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entry explains that Alured was Alured de Merleberge, or of Marleborough, a great tenant in chief, especially in Wiltshire. We read : “Alured de M. holds the Castle of Ewias of William the King; for that King conceded to hin the lands which William the Earl [Fitzosbern of Hereford) had given to him ; who refortified [refirmaverit] this Castle.” Of it held seven knights whose Christian names are given, besides other persons. The Castle was then valued at £10. Agnes, the daughter of Alured, married Turstan of Wigmore.

How or when Alured gave up the Castle does not appear; but in 1100 it was held by a certain Harold, also a large tenant in Domesday, though not in Herefordshire. He is called “Heraldus filius comitis Radulphi”, and as such held Sudeley in Gloucestershire. Earl Ralph, called “the Timid”, was the Earl of Hereford who was beaten by the Welsh and English forces in 1055, when his son was a mere child. Ralph was a considerable man by descent, being great-grandson of Æthelred, and great-nephew to the Confessor. Harold probably obtained some of his father's possessions when he came of age, and Ewias may have been part of them. He and his descendants were liberal donors to St. Peter's, Gloucester, in its behalf founding the Priory near the Castle of Ewias. In Leland's time the Castle was called “Map-Harold” (the son of Harold), he says from a natural son of King. Harold ; but the Harold here cited is, as is shown, a different person.

The names and order of Harold's sons are preserved in the Gloucester Cartulary, and they correct Dugdale and all other authorities. They were Robert, Roger, John (to whom his father gave Sudeley, and whose issue were barons), Alexander, and William. Robert de Ewias, the eldest, is described in the Gesta Stephani as “vir stemmatis ingenuissimi”. According to the Liber Niger he held in capite upwards of forty-seven fees, the mesne tenants of which were twenty knights. Dugdale mentions only twenty-two fees, and confounds him with a second Robert, his son, also lord of Ewias.

The elder Robert had by his wife, Sybilla, Robert and Richard de Ewias, who left a daughter and heiress, Sybilla, who married Philip Spenser, and left issue.

Robert de Ewias, the third owner of the castle, and the second baron, married Petronilla. He was living 1194-96. He also left a Sybilla, daughter and heiress of Ewias. She married, first, Robert de Tregoz; second, William de Newmarch, whom she married during her father's lifetime, in the reign of Richard I. 'He was living 11 John. Third, Roger de Clifford, probably the second brother of William de C. From this match spring the Earls of Cumberland. Newmarch had no children. Sybilla was dead 20 Henry III, and was

. followed by her son, Robert de Tregoz, slain at Evesham 1265. He was father of John and Henry, father of a line of barons, who ended about 1405.

John de Tregoz died 1300, leaving two co-heirs, Clarice and Sybil

. Clarice, who died 29 Edward I, married Roger la Warre, and had John, aged 23, in 1300 ; and Sybil married Sir William de Grandison, ancestor in the female line of the St. John's, Viscounts Grandison. In the partition, John la Warre had the

body of the castle”, of which, 4 Edward III, he enfeoffed John de Cleydon. He died 21 Edward III. John, his eldest son, died before him, and as early as 12 Edward III he had enfeoffed his grandson, Roger la Warre, and Elizabeth his wife, with Ewias Castle and Manor.

Roger la Warre died 44 Edward III, seized of Ewias Harold, and was succeeded by John, his son. 13 Richard II, Sir John de Montacute, sen., is seized of Ewias Harold, and three Wiltshire fees in the Honour of Ewias and Teffont-Ewias, in Wilts, besides other Ewias lands in Herefordshire. 18 Richard II these same lands were held by Margaret, wife of Sir John Montacute, bart. ; and 10 Henry IV, by Thomas de Montacute, Earl of Salisbury.

The nature of this alienation is obscure; for, in the midst of it, 22 Richard II, Sir John de la Warre and Elizabeth his wife are seized of the Castle of Ewias Harold. However, there seems to have been an actual and permanent alienation to the Montacutes; for, 7 Henry VI, Thomas, Earl of Salisbury has Ewias Harold. Thence it passed to the Beauchamps, of whom Joan, widow of Sir William Beauchamp, of Bergavenny, had the Castle, vill, and lordship in 14 Henry VI; and finally the Beauchamp heir, Edward Nevile, Lord Abergavenny, died seized of the Castle, &c., in Herefordshire, and of Teffont-Ewias, in Wiltshire.

