The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 1. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1797.
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DUKES AND EARLS OF KENT. (fn. 1)
ALCHER, EALCHER, or AUCHER, was the first EARL OF KENT that I have seen any mention of, who had also the title of DUKE, from his being at the same time intrusted with the military power of the county. He is eminent in history for his bravery shewn in a battle with the Danes, in the year 853. These pirates, having landed with a considerable- force that year in the isle of Thanet, were attacked by earl Alcher, with the Kentishmen, and earl Huda, with those of Surry, when an obstinate battle was fought, in which the English at first gained some advantage. Great numbers were killed and drowned on both sides, and the two English generals at length lost their lives.
CEOLMUND was in the year 897, at which time king Alfred appointed several men of eminence guardians of the realm, in different parts of it, to withstand the incursions of the Danes, who greatly insested the coasts, made duke, or chief general, of this county for that purpose, and Matthew of Westminster stiles him primicerius, which signifies a chiestain, or person of eminent degree. (fn. 2)
GODWYNE was, in the year 1020, for his great bravery and services to king Canute, created Earl of Kent. (fn. 3) He was of a noble extraction, and brother to the great Edric Streon, earl of Mercia, in the reign of king Ethelred II. In 1019, king Canute finding the whole kingdom in profound tranquility, resolved on an expedition to Denmark; at the same time he embarked with him the flower of the English army, under the command of Godwyne, who, being a person of great courage and experience, soon signalised himself by his bravery in this war, (fn. 4) and, on his return the king, as a reward for his service, created him Earl of Kent, Suffex, and Surry, and gave him in marriage Thyra, his sister, or, according to some, his daughter. Earl Godwyne, on the death of king Canute, in 1036, directed all things with such an absolute sway, that he caused the late king's youngest son, Hardicanute, then in Denmark, to be proclaimed king of Weslex (or of the West Saxons) leaving the Mercians free to acknowledge Harold for their king; who, soon afterwards, finding means to gain the Earl over to his interest, the latter, suddenly, before any measures could be taken to obstruct his design, on pretence that Hardicanute neglected to come to England, with the assistance of some other lords, procured Harold to be acknowledged king likewise by the inhabitants of Wessex. (fn. 5) It ought to be observed here, that the country north of the Thames was called by the general name of Mercia, and was chiefly inhabired by those of Danish extraction; on the contrary, Wessex, or the country south of the Thames, was mostly inhabited by the English. Their forces being nearly equal, it is no wonder they were jealous of one another, each wishing to have that prince for sovereign, whom they imagined would prove most favourable to themselves. This equality of forces prevented the war, which this division would most probably have otherwise occasioned, and both parties continued in peace. (fn. 6) Harold, though possessed of the crown, thought himself by no means secure whilst the two Saxons princes, sons of king Ethelred, remained alive; with the advice of earl Godwyne therefore, he determined to get them in his power, and for this purpose forged a letter in the name of their mother, queen Emma, earnestly inviting them to come to England. Accordingly Alfred, the eldest, who was then with his brother in Normandy, sailed for England, with a few ships and a small number of Normans, but they were no sooner landed, than they fell into the hands of earl Godwyne, who went himself to meet the young prince and his attendants, and falling upon them took Alfred prisoner, and sent him into the isle of Ely, where, after his eyes where put out, he was shut up in the monastery there, and died some few days after. After this, earl Godwyne continued in great favour with king Harold, and by his power entirely governed the affairs of the kingdom. He had raised himself to that heighth of fortune, that it would hardly admit of any addition. He was of a genius much superior to the rest of the nobility, and not only his merit, but his birth and alliances distinguished him beyond the rest. King Harold had raised him to the dignity of Duke of Wessex, and had made him his high treasurer, and the government of the counties of Oxford and Hereford were in the hands of his eldest son. In this exalted situation was Godwyne at the time of the king's death, without heirs, when the Earl joined with the great men of the nation, and unanimously made an offer of the crown to the deceased king's brother, Hardicanute, then with the queen his mother, at Bruges, in Flanders. Hardicanute, on his arrival at Sandwich, was received with great demonstrations of joy, especially by the Earl, who was one of the foremost to do him homage. The king began his reign with an uncommon act of revenge on the corps of Harold, for he ordered Godwyne, with some others, to dig it up, after which they cut off his head, and threw it with the body into the Thames. When the king had thus made use of Godwyne, in a service which, from the ingratitude of it, made him more detestable in the eyes of every one, he shewed him continued marks of his displeasure. Godwyne plainly saw this, and to appease the king, he made him a present of a ship, gilt with gold, and tackling suitable, in which were fourscore soldiers in gilt armour, each of them having two bracelets of gold on their arms, weighing sixteen ounces, as also harbegions, or coats of defence, of gold, gilt hemlets, swords with gilt hilts, girt to their loins, and a Danish axe of gold hanging on their left shoulders, each bearing in his hand a target with gilt bosses and nails, and in his right a lance, called in English a tegar. By this extraordinary- present he, in great measure, qualified the king's displeasure, and to palliate the murder of young Alfred, he laid the fault wholly on king Harold, and affirmed, that he was compelled by him to do it. (fn. 7) How great soever the resentments were which the king bore the Earl, he was such an enemy to business, that he left the whole management of his affairs to him, and Godwyne knew so well how to improve these favourable junctures, that his power far exceeded that of all the other English lords. In this zenith of his good fortune Hardicanute died, in 1041, without issue, and Edward, son of king Ethelred II. and Emma of Normandy, was the only prince then in England that had any pretensions to the crown. Edward soon found means to gain the Earl's friendship, so necessary for his purpose, who however, before he engaged in Edward's cause, stipulated the performance of certain conditions, one of which was, that the young prince should marry his daughter Editha. The prince was necessitated to comply with these terms, to which he bound himself by oath, notwithstanding the inward reluctance he must have to marry the daughter of a man, whom he could but look on as the murderer of his brother Alfred. As soon as Godwyne had received from Edward the assurances he demanded, he convened a general assembly, where, by his management, that prince was acknowledged and proclaimed king. (fn. 8) King Edward had not ability sufficient to govern so large a kingdom, which gave the nobles an opportunity of assuming almost a sovereign power. Earl Godwyne especially usurped, by degrees, so great an authority, that he had almost the same deference paid him as the king himself. How fair soever the king carried it towards Godwyne, he secretly hated him and his whole family, and deferred his marriage with Editha as long as he could. But as he stood in fear of the Earl, he durst not break his word with him, and, therefore, after two years, on various pretences, he espoused her according to his promise. But his aversion was so great, that he never consummated the marriage, and the queen, who was a person of strict virtue, and endowed with a peculiar greatness of soul, never made the least complaint of this neglect, but diverted her thoughts with acts of piety and devotion. Ingulphus tells us, she was most beautiful, chaste, and humble, and exceedingly learned, and further says, she had nothing of her father in her, whence this verse:
The king however did not venture to divorce her, least the Earl, by whose interest he had mounted the throne, might still have it in his power to depose him. He concealed his aversion, and even continued to heap favours on him, in hopes of meeting with a proper opportunity of shewing his resentment. Godwyne wisely improved this appearance of the king's favour, and became every day more formidable by the great number of friends he acquired. About this time Swane, the earl's eldest son, in the year 1047, having deflowered an abbess, fled to Denmark, and finding no hopes of obtaining a pardon, made open war upon the English. Soon after which he committed a brutal action, which seemed to put his reconciliation at a still greater distance, for imagining that earl Beorn (who had interceded with the king for him, and was come to acquaint him with the terms of his pardon) was come to betray him, he slew him with his own hand, and threw his body into the sea. (fn. 9) Notwithstanding which the king soon after, fearing, if he continued inflexible, Godwyne would revenge it, granted Swane his pardon. In 1051 an accident happened, which brought Godwyne to the brink of destruction, and gave the king an opportunity of discovering his enmity to him. Eustace, earl of Boulonge (who had married Goda, the king's sister) being come to visit king Edward, some of his attendants, who were sent before to provide lodgings at Dover, insisted upon having them in a house there, against the will of the owner, whereupon a quarrel arose, and a townsman was slain, which so exasperated the inhabitants, that they immediately fell upon the Earl's retinue, killing several, and wounding many more, earl Eustace himself, who had entered the town in the midst of the tumult, hardly escaping their sury. The Earl, who was then governor of Dover-castle, (fn. 10) enraged at this affront; hastened with his complaint to the king, then at Gloucester, who sent for Godwyne, and commanded him to march with his power, and vindicate this injury done to the earl of Boulonge in his government. But he, excusing the fact, and adding, in a haughty tone, some severe reflections on the insults of foreigners, so highly provoked the king, that after his departure, at the persuasion of Robert, archbishop of Canterbury, and the rest of the Normans about him, the king determined to punish him for his insolence. But the Earl having had notice of it, immediately put himself in a condition to resist the king and his enemies, and under colour of restraining the incursions of the Welsh, who were then in arms in Herefordshire, he raised some forces out of Kent, Suthsex, and Wessex, as his eldest son Swane did those of his earldom, viz. Oxford, Gloucester, Hereford, Somerset, and Berks; and Harold, his other son, those of his, viz. Essex, East-Anglia, Cambridgeshire, and Huntingdonshire; to oppose which the king, with the assistance of his nobles, raised a large army out of Mercia and Northumbria. (fn. 11) After this Godwyne marched into Gloucestershire, and sent messengers to the king, requiring him to deliver up earl Eustace and all his followers (then in Dover castle for their security) threatening, in case of refusal, to declare open war against him. But the Earl, discerning that the king's army was not inferior to his, submitted to end the quarrel by a treaty. Upon which the king required him to come to him, with only Harold his son, and twelve of his retinue unarmed, which the Earl excuded himself from for various reasons. In the mean time, the king observing Godwyne's army deserted in great numbers, caused open proclamation to be made, that the earl should appear at court, as required, or depart the realm within five days, upon which he saw himself on a sudden abandoned by his principal adherents, and was compelled to fly in the night to Thorney island, with his wife and three of his sons, Swane, Tosti, and Gyrth, and soon after into Flanders, to earl Baldwin, whose daughter Judith, Tosti had married; his other two sons, Harold and Leofwyne, sled to Bristol, and from thence to Ireland. The king having now no reason to fear any thing from Godwyne or his family, shut up the queen in the nunnery of Wharwel, with a design never to take her again, and to deprive the Earl and his sons of all hopes of returning, the king disposed of all their posts, the chief whereof were conferred on Alfgar, son of Leofric. In the mean time Godwyne took measures to reinstate himself by force of arms, and having made every hostile preparation, he returned to England, his sons, Harold and Leofwyne, joining him from Ireland, they entered