The de Lancasters of Westmorland



Please note that the following are notes, and might be wrong! Please contact me with advice and questions.

This webpage is one of a series, which outgrew the original single page that was started as part of the Lancaster DNA project. As mentioned on the Lancaster Surnames Webpage, the aristocratic family most associated with the surname Lancaster was based in Westmorland. In the earliest times they were associated with Furness and Cumberland, later with Lancaster and Kendal (they were the first Barons of Kendal) and finally with Westmorland generally. In Westmorland, the two main descendant lines were those of Sockbridge and Howgill, for which we have also created separate webpages. I have also done the same for another family who seem to be related are the Lancasters of Rainhill. Discussion of Satterthwaite and Satterfield surnames has been separated to another webpage also.

The surviving symbol of this Lancaster family is its coats of arms, which involved no red roses.

Unlike the Plantagenet "House of Lancaster" these De Lancasters had a White or Silver ("Argent") background with two horizontal red bars. ("Argent two bars gules", in the terminology of blazonry.) They also had “a canton gules” (a red square in the top left corner) and what went in that canton could vary. The most famous line had either a white/silver (argent) or yellow/gold (or) lion “passant guardant(stepping, and watchful). This is the format of lion symbol that early heralds called a "leopard" and the English called a “lion of England,” apparently because it is like the three lions that appear in the arms of the English Royal Family. The longest lasting line, that of Sockbridge, used a star or "mullet". Comparisons can be made at Lancaster Castle's website (which is the source of some of these linked images)...

Edmund Crouchback

Thomas de Lancaster

Gilbert Fitz Reinfrid

William III de Lancastre

Roger de Lancaster

Henry de Lea

The arms of Edmund Crouchback

The Arms of Thomas de Lancaster of the Plantagenets

The Arms of Gilbert Fitz Reinfrid

William III

The Arms of Roger de Lancaster, Lord of Rydal

The Arms of Henry de Lea

(This father and son were actually members of the Lancaster branch of the Plantagenet royal family.)

This father, Gilbert, and his 2 sons, took over the surname Lancaster from Gilbert's wife, Hawise de Lancaster. Their arms seem to have also been taken over, as William de Lancaster I, her father, seems to show the same arms on a seal of about 1180. See below.

Henry was certainly a member of Hawise's father's original Lancaster family. But his family's arms certainly do not match those of Hawise's father, son and husband.

As usual in England, branches of a family used variants, especially concerning the top of the arms, for example the canton. I have made a separate webpage about the Lancaster arms

The de Lancaster coat of arms was of a simple type because it was one of the earliest, and so we must be cautious when comparing it to other similar designs using horizontal bars. But some people have suggested that it is related to those of two Scottish figures who were deeply involved in Northern English events in early Norman England, William Fitz Duncan and Maldred Mac Crinan. Indeed, the first de Lancaster, William fitz Gilbert, seems to have been castellan under William fitz Duncan in Egremont, Cumberland, at a time when the latter was leading an invasion of northern England. (There was war between competing claims to the monarchy of England at the time, so William effectively developed his career with three competing monarchs above him!)

This family had at least two quite separate paternal lines (though still related by marriage), which I shall refer to as FitzReinfred and FitzGilbert. (Fitz means "son of" and refers to founders of a male line, like Gaelic Mac).

Ivo de Taillebois and Eldred of Workington are both often mentioned as earliest ancestors of the FitzGilbert line, which was the first of the two, but these men never used the name Lancaster. What's more, their exact relationship to each other, and to the others, is a subject of debate and speculation. It is however quite probable that one (only one!) of them, is the origin of the FitzGilbert line. On the other hand, our eventual aim is to try to confirm how any or all of these ancient "de Lancaster" families were related to each other, if we can, and this may involve connections to people who were not known as Lancasters. Another aim is to confirm how they are related to modern families, if at all. For this purpose we also have Y (male line) DNA testing in use.

The known family connections at the peak of power in the early Middle Ages is as follows below. This attempts to summarize what we know of the original male-line ancestry. To compare to other summaries which may contain more information, see especially Steve Hissem's de Lancaster webpage, the "stirnet" Lancaster webpage, as well as the website of Paul Lawrence. Concerning the earliest ancestors of the de Lancasters, controversy continues. A useful starting point is the debate of November 2005 on the GEN-MEDIEVAL Rootsweb List.

Ivo de Taillebois (Ives “Cut-bush” in French), died in the 1090s and was of the time of King William the Conqueror and his son King William Rufus. He is said to have been an ancestor of the de Lancasters, though it does not appear possible that this was through an unbroken line of sons - as is sometimes asserted[1] - in any case not legitimate sons.

He was married to Lucy,who seems to have had both Anglo-Saxon and Norman noble blood from Lincolnshire, which was perhaps the area Ivo most called home. He is often asserted to have had a connection with Anjou in France, rather than Normandy itself, perhaps because he or his family appear to have been benefactors of religious institutions there. He might certainly have had such connections to his fellow French warlords, but his name is chiefly remembered for his role in putting down important rebellions in England (such as in Durham and in the Fens were he fought Hereward the Wake). His real ancestry is not certain. While he played a role in managing operations in several parts of the country, especially Lincolnshire, Durham, the Fens, Kendal and Carlisle, what is most relevant to us here is that it appears that the later Barony of Kendal was formed out of possessions put together under one lord for the first time by him, possibly as part of a quite deliberate policy of the King to establish a strong man near the tough Scottish border. There are many other speculations about the full extent of his rights and possessions, but the only certain ones in the northwest of England are Kirkby Stephen and Clapham in Yorkshire. It is very likely that he also played at least some role in administering the disputed lands closer to Scotland, such as Carlisle.

There were several de Taillebois men in England in Ivo's generation and they may have been related. Ralf de Taillebois, sheriff of Bedfordshire, appears as a witness on one of Ivo’s charters and is widely thought to be a brother. Ralf's family line, like Ivo's, "daughtered out". By the way, in French, his name appears as Raoul, and of course Ralph or Ralf is actually the same name as Randolph, which in Latin can appear as Radolfus for example.

The surname, which reappears in later generations in England, sounds like it is based on a nickname rather than a title, but there is a place called Taillebois in Lower Normandy (not Anjou), in the arrondisement of Argentan, and a noble French family who used this surname lived in the area. A note in the cartulary of La Trinite de Vendome mentions a copy of the grant of the church and patronage of Cristot by Ives Taillebois to the abbey. It should be mentioned that the placename may itself have been derived from a personal name. In any case this is what Hector de la Ferrière-Percy felt when writing his Histoire du Canton d'Athis, Orne, et de ses Communes (1858 p.297). According to him the Norman Taillebois family, who he believes to be that of Ivo in England, were based in Briouze, just to the south of Taillebois, from at least the 11th century. Because there was a Taillebois family in France, it is possible that the Taillebois individuals we find in England all arrived at different times and were perhaps only distantly related.

In any case after Ivo and Ralf, there is a long gap in the records for definite sightings in England of this family. While it is not clear how later families with this surname connect back to Ivo and/or the de Lancasters, there were some who were specifically in the area of Ivo's possessions in Cumbria, most strikingly a second Ivo de Tailboys, chamberlain of Robert de Veteripont. He possessed land in Cliburn, and the neighbouring parishes of Bampton and Askham, in Westmorland, and apparently through a marriage of about 1209, also Hepple, in Northumberland and Hurworth in Durham. His descendants came to hold land in Lincolnshire and play a role in English political life in a much different world than the first Ivo's. But what was the connection between the two Ivo's? Both the first Ivo, the more famous one, and his seeming brother Ralph were apparently succeeded by daughters, so who were the "new" Taillebois? Ragg was no doubt right to suggest that Ivo could very well have had illegitimate children. On the other hand, we know of one case where this surname was passed on by a daughter to her son...

Apart from this second Ivo's family, and that of the first Ivo's daughter (below), there are few hints of any Taillebois presence in Northern England during the 1100s and 1200s, between the two Ivos. We can only mention a few hints.

  • First, Ragg draws our attention to a citation by a historian named Hodgson, who on p.137 of a book called Westmorland apparently stated that a Thomas Tailbois had given the church of Shap to Shap Abbey.

  • Second, the powerful cleric, Aimeric Thebert, archdeacon of Carlisle from 1196, and apparently also an archdeacon in Durham, is often referred to as a Taillebois. I have not been able to find a source for this assertion, and I have doubts about it.

  • A Walter Tailbois appears as a witness of a grant by William de Lancaster II to his illegitimate son Gilbert of land in Patterdale, which must have been before 1184. The time and place make this Walter a probable "antecessor," possibly father, to the second Ivo de Tailbois mentioned above. It is of course very interesting that he appears in an important Lancaster family transaction.

  • The de Lancaster family of Kendal, who will be discussed below.

Generation 2.

