Friday, February 9, 2018

Female Sheriffs in the Middle Ages Part 2--Lady Godiva and Lucy Taillebois


Most people have heard of Lady Godiva and her naked ride on horseback. She is said to have done it after her husband told her he would agree to lower the taxes on the people if she did so. The townspeople were all supposed to close their windows and not look. But one man was curious
and peeped out. He was struck blind. This is where the idea of a "peeping Tom" came from.

The Lady Godiva Clock in Coventry displays her naked ride through the city and Peeping Tom's voyeurism 

The history of lady Godiva and Peeping Tom of Coventry, with a description of the churches, and other public building

"An almost universal interest may be said to attach to that singular and romantic passage in the life of "Lady Godiva," which relates to her connection with the City of Coventry, and her benefactions to its inhabitants. It is now many years since the original edition of the narrative, embodied in the following pages, was given to the public; and as the demand for information on the subject continues, as one generation succeeds another. The proprietor of this little work finds it necessary to issue a reprint of it, including however herewith, such additional particulars connected with the Public Institutions of this ancient City, as cannot fail to enhance the value and add to the interest of the publication, by giving an historical epitome of those occurrences of modern date which must hence forward have a direct and salutary effect on the condition of the town.

The beautiful Godiva was the sister of Thorold, Sheriff of Lincolnshire, a man of great wealth and power, and the intimate friend of Leofric, Earl of Mercia. This nobleman, being so fortunate as to obtain Godiva in marriage, came to reside at Coventry, and thus prepared the basis for the future prosperity of this ancient city.

Leofric was a man of great consequence, standing high in the estimation of various successive Monarchs, and frequently rendering important services to the state; he was appointed Captain General of the royal forces, by Canute, after whose death he became attached to the interests of Harold, son of Canute; he was also instrumental in placing Edward the Confessor upon the throne,
and defending him against the machinations of Earl Godwin, whose daughter King Edward had married.

Though early historians pass high eulogiums on Earl Leofric for his beneficence and piety we cannot reconcile their assertions with the tyrannical severity he exercised over his people. We are told that in his time the taxes and penalties levied upon his subjects had become a serious grievance, so that petitions for redress were presented to him daily; but he, instead of relieving them, imitated the Egyptian taskmasters of old and oppressed them the more. It was under these circumstances that
the poor inhabitants of Coventry applied to Godiva, and humbly solicited her to intercede in their behalf. This humane and tenderhearted Lady willingly undertook to plead for them, and repeatedly urged her husband to listen to their complaints; but he was deaf to her entreaties, and even
repulsed her in anger for persisting in a request which she knew to be so directly opposed to his and her interest, forbidding her, upon pain of his displeasure, to mention the subject to him again; nevertheless, Godiva did not despair of success, but considered it prudent to defer her suit till some
more favourable opportunity.

Several months passed away and the sufferings of the people were forgotten, at least by Leofric, who had been actively engaged in the north, quelling disturbances which were frequent in those turbulent times. Returning to his peaceful mansion, he was received by his beloved Countess with the
most tender affection, and welcomed by the sweetest smile of his darling boy, whose wonderful improvement during his absence excited the father's warmest admiration, and kindles in his breast a lively sense of the worth of her to whom he had entrusted his little charge; in the transport of love he clasped her to his bosom and anxiously enquired if there were anything wanted to complete her happiness, at the same time assuring her that any request she might prefer should be instantly complied with. "There is one," replied Godiva, "which I should not have presumed to make again,
without the encouragement I have just received; it is, that you will relieve our industrious people from the load of taxes with which they are burdened, for while they are groaning under oppression, the most luxurious entertainments can afford me no real enjoyment." Leofric's surprise at this unexpected appeal was followed by a violent fit of anger; but for his word's sake he would not refuse his acquiescence, upon condition that she should ride on horseback, completely naked, from one end of the City to the other,fully persuading himself of the impossibility of such a proposal being agreed to by Godiva; but he was mistaken, for she modestly enquired, "Will you give me leave to do so?" The Earl answered"Yes."

Upon this she assured him that with his permission she would perform any task, however repugnant to her feelings, for the benefit of her suffering people.

