Emma de Bois-l'Évêque

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Emma de Bois-l'Évêque

Also Known As: "de Lacy", "Laci", "Lacie", "Lacey", "Lascy", "Lasci"
Birthplace: Bois-l'Évêque, Seine-Maritime, Upper Normandy, France
Death: January 28, 1073 (50)
Bois-l'Évêque, Seine-Maritime, Upper Normandy, France
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Ilbert de Bois-l'Evêque, Seigneur de Bois-l'Évêque, le Mareschal and Ermangarde d'Auvergne, Heiress de Venoix
Wife of NN (possibly Hugues or Hugh) de Lacy
Mother of Ilbert I de Lacie, Lord of Pontefract, Sieur de Bois-l'Évêque; Walter de Lacy, 1st Baron Lacy; Emma de Lacy, Nun at St. Amand and Helwise de Lacy
Sister of Milo de Venoix, le Mareschal and Enguerrand fitzIlbert de Bois-l'Évêque

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About Emma de Bois-l'Évêque

Alfred S. Ellis, "Biographical Notes on the Yorkshire Tenants Named in Domesday Book," in The Yorkshire Archaeological Journal (London, 1877), Volume 4, pp. 138-141


That Ilbert derived his name from that Lassi (there are others in Normandy) between Aulnai and Vire belonging to the see of Bayeux seems certain, for in 1146 this fief was still held by two of this family (Ilbert and Gilbert de Laci) when it was confirmed to the bishops by Robert fitz Roy, earl of Gloucester (Rot. Norm. 2, lxx). Ilbert himself was without doubt a younger son, but occurs as heir of his mother, Emma, very probably a daughter of Ilbert, the marshal who witnessed with William, 'count of the Normans,' a charter of Isembert, abbot of the Monastery of the Holy Trinity of the Mount28 at Rouen between 1038—50 (Coll. des Cartulaires de France, iii. no. 2), and Enguerrand fitz Ilbert29 was rather her young brother than Ilbert de Laci's son, as M. le Prevost, the learned editor of Ordericus Vitalis, first suggested. In 1080 this Enguerrand gave part of the tithes of Bois l'Eveque near Darnetal to this monastery (ib. no. 89), and we learn from the same cartulary (no. 77) that Hilbert de Laci and Emma his mother were owners of Bois l'Eveque, and that the latter gave 22 acres there to the abbey, when she took the veil (before 1069) at St. Amand, Rouen; and she was probably the abbess Emma of that house who occurs soon after. The name of Ilbert's father has not been preserved, but Walter de Laci, who had an extensive territory given him on the marshes of Wales, was undoubtedly his son and heir, and Ilbert's half brother.80

We do not know whether Ilbert was at the battle of Hastings or not, but his services must have been of the most valuable kind to have been repaid by the grant of a great domain, like that which afterwards constituted the honor of Pontefract. It would seem this was given him in 1067, for a charter of his son Robert, giving to Gilbert, the hermit of Nostell, the manor of Nether Sutton, adds, "which his father had of the free gift of William duke of Normandy, the year after he conquered England" 31

There can be little doubt he was the 'Ubert' who occurs in the survey as mesne-tenant of many of the manors in Lincolnshire, of Odo, bishop of Bayeux, probably already the superior lord of the fief of Lassi, in whose contingent at Hastings he might therefore have fought, with his brother Walter, as vassals of the see.

All that Ilbert acquired, out of Yorkshire, was, in Notts (291) 2 valuable manors in Hickling and 6 others, and, in the far distant town of Wallingford, a single house (56 b). The great domain given him in Yorkshire consisted of 204 manors, of which 101, or very nearly half, were in the wapentake of Skyrack, the others in Staincross, Acbrig, and Morley. Tateshall, the most valuable, worth in king Edward's time 20/. 'now' 15/., is supposed to include the town then growing up under the walls of his castle at Pontefract. Of his chief manors, Leeds only had an increased value, Campsall, and the 5 in Smeaton, remained the same, but all others had depreciated, except Stretun, held of him by 'Ralph' (Paganel), 'now' worth 40.v. formerly 30s.

Earl Edwin's great lordships in Kippax, Ledstone and Berwick, with 3 churches and soke in 14 hamlets, rated at 16/. in king Edward's time and the same 'now,' was probably not given him until 1071. (See 'Comes Alan.')

Having acquired this wide territory, he soon fixed upon an elevated site convenient to Wa.tling St., the great northern road, and not far (3 miles) from where it crossed the Aire, for his castle,32 and named it Pontfr^t, either from the remains of a broken Roman bridge there, or from a place so called for the same reason in Normandy, where, it has been said, he was born (but it cannot be found). This name first occurs in Ordericus Vitalis (xi. 1) where he styles his son ' lloger of Pontefract/ His lands had been twice surveyed before 1085, for, in the 'Claims,' it is stated that the whole of Thorner and lands in Haselwood included within the bounds of the castle (i.e. castellany) of Ilbert, by the first measurement, were by the second declared to be without.

There is little to record of Ilbert, as he does not occur in the chronicles, but he seems to have allowed either from policy or better feeling a larger number of the old English possessors to continue .to hold their lands, or a portion of them, under him, than was usual with the Norman lords. Subsequent to the date of the survey he subinfeuded Leeds to Ralph Paganel, his neighbour and tenant at Stretun and Thorpe (-Audlin), and probably his brother-in-law, with the condition, no doubt, to build a castle there and maintain it. His heirs continued to hold it long after.

