Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Quincy, Saer de
QUINCY, QUENCY, or QUENCI, SAER, SAHER, or SEER de, first Earl of Winchester (d. 1219), is believed to have been the son of Robert FitzRichard, by Orabilis, daughter of Ness, lord of Leuchars. The latter is described as Countess of Mar, though there seems to be some difficulty in establishing her right to the title (Registrum Prioratus S. Andreæ, pp. 254–5, 287, 290; Genealogist, new ser. iv. 179; but cf. Dugdale, Baronage, i. 686, Monasticon, vi. 148; Eyton ap. Addit. MS. 31939, f. 103). An elder Saer de Quincy, a staunch adherent of Henry II, who was lord of Buckby in Northamptonshire, seems to have been Quincy's uncle.
Quincy was one of the knights who in 1173 attended the young king Henry, on his withdrawing from his father, Henry II, to the court of Louis VII of France, and took part in his rebellion, the elder Saer remaining faithful to the old king, and being a witness to the formal treaty between him and his sons at Falaise on 11 Oct. 1173 (Fœdera, i. 30). Saer the younger was at this time called ‘juvenis’ (Gesta Henrici II, i. 46). In 1180–4 he appears to have been castellan of Nonancourt on the Aure (Stapleton, Norman Exchequer Rolls, i. Introd. pp. cxiv, cxxxv). He was with King Richard at Roche d'Orval in August 1198 (Ancient Charters, p. 112), and was present when William of Scotland did homage to John at Lincoln in November 1200 (Rog. Hov. iv. 142). In 1202 he witnessed a charter of John to the abbey of Bec. At this time he seems to have been comparatively poor, and received a quittance for 260l. owed to the king, and for money owed to the Jews, and in 1203 a quittance for three hundred marks owed to the Jews of Norwich (Rotuli Normanniæ, i. 61; Rotuli de Liberate, p. 38). Being in that year joint castellan with Robert Fitzwalter of the strong castle of Vaudreuil when the army of Philip of France came against it, he surrendered the place before an assault was made, on the ground of John's inaction; he was imprisoned by the French king at Compiègne until he and Robert were redeemed by a payment of 5,000l. [see under Fitzwalter, Robert].
Some time between 1168 and 1173 Saer seems to have married Margaret, daughter of Robert III, earl of Leicester [see under Beaumont, Robert de, (d. 1190)]. In 1204 his fortunes were suddenly changed by the death without issue of his wife's brother, Robert IV, earl of Leicester, called FitzParnel; Leicester's joint heiresses were his two sisters, the elder, Amicia, wife of Simon de Montfort III [see under Montfort, Simon of, Earl of Leicester], and the younger, Margaret, Saer's wife. An equal division of the earl's lands was accordingly made between Saer and his wife's nephew, Simon de Montfort IV, whose father was then dead. This arrangement was sanctioned by the king and his barons in 1207, and Saer was created earl of Winchester, or of the county of Southampton (Walter of Coventry, ii. 197; Doyle, Official Baronage, iii. 693; Close Rolls, i. 24, 29). From 1205 he seems to have held the office of the king's steward, or steward of England, in virtue of having the custody of the earldom of Leicester; but by the award of 1207 this office passed to the new earl of Leicester, Simon de Montfort (Hist. MSS. Comm. 8th Rep. p. 421 b; Dugdale, Baronage, i. 687). In 1209 Saer was engaged in a quarrel with the priory of St. Andrews, Scotland, about the right of patronage of the church of Leuchars; he gained his case before the king's court. But the prior complained to Innocent III, who issued a bull appointing commissioners to investigate the matter (Registrum Prioratus S. Andreæ, p. 352). Saer accompanied King John to Ireland in the summer of 1210 (Historia Anglorum, ii. 243), was much with him, and joined the king at play (Rotuli de Liberate, &c. pp. 152, 162, 183; cf. p. 240). From 1211 to 1214 he acted as a justiciar, sitting at the exchequer in 1212 (Foss, Judges, ii. 111), when he was also sent as ambassador to the emperor, Otto IV (Fœdera, i. 104; cf. p. 108).