Beatrix de Taillebois, wife of Ribald of Middleham, was a daughter of Ivo de Taillebois, and probably his only child. According to the annalist Peter of Blois, Ivo and Lucy's "only daughter, who had been nobly espoused, died before her father; for that evil shoots should not fix deep roots in the world, the accursed lineage of that wicked man perished by the axe of the Almighty, which cut off all his issue." Peter did not like Ivo. What is important for us is that Ribald and Beatrix's son Ralf (or Randolph, Ranulph etc.) used the name Taillbois, and married a member of the de Brus family, later closely allied to the the de Lancasters. According to a pedigree appearing page 42 of Keats-Rohan's Domesday Descendants, and pointed out to me by Susan Johanson, there were other sons, Hervi, Rainald, and William. Keats-Rohan's sources were apparently Rev, H. C. FitzHerbert, "An Original Pedigree of Tailbois and Neville" The Genealogist, ns iii (1886), 31 and Charles Clay (ed.), Early Yorkshire Charters, vol. 5 (Yorkshire Archaeological Society, 1936) pp.298-315. These men would be about the same generation as Gilbert, the father of William de Lancaster discussed below. Concerning Clay, Rosie Bevan informed me that the four sons were mentioned in a charter of St Mary's York, dated between 1121 and 1130, but only Ralph was there named as a Taillebois. Concerning FitzHerbert Peter Stewart informed me that an old pedigree there gives all four brothers the name Taylboys. If this family is somehow the source of the second Ivo (of Cliburn and Hepple), then later Tailboys of England may have actually descended from Ribald of Middleton, who was apparently of Breton ancestry. His main heirs eventually took the surname Fitz Randolph. But there is no sign of any Gilbert, and Gilbert the father of William de Lancaster I (see below) must have been a contemporary of Ralf, Harvey, Rainald and William?

Eldred. Everything we know about this man is that he is the father of Ketel. The name is normally standardized to Eldred, which was the normal Frenchification of the Old English name Ethelred, and that is probably correct. But the wide variations in spelling are perhaps the reason that there is at least some speculation that another Anglo-Saxon name underlies this spelling, such as Alfred (latinised as Alured) or Uchtred (one charter calls him Eutred)[2]. Reverend Ragg referred to him with a more unusual name, Elftred, because he also found that unusual spelling somewhere and felt it was the earliest reference he'd seen.

Eldred must have been a close contemporary of Ivo de Taillebois (perhaps even a little older) and like him he is said to be an ancestor of the de Lancasters of Kendal. In two much later monastic accounts he is said to be the son of Ivo de Taillebois, which seems impossible. The families seem to have been equated or combined in monastic pedigrees explaining inheritances, because Ketel, Eldred's son, held several possessions which had been held by Ivo, and confirmed grants made by Ivo. But more recently it became more common to suggest that Eldred is Ivo's son-in-law, married to his daughter Beatrice or Beatrix, either after or before her more well-known husband Ribald of Middleham, who is mentioned above. This also presents difficulties. But there are other possibilities. For example could he be a step son, or an illegitimate son, or the husband of an illegitimate daughter, or might his son Ketel and/or a daughter, have married a member of the de Taillebois family? It is perhaps best to assume that the common jurisdictions of Ivo and Ketel did not pass on by inheritance. Ivo may even have been Ketel's overlord. (See below.)

It is supposed by some people that Eldred's was a relatively rare case of a powerful Anglo-Saxon (or Anglo-Danish, or Anglo-British, because in this part of England the ancient lordly families had inter-mixed) man in the new Norman kingdom. This was apparently more common on both sides of the English-Scottish border where a Northumbrian clique, with blood links to the old royalty of England, Denmark and Northumbria, held an important balance of power while it married into the new Gaelic and Norman dynasties to the north and south. Might Eldred have been related to Ivo’s wife, Lucy, who seems to have been a member of the Anglo-Saxon aristocracy of Lincolnshire, which is known to have included an Alured of Lincoln? Her family also seems to have maintained their position under the Normans, but also seems to have had strong links to Scotland. The antiquarian George Washington has suggested that Eldred was "a scion of the great house of Dunbar". Lucy's later husbands apparently also held claims to various parts of Cumbria, where the de Lancasters would later live, and Lincolnshire, her homeland.

Generation 2.

Ketel or Chetell, the son of Eldred. (Although at least one genealogist says he is Eldred’s brother!) is sometimes said to have been born before the conquest, perhaps as early as 1050, although that is much earlier than most historians seem to think. He is claimed to be a de Lancaster ancestor, as well as somehow related to Ivo de Taillebois (although I know of no contemporary account describing him or any of his children as a de Taillebois). In the two above-mentioned monastic accounts he is said to be Gilbert's father (see next).

It does seem clear that Ketel held possession of many parts of Westmorland which would later come into the hands of William de Lancaster, at least some of which, especially in the Kendal area, had also earlier been held by Ivo de Taillebois. This would seem to be the reason for the monastic accounts linking the three in a chain of inheritance. But this is not decisive[3]. No matter what the relationship between Ketel and William, there is not much evidence for any simple inheritance. William was enfeoffed of Kendal by Roger de Mowbray, not Ketel.

Ragg, in his De Culwen article, mentions a Chetel or Ketel in the Domesday book who held four manors in Bentham directly under the king, which had been held under Roger the Poiteven: Wennington, Tatham, Farleton, Tunstal. Ragg writes that... may at least reasonably suppose the Chetel of Domesday to be Ketel, son of Eldred, remaining in possession under Ivo Tailbois of what he had held under Roger of Poictou - the four manors which in after time became part of the Honour of Lancaster.

...But there is no evidence that these two Ketels were the same, and the name Ketel was surprisingly common in this region and period. Ragg speculated that the link between Ketel and Ivo de Taillebois simply came from having been under Ivo, who replaced Roger the Poitevin it seems, as lord of many bits of countryside in this region. Ivo had taken the side of King William II (Rufus) while Roger the Poitevin took the side of the rebellious Robert Curthose. Later Ketel would have been ruled over by Ranulf Meschin, who had married Ivo's widow (sometimes wrongly said to be a daughter).

Nevertheless, generations later the de Lancasters wrote their charters as if William had had a right to succeed Kendal, with mentions both of Ketel being his uncle, and of Taillebois having been his surname. Linking these two tendencies, it is therefore possible that the father or mother or wife of Ketel may have been a de Taillebois. His wife’s name was Christiana, as mentioned for example in the register of St Bees. Might Christiana have been a Taillebois?

Ketel's eldest son William seems to have died young, and his other proposed son, Orm Fitz Ketel, was heir in the family’s powerbase of western Cumberland and seems to have been a legal adult as early as 1094[4] (7-8 William II), as Ragg says "recording the grant by Roger the Poictevin of the Church of Lancaster to the Abbey of St Martin of Sees ... Orm, son of Ketel, we may assume was therefore a "man" of Roger the Poictevin, having possessions in North Lancashire and possibly elsewhere". Given the surprisingly early date of this charter it should be kept in mind that there seem to be many example of charters in this period which were updated by later generations, making an impossible mixture of signatories.

Apart from William and Orm, other sons are sometimes mentioned in old reference books but these seem to always be misunderstandings based upon the fact that the old Norse name Ketel was still common in Northern England in this time. One which I've never seen suggested but which looks worth following up is Gilbert fitz Ketel, also known as de Turribus (Towers), or "de Hutton Roof", who held land in Hutton Roof, Lupton and Lowick. Ketel fitz Eldred had held land in Hutton Roof a generation or so earlier.

Orm is the ancestor of families named Ormerod, Culwen, Curwen, Lamplugh and Camerton, but it should be said that there are at least some people who doubt that Orm's father Ketel was the same Ketel who was the son of Eldred. The doubts focus mainly upon the very early date for Orm's appearing in a charter of Roger the Poitevin. But did he appear on the original charter? See

Coming back to the subject we are discussing here, I believe the evidence makes it sufficiently clear that Ketel was the uncle (avunculus, which at least can not be a father or paternal grandfather usually) of William de Lancaster I - either Gilbert's or Godith's brother...


1. Gilbert. The name of the father of the first De Lancaster is known, as is his apparent wife’s name Godith (mentioned in a benefaction of her son to St Mary de Pré in Leicester), but almost nothing else is known about either of them with any security. He is often referred to by genealogists with second names such as "de Taillebois", "de Lancaster", "Fitz Ketel", or "de Furness" (de Furnesio). However I can find no contemporary references like this. So like Eldred he is apparently mainly (or perhaps only) known from references to progeny, William de Lancaster I, and his brothers. According to different theories he might in fact be Ketel’s brother (in one charter his son William refers to Ketel as his uncle[5]) or brother-in-law, and/or Eldred’s brother or brother-in-law, or perhaps the son of Eldred’s brother-in-law.

