John (Clavering) FitzRobert
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John (Clavering) FitzRobert (bef. 1191 - bef. 1241)

John "of Warkworth" FitzRobert formerly Clavering
Born before in Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 1218 in Warkworth, Northumberland, Englandmap
Descendants descendants
Died before at about age 50 in Englandmap
Profile last modified | Created 27 Feb 2011
This page has been accessed 19,178 times.
Magna Carta Surety Baron
John FitzRobert was one of the twenty-five medieval barons who were surety for Magna Carta in 1215.
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"John FitzRobert (c. 1190-1240) held estates distributed across two regions of England, the far north along the Scottish border, and East Anglia and Essex. He accordingly had ties with the two main, but largely separate, groups of barons who rose in opposition to King John in 1216.

"John’s ancestors had a long tradition of service to the Angevin monarchy. His grandfather Roger FitzRichard through his military prowess had earned the favour of Henry II, who in 1158 granted him the castle of Warkworth in Northumberland and a few years later the castle and feudal honor of Clavering in Essex. John’s father, Robert, who came of age in 1191, served as sheriff of Northumberland in 1203 and received various grants of manors from John in 1204 and 1205. Robert was a man of wealth and made numerous additions to the great castle at Warkworth which are still visible in the castle’s fabric today, notably the Carrickfergus tower and the western part of the south wall.

"John, who succeeded his father in 1212, took over from the latter his established position in northern society, numbering among his associates Eustace de Vesci, William de Mowbray and Peter de Brus. However, he also spent time in East Anglia, where his great-grandfather had acquired estates through his marriage to a daughter of Roger Bigod, earl of Norfolk, and his father had strengthened the family’s position further by an almost equally valuable marriage to the daughter of the Norfolk landowner, William de Chesney. In 1213 and 1215 John served as sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk.

"Understandably, in the light of his and his family’s long tradition of royal service, John was a relative latecomer to the baronial cause. It was nonetheless a tribute both to his high standing and the strength of his ties in northern society that he was chosen one of the Twenty Five. After the renewal of hostilities in the autumn of 1215 he joined his associates in waging war against King John, but after the baronial defeat at Lincoln in May the following year he was among the earliest to offer submission to Henry III’s Minority government. He served as sheriff of Northumberland from 1224 to 1227."

About 1218, John married Ada de Balliol, "through whom he acquired the lordship of Barnard Castle in County Durham....[1] When he died in 1240, Matthew Paris, the chronicler of St Albans Abbey, wrote: 'In this year died John FitzRobert, a man of noble birth and one of the chief barons of the northern provinces of England'."

~ Biography courtesy of Professor Nigel Saul and the Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Committee


John FitzRobert de Clavering, of Warkworth, Corbridge, Newburn, Rothbury, and Whalton, Northumberland, Iver, Buckinghamshire, Clavering, Essex, Aynho, Northamptonshire, etc., Sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk, 1213-1215, Sheriff of Northumberland, 1224-1228[2]
Son and heir of Robert FitzRoger "by Margaret, daughter and heiress of William Fitz Walter (also known as William de Chesney).[3] Robert and Margaret married after the death of her first husband, Hugh de Cressy, who died before Michaelmas1189.[4]
Born before 1191 (of age at his father's death in 1212)[3] at Warkworth[citation needed][5]
Wife and Children
In about 1218,[6] John married Ada, daughter of Hugh de Balliol of Barnard Castle, by Cecily de Fontaines. Her maritagium included the barony of Stokesley, Yorkshire.[2] Ada and John had five sons and four daughers.[3]
  • Cecily FitzJohn, married Patrick of Dunbar, 7th Earl of Dunbar[3]
  • Alice[3]
  • Annor[3]
  • Margery[3]
King John, in 1213, had "ratified the grant of the castle and manor of Warkworth, made by King Henry II to his grandfather, Roger Fitz-Richard, as also of the manor of Clavering. In [the] years afterwards, he was appointed joint governor with John Marshall of the castles of Norwich and Oxford; but joining in the insurrection of the barons, and being chosen one of the twenty-five appointed to exercise the regal authority, his lands were seized by the king and a part confiscated. Returning, however, to his allegiance in the next reign, his castles and estates were restored to him."[8]
In 1221, he fought at the Siege of Bytham Castle, Lincolnshire. In 1225-1226 he was appointed an itinerant justice in Yorkshire.[3]
In 1229, "he was one of the great northern barons appointed by special command of the king to wait upon Alexander, King of Scotland, at Berwick-upon-Tweed, and to conduct that prince to York, there to meet the king of England, 'to treat upon certain affairs of great importance.' His lordship m. Ada, dau. and heir of Hugh de Baliol, and grand-aunt of Baliol, King of Scotland, and had issue, Roger, his successor; Hugh, surnamed 'de Eure,' from whom the Lords Eure descended; and Robert, ancestor of the Eures of Axholm, in Lincolnshire."[8]
John FitzRobert died shortly before 21 Februay 1240/41.[3][9] and was succeeded by his eldest son, Roger FitzJohn,[8] a minor.[10] "His widow Ada, daughter of Hugh de Baliol, appears to have been a woman of much character. She could not, however, even for 1,000 marks, obtain the guardianship of her son Roger fitz John, which Henry III bestowed on his own half-brother, William de Valence."[11] Ada died 29 July 1251[3] at Stokesley.[12]

