The following account of the earlier generations of this family is mostly from the wonderful research work of Michael Stanhope. For a full account go to: http://www.stanhopefamilyorigins.com
1. HALFDAN OLAFSSON
m. ASA EYSTEINSDOTTIR (b.c.710, d. 766)
Halfdan Olafsson, was Jarl of Vestfold, Ringerike, Hadeland, and the Opplands, whose name denotes that he was of half-Danish origin.
Although it is possible to trace his ancestry to much earlier times, if taking as true he was of Yngling lineage, it would seem safer to commence our account with him. 'His ancestry is quite dubious, for his name constitutes a break in the alliterative series of names in the Yngling royal stem - Egil, Ottar, Adils, Eystein, Yngvar, Anund, Ingjald, Olav: Halfdan.' (1) It would seem probable that Halfdan was of a powerful family; interlopers in the lands they either conquered, or acquired through marriage.
Until the 880s there were no kings in Norway, though ancient sagas gave this title to a jarl - a Scandinavian earl - who ruled over one of the numerous small territories of Norway. Their principal occupation was to fight other jarls, in the hope of acquiring their land. Land ownership was vitally important. Land was the major provider of wealth, and wealth was the sole means of securing the loyalty of those who fought for you.
The following account of the Jarls of Norway derives from Norse sagas. One point of view is that the sagas are not accurate accounts of history, and contain their fair share of exaggeration. An alternative view is that the sagas accurately portray historical events, being passed from generation to generation in verse before being later committed to parchment without any alteration.(2) The truth lies between thes two extremes, perhaps on the side of their accuracy, for one of the most remarkable features of these sagas is that they offer a consistent account of the families and events associated with them. They can be best viewed as historical novels - embellished, especially when speeches are assigned to leading characters, but not without historical substance.
The preface to the Heimskringla of Snorri Sturlason gives the case for sagas as accurate portrayals of historical events: 'In this book I have had old stories written down, as I have heard them told by intelligent people, concerning chiefs who have have held dominion in the northern countries, and who spoke the Danish tongue; and also concerning some of their family branches, according to what has been told me. Some of this is found in ancient family registers, in which the pedigrees of kings and other personages of high birth are reckoned up, and part is written down after old songs and ballads which our forefathers had for their amusement. Now, although we cannot just say what truth there may be in these, yet we have the certainty that old and wise men held them to be true.' (3) The Heimskringla is comprised of a number of sagas, such as Ynglinga Saga, Halfdan The Black Saga, and Harald Harfager's Saga.
A Page from the Heimskringla
Halfdan Olafsson married Aasa Eysteinsdottir, the daughter of Eystein The Severe Throndsson, (b.683, d.724) Jarl of the Opplands, and Sloveig Halfdansdottir, (b.688, d.740).
The Oppland region occupies central-southern Norway, and does not border on the sea. It contains the Jotunheimen, Rondane, and Dovrefjell mountains. Cutting the high ground are two major valleys, Gudbrandsdalen and Valdres. Oppland remained isolated and sparsely populated throughout the Viking Age, and is still a region of solitude and wilderness. Halfdan 'lived to be an old man, and died in his bed at Toten, from whence his body was transported to Vestfold, and was buried under a mound at a place called Skaereid, at Skiringsale.'(4) Halfdan ordered the building of a pagan temple at Skaerid.
In Norse religious beliefs Odin is chief among the gods. His wife is called Frigg, and his sons are called Thor and Baldur. Thor, the god of thunder, is the strongest of the gods, and is always at war with the giants. He is armed with his strength belt Megingjord, and the hammer Mjolner, which, like a boomerang, always returns to his hand after a throw. There are other gods in the family, like Forsete, son of Baldur, who is the god of justice. The silent Vidar rules over the lower regions, where the last battle of Ragnorak will be held. The Valkyries are other-world-beings who seek out those most worthy to fight with Odin in this battle. They are the Choosers of the Slain; beautiful young women who scout the battlefields on winged horses to choose those who died bravely. They escort these heroes, called the Einherjar, to Valhalla, Hall of the Slain, where they prepare for the battle of Ragnarok. On the day of Ragnarok, the bravest of the Einherjar will march out of Valhalla to battle the enemies of the gods. Valhalla has five hundred and forty doors. When the battle commences, eight hundred warriors will march shoulder to shoulder out of each door. Ragnarok will be preceded by Fimbulvetr, the winter of winters. Three such winters will follow each other, with no summers in between. Conflicts and feuds will break out, even between families, and all morality will disappear. This is the beginning of the end.