together the mouth of the Severn, and made great spoil in those parts. From thence the Earl sailed to the Kentish coast, and seized the vessels, and levied all the power he could in this county and the neighbouring parts, but being pursued by the royal navy, then at Sandwich, he retired to the isle of Wight. After which he sailed up the Thames, and entering Southwark, by fair promises, induced many of the Londoners to join him, and finding no resistance at the bridge, he got higher up with his boats. At the return of the tide, the Earl steered towards the north part of the river, as though he intended to surround the king's fleet, which lay on that side; king Edward had a numerous body of foot, as well as Godwyne, yet both sides, consisting entirely of English, paused from the attack, as unwilling to embrue their hands in the blood of their countrymen. Upon which the nobles instantly interposed, and Godwyne was persuaded to sue for pardon, and five persons being chosen on each side, they settled all differences, the armies were disbanded, and Earl Godwyne, his wife, and all his sons, except Swane, were restored to their honours and estates, and the king honourably received the queen his wife again. The same year (1052) Swane, Godwyne's son, died on a pilgrimage, which he had undertaken to Jerusalem. The late disgrace of earl Godwyne, contrary to the expectation of his enemies, tended only to render him more powerful and formidable than ever. The height of it would probably have proved of dangerous consequence, had not death freed the king from so formidable a subject. The Earl's death (fn. 12) was attended with extraordinary- circumstances, if we believe the Norman monks, who were his enemies; but according to the best authorities, earl Godwyne was taken speechless as he sat at table with the king, then celebrating the feast of Easter at Winchester, and being carried into the king's chamber by his sons, he lay there in a languishing condition four days, and died on the 5th, being the 15th of April, 1053, and was buried in the old monastery at Winchester. His possessions were many and great; an account of some of them may be gathered from the general survey of Domesday, in which are mentioned, as once belonging to him, fourteen lordships in Herefordshire, one in Kent, forty-four in Sussex, one in Surry, and eleven in Hampshire. He had two wives, the first Thyra, Canute's sister, or, according to some, his daughter, by whom he had only one son, who, carelssly riding a horse into the river Thames, was there drowned. His second wife was Gytha, sister to Swayne, king of Denmark, by whom he had seven sons, of whom authors by no means agree as to their seniority, almost every one placing them in a different succession; however, I shall place them as follows, viz. Swane, who was earl of the counties of Oxford, Gloucester, Hereford, Somerset, and Berks, and died abroad, on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Harold, the second son, was the first earl of the East Saxons, East Angles, and the counties of Huntingdon and Cambridge, and on the death of his father, of the West Saxons and of Kent. Vulnoth, the third son, with Hacon (the son of Swane) his uncle, was sent into Normandy, as an hostage, upon his father's restoration from banishment, where he continued during the whole reign of king Edward; after the Norman conquest he was brought back into England, and kept prisoner at Salisbury till his death. Tostan, the fourth son, married Judith, daughter of Baldwin, earl of Flanders, by whom he left no issue. Upon the death of Siward, earl of Northumberland, he had that earldom bestowed upon him, after which his turbulent and haughty spirit continually involved him in a series of mischievous practices, and the perpetrating of the most shocking barbarities. He was slain with the king of Norway, after a sharp and bloody conflict, fought at Stanfordbridge, in Yorkshire, against king Harold his brother. (fn. 13) Gyrth, the fifth son, was slain with his brother Harold, in the battle fought with William the Conqueror, at his landing at Hastings. It appears he was an earl, though of what county is not known; and he is said to have been a young man of knowledge and virtue, far above his years. The sixth, Leoswyne, was slain in battle with his brothers at Hastings, at the time above-mentioned. He was an earl, but of what county is not mentioned. By the record of Domesday he was possessed, in the time of king Edward, of nine lordships in Kent, and fourteen in other counties. (fn. 14) Elfgare, the seventh son, was a monk at Rheims, in France. Earl Godwyne's daughter, by his second wife, was Edytha, who became wife of king Edward the Confessor, whose susferings and character have been already related. She died after the conquest, in 1074, and was buried in Westminster-abbey. (fn. 15)
The common received story of the Godwyne sands, opposite to the town of Deal, and supposed to be so called from their having been once the estate of this Earl, and, as a judgment for his crimes, at once swallowed up by the sea, has been long exploded, as is that of their once being an island, called Lomea. The most probable opinion of our best antiquaries being, that instead of these sands having been occasioned by an inundation of the sea, they were rather caused by the sea's leaving them, at the time of that terrible inundation in the reign of king William Rufus, or king Henry I.'s reign, which drowned so great a part of Flanders and the Low Countries, by which this part of the channel, which had before a sufficient depth of water at all times to cover it, the channel being as navigable there as elsewhere, became a large tract of sand, dry at low water, and but barely covered with the waves at other times, and as such of the most dangerous consequence to mariners, as the continual shipwrecks on it sufficiently prove. This desertion of the sea in these parts might have been further increased by following inundations in other places, especially that upon the parts of Zealand, which consisting antiently of fifteen islands, eight of them were swallowed up in king Henry II.'s time. (fn. 16)
HAROLD, second son of earl Godwyne, though his own earldoms were given away by the king, succeeded his father as Duke of Wessex, and Earl of Kent, and Governor of Dover-castle. Dugdale takes no notice of his having been earl of Kent, and others make a doubt of it, however, the generality of writers affirm him to have been so. (fn. 17) He was of a temper more courteous and pliable than his father, carrying himself with much less pride, and with a more respectful and submissive behaviour to the king. This did not remove the king's inveterate hatred to his family; perhaps, indeed, Edward had not so great an aversion to him as he had to his father, but he feared him as much, and perhaps very justly. Harold had as great parts and abilities as Godwyne, and a much greater principle of honour; he was very liberal, which joined to a civil and obliging behaviour, firmly attached both the nobles and people to his interest. And the same reasons which induced the king to conceal his real sentiments towards the father, now obliged him to do the same towards the son, for he was become too great a favourite with the nation to hazard a rupture with him. Though Harold had married the daughter of Alfgar, duke of Mercia, that nobleman, envying his greatness, behaved with great coolness towards him. Alfgar being of a restless spirit, entered into a conspiracy with Griffin, prince of Wales, for which he was accused of treason, and condemned to banishment, upon which he retired into Wales to that prince, with whom, soon after, making an inroad into Herefordshire, they were met by earl Harold, who had levied an army in his governments, and putting them to the rout, compelled them to retire into Wales. (fn. 18) After this Harold, by his interest, having obtained Alfgar's pardon, the duke was restored to his honours and estate. Harold acquired great reputation by this expedition, and his generosity to Alfgar, and it began to be the public discourse, that as the king had no heirs, none was more worthy to succeed him. This very sensibly touched king Edward, who all along had waited for an occasion to ruin him. Whatever thoughts he might have had before, of leaving the crown to the duke of Normandy, he now found it would be impossible for a foreign prince to succeed against an English earl of such power and credit, and so entirely beloved by the people. This most probably obliged him to turn his thoughts towards his nephew, Edward, son of Edmund Ironside, then in Hungary; accordingly he dispatched Aldred, bishop of Worcester, to fetch him home. The arrival of this prince, son of a king of England, whose memory was dear to the nation, could not but be exceedingly acceptable to the English, and he was henceforward considered by them as the king's presumptive heir, their esteem for Harold giving place to their affection for a descendant of the antient royal family of England, and he would have undoubtedly succeeded his uncle, had not his death put an end to all their hopes, soon after his arrival in England. He left one son, Edgar, surnamed Atheling. Earl Harold's ambition and hopes were revived by prince Edward's death; his son, indeed, inherited all his rights, but he was then so young, that it was no hard matter to supplant him, and he might possibly die before the king. Accordingly Harold resolved to improve the present favourable conjuncture, but before he openly discovered his designs, he thought it requisite to try to get out of the hands of the duke of Normandy, Vulnoth, his brother, and Hacune his nephew, whom Godwyne, his father, had given as hostages to the king. Though the Earl demanded them very urgently, yet the king constantly replied, that as they were not in his power, but in the duke of Normandy's, his application must be made to him. At last the Earl, finding he should never obtain his desire, requested leave to go and solicit the Duke for their deliverance, and soon afterwards embarked for Roan; but a violent tempest arising, he was drove towards Picardy, and compelled to put into one of the ports of the earl of Ponthieu, Eadmer, S. Dunelm, Bromton, H. Huntingdon, Hoveden, and some others agree in the above circumstances of it. William of Malmsbury, Matthew of Westminster, and others say, that Harold being at his manor of Bosenham in Sussex, went out in a fishing boat for his diversion, but sailing further than he was aware of, a tempest arose and drove him as above, where he was immediately seised, and it would have been difficult for him to have regained his liberty, had not the duke of Normandy demanded the prisoner of the earl of Ponthieu, who not daring to dispute this matter, Harold was set at liberty, and immediately went on to Roan, where he was honourably entertained. After some days the Duke told him, that king Edward, whilst at his court, had promised if ever he came to the crown of England, he would settle the inheritance of it on him; and he added, that if he, Harold, would give him his assistance in this matter, and deliver to him the castle of Dover, with the well of water in it, and promise to send his sister over to be married to one of the Duke's nobles, and himself to marry the Duke's daughter, he would in recompence restore his nephew Hacun, and when he became to be king of England, he should have his brother Vulnoth safely delivered up to him, and every thing granted to him that he could in reason ask or desire. Harold, perceiving he had but one course to take to get out of the Duke's power, readily consented to whatever was desired, upon which the Duke bound him by oath to the performance of his promises, and especially, that he would never attempt the throne of England; after which he dismissed Harold, loaded with presents, who quickly returned to England, with his nephew Hacune. Harold had no sooner got beyond the reach of the Duke's power, than looking on the oath he had made as extorted from him, he resolved to take every measure to frustrate his designs, and henceforward used all his diligence to secure in his interest all the great lords of the kingdom, that by thus strengthening his party, he might put it out of the power of the king or the duke to lay any obstacles in his way. After this, in the year 1063, the Welsh renewing their incursions under the conduct of Griffin their king, Harold and his brother Toston, earl of Northumberland, joined their forces to repulse them. They were so fortunate in this expedition, that they compelled them to dethrone Griffin, and become tributary to England; nay, on the renewing of the war, Harold marched towards their frontiers, and struck such a terror into the Welsh, that they sent him the head of their king. Soon after this Harold's brother Tostan, earl of Northumberland, treated the Northumbrians with such severity, that not able to bear his oppressions any longer, they took up arms against him, and expelled him from the province, upon which Harold was ordered to chastise