Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lacy, Roger de

LACY, ROGER de (d. 1212), justiciar, and constable of Chester, was son of John de Lacy, by Alice de Vere, sister of William de Mandeville, earl of Essex [q. v.] John de Lacy (d. 1190) was son of Richard FitzEustace, constable of Chester, by Alberda, daughter of Robert de Lisours and Alberda, aunt of Robert de Lacy (d. 1193), the last male representative of Ilbert de Lacy, who came over at the Conquest (Herald and Genealogist, vii. 182). John de Lacy assumed his cousin's name as heir to his estates. He was in charge of Dublin in 1181, and, going on the crusade, died at Tyre on 11 Oct. 1190 (Girald. Cambr. v. 355; Hoveden, ii. 253, iii. 88). John de Lacy founded Stanlaw Abbey, Cheshire, about 1172; it was afterwards transferred to Whalley in 1296, by his descendant Henry de Lacy, third earl of Lincoln [q. v.] The charter, dated 1178, is printed by Dugdale. John de Lacy also founded the hospital of Castle Donington (Mon. Angl. vi. 639, 641, 765).

On his father's death Roger de Lacy became constable of Chester. In 1192, having been entrusted by the chancellor with the custody of the castles of Tickhill and Nottingham, he hanged two knights who had conspired to surrender these castles to John. John in revenge plundered Lacy's lands. In April 1199 Lacy swore fealty to John on his accession, and from this time remained in high favour with the new king. In November 1200 he was sent to escort William the Lion to Lincoln, and was present when the Scottish king did homage there to John on 22 Nov. In 1201 he was sent with William Marshal, earl of Pembroke, in command of one hundred knights to defend the king's possessions in Normandy. In 1203 Philip Augustus besieged him in the famous Château Gaillard, which he defended with incomparable fidelity for nearly a year, and only surrendered through stress of famine on 5 March 1204. Matthew Paris relates that the French king, in recognition of his gallant defence, put him in free custody. Lacy was ransomed by John's assistance for a thousand marks (Rot. Claus. i. 4). He was further rewarded by being made sheriff of York and Cheshire, which offices he held till 1210. In 1209 he was a justiciar. He is said to have rescued Earl Randulf of Chester (see Blundevill, Randulf de] when besieged by the Welsh at Rhuddlan, Flintshire. His fierce raids against the Welsh are said to have earned him the name of ‘Roger of Hell.’ Lacy was on familiar terms with John, and a record is preserved of the king's losses to him ‘in ludo ad tabulas.’ He died in January 1212, and was buried at Stanlaw. He was a benefactor of that abbey, and also of Fountains. Dugdale prints an epitaph on him from Cotton MS. Cleop. C. iii. (Mon. Angl. v. 648). Dugdale's statement that he was present at the sieges of Acre and Damietta is due to a confusion with his father and son. Roger de Lacy married Maud de Clere, sister of the treasurer of York Cathedral, and left by her two sons, John, earl of Lincoln [q. v.], and Roger.

[Roger de Hoveden; Matt. Paris; Annales Monastici (all these are in the Rolls Ser.); Dugdale's Monasticon, v. 533–4, 647–8; Dugdale's Baronage, i. 100–1; Foss's Judges of England, ii. 87–8.]

C. L. K.