Hugh de Morville, Lord of Cunningham

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Hugh de Morville (died 1162) of Appleby in Westmorland, England, hereditary Constable of Scotland, was a Norman knight who made his fortune in the service of David FitzMalcolm (d.1153), Prince of the Cumbrians, later King of Scotland.


Hugh came from Morville in the Cotentin Peninsula, in northern France. His parentage is unclear, but according to Barrow his father was probably Richard de Morville who in the early twelfth century witnessed charters made by Richard de Redvers relating to Montebourg and the church of St. Mary in the castle of Néhou.[1]

Enters service of FitzMalcolm[edit]

Prince David FitzMalcolm held Cotentin in northern France, given to him by King Henry I of England at some time after 1106, due to which circumstance Hugh came into his service. This feudal relationship indicates that Hugh originated in Normandy and is therefore unlikely to be a son of a Morville already settled to England. Soon after 1106 Hugh joined David's small military retinue in France. In 1113 and following his marriage, Prince David became Earl of Huntingdon and Northampton. He also became Prince of the Cumbrians, having forced his brother King Alexander I of Scotland, to hand over territory in southern Scotland[2] David achieved this with the help of his French followers[3]

David endowed Hugh with the estates of Bozeat and Whissendine, within his Huntingdon earldom[4][5][6] During David's conquest of northern England after 1136, Hugh was also given the lordship of Appleby, essentially northern Westmorland.[7] These lands later formed the feudal barony of Appleby.[8]

After the death of Edward, Constable of Scotland, almost certainly in 1138 at the Battle of the Standard, Hugh was awarded that office.[9] In addition "he obtained land and lordships which placed him in the very first rank of the Anglo-Norman nobility in Scotland. These comprised the Lordship of the Regality of Lauderdale, together with detached estates at Saltoun, Haddingtonshire, Nenthorn and Newton Don, Berwickshire, at Dryburgh on the Tweed opposite Old Melrose, and probably also at Heriot in Midlothian. In the west of Scotland he was given the whole of the Lordship of Cunningham, the northernmost third of Ayrshire. Lauderdale, with a castle at Lauder, was held, it seems, for six knights' service; Cunningham possibly for two, with a castle at Irvine."[10] In 1316-20 Cunningham was granted to Robert Stewart for three knight's service.[11]

Founds Dryburgh Abbey[edit]

In 1150 Hugh made a further mark on the history of southern Scotland by founding Dryburgh Abbey for Premonstratensian canons regular,[12] where he died as a canon in 1162.[13]

Marriage & progeny[edit]

Hugh married Beatrice de Beauchamp, the heiress of the manor of Houghton Conquest in Bedfordshire.[14] She is presumed[15] to be a daughter of Robert de Beauchamp (died pre-1130) (son of Hugh de Beauchamp), but no contemporary documents survive which record her parentage.[16] By Beatrice he had at least two sons and two daughters, including:[4]

Death & burial[edit]

Hugh eventually retired as a canon to his foundation at Dryburgh Abbey, where he soon died in 1162.[13] An ancient memorial to him in the south wall is said to mark his burial-place. His death has been recorded to be in 1204. If he participated in Thomas Becket's death in 1170 he could not have died 1162.


