|Spouse(s)||Isabel de Cantilupe|
|Mother||Cecilia de Longchamp|
Stephen Devereux (c. 1191 – 1228) was a powerful Marcher Lord, and held Lyonshall Castle controlling an important approach to the border of Wales. As a key member of William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke retinue, he played a significant role in the Earl's support of King John during the First Barons' War, and during the minority of Henry III.
Birth and ancestry
Stephen Devereux was born about 1191, the eldest of three sons of Walter Devereux and Cecilia de Longchamp. Cecilia was the daughter of Sir Hugh de Longchamp and sister to William de Longchamp, Lord Chancellor of England. His father, Walter, died in 1197, and as a member of the retinue of William de Braose this probably occurred in France during May 1197 at the assault on the castle at Milly-sur-Thérain. Braose was with Richard I as he campaigned to regain his territories lost while Richard was held captive by Leopold of Austria. Walter Devereux's lands passed into the King's hands and were placed in the custody of the sheriff of Hereford, William de Braose, 4th Lord of Bramber. His sons were placed in the retinue of local lords for training as knights: Stephen Devereux with William Marshal, earl of Pembroke; Nicholas Devereux with Walter de Lacy, Lord of Meath;[a] and John Devereux with William de Braose, 4th Lord of Bramber.[b] Stephen's mother, Cecilia, launched into a series of legal fights to preserve her dower rights and the Devereux properties.[c]
About 1199 Stephen Devereux was placed in the retinue of William Marshal for training as a knight, and over the years came ‘to be trusted for his cool-headed judgement’ and a member of the earl's inner circle. In spring of 1201, Philip of France confiscated all of England's possessions in France, and in May of this year Devereux accompanied the earl of Pembroke when we went to Normandy with 100 knights to counter a French invasion. King John abandoned Normandy in December 1203, and they returned to England. Marshal tried to retain his Normandy estates at Longueville, and paid homage to King Philip for this purpose. This led to a falling out of favour with King John that festered over the next few years. In 1205 Stephen Devereux's uncle and namesake, Stephen de Longchamp, granted him the manor of Frome Herbert (Halmond) with John confirming it on 26 July, and this probably was an early attempt to subvert the loyalty of Stephen to the earl of Pembroke.
Against the king's wishes, William Marshal and Devereux traveled in early 1207 to Ireland to secure the earl's lands and title to Leinster. In late summer John summoned the earl to return to England. The Marshal held council with his wife and leading men, including Stephen, and all believed the summons to be a trick to allow the Justiciar of Ireland, Meiler FitzHenry, to seize key fortresses and drive Marshal from Ireland. The Marshal decided to comply with the summons, but only bring with him 2 knights of his retinue: John Marshal and Henry Hose. The earl prepared his defenses, assigning John of Earley as guardian of south-west Leinster (Ossory, including county Kilkenny and Wexford) with Stephen Devereux to advise him, and Jordan of Sauqueville as guardian of north-east Leinster (Carlow, Wicklow, and Kildare).
William Marshal arrived back in Wales in late 1207, and in his absence the king's Justiciar launched assaults on his lands across Leinster. In England, the earl arrived at court to find that the king had bought off his allies and supporters with lands and offices, and he was isolated and unable to find out the state of his lands in Ireland. The Justiciar delivered three letters in January 1208 summoning John of Earley, Jordan de Saqueville, and Stephen Devereux to appear before the king in England within 15 days, or suffer the loss of all their lands. The three decided to stand fast for their lord, William Marshal, and sent to seek aid from Hugh de Lacy, 1st Earl of Ulster, to resist the forces assaulting them.