(1) A History of the Vikings Thomas D. Kenderick- p. 106, 2004
(2) Origin of the Icelandic Family Sagas- Knut Liestol
(3) Heimskringla, or The Chronicle of the Kings of Norway- Snorri Sturluson- c. 1225, English translation by Samuel Laing, 1844. See also F. W. Horn, History of the literature of the Scandinavian North, from the most ancient of times to the present, 1884
(4) Ynglinga Saga- ch. 49
2I. EYSTEIN HALFDANSSON (HALFDAN OLAFSSON 1)
m. HILD ERICSDOTTIR (b.c.730, d. 790)
Eystein was Jarl of Vestfold, Ringerike, Hadeland, and the Opplands. He married Hild Ericsdottir, her name deriving from the Old Norse Hildr, meaning battle, daughter of Eric Agnarsson, Jarl of the Vend district of Vestfold. Eric had no son, and, on his death, Halfdan and Eystein took possession of the whole of Vestfold, which Eystein ruled until his untimely death. What happened was that Eystein, not being content with his own fiefdom, had raided the lands of Jarl Skjold of Varna. Skjold gave chase in his longship. Eystein was not to be caught, however, being struck by the boom of one of his own ships sailing alongside, thus killing him. 'His men fished up his body, and it was carried into Borre, where a mound was thrown up over it, out towards the sea at Raden, near Vodle.(1) This was of tremendous importance, for what gave future generations legitimacy to rule was that it was their ancestor buried in the mound; a very visible form of importance.
His funeral rites would have been attended by a large number of kinsmen and followers. To this latter class he was their godord, or chieftain. He would share any newly acquired land among them. He was president over their parliament, called Thing, wherein any man who carried arms could speak, and had a right to be judged by his peers. Although kinsmen might be bound by blood, any follower had a right to change their godord. In this way, Eystein was not a feudal lord, but, rather, someone compelled to be a successful provider. His funeral would have been attended by a number of unfree men, who were serfs rather than a slaves, and could own a house and smallholding of their own.
(1) Ynglinga Saga- chapter 51
3 II. HALFDAN EYSTEINSSON (HALFDAN OLAFSSON 1, EYSTEIN HALFDANSSON 2)
m. HILF DAGSDOTTIR (b. 748, d. 810)
Halfdan was Jarl of Vestfold, Ringerike, Hadeland, and the Opplands. He was born in Vestfold at a place called Holtar, the present Holtan in Borre, and is buried under a mound at Borre. He was known as a great warrior who often pillaged and gathered great booty. His nicknames were Halfdan The Mild, signifying his generous nature, and Halfdan The Bad Entertainer. There seems to be a contradiction here, but I think it is easily explained. He was generous to his men by way of rewarding them with money and land, but, when they were guests at his house, they received rather stingy amounts of food and drink. This could have been due to him encouraging their fitness, or, more likely, that his wife, Hlif Dagsdottir, whose name derived from the Old Norse Hilfar, meaning shield, ran an extremely economical household. She was the daughter of Jarl Dag of Vestmar.
Detail of the Oseberg Ship
4 III. IVAR HALFDANSSON (HALFDAN OLAFSSON 1, EYSTEIN HALFDANSSON 2, HALFDAN EYSTEINSSON 3)
m. SOLVEIG EYSTEINDSDOTTIR (b.c.790, d. 855), d. of Eystein Hognasson, Jarl of Trondheim
It should be noted that Norwegian Vikings were essentially farmers. They did not spend all of their time plundering. They lived in scattered settlements along the coastal fringes, which were the only areas fit for agriculture. The eastern coastal regions supported the growing of wheat and barley, whilst the colder western regions lent themselves to the rearing of sheep and cattle, which, for purposes of mutual warmth, were often allowed into the farmstead. The farmstead had gently curving walls, like an upturned boat. Its outer wall comprised of free standing stones; wooden planks formed the inner wall, with the cavity being filled with grass and moss. There was an overhanging wooden roof. The windows were of transparent mica. At the centre of the house was the hearth, raised up on stones, around which the family gathered to listen to tales of heroism. Sleeping compartments were behind wooden doors, locked from within. For men, much of the year was taken up by fishing and hunting, whilst women tended the farm.
