Thursday, November 5, 2009

Robert De Ros Knight Templar

Archaeologia aeliana, or, Miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity‎ - Page 162
Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne - 1894

Robert de Ros or de Roos was a very important personage. His name is continually occurring in state documents of the period. He held the important barony of Wark-upon-Tweed as well as Haltwhistle and had extensive estates at Helmsley in Yorkshire. In 1209 he was one of the escort appointed to attend William of Scotland to York, and he is one of the witnesses to the agreements between the English and the Scottish kings. In 1212 he had 'taken the habit of religion' in connection with the Knights Templars, but we find him shortly afterwards again engaged in State business, and yet when he died in 1227 he was buried as a Knight Templar in the Templar church. He, with the Northumbrian barons Eustace de Vesci, John fitz Robert, and Gilbert Deleval, took a prominent part in promoting the signing of the great Charter (1215). Two of his grandsons, each named Robert de Ros, also took a prominent part in public affairs, but Haltwhistle passed into the possession of descendants whose names seldom occur in the public records.


By Writ of Summons, dated 24 December, 1264.


"That Peter, the ancestor of this great and noble family," says Dugdale, "did originally assume his surname in the time of Henry I., from that lordship in Holderness, called Ros, where he then had his residence, needeth not to be doubted." This Peter de Ros, or Roos, a feudal baron, m. Adeline, one of the sisters and co-heirs of the famous Walter Espec, Lord of the manor of Helmesley, called sometimes Helmeslac, but oftener Hamlake, in the north riding of Yorkshire, and was s. at his decease, by his son,

Robert De Ros, who, in the 3rd Henry II, paid 1,000 marks of silver to the king for livery of the lands inherited by his mother from her brother Walter Espec. This Robert was a munificent benefactor to the Knights Templars. He m. Sybell de Valoines (who, after his decease, m. Ralph de Albini) and dying sometime about the middle of the 12th century, was s. by his son

Everard De Ros, a minor, and in ward to Ranulph de Glanvil. In the 12th Henry II, this feudal lord held of the crown eight knights' fees, and in two years afterwards, upon collection of the aid for marrying the king's daughter, answered 112s. for those which were de veteri feoffamento, and 31s. 1d. for what he had de novo. He m. Roysia, dau. of William Trusbut, of Wartre, in Holderness, and at the decease of her brothers, s.p., co-heir to her father's estate, which estate was eventually inherited by her descendants, Lords Ros, her sisters and co-heirs having no posterity. They had two sons. This Everard de Ros must have been a very considerable personage at the period in which he lived, for we find him in the year 1176, paying the then very large sum of L526 as a fine for his lands, and in four years subsequently, L100 more to have possession of those which the Earl of Albemarle held. He d. about 1186, and was s. by his elder son,

Robert De Ros, surnamed Furfan, who, in the 1st Richard I, paid 1,000 marks fine to the crown for livery of his lands. In the 8th of the same reign, being with the king in Normandy, he was committed to the custody of Hugh de Chaumont, for what offence appears not; with especial charge to the said Hugh that he should keep him as safe as his own life; but Chaumont trusting William de Spiney with his prisoner, that person being corrupted, allowed him to escape out of the castle of Bonville. De Ros eventually gained nothing, however, by this escape, for Richard caused him nevertheless to pay 1,200 marks for his freedom, while he had the false traitor Spiney, hanged for his breach of faith. In the next reign, however, Robert de Ros found more favour, for upon the accession of King John, that monarch gave him the whole barony of his great-grandmother's father, Walter Espec, to enjoy in as large and ample a manner as he, the said Walter, ever held it. Soon after which he was deputed, with the bishop of Durham, and other great men, to escort William, King of Scotland into England, which monarch coming to Lincoln, swore fealty there to King John, upon the cross of Hubert, archbishop of Canterbury, in the presence of all the people. About the 14th of King John's reign, Robert de Ros assumed the habit of a monk, whereupon the custody of all his lands, viz., Werke Castle, in the co. Northumberland, with his whole barony, was committed to Philip de Ulcote, but he did not continue long a recluse, for we find him the very next year executing the office of sheriff for the county of Cumberland. At the commencement of the struggle between the barons and John, this feudal lord took part with the king and obtained in consequence, some grants from the crown; but he subsequently espoused the baronial cause, and was one of the celebrated twenty-five appointed to enforce the observance of Magna Charter. In the reign of King Henry III he seems, however, to have returned to his allegiance, and to have been in favour with that prince, for the year after the king's accession, a precept was issued by the crown to the sheriff of Cumberland, ordering the restoration of certain manors granted by King John to De Ros. This feudal lord was the founder of the castle of Helmesley, otherwise Hamlake, in Yorkshire, and of the castle of Werke, in Northumberland--the former of which he bequeathed to his elder son--the latter to the younger, with a barony in Scotland, to be held of the elder by military service. In his latter days he became a Knight Templar, to which order himself and his predecessors had ever been munificently liberal, and dying in that habit, anno 1227, was buried in the Temple Church. Robert de Ros m. Isabel, natural dau. of William the Lion, King of Scotland, and widow of Robert de Brus, and had issue two sons,
William, his successor
Robert, Baron Ros, of Werke,

