So shall it be with my father: he shall be
called a prince over his posterity, holding
the keys of the patriarchal priesthood over the kingdom of God on earth, even the Church
of the Latter Day Saints, and he shall sit in the general assembly of patriarchs, even in
council with the Ancient of Days when he shall sit and all the patriarchs with him and shall
enjoy his right and authority under the direction of the Ancient of Days.
First Name:  Last Name: 
[Advanced Search]  [Surnames]

MESCHIN, Earl Ranulph de

Male 1070 - 1128  (57 years)  Submit Photo / DocumentSubmit Photo / Document

 Set As Default Person    

Personal Information    |    Media    |    Notes    |    Sources    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name MESCHIN, Ranulph de 
    Prefix Earl 
    Birth 26 Jun 1070  Briquessard, Calvados, Normandy, France Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Death Jan 1128  Chester, Cheshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Burial 1129  Chester Abbey, Cheshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    WAC 5 Dec 1929  ARIZO Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    _TAG Reviewed on FS 
    Headstones Submit Headstone Photo Submit Headstone Photo 
    Person ID I27672  Joseph Smith Sr and Lucy Mack Smith
    Last Modified 19 Aug 2021 

    Father DE BRIQUESSART, Ranulf Viscount of Bayeux ,   b. 1046, Bayeux, Calvados, Basse-Normandie, Kingdom of France Find all individuals with events at this locationBayeux, Calvados, Basse-Normandie, Kingdom of Franced. Abt 1089, Chester, Cheshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 43 years) 
    Mother D'AVARANCHES, Countess Maud Mathilda ,   b. 1054, Avranches, Manche, Basse-Normandie, France Find all individuals with events at this locationAvranches, Manche, Basse-Normandie, Franced. 1084, Bayeux, Calvados, Basse-Normandie, France Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 30 years) 
    Marriage Normandy, France Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F15113  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 1 D'AVARANCHES, Countess Maud Mathilda ,   b. 1054, Avranches, Manche, Basse-Normandie, France Find all individuals with events at this locationAvranches, Manche, Basse-Normandie, Franced. 1084, Bayeux, Calvados, Basse-Normandie, France Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 30 years) 
    Marriage 1090  Normandy, France Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 4 sons 
    Family ID F15111  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart
    Last Modified 24 Jan 2022 

    Family 2 CHESTER, Countess Lucy ,   b. 23 May 1074, Spalding, Lincolnshire, England Find all individuals with events at this locationSpalding, Lincolnshire, Englandd. 26 Jun 1144, Chester, Cheshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 70 years) 
    Marriage 1115  Normandy, France Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    • MARRIAGE: Also shown as Married Abt 1094
    Children 2 sons and 2 daughters 
    Family ID F15112  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart
    Last Modified 24 Jan 2022 

  • Photos At least one living or private individual is linked to this item - Details withheld.

  • Notes 

      Ranulf le Meschin, 3rd Earl of Chester (1070−1129) was a late 11th- and early 12th-century Norman magnate based in northern and central England. Originating in Bessin in Normandy, Ranulf made his career in England thanks to his kinship with Hugh d'Avranches - the earl of Chester, the patronage of kings William II Rufus and Henry I Beauclerc, and his marriage to Lucy, heiress of the Bolingbroke-Spalding estates in Lincolnshire.

      Ranulf fought in Normandy on behalf of Henry I, and served the English king as a kind of semi-independent governor in the far north-west, in Cumberland and Westmorland, founding Wetheral Priory. After the death of his cousin Richard d'Avranches in the White Ship Disaster of November 1120, Ranulf became earl of the county of Chester on the Anglo-Welsh marches. He held this position for the remainder of his life, and passed the title on to his son, Ranulf de Gernon.

      Ranulf died in January 1129, and was buried in Chester Abbey.[2] He was survived by his wife and countess, Lucy, and succeeded by his son Ranulf de Gernon.[2] A daughter, Alicia, married Richard de Clare, a lord in the Anglo-Welsh marches.[2] One of his offspring, his fifth son, participated in the Siege of Lisbon, and for this aid was granted the Lordship of Azambuja by King Afonso I of Portugal.[2]

      BIO: Prince of Wales

      ** from
      LLYWELYN ap Iorwerth, son of IORWERTH Drwyndwyn ("flat nose") Prince of Gwynedd & his wife Marared of Powys (1173-11 Apr 1240[39]).

      He succeeded in 1194 as LLYWELYN Fawr ("the Great") Prince of Gwynedd, Prince of All Wales. The Annales Cambriæ name "Lewelinus filius Gervasii filii Owini Guynet…princeps Walliæ"[40]. The Annales Londonienses record the death "Id Apr" in 1240 of "Lewelinus princeps Norwalliæ"[41].

      m firstly ---.

      m secondly (1205) JOAN [of England], illegitimate daughter of JOHN King of England & his mistress Clementia Pinel (-30 Mar 1237). Her husband sent her to make peace with the king her father in 1211 when the latter was attacking North Wales. She was legitimated in 1226 by Pope Honorius III. She and her son David did homage to King Henry III in 1229[42]. She allegedly had an affair with William de Briouze, Lord of Abergavenny, who was hanged by her husband 2 May 1230[43]. The Annales Cambriæ record the death in 1237 of "domina Johanna filia regis Angliæ et uxor Lewilini principis Walliæ" and her burial "apud Haber"[44]. The Annals of Tewkesbury record the death “III Kal Apr” in 1236 of “domina Johanna Walliæ, uxor Lewelini, filia regis Johannis et reginæ Clemenciæ”[45].

      Mistress (1): TANGWYSTL, daughter of LLYWARCH "Goch" of Rhos & his wife ---.

      ** from British Kings and Queens (Mike Ashley) pp 359+
      Llywelyn Fawr (the Great) ap Iorweth
      If there is one Welsh prince everyone knows (or thinks they know) it is Llywelyn the Great, although some of his exploits often get confused in the public consciousness with those of his grandson, known as Llywelyn the Last. Llwelyn rightly deserved the epithet the Great, the most of all the Welsh rulers, almost solely for his leadership and statesmanlike abilities. Certainly he had no finesse or cultural qualities, but he was the man that Wales needed to pull it out of the Dark Ages and make it a united country. He was an ideal successor to Gruffydd ap Cynan and Owan Gwynedd.

      His rise to power was meteoric. His father, Iowerth Drwyndwn, had died soon after Llywelyn's birth and he was raised with his mother's relatives in Powys. By his late teens he had joined forces with his cousins, Gruffydd and Maredudd ab Cynan in their opposition to their uncles Rhodri ab Owain and Dafydd ab Owain. Llywelyn soon got the upper hand over his cousins, so that when Dafydd was deposed from East Gwynedd in 1195 Llywelyn claimed the territory as his own. Although technically he initially shared it with his uncle, Dafydd was soon squeezed out of the land, imprisoned in 1197, and then banished altogether in 1198. In 1200, his cousin Gruffydd, who had ostensibly become the ruler in West Gwynedd, died, and Llywelyn promptly annexed that territory. In 1201 and 1202 he deprived Maredudd of his lands in Llyn and Meirionydd respectively, so that by 1202 he had reunited all of Gwynedd.

      Llywellyn learned from his predecessors that it was important to stay on cordial terms with the king of England. Soon after John came to power, he and Llywelyn entered into a detailed agreement. This enforced John's overlordship of Wales, and stated the terms by which Llywelyn and his own lords must render fealty; but it also recognized the authority of Welsh law and stated on what basis cases might be tried. This agreement, the oldest to survive between an English and a Welsh monarch, while definitely constituting an imposition of English overlordship, nevertheless recognized the relevance and need of Welsh law and government and thus gave Llywelyn a power in his own land that was unequalled by any previous English-Welsh relationship. Llywelyn sought to cement this accord further by marryiing John, an illegitimate daughter of John's, in 1205. He also accompanied John on his punitive expedition against the Scots in 1209.

      In the meantime Llywelyn took what opportuhities presented themselves to expand his authority in Wales. His closest rival was Gwenwynwyn, the prince of Powys, who also had expansionist desires, but he overstepped the mark in 1208, literally, by sereval ill-disposed attacks on the marcher lands. King John reacted swiftly and deprived Gwenwynwyn of all of his lands. Llywelyn promptly annexed southern Powys and used this as a means to march into and lay claim to southern Ceredigion. He then claimed overlordship of the other lesser lordships in southern Wales and, by 1210, was declaring himself as prince of all Wales.

