Mavis Long’s Grimshaw Research

In the Areas of Earliest Grimshaw Individuals
and Families, around Pendle Hill, Preston, and
Blackburn

(Note: Webpage in preparation)

Home Page

Mavis Long has conducted extensive research on many different aspects of early Grimshaw family history throughout the area where the family originated around Pendle Hill, Preston and Blackburn. Her research in the earliest origins is benefiting Grimshaw researchers everywhere.

Webpage Credits

Possible Celtic Origins of the Grimshaw Surname

Overview of Research on Grimshaws at Three Locations

Grimshaw-Related Entries in David Hindle’s Book on Grimsargh

Grimshaw Griffin at Edisford

A Griffin at Whalley, Similar to the Edisford Griffin

Use of the Griffin Icon by the DeLacy Family to Represent the Welsh as Enemies

References

Mavis’ research indicates that the Grimshaw surname and families originated at Grimsargh, where the many variants of the name “Grimsargh” include some that are very close to “Grimsagh” or “Grimshagh”, which are variants of the Grimshaw name (in the numerous variants of “Grimsargh” and “Grimshaw”, about the only distinction between the two sets of names is the occurrence of the second “r” in Grimsargh and not in Grimshaw).

The earliest recorded Grimsargh individual identified with that location was Gilbert de Grimsargh, whose exact date is unknown. However, he preceded William de Grimshaw, who is dated at about 1242. From Grimsargh, the Grimshaws (or their predecessors, Grimsaghs or Grimshaghs) apparently migrated northeast to Edisford and southeast to Eccleshill. A branch also appeared quite early at Cliviger, which is east of Pendle Hill, near Burnley.

According to one of the references found by Mavis (McKay), Grimsargh was the boundary on one side (Pendle Hill formed the boundary on the other side) of a region of sun worshippers – ancient Druidic Celts who were given the signifier “grim” by Saxon invaders as the term to signify their practice of sun worship. This reference also presumes a separate location for Grimshaw from Grimsargh, but presents no data to support the presumption except for the following statement: “Grimshaw” – not an uncommon name around Pendle Hill – since “shaw” signifies a wood or grove, becomes readily “the Wood or Grove of the Sun.”

Webpage Credits

Thanks go to Mavis for being willing to share the fruits of her Grimshaw research labors with the community of Grimshaw researchers.

Possible Celtic Origins of the Grimshaw Surname

Many researchers in the past have asserted that the name “Grimshaw” had Viking origins, including Rogers1 (see companionwebpage). However, Mavis has located a reference by McKay2 that indicates a potentially much earlier origin of the Grimshaw name. The following excerpt from a companion webpage describes the possible Celtic origins of “Grimshaw”:

 

James McKay, in a historical study of the Pendle Hill area based in large part on place-name analysis, associates the Grimshaw name with Grimsargh and Grindleton, which are located west of Pendle Hill near the Ribble River. For all three names, McKay makes the case that their associated locations were the sites of sun worship by Celtic Druids. The names were given to the Celtic locations by the Angles and Saxons who invaded the area after the Romans withdrew in the early 400s A.D.

According to McKay, the terms “grim” and “grin” are “forms of the one root word (that) signify the sun, when the term is used for that celestial luminary as a divinity, or as the object or symbol referred to in divine worship” (p. 101-102). McKay asserted that the names were given by the Angles and Saxons when they occupied lowlands that they had seized from the Celts (Segantii). The uplands (including the sites where the Druidic worship took place) were still held by the fierce Celts and could not be taken. Grimsargh and Grindleton, as well as other similar Celtic places referenced by McKay –Goosnargh and Tootall (Tootle) Heights – are still in existence today west and south of Pendle Hill. The original location of Grimshaw near Pendle Hill, however, may be lost to antiquity.