If we accept the evidence that Ketel was uncle of William de Lancaster, was Ketel then the brother of Gilbert, or the brother of Godith? I think the slightly more popular theory is that he is the brother of Gilbert. However, I believe the evidence points at least softly in the other direction.

  • For one thing, Gilbert's name is Norman French, as is "Taillebois" which is a name his son is said to have used (see below), and also Ivo and William. Godith's name on the other hand is native to Britain of the time, like Eldred, Ketel, Orm etc. And so some people suspect that the de Lancasters are the results of a French family marrying into the Workington Anglo-Saxon family. I propose, as per Washington, that Gilbert was the Norman and Godith the Anglo-Saxon. (However, William Farrer and Dr Keats-Rohan for example, believe that Eldred was the Anglo-Saxon who married a Norman Taillebois - one generation earlier.)

  • Also, one reason Gilbert is said to be Ketel's brother seems to be the way in which William seems to have taken over places and rights held by his uncle. However, because Ketel had legitimate heirs, the reasons for this are unclear even if Gilbert were brother of Ketel. Might Gilbert have died young and had his brother hold some of his rights conditionally until William came of age? But then if Gilbert lived long enough to have several children, as it seems, why do we hear absolutely nothing of Gilbert's own lifetime?

  • Thirdly, if William de Lancaster was known as a Taillebois, why was Ketel never known in this way in any of the many contemporary documents which mention him and his male descendants?

  • While the word avunculus was not used strictly in this time, it did apparently still tend to imply relationship through the mother's side.

Were there ever original documents about Gilbert? There are two such reports I am aware of:

Firstly, according to a note written by the 17th century antiquarian Benjamin Ayloffe, which is reproduced in the introduction of Walford Selby's collection of Lancashire and Cheshire Records, p.xxix, Gilbert was the king's "Receiver for the County of Lancaster" and was named "Gilbert de Furnesio". If Gilbert was really referred to as “de Furnesio” then this is interesting. The use of Furness as a second name was in fact mainly associated with the le Fleming families of Furness, who were closely allied with the Lancasters, and eventually took over several of their Furness titles through marriage. Although no one seems able to prove it, it is widely suggested that Ivo de Taillebois and/or the immediate ancestors of William de Lancaster had some kind of lordship over Furness or a part of Furness. What we know about Furness in this time is very little, however we do know that it was held by Stephen, Count of Bolougne and Mortain from 1114 or so, and that the le Flemings were there already in 1127, when Stephen exempted their lands from his grant of Furness to the Abbey of Furness. In 1086, the time of the Domesday book, Furness, Cartmell and a large part of what would become the Barony of Kendal, were under the king. It is thought that Furness and Cartmell however went to Roger the Poitevin, as a detached part of his Honour of Lancaster. This was during the time of William Rufus - the same time in which the Barony of Kendal, which fits neatly between the detached parts of Lancashire, was starting to coalesce as a territory of Ivo de Taillebois. William de Lancaster however later held both the Honour of Lancaster and the Barony of Kendal. See my notes on the Lancaster surname for a map of this area.

Secondly, in William Farrer's transcriptions and annotations of Early Lancashire Charters (1902, published in an edition of Lancashire Pipe Rolls; see p.442-3) some confirmation charters from the Kuerden manuscripts are given concerning Dunnerdale and Seathwaite in Furness. The charters Farrer could report accurately are of William de Lancaster I, William de Lancaster II, and William de Lancaster III (with the receiving family on the other side of the confirmation being the family of Roger son of Orm son of Ailward, which became the Kirkby family of Kirkby Ireleth. This once again places Gilbert in Furness. The description of the territory is

"between Licul and Duden, and from Licul [Lickle] over against the mountain unto Dearsgarth, and from the head of the fence upwards unto Calfhead and then from Calfhead following over against the mountain unto the head of the valley of Glenscalan (or Glensalan), thence following unto Wranishals (i.e., Wrynose Hawse), and thence from Duden over against the valley unto Licul."

Farrer comments:

In another of his MS. volumes, Dr. Kuerden records the abstract of a charter by which "Gilbert, father of William de Lancaster, gave to Roger the land between the Licul and Dudun, etc., by rendering four shillings." Apparently this refers to a grant even earlier than those referred to, and of a date before 1140. The abstract, however, being very brief, it would be unwise to draw from it any serious deduction.

We know Gilbert had at least three sons, and probably more. All of them appear to have had Norman names...

  • William de Lancaster I is the best known. See below.

  • Roger fitz Gilbert appears to have married Sigrid, the widow of Waldeve or Waltheof of Allerdale in Cumberland. It was apparently a second marriage for both. He is mentioned in the Register of St Bees 22, 223, 232, 233. These describe him as a son of Gilbert in the right time and place to be a brother of William, and 223 mentions a brother William. He also had both a brother and son named Robert. Both William and Roger are also linked to Walton (farmland just inland from St Bees) and Hensingham. The charters seem linked furthermore in the way that William's (224, 233) refer to Roger's (223, 232). They were certainly close associates of Eldred's family, and indeed seem to be relatives[6].

  • Robert fitz Roger. Perhaps the same one who later appeared in charters associated with the family of Warin de Lancaster. See below. He would be a first cousin or uncle of Warin.

  • Robert fitz Gilbert. Robert seems to be based only upon references in the Register of St Bees concerning the above proposed Roger.

  • ? Gilbert ? Gilbert appears in several accounts I have been unable to confirm: (1) He is described as the father of Warin de Lancaster[55]. (2) He is equated with Gilbert de Stainton[56] yet another man who is known from little else than his relations to others. (3) Ragg mentions him in a 1908 or 1909 article in CWAAS concerning charter to St Peter's (St Leonard's) hospital, referring to the Register of St Bees (in which I found no evidence for him), Harley MS 434. Did somebody transcribe Gilbert where others read Robert? There is however a Gilbert son of Gilbert in a list of witnesses in the Register, coming right after a group of descendents of Ketel, where a relative might appear.

  • ? Bernard Fitz Gilbert, son of Gilbert de Stainton, appears to have died heirless, and Stainton went to Gilbert’s daughter Christian de Stainton, who married Michael de Furness, also known as Michael le Fleming. Their son Anselm de Furness inherited Stainton. Some researchers seem to feel that Gilbert de Stainton, if a member of this family, must be a son of William de Lancaster I.

  • ? Warine de Lancaster (also see above), was royal falconer, and ancestor of a family known as "de Lea" or "de Lee". He was contemporary with Henry II. That he belongs in this family appears to be undisputed, but how? In one charter concerning Forton in the Cockersand Chartulary Henry his son speaks of the land granted to his father Warine by "his uncle" William de Lancaster, which another charter makes clear to have been William de Lancaster I. Was it Henry's uncle or Warine's? Here we presume Warine's, as he was active in the late 1100s, so the same generation as William de Lancaster II. Henry Warine's son granted Forton to the monks of Furness for the souls of William de Lancaster, Warine de Lancaster and Mabel, Warine's wife, Richard Fitton father of his own wife Margaret, &c.; Harl. Chart. (B.M.) 52 I, 1. But these sources do not name Warine's father. (The source of Farrer's assertion that his name was Gilbert is unknown.) It appears that he already possessed the demesne and wood of Forton in the time of William I, which he then passed on to a son Roger, who in turn passed it on to another son Adam. Might Warine have been a son Gundred de Warrene and William? This might explain his importance despite not being the main heir? Several sons are known:

  • Henry de Lancaster or de Lea, who became Henry de Lea, founding a family who used the surname Lea. He was contemporary with King John. Married to Margaret Fitton as mentioned above. This family was associated with more southern areas of Lancashire, like Forton, Liverpool and Preston. The coat of arms of the de Leas, shown above (argent, three bars sable), was not like that of their cousins although it was still within what seems to be a regional tradition of being white with horizontal bars. It should be understood that when the de Leas separated from the main line of de Lancasters, coats of arms were not yet fixed. The earliest symbol we have is a seal of Henry, which shows a bird - perhaps a falcon?

Henry de Lee died before 1240, and was succeeded by his son, Sir John de Lee, who died in 1265. His son and heir, Sir Henry de Lee, fined for his relief, 12th September, 1265, and died in 1289. His son William de Lee succeeded, and married Clarence daughter and heiress of Robert Banastre, with whom he acquired the Manor of Mollington Banastre, co. Chester. He died before the end of the reign of Edward I., leaving issue a son, Sir Henry de Lee, who was beheaded in 1315, for participation in an insurrection in Lancashire headed by Adam Banastre, against Thomas, Earl of Lancaster ; and a daughter Sibil [or sister?], who was married to Richard de Hoghton, and conveyed to that family the extensive estates in Lancashire and Cheshire which had belonged to her brother (Farrer, for Chetham Vol.39, 1898, Chartulary of Cockersand I part II.)

