According to a charter of Henri Duke of Normandy (later Henry II King of England) issued in favour of her son Ranulf Earl of Chester dated 1153, Ctss Lucy was the niece of Robert [I] Malet of Eye and of Alan of Lincoln: "H. dux Norm. et comes And." granted land to "Ranulfo comiti Cestrie", including "totum honorem de Eia sicut Robertus Malet avunculus matris sue" had held and "foeudum Alani de Lincol…qui fuit avunculus matris sue", by charter dated to [Jan/Apr] 1153. The precise relationships between all these individuals has not yet been ascertained. Domesday Descendants suggests that Thorold was her father. Keats-Rohan expands her arguments in another article, based primarily on the presence of both Thorold and his wife as "antecessores" of Lucy and her first husband in the charter under which the couple donated Spalding monastery to the church of Saint-Nicholas, Anjou... The Complete Peerage also discusses whether Thorold could have been Lucy’s father and that her mother could have been the daughter of Guillaume [I] Malet. An alternative origin is suggested by Ingulph's potentially spurious Chronicle of the Abbey of Croyland, which records that William I King of England arranged the marriage of "Ivo Taillebois" and "Lucia sister of Edwin and Morcar", her dowry consisting of their land at Hoyland. The Genealogia Fundatoris of Coventry Monastery also names “Luciam postea comitissam” as daughter of “Algarus tertius”, adding that she married firstly “Yvoni Taylboys” by whom she was childless, secondly “Rogero filio Geroldi Romara”, thirdly “Ranulfo comiti Cestriæ”, and was buried “apud Spalding”. The Chronicon Angliæ Petriburgense records "Luciæ comitissæ…filiæ Algari comitis Leicestriæ" as husband of "Ivo Tailbois comes Andegavensis, dominus Spaldingiæ et totius Hollandiæ" and "Toraldus avunculus eiusdem Luciæ". Lastly, the Annals of Peterborough name “Yvo Taylboys, comes Andegavensis, dominus Spaldynge et totius Holandiæ…maritus Luciæ, filiæ Algari comitis Leicestriæ” and "Toraldus avunculus…Luciæ" when recording his donation to Spalding Monastery in 1074. This relationship with Earls Edwin and Morcar is impossible from a chronological point of view, in particular because Lucy gave birth to children by her third husband at a time when she would have been over fifty if she has been their sister. It is also extremely unlikely that their sister would have been given a name derived from the Romance languages. “Ivo Taleboys” donated Spalding Monastery to the church of Saint-Nicholas Anjou, for “conjugis suæ Luciæ et antecessorum Toraldi, scilicet uxoris eius, requie” by undated charter. Peter of Blois's Continuation of the Chronicle of the Abbey of Croyland records the death of Ivo and his burial at the priory of Spalding, and the remarriage of his widow "hardly had one month elapsed after his death" with "Roger de Romar the son Gerald de Romar". A manuscript recording the foundation of Spalding monastery records that “Yvo Talboys” married "Thoroldo…hærede Lucia" who, after the death of Ivo, married (in turn) "Rogerum filium Geroldi" and "comitem Cestriæ Ranulphum". Ingulph's Chronicle of the Abbey of Croyland records that "his wife the lady Lucia" married "Roger de Romar the son of Gerald de Romar" when "hardly had one month elapsed after the death" of her first husband "Ivo Taillebois". She is named as wife of Ranulf by Orderic Vitalis, who also names her first husband, but does not state her origin. “Ranulfus Meschinus Richerio Vicecomiti Karlioli” donated property for the foundation of Wetherhal priory, Cumberland, for the souls of “…mea et uxoris meæ Luciæ…”, by undated charter. The 1130 Pipe Roll records "Lucia comitissa Cestr…tra patis sui" in Lincolnshire. “Lucia cometissa” donated “manerium de Spallingis...cum quibus melius tenui et liberalius tempore Ivonis de Thallebos et Rogeri filii Geroldi et cometis Rannulfi” by charter dated to . 1
He [Ranulph le Meschin] married Lucy, widow of Roger FITZ-GEROLD (by whom she was mother of William de Roumare, afterwards Earl of Lincoln). He died 17 or 27 January 1128/9, and was buried at St. Werburg's, Chester. The Countess Lucy confirmed, as his widow, the grant of the Manor of Spalding to the monks of that place (f). 2
(f) She paid 500 marks to King Henry in 1130 for license to remain unmarried for 5 years.