them, and restore his brother. On his approach the Northumbrians sent messengers to inform him, that they had no design of withdrawing their obedience from the king, but only to free themselves from the tyrannical power of an unjust and cruel governor, to whom they were resolved never to submit again, and promising farther, provided the king would set over them one who would govern them according to the laws and customs of their country, an unshaken fidelity for the future. Harold finding this affair related chiefly to Toston's ill conduct, rather than to any disaffection to the king, sent an impartial account of it to the court, and at the same time interceded for the Northumbrians, and not only obtained their pardon, but procured them Morkard, son of Alfgar, duke of Mercia, for their governor (fn. 19) Whilst Harold was endeavouring to secure the crown, Edward did not seem to trouble himself about the succession, which he had so exceedingly perplexed by his engagement with the duke of Normandy, but employed his whole attention on religious matters, and the structure of the church and monastery, which he had begun at Westminster, at the dedication of which, not long after, he was seized with a sudden illness, which proved fatal to him. Harold was at this time by no means inattentive to his own interest: he found means, according to Florence of Worcester, and others of our English historians, to induce the king to declare him his successor. Those who favoured the duke of Normandy's title assert, Edward bequeathed the kingdom by will to the duke; and others write, that he recommended to the nobles, then assembled in a body, to choose the person they thought most worthy to rule over them. He died soon after, on January the 3d, 1066. Earl Harold's succeeding to the crown is thus variously related by our historians, as they wished to espouse the cause of one or other of the competitors to it, and they differ as much in the manner of his obtaining it after king Edward's death. Several affirm, he was elected with one common voice, freely by the wittenagemot then assembled, and crowned the day after the election by the archbishop of York. Others say, he usurped the crown, by compelling the great council to elect him, and there are some who look on his election as a fiction, affirming, that Harold, without troubling himself about the consent of the nobles or people, extorted fealty from them, and set the crown upon his own head without farther ceremony. After Harold was crowned, there was not a person in the kingdom but what owned him for sovereign, and paid him obedience; but though he found no opposition at home, it was otherwise abroad, for, besides the duke of Normandy, who, enraged at Harold's breach of faith, was secretly preparing to claim the crown by force of arms, earl Toston was likewise making preparations to disturb him in the possession of his new dignity. Accordingly, having got together some ships, he infested the English coasts, plundered the isle of Wight, and afterwards entering the Humber, made a descent on Yorkshire, and ravaged the country. After which he entered into a treaty with Harold Harfager, king of Norway, and with him invaded England with a large fleet, with design to conquer his brother Harold, who met them at Stanford-bridge, upon the river Derwent, in Yorkshire, and after a sharp contest, in which both Tostan and the king of Norway were slain, obtained a complete victory. (fn. 20) In the mean time the duke of Normandy was taking every measure to wrest a crown from Harold which he had been so long in expectation of, and to which he thought he had a much superior right. After having long waited for a wind at Saint Valery, he set sail from thence with his forces, and landed at Pevensey, near Hastings, in Sussex. Harold, on receiving the news of the descent of the Normans, by hasty marches came up to London, and having drawn all his forces together, advanced towards the Normans, and coming up with them near Hastings, a most bloody battle was fought between them, on Saturday, October 14, 1066, (fn. 21) a day memorable for one of the greatest events that ever happened to this kingdom. Without entering into the particular circumstances of this battle, so fully described by all our historians, I shall content myself with observing, that in this engagement the Kentishmen were in the front of the English army, a privilege they had long enjoyed, and that the conflict continued, with doubtful success, from six in the morning till night parted the two armies, and that the next morning, in a furious attack made by the Normans, Harold was slain, by an arrow shot through his brains, on which his troops betook themselves to flight, and the Normans gained a complete victory. Thus fell Harold, courageously fighting in defence not only of his own, but of his country's cause, against the ambition- of the duke of Normandy. With him were slain his two brothers, Gyrth and Leofwine. His death put an end to the empire of the Anglo-Saxons in England, which had continued upwards of six hundred years, from the time of Hengist's first taking the title of King of Kent. Harold's body, so covered with wounds that it was hard to be known, was sent by duke William to his mother, without any ransom, though she is said to have offered him for it its weight in gold: she buried it at Waltham-abbey, in Essex, a monastery which the king himself had founded.—Harold was twice married: by his first wife, whose name is unknown, he had three sons, Godwyne, Edmund, and Ulfe, the two former of whom, in the second year of the Conqueror's reign, landing with some forces out of Ireland, made great spoil in the western parts of England, and returned there again safely with their booty. Ulfe being afterwards prisoner in Normandy with Duncan, son of Malcome, king of Scots, was with him set at liberty, and knighted by Robert, eldest son of the Conqueror, when he returned thither on his father's death. (fn. 22) He had also two daughters, of whom Gunild, the eldest, falling blind, passed her days in a nunnery, and the youngest, whose Christian name is not known, married Waldemar, king of Russia, by whom she had a daughter, who was mother to Waldemar, king of Denmark, from whom the Danish kings, for many ages after proceeded. His second wife was Alditha, by some called Algytha, daughter of Alfgar, duke of Mercia, and widow of Griffin, prince of Wales.—The lands which earl Harold possessed in king Edward the Confessor's time were very great, in different counties, as appears by the Conqueror's survey. He had the following lordships: in—
After the duke of Normandy had, by his signal victory at Hastings, subjected this realm to his absolute power, it cannot be doubted, but he would use every means for the establishing himself in his future dominion. To this end he advanced those to the chiefest trust and command, who had hazarded their lives with him in this expedition; but among these, his nearest relations were more especially preferred to the most important posts both of honour and profit.
ODO, BISHOP OF BAYEUX, in Normandy, and his half-brother, had attended him in his expedition hither, and though an ecclesiastic, in consideration of his kindred to him, was raised to the Earldom of Kent, being the first place of power and trust, which after the victory at Hastings king William conferred upon any one. At the same time he had the castle of Dover (called, from its strength and importance, Clavis et repagulum totius regni, i. e. the lock and key of the whole kingdom) and this whole county committed to his charge; soon after which he was joined with William Fitz Osberne, commander in the Conqueror's army, in the generalship or chief command of all the military forces of the whole realm. (fn. 23) Odo was likewise a count palatine, which title was given to him, not as he was earl of Kent, or a local earl (for this earldom was not palatine) but as he had a personal office in the court under the king, or a general power of lieutenancy, created in the court, but extended through the kingdom, in consequence of which he gave laws as king, having power over all other earls and great men of the land. (fn. 24) He was also one of the barons of the king's exchequer, and Justiciarius Angliæ, that is, the principal person under the king for administering of justice throughout the whole nation, which high and eminent office after him continued till towards the latter end of king Henry III.'s reign, Odo at that time being reputed the wisest man in England. In Lent, after the coronation, the king going into Normandy, left Odo, together with William Fitz Osberne, guardians of the kingdom in his absence, with directions to build castles throughout the land, whereever they thought fit. Upon this Odo seated himself in Kent, and became so powerful, that no man durst oppose him; he even seized several lordships belonging to the archbishop of Canterbury, which being made known to Lanfranc, when he was advanced to that see, in the fifth year of that reign, he immediately made his complaint to the king, who commanded, that the whole county of Kent, especially those who had most knowledge of the antient usages and customs there should, without delay, affemble and do right therein. Meeting therefore on Pinenden-heath, Geffrey, bishop of Constance, sat in the king's stead as chief judge, and, after much dispute, passed sentence in favour of the archbishop, that he should enjoy the lands belonging to his church, as freely as the king himself did his own demesne lands. (fn. 25) But the extraordinary power and wealth which Odo had amassed by pillaging the English, made him so forgetful of himself, that he grew both violent, oppressive, and ambitious. Nay, he became so highly elated, that he determined to employ his money in purchasing the papacy. To that end he bought a stately palace at Rome, and filled it with costly furniture, where he designed to reside, and to convey all his treasures thither, that he might be ready, on the pope's death, to put his design in execution. (fn. 26) In the mean time, as he wished to conceal his intentions, he took the opportunity of the king his brother's absence in Normandy to begin his journey to Rome, and having allured, by the promise of large gifts, Hugh earl of Chester, and a great band of choice soldiers, to follow him into Italy, he went, accompanied by them, to the isle of Wight, where his ships lay ready for him, but contrary winds preventing his embarking so soon as he expected, he was forced to remain some time there. This broke all his measures; for the king, having intelligence of his design, came over hastily and surprized him, just as he was setting sail, and ordered him to be seized immediately, but as he was a bishop no one dared to touch him; whereupon the king himself laid hands on him, Odo at the same time crying out, that he was a clerk, and as such could not be sentenced by any but the pope; to which the king replied, that he neither sentenced any clerk, or bishop, but his own earl, whom he had made vicegerent in his kingdom; to which method the king was advised by archbishop Lanfranc, which Odo never forgave, but ever afterwards bore an implacable hatred to him, and the king, resolving that he should give an account of that trust, commanded him to be carried into Normandy, where he was kept a prisoner, in the castle of Roan, the remaining four years of the Conqueror's reign. Odo, quickly after his seizure, being convicted of numberless extortions, his effects and lands were all confiscated to the king's use. (fn. 27) Whilst the king was in his last sickness, among other prisoners of state, he refused to release his brother Odo, (fn. 28) however, on William Rufus's accession to the throne, anno 1087, he was set at liberty, and coming over to England, was confirmed in the possession of his earldom of Kent, and was much favoured by the King, but when Odo found he had not the whole sway and disposal of every thing, as formerly, he fell off from his allegiance, and seduced many others to do the same; inciting them to advance Robert Curthose, (eldest son of the king, to whom he had left the dukedom of Normandy,) to the throne of England, and in order thereto, he began an insurrection in Kent, where he burnt several towns belonging to the king and archbishop Lanfranc, to which latter he bore an implacable hatred, attributing all the misfortunes which had befallen him in the former reign to his advice and counsel. Odo carried all his plunder to Rochester, of which he had the custody, from whence he marched to his castle of Pevensey, in Sussex, where he was in hopes he might hold out a siege till the duke of Normandy could come to his relief; but at the end of six weeks he was forced, for want of food, to surrender it up to the king, and to promise, on oath, to quit the realm, and never to return to it until the king should command him. Besides, he bound himself to deliver up, before his departure, the castle of Rochester, where many gallant men, and the chief of the Norman lords, were shut up under