In January 1208 King John of England took the opportunity while out riding to torment William Marshal. He informs him that the earl's pregnant wife was besieged in Kilkenny castle, and that a bloody battle had been fought there causing the death of Stephen Devereux and John of Earley. The truth came out a few weeks later. Marshal's forces were victorious, and this prompted a reconciliation with King John. William Marshal rewarded his loyal knights with lands, and Devereux received the castles of Balmagir and Selskar in county Wexford.[d]
By the summer of 1208, William de Braose, 4th Lord of Bramber, had fallen out of favor with King John and fled to his friend, the earl of Pembroke, in Ireland. The king's men seized Braose's lands, and tracked him to Leinster. Marshal denied knowledge of the charges against Braose, and refused to turn him over claiming he was under the protection of his hospitality. Braose was escorted to Meath where he took sanctuary with Walter de Lacy. John seized Braose's lands, and replaced him as sheriff of Hereford with his mercenary commanders. Among these lands were the estates of the under-age Stephen Devereux including his castle at Lyonshall, Hereford. This at first was given over to Walter de Lacy, but on discovering that Braose was in Meath, the king seized the de Lacy lands in Ireland, and placed Lyonshall in the hands of Miles Pichard. John raised a great army to bring to Ireland, and William Marshal rushed to England to renew his submission and vow no further support for de Braose. John's force landed in Waterford, and marched north. Walter de Lacy submitted, but his brother Hugh de Lacy resisted and was defeated. Hugh de Lacy fled to Scotland, and William de Braose fled to France and died. William Marshal was again in disfavor, and the king's wrath fell also on his followers. John of Earley, Jordan of Saqueville, and Geoffrey of Saqueville were imprisoned, and Devereux found all his estates back in the king's hands.
The next year brought uprisings in Wales, and increasing unrest among England's barons at the poor rule of King John. Marshal seized this opportunity to make a gesture of support for the king, prompting the release of the earl's men and restoration of Stephen Devereux's estates. As John's popularity plummeted, Marshal and his knights bolstered the king's forces helping to stabilize the situation. Stephen is rewarded with the pardon of 4 marks of scutage by King John in 1211, and two fees held of the Bishops of Worcester and Winchester in 1214. Walter de Lacy released ½ knight's fee in the manor of Haymond's Frome (Frome Halmond) to Stephen d’Ebroicis.[e]
Stephen Devereux participated in the King's expedition to Poitou in France during the first part of 1214, and is present for the conquest of Anjou and the final withdrawal following the Battle of Bouvines. King John was forced to offer tax concessions to induce participation, but many leading barons still were not involved directly choosing to send proxies instead. It is probable that Stephen served in this role for the Marshal. His reward included instructions to the royal forester, Hugh de Neville, to measure 40 acres at his manor of Crowle in the royal forest of Feckenham for assarting (clearance for agriculture) in accord with the license the King had granted Stephen. The Pipe Roll of Michaelmas 1214 recorded Stephen Devereux as owing 6 dogs for obtaining an order from the king. On 2 August 1222 a writ was sent to the sheriff of Worcestershire involving Crowle. The order showed that Crowle had been given to the Prior of Wormsley by Stephen, but his original grant was being called into question. In 1224 Stephen's position was strong enough to point out to the government that the 40 acres of assart granted him at Crowle were to be placed outside the regard, and they were for the three years.[f]
Stephen also served with William le Gros as the Marshall's attorney in a suit in 1214 involving the Abbey of Abingdon and Faringdon. With John's failures in France, unrest swept England again, and the first Barons’ War broke out. William Marshall and Stephen Devereux stood firm with the King, and were deeply involved in the negotiations resulting in the Magna Carta, which John signed at Runnymede on 15 June 1215. On 4 July 1215 King John wrote in a royal writ describing Stephen as ‘our dear and faithful’ when ordering a quittance of an annual render to Hereford Castle of 32 gallons of honey from Devereux's manor of Ballingham. Stephen Devereux was further rewarded with many holdings forfeited by the rebels: Ballingham and Clehonger in Herefordshire (27 Jan 1216),[g] L20 of land in Stanton, Worcestershire (30 July 1216),[h] and lands at Rotherwas (1219).[i]
As the king worked to reverse the Magna Carta, England again plunged into civil war. The earl of Pembroke and Stephen Devereux remained faithful to the King, but at the time of John's death on 18 October 1216 two thirds of England was in open rebellion and a French army had landed at Sandwich, county Kent, to support the claim of their Prince (who became Louis VIII of France) to the throne. As William Marshal attended to the burial of John, he sent his men to secure John's son, Henry III. On 28 October 1216 the earl had a heated debate with his mesnie including Stephen Devereux, and the decision was to support Henry's claim to the throne. William Marshal was appointed Guardian of the Realm, and Devereux was placed on the regency council entrusted with protecting the king during his minority. Moving quickly the royalists regained the initiative, and support began to flow back to Henry. Stephen Devereux was probably with the Earl of Pembroke at the Battle of Lincoln on 20 May 1217 when the baronial rebels were soundly defeated. The French claimant, Prince Louis, was forced to break off his siege of Dover, and following the destruction of his reinforcements at the naval battle of Sandwich on 24 August 1217, abandoned England and his claim to the throne.
