19 December 1154 – Henry II, also known as Henry FitzEmpress was crowned at Westminster Abbey along with his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine. Young Henry ascended to the throne after King Stephen’s death according to the agreement made at the Treaty of Wallingford that marked the end of the civil war that had raged between Stephen and Henry’s mother the Empress Matilda for nineteen long years. Henry’s coronation brought with it the promise of peace and incorporated England into a vast empire which Henry’s youngest son John would ultimately lose.
Henry was the first of the Plantagenets to rule England and in common with Stephen and his great grandfather William the Conqueror he issued a coronation charter promising to uphold English liberties. This document was virtually the same as the one published by his grandfather King Henry I:
Henry, by the grace of God, king of England, duke of Normandy and Aquitaine and count of Anjou, to all the earls, barons, and his faithful, French and English, greeting.
Know that, to the honour of God and of the holy church and for the advantage of my whole kingdom, I have conceded and granted, and by my present charter confirmed to God and to the holy church, and to all the earls and barons, and to all my men all the concessions and grants and liberties and free customs which King Henry, my grandfather, gave and conceded to them. Similarly also, all the evil customs which he abolished and remitted, I remit and allow to be abolished for myself and my heirs. Therefore, I will and strictly require that the holy church and all the earls and barons, and all my men should have and hold all those customs and grants and liberties and free customs, freely and quietly, well and in peace, and completely, from me and my heirs to them and their heirs, as freely and quietly and fully in all things as King Henry, my grandfather, granted and conceded to them and by his charter confirmed them. Witness, Richard de Luci, at Westminster.
Richard de Lucy would become the Chief Justicar of England. He’d already proved himself as Sheriff of Essex. It was Richard who cared for England whilst Henry was elsewhere in his empire. Henry spent most of his life on the road travelling from one place in his kingdom to the next so it was essential that he had someone in England that he could trust. It was de Lucy who worked with Henry against Thomas Becket and managed to get himself excommunicated for his pains. It was also de Lucy who administered English legal reforms of the period.
In 1179 de Lucy resigned his office and retired to Lesnes Abbey near Bexley in Kent which he had founded as part of his penance for his role in Becket’s murder. He died there a few months later.
Initial letter of Carlisle Charter showing Sir Andrew de Harcla
The de Lucy or de Luci family arrived with William the Conqueror and grew in importance during the medieval period. They originated from the town of Luce in Normandy. They would also became a key family in Cumberland. Fans of Edward II’s hero of the Siege of Carlisle Andrew de Harcla will remember it was a de Lucy who arrested him for conspiring with the Scots and brought about his execution at Harraby for treason. One of Richard’s family called Reginald- after I posted I received a lovely comment informing me that Reginald was Richard’s son (see comments for text), but he almost certainly was related- married into the de Rumilly family from Skipton gaining lands at Egremont and from there it was a few short steps to Anthony whose father had married a Lucy heiress. For a fuller description access Alexander Grant’s paper on the subject: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/67271/1/GRANT_04_LUCY_LINEAGE_NEW_EPRINT_REF_4_.pdf
The coats of arms for the Lucy family is three fish – which initially bewildered me as I discovered fairly swiftly that the fish in question are pike. In Latin though, the pike is a Esox Lucius – Lucius meaning ‘light’ and being a pun on the de Lucy name.