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View Tree for Sir Robert LAWRENCESir Robert LAWRENCE (b. 1150)

Robert LAWRENCE (son of Unknown LAWRENCE) was born 1150 in Lancashire, England.

 Includes NotesNotes for Robert LAWRENCE:

Lawrences of Ashton Hall

I have found two conflicting genealogies for the ancestry of the Lawrences of Ashton Hall. The first is the most commonly published ancestry by H. G. Somberby and others. According to this genealogy, the Lawrences of Ashton Hall are descended from a Robert Lawrence born about 1150 A.D., or about 1155/60 A.D., depending on the writer, in the vicinity of Lancaster, England. One source indicates that his father also was named Robert and worked as a silversmith for the Lord of Lancaster Castle. Lancaster Castle was established about 1100 A.D. on the remains of three Roman forts and today is a prison.
Robert Lawrence joined the Third Crusades in 1187 A.D. led by Richard Couer de Lion. He traveled by ship first to Cyprus and then to what is now present day Palestine. There he took part in the siege of Acre. One version indicates that he scaled the walls of Acre with four other men and opened the gates to the armies of the Crusades. Another version indicates that he was the first to raise the flag of the Crusades on a Palestine hill during the siege of Acre. For his deeds he was knighted by King Richard in 1191 A.D. and was given Ashton Hall. Another writer indicates that he was created a Knight-Banneret (a military Knighthood and the highest grade in the Middle Ages) and was allow to bear for Arms, "Agent, a cross ragulée gules," a red cross of trunks of trees having pieces like couped boughs projecting from the side in a slanting direction, on a silver shield. This Arms is registered with the College of Arms in London, England. Sir Robert Lawrence also is referred to Robert de Lancaster in some texts. This probably is more accurate as surnames did not come into common use until the late 1200s or early 1300s.
According to the Imperial Gazetteer of England, Ashton Hall is the seat in the township of Ashton-with-Stoddy, Lancashire, between the Preston and Lancaster railway and the estuary of the Lune, about 2 and 3/4 miles south of Lancaster. Ownership of Ashton Hall eventually passed by marriage to the Dukes of Hamilton.
One source indicates that within the halls of Ashton Manor is a silver cup adorned with the motif of Roman armies and the Roman General, Julius Agricola who was born in the year 40 A.D. Legend indicates that General Agricola arrived in Lancaster in the year 89 A.D. where he and his armies built the first wooden fort upon a hill where Lancaster Castle stands. During his stay, he met and fell in love with a young British girl by whom he had a son. He was unable to take the girl and child with him when he returned to Italy where he had a large estate, wife, and children. He gave the cup to the girl as a legacy. The son supposedly became the first silversmith in a long line of silversmiths and, according to legend, was the direct ancestor of the above Robert Lawrence. No basis for the legend appear in existing records but no doubt the thousands of Romans marching through England left some genetic connections behind.
There are no Doomsday Book of 1086 lists for Lancaster, nor fees lists, or fines lists that mention the name Sir Robert Lawrence. However, his existence is proven by the recording of his knighthood in the College of Arms and his mentioned in the French scribe's rendition of the Intinerarium, a day by day account of the Third Crusades.
Manuscripts written by Schuyler Lawrence disputes the above account of the ancestry of the Lawrences. His account can be found in a communication to the editor of the New England Historical Society written December 1935 and which can be found at the LDS Family History Library on microfilm no. 0517241. He also wrote a Lawrence Family Record Series of manuscripts containing the following: Part I, A Bibliography of the Lawrence Family; Part II, The Lawrences, Squires of Ashton, Lancs.; Part III, A Branch of the New Jersey Lawrences by the Hon. Warren Wirt Henry Lawrence; Part IV, Lawrence of Chelsea, Middlesex, and of Delafore, Ivor, Bucks 1570-1750, Baronets 1628-1714; Part IX, A Partial List of Lawrence Rectors and Ministers in English Parishes; and Part X, Miscelleneous Lawrence Pedigrees. I have not identified or located Parts V through VIII.
Only two copies of Schuyler's manuscripts supposedly exist in the United States and four copies in England. The two copies in the U. S. are at the Library of Congress and the New York Public Library, main branch. I have been unable to locat the copy at the Library of Congress. However, the New York City Public Library does have a copy on microfilm.
