Langelee, de Langelee, Langley, Langele, Langelegh, Langeleye hereditary keepers of Whichwood Forest, North Oxfordshire

Geoffrey de LANGELEE, Knight, Occurs 3rd Crusade

Spouse: __

Children: Thomas


Thomas de LANGELEE

Spouse: __

Children: Geoffrey, Knight de Justiciar inq PM 2 E.I. Ux..1 No 4, married Matilda; Henry, defunct ante 25 Henry III..Ux 2..Marsilia..fil; Thomas, priest occurs Temp Henry III


Henry de LANGELEE Defunct Ante 25 Henry III, Ux 2, Marsilia, fil.

Spouse: __

Children: William


William de LANGELEE warden of Wychwode co Oxon. Ob. 44 Hen. III Mar. I.

Spouse: Matilda ... Mar. 2 ...Swindon

Children: Thomas


Thomas De LANGELEE warden of Wychwode Ob. 14 E.I.


Children: John


John De LANGELEE warden of Wychwode Ob. 35 E. I.


Children: John


John de LANGELEE warden of Wychwood 18 Edward II

Spouse: __

Children; Elena; Thomas, married Alice, has 3 sons & 2 daughters with his sons dying shortly after him


Elena/Alice de LANGELEE sister and heir of brother Thomas

Spouse: William VERNEY died circa 1360 (2) Giles de Bassingburne (3) John Hemington

Children: William born 20 Edward III married Elizabeth; Simon died 1368 brother William was his heir

