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The family originated from Argentan in the département of Orne, in Normandy, according to Keats-Rohan. (It had previously been suggested, in the Complete Peerage (vol.1), that they came instead from Argenton in Poitou.)
The surname occurs in documents in a bewildering variety of spellings. In the Domesday Book, it appears in the Latin forms 'de Argentomago' (Farrer) and 'de Argentomo' (VCH Bedfordshire), and in early documents the spelling is frequently 'Argentom' or 'Argentem'. Eventually - in fact, probably after the family itself had become extinct - it evolved into 'Argentine', which Hunter describes as a form 'more euphonious and more pleasing in every respect'. In these pages, except when quoting specific documents, the compromise form 'Argentein' will be adopted.
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In Tudor times, no pedigree was complete without a Norman ancestor who had fought at Hastings, and frequently one would be provided even if the family had risen only recently from the yeoman class. When an elaborate pedigree was drawn up, in the reign of Elizabeth, for the Alington family of Horseheath, a descent was concocted, extending over three centuries, to connect the family with a fictitious Sir Hildebrand de Alington, later described as 'under Marshall to William the Conqueror' (Banks), and his son Alan, who was 'thought to be the chief doer for the building of Westminster Hall' under William Rufus (Burke).
More plausibly, another descent was given for the Argenteins, whose heirs the Alingtons were, to one 'Dauid de Argentonio', who was later called 'a Norman, and a martiall knight, who under King William the Conquerour, served in the warres' (Weever, apparently quoting Camden). The same David is shown, together with the arms later borne by the Argentein family, in a forged document known as the 'Tabula Eliensis', which purports to be a list of knights quartered on the monks of Ely by William the Conqueror (Topographer).
Although the surname appears in several versions of the late compilation known as the 'Battle Abbey Roll', it is impossible to know whether David de Argentein was among the Norman knights at Hastings in 1066: there is good evidence for only a handful of their names, and most of those come from the nobility (Camp). But he certainly existed, for he appears 20 years later in the Domesday Book, as a tenant in chief in Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire. His holdings were small: in Cambridgeshire, one manor, in Croxton (of which he had been temporarily deprived by Eustace de Lovetot, sheriff of Huntingdon), 1 virgate, 20 acres in Caldecote and 1 hide in Westwick, and in Bedfordshire, 1 hide in Riseley. There does not appear to be any later record of the Argentein family holding land in any of these places, although they were active elsewhere in both these counties.
At this time the name David - like many other Biblical names - was evidently very uncommon both in Normandy and England. Only one other land-holder with this name is mentioned in the entire Domesday Book: David 'Latimer', or the Interpreter. Keats-Rohan suggests that this David, who was a tenant of William de Braose in Dorset, was probably identical with the David 'de Argentomo' of Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire. William came from Briouze-Saint-Gervais, in the arrondissement of Argentan, and feudal relationships in Normandy were often replicated in England after the Norman Conquest.
In any case, David de Argentein's holdings in England were modest, and given the paucity of records in this period, it is not surprising that we know nothing more of him.
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Moving forward to the turn of the 11th century, we find a Reginald de Argentein, who held land in the north of Hertfordshire, near the Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire borders (and whose descendants later had possessions in all these counties). This Reginald seems certain to have been related in some way to the David de Argentein of Domesday Book, but there is no evidence for the exact relationship. Keats-Rohan suggests that they were probably father and son, which is plausible chronologically.
Whatever his relationship to David, Reginald's connections with the later Argenteins are clear. In later records he is named as the father of his successor John, and as the grandfather ('avus') of John's successor Reginald. (It is therefore probable, though not certain, that John was the father of the younger Reginald.)
From later evidence we know that Reginald was granted the manor of Great Wymondley, in Hertfordshire, by King William [I or II] after the estate had escheated to the Crown. The land was held 'by serjeanty', namely, by acting as cupbearer at the king's coronation (Round, pp.265-6). The Argenteins and their descendants continued to perform this service for more than 600 years, and as a result they bore arms showing three silver covered cups on a red field.
