|Birth: ||1079, England|
Lucy of Bolingbroke was an Anglo-Norman heiress in central England and, later in life, countess-consort of Chester. Probably related to the old English earls of Mercia, she came to possess extensive lands in Lincolnshire which she passed on to her husbands and sons. She was a notable religious patron, founding or co-founding two small religious houses and endowing several with lands and churches.
Lucy's ancestry in earlier writings, recent historians tend to believe that she was the daughter of Thorold, sheriff of Lincoln, by a daughter of William Malet (died 1071). She inherited a huge group of estates centred on Spalding in Lincolnshire, probably inherited from both the Lincoln and the Malet family. This group of estates have come to be called the "Honour of Bolingbroke".
The heiress Lucy was married to three different husbands, all of whom died in her lifetime. The first of these was to Ivo Taillebois, a marriage which took place "around 1083". Ivo took over her lands as husband, and seems in addition to have been granted estates and extensive authority in Westmorland and Cumberland. Ivo died in 1094.
The second marriage was to one Roger de Roumare or Roger fitz Gerold, with whom she had one son, William de Roumare (future Earl of Lincoln), who inherited some of her land. The latter was the ancestor of the de Roumare family of Westmorland. Roger died in either 1097 or 1098.
Sometime after this, though before 1101, she was married to Ranulf le Meschin, her last and longest marriage. A son Ranulf de Gernon, succeeded his father to the earldom of Chester (which Ranulf acquired in 1121) and a daughter, Alice, married Richard de Clare.
Upon her death, most of the Lincolnshire lands she inherited passed to her older son William de Roumare, while the rest passed to Ranulf II of Chester (forty versus twenty knights' fees). The 1130 pipe roll informs us that Lucy had paid King Henry I 500 marks after her last husband's death for the right not to have to remarry. She died around 1138
Lucy, as widowed countess, founded the convent of Stixwould in 1135, becoming, in the words of one historian, "one of the few aristocratic women of the late eleventh and twelfth centuryes to achieve the role of independent lay founder". Her religious patronage however centered on Spalding Priory, a religious house for which her own family was the primary patron. This house (a monastic cell of Crowland) was founded, or re-founded, in 1085 by Lucy and her first husband Ivo Taillebois.
Later, she was responsible for many endowments, for instance in the 1120s she and her third husband Earl Ranulf granted the priory the churches of Minting, Belchford and Scamblesby. In 1135, Lucy, now widowed for the last time, granted the priory her own manor of Spalding for the permanent use of the monks. The records indicate that Lucy went to great effort to ensure that, after her own death, her sons would honour and uphold her gifts.
Ranulf Le Meschin (1070 - 1128)*
Ranulf of Gernons (1100 - 1153)*
Cheshire West and Chester Unitary Authority
Created by: Kat
Record added: Feb 28, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 85973200
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