The Parentage of Countess Lucy Made Plain
A lot of ink has flowed on the subject, but there can be no doubt that the 'mysterious' Countess Lucy of Chester was William Malet's thrice-married granddaughter, the daughter of Robert Malet's sister and Turold the Sheriff of Lincoln (dead by 1079). The suggestion was first made by R. Kirk in 1888. As N. Sumner has more recently observed: 'This account has the merit of explaining why the lordship of Spalding and other places in Lincolnshire were held after Ivo's death not by Beatrice, his direct heir and the daughter of his marriage to Lucy, but by the later husbands of Lucy, Roger fitz Gerold and Ranulph Meschines.' It is clear from her charters that Lucy was an heiress; as was to be expected, her estates passed to the sons of her second and third marriages. Kirk's work was based upon conjecture, and contained a number of errors. The question of Lucy's parentage has therefore remained open. Nevertheless, there is proof that Kirk was right.
A spurious charter of Crowland Abbey made Turold of Bucknall (the Sheriff) the founder of the priory of Spalding as a cell of Crowland. It also called Turold brother of Godiva countess of Mercia, but subsequently described Godiva's son Earl Algar as Turold's cognatus (cousin). A genealogia fundatoris of Coventry Abbey made Lucy a daughter of Earl Algar and sister and heiress of earls Edwin and Morcar. The Peterborough Chronicle and the Pseudo-Ingulf's Chronicle of Crowland both made Lucy the daughter of Algar and niece or great-niece of Turold. We know that William Malet was half-English, so these traditions probably boil down to a relationship between Countess Godiva and William's English mother.
In 1153 a charter [RRAN, III, 180] of the future Henry II for Lucy's son Ranulf II of Chester referred to her uncles Robert Malet and Alan of Lincoln. Alan of Lincoln was the successor, and almost certainly the son, of Domesday's Alfred of Lincoln. Chronologically, it is most unlikely that Alan was Lucy's uncle. It was probably another of Alfred's sons whom Domesday described as Alfred nepos [nephew or grandson] of Turold, then holding a fee which was certainly thereafter held with the rest of the senior Alfred's fee by his heir Alan. Domesday provides a further indication that Alfred senior married another of William Malet's daughters when it names a William as Alfred's predecessor in two of his manors. Other parts of each of these manors (Linwood and Rothwell) were held in 1086 by Durand Malet, who was probably William's son. It seems that Henry's charter can be explained by seeing a scribe, perhaps in search of rhetorical balance, commit the error of ascribing two uncles to Lucy, instead of a niece (Lucy) and a nephew (Alan of Lincoln) to Robert Malet, who was uncle to both.
Turold is evidenced in Domesday Book as a benefactor of Crowland Abbey, to which he gave a parcel of land at Bucknall. The abbey also held land at Spalding that had probably been granted to it by Earl Algar and there is evidence to suggest that Turold the Sheriff gave further land there to the abbey of St Nicholas, Angers, before 1079. Lucy and her first husband Ivo Taillebois subsequently founded, or perhaps re-founded, a priory at Spalding subject to St Nicholas, Angers. A revealing phrase from the Register of Spalding Priory reads: 'mortuo quia dicto Thoraldo relicta sibi herede Lucia predicta' [at his death Turold left an heir, the aforesaid Lucy]. The word heres, 'heir', was often used of the child who was to inherit his/her father's property. Lucy later confirmed the gifts of all three of her husbands: 'pro redempcione anime patris mei et matris mee et dominorum meorum et parentum meorum' [for the souls of my father and mother, my husbands and my (other) relatives]. The association of the priory with such a small group of people and the description of Lucy as heres of Turold strongly hint at Lucy's parentage. But we can go further still.
In their initial benefaction Ivo and Lucy referred to 'antecessorum suorum Turoldi scilicet uxorisque eius regine' [our 'ancestors' Turold and his wife]. The reference to Turold's wife indicates that some part of his landholding had come to him through his wife, something also indicated by the occurrence of William Malet amongst those who had held the Domesday lands of Lucy's first husband Ivo Taillebois before him. The apparently vague Latin words antecessor and predecessor can both be used to mean something like 'predecessor'. Each of them conveys a range of very precise meanings in different circumstances. The description of Turold and his wife as antecessores of Ivo and Lucy may be compared to the usage in a charter in the cartulary of Mont-Saint-Michel by which the Angevins Hugh Chalibot and his wife confirmed the grants of her father, who was described as antecessor noster. Other examples of this phrase show clearly that it was used by a married man to describe the parent from whom his wife had inherited the property she brought to the marriage. Acting on her own account (normally after her husband's death), the heiress will often describe herself as the daughter of the parent her husband described as antecessor noster. A rare use of the phrase was to indicate the couple's immediate predecessor, not her father but her brother. In Lucy and Ivo's case the plurality of their antecessores, Turold and his wife, puts the matter beyond doubt. Lucy's parents were indeed Turold the Sheriff and a daughter of William Malet.
K. S. B. Keats-Rohan