Hugo de Lacy – a major Anglo-Norman aristocrat and military leader, 4th Baron Lacy, 1st Lord Meath (1172-1186). He owned significant estates in Herefordshire and Shropshire (England). In 1171-1172, Hugh de Lacy took part in the Norman invasion of Ireland, where he received the lands of the kingdom of Meade from King Henry II Plantagenet, becoming the first lord of Meath. The Lordship of Meath became the largest fiefdom in Ireland.
The de Lacy noble family comes from Normandy, where they owned the estates of Lassi and Campo. Its first known representative was Hugh de Lacy (circa 1020-1085), lord de Lacy. He had two sons: Libert de Lacy (1045-1093) and Walter de Lacy (died 1085). In 1066, brothers Liebert and Walter took an active part in the military expedition of the Norman Duke William the Conqueror to England. Libert de Lacy took possession of large estates in West Yorkshire, where he built Pontefract Castle, which became his residence. Libert’s descendants held the titles of Barons of Pontefract and Earls of Lincoln.
His younger brother Walter de Lacy (died 1085) took possession of the land in Herefordshire and Shropshire, becoming Lord Wabley and Ludlow. After Walter’s death, his eldest son, Roger de Lacy (died after 1106), inherited his possession, becoming Lord Guardian of the Welsh Mark. In 1088 and 1095, Roger de Lacy took part in two unsuccessful baronial uprisings against the king of England William the Red, who ordered the confiscation of his possessions in England. In 1133, the Lacy family in Normandy was inherited by Gilbert de Lacy (died after 1163), the only son of Roger de Lacy. During the English Civil War between Stephen de Blois and Matilda, Hilbert initially supported Stephen of Blois, but then went over to the side of Empress Matilda. As a result, Gilbert de Lacy secured the return of all his father’s estates in England.
Hugo (Hugh) de Lacy was the youngest son of Gilbert de Lacy (d. after 1163), second Baron de Lacy of Awice Lacy, Wobley and Ludlow (after 1106-1158 / 1159). In 1154, Hugh de Lacy argued with Josselin de Dinan over possessions in Herefordshire. In 1158/1159 Guilbert de Lacy joined the brotherhood of the Order of the Knights Templar and ceded power to his eldest son Robert. In 1162, after the death of his childless older brother, Hugo inherited all of his father’s possessions.
Career in Ireland
In October 1171, he went to Ireland as part of the army of the English king Henry II Plantagenet. In April 1172, after the king’s departure for England, Baron Hugo de Lacy was left in Ireland and appointed lord in the conquered Irish kingdom of Meade. He received 50 knights under his command and was also appointed in charge of Dublin Castle.
Even before the departure of Henry II, Hugo de Lacy, Lord Meath, began a war against the rebellious Irish Riag Tigernan O’Ruirk (1124-1172), King of Breifne, who refused to recognize the supreme power of the King of England. Hugo de Lacy lured Tigernan to peace negotiations on the Tara hill in Mita and treacherously ordered him to be killed. The head of the slain Irish king was displayed above the gates of Dublin Castle, and then sent to Henry II. The Annals of the Four Masters report that Tigernan O’Ruirk was murdered treacherously. The English historian Girald of Cambria reported that the Irish king Tigernan O’Rwirk was killed in a conspiracy organized by the British.
Hugo de Lacy, appointed by Lord Meath and royal governor in Ireland, was actively involved in the expansion of English possessions and the construction of fortified castles. Back in 1172, he built Trim Castle in County Meath. Hugo Tyrrel (d. 1199), first Baron of Castlenock and associate of Hugo de Lasy, was appointed constable. In 1173, rebellious Irishmen besieged and burned Trim Castle.
At the end of 1172, Hugh de Lacy returned to England, where on December 29 in Canterbury, according to the story of Girald of Cambria, he denounced the Archbishop of Canterbury, Richard of Dover.
In the summer of 1173, during the uprising of Prince Henry the Young, the eldest son of Henry II (1173-1174), Hugo de Lacy is in Normandy, where he leads the defense of the fortress of Verneuil, which was besieged by King Louis VII of France. After a month’s siege, he was forced to surrender the fortress to the French army.
