[From Proc IoMNH&ASoc vol 4]




SOMERSET records! you may exclaim. However, it is strange but true that there were several links between Somerset and the Isle of Man in the Middle Ages ; and in the course of following up these trails, little items come to light which fill in some of the blanks in that period of Manx history.

For instance, you are all well aware that the Manx King Olave the Black married Christina, the daughter of Farquhar, Earl of Ross. Well, you would hardly expect to hear news of her from Somerset. But you look through the Rentalia of Michael, Abbot of Glastonbury between 1235 and 1252., and there you find her, Christiana Regina. Who else could it be at that date, but your Christina, then a widow after Olave's death in 1237?

The lands of the Abbot of Glastonbury stretched over the moor in Somerset, and extended into Wiltshire. Every due from every tenant is entered in Abbot Michael's accounts, which have survived the intervening centuries, and have been put into print by the Somerset Record Society. This is the entry, among the list of the Abbot's cottars at Longbridge Deveril, just over the border into Wiltshire - " Cristiana Regina iij d."

Now, why should Christian, Olave's widow, settle in Long-bridge Deveril ? That one can only theorise about. But I have a theory which might explain it. The largest tenant of the Abbot in Longbridge Deveril was William Longspee, Earl of Salisbury, a son of that William Longspee who was an illegiti mate son of Henry II. Not only was there a link of family between the Longspees and the royal family of Man, for Olave's mother was a grand-daughter of Henry I (also on the illegiti-mate side). But it seems there might have been another link. An Isabel Longspee 1 had married Walter Walerand, who died in 1201, leaving his barony to three daughters, his heiresses. The eldest daughter, Cecilia, was the wife of John de Monmouth. John de Monmouth's heir was John ; but there would appear to have been another son„ for a Joseph de Munemue is mentioned

Joseph was not a very common name then, but you find it in the Chronicle of Man. After Olave died, his eldest son Harold, aged fifteen, in the first year of his reign, went to the Isles, and left Loglan, his kinsman, keeper of Man. In the autumn following, Harold sent three sons of Neil and his friend Joseph to a conference in Man. Accordingly, on the twenty-fifth day they met at Tynwald, where, upon a difference that happened between the sons of Neil and Loglan, there ensued a fight. In this fight Joseph lost his life with two of the Neil brothers. Could that Joseph have been the Joseph de Munemue of the Dublin record, and had his friendliness with young Harold extended to marrying a sister of Harold's?

You remember the rest of the history : Harold returned to Man in the spring, and Loglan fled into Wales with Godred the son of Olave, his pupil, and with about forty others was cast away. Then the Norwegian King's envoys arrived, and drove out Harold because he had refused to appear in person at the court of that king. Next year he did go to Norway, but it was not until two years had passed that he received his kingdom.

Here was calamity for Queen Cristian : her eldest son away, and his kingdom in dispute, her son Godred drowned, and perhaps her daughter a widow. The other two sons may have been in the Isles with Ewan of Argyle, who later was appointed guardian of Magnus by the King of Norway.

If there was this tie that I suggest between her family and the Monmouths, it would be natural for her to bring her daughter to Joseph's relations. Cecilia de Munemue (presumably Joseph's mother, unless she was his sister), is heard of at Bridgwater in 1242, where, together with two other persons, she was selling wine contrary to the assize. Wine may well have been Joseph's trade in Dublin, and vessels bringing wine there in exchange for herrings from the Irish Sea would be likely to call at Bridgwater. Cecilia may have carried on Joseph's business. Her share of her father's barony had passed to John, her eldest son, who was made warden of the New Forest in 1251. Eventually, having no male heir, he parted with the castle and honour of Monmouth to Prince Edward, in exchange for other lands granted to him for life. A Robert de Morsemue, possibly another son., appears to have been residing at Bridgwater at that time, for he signs as witness for a purchase of land there. As there was no successor, we presume that he was either dead before John, or a churchman. Joseph, too, can have left no descendants ; so if he did marry a daughter of Olave and had a child by her, it must have died, for the Walerand barony was divided after John's death in 1257 between Aubrey, the Walerand daughter who married John de Ingham and afterwards William Bottreaux, and Joan, daughter of the other sister who married William Nevile.