This strange agreement being made, Leofric considered it his duty to render the fulfilment of it as little objectionable as possible; he therefore informed the inhabitants of the sacrifice his Lady was about to make for their comfort, and commanded them, on the appointed day, to darken the front of their houses and retire to the back parts, prohibiting, them on pain of death, to appear at their windows. The grateful people joyfully received the mandate, anxiously anticipating the day which was to release them from their burdens.

The important day at length arrive; the whole City was still as death, when Godiva, mounting her beautiful white charger, unbound her long tresses, which covered her body like a scarf, and attended only by one female servant, commenced her journey; she proceeded in solemn silence through the principal streets, until she had nearly completed her engagement, when suddenly her horse stood still, and neighed three times; surprised at this unusual occurrence, she looked round in great consternation, and perceived a poor unfortunate tailor, whose curiosity exceeded his gratitude, peeping out of an upper window, to view her as she passed by. For his disobedience, however, he was severely punished, as legend tells us, his eyes dropped out the moment the horse stopped;
the remainder of the ride was uninterrupted by any accident, and our heroine returned triumphantly to her husband to claim the promised reward, upon which a charter of freedom was granted to the inhabitants of Coventry, releasing them from the heavy load of taxes by which they were oppressed.

In memory of this circumstance, there is a picture put up in the south window of Trinity Church, about the time of Richard the Second, representing Godiva and her Lord, the latter holding in his hand a charter, upon which the following words were written:--

"I Luriche for the love of thee Doe make Coventry toll-free."

In continuation, we are informed by the early history of Coventry that there was once a famous Nunnery here sacred to St. Osburg, which wasdestroyed by Edric, when he invaded Mercia, in 1016, and it was upon theruins of this Nunnery that Lady Godiva founded her splendid Monastery of
twenty-four Monks of the order of St. Benedict, The Church belonging to it was dedicated "To the honour of God, the Virgin Mary, St. Peter,St. Osburg, and all the Saints." Earl Leofric bestowed upon it one-half of the town on which it stood, with many other valuable privileges: the
King, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and several of the Nobles, being witnesses of the grant. Godiva also enriched it with crosses of Gold and Silver, and images of various Saints; sending for skilful Goldsmiths to convert all the treasure she possessed into ornaments for this magnificent
Monastery, thus it became the richest in the Kingdom. William of Malmsbury, speaking of its embellishments, says, "that is was enriched and beautified with so much gold and silver, that the walls seemed too narrow to contain it; insomuch that Robert de Limesi, Bishop of the diocese, in the time of King William Rufus, scraped from one beam that supported the shrines, 500 marks of silver."

The zeal of this truly pious Lady in the cause of religion was also manifested in the foundation of the Monastery of Stow, near Lincoln, which she dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and as Dugdale says, "endowed it with the Lordships of Newark, Flatburg, and Martinewelle, giving possession of them by a fair jewel, and rich bracelets, curiously wrought as her charter imports; whereunto were witnesses, King Edward the Confessor himself; Alfred, Archbishop of York; Wlfwi,Bishop of Dorchester; Earl Leofric, her husband; with divers more great Earls and others."

Leofric died in 1059. He was buried in a porch of the Monastery church at Coventry, which he and Godiva had founded. The precise time of Godiva's death is not known, but in her last moments she gave a rich chain of precious stones to this her favourite Monastery, directing it to be placed round the neck of the blessed Virgin, and commanding those who came there to worship, to number their prayers by the number of gems it contained. She was interred in the same porch of the church with
her husband."

"Earl Morcar is a person of more certain historical existence. H was the son of Algar Earl of Mercia or Leicester; his brother Edwin is said to have succeeded to the same dignity, whilst Morcar himself was Earl of Northumberland; and their sister Edgiva, or Algytha, was the Queen of the unfortunate Harold.

The monkish chroniclers have further stated that there was another sister named Lucy, who is made by them the mother of William de Romara, Earl of Lincoln, and the second Ranulph Earl of Chester. Of her more presently. But first of her assumed grandmother the Countess Godeva.

