Scrope is the name of an old English family of Norman origin.

Origin of name

The name may be derived from the old Anglo-Norman word for "crab" and that it began as a nickname for a club-footed illegitimate son of an English princess by a Norman knight. A crab moves sideways and so the name could fit a child with club feet. Whether far fetched or not, it is fact that at one stage the family crest was a crab (subsequently five feathers) and that the family motto is still "Devant si je puis" -("forward if I can"), which could have a double meaning as of course a crab can only go sideways.

Early Scropes

One Richard Fitz Scrob (or Fitz Scrope), apparently a Norman knight, was granted lands by Edward the Confessor before the Norman Conquest, in Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire as recorded in the Domesday Book. He built Richard's Castle, near Ludlow in Shropshire, and is recorded in chronicles of the Conqueror's early years in England as asking for assistance against the Welsh.

His son was Osbern FitzRichard. According to one genealogy, his wife was Nest. This Nest is identified less plausibly as the daughter of Gruffydd ap Llywelyn, allegedly by his wife Aldgyth of Mercia, herself granddaughter of Leofric, Earl of Mercia possibly by his wife Godiva (or Godgifu). The evidence for Nest's name comes from charters of her son Hugh granting lands to an abbey, where he declares his parentage; that son, however, is silent about his mother's antecedents. [ Plausible reasons for the silence exist. For one, Anglo-Norman marcher barons in the 11th and 12th century may not have wanted Welsh princely ancestry, especially descent from a usurper prince, publicly known. A second reason might have been worries about how claims to Welsh princely blood would be interpreted by the Crown. That Nest's origins are not documented does not mean that she could not be Gruffyd's daughter.] The heiress of this family eventually married into the Mortimer family, famous as Marcher Barons [The Mortimers themselves publicly acknowledged their Welsh princely blood, notably their descent from a possibly illegitimate daughter of Llywelyn the Great, Prince of Wales.] and important players in 14th century English politics. The Mortimer line was eventually merged into the Crown in the person of Edward IV of England. His paternal grandmother was Lady Anne Mortimer, heiress of the Mortimers and heiress of line of her brothers, themselves successively heirs of line of Richard II of England. [What this means is that Richard II's heir presumptive (acknowledged 1385) was his cousin Philippa's son Roger Mortimer, 4th Earl of March (d. 1398 Ireland, aged 24). March's death leaving three (or four) young children allowed Henry of Bolingbroke to usurp the throne, claiming patrilineal descent and improper governance. At the time the throne was usurped, March's elder son was heir presumptive to Richard II. Since both sons died without issue, their sister Lady Anne Mortimer, wife of Richard, Earl of Cambridge, became heiress of line of Edward III. This claim was taken up by her son Richard, Duke of York, father of Edward IV.]

The same genealogy states that Osbern's great-grandson was Hugh Le Scrope who, having been born at Richard's Castle, was the first of the family to be granted lands formerly belonging to the Priory of Bridlington, in Yorkshire. However, recent research has shown no clear connection between this Hugh Le Scrope (or his alleged Yorkshire descendants) and Richard FitzScrob, or between Hugh le Scrope and subsequent Yorkshire Scropes. [The original claim made elsewhere is repeated [ here] on a webpage belonging to a descendant of the Scropes of Danby. Part of the problem is the number of generations between Richard FitzScrob, his son Osbern, and Osbern's alleged great-grandson Hugh Le Scrope. Richard FitzScrob was living in 1066-1069; his son Osbern married one Nest. Leaving aside the question of when Osbern and Nest married, it is hard to imagine four generations comfortably between the 1060s and 1103. Hugh le Scrope's alleged son Robert le Scrope is listed in charters found and published in 1915, but his father is listed in those charters as one Richard le Scrope. See Douglas Richardson " [ "Meaning of Matertera: Fitz William, Gant, and Scrope families - Revised"] Usenet group soc.genealogy.medieval 22 October 2005 for details.]

