The name of D'Aincourt is not mentioned by Wace, unless it has been derived from Driencourt, a suggestion thrown out by Mr. Taylor which I am by no means inclined to adopt, as the original name of Neufchâtel-en-Bray was Drincourt (Driencuria), and we have evidence of a family of that name being in existence previous to the Conquest. In a cartulary of the Abbey of the Holy Trinity du-Mont-de-Rouen, under the date of 1030, the names are found of Richard de Drincourt, Harold de Drincourt, and Hugh de Drincourt; and Monsieur de la Mairie, (Recherches sur le Bray Normand et le Bray Picard. Tom. i, p. 233) to whom we are indebted for this information, tells us also that a Sire de Drincourt, who accompanied Duke William in his expedition to England, was killed in the battle of Hastings, a circumstance which would account for his name not appearing in Domesday. The name of the place itself also gradually disappeared at the commencement of the twelfth century, being called "Le Neufchâtel de Drincort," from a castle built there by Henry I in 1106, and subsequently Neufchâtel only. It would seem that the Sire de Driencourt slain at Senlac was the last of the family.
The Aincourts derived their name from a parish in the Vexin-Normand, between Mantes and Magny so called, the patronage of which was given by one of the descendants of Walter to the Abbey of Bec.
The services of Walter d'Aincourt, whatever they may have been, were rewarded by the Conqueror with the gift of fifty-five lordships in England, of which Blankney in Lincolnshire was one, and made by him the head of his barony.
Of his origin and antecedents no more is known than of his actions. Contemporary history is entirely silent about him. We do not find him engaged in any combat, intrusted with any office, employed on any mission, founding or endowing any monastic establishment, or even witnessing a charter, and might well doubt his having ever existed but for the enumeration of his possessions in Domesday, and the epitaph of his son William in Lincoln Cathedral, on a leaden plate found in his grave in the churchyard there. From that we learn that he was a kinsman of Remi or Remigius, Bishop of Lincoln, who, according to Taylor's List, contributed a ship and twenty knights or men-at-arms to the fleet of Duke William, a fact that leads one to the conclusion that the lucky Walter owed his barony to the good offices of the bishop, and not to any merit of his own.
His son William is stated in his epitaph to have been in some way descended from royalty. "Praefatus Willielmus regime stirpe progenitus." How provoking are these vague insinuations. The descent must have been through his mother, as the wording of the sentence expressly bruits the honour to William, and not even her baptismal name is known to us.
William died in the reign of Rufus, leaving a son and heir named Ralph, who was the founder of Thurgarton Priory. The male line became extinct in the twenty-first of Henry VI, by the death of Robert, uncle of William, last Baron d'Eyncourt, when Margaret and Alice, sisters of the said William, were found his heirs and carried the estates into the families of Cromwell and Lovel.