Together with the manor of Great Wymondley, Reginald was granted the advowson of the church there, and was said to have presented two priests to the church, the second a man named Osbert. (In the time of Reginald's grandson, the advowson was the subject of a legal dispute with the Abbess of Elstow, and it is from the evidence given then that we know the details of the grant.)
We are fortunate enough to have the text of a notification of Henry I, dating from the early years of his reign (perhaps from 1102), confirming an agreement between Reginald and the Abbot of Ramsey. This provided for Reginald to hold the mills at Ickleford (about 5 miles north-west of Great Wymondley), in return for a payment of 10 shillings a year, after which the mills were to revert to the abbey. The agreement also provided for Reginald to be buried at Ramsey Abbey if he died in England. This provision may suggest that the family still held land in Normandy at this time.
Reginald was dead by 1130, when an entry on the Pipe Roll shows his widow Matilda accounting for £8:10s:8d, for her dower and marriage in Suffolk. Farrer (vol.1, p.238) suggests on this evidence that Matilda had brought as her marriage-portion the manor of Halesworth in Suffolk. If this is true, Matilda must have been the grandmother of the younger Reginald, as Halesworth remained in the family for centuries afterwards and became one of the family's favourite seats.
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In the reign of King Stephen (1135-1154), a charter was granted to John, son of Reginald de Argentein, confirming to him and his heirs the land and 'ministerium' (the service of cup-bearing) which had been held by his father. Presumably on the basis of this charter, VCH Hertfordshire (vol.3, p.182) calls John an 'adherent' of Stephen, and suggests that a castle of the 'motte and bailey' type, whose remains lie to the east of the churchyard in Great Wymondley, may have been erected by John as a manorial stronghold during the anarchy of Stephen's reign.
Evidently the mills of Ickleford, which his father Reginald had held for life, were still the subject of contention between the Argenteins and Ramsey Abbey. But the dispute was settled in favour of the abbey by Stephen's successor Henry II, who issued a charter, dated to 1155-1162, commanding that the mills, which had been claimed by John, should be held by the abbey, as stipulated by Henry I's charter. At about the same time, John accounted in Hertfordshire for a crown debt (Pipe Roll, 1158-59).
In the feudal returns of 1166, John appears as the holder of one knight's fee of the barony of Robert Foliot, and two knights' fees of the fee of Skipton. The first of these represents the manor of Melbourn, in Cambridgeshire (VCH Cambridgeshire); the second, according to Farrer (vol.1, p.238), refers to Harlow in Essex, although there does not seem to be any later record of the family holding land there.
John's name occurs also as a witness to two charters for religious houses in the area: one for St Edmund's Abbey (Douglas) and the other for Dunstable Priory (Fowler). The latter charter is dated tentatively to between 1170 and 1177; if so, it must belong to the closing years of John's life.
John was succeeded, in the late 12th century, by Reginald de Argentein. We know that John was the son, and Reginald the grandson, of the first Reginald de Argentein, so it is quite likely that the younger Reginald was John's son (although he could equally well have been his nephew).
A possible clue to the identity of Reginald's mother is provided by his inheritance of lands formerly held by a certain Guy. Unfortunately, the evidence is somewhat contradictory and confusing (see discussion). It seems clear that the property had been held by Reginald's father (possibly in right of his wife), having come from Guy, who in turn had inherited it from his mother 'Tieca' (although one document has instead 'Thecius', which seems to be a man's name!). On the evidence it is impossible to be sure of the relationship - it seems likely that Tieca was Reginald's grandmother, although it is unclear whether one the paternal or maternal side.
Reginald had at least two brothers:
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Reginald's father and grandfather were essentially local landowners with only a handful of manors in the eastern counties, and they seem to have played no role beyond their locality. But with Reginald the family began to achieve a wider prominence, which was to be reinforced by his son and grandson.
Reginald was active in local affairs, and acted as sheriff in the eastern counties through most of the 1190s. He served in Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire in 1193, 1194 and 1195, and in Essex and Hertfordshire in 1197 (for half a year) (Pipe Rolls).