the command of Eustace, earl of Boulogne. For this purpose he was conducted to the gates of Rochester, where he seigned to persuade the governor to deliver up the city; but Eustace, guessing at his meaning, detained him, and the soldiers who conducted him, prisoners. Upon this the king immediately marched with his army to Rochester, and besieged the city so vigorously, that those in it were at last compelled to surrender themselves, and Odo losing all his honours, for ever abjured the kingdom, and went into Normandy, where he was received by duke Robert, and had the whole care of that province committed to him. (fn. 29) The character given in general of Odo, by historians is very great; Ordericus Vitalis sums it up as follows: he was eloquent and magnanimous, courtly and courageous; he honoured religious men much, and stoutly defended his clergy, as well with his tongue as his sword. In his youth, in regard to his kindred, he was advanced to the bishopric of Bayeux, in which he sat more than fifty years. The church of our Lady at Bayeux he built from the ground, and furnished it with costly vestments, and different ornaments of gold and silver. In the church of Saint Vigor (formerly bishop of Bayeux) which is situate near the wall of the city, he placed monks, and made it a cell to the abbey of Dijon. He sent young scholars to Liege, and other cities, where he knew the study of philosophy flourished, and gave them large exhibitions for their support in learning. Of those educated by him were Thomas, archbishop of York, and Sampson his brother, bishop of Worcester; William de Ros, abbot of Fischamp, in Normandy; Thurston, abbot of Glastonbury, and many others. Thus, notwithstanding he was much entangled with worldly cares, he did many laudable things, bestowing his wealth, however indirectly gotten, on the church and poor. To conclude the life of this great man; being at length tired of the world, he undertook a journey to Rome with duke Robert his nephew, but died at Palermo, in Sicily, in the year 1096, and was buried in the church of our Lady there. He left a natural- son, named John, who was afterwards, for his eloquence and ingenuity, of great esteem in the court of king Henry I. The lands and posessions which Odo had in England were wonderfully great, all which were given him by the bounty of king William, his brother. In Kent he had no less than one hundred and eighty-four lordships, or the greatest part of them, and in other counties two hundred and fifty-five more. The seal of Odo is not only extremely rare, but very singular, in respect to the figures represented thereon. On the one side of it he appears as an earl mounted on his war horse, clad in armour, and holding a sword in his right hand; but on the reverse, he appears in his character of a bishop, dressed in his pontifical habit, and as pronouncing the benediction. He is said to have borne for his coat armour, Gules a lion rampænt argent, surmounted by a bishop's crozier in bend sinister or. (fn. 30) The monks of Saint Andrew's priory in Rochester used to celebrate his anniversary, by saying mass at the lesser altar, and displaying three flags on the lesser tower. (fn. 31)
WILLIAM DE IPRE (fn. 32) was the next earl of Kent, concerning whose parentage there is much difference among authors, some affirming him to be an illegitimate son of Philip, earl of Ipre, in Flanders, by the daughter of William Laon, viscount of Ipre, second son to Robert le Frison, earl of Flanders; others, that he was son of Robert, marquis of those parts of Picardy. After having given great proofs of his courage in Flanders and Normandy, as well during the latter part of king Henry I.'s reign, as the beginning of king Stephen's, he took part with the latter against Maud the empress, and did that prince several signal pieces of service, as well in Normandy as in England, for which he was created Earl of Kent by king Stephen, in the sixth year of his reign. Before the end of that year the king meeting with his adversaries at Lincolne, gave them battle, in which encounter this earl had a chief command, and behaved with great courage, notwithstanding which the king's forces were routed, king Stephen himself, with the chief of his friends, made prisoners, and his enemies obtained the victory, and the earl, seeing all was lost, saved himself and his men by a seasonable retreat. After this victory the empress was immediately acknowledged as sovereign in all parts of the realm except in Kent, where the queen and this earl had great power. Soon after which the former, observing that the empress had lost the affections of the people by her haughty behaviour, took the advantage of it, and by the assistance of this earl, and other nobles, raised another army, which soon after, by that signal victory obtained at Gloucester, turned the scale, so that the king was set at liberty. It is reported of this earl, that in the times of hostility between Maud the empress and king Stephen, he burnt the abbey of Wherwelle, in Hampshire, because the nuns of that house harboured some of the empress's followers. But when the times grew more calm and quiet, he made sufficient recompence, by founding the abbey at Boxley, in this county, for Cistercian monks, in the year 1146. Earl William is said by Camden to have fortified the town of Rye, in Sussex, and to have built a tower there, which, in memory of him, was called Ipre's tower; he likewise obtained several immunities and privileges for it, in common with the rest of the cinque ports. On the death of king Stephen, this earl, with the rest of the Flemish, of which he was principal, was forced to depart the kingdom; after which, betaking himself to a monastic life, (fn. 33) he died a monk, in the abbey of Laon, in Flanders, in 1162. He is said by York herald to have borne for his arms, Girony of ten or, and azure, an escutcheon gules, over all a baton sinister humette argent, (fn. 34) though it plainly appears by the quarterings borne by the Derings of Surrenden, in which this of Ipre is the fourth, that he bore argent, two bars vaire azure and gules. Normannus Fitz Dering, ancestor to the present family of Dering, of Surrenden, in this county, is said to have married Matilda, only sister and heir of this William de Ipre, earl of Kent. In the reign of king Henry II. his son, whom he had caused to be crowned likewise king, having a design to raise a rebellion against his father, did, upon that account, give the title of Earl of Kent to Philip, earl of Flanders, but he was earl of Kent no otherwise than by bare title and promise; for as Gervas of Dover tells us, this Philip promised his utmost assistance to the young king, binding himself to homage by oath. In return for which the king promised him revenues of one thousand pounds, with all Kent, the castle of Rochester, and the castle of Dover. (fn. 35)
HUBERT DE BURGH was the next earl of Kent, the chief of whose family, (according to our best genealogists) was William Fitz Aldelme, steward to king Henry II. and governor of Wexford, in Ireland, whose younger brother John, was father of Hubert de Burgh above-mentioned, who was in such estimation with king John, that in the third year of his reign, being chamberlain of his household, he was constituted warden of the marches of Wales, and governor of Dover castle. The next year, when Philip, king of France, had possessed himself of all Normandy, he, with the bishop of Ely, was sent embassador to treat with him for the restitution of it. From the 4th to the 15th year of king John he executed the office of sheriff of several counties, and in the 16th year he was seneschal of Poictu, and the next ensuing year, when the barons rose in arms against the king, he was appointed one of the commissioners to treat with them at Runimede, near Stanes, where the king granted to the people, what had been so eagerly contended for by those barons, in the two famous charters of liberty, called Magna Charta and Charta de Foresta, and for the great estimation the king had of his merits, he advanced him to that eminent office of Justice of England. Soon after which he was constituted sheriff of Kent and Surry, governor of the castle of Canterbury, and constable of Dover-castle; besides which he had other trusts conferred on him. At the latter end of the same year, he obtained a grant of the lordship and hundred of Hoo, and was again appointed one of the commissioners to treat with Richard, earl of Clare, and others, on the part of the barons, in the church at Erith, in this county, concerning a peace between the king and them. In the 18th year of the same reign, upon the landing of Lewis of France, whom the barons had then called in, having the castle of Dover still in his charge, he stoutly defended it against him. And as he stood firm to king John in his great distresses, so he did to Henry III. his son and successor, then of tender age; for when Lewis again besieged Dover-castle, and desiring to speak to him, tried to persuade him, that king John being dead, he was under no obligation to hold it against him, promising, if he would deliver it up, to enrich him with great honours, and advance him to be the chief of his council. He boldly answered, that though the king his master was dead, he had left both sons and daughters, who ought to succeed him, and that he would say more to him, when he had spoke with his fellow soldiers in the castle, which he soon did, absolutely refusing, by so doing, to incur the guilt of treason. Upon which Lewis quitted the siege, and returned to London. (fn. 36) Soon after this, when Eustace le Moyne, an eminent person in France, with ten more lords, came with a great fleet in aid of Lewis, Hubert, having but eight ships, encountered him at sea, took him prisoner, and cut off his head. In the 4th year of king Henry III. upon the death of W. Mareschal, earl of Pembroke, who had been governor of the king and kingdom, (the king being then but fourteen years of age,) he succeeded him in that trust. The next year he suppressed a great and dangerous insurrection in London, and in the 8th year of that reign, was constituted governor of the castles of Arundel and Rochester. Hubert having executed the office of sheriff of Kent, from the beginning of the third, to the end of the eleventh year of that reign, he was, upon the 11th of February that year advanced to the dignity of Earl of Kent, gladio comitatus Cantii accinctus, as M. Paris writes; and upon the same day he obtained a grant of the manors of Estbrigg and Ospringe in this county, as he did, soon after, of several other manors and lands in different counties: and a confirmation of others, purchased by him, among which were all the lands of Baldwin, earl of Guisnes, in Newington, near Hyth, and the manor of Tunstal, purchased from Robert Arsic; and in consideration of his eminent services, as well to the king as his father, by the advice of the peers of the whole realm, he had a grant of that great office of justice of England, to hold during his life, as also of the castle and port of Dover, with the revenues of that haven, and of the castles of Rochester and Canterbury, during his life, with the fee of one thousand marks per annum for the custody of them.— Having been created earl of Kent, as before-mentioned, he obtained a grant in the 13th year of king Henry III. of fifty pounds sterling per annum, in lieu of the third penny of this county, to be received yearly from the sheriff, at which time he had the further grant of several honors, manors, and lands in different parts of the realm, and upon the collection of the scutage of Kerry at that time, he answered for one hundred and thirty-eight knights fees and upwards. In the 16th year of that reign, increasing in his interest with the king, he procured a special charter of privileges, that in case of sickness, or absence, he should have power to assign a substitute, to be approved of by the king, in that high office of justice of England. Soon after which he obtained a grant of the office of justice of Ireland for life; he had also the custody of the tower of London, with the castles of Odyham and Windsor, and the wardenship of that forest, being the greatest and richest subject at that time in Europe.