      This insubordination angered John who sent two expeditions into Wales in 1211. The first suffered form poor organization but the second was highly successful, prenetrating far into the stronghold of Fwynedd. East Gwynedd wsa placed under Norman control, and John cleverly engineered the isolation of Llywelyn by ensuring the support of the other princes. Exacting tributes were demanded and severe retribution taken on the hostages John took, including Llywelyn's illegitimate eldest son. For a few months Llywelyn was vulnerable. There was even a rival movement which sought to bring his cousin, Owain ap Dafydd, to the throne, but at the moment of crisis Llywelyn found unanimosu support amongst his countrymen. In 1212 Llywelyn regrouped his forces and prepared to face the might of John's army, which he had convened with a view to total conquest of Wales.

      It could ahve been the biggest invasion force since the Norman conquest of England but, at the last moment, John changed his plans. Domestic problems amongst his barons, which culminated in John's signing the Magna Carta, meant that he turned his attention from Wales. This was not a retreat, but the Welsh regarded it as a victory. Llywelyn had not been afraid to face the might of the English, and the English had backed down. Thereafter Llywelyn felt able to recommence his onslaught against the Norman-controlled territories, regaining East Gwynedd and lands in the Marches, as well as commanding fealty from the remaining Welsh princes in Powys and Deheubarth. By 1216 Llywelyn was prince of all Wales in fact as well as title, as confirmed by the Treaty of Worcester in 1218.

      Border skirmishes continued for several more years, mostly with the new regent of England, William Marshal, one of the marcher lords and the new earl of Pembroke, until his death in 1219. From 1216 to 1234 lands and castles frequently changed, hands, but it was as much a period of testing as of outright hostility. The two parties came to understand each other and, with the Pact of Middle in 1234, an agreement was reached by both sides with assured a modicum of peace.

      Llywelyn was determined that all he had achieved would not be broked asunder after his death so, as early as 1208 he ensured that his newly born legitimate son, Dafydd, was recognized as his heir. He also determined to revoke the Welsh law of partible succession, which had been the ruin of previous attempts to unite Wales. Under that rule a landowner had to divide his inheritance amongst his sons. Llywelyn sought to introduce the rule of primogeniture so that his eldest legitimate son inherited. Although this caused a family rift between Llywelyn's eldest illegitimate son, Gruffydd, and his nominated successor, Dafydd, Llywelyn succeeded in gaining total acceptance. Dafydd was recognized as heir not only by Henry III in 1220, but by the Pope in 1222, and in 1226 Llywelyn required that all the senior Welsh lords swore fealty to Dafydd as the next prince of Wales. Never had Wales been so united as under Llywelyn the Great. Had someone of his stature existed in previous generations, especially prior to the Norman conquest of England, it is entirely possible that the Welsh could have regained their native Britain. Unfortunately, Llywelyn achieved it at a time when England had increasingly powerful monarchs, and although he left a much improved legacy to his son and grandson, they had to face England's stongest monarch yet--Edward I.

      ** from Wikipedia listing for Llywelyn the Great
      Llywelyn the Great (Welsh Llywelyn Fawr, IPA pronunciation ɬə'wɛlɨ̞n), full name Llywelyn ab Iorwerth, (c. 1173 – April 11, 1240) was a Prince of Gwynedd in North Wales and eventually de facto ruler over most of Wales. He is sometimes called Llywelyn I of Wales.[1] By a combination of war and diplomacy he dominated Wales for forty years, and was one of only two Welsh rulers to be called 'the Great'. Llywelyn's main home and court throughout his reign was at Garth Celyn on the north coast of Gwynedd, between Bangor and Conwy, overlooking the port of Llanfaes. Throughout the thirteenth century, up to the Edwardian conquest, Garth Celyn, Aber Garth Celyn, was in effect the capital of Wales. (Garth Celyn is now known as Pen y Bryn, Bryn Llywelyn, Abergwyngregyn and parts of the medieval buildings still remain).

      During Llywelyn's boyhood Gwynedd was ruled by two of his uncles, who had agreed to split the kingdom between them following the death of Llywelyn's grandfather, Owain Gwynedd, in 1170. Llywelyn had a strong claim to be the legitimate ruler and began a campaign to win power at an early age. He was sole ruler of Gwynedd by 1200, and made a treaty with King John of England the same year. Llywelyn's relations with John remained good for the next ten years. He married John's illegitimate daughter Joan in 1205, and when John arrested Gwenwynwyn ab Owain of Powys in 1208 Llywelyn took the opportunity to annex southern Powys. In 1210 relations deteriorated and John invaded Gwynedd in 1211. Llywelyn was forced to seek terms and to give up all his lands east of the River Conwy, but was able to recover these lands the following year in alliance with the other Welsh princes. He allied himself with the barons who forced John to sign Magna Carta in 1215. By 1216 he was the dominant power in Wales, holding a council at Aberdyfi that year to apportion lands to the other princes.

      Following King John's death, Llywelyn concluded the Treaty of Worcester with his successor Henry III in 1218. During the next fifteen years Llywelyn was frequently involved in fighting with Marcher lords and sometimes with the king, but also made alliances with several of the major powers in the Marches. The Peace of Middle in 1234 marked the end of Llywelyn's military career as the agreed truce of two years was extended year by year for the remainder of his reign. He maintained his position in Wales until his death in 1240, and was succeeded by his son Dafydd ap Llywelyn.

      Genealogy and early life
      Llywelyn was born about 1173, the son of Iorwerth Drwyndwn and the grandson of Owain Gwynedd, who had been ruler of Gwynedd until his death in 1170. Llywelyn was a descendant of the senior line of Rhodri Mawr and therefore a member of the princely house of Aberffraw.[2] He was probably born at Dolwyddelan though he could not have been born in the present Dolwyddelan castle, which was built by Llywelyn himself. He may have been born in the old castle which occupied a rocky knoll on the valley floor.[3] Little is known about his father, Iorwerth Drwyndwn, who may have died when Llywelyn was an infant. There is no record of Iorwerth having taken part in the power struggle between some of Owain Gwynedd's other sons following Owain's death, although he was the eldest surviving son. There is a tradition that he was disabled or disfigured in some way that excluded him from power.[4]

      By 1175 Gwynedd had been divided between two of Llywelyn's uncles. Dafydd ab Owain held the area east of the River Conwy and Rhodri ab Owain held the west. Dafydd and Rhodri were the sons of Owain by his second marriage to Cristin ferch Goronwy. This marriage was not considered valid by the church as Cristin was Owain's first cousin, a degree of relationship which according to Canon law prohibited marriage. Giraldus Cambrensis refers to Iorwerth Drwyndwn as the only legitimate son of Owain Gwynedd.[5] Following Iorwerth's death, Llywelyn was, at least in the eyes of the church, the legitimate claimant to the throne of Gwynedd.[6]

      Llywelyn's mother was Marared, sometimes anglicized to Margaret, daughter of Madog ap Maredudd, prince of Powys. There is evidence that after Iorwerth's death Marared married into the Corbet family of Caux in Shropshire, and Llywelyn may have spent part of his boyhood there. [7]

      Rise to power 1188–1199
      In his account of his journey around Wales in 1188 Giraldus Cambrensis mentions that the young Llywelyn was already in arms against his uncles Dafydd and Rhodri.[8] In 1194, with the aid of his cousins Gruffudd ap Cynan[9] and Maredudd ap Cynan, he defeated Dafydd in a battle at the mouth of the River Conwy. Rhodri died in 1195, and his lands west of the Conwy were taken over by Gruffudd and Maredudd while Llywelyn ruled the territories taken from Dafydd east of the Conwy.[10] In 1197 Llywelyn captured Dafydd and imprisoned him. A year later Hubert Walter, Archbishop of Canterbury, persuaded Llywelyn to release him, and Dafydd retired to England where he died in May 1203.