Coat of Arms

John Fitz Robert: Quarterly or and gules; a bend sable. [13][14]
Image of Fitz Robert's Coat of Arms
Quarterly or and gules
a bend sable.
The arms of John Fitz Robert are found among the earliest examples of heraldry ever recorded, the Matthew Paris shields (MP39).
These arms can also be found for his sons and grandsons in the Falkirk Roll 1298 (H5, H17), the Caerlaverock Poem 1300 (K12, K13), the Parliamentary Roll 1312 (N27), the Camden Roll (D89 ), St. George’s Roll 1285 (E49 ), Charles’ Roll 1285 (F94).
The descendants of his son Hugh de Eure bore the same arms with three escallops argent on the bend.[15]

From The History of Warkworth Castle:[16][17][18]

"Quarterly or and gules; a bend sable.[19]
"John, constable of Chester, and his descendants differenced this coat with a label, till, at the end of the thirteenth century, Henri de Laci, earl of Lincoln, assumed a new coat—or, a lion rampant purpure.
"Sir John de Clavering bore (during his father's lifetime) a label vert at Caerlaverock, 1300 ; Sir Alexander charged the bend with three mullets argent, as did Sir Alan with three mullets or.
"Sir Hugh de Eure and his descendants bore three escallops argent on the bend."

Research Notes

Lord of Clavering

Richardson notes that "the lordship of Clavering" was given to Roger FItzRichard, Knt. in 1163 (Royal Ancestry, II:218 CLAVERING 2). Subsequent generations are shown as "of Clavering", but there was not a "Lord Clavering" until 1299, when John FitzRobert was summoned to Parliament "from 16 July 1299 to 20 Nov. 1331 by writs directed Johanni de Clavering, whereby he is held to have become Lord Clavering." (Royal Ancestry, II:225 CLAVERING 7.)[10]

Lord of Warkworth

Richardson shows John Fitz Robert as "of Warkworth [and] Clavering".[3][10] Weis names him "lord of Clavering and Warkworth".[20] But Lewis's entry for him in ORTNCA[21] implies that he was 3rd Lord Warkworth and Lord Clavering, by showing his father as "Robert FitzRoger, 2nd Baron Warkworth, Lord Clavering,..." and his son as "Roger FitzJohn, 4th Lord Warkworth, Baron Clavering". While Lewis includes citations to Richardson's Royal Ancestry and Magna Carta Ancestry, neither of those works show Robert, John, or Roger as a Baron (or Lord) of Warkworth or Clavering.[22]
Another source calls John FitzRobert "lord of Warkworth" and calls his son "the young lord of Warkworth" in observing that "[t]he want of a surname seems to have now made itself felt in the family, and the young lord of Warkworth called himself Roger fitz John de Baliol after his mother's family, while two of his younger brothers took the name of Eure after their father's manor in Buckinghamshire."[11]
Note that only Lewis assigns a number and capitalizes it (Lord, instead of lord). A comment left on another surety baron's profile in August 2019 noted that the entry for Baron in the online Encyclopaedia Britannica "gives a good explanation of the differences between a baron and a Baron." It seems the same applies here. The family at this time were lords (not Lords) of Warkworth.

Barony of Stokesley

Ada's maritagium included the barony of Stokesley, Yorkshire.[2]
The 1958 1000 Years of Stokes apparently took "Stokesley" to be the same as Stokes and gives the Claverings the surname "Stokes". It also includes the family in Northumberland who apparently were Stokes (see John Stokes).

Date Descrepancy

Richardson shows the death of his father, Robert FitzRoger, as "shortly before 22 December 1214"[4] but John's entry says that he was "born before 1191 (of age at his father's death in 1212)".[2] Perhaps Robert died in 1212 and the 1214 date is the date of the ipm. If not, that changes John's birth to "before 1193", which is compatible with the facts and also "born before 1191".


