William de Traci

William de Tracy

William de Trace

(c. 1133 - c. 1225)


John De Sudeley
Grace de Traci


Hawise de Born

Some secondary sources suggest that William de Traci had a previous wife as well as one child born out of wedlock. This information has not been integrated into this biographical sketch.


Oliver de Tracy
Jane de Tracy
Eva de Tracy
Alard de Tracy
Amici de Tracy
Henry de Tracy
William de Tracy
Daughter De Tracy

Information about Individual

I am still sorting our conflicting information on William de Traci. This biographical sketch represents the information I have to date.

William de Traci was born around 1133-1135 in Toddington, Gloucestershire, England. His elder brother, Ralph de Sudeley, was the heir for the Sudeley estate. William took his mother's name and inherited the Traci estate. As an heir to the Traci family, he became Knight of Gloucestershire.

A daily consort of King Henry II, Traci was a feudal Barron of Bradninch and Lord of the Manors of Toddington. On 29 December 1170, Traci was one of four knights who, at the request of Henry II, murdered Thomas a Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

After the assassination, Traci and his accomplices—Reginald Fitzurse, Hugh de Morville, and Richard le Breton—fled to Scotland. Traci's lands, which were confiscated by the crown, but were returned to him by King Henry III in 1218. However, there is evidence that he was able to live off his lands during the period of confiscation.

On 25 March 1171, Pope Alexander III excommunicated Traci and the other three assassins. Sometime around 1174, the four knights met with Alexander III who declared that they should fight in Jerusalem for 14 years.

In 1171, Traci was created Justiciary of Normandy. He was also present when King William of Scotland payed homage to Henry II in 1174.

There is much contradictory evidence concerning de Traci after he left for the Holy Land. He is reported to have died as early as 1174 from leprosy or a disease that ate his flesh before he reached Jerusalem. Howewver, this is unlikely. He is also reported to have died in Jerusalem where he was buried on the site where the Temple of Solomon stood which was then the site of the Temple Round Church and is now the site of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. He is also reported to have been one of the knights to take up arms against King John which means that he had returned to England by 1215.

With Hugh de Morville and Richard de Brito, Traci built a church at Alkborough, near Scunthorpe in North Lincolnshire. He also built the church of St. Peter, Paul, and Thomas in the town of Bovey Tracey and a church in Nymet Tracey. He built a tower, chancel, and porch to a church in Lapford which were dedicated to Thomas a Becket and endowed a chapel to Thomas a Becket at the Conventual Church in Tewkesbury.

Murder of Thomas Becket, illustration from an English psalter, c. 1200; in the British Library.

Murder of Thomas Becket, illustration from an English psalter, c. 1200; in the British Library.