      Wales was divided into Pura Wallia, the areas ruled by the Welsh princes, and Marchia Wallia, ruled by the Anglo-Norman barons. Since the death of Owain Gwynedd in 1170, Rhys ap Gruffydd had made the southern kingdom of Deheubarth the strongest of the Welsh kingdoms, and had established himself as the leader of Pura Wallia. After Rhys died in 1197, fighting between his sons led to the splitting of Deheubarth between warring factions. Gwenwynwyn ab Owain, prince of Powys Wenwynwyn, tried to take over as leader of the Welsh princes, and in 1198 raised a great army to besiege Painscastle, which was held by William de Braose, Lord of Bramber. Llywelyn sent troops to help Gwenwynwyn, but in August Gwenwynwyn's force was attacked by an army led by the Justiciar, Geoffrey Fitz Peter, and heavily defeated.[11] Gwenwynwyn's defeat gave Llywelyn the opportunity to establish himself as the leader of the Welsh. In 1199 he captured the important castle of Mold and was apparently using the title "prince of the whole of North Wales" (Latin: tocius norwallie princeps).[12] Llywelyn was probably not in fact master of all Gwynedd at this time since it was his cousin Gruffudd ap Cynan who promised homage to King John for Gwynedd in 1199.[13]

      Consolidation 1200–1209
      Gruffudd ap Cynan died in 1200 and left Llywelyn undisputed ruler of Gwynedd. In 1201 he took Eifionydd and Llŷn from Maredudd ap Cynan on a charge of treachery.[14] In July the same year Llywelyn concluded a treaty with King John of England. This is the earliest surviving written agreement between an English king and a Welsh ruler, and under its terms Llywelyn was to swear fealty and do homage to the king. In return, it confirmed Llywelyn's possession of his conquests and allowed cases relating to lands claimed by Llywelyn to be heard under Welsh law.[15]

      Llywelyn made his first move beyond the borders of Gwynedd in August 1202 when he raised a force to attack Gwenwynwyn ab Owain of Powys, who was now his main rival in Wales. The clergy intervened to make peace between Llywelyn and Gwenwynwyn and the invasion was called off. Elise ap Madog, lord of Penllyn, had refused to respond to Llywelyn's summons to arms and was stripped of almost all his lands by Llywelyn as punishment.[16]

      Llywelyn consolidated his position in 1205 by marrying Joan, the illegitimate daughter of King John. He had previously been negotiating with Pope Innocent III for leave to marry his uncle Rhodri's widow, daughter of Ragnald, king of the Isle of Man. However this proposal was dropped when the more advantageous marriage to Joan was offered.[17]

      In 1208 Gwenwynwyn of Powys fell out with King John who summoned him to Shrewsbury in October and then arrested him and stripped him of his lands. Llywelyn took the opportunity to annex southern Powys and northern Ceredigion and rebuild Aberystwyth castle.[18] In the summer of 1209 he accompanied John on a campaign against King William I of Scotland.[19]

      Setback and recovery 1210–1217
      In 1210 relations between Llywelyn and King John deteriorated. J.E. Lloyd suggests that the rupture may have been due to Llywelyn forming an alliance with William de Braose, 4th Lord of Bramber, who had fallen out with the king and had been deprived of his lands.[20] While John led a campaign against de Braose and his allies in Ireland, an army led by Earl Ranulph of Chester and Peter des Roches, Bishop of Winchester, invaded Gwynedd. Llywelyn destroyed his own castle at Deganwy and retreated west of the River Conwy. The Earl of Chester rebuilt Deganwy, and Llywelyn retaliated by ravaging the earl's lands.[21] John sent troops to help restore Gwenwynwyn to the rule of southern Powys. In 1211 John invaded Gwynedd with the aid of almost all the other Welsh princes, planning according to Brut y Tywysogion "to dispossess Llywelyn and destroy him utterly".[22] The first invasion was forced to retreat, but in August that year John invaded again with a larger army, crossed the River Conwy and penetrated Snowdonia.[23] Bangor was burnt by a detachment of the royal army and the Bishop of Bangor captured. Llywelyn was forced to come to terms, and by the advice of his council sent his wife Joan to negotiate with the king, her father.[24] Joan was able to persuade her father not to dispossess her husband completely, but Llywelyn lost all his lands east of the River Conwy. He also had to pay a large tribute in cattle and horses and to hand over hostages, including his illegitimate son Gruffydd, and was forced to agree that if he died without a legitimate heir by Joan all his lands would revert to the king.[25]

      This was the low point of Llywelyn's reign, but he quickly recovered his position. The other Welsh princes, who had supported King John against Llywelyn, soon became disillusioned with John's rule and changed sides. Llywelyn formed an alliance with Gwenwynwyn of Powys and the two main rulers of Deheubarth, Maelgwn ap Rhys and Rhys Gryg, and rose against John. They had the support of Pope Innocent III, who had been engaged in a dispute with John for several years and had placed his kingdom under an interdict. Innocent released Llywelyn, Gwenwynwyn and Maelgwn from all oaths of loyalty to John and lifted the interdict in the territories which they controlled. Llywelyn was able to recover all Gwynedd apart from the castles of Deganwy and Rhuddlan within two months in 1212.[26]

      John planned another invasion of Gwynedd in August 1212. According to one account, he had just commenced by hanging some of the Welsh hostages given the previous year when he received two letters. One was from his daughter Joan, Llywelyn's wife, the other from William I of Scotland, and both warned him in similar terms that if he invaded Wales his magnates would seize the opportunity to kill him or hand him over to his enemies.[27] The invasion was abandoned, and in 1213 Llywelyn took the castles of Deganwy and Rhuddlan.[28] Llywelyn made an alliance with Philip II Augustus of France,[29] then allied himself with the barons who were in rebellion against John, marching on Shrewsbury and capturing it without resistance in 1215.[30] When John was forced to sign Magna Carta, Llywelyn was rewarded with several favourable provisions relating to Wales, including the release of his son Gruffydd who had been a hostage since 1211.[31] The same year Ednyfed Fychan was appointed sensechal of Gwynedd and was to work closely with Llywelyn for the remainder of his reign.

      Llywelyn had now established himself as the leader of the independent princes of Wales, and in December 1215 led an army which included all the lesser princes to capture the castles of Carmarthen, Kidwelly, Llanstephan, Cardigan and Cilgerran. Another indication of his growing power was that he was able to insist on the consecration of Welshmen to two vacant sees that year, Iorwerth as Bishop of St. David's and Cadwgan as Bishop of Bangor.[32]

      In 1216, Llywelyn held a council at Aberdyfi to adjudicate on the territorial claims of the lesser princes, who affirmed their homage and allegiance to Llywelyn. Beverley Smith comments, "Henceforth, the leader would be lord, and the allies would be subjects".[33] Gwenwynwyn of Powys changed sides again that year and allied himself with King John. Llywelyn called up the other princes for a campaign against him and drove him out of southern Powys once more. Gwenwynwyn died in England later that year, leaving an underage heir. King John also died that year, and he also left an underage heir in King Henry III with a minority government set up in England.[34]

      In 1217 Reginald de Braose of Brecon and Abergavenny, who had been allied to Llywelyn and had married his daughter Gwladus Ddu, was induced by the English crown to change sides. Llywelyn responded by invading his lands, first threatening Brecon, where the burgesses offered hostages for the payment of 100 marks, then heading for Swansea where Reginald de Braose met him to offer submission and to surrender the town. He then continued westwards to threaten Haverfordwest where the burgesses offered hostages for their submission to his rule or the payment of a fine of 1,000 marks.[35]

      Treaty of Worcester and border campaigns 1218–1229
      Following King John's death Llywelyn concluded the Treaty of Worcester with his successor Henry III in 1218. This treaty confirmed him in possession of all his recent conquests. From then until his death Llywelyn was the dominant force in Wales, though there were further outbreaks of hostilities with marcher lords, particularly the Marshall family and Hubert de Burgh, and sometimes with the king. Llywelyn built up marriage alliances with several of the Marcher families. One daughter, Gwladus Ddu, was already married to Reginald de Braose of Brecon and Abergavenny, but with Reginald an unreliable ally Llywelyn married another daughter, Marared, to John de Braose of Gower, Reginald's nephew. He found a loyal ally in Ranulph, Earl of Chester, whose nephew and heir, John the Scot, married Llywelyn's daughter Elen in about 1222. Following Reginald de Braose's death, Llywelyn also made an alliance with the powerful Mortimer family of Wigmore when Gwladus Ddu married Ralph de Mortimer.[36]

      Llywelyn was careful not to provoke unnecessary hostilities with the crown or the Marcher lords; for example in 1220 he compelled Rhys Gryg to return four commotes in South Wales to their previous Anglo-Norman owners.[37] He built a number of castles to defend his borders, most thought to have been built between 1220 and 1230. These were the first sophisticated stone castles in Wales; his castles at Criccieth, Deganwy, Dolbadarn, Dolwyddelan and Castell y Bere are among the best examples.[38] Llywelyn also appears to have fostered the development of quasi-urban settlements in Gwynedd to act as centres of trade.[39]

      Hostilities broke out with William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke, in 1220. Llywelyn destroyed the castles of Narberth and Wiston, burnt the town of Haverfordwest and threatened Pembroke Castle, but agreed to abandon the attack on payment of £100. In early 1223 Llywelyn crossed the border into Shropshire and captured Kinnerley and Whittington castles. The Marshalls took advantage of Llywelyn's involvement here to land near St David's in April with an army raised in Ireland and recaptured Cardigan and Carmarthen without opposition. The Marshalls' campaign was supported by a royal army which took possession of Montgomery. Llywelyn came to an agreement with the king at Montgomery in October that year. Llywelyn's allies in south Wales were given back lands taken from them by the Marshalls and Llywelyn himself gave up his conquests in Shropshire.[40]

