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The de Villiers Family

Also known as Vilers, Vilars, Villars and Vilares. This early family is difficult to track. The following is my guess at their descent, with possible alternatives noted.

(-2) Sir Paganus de Villiers (c1020-1026)

Seigneur de Villiers. He was born in about 1020 in Lisle Adam, Normandy, France.

(-1) Sir William de Villiers (c1044-1058)
(-2) Sir Paganus de Villiers (c1020)

He was born in about 1044 [or as late as 1058]. Of Crosby, Lancashire.

(1) Sir Paganus de Villiers II (c1064-1082)
(-2) Sir Paganus de Villiers (c1020) (-1) Sir William de Villiers (c1044)

The First Baron of Warrington and the Lord of Bewsey. He was born in about 1064 [though this may be as early as 1055 or as late as 1082]. With these birth dates so unfixed, its possible that Paganus Jr. is the son, vice grandson, of Paganus Sr. Of Warrington, Lancashire. He was granted the Barony of Warington in 1087 by William I. He held fees in Croston, Bulham and Filingham. Paganus is latin for "rustic," that is non-Christian or heathen. Some descents list Richard and Matthew as sons of Paganus. My guess is that Matthew is a grandson. Windle manor was among those properties granted to him, probably in the reign of Henry I after the rebellion of Roger of Poitou.

The following, from "Lancashire and Cheshire, Past and Present," 1867, sheds some light on these questions.

". . . Paganus de Vilers (Villiers) who first possessed the feoff of Warrington, gave to Alan de Vilers his son, five carucates of land to be held by knight's service; that the same Paganus gave to the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem on carucate of land, in Bekanewshow, in alms; that he also gave to William de Vilers, his son, his land in Newbold, by knight's service, which William, the son of the younger Paganus, held by the same service; that the same Paganus gave to Alan, his son,the land of Trafford in knight's service, which Robert de Vilers held by the same service; that he also gave to Thomas de Vilers the half of Nothorp and land of Hole, and the land of Calverton, in knight's service, whence Robert de Vilers held Hold, and the half of Calverton, except one carucate of land, which the same William de Vilers, held, and the same Robert de Vilers, afterwards of Calverton, by the same service."

Arms: a shield, ermine, bearing six lioncels, gules. Who were his children? Here is where the dispute begins. They may include any of the following,
(2) Alan de Villiers (c1085)
(2) Richard de Villiers (c1085)
(x?) Emma de Vilers (c1180?)
(-2) Paganus de Villiers (c1020) (-1) William de Villiers (c1044) (1) Paganus de Villiers II (c1064)

The daughter of Paganus. She married Vivian Gernet of Halton. Pain de Vilers, gave one ploughland in marriage with his daughter Emma to Vivian Gernet. "Pain de Vilers, the original grantee gave one ploughland in marriage with his daughter Emma to Vivian Gernet. King John, son of Henry II who reined from 1199 to 1216, made the grant." Clearly she must be of a much later generation.

(2) Alan de Villiers (c1080)
(-2) Paganus de Villiers (c1020) (-1) William de Villiers (c1044) (1) Paganus de Villiers II (c1064)

The [eldest?] son of Pagunus and 2nd Baron of Warrington. He was noted to be the grandfather of Beatrix de Villiers. He held half of Windle manor and was known on some documents as Alan de Windle. He married Edusa. "Alan de Villiers, second son of the Baron of Warrington, was enfeoffed by his father in Trafford in the time of Henry I, whereupon his descendants have borne the name of Trafford to this day." - from "Family Names and Their Story" by Sabine Baring-Gould.

He had two sons, Matthew and Alan.