More significantly, he was appointed a justice, and sat both at Westminster and in the provinces. Numerous records survive of fines made before him: the earliest I have found was at Norwich in September, 1191. The records continue until 1202 (apparently the year before his death), when sufficient information survives to trace his movements in detail. On 16 June he was sitting at Westminster, and later in the same month at Cambridge. In July he was at Norwich, King's Lynn and Ipswich, where he remained until early August. In September he was at Hertford and Chemsford, and in October and November he was again at Westminster (Pipe Roll Society).
Reginald continued to hold the property he had inherited, though not without difficulties. The manor of Great Wymondley, although it had been held by the family since his grandfather's time, was claimed by one Alan de Vitrie, who had apparently succeeded in dispossessing him. Unfortunately we do not know the basis of Alan's claim, but by 1190 the court at Westminster decided in Reginald's favour (perhaps unsurprisingly, given his official connections), and in 1195 Richard I issued a charter, confirming the manor to him and his heirs.
Another legal dispute concerned the advowson of Great Wymondley church, which, according to Reginald, had been granted to his grandfather together with the manor. However, the advowson was also claimed by the Abbess of Elstow, according to whom it had been given to the abbey, as an appurtenance of Hitchin church, by its foundress, the Countess Judith, in the time of William I. The dispute dragged on for about 10 years, and was finally settled after Reginald's death, when his son Richard gave up the claim to the advowson. In return, the nuns were to remember him in their prayers.
Reginald also had problems concerning his inheritance from the estate of Guy the son of Tieca. In 1190 the Pipe Roll tells us that Reginald was to pay £100 for justice concerning these lands and those claimed by Alan de Vitrie (i.e. Great Wymondley). In the following year, however, Nicholas, the son of Robert, the son of Harding, appears owing 200 marks, to have peaceful possession of the lands of Guy the son of Tieca, which Reginald claimed. The entries concerning Nicholas - which seem somewhat confused - appear in the Pipe Rolls under Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire and Gloucestershire, and continue until 1196 and 1195 respectively. In 1195, Richard I issued a charter for Reginald (dated the day after the one referred to above), in which his original payment of £100 was replaced by a fine of 200 marks, in return for which he was confirmed as the holder of Great Wymondley, and promised justice concerning the lands of Guy.
The difficulty concerning these lands seems to have arisen because Guy had somehow been involved in the castration of a certain Alan of Wales, which is mentioned both in a charter of Henry II for Guy, and in Richard's second charter for Reginald. It seems that the lands may have initially been confiscated as a result (and perhaps granted to Nicholas' family), but that the offence was finally forgiven. Be that as it may, the trouble was not over yet. In 1202 Reginald again had to go to court, to secure another part of his inheritance from Guy. This time he sought the advowson of the church of 'Chederton', in Bedfordshire, against the prior of St Neots. The result of the action is not known.
In addition to the property which he inherited, he had various interests in a number of counties.
Reginald must have died either at the end of 1202 or in early 1203. At his death he left a widow Isabel, who renounced her dower rights in favour of Reginald's son Richard, in return for a house to live in at Wymondley. We do not know whether Isabel was the mother of Reginald's children - indeed, there seems to be no evidence at all about the identity of their mother.
As well as Richard, his son and heir, Reginald had at least three more sons:
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Reginald's successor was his son and heir Richard. His public career was distinguished and extremely long; so long, in fact, that we might suspect there were two Richards in succession. But on closer examination this is clearly not the case.
Richard began by marrying a Bedfordshire heiress, Emma, apparently the daughter of Robert de Broy of Bletsoe. We know that they were married by 1200, when the couple were involved in a dispute over a mill at Sharnbrook which Robert had given Emma as a marriage gift. By 1203, Emma seems to have died, leaving Richard with an infant daughter Margaret, who became the object of a dispute between her father and grandfather. Robert kept possession of Margaret, arguing that she was his only heir, that she had been born in his chamber, and that he had raised her. The following year, Robert failed to produce the child as he had been ordered to, claiming that she was too weak. However, the dispute was eventually settled by agreement, Robert promising to restore the child to her father, and Richard agreeing not to marry her without consulting Robert (Curia Regis Rolls). When she did marry, Margaret carried her grandfather's estate at Bletsoe into the Patteshull family, by her marriage to Walter de Patteshull.