Memorial of the Danvers Family (of Dauntsey and Culworth): their ancestors: JOHN DANVERS of Colthorpe and Prestcote was twice married first to Alice Verney and secondly to Joan Bruley and the children of both marriages are represented by the present family of Danvers since John Danvers of Culworth, fourth in descent from the marriage of John Danvers and Alice Verney, married his third cousin Dorothy Eaynsford, fourth in descent from John Danvers and his second wife Joan Bruley .Alice Verney was the daughter and heiress of William Verney of Byfield Northampton a village about eight miles north east from Banbury and four miles distant from Culworth. From a deed a copy of which has been preserved amongst the Eawlinson MSS (B 288) in the Bodleian Library, we learn that in the year 1399 (2e Richard II) Alice Verney was at the time married to John, son of Richard Danvers of Banbury ,and that they held in Byfield, a virgate of land as the gift of her father, William Verney of Byfield. The deed also mentions William Verney's wife Juliana his father William his mother Elena and his uncle John. The deed runs as follows. Sciant &c quod ego Willelmus Verney de Byfild dedi &c Johanni Scot de Bannebury Willelmo Grey de Bourton parua Johanni Cook de Byfield et Roberto Gillun de eadem villa omnes terras &c in Byfild predicta excepta vna virgata terre in predicta Byfeld quam Johannes filius Ricardi Danuers de Banbery et Alicia vxor eius tenent de dono meo et Juliane vxoris mee sibi et heredibus &c preterea concessi omnia terras &c quo Elena mater mea tenet &c ex dimissione Johannis Auunculi mei vel Willelmi patris mei et que post mortem eius dem Elene ad me et heredes meos reuertere debent integ remanere antedictis Johanni Willelmo Johanni et Eoberto Habenda et tenenda omnia &c Johanni Willelmo Johanni et Eoberto Data apud Byfield die Martis prox ante festum Sancti Michaelis Anno Eegni Eegis Eicardi 2 post conquestum vieesimo tertio Testibus Thorn de Croppry Johan Stutes bury Will Hochekynes et aliis. As will be noted presently the elder William Verney died about the year 1360 leaving as his heir his son Simon Verney who died in the year 1368 and was succeeded by his brother and heir William Verney, the father of Alice Danvers. William Verney, as we learn from his brother Simon's postmortem inquisition, was born in the year 1344 and was therefore about fifty four years of age at the time of his daughter's marriage with John Danvers. The earliest notice that we have of the presence of the Verney family in Byfield is in a charter Harleian 85 A 87 circa 1280 which refers to the neighbouring village of Charwelton. Dom Simon de Verni is one of the witnesses, and in a subsequent charter of the series 84 D 56 he is called of Byfield and Charwelton. The charters in which he or his successors bearing the same name are mentioned are numerous and the series extends from circa 1280 until the year 1316 Harleian 84 E 44 In the year 1278. (Rotul Hundred) Simon Verney holds land in Charwelton and in the year 1308 Alan Lord Zouche enfeoffed Simon Verney of half a fief in Byfield Baker's Northamptonshire (vol i p 485). In the year 1314 the heiress of Alan has seisin of his lands Close Roll 8 Edward II M 82 amongst them of half a fief worth 100 shillings held by Simon de Verney in Byfield. The Parliamentary writs of the year 1316 (vol ii Division 8) show that Simon de Verney was at the time one of the lords of Byfield while in 1360 the heir of William Verney held half a fief in Byfield of the representative of Lord Zouche (Baker). Vincent (College of Arms MS Vincent 88) tells us that in the same year 1360 William Verney held half a fief in Byfield. He is no doubt the William Verney whose heir Baker mentions and if this is so he, William, died in the year 1360. Then in the year 1368 we have the inquisition 42 Edward III No 57 of Simon Verney who died in June of that year and whose heir was his brother William aged at the time twenty two and more. As William was aged twenty two in the year 1368 we may reasonably assume that his elder brother Simon was also not of age in the year 1360 and this is why Simon is then spoken of not by name but as heir of William. The younger William we identify with the William of Byfield of 1399 who was father of Alice, son therefore of the William who died in or about the year 1360 whom we take to have been the son of Simon Verney of Byfield of 1308 and 1316 and grandson or great grandson of Simon de Verni of Byfield and Charwelton of the year 1280. But we have an additional and very curious piece of evidence that the Simon Verney whose inquisition was taken in 1368 was brother to the William Verney the father of Alice Verney, and it is one which depends upon the evidence of the armorial bearings of the family. Vincent tells us that the arms of Alice's father were gules two bars in chief two bucks heads cabossed or, and the shield of John Danvers, as given by Vincent is that of Brancestre impaling these arms. But these were never the arms of the Verneys of either the Buckinghamshire or Warwickshire branches of the Verney family while in support of Vincent's assertion that they were the arms borne by William father of Alice we have the fact that they were quartered by the descendants of John Danvers and his wife Alice Verney but not by those of John Danvers and his second wife Joan Bruley. Whence did William Verney derive these arms? We believe we can show that he had them from the family of de Langelee hereditary keepers of Whichwood Forest, whose heir and representative was Simon Verney the Simon Verney who died in the year 1368 and whose heir was his brother William, the father of Alice. But to show that the arms of William Verney of Byfield were those of de Langelee needs a somewhat long digression. Whichwood was formerly one of the royal forests and extended westwards of Eynsham and Woodstock over a considerable portion of North Oxfordshire. The bailiff of the forest held in right of his office the manor of Langelee or Langley. At Langley which is and was in the parish of Shipton, the King had a house and the walls of King John's house are still shown. Langley was occasionally the residence of the Kings till the reign of Charles I and Langley remained attached to the Crown until the recent enclosure of Whichwood Forest (Shirley's Deer Parks of England p 185). From the 'Rotuli Hundredorum' we learn that in 1278 a certain Thomas de Langelee was bailiff or forester of Wychwode, and he was succeeded in the manor and office by John de Langelee who was doubtless his son and heir whose wife's name as we learn from an Oxon fine 81 Edward I (No 146) was Joan. About the year 1305 it came to the King's ears they were always open to catch the report of any irregularities as regards the tenantry of the Crown lands that John de Langley had no charter or anything else to show his right to the manor of Langelee and