Greed, Lies & the Walerond Inheritance
Intrigue in De La Bere Family
the mid fourteenth century the Royal Commissioners heard an on-going court
case which proves that at least one branch of the De la Bere family
managed to get a foothold into Herefordshire at an early period. The case
concerns the estate of Robert Walerond, Lord of Kilpeck Castle, and those
who claimed to be his heirs.
Walerond died in 1272, seized of vast estates all over the country centred
on Kilpeck in Herefordshire. His lands were inherited successively by his
nephews, Robert and then John, but by the end of the thirteenth century
the two boys were dead, and the path of the inheritance was unclear.
Senior was the son of Sir William Walerond and Isabel daughter of Roger De
Berkeley. Though the father of his two nephews, William, was his only full
sibling, he did have at least three half-sisters through his mother.
Sybil, the eldest, (wife of both Hugh De Plugenet and Andrew De la Bere)
was daughter of Isabel's first husband, Josce De Dinan. Alice (wife of
both Alan De Plugenet (grandson of Hugh) and John De Eddeworth) and Cecily
(wife of John De Everingham) were daughters of Isabel's third husband,
Thomas De Rocheford.
the death of the young John Walerond, his guardian, Alan, Baron De
Plugenet, son of the above mentioned Alan and Alice (De Rocheford) De
Plugenet, not only claimed his rightful inheritance passed down from his
grandmother, but also the Walerond inheritance of her second husband! This
should not have been possible, but Baron De Plugenet deceived the
inheritance courts into believing that his mother was in fact a daughter
of Lady Isabel and Sir William Walerond, and not of Thomas De Rocheford!
Though his son, Alan, 2nd Baron De Plugenet, was sued (unsuccessfully) for
his fraudulent claims by Richard De la Bere (great grandson of Andrew and
Sybil (De Dinan) De la Bere), the 1st Baron De Plugenet lived a long and
prosperous life at Kilpeck Castle.
Walerond estates were not to remain forever in De Plugenet hands, however.
The 2nd Baron De Plugenet was the last of the male line, dying in 1325;
and his sister, Joan, Baroness Plugenet, wife of Henry De Bohun, a
relation of the Earl of Hereford, died
childless two years later. So Richard De la Bere evidently decided it was
his turn to try a little fraud. After all, it had worked so well for his
the death of the Baroness Plugenet in 1327, her lands reverted to the
King; but it wasn't long before Richard came forward to claim his supposed
rights. He asserted, in court, that he was not descended from Andrew De la
Bere and his wife Sybil De Dinan. Instead he claimed that Andrew's wife
had been Alice De Walerond (alias De Rocheford), and that Alan, 1st Baron
De Plugenet, was a bastard son of Andrew, born while Alice was still
married to Alan De Plugenet Senior! And he got away with it! In 1331,
Edward III turned the Walerond lands over to Richard De la Bere. He took
up residence at Kilpeck Castle and lived happily ever after.
however, was not so jolly for Richard’s son and eventual heir, Thomas.
Twenty-six years later, in 1353, Sybil, the widow of Alan, 2nd Baron De
Plugenet finally died. She had been holding half of her husband’s
estates in dower, so this ought to have been a happy occasion for the man
who was now to inherit all of the Walerond lands. However, something went
wrong. The crown set up an enquiry into the rights of the De la Bere
family over Kilpeck, Hazelbury Plucknet and the other etsates. Thomas,
like his father insisted that he was the great grandson of a brother “of
the whole blood” of Alan, 1st Baron De Plugenet, and thus entitled to
the inheritance of his ancestor, Sir William Walerond. Although the exact
ruling of the commissioners is unknown, they certainly did not look
favourably on Thomas’s claims, for he never regained his lands, and
Kilpeck Castle was granted to the Baroness' step-son.
|© David Nash Ford 2001. All Rights Reserved.|