The Countess Godeva, or Godgifa, whose name is still popular in Warwickshire, as the gracious authoress of the liberties of Coventry, and who was undeniably a great benefactress to the church of that city, was the wife of Earl Leofric, the father of Earl Algar. Leofric died in 1057, and Godiva probably survived. Either to that cause, or to her having great power over her property or even during her husband's life, we may ascribe the Frequent mention of her name. She joined with her husband and the foundation of the monastery of Stow near Lincoln. It was stated by the monks of Croyland, that the Countess Godiva was a sister of Turold, Sheriff of Lincolnshire.”

The Monthly Review, R. Griffiths, 1842

“Turold himself was divided by them into two persons the first of whom they place no less than three centuries and a half before the real one! asserting that the Manor of Bukenhale had been given to them by Turold the Sheriff before 806; whilst the second Turold of  "Buckenhale" (which Manor his ancester had so long before parted with!) they stated to have given them the Manor of Spalding in 1051. This last property was the subject of great disputes between Abby and her Norman Lord Ivo Taillebois; and as the pretended charter of "Thoroldus de Buckenhale" was unquestionably a forgery, so it is not uncharitable to suppose that the claims were imperfectly founded. That Turold was really Sheriff and that he gave the Manor of Buckenhale to Croyland Abbey rest on the authority of Doomsday book, and it is all we know with certainty about him. But the frequent repetitions of his name in the charters of the priory of Spalding, and enumeration of formerly Lords of the place shows that he was regarded as the Saxon Lord; and the fact that the name Earl Algar occurs in Doomsday book in the same position, may be thought some corroboration that the Countess Godiva, Earl Algar's mother, was the sister of Turold.
(Further reading on Godiva )

Lucy was the daughter of Earl Algar, who was son of the Lady Godiva. 

Lucy, the daughter of Earl Algar, was married to Ivo de Taillebois, according to the Croyland Chronicles, before the year 1071; the only issue of which marriage is said to been a daughter, "nobly espoused. Yet after the death of Ivo in 1114, forty-three years after, she is made to marry again, and have issue with William de Romara, Earl of Lincoln, and still again to marry thirdly, Ranulph, Earl of Chester, and have issue two sons and two daughters. It is evident that this account of a single Lucy, the wife of both Ivo Taillebois or and Ranulph Earl of Chester, may be incorrect; and it has been suggested that there were two heiresses, the mother and the daughter, which will account for the "only daughter, nobly espoused," who has been already mentioned but of whom the Croyland monk could tell nothing further.

Ivo Taillebois accompanied the Conqueror to England from the province of Anjou: and was rewarded with extensive lands in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, lying particularly in the district of Holland. After the death of Brand Abbot of Peterborough in 1071, he was called upon to protect his Norman successor, named Thorold, from the attack of Herward, a Saxon, the nephew of abbot Brand,  who, hoping to perpetuate the Saxon ecclesiastical dynasty, attacked the city and put the new abbot to flight:  but, and the battle which ensued, Ivo was himself taken prisoner, and had to purchase his freedom with a large sum of money.

In 1074 he gave the churches Spalding to the Abbey of St. Nicholas at Angers, dismissing from the place the Croyland  monks who occupied the cell  there; and in the next year he promoted the deposition of Ulfketyl Abbot of Croyland, he was banished to the monastery of Glastonbury, in consequence of having fostered the popular excitement at the miracles said to take place at the tomb of Earl Waltheof.

In the year 1085, in the presence of the King, the bishops of Lincoln and Durham, and others, at Gloucester, he concluded another covenant with Natalis Abbot of Angers, respecting the church, &c. Of Spalding.

When William Rufus acceded the throne in 1087, Ivo was said to be in great favor of the King. This encouraged him to take more lands that had been the possessions of Croyland Abbey. Two years later he joined the rebellion of William Rufus' brother Robert. As a result, he was banished from the kingdom. Eventually, Duke Robert was defeated and Ivo Taillebois made peace with the king and returned to England. He died at Spalding from paralysis in 1114 and was buried at the priory there.

But that date seems to be contradicted by a charter of the same priory, in which Roger de Romara appears as Lord of Spalding before the death of Rufus in 1100.

