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Margery Poynings
(c.1310-1349)

'Lady De La Beche of Aldworth'
Born: circa 1310
Died: 1349

Margery was the daughter of Michael, Lord De Poynings. She was first married to Edmund Bacon, of Essex, who was descended from Sir John Bacon of Ewelme (Oxfordshire). She held the Manor of Hatfield Peverall, which Edward II had granted to Edmund Bacon in fee in 1310, for the term of her life, 'partly of the King and partly of the Earl of Hereford by homage, and the third part of a knight's fee and two pairs of gilt spurs of twelve pence price.' And she also held Cressing Hall or Cressinges, Essex.

By her first husband, Margery had one daughter, Margery Bacon, born 1337, who married, in 1352, William De Molynes, son of Sir John De Molynes, and she had also a step-daughter Margaret Bacon - daughter of Edmund Bacon, by his first wife Joan De Braose - who married William, 2nd Baron Kerdeston, of Norfolk.

As her second husband, Margery married Nicholas, Lord De La Beche of Aldworth (Berkshire) in 1339. They had no children and Nicholas died in 1345. To Margery, he left his castle of Beaumys, in Swallowfield, amongst other lands. Margery must have been still quite young and she was still a great heiress. Consequently, she was exposed to the designs of many suitors and, the following year, we find her mentioned as the wife of both Thomas D'Arderne and Gerard De L'Isle. And again, that same year, Lady Margery De La Beche was carried off and forcibly married to Sir John De Dalton. Very possibly the black death, which was raging this year, may have cut off Thomas D'Arderne and Gerard de L'Isle within a few months of each other.

John De Dalton was son of Robert De Dalton, a large landowner in Lancashire. Accompanied by many lawless friends, amongst whom were Henry De Tildersley, Hugh Fazakerley, Sir Thomas Dutton, Sir Edmund De Mauncestre and William Trussell (the latter had the Manor of Wokefield, Berkshire, so that he was a near neighbour of Beaumys), on Good Friday, 7th April 1347, before dawn, John De Dalton and his companions broke into the Castle of Beaumys and carried off Margery, Lady De La Beche, and many other prisoners. They killed Michael Poynings, uncle to Lady Margery, as also Thomas the Clerk of Shipton, and frightened Roger Hunt, the domestic chaplain, to death. Goods and chattels were also stolen to the value of 1,000. In consequence of this assault, a writ was directed to the Sheriff of Lancashire to arrest John De Dalton and all his accomplices and commit them to the Tower of London. On the same day, John D'Arcy, Keeper of the Tower, was commanded to receive Sir John De Dalton, his companions and Robert, his father. A precept was also issued to the Sheriffs of Berkshire and other counties to seize, into the King's hands, all the lands, goods and chattels of the said Margery. Thomas De Litherland, the Prior of Buscogh, Tildersleigh and Dutton, were tried and convicted at the summer assizes for Wiltshire, holden before William De Thorpe, Chief Justice of England, and others, but were pardoned on 28th November following.

At the same time, we read, in 1347, of John, 3rd Baron De St. John, upon the death of his mother, 'being so infirm that he could not come to the King to do his homage, had respite thereof and livery of those she held in dower.' He died on 8th April 1349, leaving, by his wife Katherine, daughter of Geoffrey De Say, who succeeded him and who was then twenty years of age. In a roll of 1348, we find an order for the sale of woods "pertaining to Margery who was wife of Nicholas De La Beche, ore la femme Johan, son of Robert De Dalton, by reason of the forfeiture of the said John for treasons and felonies." The said Lady Margery died this same year, 'seised of Swallowfield.'

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