G. T. C.


SIR JOHN OLDCASTLE (LORD COBHAM). We are told that not less than seven cities contended for the honour of having given birth to one of the great poets of antiquity. We have a similar rivalry respecting the birthplace of Sir John Oldcastle, the Lollard martyr. Several places on the borders dispute the right of having given birth to this remarkable man; but not more than two are worthy of any notice, namely, Oldcastle in the parish of Almeley in Herefordshire, and Oldcastle beneath the shadow of the Black Mountains in Monmouthshire. Of these two, Oldcastle in Herefordshire is the more plausible. Tradition certainly preponderates in favour of Oldcastle in Monmouthshire; but facts are greatly in favour of the one in Herefordshire. In the writ De Inquirendo (Patent Rolls of

. Henry VI), in which the attainder of Sir John's possessions is given, we find Oldcastle in the parish of Almeley amongst other places mentioned. The following has been extracted from the said Roll : Quæ quidem loca vocata Oldcastell et Wotton sunt et tempore captionis inquisitionis predicta fuerunt hamletti" de Almeley." This is almost conclusive on the point, even if we had no further proof.

Sir John was born in the year 1360, in a castellated inansion which derived the appellation Oldcastle from

the fact that it was built upon the site of an old Roman camp.

This is also true of Oldcastle at the foot of the Black Mountains, near Pandy Station. Some historians say that this appellation was given to Sir John's native place from the name of its distinguished owner ; but this is inconsistent with the fact that Sir John was a Welshman, and bore, undoubtedly, a Welsh name. He was known in Wales by the cognomen "Sion yr Hendy”. The Oldcastles were in the position of country gentlemen, but none of the family became so distinguished as the Lollard martyr. Several of them served the office of high sheriffs of Herefordshire. The living

of Almeley was in the patronage of the Oldcastles till Thomas, Sir John's father, bestowed it upon the Priory of Wormesley, which was since conferred upon the Priory of St. Leonard.

The early life of Sir John is involved in great obscurity, and destitute of any authentic details. It was unknown even to Bale, who wrote a full account of his trial and death as early as the year 1544 ; but his history from the year 1391 till his death is the history of Lollardism in England. The greater part of Sir John's history would have been shrouded in darkness were it not for the light that shone upon it from the“ morning star of the Reformation".

It is probable that Oldcastle formed the acquaintance of John Wickliffe in his native district. The family of the Dukes of Lancaster had then great possessions in Monmouthshire and on the marches of Wales. Grosmont Castle was at one time the principal residence of John of Gaunt, the third son of Edward III, and we know that John was one of Wickliffe's most loyal patrons. Also we know that John of Gaunt held the office of Governor of the Castle of Hereford in the year 1377. It is supposed that Wickliffe remained for some time in concealment, during his troubles, either at Grosmont or Hereford Castle. If so, the Lollard martyr and the Anglican reformer must have met each other at either of these castles, if not at both. Sir John was a man of


great literary and military talents,-a man of great public spirit and dauntless courage. He possessed a quick wit, and had an aptitude for rhyme, and wrote many Latin verses, some of which are still extant. He has been called by some an enthusiast; but we must bear in mind that the union of prudence and enthusiasm is very rarely found in the same individual. He lived in times of great excitement, when the burning zeal of the reformer could hardly be tempered with the cool discretion of the statesman. Dissatisfied with the Church of his days, and stirred up by the strong arguments of Wickliffe, he turned out to be one of the greatest heroes of Protestant truth, and most heroically sealed his faith with his blood.

In the year 1391 Sir John, with a few others, petitioned King Richard II at Westminster, in the time of his Parliament, that it would be commodious for England if the Pope's authority extended no further than the haven of Calais, as cases from Britain could not be investigated so far off

. Whereupon the king enacted, by consent of his lords, that no man thenceforth should sue to the Pope in any matter, nor publish any excommunication of his, under the penalty of forfeiting his goods, with perpetual imprisonment. This is the first time that Sir John set himself in determined opposition to the church. Four years after this, in the year he called the attention of Parliament to the conduct of the clergy in a little book that began thus : Prima conclusio quando ecclesia Angliæ; but the archbishop raised an alarm in time, and succeeded in mustering all the forces of the church to the contest, and thus frustrated the Reformer's object. From this time Sir John became unpopular with the clergy, and was ever after looked upon as their most bitter enemy.

It is fair to state that Oldcastle never attempted to conceal his principles, but went so far as to maintain preachers to teach the doctrines of the Reformation in the dioceses of Canterbury, London, Rochester, and Hereford. At the suggestion of John Huss he caused


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