 

It seems apparent from this reference that the author believed that Grimshaw was a distinct name and location from Grimsargh:

In some parts it is called Grim’s Dyke, and as a matter of notoriety the country people of Wiltshire are frequently heard to speak of it as “The Devil’s Dyke.” This brings out clearly the probabilities of the etymology of the case. If the aboriginal pagan inhabitants called this Grim’s Dyke, or the Ditch of the Sun, as a title of sanctity, their Christian successors would assuredly call it the Dyke or Ditch of the Idol, or of the Devil; and if this origin of both words grim and grin be admitted, several other corroborative explanations will follow. Thus “Grimshaw” – not an uncommon name around Pendle Hill – since “shaw” signifies a wood or grove, becomes readily “the Wood or Grove of the Sun.” What Odin or Woden was to the later Saxon, Grim, or Grin, or Gryncoeus was to the Celtic races – for while to the Britons the sun was the central symbol of their worship, to their subsequent conquerors a gleam of sunshine was “the smile of Odin,” and so designated by them with all the truth of poetry. Grimsargh, then, was the boundary on one side, as Pendle Hill was on the other, of the region of the sun or devil worshippers. Of course it was the Saxons gave it this name, in recognition of a fact which they found existing when they penetrated to these parts.

Overview of Research on Grimshaws at Three
Locations

Mavis’ research has found the earliest records for Grimshaws at three locations in the area around Preston, Clitheroe and Blackburn:

A. Grimsargh (northeast of Preston)

B. Edisford (southwest of Clitheroe)

C. Eccleshill (southeast of Blackburn)

The locations of Preston, Clitheroe, Blackburn and Burnley (mentioned in the webpage introduction) northwest of Manchester are shown below:

Mavis has provided the following summary of Grimshaw records for Grimsargh, Edisford and Eccleshill:

LOCATIONS OF MEDIEVAL GRIMSHAW’S 1242 – 1372

The following chart, compiled from many ancient documents, identifies three locations plus dates and names for the earliest Grimshaw’s found in Lancashire records. It is possible no earlier documents exist.

 

GRIMSARGHEDISFORDECCLESHILL
per Whitaker
Gilbert ???Walter ???Walter ??? (4 sons)
     William
     Richard
     Adam
     Henry (1263)
1284 
William (1221) 1242-1297Richard son of Walter.Adam (1292) 1313; son of Henry
Thomas (1261) 1282 & 1284 (& had wife Agnes)William (1253) 1274-1294; son of Rich.Henry (1296) 1317; son of Adam
John (1261) 1282-1313; son of Thos.Adam (1273) 1294; son of Willam; died bef. 1316.Adam (1321) 1342; son of Henry, m. Cecily de Clayton
Gilbert (1263)  1284-1292; son of Thos.Ellena (1295) 1316; daughter of Adam Henry (1351) (1372-6)  
William (1311) 1332-1362


The earliest recorded Grimshaw appears at Grimsargh – ‘Gilbert’ (without date) followed by William 1242 who held the Manor of Grimsargh in thenage. The Grimshaws of Edisford and Eccleshill are a little later.

The first William de Grymeschargh could be the common link between the three locations but, to date, no document has been found naming either his father or son to help connect these. It is clear from the numerous documents that do identify him, far more than for any other person named Grymeschargh during these years, that he held a prestigious position within his society. He is named in the list of ‘enquirers of the Wapentake of Amounderness’ in 1242 (Scutage of Gascony); is listed as a ‘Free and Liege man of Preston’ in 1243; held the Manor of Grimsargh and ‘attested’ at twelve Inquests & Inquisitions.

The social strata of the day included: thanes, freemen, drengs & villeins, bordars, & serfs. (per Hindle p.27)

Dictionary definitions:

theng: An Anglo Saxon who held land from the King or Noble in return for certain services.

thane: One holding land of the king or other superior by virtue of military service with rank between ordinary freemen and hereditary nobles.

thenage: The holding of land of the king by virtue of military service.

scutage: Money paid to the Crown by feudal landowners in lieu of personal services.

freeman: One who is not a slave or serf, not subject to tyranny or usurped dominion, one who has freedom of borough or city.

liege: (of superior), entitled to receive, bound to give, feudal service of allegiance.

liege lord: feudal superior, sovereign.

