Sir Ranulph Meschines, 3rd Earl of Chester

Male 1070 - 1129  (~ 58 years)

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  • Name Ranulph Meschines 
    Title Sir 
    Suffix 3rd Earl of Chester 
    Born ~26 Jun 1070  Calvados, Normandie, France Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Gender Male 
    Also Known As Ranulf le Briquessart  [1
    Died 0Jan 1129  Chester, Cheshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Person ID I51782  The Hennessee Family
    Last Modified 27 Aug 2018 

    Father Ranulph Meschines, Vicomte de Bayeux,   b. ~1050, Bayeux, France Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 26 Aug 1116  (Age ~ 66 years) 
    Mother Margaret Avranches,   b. ~1054, Avranches, Normandy, France Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married 1069  [1, 2, 3
    Family ID F19328  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Lucia Mercia,   b. Bef 1059, Lincolnshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1141, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 82 years) 
    Married ~1098  [1
     1. Adeliza Meschines, Lord of Thorngate,   b. 1099, Gernon Castle, Normandy, Franc Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Aft 1152, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, Wales Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 54 years)
    Last Modified 31 Mar 2020 
    Family ID F19327  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - ~26 Jun 1070 - Calvados, Normandie, France Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 0Jan 1129 - Chester, Cheshire, England Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Notes 
    • Biography


      Styled le Briquessart, after his castle there, he was first cousin and heir to the previous Earl of Chester, Hugh d'Avranches, upon whose death in 1120, he succeeded as Vicomte d'Avranches in Normandy, as well as a grant in the county palatine of Chester, by which he became Earl of Chester.

      About this time he appears to have surrendered the Lordship of the great district of Cumberland. In 1124 he was Commander of the Royal forces in Normandy.

      Ranulph III "le Briquessart" de Bayeux, Earl of Chester (1121-1129), Vicomte de Bayeux

      1074 Birth
      b: c 1074 at Briquessart, Livry, France.

      Margaret, the sister of Hugh the Fat, Earl of Chester, was the mother of Earl Ranulf I, the third Earl of Chester. [1]

      Ranulf or Randle de Meschines, surnamed de Bricasard, Viscount Bayeux, in Normandy, (son of Ralph de Meschines, by Maud, his wife, co-heir of her brother, Hugh Lupus, the celebrated Earl of Chester), was given by King Henry I the Earldom of Chester, at the decease of his 1st cousin, Richard de Abrincis, 2nd Earl of Chester, of that family, without issue. By some historians, this nobleman is styledEarl of Carlisle, from residing in that city; and they further state that he came over in the train of the Conqueror, assisted in the subjugation of England, and shared, of course, in the spoil of conquest. He was lord of Cumberland and Carlisle, by descent from his father, but having enfeoffed his two brothers, William, of Coupland, and Geffrey, of Gillesland, in a large portion thereof, he exchanged the Earldom of Cumberland for that of Chester, on condition that those whom he had settled there should hold their lands of the king, in capite. [2]

      Ranulfs family (his brother William) also constructed Egremont Castle.

      He had an older brother (Richard) who died in youth.

      An indirect inheritor, Ranulph le Meschin (the Younger), Earl of Chester was also Vicomte de Bayeux. He was also known as Ranulph de Briquessart. He succeeded to the title of Vicomte d'Avranches on 25 November 1120 and was created Earl of Chester in 1121. He was Commander of the Royal forces in Normandy in 1124.

      1089 Charter
      Ranulf's earliest appearance in surviving historical records was 24 April 1089, the date of a charter of Robert Curthose, Duke of Normandy, to Bayeux Cathedral. Ranulf, as "Ranulf son of Ranulf the viscount", was one of the charter's witnesses.

      1093 Chester Abbey
      He appears again c. 1093/4, as a witness to the foundation charter of Chester Abbey, granted by his uncle Hugh of Avranches.

      1098 Marriage to Lucy
      Between 1098 and 1101, probably in 1098, Ranulf became a major English landowner in his own right when he became the third husband of Lucy, heiress of the honour of Bolingbroke in Lincolnshire. This brought him the lordship of Appleby in Cumberland, previously held by Lucy's second husband. He promptly constructed Appleby Castle.

      Originally this would have been an earth ringwork and bailey fortress. The square stone keep of Appleby is one of the best preserved examples of its type and was added in 1170 (by Hugh de Morville). It is known as "Caesar's Tower" - this is similar to the Agricola Tower at Chester Castle neither of which had anything to do with the Romans.

      Marriage to Lucia
      His lordship m. Lucia, widow of Roger de Romara, Earl of Lincoln, and dau. of Algar, the Saxon, Earl of Mercia, and had issue, [2]

      Ranulph, his successor;
      William, styled Earl of Cambridge, but of his issue nothing in known;
      Adeliza, m. to Richard FitzGilbert, ancestor of the old Earls of Clare; and #Agnes, m. to Robert de Grentemaisnil.
      Ranulf ceded Appleby to the crown when he became earl of Chester.