Women in Norse society had a very important role. As mentioned, marriages were essentially made for economic gain, and were not often love-matches, although it is possible that some great objection might have swayed a doting father. The first stage in the marriage process was a proposal to the girl's legal guardian, usually her father. If he favoured it, the girl's consent might be sought. There followed a betrothal ceremony during which the guardian shook hands before witnesses with the suitor. The girl was not present. At this meeting, the size of the girl's dowry was fixed, as well as the size of the price, called mundr, paid to the girl's family by the groom. In Norway, the minimum amount of mundr was twelve ounces of silver, called the poor man's price. The mundr matched to some degree the size of the dowry. It remained the property of the wife, and would form part of the inheritance of her children.
A girl was both a part and possession of her family, and her reputation was highly valued. Attention paid to a girl was severely frowned upon. If a proper proposal of marriage did not follow such attention, revenge might be sought by the girl's male relatives.
A Norse women held complete power in her household. She would also manage their land when her husband was away marauding. If her husband mistreated her, she could divorce him and return to her family. On another level, she was also well groomed and bathed regularly. She would wear a linen or woollen chemise, and probably drawers and hose, kept up with ties, and a long overdress, belted about the middle, from which would hang a knife, purse, and, if she was housekeeper, a bunch of keys. She would often wear a shawl. Brooches were worn either side of the chest, with pendants suspended between them. Unmarried girls wore their hair loose, perhaps with a band across the head. Married women wore it tied in a knot at the back of the head, covered by a tall, curving, or pointed head-dress. They all used eye make-up, and neck and arm rings, to adorn themselves.
When her husband died, as was an occupational hazard, the Norse lady inherited his estate. On her death, it passed to her eldest son, and, if she had no son, it went to her daughter. On occasion, she might have spoken in the Thing, or at least the suspicion is that she greatly influenced her husband in what he said. In extreme cases, she might have fought in battle. She certainly influenced the education and social grooming of her children.
The report of Al-Ghazal, Muslim ambassador from Cordova, probably in Ireland, in 845, stressed the frank and independent behaviour of high-ranking Norse women, which was presumably contrary to what he was used to. Women in widowhood could be rich and important landowners. In 10th century Ireland, a woman called The Red Girl was the leader of a group of Vikings. The proud and vengeful woman who urges her menfolk to battle features in many stories.
I would like to think that when her husband was buried at Borre, awaiting his passage to Valhalla, Hild might shed a tear for the loss she felt. She might have remembered him participating in spectator sports of the day - running, jumping, skiing, skating, and horse racing, on which wagering took place. She would have seen him cremated in in his finest clothes, and surrounded by those possessions needed to allow him to live well in the afterlife. He might have been burried in a boat grave, with him being buried with the greatest symbol of rank, his ship. Hild would have been proud of the manner of her husband's death - in battle - for in pre-Christian times it was the manner of death that was so important. Consider the lines of the epic poem Havamal, which is presented as the words of Odin: 'Cattle die, kinsmen die, a man dies likewise himself / One thing I know that never dies: the verdict over each dead man.'
5I. EYSTEIN IVARSSON (HALFDAN 1, EYSTEIN 2, HALFDAN 3, IVAR 4)
m. ASEDA RAGNVALDSDOTTIR (b.c.830, d. 875), d. of Ragnvald Mountain High Olafsson and Thora Sigurdsdottir of Jutland
Eystein Ivarsson married his close kinswoman Aseda Ragnvaldsdottir, who was the daughter of Ragnvald Mountain High Olafsson, and Thora Sigurdsdottir, of Jutland, Denmark. Thora Sigurdsdottir was the sister of Aslaug Sigurdsdottir, being a younger daughter of Sigurd Dragon Eye Ragnarsson, who was the son of the legendary Ragnar Lobrok, ruler of lands in Denmark and Sweden.