(3) Matthew de Villiers (c1105)
(-2) Sir Paganus de Villiers (c1020) (-1) Sir William de Villiers (c1044) (1) Sir Paganus de Villiers II (c1064) (2) Alan de Villiers (c1080)

The [eldest?] son of Alan Sr. and Third Baron of Warrington. Some place him one generation up as the son of (1) Sir Paganus. He was born at Bewsey Hall, Warrington, Lancashire. "A timber Anglo-Saxon church was repaired in 1156 by Matthew de Vilars, baron of Warrington. It was replaced by a stone church in the early thriteenth century by William Boteler, fifth baron. In the mid-fourteenth century, it was rebuilt by the ninth baron and, after further alterations, restored and enlarged between 1859 and 1867." - from British Archives, Warrington St. Elphin. He died in 1160.

(4) Beatrix (Beatrice) de Villers (c1126)
(-2) Sir Paganus de Villiers (c1020) (-1) Sir William de Villiers (c1044) (1) Sir Paganus de Villiers II (c1064) (2) Alan de Villiers (c1080) (3) Matthew de Villiers (c1105)

The daugther and heiress of Mathew de Vilers, though she is sometimes referred to as Paganus' grand-daughter. She may have been born later, circa 1140. She married Richard le Boteler Pincerna in about 1155. He held the powerful office of "Butler" to the Earl of Chester. Pincerna means butler. Richard became the Fourth Baron of Warrington. The heir of Beatrix and Richard, and subsequent generations, took the surname of "le Boteler" and ruled the Warrington region for centuries to come.

The de Boteler Family

The Boteler Arms were six covered gold cups on a blue background.

(4) Richard [or William] le Boteler Pincerna

He married Beatrix de Villers. He became the Fourth Baron Warrington upon the death of Matthew de Villiers in 1160. Richard died in 23 Henry II [1176] in Warrington.

(5) William I de Boteler (c1160)

The son of Richard and Beatrix. William Boteler was the Fifth Baron of Warrington. He was born in about 1160 in Sefton, Lancashire, being underage when he succeeded his father in 1176. The Sheriff of Lancashire, Radulf fitz Barnard, had his wardship. He came into possession of his estates on 27 Henry II [1181].

He married first Ada Workington in about 1215. She was the daughter of Thomas of Workington, the Lord of Curwen. Next William married Dionisia. In 1212 William de Boteler held the Barony and his lordship of Warrington included Oxford, Little Sankey, Great Sankey, Burtonwood, Rixton, Glazebrook and Culcheth.

A William le Boteler was one of the Barons at Runnymede, there were over 200, in June 1215 when King John was forced to sign the Magna Charta. He was not, however, one of the 25 Surety Barons, those responsible to ensure the document was carried out. He died sometime before 20 November 1233 in Warrington.

(6) Edith de Boteler (c1215)
(5) William I de Boteler (c1160)

She was born in about 1163 in Sefton. She married Richard De Molyneux, Lord of Sefton, in 1184 in Little Crosby, Sefton, Lancashire. Richard may also have married an Edith Garnette.

(6) Almeric de Boteler (c1216)
(5) William I de Boteler (c1160)

Emery, Alinerice, Almarica, Aimery. The Sixth Baron of Warrington. He was born in Warrington.

"His wife's name was Alina or Alicia, and she was probably a daughter of William Garnet, who, having survived her first husband Alemeric, afterwards married Walter de Stanton." - from "Annals of the Lords of Warrington for the First Five Centuries After the Conquest: With..." by William Beamont
He died before 4 Sep 1235 in Warrington, Lancashire, England. William Fitz Almeric, below, was Alicia's son.

(7) William II "Fitz Almeric" le Boteler (c1190)
(5) William I de Boteler (c1133) (6) Emery de Boteler (c1160)

The Seventh Baron of Warrington in 1212. He was also Sheriff of Lancaster from 1256 to 1259. In a deed dated 9 February 1272, I have a reference to the monks of Lytham and a Dom William, son of Aimery le Butler - Eboracensia deeds.

