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Robert Holland

Lord Holland
Born: 1270, probably at Upholland, Lancashire
Died: 7th October 1328 at Borehamwood, Hertfordshire


The members of this prosperous family of whom, in the course of three generations, there were seven knights of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, derived no particular lustre from their ancestry. Sir Robert Holland, was the first of this gentle, but inconsiderable, stock, settled at Upholland in Lancashire, who acquired any celebrity. He was son of Sir Robert Holland and his wife, Elizabeth, daughter of William De Samlesbury, and served in the wars of King Edward I in Scotland (1314 & 16). Robert, however, owed his rise and advancement to his situation as secretary to the mighty and unfortunate prince, Thomas Plantagenet, Earl of Lancaster. Through his master's power and influence, he obtained, from King Edward II, permission to crenellate his properties at Upholland and Bagworth and added, to his lands, divers valuable grants in Derbyshire, as well as the government of Beeston Castle in Cheshire. Under the same auspices, probably, he was further enriched by his marriage with Maud, one of the daughters and co-heiresses of Alan, Lord Zouche of Ashby; and, soon after that event, in 1314, he was summoned to parliament amongst the Barons of the Realm. Robert took sides with Lancaster in his various contentions with the King; amongst them, the murder of the King's favourite, Piers Gaveston, for which he was pardoned. Having attained eminence, however, he eventually ill requited the generosity which had conducted him to it and deserted, if not betrayed, his illustrious patron, in his hour of greatest need, either just before or after the Battle of Boroughbridge (1322). Though initially treated as a Lancastrian rebel, Robert's lands were restored to him by 1327. Soon afterwards, certain adherents of the fallen and popular prince seized the unfaithful servant in Boreham Wood near Elstree, in Hertfordshire, and struck off his head. Despite his founding a Benedictine Priory at Upholland, he is said to have been buried in the Grey Friars' Church in Preston, Lancashire, where he was also a patron. Robert was succeeded, in his Barony, by his eldest son, also Robert; though it was his second son, Thomas, who rose to great heights.

Edited from George Frederick Beltz's
"Memorials of the Most Noble Order of the Garter" (1861).    Copyright ©2001, LLC