Their coat of arms lived on in a reversed version with the Hoghton family (sable, three bars argent). And the younger brother of Henry, William de Lea, survived in Croston, where his daughter and heiress, Alice, married the Ashtons of Croston, who later quartered the Lee arms into theirs. Henry and William also seem to have had another brother, Nicholas de Lea, who worked for Edmund Crouchback. Other branches may have survived on. I believe I have found evidence that yet another brother of the executed Henry took over lands in Rainhill. See

A settlement by fine was made by William de Lee of Rainhill upon his son Henry in 1301; the property was 2 messuages and 14 acres; Final Conc. i, 192. [Could this be the same as Henry who was executed, also a son of a William and living in this exact area.]
Roger son of William de Lee in 1320–1 granted to William his son his right in the Longshot with Lee field and 5 half-selions in Rainhill; also the reversion of the dower of Emma, widow of the grantor's brother William; Blundell of Crosby Evidences, K. 70, K. 250. William son of Roger de Lee in 1362 granted to his son John a messuage and all his land in Rainhill, except 2 acres which Richard Sherlock held of the grantor in a place called the Lee; Kuerden, fol. MS. 249. Richard, son and heir of Henry de Lee, in 1426–7 sold to Henry Blundell of Little Crosby and Ditton all his lands in Rainhill; ibid. 213, 249.

(The crucial question about this theory about a continuation in Rainhill is whether "Lee field" in Rainhill was named after the family, or the other way around. Another problem is whether William son of William's widow would be named Emma. It seems perhaps more likely that she was named Isolde or Alice.)

  • Adam de Lancaster or de Lea. In Ashton in the 1200s there is mention of Adam son of Warine de Lancaster and his wife Alice; Add. MS. 32106, no. 378. In this context we should mention Adam de Lee, roughly contemporary with Henry de Lee, also known as Henry de Lancaster, who like Adam made a benefaction to Cockersand Abbey around 1200. Did Adam de Lancaster use the surname Lee or Lea? Yes: see Cockersand charter 3 where he is specifically mentioned this way as a brother of Henry.

  • Roger de Lea, mentioned in the Cockersand Cartulary, concerning Forton, with a brother Adam (charter 2).

  • ? Robert de Lancaster? also appears in some charters of Adam and Henry. Could Roger in charter 2 be an error for Robert? Variations between different transcribers of the same documents have shown me that this error is common. However Roger is perhaps mentioned as a witness in charter 4 also. Robert might be the son of Roger, Warine's uncle (or father?), known from the Register of St Bees. He must in any case not be confused with Robert the parson of Garstang who appears in many of the same charters, including one with Robert himself. As Andy Waddicor has pointed out to me: "This is surely our Robert de Garstang (rector of St Helen Garstang), son of Sigrid de Lancaster and William de Garstang (clerk of Garstang)" (brother of Paulin de Wedacre, the apparent founder of the Wedacre surname). This Robert of Garstang would therefore apparently be a first cousin of the children of Warine.

  • ? Nicholas de Lancaster ? I also know of no good argument for the existence of this relation. Only some Radcliffe genealogists say that their family must descend from a knight based in Radcliffe (near Manchester) named Nicholas Fitz Gilbert de Taillebois. They also say that this Gilbert, his father, was also known as Gilbert de Furnesio. It would certainly be interesting to know if documents really exist mentioning this particularly Lancastrian combination of names: FitzGilbert, Tailboys, and Furnesio. William Farrer at least seemed unaware of any evidence for Radcliffe ancestors this early. Debrett's Barontage seems to assume that Nicholas of Radcliffe genealogists is really the same as Henry Radeclive, who I understand to be their understanding of the earliest recorded Radcliffe. Henry apparently appeared on the foundation charter of Burscough Abbey. Also see which seems aware of the story but again admits of no knowledge of Nicholas de Taillebois. Benjamin Ayloffe, mentioned above, source of some otherwise untraceable comments upon this generation, does not mention him in his brief note on the de Lancasters.

2. William de Lancaster I, Gilbert’s son (and nephew, possibly through a sister, of Ketel) was said to have taken the “de Lancaster” name by royal licence and is probably the first person to have ever passed the name on to his children as a family name. On the other hand his grand daughter seems to have claimed that he used the name “de Tailboysbefore being granted the new name. He was an important man, and married (probably as a second wife) Gundred, who is normally said, though this is doubted by William Farrer, to be Gundred de Warrene, an important member of one of the most powerful families in England. He lived in troubled times, including a major Scottish invasion and must have served under three competing claims to the monarchy above him during the anarchy in Britain (King David of Scotland, King Stephen of England and Mathilda his competitor in England).

The earliest records of his adult life seem to centre around Western Cumberland. Several websites even claim that he served as castellan of Egremont in Cumberland 1138 to William Fitz Duncan, a member of the Scottish royal family. In one article it is claimed that the De Lancaster arms are derived from this Scottish William. Others claim he helped command forces against the Scots in this area. A charter refers to him as if he were lord of Muncaster, which is also in Cumberland and apparently a lordship which would have come under Egremont. He also seems to have been lord of Lamplugh and Hensington before he was enfeoffed by Roger de Mowbray of the future Barony of Kendal, Lonsdale and Horton in Ribblesdale (these latter often suggested to imply lordship of the entire Wapentake of Ewcross), as well as parishes of Garstang and Warton in northern Lancashire. This happened about 1150. Farrer believes he died before Michaelmas 1170.

We know of a few children…

  • William de Lancaster II, perhaps also known as William fitz William, is discussed below.

  • Avicia de Lancaster married first to William de Peveral II (or was this a daughter of Roger the Poitevin and Aumodis de la Marche?), and secondly to Richard de Morville, constable of Scotland, yet another sign of the substantial connections with Scotland of the families in this part of England at this time. Richard's great great grandmother is also said to be a Taillebois, though a daughter of Ralf and not Ivo. Ralph is thought to be Ivo's brother, a fellow immigrant from France.

  • Jordan de Lancaster. This son died, perhaps quite young, and is mentioned in a benefaction to St Mary de Pré of Leicester (see Early Lancashire Charters, W. Farrer 1902). Might he be the father of Warin de Lancaster, ancestor of the de Leas? I doubt it.

  • Agnes de Lancaster. "The ancient manor of Heversham was subdivided, about the year 1090, by the grant of the church and one-third of the lands to the newly founded Abbey of St. Mary at York.  Some two-thirds remained with the Barony of Kendale until it was given, about the year 1160, by William de Lancaster as a marriage portion with his daughter Agnes, to Alexander de Wyndesore." Also Grarigg with the appurtenances, and what he had in Morland.

  • Siegrid de Lancaster. Farrer in VCHL I says she married William the clerk of Garstang who had her lands and mill there in frank marriage. Their son Paulin de Garstang is the ancestor of the family of Wedacre. They also had a son Robert who was rector of Garstang. It can be seen that Siegrid lived near Warine, and her family associated with his.

3. William de Lancaster II, William I’s son. Died 1184. He married Hawise de Stuteville, who later remarried to Hugh de Morvill (probably the one who killed Thomas Becket), and third William de Greystoke (she had his heir Thomas).
His main heir was his daughter
Hawise de Lancaster (below), apparently named after her mother, so his two older sons Gilbert and Jordan are normally thought to have been illegitimate. However they appear as witnesses in many charters, and were apparently land-owners of reasonable significance in Sockbridge and Strickland.

Within Ulverston, William de Lancaster II founded the Priory of Conishead, originally as a hospital, apparently realizing it would become a rival of Furness abbey.

Again we can mention the children, some are certain, while some are not...

3.1. Isabel de Lancaster ? Married Ivo de Veteripont. Ivo also married Maud (Matilda) de Morevill, sister-in-law of Avicia de Lancaster (mentioned above). Ragg suggest that this Isabel might be a daughter of William de Lancaster I, in his de Veteripont paper. Her age seems to make it impossible for her to be a daughter of Helewise de Stuteville. Perhaps her mother's identity is hinted at by the fact that she brought three possessions to her marriage, Blencarn, Ainstable and Waverton, which in her era were all subject to various claims and disputes by members of the de Thursby family.

