E. The de Mitton family progenitor

DSC_0696“Ralph the Red” circa 1140

Fifteen years after the Doomsday accounting of William’s lands “Ralph the Red” was granted manors by Robert de Lacy at “Mitune”, now Great Mitton, Aighton and Bailey as well as many other Clitheroe area manors in a charter dated Nov. 23, 1102. These were “reputed manors” or separate manors held by “Ralph the Red” in “demesne”. They were his to do as he wanted. Other manor lands granted were; Chaighley, Great Mearley, Twistleton, plus two oxgangs of land in Clitheroe including a manor “in and about the castle rock” of Clitheroe. Ralph the Reds feudal grants were the first alienation of the de Lacy’s after their acquirement of the fee of Clitheroe” according to T.D Whitaker’s, “The History of the Parish of Whalley” written in the early 19th century. The “Honour of Clitheroe” was part of the Lordship of Bowland that Robert de Lacy was granted in 1102 by Henry I. These lands had reverted back to the crown after being confiscated from Roger de Poitou for his support of  Robert Curthose’s failed invasion of England August 11th, 1102.

Ralph the Red is acknowledged in the 2004 Town Survey as the first documented Norman to reside at Clitheroe when he replaced the Englishman Orm at the castle rock by the dated charter Nov. 23, 1102.

Ralph’s identity documents:

Ralph the Red`s de Mitton manor family grants as scions of the de Lacy’s

The Lancashire Chartulary

Series XV. Charter No. II.

23rd November 1102  3 Henry I.

Grant by Robert de Lacy to Ralph Le Rous of Great Mearley, Twistleton, Land in Clitheroe, Great Mitton, and Aighton.

Townley`s MS. HH., No. 3,896 Present abode unknown.

Latin Chartulary transcription Notes:

By this charter, Robert de Lacy grants to Ralph le Rous, progenitor of the families of Mitton and Bayley, for his homage and service, Great Mearley, Twistleton, tow oxgangs of land in Clitheroe with the appurtenances, particularly mentioning those messuages which had formerly belonged to Orm, the Englishman, lying both within and below the wooden palisade, which formed the outer protection of the Castle of Clitheroe, Great Mitton (in Yorkshire), Aighton and Bayley, which latter were included in the grant from Henry I. contained in the preceding charter (No l), to hold by the service of half a knights s fee; together with the bailiwick and wardship of certain lands within the boundaries named. The charter concludes with the addition-unusual in twelfth century charters- of a date, viz, the Feast of St, Clement in the third year after the coronation of King Henry(23rd November, 1102). The reference at this early date to the military service to be performed for the land, was doubtless the result of Henry I st. Charter of Liberties. It is to be regretted that the originals of this and the following charter are not available for examination for they have been carelessly and corruptly transcribed. That they are perfectly genuine charters is beyond dispute. Confirmation of this is to found in an inquisition a ken at Lancaster 18th august, 1326, to inquire into the title by which Adam Nowell claimed to take  old wood and bark in Salbden and Pendleton Wood for burning and building, and to have common chase of all manner of wild beast`s with in the manor of Great Mearley, and the said rights of taking old wood and having chase, etc., in his demesne as of fee by the grant and feofflment of Jordan, of of Ralph le Rous (Escaeta, Edward II.

This grant therefore comprised seven carucates, two oxgangs of land, the infeudation being at the rate of fourteen carucates to one knight`s fee. (Kirby`s inquest, p. 197)

Robert de Lacy’s eldest son, Ilbert de Lacy (2) confirmed his father’s grants of Ralph’s lands in 1135 (during the reign of King Stephen). That second charter reads;  ‘eidem Radulfo fratri meo’ – “the same to my brother Ralph”. (see Elizabeth Ashworth) http://elizabethashworth.com/the-de-lacy-family/ilbert-de-lacy/

Series XV Charter No.lll A.D. 1135-1141 1-6 Stephen                                

Confirmation by Ilbert de Lacy to Ralph Le Rous, of the grant mad by his father Robert de Lacy to the said Ralph Towneley`s MS DD., Bi 619m p. 271; pence S. Dean, Esq., M.D.

Latin transcription NOTES:

We are told by Richard Prior of Hexham, nano 1135, that Libert de Lacy that year recovered the Honor of Pontefract, which Henry I had taken from his father Robert de Lacy. Soon afterwards he confirmed his father`s grant to Ralph le Ros by the above charter, supplementing the confirmation by a new charter of feofffment (Charter No. IV). The grantor speaks of Ralph le Rous, or the Red, as “frater emus”. Perhaps he was his half-brother, or , as  is more likely, seeing that he first received this land from Robert de Lacy in the year 1102, a bastard son of the last named.

The witnesses are the Yorkshire tenants of Ilbert de lacy. Robert de Champels attested a charter of Henry de Lacy preserve in the Chartulary of St. John of Pontefract, No. XVIII., as also did William de Reinevill of of Langthwaite. Hugh de Stapleton of Stapleton, and William his son, who died in 1155, will be found in the pedigree on p. xivi of the same Chartulary. The date lies between 1135 and 2nd. February, 1141, the date of the battle of Lincoln, where Ilbert de Lacy disappeared. 