After the death of Richard de Clair, Earl of Pembroke, Hugo de Lacy in 1177 was appointed Crown Attorney General for Ireland. In addition to Meath, the English king gave him the ownership of the Offelan, Offaly, Kildare and Wicklow fiefs. Hugo de Lacy returned to Ireland and chose Trim Castle, rebuilt in 1174, as his residence. Construction of numerous castles began and the distribution of Irish lands to the Anglo-Norman feudal lords, who were supposed to keep the local Irish population in check. The Irish began to complain to the king of England about the autocratic rule of his governor Hugo de Lacy, accusing him of trying to subjugate the whole of Ireland. Gradually he lost the favor of the English king due to numerous complaints from the Irish for his injustice. In 1177, Henry II Plantagenet ordered the confiscation of Hugo de Lacy’s Ludlow Castle in Wales.
In 1181, the king of England removed Hugo de Lacy from the post of viceroy and recalled him to England due to the fact that the latter married the daughter of Ruidri Wa Conhobair, King of Connaught and the ousted High King of Ireland, without the permission of Henry II. In 1182 he was returned to his post and returned to Ireland, but accompanied by the royal emissary, Robert Shrewsbury.
In the spring of 1185, the English king Henry II Plantagenet sent his youngest son John Lackland to Ireland, making him the ruler of the island. The young prince arrived in Ireland with a large retinue and army. British troops began to plunder and plunder the local population. The prince’s associates scoffed at the clothes and language of the Irish leaders, pulled their beards. John Landless began to distribute Irish lands for the possession of his entourage, who arrived with him, and imposed heavy extortions on the cities. In response, the Irish leaders raised a new revolt against English rule. Prince John was defeated at Lismore, the British were forced to leave Ossori and Cork. Hugo de Lacy, with great difficulty, was able to protect Meade from the Irish invasions from Ulster. Hugh da Lasi and other barons did not support Prince John and his entourage. John himself complained to his father, the English king Henry II, that Hugo de Lacy would not allow the Irish to pay tribute to him. Henry II was forced to hastily recall his son John to England.
Death, aftermath and legacy
In July 1186, Hugo de Lacy was killed while overseeing the construction of Darrow Castle in County Offaly on the orders of an Irish chief. Prince John Landless was hastily sent by his father to Ireland to take possession of his domain.
Hugo de Lacy was originally buried in Darrow Abbey. In 1195, by order of the archbishops of Cashel and Dublin, his remains were exhumed and reburied at Bektiv Abbey in County Meath, and his skull at St Thomas’ Abbey in Dublin. The long dispute between the two monasteries over the possession of his remains was resolved in 1205, when his body was exhumed again and reburied in the Abbey of St. Thomas, in the tomb of his first wife.
Hugh de Lacy was the patron saint of many churches in Ireland, including the abbey at Trim.
Family and children
Hugo de Lacy has been married twice. Until 1155, he married Rohese of Monmouth (also known as Rose of Monmouth) de Monemoe (c. 1135/1140 – c. 1180), daughter of Baderon Fitzwilliam (c. 1100-1176), 2nd Lord of Monmouth (c. 1125-1176 ), and Roheza de Clair (c. 1110-1149), daughter of Gilbert Fitz-Richard, 2nd Lord de Clair. Hugh and Rohes had nine children, 4 sons and 5 daughters:
- Walter de Lacy (c. 1170-1241), 2nd Lord Mita, 5th Baron Lacy
- Hugh de Lasy (until 1179-1242), 1st Earl of Ulster (1205-1242)
- Gilbert de Lacy
- Robert de Lacy (died young)
- Aegida de Lacy, wife of Richard de Bourgue
- Elaine (Elena) de Lacy, wife of Richard de Belfo
- Alice de Lacy, who married Roger Pipard, then Geoffroy de Marisco, Justiciar of Ireland, son of Jordan de Marisco, Justiciar of Ireland.
- the daughter who married Sir William FitzAlan (1154-1210), son of Sir William FitzAlan, Lord Oswestry, and Isabella de Sey.
Around 1180, he remarried Rosa Ni Conhobair, daughter of King Connaught and High King of Ireland Ruidri Ua Conhobair. They had two children, a son and a daughter:
- William Gorm de Lacy (King Henry II of England declared him illegitimate)
- Yosota de Lasi
- M. T. Flanagan. Lacy, Hugh de (d. 1186). // Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. – Oxford University Press, 2004.