Viking Helmet- 8th Century
The English Chronicles state that a fleet of Vikingar was wrecked on the coast of Northumbria in 794. The Lodbrokar-Quida names the leader of this fleet as Ragnar Lodbrok, who was put to death by being thrown into a pit of adders, on the orders of a Saxon noble named Ella. This Ella should not be confused with the King Ella who began to reign in Northumberland seventy years afterwards. 'It would seem that this apparent anachronism can only be reconciled by the supposition that the Ella spoken of in the Icelandic sagas was some other Saxon prince of that name, all those of the blood royal being called kings by the Saxons.' It is probable that the chieftain whose exploits have been confounded with the more ancient Ragnar, was a prince of Jutland, whose real name was Ragenfred, who was expelled from his dominions during the reign of Harald Klak, became a sea-king, and subsequently invaded France during the reign of Louis-le-Debonare.'(1) Issue-
(1) History of the Northmen-Henry Wheaton- pp. 150-151, 1831. Wheaton quotes as authority: Suhm, Historie af Danmark, tom. iii. p. 676. Muller, Saxos og Snorros Kilder, p. 158. Geijr, Svea Rikes Hafder, tom. i. p. 595.
(2) Harald Harfager's Saga, ch. 24.
6I. RAGNVALD EYSTEINSSON THE WISE (HALFDAN 1, EYSTEIN 2, HALFDAN 3, IVAR 4, EYSTEIN 5)
m. RAGNHILD HROLFSDOTTIR (b.c.848, d.c.910), a.k.a. Hildir, d. of Hrolf Nefja, (b.c.820, d.c.870)
lesser wife- Emina Gudrodsdottir (b.c.850, d.c.900)
Ragnvald Eysteinsson, Jarl of More and Romsdal, nicknamed The Wise and The Mighty, whose insignia was a wolf's head, campaigned with his second cousin, Harald, to unify Norway. They were assisted by the Earls of Lade. Lade is situated in the eastern part of Trondheim, bordering on Trondheimsfjiord.
In the 9th. Century, a powerful group established themselves around Trondheimsfjord, called the Hlaoajarlar, Earls of Lade, after their lands situated in present-day Trondheim. These people originated in Halogaland, a vast strip of northern territory stretching to the borders of Finland and Russia. Its name means land of the aurora. Settlement was sparse, and life revolved around hunting and fishing. The result of these activities, especially whaling, made the men in control of Halogaland vastly rich. It was of vital interest to the warrior chieftains of Trondheim to protect their trade routes to Halogaland. The unification of Norway came about to protect these trade routes from pirate-jarls.
About 868 Ragnvald fought on the side of his kinsman against these pirate-jarls, and was rewarded with the territories of More and Romsdal. This was after the Battle of Solskel, in which Jarl Hunthiof of More and Jarl Novke of Romsdal were defeated. More and Romsdal are in western Norway, bordering on the Atlantic Ocean.
In 875 Harald and Ragnvald also conquered lands in Shetland, Orkney, Hebrides, and the Isle of Man. On the journey back to Norway, Harald gave the Earldom of Shetland and Orkney to Ragnvald as recompense for the death of his son, Ivar, during the campaign. [This is the traditional account, however there is every possibility that Ragnvald seized these territories independently of Harald.] Ragnvald gave these lands to his brother, Sigurd. Gaelic annals recording the wasting of Pictland in the reign of Domnall mac Custantin, 889-900, are probably referring to the activities of Sigurd and his ally, Thorstein the Red, son of Olaf Hvitr of Dublin. They made great incursions into Caithness and Sutherland.(1)
"Swords in Stone"- Monument to the Battle of Hafrsfjord, Stavanger
The unification of Norway was a gradual process, but the the Battle of Hafrsfjord in 884 has traditionally been regarded as the decisive battle. 'A great battle began, which was both hard and long; but at last King Haraldr gained the day. There King Eirik fell, and King Sulke, with his brother Earl Sote. Thor Haklang had laid his ship against King Harald's, and there was above all measure a desperate attack, until Thor Haklang fell, and his whole ship was cleared of men. Then King Kjotve fled to a little isle outside, on which there was a good place of strength. Thereafter all his men fled, some to their ships, some up to the land; and the latter ran southwards over the country of Jadar.' (2)
In 891 Ragnvald's son, Rolf Ragnvaldsson, was banished from Norway. He joined the war band of his uncle, Malahule Eysteinsson, who would not submit to Harald's rule, and who had been campaigning in France for a number of years. This war band ultimately wrested control of Normandy from France, Rolf becoming more widely known as Rolf The Ganger, 872-931, first Duke of Normandy. Rolf's crime was that 'One summer, as he was coming from the eastward on a viking's expedition to the coast of Viken, he landed there and made a cattle foray. As King Harald happened, just at that time, to be in Viken, he heard of it, and was in a great rage; for he had forbid, by the greatest punishment, the plundering within the bounds of the country.(3)
In 892 Sigurd Eysteinsson defended Orkney against the Scottish Earl Maelbrigte - nicknamed Maelbrigte Tusk because of his protruding teeth - defeating him. He had the severed heads of the defeated strapped to his mens' saddles, his saddle bearing Maelbrigte's head. When Sigurd went to spur his horse, to commence what I suppose was a victory parade, his calf was pierced by a tooth sticking out of Maelbrigte's mouth! This proved fatal. Sigurd died of an infection. He was laid in a mound at Cyderhall - Sigurd's Howe - near Dornoch. Sigurd's son, Guthorm Sigurdsson, briefly succeeded his father by one winter, but died without issue.
