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Alan la Zouche

circa 1120s - 1190

Father Geoffrey, Vicomte de Porhoët
Mother Hawise
Wife Alice de Belmeis
Children William, Philip, Roger


Alan was probably born on the family estate in Porhoët, Brittany, around the 1120s (1), the son of Geofrey, Vicomte de Porhoët (3)(11). He had elder brothers Eudo and Joscius (2)(3)(6), and sisters Etienne and Amice (7).

The earliest mention of him yet found is from 1149, when he and his brother Joscius witnessed a grant by their brother Eudo, then Duke of Brittany, to found Lantenac Abbey (2). In 1153, he and Joscius give their consent to Eudo concerning a gift to the Abbey of St Martin of Josselin (3).

Other than witnessing two more of his brother Eudo's grants in 1155 (4)(5), nothing is known of the next twenty years, but he had moved to England by 1171/72 at the latest, when he held lands in Northamptonshire (8). He also went on to have interests in Leicestershire, Sussex and Devon (9)

Most, if not all, of these lands, such as Ashby (later "Ashby de la Zouch") and Blackfordby in Leicestershire, along with Tong in Shropshire, came via his marriage to Alice de Belmeis (11)(13). Its unclear whether they married in France or England (10).

Similarly its unclear whether his sons William (11)(13)(14)(15)(17), Philip (11)(13) and Roger (17) were born before or after his move to England.

He died in 1190 (16).


Brief details of his children:



Sources:

  1. His date of birth is simply an rough estimate based on his earliest known appearance, presumably as an adult, in 1149 (2), and his death in 1190 (16).
  2. "Anciens eveches de Bretagne", Volume 4, Geslin de Bourgogne, page 247, lists the foundation charter of Lantenac Abbey dated 1149 which reads:
    Notum sit omnibus tam presentibus quam futuris quod ego Eudo comes dedi et concessi in elemosinam pro amore Dei et honore sancte et gloriose semperque virginis Marie et omnium Sanctorum, in manus abbatis haberi, pro anima mea et animabus patris et matris mee et antecessorum meorum, ad abbaciam faciendam, totam terram meam de Donico tam in plano quam in bosco. Dedi eciam totam decimam meam de Lodeac: in foresta dedi monachis in abbatia manentibus quantum necesse fuerit de viridi et sicco (ligno), et de herba quantum libuerit ad fenum faciendum et ad animalia pascenda pascuaque porcorum; dedi eciam et prandium meum de Lodeac, insuper molendinum et pratum meum de Tremusson, et villam Longi Judicaelis in Lampignec et Lescluso, et terram Gorchen, et insulam in Treve; et in decima do Meneac; centum quarterios siliginis et quartam partem unius ville, et medietatem unius ville in Kergu. Dedi eciam postea sedem abbacie, in Lanthenac dimidium ville. Istius donaoionis testis sit ipse Deus. Testes eciam sint Gaufridus episcopus Briocensis, Johannes Macloviensis, Josthos et Alanus, fratres comitis, Alanus vicecomes de Monteforti, Judicael de Malestrecto, et Alanus capellanus, et alii quamplures. [Arch. des C.-du-N. Copie de 1350. - D. Mor., I, 604. - Bl.·Mant, XXX VI, 325]
  3. "Bulletin et mémoires de la Société archéologique du département d'Ille-et-Vilaine", Vol 17, pages 349/49, gives the following charter:
    Donation d'Eudon de Porhoët, duc de Bretagne, au prieure de Saint Martin de Josselin
    Notum sit omnibus presentibus et futuris quod ego Eudo comes, pro redemptione anime mee et antecessorum meorum, assensu et consilio fratrum meorum, videlicet Joscii vicecomitis et Alani Ceoche, concessi donum et elemosinam de Lesveren quam Maria, filia Ysaac, et sui dederunt Deo et monachis Beati Martini de castro meo. [Cupiens igitur habere partem in orationibus supradictorum monachorum, dedi eis quicquid juris in predicta terra habebam.] Preterea rogaverunt me supradicti monachi, ut eis quasdam consuetudines quarumdam terrarum, quas eis dominus Gaufredus, pater meus, [prius] dederat, [scilicet has,] censum, ostagium, comitis esum, maritationem, terre emptionem, corporis ·sui redemptionem, [eis confirmarem,] quod et ego libenter feci. [Et liec nomina terrarum : Pennet, Gueruiguel, Bruhurunt, quarterium Pinguilli, et quaedam terra que prius fuerat Tuali Rufi, et tenamentum sacerdotis de Miniacho, et terra Audroni Abbatis.] Actum est hoc anno ab Incarnatione Domini millesimo centesimo quinquagesimo tertio. Testes [qui interfuerunt huic contirmationi sunt hii. Ex parte comitis] : Philipus dapifer, et Eudo et Donoalus filii ejus; Riolchus filius Donoali, [Joscius filius Prugencii, Petrus filius Giraldi, Herveus filius Tresloeni,] Alanus filius Gaufridi, [Boscherius capellanus, magister Gaufredus, Melochus, Johannes, Jobardus, Amauricus, et alii plures. Ex parte monachorum sunt hii : Herveus prior, Guillermus, Turpinus, Judicalis, Brientius decanus, Donoalus, Rivallonius, Galterius, Rainaudus, Herveus dc Pennet, Tualus, Herveus Passelande, et alii plures. Maria filia Ysaac, ·Galterius.]

