Colin Veach
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Sheriff of Herefordshire: 1216-22
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Once the Magna Carta civil war was won, Walter de Lacy’s entrenched position as sheriff of Herefordshire made him the dominant force in the region, forcing the new minority government of Henry III to negotiate with him in order to obtain any action in his shire. This chapter explores an intriguing episode involving the English justiciar, Hubert de Burgh’s, attempts to secure seisin of the so-called Three Castles in Wales: Grosmont, Skenfrith and Llantilio (Whitecastle). It illustrates Hubert’s rising star, the crown’s persistent weakness in the localities, and the incessant negotiations which dogged royal initiatives. More particularly, it also brings to the fore the longstanding rivalry between the families of Burgh, Briouze and Lacy, and shows how, during the minority, baronial factionalism could shape (and hamper) royal initiatives. A weak royal government was detrimental to Walter’s position in Ireland, where the Irish justiciar, Geoffrey de Marisco, behaved much as Walter did in Herefordshire. In this chapter, Geoffrey’s power and corruption are brought to the fore as never before. Once Walter journeyed to Ireland to set things right in 1220, he also established his half-brother, William Gorm de Lacy, in Bréifne (as he had previously secured Ulster for his brother Hugh).

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Lordship in four realms

The lacy family, 1166-1241


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