 

A. GRIMSHAW’S OF GRIMSARGH

 

Around in
Gilbert de Grimsargh????Held half plough land. Demised tenant of Roger de Heaton
William de Grimsargh1242
– 1297 
1262 tenant of Roger De Heaton.
1265 Granted part of land to Wm. Son of Wm de Etheliston
1265 Granted liberty to grind at his mill to Wm De Etheliston.
1297 William held village of Grimsargh
1244/1266 William ‘attested’ at 12 ‘Inquests & Inquisitions’
Thomas
de Grimshagh  
1282
& 1284    
1282 Leased manor to Richard de Hocton.
Agnes
de Grimshaw
12921292 Was Widow of Thomas, had third part in dower of watermill.
John
son of Thomas 
1282 – 13131292 Brother Gilbert claimed common pasture rights against John.
Gilbert
son of Thomas 
1284 – 12921292 claimed common pasture rights against John de Grimsargh.
William1332 – 13621334 Dispute with Sir Richard Houghton over Manor
1362 Granted all messuages, lands etc to Sir Adam de Houghton. Completion of a sale taken place long before.

Surname variants: Grimsargh, Grimesargh, Grimsarch, Grimesarch, Grimeshargh, Grimisharg, Grimisarsh, Grimshareche, Grimesherg, Grimesherk, Grimisher, Grineshare, Grymesargh.

In 1066 GRIMSARGH, then assessed as two plough-lands, was a member of Earl Tostig’s Preston lordship. Some time after the Conquest the manor was divided; Grimsargh, as half a plough-land, was held in thegnage; Brockholes, also half a plough-land, was given to the baron of Manchester; and Elston, the remaining plough-land, to the baron of Penwortham.

Roger son of Augustin de Heaton of Heaton in Lonsdale had a confirmation of his half plough-land in Grimsargh in 1189 from John Count of Mortain; Roger had obtained the manor from Roger son of Orm (son of Magnus) who held Hutton near Penwortham and Medlar near Kirkham. Roger de Heaton demised it to Gilbert de Grimsargh. His son Roger de Heaton held it in 1262, the tenant then being William de Grimsargh, who paid the 3s. thegnage rent due from Roger to the king. William the son and heir of Roger afterwards confirmed the title of William de Grimsargh, the rent being unchanged. The Earl of Lancaster received 3s. from Grimsargh in 1297.

At the same time William son of Robert de Elston claimed the sixth part of a water-mill in Grimsargh against Richard de Hoghton and Alexander de Hyde. The plaintiff, who recovered, stated that his father had purchased the mill from Thomas de Grimshagh (? Grimsargh), but Agnes widow of Thomas had a third part in dower, which she had granted to plaintiff till he had received the cost of repairing the mill; Again, Roger de Eccleston (? Elston) complained that Thomas de Grimsargh and Richard de Hoghton had obstructed his right of way;

An agreement as to arbitration on various matters in dispute was made in 1334 between William de Grimsargh and Sir Richard de Hoghton, two neighbours and a man of the law being chosen by each to view and decide.

The transfer of the manor does not seem to have been complete until 1362, when William de Grimsargh granted to Sir Adam de Hoghton all his messuages, lands, rents, services, &c., in the vill of Grimsargh;

The Grymeschargh name disappears from the village of Grimsargh after a later William de Grymeshargh granted his manor there to Sir Adam De Houghton between 1332-62

The Black Death reached Lancashire in 1349. In the 10 parishes of Amounderness it was claimed 13,180 people died between September 1349 and January 1350. In the parish of Preston (which included Grimsargh) 3,000 people died, with Preston alone losing at least one third of its entire population. It is quite probable that hamlets such as Grimsargh would have suffered heavy mortality and been left desolate.

SITES OF INTEREST IN GRIMSARGH VILLAGE

[Note: this portion of Mavis’ summary is provided on the next section of this webpage.)