3.2. Gilbert de Lancastre. An illegitimate son, older than William's wife Hawise de Stuteville. Late in his father's life, in the 1170s or 1180s, Gilbert was enfeoffed of Sockbridge (both moieties in two grants), Hartsop, and Strickland Ketel, by which time Gilbert was already an adult, often appearing in his father's charters. We also know that he had a son because during the incidents surrounding the “Magna Carta”, in 1216, when Gilbert FitzReinfrid (below) was asked to provide hostages in order to have his son William de Lancaster III released from custody by king John, one suggestion was “the son of Gilbert de Lancastre”. Gilbert FitzReinfrid also seems to have given him possession of Hawkshead (by 1196 FitzReinfrid's claims had been overcome by Furness Abbey), according to a charter found by Ragg. Apparently some historians have assumed that “Gilbert de Lancaster” mentioned in many other records during all these years was in fact Gilbert Fitz Reinfrid, using the surname which his son and father-in-law certainly used. But this ignores the fact that the two Gilberts often appear together in these charters. In 1208 Gilbert de Lancaster even represented Gibert Fitz Reinfrid and his wife in a legal case. In fact, I know of no evidence that Gilbert Fitz Reinfrid ever used the name “de Lancaster” in his own lifetime. Perhaps in other cases authors (such as Ragg admits to having been) may have assumed that Gilbert was a more elderly relative, a brother of William II for example. For Ragg the clinching evidence is when Helewise, the daughter of William II, confirms her fathers grants to Gilbert her brother. Apart from Sockbridge, in 1180–1200 "Uchtred son of Ketel granted to Gilbert de Lancastre a 4th part of the land in Stirkeland (fn. 2) which William de Lancastre gave to Ketel the grantor's father, to hold for 6d. yearly." Gilbert's wife was Sapience as shown by Ragg in a charter made after the death of her husband but before that of Gilbert fitz Reinfrid, was renting from her. This shows that Gilbert died about 1220.

For Gilbert de Lancaster's descendants see the seperate Sockbridge Lancasters webpage.

3.3. Jordan de Lancastre. Appears in many charters with his father, William de Lancastre II. An archive document MD335/4/1/8 perhaps mentions him as a constable in Cnaresburg in Yorkshire, which was a possession of his apparent step-mother's de Stuteville family. He may have living descendents, but as he appears not to have been a major heir, his line is harder to trace in documents…

  • Gilbert de Lancaster.  A charter in Strickland Roger in 1256 shows that a Gilbert, son of Jordan had recently died, and his 20 acres of land and meadow in Strickland Roger were being held by Thomas de Lancaster. Was Thomas perhaps a son, brother, or other relative? Gilbert may also be the knight mentioned in 1246 at the passing of William III de Lancaster, as being in the service of William’s half-brother and heir Roger. (Note that this seems to prove that he is a different person than his apparent cousin, the constable, mentioned at the same time.)

  • ? A Roger de Lancaster son of Jordan de Lancaster is mentioned in the Feet of Fines for Westmorland, 31 Henry III (1246-1247, no. 4). The case was against William son of Walter de Strickland and his wife Amabel, concerning land in “Stirkeland".

  • ? Ralf ? Rev. Ragg thus interprets the confusing mentions of Ralf de Shireburn (Assize Roll) or Schypton (Feet of Fines) after the death of Gilbert son of Jordan. Shireburn and Schypton are two common types of English town name. The best-fitting Shireburn family is perhaps that from Stonyhurst and Mitton, who are therefore not far from one of the places called Skipton. Both sitting near the border of Lancashire and Yorkshire. The family already existed at this time, but no connection is known with Skipton or Westmorland. Intriguingly however, there is a record from this century of a Gilbert de Lancaster, clerk (or Gilbert, clerk of Lancaster) having dealings with one of this family (a John, son of Robert). In A History of the Family of Sherborn by Charles Davies Sherborn, a few more possible sightings of a man of this name are made, but very scattered around England: Holderness, Northlech in Gloucestershire, and Shropshire. Ragg, in any case, makes Ralf and the above-mentioned Thomas brothers of Gilbert. Ragg assumes that the Assize roll is in error when it says that Ralf is the father of Jordan. But even then I can not see why Ralf might not be related by marriage for example.

  • ? Thomas de Lancaster ? See under 1256. And in 1274 he was a juror in the inquiry after the death of Robert de Ros of Werk (whose wife was Margaret de Brus, a member of the FitzReinfrid de Lancaster family below). Thomas also appears in a charter in 1275. A document of 1288 names his residence as Blind Beck in Crosby Ravensworth. Several other documents concerning large debts seem to indicate that Thomas was a businessman trading between Kendal and York (1, 2, 3). In 1310-20, two sons of Thomas de Lancastre had a messuage and a tenement in or near Kirkby Kendal:

  • ?Thomas de Lancaster ? Thomas son of Thomas de Lancastre is named as a witness in a 1292 charter, concerning Sleddal Brounolf in the vill of Stirkeland Ketel.

  • ? William de Lancastre ? Ragg says he was a cleric. Perhaps he based this suggestion upon the record of a William holding Dillicar under William de Ros and in the Barony of Kendal, in 1310. Farrer and Curwen note a record which seems to make it clear: "1310–20 Gilbert de Brunnoleshefd granted to Roger son of Thomas de Lancastre, for his service rendered and to be rendered during his life, a messuage in the vill of Kyrkeby in Kendale, lying near the tenement of master William, the said Roger's brother, on the one side, and the messuage of Baldwyn de Schepeshefd on the other". To avoid confusion, it should be noted that a William son of Roger de Lancaster of Rydal (see below) was also a cleric in this time and area. For further discussion see my webpage concerning Lancasters of the period for whom the family connections are not yet clear.

  • ? Roger de Lancastre ? This Roger seems to witness some 1316 charters. In 1331 Roger son of Thomas de Lancaster of Kendal had a claim against Alice, widow of William de Slene, who possessed the manor of Highmoor in Lancaster, apparently his father Thomas had pursued a case against the previous occupier in 1304. (Alice the widow perhaps coincidently married a man named John de Lancaster about this time.)

  • ? Phillip, son of Roger de Lancastre ? is mentioned in a 1318 charter concerning Strickland Ketel ( Ragg makes this Phillip a son of Roger of Sockbridge (see above and also the separate webpage).

There seem to be signs of another very important branch in this family, though previously not recognized as such, descended from a Walter...

  • A Walter de Lancaster was a witness long before in 1209-12 in Kirkby Kendal (Chartul. of Fountains, ii, 559). Perhaps Walter de Lancaster, also mentioned in 1246 as a tenant of the deceased William de Lancaster III, along with Gilbert de Lancaster, was another son of Jordan or Gilbert?

  • ? Thomas de Lancaster ? A William son of Thomas son of Walter de Lancaster was plaintiff in Lancaster in 1292.

  • ? Walter de Lancaster ? He or his seeming father appears as a tenant at the inquisition following the death of William de Lancaster III 1246. A Walter de Lancaster appears in records in 1271 and 1291.

  • ? Robert son of Walter de Lancaster ? sued Robert de Veteripont in 1292, claiming that de Veteripont had granted a grange in Milburn to Shap Abbey while he was still a minor. Milburn is where we later find the Lancasters of Howgill, and Robert's claim on the place implies that he was an heir to the de Stutevilles.

  • ? John de Lancaster of Howgill? Ragg believes that this Robert later had a son John, apparently concerned with Hilton, Murton and Brampton, and may be the ancestor of the Lancasters of Brampton. I doubt the connection to Brampton, but believe this is John de Lancaster of Howgill, sometimes described as heir to the fitz Reinfrid Lancasters after Lord John. John of Howgill first appears in a record in 1314 where he is pardoned for the murder of John de Helton, whereas Robert son of Walter was sentenced to imprisonment for charges of infringeing the rights of John de Helton. (I have published a short article on this in Foundations, the journal of the Foundation of Medieval Genealogy, in July 2007.)

For more about this branch see the seperate Howgill Lancasters webpage.

3.4. Hawise de Lancastre. William's heir. Perhaps the only child of William de Lancaster with his known wife Hawise de Stuteville. Became a ward of the “perfect knight” William le Mareschal, and was eventually married to Gilbert Fitz Reinfrid, with the permission of king Henry II. See below.

 Arms at Lancaster Castle4. Gilbert Fitz Reinfred. Often referred to in his charters in a more complete way as Gilbert son of Roger Fitz Reinfred. (Reinfred seems to have been his grandfather.) His ancestors are thought to have also used the name or title of “De Bruere”.

Gilbert was William de Lancaster II’s son-in-law, but sometimes dubiously said to be a distant relative of the de Lancasters, with various groundless connections between Reinfrid, Taillebois and Workington being spread over the internet.

More seriously, is argued to have been the first Lord of Kendal who was really a Baron of Kendal. He was an important man, who was constantly in the retinue of King Henry while in France in 1180-89. Later, he also took part in the incidents surrounding the creation of the Magna Carta in the time of King John, leading to his sons imprisonment during action taking place near Rochester. His children’s marriages show a very strong alliance with yet another Anglo-Scottish dynasty, the “
De Brusfamily. He was Sheriff of Lancaster from 1205 to 1215.

  • Avice de Lancaster married William de Lyndsey.

  • Hawise de Lancaster married Peter de Brus.

  • Serota de Lancaster married Alan de Multon.

  • William de Lancaster III. See below.

