Orabilis de Quncy: Birth: ABT 1186.
Robert de QUINCY: Birth: ABT 1218. Death: 1257
Note: N2703 Magna Carta surety
<Saer de Quincy, 1st Earl of Winchester (1155 - 1219-11-03) was one ofthe leaders of the baronial rebellion against King John of England,and a major figure in both Scotland and England in the decades aroundthe turn of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
Saer de Quincy's immediate background was in the Scottish kingdom: hisfather was a knight in the service of king William the Lion, and hismother was the heiress of the lordship of Leuchars in Fife (seebelow). His rise to prominence in England came through his marriage toMargaret, the younger sister of Robert de Beaumont, 4th Earl ofLeicester: but it is probably no coincidence that her other brotherwas the de Quincys' powerful Fife neighbour, Roger de Beaumont, Bishopof St Andrews. In 1204, Earl Robert died, leaving Margaret asco-heiress of the vast earldom along with her elder sister. The estatewas split in half, and after the final division was ratified in 1207,de Quincy was made Earl of Winchester.
Following his marriage, de Quincy became a prominent military anddiplomatic figure in England. There is no evidence of any closealliance with King John, however, and his rise to importance wasprobably due to his newly-acquired magnate status and the familyconnections that underpinned it.
One man with whom he does seem to have developed a close personalrelationship is his cousin, Robert Fitzwalter. They are first foundtogether in 1203, as co-commanders of the garrison at the majorfortress of Vaudreuil in Normandy; they were responsible forsurrendering the castle without a fight to Philip II of France,fatally weakening the English position in northern France, butalthough popular opinion seems to have blamed them for thecapitulation, a royal writ is extant stating that the castle wassurrendered at King John's command, and both Saer and Fitzwalter hadto endure personal humiliation and heavy ransoms at the hands of theFrench.
In Scotland, he was perhaps more successful. In 1211-12, the Earl ofWinchester commanded an imposing retinue of a hundred knights and ahundred serjeants in William the Lion's campaign against the MacWilliam rebels, a force which some historians have suggested may havebeen the mercenary force from Brabant lent to the campaign by John.
In 1215, when the baronial rebellion broke out, Robert Fitzwalterbecame the military commander, and the Earl of Winchester joined him,acting as one of the chief negotiators with John; both cousins wereamong the 25 guarantors of the Magna Carta. De Quincy fought againstJohn in the troubles that followed the signing of the Charter, and,again with Fitzwalter, travelled to France to invite Prince Louis ofFrance to take the English throne. He and Fitzwalter were subsequentlyamong the most committed and prominent supporters of Louis'candidature for the kingship, against both John and the infant HenryIII.
When military defeat cleared the way for Henry III to take the throne,de Quincy went on crusade, perhaps in fulfillment of an earlier vow,and in 1219 he left to join the Fifth Crusade, then besiegingDamietta. While in the east, he fell sick and died. He was buried inAcre, the capital of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, rather than in Egypt,and his heart was brought back and interred at Garendon Abbey nearLoughborough, a house endowed by his wife's family.
The family of de Quincy had arrived in England after the NormanConquest, and took their name from Cuinchy in the Arrondissement ofBéthune; the personal name "Saer" was used by them over severalgenerations. Both names are variously spelled in primary sources andolder modern works, the first name being sometimes rendered Saher orSeer, and the surname as Quency or Quenci.
The first recorded Saer de Quincy (known to historians as "Saer I")was lord of the manor of Long Buckby in Northamptonshire in theearlier twelfth century, and second husband of Matilda of St Liz,stepdaughter of King David I of Scotland. This marriage produced twosons, Saer II and Robert de Quincy. It was Robert, the younger son,who was the father of the Saer de Quincy who eventually became Earl ofWinchester. By her first husband Robert Fitz Richard, Matilda was alsothe paternal grandmother of Earl Saer's close ally, Robert Fitzwalter.
Robert de Quincy seems to have inherited no English lands from hisfather, and pursued a knightly career in Scotland, where he isrecorded from around 1160 as a close companion of his cousin, KingWilliam the Lion. By 1170 he had married Orabilis, heiress of theScottish lordship of Leuchars and, through her, he became lord of anextensive complex of estates north of the border which included landsin Fife, Strathearn and Lothian.