The manner of Guthorm's death is not recorded. However, the sagas portray this to be a time of much conflict, with sons of Harald Harfager being actively engaged in open hostilities against Ragnvald Eysteinsson's family, of whom they were jealous. It can be noted that Ragnvald had initially fought against his second cousin, only joining him when that seemed to be the sensible option. As a result of Harald's forced redistribution of land in Norway, Ragnvald's family had become immensly rich and politically powerful. In this latter respect, note Sigurd Eysteinsson's alliance with the Vikings of Dublin. Ragnvald's family were now a serious threat to Harald, especially if allying themselves with the Earls of Lade, who had not acknowledged Harald's hegemony. The death of Sigurd would have been a propitious time for Harald to place one of his sons as Jarl of Orkney, thus creating a loyal outpost to his kingdom. It would seem entirely probable that Guthorm Sigurdsson was an early casualty of Harald's political intent.
In 893 When Ragnvald heard of Guthorm's death, he sent one of his sons, Hallad Ragnvaldsson, to be the third Jarl. He did not defend Orkney well against what the sagas portray as repeated Viking attacks, and returned to Norway in disgrace.(4)
Scar Dragon Plaque- whalebone- 9th Century, Orkney Museum
Ragnvald, seeking to secure Orkney, summoned three of his sons to a war-counsel. It was decided that that his eldest son, Hrollager Ragnvaldsson, would campaign in Iceland; the one-eyed Turf-Einar Ragnvaldsson, 866-910, would sail for Orkney, and Thorer The Silent Ragnvaldsson, 873-925, would remain in Norway.(5) Turf-Einar was a redoutable warrior. The stakes had risen. Harald's sons, Halfdan Haaleg and Gudrod Ljome, sons by Snaefrid Svasedottir, surrounded Ragnvald in his house one night, and burnt him and sixty of his men to death. Gudrod claimed Ragnvald's lands, and Halfdan sailed to Orkney to slay Turf-Einar. It would seem improbable that such an outrage could have happened without Harald's permission.
Turf-Einar was taken by surprise when attacked by Halfdan Haaleg, and fled to the mainland, but returned a short while after ready for battle. He defeated Halfdan in a sea battle, after which, 'Einar and his men lay all night without tents, and when it was light in the morning they searched the whole island and killed every man they could lay hold of ... Earl Einar went up to Halfdan, and cut a spread eagle upon his back, by striking his sword through his back into his belly, dividing his ribs from the backbone down to his loins, and tearing out his lungs; and so Halfdan was killed ... Then Earl Einar took possession of the Orkney Isles as before. Now when these tidings came to Norway, Halfdan's brothers took it much to heart, and thought that his death demanded vengeance; and many were of the same opinion.'(6)
Harald Harfager, being aware of the risks posed by a protracted conflict, did not share that opinion. He forced Gudrod to relinquish Ragnvald's lands, giving them to Ragnvald's son, Thorer, to whom he also gave his daughter, Alof, in marriage. This marriage was by way of weregild - man price - a reparational payment. He went to Orkney with a great force, but only levied a token fine of sixty gold marks in payment of Haldan's death. Before leaving Turf-Einar, to better fix an idea of him and his descendants in our minds, the following is an example of the old Norse language, as developed on Orkney, and similar to that spoken in the high fells of North Yorkshire up to the 16th. Century:
The Lord's Prayer
Favor i ir i chimrie, Helleur ir i nam thite,
gilla cosdum thite cumma, veya thine mota vara gort
o yurn sinna gort i chimrie,
ga vus da on da dalight brow vora
Firgive vus sinna vora sin vee Firgive sindara mutha vus,
lyv vus ye i tumtation, min delivera vus fro olt ilt, Amen
