wealth - all that has taken one generation to accumulate, taken away by the next. The de Tracy and the Mohun family are
just one example. During the reign of King Stephen, the ancestors of William de Tracy, one of the murderers of Thomas Becket, feature in my family history, they benefited from the downfall of my ancestors, the Mohuns.
For his part in an uprising in 1139, William Mohun has gone down in history as a man both hated and feared by the
population of the West Country, most of Williams ‘bad press’ appears in the ‘Gesta Stephani’ or ‘The Acts of Stephen’ a
12th century study of English history. According to this work, Mohun and other West Country rebels, ravaged the country
in order to obstruct the king.
He (King Stephen) also gave orders to Henry de Tracy, a skilled soldier, oft approved in the hazards of war, that acting
n his stead, because he was called away to other business, he should with all promptitude and diligence bestir himself
against the enemy. Henry therefore, in the Kings absence, set forth from Barnstaple, a town belonging to him and
enjoying privileges granted to him by the king, and made vigorous and determined attacks on his foes, so that he not
only restrained their wonted sallies and the unbridled, marauding raids in the neighbourhood, but also captured a hundred
and four horsemen in on cavalry encounter. At length, he so reduced and humbled William (Mohun) that he was able
to abandon further hostilities against him and to leave the country more peaceful and free from such disturbance"
My ancestor died in obscurity, and his family suffered as a direct result of the loss of 104 of his knights to Henry de Tracy.
As Mohun’s disgrace left the next generation to suffer the consequences of his actions, the De Tracy family were, for
a generation at least, rising stars, but like the Mohuns, the de Tracys too fell out of royal favour, William de Tracy, as we
have seen in a previous post, was one of the four men who had heard Henry II’s outburst "Will no one rid me of this t
urbulent priest?’ and then had gone on to murder Becket at Canterbury Cathedral, as a result the De Tracy lands in Devon
were forfeited to the crown.