      In 1228 Llywelyn was engaged in a campaign against Hubert de Burgh, who was Justiciar of England and Ireland and one of the most powerful men in the kingdom. Hubert had been given the lordship and castle of Montgomery by the king and was encroaching on Llywelyn's lands nearby. The king raised an army to help Hubert, who began to build another castle in the commote of Ceri. However in October the royal army was obliged to retreat and Henry agreed to destroy the half-built castle in exchange for the payment of £2,000 by Llywelyn. Llywelyn raised the money by demanding the same sum as the ransom of William de Braose, Lord of Abergavenny, whom he had captured in the fighting.[41]

      Marital problems 1230
      Following his capture, William de Braose, 10th Baron Abergavenny decided to ally himself to Llywelyn, and a marriage was arranged between his daughter Isabella and Llywelyn's heir, Dafydd ap Llywelyn. At Easter 1230 William visited Llywelyn's court Garth Celyn, Aber Garth Celyn now known as Pen y Bryn,Abergwyngregyn. During this visit he was found in Llywelyn's chamber together with llywelyn's wife Joan. On 2 May, De Braose was hanged in the marshland under Garth Celyn, the place now remembered as Gwern y Grog, Hanging Marsh, a deliberately humiliating execution for a nobleman, and Joan was placed under house arrest for a year. The Brut y Tywysogion chronicler commented:

      ... that year William de Breos the Younger, lord of Brycheiniog, was hanged by the lord Llywelyn in Gwynedd, after he had been caught in Llywelyn's chamber with the king of England's daughter, Llywelyn's wife.[42]

      A letter from Llywelyn to William's wife, Eva de Braose, written shortly after the execution enquires whether she still wishes the marriage between Dafydd and Isabella to take place.[43] The marriage did go ahead, and the following year Joan was forgiven and restored to her position as princess.

      Until 1230 Llywelyn had used the title princeps Norwalliæ 'Prince of North Wales', but from that year he changed his title to 'Prince of Aberffraw and Lord of Snowdon', possibly to underline his supremacy over the other Welsh princes.[44] He did not formally style himself 'Prince of Wales' although as J.E. Lloyd comments "he had much of the power which such a title might imply".[45]

      Final campaigns and the Peace of Middle 1231–1240
      In 1231 there was further fighting. Llywelyn was becoming concerned about the growing power of Hubert de Burgh. Some of his men had been taken prisoner by the garrison of Montgomery and beheaded, and Llywelyn responded by burning Montgomery, Radnor, Hay and Brecon before turning west to capture the castles of Neath and Kidwelly. He completed the campaign by recapturing Cardigan castle.[46] King Henry retaliated by launching an invasion and built a new castle at Painscastle, but was unable to penetrate far into Wales.[47]

      Negotiations continued into 1232, when Hubert was removed from office and later imprisoned. Much of his power passed to Peter de Rivaux, including control of several castles in south Wales. William Marshall had died in 1231, and his brother Richard had succeeded him as Earl of Pembroke. In 1233 hostilities broke out between Richard Marshall and Peter de Rivaux, who was supported by the king. Llywelyn made an alliance with Richard, and in January 1234 the earl and Llywelyn seized Shrewsbury. Richard was killed in Ireland in April, but the king agreed to make peace with the insurgents.[48] The Peace of Middle, agreed on 21 June, established a truce of two years with Llywelyn, who was allowed to retain Cardigan and Builth. This truce was renewed year by year for the remainder of Llywelyn's reign.[49]

      Arrangements for the succession
      In his later years Llywelyn devoted much effort to ensuring that his only legitimate son Dafydd would follow him as ruler of Gwynedd. Dafydd's older but illegitimate brother, Gruffydd, was excluded from the succession. This was a departure from Welsh custom, not as is often stated because the kingdom was not divided between Dafydd and Gruffydd but because Gruffydd was excluded from consideration as a potential heir owing to his illegitimacy. This was contrary to Welsh law which stipulated that illegitimate sons had equal rights with legitimate sons, provided they had been acknowledged by the father.[50]
      Strata Florida Abbey was the site of the council of 1238.
      Strata Florida Abbey was the site of the council of 1238.

      In 1220 Llywelyn induced the minority government of King Henry to acknowledge Dafydd as his heir.[51] In 1222 he petitioned Pope Honorius III to have Dafydd's succession confirmed. The original petition has not been preserved but the Pope's reply refers to the "destestable custom ... in his land whereby the son of the handmaiden was equally heir with the son of the free woman and illegitimate sons obtained an inheritance as if they were legitimate". The Pope welcomed the fact that Llywelyn was abolishing this custom.[52] In 1226 Llywelyn persuaded the Pope to declare his wife Joan, Dafydd's mother, to be a legitimate daughter of King John, again in order to strengthen Dafydd's position, and in 1229 the English crown accepted Dafydd's homage for the lands he would inherit from his father.[53] In 1238 Llywelyn held a council at Strata Florida Abbey where the other Welsh princes swore fealty to Dafydd.[54] Llywelyn's original intention had been that they should do homage to Dafydd, but the king wrote to the other rulers forbidding them to do homage.[55]

      Gruffydd was given an appanage in Meirionnydd and Ardudwy but his rule was said to be oppressive, and in 1221 Llywelyn stripped him of these territories.[56] In 1228 Llywelyn imprisoned him, and he was not released until 1234. On his release he was given part of Llŷn to rule. His performance this time was apparently more satisfactory and by 1238 he had been given the remainder of Llŷn and a substantial part of Powys.[57]

      Death and the transfer of power
      Joan died in 1237 and Llywelyn appears to have suffered a paralytic stroke the same year.[58] From this time on, his heir Dafydd took an increasing part in the rule of the principality. Dafydd deprived his brother Gruffydd of the lands given him by Llywelyn, and later seized him and his eldest son Owain and held them in Criccieth Castle. In 1240 the chronicler of Brut y Tywysogion records:

      " ... the lord Llywelyn ap Iorwerth son of Owain Gwynedd, Prince of Wales, a second Achilles, died having taken on the habit of religion at Aberconwy, and was buried honourably."[59]

      Llywelyn died at the Cistercian abbey of Aberconwy, which he had founded, and was buried there. This abbey was later moved to Maenan near Llanrwst, and Llywelyn's stone coffin can now be seen in Llanrwst parish church. Among the poets who lamented his passing was Einion Wan:

      "True lord of the land - how strange that today
      He rules not o'er Gwynedd;
      Lord of nought but the piled up stones of his tomb,
      Of the seven-foot grave in which he lies." [60]

      Dafydd succeeded Llywelyn as prince of Gwynedd, but King Henry was not prepared to allow him to inherit his father's position in the remainder of Wales. Dafydd was forced to agree to a treaty greatly restricting his power and was also obliged to hand his brother Gruffydd over to the king, who now had the option of using him against Dafydd. Gruffydd was killed attempting to escape from the Tower of London in 1244. This left the field clear for Dafydd, but Dafydd himself died without an heir in 1246 and was eventually succeeded by his nephew, Gruffydd's son, Llywelyn the Last.

      Historical assessment
      Llywelyn dominated Wales for over forty years, and was one of only two Welsh rulers to be called 'the Great', the other being his ancestor Rhodri the Great. The first person to give Llywelyn the title 'the Great' seems to have been his near-contemporary, the English chronicler Matthew Paris.[61]

      John Edward Lloyd gave the following assessment of Llywelyn:

      "Among the chieftains who battled against the Anglo-Norman power his place will always be high, if not indeed the highest of all, for no man ever made better or more judicious use of the native force of the Welsh people for adequate national ends; his patriotic statemanship will always entitle him to wear the proud style of Llywelyn the Great."[62]

      David Moore gives a different view:

      "When Llywelyn died in 1240 his principatus of Wales rested on shaky foundations. Although he had dominated Wales, exacted unprecedented submissions and raised the status of the prince of Gwynedd to new heights, his three major ambitions - a permanent hegemony, its recognition by the king, and its inheritance in its entirety by his heir - remained unfulfilled. His supremacy, like that of Gruffydd ap Llywelyn, had been merely personal in nature, and there was no institutional framework to maintain it either during his lifetime or after his death."[63]

      The identity of the mother of some of Llywelyn's children is uncertain. He was survived by nine children, two legitimate, one probably legitimate and six illegitimate. Elen ferch Llywelyn (c.1207–1253), his only certainly legitimate daughter, first married John de Scotia, Earl of Chester. This marriage was childless, and after John's death Elen married Sir Robert de Quincy, the brother of Roger de Quincy, Earl of Winchester. Llywelyn's only legitimate son, Dafydd ap Llywelyn (c.1208–1246), married Isabella de Braose, daughter of William de Braose, 10th Baron Abergavenny, Lord of Abergavenny. William was the son of Reginald de Braose, who married another of Llywelyn's daughters. Dafydd and Isabella may have had one child together, Helen of Wales (1246–1295), but the marriage failed to produce a male heir.