— Soon after this the king's favour towards him declined apace, for the same year, through the instigation of Peter de Rupibus, bishop of Winchester, who then began to bear the chief sway at court, he was first totally displaced from his office of justice of England, as well as from the custody of the castles of Dover, Canterbury, Rochester, Windsor, Odyham, Hertford, Colchester, and the tower of London, Stephen de Segrave succeeded him in all these trusts: at the same time he was strictly required to give account of all the king's treasures, with which he had at any time meddled, of the different receipts of the king's debts, revenues, public and private, and of whatsoever else had been lost through his negligence; but these were but trivial matters, in comparison of what his enemies afterwards objected against him of treason in most of the negociations and transactions with foreign princes, in which he had been concerned. The scene being thus changed, he was forsaken by all, except the archbishop of Dublin, who, with tears, earnestly interceded for him in vain, for Hubert was thrown into prison, and treated with many indignities and much hard usage, which moved his stedfast friend, the archbishop, to intercede again for him, who at last prevailed so far, that he had his choice, either to abjure the realm for ever, or tosubmit to perpetual imprisonment, or else openly to acknowledge himself a traitor. (fn. 37) To these hard proposals he answered, knowing he had done nothing to deserve them, that he was content to quit the kingdom, but not to abjure it for ever. In the mean time the king was told, that Hubert had deposited great treasures in the new Temple London; upon which he sent his treasurer, together with the justices of the exchequer, to Hubert, who had surrendered himself, and was then in setters in the Tower, to demand them of him, who freely submitted himself to the king's pleasure, and directed the templars to deliver up the keys to the king. Great store of plate, both gold and silver, much money, and many jewels of great value, were found deposited by Hubert in the Temple, all which the king caused to be carried to his treasury. Soon after this the king, out of compassion to him, permitted him to enjoy for his necessary support all the lands which he had been possessed of, either by grant from king John, or by his own acquisition. Hubert, not long after this, was bailed from his strict imprisonment by Richard, earl of Cornwall, the king's brother, and other great men, and sent to the castle of Devises; during his stay there, the king relenting, granted him a full and free pardon for his flight and outlawry, and that his heirs should freely enjoy all the lands of his own inheritance; but as for such as he had otherwise obtained, he should trust to the king's favour, who retained all those of his own demesne, which through his bounty he had bestowed on him, as well as the castle of Mongomery, and other castles in England and Wales. After which, by a special grant, Hubert quitted his title to the office of justice of England, in consideration of which he had restitution- of a vast proportion of lands in different counties, some of which were of his own inheritance, others part of the lands of his former wife, Beatrix de Warren, and others granted to him by different persons, which grant of the king's bears date in the 18th year of his reign. But the greatest part of these, under pretence of making restitution to those whom Hubert had oppressed, were again taken from him, by which means he was left in a very necessitous condition. Hubert being still a prisoner in the castle of Devises, the bishop of Winchester solicited the king to appoint him governor of it, that he might have a fitter opportunity to murder him; but Hubert having private intimation of this, escaped over the castle wall, in the night, to the parish church, and there took refuge at the high altar; but this was of no advantage to him, for the sheriff had orders to besiege him there, and starve him to death. (fn. 38) In this desperate condition some of the soldiers had compassion on him, and took him thence to some of his friends, who putting a military habit on him, conveyed him into Wales. Here Hubert remained till the conclusion of the peace between king Henry and Leoline, prince of Wales, the first condition of which was a reconciliation between the king and all his nobles, who having adhered to Leoline had been banished the realm; whereupon this earl, among others, was then at Gloucester, received in favour. The king, soon after, in his 21st year, grew highly offended with him again, on account of Richard earl of Gloucester, a minor, having clandestinely married Margaret, the earl's daughter, without licence, the king having designed to marry him to a near relation of his own, but being satisfied this had been transacted without the knowledge of Hubert, he was at length pacified with the promise of a sum of money; and though Hubert after this remained faithful to the king at a time so many others deserted him, nevertheless, in expectation of extorting more money from him, the king again charged him with many crimes, to satisfy whom, he was adjudged, in the 24th year of that reign, to give up four of his chiefest castles; to which, being wholly worn out with trouble and sorrows, he quietly submitted, on condition that he might enjoy the rest of his possessions in peace, and that he, and Margaret his wife, and the survivor of them, should enjoy all his other lands. He survived this calm but a few years, for he died at Banstede in Surry, on the 12th of May, in the twenty-seventh year of that reign, and his corpse being brought to London, was there honorably interred within the church of the Friars Preachers, commonly called the Black Friars, in Holborne, to which convent he had been a large benefactor, having among other things, bestowed on it his palace at Westminster, aftewards purchased by the archbishop of York, and called Whitehall. His works of piety were many to several religious houses, according to the custom of the times he lived in: particularly he gave to the canons of Bradsole, alias St. Radigunds, near Dover, the church of Porteslade; he founded the hospital of our Lady in Dover, and the church of the Maison Dieu in that town. As to his wives, he first married Joan, daughter of William de Vernun, earl of Devonshire, and widow of William de Briwer, with whom he had in marriage the whole isle of Wight, and other possessions secondly, Beatrix, daughter of William de Warren, of Wirmegay in Norfolk, and widow of Dodo Bardolph; thirdly, Isabell, third daughter and coheir of William, earl of Gloucester, widow of Geffrey de Mandeville, earl of Essex, whom king John had first repudiated; and fourthly, Margaret, daughter of William, king of Scotland, whom, the court being then, anno 5 Henry III. at York, he there solemnly married, the king himself, with many of the nobility, being present at the ceremony, the archbishop of Canterbury joined their hands together. He left by his last wife two sons, John and Hubert, and two daughters, Margaret and Magot; of whom Margaret was married to Richard de Clare, earl of Gloucester, as has been before mentioned. Of the sons, John, the eldest, fided with the rebellious barons, and his lands were seized, but he succeeded as his father's heir. Hubert, the younger son, was ancestor to Thomas Burgh, of Sterborough castle, in the county of Surry, who, in the third year of king Henry VII. was created lord Borough; but neither of these sons enjoyed the title of earl of Kent. (fn. 39) He bore for his coat armour, Gules sevon lozenges vaire, three, three and one. (fn. 40) Camden faith of this great man, that he was an entire lover of his country, and amidst the storms of adversity, discharged all the duties that it could demand from the best of subjects. (fn. 41)
EDMUND, second son of king Edward I. by Margaret, his second wife, was the next Earl of Kent. He was surnamed, of Woodstock, from his birth at that place in Oxfordshire, anno 1301, being the twentyninth of his father's reign. In the 13th year of king Edward II. he was in the wars of Scotland, and the same year obtained of the king, his brother, several lordships, lands, and rents in different counties; all which were granted to him, in part of the performance of what his father had by his testament appointed, viz. that his son, king Edward II. should settle upon this Edmund his brother, as he expected his blessing, lands to the value of two thousand marks per annum. The next year he had several privileges granted for several of his lordships, and was also summoned to parliament as baron of Woodstock; and the year after, he was upon the 28th day of July created earl of Kent, per cincturam gladii, by which title he was then summoned to parliament, the lords of which, with their numerous attendants, were at this time entertained at the king's charge. The provisions for this purpose were sent up from the several counties, in consequence of writs sent to the several sheriffs. Thus the sheriff of Kent, by writ as 6 Edward II. was commanded to provide one hundred quarters of corn, one hundred quarters of malt, two hundred of oats, forty oxen, one hundred muttons, and forty hogs, the costs of which was to be allowed him in his accounts. (fn. 42) The earl of Kent at the same time had a grant of the castle of Okham in the county of Rutland, and in farther supplement of the abovementioned two thousand marks per annum, a grant of the manor of Kingsbury in the county of Somerset. In this year also he was constituted governor of Tonebrigge castle in this county, and upon that insurrection then made by Thomas, earl of Lancaster, was one of those to whom the king granted commission to pursue and take him, and for that purpose to lay siege to his castle of Pontefract; upon the taking of that earl afterwards at Burrowbrigg, he was one of the chief persons that gave sentence of death upon him. In the 1st year of king Edward III. he was in an expedition made into Scotland, and the same year obtained a grant of the town, castle, and honor of Arundel in Sussex, the manor of Swanscombe in this county, and several other lordships and lands. To this earl the care of king Edward III. during his minority, was principally committed, and with him were joined in this important trust, Henry, earl of Lincoln, and Roger, lord Mortimer of Wigmore. In consideration of his good and acceptable services, and in part of his father's bequest to him, he obtained the next year several lordships and lands, and had afterwards the important post of constable of Dover-castle conferred on him. In the third year of king Edward III. he had possession granted of the dowry of Margaret his wife, (widow of John Comin, of Badenagh,) lying in Tyndale, which Margaret was daughter of John, and sister and heir of Thomas, lord Wake.— The occasion of his death is variously related; however, the general opinion is, it was for plotting the restoration of king Edward II. his brother, who, he had been informed, had escaped that cruel murder in Berkleycastle, which was generally believed to have been acted upon him, and which, indeed was but too true, that prince having been murdered near twelve months before. (fn. 43) Being accused of treason, he was arrested at a council held at Winchester, in the 4th year of king Edward III. upon which, having made his confession, he submitted to mercy; but by the malice of queen Isabel, who governed all during the minority of her son, and of Roger, lord Mortimer, her minion, he was not only adjudged to die for high treason, for plotting the delivery of the late king, but was led forth to execution at Winchester that very day; where he staid on the scaffold from noon till five o'clock in the evening, expecting the fatal stroke, which no one would give him till a malefactor out of the Marshalsea, being promised his life as a reward, beheaded him. Immediately after which, proclamations were dispersed throughout England to inform the people of the reason of his being put to death. In the king's letter to the pope, concerning this earl's execution, he was accused of having consulted an evil spirit, who had assured him, king Edward II. was yet alive, though the earl himself had attended his funeral. The lands and rents of which he died possessed were very great; among others were several manors and estates in this county, besides the yearly rent of thirty pounds, payable out of the profits of the county, by the hands of the sheriff of it for the time being. (fn. 44) Several of these lordships and rents were assigned, shortly after, to Margaret his widow, for her dowry. By her the earl had two sons, Edmund and John, successively earls of Kent, of whom hereafter, and a daughter, Joane, first married to sir Thomas Holand, knight, next to William de Montague, earl of Salisbury, and lastly to Edward, prince of Wales, commonly called the Black Prince. He bore for his arms, Gules, three lions passant guardant or, a bordure argent. The arms of Margaret Wake, his wife, were, or two bars gules, three torteuxes in chief, which coat stands impaled with earl Edmond's, in a window in Chesterfield church in the county of Derby. (fn. 45) The above coat of this earl, viz. three lions within a bordure is carved on the roof of the cloysters of the cathedral church of Canterbury, and on the roof of the southern part of that church; it was depicted in the windows of Wickham-brews church, and remained a few years ago on some small antique tiles in South-fleet church.
EDMUND PLANTAGENET, eldest son of the last earl, was, upon his petition in the parliament held that year, restored to the Earldom of Kent, his father's attainder being reversed; but he died the next year the king's ward, and without issue, leaving his brother John to succeed him. He bore the same arms as his father.