    See also "Bulletin de la Société archéologique du Morbihan", 1858, page 24; or "Histoire de Bretagne", Lobineau, Tome II, Preuves du Troisieme Livre, col 157.
  4. "Histoire de Bretagne", Lobineau, Tome II, Preuves du Quieme Livre, col 304/5 gives the following charter:
    Eudo D. G. Dux Britannorum & filius suus Gaufridus dat Monachis Savigneii in foresta Redonensi Noam Gaudrieti, & Forestarii sui Rad. de Buxeria &c. concedunt quidquid juris habebant in ea. Anno MCLV. VIII. id. Decembris Redonis in domo Herberti Simiae. testibus Alano la Choche, Roberto de Vitreio, Guidone Goion, Andrea de Cholet, &c. Item v. Kal. Decemb. fuadente Alano Redon. Episcopo. anno MCLV.
    Tit. de Savigné.
  5. "Histoire de Bretagne", Lobineau, Tome II, Preuves du Quieme Livre, col 305 gives the following charter:
    Eudo D. G. Dux Britannorum omnibus Episcois, militibus, caeterisque terrae fuae fidelibus suis salutem. Notum sit omnibus vobis & omnibus me pro salute animae meae & ad exemplar antecessoris & Domini mei nobilissimi Britannorum Ducia Conani concessisse Ecclesiae & Monachis sanctae Trin. de Savigneio omnia dona quae fecerunt homines mei eidem Ecclesiae, facta est autem haec concessio anno ab Incarn. Dom. MCLV. V. Kal. Decembris Redonis in domo & presentia Alani vener. Redon. Episcopi ipso fuadente; testibus Hamelino Thesaurario, Radulfo & Eudone Archidiaconis. Gaufrido Maldeto & Eveno & Alano de Appigneio Canonicis, Guillelmo Decano, Alano la Choche. Roberto dc Vitreio, Roberto filio Macharii, Oliverio filio Gaufridi. Roberto Rachape.
    Tit. de Savigné.
  6. Joscius is shown to be older than Alan by virtue of having inherited his father's title ahead of him (2)
  7. His sisters are shown in the accepted French pedigrees of the Vicomtes of Porhoët (e.g. see "Histoire ecclesiastique et civile de Bretagne", Morice, pages xx-xxi), but I have not confirmed their existence from other sources.
  8. "The Red Book of the Exchequer, Volume 1", page 50, includes:
    [1171-2] NORTHAMTESIRA
    Alanus la Zuche, xxs, per Vicecomitem.