But Quincy was soon alienated from the king, who held him, in common with Robert Fitzwalter and the archbishop of Canterbury, in special detestation (ib. p. 565). In May 1213 he was a witness of John's surrender of his crown to the pope (ib. p. 112), and became one of the sureties for the repayment of the sums that the king had seized from the revenues of the church (Matt. Paris, ii. 574). In January 1215 he witnessed the reissue of John's charter of freedom to the church, and on 4 March, in common with the king and many others, took the cross (Gervase of Cantebury, ii. 109). He attended the meeting of the barons at Stamford, entered into their confederation to enforce reforms, and was one of the twenty-five barons chosen to compel the observance of the great charter. When the barons saw that John was raising forces against them, each of the twenty-five took a special part of the kingdom to secure against him, and the counties of Cambridge and Huntingdon were allotted to the Earl of Winchester. They also considered the election of another king. In October John declared the earl's estates forfeited, and granted them to his servants (Close Rolls, i. 230). As one of the chiefs of the baronial party the earl, with others, was sent to Philip of France to offer the crown to Philip's son Louis and hasten his coming. With his fellow ambassadors he took a solemn oath that they would never hold their lands of John (Walter of Coventry ii. 226–7). On 16 Dec. he was excommunicated by the pope. He and his companions returned to England on 9 Jan. 1216, bringing with them forty-two ships laden with French knights and their followers (Ralph of Coggeshall, p. 178). At the accession of Henry III Saer adhered to Louis, and on 21 Dec. persuaded him to spare St. Albans Abbey, which Louis threatened to burn (Gesta Abbatum S. Albani, i. 259). In the spring of 1217 the garrison of Mountsorrell Castle, Leicestershire, which was in his keeping, and was besieged by the royal army, sent to him for help. He hastened to Louis, then in London, and on 30 April Louis sent an army led by the Count of Perche, Saer, and Robert Fitzwalter to the relief of the place [see under Fitzwalter, Robert]. Having joined Fitzwalter in reconnoitring at Lincoln, he advised that their army should advance to the attack. In the battle that ensued on 20 May he was taken prisoner (Rog. Wend. iv. 20, 23); he regained his liberty after peace was made in September.
The war being over, Saer determined to fulfil his crusader's vow. In April 1218 he caused the consecration of the abbey church of Garendon, Leicestershire, of which he was patron in right of his wife, and in 1219 sailed with Robert Fitzwalter and others for the Holy Land, arriving at Damietta during its siege by the crusaders. Shortly after his arrival he fell sick, and commanded that after his death his heart and vitals should be burnt, and the ashes carried to England and buried at Garendon, which was done. He died on 3 Nov., and was buried at Acre (Annals of Waverley, an. 1219). He is described as an accomplished and strenuous warrior (Historia Anglorum, ii. 243). A drawing of his arms is given in the works of Matthew Paris (vi. Additamenta, 477; compare the engraving from his seal in Doyle, Official Baronage). He gave many gifts to Garendon Abbey, and was a benefactor to the canons of Leicester. He died heavily in debt to the king (Rotuli Finium, i. 50). His wife Margaret died in 1235.
He had four sons: Robert, Roger (see below), Reginald, and a second Robert. Saer also left a daughter Hawyse, who married Hugh de Vere, earl of Oxford, about 1223, and possibly a daughter named Arabella, married to Sir Richard Harcourt (Nichols, Leicestershire, iii. 66).
