The Lucey and Lucy Family History Web Site
..The Family of de Lucy in the 12th Century
This webpage provides information on the origins of the Lucy surname.
To trace the origins of the Lucy surname, it is necessary to research the records for Richard de Lucy, Justiciar of England, the earliest known member of certainty. He was born around 1110 in Lucé, in the Orné region of Normandy. The place was possibly named after Lucius; an individual who held the area during the Roman occupation. This was originally a barony which included 19 fiefs or stronghouses, located at Lucé, La Baroche, Saint-Front, and Avrilly with a mill at Bazeille.
The motte for this satellite stronghouse to the south-east of Domfront can still be seen today and bears a strong resemblance to the castle Richard de Lucy built at Ongar, in Essex.
The motte at Lucé is over nine hundred years old, but unfortunately has been reduced in size over the years to embank local roads. The surrounding 15-18 feet wide ditch has almost disappeared. In the late 17th century the motte was measured as 180 feet diameter at its base and 90 feet at the top, with a height of 45 feet. Today it is only approx. 24 feet high. The original stronghouse was probably built in timber. There were three manors within Lucé, namely Cheviers, Brisollière and Chauvière, and from there emanated the de Lucé family, together with the families of de Royers and les Silleur.
In 1092 at the age of 24, Henry Beauclerc, the fourth son of William the Conqueror (later to become King Henry I of England) occupied Domfront, the significant castle of Robert de Belleme and never relinquished it. Henry would have become the overlord of the barony of Lucé.
In 1119, Geoffrey de Gorram or Gorron, a kinsman of Robert de Lucy (the brother of Richard de Lucy), was appointed the Abbot of St.Albans. Richard de Lucy's brother Walter lived for some time with Geoffrey prior to becoming Abbot of Battle Abbey after 1139. Geoffrey's cousin Robert Bloet (Bishop of Lincoln), was also a relative of Richard Bloet (also known as Richard d'Auberney or d'Albini), the previous Abbot of St. Albans. William de Chesney (Sheriff of Oxfordshire), the brother of Robert de Chesney (a later Bishop of Lincoln), married Richard de Lucy's sister, Margaret de Lucy (c1140).
Gorram (now Gorron) is only twelve miles from the town of Mayenne and was one of the Norman frontier castles. Originally it was held by Geoffrey de Mayenne, but due to its strategic position, it was probably taken by William the Conqueror c1050 and handed to his brother Count Robert of Mortain. By 1106 it was once again held by the Lord of Mayenne, only to be repossessed by Henry I. At his death it was handed to Juhel I de Mayenne by Henry's daughter Matilda and Geoffrey de Anjou.
In 1135, the castle was given to Juhel II de Mayenne by Geoffrey Plantagenet. Henry II took back the castle at his death in 1161. In 1158 a Giles de Gorham, son of William took 108 knights on crusade in Sinai. Four years later he returned with only 35 and to give thanks, granted land at La Tannière (seven miles west of Gorram) to Savigny Abbey. In Domesday, 'William son of Gorham' was a tenant on land at Cippenhall, near Fressinggfiels, Suffolk (twelve miles east of Diss). The de Gorhams held the manor of Gorhambury, near St. Albans, Hertfordshire until 1307.
Richard de Lucy in conjunction with his mother Aveline (nepte of William Goth) sold his allodium inheritance at Laleu, between the rivers Sarthe and Tanche (north of Le Mêle-sur-Sarthe), to Henry Beauclerc, in 1131. The information is recorded in the Red Book of Séez, the cathedral town located to the north-west of Laleu. This is the first known historical record of the Lucy family.
There is a record in a charter regarding Sheppey Monastery in Kent (c1131) referring to a fee and a half of plough-land of Richard de Lucy in the Isles of Sheppey and Grain, acquired by William de Corbeil, Archbishop of Canterbury (1123-1136), from Aveline, the mother of the aforesaid Richard de Lucy of Newington.
The manor of Disce (now Diss in Norfolk) was held by the Crown at Domesday, before it was granted by King Henry I to Richard de Lucy, prior to 1135. The town is named after its location on the mere. The Testa de Neville states that it was not known whether Diss was rendered unto Richard de Lucy as an inheritance or for his service, but states that, without doubt it was for the latter. In 1152 Richard de Lucy received the right to hold a market in Diss, and prior to 1161 he gave a third of a hundred at Diss (Heywood or Hewode) together with the market in frank marriage with his daughter Dionisia to Sir Robert de Mountenay (he is elsewhere named as Arnold).
The Little Black Book of the Exchequer records that this Robert de Mountenay in 1166 held of Richard de Lucy, three knight's fees, in Newton, Stow, Walcote, Sprecton (now Sprouston) and Tacolveston. Of these knight's fees, the Red Book of the Exchequer states that the ancestors of Richard de Lucy performed ward to Dover Castle of the 'old enfeoffment' (ie. prior to 1135).
The de Lucy link with Diss may be related to the grant of the closely adjacent Honour of Eye to Stephen de Blois in 1113. This followed the battle of Tinchebray in 1106, when Henry I confiscated the County of Mortain in France from Count William of Mortain, and also the Honour of Eye, a large lordship previously owned by Robert Malet. Stephen probably first visited England in either 1113 or 1115, almost certainly as part of Henry I's court.
