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ZOUCHE, or ZOUCH, the name of an English family descended from Alan la Zouche, a Breton, who is sometimes called Alan de Porrhoet. Having settled in England during the reign of Henry II., Alan obtained by marriage Ashby in Leicestershire (called after him Ashby de la Zouch) and other lands. His grandson, another Alan la Zouche, was justice of Chester and justice of Ireland under Henry III.; he was loyal to the king during the struggle with the barons, fought at 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 the loth of August 1270. Alan's elder son Roger (d. 1285) had a son Alan la Zouche, who was summoned to parliament as a baron about 1298. 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, 7th baron Zouche of Haryngworth (c. 1460-1526), was attainted in 1485 as a supporter of Richard III., but was restored to his honours in 1495. His descendant, Edward, the nth baron (c. 1556-1625), was one of the peers who tried Mary, queen of Scots, and was sent by Elizabeth 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 isth baron.

Two antiquaries, Henry Zouch (c. 1725-1795) and his brother. Thomas Zouch (1737-1815), 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).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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