Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Vescy, Eustace de

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VESCY or VESCI, EUSTACE de, Baron Vesci (1170?–1216), son of William de Vesci and Burga de Stuteville, paid his relief on coming of age in 2 Richard I (1191–2). He was with the king in Palestine in 1195. On 13 Aug. 1199 he appeared as one of the guarantors of the treaty between John and Renaud, count of Boulogne (Charter Rolls, p. 30 b), and in the same year, probably later, he was sent to William the Lion of Scotland to promise him satisfaction of his rights in England, and witnessed his homage on 22 Nov. 1200 (Rog. Wend.; Rog. Hov. iv. 122). He witnessed charters frequently in the early years of John's reign, in 1209 was one of the guardians of the bishopric of Durham (Charter Rolls, passim; Patent Rolls, p. 91), and on 10 April of the same year he was sent to meet William the Lion on his visit to England (Patent Rolls, p. 91). He was serving the king in Ireland from June to August 1210 (Rotul. de Præstitis, pp. 182, 205, 222). Accused of conspiring against John in 1212, he fled to Scotland (Rog. Wend. ii. 62). The tale of John's attempted seduction of his wife, and the trick played on him, which first appears in Walter of Hemingburgh (i. 247–249), and is copied in Knighton (i. 193–5), is scarcely credible, and bears in some of its main details a close resemblance to the story of Valentinian III and Petronius Maximus (Procopius, Bonn ed., i. 328). His lands were seized, but after John's submission to the pope he was forced to invite Vescy back (27 May 1213; Patent Rolls, p. 99), though orders were sent on the same day to Philip de Ulecot [q. v.] to cripple him by destroying his castle of Alnwick. On 18 July 1213 he was one of the recipients of John's pledge to abide by the decision of the pope concerning the things about which he had been excommunicated (Charter Rolls, p. 193 b), and his lands were restored to him the next day (Patent Rolls, p. 101 b). On 5 Nov. 1214 Innocent III warned him not to trouble the king by reason of his previous disputes with the barons (Rymer, i. 126). He was prominent among the barons who wrung the Great Charter from John (Rog. Wend ii. 114), and was one of the twenty-five appointed to see it carried out (Matt. Paris, ii. 605). He was excommunicated by name with others of the barons in 1216 (Rog. Wend ii. 167–9). He accompanied Alexander I of Scotland on his way to do homage to Louis of France. On the way they laid siege to Barnard Castle, belonging to Hugh de Balliol, and, approaching too near, Vesci was shot through the head by an arrow (Rog. Wend ii. 194). His lands were confiscated and given to Simon de Champ Rémy, Philip de Ulecot, and William de Harcourt (Patent Rolls, p. 164 b; Close Rolls, pp. 314 b, 288).

He married Margaret, illegitimate daughter of William the Lion and sister of Alexander II of Scotland, and left a son William (d. 1253), who was father of John de Vescy [q. v.] and of William de Vescy [q. v.]

[Authorities cited in text; Dugdale's Baronage of England.]

W. E. R.