Houses of Knights Templar', A History of the County of York: Volume 3 (1974), pp. 256-260. URL: Date accessed: 05 November 2009.

About1217 Robert Ros gave theTemplars his manor of Ribstan,with the advowson of the church, the vill and the mills of Walshford, and the vill of Hunsingore. This property had come to Robert de Ros from his mother, Rose Trussebut, and her sisters, Hilary and Agatha, at some date prior to 1240, made grants of various woods in the neighborhood to the preceptory. Robert son of William Denby gave the vill of Wetherby to the Templars, and other smaller grants followed.

Besides the church of Hunsingore the Templars had chapels at Wetherby, Ribston, and apparently at Walshford. The chapel of St. Andrew at Ribston stood in the churchyard of the parish church, and in 1231 was the subject of an arrangement between the brethren and the rector. About this time a sum of L2 16s. was assigned for the support of a chaplain at Ribston for the good of the soul of Robert de Ros.

The estates of Ribston and Wetherby seem to have formed a single preceptory, but were valued separately at the time of their seizure in 1308, Wetherby was then returned as worth L120 7s. 8d. and Ribston, including the North Deighton and Lound, at L267 13s. The chapels in each case were simply furnished, but Ribston was remarkable as possessing two silver cups, three masers, and ten silver spoons--more secular plate than all the other Yorkshire preceptories put together. At the time of the trial of the Templars, Gasper de Nafferton, who had been chaplain at Ribston related certain cases in which the brethren had observed a great and, as he now perceived, suspicious secrecy in matters touching admission to the order. And Robert de Oteringham, a Friar Minor, who gave evidence against the Templars, said that at Ribston a chaplain of the order, after returning thanks, denounced his brethren, saying The Devil shall burn you! He also saw one of the brethren, apparently during the confusion which ensued on this exclamation, turn his back upon the altar. Further, some twenty years before, he was at Wetherby, and the chief preceptor, who was also there, did not come to supper because he was preparing certain relics which he had brought from the Holy Land, thinking he heard a noise in the chapel during the night, Robert looked through the keyhole, and saw a great light, but when he asked one of the brethren about it next day he was bidden to hold his tongue as he valued his life. At Ribston, also, he once saw a crucifix lying as if thrown down on the altar, and when he was going to stand it up he was told to leave it alone. As this was some of the most direct and damaging evidence given during the trial the weakness of the case against the Templars is obvious.

Of the preceptors only two names appear to have survived, William de Garewyz was preceptor of Wetherby in, or a little before, 1293, and Richard de Keswik, or Chesewyk, who was admitted to the order at Flaxfleet in 1290, became preceptor of Ribston about 1298 and still held that post in 1308 when he was arrested, with Richard de Brakearp, claviger, and Henry de Craven, a brother in residence at Ribston.