  1. Professor Saul's article had two wives, (1) Ada de Balliol, (2) Cecily de Fontaines. Richardson (Magna Carta Ancestry, I:487) names Cecily de Fontaines as the mother of Ada, and Ada as John's widow.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Douglas Richardson. Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 5 vols, ed. Kimball G. Everingham (Salt Lake City: the author, 2013), volume II, pages 219-221 CLAVERING 4.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 Douglas Richardson. Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 4 vols, ed. Kimball G. Everingham, 2nd edition (Salt Lake City: the author, 2011), volume I, pages 487-488 CLAVERING 1.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Richardson, Royal Ancestry, II:219 Clavering 3.
  5. John was "of Warkworth", but may not have been born there. Some sources say he was, such as 1000_Years_of_Stokes, cited as the source for John's birth about 1181 at "Warkworth, Marston St. Lawrence, Northumberland".
  6. Professor Nigel Saul, Biography of John FitzRobert (reprinted above with permission of the professor and the Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Committee).
  7. Richardson, Royal Ancestry, II:221 CLAVERING 5.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Sir Bernard Burke, Dormant and Extinct Peerages (Burke's Peerage, Ltd., London, 1883), p. 121, Clavering, Barons Clavering, and The Royal Families of England, Scotland, and Wales, with Their Descendants, Sovereigns and Subjects (Burke & Burke, 1868; Google Books), John FitzRobert, 3rd Lord of Warkworth and 1st Lord of Clavering, in Essex. Note: Burke is not considered a reliable source by the European Aristocrats Project and, therefore, is not a recommended source for Magna Carta Project profiles. (See the project's Reliable Sources page.)
  9. Richardson's Magna Carta Ancestry, I:487, has the year as 1241; Professor Saul's article says he died in 1240. Considering the new year started in March at the time, 1240/41 (old/new) matches both sources.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Richardson, Royal Ancestry, II:218-233 CLAVERING.
  11. 11.0 11.1 "The Border Holds of Northumberland: Warkworth Castle", Archaeologia Aeliana, Or, Miscellaneous Tracts Relating to Antiquity (volume 14, page 89; accessed 14 September 2019).
  12. Charles Cawley. Entry for John FitzRobert, "Medieval Lands": A prosopography of medieval European noble and royal families © by Charles Cawley, hosted by Foundation for Medieval Genealogy (FMG). See also WikiTree's source page for MedLands.
  13. Brault, Gerard J. Aspilogia II: Rolls of Arms of Edward I, 1272-1307. (London, 1967): pages 33, 66.
  14. Brault, Gerard J. Aspilogia III: Rolls of Arms of Edward I, 1272-1307, 2 vol. (London, 1997).
  15. See image on Hugh's profile.
  16. The History of Warkworth Castle (accessed 14 September 2019).
  17. The image shown in his Wikipedia article is not the same as the image shown by Richardson (see the beginning of for the Clavering chapter in Richardson's Magna Carta Ancestry, I:487). Both links accessed 14 September 2019.
  18. See also this image of FitzRobert arms (accessed 14 September 2019).
  19. The black and white image in Richardson's Magna Carta Ancestry (I:487 Clavering), the color image with this article on John, and the image uploaded (Clavering-13-1) and the image attached (The_Parliamentary_Roll-31) on 14 September 2019 match the description "Quarterly or and gules; a bend sable" ("or and gules" are gold and red).
  20. Frederick Lewis Weis, The Magna Charta Sureties 1215 (additions by Walter Lee Sheppard Jr, 5th Edition, 1999). Page 41.
  21. Marlyn Lewis. John FitzRobert, entry in "Our Royal, Titled, Noble, and Commoner Ancestors and Cousins" database (accessed 13 September 2019).
  22. The implication occurs from Lewis's style of placing callouts for a citation at the end of a phrase or sentence, regardless of whether all facts in the phrase or sentence are supported by the source or sources cited. In this case, they were not. It is why Lewis's database is not recommended as a source for Magna Carta Project profiles and is listed as "Reliable with Conditions" on the project's Reliable Sources page.
  • Richardson, Douglas. Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 4 vols, ed. Kimball G. Everingham. 2nd edition. Salt Lake City: the author, 2011. See also WikiTree's source page for Magna Carta Ancestry.
  • Richardson, Douglas. Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 5 vols, ed. Kimball G. Everingham. Salt Lake City: the author, 2013. See also WikiTree's source page for Royal Ancestry.
  • Sanders, Early English Baronies, p. 150.


Thank you to everyone who contributed to this profile. Click the Changes tab to see edits to this profile; from that list, click WikiTree IDs other than Clavering-13 to see changes to those profiles prior to being merged.

Magna Carta Project

John Fitz Robert of Clavering is a Magna Carta surety baron and has the Magna Carta Project as a manager.
See Clavering-13 Descendants for profiles of his descendants that have been improved and categorized by the Magna Carta project and are in a project-approved trail to a Gateway Ancestor. See this index for links to other surety barons and category pages for their descendants. See the project's Base Camp for more information about Magna Carta trails.

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If you do a google search using the words John Fitzrobert Douglas Richardson, you will find the relevant pages of Magna Carta Ancestry. Richardson doesn't try to give a marriage date or birth dates for the children; it seems that if we want numbers, we're going to have to resort to plausible speculation.
posted by [Living Schmeeckle]

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Categories: Magna Carta | Surety Barons | Early Barony of Whalton