Whether Cristiana Regina used the connection of the Monmouths with the Earl of Salisbury to enlist English sympathy for her son Harold, is a matter for speculation ; and there may have been that behind her settling as a cottar of the Abbot of Glastonbury at Longbridge Deveril, within twenty miles of Salisbury. The Abbot himself had associations with Amesbury, which was one of the Earl's possessions., for he was known as Michael of Amesbury. At any rate, connections of the Walerands lived in that district, and one, named Robert of Whatlegh, held half a hide of land of the Abbot in Langbridge Deveril, and 1½ hides in Monkton Deveril, an adjoining village.2

But the coincidences do not end there. I have said that Aubrey, who married John de Ingham, was one of John de Monmouth's heirs. After five descents an Ingham heiress married Sir Miles Stapleton, who was brother of Sir Brian Stapleton. In 1375, Sir Brian Stapleton was given the manor of Nappin in Glenfaba in Man. Can it be that some right in Man was passed from the wife of Harold's friend, Joseph, into the Ingham and Stapleton families ?

Sir Brian was associated with Montacute, Earl of Salisbury, probably as one of his knights ; and it may be he who was referred to in that year as the Earl's locum-tenens in the Island, in a letter from the King to the Earl concerning the different value of Scottish and English pence. Sir Brian succeeded the Earl as custodian of Calais Castle in 1380, and afterwards was appointed to Guynes.

Nor is this all. Joan Stapleton, one of the descendants of Sir Miles, brother of Sir Brian Stapleton, married Sir John Huddleston, sheriff of Cumberland, in 1451. Her direct descendants married and inter-married with Flemings, Senhouses and the Christians of Ewanrigg and of Milntown in Man.

There was a Thomas Huddleston in Man in 1587. A William Huddleston of Ballahott was father of Captain Thomas Huddleston, Water Bailiff in 1700. And, curiously, this property of Ballahott was occupied by a William Fyne in 1760.

There were Fienes in Cumberland ; but there were also the family of William Fienes, Sieur de Gynes (1265-1302), descended from a common ancestor. The English lands of William Fienes in Buckinghamshire and Surrey were lost to his descendants by an attainder in the time of Edward III. A Sir John Ireland was Governor 3 of Man in 1505. He married a Norris, and his daughter married a Stanley ; but the name may well have been associated with the Island before his time. The Irelands seem to have been connected with the Butlers ; and a Henry Butler, constable of Holm Patrick in 1375, was one of those who gave the manor in Man to Sir Brian Stapleton.

There was another link between the Stapletons and Man, which, however, runs in later than this. Joan Stapleton, wife of Sir John Huddleston, is said to have been widow of Christopher Harcourt, son of her stepfather. One of his Harcourt ancestors had married a daughter of Sir John Bek of Eresby, brother of Bishop Anthony Bek, who once bore rule in Man.

These loosely-hung links, running back to a medieval past, suggest an interesting range of research for those who have opportunity to collect further facts.


Queen Cristian was not the only Manx lady who came south. In 1305 we find Auffrica de Connaught, kinswoman and heiress of Magnus King of Man, signing a charter at Bridgwater whereby she granted all her rights in Man to Simon de Montacute. What lay behind that?

Let us glance back into the tragic chapter in Manx history which tells of the last of the Manx Kings of Orry's race. Harold, Olave's son, returning from Norway in 1248 with his bride Cecilia, daughter of the King of Norway, suffers shipwreck off the Orkneys with all his train. Reginald, the brother who succeeds him, is murdered in 1249, and the kingdom passes to

Magnus, the youngest brother, who dies in 1265. The previous year, Alexander III, King of Scotland, had purchased from the King of Norway his rights in the Isles, and Magnus had done homage to him for Man. Godred, a son, but not legitimate, of Magnus, came to Man, so we learn from the Annals of Furness, and won over the people to himself. Alexander III, indignant at this, sent over a large force, and the Manxmen were com-pletely routed at Ronaldsway.

Dugdale, in his Baronage, referring to Simon de Montacute's son William, quotes an account which says that " one of the sisters to Orry, King of Man (descended from Orry, son to the King of Denmark), discerning her brother and all of his blood to be overcome by Alexander III, King of Scotland, fled into England with the charters of that Isle," and being honourably received by King Edward the First, she was given in marriage by him to this William de Montacute.

Here we are on very shaky ground, historically. Simon de Montacute's father was dead by 1270 ; Simon himself was not of age till 1280, and William, his son, was not yet born. How are we to reconcile this account with the facts and dates known to us ?

