Richard de Lucy

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Richard de Lucy (also de Luci ) († July 14, 1179 in Lesnes Abbey ) was an Anglo- Norman nobleman. From 1154 until shortly before his death, he served as legal advisor to King Henry II of England .


Richard de Lucy was born in the early 12th century to an Anglo-Norman family who owned both England and Normandy . His father's name is unknown, only the first name Aveline has been passed down from his mother . His family was named after Lucé at Domfront in Normandy, where they originally came from. Richard's brother Walter entered the monastery of Lonlay-l'Abbaye at Lucé as a monk , later he became abbot of Battle Abbey . He also had another brother, Robert, and possibly a Herbert was another brother. Lucy had inherited properties from his father at Diss and Stowe in East Anglia and Newington , Kent , which together comprised seven Knight's fees . While he was crown vassal for his estates in East Anglia , he was vassal of the Archbishops of Canterbury for his estates in Kent .

Rise to confidante of King Stephen

Presumably Lucy began his career in the service of King Henry I , from whom he allegedly received a fief in Suffolk . Before 1136 he was in the service of Stephan von Blois , who succeeded Henry I as king. But since Heinrich's daughter Matilda also claimed the throne, there was a war of succession, the so-called anarchy . Lucy successfully defended Falaise Castle in Normandy against an attack by Count Gottfried von Anjou in the service of King Stephen in October 1138 . He then returned to England and was almost always part of King Stephen's entourage. From about 1143 he was a judge in Middlesex , London and Essex , but otherwise he received no other official offices. Nevertheless, he was one of the king's most influential advisors and confidants. In 1148 he served as a mediator in the king's dispute with Archbishop Theobald of Canterbury . King Stephen rewarded Lucy generous including with the Honor of Boulogne , including Chipping Ongar belonged in Essex. In Chipping Ongar, Lucy built Ongar Castle and promoted the developing city, which thus became the center of his new barony Ongar . In the summer of 1153, when Stephan increasingly lost the support of numerous barons, Lucy made an advance into the Thames Valley held by Heinrich Plantagenet , the son of Matilda and Gottfried von Anjou. The increasing success of Heinrich Plantagenet finally forced Stephan to negotiate. In the Treaty of Westminster he had to recognize his adversary as heir to the throne. However, the contract shows the esteem that the loyal Lucy enjoyed from his opponents. He was given the Tower of London and Windsor Castle , which he was to hand over to Heinrich Plantagenet after Stephen's death. To do this, he had to hold one of his sons hostage.

Justiciar of Heinrich II.

Ascent to Justiciar

After King Stephen's death, Lucy easily changed to the service of Heinrich Plantagenet, who became the new king as Heinrich II . A little later he appointed him alongside Robert de Beaumont, 2nd Earl of Leicester, to one of his two legal advisors . The new king showed that he valued the loyalty Lucy had shown to King Stephen, but also the confidence that he had placed in the experienced steward Lucy. Lucy initially took over the sheriff's office of Essex and Hertfordshire as well as the administration of several royal estates. However, he later gave up these tasks so that he could devote himself entirely to the royal government. In 1166 he was one of the judges who made the first court trips to the individual counties after the civil war. In 1167 he repulsed an attack by Count Matthew of Boulogne, who claimed the English property of the Honor of Boulogne. Lucy often traveled abroad as the king's ambassador, and when the king visited his estates in France , Lucy administered England with the viceroy's powers .

Role in conflict with Thomas Becket

By order of the king, Lucy made sure that the previous chancellor Thomas Becket was elected Archbishop of Canterbury in 1162. Lucy was also involved in drafting the Constitutions of Clarendon , which led to the break between the king and Becket in 1164. He then traveled abroad in the service of the king, possibly making a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela . On the way back he met Becket, who had fled into exile in France. Instead of the hoped-for reconciliation, however, a bitter argument broke out between the two. As the conflict between the king and Becket widened, Lucy was one of the king's supporters, excommunicated by Becket in Vézelay in 1166 . Lucy is said to have made a crusade vow that he never fulfilled. Bishop Godfrey of St Asaph gave him absolution in 1167 , whereupon Becket excommunicated him again in 1169.