(1) Chronicles of the Picts- W.F. Skene, 1867
(2) Harald Harfager's Saga, ch. 19
(3) Ibid- Chapter 24
(4) Ibid- chapter 22
(5) Ibid- chapter 27
(6) Ibid- chapters 30-32
7I. HROLF RAGNVALDSSON (HALFDAN 1, EYSTEIN 2, HALFDAN 3, IVAR 4, EYSTEIN 5, RAGNVALD 6)
b.c.872 Maer, Norge
m.1. POPPAof Bayeux- d. of Berenger de Bayeaux de Senlis
2. Gisela- d. of Charles III, King of the Franks and Frederuna von Sachsen d. 931
Section of the Genealogical Tree from Rollo down to the children of Richard "the Fearless" (4)
Ragnvald's son, Hrolf Ragnvaldsson, Rolf The Ganger, became a prominant war leader in France during the Viking incursions of 910. He became known as Rollo, first Duke of Normandy. Rollon and its contracted form Rollo are latinized forms of Roul, the Old French form of Rolf. Rolf and its Old Norse cognate Hrólfr are contracted forms of Hrodwulf, which derives from the Old Germanic elements hrod, meaning famous, and wulf, meaning wolf. That a son of Ragnvald Eysteinsson would be named Hrolf is entirely consistent with the insignia of his family, which was, as said, a wolf's head. Old Norse names did have a meaning that was apparent to those who used them, not a meaning that was totally unknown and irrelevant to them, as are the meanings of most modern names.
Hrolf was named as Rollon in a charter of Charles III., 14 Mar. 918, which referred to him and his followers as Northmen of the Seine.(1) That Hrolf was the same person as Rollo is sometimes questioned because of the difference between the two names: The Franks firstly gave Rolf an Old French form of his name, which they later latinized.
Another argument for Hrolf not being Rollo is the apparent discrepancy between Norman and Norse accounts. Norman sources give Rollo a brother named Gurim, while the sagas give Hrolf several brothers, none of them named Gurim. A brief comment might be approprate. The name Gurim would have been transcribed from the Old-Norse name of Gorm, a derivative of Guthorm. Although the sagas do not mention a brother of Rolf called Gurim, they do mention a cousin of his called Guthorm, the previously mentioned Guthorm Sigurdsson, second Jarl of Orkney. Norman accounts describing Gurim's death and Rolf's expulsion from Norway, at the behest of a king of Dacia, seem entirely consistent with the account of the feud between the families of King Harald and Ragnvald Eysteinsson. Dacia, be it noted, was a term used by Frankish writers to denote Scandinavia in general.
Norman accounts also lay claim to Duke Richard I., Hrolf's grandson, being related to a king of Dacia named Haigrold. A contemporary of Duke Richard I was Haigrold Greycloak, grandson of Harald Harfager. Duke Richard was related to Haigrold Greycloak in the sense of them both being direct descendants of Halfdan Eysteinsson. Thus, Norman and Norse accounts seem quite compatible, and again support the notion of Rolf Ragnvaldsson being the historical Rollo.
Hrolf gained a small cession of territory, around Rouen, in 911, from Charles III., King of France, in return for providing protection against fellow Scandinavian raiders, and giving feudal allegiance to the king. This is affirmed in the above mentioned charter. There were further grants of land, after much fighting, in 924 and 933. Early chroniclers confused Hrolf with Hund, leader of a war band that attacked Neustria in 896, and who submitted to baptism in 897 as a condition of a peace treaty with Charles III.(2) Any mention of Hrolf operating in France before 910 would seem to be a result of this confusion.
Hrolf and his men - principally including his uncle, Malahule of More, and his half-brother, Hrollager Ragnvaldsson - had no intention of being subservient. He began dividing the acquired land among his chieftains with the intention of creating a settled homeland, giving his uncle land centred around Caen in the county of Calvados.