      1106 Wetheral Priory
      In 1106 that Ranulf founded Wetheral Priory, a Benedictine monastic house.

      1120 Earl of Chester
      Ranulf only became earl at the age of 51 (in 1120). Prior to this Ranulf served the English king as a kind of semi-independent governor in Cumberland and Westmorland. A contemporary illustration of this authority is one charter in the records of Wetheral Priory, which recorded Ranulf addressing his own sheriff, "Richer" (probably Richard de Boivill). A source from 1212 attests that the jurors of Cumberland remembered Ranulf as quondam dominus Cumberland ("sometime Lord of Cumberland").

      1121 White Ship Loss
      In 1121, following the loss of the White Ship, the earldom passed through the First Earl Hugh's sister Maud to the drowned Richard of Avranches's first cousin Ranulf. Merely four days before the disaster, Ranulf and cousin Richard had witnessed a charter together at Cerisy. Ranulf was not simply given the earldom, but had to surrender the bulk of the lands of his wife, Lucy and his own lands at Carlisle.

      Chester Fair
      Chester's annual fair was reorganized by Ranulf, who provided new regulations governing its hours of opening. St Giles Hospital was founded in the time of Ranulf, for lepers - it had a burial ground St Giles Cemetery, in which the heads of Welshmen killed in battle with Hugh of Cyfeiliog were reputed to have been buried in 1170.

      RANULF du Bessin "le Meschin", son of RANULF Vicomte du Bessin [Bayeux] & his wife Marguerite [Maud] d'Avranches (-17 or 27 Jan 1129, bur Chester, Abbey of St Werburgh). Orderic Vitalis names him and his mother[46]. "…Rannulfus filius Rannulfi vicecomitis…Rannulfus vicecomes" witnessed the charter dated 24 Apr 1089 under which Robert III Duke of Normandy donated property to Bayeux cathedral. He was awarded the lordship of Carlisle by Henry I King of England[48]. He succeeded his father as Vicomte du Bessin [Bayeux]. “R de Meschin, Richerio vicecomiti Karleoli” donated property to Wetherall priory, Cumberland, for the soul of “…Richard fratris mei…et uxoris meµ Luciµ…”, by undated charter, witnessed by “Osberto vicecomite, Walteof filio Cospatricii comitis, Forno Sigulfi filio, Chetello Ectredi filio…”. “Ranulfus Meschines” donated property to Wetherall priory, Cumberland, by undated charter, witnessed by “uxore mea Lucia, Willielmo fratre meo…”. He was appointed Vicomte d'Avranches in 1120 after the death of his first cousin Richard d'Avranches, and also obtained the grant of the county palatine of Chester thereby becoming Earl of Chester (upon which he surrendered the lordship of Carlisle). He was commander of the royal forces in Normandy in 1124.

      1128 Death
      He died either on 17 or 27 January 1128 at Chester and is buried at St. Werburg's, Chester. His wife Lucy survived him, and in 1130 paid 500 marks to King Henry for license to remain unmarried for 5 years.

      The earl d. in 1128 and was s. by his elder son, Ranulph de Meschines. [2]

      ? Darrel Wolcott, Ancient Wales Studies. The Malpas family in Cheshire
      ? 2.0 2.1 2.2 Sir Bernard Burke, Dormant and Extinct Peerages, Burke's Peerage, Ltd., London, 1883, p. 365, Meschines, Earls of Chester
      See also:

      Weis, Frederick Lewis, Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came to America before 1700 (7th ed., Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1992.), 125-27, 132A-26, 132D-26, Los Angeles Public Library, Gen 974 W426 1992.
      Harleian Society, "Visitiation Cheshire 1580: Chester Earls".
      C.B., LL.D., Ulster King of Arms Sir Bernard Burke, B:xP, pg. 457.
      K. S. B. Keats-Rohan, "Parentage of Countess Lucy".
      Cokayne, George Edward, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct, or Dormant (London: St. Catherine Press, 1910.), 3:166, 14:170, Los Angeles Public Library, 929.721 C682.
      Dugdale, William, Monasticon Anglicanum (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme & Brown, 1817-1831.
      Nichols, John Gough (Editor), "Descent of the Earldom of Lincoln," The Topographer and Genealogist, Vol. 1 (1846) (London: Society of Antiquaries, 1846-1858.), p. 302
      Harleian Society. The Visitation of Cheshire in the Year 1580, The Publicatons of The Harleian Society (London: The Society, 1882) Vol. 18, Page 4: "The Genealogy of the Earles of Chester. [Harl. 1424, fo. 3. Harl. 1505, fo. 2.]"

      end of biography [1]

  • Sources 
    1. [S13099] "Isolda "Isolde" de Grey formerly Bardolf", Pedigree, Registry & Biography,, ab.

    2. [S13100] "Ranulph (Meschines) le Meschin (abt. 1050)", Ancestors, Descendants & Biography,

    3. [S13292] Roger (Mortimer) de Mortimer (1158 - abt. 1214)", Pedigree, Profile & Descendants,