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LATIMER, WILLIAM, first Baron Latimer (d. 1304), was a member of a family which had been settled at Billinges in Yorkshire since the time of Richard I. On chronological grounds it is improbable that he is, as stated by Dugdale, the William Latimer who was sheriff of Yorkshire from 1253 to 1259, and again in 1266–7. The holder of these offices was more probably his father. The elder Latimer was sent to assist Alexander III of Scotland in 1256, was escheator-general north of the Trent in 1257, and in December 1263 was one of those who undertook that the king would abide by the award of Louis IX. He supported the king in the barons' war, and is referred to in the 'Song of the Barons' (Wright, Pol. Songs, p. 63). He was at various times in charge of the castles of Pickering, Cockermouth, York, and Scarborough. He was alive in May 1270 (Cal. Docts. Scotl. i. 2561).

William Latimer the younger may be the baron of that name who took the cross in 1271. No doubt it is he who was summoned to serve in Wales in December 1276, and again in May 1282. At the defeat of the English at Menai Straits, 6 Nov. 1282, he escaped by riding through the midst of the waves (Hemingburgh, ii. 11). He was present in parliament on 29 May 1290, when a grant was made 'pur fille marier' (Rot. Parl. i. 25 a), but his first recorded writ of summons is dated 29 Dec. 1299. In April 1292 he was summoned to attend at Norham equipped for the field. He sailed in the expedition for Gascony which left Plymouth on 3 Oct., reaching Chatillon on 23 Oct. At the beginning of 1295 Latimer was in command at Rions. He seems to have remained in Gascony till 1297, in which year he was employed in Scotland, and was present at the battle of Stirling on 10 Sept., when the English were defeated by Wallace (Chron. de Melsa, ii. 268, Rolls Ser.). In 1298 he accompanied Edward to Scotland, and was present at the battle of Falkirk on 22 July. In August he was in command at Berwick. Next year, in April, he was appointed a commissioner to treat for the exchange of prisoners, and was one of those summoned to attend the council at York in July for the consideration of the affairs of Scotland (Stevenson, Hist. Documents illustrative of the Hist. of Scotland, ii. 296–8, 370, 379). In July he was engaged in a raid into Galloway, and in August was again at Berwick, being at this time the king's lieutenant in the marches. In June 1300 he was at the siege of Caerlaverock. In October 1300 he was again keeper of Berwick, and in September 1302 was in command at Roxburgh. In February 1301 he was present in the parliament at Lincoln, and was one of the barons who joined in the letter to Pope Boniface. Latimer died 5 Dec. 1304, and was buried at Hempingham or Empingham, Rutland (Hemingburgh, ii. 241). Hemingburgh says he had seen service in many lands. The author of the 'Song of Caerlaverock' says one could not find a more valiant or prudent man. He married Alice, also called Amicia or Agnes, elder daughter and coheiress of Walter Ledet, baron Braybrooke, who represented the Ledets, lords of Wardon, and died in 1257, when his daughters were aged twelve and eleven years respectively. The younger daughter, Christiana, married Latimer's brother John, and from this marriage the barons Latimer of Braybrooke and the present Lord Braybrooke descend. By his wife, who died in 1316, William Latimer had two sons: John, who died without issue in 1299, having married in 1297 Isabel, daughter and heiress of Simon de Sherstede, and William, who is noticed below. He had also a daughter Johanna, who married Alexander Comyn of Buchan (Cal. Docts. Scotl. iii. 233).

Latimer, William, second Baron Latimer (1276?–1327), son of the above, was employed in Scotland in 1297 and 1300, and in 1303 was engaged in a raid from Dunfermline across the Forth. In March 1304, with John de Segrave and Robert Clifford, he defeated Simon Fraser and William Wallace at Hopprewe in Tweeddale (ib. ii. 1432, iv. 474). In 1306 he had a grant of the forfeited lands of Christopher Seton in Cumberland. He was taken prisoner by the Scots at Bannockburn (Geoffrey Baker, p. 8, ed. Thompson), and was not released till after February 1315 (Cal. Docts. Scotl. iii. 419). He was a supporter of Thomas of Lancaster, but in 1319 was pardoned for adhering to the earl, and afterwards sided with the king. He was present at the defeat of Thomas of Lancaster at Boroughbridge on 16 March 1322, and was afterwards made governor of York, where he still was in January 1323 (ib. iii. 803). Latimer had been summoned to parliament in his father's lifetime in 1299. He died in 1327. He married Lucia, daughter and coheiress of Richard de Thwenge of Danby, Yorkshire, previously to 11 Sept. 1299 (ib. ii. 1091). In 1313 he obtained a divorce from her, and afterwards married Sibill, widow of William de Huntingfield. By his first wife he had a son, William, third baron Latimer, born about 1301, who died in 1335, leaving by his wife Elizabeth, daughter of John, lord Botetourt, a son, William, who succeeded as fourth baron, and is separately noticed.

[Walter of Hemingburgh (Engl. Hist. Soc.); Cal. of Documents relating to Scotland; Stevenson's Historical Documents; Dugdale's Baronage, ii. 30; Burke's Dormant and Extinct Peerage; Nicolas's Song of Caerlaverock, ll. 253–7; Nicolas's Historic Peerage, pp. 72, 280; Records of the Architectural and Archæological Society of Buckinghamshire, vi. 48–60, art. by Mr. W. L. Rutton.]

C. L. K.