William Ferrers, 1st Baron Ferrers of Groby

William Ferrers, 1st Baron Ferrers of Groby (31 January 1272 – 20 Mar 1325) was an English peer who lived under two kings, Edward I and Edward II. His baronial caput was Groby in Leicestershire.

Background and early life

Ferrers' grandfather was William de Ferrers, 5th Earl of Derby. His father, also named William (c.1240-1287), had been a significant figure in the Second Barons' War between King Henry III and Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester. His mother was Anne Durward, daughter of Alan Durward and Margery of Scotland.[1]

Born in Yoxall (Staffordshire), William Ferrers became the ward of Nicholas Seagrave until 1293, when William received livery of his estates.[1]


By 1295, Ferrers was abroad on royal service, and acting as Edward I's agent at the Duke of Brabant's court in Hainault. Although he was short of money at the time (having had to mortgage the Newbottle manor for £200), this did not prevent him taking part in the King's military campaign.[2][3] Other royal service included on the Scottish Marches under both King Edwards in their various campaigns there.[1] In 1296, under the King's instruction, the Keeper of Scotland, John de Warenne restored Ferrers to his Scottish estates that the King still held. He fought at the Battle of Falkirk on 22 July 1398 and at the Siege of Carlaverock two years later. Following the siege, the Keeper of Galloway also by order of King Edward, restored to Ferrers those estates in that region that the King had still held. In 1301 William Ferrers was signatory to the (eventually unsent) Barons' Letter of 1301 to Pope Boniface VIII, in which Ferrers and 95 other English barons and five English earls repudiated the Pope's claim to overlordship of the Kingdom of Scotland.and defended the aggressive policy of King Edward I.[4]

The barony was created by writ on 29 December 1299, and William was summoned to parliament.[5] Financial problems in the early fourteenth-century led him into conflict with his cousin John Ferrers which centred over a disputed claim to the Newbottle manor.[2] The feud was periodically suspended when both parties fought alongside the King in Scotland,[3] specifically when William was there again in 1303, 1306, 1308, and 1311. In 1317 Edward II appointed him Constable of Somerton Castle in Lincolnshire.[4] His final summons to military service was on 1 May 1325.[4]

He was buried in the St Philip and St James Church, Hinckley and Bosworth Borough, Leicestershire.


William Ferrers married to Ellen de Menteith, daughter of Alexander, Earl of Menteith. They had five children, his heir, Henry, four younger sons, and a daughter.[1]

Peerage of England
Preceded by
New creation
Baron Ferrers of Groby
Succeeded by
Henry Ferrers


  1. http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/54521/65399
  2. Michael Prestwich (1988). Edward I. University of California Press. pp. 388–90. ISBN 978-0-520-06266-5.
  3. Beardwood, A,. 'The Trial of Walter Langton, Bishop of Lichfield, 1307-1312' Transactions of the American Philosophical Society 54 (1964), 14.
  4. Cokayne, G.E., The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant V, eds V. Gibbs & H.A. Doubleday (2nd ed., London 1916), 343.
  5. Vernon M. Norr (1968). Some Early English Pedigrees: Combined from Most Available Sources, 1958-1968. p. 68.
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