According to Schuyler Lawrence's account, the Lawrences did not take possession of Ashton Hall until almost 100 years after the Crusades. The first mention of the family is in a suit filed in 1292 where Lawrence de Lancaster sets forth his claim to 30 acres of land in Skerton. The suit mentions the first three generations of the family begining with Roger de Lancaster but has no mention of a Sir Robert Lawrence or Sir Robert de Lancaster. The son of Lawrence de Lancaster, John, was the first to use the surname Lawrence taking it from the given name of his father. This was one of the many ways surnames came into being. John Lawrence was granted Ashton Hall for life in 1324. One of the sources for this information is the Victoria History of Lancashire written in the early 1900s. This work is based primarily on land records and is not a work from which it is easy to put together a pedigree. A copy of the Victoria History of Lancashire is on microfilm at the Library of Congress. I have made copies of the parts dealing with the Lawrences and Ashton Hall, examine them, and conclude that they substantiate Schuyler's findings. I, however, to date have been unable to research other references that he cites.
Perhaps the Roger de Lancaster mention in Schuyler's manuscript was a descendant of the Sir Robert Lawrence or de Lancaster of the Crusades. The Arms given in the College of Arms is the Arms that is used by this Lawrence Family.
The two different lineages appear to basically agree, with a couple of exceptions, starting with Sir Robert Lawrence, b. 1371, who married Margaret Holden, and from whom many of the American Lawrences are descended.
A comparison of these two lineages is outlined in below.
According to H. G. Somberby & Others
1) Sir Robert Lawrence, b. about 1155/60, d. 1216, had arms (a cross raguley, gules) conferred upon him by Richard Coeur de Lion, for his bravery in scaling the walls of Acre, A.D. 1191
2) Sir Robert Lawrence, b. about 1185/90, m. about 1215 dau. or Trafford, Esq. of Lancashire
3) James Lawrence, m. about 1252 Mitilda de Washington, dau. of John de Washington
4) John Lawrence, m. about 1283 Margaret Chesford, dau. of Walter Chesford
5) John Lawrence, d. about 1360, m. Elizabeth Holt, dau. of Holt of Stabley in Lancashire
Note: Somerby appears to have left out a generation. The dates provided by Schuyler Lawrence would indicate that Sir Robert probably was not the son but the grandson of John Lawrence.
6) Sir Robert Lawrence, b. about 1350, m. Margaret Holden, dau. of Holden of Lancashire
7) Sir Robert Lawrence, m. Amphilbus Longford, dau. of Edward Longford
8) Sir James Lawrence
The pedigree that I have from Somerby doesn't follow the main line beyond this point
According to Schuyler Lawrence & Victoria History of Lanchashire
1) Roger de Lancaster
2) Thomas de Lancaster
3) Lawrence de Lancaster
4) John Lawrence d. after 1350, m. Elizabeth Holt
5) Edmund Lawrence d. 1381, m. (1) Alice de Cuerdale, m. (2) Agnes de Washington, dau. of Robert de Washington
6) Sir Robert Lawrence b. 1371 d. 8 Sep 1439, m. Margaret Holden
7) Robert Lawrence, Jr. (not knighted) d. 1450, m. (1) Amphibilis Longford, m. (2) Agnes Croft
8) Sir James Lawrence b. 1428 d. 1490, m.(1) Cicily Botler, m. (2) Eleanor, wid. of Thomas, Baron Hoo & Hasting, coheir of Lionell de Welles
9) Sir Thomas Lawrence, m. Mabilla Redmain (According to Schuyler Lawrence, but I think this is an error as there is another Thomas Lawrence, the second son of Sir Robert Lawrence and Margaret Holden who is also said to have married Mabilla Redmain. There, however, could have been two Mabilla Redmains.)
10) Sir John Lawrence, died without issue
It is this latter pedigree that is presented here.
Other Discrepancies
Additionally, the Somerby pedigree continues with the descendants of Nicholas Lawrence of Agercroft indicating that Nicholas was the son Sir Robert Lawrence and Amphilbus Longford. Schuyler Lawrence indicates that this Nicholas died without issue and that the Nicholas Lawrence of Agercroft that founded that line was a son of Edmund Lawrence who married a daughter of Miles de Stapleton.and who was a brother of the Robert Lawrence who married Amphilbus Longford.