Disengaging ourselves from the "crafty imaginations" of the monastic genealogists, we now proceeded to inquire who Lucy wife of Ivo Taillebois, the ancestress of the Earls of Lincoln, may actually have been. Her grandson Ranulph Earl of Chester claimed and obtained from Henry Duke of Normandy, in 1152, the inheritance of two "uncles of his mother," namely Robert Malet and Alan de Lincoln. In that case, each of these persons must have been the brother either of Ivo Taillebois or of Lucy.

We will first speak of Alan de Lincoln. He was doubtless a kinsman of Alured de Lincoln, who held an extensive fief in the Shire of Lincoln at the domesday survey, and who is possibly the same person designated under the city of Lincoln as Aluredus nepos Turoldi. Whether this refers to Turold the Sheriff, it may be difficult to decide; but the name of Turold itself is not Anglo-Saxon, and the Sheriff may have been a Norman, or rather an Angevin, employed by the Confessor. Alan de Lincoln, (perhaps a brother of Alured,) may have been the son of Hesilia Crespin (to be mentioned presently,) the mother of Robert Malet, by a second husband.

Robert Malet, the other "uncle" of the Countess Lucy, was the son of William Malet, who was killed at the siege of York and 1069 by the hands of the Danes, who had taken him prisoner. His mother was Hesilia Crispin, the sister of Emma Crispin, whose descendents of the name of Condie, or Cundet, inherited various estates in Lincolnshire.

Lucy, the wife of Ivo Taillebois, was thus the sister of Robert Malet: and, unless Ivo had another wife, she was also the mother of Beatrix, wife of Ribald brother Alan Earl of Richmond, the doomsday Lord of Middleham, Co. York, whose son Ralph, and grandson Ribald, both took the surname of Taillebois. Ivo made a large benefaction to the Abbey of St. Mary, at York, during the time of its first abbot, Stephen, 1088 – 1112, for the soul's health of himself and his wife Lucy, she being witnesse thereto,  together with Ribald his son-in-law, Ralph Taillebois, and others.”

LUCY COUNTESS OF CHESTER. We now proceed to trace the history of this heiress, respecting many circumstances of whose life there is no uncertainty. Concluding Ivo Taillebois to have been her father, she was first marriage to Roger de Roumara (who will be further noticed presently); and secondly to Ranulph de Briquesard, surnamed le Meschin (or the younger,) Vicomte du Bessin, who in the year 1120 succeeded to the earldom of Chester. Before that. He appears to been regarded, in right of his marriage, Earl of the County of Lincoln, or in a catalog of tenants of lands in that County, made during the lifetime of his predecessor and the earldom of Chester, the words "Comes Linc." Are twice placed over the name Ranulfus Mischinus. He died in 1129, and was buried at Chester. The Countess Lucy was thereupon admitted to the inheritance of her father's lands in Lincolnshire, for which she paid a fine of 268L 13 s. 4d. Into the Exchequer, purchasing at the same time, by the payment of 500 marks of silver, exemption from being again given away by the Crown in marriage within the next five years. She further rendered account of 45 marks to be a for the conclusion of this covenant, and given to whom the King willed: and of which 20 marks had been already paid to the Queen. And she oh 100 marks for the privilege of administering justice in her court among her vassals. Her son of Earl Ranulph (who must have been then of age) as a debtor to the Crown in 500 marks of silver for the agreement which the King made between him and his mother respecting her dower. She confirmed in her second widowhood the Manor of Spalding to the monks of that place, or either she, or her mother, or perhaps Bowes, were buried.

Her children were, or Roger de Romara, William the Earl of Lincoln; and by Ranulph Earl of Chester, two sons and two daughters, viz. Ranulph de Gernons, Earl of Chester; William, said to have been Earl of Cambridge; Alice, the wife of Richard Fitz-Gilbert, ancester of the Clares, Earls of Gloucester and Hertford; and Agnes, wife of Robert de Grandmesnil.


