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Zouche, or Zouch, the name of an English family descended from Alan de la Zouche (~1136-1190), a Breton who is sometimes called Alan de PorhoŽt and Alan la Coche. He was the son of Vicomte Geoffrey I de PorhoŽt and Hawisa of Brittany. He married Adeline (Alice) de Belmeis, daughter of Phillip de Belmeis and Maud la Meschine and died at North Melton in Devon.
Having settled in England during the reign of Henry II of England, Alan obtained by his marriage Ashby in Leicestershire (called after him Ashby-de-la-Zouch) and other lands. His son was Roger la Zouche (~1175- bef 14 May 1238) was the father of Alan la Zouche (1205-1270) who was justice of Chester and justice of Ireland under Henry III of England; he was loyal to the king during the struggle with the barons, fought at the Battle of Lewes and helped to arrange the peace of Kenilworth.
As the result of a quarrel over some lands with John, Earl Warenne, he was seriously injured in Westminster Hall by the earl and his retainers, and died on August 10, 1270. Alan's elder son Roger (1242- bef. 15 October 1285) had a son Alan la Zouche, 1st Baron la Zouche of Ashby, who was summoned to parliament as a baron about 1298. He was governor of Rockingham Castle and steward of Rockingham Forest. He died without sons, and this barony fell into abeyance between his daughters and has never been revived.
The elder Alan's younger son, Eades or Ivo, had a son William (c. 1276-1352), who was summoned to parliament as a baron in 1308, and this barony, which is still in existence, is known as that of Zouche of Haryngworth.
John la Zouche, 7th Baron Zouche (c. 1460-1526), was attainted in 1485 as a supporter of Richard III of England, but was restored to his honours in 1495.
His descendant, Edward, the 11th baron (c. 1556-1625), was one of the peers who tried Mary, Queen of Scots, and was sent by Elizabeth I of England as ambassador to Scotland and to Denmark.
He was president of Wales from 1602 to 1615 and lord warden of the Cinque Ports from 1615 to 1624. He was a member of the council of the Virginia Company and of the New England council.
He had many literary friends, among them being Ben Jonson and Sir Henry Wotton. Zouche left no sons, and the barony remained in abeyance among the descendants of his two daughters until 1815, when the abeyance was terminated in favour of Sir Cecil Bisshopp, Bart. (1753-1828), who became the 12th baron. He died without sons, a second abeyance being terminated in 1829 in favour of his daughter Harriet Anne (1787-1870), wife of the Hon. Robert Curzon (1771-1863). In 1873 her grandson, Robert Nathaniel Curzon (b. 1851), became the 15th baron.
Two antiquaries, Henry Zouch (c. 1725-1795) and his brother Thomas Zouch (1737ó1815), claimed descent from the family of Zouche. Both were voluminous writers, Thomas's works including a Life of Izaak Walton (1823) and Memoirs of Sir Philip Sidney (1808).
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