    See also The Publications of the Pipe Roll Society, Volume 18, page 37 & Madox's History of the Exchequer, Vol 1, page 580, note p.
  9. "The Publications of the Pipe Roll Society": Volume 22, page 98 (Leics 1174/75); Volume 25, page 183 (Leics 1175/76); Volume 26, page 96 (Northants 1176/77); Volume 26, page 191 (Sussex 1176/77); Volume 27, page 54 (Northants 1177/78); Volume 27, page 91 (Sussex 1177/78); Volume 28, page 37 (Sussex 1178/79); Volume 28, page 64 (Northants 1178/79); Volume 29, page 84 (Northants 1179/80); Volume 30, page 84 (Northants 1180/81); Volume 32, page 121 (Northants 1182/83); Volume 33, page 104 (Northants 1183/84); Volume 34, pages 47 & 52 (Northants 1184/85); Volume 34, page 162 (Devon 1184/85); Volume 35, pages 3 & 6 (Northants 1185/86); "The great roll of the pipe for the first year of the reign of King Richard the First, A.D. 1189-1190", pages 98 & 99
  10. Alan is first associated with Leicestershire in 1174/75 (9), so given that he came into possession of property there via his marriage to Alice (11), it would seem reasonable to place their marriage at around 1174. Their son William is first mentioned in 1191, and first seen to hold lands in 1196 (12), so it is just about possible that he was born subsequent to that date. However, Alice's last surviving brother Ranulph died without issue in 1166/67, making her the heir to a considerable estate. It seems unlikely that, if not already married at this time, she would have remained single for too long. This might suggest a marriage date a few years earlier.
    Eyton, in his "Antiquities of Shropshire", volume ii, page 210/11, expounds his theory that Alan came to England as a consequence of Henry II's succesfully negotiated addition of parts of Brittany to his kingdom in the spring of 1166.
    A marriage in the late 1160s seems quite plausible given the foregoing. However it is also possible that the marriage was far sooner in France, and that the family's move to England was triggered both by the king's success in Britanny and Alice's inheritance. Given Alan's age he would surely have married long before this move, yet there is no evidence of an earlier wife before Alice. Alice's age is not at all clear, but her brothers Philip and Ranulph were old enough to act as witnesses to a grant by their father in 1138. If Alice were a similar age to them, then she and Alan could have been married as early as the 1130s (or even earlier if they were married off as children).
  11. Dugdale's "Monasticon", volume 6, page 263, num V sub Abbey of Lilleshull, reads:
    Carta Domini Alani la Zuche, de Ecclesia de Esseby, &c.
    Universis sanctae matris ecclesiae filiis, tam praesentibus quam futuris, Alanus la Zouche filius Galfridi vicecomitis, in Domino salutom. Noverit universitas vestra, me dedisse et concessisse canonicis de Lilleshull, pro salute mea, et uxoris meae: Aliciae, et puerorum nostrorum; et pro animabus Philipi de Beumeis senioris, et Philippi junioris et caeterorum filiorum ejus, et omnium antecessorum nostrorum, ecclesiam do Essebi cum Capella de Blackfordeby, et omnibus aliis pertinentiis suis; scilicet in Blackfordby lx acras, in Essebi iii virgatas terram, et quartam extra villam quae fuit Willielmi Forestarii: et terram Haconis sutoris; et totam terram de Suarteclyve quae est inter viam de Pakynton ad Bredonam et divisas per nemus; et tcrmm de Overton; et decimam molendinorum meorum, &c. et totam terram de Lusard quae est inter Watlyngestreet et Merdich, et commoditates nemoris mei de Tong-Castle, &c.

    In his "Antiquities of Shropshire", volume ii, page 211, Eyton offers this precis of the charter:
    This Alan la Zouch describing himself as Son of Geoffrey the Vicomte, and for the health of himself, his wife Alice, and their children (puerorum), and for the souls of Philip de Beumeis senior, Philip junior, and his (Philip senior's) other sons, confirmed and increased the grants above cited to Lilleshall Abbey. His charter specifies the Church of Essebi; the Chapel of Blackfordeby with sixty acres in the latter and three virgates in the former vill; a fourth virgate outside the vill (of Ashby) which was William Forester's; the land of Haco Sutor; all the land of Suartclyve between the road from Pakynton to Bredon and the boundaries through the wood; the land of Overton; tithe of his mills; the land of Lusard; and accomodation in his wood of Tong Castle.*
    * Monasticon, vi, 263, No v, I am favoured by T. Rossell Potter Esq with a transcript of this deed which gives the witnesses. Another transcript is in Dodsworth, vol cxli, fo 49.
    The witnesses seem to have been Roger de Mortimer, Alcher, Richard de London, William Cardiffe, Roger Clerk, Elias Codrell, Robert de Sudenhall (Sydnall), Dame Adheliza de Belmes, William de Belmes her son, Philip de Belmes his brother, and Robert de Horseley.
    I suppose this deed to have passed between 1185 and 1190.

