Saier (Quincy) de Quincy
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Saher (Quincy) de Quincy (abt. 1165 - 1219)

Saher (Saier) "1st Earl of Winchester" de Quincy formerly Quincy aka de Kenci
Born about [location unknown]
Ancestors ancestors
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married before 1191 [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died at about age 54 in Damietta, Egyptmap
Profile last modified | Created 2 Mar 2014
This page has been accessed 45,791 times.
Magna Carta Surety Baron
Saier de Quincy was one of the twenty-five medieval barons who were surety for Magna Carta in 1215.
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Birth and Parentage

Saher de Quincy was the son of Robert de Quincy and Orabilla/Orabel de Leuchars.[1][2][3][4] His birth date is uncertain: Cawley speculates that it may have been in the period 1165-1170.[3]

Marriage and Children

Saher married Margaret Beaumont[1][3][4], probably in or before 1190.[1][2][3] They had five sons and three daughters:


Saher held lands in Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, Northamptonshire, Suffolk, and East Lothian in Scotland, and, through his wife, in Leicestershire and Oxfordshire.[2]

Reign of Richard I

By the end of the 1180s, Saher began to be listed as a witness to Scottish deeds.[1]

He was recorded in 1190 as a proposed envoy to the Scottish king.[2] In August 1198 he was with Richard I in Northern France.[1][2]

Reign of King John

In 1200 Saher was present when William the Lion of Scotland paid homage for his lands in England to King John at Lincoln.[1][2][4]

In 1203 he granted some of his Scottish lands to Abbeys in Scotland.[2] That year he and Robert FitzWalter held the castle of Vaudreuil, Normandy, for King John, but surrendered without resistance to Philippe Auguste of France[1][2][4]: he and Robert were held at Compiègne until a ransom of £5000 was paid.[2] He was released before May 1204[4], when he is recorded in England.[2]

Before 10 February 1206/7 Saher was made Earl of Winchester.[1][2][3][4] (There is some evidence from charters that he was briefly recognised as Earl of Winchester in the mid-1190s.[2])

In 1209 Saher took part in a diplomatic mission to Scotland.[1] The following year he fought for King John in Ulster.[1][2][4] In 1212 he went as ambassador to the Holy Roman Emperor Otto IV.[1][2]

In 1215 Saher joined in the baronial opposition to King john, and he was a Surety Baron for the Magna Carta.[1][2][3][4] His continuing opposition to John led to his excommunication in December 1215.[2][3][4] He and Robert FitzWalter went to France to offer the English crown to Louis, the French king's son, and came back to England in January 1216 accompanied by a substantial French force.[1][2][3][4] His English lands were confiscated and entrusted to William Marshal.[2][3][4]

Reign of Henry III

Saher continued siding with Louis of France on the accession of Henry III. On 20 May 1217 he was captured in the Second Battle of Lincoln. In September that year he returned to allegiance to the English crown, and his lands were restored soon after.[2][3][4]

Fifth Crusade and Death

Saher de Quincy joined the Fifth Crusade in 1219. He died on 3 November 1219 of illness during the siege of Damietta, Egypt. He was buried at Acre.[1][2][3][4] His heart was burned and later interred at Garendon Abbey, Leicestershire.[3] His widow did not remarry, and died on 12 January 1234/5.[2][3][4]

Saher died owing money to the Crown. On 2 August 1220, the Sheriff of Wiltshire was ordered to safeguard his chattels and corn in lands inherited by himself and his wife, which were to be used to meet his debts and fulfil his will, and held at the date he set out for Jerusalem until he received further orders. A week later the Sheriff of Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire was ordered to have corn and chattels on lands in those counties valued and handed over to Saher's widow after she had given security for debts Saher owed the Crown.[7]

Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Biography

by Professor Nigel Saul
"Saer de Quincy’s career is illustrative of the complex of ties that held the English and Scottish nobilities together as part of an international chivalric elite whose interests spanned personal and regnal allegiances. The son of Robert de Quincy (d. 1197) and his wife Orabile, daughter of Ness, lord of Leuchars in Fife, he acquired English interests by virtue of his marriage to Margaret (d. 1235), daughter of Robert, earl of Leicester (d. 1190). Another member of his family, an uncle likewise called Saer, had served Henry II in Normandy in the 1180s and his son in turn, also confusingly called Saer, acquired lands in England which eventually were to descend to his namesake.
"Saer’s early career was spent mainly in Scotland. In the 1180s and 1190s he witnessed several charters of the Scottish kings and confirmed his parents’ grants to Newbattle Abbey, near Edinburgh, and made new gifts to the abbeys of Dunfermline and Cambuskenneth. Following his father’s inheritance of the other Saer’s lands he moved to England and entered the service of Richard the Lionheart, fighting alongside the king in 1198. In 1202 and 1203 he served with John in Normandy, being appointed with Robert FitzWalter joint castellan of the strategic Norman stronghold of Vaudreuil. In the spring of 1203 the pair, offering no resistance, surrendered the castle to King Philip of France, who was then over-running Normandy, and John in disgust refused to contribute to their ransom. There is evidence that Saer and Robert may have contracted a relationship of brotherhood-in-arms: Saer’s arms before he became earl bore a small shield bearing Robert’s arms of a fess between two chevrons, while Robert’s surviving seal carries the arms adopted by Saer after he became an earl.
"In 1204 the death without issue of his brother-in-law, the earl of Leicester, brought a dramatic improvement in his fortunes, as the earl’s heirs were his two sisters, one of whom was Saer’s wife. By 1207 a partition of the family’s estates had been made, and Saer, by right of his wife, found himself taking over valuable and extensive lands in the English Midlands, the other part of the inheritance going to the second sister, the wife of Simon de Montfort the elder. In recognition of his enhanced status, Saer was awarded the title of earl of Winchester. From this time on, he was often employed in John’s service, leading an embassy to Scotland in 1212 and acting as justiciar between 1211 and 1214.
"Despite his apparent closeness to John, however, he had unresolved grievances relating to properties of which he felt he had been deprived, notably Mountsorrel castle in Leicestershire, a part of his wife’s inheritance that King John had denied him. In 1215 he went over to the opposition, joining their ranks at his principal residence of Brackley (Northants.). He marched with the rebels to London and was present at Runnymede. When war erupted again in October between the king and his opponents, he and another of the Twenty Five, the earl of Hereford, headed an embassy to France to seek French assistance and to offer the crown to Philip’s son, Louis. In January 1216 he returned to England with a force of French knights, followed in May by the dauphin and his army.
"Although John’s death later in the year presented an opportunity for reconciliation between rebels and royalists, Quincy remained steadfast in his allegiance to the former and their champion Louis. In the spring of 1217 he learned that his rival, Ranulph, earl of Chester, was besieging Mountsorrel, and on 30 April he and FitzWalter led an army to its relief, only to find on arrival that the siege had been lifted. They then turned east to attack the royalist-held castle of Lincoln, unaware that a royal army was coming to its relief, and under the walls of Lincoln, on 20 May, they were defeated. Saer himself was taken prisoner. In September he was released as part of the general settlement and he went on to play a respectable part in the Minority government of Henry III. In November he was a witness to the reissue of Magna Carta and issue of the Charter of the Forest.
"In the spring of 1219 he embarked on crusade to assist in the siege of the Egyptian port of Damietta in the company of his son Roger, Robert FitzWalter and William, earl of Arundel. Soon after his arrival in Egypt, however, he fell ill, and he died on 3 November. In accordance with his instructions, he was buried at Acre and the ashes of his organs returned to England for interment at Garendon Abbey (Leics.), of which he was patron.
"Saer’s career affords a good illustration of the role that a dispute over property could play in determining political allegiance. The same point emerges with equally clarity from other periods of instability in the Middle Ages, notably the civil war of King Stephen’s reign in the 1140s. Saer was one of the most experienced administrators in the ranks of the opposition, having served as a baron of the exchequer and a justice of the bench, and was heavily involved in the negotiations with the king that led to the making of Magna Carta."

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

Research Notes


Margar Harnell was previously given as a wife of Saher de Quincy. He had only one wife, Margaret de Beaumont, and Margar Harnell may never have existed.

Death Date

Cawley mentions three sources which suggest a death date of 1220 rather than 1219 - the Annals of Dunstable, Matthew Paris and the Chronicle of Ralph of Coggeshall.[3] The 3 November 1219 death date is supported by the necrology of Garendon Abbey in Leicestershire.[3]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, entry for 'Quincy, Saer de, earl of Winchester', print and online 2004, revised online 2005, available online via some libraries
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 2.26 2.27 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. See also WikiTree's source page for ‘’Magna Carta Ancestry.’’ Vol III, pages 403-407, QUINCY 1
  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 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 3.20 Charles Cawley. Saher I de Quincy, entry in "Medieval Lands" database (accessed 20 April 2019), a prosopography of medieval European noble and royal families © by Charles Cawley, hosted by Foundation for Medieval Genealogy (FMG)
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 G E Cokayne. The Complete Peerage, revised edition, Vol. XII, Part II, St Catherine Press, 1959, pp. 748-750, WINCHESTER Earldom I
  5. Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, Vol. III, pp. 412-413, QUINCY 2
  6. Charles Cawley, Medlands, entry for Richard Harcourt d.1258
  7. Henry III Fine Rolls Project, Fine Roll C 60/12, 4 HENRY III (1219–1220), entries 208 and 222, web
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, entry for 'Quincy, Saer de, earl of Winchester', print and online 2004, revised online 2005, available online via some libraries
  • 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’’. Vol IV, pages 437-441
  • 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.’’ Vol III, pages 403-407, QUINCY 1
  • "Medieval Lands", online database, Charles Cawley, accessed 3 June 2014
  • Wikipedia: Saer de Quincy, 1st Earl of Winchester
  • Cokayne, G E. The Complete Peerage, revised edition, Vol. XII, Part II, St Catherine Press, 1959, pp. 748-750, WINCHESTER Earldom I
  • Cawley, Charles. Saher I de Quincy, entry in "Medieval Lands" database (accessed 20 April 2019), 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.
  • Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, entry for 'Quincy, Saer de', Wikisource
  • Lewis, Marlyn. Our Royal, Titled, Noble and Commoner Ancestors & Cousins, accessed 3 June 2014, entry for Saher de Quincy


