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Sir Gilbert De Unfreville

Earl of Angus Lord of Redesdale was born 1244 in Castle, Prudhoe, Northumberland, England and died before October 13, 1307 in Castle, Prudhoe, Northumberland, England and buried at Priory, Hexam, Northumberland, England. He married before October 13, 1307 in Castle, Prudhoe, Northcumberland, England to Elizabeth (Agnes) Comyn who was born about 1248 in Buchan, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

Gilbert was seven years old at his fathers' death and was the ward of Simon De Montfort, Earl of Leicester, he giving a fine of 1,000 marks to the king for the same. Held Prudhoe and Redesdale and is styled Earl of Angus. In 1291 he became governor of the castle of Dundee and Forfar and whole territory of Angus. He was summoned to Parliament as Baron Prudhous, 24 June, 1295, and as Earl of Angus Jan 26, 1297. He married Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of John Comyn. Sir Gilbert De Umfreville, Lord of Redesdale 1245-1307, Earl of Angus (1245)1267-1307, Baron of Prudhoe 1283-1307

G.W.S. Barrow lists Gilbert as the earl of Angus from 1267 presumably on the death of the previous incumbent Gilchrist unless the title was temporarily taken away from him. Other sources claim the Umfrevilles held the Earldom from 1243 or from 1245. Gilbert's mother Maud was the daughter of Earl Gilchrist and Maud the sister of William King of Scotland. Gilbert married Elizabeth the daughter of Alexander Comyn, Earl of Buchan and produced 3 sons. The eldest, Gilbert (died early, before 1307) married Margaret De Clare. The second son who became the next Earl was Robert. The third son Thomas became a knight at the court of either Edward II or III and may have had descendants in the south of England.

Gilbert alienated Chollerton in about 1268 and sold it in 1274. The Inspeximus Maximus of 1298 lists the donation of Cholverton Chapel to the Priory of St. Andrew's at Hexham by Odonell De Umfreville, most likely Gilbert's uncle Odonell. We know that Chollerton and Birtley had been released to him by Richard of Chollerton which may mean that Odonell died before 1274 if Gilbert was able to do with it what he wanted. On June 13th 1291 Gilbert was at Upsettlington Nr Norham Castle on the river Tweed with the Guardians and magnates of Scotland to swear individual fealty to Edward I. Earlier that year Gilbert had refused to surrender the castles of Forfar and Dundee, which were in his keeping, to Edward declaring that he had been entrusted them by the community of the realm of Scotland and not the King of England. Gilbert did hand them over at this meeting. Earl Gilbert is known for his stubbornness; he so frequently exceeded his authority within Redesdale that in 1293 he was brought before Newcastle assizes and the following charges brought against him: That he erected a gallows at Alwinton without license from the crown. That his Bailiffs fined both those that appeared and those that failed to appear before his courts whether they lived in the Liberty or not. That he did seize the cattle of a John of Hirlaw for grazing on common land, sell two of them and had three more for his kitchen.

In his defense Gilbert claimed that only he or his justices could deal with cases within the Liberty. He claimed a river crossing tax at Elishaw on the Scots border which he said he only exacted from Scotsmen! Gilbert argued that the wardenship of the Liberty entitled him to many privileges, for example, all legal cases concerning the Liberty were to be heard in his courts before his Justices; he could free criminals from his jail at Harbottle castle and deal with injustices concerning the inspection of bread and ale. He claimed the right to hold a market at Harbottle every week on Tuesdays and hold an annual fair on 8th September. He could also hold a Sunday market at Elsdon and an annual fair there on 16th August.

Gilbert was summoned to the English Parliament in 1296 and in 1298 he accompanied Edward I on his military expedition to Scotland to fight William Wallace at Falkirk (22nd July). In 1306 he was one of the Scots Earls opposed to Robert Bruce who had just seized the crown from John Balliol. Gilbert died in 1307, the same year as King Edward. It is his tomb cover that resides in Hexham Abbey.

The Inspeximus maximus of 1298 is a charter from the reign of Edward I and was written to legally establish which lands were donated to the upkeep of the Priory of St. Andrews in Hexham as the previous records had been destroyed by a recent Scots raid in 1296. The Abbey and town had been razed and a year later the Priory was attacked again by William Wallace. This is a very useful document as it lists property donated by specific landowners. It is witnessed by Gilbert Earl of Angus who was buried there 9 years later.