Richard's second wife, Cassandra, the daughter of Robert de Insula (or de Lisle), does not appear to have been an heiress. However, at their marriage her father made a generous settlement, consisting of the land in Newmarket and Exning, to be held from the de Insula family. The marriage seems to have taken place in 1203 or 1204 - in the former year land at Exning appears under the name of Robert de Insula, and in the latter, under that of Richard 'de Argentoem'. Cassandra was clearly the mother of Richard's heir Giles, who at his death in 1282, held Ixninge and Newmarket in free socage of Robert de Insula.
Richard apparently married a third time, before 1228, to Joan, the widow of Roger de Lenham, and Richard was made guardian of Roger's son and heir, John. The couple were involved in several legal disputes concerning Joan's dower estates in Norfolk, Suffolk and Buckinghamshire between 1228 and 1231. By 1241, Richard's son Giles was jointly guardian of Nicholas de Lenham, Roger's heir (John having presumably died). Some of Joan's dower property was in Redenhall, in Norfolk, and curiously, Giles in 1280 held land in Redenhall and Thirning. It looks as if either Richard or Giles may have profited by their guardianship of the Lenham estates, to gain possession of part of the property (Curia Regis Rolls).
Richard was notable among the Argenteins as a founder of a priory and a hospital, and the builder of a chapel at Melbourn, and as a Crusader who seems to have twice fought against the Muslims.
Richard joined the Crusade of 1218, which in November 1219 succeeded in capturing the port of Damietta, in Egypt. A letter written by Richard to his kinsman, the abbot of Bury St Edmunds the following year gives us a striking glimpse of medieval religious attitudes. It seems that after its capture, the Crusaders were quick to convert the town's mosques into churches. Richard founded a handsomely adorned church, dedicated to St Edmund, whom he calls his patron saint ('advocatus meus'), and established there three chaplains, with clerks. He had a painted statue of the saint erected there, which attracted the hostile attention of a Flemish servant who visited the church. But as he left the church after hurling abuse at the martyred saint, a beam of wood miraculously fell on his head and hurt him badly, as Richard triumphantly relates to the abbot.
By 1224 Richard was back in England, being made in January sheriff of Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire, and also of Hertfordshire and Essex (Calendar of Patent Rolls). At the same time he was made constable of Hertford Castle, an office he held until August 1228 (Calendar of Patent Rolls). He was in military action again at the siege of Bedford Castle in the Summer of 1224, in support of Henry III against the rebellious Falkes de Breaute (Ralph of Coggeshall). The siege lasted for eight weeks, and those outside the castle suffered heavy casualties. Richard himself was severely wounded 'in the stomach below the navel', despite being in armour.
After this, Richard seems (deservedly!) to have continued in royal favour. In February 1225 he was among the witnesses of Henry III's Great Charter (Burton Annals). He witnessed another royal charter at Windsor in June 1226. Then, between January and November 1227, he witnessed a string of charters as one of the two royal stewards.
In April 1230 there is a note that the king has taken Richard's lands under his protection because he has gone overseas in the king's service, accompanied by Giles de Wachesham, whose family were tenants of the Argenteins in Huntingdonshire. In September of the same year, (Richard's son) Giles de Argentein was also overseas in the king's service (Close Roll). The Argenteins' journeys were presumably connected with the military expedition which Henry undertook that Summer, in an attempt to regain Normandy from France.
In 1331, two of Richard's sons (one of them his heir, Giles) were captured by the Welsh in an expedition against Prince Llewellyn, but Richard himself is not mentioned in the accounts of the action.
