The Phillips, Weber, Kirk, & Staggs families of the Pacific Northwest

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  • ID: I00338
  • Name: Hugh de MORVILLE , of Burgh & Knaresborough 1 2 3
  • Sex: M
  • ALIA: Hugh de /Moreville/
  • Birth: ABT 1138 in Burgh-by-Sands, Carlisle, Cumberland, England
  • Death: 1202 in Knaresborough Castle, Yorkshire West Riding, England 4
  • Death: 1204 5
  • Note:
    This Hugh de Morville was one of the murderers of Thomas a Becket on 29 Dec 1170 (along with William de Tracy, Reginald FitzUrse, and Richard le Bret). Note: There is a difference of opinion about whether this Hugh (or his nephew Hugh) was the murderer of Thomas a Becket--see e-mail from Dennis Theriot far below.

    The following post to SGM, 5 Jan 2003, by Hal Bradley, differentiates the ancestry of Hugh who participated in the murder of Thomas a Becket, 1170 and d. in 1204 from the other Hugh who m. Beatrice de Beachamp:

    From: "Hal Bradley" (hw.bradley AT
    Subject: RE: Morville-Stuteville-Beauchamp
    Newsgroups: soc.genealogy.medieval
    Date: 2003-01-05 15:48:49 PST

    I believe you are conflating two distinct individuals. Hugh de Morville, who died in 1204, was one of the murderers of St. Thomas of Canterbury. He was most probably the son of Simon de Morville, who held the barony of Burgh-by-Sands, Cumberland, in right of his mother, Ada, daughter of William de Engaine. This Hugh married Helewise de Stuteville. He should be distinguished from Hugh de Morville (d. 1162) father of Richard de Morville (d. 1189), who married Beatrice de Beauchamp.

    I can provide references if desired.


    Note that I differ from the ancestry given for Hugh in the following notes, given in a post-em by Curt Hofemann, curt_hofemann AT I agree with The Complete Peerage which has Hugh as son of Simon & Ada d'Engaine, while the text below has Hugh the son of Hugh & Ada d'Engaine.


    The following information was provided in a post-em by Curt Hofemann, curt_hofemann AT

    from: Wedgewood website at

    Hugh de Morville, d. 1204, one of the murderers of St. Thomas of Canterbury, was most probably the son of Hugh de Morville, who held the barony of Burgh-by-Sands, Cumberland, and several other estates in the northern shires, in succession to his mother, Ada, daughter of William de Engaine(1). He must be distinguished from Hugh de Morville (d. 1162) son of Richard de Morville (d. 1189) and from Hugh de Morville (d. 1200). Hugh's mother was licentious and treacherous(2), he ‘was of a viper's brood.’ From the beginning of the reign of Henry II he was attached to the court, and is constantly mentioned as witnessing charters. His name occurs also as a witness to the Constitutions of Clarendon. He married Helwis de Stuteville, and thus became possessor of the castle of Knaresborough.

    He was forester of Cumberland, and itinerant justice for Cumberland and Northumberland in 1170, and he held the manor of Westmereland. He had been one of Becket's men when he was chancellor; but he had always been of the king's party, and he was easily stirred by the king's bitter words to avenge him on the archbishop. In the verbal contest which preceded the murder he asked St. Thomas ‘why, if the king's men had in aught offended him or his, he did not complain to the king before he took the law into his own hands and excommunicated them’(3) While the others were smiting the saint he kept back with his sword the crowd which was pouring into the transept from the nave, ‘and so it happened that with his own hand he did not strike him’(3). After all was over he fled with the other knights to Saltwood, thence to South Malling, later to Scotland; but he was finally forced to flee to his own castle of Knaresborough, where he sheltered his fellow-criminals(4). There they remained, though they were accounted vile by all men of that shire. All shunned converse with them, nor would any eat or drink with them(4).

    Finally a penance of service in the Holy Land was given by the pope, but the murderers soon regained the royal favour. In 1200 Hugh de Morville paid fifteen marks and three good horses to hold his court with the rights of tol and theam, infangenetheof, and the ordeal of iron and of water, so long as his wife, in whose right he held it, should retain the secular habit. He obtained also license to hold a market at Kirkoswald, Cumberland, on One of the Murderers of St. Thomas of Canterbury.

    Thursdays, and a fair on the feast of St. Oswald(5). He died shortly afterwards (1204), leaving two daughters: Ada, married in 1200 to Richard de Lucy, son of Reginald of Egremont, and afterwards to Thomas de Multon, and Joan, married to Richard de Gernum, nephew of William Brewer, who had been appointed her guardian.

    Legends soon attached to his sword, as to the sword of Tracy. It was said to have been long preserved in Carlisle Cathedral, and a sword, with a much later inscription, now at Brayton Castle, is supposed to be the one which he wore on the day of the murder. This is the most probable account of his last years. But it may be that he was the Morville who was Richard I's hostage in 1194, in which case he would be noteworthy as having lent Ulrich of Zatzikoven the Anglo-Norman poem which Ulrich made the basis of his ‘Lanzelet.’ Tradition also states that he died in the Holy Land, and was buried in the porch outside the church of the Templars (afterwards the Mosque el Aksa) at Jerusalem. The tomb is now inside the building.

    (1)WILLIAM OF CANTERBURY in "Materials for Life of Becket, i. 128; RICHARD OF HEXHAM, Chron. Stephen, &c., Rolls Ser. iii. 178).

