Edmund de Lacy

Edmund de Lacy was only around ten years old when his father died and was brought up at the royal court of King Henry III and Queen Eleanor.  He was placed under the tutelage of a Dominican friar named Richard who became bishop of Chichester and later a saint.

In May 1247 he was married to Alesia, the eldest daughter of Manfred, viscount of Saluzzo, who was a cousin of Henry’s queen.  The marriage took place at the royal palace of Woodstock, and at the same time the younger sister of Alesia, Agnes, was married to John de Vesci of Alnwick.

The following year, in May1248, Edmund was allowed to succeed to his father’s estates at the age of eighteen.

Although he was sometimes given the courtesy of being addressed by as the earl of Lincoln, Edmund never technically inherited the title as his mother outlived him.

In 1249, possibly on 19th December, their son, Henry, was born.  They also had a daughter, Margaret, and a son John who died in infancy.

In 1256, after the death of Richard Wych, Edmund de Lacy founded a house of Dominican Friars at Pontefract.  The story is that he laid the foundation stone with his own hand and said: ‘In honour of our lady Mary, Mother of God and Virgin, and of St. Dominic the confessor, to whose fraternity I assign this place, and of St. Richard, bishop and confessor, formerly my teacher and dearest friend, desirous of establishing a church on this spot, I lay the first stone.’   And as he laid the stone it split into three, as if to approve the choice of the three patron saints.  I’m unsure as to the authenticity of this story but it seems that Edmund wanted his heart to be buried in the Dominican church at Pontefract.  A list of burials at the friary, written by John Wriothesley, Garter King-of-Arms, who died in 1504, which could have been taken from the obituary of the house include: the heart of Edmund Lacy, his wife Alice daughter of the Marquess of Saluzzo, their infant son John and daughter Margaret; the heart of her husband George de Cantlowe and their infant son: and Agnes de Vescy, sister of the said lady Alice Lacy.

The six acres of land given by Edmund de Lacy for the priory were called East Crofts, and in exchange for this land he granted 26 acres of his own land to the town of Pontefract.

In 1257 Edmund de Lacy was granted permission from the king for a weekly market to be held at Tanshelf on Wednesdays and for a three day summer fair to be held at Pontefract on Trinity Sunday and the days before and after.  About Easter 1258, Edmund granted to ‘his men dwelling at Westchep, near Tanshelf, the same liberties and customs which his other burgesses of Pontefract had from his ancestors’.  It seems that the charter was designed to incorporate the western and eastern parts of the town.

Edmund died later that year, on 2nd June 1258 and the age of about twenty-eight.   But before his death he contracted a marriage for his son, Henry, with Margaret Longspee, the daughter of William Longspee who was descended from an illegitimate son of Henry II.

He also left a daughter named Margaret who married George de Cantelou.

Edmund was buried at Stanlaw Abbey with his father and grandfather and his remains were later removed to Whalley, but his heart remains in Pontefract.


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