Colin Veach
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Lordship in four realms
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Hugh and Walter de Lacy had a number of ways by which to control their surroundings, both intensively (through tenure and the control of courts) and by tribute (receiving acknowledgements of superior status from their neighbours); all of these can be characterised as dimensions of ‘lordship’. The methods used depended on the pre-existing social structures within each realm. As aristocrats, one of the Lacys’ means to enforce lordship was war. Whether as captains in royal armies, or through the conquest and defence of their own territories along the frontier, their military acumen was a key determinant of their wider success or failure. The growth of seigniorial households and affinities was in part a result of the increasing demands of medieval warfare, made more necessary for the Lacys by the collateral administration of their transmarine interests. The necessary personnel was supplied by the emerging knightly class whose members were also courted by the king of England. This chapter includes a focused look at the competition between royal and aristocratic lordship for support from knightly communities. The Lacys often turned to each other for security, and the place of the family in lordship, including marriage alliances, filial piety and inheritance rounds off this study.

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Lordship in four realms

The lacy family, 1166-1241


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