Sir William de Ferrers of Groby

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Sir William de Ferrers, Earl of Derby

Birthplace: Groby, Leicestershire, England (United Kingdom)
Death: December 20, 1287 (42-51)
Groby, Leicestershire, England (United Kingdom)
Place of Burial: Groby, Leicestershire, England, UK
Immediate Family:

Son of William de Ferrers, 5th Earl of Derby and Margaret de Quincy, Countess of Derby
Husband of Anna Durward and Eleanor de Lovaine
Father of William de Ferrers, 1st Baron Ferrers
Brother of Robert de Ferrers; Lady Elizabeth de Ferrers; Joan (the Younger) de Ferrers, Baroness Berkeley; Agnes "the younger" Muscegros; Bertha de Ferrers and 1 other
Half brother of Agnes Vescy, the elder; Isabella de Ferrers, Lady Mohun; Matilda (or Maud) de Ferrers; Lady Sibyl de Bohun; Joan d'Anguillon, the Elder and 4 others

Occupation: Knight
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Sir William de Ferrers of Groby

William de Ferrers (1240-1287) of Groby Castle in Leicestershire was the younger son of William de Ferrers, 5th Earl of Derby (c.1193-1254) of Chartley Castle in Staffordshire, by his second wife Margaret de Quincy, daughter and heiress of Roger de Quincy, 2nd Earl of Winchester (c.1195-1264).

He founded the line of Ferrers of Groby, having been given Groby Castle by his mother Margaret de Quincy.[2] Having rebelled against King Henry III, he was taken prisoner at the Battle of Northampton in 1264, but was later pardoned.[3] In 1282 He was with King Edward I in the Army of Wales.


Firstly, Anne, whose identity is uncertain, possibly a daughter of Hugh le Despenser, Justiciar of England by his wife Aline Basset (per The Complete Peerage), or of Alan Durward and Margery of Scotland, (per Oxford Dictionary of National Biography).[4] By his first wife he had issue:

William married first Anne Durward,[5] widow of Colban of Fife, Knt., 8th Earl of Fife, and daughter and co-heiress of Sir Alan Durward, Usher of the King of Scots and Justiciar of Scotland, and Marjory, illegitimate daughter of Alexander II, King of Scotland. They were married in about 1270.[2][6]

They had one son:

  1. William, Knt., 1st Lord Ferrers of Groby, born 30 January 1271/2, died 20 March 1324/5, married Margaret de Segrave and had issue, married second Ellen (or Eleanor) ________[2][3]

William married second Eleanor de Lovaine,[5] daughter of Sir Mathew de Lovaine[4] by his wife Muriel.[2] The date and place of their marriage are unknown and are estimated.


Sir William de Ferrers died shortly before 20 December 1287.[2][4]

William's widow, Eleanor, went to Scotland to claim some of William's lands and was abducted by Sir William "the Hardy" de Douglas before 28 January 1288/9. Douglas was imprisoned, released 15 May 1290, and soon after was married to Eleanor as his second wife.[2][4] They had two sons.[2] William died at the Tower of London before 24 January 1298/9. Eleanor remarried William Bagot, Knt. in 1305. Eleanor was living 3 May 1326.[2][3][4] She had no issue with her third husband.[2]

Disproved Marriage

Sir William de Ferrers of Groby was not married to Anne le Despenser

Complete Peerage states, with no sourcing, that William's first wife Anne was said to be a daughter of Hugh le Despenser.[4] Douglas Richardson disproved this in 2008 and provides several sources to prove William's marriage was to Anne Durward. See this 2008 conversation in soc.genealogy.medieval for detail. < link >

Unsourced Children

Julianne (de Ferrers) Longueville was detached as William's daughter. No reliable source was found for this connection and she is not named as a daughter by Richardson. See 2018 discussion on Julianne's profile.

Lady Anne de Ferrers & Matilda (or Maud) de Ferrers are seen as children of Sir William de Ferrers of Groby and Anne le Despenser and have been disconnected from both as their children. There are no sources offered. [EH, 18 April 2022]


William de Ferrers born about 1240 Groby, Leicestershire, England died 20 December 1287

William Ferrers obtained, by gift of Margaret, his mother, the manor of Groby in Leicestershire, assuming the arms of the family of De Quincy. He married:

Anne Durward, daughter of Alan Durward[2]; their son was William de Ferrers, 1st Baron Ferrers of Groby.

Eleanor, daughter of Matthew Lovaine.