 

GRIMSHAW’S IN WOLVETSCOLES at EDISFORD & ECCLESHILL

 

The town of Clitheroe stands upon a little hill rising from the comparatively level stretch of land which extends west to the Ribble, but is dominated itself by the great mass of Pendle to the east. Between the lower slopes of this mountain and the town flows a brook south-west to join the Ribble. From the north end of the castle inclosure a road descends to the west and south-west and leaving Low Moor to the north reaches the river at Edisford Bridge; further north another road turns off northwest to cross the river at Brungerley Bridge; yet more to the north there is a third bridge over the Ribble at Horrocksford. The story of Clitheroe has little of interest apart from the great lordship of which its early Norman possessors made it the head. It is not mentioned by name in Domesday Book, though the castle appears to be referred to.

 

B. GRIMSHAW’S AT EDISFORD

 



Dates


Walter de Grymesargh
died 1316/17



Warden at Leper Colony at Edisford 



Richard de Grymesargh

Dates

Named as son of Walter de Grymesargh.



William de Grymesargh (around in 1274, 1276, & 1294)



Without date
Without date(anno regni Regis Ed. Secundo) 2nd yr Ed I = 1274 

(anno regni egis Ed filij Henry, Quatro) 4th year Ed. I = 1276

As above

(anno regni Regis Ed xxj) 21st yr Ed. I = 1294

Date unclear, term of 18 years and the year 1271 mentioned in text.


Named as son of Richard de Grymesargh

William de Grymesargh witness at land transaction, Ethelswyk, Amabilia daughter of Adamde Bredekyrk & Robert son of Hugonis de Etheleswyk.

William de Grymesargh witness at a land transaction. Wolvetscoles to Roberto son of Hugonis de eardem, from Adam his brother.

Land known as Wolvetscoles granted to William de Grymesargh from Robert son of Hugonis.

 

As above

William de Grymeschagh granted land etc. at Wolvetscholes to his son Adam.

Release of land by Christiane former wife of Hugonis to William de Grymesargh.



Adam de Grymesargh (around in 1294 died by 1316)



(anno regni Regis Ed xxj)
21st yr Ed I =1294




Named as son of William de Grymesargh. William granted land etc. at Wolvetscholes to his son Adam. (See above.)



Ellen de Grymesargh



without date (anno regni Regis Ed fil regis Ed. Nono) 9th yr of Ed II = 1316



Named as daughter of Adam de Grymesargh. 3 documents, 1 without date, all relating to release of land at Wolvetscoles by Ellen to Adam del Clough



1342



Wolvetscoles granted to John Toppeclif from John del Clough.


EDISFORD

The Charter Book of Whalley clearly identifies 5 generations of the same family of Grymeshargh’s living at Wolvestscoles, Edisford:

Walter ??? Warden of leper colony at Edisford

Richard son of Walter

William son of Richard (1253) 1274-1294. at Wolvetscholes

Adam son of William (1273) 1294 died before 1316. at Wolvetscholes

Ellena daughter of Adam (1295) 1316,. at Wolvetscholes

The family name seems to disappear from Wolvetscholes after Ellena, suggesting that both she and her father Adam had no male heir to continue the name. The location of the property known as ‘Wolvetscholes’ has yet to be identified. The site of the leper colony is believed to be where the current Edisforth Hall now stands, and in whose walls the ancient armorial of a Griffin is located.

C. ECCLESHILL

Widely published pedigrees show:

Walter ???

Henry (1263) 1284, Richard, Adam, William

Adam (1292) 1313 son of Henry

Henry (1296) 1317 son of Adam

Adam (1321) 1342 son of Henry, m. Cecily de Clayton

Henry (1351) (1372-6)

The name of Grimshaw appears in Eccleshill c.1276 but Eccleshill belonged to other families, including the de Eccleshill’s who referred to their land in the ‘vill of Eccleshill’, long before the Grimshaw’s arrived and brought their name with them. ‘Grymeshaw’ is referred to as a tenement in Eccleshill but the ‘vill of Eccleshill’ seems to have disappeared –suggesting the ‘Grymeshaw’ was named after the persons living there not the other way round.

Mavis Long April 2007.

