Latin Translators in the house RE: Alice de Montfort m. Gant... & Essex?!?

+4 votes

Hello G2G medieval folks, 

Please see two links in comment on this de Montfort profile. How's our Latin?

Are we confident this is not the same (notional) "Alice de Montfort" who later married the ill-fated Henry de Essex? I'm trying to understand the rival claims / ill-will around properties and inheritance between the de Essex and de Montfort families, circa reign of Henry II. The de Veres are involved also, and there are a variety of asserted explanations from past researchers (to include Keats Rohan and many antiquarian) which I find unsatisfactory. So, taking inventory of the facts evidenced. 

On 30 Oct 2020 Isaac Taylor wrote on Montfort-63:

Can somebody translate from the Latin the section about Alice (Aliz) de Montfort and her husband Gilbert de Gaunt, who gave what property to whom? Please also see this assertion from previous centuries, that this same Alice de Montfort remarried to Henry of Essex as widowed relict of de Gaunt. If true, that conflicts with the death dates we have here on WikiTree now (nevermind we don't show that relationship connection). PDF download here, pg. 798 of The Athanaeum #2693 7 Jun (18?)'79, first paragraph of third column (ie top right corner) in section THE BARONS OF RAYLEIGH: Thoughts?

WikiTree profile: Alice de Gant
in Genealogy Help by Isaac Taylor G2G6 (8.5k points)

2 Answers

+4 votes

Sorry Isaac, I'm not a great Latin scholar, but I am curious as to why you think Alice de Montfort, the widow of Gilbert de Gant or Gaunt would have married Henry de Essex?

I've learned never to say something is impossible in medieval genealogy, but chronologically they look to be in totally different generations.

I'm citing Keats-Rohan and admittedly haven't checked her sources, but she has Gilbert de Gant the husband of Alice de Montfort (who she names as Gislebert de Gand) as died circa 1095 (Domesday People, p. 210) and Gilbert's son and heir Walter de Gant/Gand as died in 1139 (Domesday Descendants, p. 472) and Walter's son, Gilbert II, Earl of Lincoln as died in 1156.(DD, p. 471).

Yet Henry de Essex, succeeded his father by 1146 and died sometime after 1163 when he was defeated in battle. (DD pp. 449-450). So given life expectancy in this period, it seems highly likely that he wasn't even born when Alice de Montfort became a widow in circa 1095, and is probably of the generation of her grandson?

Unless you mean a different Henry of Essex or Alice de Montfort?

Like any source Keats Rohan's books can have incorrect information, and there are some corrections to the entries for Henry de Essex and Walter de Gand (look for the page numbers I have cited) but not concerning the marriage of Alice de Montfort.

by John Atkinson G2G6 Pilot (546k points)
I'm not saying I believe that to be true, John. But that is literally what the source I gave said in 1879, as a correction to ~visitations in the Barons of Rayleigh essay (PDF linked). It's not on its face credible, and there are other garbles in that 'correction' but I'd like to translate the primary sources for clues.

By the way, I agree with you about looking at generations and also 'suspending disbelief' as weird things do happen with all the deaths and weird (often pre-teen) marriage contracts for power/land not love. Ultimately I have learned to sketch from prior art (ie assimilate prior research) but decide solely on the basis of evidence and facts. Not conjecture.

The identity of the wife of Henry de Essex is cloudy. Could be a Montfort, could be a de Vere, could be neither of you believe 'Essex' was himself an heir of the Montforts and didn't need his wife for her property.

In these situations I like to go up to the hypothesized bride/wife options and ascertain the facts of their lives and demonstrable nuclear family group etc, and then come back down to the mystery with a sense of what would have to be true ("what do I have to believe?") before placing any value on secondary sources and prior 'solutions' based, often, on either then-incomplete-r info; or frankly, in the 1800s, rank antiquarian claptrap (ie BS) sold to the rich people who wanted more pedigree.

The corrections to Keats-Rohan books that I referred to in my answer state that "Cecilia [the wife of Henry de Essex] may be identified as the daughter of Roger de Valognes and Agnes, daughter of John ‘nepos’ Waleran fitz Ranulf (and sister of Eustace and Payn Fitz John)"  There is a bit more about that in Corrections to The Complete Peerage, vol. 10, Appendix J - The Early Veres

The same Complete Peerage, vol 10, appendix J, p. 112 states that Henry de Essex refers to Hugh de Montfort and his son Robert de Montfort as his predecessors (antecessores in Latin), suggesting he is a descendant of the Montfort family but I presume the exact connection is unknown.

+5 votes
I am also no Latin scholar but to give some notes, I think you are referring to the third charter on the page, number VI?

At first sight it is a reconfirmation or modification of the first one, number IV which was by Walter de Gant, and mentioned his father Gilbert de Gant, who had previously made another version of this benefaction (or a related one). Indeed going back to older charters most seem to involve similar information but I will not analyse all the lands, churches and tithes for now.

While at first sight the older charters do not seem to mention the wife of the ancestor Gilbert, the father of Walter, Charter VI is by Gilbert the grandson of Walter (Walter is his avus), who is a son of Rob. de Gant, and it mentions that Gilbert his "attavus" was married to Aliz de Muntfort (uxor ejus, his wife) who he calls his attavia.

Gilbert the son of Robert describes Edlington as a place which was gifted by Aliz, and in different parts of this long document he mentions that he has the concession to do this from his own wife, and also from his uncle, who is also named Gilbert. Presumably both of them might have had a claim on it.
by Andrew Lancaster G2G6 Pilot (118k points)

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