Saer de Quincy, the son of Robert de Quincy and Orabilis of Leuchars,was raised largely in Scotland. His absence from English records forthe first decades of his life has led some modern historians andgenealogists to confuse him with his uncle, Saer II, who took part inthe rebellion of Henry the Young King in 1173, when the future Earl ofWinchester can have been no more than a toddler. Saer II's line endedwithout direct heirs, and his nephew and namesake would eventuallyinherit his estate, uniting his primary Scottish holdings with thefamily's Northamptonshire patrimony, and possibly some lands inFrance.
By his wife Margaret de Beaumont, Saer de Quincy had three sons andthree daughters:
* Lorette who married Sir William de Valognes * Arabella who married Sir Richard Harcourt * Robert (d. 1217). Some sources say he married Hawise, sister andco-heiress of Ranulf de Blundeville, earl of Chester. However, it ismore likely Hawise married Saer's brother Robert II; * Roger, who succeeded his father as earl of Winchester (though he didnot take formal possession of the earldom until after his mother'sdeath); * Robert de Quincy (second son of that name; d. 1257) who marriedHelen, daughter of the Welsh prince Llywelyn the Great; * Hawise, who married Hugh de Vere, 4th Earl of Oxford.
His arms were: Or, a fess gules, in chief a label of seven pointsazure.
* FMG on Saher de Quincy * "Winchester", in The Complete Peerage, ed. G.E.C., xii. 745-751 * Sidney Painter, "The House of Quency, 1136-1264", Medievalia etHumanistica, 11 (1957) 3-9; reprinted in his book Feudalism andLiberty * Grant G. Simpson, “An Anglo-Scottish Baron of the Thirteenthcentury: the Acts of Roger de Quincy Earl of Winchester and Constableof Scotland” (Unpublished PhD Thesis, Edinburgh 1963). * Frederick Lewis Weis, Ancestral Roots of Certain American ColonistsWho Came to America Before 1700 (7th Edition, 1992,), 58-60.>
"The town was but a small village in the reign of William I. and noother notice is taken of it in Domeday Book, but that the manor wasparcel of the possession of Hugh de Grentemaisuil, of whim it is thererecorded, that he held twenty-four hides in Ware. From his family,after some descents, it came to Sayer de Qunicy, earl of Winchester,who first laid the foundation of the greatness of this town, whichfrom the very beginning eclipsed the town of Hertford; for he causedthe iron chain which locked up the passage over the bridge into thistown to be broken, and the road for carts and horses to be laid open,whereas before all traffice was prohibited this way, and only suchpersons suffered to pass as paid toll to the bailiff of Hertford, whokept the key to the chain. By this means this place became a greatthroughfare, and inns and houses began to be erected for the receptionand entertainment of travellers, so that in a short time it became apopulous town." London, Being an accurate history and description of the BritishMetropolis and its neighbourhood to thirty miles extent, from anactual perambulation David Hughson, 1809
<It afterwards passed to Saier De Qunicy, Earl of Winchester, who "byhis great power" broke down the iron chain which locked up passageover the bridge, and succeeded in freeing the town from the toll paidto the corporaiton of Hertford, by all who passed over the bridge orthrough the town; "by this means, the great road was turned fromHertford through this town, where inns and houses have been sinceerected by degrees, for the receipt of travellers so that from a smallvill., it is now become a great and populous town."*> * Chauncy, vol. i. p. 397 Handbook to the environs of London, James Thorne, 1876
<Saher's younger son, Robert, settled in Scotland, presumably becauseof his family relationship with William "the Lion" King ofScotland. Robert's son, Saher, was still serving King William in1200 but entered the service of John King of England soon afterwards.He must, however, have had contacts with England before that time ashe married his English wife before 1190. Saher settled permanently inEngland in early 1204 and was created Earl of Winchester, presumablyas a reward for loyal service to the English king, some time during1206 or early 1207. The earldom of Winchester reverted to the crownon the death, without male issue, of Roger de Quincy in 1264.>
"Between the years 1210 and 1219, Seyer de Quinci, earl of Winchester,with consent of Roger his son and heir, gives to the canons of St.Andrews, three merks of silver yearly from his mill of Lochres(Leuchars), for the souls of his grandfather and grandmother, of hisfather, Robert de Qunci, and his mother, Orabile."
Illustrations of the Topography and Antiquities of the Shires of ...,Volume 4 edited by Joseph Robertson
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