      Another daughter, Gwladus Ddu (c.1206–1251), was probably legitimate. Adam of Usk states that she was a legitimate daughter by Joan, although some sources claim that her mother was Llywelyn's mistress, Tangwystl Goch.[64] She first married Reginald de Braose of Brecon and Abergavenny, but had no children by him. After Reginald's death she married Ralph de Mortimer of Wigmore and had several sons.

      Through Gwladus, Elen, and Gruffydd, Llywelyn is an ancestor of Queen Elizabeth II.[65]

      The mother of most of Llywelyn's illegitimate children is known or assumed to have been Llywelyn's mistress, Tangwystl Goch (c.1168-1198). Gruffydd ap Llywelyn (c.1196–1244) was Llywelyn's eldest son and is known to be the son of Tangwystl. He married Senena, daughter of Caradoc ap Thomas of Anglesey. Their four sons included Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, who for a period occupied a position in Wales comparable to that of his grandfather, and Dafydd ap Gruffydd who ruled Gwynedd briefly after his brother's death. Llywelyn had another son, Tegwared ap Llywelyn, by a woman known only as Crysten.

      Marared ferch Llywelyn (c.1198–after 1263) married John de Braose of Gower, a nephew of Reginald de Braose, and after his death married Walter Clifford of Bronllys and Clifford. Other illegitimate daughters were Gwenllian ferch Llywelyn, who married William de Lacey, and Angharad ferch Llywelyn, who married Maelgwn Fychan. Susanna ferch Llywelyn was sent to England as a hostage in 1228, but no further details are known.

      1. ^ Llywelyn has also been called "Llywelyn II of Gwynedd". The main Welsh historians of the period, for example J.E. Lloyd and R.R. Davies, do not use regnal numbers for the Welsh princes. John Davies sometimes uses "Llywelyn I".
      2. ^ For details of Llywelyn's ancestry, see Bartrum pp.95-96
      3. ^ Lynch p. 156. According to one genealogy Llywelyn had a brother named Adda, but there is no other record of him.
      4. ^ Maund p. 185
      5. ^ Giraldus Cambrensis p. 126. Maelgwn ab Owain Gwynedd was Iorwerth's full brother, but presumably he was dead by the time Giraldus wrote.
      6. ^ Giraldus Cambrensis p. 126
      7. ^ Maund p. 186
      8. ^ Giraldus Cambrensis p. 126. Giraldus says that Llywelyn was only twelve years of age at this time, which would mean that he was born about 1176. However most historians consider that he was born about 1173.
      9. ^ This Gruffudd ap Cynan should not be confused with Gruffydd ap Cynan the late 11th and early 12th century king of Gwynedd, Llywelyn's great-grandfather
      10. ^ Maund p. 187
      11. ^ Lloyd pp. 585-6
      12. ^ Davies p. 239
      13. ^ Moore p. 109
      14. ^ Moore p. 109
      15. ^ Davies p. 294
      16. ^ Lloyd pp. 613-4
      17. ^ Lloyd pp. 616-7. One letter from the Pope suggests that Llywelyn may have been married previously, to an unnamed sister of Earl Ranulph of Chester in about 1192, but there appears to be no confirmation of this.
      18. ^ Davies pp. 229, 241
      19. ^ Lloyd pp. 622-3
      20. ^ Lloyd p. 631
      21. ^ Lloyd p. 632, Maund p. 192
      22. ^ Brut y Tywysogion p.154
      23. ^ Maund p. 193
      24. ^ Brut y Tywysogion pp. 155-6
      25. ^ Davies p. 295
      26. ^ Brut y Tywysogion pp. 158-9
      27. ^ Pryce p. 445
      28. ^ Brut y Tywysogion p. 162
      29. ^ Moore pp. 112-3
      30. ^ Brut y Tywysogion p. 165
      31. ^ Lloyd p. 646
      32. ^ Brut y Tywysogion p. 167
      33. ^ Quoted in John Davies (1994) History of Wales p. 138
      34. ^ Lloyd pp. 649-51
      35. ^ Davies p. 242; Lloyd pp. 652-3
      36. ^ Lloyd pp. 645, 657-8
      37. ^ Davies p. 298
      38. ^ Lynch p. 135
      39. ^ John Davies (1994) History of Wales p. 142
      40. ^ Lloyd p. 661-3
      41. ^ Lloyd p. 667-70
      42. ^ Brut y Tywysogion pp. 190-1
      43. ^ Pryce pp. 428-9
      44. ^ The version of the Welsh laws preserved in Llyfr Iorwerth, compiled in Gwynedd during Llywelyn's reign, claims precedence for the ruler of Aberffraw over the rulers of the other Welsh kingdoms. See Aled Rhys William (1960) Llyfr Iorwerth: a critical text of the Venedotian code of mediaeval Welsh law.
      45. ^ Lloyd pp. 682-3
      46. ^ Lloyd pp. 673-5
      47. ^ Lloyd pp. 675-6
      48. ^ Powicke pp. 51-55
      49. ^ Lloyd p. 681
      50. ^ There was provision in Welsh law for the selection of a single edling or heir by the ruler. For a discussion of this see Stephenson pp. 138-141. See Williams pp. 393-413 for details of the struggle for the succession.
      51. ^ Davies p. 249
      52. ^ Pryce pp. 414-5
      53. ^ Davies p. 249
      54. ^ Davies p. 249
      55. ^ Carr p. 60
      56. ^ Brut y Tywysogion pp. 182-3
      57. ^ Lloyd p. 692
      58. ^ Stephenson p. xxii
      59. ^ Brut y Tywysogion p. 198
      60. ^ Translated in Lloyd p. 693
      61. ^ Matthew Paris Chronica Majora edited by H.R. Luard (1880) Volume 5, London Rolls Series, p. 718, quoted in Carr.
      62. ^ Lloyd p. 693
      63. ^ Moore p. 126
      64. ^ Some sources claim that Gwladus Ddu was born before 1198 and was therefore a daughter of Tangwystl. Others state that she was born in 1206 and therefore Joan's daughter, as Tangwystl died before Joan and Llywelyn were married in 1205. Some sources say that when Joan died she left her lands to Gwladus, which would probably not have happened had Gwladus not been her daughter.
      65. ^ There are also lines of descent to Elizabeth II from Elen, Marared and Angharad. See Francis Jones (1969) God bless the Prince of Wales: four essays for Investiture year 1969 pp. 36-7, 48-51
      66. ^ In praise of Llywelyn ab Iorwerth by Llywarch ap Llywelyn has been translated by Joseph P. Clancy (1970) in The earliest Welsh poetry.
      67. ^ See D.E. Jenkins (1899) Beddgelert: its facts, fairies & folklore pp. 56-74 for a detailed discussion of this legend.

      Primary sources
      * Hoare, R.C., ed. 1908. Giraldus Cambrensis: The Itinerary through Wales; Description of Wales. Translated by R.C. Hoare. Everyman's Library. ISBN 0-460-00272-4
      * Jones, T., ed. 1941. Brut y Tywysogion: Peniarth MS. 20. University of Wales Press.
      * Pryce, H., ed. 2005. The Acts of Welsh rulers 1120-1283. University of Wales Press. ISBN 0-7083-1897-5

      Secondary sources
      * Bartrum, P.C. 1966. Early Welsh genealogical tracts. University of Wales Press.
      * Carr, A. D. 1995. Medieval Wales. Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-54773-X
      * Davies, R. R. 1987. Conquest, coexistence and change: Wales 1063-1415 Clarendon Press, University of Wales Press. ISBN 0-19-821732-3
      * Lloyd, J. E. 1911. A history of Wales from the earliest times to the Edwardian conquest. Longmans, Green & Co..
      * Lynch, F. 1995. Gwynedd (A guide to ancient and historic Wales series). HMSO. ISBN 0-11-701574-1
      * Maund, K. 2006. The Welsh kings: warriors, warlords and princes. Tempus. ISBN 0-7524-2973-6
      * Moore, D. 2005. The Welsh wars of independence: c.410-c.1415. Tempus. ISBN 0-7524-3321-0
      * Powicke, M. 1953. The thirteenth century 1216-1307 (The Oxford History of England). Clarendon Press.
      * Stephenson, D. 1984. The governance of Gwynedd. University of Wales Press. ISBN 0-7083-0850-3
      * Williams, G. A. 1964. "The succession to Gwynedd, 1238-1247" Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies XX (1962-64)