William de Ferrers, Knt., of Groby (in Ratby), Leicestershire, Woodham Ferris, Stebbing, and Fairstead, Essex, Ware, Hertfordshire, Newbottle, Northamptonshire, Constable of Scotgland,2nd son, born about 1240. In 1251 his father gave him the manor and advowson of Woodham, the manor of Stebbing, the capital messuage at Chiche (now St. Osyth), and lands in Fairstead, Essex, to hold in tail general, buy the service of five knights’ fees. Between four and five years later, before he was of age, he had livery of these lands; subsequently he exchanged them with his mother for lands in Scotland and Galloway, but he again had entry therein, with her consent, 16 days before her death in Feb, 1280/1. About 1260 his brother, Robert de Ferrers, Earl of Derby, gave him the manor of Bolton (in Great Bolton), Lancashire, together with all his lands in the wapentake of Leyland, Lancashire, including the manors of Bispham, Bolton, Bretherton, Charnock (in Charnock Richard), Chorley, Duxbury, Heath Charnock, Mawdesley, Shevington, and Welch Whittle, Lancashire. He married (1st) in 1270 Anne Durward, widow of Colban of Fife, Knt., 8th Earl of Fife (died 1270), and daughter and co-heiress of Alan Durward, Knt., of Coull and Lumphanan, Aberdeenshire, Lintrathen, Angus, Lundin, Fife, Reedie (in Airlie), Forfarshire, Urquhart, Moray, etc., Usher of the King of Scots, Justiciar of Scotland, by Marjory, illegitimate daughter of Alexander II, King of Scots. They had one son, William, Knt. [1st Lord Ferrers of Groby]. He was summoned for military service from 18 March 1263/4 to 14 March 1282/3. He was among the prisoners taken after the conflict at Northampton 5 or 6 April 1264, and was committed by Edward the king’s son to the custody of Roger de Leybourne. Roger demanded an excessive ransom, threatening to take him to Ireland if he did not pay it; on 5 Jan. 1264/5 Roger was ordered to release him and let him come to the king. William was admitted to the king’s presence and pardoned all trespasses committed by him up to 11 July 1266. His wife, Anne, was co-heiress in 1275 to her father, by which she inherited the baronies of Coull, O’Neill, and Lumphanan, Aberdeenshire. In 1275-6 Adam de Holland claimed and recovered 16 acres in Euxton, Lancashire of William de Ferrers. In 1277-8 Henry de Asteleg’ arraigned an assize of novel disseisin against him and others touching a tenement in Chorley, Lancashire. In the same period William son of Henry de Holecroft arraigned an assize of novel disseisin against him and others touching common of pasture in Chorley, Lancashire. In May 1280 the king permitted William to retain the manor of Groby (in Ratby), Leicestershire, of which his mother had eneoffed him, for a fine of 40 marks. In 1280-1 Henry le Fevre arraigned an assize against him touching a fosse levied in Chorley, Lancashire. In 1280-1 he arraigned an assize of novel disseisin against John de Roselis touching a tenement in Newbottle, Northamptonshire. He was with the king in the army of Wales in 1282. He was summoned to attend the king at Shrewsbury 28 June 1283, by writ directed Willelmo de Ferrariis. He was summoned to a military council 14 June 1287. He married (2nd) Eleanor de Lovaine, daughter of Matthew de Lovaine, Knt., of Little Easton, Essex, by his wife, Muriel. At at unknown date, he gave to Charley Priory 5 ½ acres near their sheepfold for the purpose of enlarging the courtyard of the priory; sometime before 1272, he likewise gave the same priory 30 acres of land in the Milne-leghs by Charley, Leicestershire. Sir William de Ferrers died shortly before 20 Dec. 1287. His widow, Eleanor, subsequently journeyed to Scotland with the view of obtaining possession of the jointure to which she was entitled from the lands held by her deceased husband in Scotland. She was abducted by William de Douglad, Knt., nicknamed The Hardy, of Douglas, Lanarkshire, Faudon, Northumberland, etc., from the manor of Ellen la Zouche at Tranent, East Lothian, Scotland shortly before 28 Jan. 1288/9, on which date the Sheriff of Northumberland was ordered to take his lands into the king’s hand and arrest and imprison him. Douglas was imprisoned in Leeds Castle, Kent, but was released 15 May 1290. Upon the payment of a fine of £100, the marriage of Eleanor was granted to him 18 Feb. 1290/1, which marriage soon afterwards took place, she becoming his second wife. They had two sons, Hugh [clerk] and Archibald, Knt. He is first mentioned in 1256, when his father, William de Douglas, Knt., declared he was then under age. In 1267 he was severely wounded in defense of his father’s house at Faudon, Northumerland. In 1288 he imprisoned Hugh de Abernethy, Knt., in his castle of Douglas, who was one of the assassins of Duncan, Earl of Fife. In 1291 he was commanded by King Edward I of England to release the prisoner to William de St. Clare. The same year he and other Scottish magnates did homage to King Edward I as Lord Paramount of Scotland. He was one of the barons who disregarded the summons calling upon them to attend the first Parliament held by John de Balliol as King of Scotland 10 Feb. 1292. Shortly afterwards he refused to pay part of his mother’s jointure, in consequence of which she proceeded against him before the justiciaries and obtained a judgment, appointing her to be infeft in certain lands, and awarding her 140 marks in damages. When the officers of the king proceeded to Douglas to execute this decree, he seized them and confined them for a night. He was arraigned before the king’s second Parliamanet held at Sterling 3 Aug. 1293. He pleaded that the officers were wrong in levying the damages so soon. He was, nevertheless, found guilty, and committed to prison, but soon released. In Oct. 1295 he was appointed Governor of Berwick Castle when that place was besieged by King Edward I of England. The town having been taken by storm 30 March, he capitulated the same day on security for life and limb. After swearing faelty to the English monarch 10 June 1296, his lands in the shires of Fife, Edinburgh, Berwick, Dumfries, and Wigtown were restored to him by special favour; his manor of Fawdon, Northumberland, however, was made over to Gilbert de Umfreville, Earl of Angus. His submission was of short duration, however, for he soon joined Wallace in the spring of 2397, in consequence of which Robert de Brus laid waste his lands in Douglasdale, and carried his wife and family captive into Annandale. He obtained possession of Sanquhar Castle by stratagem, in which place he was besieged until relieved by Wallace. He was one of the leaders of the Scottish host, when in the neighborhood of Irvine, it found itself in the presence of the English army under the command of Percy 9 July 1297. He was one of the chief negotiators of the Treaty of Irvine then made, which treaty failed to secure the submission of Scotland. Finding that many of the barons for whom he had acted drew back from the agreement and delayed the delivery of their hostages, he considered himself bound in honor to surrender to the English generals, by whom he was conveyed to Roxburgh. On 12 Oct. following, he was sent to the Tower 12 Oct. 1297, where he died shortly before 24 Jan. 1298/9. After his death, the lands which his widow, Eleanor, held in dower of her first husband were restored to her, those in England 24 Jan. 1298/9, and those in Scotland 22 July 1302. In 1305 she sued Robert de Umfreville and Lucy his wife for dower in the manor of Faudon (in Ingram), Northumberland. Sources: Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, Douglas Richardson, Kimball G. Everingham, Editor, Volume 1, 2nd Edition, 2011, 290 – 291.