"Adjudication, by Ranulf de Dacre, sheriff of Lancaster, Richard le Butler, Adam of Houghton, Benedict Gerneth, Henry of Lea, Adam of Holland, John Devyas, knights, William of Singleton, Alan of the same, William de Mara, Nicholas of Wigan, John of Freckleton and Gilbert of Meols, appointed by Stephen, Prior, and the monks of Lytham and dom William son of Aimery le Butler, to clarify the ancient bounds between the several and demesne lands and pastures of Lytham towards the north and between Kilgrimoles and again between Kilgrimoles and William's demesne lands towards Layton, that the former are west to the sea from the old cross on Croshowe, from that cross to the other cross, put up on the road from Lytham towards Layton by agreement of the Prior and monks and William, and from that cross straight through the middle of the moss between Marton and Lytham north of the Miggylund to the stream called Swinebrigge, and that Kilgrimoles and the Northowes are common between them." Language: Latin 9 February 1271 [1272]
In 1255 he granted the village of Warrington a charter to hold a fair.

(8) Henry le Boteler (c1240)

(9) William le Boteler (c1258)

Baron of Warrington. He married Sibyl. He was born in about 1258 and died about 1328.

(10) William le Boteler (c1300)

Baron of Warrington. Of Bewsey. He married Elizabeth de Havering, the daughter of Nicholas de Havering. MP 1366, 1372, 1376-78, 1380. Knight of the Shire of Lancaster 1388, 1397-8. Baron of Warrington 1380-1400. He fought in Gascony and Aquitaine.

(11) Sir John Boteler (1335)

Baron of Warrington and a knight of the Shire. He was born in about 1335 at Bewsey Hall. He died in 1400. He married Alice de Plumpton, daughter of Sir William de Plumpton. He fought in Gascony and Aquitaine.

(12) William le Boteler (1374)

Baron of Warrington. He was born in about 1374. He married Elizabeth de Standish.

(13) Sir John le Boteler (1402)

Baron of Warrington. He was born on 26 February 1402 at Bewsey Hall, Warrington. He died on 12 September 1430 in Mappershall, Bedfordshire. He married Isabel Harington.

(14 ) Sir John Boteler II (1429)

Baron of Warrington. He was born on 24 August 1429 and died on 26 February 1463. MP. He married Margaret Stanley.

(15) Sir Thomas Boteler (1461)

Baron Of Warrington. Son of Sir John Boteler and Margaret Stanley. He was born in 1461 and died in 1522. He married Margaret Delves of Doddington.

(16) Sir Thomas Boteler II (c1490)

()Edward Boteler

The last of the line, Edward, spent most of his time in London in the company of the notorious Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, a favorite of Queen Elizabeth. He acquired considerable debts and tried to sell off his inheritance while his father was still alive. He died without heirs and his estates were seized by the Earl of Leicester in payment of debts. Richard Bold and Thomas Ireland of Childwall, a lawyer with a growing reputation, purchased the estate. Thomas Ireland was Baron of Warrington in 1622. Note: The Ireland family also became lords of Lydiate, a former Gernet family holding.

(3) Alan de Villiers II (c1105)
(-2) Paganus de Villiers (c1020) (-1) William de Villiers (c1044) (1) Paganus de Villiers II (c1064) (2) Alan de Villiers (c1080)

Of Windle. The younger son of Alan. He became known as Alan de Pemberton. He was succeeded by his son, (4) Alan de Villiers, whose heir was (5) Avice. She married Peter de Burnhill [or Brindle]. The Windle Manor inheritance seems to have been divided between daughters and granddaughters before 1212, when Alan the grandson of de Vilers was holding half of Windle; the other half being held by Robert de Vilers. From "Lancashire and Cheshire, Past and Present," 1867:

"Alan [Vilers], the son of Alan, held the land in Windle from Robert de Vilers [his cousin] and Alan, the son of Simon, held the land in Hassal from the said Robert by the same service."
Does that mean that Alan had a brother, Simon?