therefore a writ was issued for an inquisition ad quod damnurn ,that is an inquiry was to be made whether it was to the King's damage that John de Langelee should have possession of the manor and what his rights to it were. A jury whose names are given in the record was therefore assembled and before them the case was heard and after hearing evidence they decided that John and his ancestors had from time immemorial held this office and manor in capite on the payment of a certain rent and with the obligation to carry the King's horn whenever he should come into those parts to hunt and so John became quietly seated in his ancestral office and in the year 1316 we learn from the Parliamentary writs that he and four of his tenants were the only people living on the manor. In the year 1325 John died and doubtless was buried in his parish church that of Shipton. At the time of his death his son Thomas was of full age. and he succeeded his father in the manor and became bailiff of Wychwode Forest. He died before the year 1368 but before his death an inquisition ad quod damnum had been instituted to inquire whether it would be to the King's disadvantage that Thomas de Langelee should make over the manor and appurtenances to trustees Galfrid Parson of Shipton and Parson of Eynford, to hold for his son and heir. John, with remainder first to John's brother Peter and next to their brother Simon and this was so settled. But all three sons died within a few years of their father for in the year 1368 we have the inquisition post mortem of Simon Verney who was relative (con sanguineus) and heir to Thomas de Langelee from whom he inherited the manor of Langelee with the bailiffship of the forest of Whyehwood. Simon de Verney did not long enjoy the manor and office nor did his heir his brother William long retain it for in the year 1369 Oxon Fines 48 Edward III Nos 67 and 66 and Inquis ad quod damnum 42 Edward III second numbers 9 we find William selling the estate including the manor of Langley the office attaching thereto and land in Shipton and elsewhere which were eventually to pass to Sir John Golafre provision being made for an Alice who was apparently the widow of Thomas de Langelee. And here comes in the evidence of the shields. Shipton Church was the church of the manor of the de Langelee family and in it we should expect to find its members buried. Now in his gleanings of Oxfordshire made in the year 1574 Eichard Lee tells us that in a window of Shipton Church with an old tomb under it was a shield bearing as follows Gules two bars or on a chief az arg two bucks heads cabossed or On the tomb the same arms were repeated. Here we have the same shield the bars and bucks heads which were borne by William Verney and this in the parish church of the de Langelees whose office Simon de Verney and his brother William inherited a shield too very appropriate to the hereditary foresters of Whichwood. The identity of the shields explains whence William Verney of Byfield obtained his shield and is strong corroborative evidence of our assumption that William Verney, the father of Alice Danvers, was William the brother of Simon Verney who died in 1368 and was the heir of the de Langelees. The shield in question and others which Richard Lee mentions were removed some eighty or a hundred years ago by a curate of Shipton who wished to make use of them to ornament his house (Monthly Magazine July 1819). A few words regarding the subsequent history of the Byfield Verneys. Members of the family are frequently mentioned in the miscellaneous and ancient charters of the Augmentation Office which are now at the Record Office generally in connection with gifts to Canons Ashby Priory which was in the parish. Baker, in his History of Northamptonshire, states that in the year 1421-22 Simon and William Verney held half a fief in Byfield and it is quite possible that the William was the father of Alice then an old man. Again in the year 1455 a Simon Verney held a half fief in the village and he is the last member of the family of whom we find record there. The Verneys or Vierneys came originally from Vernai near Bayeux in Normandy and the earliest authentic record of them in England is that of a Simon de Vernai who, so Dugdale in his History of Warwickshire vol i p 665 tells us, married Alice Bagot in the reign of Richard but he adds that he cannot for want of record trace the descent of the Warwickshire branch of the family from him. Later authorities, Collins in his Peerage of England Brydges edition vol vi and Edmondson in the Baronagium Genealogicum vol iv, complete the descent making use for the purpose of the Verneys of Byfield but their evidences are very incomplete and are insufficient to prove the descent. Collins does however so far agree with us that he makes the elder William Verney marry the sister and heiress of Thomas de Langelee. Yet there is some evidence that the Verneys of Byfield came of the same stock as the Compton Murdack family. The armorial bearings do not help us for as regards the Byfield family we are in ignorance of what they were until the time of William Verney father of Alice Danvers and he bore the de Langelee arms which his father we believe assumed on his marriage with the heiress of that family. If as we think is most likely the Verneys of Compton Murdack descended from John the brother of the elder William Verney they would bear the coat of arms proper to the Verney family -- gules three crosses recercellee or a chief vaire ermine and ermines which Eichard Verney emblazoned in the canton window at Compton when, about the year 1441, he built the house there (Dugdale's Warwickshire p 564). This Eichard Verney was a contemporary of John Danvers of Colthorpe for their grand children married (see foregoing table). John Verney Eichard's father was therefore the contemporary of Eichard Danvers of Ipswell and Colthorpe and of William Verney father of Alice Danvers.This William Verney had an Uncle John and he would correspond in date with the John Verney whom Dugdale mentions as a predecessor of John father of Eichard Verney. He is no doubt the John Verney who signs as witness to a Culworth charter Additional 88798 dated 1297 and after Simon Verney in a Byfield charter temp Edward I Eecord Office Miscellaneous Aug vol xi No 107. Quite probably this elder John Verney may have been the John Verney son of Simon who in the year 1324 as we learn from the Parliamentary Writs vol ii division 8 was summoned to Northampton as a man at arms. Further amongst the shields which Eichard Verney placed in the canton window of his new house at Compton was that of Lord Zouch and we have already seen that of him the Byfield Verneys held their fief On the whole we are of the same opinion as Collins and Edmondson viz that the Verneys of Byfield and Compton came of the same stock but not in the way which those writers too readily assume.

