The Barony of Ewyas Harold

Ewyas Harold is a village in the Golden Valley of Herefordshire. The first construction on the site of Ewyas Castle is believed to have been built by the Saxons before William the Conqueror arrived. The original was a motte and bailey castle. But following the Norman conquest, this was rebuilt by William Fitz Osbern at the request of the king, who also made Fitz Osbern the Earl of Hereford at the same time.

Fitz Osbern’s nephew, Alfred de Marlborough, was a powerful Saxon nobleman. He’d retained his lands after William’s arrival and thus clearly had considerable influence. One can only assume that this fact persuaded Fitz Osbern to grant Alfred a barony centred around the castle. And thus… the Barony of Ewyas Harold came into being in 1067.

A Woman’s Touch

In 1070, Fitz Osbern was killed at the Battle of Flanders and the title began its journey via inheritance. By 1198, it was with its fourth owner. The then owner, Robert de Ewyas, died leaving a daughter, Sibyl. King Richard granted Sibyl in marriage to Robert de Tregoz, who became the 5th Baron of Ewyas Harold by right of his wife.

All would seem quite straightforward to this point. However, twelve years later in 1210, William de Newmarket challenged de Tregoz’s right to be married to Sibyl. In a surprising turn of events, he claimed that he had been previously married to her under the gift of Sibyl’s father. Who knows how much veracity there was in the claim, however the attempt failed and Sibyl remained with Robert de Tregoz. When Robert then died in 1213, the title reverted back to Sibyl.

A year later, Sibyl’s popularity as a wife had seemingly not diminished. Walter paid £1,000 for the land and hand of Sibyl in marriage to his son, Roger Clifford of Tenbury. This made Roger the next Baron of Ewyas Harold. Sibyl’s magic touch on men, however, had made its mark, and Roger then died, and the barony reverted back to her once more. She then married Roger de Clifford, who was the Keeper of Salisbury and Clarendon Castles. He’d paid £1,000 to King John for this right.

The Barons Wars

Sybil’s son, Robert de Tregorz, became the 6th Baron of Ewyas Harold in 1236 when Sibyl finally died. Robert’s connections with the monarch were strong, and twenty years later, King Henry gave Robert some deer from Braydon Forest to enable him to restock a herd in one of his domains. However, four years later, Henry summoned Robert to fight against the Welsh.

At this point, Robert decided to break his ties with the king and refused the call. Instead, he joined the rebellious barons.

The 7th Baron of Ewyas Harold

When Robert was slain at the Battle of Evesham in the Second Barons War, his son, Sir John, took on the title. Sir John was in King Edward’s service and spent time in Wales, Scotland, and Gascony. He was clearly quite a fighter and survived several battles, including the Battles of Falkirk and Stirling between 1277 and 1300.

But in 1300 when he died, he left two co-heirs; John, the son of his daughter Clarice and wife of Roger de la Warre, and his second daughter Sibyl, who was married to William Grandison.

John, as the senior heir was the person granted the Castle of Ewyas Harold. Interestingly, however, though he claimed all the knight’s fees and advowsons for the Ewyas Harold barony, the Council in Chancery ordered that these were shared equally between Sibyl and William.

The Barony Splits

The Clarice moiety (share) continued to pass down the Warre family into the West family until Thomas West, the 9th Baron de la Warre, when that family estate was divided yet again between female heirs.

The Sibyl moiety passed down the Grandison family, and the two shares never joined again. Thus, over time the barony then lost its administrative and military significance and slipped into obscurity.

Now the title has not been used for over 700 years. And it’s a shame that a title with such rich history is sitting dormant. Would you like to incorporate the name of Ewyas Harold within your family? Can you see yourself being the next Baron of Ewyas Harold?

If you’d like to find out more about this rare title, please contact us 01327 828602 or We’d be delighted to tell you more. You can also find out additional information by clicking here.