Ranulf III "le Meschin" Earl of Chester
- Born: Abt 1074, Briquessart, Livry, France
- Marriage: Lucy of Mercia "the Countess"
- Died: Jan 1128-1129, Chester, Cheshire, England about age 54
- Buried: Abbey of St. Werburgh, Chester, England 160
Other names for Ranulf were Ranulph "the Young" Earl of Chester, Ranulph de Briquessart and Ranulf du Bessin.
Noted events in his life were:
• Web Reference: Charles Cawley's Medieval Lands, Earls of Chester.
Ranulf du Bessin "le Meschin" was the son of Ranulf Vicomte du Bessin & his wife Marguerite d'Avranches. Orderic Vitalis names him and his mother [Orderic Vitalis, Vol. VI, Book XII, p. 309]. "…Rannulfus filius Rannulfi vicecomitis…Rannulfus vicecomes" witnessed the charter dated 24 Apr 1089 under which Robert III Duke of Normandy donated property to Bayeux cathedral [elisle, L. (1867) Histoire du château et des sires de Saint-Sauveur-le-Vicomte (Valognes), Pièces justificatives, 44, p. 49. ]. He succeeded his father as Vicomte du Bessin [Bayeux]. "Ranulfus Meschinus Richerio Vicecomiti Karlioli" donated property for the foundation of Wetherhal priory, Cumberland, for the souls of "Domini mei Regis Willelmi…et Richard fratris mei…mea et uxoris meæ Luciæ…", by undated charter, witnessed by "Osberto vicecomite, Waldievo filio Gospatricii comitis, et Forna Sigulfi filio et Ketello Eldredi filio et Herveio Morini filio et Eliphe de Penrith" [Prescott, J. E. (ed.) (1897) The Register of the Priory of Wetherhal (London) ("Wetherhal"), 1, p. 1].
• Background Information. 160
Ranulph "le Meschin," de Briquesart was lord of Chumberland, vicomte of Bayeus in Normandy, Earl of Chester upon the death of his first coursin, Hugh d'Aranches, Earl of Chester in 1124 and commander of the Royal forces in Normandy. He married Lucy, successively the widow of Ives Taillebois and Roger Fitz Gerold.
~Weis's Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came to America before 1700, 8th Edition, 132A:26
• Web Reference: Ranulf le Meschin, 3rd Earl of Chester.
Ranulf le Meschin's father and mother represented two different families of viscounts in Normandy, and both of them were strongly tied to Henry, son of William the Conqueror.[Hollister, Henry I, pp. 53\endash 54]. His father was Ranulf de Briquessart, and likely for this reason the former Ranulf was styled le Meschin, "the younger". Ranulf's father was viscount of the Bessin, the area around Bayeux. [King, "Ranulf (I)"; Newman, Anglo-Norman Nobility, pp. 97\endash 9] Besides Odo, bishop of Bayeux, Ranulf the elder was the most powerful magnate in the Bessin region of Normandy. [Hollister, Henry I, p. 60] Ranulf le Meschin's great-grandmother may even have been from the ducal family of Normandy, as le Meschin's paternal great-grandfather viscount Anschitil is known to have married a daughter of Duke Richard III. [Douglas, William the Conqueror, p. 93]
Ranulf le Meschin's mother, Margaret, was the daughter of Richard Goz. [Hollister, Henry I, pp. 53\endash 54] Richard's father Thurstan Goz had become viscount of the Hiémois between 1017 and 1025, [Hollister, Henry I, p. 53] while Richard himself became viscount of the Avranchin in either 1055 or 1056. [Barlow, William Rufus, p. 298, and Hollister, Henry I, p. 54,] Her brother (Richard Goz's son) was Hugh d'Avranches "Lupus" ("the Wolf"), viscount of the Avranchin and Earl of Chester (from c. 1070).  Ranulf was thus, in addition to being heir to the Bessin, the nephew of one of Norman England's most powerful and prestigious families. [Newman, Anglo-Norman Nobility, pp. 57\endash 58,]
We know from an entry in the Durham Liber Vitae, c. 1098 x 1120, that Ranulf le Meschin had an older brother named Richard (who died in youth), and a younger brother named William. [The Durham Liber Vitae, vol. i, p. 159] He had a sister called Agnes, who later married Robert de Grandmesnil (died 1136).
Ranulf married Lucy of Mercia "the Countess", daughter of Thorold of Mercia Sheriff of Lincoln and Daughter of Guillaume Malet. (Lucy of Mercia "the Countess" was born about 1074 in Mercia, England, died after 1130 and was buried in Abbey of St Werburgh.)