Sir William de Ferrers
BIRTH 1240
Woodham Ferrers, Chelmsford Borough, Essex, England
DEATH 24 Jan 1288 (aged 47–48)
Groby, Hinckley and Bosworth Borough, Leicestershire, England
St. Philip and St. James Churchyard
Groby, Hinckley and Bosworth Borough, Leicestershire, England
MEMORIAL ID 71688990

William de Ferrers, of Groby in Leicestershire, younger son of William de Ferrers, 5th Earl of Derby, and his second wife, Margaret de Quincy, who having been granted by his mother Groby Castle, founded the junior line of Ferrers of Groby.

Family Members
William de Ferrers
Margaret De Quincy Ferrers

Anne de Ferrers

Joan Ferrers Berkeley
Robert de Ferrers
Elizabeth Marshall de Ferrers Gruffydd

Half Siblings
Agnes de Ferrieres
Isabelle de Ferrers
Maud "Matilda" de Ferrers Rochechouart
Eleanor de Ferrieres
Joan de Ferrers

William de Ferrers

view all 40

Sir William de Ferrers of Groby's Timeline

Groby, Leicestershire, England (United Kingdom)
January 30, 1272
Yoxall, Staffordshire, England
December 20, 1287
Age 47
Groby, Leicestershire, England (United Kingdom)
January 13, 1932
Age 47
January 13, 1932
Age 47
January 13, 1932
Age 47
January 13, 1932
Age 47
January 13, 1932
Age 47
January 13, 1932
Age 47