References:

Lancs. Inq. and Extents, 1207-1307 Farrer, pages 151, 158, 60, 170, 186, 189, 191, 203/4, 210/12, 117. 231, 234, 277, 280.

Lancs. Inq. and Extents, 1310 – 1333 Farrer, pages 243, 244,

Lancs. Inq. and Extents, 1313 – 1355 Farrer, page 28.

Coucher Bk of Whalley p.p. 101-4, 129, 460, 1111-8

David Hindle History of Grimsargh, LRO, DDHO/631, 632, 638, 640: Text 48, 20;, Maps.7 & 15; photos 10, 47, 204.

Whittaker p.p. 96/7

‘Townships: Grimsargh and Brockholes’, A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 7 (1912), pp. 108-13.

‘Townships: Clitheroe’, A History of the County of Lancaster: Volumes 4 & 6

Assizer R. 408, m. 58. Kuerden fol. MS. fol. 74, 50 (B 5).

Exch. Lay Subs. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 58. Add. MS 32106, no. 318.

 

Grimshaw-Related Entries in David Hindle’s Book on Grimsargh

A summary of Hindle’s book is provided on a companionwebpage. Shown below is a summary of Grimshaw “Sites of Interest” provided by Mavis:

SITES OF INTEREST IN GRIMSARGH VILLAGE

 

Grimshaw Hall – (not to be confused with Grimshaw House below) is located to the south east of the village centre, set back from the main road, accessed by a private drive and currently known now as Grimshaw Hall Farm. Little is known about the original Hall.

The former Manor house on this site is most likely to have been the home of William de Grimsargh.

William, recorded in Charters between 1242 and 1297, must have been born before 1221 to have achieved ‘the age of consent’ when signing the charters. This makes him the earliest ‘Grimshaw’ recorded.

Another Charter, unfortunately without date, suggests he could have been preceded by Gilbert de Grimsargh.

“The name Grimsargh Hall formerly related to the medieval seat described in Chapter Two. The present building known as Grimsargh Hall dates from 1775 and is situated to the south of Preston Road near Grimsargh Church.”

The existing farmhouse called Grimsargh Hall was built in 1773 at the time of the great stone reconstruction of farms and houses. There are no traces to be seen of any preceding structures, though the Grimsargh Hall of Norman times may have occupied the same site. It was not unprecedented for farms to be rebuilt on the same site or immediately adjacent to the manorial buildings they replaced. Dobson (1875) implies continued site occupancy of Grimsargh Hall with the following quotation:’… the old manorial residence having given place to one more suitable as the residence of a farmer”. (Ref: Text p.p. 48, 203, Map p. 7, & photos pp. 47, 204 Hindle)

Map, Page 7. Note locations of Grimsargh House (west side of Grimsargh) and Grimsargh Hall (southeast of Grimsargh). The outlined area on the map shows the extent of the boundary of the Parish of Grimsargh in 2001.

It is almost certain that Grimshaw House, a fine Georgian mansion located on the west side of the village very close to the centre of the village, and Grimshaw Cottage, located north-west of the village centre, are built on former ‘Grimshaw’ land but it is unknown if they replaced former residences. (Ref: Map p. 15, & photo p.10 Hindle, below).

Mill Dam Cottages – located to the east of the village centre, is the site most likely to be where William De Grymesargh’s mill stood. (Ref: Map p. 15, Hindle, below).

Map, Page 15. Note Mill Dam Cottages east of “Grimshargh” and south of “Grimsargh Reservoir”. 

 

Grimshaw Griffin at Edisford

The Grimshaw connections to the Edisford location southwest of Clitheroe are described in the above summary on this webpage. A companion webpage has also been prepared on the Edisford site and associated Grimshaw connections. Mavis visited Edisford on March 16, 2006 and kindly provided the following pictures of these artifacts from her visit.

Mavis at Edisford Hall. Mavis and a friend confirmed that the icon on the left appears to be a griffin. Both artifacts have been placed further up in the building. which is constructed of beautiful stonework. A visit with a patron at a nearby pub revealed that some of the old beams at Edisford Hall date back to the 12th century.