There is little indication of any further official duties in the next few years. Indeed, Richard suffered in the factional struggles in Henry's court in the early 1230s. It seems that he was one of a number of courtiers who lost favour after the fall of Hubert de Burgh, Earl of Kent, who was supplanted in July 1232 by his rival, Peter des Roches, Bishop of Winchester (Carpenter, Maddicott). In December 1232, Peter des Rivaux, the bishop's nephew, was ordered to hand over the Hertfordshire manors of Lilley and Willian to Pain de Chaworth - the king had previously given these manors, near Great Wymondley, to Richard de Argentein after they had been forfeited by Pain (Close Roll).
Although he never recovered Lilley and Willian, it was not long before Richard had his revenge. Peter des Roches in his turn fell from favour in May 1234. In the following month king demanded the return of a number of castles held by his nephew, Peter des Rivaux, and Richard de Argentein was chosen as the messenger to convey the king's letters to him. Peter refused to reply, and judgment was passed against him by 25 magnates, including Richard de Argentein. The constable of Pevensey Castle, one of those held by Peter, was ordered to deliver it to the Earl of Hereford and to Richard de Argentein, and on the 5 July they were thanked and permitted to return home (Curia Regis Roll).
Later in July Richard was present when Peter des Rivaux was summoned to Westminster to explain his conduct. Over the next few months, Richard, restored to royal favour, seems to have travelled with the king, attesting a number of royal charters. His final appearance is at a Council which took place in October (Curia Regis Roll).
Little more is heard of Richard in the next ten years. The dispute with Pain de Chaworth over Lilley and Willian continues to be mentioned between 1234 and 1236 (Giles being made Richard's attorney in April 1235) (Curia Regis Rolls), and in May 1235 certain Jews to whom Richard owed money were ordered to appear at Westminster and give evidence about the debts (Close Roll). Beyond this, we have only the formal records of Richard's land holdings in the feudal returns of 1235-6 and 1242-3 (Book of Fees).
Some of Richard's estates seem to have been settled on his son Giles at about this time. Giles appears to have held the estate at Melbourn in both returns (VCH Cambridgeshire). He also appears, as the king's attorney, in a renewed attempt to recover the manors of Lilley and Willian in 1241 (Curia Regis Rolls). In the same year, Giles is mentioned, together with the master of the Hospital of St Thomas of Acon of London, as having custody of (his step-brother) Nicholas, son and heir of Roger de Lenham.
It seems that Richard had again gone on Crusade, probably with one of the English parties which departed in the Summer of 1240. According to the Dunstable Chronicle, when the Turks entered Jerusalem (in July 1244), only Richard de Argentein with 20 knights in the Tower of David (the citadel) held out. Eventually (in late August) the defenders were allowed to leave the city under a flag of truce.
Richard must have returned to England after the fall of Jerusalem, as in 1246 Matthew Paris records his death among those of 'certain nobles in England', describing him as a 'an energetic knight who in the Holy Land had fought faithfully for God for a long time'.
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Giles de Argentein, Richard's son and successor, is first mentioned in September 1230, as being overseas on the king's service, presumably in France, where Henry had launched a military expedition to regain Normandy (Close Roll). The following year, Giles was fighting against Prince Llewellyn in Wales, where he and another unnamed son of Richard were captured by the Welsh (Dunstable Annals). In June 1242, he was again summoned for military service against the French, in Henry III's unsuccessful expedition to regain Poitou (Close Roll). As noted above, part of his father's estates seem to have been settled on him in the 1230s and 1240s, the latter presumably during Richard's absence on Crusade.
He was married, by the late 1230s, to Margery, the daughter, and one of four coheirs, of Robert Aguillon. There is little doubt that she was the mother of Giles's son and heir Reginald, but her inheritance seems not to have been retained by the family. Perhaps for this reason, contradictory statements have been made about her marriage and heir (see discussion).
Giles de Argentein came to political prominence late in life, as a result of the baronial reform movement led by Simon de Montfort. When Giles's fortunes over the next few years are examined, the close parallel with those of de Montfort, as related by Maddicott (chapters 5-7), is striking.
We first hear of Giles holding high office when, in May 1258, Henry III agreed to the establishment of a council of 24 to reform the realm. Giles was one of the 12 members of the committee nominated by the barons, and was also a member of another committee of 24 appointed to negotiate an aid for the king (Burton Annals).