After Richard de Lucy's death in 1179, the inheritance of the other two parts of the hundred of Diss passed to his daughter Maud, who married Walter FitzRobert.
Mystery: Who is the Geoffrey de Lucy or Loiset who fought at Hastings (?) and in 1087, during the vacancy occasioned by the death of Theodwyn, Prior of Ely, became one of the 44 knights who were quartered for five years on the rebellious monks of Ely? (ref: Tabula Eliensis) This Geoffrey afterwards apparently received the Lordship of Disce from Henry I and was guardian of the Kingdom during the visit of the monarch to Normandy in 1112.
A Geoffrey de Lucy is recorded as a monk at Savigny Abbey in 1137. Savigny Abbey is 10 miles NW if Gorron. The family connection with Richard de Lucy is unknown.
Richard de Lucy is recorded in Orderic's Chronicle as the Castellan of Falaise for King Stephen and held it stoutly against Geoffrey of Anjou on 1st October 1138. As a reward it is understood that he received thirteen additional knight's fees in Essex, including the town of Grinstead.
On 1st October Geoffrey of Anjou began the siege of Falaise, from which after eighteen days he withdrew having gained nothing. Richard de Lucy was the captain of the knights. According to the record, every day he opened the gates of the garrison to show off his daring and to taunt the besiegers. The castle was well stocked with food and weapons. One night Geoffrey of Anjou's soldiers fled in panic abandoning in their flight, tents full of clothes, weapons and wagons laden with bread, wine and other provisions, which were afterwards collected up by the townsmen. Ten days later however Geoffrey returned and recovered some of this booty from the surrounding countryside.
Richard de Lucy fought in Cornwall under Count Alan of Brittany (d. 1146) after leaving Falaise late in 1138. The small adulterine castle at Truro, Cornwall (originally the parish of Kenwyn), later known as "Castellum de Guelon" was probably built by him between 1139-1140. He styled himself "Richard de Lucy, de Trivereu". The castle later passed to Reginald FitzRoy (also known as Reginald de Dunstanville), an illegitimate son of Henry I, when he was invested by King Stephen as the first Earl of Cornwall. Reginald married Mabel FitzRichard, daughter of William FitzRichard, a substantial landholder in Cornwall. The 75 ft. diameter castle was in ruins by 1270 and the motte levelled in 1840. It is today the site of the Crown Court. Reginald FitzRoy confirmed (1161-66) in a charter to the burgesses of Truro the privileges which had been granted by Richard de Lucy.
Between 1139 and 1141, Richard was in constant attendance on King Stephen and witnessed 135 of his charters. He was with Stephen at Oxford, Norwich and London between 1139 and 1140, in Lincoln between 1140 and 1141 and with him at Canterbury for Christmas 1141 after Stephen was released from captivity.
Walter de Lucy, brother of Richard, is recorded in 1139 as a monk at Lonlay-l'Abbaye. The upkeep of Lonlay was the responsibility of the Barony of Lucé. Lonlay-l'Abbaye was originally founded by William de Belleme in 1017. In 1156-59, Richard de Lucy witnessed the charter of Henry II, as King and Count of Mortain, confirming the rights and privileges of St. Mary, Lonlay for Benedictine monks, in the Diocese of Le Mans.
Richard de Lucy constructed his castle at Angré around 1153. He was a tenant to the Honour of Boulogne in Essex before 1152. Hubert de Lucy, a younger son of Richard was granted Angré and Stanford around 1180. Over fifty feet in height; the motte and bailey still exists and can be clearly seen from the air. The stone keep was demolished around 1560 and replaced with several brick pleasure houses over the centuries; one built in 1744 was topped with a dome and was still in existence in 1811. Today no buildings remain; just the tree topped motte with its surrounding moat.
The motte at Ongar, Essex
It is probable that the motte and bailey at Ongar were originally constructed by Count Eustace de Boulogne as the caput of his Essex fief. Ongar then passed to his daughter Matilda de Boulogne (c1103-1152) and her husband King Stephen, as part of the Honour of Boulogne. Between December 1153 and October 1154 the manor was granted by their son William to Richard de Lucy. Henry II visited the castle in the spring of 1157. Between 1155 and 1159 King Stephen granted him 100 acres of assarts in the forest from Stanford, Greenstead and Ongar. On the death of Richard in 1179, Ongar passed to his third son Godfrey, Bishop of Winchester until 1194 when it was handed to Geoffrey de Lascelles, the husband of Maud, the daughter of Richard de Lucy's granddaughter Maud or Mathilde.
The manor of Sutton Lucy in the parish of Widworthy, east Devon was held by the Lucys for many centuries. Interestingly the arms bore two lucies rather than the usual three; possibly an indication of Geoffrey de Lucy (d. 1170-73) of Newington, eldest son of Richard de Lucy, as the original Lord. In the same parish is also located the manor of Lucy Hayes (or Acha Hayes). Maurice de Lucy (a relative of Geoffrey de Lucy) owned Sutton Lucy and Lucy Hays during the reign of Henry II.
