Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lucy, Richard de
LUCY, RICHARD de (d. 1179), chief justiciary, is said to have come of a family that held lands in Norfolk, Suffolk, and Kent, and on doubtful authority (Testa de Nevill, p. 294) to have received Diss in Norfolk, either as part of his inheritance or for service, from Henry I; he certainly held it later. He maintained the cause of Stephen in Normandy against Geoffrey of Anjou, being in command of the castle of Falaise, and seems to have been recalled to England in 1140 (Round, Geoffrey de Mandeville, p. 49). In the later years of the reign he was sheriff of Hertfordshire and Essex, and appears as a baron, in virtue of the lordship of Diss, and as acting as a justice of the king. By the end of 1153 he probably held an exceptional position, and was chief justiciary, for by the treaty of Windsor, made at Christmas, he received the guardianship of the Tower and the castle of Windsor (Fœdera, i. 18). The following year he attested the charter granted to London by Henry II. For about thirteen years he held the office of chief justiciary jointly with Robert de Beaumont, earl of Leicester (1104–1168) [q. v.], and on the earl's death became sole chief justiciary. In the early years of the reign he was sheriff of Berkshire. When he was with the king at Falaise in 1162, Henry charged him to use his utmost endeavours to procure the election of Thomas the chancellor to the archbishopric of Canterbury; he returned to England, and persuaded the monks to obey the king's wish. He was one of the sureties for the king and his son bound for a hundred marks to secure the observance of the treaty made with the Count of Flanders in 1163. Archbishop Thomas believed that he, jointly with Joscelin de Bailleul, drew up the constitutions of Clarendon, produced in January 1164. In that year he was sent by the king on business to the Count of Flanders and the French king, and is said while absent from England to have gone on a pilgrimage to Compostella. On his homeward way he had an interview with Archbishop Thomas at the abbey of St. Bertin in Flanders, and entreated him as a friend to return to England, promising to make his peace with the king, but finding that Thomas would not assent renounced his homage to him. Although Lucy upheld the king, he was not bitter against the archbishop. Thomas, however, could not overlook the part that he believed him to have taken in drawing up the constitutions of Clarendon, and on Whitsunday 1166 excommunicated him by name at Vezelay. On this Henry ordered Lucy and others to make an appeal to Rome, and sent him thither to defend his conduct and accuse the archbishop. He was thought to have taken the cross, and to be about to go to Jerusalem. In the following year he was engaged in strengthening the kingdom against invasion. He and the Archbishop of Rouen were proposed by Henry as arbiters of the disputes between himself and the French king in 1168, but the proposal was not accepted by Louis. He was again excommunicated by Archbishop Thomas at Clairvaux on Palm Sunday 1169.
When the insurrection against Henry broke out in 1173, Lucy and Reginald, earl of Cornwall, laid siege to Leicester on 3 July at the head of the national force, the town being held for the rebel Earl of Leicester. After they had spent much labour and money on the siege, a fire broke out in the town, and it was surrendered by the townsmen on 28 July. The earl's soldiers still held the castle, and the royal leaders granted them a truce until Michaelmas. Lucy marched with Humphrey de Bohun [q. v.] against William of Scotland, who had ravaged the bishopric of Durham, and entered Yorkshire with a large force of wild Galwegians. They burnt Berwick and forced William to retreat not only across the border, but through Lothian, which they wasted with fire and sword, into Celtic Scotland. At William's request they granted him a truce till the following January, and then marched southwards; for they heard that the Earl of Leicester had landed with a large force of Flemish mercenaries, and the king being absent, the care of the kingdom rested on Lucy as chief justiciary. The defeat of the earl at Fornham [see under Bohun, Humphrey de, III, d. 1187] removed the immediate danger. In May 1174, when William of Scotland was besieging Carlisle, and his brother David was stirring up the war in the midland counties, Lucy laid siege to David's castle of Huntingdon. Having gathered a large force he pressed the siege about midsummer, and, not taking the castle, fortified a tower in front of the gate, so as to bar all egress, and left Earl Simon de St. Liz to finish the siege. The disorder of the country consequent on the war pressed heavily on the king's justices, of whom Lucy was the chief; they sent frequent messages to call Henry to England, and at last sent one of their number to urge his return. His return on 7 July relieved Lucy of his duties as viceroy, which he had discharged with diligence and success. He received from the king the hundred of Ongar in Essex and other grants, but when in 1176 Henry placed his own garrisons in the castles of his lords, he did not allow Lucy to keep Ongar Castle, but dealt with him as with others, which caused some wonder, for he treated the justiciary as an intimate friend (Gesta Henrici II, i. 124). Lucy boldly opposed the king's strict enforcement of the forest laws, producing the writ by which Henry had sanctioned the free use of the royal forests and fish-ponds during the war, and pointing out that it was unjust to punish men for taking advantage of his permission. He appears as acting as chief justiciary on one or two occasions of some importance in 1177 (ib. i. 154, 156, 178). In 1178 he founded the abbey of Westwood on his estate at Lesnes, in the parish of Erith, Kent, for Austin canons, endowed it, and had it dedicated to St. Mary and St. Thomas of Canterbury. In 1179, to the king's great regret, and in spite of his opposition, Lucy resigned the justiciarship, and retired to his abbey, where he assumed the habit of a regular canon, and died on 14 July. He was buried in a noble tomb in his abbey. He was an able, active, and faithful minister, and his administration as viceroy during the revolt of the king's sons was of the highest service to the king and the kingdom. Henry acknowledged the loyalty with which Lucy served him during the twenty-five years that he was chief justiciary, and is said to have called him ‘Richard de Lucy, the Loyal.’ He married a wife named Roesia or Rohaise, by whom he had Godfrey, bishop of Winchester (d. 1204, Richard of Devizes, c. 10), and it is said Herbert, who died without issue. He was succeeded by a grandson Richard, reputed to be the son of an elder son of Lucy named Geoffrey, who is said to have died in his father's lifetime (Dugdale, Foss, Nicolas), but perhaps to be identified with the Bishop of Winchester. He had four daughters.