Robert, the eldest son, may perhaps have been the crusader of 1191 (Gesta Henrici II, &c. ii. 185, 187), who is found in attendance on King Richard in 1194 (Addit. MS. 31939, f. 122), though this Robert is generally said to have been Saer's elder brother (Dugdale, Baronage, i. 686). He is said to have survived his father, and to have been supplanted by his younger brother Roger (Dugdale, Baronage, u.s.; Nichols, Leicestershire, iii. 66). It is, however, certain that he died in 1217 (Annals of Waverley, sub an.; Gir. Cambr.; Speculum Ecclesiæ ap. Opera, iv. 174–5). On his death Henry III ordered that a daily payment of 3d. should be made to the hospitallers in England for the souls of King John, his predecessors, and Robert de Quincy until such payment should be exchanged for land of an equal value (Close Rolls, i. 342). Robert's wife Hawyse (1180?–1243), fourth daughter of Hugh, earl of Chester, and sister and coheiress of Ranulf de Blundeville, earl of Chester, had received from her brother the earldom of Lincoln, so far as he could give it to her (Addit. MS. 31939, f. 103), whence probably it is that Giraldus (u. s.), in his account of Robert's death, calls him ‘comes.’ He left an only daughter, Margaret, who married John de Lacy, baron of Pontefract. She did not succeed to the earldom of Winchester, but was allowed by the king to carry to her husband the earldom of Lincoln [see Lacy, John de, first Earl of Lincoln]. After her husband's death she married Walter Marshal, fifth earl of Pembroke [see under Marshal, William, first Earl of Pembroke and Striguil].
The fourth son, also Robert, married Helen, daughter of Llywelyn ab Iorwerth [q. v.], prince of Wales, and widow of John, called le Scot, earl of Chester (Annals of Dunstable, an. 1237). He took the cross in 1250, and died in 1257 (Matt. Paris, v. 99, 689), leaving three daughters (see Calendarium Genealogicum, i. 112; Addit. MS. 31939, f. 122).
Roger de Quincy, second Earl of Winchester (1195?–1265), the second son of Saer de Quincy, was, with his father, excommunicated by Innocent III in 1215 (Rog. Wend. iii. 355). He probably joined his father in his crusade (Annales Monastici, v. Index, p. 380), and his eldest brother Robert being dead, he did homage, and received livery of his father's lands in February 1221; the time that had elapsed since his father's death suggests his absence from England (Close Rolls, i. 448–9). He did not, however, succeed to the earldom until his mother's death (19 Feb. 1235). Meanwhile, in 1222, he served in the king's army in Poitou. Having married Helen, eldest daughter and coheiress of Alan, lord of Galloway, who died in 1234, he divided Alan's lands with the husbands of his wife's sisters, John de Baliol [see under Baliol, John de, (1249–1315)] and William, afterwards earl of Albemarle (d. 1260). The rights of Alan's daughters were disputed by Thomas, Alan's natural son, and the Gallwegians, preferring one lord to three, requested their king, Alexander II [q. v.], either to take the inheritance himself or grant it to Thomas. On his refusal they rebelled, and were defeated by Alexander, who established the three lords in their portions of Alan's domains, Roger being constable of Scotland in right of his wife (Chronicle of Mailros, p. 42; Matt. Paris, iii. 365; Skene, Celtic Scotland, i. 487). In 1239 he joined other nobles in writing a letter of remonstrance to Gregory IX, complaining of his infringements of the rights of English patrons. He served with the king in Guienne in 1242, and was one of the nobles who in that year obtained leave from Henry to return to England, and received permission from the king of France to pass through his dominions (Matt. Paris, iv. 228). In 1246 he again joined in a letter sent to the pope with reference to the grievances of England against the Roman see (ib. p. 533). On the death of his sister-in-law, the Countess of Albemarle, without issue in 1246, a further part of Galloway fell to him in right of his wife (ib. p. 563). He ruled the chiefs with excessive strictness; they rose against him suddenly, and in 1247 besieged him in one of his castles in their country. Preferring to risk death by the sword to the certainty of death by famine, he armed himself fully, mounted his charger, caused the gates of the castle to be thrown open, and attended by a few followers, cut his way through the besiegers, and rode for his life until he reached the Scottish king's court. Alexander took up his cause, punished the rebels, and re-established him in his domains (ib. p. 653).