JOHN PLANTAGENET, brother to the last earl, succeeded him in the Earldom of Kent, and making proof of his age in the 25th year of king Edward III. had possession granted of all his lands, his mother being then dead, in which year he sat in parliament, by the title of earl of Kent; (fn. 46) but he did not long survive, for he died on St. Stephen's day in the year following, anno 26 Edward III. and was buried in the church of the Friars Minors, at Winchester. He married Elizh, daughter of the duke of Juliers, she survived him, and afterwards took upon her the habit of a nun in the abbey of Waverley, after which, quitting her profession, she clandestinely married Eustace Dabridgecourt, second son of the lord Dabridgecourt of Henault, in the chapel of the mansion-house of Robert de Brome, a canon in the collegiate church of Wingham, without licence from the archbishop of Canterbury, for which both she and her husband were sentenced to a severe but most ridiculous penance. She died 12 Henry IV. and by her will ordered her body to be buried in the church of the Friars Minors at Winchester, in the tomb of her late husband, John earl of Kent, who had no issue by her; (fn. 47) upon which Joane her sister, then the wife of sir Thomas Holand, knight, was found to be his next heir. He died possessed of money and lands in this and several other counties, and of the yearly fee, as earl of Kent, of thirty pounds, payable out of the profits of this county by the hands of the sheriff for the time being. The arms of this John, and Elizh his wife, were painted in a window of the cathedral church of Litchfield, being the same as his brother's, impaled with Juliers, or a lion rampant sable. (fn. 48)
JOANE PLANTAGENET, sister and heir of the lastmentioned John earl of Kent, and called for her admirable beauty, the Fair Maid of Kent, was at that time the wife of sir Thomas Holand, knight, second son of sir Robert Holand of Lancashire, by Maud his wife, daughter of Alan de la Zouch. Sir Thomas Holand signalised himself greatly in the wars of France, especially at the famous battle of Cressi, where he had a chief command in the van of prince Edward's army. These exploits gained him such a high reputation for courage and military skill, that in the 24th year of king Edward III. he was elected into the most noble order of the garter, at that time founded by the king. Before which, being steward of the houshold to William Montague, earl of Salisbury, he fell deeply in love with Joane Plantagenet above-mentioned, and having contracted himself to her, had knowledge of her, but being called abroad before he could solemnize his marriage, the earl of Salisbury took advantage of his absence, and inticed her to make a second contract with him, and at sir Thomas Holand's return unjustly detained her from him; but upon an appeal to the pope, he, upon hearing the merits of the cause, gave sentence in favor of sir Thomas, who, in consequence thereof, possessed her, and the earl of Salisbury acquiescing afterwards, married another woman. After which, anno 26 Edward III. sir Thomas Holand, obtained a grant of one hundred marks per annum for the better support of Joane his wife, during her life, and having issue by her two years afterwards, and doing his homage, he had possession granted of the lands of her inheritance, excepting the dowry of Elizh, widow of John, late earl of Kent. Next year, being made lieutenant and captain-general in the dukedom of Britanny, and parts of Poictou adjacent, as well as in other places belonging to John, Duke of Britanny, then in his minority, he had for his support in that service assignation of the whole revenues of that dukedom. In the 30th year of king Edward III. he was constituted governor of the isles of Guernsey, Jersey, Sark, and Alderney, and the next year governor of the fort of Cruyk, in Normandy, and the year after that, of the castle and fort of St. Saviour le Viscount, &c. He had summons to parliament from the 27th to the 31st of this reign, among the barons of this realm, by the title of Thomas de Holand, chevalier. In the 34th year of that reign he assumed the title of Earl of Kent, in right of his wife, for it does not appear that he had ever any creation to that dignity; by which title he had summons to parliament that year. (fn. 49) But before the end of it he died, being then possessed of several manors and lands in this county among others. By Joane, his wife, he left three sons, Thomas, Edmund, and John; which John was afterwards created duke of Exeter, and married Elizabeth, second daughter of John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, by whom he had three sons and a daughter, Constance, married first to Thomas Mowbray, duke of Norfolk, by whom she had no issue; and secondly to John, lord Gray of Ruthin, from whom all the earls of Kent of that family derived their descent. After his death his widow still retained so much beauty and elegance of person, that she attracted the admiration of that martial prince, and heir apparent to the crown of England, Edward, surnamed the Black Prince, who became so enamoured of her, that, after he had refused several illustrious matches, he, in the twenty-sixth year of his father's reign, made choice of her for his wife; but by reason of their consanguinity (for she was cousin-german to his father,) they were obliged to have a dispensation from the pope. She outlived prince Edward, her third husband, having had issue by him king Richard II. in the 9th year of whose reign, anno 1385, she died, at Wallingfordcastle, of grief, as it is said, because the king denied her earnest request for the pardon of her son, and his half-brother, John Holand, who had slain Ralph, son and heir of Hugh, earl Stafford. Her corpse, embalmed and wrapt in lead, was ordered to be honourably entombed in the church of the Friars Minors, at Stamford. Sir Thomas Holand bore for his coat armour, azure semi de lize, and a lion rampant guardant or. The lady Joane, his wife, during his life-time, bore per pale Holand and Kent. Her arms, impaled with those of prince Edward, her Husband, are carved upon the north side of the tomb of queen Phillippa in Westminster-abbey, and were also painted in a window in Christ church, Newgate-street. In the church of Wickham-brews, in this county, in the windows, were depicted the arms of prince Edward, France and England, a label of three points; another shield, the like coat, impaling Holand; and a third, the prince of Wales's device, three ostriches feathers, each with a scrole on it, ich dien.
THOMAS, the eldest son of Thomas Holand, earl of Kent above-mentioned, by Joane his wife, succeeded his father, as Earl of Kent, and lord Wake of Lydel. In the 40th year of Edward III. having been knighted by the Black Prince, who had married his mother, he bravely supported him in the battle fought that year with Henry, king of Castile. In regard to his near alliance to the king, he obtained, for the better support of his state, in the first year of king Richard II. a grant of two hundred pounds per ann. out of the exchequer, and was constituted general warden of all the forests south of Trent, and had afterwards other posts of trust conferred on him. Two years afterwards he obtained, in farther augmentation of his revenue, a grant of several rents for the increase of the above-mentioned sum to one thousand pounds per annum, and the same year he was appointed marshal of England. (fn. 50) In the 4th year of that reign, in which year, and to the 20th of it, he had summons to parliament as earl of Kent, in the former of which years he was one of the embassadors sent into Flanders, to treat of a marriage for king Richard with Anne, sister to the emperor; in the 8th year he was made general of Cherburgh, and in the 9th year of it, upon the death of Joane, princess of Wales, his mother, doing his homage, he obtained a special possession and grant of the lands of her inheritance, though all the inquisitions taken after her death, were not then returned into chancery, and among other possessions which she then held in dower in different counties, was the hundred- of Wachelstone in this county; she also died possessed in her demesne as of fee, in other manors and lands; this Thomas de Holand, earl of Kent, being found her son and heir; and in the 13th year of that reign he was made constable of the tower of London. In the 20th year of it having declared his testament by the title of earl of Kent, and lord Wake, he appointed to be buried in the abbey of Brune, and bequeathed to Alice his wife, and Thomas his son, all his goods and chattles. He died on the 25th of April, being then possessed, among others, of the manor of Wickham-brews in this county. He had by Alice his wife, daughter of Richard Fitzalan, earl of Arundel whom he married in the 34th of king Edw. III. four sons and six daughters; viz. Thomas, who succeeded him in titles; Edmund, who succeeded his brother; and John, and Richard, who died young. (fn. 51) Of the daughters, Eleanor married, first, Roger Mortimer, earl of March; and secondly, Edward Charlton, lord Powis. Margaret was twice married; first to John Beaufort, earl of Somerset, afterwards to Thomas, duke of Clarence, and lies buried, with both her husbands, in Canterbury cathedral. Eleanor, the younger of that name, was the wife of Thomas Montague, earl of Salisbury. Joane was first wife of Edmund Langley, duke of York, and afterwards of sir Henry Bromslete. (fn. 52) She next married Henry le Scroope, of Masham, and lastly William de Willoughby, of Eresby. Elizabeth married John, lord Nevill, son and heir of the earl of Westmoreland; and Bridget was a nun at Barking. He had also by Constance, only daughter of Edmund de Langley, duke of York, a natural daughter, afterwards married to James Touchet, lord Audley. (fn. 53) In a charter in French, dated at London Feb. 8th, anno 11 Richard II. 1387, the above Thomas stiles himself, Thomas de Holand, comte de Kent, and seigneur de Wake. His seal is appendant to it, upon which is represented, a hind lodged under a tree, gorged with a ducal coronet, which was the device of his mother, the countess Joane; and upon a shield, hanging about the neck of her hind, her arms, being Gules three lions passant guardant or, a bordure argent; which coat this earl Thomas assumed, discontinuing the paternal coat of his family. These arms are in two places on the roof of Canterbury cloisters.
THOMAS HOLAND, eldest son of the last mentioned earl, by Alice his wife, succeeded him as Earl of Kent and lord Wake of Lydel, shortly after which, doing his homage, he had possession granted of his lands; and upon the attainder of Thomas de Beauchamp, earl of Warwick, had a grant of much of his lands, and the same year he had the title of Duke of Surry conferred on him, the king then sitting in parliament, crowned. It is observed, that in the ceremony of his creation, and others at that time, the virga aurea was first used in the investure. (fn. 54) In which year he was appointed Marshal of England, and made a knight of the order of the Garter, and obtained a grant from the king of the curious pieces of arras hangings at Warwick castle, on which was richly depicted the story of Guy earl of Warwick, and by the forfeiture of Thomas earl of Warwick, then in the crown. (fn. 55) About this time the duke founded the priory of Carthusians at Montgrace, in Yorkshire, (fn. 56) and in the 22d year of that reign he was made lieutenant of Ireland, and obtained a grant of the barony of Norrhage in that kingdom, and was made governor of the castles of Leverpole and Cletherow. The next year he went into Ireland with king Richard, and when the unwelcomenews of Henry duke of Lancaster's arrival in England came, this duke returned back with him. The resignation and deposal of king Richard soon after taking place, the duke, in a parliament, held in the 1st year of king Henry IV. was doomed to lose his title, in regard he had been one of the prosecutors of Thomas of Woodstock, duke of Gloucester; much discontented, therefore, with this change of government, he plotted with others the getting into Windsor castle, where king Henry then kept his Christmas, under disguise, to murder him, and to restore king Richard, but they were disappointed, for the king having notice of it, was gone privily to London. After this the earl, with some of his company, rode to Wallingford and Abingdon, exhorting the people to put themselves in arms for king Richard; at length they came to Cirencester, in the dark of the night, still encouraging the people to arm, but the townsmen blocked up the avenues, and when they attempted about midnight to get away privately, with bows and arrows hindered their passage. Discerning therefore their danger, they armed themselves, supposing they might easily conquer these rustics, which finding they could not do, after three hours sight, they submitted, intreating that their lives might be spared, till they could speak with the king. During this confusion, a priest of the company presumed, if he could set some houses on fire, that the inhabitants would be so much employed in quenching the slames, that they should find an opportunity of escaping, but this attempt only enraged the people the more, who let their houses burn, that they might take this earl, and the earl of Salisbury, both of whom they brought out of the abbey, and cut off their heads, and then sent the head of the former to London, where it was set upon the bridge. But Joane his wife, daughter of Hugh lord Stafford, prevailed with the king to have it taken down, and delivered to her, to bury it where she pleased, and she got leave to remove his body from Cirencester, and convey it to the priory of Montgrace, of his own foundation. (fn. 57) In the parliament held next year this earl was attainted, and his lands seised. He bore for his arms those of king Edward the Confessor, impaled with his paternal coat, Gules three lions passant guardant or, both within a plain bordure argent. (fn. 58)
EDMUND, his brother, dying without issue, the last mentioned earl succeeded him as Earl of Kent, and before the end of that year obtained special possession of almost all the castles, manors, and lands of which his brother died possessed, by virtue of an old entail made of them formerly to his ancestors. In the 6th year of king Henry IV. the earl of Mar came out of Scotland, and challenged earl Edmund in feats of arms, but the latter won the field. Two years after which he married the lady Lucy, daughter of the duke of Millaine, in the priory of St. Mary Overy, in Southwark, and kept his wedding feast in the bishop of Winchester's house. In the 9th year of that reign he was made lord-admiral of England, (fn. 59) but shortly after, besieging the castle in the isle of Briac, in Brittany, he received a mortal wound in his head, by an arrow from a cross-bow. After his death, his body was brought into England, and buried with his ancestors. He had summons to parliament in the 7th and 9th years of that reign, and was knight of the Garter. (fn. 60) The earl had no issue by the lady Lucy his wife, so that Edmund the son of Eleanor, late countess of March, his eldest sister; Margaret his second sister, first married to John earl of Somerset, and afterwards to Thomas duke of Clarence; Eleanor, the younger of that name, his third sister, the wife of Thomas earl of Salisbury; Joane his fourth sister, duchess of York, wife of sir Henry Bromflete, knight; and Elizh his fifth sister, married to sir John Neville, knight; were found to be his heirs. He bore for his arms, England within a bordure argent.—It appears by the Tower records, that king Henry IV. kept a great council at Westminster, wherein debate was moved between the earls of Kent and Arundel for their places in parliament, and likewise between the earl of Warwick and the earl marshal; when it was determined that the earl of Kent should have place above the earl of Arundel, and the earl of Warwick above the earl marshal, and they were each put personally in possession of their respective places. (fn. 61)
WILLIAM NEVILL was the next who enjoyed this title of Earl of Kent, so created by Edward IV. and also knight of the Garter. He was the second son of Ralph Nevill, the first earl of Westmoreland of that name, by Joane his second wife, daughter of John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, and widow of sir Robert Ferrers, knight; which William Neville married Joane, daughter of sir Thomas Fauconberge, knight, who, making proof of her age in the 10th year of king Henry V. being then fifteen years old, had possession granted of the lands of her inheritance, and in her right he from henceforward bore the title of lord Fauconberge. (fn. 62) In the 4th year of king Henry VI. after the king himself was made a knight by his uncle, the duke of Bedford, at Leicester, this William, among others, received the like honour at his hands; and in the 7th year of that reign was summoned to parliament by the stile of William de Nevill, chr, (fn. 63) as he was afterwards with the addition of de Fauconberge. In the 9th year of that reign, he shewed his military skill and valour in a very high degree, at the siege of Orleance. In the 26th year he was again in the wars of France, and was afterwards made governor of the castle of Roxburgh, in Scotland; after which, being sent ambassador into Normandy, to treat of a peace and truce betwixt both realms, he was most persidiously seized upon by the French, and kept prisoner. In the 32d year of the same reign he was still a prisoner in France; land in the 35th of it, being again employed in the wars, he was of the retinue of Richard Nevill, earl of Warwick; his nephew, and lieutenant of the marches there and in the first year of king Edward IV. having sought valiantly for that king in the battle of Touton, where the Lancastrians received an overthrow, he had, in consideration of his great services, a large reward and was soon afterwards advanced to the title of Earl of Kent, and made lord-admiral of England, which title and honour he did not long enjoy, but died in the 2d year of king Edward IV. being then knight of the Garter, leaving three daughters his heirs, viz. Joane, wife of sir Edward Bedhowing; Elizabeth, wife of sir Richard Strangeways; and Alice, wife of sir John Coniers. (fn. 64) He was buried in the priory of Gisborough, in the county of York and thus dying without male issue, the title of Earl of Kent became extinct. He bore for his arms the coat of Nevill, viz. Gules a sal tier argent, a mullet sable in the center, for difference.