Ribston Magna, or Great Ribston, as previously explained at Hunsingore, was twenty years after the Conquest acquired by Ralph Paganel, and from this early owner we are able to trace the history of Ribston steadily forward through all the stirring vicissitudes of its semi-military reclusory to the fall of the monasteries in 1540. The charters and documents preserved at Ribston Hall are, however, very numerous, and some of them (of exquisite calligraphy) yet remain to be deciphered. But from such as have come to light I shall select those which appear the most important and interesting, as illustrating the turning points in the history of the manor from the deposition of its pre-Norman proprietors to the foundation of the Preceptory in 1217, a brief century of the reign of that house, its temporary retention by the Crown, and subsequent acquisition in 1323 by the Hospitallers of St John, to the general Dissolution as above stated.

The successor to Ralph Paganel or Paynel, who held Ribston, as narrated in AD1086, was Galfridus, or Geoffrey filius Pagani, * (as he is described by Dugdale in the baronage), who in 1132 founded the Priory at Wartre in Harthill, Holderness, at no great distance from the Roman station of Delgovitia.

Much confusion has arisen with respect to these early Paganels. There were evidently two Ralph’s, the elder being son of William, the hero of the Conquest, and the other son of Fulk, the brother of Ralph the elder, who was consequently uncle to the younger Ralph. Ralph the elder was probably only a boy when he came to England with his father at the Conquest, and on the death of the latter inherited his possessions. This Ralph probably died about AD1130, as in the Pipe Rolls of the 30th Henry I (1130 - 1) mention is made of his son William paying what was in fact the succession duty. Unfortunately the early history of the Paganels has never been clearly worked out, although in a paper prepared by the late Mr Stapleton for the Archaeological Institute at York, in 1846, we have a very valuable and lengthy record of the Paganels, but Mr Stapleton has not, for very obvious reasons, ventured to elaborate a pedigree.

This same Geoffrey Fitz-Paign was a man of great distinction in the time of Henry I, and among other of his pious benefactions was the donation of the Chapel of All Saints, Skewkirk, near Kirk Hammerton, to Nostel Priory, in AD1114. His son William, surnamed Trussebut, was not less prominent in affairs of the time, and according to Dugdale he took to wife Albreda, daughter of -------Harecurt, one of the co-heirs of Maude de Dover, and the said Albreda calls the “canons of Scokirk” her and her husband’s own canons.

The arms and whence the name of this old Norman family were Trois bouts de l’eau, ie three leather butts of water, which appear on some of the seals etc.

In Yorkshire the Templars received many splendid bequests, and among the principal benefactors to the Order was the wealthy family of De Ros, who as I have shown came into possession of the Ribston estates about AD1170. The family was settled in Normandy in the preceding century and joined the Conqueror in his determined invasion of England. Contemporary with the Conqueror was William de Ros, third Abbot of Fecamp, who died in 1107, and whom Hildebert, Bishop of Mans, has apparently with reason and justice commemorated in laudatory verse. Peter de Ros was living in Yorkshire in the reign of Henry I. He married Adeline l’Espec, co-heiress of her brother Walter l’Espec, founder of Rievaulx Abbey, and left a son, Robert de Ros the elder, who is well known for his benefactions to the newly founded community of Knights Templars. Everard de Ros, son of Robert de Ros, was like his father, specially charitable to the Templars, and Robert de Ros, surnamed Fursan, son of Everard, by Rose co-heiress of the Trussebuts, built the castles of Helmsley (anciently called Hamelac) in north Yorkshire, and Werke in Northumberland. He it was, too, who in 1217 gave “to God and the Blessed Mary and the brethren of the Soldiery of the Temple, my manor of Ribston, with the advowson of the Church of the same vill and the hamlet of Walshford with the mills of the same hamlet,” etc. He married in 1191, Isabella, daughter of William the Lion, King of Scotland, and widow of Robert the Bruce, and was one of the 25 barons appointed to enforce the decrees of the Magna Carta.

Dugdale in the Baronage wrongly ascribes the deed of gift of Ribston made by Robert de Ros to the Templars, to the first Robert, a mistake however which is corrected in the Monasticon, where it is stated that this manor (Ribston) was given to the Knights Templars by Robert Lord Ros the second, or Fursan, in the latter end of the reign of King Richard First, or the beginning of that of John.