      BIO: from
      RANULF du Bessin "le Meschin", son of RANULF Vicomte du Bessin [Bayeux] & his wife Marguerite [Maud] d'Avranches (-17 or 27 Jan 1129, bur Chester, Abbey of St Werburgh). Orderic Vitalis names him and his mother[46]. "…Rannulfus filius Rannulfi vicecomitis…Rannulfus vicecomes" witnessed the charter dated 24 Apr 1089 under which Robert III Duke of Normandy donated property to Bayeux cathedral[47]. He was awarded the lordship of Carlisle by Henry I King of England[48]. He succeeded his father as Vicomte du Bessin [Bayeux]. “R de Meschin, Richerio vicecomiti Karleoli” donated property to Wetherall priory, Cumberland, for the soul of “…Richard fratris mei…et uxoris meæ Luciæ…”, by undated charter, witnessed by “Osberto vicecomite, Walteof filio Cospatricii comitis, Forno Sigulfi filio, Chetello Ectredi filio…”[49]. “Ranulfus Meschines” donated property to Wetherall priory, Cumberland, by undated charter, witnessed by “uxore mea Lucia, Willielmo fratre meo…”[50]. He was appointed Vicomte d'Avranches in 1120 after the death of his first cousin Richard d'Avranches, and also obtained the grant of the county palatine of Chester thereby becoming Earl of Chester (upon which he surrendered the lordship of Carlisle). He was commander of the royal forces in Normandy in 1124[51]. A manuscript narrating the descent of Hugh Earl of Chester to Alice Ctss of Lincoln records the death “VI Kal Feb” of “Ranulfus de Meschines” and his burial at St Werburgh´s, Chester[52].

      m ([1098]) as her third husband, LUCY, widow firstly of IVO Taillebois Lord of Kendal and secondly of ROGER FitzGerold, daughter of --- & his wife [--- Malet] (-1138[53]). Ingulph's Chronicle of the Abbey of Croyland records that William I King of England arranged the marriage of "Ivo Taillebois" and "Lucia sister of Edwin and Morcar", her dowry consisting of their land at Hoyland[54], but this parentage appears impossible from a chronological point of view. Peter of Blois's Continuation of the Chronicle of the Abbey of Croyland records the death of Ivo and his burial at the priory of Spalding, and the remarriage of his widow "hardly had one month elapsed after his death" with "Roger de Romar the son Gerald de Romar"[55]. A manuscript recording the foundation of Spalding monastery records that “Yvo Talboys” married "Thoroldo…hærede Lucia" who, after the death of Ivo, married (in turn) "Rogerum filium Geroldi" and "comitem Cestriæ Ranulphum"[56]. She is named as wife of Ranulf by Orderic Vitalis, who also names her first husband, but does not state her origin[57]. According to a charter of Henri Duke of Normandy (later Henry II King of England) issued in favour of her son Ranulf Earl of Chester dated 1153, Ctss Lucy was the niece of Robert Malet of Eye and of Alan of Lincoln, as well as kinswoman of Thorold "the Sheriff"[58].

      Earl Ranulf & his wife had four children...

      ** from Complete Peerage, vol 3, p 166
      Chester. Earldoms. IV. 1121. Ranulph le Meschin (i.e. "The Young," from the latin "Mischinus;" French "Meschin"), styled also, "de Briquessart" (so called from Briquessart in the commune of Livry, where the earthworks of his castle are still visible. He is called by Ordericus "Rannulfus Baiocensis," from having succeeded his father as Vicomte of the Bessin, of which Bayeux was the capital, in Nov. 1120), Vicomte de Bayeux in Normandy, son and heir of Ranulph, Vicomte de Bayeux, by Margaret, sister of Hugh (d'Avranches), Earl of Chester abovenamed, being thus first cousin and heir to the last Earl (whom he succeeded as Vicomte d'Avranches, etc., in Normandy), obtained, after the Earl's death in 1120, the grant of the county palatine of Chester, become thereby Earl of Chester. He appears thereupon to have surrendered the Lordship of the great district of Cumberland, which he had acquired, shortly before, from Henry I. In 1124 he was Commander of the Royal forces in Normandy.

      He married Lucy, widow of Roger Fitz-Gerold (by whom she was mother of William Roumare, afterwards Earl of Lincoln). He died about 1129 and was buried at St. Werburg's, Chester. The Countess Lucy confirmed, as his widow, the grant of the Manor of Spalding to the monks of that place. She paid 500 marks to King Henry in 1130 for licence to remain unmarried for five years.

      ** from Wikipedia listing for Ranulf le Meschin, 3rd Earl of Chester
      Ranulf le Meschin, Ranulf de Briquessart or Ranulf I [Ranulph, Ralph] (died 1129) was a late 11th- and early 12th-century Norman magnate based in northern and central England. Originating in Bessin in Normandy, Ranulf made his career in England thanks to his kinship with Hugh d'Avranches - the earl of Chester, the patronage of kings William II Rufus and Henry I Beauclerc, and his marriage to Lucy, heiress of the Bolingbroke-Spalding estates in Lincolnshire.

      Ranulf fought in Normandy on behalf of Henry I, and served the English king as a kind of semi-independent governor in the far north-west, in Cumberland and Westmorland, founding Wetheral Priory. After the death of his cousin Richard d'Avranches in the White Ship Disaster of November 1120, Ranulf became earl of the county of Chester on the Anglo-Welsh marches. He held this position for the remainder of his life, and passed the title on to his son.

      Family and origins
      Ranulf le Meschin's father and mother represented two different families of viscounts in Normandy, and both of them were strongly tied to Henry, son of William the Conqueror.[2] His father was Ranulf de Briquessart, and likely for this reason the former Ranulf was styled le Meschin, "the younger".[3] Ranulf's father was viscount of the Bessin, the area around Bayeux.[4] Besides Odo, bishop of Bayeux, Ranulf the elder was the most powerful magnate in the Bessin region of Normandy.[5] Ranulf le Meschin's great-grandmother may even have been from the ducal family of Normandy, as le Meschin's paternal great-grandfather viscount Anschitil is known to have married a daughter of Duke Richard III.[6]

      Ranulf le Meschin's mother was the daughter of Richard Goz.[2] Richard's father Thurstan Goz had become viscount of the Hiémois between 1017 and 1025,[7] while Richard himself became viscount of the Avranchin in either 1055 or 1056.[8] Her brother (Richard Goz's son) was Hugh d'Avranches "Lupus" ("the Wolf"), viscount of the Avranchin and Earl of Chester (from c. 1070).[9] Ranulf was thus, in addition to being heir to the Bessin, the nephew of one of Norman England's most powerful and prestigious families.[10]

      We know from an entry in the Durham Liber Vitae, c. 1098 x 1120, that Ranulf le Meschin had an older brother named Richard (who died in youth), and a younger brother named William.[11] He had a sister called Agnes, who later married Robert de Grandmesnil (died 1136).[3]

      Early career
      Historian C. Warren Hollister thought that Ranulf's father Ranulf de Briquessart was one of the early close companions of Prince Henry, the future Henry I.[5] Hollister called Ranulf the Elder "a friend from Henry's youthful days in western Normandy",[12] and argued that the homeland of the two Ranulfs had been under Henry's overlordship since 1088, despite both ducal and royal authority lying with Henry's two brothers.[13] Hollister further suggested that Ranulf le Meschin may have had a role in persuading Robert Curthose to free Henry from captivity in 1089.[14]

      The date of Ranulf senior's death, and succession of Ranulf junior, is unclear, but the former's last and the latter's earliest appearance in extant historical records coincides, dating to 24 April 1089 in charter of Robert Curthose, Duke of Normandy, to Bayeux Cathedral.[15] Ranulf le Meschin appears as "Ranulf son of Ranulf the viscount".[15]

      In the foundation charter of Chester Abbey granted by his uncle Hugh Lupus, earl of Chester, and purportedly issued in 1093, Ranulf le Meschin is listed as a witness.[16] His attestation to this grant is written Signum Ranulfi nepotis comitis, "signature of Ranulf nephew of the earl".[17] However, the editor of the Chester comital charters, Geoffrey Barraclough, thought this charter was forged in the period of Earl Ranulf II.[18] Between 1098 and 1101 (probably in 1098) Ranulf became a major English landowner in his own right when he became the third husband of Lucy, heiress of the honour of Bolingbroke in Lincolnshire.[19] This acquisition also brought him the lordship of Appleby in Westmorland, previously held by Lucy's second husband Ivo Taillebois.[3]