Closer view of the two artifacts.

Enlarged image from the above photo (also shown at the top of this webpage).

A Griffin at Whalley, Similar to the Edisford Griffin

Mavis sent the following e-mail concerning the griffin at Edisford on December 19, 2006:

 

Hi Tom,

Two things:

Firstly – to wish you all the best for the festive season. Hope you enjoy your Christmas & New Year celebrations.

Secondly – to update you on my current line of research.

I am in touch with a Chris Ward, an expert on Heraldry and member of the Lancashire History & Heraldry Association. I sent Chris photo’s of the armorial stones at Edisford and the text from Whittaker and asked for his views. He has promised to get back to me further but his initial response was interesting. He states:

The Grimshaws were one of the most important families in Lancashire.

The De Lacy family, Lords of Clitheroe Castle and many minor Manors, also used the Griffin on their seals at one time.

 

I look forward to hearing further from Chris and will keep you informed.

Mavis then sent the following letter addressed to her from Chris Ward and dated January 2007:

 

Letter

To: Mavis Long

From: Chris Ward, Lancashire History & Heraldry Association, January
2007.

Re: Griffin Carving at Edisford

Hi Mavis,

There is no doubt that these carvings are what Whitaker saw they are typical of the style associated with Whalley Abbey but that doesn’t help much with a date. I doubt they relate to Walter Grimshaw, but they may .

My reason is that same griffin appears on the abbot lodging at Whalley. Cannon Willis (vicar of Whalley in the 1920’s, author of /The Church in Blackburnshire/) attributes it to De Lacy’s themselves but doesn’t say where he got that from and I don’t know of any other instances where the Lacy’s used it.

I can only suppose that it is on the carving at the abbey which being carved on the same stone as the Lacy knot (which was over the abbey probably used as a badge by them after the demise of Lacy family who died out), unless it is associated with the abbot perhaps (a thought which just occurred to me -but it surely can be Paslew who rebuilt everything he saw including the Edisford).

As you know the griffin is a popular charge in English heraldry. The Bold family whose estate was near St Helen’s also bear a similar griffin among other northern families. The Traffords also use a griffin but red, Culceth is another. More surprisingly the Caterall’s are record using a griffin and they lived at Little Mitton Hall just beyond Whalley once again though the reference is not sourced, and contradicted in other sources.

That doesn’t diminish the association of Walter Grimshaw, which is again without doubt.

The orientation of the beast to the sinister is most unusual, and I don’t believe the theorist who say these sort of oddities are a mistake, it was created in an age when ordinary people were familiar with badges and arms. They know their lord’s mark and that of his local tenants (just as we recognise trademark and logo today), after all they had often to follow them into battle. Sadly the knowledge has not always been passed down to us. Sometime we do find the orientation changed for artistic balance but this tends to be extremely rare.

Additional note from Mavis:

 

Marion, b. C 1547, daughter of Thomas Catteral, of Catterall & Little Mitton, was wife of Sir John Grimshaw of Clayton Hall. The Heralds Visitation of 1613 is signed on behalf of their son Nicholas. The original M.S. shows “Nicho: Grymshaw, Catterall – with both Grimshaw & Catterall surnames on top of each other but both scored through.

 

Use of the Griffin Icon by the DeLacy Family to Represent the Welsh

The DeLacy family was important in the history of Lancashire starting at the time of William the Conqueror. One of the family members, Roger DeLacy, warred with the Welsh and used a griffin as an icon representing the Welsh princes. In this representation, the DeLacys are represented by a snake that is “stinging the neck of the griffin; the latter being, no doubt, intended to typify Wales, in allusion to the name of Griffith (Griffinus) borne by the Welsh princes.”