Ralph the Red`s identity

These charters are the primary documents to Ralph the Reds identity. However no other de Lacy genealogies refer to Ralph the Red as a de Lacy except these charters. They are however primary legal documents. It does beg the question why Ralph the Red is identified in these charters but not on other genealogies of the de Lacy’s. Perhaps because he was illegitimate.

The facts are Ralph received so many manors as well as their important strategic locations would seem he was blood connected in some way to the de Lacy’s which is how the Normans first subinfeudaled land. These manors did not go to Ilbert, Henry or Robert, the other de Lacy brothers at that time, but to Ralph. The grant by Robert de Lacy to Ralph rather than to Ilbert his eldest son seems unusual. Under primogeniture Ilbert would have been the heir. Yet Ilbert, Roberts eldest son, confirms and restates the original charter in 1135 with his Yorkshire tenants as witnesses and calls Ralph his brother. Bloodlines were the feudal network of the times especially in these very early post Norman conquest decades. It may be that Robert and his sons were acknowledging Ralph’s bloodline connection through these grants as a family surrogate to their newly acquired Bowland lands.

These grants were separate free hold manors for the most part. In other words they were held in demesne * or in Ralphs name. Meaning he reaped the income independent of what was owed to the superior Lord or the church. Of course Ralph was the church founder at Mitton and held the advowson or the right to the tithes.

*In the feudal system the demesne (pron.: /dɨˈmn/ di-MAYN; from Old French demeine ultimately from Latin dominus, “lord, master of a household”)[1] was all the land, not necessarily all contiguous to the manor house, which was retained by a lord of the manor for his own use and support, under his own management, as distinguished from land sub-enfeoffed by him to others as sub-tenants.

The granter’s (Robert de Lacy) motivation may have been the practical need to have a loyal family member holding extensive manor lands in this area. Necessary to make secure from Saxon resistance (as well from the banished Roger Poitou by Henry l). It is unlikely the elder son Ilbert would have acquiesced to the 1102 charter grant by his father without his father’s approval and some close family relationship to “Ralph the Red” under early Norman feudalism. As Ilbert himself restates the 1102 charter circa 1135 with witnesses at the first opportunity upon his re-establishment of his own families de Lacy barony’s to him as sucsssor by King Steven circa 1135.

The early Normans family’s first sub-feuded land through bloodlines and by marriages. Their were not that many Normans in England after the conquest so bloodlines made for a tight-net ruling class. It seems unlikely that such a large alienation of manors in so strategic an area being just incorporated into the de Lacy barony would have gone to anyone else except someone of de Lacy family bloodline. Roberts sons would not have been so accommodating to such a large grant of manors if that were not the case. It furthers the case that Ralph the Red was of de Lacy bloodline.

The prevailing circumstances after the “harrying of the north” and Roger Poitou banishment add credence to the de Lacy’s need to have a loyal local supporter. Ralph owed knights service as well to the de Lacy Barony by the charters.

This close feudal relationship continued for centuries until the death of Henry de Lacy, 3rd Earl of Lincoln and Lord of Bowland who died Feb. 5, 1311 (with out a male heir).

The de Mittons only ceased being Lords of Mitton manor with his death. Research says they were removed as lords of their namesake manor by 1312 having been replaced by the new superior feudal Lord, Thomas Plantagenet. The ending of their feudal relationship was as important as the initial charters to the family. It suggest the early alienation of land grants from the de Lacy’s was rooted and continued for over two centuries from an original grantee bloodline connection.

The establishment of the manor church at Mitton would seem to futher suggest Ralph the Reds connection to the de Lacy’s was a close one. It took family money to build a church as well as the castle at Clitheroe where Ralph was granted a manor their as well. The Normans ruled through those duel local institutions and Ralph seems to be the local Norman in charge on behalf of the de Lacy family. Clitheroe became the main administrative site of the de Lacy barony as well as a de Lacy sanctioned market town circa 1148.

The de Lacy’s continued to live at Pontefract castle but Clitheroe became more important to the de Lacy’s after Ralph’s arrival in 1102. Eventually it was the first Henry de Lacy, successor as the next younger brother of Ilbert who died with out issue that granted the town Burgess the right to be a market town (circa 1148). This marked the beginning of Clitheroe as a legitimate commerce center secured by the strategic castle on  Clitheroe rock where Ralph had been granted a manor in 1102.

Several sources seem to agree Ralph the Red was a de Lacy, albeit Illegitimate;

From  UNTITLED ENGLISH NOBILITY:

“Robert had one illegitimate child by an unknown mistress” *

Robertus de Lacy” granted “Magnam (major) Merlay…et Tuisleton…et…in Cliderhou” to “Radulpho le Rus” by charter dated 23 Nov 1102 [55].

