Nielsen Hayden genealogy

Lucy of Bolingbroke

Female - Abt 1138


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  • Name Lucy of Bolingbroke  [1, 2, 3, 4, 5
    Born of Spalding, Lincolnshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [6
    Gender Female 
    Died Abt 1138  [7
    Person ID I317  Ancestry of PNH, TNH, and others | Ancestor of DDB, Ancestors of JTS, Ancestor of TNH, Ancestor of TSW
    Last Modified 6 Jan 2018 

    Family Ranulf le Meschin,   d. Abt 1129 
    Married Abt 1098  [2, 7, 8
    Children 
    +1. Alice of Chester,   d. Aft 1148
    +2. Ranulph de Gernons,   b. Bef 1100, Guernon Castle, Normandy, France Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 16 Dec 1153  (Age > 53 years)
    Last Modified 9 Dec 2018 
    Family ID F2555  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • "Lucy of Bolingbroke (died circa 1138) was an Anglo-Norman heiress in central England and, later in life, countess of Chester. Probably related to the old English earls of Mercia, she came to possess extensive lands in Lincolnshire which she passed on to her husbands and sons. She was a notable religious patron, founding or co-founding two small religious houses and endowing several with lands and churches. [...] Lucy, as widowed countess, founded the convent of Stixwould in 1135, becoming, in the words of one historian, 'one of the few aristocratic women of the late eleventh and twelfth centuries to achieve the role of independent lay founder.'" [Wikipedia]

      Much controversy has ensued over her parentage. Appendix J to volume 7 of the Complete Peerage sums up the state of play in 1929: "The parentage of the Countess Lucy is one of the unsolved puzzles of genealogy. The only direct statements about it are in the Peterborough Chronicle and the pseudo-Ingulf's Chronicle of Crowland, which agree in saying that she was daughter of Aelfgar, Earl of Mercia, and niece or grandniece of Thorold, sometime Sheriff of co. Lincoln. All that is certainly known is that she was niece of Robert Malet of Eye and of Alan of Lincoln, and that Thorold the Sheriff was a kinsman." The essay goes on to state that a good but not conclusive case can be made for her parents being Thorold the sheriff and an unnamed daughter of Robert Malet.

      The ODNB calls Lucy merely "heir of the honour of Bolingbroke". In 1995 Katharine Keats-Rohan made a case for the Thorold hypothesis, but Rosie Bevan argued on SGM that "the main sticking point [...] is that although Lucy is mentioned a few times as Thorold's heir she is not named as his daughter." Bevan went on to propose that the incomplete evidence could as easily be used to argue that Lucy's parents were William Malet (son of Robert) and a daughter of earl Alfgar III.

      The one point on which everyone appears to agree is that one of Lucy's parents has to have been a Malet, because in 1153 the future Henry II promised the honour of Eye to Ranulph, earl of Chester, to be held as "Robert Malet the uncle of his mother [i.e., Lucy] held it."

  • Sources 
    1. [S152] Domesday Descendants: A Prosopography of Persons Occurring in English Documents 1066-1166, by K. S. B. Keats-Rohan. Woodbridge, Suffolk: The Boydell Press, 2002.

    2. [S145] Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came to America Before 1700, by Frederick Lewis Weis and Walter Lee Sheppard, Jr. 8th edition, William R. Beall & Kaleen E. Beall, eds. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2004, 2006, 2008.

    3. [S977] The Blackmans of Knight's Creek: Ancestors and Descendants of George and Maria (Smith) Blackman by Henry James Young. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: 1980.

    4. [S1326] Katherine S. B. Keats-Rohan, "Antecessor Noster: The Parentage of Countess Lucy Made Plain." Prosopon Newsletter 2, May 1995.

    5. [S1016] Medieval English Ancestors of Robert Abell by Carl Boyer III. Santa Clarita, California, 2001.

    6. [S160] Wikipedia.

    7. [S76] The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-ongoing).

    8. [S128] The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant. Full citation details here.