Mowbray, Roger de (DNB00)

MOWBRAY, ROGER (I) de, second Baron (d. 1188?), was son of Nigel de Albini, a younger brother of that William de Albini, 'Pincerna,' whose descendants were styled ' Earls of Arundel ' Nicolas, Histonc Peerage, ed. Courthope, pp. 21, 27). Nigel, who at the date of Doomsday had considerable estates in Leicestershire and some manors in Warwickshire and Buckinghamshire, greatly increased them by the steady support he gave to William Rufus and Henry I, and by his marriage with Mathilde de Laigle, wife of Robert de Mowbray, earl of Northumberland [q. v.], founded the second house of Mowbray, which lasted in the direct male line for four centuries, until the death, in 1476, of the sixteenth holder of the barony. Nigel, however, subsequently put away his wife Mathilde on the ground that Mowbray, her former husband, was his relative later pedigree makers doubtfully represent his mother as her first husband's sister—and he married Gundreda, daughter of Gerald de Gournay, who became the mother of Roger de Mowbray (Orderic Vitalis, ed. Le Prevost; cf. ib. iii. 410 n.) Henry I, according to a brief history of the Mowbrays written not earlier than the end of the thirteenth century (Monast. Angl. v. 346), had bestowed upon Nigel de Albini the whole of the vast estates of Robert de Mowbray in England and Normandy. The same authority asserts that at the time of his death, between 1127 and 1130, Nigel was on the point of taking seisin of the earldom of Northumberland. But not a single manor of the 280 which the elder Mowbrays held in England can be traced in the possession of the second house. Nigel's great acquisitions, which were not much added to until the fourteenth century, were in the midlands, where his own holding lay, or in Yorkshire. The chief of the two groups consisted of practically the whole of the lands held at the date of Doomsday by Geoffrey de Wirce in War- wickshire, Leicestershire, and Northamptonshire, with the isle of Axholme in Lincolnshire. Axholme ultimately became the centre of the Mowbray power, lying half-way between their lands in Warwickshire and Leicestershire and their Yorkshire estates. These latter, which stretched in a great crescent from Thirsk, whose valley is still called the Vale of Mowbray, to Kirkby Malzeard and the sources of the Nidd, with the outlying castle of Black Burton in Lonsdale, were forfeited by Robert de Stuteville, baron of Frontebceuf, who took the losing side at Tinchebrai, and were conferred by King Henry upon the loyal Nigel (Hoveden ; Dugdale, Baronage, i. 455). It is just possible that the former lands of Geoffrey de Wirce came into Nigel's possession as part of the Stuteville forfeiture. For when Stuteville's descendants sued for the recovery of their heritage they laid claim not only to the Yorkshire estates, but to Axholme and other lands which had undoubtedly belonged to Geoffrey de Wirce (ib. p. 457 ; Rotuli Curies Regis, ii. 231). But although there is no evidence that the second house of Mowbray was founded on the English estates of the first, it seems not improbable that they secured some of the Norman lands of the first house, including perhaps the honour of Montbrai itself (Stapleton, Rotuli Scaccarii Normannice, ii. xcv; see pedigree in Stonehouse, Isle of Axholme, and cf. Monast. Anal. vi. 320).

Nigel was buried in the priory of Bee, of which he is said to have become a monk before his death (Cont. of William of Jumièges, ed. Duchesne, p. 296; Eyton, Shropshire, viii. 212 ; Pipe Roll, 31 Hen. I, ed. Hunter, p. 138).