The original charter of bequest (undated) is preserved at Ribston Hall, and is translated as follows:

To all the faithful of Christ to whom this present writing of Robert de Ros shall come Health in the Lord. Be it known to all of you that I by intuition of divine piety and for the health of my soul and those of my ancestors and successors have given granted and by this my present charter have confirmed to God and Blessed Mary and the Brethren and the Knighthood of the Temple, my manor of Ribston with the advowson of the Church of the same township and the vill of Walshford with the mills of the said vill, and with all other their appurtenances and franchises and free customs and easements to wit with demesnes and homage’s, with free tenants and rents, assises and villenage with woods and plains, with meadows and pastures, with ways and paths, with waters and mills, with pools and fishponds, with moors and marshes, with turbaries and all commons, with free entries and exits in all things and places within the vill and without to the aforesaid manor of Ribston appertaining without any withholding. As wholly as I ever held the said manor entirely with it’s appurtenances. To have and to hold to the aforesaid brethren of the Knighthood of the Temple in pure free and perpetual alms as freely quietly and unburdened as any alms can be freely well and quietly given to any religious house. And this gift I have made to God and St Mary and the aforesaid brethren of the Knighthood of the Temple with my body and in aid of the Holy Land in the East with all improvements, which the said brethren in the said manors and its appurtenances shall make. And I the aforesaid Robert and my heirs the aforesaid gift with advowson of the aforesaid church and all their appurtenances to the aforesaid brethren of the Knighthood of the Temple against all men will warrant acquit and defend forever. In order therefore that this donation, concession, and confirmation of my charter may have firm effect I have strengthened it with the impression of my seal. These being witnesses, Robert de Veteri Ponte, Martin de Pateshill, John fitz Robert, Brian de Lisle, William de Lisle, Richard Duket, Robert de Cokefeld, William de Tameton, William de Barton, Walter de Soureby, Walter de Wildeker, Adam de Linton, Robert de Garton, and many others.

This deed is referred to in the Masticon and in the Liber Johannis Stillingflete, and was probably executed just before the death of the testator, Robert de Ros. Andrew, Prior of Kirkham, Richard, Prior of Warte, (to 1223), etc witnessed a second (undated) deed of Robert de Ros, couched in much the same terms. A third attested deed by William de Ros, son of Robert, is also preserved at Ribston, in which William “gives and confirms” to the Brethren of the Temple “all the manor of Ribston, with the advowson of the same vill, and the hamlet of Walshford with the mill of the same vill, and the vill of Hunsingore with the mill of the same, and the vill of Cahale (Cattal) and the lands in Copmanthorpe (Cowthorpe), which said lands and vills with their appurtenances the said Brethren have of the gift of Robert de Ros my father.” This document is attested by the same signatures as those appended to the above quoted deed of Robert de Ros, and as the son William was of full age at the death of his father it was most likely effected shortly after that event, or early in the reign of Henry III.

There is a strong probability that Hunsingore formed the first donation to the Templars, and that their settlement was first at that place, because in the deed of gift of Robert de Ros it is stated that he gives and confirms to God and the blessed Mary etc, “totam villam de Hunsingore”, while in the other grant the manor of Ribston and the lands at Cattal are described as “mine”. The possessive epithet, be it also observed, is not repeated in the deeds of William, and in the old Ribston Rent Rolls, (hereafter mentioned), contemporary with the foundation of the Preceptory there is the suggestive entry: “Hvuiot pro custodia castri,” which, however, may refer to some castle or keep on the river at Hunsingore, or to the temple at Ribston.

In the chapel are copies of the coat’s of arm’s belonging to the owner’s of Ribston from 1100 to the present day, these can be found on the ceiling.