    Nichol also gives a transcript in his "History and Antiquities of the county of Leicester", Volume 3, part 2, page 562. His witnesses are slightly different and show Philip as Peter. However this is almost certainly wrong as no other reference to a Peter has been found, and Philip was a Belmeis family name :
    Rogero de Mortemeir, Alchero, Ricardo de Lundonia, Willielmo Cardiffe, Rogero clerico, Elia Codrel, Roberto de Sudenhall, domina Adelizia de Belmez, Willielmo de Belmeis filio ejus, & Petro fratre ejus, Roberto de Horseleya, & multis aliis
  12. "Complete Peerage", volume XII, part II, page 931 states:
    William de Belmeis, son & heir is mentioned in lawsuits, 1191-93 [d]; served in Normandy, circa 1194 [e]; and was charged scutage on 3 knights' fees in Sussex, 1l96 [f]. He married Bonenee, who survived him [g]. He dsp 1199 [h]
    [d] Pipe Roll, 3 Ric 1, p 60; 4 Ric !, p 206; 5 Ric 1, p 109
    [e] Idem, 6 Ric 1, p 230
    [f] Idem, 8 Ric 1, pp 86-87
    [g] Idem, 1 John, p 128
    [h] Idem, pp 128, 197
  13. In his "Antiquities of Shropshire", volume ii, page 212, Eyton mentions a grant from William la Belmeys, son of Alan la Zouch, confirming his ancestor's grant to Lilleshall Abbey :
    [William's] confirmation to Lilleshall Abbey is well worth notice. Therin he styles himself "William de Belmeys son of Alan la Zouch". He also makes mention of "Adheliza de Belmeys his Mother" and of "Philip de Belmeys Senior, Philip Junior and Ranulph Brother of Philip Junior" as his (William's) Antecestors*.
    * Transcript communicated by T. Rossell Potter Esq.
    The witnesses are Philip de Belmeys (probably William's Brother), Geoffrey de Blie, Ivo Brito de Seun, Roger Clerk, Roger de Flamvill, Master Robert de Willesburgh, Robert Chaplain, Thomas and Ranulph Priests, Henry Parson of Hartishorn, Ralph his Brother, Simon Nephew of Abbot William, Radulf Caudrell, Hugh Trullemag.
    This deed had a Seal two inches wide, exhibiting the figure of a Knight on horseback brandishing a Sword. The shield on his left arm was charged with a Fesse, and circumscribed thus,-
    SIGIL' WILLIELMI DE BELMES FILIVS (sic) ALANI LA ZVCH.

    Fortunately Nichol gives a full transcript in his "History and Antiquities of the county of Leicester", Volume 3, part 2, on page 562:
    "Universis ecclesie filiis Willielmus de Belmeys, filius Alani la Zouch, salutem. Noverit universitas vestra me dediffe, &c. canonicis de Lillishull, pro salute mea, & anima patris mei Alani la Zouch & matris mee Adhelize de Belmeys, & pro animabus Philippi de Belmeys senioris & Philippi junioris, & Ranulphi fratris sui, & omnium antecestorum, &c. ecclesiam de Esseby, cum capella de Blackfordby, LX acras terre in Esseby, & 3 virgatas terre, & quartam extra viliam que suit Willieimi Forestarii, liberam & quietam de hidagio, de danegeld, de scutagio, de relevamine, de stretward, de moteseig', de murdro, de arcturis, & omnibus aliis exactionibus & serviciis, &c. in bosco, in plano, &c. Hiis testibus; Philippo de Belmeys, Galfrido de Blie, Ivone Britone de Scun', Rogero clerico, Rogero de Flamville, magistro Roberto de Wellesburgh, Roberto capellano, Thoima & Radulfo presbyteris, Henrico persona de Hartishorn, Radulpho fratre ejus, Simone nepote abbatis Willielmi, Radulfo Caudrell, Hugone Trullemag."
    Sealed with a seal about two inches broad; himself on horseback, brandishing his sword; on his left arm a long shield, charged with a fess, circumscribed, " SIGIL. WILLIELMI DE BELMES, FILIUS ALANI LA ZUCH"
  14. "Collections for a History of Staffordshire", Vol 2, Part 1, "The Staffordshire Pipe Rolls - Roll of 5 Richard I (1192-1193)". An entry on page 27 reads:
    Extract from the Warwickshire and Leicestershire Pipe-Roll of 5 Ric I
    Hugh, Bishop of Coventry, Sheriff, Gilbert de Segrave and Reginald Basset acting, for him.
    De. oblatis curies in Legrecestrescira.
    Eudo Martel debet lx. marc, pro habenda rationabili parte sua quae eum contingit de hereditate matris suae versus Willelmum de Belmes filium Alani de la Zuche.