  • Roger de Lancaster of Rydal. See below.


Image at Lancaster Castle5. William de Lancaster III, the son of Gilbert, and last of the main line of de LancasterLords of Kendal. Just referring to specific announcements in the patent rolls he was appointed to custody over the county and castle of Lancaster in 1240 and the honour of Lancaster in 1234 and 1241. He was given licence by the king to make a will in 1246. He died in November 1246, and inquiries into his last enfeoffments started soon after.
He married
Agnes de Brus, but appears to have had no children. Apart from his half-brother Roger (below) he may have had a brother named John who pre-deceased him, because in 1240-1241, while he held other positions in Lancaster, the sheriff of Lancaster was John de Lancaster, and his arms were the same as Roger's.
William spent some part of his young life as a hostage and prisoner for the part he and his father and he had played in the rebellion of the Barons against King John Lackland. On 22 Jan 1215/16 he and his knights, Ralph de Aencurt and Lambert de Bussay were taken at the castle of Rochester in arms against the king. From many records it is clear that as soon as his father passed away, although he was allowed to take up high positions, he was constantly being pressed by the king to pay debts which possibly went back to the damages of the rebellion.
He left enormous debts amongst England’s Jewry which passed along with many of the family’s rights to the heirs of his legitimate sisters. Administration of these debts became a concern of the King himself.
1248 The debts of William de Lancastre due to the king, or to Aaron and Samuel, Jews of York, and David, Jew of Oxford, are granted to William of Valence, the king's [half] brother; Peter de Brus is ordered to pay off his part of the debts at the rate of £200 yearly; Cal. Pat. R., 1248, p. 33, cf. ib., 547.”

Arms at Lancaster Castle6. Roger de Lancaster “de Rydal”. Died about 1290-91. Gilbert Fitz-Reinfrid probably enfeoffed his natural son, Roger de Lancaster, of Witherslack shortly before 1220. While his brother was still alive, Roger was enfeoffed under him of Patterdale and Martindale which are between Rydal and Sockbridge. Despite that, nearly contemporary documents describe him as a bastard brother of William III, in other words illegitimate. Upon his death bed William granted his brother Roger de Lancastre as follows...

  • 200 acres of land of his demesne in Patterdale worth 4l. yearly, and of one Mill worth 60s., and of herbage and pannage worth 14s. yearly, and of the farm of free tenants to the value of 18s. 10d.
  • The said Roger has the service of Gilbert de Lancastre, [this is clearly Gilbert of Sockbridge] ] who holds by knight's service by the tenth part of one knight's fee.
  • And the service of Walter de Lancastre, who holds by knight's service, by the tenth part of one knight's fee. [Compare to the 20th which he held within Kendal, apparently in that case not under William III?]
  • Also the said Roger de Lancastre of the whole forest of Westmorland, except Fusedale and Swartfell, and the head of Martindale, which the said Roger held before of ancient feoffment. [The ancient enfeoffment is reproduced by Ragg.]

Although he did not inherit the Barony of Kendal, he attained important positions after his brother passed away, regaining some importance for the family. In 1263 and 1264 Roger was apparently one of the magnates called keepers of the counties, summoned first by the king, and then by Simon de Montfort in the king's name, to bring aid and council, but he was also apparently one who resisted going. The king was said to be much moved. These councils were the first stirrings of the parliamentary tradition.

An effigy of either Roger (or possibly his son John) can be found at the Medieval Combat Society website:-: Effigy in Stansted Mountfichet

From 1265, after Henry III was returned to power, Roger was quickly made both Sheriff of Lancaster, keeper of his demesnes there, and Keeper of the King’s Forests North of the Trent with his own licence to hunt there, the latter post apparently being one he held for a long time. Being Sheriff lasted 2 years. It even appears that Henry III had “committed” Lancaster to Roger for life, only to have to reverse his decision a little later when he gave it to his son Edmund Crouchback instead. Edmund became the first Earl of Lancaster and is the source of the title to Lancaster which the Royal family afterwards held - most famously in the "House of Lancaster".
In 1270 Roger's forest keeper job led to complaints from King Alexander III of Scotland, son-in-law of Henry III, and holder of lands in Penrith.

Roger also married well, to Phillipa de Bolebec which gave him titles in Northumberland, Essex, and Cambridgeshire. These passed on to their heir John de Lancaster, for whom they were perhaps a mixed blessing.
It is interesting that in 1269/70 (54 Henry III) he is described as a friend and kinsman of Roger de Leyburne, justice of the King's forest. The Leyburnes were apparently from Kent, but became part of the Lancaster retinue in Westmorland in the time of Roger's presumed father, Gilbert son of Roger fitz Reinfrid.What was the relationship? One of the de Leyburne Rogers married a Veteripont. Could that be it?
His title to reclaim Rydal for the Lancaster family came from Margaret de Brus, the widow of Robert de Ros, and an heiress to some of the possessions of Gilbert Fitz Reinfrid. He held it direct from the king. In an agreement WD RY/BOX 92/26 of 1277 bounds were set in Rydal as follows:

  • from the highest part of his park of Rydal towards "Rogerloge" following the right bounds between Rydal and Scandale, ...

  • the same towards "le Crag in le Grencove", ...

  • from the water of "Bouthmer" to "le Lancridge" and enclosing half of "le Lancridge" to "le Cleringe" between Rydal and Grasmere, with Margaret de Ros enclosing the other half [of Lancridge]

After his death, he was recorded as having possessed:

  • Barton. The manor with garden, held [of the king in chief] by service of 1/20 knight's fee.
  • Rydul [Rydal]. A dale held also of the king in chief by service of ¼ knight's fee.
  • Werrslak [Witherslack]. The manor, held of the heirs of William de Lyndeley by service of 2d.
  • Barton. 200a. arable held of the same heirs by service of a sparrowhawk; 
  • Barton. 165a. arable held of the Lady de Ros, and ... a. meadow; 
  • Barton and Pulhou [Pooley] tenants rendering 49s. 7d., a water-mill and fulling-mill, and a park worth 20s. yearly; 
  • Barton. four dales viz.—Martindale, Wamewydale [which Ragg interprets as Bannerdale, which I find a bit doubtful], Crisdale [Grisdale] and Clencon [Glencoyne], worth 30l., [It is noteworthy that these are not listed as part of Patterdale.]
  • 2 little mills, tenants rendering 50s. yearly, and perquisites, herbage and pannage worth 40s.; all held of the Lady de Ros by service of a sparrowhawk, and there are free tenants rendering 5s. yearly.
  • He held nothing in the county of his own inheritance or of that of Philippa his wife.
  • John de Lancastre his son, aged 25, is his next heir. 

It is notable that his dales do not include Hartsop, possessed by Gilbert de Lancaster of Sockbridge, but of all the eastern Barton dales the only ones not mentioned as specifically possessed by a Lancaster are Glenridding or Deepdale. Deepdale in later generations found in the hands of the Howgill Lancasters who descend from Walter de Lancastre. Glenridding eventually seems to have come into the hands of the Threlkelds by the 1500s, but by what route? I think that it was most often connected with Patterdale itself, the populated part on the shore of Ullswater, and hence comes into the 200 acres which Rogers is mentioned as having there, and which was clearly distinct from his four dales.

His children appear to be as follows…

  • John de Lancaster. See below.

  • William de Lancaster. In 1264 William is mentioned in a letter written by the archdeacon of Richmond to the king. It seems that after the death of the archdeacon of Beetham in Westmorland, William had taken matters into his own hands. This is means William was much older than his father's eventual heir, John. For more discussion of William, see the webpage we've made about Lancaster sightings in this period which are not yet definitely linked to a particular family.

  • ? Thomas de Lancaster ? Son of a Roger de Lancaster. See Materials for the History of the Church of Lancaster by William Oliver Roper, Chetham Society where William de Lancaster III calls Ashton his manor. Paul Lawrence believes he may be illegitimate, because he has found a reference as early as 1247. In any case, he appears to have carried on the family name as far as it's holdings in the countryside around Lancaster itself were concerned.

  • John de Lancaster. Inherited from Thomas, but died without heirs. His brother Laurence set forth his claim to 30 acres in Skerton in 1292, where he explicitly mentioned his descent from Thomas son of Roger.

  • Laurence de Lancaster. Founder of the Lawrences of Ashton Hall via his son John de LawrenceWhile the heraldry and mythology of this family point to a crusader ancestor named Robert de Lawrence, contemporary records seem to leave now doubt that this family were Lancasters of the FitzReinfrid line. One of John’s sons, Edmund, married an heiress to a major branch of the de Washington family, the same family as George Washington.