Sole Justiciar of England

After the death of the Earl of Leicester in 1168, Lucy became sole justiciar. In the following years he became the king's closest confidante and the most powerful man in England. During the rebellion from 1173 to 1174 he was in command of the royal troops in England, while the king first put down the rebellion in his possessions in France. Together with Earl Reginald of Cornwall he besieged and conquered the city of Leicester . Then he led together with Humphrey III. de Bohun an army to northern England and on against the Scottish King William I , who had invaded Northumberland . However, when the rebellious Robert de Beaumont, 3rd Earl of Leicester landed in southern England, Lucy made a truce with the Scots and moved to the Midlands. There he besieged Huntingdon Castle , a castle of King Wilhelm's brother David . On October 17, 1173 he was able to decisively defeat the Earl of Leicester in the battle of Fornham . However, since the rebels received further support, the troubled mid-1174 sent Bishop Richard of Ilchester with an urgent request for help from the king in France. With the clear victory of an army loyal to the north of England over the Scots in the Battle of Alwnick on July 13, 1174, the revolt in England was decided. Through his tenacious and successful defense of the king's rule, Lucy had earned a high reputation that also radiated into the office of Justiciars. Lucy himself was so sure of his position that he could reprimand the king for ignoring the privileges Lucy had given his supporters during the rebellion. In 1176, however, the king surprisingly confiscated his Ongar castle. In 1178 or 1179 Lucy finally resigned from his position as legal advisor and joined the Lesnes Abbey, which he had founded not far from Ongar in Kent , as an Augustinian canon , where he died a few months later. He was buried in Lesnes.

Expansion of his possessions and promotion of monasteries

Henry II had rewarded Lucy's services with additional lands and privileges, including additional land ownership with Ongar. Lucy also became a vassal of various close friends of the king. As early as 1155, he and his brother Walter signed a friendship treaty with Earl Reginald of Cornwall, an uncle of the king, and with the royal constable Richard du Hommet . Further alliances followed. Before 1166, Lucy held ten Knight's fees as a vassal of Earl Reginald and nine knight's fees from his vassal Adam Malherbe . He held another Knight's fairy in the Honor of Clare in Suffolk. A few years later, Lucy was the vassal of Earl William of Gloucester , a cousin of the king, and owned ten knight's fees in Greenstead , Essex.

Increasingly devout in old age, Lucy had promoted the Holy Trinity Priory in London, in addition to Lesnes, which he founded in 1178 , where his wife was buried. He dedicated the patronage of Lesnes to the Virgin Mary and his former opponent Thomas Becket.

Family and inheritance

Richard de Lucy had married Roysia, whose origin is unknown. With her he had at least two sons and three daughters:

  • Geoffrey († 1170/1173)
  • Godfrey , later Bishop of Winchester
  • Matilda ∞ Walter FitzRobert, Lord of Dunmow († 1198)
  • Aveline ∞ Gilbert de Montfichet
  • Alice ∞ Odinel de Umfraville († 1182)

Lucy was able to marry off his daughters to members of distinguished families in East England. Since his eldest son Geoffrey had died before him, his young son Richard became his main heir. However, this and his little brother died childless before 1194, so that there was a long inheritance dispute between Lucy's daughters and their descendants, which continued into the early reign of King Henry III. lasted.


  • Emilie Amt: Richard de Lucy, Henry II's justiciar . In: Medieval Prosopography, 9 (1988), pp. 61-87
  • JH Round: The honor of Ongar. In: Transactions of the Essex Archaeological Society, New Ser. 7 (1898-99), pp. 142-152

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Wilfred L. Warren: Henry II. Eyre Methuen, London 1973, ISBN 0-413-25580-8 , p. 135
  2. Wilfred L. Warren: Henry II. Eyre Methuen, London 1973, ISBN 0-413-25580-8 , p. 294
predecessor Office successor
Bishop Roger of Salisbury Justiciar of England
(until 1168 with Robert de Beaumont, 2nd Earl of Leicester)
Ranulf de Glanville