Lordship in four realms

The Lacy family, 1166–1241

By Colin Veach

Lordship in four realms


  • Hardcover
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-7849-9117-3
  • Pages: 320
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £18.99
  • Published Date: October 2015
  • BIC Category: Medieval History, History, History & Archaeology, European history: medieval period, middle ages, CE period up to c 1500, HISTORY / Social History, HISTORY / Medieval, Humanities / Social & cultural history, Humanities / Medieval history
  • Series: Manchester Medieval Studies


This book examines the rise and fall of the aristocratic Lacy family in England, Ireland, Wales and Normandy. This involves a unique analysis of medieval lordship in action, as well as a re-imagining of the role of English kingship in the western British Isles and a rewriting of seventy-five years of Anglo-Irish history. By viewing the political landscape of Britain and Ireland from the perspective of one aristocratic family, this book produces one of the first truly transnational studies of individual medieval aristocrats. This results in an in-depth investigation of aristocratic and English royal power over five reigns, including during the tumultuous period of King John and Magna Carta. By investigating how the Lacys sought to rule their lands in four distinct realms, this book also makes a major contribution to current debates on lordship and the foundations of medieval European society.


'In extending his study to cover the interactions of Gautier de Lacy with the aristocracy of his times, the author exposes the tensions deliberately provoked by the monarchy in order to unbalance, to its advantage, relations between the great lords of the four realms.'

'Veach has provided an important account of the advantages and disadvantages of simultaneously holding aristocratic estates in the different parts of 'the Plantagenet empire'. He has also shed new light on the contrasts and similarities between the reigns of Henry II, Richard I, John and Henry III. His book deserves to be widely read and it is to be hoped that it will lead to further studies of transnational aristocratic families.'
The English Historical Review

'Lordship in four realms is a notable debut, and it is not only historians of medieval Ireland who will look forward to the work that is to follow.'
Irish Historical Review


Part I: Hugh de Lacy
1. A transnational magnate: 1166-74
2. 'Lord of the foreigners of Ireland': 1177-86
Part II: Walter de Lacy
3. Divided allegiance: 1189-99
4. Factionalism: 1199-1206
5. Royal v. aristocratic lordship: 1206-16
6. Sheriff of Herefordshire: 1216-22
7. The dangers of transnational lordship: 1222-41
Part III: Lordship
8. Lordship in four realms
Appendix 1: Family trees
Appendix 2: Tables
Appendix 3: Charter of Walter de Lacy
Select bibliography


Colin Veach is Lecturer in Medieval History at the University of Hull

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