Saturday, September 7, 2019

Poher family in the Stogursey charters


Poher family in the Stogursey charters

Niall C.E.J. O’Brien
     
The village of Stogursey lies in undulating pasture land at the foot of the Quantock Hills, Somerset. Between 1100 and 1107 William de Falaise and Geva his wife gave the church of St. Andrew at Stoke and its tithes to the Benedictine Abbey of Lonlay, Normandy. The Abbey of Lonlay was founded by William de Bellême in 1026. The first mention of a religious community at Stogursey is in about 1120. From that time until 1295 the priory of Stogursey was a dependent house of Lonlay Abbey. At the start of war between England and France in 1295 such “alien priories” were taken into the king’s hand.[1]
     
The Stogursey charters and documents contain some important information relating to the families of FitzUrse, Courcey, Columbers, Regni and Poher.[2] This article will hope to put a family story to the often dry words of charters and such legal documents. The task is far from easy as the editors of the charters said that information on the family is not very considerable and their lands which they held in the Honour of Courcey are not easily identified.[3]
     
Along with other families from Somerset such as that of Cogan, de Marisco and Courcey, the family of Poher went to Ireland as part of the invasion and conquest of that country. Robert de Poher sailed to Ireland in 1172 and William his brother along with John son of Robert went over in 1186.[4]

The spelling of Poher and Power
     
In Ireland, as in Somerset, the family name of Poher was written variously as Poher, de la Poer and de la Pour before later settling down as Power. In the Stogursey charters we see the name of Power in use by the mid-fourteenth century. In September 1347 the prior of Stogursey made a lease for life to Sir Ralph de Myddelnee the tithes in the manor of Blakeford. Among the witnesses to this lease was Henry Power. Henry Power was elected Member of Parliament in 1332. He married Matilda de Gyverney and died in 1361. His only daughter and heir, Joan Power married William de Shareshull.[5] Having said the proceeding the spelling of the family name still had variants as Henry Powair senior was referred to in documents from 1350 while his seal used the spelling of Power.[6] This difference of spelling is not unusual as definite spelling of surnames did not come into existence until the seventeenth century. Walter Ralegh, a courtier of Queen Elizabeth I, spelt his own surname in various ways throughout his wife.

Nicholas le Poher
     
Sometime before 1189, possibly in 1186, Nicholas le Poher granted to St. Andrew of Stoke all the land which Theobald Carpenter held from him in Middleton. Among the witnesses to this grant was Joan the mother of Nicholas le Poher along with William le Poher and Philip le Poher. These lands are said to be in the place now known as Milton Podimore as they were still listed as owned by Stogursey Priory in 1505.[7]

Ralph le Poher
     
The Stogursey charters say that Ralph le Poher had two sons called William and Robert. Other sources say he had three sons, William, Robert and Roger.[8]

Stogursey Church of St. Andrew by Martin Southwood


William le Poher
     
On or before 1185 William le Poher, son of Ralph le Poher, confirmed the grant of 10s rent from Knaplock made by his brother Robert le Poher, senior, to the church of St. Andrew of Stokes. Knaplock Farm is in the parish of Cannington, some two miles east of Stogursey.[9] In 1185 William le Poher sailed to Ireland. William le Poher died sometime before 1204.[10] In 1172-3 William le Poher and Hugh Pincerna owed 9lbs from their property in Oxfordshire for the army of King Henry II crossing to Ireland.[11] In about 1184-1189 William le Poher granted land and tithes at Aghred and Tueos in Ireland to Stogursey priory.[12]

In 1200 William le Poher was a witness to an agreement between Meyler Fitz Henry and Fulk de Cantilupe whereby the Fulk leased land at Corkach in the fee of Hubrim in Ireland to Meyler for ten years.[13] In October 1200 William le Poher was at Gloucester to witness the grant of 40 carucates to Thomas, abbot of Glendalough.[14] By 1204 William le Poher was deceased.[15] But not before he left a son called John le Poher, ancestor of the le Poher family of Kells, Co. Kilkenny and Kilmeaden, Co. Waterford.[16]

Robert le Poher, senior

In 1172-3 Robert le Poher owed 10s from his property in Oxfordshire for the army of King Henry II crossing to Ireland.[17] Sometime before 1181 Robert Poher senior made a grant of 10s rent from Knaplock to the church of St. Andrew of Stokes.[18] Robert le Poher was killed in 1178 in a battle with the Irish in South Kildare.[19]

Robert le Poher, junior

In 1172 Robert le Poher junior sailed to Ireland. In about 1181 Robert le Poher junior confirmed the grant of his father, Robert le Poher of the 10s to St. Andrew’s and also confirmed the grant of 8d rent to same made by his brother, John le Poher.[20] In July 1221 Robert le Poher was informed that the king had replaced Geoffrey de Marisco as justiciar of Ireland by Henry, Archbishop of Dublin.[21] By 1228 Robert le Poher junior had died and was succeeded by his son John. In November 1228 Richard Duket and Henry de St. Florence gave the king 100 marks to have the right of marriage of John le Poher.[22] In April 1230 John le Poher made homage for his father’s property in Ireland.[23] By October 1249 John le Poher was dead and was briefly succeeded by his eldest son, Robert le Poher, but Robert died before October 1249 and the justiciar was instructed to find Robert’s brother and heir (John) to give custody to John Maunsel.[24] John le Poher was the ancestor of numerous Power families in medieval Waterford including the baron of Dunhill family.[25]

