William de Ferrers, 5th Earl of Derby

Arms of William de Ferrers: Vairy or and gules

William III de Ferrers, 5th Earl of Derby (1193 – 28 March 1254) was an English nobleman and head of a family which controlled a large part of Derbyshire including an area known as Duffield Frith.

He was born in Derbyshire, England, the son of William de Ferrers, 4th Earl of Derby and Agnes of Chester, a daughter of Hugh of Kevelioc, Earl of Chester and Bertrada de Montfort. He succeeded to the title in 1247, on the death of his father and, after doing homage to King Henry III, he had livery of Chartley Castle and other lands of his mother's inheritance. He had accompanied King Henry to France in 1230 and sat in parliament in London in the same year.

He had many favours granted to him by the king, among them the right of free warren in Beaurepair (Belper), Makeney, Winleigh (Windley), Holbrooke, Siward (Southwood near Coxbench), Heyhegh (Heage) Cortelegh (Corkley, in the parish of Muggington), Ravensdale, Holland (Hulland), and many other places,[1]

Like his father, he suffered from gout from youth, and always traveled in a litter. He was accidentally thrown from his litter into water, while crossing a bridge, at St Neots, in Huntingdon and although he escaped immediate death, yet he never recovered from the effects of the accident. He died on 28 March 1254, after only seven years, and was succeeded by his son Robert de Ferrers, 6th Earl of Derby.

Earl William Ferrers' effigy in Merevale Abbey

William de Ferrers is buried at Merevale Abbey, Warwickshire, England. His widow died on 12 March 1280.

Family and children

William Ferrers married Sibyl Marshal, one of the daughters and co-heirs of William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke. They had seven daughters:

  1. Agnes Ferrers (died 11 May 1290), married William de Vesci.
  2. Isabel Ferrers (died before 26 November 1260), married (1) Gilbert Basset, of Wycombe, and (2) Reginald de Mohun
  3. Maud Ferrers (died 12 March 1298), married (1) Simon de Kyme, and (2) William de Vivonia (de Forz), and (3) Amaury IX of Rochechouart.
  4. Sibyl Ferrers, married Sir Francis or Franco de Bohun, an ancestor of Daniel Boone. (it is her aunt Sibyl, sister of William, who married John de Vipont, Lord of Appleby)
  5. Joan Ferrers (died 1267), married to:
    1. John de Mohun;
    2. Robert Aguillon
  6. Agatha Ferrers (died May 1306), married Hugh Mortimer, of Chelmarsh.
  7. Eleanor Ferrers (died 16 October 1274), married to:
    1. William de Vaux;
    2. Roger de Quincy, Earl of Winchester (m. abt. 1252);
    3. Roger de Leybourne

In 1238, he married Margaret de Quincy (born 1218), daughter of Roger de Quincy, 2nd Earl of Winchester and Helen of Galloway. Following the marriage of her stepdaughter Eleanor to her father about 1252, Margaret was both the stepmother and stepdaughter of William's daughter, Eleanor. The earl and Margaret had the following children:

  1. Robert de Ferrers, 6th Earl of Derby, his successor. He married:
    1. Mary de Lusignan, daughter of Hugh XI of Lusignan, Count of Angoulême, and niece of King Henry III, by whom he had no issue;
    2. Alianore de Bohun, daughter of Humphrey VI de Bohun and Eleanor de Braose, per Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came to America Before 1700 by Frederick Lewis Weis, Lines 57-30 & 68-29.
  2. William Ferrers obtained, by gift of Margaret, his mother, the manor of Groby in Leicestershire, assuming the arms of the family of De Quincy. He married:
    1. Anne Durward, daughter of Alan Durward;[2] their son was William de Ferrers, 1st Baron Ferrers of Groby. (However Weis, "Ancestral Roots", 2006, line 58 no. 30, has Anne le Despencer, dau. of Hugh le Despencer, 1st Baron Despencer, who was slain at the battle of Evesham)
    2. Eleanor, daughter of Matthew Lovaine. following William Ferrers death, she married secondly William the Hardy, Lord of Douglas
  3. Joan Ferrers (died 19 March 1309) married Thomas de Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley.
  4. Agnes Ferrers married Sir Robert de Muscegros (aka Robert de Musgrove), Lord of Kemerton, Boddington & Deerhurst.
  5. Elizabeth Ferrers, married to:
    1. William Marshal, 2nd Baron Marshal;
    2. Prince Dafydd ap Gruffydd


  1. Bland, W., 1887 Duffield Castle: A lecture at the Temperance Hall, Wirksworth Derbyshire Advertiser
  2. http://groups.google.com/group/soc.genealogy.medieval/browse_thread/thread/52b858d7cc86c0ed#
Peerage of England
Preceded by
William II de Ferrers
Earl of Derby
Succeeded by
Robert III de Ferrers
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