      Marriage to a great heiress came only with royal patronage, which in turn meant that Ranulf had to be respected and trusted by the king. Ranulf was probably, like his father, among the earliest and most loyal of Henry's followers, and was noted as such by Orderic Vitalis.[20] Ranulf was however not recorded often at the court of Henry I, and did not form part of the king's closest group of administrative advisers.[21] He witnessed charters only occasionally, though this became more frequent after he became earl.[22] In 1106 he is found serving as a one of several justiciars at York hearing a case about the lordship of Ripon.[23] In 1116 he is recorded in a similar context.[3]

      Ranulf was, however, one of the king's military companions. When, soon after Whitsun 1101 Henry heard news of a planned invasion of England by his brother Robert Curthose, he sought promises from his subjects to defended the kingdom.[24] A letter to the men of Lincolnshire names Ranulf as one of four figures entrusted with collecting these oaths.[25] Ranulf was one of the magnates who accompanied King Henry on his invasion of Duke Robert's Norman territory in 1106.[26] Ranulf served under Henry as an officer of the royal household when the latter was on campaign; Ranulf was in fact one of his three commanders at the Battle of Tinchebrai.[27] The first line of Henry's force was led by Ranulf, the second (with the king) by Robert of Meulan, and third by William de Warrene, with another thousand knights from Brittany and Maine led by Helias, Count of Maine.[28] Ranulf's line consisted of the men of Bayeux, Avranches and Coutances.[29]

      Lord of Cumberland
      A charter issued in 1124 by David I, King of the Scots, to Robert I de Brus cited Ranulf's lordship of Carlisle and Cumberland as a model for Robert's new lordship in Annandale.[30] This is significant because Robert is known from other sources to have acted with semi-regal authority in this region.[3] A source from 1212 attests that the jurors of Cumberland remembered Ranulf as quondam dominus Cumberland ("sometime Lord of Cumberland").[31] Ranulf possessed the power and in some respects the dignity of a semi-independent earl in the region, though he lacked the formal status of being called such. A contemporary illustration of this authority comes from the records of Wetheral Priory, where Ranulf is found addressing his own sheriff, "Richer" (probably Richard de Boivill, baron of Kirklinton).[32] Indeed, no royal activity occurred in Cumberland or Westmorland during Ranulf's time in charge there, testimony to the fullness of his powers in the region.[33]

      Ivo Taillebois, when he married Ranulf's future wife Lucy, had acquired her Lincolnshire lands but sometime after 1086 he acquired estates in Kendal and elsewhere in Westmorland. Adjacent lands in Westmorland and Lancashire that had previously been controlled by Earl Tostig Godwinson were probably carved up between Roger the Poitevin and Ivo in the 1080s, a territorial division at least partially responsible for the later boundary between the two counties.[34] Norman lordship in the heartland of Cumberland can be dated from chronicle sources to around 1092, the year King William Rufus seized the region from its previous ruler, Dolfin.[35] There is inconclusive evidence that settlers from Ivo's Lincolnshire lands had come into Cumberland as a result.[36]

      Between 1094 and 1098 Lucy was married to Roger fitz Gerold de Roumare, and it is probable that this marriage was the king's way of transferring authority in the region to Roger fitz Gerold.[37] Only from 1106 however, well into the reign of Henry I, do we have certain evidence that this authority had come to Ranulf.[3] The "traditional view", held by the historian William Kapelle, was that Ranulf's authority in the region did not come about until 1106 or after, as a reward for participation in the Battle of Tinchebrai.[38] Another historian, Richard Sharpe, has recently attacked this view and argued that it probably came in or soon after 1098. Sharpe stressed that Lucy was the mechanism by which this authority changed hands, and pointed out that Ranulf had been married to Lucy years before Tinchebrai and can be found months before Tinchebrai taking evidence from county jurors at York (which may have been responsible for Cumbria at this point).[39]

      Ranulf likewise distributed land to the church, founding a Benedictine monastic house at Wetheral.[40] This he established as a daughter-house of St Mary's Abbey, York, a house that in turn had been generously endowed by Ivo Taillebois.[31] This had occurred by 1112, the year of the death of Abbot Stephen of St Mary's, named in the foundation deed.[41] In later times at least, the priory of Wetheral was dedicated to St Mary and the Holy Trinity, as well as another saint named Constantine.[42] Ranulf gave Wetheral, among other things, his two churches at Appleby, St Lawrences (Burgate) and St Michaels (Bongate).[43]

      As an incoming regional magnate Ranulf would be expected to distribute land to his own followers, and indeed the record of the jurors of Cumberland dating to 1212 claimed that Ranulf created two baronies in the region.[44] Ranulf's brother-in-law Robert de Trevers received the barony of Burgh-by-Sands, while the barony of Liddel went to Turgis Brandos.[31] He appears to have attempted to give the large compact barony of Gilsland to his brother William, but failed to dislogdge the native lord, the eponymous "Gille" son of Boite; later the lordship of Allerdale (including Copeland), even larger than Gilsland stretching along the coast from the river Ellen to the river Esk, was given to William.[45] Kirklinton may have been given to Richard de Boivill, Ranulf's sheriff.[3]

      Earl of Chester
      1120 was a fateful year for both Henry I and Ranulf. Richard, earl of Chester, like Henry's son and heir William Adeling, died in the White Ship Disaster near Barfleur on 25 November.[3] Only four days before the disaster, Ranulf and his cousin Richard had witnessed a charter together at Cerisy.[3]

      Henry probably could not wait long to replace Richard, as the Welsh were resurgent under the charismatic leadership of Gruffydd ap Cynan. According to the Historia Regum, Richard's death prompted the Welsh to raid Cheshire, looting, killing, and burning two castles.[46] Perhaps because of his recognised military ability and social strength, because he was loyal and because he was the closest male relation to Earl Richard, Henry recognized Ranulf as Richard's successor to the county of Chester.[47]

      In 1123, Henry sent Ranulf to Normandy with a large number of knights and with his bastard son, Robert, Earl of Gloucester, to strengthen the garrisons there.[48] Ranulf commanded the king's garrison at Évreux and governed the county of Évreux during the 1123-1124 war with William Clito, Robert Curthose's son and heir.[49] In March 1124 Ranulf assisted in the capture of Waleran, Count of Meulan.[50] Scouts informed Ranulf that Waleran's forces were planning an expedition to Vatteville, and Ranulf planned an to intercept them, a plan carried out by Henry de Pommeroy, Odo Borleng and William de Pont-Authou, with 300 knights.[51] A battle followed, perhaps at Rougemontier (or Bourgthéroulde), in which Waleran was captured.[52]

      Although Ranulf bore the title "earl of Chester", the honour (i.e., group of estates) which formed the holdings of the earl of Chester were scattered throughout England, and during the rule of his predecessors included the cantref of Tegeingl in Perfeddwlad in north-western Wales.[53] Around 1100, only a quarter of the value of the honour actually lay in Cheshire, which was one of England's poorest and least developed counties.[54] The estates elsewhere were probably given to the earls in compensation for Cheshire's poverty, in order to strengthen its vulnerable position on the Anglo-Welsh border.[55] The possibility of conquest and booty in Wales should have supplemented the lordship's wealth and attractiveness, but for much of Henry's reign the English king tried to keep the neighboring Welsh princes under his peace.[56]

      Ranulf's accession may have involved him giving up many of his other lands, including much of his wife's Lincolnshire lands as well as his lands in Cumbria, though direct evidence for this beyond convenient timing is lacking.[57] That Cumberland was given up at this point is likely, as King Henry visited Carlisle in December 1122, where, according to the Historia Regum, he ordered the strengthening of the castle.[58]

      Hollister believed that Ranulf offered the Bolingbroke lands to Henry in exchange for Henry's bestowal of the earldom.[14] The historian A. T. Thacker believed that Henry I forced Ranulf to give up most of the Bolingbroke lands through fear that Ranulf would become too powerful, dominating both Cheshire and the richer county of Lincoln.[59] Sharpe, however, suggested that Ranulf may have had to sell a great deal of land in order to pay the king for the county of Chester, though it could not have covered the whole fee, as Ranulf's son Ranulf de Gernon, when he succeeded his father to Chester in 1129, owed the king £1000 "from his father's debt for the land of Earl Hugh".[60] Hollister thought this debt was merely the normal feudal relief expected to be paid on a large honour, and suggested that Ranulf's partial non-payment, or Henry's forgiveness for non-payment, was a form of royal patronage.[61]

