Henri de Ferrieres

Tutbury Castle
Tutbury Castle, Staffordshire
Photo © Simon Johnson, Nov. 2005

Henry de Ferrieres is referred to by Wace (l. 13499) thus: "Henri li sire de Ferrieres," and he who then held Tillieres (Gilbert Crispin II) "brought large companies," etc. He was seigneur de Saint Hilaire de Ferriers near Bernay and the son of Walkelin de Ferrers, who fell in a contest with Hugh de Montfort I early in the reign of duke William, in which both of these noblemen were killed. He had an elder brother William also reported at Hastings, undoubtedly well advanced in years at that time, who died before the compilation of Domesday, where his name does not appear. Henry de Ferrers received 210 manors, 114 of which were in Derbyshire. The seat of his chief barony was Tutbury castle in Staffordshire, which had previously belonged to Hugh Lupus, but upon the latter becoming the earl of Chester in 1071, it was granted to Henry de Ferrers, who founded nearby a Cluniac monastry. Henry was appointed one of the commissioners for the general survey in 1085 and richly endowed the priory of Tutbury in 1089. He married Berta, whose identity is unknown, by whom he had three sons, Enguenulf, William and Robert. The two eldest died during his lifetime without issue and Robert succeeded him, becoming the first earl of Derby in 1138. His son Robert, the second earl of Derby or earl of Ferrieres was probably the Robert who distinguished himself at the battle of Northallerton, known as the battle of the Standard. The third earl rebelled against Henry II, was subdued and surrendered his castles of Tutbury and Duffield, which were demolished. William, the next earl was a great favourite of king John, from whom he received vast grants of land, amongst which was the great Northampton estate of William Pevrel, whose daughter one of his ancestors had married. Earl William was largely instrumental in placing Henry III on the throne and took an important part in the siege of mount Sorrel and the battle of Lincoln. In 1230 he was one of the three chief counsellors recommended to the king by the barons and died in 1240. William, the next earl, married two great heiresses, first, a daughter of William Marshal, earl of Pembroke, and second, the heiress of Roger, earl of Winchester. From the latter marriage sprung two sons Robert the sixth earl, and William, who received the lordship of Groby from his mother and founded this still existing family. The fifth earl, William, died in 1254, whose eldest son was the last earl of Derby of this branch, although his male line continued for six generations. Robert, the last earl, revolted in Worcester, was defeated at Evesham and pardoned on payment of a heavy ransom, but the next year taking up arms again in north Derbyshire, he was routed at Burton bridge, wherefore he was deprived of the earldom which was given to the king's son Edmund Crouchback. His son John was summoned to parliament as lord Ferrets of Chartley, Staffordshire, in 1299. This barony in 1450 passed through the female line to the house of Devereaux on the death of the last male heir. Robert, a descendant, was created lord Ferrers of Chartley in 1677, and viscount Tamworth and earl Ferrers in 1711. --(Falaise Roll)

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