Soon afterwards, Giles de Argentein was appointed - as his father Richard had been - a royal steward. In this capacity his name appears in many documents between September 1258 and February 1260 (Close Rolls). The end of this period coincides with an open break with the reform movement, made by the king when he forbade the holding of a Parliament at Candlemas. Later in 1260, de Montfort enjoyed a temporary restoration to influence, and again we find Giles holding office. In November, he was appointed a member of two commissions to look into local difficulties at Dunwich and Cambridge (Patent Roll), and in December he was appointed a justice itinerant - as his grandfather Reginald had been - for the Midland counties (Close Roll).
In the following year, Henry III again asserted his authority against the barons, and we hear no more of Giles's official career until the Summer of 1263, when de Montfort gained control of south-eastern England. In August, Giles was made constable of Windsor (Patent Roll), from which foreign mercenaries under the king's son, Prince Edward, had just been expelled. The barons' success was short-lived: on 16 October, Prince Edward seized Windsor Castle, and de Montfort's administration crumbled. (The following month, the Patent Roll euphemistically refers to Giles de Argentein's 'withdrawal' from the constableship.)
Open war broke out the following Spring between the royalists and the barons. Giles de Argentein was among those to whom Henry III on 11 May addressed a final appeal to return to fealty (Close Roll). The appeal failed, and on 14 May at Lewes, Simon de Montfort comprehensively defeated the royalists, and effectively captured the king and his son, Prince Edward. We do not know if Giles was personally present at the battle, but he immediately benefited from the outcome. In June he was made Guardian of the Peace for Cambridgeshire (Rymer, vol.1, p.793) and, more importantly, he was appointed one of the Council of Nine by which the country was to be governed (Burton).
In the following months he remained with the captive king, as copious documentary evidence shows. We can trace the progress of de Montfort's party into the Welsh Marches, as their fortunes worsened, and to Hereford, where Prince Edward escaped from their custody on 28 May (Close Rolls). Finally Simon de Montfort and his supporters were trapped by the royalists at Evesham, and annihilated there on 4 August 1265. Giles de Argentein is known to have fought at Evesham (Inquisitions Miscellaneous), and one contemporary source even includes him in the list of the leading Montfortians who were killed there (London Annals). Although he was not killed, the king's victory was - temporarily - disastrous for him and his family.
As a defeated rebel, Giles de Argentein immediately suffered the seizure of all his lands. In the Calendar of Inquisitions Miscellaneous are details of eleven of the estates which were confiscated - at Weston, Wymondley, Lilley and Willian in Hertfordshire, Flitcham and Wilton in Norfolk, Halesworth, Newmarket and Burton in Suffolk, Bumpstead in Essex and Pidley in Huntingdonshire. In addition, the manor of Melbourn had been seized by the royalist Warin de Bassingburn (VCH Cambridgeshire).
Few of the confiscated estates were lost permanently, except in cases where Giles had abused his influence during the period when the barons controlled the country. When Robert de Stuteville had been captured and imprisoned by Henry de Montfort, he had been forced to sell Giles the manor of Withersfield in Suffolk. This manor was now restored to its former owner (Patent Roll). Giles also seems to have taken the opportunity to seize the manors of Lilley and Willian in Hertfordshire, of which his father had been deprived in 1232, and which the family had tried unsuccessfully to recover through the courts (Carpenter).
Giles received the king's pardon in February 1266 (Patent Roll), and subsequently recovered his principal estates at Wymondley, Halesworth, Melbourn and Newmarket (Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem). Unsurprisingly - for he would now have been an elderly man - we hear little more of Giles, although he survived for another 16 years, dying shortly before 24 November 1282, when the sheriff of Hertford was notified of his death (Fine Roll).
In addition to his son and heir Reginald, Giles had three younger sons:
I assume that all these were the children of Ralph by Margery, as Margery seems to have been still living in 1267 (see discussion), while the three younger sons attested their father's charter in the mid-1270s; the earliest references linking the Argenteins and Ralph Pyrot are in the mid-1260s.