First we must enquire: Who was this lady given in marriage to a William de Montacute ? If she was a sister of the last Godred, she would not have been able to claim the kingdom. But the expression " sister to Orry, King of Man," has a traditional ring, and tradition, we know, often telescopes facts ; so it may mean simply that she was nearly related to the Manx Kings, or descended from a sister of a Manx King. Godred the Black, father of Reginald the Black and Olave the Black, had a daughter Auffrica, who married John de Courcy. It may be that that Auffrica was the grandmother of Auffrica de Connaught, who in 1293 had laid claim to the kingdom of Man as heir of Magnus. She might have had a brother overwhelmed with the rest at Ronaldsway ; or the allusion to a brother may be an interpretation of the circumstances by someone not in possession of all the facts. It would probably be she who, as a young woman, after the catastrophe of 1270„ made appeal to King Edward. The name de Connaught suggests that in some way, either by marriage or by birth, she was connected with the de Burghs. Walter de Burgh, Lord of Connaught and Earl of Ulster since 1254, had died in 1271, and during his son's minority Ulster was in the custody of the King. If Auffrica de Connaught had inherited any of the dower Auffrica de Courcy appealed for in 1217, after the death of John de Courcy, it would probably have been situated in Ulster. Henry de Mandeville, one of the officials appointed in 1254, had been leading a life of rapine and extortion there ; and Auffrica de Connaught may not have seen much chance of security in Ireland. Also the Isle of Man had been thoroughly ravaged, even the monks of Rushen having to flee almost naked. So she determined to appeal to the King of England.

She takes with her the Charters of the Isle of Man. One wonders what these charters would be. King Magnus had obtained a charter from Alexander to hold the Isle of Man from the Crown of Scotland ; there were also various permits and letters of protection to the Kings of Man when they came to England to do homage for certain lands in Lancashire granted to King Reginald ; and Olave had a charter confirming to him certain cash, corn, and wine, in acknowledgment of his homage and service in guarding the seas between England and Ireland. She may have been in possession of these, and she would pro-bably also have a charter granting to Auffrica de Courcy her dower in Ireland. Thus armed, she is described as arriving with her retinue at the Court of King Edward, who had acceded to the throne in 1272.

If we are to make sense of the story, we must presume that there as a William de Montacute for her to marry. There had been no dearth of Williams de Montacute until we come to 1270, when William the father of Simon died.4 Simon is spoken of in the documents as son and heir of William, as though he were the only one. But in the Calendar of Fees we read in one document that in 1270 the King granted to Philip Basset the wardship of the lands of William de Montacute ; in another, that Philip paid 500 marks for the wardship of the lands, and heirs of William de Montacute were held in chief with the marriage of the heirs. Another document contains the grant to Philip Bassett, October 23, 1270, of the wardship of the lands of William de Montacute with the marriage or marriages of the heirs. Here, then, is the word heirs three times insisted upon. Therefore it seems possible that Simon had a brother or brothers. Philip Bassett had strongly adhered to Henry III in the Barons' War ; and was the last to leave the field at Lewes, where Henry was taken prisoner by the rebel barons. Therefore he was a person of consideration at Court. But he died in 1271. That would mean that the marriage and wardship of the heirs of Montacute would lapse again to the Crown. So, if Simon had an elder brother William, heir to his father, at the moment Auffrica appeared at Court, the King would have this lad to dispose of in marriage. The Traditional Ballad says : " He married her very soon to William de Montague." It would be a suitable match, for in some way that it does not seem possible to trace, he was related to the Longspees. 

But, since Simon is spoken of as son and heir of William, we must imagine that his elder brother must very shortly have died before attaining his majority. Then Auffrica would probably be granted the dower lands of her grandmother, and the Montacute estate be left intact for Simon. The King then granted the wardship and marriage of Simon to Almeric de St. Amand, grandson of an Almeric who had been godfather to King Edward I. From Somerset Pleas, another of the Somerset Record Society's publications, we learn of the fact of this guardianship through a dispute that arose with the Prior of Bradeley about some lands belonging to Simon. The Prior stated that after the death of William, Simon, by reason of his being under age, came into the King's wardship ; and the King gave the wardship to Philip Bassett. Simon maintained that he was " never in the wardship of Philip, because after the death of his father, William, the King gave the wardship and marriage of Simon to one Armery de Sancto Amando." If things happened as I have suggested, both contestants were in the right of it. Simon may have been too young to remember about it all, but he must have known who gave him in marriage. The lady was probably a St. Amand. William, father of Simon, had made a charter in favour of the prior and canons of Christ-church, which Simon in 1287 confirmed " for his own soul, and the souls of William his father, and Hawise, wife of the said Simon."

