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Ranulf de Blondeville - 1172-1232


Ranulf de Blondeville was born in 1172.

A powerful aristocrat, his family owned extensive property following the Norman Conquest.

In 1181 and at the age of 9, Ranulf succeeded his father to become the 6th Earl of Chester.

At seventeen he married Constance, a character immortalised by Shakespeare in the play, 'King John'; the marriage was a disaster. He subsequently married Clemence de Fougères. Ranulf appears to have been loyal to the crown and, in 1215, he was one of the few Lords to witness the signing of the Magna Carta.

In 1218, Ranulf took part in the Fifth Crusade. His legacy in relation to the Cheshire Sandstone Ridge, is that on his return from the Crusades, Ranulf was builder of 'Beeston Castle'; one of our much loved heritage and cultural assets.

Built in the 1220s, the design of Beeston Castle (it is alleged) was inspired by the fortresses and castles that Earl Ranulf had encountered during the Crusades.

Ranulf died in 1232 at Wallingford. His body was buried at St Werburgh's Abbey (later Cathedral) in Chester.

(image is of the stained glass window, Town Hall, Chester)