There are two other interesting grants of this early period amongst the Ribston charters, namely, of the sisters Hyllaria and Agatha Trussebut before mentioned. The first named died in widowhood at an advanced age, in 1241. Agatha married twice, first (temp Henry II) Hamo Meinfelin, who in 1195, conjointly with Robert de Buvelers or Bullers, husband of Hyllaria Trussebut, rendered account of 300 marks for having the shares of the land of William Trussebut and Robert his brother. Agatha’s second husband was William de Albini, who also pre-deceased her, and she died like her sister Hyllaria a widow in extreme old age. That she survived her sister is evident, because in the 25th Henry III (1251) William de Ros, together with Agatha Trussebut, gave a fine of Fifty Pounds as a relief due to those lands, which descended to them by inheritance upon the death of Hyllaria Trussebut. Hyllaria and Agatha Trussebut were, as already stated; sisters to Rose Trussebut, mother of the founder of the Preceptory at Ribston, and both were liberal benefactors to that establishment. The two bequests were doubtless drawn up in the latter part of their lives, and are framed almost in the same language. The following is a translation of the character of Agatha:

Know all present and to come that I, Agatha Trussebut, widow, in my legitimate power and free widowhood, have given, conceded, and by this my present charter have confirmed to God, the Blessed Mary, and to the brethren of the Soldiery of the Temple of Solomon, having regard to holy piety and for the health of my soul and the souls of all my ancestors and successors, all my part of the wood which is between Hunsingore and Walshford, which is called La Lunde, and all its appurtenances, without retaining anything, as well as my land with the wood which is between Walshford and Ribston, called Errfittes, with all appurtenances, as well in length as in breadth, without retaining anything, and all my part of the wood of Bradeford between Hunsingore and Kathale, with all its appurtenances, without retaining anything, save to my men of Cathale common in that wood of Bradeford, if they ought to have it. To have and to hold to the aforesaid and their successors forever in free, pure and perpetual alms, freely, quietly, peacefully, and easily, with all their easements and liberties belonging within and without, without retaining anything, as freely and easily as any alms can be conferred on any religious house. And I, Agatha, and my heirs will warrant, defend and acquit to the said brethren and their successors all the said parts of the woods and lands, with all their appurtenances, from all secular services, customs and demands against all men and women forever. And that this donation may hold firm and undisturbed to the end, I have corroborated it by placing my seal upon it. These being witness: Ralph de Trihamton, Roger Bozon, Robert de Cokefeld, Richard de Goldesburg, Richard de Wyvelstorp, Nigel Pincerna, Knights, Robert de Dauseford, William de Midelton, Elias de Blanchurst, Nicolas de siclighale, Thomas de Hunsingore, and others.

Lund House stands south of the road, midway between Hunsingore and Walshford Bridge. Extensive traces of foundations of ancient buildings here testify to the importance of this seat in remote times. This property did not come into the hands of the Goodrickes, as was the case with the surrounding estate, but after descending through various owners to the Petres and the Stourtons was purchased by the late Joseph Dent, Esq., and re-incorporated with the Ribston property in the year 1843. The name Lund is of Danish origin, and denotes a grove of trees where meetings for the performance of sacred duties took place. In Shetland, for example, there is a Lund’s-thing, where a legislative body assembled in the open air near a group of trees, specially selected for such a purpose. When a person was tried for any particular crime and found guilty, the multitude closed round him and he was formally sentenced, but if acquitted they opened out in a double line and he was allowed to walk free to the neighbouring church.

The signatories to this important document were all men of note, and with the exception of Roger Bozon, all resident in the neighbourhood. Sir Robert Cokefeld was Sheriff of York in 1231. Sir Nigel Pincerna of Kirk Deighton was a witness to a deed of the Plumpton family, circa 1274.

In the character of Hyllaria Trussebut she speaks of “brother Robert de Ros, my nephew,” from which allusion we may conclude that Robert de Ros had formally entered the service of the Templars, not as a regular priest but as an associate of the first-class, admitted to the vows and bound to the Order in a military or political capacity. Where he resided is not certain, but from a remark in the Chronicon de Melsa - Robertus ipse junior apud Rybstane Templarius est defunctus - we may reasonably infer that he lived at Ribston. It is however hardly likely that he died there, or he would surely have been interred in the church of his foundation. His remains rest in the Temple Church, London, and his tomb is one of the most handsomest and most perfect monuments of the period, as well as one of the oldest extant. It is sculptured in Roche Abbey stone, which from its great age and high polish may easily be mistaken for bronze. The sculpture is 6 feet long, and is thus described by Richardson (1845):

1 Referance Work Nidderdale and the Garden of the Nidd a Yorkshire Rhineland by

H. Speight 1894.

2 Referance Work Lower Wharfedale by H.Speight.1902

3 Debretts Baronetage of England 5th Edition. 1824
4 Reference Work The History of Temple Newsam by Weater 1889 Edition

Edited by Michael B Goodrick 2003.