Simon came of age in 1280. He had two sons, William and Simon, named in a document of 1290. They must have been the children of Hawise. For William's son and heir (who was not his first child) was eighteen when William died in 1320, and would have been born in 1302 ; and Simon's first wife, Hawise, being dead by 1287, we read of another wife, Isabella, who in that year, together with Simon, was granted the manor of Donyate in Somerset. This being only fifteen years before the birth of William's son, does not allow time for Isabel to have been the mother of Simon's children.

Now consider Camden's account. He says that " William raised a body of English, and with these raw soldiers he drove all the Scots out of the Isle. But, having plunged himself into debt by the great expense of this war, and being insolvent, he was forced to mortgage the Island to Anthony Bek, Bishop of of Durham.

Now, the Bishop of Durham's bailiffs were in the Isle in 1301, and he was sending to the Island on business in 1298. Therefore this enterprise of William's probably took place in 1297 or 1298, when he was a lad of 18 or so. Simon himself could not undertake it, for he was wanted in the Border war. But if there had not been this link between the Montacutes and Man, why should William have mixed himself up in the affair?

It seems, however, impossible to accept all the details of the story Dugdale quotes, which tell us that William, having married " the sister of King Orry," recovered the Isle of Man in her right, and enjoyed it many years ; but at length passed it in mortgage for seven years unto Anthony Bek; then Bishop of Durham."

The writer of that account must have been subtracting 1272 from 1300, and imagining William de Montacute and Auffrica in possession all that time. But Auffrica was not in possession, or she would not have been making a claim in 1293. Edward in 1272 was not in a position to grant her the kingdom of Man ; he could only see that she had her dower, and give her a suit able husband. The governors under the King of Scots had occupied the seat of government during these intermediate years. William, Simon's son, was too young in 1293 to have recovered the land for Auffrica, his aunt. If she got possession then, it would have been through permission of John Baliol. But probably the Scots had since then seized the Castle, or made trouble by 1297, and Auffrica may have appealed to her husband's relatives to come to her aid.

The Bishop of Durham was one of those left in charge of affairs in England in 1297, while King Edward was in Flanders. It is quite possible that the Montacutes may have consulted the Bishop as to their action, and he, anxious to secure such a valuable strategic point as Man for the English side in the war, promised financial backing if the scheme should be successful, and if the administration of the Isle were to be handed over to him for seven years. Seven years from March 1298 brings you to March 1305, and it was in March 1305 that Auffrica made her charter granting to Simon de Montacute her rights in Man. She writes as Lady of Mann, and implies that she had been accustomed to claim certain dues from the Manx people, which she wished them to accord to the noble and powerful man, Simon de Montacute.

Anthony Bek, as we have said, was sending to Man in April and October 1298, and his Bailiffs are mentioned in 1301 ; so in that case his regime must have coincided with hers. If the seven years of the mortgage were ended by 1305, it is comprehensible that Auffrica should have made a fresh arrangement. The Montacutes may have continued to raise money on the Island by extending the mortgage, and this would account for the Bishop being still in possession in 1307, when the King sent him a writ requiring him to give account of why he was holding the Isle, for the King wished to resume the Isle into his hands. Edward I dying in that year, his son and successor, Edward If, made grants of the Isle to Piers Gaveston, who was banished shortly after, and to Henry de Beaumont, who was likewise disgraced. Then in 1309 the King granted it to Anthony Bek for his life. So he was able to call himself King of Man ; but in March 1311 he died.

To return to the subject of Auffrica's charter : Why did she come to Bridgwater? To be sure; the de Courcys had at one time held the Castle of Stoke Courcy, near Bridgwater, but it had been dismantled and destroyed in the early years of the reign of King Henry III, and it is not likely that John de Courcy's widow had been granted lauds in Somerset, for his sister Alice de Courcy was his heir, and her daughter had those lands. But Simon de Montacute had lands at Chedzoy, near Bridgwater, also he had a manor at Yarlington, near Wincanton, in Mid-Somerset, and lands in Dorset besides.