  • Roger de Lancaster. Definitely a brother of Lord John. Died about 1328 (10 years before 1338) so appears to have pre-deceased him. If he had lived longer, he had the rights to enjoy several properties of his brother but only for his lifetime. Does this mean he had no heirs? Rev Ragg suggests that it means that he did not have the same mother. He appears to have owned 80 acres in Ulverston (Feet of Fines 1302), but his brother's grants never confirm where he lived. Perhaps he lived in Gressingham. It is sometimes claimed that he is the father of John de Lancaster of Rainhill who married Margery de Molyneux. In contrast to this, it is also often claimed that he is the father of John de Lancaster of Howgill. In fact the evidence is better, though still not convincing, that it might have been a brother named Robert who was father of John de Lancaster of Howgill...

  • ? Robert de Lancaster ? Brother of John? According to some transcriptions, but not all, he held Barton and Witherslak under William de Lindsay, a Lancaster heir. In 1283: "Robert de Lancastre holds Barton and Witherslak, and renders yearly one niais hawk (speruarium sorum) and 1d.; they are worth 30l." (See Lancashire Inquests etc, Farrer ed.). However these holdings are also mentioned in the inquisitio post mortem of Roger de Rydal several years later. Did Robert pre-decease Roger, or was Robert a faulty transcription for Roger? Perhaps we should doubt whether Robert was a brother of Lord John. In 1292 Robert de Lancastre son of Walter was involved in a claim concerning Milneburn, which I understand to be the parish of Milburn where Howgill castle came to stand (Ragg cites Assize roll 987). Could John de Lancaster of Howgill son of Robert have been a grandson of a Walter de Lancaster? (I have published a short article on this in Foundations, the journal of the Foundation of Medieval Genealogy, in July 2007.)

  • ? John de Lancaster of Howgill ? or Holgill. He was born before 1308 - well before 1308 it would seem, because his son William was already married in the 1320s. His father appears to have been Robert (Close Rolls after Lord John's death) but he is sometimes sometimes said to be the son of Roger. In any case he was heir of Lord John de Lancastre for his Rydal and Loughrigg estates. Lord John scattered his inheritances to distant relatives and I have come to wonder if John was really a nephew. He is the first de Lancastre to be associated with Howgill in Milburn and may have built the castle there. The earliest sighting I find of him was 24 Dec 1314, when appears to have been pardoned for murder of John de Helton. He had sons Richard, and William. William eventually took over most or all holdings of his father. John was called upon by the king to personally participate in perambulations of Westmorland to determine what were apparently controversial borders with Lancashire and Yorkshire. He also appears to have been a representative for Westmorland in parliament in 1327, a commissioner of the peace in 1332, etc. John son of Roger formerly of Lancaster by his will, dated 13 January, 1353–4, desired that his body should be buried "in capella Sci Cuthberti de Milnebourne" and left a legacy to pay for a priest who should sing masses for his soul. (The editor believed this was not a member of the Lancaster family under discussion due to the "formerly" which translates "quondam" in the Latin original). 

For John de Lancaster of Howgill's descendants see the seperate Howgill Lancasters webpage.

The seal of John de Lancaster7. John de Lancaster. Son of Roger. (The seal is the one on the Baron's Letter mentioned below, reproduced on the Studies in Heraldry website of Brian Timms.) He is said to have been 25 when his father died, and so born about 1265. He died about 1334. His wife, who lived longer than him, was Annora.

He is said to be the last Lord Lancaster, and in one Close Roll he is described as the Keeper of the Honour of Lancaster. This is despite the fact that his father was the last member of this family to really be in full command of the honour of Lancaster itself, with John's power lieing more firmly in Westmorland.

From his father he inherited Rydal and Loughrigg, Hutton Roof, Witherslack, and various other rights and properties in Ulverston, and Barton. There are indications that he was closely associated, at least earlier in life, with the forest of Grisedale, which is a deep valley in the mouintainous Patterdale corner of his parish of Barton in Westmorland, now known as the "Eastern Fells" of the Lake District. (I do not believe this refers to Grizedale in the Furness Fells.) For example, he referred to himself this way on the Baron's Letter. Grisedale would have bordered on his territory in Rydal in the fells of the Barony of Kendal, which in turn borders on the Furness Fells in Lancashire. In a De Banco Roll plea of 1283, John's father Roger mentions his free chase of Grisedale and Kentmere.

It appears that throughout his life, John maintained overlordship of Barton, which included Sockbridge manor, held under him by his Lancaster relatives. In any case he certainly had a messuage there which The Close Rolls (1334 see call the messuage "the site of the manor of Barton". And he also had the advowson of the parish church.

The Bishop of Carlisle described him as a soldier, and indeed he appears to be the same John who held many important administrative positions, showing that he was highly trusted. In the late 1290s, shortly after his father's death, he fought on campaign in Scotland. March 1297, he was called upon as "bannaret", along with the then Sherrif of Lancashire, to take and imprison people telling news of discord. November 1297 he was mandated to be ready with posse for the summons of the captain of the March of Scotland in Cumberland. In Jan 1296/7 he seems to have been present in Salisbury for Parliament (Notes and Queries Feb 5 p. 104 1876?; where his arms are recorded as having had a cinquefoil in place of a leopard). In September 1299 he was on the King's service on this march, confirmed by a note to William Latimer of July 1299.  It must have also been at this time that the King of England told the King of Scotland to hand damage payments over to his "bannaret", John de Lancaster. In 1300 he was at the siege of Caerlaverock (Johans de Langcastre in the old French poem). By about this time, he seems to have become a member of parliament for Lancaster, and his seal appears on the Baron's Letter to the Pope in about 1301. In April 1301 he was defending in Galloway, which was the basis of a 1305 plea for freedom from scutage tax according to document SC8/346 in Kew. In 1309 he is said to be in Parliament at Westminster (Notes and Queries VIII, Sept 15, 1877, pp.203-5, again calling him "of Grisedale", and giving his arms a cinquefoil) In 1313 he was called upon by the king to give 400 pounds recently given by the Scots, to the garrison at Carlisle.

He became a justice and keeper of the peace. In late 1315, when Thomas de Lancastre, a powerful relative of the king, was supposedly not able to attend to a commision concerning "homicides, arsons, larcenies, and other crimes daily" within Lancashire, John was called in to the commission instead. In November 1318 John himself was perhaps under suspicion because he appear in lists of people forgiven for being adherants of Thomas.

In 1322 John was however called upon to muster troops, and also it was apparently him who became a "keeper of the forfeited lands" in Lancashire, meaning he was responsible for administering the lands of the ring leaders.

In 1322 he also asked for assurances that he would no longer be fined for offences in hunting (SC 8/56/2774).
Lord John inherited a complex web of claims coming from his mother's side of the family, involving him in some disputes he possibly would rather never have been involved in. By the end of his wife's life he had given up many properties (most of which came to him via his mother and were not traditionally Lancaster holdings). These included Barrington in Cambridgeshire, and Stanstead and East Ham in Essex. In one Northern English document quite some time after his death, John is described as John de Lancaster, knight, of Stanstedes. So this was obviously seen as one of his most important possessions.

He also seems to have sold off all or part of the family's holdings in Furness according to document DL 27/129: "one moiety of the vill of Ulverston and the lands within Funess Fell". The Westmorland part of his inquisition post mortem is as follows:

Writ, 18 April, 8 Edw. III.
Westmorland. Inq. Thursday before St. Lawrence, 8 Edward III.

Rydale. The manor, held by the said John and Annora his wife who still survives, of the king in chief, by service of a quarter of a knight's fee, for their lives, of the grant of John son of Robert de Lane [astria] by the king's licence, with reversion to the said John son of Robert, and his heirs for ever.