Magna Carta Project

Saher de Quincy is a Magna Carta surety baron and has the Magna Carta Project as a manager.
See Quincy-226 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.
This profile was revised for the Magna Carta Project by Michael Cayley in December 2019.

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Comments: 23

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I realize that the dates given for the birth of their 8 children are approximations. But do we know if they were born approximately in the order shown in the bio section? Thank you again for answering so many questions. Saher is my direct ancestor (via Hawise).
posted by Harold Bullock
As far as I am aware we do not know the birth order of the children.You can go to their profiles for the information we have found.

This is standard for this period.

Inheritance information may help to indicate which was the oldest son still alive when a parent died, but that is quite often the most we have to go on. That son may have had older brothers who died earlier.

posted by Michael Cayley
edited by Michael Cayley
When it says in his bio that his body was buried in Acre, is that to mean Acre in Israel? Also, in the statue of him at the Temple Church, London, he is portrayed as very dark-skinned. Is that simply an artistic artifact of the sculptor, or was he said to be very dark-skinned (perhaps Arabic or African) in real life?
posted by Harold Bullock
Israel did not exist as a State at this time. But it would have been Acre in the Crusader States.

The colour of the statue will reflect the material it is made of (and the way that material has aged). It will not be intended to be a skin colour.

posted by Michael Cayley
edited by Michael Cayley
can we accept that the improbable birth dates for Loreta and Hawise are either wrong or that they were not his daughters?
posted by Stephan Hurford
They are well-sourced as daughters. There are no firm birth dates for either of them. Hawise was probably born between 1200 and 1212, which is what is said on her bio. I have adjusted the birth date field to about 1205. I have also adjusted Loretta's birth date to about 1190 as it is believed her parents married by then.
posted by Michael Cayley
This profile's background image is a coat of arms. The Magna Carta Project is proposing guidelines for background images which would prohibit using coat of arms. If you would like to comment on the proposal, please see


posted by Liz (Noland) Shifflett
Thanks, John - that is autocorrect in action :-)
posted by Michael Cayley
You say he had only one wife, Margaret but then say Margaret may never have existed. Did you mean Margar Harnell?
posted by John Sigh Jr.
Magna Carta project logo
100% 5-star profile (see more at Magna Carta Project Star Profiles)
posted by Michael Cayley
I have now finished the main work I intend on this profile. If anyone spots any typos etc, please correct them. Thanks!
posted by Michael Cayley
I plan to revise this profile, and make it more compact, as part of what I am doing for the Magna Carta Project on Surety Barons. In the process I will replace the text copied and pasted from Burke’s Peerage and Medlands.
posted by Michael Cayley
I agree with Andrew Lancaster and Chase Ashley on this. I think it is inappropriate to use "Sir" for someone of this period. Knighthood as we would understand it had not come into being at this time.
posted by Michael Cayley
I agree with Chase Ashley about the use of "sir" in this period. Concerning Richardson, I think his relatively unusual ideas about how to modernize and standardize names is one of the areas where he is least followed, or seen as an authority. Complete Peerage is still the more respected authority for names. It call him Saher de Quency IV. (2nd ed, Vol12ii p.748)
posted by Andrew Lancaster
Liz - you can take removing scroll boxes here off your list - I removed all three that were on this profile.

Now the profile is on my list to combine repetitive text into a smooth narrative:)

Hi! I've put this on my to-do list for 2018, but if someone else wanted to tackle it...

This profile needs to be redone because scroll boxes use coding that is no longer allowed in WikiTree - see this page for policy, posted in response to my G2G question.

Cheers, Liz

posted by Liz (Noland) Shifflett

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Categories: Fifth Crusade | Second Battle of Lincoln | Magna Carta | Surety Barons