Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lacy, Henry de
LACY, HENRY de, third Earl of Lincoln of the Lacy family (1249?–1311), was son of Edmund de Lacy, earl of Lincoln, by Alice, elder daughter of Manfred III, marquis of Saluzzo, and grandson of John de Lacy, first earl [q. v.] Henry was probably born in the latter part of 1249, since in April 1296 he was in his forty-seventh year (Monast. Anglic. v. 643). He succeeded his father on 21 July 1257. In 1269 he was involved in a quarrel with John de Warrenne, earl of Surrey, as to certain pasture land, and a threatened appeal to arms was only prevented by the king's intervention. The regular trial which followed was decided in De Lacy's favour (Flores Historiarum, iii. 17). On 5 April 1272 he was made custos of Knaresborough Castle, and on 13 Oct. of the same year was knighted by the king on the occasion of the wedding of Edmund, earl of Cornwall (Ann. Mon. ii. 111). About the same time he received full investiture of his earldom. In 1276 he served in the Welsh war, and was in command of a division which marched against Castle Baldwin, and next year besieged and took the castle of Dolvorwyn (Brut y Tywysogion, pp. 365–6, Rolls Ser.) In March 1278 he was one of the escort appointed to attend Alexander III of Scotland on his visit to England (Cal. Docts. Scotland, ii. 107). In 1279 he was joint-lieutenant of England during the king's absence from 27 April to 19 June (Fœdera, i. 568). Three years later he was again employed in Wales. Lincoln accompanied the king on his three years' visit to Gascony, from 1286 to 1289. In October 1289 he was appointed with Robert Burnell [q. v.] to hear the complaints against Ralph Hengham [q. v.] and other judges. He was one of the commissioners appointed to treat with the guardians of Scotland in 1290, and in this capacity was present at the parliament of Brigham (Stevenson, Docts. illustr. of Hist. of Scotland, i. 159, 163, 171). He was also present at Norham in 1291, and at Berwick in 1292 during the deliberations relative to the Scottish succession, and in the latter year was one of those appointed to decide on the claims of William de Ros and John de Vaux. In 1292 Lincoln was one of the sureties for Gilbert de Clare, eighth earl of Gloucester [q. v.] (Rot. Parl. i. 75–7).
In 1293 Lincoln served on an embassy to France to treat for peace. In the following year he was on his way to Gascony, but while still at Portsmouth was recalled by the outbreak of war in Wales. While proceeding to relieve his castle of Denbigh he was defeated by his own Welshmen on 11 Nov.; Lincoln himself escaped with difficulty. He remained in Wales till the spring of 1295. On 14 Jan. 1296 he sailed from Plymouth with Edmund, earl of Lancaster, on his way to Gascony. After pillaging St. Matthieu, near Cape Finisterre, they landed at Blaye in mid-Lent and marched against Bordeaux, which they besieged without success. On the death of Edmund on 5 June, Lincoln was chosen to succeed him by the voice of the whole army. He defeated Robert of Artois before Bourg-sur-Mer, and besieged Aux for seven weeks in July and August with great vigour, but was at length forced to retire to Bayonne. In February 1297 the citizens of Bellegarde, who were besieged by the French, appealed for assistance. Lincoln marched out to their aid, but was defeated and forced to retreat once more to Bayonne. However, in the summer he made a successful raid towards Toulouse, which lasted till Michaelmas. He then went back to Bayonne till after Christmas, and about Easter 1298 returned to England. On 15 May he was appointed to arrange the marriage between Edward, prince of Wales, and Isabella of France (Fœdera, i. 905). He was one of the nobles who swore on the king's behalf that he would reconfirm the charters on his return from the Scottish war. He accompanied Edward to Scotland, and was present at the battle of Falkirk on 22 July. In July 1299 he was summoned to attend the council at York to deliberate on the affairs of Scotland. In 1300 he was again in Scotland, and present at the siege of Caerlaverock in July, when he commanded the first division. On 26 Sept. 1300 he was sent with Hugh Despenser on a mission to the pope to complain of the injury done by the Scots (Rishanger, pp. 195–6, 451), and was also entrusted with a mission to the king of France on 14 Oct. In March 1301 he was directed to attend the Prince of Wales in person on his invasion of Scotland at midsummer, and during September and October was engaged in Galloway (Cal. Docts. Scotl. ii. 1191, 1224, 1235, 1240). During the next two years he was constantly employed in negotiations with the French king. Finally, after proclaiming peace at Paris on 20 May 1303 (Fœdera, i. 952–5), he went to Gascony to take possession of it in Edward's name; he remained there for the following year (Chron. Edw. I and II, i. 127–9; Hemingburgh, ii. 230). On 16 Sept. 1305 he was one of the commissioners appointed in the parliament at Westminster to arrange the affairs of Scotland, and in the same parliament was a receiver and trier of petitions from Gascony (Rolls of Parliament, i. 267, 159). On 15 Oct. he was sent on a mission to Lyons with presents for Pope Clement V (Fœdera, i. 974). He returned to London on 16 Feb. 1306, and was publicly received by the mayor (Chron. Edw. I and II, i. 143–4). Later in the year he went to Scotland with the Prince of Wales, who was ordered to act by his advice (Chron. Lanercost, p. 204). In January 1307 he was one of the commissioners appointed to hold a parliament at Carlisle (Rolls of Parl. i. 188–9). In the summer he accompanied Edward on his march to Scotland, and was present at the king's death on 7 July.