It was in 1305 that John de Waldeboef put in a claim to the Isle of Man, as grandson of Mary, daughter of Reginald, King of Man, but he does not seem to have had any success.

Camden said in reference to the Waldeboef claim : " What John de Waldeboef could not effect by law, his kinsman, William de Montacute (for he was of the royal family of Man), obtained by force of arms."

Though William may have been connected with the royal family of Man,, we cannot prove that he was a descendant of the Manx Kings ; but he may have been so. It would not be impossible for his great-grandfather to have married a daughter of Cristiana Regina, but we have no evidence that this happened. Or Hawise, his mother, might have had a Manx ancestor. Almeric de St. Amand had lands in Dublin at the same time as did Reginald the Black, King of Man. But again, there is no evidence.

It is conceivable that young William may have married a Waldeboef lady before marrying Elizabeth de Montfort, who is the only wife of his mentioned in the documents. If he had a first wife, she must very soon have died ; for in the Register of Ralph de Salopia, Bishop of Bath and Wells, which book is another of the Somerset Record Society's publications, Elizabeth is mentioned in 1329 as mother of the William de Montacute who was made Earl of Salisbury, and was son of this William and born in 1302. If Elizabeth were only his step-mother, one would think his own mother would be included also here in a request for the prayers of the faithful at St. Augustine's, Bristol, for himself, Elizabeth his mother, and Katherine his wife, and the souls of Simon and William, his ancestors.

Elizabeth survived her husband William, Simon's son, and married Lord Furnival, having four children by him ; so it is possible that she may not have been the mother of all William's nine children. He is shown in the Montacute pedigree as father of a John, who died in his father's lifetime, a Mary and an Isabel. John and Mary might be Waldeboef names, and we read of an Isabel, Queen of Man, who may have been one of a first family ; but that is all the evidence we can produce in support of the suggestion.

In 1307, Simon and William were occupied at sea round the Mull of Cantire, engaged in preventing the passage of the Scots, and in 1310 the Isle of Man was made the rendezvous of vessels from various English ports, meeting there under Simon as Governor and admiral of the fleet. About this time Simon made an attempt to take possession of the Island, regardless of the King's grant to Anthony Bek. Sir Dougal Macdowell was then in command,, and Simon was driven off, and was summoned by Macdowell to appear at Berwick for felonies committed in Man. The case was brought before the judges of the King's Bench in October 1312, when Simon was pardoned in consideration of his war services, and a long-standing debt on his father's estate remitted. A further discharge was granted him the following April, for all suits against him in connection with this attempt to seize Man.

Henry de Beaumont meanwhile had been given another grant of the Island, which was promptly repudiated by Parliament, and the administration was carried on by Anthony Bek's seneschal, Gilbert Makaskil, as a sort of permanent official among these many changes. His residence there seems to have left its mark, for it was the persons to whom his son John Makaskil had granted the manor of Appin who gave it to Sir Brian Stapleton in 1375. After five descents a Sir Brian Stapleton married Jane, daughter of Viscount John Lovel and his wife Joan Beaumont. Their elder son became coheir of William Viscount Beaumont, while his brother George married a Margaret Gasgill. Sir Brian's manor may have returned to the Makaskils, for that name survived in the Island, and in one form or another is still with you. But without further knowledge it is impossible to trace the history of the property.


In my last section we reached the point in Manx history when Simon de Montacute made his unsuccessful attempt to take over the Island, following upon the grant to him by Auffrica, Lady of Man, of her rights in that kingdom.

Simon was given a letter of protection on his going for two years to Gascony again in 1312. He returned to Somerset by 1314, and had permission to make a castle of his house at Varlington. Next year he was again summoned to repair north to Newcastle-on-Tyne with horse and arms to resist the hostilities of the Scots. He died in 1317.

William, his son, made a Knight of the Bath at the same time that Prince Edward (now King Edward II) had received that honour, had taken part also in the Border campaign ; and in 1317 was appointed captain and governor of the fleet against the Scots, as well in the parts of Scotland as in the Isles between Scotland and Ireland. This must, of course, have included operations around Man.

In the same year he occupied the position of Steward of the King's Household ; and was then made Seneschal of Aquitaine, and afterwards Seneschal of Gascony. He obtained leave to fortify his house at Kirtlington in Oxfordshire, and on his death in 1320 his remains were brought to St. Frideswide's, Oxford.