    (3)ROGER OF PONTIGNY Materials, iv. 73.
    (4)BENEDICT OF PETERBOROUGH, Rolls Ser., i. 13)
    (5)LYSONS, Cumberland, p. 127)
    Materials for the Hist. of Becket (Rolls Ser.), vols.i-iv.; William of Newburgh, lib. ii. cap. 25 (Rolls Ser. Chronicles Stephen, Henry II, and Richard I, i. 161-5); Benedict of Peterborough, Rolls Ser. i. 13; Garnier, ed. Hippeau, pp.178-200; Pipe Rolls (Pipe Roll Soc.), 5 Henry II p. 29, 6 Henry II p. 14, 7 Henry II p. 35, 8 Henry II p. 51, 9 Henry II p. 57, 10 Henry II p. 11, 11 Henry II p. 47, 12 Henry II p. 35, 13 Henry II p. 78, 14 Henry II p. 79, 15 Henry II p. 31; Thomas Saga, ed. Magnsson, Rolls Ser. i. 514; Foss's Judges of England, i. 279, 280; Stanley's Memorials of Canterbury, 4th edit. pp. 70, 107, 196; Lysons's Cumberland, p. 127; Eyton's Itinerary of Henry II, pp. 33, 53, 68, 78, 145, 150, 152; Robertson's Life of Becket, pp. 266 sqq.; Morris's St. Thomas Becket pp. 137, 407 sqq.; Norgate's Angevin Kings, ii. 78, 432 note n; Gent. Mag. 1856, i. 380-2.

    Contributor W. H. H.
    PUBLISHED 1894
    ©Oxford University Press 1995
    Converted to HTML by John Wedgwood Pound B.A. (Hons)



    The following e-mail from Dennis Theriot, denther AT, cites a source that has Hugh's nephew as the murderer of Thomas a Becket:

    Dear Jim,

    I do not believe that Hugh de Morville, ID:I00338, of Burgh-by-Sands was the murderer of Becket. I will quote K. J. Stringer, "Earl David of Huntingdon", p 196, Edinburgh University Press, 1985: "If we take the twelfth and thirteenth centuries as a whole, there are merely two important examples of partition between surviving sons, and each arose in exceptional circumstances rather than from any deep-seated family desire 'to keep English estates distinct from Scottish'. The Brus partition of c. 1138 was followed by the division of the Moreville lands: the former had been precipitated by war, the later was dictated by King Henry II. In the 1140's King David had settled the lordship of north Westmoreland upon his Constable, Hugh de Moreville of Lauderdale and Cunningham (d. 1162). But when the northern shires were surrendered in 1157, Henry II recognized the Moreville title only on the condition that Hugh stood down in favor of his (oldest?) son and namesake, subsequently a member of Henry II's military household, an Angevin royal justice, and one of the assassins of Thomas Becket. King Henry's concern to reassert systematically his powers in the north country was made fully explicit when Hugh II died on pilgrimage to Jerusalem in c. 1173. Most of Westmoreland proper thereupon escheated to the crown, although Hugh was survived by his brother Richard, successor in 1162 to Lauderdale and Cunningham and the Constableship of Scotland, and by his sister Maud, wife of William de Vieuxpont II. Here the royal will made a rare intervention in succession and descent." Stringer goes on in a note: " It has usually been assumed that the younger Hugh de Moreville's estates escheated for his support of the Scots in 1173-4."

    According to this "Hugh the Murderer" was the son of Hugh de Morville (d 1162) and Beatrice de Beauchamp. So I will repeat what I said in my last e-mail, I believe that Simon de Morville of Burgh-by-Sands, ID: I04650, was (1) the brother of Hugh the Constable, (2) father of Hugh of Burgh-by-Sands, and (3) uncle of Hugh the Murderer. Stringer may be wrong, but that is my reference. Apparently, Hugh the Murderer left no children.

    Dennis Theriot

    Father: Simon de MORVILLE , of Burgh-by-Sands, Sir b: ABT 1118 in Kirkoswald, Penrith, Cumberland, England
    Mother: Ada d' ENGAINE , Heiress of Burgh-by-Sands b: ABT 1124 in Burgh-by-Sands, Carlisle, Cumberland, England

    Marriage 1 Helwise (Helewise\Heloise) de STUTEVILLE b: ABT 1154 in Lazenby, Cumberland, England
    • Married: AFT 1184 in 2nd husband
    1. Has Children Ada de MORVILLE b: ABT 1187 in Burgh-by-Sands, Carlisle, Cumberland, England
    2. Has Children Hugh de MORVILLE , of Burgh-by-Sands, Sir b: ABT 1196 in Burgh-by-Sands, Carlisle, Cumberland, England

    1. Title: Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists, 7th Edition, by Frederick Lewis Weis, additions by Walter Lee Shippard Jr., 1999
      Page: 40-26
    2. Title: Complete Peerage of England Scotland Ireland Great Britain and the United Kingdom, by G. E Cokayne, Sutton Publishing Ltd, 2000
      Page: VIII:248
    3. Title: Magna Britannia: volume 4: Cumberland (1816), pp. 135-141. URL:
      Page: 45-50, see notes for Maud le Meschin, b. c1069
    4. Title: Newsgroup: soc.genealogy.medieval, at groups -
      Page: Rosie Bevan, 7 Sep 2002
    5. Title: Newsgroup: soc.genealogy.medieval, at groups -
      Page: Hal Bradley, 5 Jan 2003
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