Basic facts


This Robert is shown as Robert (1) on the Key Pedigree in Lambton Loraine (1902), where the year of his murder is given as 1483. There is no information on his wife.

In the text of Chapter V, on p.40, his dates are given as about 1451 to 1483. The text which follows reads:-

Upon the death of Edward Loraine, ROBERT (so Collins informs us) came in "by descent," and we have conjectured that he was born about 1451. Whether he married or not, there is nothing to show; but the date of his death is sure, recorded as it is on an enduring monument. According to the "Genealogical Account" this gentleman was a zealous prosecutor of robbers, thieves, and moss-troopers (bandits who operated in or from Scotland, of whom many were disbanded or deserting soldiers from one of the Scottish armies), and for Border-Service kept a certain number of horses and arms always ready, suitable to his estate; "as others of the chiefest families in the neighbourhood did;- as Fenwick of Wallington, Swinburn of Capheaton, Middleton of Belsay, Shaftoe of Babington, &c.- to pursue the same upon all occasions of theirs and the Scots' excursions and depredations into Northumberland."

Among these Chiefs of the Border Service, however, ROBERT LORAINE, in the course of his warfare, seems alone to inspire the Scots with such malice that they resolved tohave his life; and he fell a victim to their vengeance. Being a pious man he resorted frequently to the church which lay within a furlong of the Tower; which, being known to the Scots, a party of them one day lay in ambush near the path and on his return from church seized him, dragged him into an adjacent close, and there barbarously murdered him, cutting his body into small pieces to fulfil their frequent menace to "cut him as small as flesh for the pot," a ghastly testimony to the prowess of the man whose death the marauders had been unable to compass in open fight. A stone memorial was erected by Robert Loraine's successor on the spot where this crime was committed, and it was still standing in 1722 when the "Short Account of the Genealogy of Loraine, &c." was published. Shortly afterwards, however, being found defaced and broken, the stone gave place to a new one erected by a later descendant, and bearing, according to Collins (1740) the same account, the new inscription being as follows:-

This new stone was set up in place of an old one by
in 1778 in memory of
his ancestor who was barbarously murdered in this place by the Scots in 1483
for his good service to his country against their thefts and robberys
as he was returning home from the Church alone
where he had been at his private devotiones.

The memorial stands in the glebe land west of the old path which led from Kirkharle Tower to the church, and the inscription was cut deeper in 1875.

There being, as aforesaid, no record of Robert Loraine's marriage, we can only surmise that the Robert who succeeded him was his son. At a period in its history when so strong an individuality marked the head of the family, it is to be deplored that confusion on this point is introduced by Collins and by Wotton, who both attribute to the murdered man a marriage which was really made by his successor forty years after the murder.



Lambton Loraine (1902) gives his opinion that it is more likely than not that we may credit the three children below as the issue of Robert LORAINE and his unknown wife, and that this is consistent with his having married at the age of about twenty-six.



When he was murdered in 1483 this Robert had lived in the reigns of Henry VI. and Edward IV., his life being ended in the same year as that of the last-named monarch.

Sources for this page

  1. Lambton Loraine (1902).
  2. Hodgson J. (1827).
  3. Richardson M. A. (ed.) (1849).

© John Stowell 2009             Last updated on 20 Aug 2009.

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