Lincoln attended Edward II into Scotland, and in the following year, 1308, was present at the coronation on 25 Feb., when he carried the sword. The monk of Malmesbury says that Lincoln gave his assent to the creation of Piers Gaveston [q. v.] as Earl of Cornwall, in August 1307, and advised Edward II that the separation of this earldom from the crown was within his power (Chron. Edw. I and II, ii. 155). The same authority says that, after the king, Lincoln was Gaveston's chief supporter, but that through the latter's ingratitude he came to be the chief of his enemies (ib. ii. 158). Lincoln's enmity to the favourite was already active in February 1308 (Chron. Lanercost, p. 211). He was, however, once more won over to Gaveston's side in July 1309, only to be speedily alienated by the nickname of ‘burst-belly’ (boele crevée), which Gaveston applied to him. As a consequence Lincoln joined with his son-in-law, Thomas of Lancaster, and other earls, in refusing to attend the council at York in October 1309 (Hemingburgh, ii. 275). He had joined in the letter of the barons to the pope at Stamford on 6 Aug. previously. On 16 March 1310 he was one of the petitioners for the ordinances, and was himself one of the ordainers who were in consequence appointed. An anonymous letter of this time, while stating that Lincoln had remonstrated with Edward II, alleges that there was in reality a secret understanding between the king and earl (Cal. Docts. Scotl. iii. 177). Edward appointed Lincoln to be guardian of the kingdom when he went to Scotland in September 1310. Lincoln spent the Christmas at Kingston in Dorset (ib. iii. 197), and soon afterwards returned to London, where he died at his house in Holborn on 5 Feb. 1311. He was buried in the lady-chapel of St. Paul's Cathedral on 28 Feb.
Lincoln was ‘the closest counsellor of Edward I’ (Stubbs, Const. Hist. ii. 319, ed. 1877). His action during the reign of Edward II was perhaps due to the conflict between loyalty to his old master's son and his old master's policy. A later story represents him on his deathbed as counselling his son-in-law to opposition to the royal authority (Walsingham, i. 130; Trokelowe, pp. 72–3). Hemingburgh describes him as ‘courteous, handsome, and active’ (ii. 74), and elsewhere he is called ‘active in war and ripe in counsel’ (Trokelowe, p. 72).
Lincoln was earl of Salisbury in right of his first wife. He held the barony of Renfrew in Scotland before 1299, and he also obtained a grant of the lands of James, steward of Scotland, which he afterwards surrendered in return for four thousand marks (Cal. Docts. Scotl. ii. 1121, 1857, iii. 58, 98). He founded in April 1296 the abbey of Whalley, Lancashire, whither his great-grandfather's foundation of Stanlaw, Cheshire, was then transferred (Mon. Angl. v. 639). He also contemplated in 1306 the foundation of a college for thirteen scholars at Oxford (Fœdera, i. 990; Calend. Genealogicum, ii. 724). He also contributed largely to the ‘new work’ at St. Paul's Cathedral (Dugdale, St. Paul's, ed. 1818, p. 11). His house in London was on the site of the present Lincoln's Inn, which owes its name to this circumstance (Foss, Judges of England, iv. 256–7). He was the builder of Denbigh Castle, over the gate of which was his statue (Leland, Itin. v. 61).
Lincoln married in 1257 Margaret Longespée, grand-daughter and heiress of William Longespée, second earl of Salisbury. By her he had two sons, Edmund, who was drowned in a well at the Red Tower in Denbigh Castle (ib.), and John, killed by a fall at Pontefract; also two daughters, Margaret, who died young, and Alice, born in 1283. Margaret, countess of Lincoln, died in 1309, and her husband then married Joan, sister of William, sixth baron Martin of Kemys. Alice de Lacy married Thomas, earl of Lancaster, on 28 Oct. 1294, but left him in 1318 and took refuge with John, earl of Warrenne (Chron. Edw. I and II, ii. 54). On the occasion of this marriage Lincoln surrendered his lands to the king and obtained a fresh grant of the whole, with remainder to his daughter and son-in-law. After Thomas's death, Alice de Lacy married Eubulo L'Estrange before October 1328. He died in September 1335, and his widow then married, in February 1336, Hugh le Freyne, who died the same year. Alice, who always styled herself Countess of Lincoln and Salisbury, died 2 Oct. 1348. Her husbands were styled Earls of Lincoln and Salisbury in her right. She left no children, and her titles consequently became extinct. Henry de Lacy endowed a kinsman, possibly a bastard son, with lands at Grantchester (Leland, Itin. iv. 1). The ‘Compoti of the Lancashire and Cheshire Manors of Henry de Lacy … in 24 and 33 Edward I’ were published by the Chetham Society in 1884.
[Chronicles Edward I and II; Flores Historiarum; Langtoft's Chronicle; Annales Monastici; Walsingham's Historia Anglicana; Rishanger's Chronicle, and the Annales Regni Scotiæ, printed in the same volume; Trokelowe and Blaneford's Chronicles (all these are in the Rolls Series); Hemingburgh's Chronicle (Engl. Hist. Soc.); Chronicle of Lanercost (Bannatyne Club); Calendar of Documents relating to Scotland, vols. ii. and iii.; Rymer's Fœdera, Record ed.; Nicolas's Song of Caerlaverock, pp. 5, 93–5; Dugdale's Baronage, vol. i.; Doyle's Official Baronage, ii. 374–6; Burke's Dormant and Extinct Peerage, p. 311; preface to the Compoti.]