Barton. A messuage called the site of the manor of Barton, held by the said John and Annora of the king in chief, by service of a twentieth part of a knight's fee, for their lives, of the grant of Ranulph de Dacre, by the king's licence, with reversion to the said Ranulph and his heirs for ever ; the whole manor, except the said messuage, and except 67a. land, 23a. meadow, 500a. pasture, and 500a. moor, held by the said John and Annora of Ranulph de Dacre of the grant of the said Ranulph, rendering to him and his heirs a rose yearly and doing all other services due to the chief lords, &c., with remainder to Roger de Lancast[ria] for his life, in form aforesaid, and reversion to the said Ranulph and his heirs; and 67a. land, 23a. meadow, 500a. pasture, and 500a. moor, held by the said John and Annora for their lives, of Robert Parvyng, by the grant of the said Robert, rendering him a rose yearly, and doing all other services due to the chief lords ; with remainder to Roger de Lanc[astria] for his life, to hold of the said Robert Parvyng in form aforesaid, with reversion to the said Robert Parvyng and his heirs.
Notes on this:
  • Annora's inquisition (12 Edward III) shows the messuage worth 1/20th of a knight's fee, held direct of the king, plus 67a land, 23a meadow, 500a pasture and 500a moor, where the overlords are William de Thweng and William de Councy. She names both Parvyng and Dacre as the recipients after her death.
  • Ranulf de Dacre's inquisition (13 Edward III) shows the messuage worth 1/20th of a knight's fee, held direct of the king (but rights never claimed from him), plus 1000a of pasture and moor, held of the William de Thweng and William de Councy.
  • Parvyng was a Knight of the shire of Cumberland and Chancellor of England, and his own inquisition post mortem (17 Edward III) shows that he still had 3 messuages, 5a land, 5a meadow, 500a pasture and 500a moor, in Barton.
  • William de Dacre, son of Ranulf and Margaret, had his inquisition 35 Edward III, which shows that he only received the messuage, concerning which rights by the way no one in his family had yet sought to claim them.
  • Margaret de Dacre's inquisition (36 Edward III) says that the capital messuage held of the king is called Trestermot, and is within an old moat. And: "The rest of the manor is held of Sir Thomas de Thwenge by homage and the service of a tenth part of a knight's fee, as the jurors believe, and by rendering a sore sparrowhawk yearly at St. Peter's Chains or 12d. The extent includes 80a. at 'le Aldelathes,' a several fishery, a small park without deer, a water-mill, rents at Martendale in the forest, a several pasture called "Martendaleheved,' [the head of Martindale] and a fulling-mill there, a ruined water-mill at Sandwyk by Martendale, rents at Patredale, rents and a several pasture at Grisdale, and a ruined water-mill there."
  • The heir to both Margaret and William, was another Ranulf, a parson in Prestcotes. I believe Barton stayed in Dacre hands for a long time.

Wytherslake. The manor, held by the said John and Annora, for their lives, of Christiana, late the wife of Ingelram de Gynes, in chief, by service of hi. yearly, by the grant of John de Cauncefelde, with remainders to Roger de Lancast [riaj , for his life, and after his decease to Michael son of Robert de Haverington, and his heirs. 

The man usually considered to be his heir and nephew is John de Lancaster of Howgill, the son of Robert de Lancaster, mentioned above, who continued the line of Lancasters in Howgill. I doubt this, but there may perhaps have been a son John who pre-deceased his father (or entered the church?). See DL 25/565 wherin "John de Lancastre, son and heir of Sir John de Lancastre", grants his right of land in Torver (Ulverston) to Conishead Priory. This is dated by the PRO as being from 1290-1320. The prior is however named as William, which might be William Fleming who is referred to by an article on British History Online as being known from 1308 and 1318.) On the other hand I suspect this is just an error, and that this John was the son of Roger. See the following which seems to refer to the same document:

The two on-going families who came from this, were the Lancasters of Sockbridge and Howgill. The above shows that they were related one way or another, which is also reflected, for example, in the fact that in 1425, when the main line in Howgill ended, that the Lancasters of Yanwath and Hertsop were mentioned in the will. Hartsop had been part of the Sockbridge Lancaster holdings, and Yanwath is also close by Sockbridge. Indeed, the families are known to have inter-married at least once. Please refer to the webpages made specifically for these two families:

Concerning the Lancasters of Howgill see
Concerning the Lancasters of Sockbridge see

Another important family who is probably related somehow are the
Lancasters of Rainhill, who may be related to either Warin, given their presence in southern Lancashire, mixing with the same families, or perhaps the FitzReinfrid line, whose coat of arms they used.

Concerning the Lancasters of Rainhill see
Concerning the Lawrences of Ashton see

[1] The two authorities for a direct line of father-son descent from Ivo to Elred to Ketel to Gilbert were records made much later in Cockersand Abbey and St Mary’s Abbey in Yorkshire. See for example William Farrer’s comments in 1902: “The Lancashire Pipe Rolls of 31 Henry I., A.D. 1130, and of the Reigns of Henry II., A.D. 1155-1189; Richard I., A.D. 1189-1199; and King John, A.D. 1199-1216” See p.vii (Addenda and Corrigenda) concerning p.389 I.18. Also see what he wrote in 1909: “The Chartulary of Cockersand Abbey of the Premonstratensian Order” See p.305-8. On the other hand, there is a relatively contemporary, albeit highly unsympathetic account by Peter of Blois (or a successor in writing Croyland chronicles), which claims that Ivo's line died out except for one "nobly espoused" daughter.

[2] See

Curia Regis Roll item dated 1212”: “Gillebertus filius Renfridi et Helewisia uxor sua per attornatum suum petunt versus Thomam de Brumfeld' quatuor carucatas terre cum pertinenciis in Brumfel et et Echeton' ut jus ipsius Hawisie [sic] et ut illas unde Ketel filius Eutret antecessor ipsius Helewisie fuit seisitus ut de feodo et jure tempore Henrici regis avi regis Henrici patris domini regis, scilicet anno et die quo obiit ; et de eo descendit jus ipsius Helewisie de gradu in gradum, translated as "Gilbert Fitz-Renfrey and Helewise his wife demand against Thomas de Brumfeld 4 carucates of land in Brumfel and Rohetun, as the right of the said Helewise and as those whereof Ketel son of Eutret, ancestor of the said Helewise, was seised, as of fee and right, in the time of King Henry [I], grandfather of king Henry [II], father of the king, and from him the right of the said Helewise descended from step to step.”

[3] Douglas Richardson writes

Charter evidence indicates that Ketel Fitz Eldred held the lands of his grandfather, Ives Taillebois, which fact is indicated by Ketel's charter to the monks of St. Mary's, York, in which he confirmed an earlier gift of Ives Taillebois. For a transcript of Ketel Fitz Eldred's charter to St. Mary's, York dated 1120-1130, see William Farrer, Records relating to the Barony of Kendale, 2 (Cumberland & Westmoreland Antiquarian & Arhaeological Society Rec. Ser. 5) (1923): 142. For a transcript of Ives Taillebois' charter to St. Mary's, York dated 1090-1097, see William Farrer, Records relating to the Barony of Kendale, 1 (Cumberland & Westmoreland Antiquarian & Archaeological Society Rec. Ser. 4) (1923): 377. Curiously, Ketel confirmed the earlier gift of his grandfather without actually naming him.” See


[5] The Latin word “avunculus” when used precisely meant “maternal uncle” but it was not always used precisely. This was a charter to St Leonard's, York (also known as St. Peter's) and was transcribed and translated by Rev Ragg in CWAAS about 1908 or 1909. 

Willus filius Gileberti Loncastre et Willus filius eius omnibus filiis matris ecclesie salutem. Notum vobis sit nos concessisse fratribus hospitalis Sancti Petri Eboraci scilicet umcunq: [Ragg suggests should be "quemconque"] domos et hortos et crophtos [et] acram terre quas tenebant in Neubi [Newby] de donatione Ketelli avunculi mei et insuper xxxi acras terre in elemosinam propter fraternitatem et orations eorum; et omnes cause et contentions queque inter nos errant omnino dimisse sunt. Vale.

William, son of Gilbert of Lancaster, and William, his son, to all sons of Mother Church greeting. Be it known to you that we have granted to the brethren of the hospital of St. Peter of York [this]: that is to say, the dwellings and gardens and crofts: that is to say, every croft [and] acre of land which they held of Ketel my uncle; and, besides this, 31 acres of land; in alms for the sake of my uncle's soul and for the sake of participating in their prayers; and all questions and contentions whatever that were between us are entirely disposed of. Farewell.

A later confirmation from the same cartulary sees William II, the son of William, confirm his father's grant but he names Ketel as "Ketell filius Elftredi" which is possibly the source of Ragg's preference for calling Eldred of Workington "Elftred". Later, Ragg (1910) spotted that the exact same word was used in a historical section of a charter of about 1357 concerning fishing at the outlet of Ullswater. I therefore believe that the leading theory concerning the connection of William de Lancaster I and the Workington family is that Godith was a sister of Ketel. Might Christiana, wife of Ketel, also have been a sister of Gilbert, making the family bonding doubly close? I suggest this because of the seemingly strong right Ketel apparently had over lands once associated with Ivo.

[55] See Farrer, 1898, The Chartulary of Cockersand Abbey of the Premonstratensian Order Vol I, Part I, (Chetham Society), p.307 footnote.

For example see S. H. Lee Washington (1942) The Early History of the Stricklands of Sizergh. p.72 fn 102.

[6] See also a reference at: "1150–84 William son of Gilbert de Lancastre granted to Roger his brother in fee the advowson of the church of Barton co. Westmorland; Cal. Pat. R. 1374 p. 422". It appears the editors felt this was evidence of this early Roger. But see the original patent roll reference which seems to indicate a date for this transaction much later than 1150-84. Because we know (Edward II, vol. 2, p. 523) that Lord John de Lancastre later granted this same advowson to the prior and convent of Wartre, this "Gilbert de Lancastre" must be Gilbert fitz Reinfrid, which seems not to be the way he was usually referred to.