Another conflict arises where Schuyler Lawrence indicates that the children of Robert Lawrence, son of Robert Lawrence and Amphilis Longford, and his wife Margaret Lawrence, daughter of John Lawrence of Rixton, are Robert, John, and William and none of them had issue. However, Charles A. H. Franklyn in his A Genealogical History of the Families of Paulet (or Pawlett), Berewe (or Barrow), Lawrence, and Parker indicates that Robert and John are the sons of Robert and Margaret, but that William is the son of John, not his brother, and that William had six children. Isaac Lawrence, who marries Grisell Lawrence, daughter of Sir John Lawrence, Baronet, of London, and sister of Robert Lawrence, the immigrant to Isle of Wight, Virginia, is descended from this William Lawrence.
Sir Robert Lawrence, Baronet, is descended from Arthur, son of Thomas Lawrence, the second son of Robert Lawrence and Margaret Holden, and Thomas' wife Mabilla Redmain.
Origins of the Name Lawrence
Lawrence is derived from the Latin Laurus or Laurentius. It has been given various meanings among which is "flourishing like a bay tree" and "crowned with laurel," both implying that the owner of the name was successful. Variations of the name are Laurence and Lawrance with the spelling Lawrence being the most prevalent in modern times. In old English records Lawrence also is found spelled Laurens or Laurenz, the French spelling, indicating that the family origins may have been from the Normans who invaded and conquered England in the Eleventh Century. In colonial records, all three spellings are found as well as other variations such as Larrance depending on the individual doing the recording. It is not unusual to find various spellings referring to the same individual.
Lawrence families in America actually can be traced to several different countries. Once in America their surnames took on the more common Lawrence spelling. These include the French Laurens and Laurenz mentioned earlier, the Spanish Lorenzo, and the German Lorrentz. The Lawrence family depicted here, however, is of English descent.
The earliest bearer of the name is Laurentius, the chief deacon of Pope Sixtus II, Bishop of Rome in 258 A.D. Laurentius also in known as St. Lawrence, the Martyr. He was overwhelmed with grief when Pope Sixus was condemned to death. Overjoyed when Sixus predicted that he would follow him in three days, he sold many of the Church's possessions and donated the money to the poor. When the prefect of Rome heard of his action, he had Lawrence brought before him and demanded all of the Church's treasures. Lawrence indicated that he would need three days to collect them and then presented the blind, the crippled, the poor, the orphans, and other unfortunates to the prefect and told him that they were the Church's treasures. This infuriated the prefect, and he had Lawrence bound to a red-hot griddle. Lawrence bore the agony with unbelievable equanimity and in the midst of his torment instructed the executioner to turn him over, as he was broiled enough on one side. According to Prudentius, his death and example led to the conversion of Rome and signaled the end of paganism in the city.
The first with the name in England was Lawrence the Monk, who was one of those sent to Britain to convert the islanders to Christianity about 916 A.D.
The Armorial Bearings of the Lawrence Family
There are some variations in the Lawrence Coat of Arms as used by various branches of the family, however, they are basically the same. The Virginia-North Carolina branch of the family uses the one described below.
Crest a demi-turbot in pale gu (erect fish tale in pale red - this is of religious significance)
Shield argent (silver), a cross raguly gules (a red cross of trunks of trees having pieces like couped boughs projecting at the sides in a slanting direction)
Motto "In Cruce Salus" (liberally translated, "In the cross there is salvation")
Among the variations is the addition of two lions on the shield as described in the will of Thomas Lawrence (New York branch), immigrant brother of John and William Lawrence who arrived in New England on the Planter in 1635. These variations may be due in part to the fact that the Lawrences and the Washingtons "quartered" their arms. "Quartering" means that the shield of the armorial bearings were divided into four quarters and a part of the court of arms of each was inscribed on that of the other.
Conventions Used in the Report
If the surname of an individual is unknown, I have indicated this by a ?. In most cases this is for the wife of a family member and is followed, in parenthesis, by the name of her husband, i.e., (w-o Thomas Lawrence) where the w-o indicates "wife of."
Dates that are "estimated" are the best guess as to missing dates that can be made and should not be construed as actual dates.

Children of Robert LAWRENCE are:
  1. +Sir. Robert LAWRENCE, b. 1191, Ashton Hall.
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