EDMUND GREY, lord of Hastings, Weysford, and Ruthen, was, by king Edward IV. in his 5th year, next created Earl of Kent. This noble family of Grey is said to derive its descent from Anschetil de Grey often mentioned in the book of Domesday, as holding lands in different counties, in the reign of William the Conqueror, when that general survey was made. (fn. 65) His son and successor was Richard de Grai, or Grey, who lived in the reign of king. Henry I. and was a great benefactor to Eynsham abbey. By Mabilla, his wife, who survived him, he had three sons, Anschetil, William, and a third who was a monk in that abbey. Anschetil, the eldest son, was succeeded by his eldest son and heir sir John Grey; for he had another son, named likewife John, who was bishop of Norwich, and afterwards, in 1206, elected archbishop of Canterbury, but the pope opposing his advancement, he never obtained the pall. Sir John de Grey, the elder brother, had three sons, Robert, Walter, Henry de Grey, and two daughters. Of these sons, sir Robert de Grey, the eldest, was ancestor to the barons Grey of Rotherfield, in the county of Oxford, which line became extinct in the reign of king Henry IV. (fn. 66) This branch bore for their arms, Barry of six argent, and azure with a bend gules, for difference. (fn. 67) Walter de Grey, the second son, was, in the 7th year of king John, made lord-chancellor, and afterwards promoted to the see of Litchfield, and from thence to the archbishopric of York. Sir Henry de Grey knight, the youngest son, having married Isolda, the eldest of the five neices and coheirs of Robert Bardulph, shared in the inheritance of all their lands in the 9th year of king Henry III. He had issue by her three sons, viz. sir Richard de Grey, whose principal seat was at Codnore in the county of Derby, whose descendants were barons Grey of Codnore, which branch terminated in Henry lord Grey of Codnore, who died anno 11 Henry VII. without lawful issue, and was buried at Aylesford, in the description of which parish more may be seen of him. They bore for their arms, Barry of six argent and azure. Sir John de Grey the second son, was seated at Eaton, near Fenny Stratford, in Buckinghamshire, and was ancestor to the lords Grey of Wilton and Ruthin, from whom the earls of Kent derive their descent, and of whom more will be said hereafter.—William the third son, was of Sandiacre, in the county of Derby, which branch terminated in the reign of king Henry IV. in a female heir, Alice de Grey, who marrying sir John Leak, brought great possessions to him; from which match the late earls of Scarsdale were descended —Sir John de Grey, of Eaton, before-mentioned, second son of sir Henry, was much favoured by king Henry III. and had several posts of the greatest trust conferred on him from time to time, one of which was that of constable of Dover castle. He died in the fiftieth year of that reign, far advanced in years, being then chief of the king's council, and greatly esteemed for his wisdom and valour. He left by Emma his wife, daughter and heir of Geoffrey de Glanville, a son named Reginald, and one daughter. The son Reginald, in consideration of his services, had a grant, in the 21st year of king Edward I. of part of the honour of Monmouth, and of the castle of Ruthyn, in the county of Denbigh, with the cantred of Drisfencloyt. His death happened in the 1st year of king Edward II. He married Maud, daughter and heir of Henry de Longchampe, a baron of the realm, whose principal seat was at Wilton, in Herefordshire, by which means that lordship came into this family. He left by her one son and heir, John de Grey, sirnamed of Wilton, (fn. 68) who was an active man in the king's service, during his father's life, as well as afterwards. In the 13th year of king Edward II. he had summons to parliament by the title of John de Grey, chr. and bore for his arms, Barry of six argent, and azure a label of three points gules. (fn. 69) He died in the 17th year of that reign, having been twice married, first to Anne, daughter- of William lord Ferrers, of Groby, by whom he had a son, Henry de Grey; secondly to Maud, daughter of Ralph lord Basset, of Drayton, by whom he had a son, Roger de Grey, and one daughter. Henry de Grey, only son of the first marriage, was summoned to parliament as lord Grey of Wilton, and by Anne his wife, daughter and coheir of Ralph Rockby, was ancestor to the lords Grey of Wilton, who became extinct in the beginning of James I.'s reign. (fn. 70) Roger de Grey, the only son of John, by the second marriage, died in the 27th year of king Edward III. having been summoned to parliament from the fourth year of it to that of his death. He married Elizh, daughter of John lord Hastings, of Bergavenny, and of Isabel his wife, sister and coheir of Aymer de Valence, earl of Pembroke, by which match his posterity became heirs to the last John de Hastings, earl of Pembroke, who was killed in a tournament at Woodstock, in the 11th year of king Richard II. He had issue by her two sons, John and Reginald, and three daughters. He added three torteauxes in chief to his arms, to distinguish himself and his descendants from those of his half brother Henry de Grey of Wilton, the only son of his father's first marriage, the antient arms of this family being Barry of six argent and azure. Of his sons, John, the eldest, died in his father's life-time, before he could celebrate his intended nuptials with Anne, the daughter of William Montague, first earl of Salisbury. (fn. 71) Upon which Reginald, the second son, became, at the time of his father's death, his sole heir, and bore the title of lord Grey of Ruthin, by which he was summoned to parliament. In the latter end of king Edward III.'s reign, the branches of Codnore and Rotherfield began to be spelt. Gray, as were those of Wilton and Ruthin, constantly from the 7th year of king Richard II. in their summons to parliament (fn. 72) He died in the 12th year of king Richard II. being then possessed of the castle of Ruthin, with other territories in the marches of Wales, and of the manors of Wrest and Flitton, in the county of Bedford, and of others in the counties of Huntingdon, Northampton, and Buckingham. He married Alianor, daughter of John lord Strange, of Blackmore, by whom he had one son. Reginald, and a daughter, Alianor. Which Reginald, in the 14th year of king Richard II. on the death of John Hastings earl of Pembroke, was found to be next heir. He had great disputes with Owen Glendowrdwy, concerning the boundaries of their respective lands, by whom being overpowered, Reginald became his prisoner, and paid ten thousand marks for his ransom, to discharge which he was necessitated to sell several manors and lands in this county, and besides to marry Jane, daughter of Glendowrdwy, but by her he had no issue. He had also a great contest in the court of chivalry with sir. Edward de Hastings, concerning the titles of lord Hastings, Weishford, and Abergavenny, and the bearing the entire arms of John de Hastings, late earl of Pembroke, to whom he was heir, as has been before observed, which cause coming to a final sentence in the 11th year of king Henry IV. the right and title to the name and and arms was adjudged to him and his heirs, as lord Hastings, and sir Edward de Hastings was thenceforth prohibited to bear them. He died in the 19th year of king Henry VI. having received summons to parliament from the 17th year to the time of his death, by the title of Reginald Grey de Ruthin, chr. (fn. 73) He was twice married, first to Margaret, daughter to William lord Roos, by whom he had one son, John de Grey; secondly to Joane, daughter and heir of William lord Asteley, and widow of Thomas Raleigh, of Farnborough, in the county of Warwick, esquire, by whom he had three sons; Edward, the eldest, married Elizh, daughter and heir of Henry lord Ferrers, of Groby, and was ancestor of Edward Grey, viscount Lisle, and Thomas Grey, marquis Dorset, in the reign of Edward IV. and of Henry Grey, duke of Suffolk, in that of Edward VI. all now extinct, and of the present earl of Stamford; John, the second son, was of Barwel, in the county of Leicester; and Robert, the third son, was of Enville, in Staffordshire. Sir John de Grey, Reginald's only son by his first wife, though he died in his father's life time, yet he was a person of great note and eminence, and of signal bravery and reputation as a soldier, and at the time of his death was one of the knights companions of the order of the Garter. He married Constance, daughter of John Holand, the first of that name, duke of Exeter, by Elizh, second daughter of John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, and sister to king Henry IV. (fn. 74) and widow of Thomas lord Mowbray, son of Thomas duke of Norfolk, who died in exile. By her he left two sons, Edmund and Thomas, and Alice a daughter. Edmund, the eldest, was his grandfather's heir. Thomas, the second son in the 28th year of king Henry VI. was created lord Grey of Rugemont, in the county of Bedford, and for his attachment to the house of Lancaster, was, with many others, attainted in parliament, in the 1st year of Edward IV. and died without issue. He bore for his arms, Barry of six argent and azure, a bend gules, and in chief three torteauxes. (fn. 75)
EDMUND, the elder brother, in the 19th year of king Henry VI. succeeded his grandfather, and was that year summoned to parliament by the title of Edmund lord Gray of Ruthin, (fn. 76) and in the 3d year of king Edward IV. was appointed lord high treasurer of England, and two years after, viz. on May the 3d, in the 5th year of that reign, anno 1465, he, then using the title of lord and baron Hastings, Weysford, and Ruthin, was created Earl of Kent, and had a grant of twenty pounds yearly, to be paid by the sheriff of Kent out of the issues of the county, in support of that honour, (fn. 77) and had summons to parliament by that title accordingly, having obtained from king Richard III. a confirmation of his creation patent, as he did again from king Henry VII. in his 2d year. (fn. 78) He died in the 4th year of king Henry VII. having married Catherine, daughter of Henry Percy, second Earl of Northumberland, by whom he had four sons; Anthony, who died unmarried in his life time, and lies buried at Luton, in Bedfordshire; John and Edmund, who both died young; George, who continued the line, and will be mentioned below; and two daughters, Elizh and Anne. He bore for his arms, Barry of six argent and azure, in chief three torteauxes, quartered with Hastings and Valence quarterly.