(son) “Ilbertus de Lacy” confirmed the grant of “magna Merlay, Twisleton…et…in Poterton et…in Cliderh…” made by “pater meus” (my father) [see above for his father´s grant] to “Radulfo le Rus” (name spelling), with the consent and advice of “Roberti fratris mei” (my brother), by charter dated to [1135/41][59].  “Ilbertus de Lacy” confirmed the grant of “magnam (major) Mitton, Haghton, magnam Merlay, Twisleton…in Potreton et…in Cliderhou” to “Radulfo le Rouse” (name spelling) and granted further property to “eidem (and also) Radulfo fratri meo” (my brother) by charter dated to [1135/41 ][60]http://tinyurl.com/7osoone 

The second charter was probably after 1135 but before 1138 as Robert, younger brother of Ilbert and his fathers namesake was killed at the Battle of Standard in 1138. So that narrows the dates. 1135 is when Stephen, the nephew of Henry I became King of England. Ilbert de Lacy was a supporter of Stephen in the civil war with Matilda. Ilbert’s father’s family grants were confirmed upon the ascension of King Stephen when Ilbert’s barony was returned to him.

 Ralph the Red’s Charter Grant of Nov. 23, 1102

The Lancashire Pipe Rolls of 31 SERIES XV. CHARTER No. II.23 RD                                 November 1102.3 Henry I.

Grant By Robert de Lacy to Ralph Le Rous of Great Mearley, Twistleton, land in  CLITHEROE, GREAT MlTTON, AND AlGHTON.

By this charter, Robert de Lacy grants to Ralph le Rous, *progenitor of the families of Mitton and Bayley, for his homage and service, Great Mearley, Twistleton, two oxgangs of land in Clitheroe with the appurtenances, particularly mentioning those messuages which had formerly belonged to Orm, the Englishman, lying both within and below the wooden palisade, which formed the outer protection of the Castle of Clitheroe, Great Mitton (in Yorkshire), Aighton and Bayley, which latter were included in the grant from Henry I contained in the preceding charter (No. 1), to hold by the service of half a knight’s fee; together with the bailiwick and wardship of certain lands within boundaries named.

The charter concludes with the addition—unusual in twelfth century charters —of a date, viz., the Feast of St. Clement in the third year after the coronation of King Henry (23rd November, 1102). The reference at this early date to the military service to be performed for the land was doubtless the result of Henry I st. Charter of Liberties (c/. Round’s Feudal England, p. 225 et seq.).

* Progenitor means founder or first of the family to follow.

*Jordon de Mitton, “Ralph the Red’s”  much later descendant and a second named Jordon de Mitton is the first to use the surname in official documents, probably first recorded for the poll tax.

Ralph’s Legacy:

Ralph the Red was progenitor of the Mitton, Bayley and Shireburne families that continued to reside on his original manor lands for centuries. He was the first Norman Lord of the Manor at “Mitune” as well as the first rector and founder of All Hallows’ Church in 1103. The Shireburnes were Norman descendants of Ralph the Red and clearly acknowledged that Norman ancestry in both deed and piety.They built a Chapel, completed in 1594 at Mitton church and called it the Shireburne Chapel. For 400 years, beginning with the marriage of Margaret Shireburne in 1377 All Hallows at Mitton now called Mytton Church continued to be the Shireburne families ancestral church for baptisms, marriages and internment’s.

 * Elizabeth Ashworth, author of “ The de Lacy Inheritance” research comments on Ralph the Red: 

“Robert de Lacy (1) also had an illegitimate son named Ralph le Rous (the red).  One of the first things that Robert did when he received the honour of Clitheroe was to make a grant of lands to Ralph, in a charter dated 23rd November 1102, which included Great Mitton and from this time Ralph and his descendants took the surname de Mitton.  We can be certain that Ralph was a son of Robert’s because when Ilbert de Lacy (2) was confirming his father’s grants following the restoration of the lands in 1135, his charter reads ‘eidem Radulfo fratri meo’ – the same to my brother Ralph.  This grant was also made with the consent and advice of ‘my brother Robert’, another piece of evidence for a third legitimate son of Robert de Lacy (1)”.

Question to Elizabeth Ashworth as to then why Ralph the Reds grandson Hugh de Mitton, Lord of Mitton manor and thus great, grandson of Robert de Lacy the first did not have a superior claim to the de Lacy Barony when Robert de Lacy (3) the second died without a male heir in 1193. 

Answer:  “Hugh de Mitton would not have had any claim to the de Lacy lands because he was descended from an illegitimate grandfather. His only claim would be to the Mitton land that had been given to Ralph. Roger Fitz Eustace did not inherit the land directly from Robert de Lacy. It was inherited by his grandmother Albreda who was Robert’s first cousin. She then passed it to her grandson. In any case Hugh would have been Robert’s cousin once removed even if he had been legitimate and so Albreda was still a closer relation”. Sept. 2011

Are You Related to Ralph?: https://thefamilydemitton.wordpress.com/ralph-the-red/are-you-related-to-ralph/

Ralph Gets Established as a local: https://thefamilydemitton.wordpress.com/ralph-the-red/ralph-gets-established-as-a-local/

Was Ralph the Red a de Lacy?: https://thefamilydemitton.wordpress.com/ralph-the-red/the-de-mittons-as-scions-of-the-de-lacys/

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