Earl Roger attended the parliament held in London on 9 Feb. 1248, at which Henry III was reproved for his misgovernment, and also the parliament of 1254, at which the prelates and magnates expressed their distrust of the king. In July 1257 the king appointed him a joint commissioner for composing the disputes between the young king of Scotland, Alexander III [q. v.], and certain of his nobles (Fœdera, i. 362), or, in other words, between Alan Durward [q. v.], the head of the party that upheld the English influence, and the Comyns [see under Comyn, Walter, Earl of Menteith]. In the parliament of Oxford of 1258 he was one of the twelve elected by the ‘community’ to attend the three annual parliaments and exercise the rights of parliament. He was further elected one of the twenty-four commissioners to treat of aid to the king (Annals of Burton, i. 449–50), and was one of the witnesses to the king's confirmation of the acts of the council (ib. p. 456). When Richard of Cornwall was returning from Germany early in 1259, Earl Roger, in company with Walter, bishop of Worcester, and others, on behalf of the barons met him at St. Omer, and forbade him to cross over to England until he had sworn to observe the provisions of Oxford. After eleven days of dispute they obtained a satisfactory guarantee (Wykes, iv. 121–2). Roger died on 25 April 1264. He had three wives: (1) Helen (see above); (2) Maud, daughter of Humphrey de Bohun V, second earl of Hereford [q. v.], and widow of Anselm Marshal, earl of Pembroke [see under Marshal, William, first Earl of Pembroke and Striguil ]; and (3) Eleanor, seventh daughter by his first wife of William Ferrers (d. 1254), earl of Derby, whose second wife was one of Roger's daughters, and widow of William, lord Vaux (d. 1253?). Roger's third wife survived him, marrying for her third husband Roger de Leybourne [q. v.] Roger died without male issue, leaving three daughters by his first wife: (1) Helen or Ela, who married Alan, lord Zouche, of Ashby (d. 1269); (2) Elizabeth or Isabella, plighted on 8 Feb. 1240 to Hugh de Neville (d. 1269) (Addit. MS. 31939, f. 122), but married to Alexander Comyn, second earl of Buchan [q. v.]; and (3) Margaret, married to William Ferrers, earl of Derby.[Gesta Hen. II (Benedict. Abb.), i. 46, ii. 185–187; Roger of Hoveden, iv. 142; Walter of Coventry, ii. 197; Gervase of Cant. ii. 109; Ralph of Coggeshall, p. 178; Matt. Paris's Hist. Angl. ii. 243, and Chron. Maj. ii. iii. iv. v. passim, vi. 477; Gesta Abb. S. Albani, i. 259; Annales Monast. Ann. Burt. i. 283, 449–50, 456, Ann. Wav. ii. 287, 292, Ann. Dunst. iii. 56, 60, 143; Wykes, iv. 121–2 (all Rolls Ser.); Roger of Wendover, iii. 355, iv. 20, 23 (Engl. Hist. Soc.); Regist. Pr. S. Andreæ, pp. 225, 256, 287, 290, 336, 352; Chron. de Mailros, p. 42 (both Bannatyne Club); Eyton's Itin. of Hen. II, p. 174; Addit. MS. (Eyton's) 31939, ff. 103; Stapleton's Norman Excheq. Rolls, i. Introd. cxiv. cxxxv. (Soc. of Antiq.); Rymer's Fœdera, i. 30, 113, 362; Rot. Norman. p. 61, ed. Hardy; Rot. de Liberate ac de Misis, &c. pp. 38, 152, 162, 183, 240, ed. Hardy; Rot. Litt. Claus. i. 24, 29, 230, 342, 448–9, ed. Hardy; Rot. de Obl. et Fin. p. 50, ed. Hardy; Calend. Geneal. i. 111–112, 150, ed. Roberts (all Record publ.); Hist. MSS. Comm. 8th Rep. p. 421 b, 9th Rep. p. 353 a; Ancient Charters, ed. Round, p. 112 (Pipe Roll Soc.); Rôles Gascons, ed. F. Michel, passim; Genealogist, new ser. iv. 179; Collect. Topogr. and Geneal. vii. 130; Dugdale's Monast. vi. 147–8, and Baronage, i. 686–8; Doyle's Official Baronage, ii. 693–5; Foss's Judges, ii. 110–12; Nichols's Leicestershire, iii. 66.]