The Berkshire archaeological journal, Volumes 4-6: Thomas de Langelee died in 1361 or 1362 but previous to his death he had in the year 1355 conveyed his manor of Langley with the custodionship of the forest of Whichwood to Trustees to hold in trust for himself and his wife Alice during their lives with reversion to their sons John, Peter, and Simon in succession. John was alive at the time of his father's death but as well as his brothers died shortly after victims in all probability to the Black Death. That neither of the sons long survived their father we learn from a very full account of the affairs of Thomas de Langelee dated September 1362 in which no mention is made of them while their mother and her second husband John Giffard held the manor of Langley the Bailiwick and all the lands and tenements in Oxfordshire. lately those of Thomas de Langelee. Further in the year 1367 died Simon de Verney consanguineus and heir of Thos de Langelee seised at his death of the manor of Langley and the custody of Whichwood Forest. The inquisition of September 1362 is an unusually interesting one illustrating as it does the circumstances of the country life of the period and especially does it exemplify the fact that owing to the ravages committed amongst the agricultural labourers by the plague of 1348 the landowners were no longer themselves able to cultivate their manors profitably by the services of their villeins and cottars. Instead of attempting to do this any longer they divided up their lands into farms and had moreover to build houses and cottages for their tenants as an inducement to them to remain upon their land. The inquisition tells us that Thomas de Langelee built houses on his manor where before there was no house. Of these houses two were timber granges which he built in the year 1352 one called Whytehevesdeplace and the other Smyth's tenement and he built also several cottages. Further he built a mill called Langeleyesmill which, however, was not in the manor but in the lordship of Shipton. Also he built a grange and sheepfold on his manor of Middleton and another such on his manor of Shorthampton. He made also a pit to take manure and he dug a well in the forest upon Churchehull. The inquisition also tells us that he made or completed this well with slates which he brought from the grange at Ewelme which is the grange of the King adjoining the chapel of Ewelme which was taken into the hands of the King about the 20th year of his reign because the Abbot of Bruerne did not make the Chantrey of the King in the Chapel. For his own use de Langelee appropriated from the forest a piece of land called Bancroft thirty perches in length by two in breadth and he cut down trees from the forest to make a paling about his garden at Langelee where formerly it was enclosed by a hedge. Sir Thomas de Langelee was the last male representative of his house though with three sons at his side he might well have hoped that his name and honours would be continued. Yet within four or five years of his death his sons were all dead, his widow had twice re married and his manor of Langley with the Bailiwick had been acquired by Roger de Elmerugge by the purchase of the rights of the widow now Alice de Honyngton and of those of the Verney family, the heirs of Thomas de Langelee. Collins in his Peerage of England states that Alice (Elena?) sister of Sir Thomas married William Verney, son of Simon and father of Simon and William Verney. Such a relationship must have existed or the Verney family would not have become the heirs of de Langelee. It is said that besides these sons, Thomas de Langelee had two daughters. one Katherine married to Nicholas St John and another Alice married to John Percevall. Petronilla Simeon was one of those who renounced her rights to the de Langelee property but her relationship to the family if she had any is unknown. And now in conclusion we return to the village of Shipton that we may notice very briefly the two ancient monuments which still exist in the north wall of the parish church. The monuments in question are two arched recesses beneath two of the windows of the north aisle. In one of the recesses the figure of a lady carved in stone has been placed but manifestly the figure if entire could not be placed in the recess, it must have been taken from another tomb now destroyed. Traditionally the figure is said to be that of Isabel daughter of an Earl of Warwick, more probably it is that of an Isabel de Clare who was lady of Shipton and appears to have lived there in the year 1316. The discussion however of this question would occupy more space than could now be spared for it. To return to the recesses they and the windows above them are of the late Decorated which overlapped the early part of the Perpendicular Period and may be assigned to the years 1350-1380 which it will be noticed embraced the year of the death of Sir Thomas de Langelee. The earliest mention we have of these monuments is in the gatherings of Oxfordshire which Richard Lee the Herald made during his visitation of the County AD 1574. From these notes and from Anthony Wood's Mss we learn that in a window with an old tomb under it were three blazened shields side by side the centre one gu two bars on a chief az two bucks heads cabossed or on one side Bendy of ten or and az Montfort on the other or two bends gu an escallop sa in the chief point Tracey. Now considering the place de Langelee's parish Church the period of the architecture and the three shields side by side in the way usual with those of a man who had two wives and that one of the wives shields is that of Tracey we have here very strong evidence that the shields were those of Sir Thomas de Langelee and his two wives Margaret Tracey and Alice whose shield declared her a de Montfort. As regards the second window Lee notes In a wyndow with a parsonag in stone Lynge under yt very ancient two bars in chief two bucks heads cabossed untinctured and a lion rampant untinctured These may have been the arms of an ancestor of Thomas de Langelee and of his wife or they may have been a repetition of the arms of Thomas in conjunction with as his wife's arms the shield the lion rampant which was also borne by the de Montforts. But there is other and curious evidence that the bars and bucks heads formed the armorial device of the de Langelees of Wychwood. Ancient documents show that the Langelee manor and the Bailiwick after the death of Sir Thomas passed to Simon Verney his relative and heir and that Simon died in 1367 leaving as his heir his brother William then 22 years of age. In the year 1399 William's daughter and heiress Alice was the first wife of John Danvers of Colthorpe Banbury and they had three sons Robert, Richard, and John. Now the children and their descendants of John and Alice Danvers quartered and do so now the bucks heads and bars with the Danvers arms while the children and descendants of John's second wife Joan Bruley quartered Danvers and Bruley. The bucks heads and bars were upon the escutcheon of Richard Danvers son of Alice Verney which till comparatively recent years hung upon the wall of Bicester church and they may still be seen displayed upon the tomb of Richard's son Sir John Danvers in Dauntsey Church and upon the tombs of other members of the family. The bars and bucks heads were not the proper arms of Verney but were doubtless assumed by the Verneys of Byfield when they inherited the property and honours of the de Langelees. The bars and bucks heads are still borne on the shield of the Danvers family who are the descendants and representatives of that Thomas de Langelee whom King John made Forester of Whych wood ad 1213.