Roger, his young son, was probably born between 1120 and 1125 (Ailred of Rievaulx in Chron. of Reigns of Stephen, &c. iii. 184 ; Dugdale, Monast. Angl. v. 349, 352, and Baronage, i. 122). His name is said to have been changed from Albini to Mowbray at the command of Henry I. He became a ward of the crown, and Ailredus, who was abbot of Rievaulx, a few miles from Roger's castle of Thirsk, relates, in illustration of the enthusiasm with which Yorkshire prepared to repel the Scots in 1138, that the barons took Roger de Mowbray, though but a boy (adhuc puerulus), to the battle of the Standard, but carefully avoided exposing him to danger (Chronicles of the Reign of Stephen, &c., iii. 183 ; cf. Rich. of Hexham, ib. iii. 159). Three years later, he is said by one authority to have been taken prisoner with Stephen in the battle of Lincoln (John of Hexham in Decem Scriptores, p. 269). In these years he seems to have been at Thirsk with his mother, Gundreda, under whose guidance he became a generous benefactor to the church. In 1138 they sheltered the monks of Calder, flying before the Scots ; Roger gave them a tenth of the victuals of the castle, and, on their forming themselves into a convent subordinate to Savigny in the diocese of Avranches in 1143, bestowed upon them his villa of Byland-on-the-Moors (Monast. Angl. v. 349-50). When the monks of Byland Abbey found their first site inconvenient and intolerably close to Rievaulx Abbey, whose bells they could hear all day long, Roger in 1147 (when the abbey became Cistercian) granted them a new site, some eight miles to the south, near Coxwold (ib. p. 351 ; cf. English Hist. Review, viii. 668-672). In the course of his long life he frequently made additional gifts to the abbey, including the great forest of Nidderdale. But, 'being a frugal man, and, so to speak, the standard-bearer of liberality among the magnates of the land,' Roger did not confine his generosity to a single object. As early as i 1145 he joined his relative Sampson de Albini in the foundation of the great abbey of Austin canons at Newburgh, not far from the second site of Byland Abbey (Monast. Angl. vi. 317-21 ; William of Newburgh in Chron. of the Reigns of Stephen, &c.) He endowed Newburgh with land, and the church of Thirsk with fifteen other churches and chapels on his Yorkshire estates ; while Sampson de Albini, with his consent, gave to Newburgh Abbey the churches of Masham and Kirkby Malzeard, with four in the isle of Axholme, and that of Landford in Nottinghamshire. About the same time he gave some of his land in Masham to the Earl of Richmond's infant foundation of Jervaulx in Wensleydale, which in 1150 was affiliated to Byland and the Cistercian order {Monast. Angl. v. 569). Mowbray was also a generous benefactor of the abbeys of Fountains, Rievaulx, and Bridlington in Yorkshire ; Kenilworth in Warwickshire ; and Sulby in Northamptonshire, and gave to the church of St. Mary in York the isle of Sandtoft in Axholme, and to the hospital of St. Leonards in that city the ninth sheave of all his corn throughout England (Dugdale, Monast. Angl. iii. 617, v. 282-3, 307, aronage,\. 123). He doubled his father's endowment to the priory of Hurst in Axholme (Monast. Angl. vi. 101). In Normandy he gave all his lands in Granville to the Abbaye des Dames at Caen when his daughter became a nun there (Neustria Pia, p. 660). In the exaggeration of tradition he was credited with the foundation of no less than thirty-five monasteries and nunneries (Monast. Angl. vi. 320).

Roger was naturally drawn into the crusading movement. In 1146 or 1147 he had gone over to Normandy to defend his title to the castle of Bayeux, which Stephen had given him when he was knighted (ib. v. 352, but cf. p. 346), and is said to have been present in company with Odo II, duke of Burgundy, at a general chapter of the Cistercian order at Citeaux, where he was able to serve the interests of his abbey at Byland (ib. v. 352, 570). St. Bernard was just then preaching the second crusade, and Mowbray was apparently induced to accompany Louis VII (John of Hexham, ap. Twysden, p. 276). In one of his charters (Monast. Angl. v. 569) he alludes to a second journey to the Holy Land, which can hardly be the one he made at the very end of his life. He was probably absent from England in January 1164, for it was his son Nigel whose name was attached as a witness to the Constitutions of Clarendon ; and perhaps in 1166, when his men answered for him the king's inquiries as to the number of knights' fees on his estates (Materials for the History of Archbishop Becket, v. 72; Liber Niger Scaccarii, ed. Hearne, i. 309 ; cf. Eyton, Itinerary of Henry II, p. 87). It appears from this return that in Yorkshire alone he had eighty-eight fees of the old feoffment, and eleven and three-quarters enfeoffed since the death of Henry I. Mowbray's deep interest in the crusading movement was attested by his gifts to the templars of Balshall in Warwickshire, where they placed one of their preceptories, and of Keadby-on-Trent, and other lands in Axholme and elsewhere (Monast. Angl. vi. 799, 800, 808, 834). The order gratefully conferred upon him and his heirs the privilege of releasing any templar whom they should find under sentence of public penance, no matter what the offence. The knights hospitallers, when they obtained most of the forfeited lands of the templars, solemnly renewed this privilege to Roger's descendant, John (I) de Mowbray [q. v.], and his heirs on 20 March 1335, with the addition that the Mowbrays should be treated in their convents beyond the seas as those to whom they were most obliged next the king himself (Dugdale, Baronage, i. 123). At Burton, near Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire, Roger founded, perhaps with the assistance of a general collection, a dependency of the great Leper Hospital of St. Lazarus outside the walls of Jerusalem, 'which became the chief of all the Spittles or Lazar-houses in England' (Dugdale, Monast. Angl. vi. 632 ; Nichols, History of Leicestershire, II. i. 272). To this day the village is called Burton Lazars.