The first well-documented ancestor of the Yorkshire Scropes appears to be Robert le Scrope (1134-aft.1198), who is described as the son of the aunt ["Matertera" is an ambiguous term because it could refer to a person's father's sister or mother's sister.] of Alice de Gant, Countess of Northampton by her husband Richard le Scrope. [See Douglas Richardson " [ "Meaning of Matertera: Fitz William, Gant, and Scrope families - Revised"] Usenet group soc.genealogy.medieval 22 October 2005 for details.] The Scrope family appear to be related and allied to the Gant family in the 12th century, and possibly trace their origins to Lincolnshire or Northamptonshire. [Alice de Gant married Simon de St. Liz, 7th Earl of Northampton and Huntingdon, whose paternal grandmother Maud, Countess of Huntingdon, great-niece of the Conqueror, married 2ndly King David I of Scotland. Alice de Gant's mother was Hawyse de Roumare, daughter of William de Roumare, Earl of Lincoln and half-niece of Ranulph de Gernon, 2nd Earl of Chester. Her father's sister (or half-sister) is not known, but the Earls of Lincoln and Chester were half-brothers, sons of a wealthy Anglo-Norman-Saxon heiress Lucy, Countess of Chester, widow of Ivo de Taillebois. (Lucy is claimed to be a descendant of Godiva, but there is no evidence of this; it is known that she made three excellent marriages). The aunt Agnes may have been an illegitimate half-sister of either Gilbert de Gant or Hawyse de Roumare; this would explain her marriage to a relatively obscure man. Precedents among the daughters of the later earls of Chester exist for similar differences in marriages between legitimate daughters (married to barons) and illegitimate daughters (married to mere knights).]

14th century Scropes

The great-great-great-grandson of Hugh was Sir William le Scrope, of Bolton, in Wensleydale, Yorkshire, who had two sons, Henry le Scrope (d. 1336) and Geoffrey le Scrope (d. 1340), both of whom were in succession chief justice of the king's bench and prominent supporters of the court in the reign of King Edward II of England.

Richard le Scrope (c. 1327-1403)

:main|Richard le Scrope, 1st Baron Scrope of BoltonHenry was father of Richard le Scrope, 1st Baron Scrope of Bolton (c. 1327-1403), chancellor of England, an active adherent of John of Gaunt.

William le Scrope (c. 1350-1399)

:main|William le Scrope, 1st Earl of Wiltshire

His eldest son William le Scrope (c. 1350-1399) was created Earl of Wiltes in 1397 by Richard II, of whose government he was an active supporter. Wiltes bought the sovereignty of the Isle of Man from the Earl of Salisbury. In 1398 he became Treasurer of England. His execution at Bristol was one of the first acts of Henry IV, and the irregular sentence of an improvised court was confirmed by Henry's first parliament. Wiltes' father, Lord Scrope, and his other sons were not included in the attainder, but received full pardon from Henry. Scrope, who was the builder of Bolton Castle, his principal residence, died in 1403. He was succeeded in the barony by his second son, Roger, whose descendants held it till 1630.

Geoffrey le Scrope (d. 1340)

Sir Geoffrey le Scrope (d. 1340), chief justice of the kings bench as mentioned above, uncle of the first Baron Scrope of Bolton, had a son Henry, who in 1350 was summoned to parliament by writ as Baron Scrope, the designation of Masham being added in the time of his grandson to distinguish the title from that held by the elder branch of the family. Henry's fourth son was Richard le Scrope (c. 1350 1405), Archbishop of York, who took part with the Percies in opposition to Henry IV, and was beheaded for treason in June 1405. Despite this, Henry Scrope, 3rd Baron Scrope of Masham (c. 1376-1415), became a favorite of Henry V, by whom he was made treasurer in 1410 and employed on diplomatic missions abroad. However, in 1415 he was involved in a conspiracy to assassinate Henry (along with the King's cousin Richard of Conisburgh, 3rd Earl of Cambridge) and was ignominiously executed at Southampton. His title was forfeited. It was, however, restored to his brother John in 1455; and it fell into abeyance on the death, in 1517, of Geoffrey, 11th Baron Scrope of Masham, without male heirs.

16th and 17th century Scropes

Henry, 9th Baron Scrope of Bolton (1534-1592), was governor of Carlisle in the time of Elizabeth I, and as such took charge of Mary, Queen of Scots when she crossed the border in 1568; and he took her to Bolton Castle, where she remained till January 1569.

His son, Sir Thomas Scrope, 10th Baron Scrope of Bolton, was Warden of the West March in the Anglo-Scottish border country and governor of Carlisle in 1596 when Walter Scott, the "Bold Buccleuch", staged his raid on Carlisle to rescue the reiver Kinmont Willie Armstrong.