Calendar of the Patent rolls preserved in the Public record office, Volume 4: 1303,June 27 Perth.  Licence in consideration of a fine made by the abbot before Philip de Wylughby king's clerk supplying the place of the treasurer and the barons of the Exchequer for the alienation in mortmain by Richard son of Alexander de Langeleye and Elena his wife to the abbot and convent of St Albans of two messuages, 161 acres of land, 11 acres of meadow, 6 neves of wood, 70 acres of pasture, and 4s of rent in Langeleye, Caysho, and Crokesleye .

Journal By Chester and North Wales Architectural, Archaeological, and Historic Society: Langeley County of Oxford. In 5 Edward III's time we find Thomas de Langeley son and heir of John de Langeley held amongst other things the Manor of Langeley in the County of Oxford and one hide of land in the hamlet of Middleton by the service of bearing a horn to keep the forest of Whichewode. Blount p 259. It seems the family had held the right since the reign of King John at least and in 1229 Thomas de Langley had to pay a fine of 100 in order to recover the forester ship which had been taken from him by the King for his negligence in permitting trespass within the forest. Later we find John de Langley holding the Bailiwick of Cornbury or as one document puts it, the lagarde of the park of Cornbury in Wychwode Forest. One is inclined to think that Cornbury may have been in some way derived from the horn or corn.

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Prepared by Karen E. Smith Howell - comments, suggestions, and corrections are welcome.
Copyright 1997 - 2013  Oak Bay Designs. All rights reserved. Revised: June 22, 2013 .