In 1174 Mowbray appears in the new character of a rebel. Immediately after Easter he and his two sons Nigel and Robert joined the formidable coalition against the king, which had taken up arms in the previous summer. He hastily fortified his castle of Kinnardferry on the Trent in Axholme, which had been suffered to fall into disrepair, and strongly garrisoned his two Yorkshire strongholds of Thirsk and Kirkby Malzeard (Benedict of Peterborough, i. 48 ; Hoveden, ii. 57 ; William of Newburgh, i. 180 ; Diceto, i. 379 ; Walter of Coventry, i. 216).

Mowbray's defection was one of the most dangerous elements of the situation, for his three fortresses linked the rebel earls in the midlands with the king of Scots, who was reducing the border fortresses of Northumberland and Cumberland. Thirsk and Kirkby Malzeard blocked the way through Yorkshire to any royal army sent against the Scots. The king's warlike natural son, Geoffrey, the bishop-elect of Lincoln, gathered a force in Lincolnshire, crossed the Trent, and laid siege to Kinnardferry, which was defended by Roger's younger son, Robert. The 'castle of the Island,' surrounded by the waters of the fen, was almost impregnable; but lack of water within compelled the defenders to surrender in a few days (5 May). Robert had escaped, but was captured on his way to Leicester by the rustics of Clay (Clay Cross?) (Beened. Pet. i. 49; Hovenden, ii. 58; Diceto, i. 379; Giraldus Cambrensis, iv. 364). After demolishing the castle, Bishop Geoffrey advanced into Yorkshire, and, reinforced by Archbishop Roger [q. v.] and a force from the shire, besieged the castle of Kirkby Malzeard, six miles north-east of Ripon. This also gave him little trouble, and was entrusted to the care of the archbishop, while he himself proceeded to attack Thirsk (Benedict, i. 68 ; Hoveden, ii. 58 ; Giraldus Cambrensis, iv. 366-7). The castle was closely invested, and a rival fortification erected on the Percy land at Topcliffe, two and a half miles away, with a garrison under a member of the family of the Stutevilles with whom the Mowbrays had a standing feud. Mowbray, according to William of Newburgh (i. 182), now betook himself to William, king of Scots, whom he found besieging Prudhoe-on-Tyne, and secured a promise of help on condition that he assisted William in his invasion of Yorkshire, for the fulfilment of which he gave his eldest son in pledge. But, on hearing that Yorkshire was rallying round Robert Stuteville the sheriff, William recrossed the Tyne and retreated northwards with Mowbray. Jordan Fantosme, however, gives us a different version of Mowbray's movements (ed. Surtees Soc. pp. 60, 62, 68). Mowbray, according to him, had left the defence of his castles to his sons, and, joining the Scottish king soon after his entry into Northumberland, had assisted him in the siege of Carlisle and the capture of Appleby and other towns.

However this may be, Roger was with the Scottish king when he was overtaken and captured by Stuteville and the Yorkshiremen at Alnwick on 13 July, but escaped himself into Scotland (ib. p. 84; Newburgh, i. 185). About three weeks later, when the rising in the midlands had collapsed, he came with other rebels on 31 July to King Henry at Northampton, surrendered Thirsk, and was received back into grace (Benedict, i. 73; Hoveden, ii. 65). Early in 1176 Henry ordered the demolition of the castles of Thirsk and Kirkby Malzeard, of which not a stone is now left (Benedict, i. 126; Hoveden, ii. 101; Diceto, i. 404; Monasticon, v. 310). The position of the Mowbrays in Yorkshire was thereby greatly weakened. Robert de Stuteville probably seized this opportunity to urge his old claim for the restoration of the lands of his ancestor, Fronteboeuf, held by Mowbray, and Roger had to compromise by giving him possession of Kirkby Moorside (Hoveden, iv. 117, 118; Rotuli Curæ Regis, ii. 231; Monast. Angl. v. 352). We may perhaps date from the destruction of Thirsk Castle the selection by the Mowbrays of Epworth in Axholme, with its natural defences, as their chief place of residence.

