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Briquessart changed his name to le Meschines or le Meschin and in was created earl of Chester — part of the price for his swanky new title his title was huge swathes of land in the northwest. Egremont passed back into Crown holdings for a while. This area was the barony of Copeland.

William decided to build a castle at Egremont overlooking the River Ehen. The remains of the early castle motte can still be seen pictured left. Gradually a town complete with a market cross grew up around the castle and the castle grew to become an impressive stone structure with a great hall. The herring bone pattern in the brickwork is an indicator that the castle was built early in the Norman period so people who know these things conclude that Ranulph may have done some building in stone before his brother arrived on the scene.

William had a son who ruled the barony after him but no male heirs.


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FitzDuncan had an illustrious northern heritage. The marriage between two such notable families must have had something to do with a Scottish bid to take over the whole of the northwest. Part of the reason for this was that when King David invaded England in FitzDuncan, a member of the Scottish royal family, became a key military leader in the area…for the Scots. In any event he and Alice had only one son- William.

The boy went out one day whilst staying in Craven and simply disappeared into the River Wharfe when he missed his footing sometime between and It should also be added that he was not the child that Wordsworth depicted in his poem of the story —rather he was about twenty or so years old. Unfortunately the families who owned Egremont seemed to have a general shortage of sons. Inevitably the de Lucy girls were married into the de Multon family and the castle went with them.

The de Multons become the lords of Egremont Castle. De Multon spent a lot of time trying to get hold of the property of his two daughters-in-law whilst other people waved family trees around making their own claims.


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  7. With Henry III on the throne Lambert gained a Royal Charter from the king to hold a weekly market as well as an annual fair which is still held in September. He made a claim to the Lordship of Copeland and sued the de Multons for what he regarded as his rightful inheritance.

    The de Multons were forced to hand over the castle bet that led to some uncomfortable silences at family gatherings. In Robert the Bruce plundered the town for the second time. The castle probably looked rather battered as a consequence.

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    The de Lucys and the de Multons, in between fighting Scots, were busily engaged in their own private feuds since Edward II proved incapable of ruling effectively. Back at Egremont in the castle changed hands because of yet another marriage- Joanna de Lucy or rather de Multon if you want to be strictly accurate was one of three co-heiresses. This time it ended up in the hands of Robert Fitz Walter who resided in Essex. By the middle of the fifteenth century the castle changed hands yet again through another marriage. It became part of the Radcliffe estate and by this time Egremont had become little more than a shelter during times of Scottish reiver forays.

    In the castle was sold outright to the earl of Northumberland. So from until Egremont was back in Crown hands.

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    The castle was returned to the earls of Northumberland but by this stage in proceedings the castle was virtually a ruin. The story of Egremont Castle came to a rather sticky end in as a consequence of the shortlived Rising of the North when the seventh earl of Northumberland supported a bid to rescue Mary Queen of Scots. The first is called the Woeful Tale and recounts the story of a Lady de Lucy setting out on a hunting jaunt only to be slaughtered by a wolf.

    The other is better known. Remarkably for a family plagued by lack of heirs it is about two brothers. Sir Eustace and Hubert de Lacy went off to the crusades. Hubert who rather fancied being Lord of Egremont arranged to have his brother murdered whilst abroad. Then one day Hubert heard the Horn of Egremont echoing through the castle. As Eustace rode in through the front gate, Eustace scarpered out by the postern gate. Mrs Conqueror a. She went on to become the abbess. Having made her investment with the Almighty Mrs Conqueror moved on to the practicalities of sailing across the Channel and capturing England.

    She commissioned a new ship to be built in Barfleur in the Viking style with a figurehead of a golden child holding an ivory horn in one hand and pointing onwards with the other- which as Borman says was unusual. The more normal figurehead usually had an animal or perhaps a dragon head. Hilliam says that the child was ten-year-old William Rufus but Borman speculates that the duchess might well have fallen pregnant just before the whole conquest project. You can see the golden child in this picture of the Mora from the Bayeux Tapestry.

    And, ladies and gentleman should you be wondering what to give the significant other in your life, the Mora was a surprise present.


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    William only found out about it in the summer of and immediately made it his flagship sensible man. Click on the blue link to open a new window on a very interesting article.

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    Borman, Tracy. London: Jonathan Cape. Mitchell Lane Publishers. Hilliam, Paul. The Rosen Publishing Group. In , so yes slightly before the start date of my self imposed chronological constraint, Earl Harold Godwinson ended up on the wrong side of the Channel. The Malmesbury Chronicle says that he went on a fishing trip and got blown off course due to bad weather whilst the Bayeux Tapestry depicts Harold arriving to retrieve various relations who had been held hostage for several years.

    Borman notes that Adeliza would have been about seven-years-old in The woman in the Bayeux Tapestry is an adult, and of course, Adeliza would not have been married until she reached puberty so it could be that the creators of the tapestry are looking to the future. Borman page 81 adds that it is possible that the woman is framed in a ducal doorway on the tapestry and that the priest touching her cheek is actually removing her veil — so a depiction of the betrothal ceremony. The tapestry is, after all, Norman despite its English crafting. Borman also makes the very good point that there is a subtext in the tapestry.

    There are a couple up to marginal naughtiness in the borders of the tapestry at this point in the story — and it hardly seems to apply to Adeliza. Freeman presents the argument that the lady in question is none of the above but actually Queen Emma who changed her name to one that tripped off Saxon tongues upon her marriage to Aethelred the Unready. At a later date she was accused of impropriety with the Bishop of Winchester — not to mention the blinding and eventual death of her own son Alfred at Ely. Double click on the image to open a new page and a post on the Medievalists.

    History always seems a bit vague about what to call this particular Edith.

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    Harold had several children with Edith Swanneck and they were not regarded as illegitimate at the time but then when Harold made his claim to the throne it was deemed sensible that he should make a more acceptable marriage to the widow of his enemy Llewelyn — Edith of Mercia to strengthen his position. History is a bit vague about when Harold married Edith of Mercia but they were certainly married by the time he became king in Matilda of Flanders had an illustrious pedigree including Alfred the Great.

    ‘Harrying of the North’

    Her mother Adela supervised her education and later Matilda would be praised for her learning. However, Matilda was less delighted. She refused to marry William. Borman speculates that it was because William was illegitimate — although of course the stigma of illegitimacy was not necessarily the bar to high office that it became in later centuries. William was not a happy man. He rode to Bruges, met Matilda coming out of church and proceeded to knock her into the mud, pull her plaits and hit her…an interesting variation on a box of chocolates and bunch of flowers. In one account he is said to have kicked her with his spurs which would have been painful at the very least and Borman makes the point probably fatal.

    Baldwin immediately declared war on William only to discover that Matilda had changed her mind. After her rather rough wooing she decided she wanted to marry William. The story was written approximately two hundred years later so a rather large pinch of salt is required in order to digest the tale but the pair do seem to have been evenly matched in terms of temper.

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    There may have been another reason for the change of heart. Tracey Borman discusses the possibility of an earlier relationship with Brihtric Mau tarnishing her reputation but there again her father had already arranged another betrothal with Saxony when Matilda refused William.

    He was descended from the House of Wessex and he was a wealthy man which made him a powerful man. He was tall and handsome with blond hair. She apparently sent a messenger back to England when he returned there proposing marriage. This was not the way that a nice girl behaved, even if she was the daughter of a count.