William de Warenne (justice)

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This article is about the royal justice and Baron of Wormegay. For other uses, see William de Warenne.
William de Warenne
Died 1209
Occupation Baron Wormegay
Royal justice
Spouse(s) Melisent
Children Beatrice
Parent(s) Reginald de Warenne
Alice de Wormegay

William de Warenne or William de Warenne of Wormgay[1] (died 1209) was a royal justice under King Richard I of England and King John as well as lord of a barony in Norfolk.

Warenne was the son of another royal justice, Reginald de Warenne. Reginald de Warenne was also Sheriff of Sussex from 1170 to 1176.[2] Reginald acquired the barony of Wormegay in Norfolk through his wife, Alice. Warenne inherited the barony when his father died in 1179.[3]

Warenne was one of a group of justices – including Richard Barre, Ralph Foliot, Richard Herriard, and William of Sainte-Mère-Église – who were appointed in 1194 by the Lord Chancellor Hubert Walter as justices for a new general eyre, to relieve the Barons of the Exchequer of some of their judicial duties.[4] In 1195 Warenne served as a royal justice at Oxford with Hubert Walter, William Briewerre and Geoffrey of Buckland.[5] Warenne served again as a justice in 1198–1199 and then again during the first two years of the reign of King John. His last service as a justice was in 1200.[1] In 1200, John removed Warenne as a royal justice and instead appointed him as one of the four justices for the Jews, replacing Simon of Pattishall.[6] These officials were not concerned with judicial matters concerning Jews, but instead had been created in 1194 to collect debts owed to Jews by non-Jews.[7][a] Warenne continued in that office until 1209.[6] Besides judicial duties, Warenne also served in other capacities, working with Barre and Osbert fitzHervey to collect the carucage in 1194 in eastern England.[9] In 1199 he again served with Barre and fitzHervey to impose amercements in the counties of Cambridge, Northamptonshire, Huntingdonshire, Norfolk, and Suffolk.[10]

As a reward for his service, Warenne was given custody of a number of lands confiscated from Prince John, including the Honour of Gloucester, which Warenne administered for the royal government from 1194 to 1196 during the captivity of King Richard.[6] Another reward was the granting of the right of wardship to minor heirs. In 1194 Warenne was given custody of the heir of Hugh de Chandos, in return for which Warenne gave the king 40 marks.[11] Warenne's career was closely tied to Hubert Walter's, who promoted his career as a justice. Besides his royal service, Walter employed Warenne as a justice on ecclesiastical matters, dispatching him in 1194 to York to deal with complaints by the cathedral chapter of York Minster against their archbishop, Geoffrey. In return, Warenne was a witness on Walter's charters founding a monastery at West Dereham.[12]

Warenne offered King John 500 marks in return for the right to marry Melisent, who was the widow of Richard de Mountfichet, lord of Stansted in Essex.[13] Warenne's only surviving child was a daughter, Beatrice, whom he married to Doun Bardolf. Beatrice survived her father and married secondly someone named Ralph and thirdly to Hubert de Burgh, the last marriage taking place around 1211.[14] Beatrice had a son, William, by her first marriage, who became his grandfather's eventual heir. Warenne's grandson's rights to the barony were controlled by Beatrice's third husband, who did not relinquish them until after his death, in 1243.[3]

Warenne founded Wormegay Priory, a house of Augustinian monks.[15] He also gave gifts to the priory of St Mary Overy in Southwark, where he was buried,[16] to Carrow Abbey where one of his sisters was a nun, and to Lewes Priory, where his father had become a monk before his death.[17]

Warenne died in 1209.[3] The historian Ralph Turner said of Warenne that "although he was a longtime official under King John, he did not quite fit into the inner corps of royal counselors".[18]


  1. ^ This was of interest to the king because all debts owed a Jew became owed to the king when the Jew died.[8]


  1. ^ a b Turner English Judiciary p. 80
  2. ^ Turner English Judiciary p. 90 and footnote 6
  3. ^ a b c Saunders English Baronies p. 101
  4. ^ Turner English Judiciary p. 73
  5. ^ West Justiciarship p. 94
  6. ^ a b c Turner English Judiciary pp. 86–87
  7. ^ Turner "Simon of Pattishall" Albion p. 118
  8. ^ Turner and Heiser Reign of Richard Lionheart p. 113
  9. ^ Appleby England without Richard p. 217
  10. ^ West Justiciarship p. 163
  11. ^ Turner English Judiciary p. 115 footnote 36
  12. ^ Turner English Judiciary p. 105
  13. ^ Turner English Judiciary p. 113
  14. ^ Turner English Judiciary pp. 119–120
  15. ^ Turner English Judiciary p. 263 footnote 22
  16. ^ Turner English Judiciary p. 265 footnote 20
  17. ^ Turner "Religious Patronage" Albion p. 8 and footnote 33
  18. ^ Turner "Religious Patronage" Albion p. 2


  • Appleby, John T. (1965). England Without Richard: 1189–1199. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. 
  • Sanders, I. J. (1960). English Baronies: A Study of Their Origin and Descent 1086–1327. Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press. OCLC 931660. 
  • Turner, Ralph V. (2008). The English Judiciary in the age of Glanvill and Bracton, c. 1176–1239 (Reprint ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-07242-5. 
  • Turner, Ralph V. (Spring 1986). "Religious Patronage of Angevin Royal Administrators, c. 1170–1239". Albion 18 (1): 1–21. doi:10.2307/4048700. 
  • Turner, Ralph V. (1977). "Simon of Pattishall, Pioneer Professional Judge". Albion 9 (2): 115–127. doi:10.2307/4048402. 
  • Turner, Ralph V.; Heiser, Richard R. (2000). The Reign of Richard Lionheart: Ruler of the Angevin Empire 1189–1199. The Medieval World. Harlow, UK: Longman. ISBN 0-582-25660-7. 
  • West, Francis (1966). The Justiciarship in England 1066–1232. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.