The church of St. Helen & St. Giles at Rainham, was founded by Richard de Lucy c1160. The fabric of this Norman church remains almost complete and was later granted to Lesnes Abbey by Henry II on Richard's request. The 4th century church of Lucé was also dedicated to St. Giles and remains so to this day.
Richard de Lucy confirmed in 1166 that his ancestors performed service of castleguard at Dover. Chilham Tower at Dover Castle was built by Fulbert de Lucy around 1085. Fulbert was obliged to provide fifteen men to guard the castle for twenty weeks a year. The estate of Chilham in Kent was held by Fulbert circa 1140 and later by Hugh de Dover until 1172. John de Dover (Hugh's nephew) married Roesia de Lucy, granddaughter of Richard de Lucy before 1194.
In 1172 Richard de Lucy is noted as militarily responsible, with several other local knights including Achard de Ambrieres and William de Tracy, for the Balliwick of Passeis (near Domfront), of which Lucé forms a part; also as Lord of Gouviz and Baron Cretot. Gouviz (now named Gouvix) is located just north of Falaise, on the bank of the River Laise. William de Gouviz was present at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. In 1172 Richard held 19 knight's fees in Normandy. The property he owned of the 'old enfeoffment' identified in the Black Book of the Exchequer was not held of the Honour of Boulogne.
The churches of Newington and Marden were granted to Lesnes Abbey by Richard de Lucy in 1178. The Newington church of St. Mary the Virgin was built by Richard de Lucy between 1163 and 1177. The manor, later named Newington Lucies, was located to the east of Lesnes on Watling Street, the Roman road between Canterbury and London. The old timbered manor house of Lucies was still in existence in 1798. The greater part was demolished in 1857 but the remaining building in the High Street, once the George Inn, can still be seen today.
Around 1176, Roger St.John of Stanton, Oxfordshire married Cecily, the daughter of Reynold de Lucy of Newington, the son of Richard de Lucy. Roger died in 1214 and because his son was under age, the wardship of Stanton was granted to Geoffrey de Lucy. It has been conjectured that this is the same Cecily de Lucy, linked to Charlecote, whose son William de Lucy (c1200-1248), was fostered by Godfrey de Lucy, Bishop of Winchester.
Richard de Lucy founded Lesnes Priory on 11th June 1178 and was later interred there after his death on 14th July 1179.
Lesnes was never large, with a contingent of only twelve monks and over the next two centuries received gifts of property and land in support, from the de lucy family. It was often damaged by flooding and it became one of the first abbeys to be closed by Wolsey on 13th February 1525. By 1630 most of the buildings had been demolished.
A sepulchral effigy of a Knight of the de Lucy family was discovered during the excavations of Lesnes Abbey by Sir Alfred Clapham in 1909. It is now exhibited at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Carved from Tottenhoe limestone it was taken from the Lady Chapel, decorated in gesso, painted and gilt, and dated to 1340-50. Red and blue colouration can still clearly be seen on the full size effigy, with three lucies and crosslets identifiable on the shield on a red field. Tin filigree work representing chain mail is evident in places and a red upper tunic with etched crosslets. Unfortunately the head and sword have been broken off and lost; but spurs, the sword belt, armour and overdress are all cleanly carved. From the date, the individual is most probably Geoffrey de Lucy (21 January 1287/88-1346).
The church at Elmdon, Essex was granted to Lesnes by Robert de Lucy, Richard's brother, around 1180 and a quit rent granted by Emma de Lucy, his sister. The motte, to the north of the church, known as 'castle hill' still exists. One mile to the west at the highest point in Essex, Eustace de Boulogne (d1125) built and occupied his moated house named "Flanders" at Chrishall and it was there that his daughter Matilda de Boulogne (c1103-1152), the future wife of King Stephen, was raised. The house was replaced at the end of the 15th century by Chiswick Hall. A charter c1125 referring to Chrishall, in favour of the knights of St John of Jerusalem, states that the land was given to Robert de Lucy by his father; inconclusively therefore possibly he was an illegitimate son of Eustace of Boulogne. Robert de Lucy also had another brother, Champiun de Walkefare, who attested three of these charters relating to Chrishall. Later in another charter Richard de Lucy confirmed the land was granted to the Hospitallers "concessu Roberti de Lucy".
Geoffrey de Lucy, grandson of Richard de Lucy was known as "Keeper of Sussex" in 1205 and became Constable of Berkhamsted Castle in 1223. He married Julianna le Despenser, heir to the estate of Ralph de Broc, namely Gaddesden (or Lucies) in Hertfordshire, which passed to Geoffrey by marriage when Eva de Broc died. Similarly, the manors of Cublington and Chelmescote, Buckinghamshire came to the de Lucy family through the same marriage, inherited from Walter de Chesney. The existing Little Gaddesden Manor House, the oldest portion of which is Elizabethan, is considered to be the ancient Lucies Manor House.
Motte at Elmdon
View timeline to illustrate these individuals and maps to locate the places