He was the father of Emanuel Scrope, 11th baron (1584-1630), who was created Earl of Sunderland in 1627; on his death without legitimate issue in 1630 the earldom became extinct, and the immense estates of the Scropes of Bolton were divided among his illegitimate children, the chief portion (including Bolton Castle) passing by marriage to the Marquess of Winchester, who was created Duke of Bolton in 1689; to the Earls Rivers; and to John Grubham Howe, ancestor of the Earls Howe. The barony of Scrope of Bolton seems then to have become dormant; and although the title might, it would appear, have been claimed through the female line by the representative of Charles Jones (d. 1840) of Caton, Lancashire, no such claim was ever made. From Stephen, third son of the 1st Baron Scrope of Bolton, were descended the Scropes of Castle Combe, Wiltshire, the last of whom was [ William Scrope] (1772-1852), an artist, author and fly-fishing enthusiast, who was an intimate friend of Sir Walter Scott. His daughter Emma Phipps married George Poulett Thompson (1797-1876), an eminent geologist and prolific political writer, who took the name of Scrope, and who after his wife's death sold Castle Combe, of which he wrote a history. Probably from the same branch of the family was descended Adrian Scrope, or Scroope (1601-1660), who was prominent on the parliamentarian side in the Civil War, and one of the signatories of Charles I's death warrant.


The male line of the Scrope family still exists but it has for centuries now been known simply as "Scrope of Danby", with no hereditary titles left to its name. Although Bolton Castle is still owned by descendants of the Scrope family, they do not have the name of Scrope, being descendants through the female line of the Duchess of Bolton.

The present senior male of the family, or Head of the House, is Simon Egerton Scrope (b. 1934), only son of Richard Ladislaus Scrope of Danby, by his wife Lady Jane Egerton, second daughter of the 4th Earl of Ellesmere. Scrope's maternal uncle Lord Ellesmere succeeded as 6th Duke of Sutherland but was childless. Scrope is married to the former (Jennifer) Jane Parkinson, a granddaughter maternally of the 1st and last Baron Bingley; they have issue, one son Harry Scrope (below) and one daughter. The next heir male is his cousin Henry John Scrope (b. 1941), eldest son of the late Ralph Henry Scrope by his wife Lady Beatrice Savile, 2nd daughter of the 6th Earl of Mexborough. Other Scropes have also married in the 20th century into aristocratic families such as the Cochrane family, the Ward family, the Davies family, and many landed gentry families.

Notable and news-worthy descendants in the male line today are:
* Harry Scrope, or Simon Richard Henry Scrope (b. 1974), a serving British Army officer, who as [ Captain Harry Scrope] participated in a British Army Expedition to the Antarctic in 2001-2002. Harry Scrope is the only son and heir of the senior male, or Head of the House (see above).
* Henry Scrope (b. 1941) [ [ a former company solicitor] , who founded [ an employment law database] in 1997 with his wife. [Scrope continues as Publishing Director today. See [ for details] and [ on the new Managing Director] of the company] .] Henry Scrope is the next heir presumptive.
* Peter Scrope (b. 1955), youngest brother of the above, who ran unsuccessfully for election in 1997 in the Darlington constituency, and is now [ a company director] . [ [ 1997 Profile of Peter Scrope] . Another unsuccessful bid for election was mounted by his cousin's wife Virginia or [ Ginny Scrope] , wife of William or Bill Scrope.]
* Kester Scrope, or Christopher Scrope (b. 1970), an aerobatics champion representing Britain internationally, and now a company director. [ [ Profile of Kester Scrope] as of December 2006; [ Company profile] .]

See also

* Baron Scrope of Masham
* Baron Scrope of Bolton



* Sir N. H. Nicolas, "The Scrope and Grosvenor Controversy" (2 vols-, London, 1832), containing much detailed information about the various branches of the Scrope family
* J. H. Wylie, "History of England under Henry IV." (4 vols., London, 18841898)
* Edward Foss, "The Judges of England" (9 vols., London, 18481864)
* George Julius Poulett Scrope, "History of the Manor and Ancient Barony of Castle Combe, Wiltshire" (London. 1852)
* George Edward Cokayne, "Complete Peerage", vol. vii. (London, 1896), the most complete but not infallible reference for families that have ever held a peerage.
*Bernard Burke. "A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain and Ireland" [,M1 "Scrope of Danby" p. 1346-1347] (1863).
*Marquis de Ruvigny. "The Plantagenet Roll of the Blood Royal": Clarence Volume. pp.457-458 (1905), reprinted 1994. (Limited availability online via [ Google Books] )
* ['ZPT') Scrope of Danby family papers] archive.
* "Burke's Landed Gentry (1965 edition)", s.v. "Scrope of Danby". This is the most recent entry for the family, which has not been updated in the online editions.

External links

* A 700 year genealogy of the Scrope family may be found on the internet starting [ here] or, for those preferring to work backwards, [ here]
* [ Scrope of Danby] genealogy for the surviving branch (available by subscription)

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