    A comentary on the roll, on page 29, says:
    Eudo Martel's Fine was evidently in contemplation of a large aggrandisement. Instalments of the said Fine were paid in 6, 7, and 8 Ric. 1., the last completing the required sum. The Defendant, William de Belmeis, better known as William la Zouche, was the eldest of three sons of Alan la Zouche, by Adelicia, hitherto (see Antiquities of Shropshire II. 208) supposed to have been sole heir of the Barons Belmeis, of Tong (Shropshire), who were, also Mesne-Lords of Blymhill, Brinton, and Wilbrighton (Staffordshire), (see Staffordshire Collections 1.176.)
    William la Zouche had hereditaments' in many other counties; for instance, in Devon, Sussex, Cambridgeshire, and Leicestershire, where his name is still remembered in Ashby-de-la-Zouche. On what estates and on what facts Eudo Martel's claim was founded I have no evidence. Possibly the mothers of the two present litigants were sisters. If ,so, Adelicia de Belmeis was not the sole heiress of the Belmeis Barons..
    Another possible hint towards the solution of this genealogical enigma may exist in the appearance that Anno Domini, 1166, Ranulf de Belmeis, of Tong, and Geoffrey Martel each had a mesne interest in the Staffordshire manor of Wilbrighton. (See the argument on this point, Staffordshire Collections I. 169.)
  15. "Collections for a History of Staffordshire", Vol 2, Part 1, "The Staffordshire Pipe Rolls - Roll of 8 Richard I (1196-1197)". An entry on page 59 reads:
    From the Pipe-Roll of Leicestershire and Warwickshire, 8 Ric I
    De. oblatis curiae
    Eudo Martel reddit compotum de xv. marc, pro habenda rationabili parte sua quae eum contingit de hereditate matris suse versus Willelmum de Belmes filium Alani la Suche. In thesauro xii. marc, et debet viii. marc, sed reddit compotum infra. Eudo Martel r.c. de viii. marc, pro habenda (ut supra). In thesauro liberavit per manum Willelmi Ruffi de Northampton et quietus est.

    A comentary on the roll, on page 63, says:
    Eudo Martel completes his Fine of £119 3s 4d (Supra pp 29)
  16. "Complete Peerage", volume XII, part II, page 930, cites Pipe Roll, 2 Ric I, p130, as evidence of his death in 1190. I haven't been able to confirm this yet.
  17. No single document has come to light showing Alan as the father of Roger, but the relationship is proven by Roger being shown to be brother of Alan's son William (18).
  18. "Collections for a History of Staffordshire", Vol 4, Part 1, "Plea Rolls of Henry III - Hillary 7 H III". An entry on page 25 reads:
    Salop. Roger de la Zuche sued the Abbot of Shrewsbury for the advowson of the Church of Twange (Tong), of which his ancestor Philip de Beumes was seised as of fee in the reign of King Henry, who was grandfather of the King's grandfather, and who had presented one Richard Bachun to it; and from Philip the right descended to Philip de Beaumes as his son and heir; and from Philip to Ralph, brother and heir, because Philip died without issue; and from Ralph to Alice, his sister; and from Alice to William de la Zuche, as son; and from William to Roger, as brother and heir. The Abbot appealed to a great assize, m. 15, dorso



Notes:

Confirm missing pipe roll entries.


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