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Giles's son and heir Reginald was said to be aged 40 at his father's death (Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem). This is presumably a round figure, and probably means that he was born in the decade before 1242 (or thereabouts).
Reginald distinguished himself by marrying the daughter of an earl - Lora, daughter of Hugh de Vere, the 4th Earl of Oxford. She brought to the marriage the manor of Ketteringham, in Norfolk, which, as was then usual, the Argenteins were to hold as tenants of the de Veres. Ketteringham is known to have come into Reginald's hands between 1262 and 1265, so it is likely that the marriage took place in the period of Simon de Montfort's ascendancy, in 1264 or1265, when Reginald's father Giles was among the baronial leaders. Lora's brother Robert, the then earl, was also a keen supporter of de Montfort (Complete Peerage, vol.10, p.216).
Like his father, Reginald suffered the consequences of Simon de Montfort's defeat at Evesham in 1265, after which his estates were confiscated (Calendar of Inquisitions Miscellaneous) and he was imprisoned. In February 1266, his wife Lora was granted the manor of Ketteringham for the maintenance of herself and her children during his captivity (Patent Roll).
There is little evidence of Reginald's activities in the next few years. He and Lora acquired land at Little Melton (close to Ketteringham), in Norfolk, in 1272 (Feet of Fines). He occurs in connection with Fordham manor around 1274 (Hundred Rolls). At about the same time he is noted among the coheirs of his grandfather Robert de Aguillon (his mother presumably being dead by this time), in entries in the Hundred Rolls concerning various manors in Norfolk.
His father Giles settled certain of the family estates on him in his lifetime: in Melbourn (before 1280) (VCH Cambridgeshire) and in Berton, Suffolk (in 1280-1) (Calendar of Inquisition Post Mortem). But Reginald had not much longer to wait before he succeeded to the main family estates, on Giles's death in 1282. At about the same time, he seems to have disposed of the lands he had inherited from his mother in Norfolk, conveying them to Andrew de Sackville by a fine (Rye). (As discussed elsewhere, this Andrew Sackville has frequently been identified as a son of Reginald's mother Margery, presumably because he succeeded in her estates.)
Earlier, in May 1282, Reginald had been summoned to a muster at Worcester, for military service against the Welsh (Parliamentary Writs). He was similarly summoned to a muster at Montgomery, in May the following year (Parliamentary Writs). Later in the year, Reginald was summoned to the Parliament at Shrewsbury, in September (Parliamentary Writs). (Although his father Giles seems, sporadically, to have occupied a much more influential position among Simon de Montfort's barons, it is this, and a similar summons in 1297 (Parliamentary Writs) which have entitled the family to an account - usually rather brief - in the Peerages. None of the family was ever summoned to Parliament again.)
Reginald's official career continued for the next few years in a fairly low key. He was again summoned, for service against the Welsh, to a military council at Gloucester, in July 1287 (Parliamentary Writs). In August 1295 he was appointed a constable near Dunwich, in Suffolk, for the defence of the coast (Close Roll). The following year he was enrolled, as a knight holding lands in Essex, for the defence of the coast, but was found not to be resident in the county (Parliamentary Writs).
In March 1297, he was appointed a commissioner for the counties of Cambridge and Huntingdon, to enquire into those fostering discord between the king and his subjects (Patent Roll). In the same year, he was summoned to a Parliament at Salisbury in February, to a military council at Rochester in September, and to a muster at Newcastle-upon-Tyne in December, for military service against the Scots. The following year he was summoned again for service against the Scots, to a muster on the king's return to England in January, and to another at York in May. He received his final summons for military service in June 1301 (when he must have been approaching 70), to a muster at Berwick-upon-Tweed (Parliamentary Writs).
Reginald died shortly before 3 March 1308 (Complete Peerage, vol.1), and was buried at Baldock, where he had founded a chapel, and where his gravestone, with a rhyming French inscription, still remains.
Reginald left, in addition to his son and heir John:
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