  1. ^ Barrow, Anglo-Norman era, pp. 70–71n.
  2. ^ Richard Oram, David: The King Who Made Scotland, (Gloucestershire, 2004), pp. 59–63; A.A.M. Duncan, Scotland: The Making of the Kingdom, (Edinburgh, 1975), pp. 134, 217–8, 223.
  3. ^ A.O. Anderson, Scottish Annals from English Chroniclers: AD 500–1286, (London, 1908), republished, Marjorie Ogilvie Anderson (ed.), (Stamford, 1991), p. 193.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Keith Stringer (2004). "Morville, Hugh de (d. 1162)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/19378. Retrieved 2006-11-27. 
  5. ^ which, since they are attested as his wife Beatrice's dowry, David presumably arranged by granting Hugh the wife who was herself inheriting them - this is a usual pattern of medieval rewards to lords: the reward comes in form of inheritance of an heiress whom the favored knight marries) and the Regalities of Lauderdale and (later) Cunningham in Scotland
  6. ^ G.W.S. Barrow, "Beginnings of Military Feudalism", p. 251; Keith Stringer, "Early Lords of Lauderdale", in Keith Stringer (ed.), Essays on the Nobility of Medieval Scotland, (Edinburgh, 1985), pp. 46-7, implies that he got his English possessions first, but his patron David acquired his English and southern 'Scottish' possessions at the same time, and there is no evidence that he granted out his English possessions before granting out his Scottish possessions.
  7. ^ Keith Stringer, "Morville, Hugh de (d. 1162)"; G.W.S. Barrow, "The Scots and the North of England", p. 138.
  8. ^ Sanders, I.J. English Baronies: A Study of their Origin and Descent 1086-1327, Oxford, 1960, pp.103-4, Appleby
  9. ^ lawrie, Sir Archibald, Early Scottish Charters Prior to A.D. 1153, (Glasgow, 1905), p. 379.
  10. ^ Ritchie, R.L. Graeme, The Normans in Scotland, Edinburgh University Press, 1954, and The Anglo-Norman Era in Scottish History by Professor G.W.S.Barrow, F.B.A., Oxford, 1980, pps: 70-72, plus see indexes for both books.
  11. ^ The Great Seal of Scotland, vol.1, no.54.
  12. ^ D.E.R. Watt, & N.F. Shead, (eds.), The Heads of Religious Houses in Scotland from the 12th to the 16th Centuries, The Scottish Record Society, New Series, Volume 24, (Edinburgh, 2001), p. 101.
  13. ^ a b Keith Stringer, "Early Lords of Lauderdale", p. 46.
  14. ^ Bannatyne Club (1847) Liber S. Marie de Dryburgh: Registrum Cartarum Abbacie Premonstratensis de Dryburgh (Edinburgh) ("Dryburgh"), 14, p. 9.
  15. ^ Based on namesake traditions and descent of landholdings
  16. ^ Cawley, Charles, ENGLISH NOBILITY MEDIEVAL 3L-O: Toc389053859, Medieval Lands database, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy ,[self-published source][better source needed]
  17. ^ F. W. Ragg, ‘Charters to Byland Abbey’ Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Archaeological and Antiquarian Society New Series IX (1909), pp. 252-270.


  • Anderson, Alan Orr Scottish Annals from English Chroniclers: AD 500–1286, (London, 1908), republished, Marjorie Anderson (ed.) (Stamford, 1991)
  • Barrow, G.W.S., The Anglo-Norman Era in Scottish History, Oxford, 1980, p. 71n.
  • Barrow, G. W. S., "Beginnings of Military Feudalism", in G.W.S. Barrow (ed.), The Kingdom of the Scots, (Edinburgh, 2003), pp. 250–78
  • Barrow, G. W. S., (editor) The Scots and the North of England in The Kingdom of the Scots, (Edinburgh, 2003), pp. 130–47
  • Duncan, A.A.M., Scotland: The Making of the Kingdom, (Edinburgh, 1975)
  • Lawrie, Sir Archibald, Early Scottish Charters Prior to A.D. 1153, (Glasgow, 1905)
  • Oram, Richard, David: The King Who Made Scotland, (Gloucestershire, 2004)
  • Stringer, Keith, Early Lords of Lauderdale, in Keith Stringer (ed.), Essays on the Nobility of Medieval Scotland, (Edinburgh, 1985), pp. 44–71
  • Stringer, Keith, Morville, Hugh de (d. 1162), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 27 Nov 2006
  • Watt, D.E.R. & Shead, N.F. (eds.), The Heads of Religious Houses in Scotland from the 12th to the 16th Centuries, The Scottish Records Society, New Series, Volume 24, (Edinburgh, 2001)
Preceded by
New Creation
Lord of Lauderdale
1113 x 1124–1162
Succeeded by
Richard de Morville
Lord of Cunningham
1113 x 1124–1162
Preceded by
Constable of Scotland