GEN-MEDIEVAL-L ArchivesArchiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2011-01 > 1294856096
From: Douglas Richardson <>
Subject: Paternity of Alice, wife of John, Constable of Chester
Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2011 10:14:56 -0800 (PST)
Dear John, etc. ~
There is a charter of Alice de Vere's published in Gervers, Cartulary
of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem in England, 1 (Recs. of Soc. &
Econ. Hist. n.s. 6) (1982): 225.
According to this charter, Alice granted assarted land called Stanheye
in Ugley, Essex to the Hospitallers in ?1145 for the health of her
soul, and those of her late husband, Robert de Essex, her father,
[Aubrey] de Vere, and her brother, Robert de Vere.
Thus there can be no question that Alice de Vere was the wife of
Robert de Essex (who was dead in 1141).
Following Robert de Essex's death, Alice de Vere married (2nd) Roger
Fitz Richard, of Warkworth, Northumberland, by whom she had one known
son, Robert Fitz Roger. What seems to be at question is which
husband was the father of her daughter, Alice, wife of John, Constable
As best I can tell, there was a certain disparity in the ages between
the two children of Alice de Vere. The elder of her children must
have been her daughter, Alice, wife of John, Constable of Chester, who
herself was having children as early as c.1165. John Ravilious states
that the "key" to this Alice's paternity may be her grant in the
period, 1190–1211, to the monks of Rufford "of all her land in
Almatona" which belonged to "her fee in Cresale." However, the land
she held in Ompton, Nottinghamshire, was part of her dower, not her
maritagium, So this grant can not be used as a key to anything
regarding her paternity.
As for Alice de Vere's son, Robert Fitz Roger, he is known to have
married Margaret de Chesney, widow of Hugh de Cressy (died before
Michaelmas 1189). I would think this marriage took place in or before
1190, as we know that Robert's own son, John Fitz Robert, the Magna
Carta baron, was born before 1191 (he being of age when his father
died in 1212).
If I understand the chronology correctly, there would be approximately
25 years difference between the marriages of Alice, wife of John,
Constable of Chester, and her brother, Robert Fitz Roger. This
disparity creates the impression that Alice and Robert were half-
siblings, which may be the case. However, I might point out that
Alice and her husband, John, Constable of Chester, named their eldest
son, Roger, which is a good indication that Alice was the daughter of
Alice de Vere's 2nd husband, Roger Fitz Richard.
Likewise, it seems likely that John, Constable of Chester, was born c.
1145, he having been granted livery of his lands in 1166. If we
assume his wife, Alice, was also born c.1145, it would necessarily
place her as the daughter of Alice de Vere's 2nd marriage to Roger
Fitz Richard. My file notes indicate that Alice de Vere's 1st
husband, Robert de Essex, was dead in 1141. John Ravilious has
suggested that Alice, wife of John, Constable of Chester, was born c.
1145-1150. This estimate seems sensible to me.
It has been mentioned that Alice de Vere's 2nd husband, Roger Firz
Roger, was "nepos" to Hugh le Bigod, Earl of Norfolk. The assumption
has been made in this thread that "the Latin word nepos" means
"nephew." However, in this time period, "nepos" meant kinsman,
nephew, or grandson. So Roger can have been related in any number of
ways to Earl Hugh, besides being his nephew. Without additional
evidence, all we can say is that Roger Fitz Roger was blood related to
Earl Hugh le Bigod.
Best always, Douglas Richardson, Salt Lake City, Utah
|Paternity of Alice, wife of John, Constable of Chester by Douglas Richardson <>|