Tuesday 7 August 2018

The Ferrers lineage

I recently visited the National Trust property of Baddesley Clinton in Warwickshire, home to the Ferrers family for many centuries from the 16th Century. The windows of the moated manor show the heraldry of the family going back to the Norman Conquest, and to the first six Earls of Derby before the title was stripped from the family by Henry III. One line of my family history follows the Ferrers from Normandy as follows.

My 30 x great Grandfather was Wacheline de Ferrières from the town of that name in Normandy. Born in the year 1010, it is likely that his family were involved in the iron foundry industry. Wacheline  died about 1089 in Normandy.

His son, my 29x great grandfather, was Henry (or Henri) de Ferrers, who, as Master of the Horse to Duke William of Normandy, came over with the Conquest to England. His brother was killed at Hastings. Henry’s bravery at Hastings resulted in the new King William rewarding him with 210 manors mainly in Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Staffordshire, where Henry set up his headquarters at Tutbury Castle. Henry also rebuilt Tutbury Priory in 1080 and built Duffield Castle in Derbyshire. In 1086 he was a legates or commissioner on the West Midlands circuit of the Domesday Survey. He died at Tutbury at some point between 1093 and 1100.

Henry had three sons and a daughter. William, the eldest son, inherited the family’s lands in Normandy, and Enguenulf died young, so it was the youngest son, Robert, my 28 x great grandfather, who inherited his father’s English estates and subsequently became the first Earl of Derby in 1138 due to his valiant conduct at the battle of Northallerton in which English forces repelled the advancing scottish army. Robert died in 1139 and was succeeded by his son, also Robert, my 27 x great grandfather. The second Earl lived until 1162, when he was succeeded by William Walkelin de Ferrers, the third Earl and my 26 x great grandfather. He married Margaret, Lady of Higham, daughter of William Peverel of Higham.

William Walkeline was killed in Acre in Palestine in 1190 during the 3rd Crusade. His son, the fourth Earl of Derby, William de Ferrers, was born at Tutbury in 1172. My 25 x great grandfather died in 1247 at Duffield Castle.

His son, the fifth Earl, was born in 1193 in Derbyshire. My 24 x great grandfather, William de Ferrers, married Margaret Lady of Groby, daughter of Robert de Quincy Earl of Winchester following the death of his first wife Sybil, daughter of William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke. William died in 1254, and was succeeded by his (and Margaret’s)son, Robert, the sixth Earl of Derby, and my 23x great grandfather.

The sixth Earl rebelled against Henry III in several baronial unrest’s and was subsequently arrested and imprisoned. His lands and earldom were forfeited and both Tutbury and Duffield Castles were destroyed, their lands becoming part of the Duchy of Lancaster and remaining so until this day. Robert died on 27 April 1279.

My line continues via his son John and then via John’s daughter Eleanor de Ferrers. She was the mother of my 20x great grandfather Thomas Latham (died 1382), and my line continued through the centuries in Derbyshire, Lancashire and Cheshire via the Harrington’s, Stanley’s, Savages, Honfords, Mainwaring, Brerewoods, Kelsalls, Glenton, Hindley and Heywood’s to me via my dads line.

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