Foundations 2(4)

July 2007:  Full contents list for this issue.  

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  • Sir William Ruffus of Walsall and his Family (Dorothea Rowse)

From a long-term study of families and individuals using the surname Ruffus or Rous, who lived in England during the 12th to 14th centuries, the author has identified a number of discrete regional and county  groupings, of which the family living in the west Midlands was one of the most energetic. Their marriages and careers brought them into contact with similar families and these linkages demonstrate some of the early
stages in the formation of the gentry during the 13th century. This article highlights the careers and family connexions of this Ruffus family group.

  • The Counts of Veglia and Modrus, Known From 1430 as the Frangepán Counts (László Feketekúty)

The late László Feketekúty, Hungarian genealogist, sent the original of this paper (in German) to FMG chairman Lindsay Brook in 1999 with a view to getting it published. At the time this did not prove possible. The manuscript has since been made available to the FMG, and with the permission of Dr Feketekúty’s family we now offer it to our readers. The introductory article, as here translated, sets the historical context, and the accompanying charts provide a summary of the genealogy. The German text with the detailed table of descent from Demjén (1133-1163) is linked here. We recognize that recent research may be able to enhance and extend the study, and would welcome contributions to that effect.

  • Medieval Monarchs, Female Illegitimacy and Modern Genealogical Matters: Part III: Joan Beaufort, Countess of Westmorland (Danna R Messer)

Aristocratic diplomacies in medieval England were frequently dominated by the need to generate and maintain strong marital alliances, the core constituents to preserving a family’s heritage, inheritance, birth-rights and claims to power. In some cases, illegitimate daughters provided an alternative path to creating political affiliations and influential familial connections. Their acceptance amongst their kin and peers was integral to the continuation and promulgation of their own descendents. By the later Middle Ages, their recognised legitimacy was fundamental to securing their own family’s prestige and access to power. Joan Beaufort (c.1370-1440), daughter of John, duke of Lancaster (1340-1399) and Catherine Swynford (c.1350-1403), is an excellent example of a woman of illegitimate birth who not only maintained a powerful position in English society because of her own royal lineage and prosperous marital alliances, but whose subsequent legitimisation safe-guarded the reputation and position of her own progeny. The reason for her legitimisation, by both the papacy and the English monarchy, clearly illustrates the invariable power that claims of royal lineage exacted in medieval England and the influence it wielded for ensuing generations. The article concludes with a summation of the status and importance of illegitimate daughters in the royal families based on the evidence presented in this series of commentaries.

  • The de Lancasters of Westmorland: Lesser-Known Branches, and the Origin of the de Lancasters of Howgill (Andrew Lancaster)

By his own admission Ragg’s 1910 paper De Lancaster could not complete a full study of all the de Lancasters in medieval Westmorland. The article proposes that several lines which he left incompletely explained might be connected in unexpected ways. One suggestion concerns Jordan de Lancaster, born in the 12th century. In addition, the doubts Ragg raised about the de Lancasters of Howgill lead the author to question explanations of their origins that are widely accepted.

  • Scandinavian Medieval Descendants of Charlemagne: A Detailed Genealogy of the Issue of Agnes Haakonsdottir, of the So-Called Fairhair Dynasty (M Sjöström)Haakon V seal n

Early genealogical connections that link Scandinavian families to Charlemagne are discussed, as are the societal circumstances affecting genealogy, and the practically simultaneous spread of feudal and chivalric forms. Difficulties in Scandinavian medieval genealogies are outlined. Several examples are given of weaknesses which have, for example, influenced Europäische Stammtafeln. A detailed descendants’ table from Agnes, lady of Borgarsyssel, down to the 16th century is given, listing approximately 220 Charlemagne descendants identified from secondary literature. Agnes was the natural daughter of king Haakon V of Norway (reigned 1299-1319). Her progeny is represented in the nobility of all the Scandinavian countries, but predominantly in Sweden

  • Merleswain and the Comyn Earls of Buchan: Their Antecedents in Atholl and Fife (MichaelAnne Guido)

The rise of the powerful Comyns from a Yorkshire Norman family to the largest landowners in Scotland as well as one of the guardians of the realm was based as much on advantageous marriage alliances as on their own efforts in obtaining high government positions from the Kings of Scotland. This article will show that through connections with Merleswain, an eleventh century immigrant to Scotland, the Comyns became aligned with the houses of Atholl and Fife, being both the king’s kinsmen and the most prominent earls of Scotland.

  • Some Internet Resources for Medieval Genealogy: 10 (Chris Phillips)

 Chris Phillips reports on the Anglo-American Legal Tradition (AALT) website.

  • Medieval Lands - Loose Ends (Charles Cawley)



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