(2) Richard de Villiers (c1085)
(-2) Sir Paganus de Villiers (c1020) (-1) Sir William de Villiers (c1044) (1) Sir Paganus de Villiers II (c1064)

The son of Paganus de Villiers. Of Lancashire. He seems to have inherited Little Crosby. This village is 7 miles north of present-day Liverpool, in the parish of Sefton. It is claimed that he [or perhaps his son is meant] went on crusade with Edward I, though this is clearly wrong. If he did go crusading, when might it have happened?

The Crusades

The first Crusade was proclaimed in 1095 by Pope Urban II in response to an appeal for help from the Byzantine Emperor, Alexius I Comnenus. While a people's crusade under Peter the Hermit set out almost immediately, and were almost as quickly killed by the Turks, the crusading armies did not depart until the middle of 1096. Robert, Duke of Normandy and brother of William Rufus, led one of three armies. This was the most successful of the crusades and established a series of Christian kingdoms along the Mediterrean coast, including Jerusalem, in 1100.

These states, however, immediately came under counter-attack and, in 1144, the Principality of Edessa fell. The Second Crusade was called by the Pope in 1145 and lasted through 1148. A French and German army was led by Louis VII of France and his Queen, Eleanor, who later married Henry II of England. In 1147 an English fleet on its way to the Mediterranean captured Lisbon from its Moslem rulers. They never finished their voyage to the Holy Land. The Second Crusade was, in the end, unsuccessful.

The Ninth Crusade, from 1271 to 1272, was led by Prince Edward, later Edward I of England. He landed at Acre but retired after concluding a truce.

Richard might have gone on the First Crusade, if his birth date is just a little earlier, or his son Robert might have gone on the Second, though in that case he probably got no further than Portugaul.

(3) Sir Robert de Villiers (c1108)
(-2) Sir Paganus de Villiers (c1020) (-1) Sir William de Villiers (c1044) (1) Sir Paganus de Villiers II (c1064) (2) Richard de Villiers (c1085)

Lord of Little Crosby. He was born in about 1108, of Little Crosby, Lancashire, England. He held half of Windle manor. The other half was held his cousin, Alan de Villiers. Robert de Vilers perhaps resigned his rights at a later date, for in 1242 his lordship was in the hands of the Earl of Ferrers. About 1260, Robert de Ferrers granted his right in Windle to William le Boteler of Warrington, thus abolishing the mesne lordship formerly held by Vilers. Robert de Vilers appears to have left an heir of the same name whom some years later attempted to recover the lost rights, claiming suit from Peter de Burnhill and his wife Alice between 1274 and 1278. Alice, or Avice, was the heir of Alan de Villiers de Windle.

(4) Beatrice de Villiers (c1138)
(-2) Sir Paganus de Villiers (c1020) (-1) Sir William de Villiers (c1044) (1) Sir Paganus de Villiers II (c1064) (2) Richard de Villiers (c1085) (3) Sir Robert de Villiers (c1108)

Of Little Crosby, Lancashire, England. She was said to be the daughter and heiress of Sir Robert de Villiers, the son of Richard de Villiers, a crusader under Edward I. She married Robert de Molyneux of Sefton, the son of Adam de Molyneux and Annora le Garnet, in about 1153. He became the Lord of Little Crosby. Beatrix had been ambitious to be a queen and was in love with King John. She was loath to leave him, but was given by the King in marriage in 1158 to Robert, one of his Barons. She bitterly cursed the House of Molyneux and all that bore the name, calling down maledictions of misery, blasting their loves with tragedy.

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(2) Henry de Villiers (c1080)

Henry may not be related to this family. I leave him here for future reference. He was the first commander of Loughor Castle, Swansea, Wales circa 1116. The representative of the Earl of Warwick, Henry de Beaumont. The Earl gave the Manor of Loughor and Llandeilo Talybont to Henry de Villiers.

Steve Hissem
San Diego, California