.); Sweetman's Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland, vol. i.; Foss's Judges of England, ii. 445; G. E. C.'s Complete Peerage, vi. 259.]

C. L. K.