The Magna charta barons and their American descendants with the ... - Google Books Result
by Charles Henry Browning - 1898

Robert De Ros

Peter De Ros, or Roos, feudal Baron of the lordship of Roos, in Holderness, temp. Henry I., is the first authenticated ancestor of this Surety. He m. Adeline, one of the sisters and co-heirs of Walter d'Espec, lord of themanor of Helmeslac (Hamelake), or Helmesley, in the North Riding of Yorkshire, and had:

Robert De Ros, lord of Hamlake, who was a munificent benefactor to the Knights Templars. He d. about 1160, having issue by his wife, Sybil de Valoines (who after his decease m. Ralph d'Albini:

Everard De Ros, Lord of Hamlake, who seems to have been very wealthy, as in 1176, he paid the then very large sum of five hundred and twenty-six pounds as a fine for his lands, and other large amounts subsequently. He m. Rose, one of the daughters and co-heiress of William de Trusbut, lord of Wartre, in Holderness, East Riding, 1139, and, dying in 1186 had:

Robert De Ros, of Furfan, fourth Baron Ros of Hamlake, b. 1177, who, 2 Richard I, 1190-91, paid a thousand marks fine for livery of his lands, although only thirteen years old. In 8 Richard he, being with the king in Normandy, was arrested, 1197, for what offence it does not appear, he was not yet twenty-one, and committed to the custody of Hugh de Chaumont, but Chaumont trusting his prisoner to William de Spiney, the latter allowed him to escape out of the castle of Bonville. King Richard thereupon hanged Spiney and collected a fine of twelve hundred marks--eight hundred pounds--from Ros's guardian as the price of his continued freedom.

Upon the accession of King John, this monarch, to conciliate him, gave Ros the whole barony of his great-grandmother's father, Walter d'Espec, to enjoy in as large and ample a manner as Espec ever held it. Soon afterwards he was deputed one of those to escort William the Lion, King of Scotland, into England, to swear fealty to King John. About 14 John, Robert de Ros assumed the habit of a monk whereupon the custody of all his lands and Castle Werke, in Northumberland were committed to Philip d'Ulcote, or Olcott, but he did not long continue a recluse, as in about a year, 1212-15, he was executing the office of high sheriff of County Cumberland.

At the commencement of the struggle of the Barons for a constitutional government, this feudal Baron at first sided with King John, and in consequence obtained some valuable grants from the crown, and was made governor of Carlisle; but he was subsequently won over by the Barons and became one of the celebrated twenty-five appointed to enforce the observance of the Magna Charta, the county of Northumberland being placed under his supervision. He returned to his allegiance in the reign of Henry III, for in 1217-18 his manors were restored to him, and although he was a witness to the Great and the Forest Charters of 1224, he seems to have been in favor with that prince.

He erected the castles of Helmesley, or Hamlake, in Yorkshire, in Yorkshire, and of Werke, in Northumberland, and was a member of the Order of the Knights Templars. He d. 11 Henry III, 1226-7, and was buried "in his proper habit" in the church of the New Temple, at London, where his tomb is yet extant. His effigy is described by Gough, in "Sepulchral Monuments." as "the most elegant of all the figures in the Temple Church representing a comely young knight in mail, and a flowing mantle with a king of cowl; his hair neatly curled at the sides, his crown appears shaved. His hands are elevated in a praying posture, and on his left arm is a short pointed shield, charged with three water-bougets. He has on his left side a long sword, and the armor of his legs, which are crossed, has a ridge or seam up the front, continued over the knee, and forming a kind of garter below the knee. At his feet is a lion, and the whole figure measures six feet two inches." See, also, Strothard's "Monumental Effigies."

Robert De Ros married Isabel, a natural daughter of William the Lion, King of Scotland, and had by her:

William De Ros, lord of Hamlake Castle, d. 1258. Issue.
Robert De Ros, Lord of Werke Caslt, Issue.
Arms--Gules: Three Water Bougets, argent.

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