Roger witnessed Henry II's arbitration between Alfonso of Castile and Sancho of Navarre on 13 March 1177, and met Ranulf Glanvill and the five other judges sent by the king on the northern circuit in 1179 at Doncaster assizes. In 1186 he took the cross for the third time, and journeyed to the Holy Land (Benedict, i. 154, 239, 359; Hoveden, ii. 131, 316; Eyton, Itin. of Henry II, p. 211; Monasticon, v. 282; Stubbs, Constit. Hist. i. 487, 490). When the extension of the truce between Saladin and Guy de Lusignan allowed the crusaders to return home, he and Hugh de Beauchamp chose to remain at Jerusalem 'in the service of God' (Benedict, ii. 359; Hoveden, ii. 316). In Saladin's great victory on 6 July 1187 he was taken prisoner with King Guy, was redeemed in the following year by his proteges, the templars, but did not long survive his liberation (Benedict, ii. 22; Hoveden, ii. 325). Tradition added that he was buried at Tyre (Monast. v. 346). Another legendary version maintained that, wearying of these wars, he returned to England, slaying on his way a dragon which was fighting with a lion in a valley called Sarranell, whereupon the lion in his gratitude followed him to England to his castle of Hode, near Thirsk, and that fifteen years later he died at a good old age, and was buried in the abbey of Byland (ib. vi. 320).

By his wife Alice or Adeliza de Gant, who may very well have been related to Gilbert de Gant, earl of Lincoln (d. 1156), Mowbray had at least one daughter and two sons, Nigel and Robert, the former of whom succeeded him as third baron, and was father of William de Mowbray, fourth baron [q. v.] (Monast. Angl. v. 310, vi. 320; Neustria Pia, p. 660).

[The chief source for the life of Roger is the notices in the chronicles Orderic Vitalis, ed. Le Prevost, for the Société de l'Histoire de France, the Continuator of William of Jumièges (Gemeticensis) in Duchesne's Scriptores Normannorum, William of Newburgh, Ailred of Rievaulx, and Richard of Hexham in Chronicles of Stephen's Reign, &c. (Rolls Ser.), John of Hexham and Brompton of Jervaulx in Twysden's Decem Scriptores; the Gesta Henrici which go under the name of Benedict of Peterborough, Roger Hoveden, Ralph de Diceto, and Walter de Coventry, all ed. Stubbs for the Rolls Ser.; Giraldus Cambrensis's Vita Gaufridi Episcopi (Rolls Ser.). Documents relating to Byland, Newburgh, and other foundations of Roger, are printed in vols. v–vi. of Dugdale's Monasticon Anglicanum, ed. Caley, Ellis, and Bandinel, together with a brief account of the Mowbray family (‘Progenies’) in two versions, from the Byland register (Monast. v. 346–7), and a Newburgh manuscript at York (ib. vi. 320–1). The Byland version, which only comes down to John (I) de Mowbray, eighth baron [q. v.], seems to be the older form; the Newburgh version, which was finally revised during the lifetime of Thomas Howard, third duke of Norfolk of that line (1473–1554), and is continued to that time, adds not very trustworthy details. Some facts are derived from the Liber Niger Scaccarii, ed. Hearne; the Pipe Rolls, ed. Hunter and the Pipe Roll Society; the Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniæ, ed. Stapleton; and the Rotuli Curiæ Regis, ed. Palgrave, and Rotuli Chartarum, ed. Hardy, both for the Record Commission. See also Dugdale's Baronage, vol. i.; Hist. of Warwickshire; Nicolas's Historic Peerage, ed. Courthope; Stonehouse's Isle of Axholme; Grainge's Vale of Mowbray. Other authorities in the text.]

J. T-t.