GEORGE the fourth, but only surviving son, succeeded his father as Earl of Kent, and baron Hastings, Weysford, and Ruthin, and was a chief leader of the king's forces in the frequent tumults of those times, particularly in the 12th year of king Henry VII. on the rebellion of the Cornishmen, under James lord Audley, he was one of the chief of the English nobility that appeared against them, and by his conduct and valour, they were in a great measure overthrown on Blackheath, and great numbers of them slain. He died in the 22d year of that reign, (fn. 79) having been twice married; first to Anne, daughter of Richard Woodvile, earl Rivers, and widow of William viscount Bourchier, by whom he had a son, Richard, who succeeded him He married secondly Catharine, daughter of William Herbert, earl of Pembroke, by whom he had sir Henry Grey, of Wrest, in the county of Bedford (afterwards earl of Kent); George and Anthony Grey, of Branspeth, in the bishoprie of Durham, whose descendants afterwards enjoyed the title; and two daughters.
RICHARD GREY, the eldest son by the first marriage, succeeded him in titles and estate, being the third Earl of Kent of this family. In the 20th year of the same reign he was elected knight of the Garter, and attended king Henry VIII. at the siege of Terouenne, in 1513. He married Elizh, daughter of sir William Hussey, chief-justice of the king's bench, and died in the 15th year of Henry VIII. without issue. He was buried at the White Friars, Fleet-street, leaving Ellzh his wife surviving, who died in the 32d year of the same reign, and was buried under her husband's tomb. Sir William Dacre, lord Graystoke, and William Grey, lord Grey of Wilton, on the death of this earl, claimed, as his cousins and heirs general, most of his lordships, lands, and hereditaments, which lordships amounted to seventy-three in number. (fn. 80) But the earldom, as well as the baronies before mentioned, came to sir Henry Grey, of Wrest, his brother of the half blood.
SIR HENRY GREY above mentioned, earl of Kent, and baron Hastings, Weysford, and Ruthin, by birthright, not thinking his estate sufficient to support these dignities, (for the last earl had wasted the greatest part of it) declined taking on him these titles, and having married Anne, daughter of John Blenverhasset, of Frense, in Norfolk, esquire, and coheir to her brother John, of Southill, in the county of Bedford, died in the 4th year of queen Elizabeth, and was buried in the church of Saint Giles, without Cripplegate, leaving Henry his son and heir, and one daughter.
HENRY, the son, likewise declined taking on him any title, and having married Margaret, daughter of John, and sister of Oliver St. John, of Bletsoe, left by her three sons, Reginald, Henry, and Charles.
REGINALD, the eldest son, having by his frugality, greatly recovered his estate, reassumed the title of Earl of Kent, and baron Hastings, Weysford, and Ruthin, in the 13th year of queen Elizabeth, by the queen's especial favour, being the sixth earl of this family. He died in the 15th year of that reign, and was buried in Saint Giles's church, without Cripplegate. He married Susan, daughter of Richard Bertie, esquire, by Catharine, relict and fourth wife of Charles Brandon, duke of Suffolk, (afterwards married to Sir John Wingfield) by whom he had no issue, so that Henry, his brother, succeeded him in titles and estate. He bore for his arms, quarterly four coats, first and fourth Grey of Ruthin, second and third quarterly Hastings and Valence; for his crest, a wivera or; for his supporters, two wiverns or. (fn. 81)
HENRY, seventh Earl of Kent, was, as Camden stiles him, a person plentifully endowed with all the ornaments of true nobility. He was lord lieutenant of the county of Bedford, and having married Mary, one of the daughters of sir George Cotton, of Cumbermere, in Cheshire, widow of Edward earl of Derby, died without issue at Wrest, on January 31, 1614, and lies buried under a noble monument in the chapel adjoining to Flitton church, in Bedfordshire, which chapel he himself had founded.
CHARLES GREY, his next brother, succeeded him as Earl of Kent, and lord Hastings, Weysford, and Ruthen. He married Susan, daughter of Richard Cotton, of Bedhampton, in the county of Southampton, esquire, by whom he had a son, named Henry, and a daughter Susan, who became the wife of sir Michael, fourth son of sir Henry Lougueville, of Wolverton, in the county of Buckingham, knight, who left by her a son, Charles, who, on the death of Henry, earl of Kent, his mother's only brother, without issue, after a long dispute, had the barony of Grey of Ruthin adjudged to him, and was, the 6th of February, 16 Charles I. anno 1640, summonded to parliament, as lord Grey of Ruthin, in right of his brother abovementioned. Which Charles, lord Grey, had an only daughter and heir, Susan, married to sir Henry Yelverton, ancestor to the earl of Sussex, who now enjoys that barony. The earl died on the 26th of September, 1625, at his manor-house of Blonham, and lies buried by his brother in the chapel at Flitton. (fn. 82)
HENRY GREY, his son, succeeded him in titles and estate, being the ninth Earl of Kent of this family. He married Elizh, the second of the three daughters and coheirs of Gilbert Talbot, earl of Shrewsbury, but died without issue, at his house in London, on November 21, 1639, and was buried in the same chapel adjoining to Flitton church, as was his countess afterwards, who died in 1651.
ANTHONY GREY, then rector of the church of Burbache, in the county of Leicester, son of George, and grandson of Anthony Grey, of Branspeth, in the county palatine of Durham, third son of George the second earl of Kent of this name, succeeded on the death of the last earl to his titles, by virtue of the entail on the heirs male, and became the tenth Earl of Kent of this family, and was accordingly summoned to parliament, but excused himself on account of his indisposition and age. He married Magdalen, daughter of William Purefoy, of Caldecot, in the county of Warwick, esq. by whom he had five sons, Henry, John, Job, Theophilus, and Nathaniel; and five daughters. He died in the year 1643, and was buried in the church of Burbache.
HENRY GREY, the eldest son, succeeded his father in titles and estate. He was twice married, first to Mary, daughter of sir William Courteene, knight, by whom he had one son, Henry, lord Grey, who died a youth, and was buried in St. Paul's chapel, in Westminster-abbey, in 1644, near his mother, who had been buried there the year before. His second wife was Amabella, daughter of sir Anthony Ben knight, recorder of London, and widow of Anthony Fame, third son of Francis, earl of Westmoreland, who brought a great fortune and restored the lustre of this decayed family, by whom he had two sons, Anthony, who succeeded him, and Henry, who died in his life-time, and one daughter, Elizh, married to Banister Maynard, lord Maynard. He died in 1651, and was buried in the chapel at Flitton, where a monument was erected to his memory by his countess, who died in 1698, aged 92 years.
ANTHONY GREY, the eldest son above-mentioned, twelfth Earl of Kent of this family, married Mary, daughter and sole heir of John, lord Lucas, baron of Shenfield in Essex, who, in consideration of her father's merits and services, was created baroness Lucas of Crudwell in the county of Wilts, on May 7, 1663 anno 13 Car. II. and to her heirs male and female by the earl of Kent. He died August 19, 1702, (fn. 83) and was buried in Flitton church, leaving by his wife, who died Nov. 1st following, one son and heir, Henry, and a daughter, Amabell.
HENRY GREY, above mentioned, was the thirteenth Earl of Kent, and took his seat as such in the house of peers, on October the 20th, 1702, and on the death of his mother, on the 1st of November following, succeeded to the title of lord Lucas of Crudwell. In 1704, he was constituted lord Chamberlain of the queen's houshold, and soon afterwards lord lieutenant of the county of Hereford, and was sworn of the privy council. On December 14, 1706, being the fifth year of queen Anne, he was created viscount Goodrich, of Goodrich-castle in the county of Hereford, earl of Harold in the county of Bedford, and marquis of Kent, and on the 28th of April, 1710, he was farther advanced to the title of duke of Kent. In the year 1711, he was constituted lord lieutenant, and custos rotulorum, for the county of Bedford; and next year elected knight of the garter. In the first year of king George the first he was appointed constable of Windsor-castle; in 1716, lord Steward of the king's houshold, and in 1718, lord privy seal. He married, first, Jemima, eldest daughter of Thomas, lord Crew of Stene, by Anne his second wife, by whom he had four sons and seven daughters. Of the sons, Anthony, the eldest, stiled earl of Harold, was called up by writ to the house of peers, by the title of lord Lucas of Crudwell, and married the lady Mary Tufton, fourth daughter of Thomas, earl of Thanet, afterwards married to John, earl Gower. He died in 1723, in his father's life-time, without issue. Henry, Lucas, and George, the other sons, died young. Of the daughters, Amabell, the eldest, married John Cambel, viscount Glenorchy, late earl of Bredalbane, in Scotland, of whom hereafter. Jemima married John, earl of Ashburnham. Anne married lord Charles Cavendish, third son of William, duke of Devonshire.— Mary married the rev. Dr. Gregory, canon of Christ church; the others died infants. The duke married, secondly, in 1729, Sophia, daughter of William Bentinck, earl of Portland, and by her, who died in 1748, had one daughter, Anne Sophia, married to Dr. John Egerton, son of the bishop of Hereford, and a son, George, who died an infant. Amabell, the duke's eldest daughter, having married lord viscount Glenorchy, as above-mentioned, died at Copenhagen in 1726. She had by him one son, who died an infant, and one daughter, Jemima, both born in Denmark. This daughter, Jemima Campbel, being the only surviving child of her mother, and being the eldest grand daughter of the duke of Kent, was, in 1740, contracted to the honorable Philip York, eldest son and heir apparent to Philip, then lord, and afterwards earl of Hardwicke, chancellor of Great Britain; soon after which, the duke was created, on May the 9th that year, a marquis, by the title of Marquis Grey, to him and the heirs male of his body, with remainder to Jemima Campbel, his grand-daughter above-mentioned, and the heirs male of her body; after which, on May the 22d following the above marriage took place. The duke of Kent died on June the 5th, 1740, (fn. 84) being then lord lieutenant and custos rotulorum of Bedford, by which the titles of duke and earl of Kent became extinct, as well as those of earl of Harold, and viscount Goodrich; but the titles of marchioness Grey, and baroness Lucas of Crudwell, devolved on the lady Jemima his grand-daughter, wife of the honorable Philip York, above mentioned, afterwards earl of Hardwicke, but since deceased, by whom she had two daughters. The marchioness of Grey bore for her arms, in a lozenge quarterly, first Campbel, quarterly first and fourth, girony of eight pieces, or and sable; second argent a galley sable, with one mast, sail furled, and oars in action; third or, a fess cheque argent and azure. Second quarter, barry of six pieces argent and azure, for Grey. Third quarter, argent a fess between six amulets gules, for Lucas. Fourth quarter, azure a lion rampant argent, for Crew. Her supporters, two wiverns or, their wings disclosed. The duke of Kent bore for his crest, a wivern or.