William de Cantilupe (died 1239)

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Seal of William de Cantilupe showing his arms Gules, three fleurs-de-lys or[a]
Arms of William de Cantilupe: Gules, three fleurs-de-lys or ("Cantilupe Ancient"). These arms changed in the late 13th century to jessant-de-lys
Death of William I de Cantilupe recorded by Matthew Paris (d.1259) in his Historia Anglorum, folio 128v, with his shield of arms inverted

William I de Cantilupe (c. 1159 - 7 April 1239) (anciently Cantelow, Cantelou, Canteloupe, etc., Latinised to de Cantilupo)[2] 1st feudal baron of Eaton (Bray) in Bedfordshire, England, was an Anglo-Norman royal administrator who served as steward of the household to King John and as Baron of the Exchequer.


He was born in about 1159 in Buckinghamshire,[citation needed] the son of Walter de Cantilupe, recorded in 1166 as a minor landowner in Essex and Lincolnshire, who was a younger brother of Fulk de Cantilupe (died 1217/18), Sheriff of Berkshire in 1200/1.[3]

The de Cantilupe family which came to England at some time after the Norman Conquest of 1066 originated at one of several similarly named manors in Normandy, from which they took their name: Canteloup in Calvados, 11 miles east of Caen[4] or Chanteloup in Bréhal,[5] Manche, or Canteloup in Manche east of Cherbourg on the tip of the Cherbourg Peninsula.


Under King John[edit]

In 1198 Cantilupe was steward to John, Count of Mortain, the future King John, in which year his uncle Fulk de Cantilupe was also a member of John's household. From 1200 to 1204 he served as Sheriff of Worcestershire and in 1204 as Under-Sheriff of Herefordshire. In 1205 he took part in the ineffectual expedition to Poitou. In 1207, he was Sheriff of Worcestershire, serving until the end of the John's reign in 1216. In 1209, following his appointment as Sheriff of Warwickshire and Sheriff of Leicestershire, his main residence became Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire.[6]

Cantilupe was granted several manors formerly held by rebel barons during 1215–16, at the time of the signing of Magna Carta in 1215. He was commissioned by John to negotiate the return of such rebels to peaceable relations. He served as gaoler of baronial hostages, which action probably gained him the description by the contemporary chronicler Roger of Wendover as one of John's "evil counsellors".[7]

In 1204, Cantilupe was granted the Warwickshire manor of Aston, to which as was usual for the purpose of differentiation, was appended his family name, now Aston Cantlow. This manor had previously been held by William de Tankerville "the Chamberlain" before it escheated to the crown.[8]

In 1205 Cantilupe was granted the manor of Eaton,[9] in Bedfordshire, (from the 16th-century "Eaton Bray") which became the caput of the Cantilupe feudal barony, where he built a castle described by the monks of nearby Dunstable Priory in the Annals of Dunstable as being "a serious danger to Dunstable and the neighbourhood".[10] The grant was for knight-service of one knight and was in exchange for the manor of Great Coxwell, Berkshire, which had been granted to him previously[11] but the grant was deemed compromised.[12] Eaton had been held at the time of William the Conqueror by the latter's uterine half-brother Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, but later escheated to the crown.

Under King Henry III[edit]

Following the death of King John in 1216, many of the royal appointees to governorships of royal castles were reluctant to hand over their castles to the regency council which governed during the minority of his son, Henry III. They believed themselves obliged to hold their castles until Henry should have achieved 14 years of age,[13] when he would be able to follow his own policy.[14] These many refusals met with a forceful response from the council.

In 1217, under the regency council, during which year he was a Baron of the Exchequer, Cantilupe was at the siege of Mountsorrel Castle, Leicestershire, which was razed to the ground, and was also at the Second Battle of Lincoln. He served the council at the siege of Bedford in 1224.[6] He later served in Wales (1228 and 1231) and Brittany (1230).

Marriage and issue[edit]

He married Mazilia (or Marcelin/Mascelin) de Braci, daughter and heiress of Adulf de Braci of Mentmore in Buckinghamshire,[15] who brought him that manor and others in Kent, and by whom he had issue including:

Death and burial[edit]

Cantilupe died on 7 April 1239[27] and was buried at Studley Priory, Warwickshire.

Manors held[edit]

Among the many manors held by Cantilupe were:[citation needed]

  • Eaton, Bedfordshire.
  • Ipsley, Warwickshire, as tenants of which the Hubbard family took the later arms of Cantilupe ("Cantilupe modern"), 3 leopard's faces jessant-de-lys.
  • Brentingby, Leicestershire, as tenants of which the Woodforde family took the later arms of Cantilupe ("Cantilupe modern"), reversed.[28]
  • Calne, Wiltshire.
  • Calstone, Wiltshire.