      Ranulf died in January 1129, and was buried in Chester Abbey.[3] He was survived by his wife and countess, Lucy, and succeeded by his son Ranulf de Gernon.[3] A daughter, Alicia, married Richard de Clare, a lord in the Anglo-Welsh marches.[3] One of his offspring, his fifth son, participated in the Siege of Lisbon, and for this aid was granted the Lordship of Azambuja by King Afonso I of Portugal.[3]

      ^ Strutt & Hulbert (eds.), Cheshire Antiquities, p. 28
      ^ a b Hollister, Henry I, pp. 53–54
      ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m King, "Ranulf (I)"
      ^ King, "Ranulf (I)"; Newman, Anglo-Norman Nobility, pp. 97–99
      ^ a b Hollister, Henry I, p. 60
      ^ Douglas, William the Conqueror, p. 93
      ^ Hollister, Henry I, p. 53
      ^ Barlow, William Rufus, p. 298, and Hollister, Henry I, p. 54, give the name "Margaret" for Ranulf's mother; King, "Ranulf (I)", gives the name "Matilda", as does Douglas, William the Conqueror, p. 93, who gives Maud
      ^ Hollister, Henry I, p. 54; Lewis, "Avranches, Hugh d'"
      ^ Newman, Anglo-Norman Nobility, pp. 57–58, 78, 81, 119, 120, 125, 133, 167–68, 191
      ^ King, "Ranulf (I)"; Rollason & Rollason (eds.), The Durham Liber Vitae, vol. i, p. 159
      ^ Hollister, Henry I, p. 200
      ^ Hollister, Henry I, p. 54; argument is based on a passage in Robert of Torigny, which says that in 1096, when Robert Curthose went on Crusade and pawned the duchy to William Rufus, Henry received ex integro the counties of Coutances and Bayeux save only Bayeux and Caen, a grant Hollister thought was probably a "renewal" rather than a new patronage
      ^ a b Hollister, Henry I, p. 342
      ^ a b Davis and Whitwell, Regesta Regum, no. 308; King, "Ranulf (I)"
      ^ Barraclough (ed.), Charters, no. 3; King, "Ranulf (I)"
      ^ Barraclough (ed.), Charters, no. 3, at p. 7
      ^ Barraclough (ed.), Charters, pp. 7–11
      ^ King, "Ranulf (I)"; Newman, Anglo-Norman Nobility, p. 40; Sharpe, Norman Rule in Cumbria, pp. 45-46
      ^ Hollister, Henry I, pp. 116, 200, 257 (n. 90 for the reference to Orderic, which is book 6.222)
      ^ Newman, Anglo-Norman Nobility, p. 98
      ^ Hollister, Henry I, pp. 342–43
      ^ Green, Henry I, p. 116
      ^ Hollister, Henry I, p. 136
      ^ Hollister, Henry I, p. 136; Johnson, Cronne, and Davis (eds.), Regesta Regum, vol. ii, no. 531
      ^ Green, Henry I, p. 90; Hollister, Henry I, p. 200
      ^ Kapelle, Norman Conquest, p. 200; King, "Ranulf (I)"
      ^ Green, Henry I, pp. 91–92
      ^ Green, Henry I, p. 91
      ^ King "Ranulf; Phythian-Adams, Land of the Cumbrians, p. 149
      ^ a b c Sharpe, Norman Rule in Cumbria, p. 47
      ^ Sharpe, Norman Rule in Cumbria, p. 48
      ^ Sharpe, Norman Rule in Cumbria, p. 51
      ^ Sharpe, Norman Rule in Cumbria, pp. 39–40
      ^ Phythian-Adams, Land of the Cumbrians, p. 24; Sharpe, Norman Rule in Cumbria, p. 34
      ^ For details, see Sharpe, Norman Rule in Cumbria, pp. 36–38
      ^ Sharpe, Norman Rule in Cumbria, pp. 41-42; Sharpe also cites (p. 42) the "unexplained interests in Westmorland in the 1130s" held by Richard fitz Gerard of Appleby, the son of the marriage, as additional evidence for this
      ^ Kapelle, Norman Conquest, p. 200; King, "Ranulf (I)"; see also Sharpe, Norman Rule in Cumbria, pp. 43–44
      ^ Sharpe, Norman Rule in Cumbria, pp. 44–46
      ^ King, "Ranulf"; Sharpe, Norman Rule in Cumbria, p. 47
      ^ Knowles, Brooke and London, Heads of Religious Houses, vol. i, p. 84; Sharpe, Norman Rule in Cumbria, p. 47
      ^ Knowles, Brooke and London, Heads of Religious Houses, vol. i, p. 97
      ^ Sharpe, Norman Rule in Cumbria, p. 49
      ^ Sharpe, Norman Rule in Cumbria, pp. 46–47
      ^ Kapelle, Norman Conquest, p. 200; King, "Ranulf (I)"; Phythian-Adams, Land of the Cumbrians, pp. 8–10
      ^ Hinde (ed.), Symeonis Dunelmensis Opera, p. 117; Green, Henry I, p. 172; Stevenson, Simeon of Durham, p. 190
      ^ Green, Henry I, p. 173; King, "Ranulf"
      ^ Green, Henry I, p. 182
      ^ Hollister, Henry I, pp. 294, 296–7; King, "Ranulf"
      ^ Hollister, Henry I, p. 298; King, "Ranulf"
      ^ Green, Henry I, p. 185; Hollister, Henry I, p. 298
      ^ Green, Henry I, pp. 185–86; Hollister, Henry I, pp. 299–301
      ^ Thacker, "Introduction", p. 10
      ^ Lewis, "Formation of the Honor", p. 42
      ^ Thacker, "Introduction", p. 9
      ^ Davis, Conquest, p. 42; Thacker, "Introduction"
      ^ King, "Ranulf (I)"; Sharpe, Norman Rule in Cumbria, pp. 51–52
      ^ Hinde (ed.), Symeonis Dunelmensis Opera, p. 119; Green, Henry I, pp. 176–77; Summerson, Medieval Carlisle, p. 25; Stevenson, Simeon of Durham, p. 192
      ^ Thacker, "Introduction", p. 11
      ^ Sharpe, Norman Rule in Cumbria, p. 52, n. 135
      ^ Hollister, Henry I, p. 343

      Barraclough, Geoffrey, ed. (1988), The Charters of the Anglo-Norman Earls of Chester, c.1071–1237, The Record Society of Lancashire and Chester founded to transcribe and publish original documents relating to the two counties; volume 126, Gloucester: Record Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, ISBN 0-902593-17-x
      Crouch, David (1991), "The Administration of the Norman Earldom", in Thacker, A. T., The Earldom of Ches

  • Sources 
    1. [S64] The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, International Genealogical Index.
      RANULPH DE MESCHINES; Male; Birth: About 1070 , Normandie Province, France; Death: JAN 1128; Father: RANULPH DE MESCHINES; Mother: MAUD OR MATILDA D'AVARANCHES; Spouse: LUCY OR LUCIA TAILLEBOIS; Marriage: 1115 Of Gernon Castle, , Normandie Province, France; Batch Number: F610714; Sheet: 096; Source Call No.: 1621473 Type: Film
      Family group record submitted by a member of the LDS Church
      Search performed using PAF Insight on 01 Oct 2004

    2. [S64] The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, International Genealogical Index.
      RANULPH DE MESCHINES; Male; Birth: About 1070 , Normandie Province, France; Death: JAN 1128; Baptism: 19 OCT 1939; Endowment: 13 FEB 1940 SLAKE; Sealing to Parents: 02 APR 1991 SGEOR; RANULPH DE MESCHINES / MAUD OR MATILDA D'AVARANCHES; Father: RANULPH DE MESCHINES; Mother: MAUD OR MATILDA D'AVARANCHES; Spouse: Unavailable; Batch Number: F610714; Sheet: 095; Source Call No.: 1621473 Type: Film
      Family group record submitted to request LDS temple ordinances.
      Search performed using PAF Insight on 01 Oct 2004

    3. [S64] The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, International Genealogical Index.
      LUCY OR LUCIA TAILLEBOIS; Female; Birth: About 1074 Mercia, , , England; Father: IVES OR IVO TAILLEBOIS; Mother: LUCIA; Spouse: RANULPH DE MESCHINES; Marriage: 1115 Of Gernon Castle, , Normandie Province, France; Batch Number: F610714; Sheet: 096; Source Call No.: 1621473 Type: Film
      Family group record submitted by a member of the LDS Church
      Search performed using PAF Insight on 01 Oct 2004