The Scots in 1313 had succeeded in capturing Castle Rushen„ but their sea-force was defeated by John of Argyle, and twenty-two prisoners sent to Dublin. Robert Bruce gave the Island to his nephew, Thomas Randolph, Earl of Murray, who called himself Lord of Manne. The Mandeville brothers had made a raid on Man in 1316, and in 1317 King Edward II committed the charge of the land to John de Athy.

Man appears to have been practically neutral ground in 1328, for during the arrangements for the marriage of David, the son of Robert I of Scotland, and Joanna, sister of Edward II of England, a compact was made that if war arose in Man against either King, the other should not assist.

The Mandevilles made another attack in 1329, and in 1330 King Edward III made a grant of the Island to William de Montacute. He was given Sherborne in Dorset the following year (a castle which had been held by his ancestor William in King John's time), and the next year Thomas Randolph, Earl of Murray, died. Edward then, in 1334, commanded William le Taillour of Carlisle, Haver MacOter, and Gilbert Makstephan to seize the Isle, " as certain of his faithful subjects, claiming the aforesaid Island as their right, had sought from him with importunity to cause justice to be done to them."

Why this plural .number ? Did he mean William de Montacute and Katherine his wife, or did he mean the children of that William's father by a first wife, possibly a Waldeboef ? At any rate, Edward granted the Isle of Man to William de Montacute for a year. The establishment at least since 1408 in Man of the name Stevenson, may well have been the result of this expedition.

Reasons of State, however, made the Isle of Man a shuttle-cock to be passed over once more to Scotland with Edward Balliol, to whom Edward was giving his support in David's minority. After this, again the Scots had to be turned out, but this finally, when in 1343, ships being provided by the King, William de Montacute took the Isle, and was crowned there.

William de Montacute,, 1st Earl of Salisbury, died in 1343, and in this year also must have died the lady who was buried in the Church of the Grey Friars in London, and is described in the register as Isabel, quondam Queen of Man. She was the wife of Baron William Fitzwarin. He remarried Amicia Haddon, a Dorset heiress, and when he died in 1365 their son, his heir, was aged 13. Therefore the Baron was remarried by the end of 1343. But in that year he was summoned to Parliament ; and, as he was only summoned in that year, and as his son was never summoned, the conclusion is that he was Baron in right of Isabel, his first wife. It may be that Baron Fitzwarin, as husband of Isabel, was put in charge of Man by William de Montacute. The Earl's son, William, was then a minor, in the wardship of Thomas Waryn and John of Somerton. He obtained livery of his lands in 1349. A doughty warrior, he held many high offices. But his pleasure in holding the crown of Man must at the end have been sadly dimmed by his having no son to succeed him, for at a tilting at Windsor he accidentally slew his only son in 1383.

This Earl therefore, in 1393, sold the Island to William, Lord Scrope. The old ballad says:-

He sold it, and bought cattle
Which was a pity that ever he did
How foolish, O King, to covet cattle !

Was it so foolish? The writer of the ballad may not have realised how largely cattle bulked in the Earl's calculations. We read of an occasion when supplies ran short at Calais, and the Earl went with a party on foray through the surrounding district, and drove in to the town a mixed collection of animals and cattle. No doubt he determined then to see to it that his army should not again be at a loss for lack of cattle.

But he did not long enjoy the sight of the cattle that the sale of the Isle of Man had enabled him to purchase, for he died in 1397, on the 3rd of June, having earlier in that year made his will, in which he describes himself still as Lord of Manne.

In that year some tragic events had happened which had their repercussions in the Isle of Man. King Richard II, never having forgiven his ministers for banishing his favourites, suddenly struck at them, on the Sth of July inviting them to a banquet, at which he hoped to have them quietly arrested. His former guardian, Thomas Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, was the only one to fall into the trap, and he was taken and committed to the Tower. The Duke of Gloucester, the King's uncle, was taken afterwards in a similar crafty way ; and the Earl of Arundel surrendered on a false promise of safety. All three were tried before Parliament in the following September on charge of treason, and the Earl of Arundel was condemned and beheaded. Gloucester was taken to Calais, where he mysteriously died. The Earl of Warwick was condemned, but by his humble pleading saved his life, and he was sent to imprisonment for life in the Isle of Man in the custody of William le Scrope. Fate was kinder to him in the end, for he did not spend the rest of his days in that bleak prison on the walls of Peel, being recalled to England in the course of the second year and committed again to the Tower of London. Richard II being shortly after deposed, Thomas Beauchamp was liberated, and Scrope, his oppressor, suffered death at the hands of a Bristol mob

Now, I should like to draw your attention to a curious echo of this affair from the distant fields of Somerset.