Ilbert survived the Conqueror; and Dugdale (Baronage, i. 98) quoting a charter formerly preserved at Pontefract castle, says, he obtained from William Rufus " a confirmation of those customs belonging to his castle of Pontefract as he had enjoyed in the time of King William his father." He built a chapel, dedicated to S. Clement, within the castle and amply endowed it with lands and tithes, afterwards transferred to the priory there. He gave the manor of Hamilton to Selby abbey, which Robert his son, for the soul of Hugh his brother, confirmed (Mon. iii. 489), and lands at Stretton and at Garforth (with the church there) to S.Mary's abbey, York, before Rufus' charter of 1088-9 (ib. iii. 547).)

An original charter of his is still preserved in the archives of Winchester College, with his equestrian seal in very good condition still attached. By this unique document—first made known by the late Mr. Hudson Turner, and printed in Archseol. Journ! iv. 249—he, with Hadrude his wife, gives the mansion of Tuiscuicz (? = Twiswick in England, but where ?) to the before mentioned abbey of the Holy Trinity of the Mount at Rouen, for the soul of Hugh his son, whose body rests there; also the tithes of Fraitville. It was signed only by King William, 'Hilbert and Hadrude and therefore gives no better clue to its date than the duration of the king's reign (1066-87).

Notum sit omnibus christianis tarn viventibus quam futuris quod ego Hilbertus de Laceio una cum Hadrude uxore mea do mansionem tuisuic5 Sancte' Trinitati de Monte rotomagensi, terram scilicet cum aqua et pratis et silvis omnibusque ad ipsam mansionem attinentibus pro anima mea atque domini mei Willielmi regis et animabus parenturn et amicorum meorum, nec non et uxoris mee filiique mei Hugonis pro eo quod et ipse supradictus filius meus . . . . iu loco requiescat et dicimam et fraitvilla,

This instrument is not registered in the cartulary of the abbey. It is evident Ilbert had at least two sons named Hugh, and according to the above the name of his wife at that time was Hadrude, but unless ' Hawise' of the son's deed be a misreading or clerical error, another, so called, was the mother of Robert, his son and heir. No other sons nor any daughter are known, except the second Hugh, for whose soul the donation to Selby abbey had been made, rather on his becoming a monk there than on his death, if he were the abbot elected 1097, who resigned 1123, and who built the noble Norman nave now remaining, and who is extolled in the Historia Selbiensis.

We do not know when Ilbert died, but it must have been before 1101, when Ordericus Vitalis (x. xviii.) mentions his son Robert as evidently then in possession of the honor, being one of those who invited duke Robert to make another effort for the throne.

Arms.—Feme in his quaint book " The Blazon of Gentrie," part 2, 'Lacie's Nobilitie/ was wrong in assigning the quarterly, a bend coat to Ilbert, as it came from Eustace fitz John. There is no clue to the arms of the original Lacies but the seal of Roger de Laci the constable (Oimerod's Hist. Cheshire, i. 511) has on the reverse a sort of interlaced device, which has been called by the Heralds 'the Lacy knot/ and not improbably may have been their canting device from 'Lads' meaning net-work in French.


28 Mont S. Catherine, from which there is such a fine prospect over the city of Rouen. It was so named from this abbey, called S. Katherine's after its acquisition of her relics. There are no remains.

29 He must have been a person of rank or an ecclesiastic, for his signature in a charter precedes that of the count of Mortain. In 1105 he was governor of Caen, but driven out with his troops by the townsfolk.

30 As both Ilbert and Walter named sons Hugh, it was probably after their father.

31 There are two independent abstracts of this charter, one, Monasticon, new ed. vi. 89, the other Harl. MSS., 2101, fo.230, by Randall Holmes from Dodsworth.

32 In like manner William fitz Osbern fixed upon a headland above Chepstow for his castle (mentioned in the survey) commanding the river Wye and the passage of the Roman road over it, taking toll of vessels passing down the river laden with timber. The rude stone hall here built by him yet remains, though the walls have been raised. A bailey enclosed by a stockade and ditch, with an 'aula lapidea defensabilis,' a chapel, kitchen, and stable, all detached buildings, some of them wooden, and generally also a fort on a 'mote' or mound, constituted the Norman castle such as Ilbert would build. The hall and citadel were after combined and developed into the keep, seemingly by the ingenuity and invention of bishop Qundulf, the architect of the Tower of London, perhaps the earliest example.


  • The book, 'Ancestry of Elizabeth of York', by Marlyn Lewis.
  • The book, 'Medieval English Ancestors of Certain Americans', p. 117, by Carl Boyer III.
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Emma de Bois-l'Évêque's Timeline

July 11, 1022
Bois-l'Évêque, Seine-Maritime, Upper Normandy, France
Saer, Normandy, France
de Bois-l'Évêque, Normandie, France
January 28, 1073
Age 50
Bois-l'Évêque, Seine-Maritime, Upper Normandy, France
May 28, 1936
Age 50
May 28, 1936
Age 50
September 28, 1937
Age 50
September 28, 1937
Age 50
July 7, 1992
Age 50