From the several facts in the descent of the Earldom stated hereafter, it appears that King Stephen, after the death of the Countess Lucia, granted investiture of the dignity to her two sons by her several husbands, as co-parceners. Though no actual record of this event is preserved, still William of Malmesbury seems to allude to it, when he says that the King had added to the honours of both brothers. Subsequently, Earl Ranulph procured his share of the Earldom to be transferred to Gilbert de Gant, his prisoner at the battle of Lincoln, whom at the same time compelled to marry his neice, and that personage and William de Romara bore contemporaneously from that date the title of Earl of Lincoln.

The Topographer and Genealogist - Volume 1 - Page 12
John Gough Nichols – 1846

Iuo Taillebois

Brother of Ralph Taillebois, whom he may have succeeded briefly as sheriff of Bedfordshire after Ralph's death shortly before 1086. From west Normandy, as shows by Ralph's sale of land at Villers to Saint Etienne de Caen (Actes. caen, p. 106, 127), and by Ivo's gift of the church of Cristot (Calvados, arr. Caen, cant. Tilly-sur-Seulles), attested by his brother Robert (see Loyd, 100). Taillebois is the name of a small hamlet in the commune of Saint-Gervais de Briouze (Calvados). Members of the Taillebois family later held land at Pointel, near Briouze; see J.M. Bouvris is Revue Avranchin t. Ixiv, no. 331, 105 annee, June 1987. The William Taillebois who occurs in the Lincolnshire Domesday was doubtless a kinsman, perhaps the son of Thomas Taillebois; Robert and Thomas Taillebois attest Braose charters in the 1080/90s (CDF, 1114, 1119). A notable and ruthless royal official, he was active against both Hereward the Wake and Ralph of Gael in the 1070s. In 1086 Ivo was sheriff of Lincolnshire, where he held a considerable fief as tenant-in-chief. It was formed largely as the result of his marriage to Lucy daughter and heiress of Turold, sheriff of Lincolnshire c. 1066-1083; a grant to Saint-Nicholas d'Angers in 1083 by Ivo and his wife refers to Turold and his wife as deceased. Lucy's marriage portion had come to Turold with the daughter of William Malet, one of Ivo's Domesday predecessors. Ivo died in or shortly after 1093, his fief passing to the heirs of Lucy's third husband, Ranulph I earl of Chester. None of it passed to the heirs of his daughter Beatrice, wife of Ribald brother of Count Alan. The reason is unknown, but does not necessarily mean that Beatrice was illegitimate or not the daughter of Lucy.
Domesday People: Domesday book
K. S. B. Keats-Rohan
Boydell & Brewer Ltd, 1999

ROGER FitzGerold, son of GEROLD & his wife Aubreye --- (-before 1098).  Châtelain de Neufmarché.  “R filius Geroldi” donated property to St Mary’s, York by charter dated to [1094/98], witnessed by “L. sua uxor et suus frater Wido…”[899].

m (after 1094) as her second husband, LUCY, widow of IVO Taillebois Lord of Kendal, daughter of --- & his wife [--- Malet] (-1138).  Ingulph's Chronicle of the Abbey of Croyland records that William I King of England arranged the marriage of "Ivo Taillebois" and "Lucia sister of Edwin and Morcar", her dowry consisting of their land at Hoyland[900], but this parentage appears impossible from a chronological point of view.  Peter of Blois's Continuation of the Chronicle of the Abbey of Croyland records the death of Ivo and his burial at the priory of Spalding, that their only daughter "who had been married to a husband of noble rank" had predeceased her father, and the remarriage of his widow "hardly had one month elapsed after his death" with "Roger de Romar the son Gerald de Romar"[901].  A manuscript recording the foundation of Spalding monastery records that “Yvo Talboys” married "Thoroldo…hærede Lucia" who, after the death of Ivo, married (in turn) "Rogerum filium Geroldi" and "comitem Cestriæ Ranulphum"[902].  Ingulph's Chronicle of the Abbey of Croyland records that "his wife the lady Lucia" married "Roger de Romar the son of Gerald de Romar" when "hardly had one month elapsed after the death" of her first husband "Ivo Taillebois"[903].  “R filius Geroldi” donated property to St Mary’s, York by charter dated to [1094/98], witnessed by “L. sua uxor et suus frater Wido…”[904].  She married thirdly (1098) Ranulf "Meschin" Earl of Chester.  She is named as wife of Ranulf by Orderic Vitalis, who also names her first husband, but does not give her origin[905].  According to a charter of Henri Duke of Normandy (later Henry II King of England) to her son Ranulf Earl of Chester dated 1153, Ctss Lucy was the niece of Robert Malet of Eye and of Alan of Lincoln, as well as kinswoman of Thorold "the Sheriff"[906].