About fifty years ago, some excavations were made on the site of what had been the chancel of Woodspring Priory in Somerset, and some heraldic tiles were discovered, several of which bore the design so familiar to you as the Three Legs of Man. These remained unexplained,, until Mr. Cubbon set me on the search for a solution of the problem. After much poring over pedigrees; I discovered that the descendants of one of the heirs of the founder of Woodspring Priory must have had more influence in the affairs of the Priory than has been left on record in history. The descent came down in the two lines of Hastings, Earl of Pembroke, and the Lords Berkeley. One of these Earls of Pembroke, John Hastings, married Margaret of Calais, daughter of Edward III. She died childless, and he married again. A very weather-beaten coat-of-arms, which proves to be that of Hastings, is to be seen carved on the outside of the great tithe-barn, and is evidently an indication that prayers were to be said for her soul by the monks. The last Earl of Pembroke, son of this one, was a young man John Hastings, who, like Montacute's heir, was killed by the slipping of a lance at a tournament in 1389. His young widow, a lady of royal descent, Philippa Mortimer, grand-daughter of Lionel, Duke of Clarence, Edward III's second son, re-married Richard, Earl of Arundel - the same who suffered death for conspiracy against Richard II. She was the Earl of Arundel's second wife, and he paid a fine of 500 marks for marrying her. Elizabeth, his eldest daughter by his first wife, had married the William de Montacute who was slain at tilting, and then became the wife of Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, who was Arundel's greatest enemy, and is said to have performed the execution with his own hands, Philippa Mortimer was also grand-daughter of the first Montacute, Earl of Salisbury. She had as part of her dower from the estate of John Hastings, a manor in Somerset ; and it is probable that after the execution of her husband she would retire there. At the same time as she was mourning her husband, Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Lord Berkeley, was mourning her mother, Lady Lisle.

The fact that both ladies were royally descended, and that the arms of these royal ancestors, besides the arms of Arundel, Hastings, Berkeley, and de Lisle, appear in the designs on the tiles; point to the conclusion that these ladies had been instrumental in the construction of the pavement in which the tiles lay. Elizabeth Berkeley's father held half a fee in that neighbourhood, of William de Montacute, Earl of Salisbury. The Earl had died that same year. So it was probably a family memorial, and implies that prayers were to be said at Wood-spring for the deceased Kings of England and the Kings of Mann, the Earls of Pembroke, and the Berkeleys.

The full details of this solution can be read in a paper on the subject in the possession of the Manx Museum. There are remains of about eight tiles with the design of the Three Legs, but no sign of the three fusils of Montacute. This would be on account of the Montacute element being brought into it by a female who was not an heiress of that family. Elizabeth Berkeley was her father's heiress, and in her case the arms of her father and her mother appear. But as far as the Manx arms were concerned, that kingship had died with the Earl of Salisbury. William Scrope used the Manx arms, but it was only four years later that he, too, perished.

So, then, these pitiful relics, with so much history behind them, dug up from beneath the orchard grass, away in a far corner of Somerset, mark the end of the interest of four generations of Montacute in the kingdom of Man.


1 Isabel is said to be the daughter of William, son of William Longespee ; but. as he was son of Ela Devereux, whom William Longespee only married in 1198, he could not be the father of a lady with three children, widowed in 1201. in the Dublin Rolls of the period. John de Munemuth is named in the Prestite Rolls for Dublin of 1210.

2 Robert de Whatlegh's fee in Mells, held of the Abbot of Glaston-bury, passed to Robert Walerand, whose coat of arms was the same as that of Walter Walerand. Joan. daughter of Isabel Walerand and William Neville, married a St. Martin. The St. Martins held Wardour Castle, some ten miles from Longbridge Deveril. This was 10 miles again from Sutton Walerand in Dorset, where Joan died seised of 30 librates in 1263, her share of the Walerand estate there. Sutton Walerand was one of nine manors held by Walerand in Dorset.

3 See Journal of the Manx Museum, Vol. II, page 71.

4 Even then there was a William de Montacute of the line of Sutton Montague, but who was not an ancestor of Simon.


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