Magna Carta: Essex Connections – the other Essex barons

In our series of posts about the Essex connections with the people involved in the granting of the Magna Carta in 1215, we have previously mentioned that six of the 25 rebel barons named in the document had strong Essex connections.

We have already whisked through the involvement of Geoffrey de Mandeville and Robert FitzWalter, and here we take a quick look at the other four; Robert de Vere, Robert de Mountfitchet, John FitzRobert and William de Lanvallei.

Robert de Vere

Effigy of Robert de Vere, Earl of Oxford, in Hatfield Broad Oak church

Robert de Vere, Earl of Oxford (his effigy in Hatfield Broad Oak church is to the right) and Richard de Mountfitchet could trace their Essex lands back to the Norman Conquest. The de Vere family were based at Castle Hedingham and the Mountfitchets at Stansted. Together with the de Clare and Bigod families they owned extensive lands in the north of the county.

John FitzRobert was lord of the manor of Clavering and related to the Bigod family. He was also lord of Warkworth in Northumberland, and so part of the other significant group of Magna Carta barons described by chroniclers as ‘the Northerners’.

The final Essex baron was William de Lanvallei, constable of Colchester Castle and lord of the manors of Lexden, Stanway, Great Bromley and Great Hallingbury.  He also held lands in Hertfordshire.

Many of the barons benefited directly from their involvement.  Within a few days of Magna Carta, the king granted Hertford Castle to Robert FitzWalter; William de Lanvallei became constable of Colchester Castle again; Richard de Clare gained the town of Buckingham; and Richard de Montfitchet was appointed forester of Essex, a title held by his father and grandfather (more on this here).

Find out more about Essex connections with the Magna Carta with us on Saturday 23 May.

Magna Carta: Essex Connections

To explore the significance and legacy of this famous document, both nationally and for Essex, join us for talks from:

  • Nicholas Vincent, Professor of Medieval History at the University of East Anglia, who has been leading a major project researching the background to Magna Carta
  • Katharine Schofield, ERO Archivist, on Essex connections with Magna Carta and the impact it had on the medieval county

Saturday 23 May, 1.15pm for 1.30am-4.15pm

Tickets: £8, including tea, coffee and cake

Please book in advance on 033301 32500

Your favourite documents: Interregnum insults

As part of our 75th anniversary celebrations this year, we recently asked you, our users, to nominate your favourite ERO documents. Thank you very much to those of you who have sent in nominations so far – today we bring you the next in a series of your favourites.

Today’s nomination comes from Stansted Local History Society (if there are any other societies that want to make joint nominations, do let us know!). Their Committee chose a Quarter Sessions document dating from 23 April 1655 (Q/SBa 2/91), and this is what they had to say about it:

Our preferred choice is  Q/SBa 2/91, a single page Quarter Session document in which, on 23 April 1655, Richard Hubbert gave evidence that John Milton, a blacksmith of Stansted Mountfitchet, who seems to have had his forge on the main road between London and Newmarket, used ‘divers wicked, seditious, and scandalous words and language to the disgrace of the Lord Protector [Cromwell] and present government, and to the promoting of new insurrections and rebellion, viz. that about Christmas last past, or a little before – between Michaelmas and Christmas – seeing divers in company passing upon the road, some in a coach and some on horse back, the said Milton used these words: “These are Parliament rogues and I am faine to work hard to get money with ye sweat of my browse to maintain such Parliam[en]t rogues”.  Cromwell’s Protectorate, established in 1653, soon lost whatever popularity it had by imposing heavy taxes, four times as heavy as under Charles I, and, worse still, by being unusually effective in collecting them.

If you would like to nominate your own favourite ERO document, we would love to hear from you. Simply download this form, and return it to the Searchroom desk or by e-mail to hannahjane.salisbury[at]essex.gov.uk. There are also paper copies available at the Searchroom desk. Nominated documents may be featured on this blog or in displays at our open day on Saturday 14 September 2013.