From the several facts in the descent of the Earldom stated hereafter, it appears that King Stephen, after the death of the Countess Lucia, granted investiture of the dignity to her two sons by her several husbands, as co-parceners. Though no actual record of this event is preserved, still William of Malmesbury seems to allude to it, when he says that the King had added to the honours of both brothers. Subsequently, Earl Ranulph procured his share of the Earldom to be transferred to Gilbert de Gant, his prisoner at the battle of Lincoln, whom at the same time compelled to marry his niece, and that personage and William de Romara bore contemporaneously from that date the title of Earl of Lincoln.

The Topographer and Genealogist, Volume 1
John Gough Nichols
publisher not identified, 1846

Leofric of Mercia d. 1057 Staffordshire England
+Lady Godiva

Aelfgar Elfgar of Mercia(died c. 1060 )

Lucia of Bolingbroke
+Ives Ivo Taillebois d.1114
some sources say these are both same woman
Lucy De Ramera
+Ranulph De Meschines d.Jan 1127/28 Earl of Chester

Alice De Meschines d.1138
+Richard FitzGilbert De Clare d. 1107 , Earl of Hertford

Roger De Clare d.1173 5th Earl of Clare; 3rd Earl of Hertford
+Matilda Maud De St. Hilary d.1193

Maud De Clare d. 1204
+Nigel De Mowbray d. 1191 2nd Baron Mowbray

William De Mowbray d. 1224 6th Baron of Thirsk, 4th Baron Mowbray
+Avice Agnes d'Albini Daubigny d. 1223

Roger De Mowbray d. 1266 Baron of Thirsk and knight
+ Matilda Maud De Beauchamp d. 1273

Roger De Mowbray II d. 1298 Knt; 1st Baron Mowbray of Thirsk and Hovingham
+Rohese De Clare 1217

John De Mowbray d.1321 2nd Baron Mowbray of Axholme
+Aline Alivia Alice DeBraose

John De Mowbray d. 1361 3rd Lord Mowbray,Baron of Axholme
+Joan Plantagenet d. 1349

John De Mowbray d. 1368 Lord Mowbray of Axholme
+Elizabeth De Seagrave 1368

Thomas Mowbray d. 1400 1st Duke of Norfolk, 1st Earl of Nottingham, 3rd Earl of Norfolk
+Elizabeth FitzAlan d. 1425

Margaret De Mowbray d. 1425
+ Sir Robert Howard 1437

John Howard d. 1485 1st Duke of Norfolk
+Catherine Moleyns d. 1465

Thomas Howard d. 1524 2nd Duke of Norfolk gfather of Queen Anne Boleyn and Queen Catherine Howard
+Agnes Tiley 1545

William Howard d. 1572 1st Baron Howard of Effingham
+Margaret Gamage d.1581

William Howard d. 1600
+Francis Gouldwell

Francis Howard d. 1651 Sir
+Jane Monson

John Howard d. 1661 Member House of Burgesses
+Margaret Clarke 1661

Henry Howard d. 1771
+Elizabeth Moss 1731

Ann Howard d. 1814
+William Tunnell

Elizabeth Tunnell d. 1835
+ George Russell Ball d. 1825

Hester Ball d. aft 1860
+Jesse Fuller after 1860

Sarah Fuller d. 1921
+Moses Hayton d.1875

James Madison Hayton after 1930
+Elizabeth Tennessee Harris 1939

Nancy Jane Hayton d. 1957
+George Washington Lilly d. 1956

Mary Elizabeth Lilly d. 2012
+Frank C. Taylor Sr. d. 2004 my paternal grandparents

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