Roger le Poher
     
In 1175 Robert son of Alfred granted to the church of St. Andrew of Stokes his church of St. John of Holeford. This grant was witnessed by a number of Poher family members like Durand le Poher, William le Poher and Roger le Poher.[26]
     
This Roger le Poher was the third son of Ralph le Poher. In the 1170s Roger le Poher went to Ireland where he assisted in the invasion and colonisation. In 1177 Roger le Poher was said to have assisted John de Courcey at the battle of Down. In 1181 Hugh de Lacy made Roger a captain of Leighlin.[27] Roger le Poher was the ancestor of Poher families in Kilkenny and east Cork. A number of his descendants were sheriffs of Co. Waterford in the fourteenth century.[28]

John le Poher
    
Meanwhile back in 12th century England John le Poher was one of two sons of Robert le Poher, senior. In about 1180 John le Poher confirmed the grant made by his father, Robert, of 10s rent in Knaplock to the church of St. Andrew of Stokes. At the same time John added to his father’s grant by giving an additional rent of 8d to Stogursey. The grant was affixed with the seal of John de Poher which displayed a fleur de lys in its design.[29] The French heritage of the Poher family was something of high value to the family. This was in the days before King John lost Normandy and the Hundred Years War when the Anglo-Normans still considered themselves French first and English a distant third after Normandy.

Conclusion

The Poher family were a small landed family in 12th century Somerset but the Norman Invasion of Ireland in 1169 opened up an opportunity of advancement. The three brothers from Stogursey went on to hold extensive property in Ireland and their descendants are still numerous in that country today.

=============   

End of post

============



[1] Tremlett, T.D. & Blakiston, N. (eds.), Stogursey Charters: charters and other documents relating to the property of the alien priory of Stogursey, Somerset, now belonging to Eton College (Somerset Record Society, Vol. LXI, 1949), pp. ix, xi, xiii, xiv
[2] Tremlett & Blakiston (eds.), Stogursey Charters, p. xviii
[3] Tremlett & Blakiston (eds.), Stogursey Charters, p. xx
[4] Tremlett & Blakiston (eds.), Stogursey Charters, p. xx
[5] Tremlett & Blakiston (eds.), Stogursey Charters, no. 63
[6] Tremlett & Blakiston (eds.), Stogursey Charters, no. 66
[7] Tremlett & Blakiston (eds.), Stogursey Charters, p. xx, nos. 18, 170
[8] Parker, C., ‘Paterfamilias and parentela: The le Poer lineage in fourteenth-century Waterford’, in Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Vol. 95C (1995), pp. 93-117, at p. 95
[9] Tremlett & Blakiston (eds.), Stogursey Charters, no. 13
[10] Tremlett & Blakiston (eds.), Stogursey Charters, no. 13
[11] Sweetman, H.S. (ed.), Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland (London, 1875, reprint Liechtenstein, 1974), vol. 1 (1171-1251), no. 41
[12] Tremlett & Blakiston (eds.), Stogursey Charters, no. 51 (21)
[13] Sweetman (ed.), Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland, vol. 1 (1171-1251), no. 129
[14] Sweetman (ed.), Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland, vol. 1 (1171-1251), no. 132
[15] Tremlett & Blakiston (eds.), Stogursey Charters, no. 13
[16] Parker, C., ‘Paterfamilias and parentela: The le Poer lineage in fourteenth-century Waterford’, in Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Vol. 95C (1995), pp. 93-117, at p. 95
[17] Sweetman (ed.), Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland, vol. 1 (1171-1251), no. 41
[18] Tremlett & Blakiston (eds.), Stogursey Charters, no. 15
[19] Parker, C., ‘Paterfamilias and parentela: The le Poer lineage in fourteenth-century Waterford’, in Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Vol. 95C (1995), pp. 93-117, at p. 95
[20] Tremlett & Blakiston (eds.), Stogursey Charters, no. 15 accessed on 17th April 2013
[21] Sweetman (ed.), Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland, vol. 1 (1171-1251), no. 1001
[22] Sweetman (ed.), Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland, vol. 1 (1171-1251), no. 1635
[23] Sweetman (ed.), Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland, vol. 1 (1171-1251), no. 1786
[24] Sweetman (ed.), Calendar of Documents relating to Ireland, vol. 1 (1171-1251), no. 3014
[25] Parker, C., ‘Paterfamilias and parentela: The le Poer lineage in fourteenth-century Waterford’, in Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Vol. 95C (1995), pp. 93-117, at p. 95
[26] Tremlett & Blakiston (eds.), Stogursey Charters, no. 12
[27] Orpen, G.H., Ireland under the Normans (Dublin, 2005), Vol. II, p. 12
[28] Parker, C., ‘Paterfamilias and parentela: The le Poer lineage in fourteenth-century Waterford’, in Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Vol. 95C (1995), pp. 93-117, at p. 95
[29] Tremlett & Blakiston (eds.), Stogursey Charters, no. 14

1 comment: