On this day 790 years ago, Robert de Ros (my 24th and two-times 25th great-grandfather) passed away.
Born in 1177, Robert was the son of Everard de Ros, Baron of Helmsley, and Rohese de Trusbut, daughter of William Trusbut of Wartre.
In early 1191, at the age of 14, Robert de Ros married Isabella mac William, widow of Robert III de Brus and the illegitimate daughter of William I “The Lion”, in Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland. Together, Robert de Ros and Isabella mac William were the parents to four known sons: William (my 23rd and two-times 24th great-grandfather), Robert, Alexander, and Peter.
Also in 1191, Robert de Ros paid a 1,000 marks fine for livery of his lands to Richard I (my three-times great-uncle through my 25th great-grandmother Eleanor of England, my 24th and 25th great-grandfather John “Lackland” of England, and my 24th great-grandfather William “Longespée”.)
In 1197, while serving Richard I in Normandy, Robert de Ros was arrested for an unknown reason and was placed in the custody of Hugh de Chaumont. Chaumont, in turn, entrusted his prisoner to William de Spiney, who allowed Robert de Ros to escape from the castle in which he was imprisoned Consequently, Richard I hanged William de Spiney for “breach of faith” and collected a 1,200 marks fine from Robert de Ros, as the price for his continued freedom.
Two years later, Richard I died in France, and John “Lackland” (my 24th great-grandfather) was crowned King of England. With John as ruler, Robert de Ros garnered more royal favor. The new king grant Robert the barony of Walter Espec, the elder brother of his great-grandmother Adeline. Soon afterwards Robert de Ros escorted his father-in-law, William I “The Lion”, to England to swear fealty to King John “Lackland.”
Some years later, Robert de Ros became a monk, whereupon all his lands, Helmsley Castle, and Wark on Tweed Castle, were placed in the custody of Philip d’Ulcote. However, Robert de Ros soon returned to assume control of his properties. Then, approximately one year later, Robert de Ros became high sheriff of Cumberland.
When the English barons demanded a constitutional government, Robert de Ros first sided with John “Lackland.” Because of his loyalty, Robert de Ros was given several valuable grants from the Crown, including the governorship of Carlisle. However, in 1215, Robert de Ros was swayed to join the confederation of the barons. On 15 Jun 1215, King John signed and sealed the Magna Carta, a document constituting a fundamental guarantee of rights and privileges: protection of church rights, protection for the barons from illegal imprisonment, access to swift justice, and limitations on feudal payments to the Crown. Robert de Ros was one of the 25 sureties appointed to enforce the observance of Magna Carta, and the County of Northumberland was placed under Robert de Ros’ supervision.
In 1216, John “Lackland” died, and Henry III (my 23rd great-grandfather) ascended to the throne of England. Soon after, Robert de Ros swore allegiance to Henry III. Sometime between 1217 and 1218, Henry III restored some of Robert de Ros’ manors to him. Despite the fact that he witnessed the second Great Charter and the Forest Charter of 1224, Robert de Ros seems to have remained in royal favor.
Later in his life, Robert de Ros became a Knight Templar; like his grandfather Robert, was a very generous benefactor of the Templars. Because of his dedication, when Robert de Ros died on 11 December 1226, he was buried at the Temple Church, London. Today, despite the heavy damage the Temple Church sustained from the German bombing in World War II, Robert de Ros’ effigy remains intact.