  1. ^ Original full legend probably: SIGILLUM WILLELMI DE CANTILUPO (Seal of William de Cantilupe).[citation needed] His seal was on occasion used to authenticate the letters of the young King Henry III.[1] The arms of his descendants evolved in the late 13th century to 3 leopard's faces jessant-de-lys


  1. ^ Holden 2004b; John Nichols in his "History & Antiquities of the County of Leicestershire" (4 vols.), 1800, notes the existence of the seal of william de Cantilupe in connection with a deed dated 1215 relating to his manor of Brentingby: "3 fleurs-de-lys circumscribed"
  2. ^ The spelling used by most modern historians (i.e. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography) is "de Cantilupe", which is followed in this article; the matter is however controversial. The genealogist Douglas Richardson of Salt Lake City has pointed out that ironically "Cantilupe" is not a form which appears in ancient texts and himself prefers "Cantelowe"[1]. See further: G. Herbert Fowler, Tractatus de Dunstaple et de Hocton (Pubs. Bedfordshire Hist. Rec. Soc. 19) (1937), p.92: "Mr. Oswald Barron challenges (Complete Peerage, i, 23, note a) the use of this form (i.e. Cantilupe) of the name in English, with perfect justice.....
  3. ^ Holden 2004a.
  4. ^ Nicholas Vincent, biography of Sir George de Cantilupe (d.1273), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, p.953
  5. ^ G. E. Cokayne, The Complete Peerage, n.s., vol.3, p.111, note c
  6. ^ a b Luard 1886.
  7. ^ ODNB, p. 961, quoting Mathew Paris's "Chronicles"
  8. ^ Sanders, p. 40
  9. ^ Charter Rolls, vol.1, p.147; Annales Monastici, vol.3, p. 66, as quoted by Sanders p. 39
  10. ^ 'Parishes: Eaton Bray', in A History of the County of Bedford: Volume 3, ed. William Page (London, 1912), pp. 369-375 [2]
  11. ^ Sanders, p. 39, note 9
  12. ^ 'Parishes: Great Coxwell', in A History of the County of Berkshire: Volume 4, ed. William Page and P H Ditchfield (London, 1924), pp. 487-489 [3], note 9, quoting "Cal. Rot. Chart. 1199–1216 [Rec. Com.], i, 147"
  13. ^ For 14 as royal age of majority see Carpenter, op.cit., e.g. p.124
  14. ^ Carpenter, David. The Minority of Henry III
  15. ^ 'Parishes: Mentmore', in A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 3, ed. William Page (London, 1925), pp. 397-401 [4]
  16. ^ John I de Cantilupe, husband of Margaret Cumin of Snitterfield, is identified by William Dugdale as a son of William I de Cantilupe (d.1239), see Dugdale, William (1605-1686), Antiquities of Warwickshire, 1656, p.614, (re Aston Cantlow): "He (William I de Cantilupe) departed a this life 7 Id. Apr. 23 H.3 (i.e. 1238/9). being then very aged; leaving issue several sons, viz. William his son and heir, Walter a Priest and imployed by King H. 3. as his Agent to the Court of Rome, afterwards elected Bishop of Worcester ... John Lord of Snitfield in this Countie; and Nicholas, of whom I find no more than the bare mention."[5][6]. For a fuller pedigree of Cantilupe of Snitterfield see Dugdale pp.504-5 (re "Snitfeild")[7]
  17. ^ Pole, Sir William (d.1635), Collections Towards a Description of the County of Devon, Sir John-William de la Pole (ed.), London, 1791, p.276; Risdon, Tristram (d.1640), Survey of Devon, 1811 edition, London, 1811, with 1810 Additions, p.154 (inaccurate)
  18. ^ 'Parishes: Snitterfield', in A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 3, Barlichway Hundred, ed. Philip Styles (London, 1945), pp. 167-172. http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/warks/vol3/pp167-172
  19. ^ Pole, Sir William (d.1635), Collections Towards a Description of the County of Devon, Sir John-William de la Pole (ed.), London, 1791, p.276
  20. ^ G. E. Cokayne, The Complete Peerage, n.s., vol.12, part 2, p.517, Baron West
  21. ^ G. E. Cokayne, The Complete Peerage, n.s., vol.12, part 2, pp.518-21
  22. ^ Montague-Smith, P.W. (ed.), Debrett's Peerage, Baronetage, Knightage and Companionage, Kelly's Directories Ltd, Kingston-upon-Thames, 1968, p.334
  23. ^ Dugdale
  24. ^ Brendan Smith
    • (name unknown) daughter, who married Thurstan II de Montfort (b. Warwickshire).
    The de Pitchford Family in Thirteenth-Century Ireland. Studia Hibernica. (Studia Hibernica, Editorial board,1993). Volume 27, p 40
  25. ^ Lyte, HC Maxwell, ed. (1902). "Close Rolls, March 1228: membrane 11". Calendar of Close Rolls, Henry III (1227–1231). Vol. 1. British History Online.
  26. ^ Sharp, J.E.E.S., ed. (1906). "George de Cantilupo, 4 Nov, 1 Edward I". Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem Edward I, File 2. Vol. 2. British History Online. pp. 11–23.
  27. ^ Holden 2004b.
  28. ^ "The Woodforde Family – Index Page". Woodforde.co.uk. Retrieved 17 March 2014.