Over the next year Devereux was actively assisting Marshal in bringing order to the realm, and was among the earl's knights to stand vigil as the earl of Pembroke's health failed. Stephen was one of the earl's retinue given a fine, fur trimmed scarlet robe as a token of his esteem. It was to Stephen Devereux that William Marshal had entrusted 2 lengths of silken cloth obtained in Jerusalem, and now sent for to use as his funeral shroud. William Marshal died on 14 May 1219, and was laid to rest in the Temple Church in London.
In June 1219 Stephen Devereux was assigned as inquisitor along with William Cantilupe Senior, Walter Muscegros, Gilbert Talbot, and Hugh Rigal (clerk) with instructions to travel through Hereford County reviewing the use of land, and insuring that all was being done by grant of the king. Also he was appointed a forest commissioner for the Eyre in Hereford. The following year Stephen was appointed a justice of gaol delivery for Hereford[j]
During 1219 Devereux confirmed the grant of his father and himself of the whole church of Lyonshall to the canons of Pyon, and expressed his regret that the urgency of his affairs prevented him from tendering his gift in person. To secure his position in Hereford, Stephen Devereux accepted a grant from Gilbert de Lacy of 12 virgates of land in the manor of Staunton-on-Wye (part of the honor of Weobley also held by the Pichard's) for which Stephen “should be in my familia” or military retinue. As a supporter now of de Lacy, both Walter and Gilbert de Lacy witnessed and confirmed Stephen's further extensive grants to Wormsley Priory about 1220,[k] which were valued at 83 pounds 10 shillings 2 pence annually. The majority of the lands were located near Kings Pyon about 7.5 miles south-east of Lyonshall. Stephen granted the mill at Lyonshall with the raw materials to support it from his manor; pigs from the woods of Lyonshall; land in that area and in Halmond's Frome near their mill; a portion of the annual rents of Lyonshall, Frome, and Stokes; pasture in his manner of Cheddrehole; and salt from his manor at Crowle.[l] In this grant there is also mention of his wife, Isabel, and mother, ‘the widow Cecilia’ (who was holding some of the lands involved in the grant). On 20 February 1223 Prior Ralph of Wormsley promised not to alienate or sell any of the lands or possessions which they held of the gift of Stephen Devereux without his assent.
In 1221 Stephen had a dispute with the Canon of Hereford, M. William de Ria, over a weir in the River Wye in Hereford. This extended into October 1222 when Stephen was also involved in further litigation against William, Archdeacon of Hereford. Devereux had further litigation in August 1221 against Isabel, Aldith, and Cecily, daughters of Simon Bocha, in a plea of assize of mort d’ancestor by Gerard le Pele. Also in October 1221 Stephen Devereux was in court over a plea of land in Gloucester with the Master of the Knight's Templar of England.
In 1223 he participated in a military expedition again the Welsh. For this service he had scutage of all his tenants in the counties of Gloucester and Hereford, who held of him by military service. On 27 April 1223 from the Court at St. Albans an order to the sheriffs of Essex and Hertfordshire to cause the demand that the King makes from Stephen d’Évreux by summons of the Exchequer for several scutages from his land of Trumpington to be placed in respite until upon his next account. In 1225 he helped escort the collected fifteenth for that year from Hereford to Gloucester, and on 4 June 1227 he was granted a weekly market and yearly fair at Lyonshall in perpetuity.
Finally, in 1227 the 2nd Earl of Pembroke, William fitzWilliam Marshal, solidified their alliance with the grant to Devereux of Wilby Manor in Norfolk. The King confirmed this on 4 June 1227.[m] Stephen Devereux had previously purchased part of a carucate of land from Walter Giffard at Banham, part of Wilby, and the rest of the manor had been sold to the Marshalls. Devereux was granted a fair and market at Banham on St. Barnabas' day (June 11).
About 1208 William Marshal directed his attention to arranging marriage alliances for his children. He did the same for his foster son in 1209, when he arranged Stephen Devereux's marriage to Isabel de Cantilupe, daughter of William de Cantilupe Sheriff of Herefordshire and his wife, Mazilia Braci. She was also the aunt of Thomas de Cantilupe, Bishop of Hereford. They would go on to have children:
- Unknown Daughter (born ~1213)[n]
- Margaret Devereux (born ~1216). She married Alexander Redmond of The Hall.[o]
- William Devereux (born 1219) who was his heir, and probably named in honor of William Marshal who died this year.
- Philip Devereux, knight of Balmagir (born ~1221)[p]
Following Stephen Devereux's death Isabel Cantilupe married a second time to Richard Penebruge, and survived him as well.
Stephen Devereux's principal seat was at Lyonshall Castle in Hereford. His manors included Ballingham, Frome Halmond (Herbert), Stoke Lacy, Holme Lacy, La Fenne (Bodenham), and Whitchurch maund in Herefordshire; Cheddrehole (Cheddar) in Somerset; Lower Hayton in Salop; and Wilby in Norfolk. Additional lands included Clehonger, and Staunton-on-Wye in Herefordshire; Crowle in the Royal Forest of Feckham, and Staunton in Worcester; Guiting and Oxenhall in Gloucestershire; and Trumpington in Cambridgeshire. Oxenhall, Trumpington, Frome Halmond and Whitchurch maund were held by Isabel de Cantilupe in dower until her death.
Stephen Devereux died on 17 Mar 1228. His wife, Isabel survived him, and married a second time to Ralph de Penbrugge (between 1230 and 1242). On 17 March 1228 from the Court at Windsor a writ concerning lands to be taken into the King's hand. Order to the sheriff of Herefordshire that, immediately after having viewed these letters, he is to take into the King's hand the land that Stephen d’Évreux held of the King in chief near to Gillow and all other lands that he held in his bailiwick, and to keep them safely until the King is certain to whom the custody of the aforesaid lands pertains, whether to the King or to another.
In March 1228 the King issued a writ instructing the sheriff of Hereford to release the lands of Isabel Cantilupe's dower that had been taken into his hands by the order of the king on Stephen's death. On 21 February 1244, the king provided a further writ specifically restoring to her the manor of Frome Herbert (Frome Halmond), which was held in dower as part of the barony of Walter de Lacy. On 3 April 1228 the king further clarified that the sheriff was to take into his possession certain lands that Stephen held by fee of Gilbert de Lacy.
In 1242, Isabel Devereux held in Magene Album (Whitchurch maund in the parish of Bodenham) of the Honor of Weobley 2 hides from Roger Pichard by knight's service in the Hundred of Brokesesse in Hereford. On 21 February 1244 his widow, gave to the Hospital of St. Ethelbert for the souls of herself and her two husbands "unam ladum bladi" at the Feast of St. Andrew during her life to be received at her house in Frome. This Deed has a seal of white wax with the arms of Devereux and around it "Sigillum Isabell +" and was witnessed by Hugh de Kilpeck, John de Ebroicis, and Richard de Chandos. The arms of Devereux was described as "a fess and in chief three torteauxes."
- Nicholas Devereux would eventually become the Steward of Meath for Walter de Lacy, and inherit the Devereux manors of Chanston (Hereford) and East Leach (Gloucester).
- John Devereux would be granted the Decies (county Waterford). When William de Broase eventually fell out of favor with King John in 2010, John Devereux became part of the retinue of William Marshall with his brother, Stephen.
- Two examples: Curia Regis Roll: Michaelmas Term, 9 John 1207. Cicely Devereux was fined 3 marks for mercy in the suit over Putley. The matter was eventually settled when the canons produced the charter that William Devereux had conferred on them, and demonstrated they had possessed the right of patronage for the previous 60 years. An arrangement was made where Cecilia released her own claims and the future rights of her heirs and assigns in the contested portion of the advowson, for which concession she was paid eight marks of silver with the privilege of having her obit celebrated in the Cathedral at the annual thanksgiving to benefactors. Curia Regis Roll: Michaelmas Term, 13 John, 1211, Membrane 6, Page 144. Gloucester— Cecilia Devereux seeks against William de Lechlade six and a half hides of land and 6 acres of land with the appurtenances in Lech (Leach) as her right and inheritance. And so William Devereux, the grandfather of the aforesaid Cicely, was seised in the time of King Henry the Lord's father, etc. And William comes and defends his right to hold in the Lord's name, and he puts forward his great assize of the Lord King and seeks to have his seisin recognized, as is aforesaid, whether he should have the greater right of holding than Cicely the land of William Devereux, her grandfather and by whom she herself stakes her claim of the land, he (William Devereux) gave his mother, Orenge. Cicely received a marriage-portion to hold of him if she held this in the Lord's name. Day is given them on the octave of St. Martin, and then come the fourth. etc.
- A pedigree of the Devereux of Ballybarne (Kilrush), County Wexford, indicates their family descended from the ‘ancient family of Devereux of Balmagir in that county, who settled there in the reign of King John’ (1199-1216)
- Later there was the following entry in the Book of Fees during the time of Henry III referring to an earlier charter involving lands held by his widow: “In the manor of Frome Haymond which contains four hides, Isabel Devereux holds from the Honor of Weobley from old; and the four hides formerly were responsible for one knight fee, and through this charter, Walter de Lacy releases Stephen Devereux from one half fee.”
- After his death there is reference on 30 December 1232 (Calendar of Charter Rolls, Tewkesbury, membrane 12) to an exception in the “Grant to the hospital of St. Wulstan, Worcester, without the gate of Suthbiri, and the brethren there, or the following gifts: … of the gift of Stephen de Ebroicis, the patronage of the church of Croul…”
- Forfeited by Walter de Stokes
- Forfeited by Peter of Stanton
- Forfeited by Peter of Welles
- Curia Regis Roll: Trinity Term, 4 Henry III, 1220, May 22, Membrane 28, page 198. Pleas of the Crown ‘gaolis’ Hereford deliberating before the M. de Pateshull, Stephen De Evreux dissesisin, new assize, and like manner and his associates, etc. the fourth year of the reign of King Henry, son of John.
- Stephen Devereux's brother, John, witnessed his grants.
- As described above Crowle was in the hands of the Priors before 1224
- Calendar of Charter Rolls, Merton, membrane 8: as “Grant to Stephen de Ebroicis of all the land of Wyleby which he has of the gift of William Marshall, Earl of Penbroch, pursuant to a charter of the said Earl.”
- On May 2, 1234 (Reading, Close, 18 Hen III, membrane 25) indicates that as Walter de Lacy was on the King’s service in Ireland, the Sheriff of Hereford was commanded to respite till the Quizaine of Michaelmas the plaint in his county by the King’s writ between Walter de Baskerville, complainant, and the said Walter deforcient, touching the daughters of Stephen D’Evreux.
- The ancient latin pedigree of the family records: Dominus Alexander de Redmond de Aula eques qui obiit AD 1285, nupt. fuit a Margareta filia Domini Stephani Devereux de Ballymaguir in Comitatu Wexfordensi equities. Alexander Redmond was a descendant of Raymond FitzGerald, brother in law of Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke
- A pedigree of the Devereux of Carigmenan, County Wexford (held in the National Archives in Dublin) was headed by Philip Devereux with written annotation indicating he came to Ireland in 1232. He may have been named for Stephen Devereux’s fellow knight in the retinue of William Marshal, Philip of Prendergast.
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- The Manuscripts of the Earl of Westmoreland, Captain Stewart, Lord Stafford, Lord Muncaster, And Others. (London: Public Records Office, 1885). Page 416
- Curia Regis Rolls, volume XVIII, 1243-1245. (London, Boydell Press, 1999). Entry 703, Entry 790, and Entry 886
- Thomas Asbridge. The Greatest Knight. (New York: Harper Collins, 2014). Page 374
- Gabriel O’C. Redmond. "An Account of the Anglo-Norman Family of Devereux, of Balmagir, County Wexford." (Dublin: Office of "The Irish Builder," 1891). Pages 4
- Deputy Keeper of Records. Liber Feodorum. The book of fees, commonly called the Testa de Nevill. (London: Public Record Office, 1920). Page 439
- William Farrer (editor). Feudal Cambridgeshire. (Cambridge: University Press, 1920). Page 221
- John Gough Nichols (editor). Collectanea Topographica & Genealogica, Volume II. (London: John Bowyer Nichols and Son, 1835). Page 250
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