Mavis Long found the use of the griffin to represent the enemy Welsh by the DeLacys in Whitaker4 (Note section in italics):

 

p. 241-242:

ROGER DE LACY, [Footnote 3] the terror and scourge of the Welsh, for his severe executions upon whom, together with the general ferocity of his temper, he was denominated Hell, [Footnote 4] succeeded to the fees of Pontefract and Clyderhow, in consequence of a fine, levied between himself and Aubrey his grandmother, devisee under the will of Robert de Lacy, in 1195, or little more than a year after the death of the latter; Richard RitzEustace and John his son not having lived to enjoy this great inheritance.

He was now lately returned from the Holy Land, whither he accompanied Richard I. in the third crusade, having assisted at the memorable siege of Acre [Footnote 5], where so many of his countrymen and equals perished.

There is something evidently allusive to the temper and achievements of Roger de Lacy in his great seal, of which some drawings have been preserved. On the obverse side, instead of the equestrian figure usual in that situation, is the spirited figure of a griffon rending the body of some other animal; [Footnote 6] and on the indorsement, an armed man trampling on the body of an enemy, whose head he holds up triumphantly with the right hand, while the left sustains an antique heater shield.

p. 241, Footnotes:

3 & 4. Omitted.

5. It is curious and edifying to contrast the scenes which took place respectively before this obscure and remote place (St. John de Acre) at the close of the 12th and 18th centuries. In the former, the armies of France and England are seen fighting together against the Moslem infidels, under the common banner of the Cross; in the latter, appears a Christian knight leading a Mohammedan army against a host of apostate Frenchmen, crusading in the cause of atheism.

6. [In perfect impressions of this device it will be seen that it is the serpent which is really stinging the neck of the griffin; the latter being, no doubt, intended to typify Wales, in allusion to the name of Griffith (Griffinus) borne by the Welsh princes. As for the reverse, it appears to be one of those antique cameos which were continually adopted into the English seals of the period: but, unfortunately, this is only preserved (so far as has hitherto been found) in the rude tricking by Randle Holmes (Harl. MS. 2064, f. 307.) from which the engraving in the Plate is derived.

In another seal attributed to Roger de Lacy, being a signet of small dimensions there is an antique gem of a human head, which is circumscribed VIRGO EST ELECTVS A DOMINO. But qu. did not this really appertain to the Prior of Pontefract? It is engraved in Vetusta Monumenta, vol. i. pl. liv.

The Constables of Chester, who were engaged in constant warfare with the Welsh, appear to have adopted the device of the serpent stinging the griffin as early as the reign of Henry I, when it first appears in the seal of William FitzNigel, four generations before Roger de Lacy. The engraving here
given is from the Tabley MSS. Lib. C. 133b, where it is attached to the charter printed in Ormerod’s History of Cheshire, i. 507, note. It will also be found (less perfectly drawn) in Sir P. Leycester’s Antiquities of Cheshire, edit. 1673, p. 264. William his son had a similar seal. (Ormerod, i. 508.)

The seal of Roger de Lacy and its reverse here introduced are extracted from Ormerod’s Cheshire, i. 511, and were engraved from an impression in white wax, appendant to a charter in the possession (1816) of Mr. Thomas Sharp of Coventry.

The interlaced device which Ormerod (ibid.) calls “the fret,” occurring on the reverse of the seal of Roger, is certainly meant to echo the surname of Lacy. Heralds have given it the name of the Lacy fret.]

 

Source: http://www.aboutlancs.com/delacys.htm 

References

1Rogers, K.H., 1991, Vikings & Surnames: York, England, William Sessions Limited, p. 15-16.

2McKay, James, 1888, Pendle Hill in History and Literature: Preston, Lancashire, England, Henry Davies & Co., 538 p.

3Hindle, David, 2002, Grimsargh – the Story of a Lancashire Village: Lancaster, Lancashire, Carnegie Publishing Ltd., 291 p.

4Whitaker, Thomas Dunham, 1872, An History of the Original Parish of Whalley and Honor of Clitheroe: 4th edition, revised and enlarged, by John Gough Nichols, F.S.A. and the Rev. Ponsonby A. Lyons, B.A. Vol. 1. London: George Routledge and Sons.

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Webpage posted March 2007. Updated June 2007.