A further condition of the agreement between Charles and Hrolf, that Hrolf was baptized a Christian, his baptismal name was Robert, did not last. Before he died, he reverted to the gods of his ancestors, who awaited him in Valhalla. As any who made such a radical renounceation of the powerful faith of the times, he was given a bad press. It was put about that he had gone mad; what other reason could there be for his lapse into paganism?
These were uncertain times for the Norse settlers. Superior French power limited their expansion to the north-east. Fiercely independent Scandinavian settlers restricted their move westward. The very survival of the Norse colony was often in doubt, especially after the assassination in 942 of Rolf's son, William Longsword, Duke of Normandy.
What is not supported by any contemporary or recent evidence are claims that Rolf had a number of sons and daughters in addition to William Longsword. The only possible addition, according to Dudo de Saint-Quentin, Guillaume de Jumieges, Orderic Vitalis, and Robert of Torigni, is Gerloc, a.k.a Adele, wife of Guillaume, Count of Poitou. 19th Century attempts to identity additional children, such as Crispina, a proposed mother of Crispin de Bec, by Grimaldus, Prince of Monaco, are without any known foundation.(3)
The Crispin/Grimaldi genealogy was composed in 1646 by Charles de Venasque-Ferriol, secretary of Honore II, Prince of Monaco. He was assisted by Jean Le Laboureur, the historian; Renee du Bec-Crispin, and her husband, Jean Baptiste de Budes, comte de Guebriant. Their composition bore the title of Historica Et Genelogica Grimalda Gentis Arbor.
The powerfiul families who composed the Historica had a desire to obtain a Carlolingian descent. Charles III, Prince of Monaco [1856-89], branding this pedigree as untrue - there was no Prince of Monaco until the 13th. Century - gave an order to his successive archivists, Cais de Pierlas, Saige, and Labande, to write a correct one, founded on authentic documents, and not falsified as this one. The only relationship between the Crispins of Normandy and the family of Grimaldi is that they both had the same armorial bearings, both of whom bore fusily argent and gules, but, with so simple a coat, no great importance can be attached to it.
Tomb of Rollo, Duke of Normandy- Rouen Cathedral
(1) Charter of Charles the Simple, ap. Bouquet, ix., p. 536
(2) Annal Vedast, an. 896, 897, Chron. Normanm ap. Pertz, i. 536
(3) Dudo de Saint-Quentin, De Moribus et Actis Primorium Normanniae Ducum, edited by Jules Lair, Mémoires de la Société des Antiquaires de Normandie, 1865 . See also William of Jumieges, Orderic Vitalis, and Robert of Torigni, The Gesta Normannorum Ducum, 2 volumes, edited and translated by Elisabeth van Houts, 1992-1995
(4) British Library- Illuminated Manuscripts- Royal 14BVI- presented to the British Museum by King George II in 1757 as part of the old Royal Library.
Dynasties Of The World: A Chronological And Genealogical Handbook - John Morby, Oxford University Press, 1989- p.86
9I. WILLIAM LONGSWORD, DUKE of NORMANDY (HALFDAN 1, EYSTEIN 2, HALFDAN 3, IVAR 4, EYSTEIN 5, RAGNVALD 6, ROLLO 7)
m.1. before 933, SPROTA of BRITTANY (m.2. Esperleng)- d. of Hubert, Comte de Senlis
2. 935 Luitgarde de Vermandois (d.s.p.)
d. 17 Dec. 942 murdered by followers of Arnulf I of Flanders
William succeeded Rollo about 927 and early on faced a rebellion from the Normans who thought he had become too Gallicised and also from the Bretons. Orderic Vitalis states that the leader was Riouf of Evreux. William put down the rebellion and then attacked Brittany. Resistance was leg by Alan Wrybeard and Beranger but ended when Alan fled to England and Beranger came to terms with William. Through political maneuvering William obtained Contentin and Avranchin as a gift from King Rudolph.
In 935 he married Luitgarde, daughter of Herbert of Vermandois and she brought into the marriage the lands of Longueville, Coudres Illiers l'Eveque. By his expansion northwards, including Montreuil, he came into conflict with Arnulf of Flanders which soon became intertwined with the other conflicts in the reign of King Louis IV. By William's involvement in helping Herluin regain the castle of Montreuil from Arnulf he was ambushed and killed by Arnulf's followers on 17 Dec. 942 at Picquigny on the Somme while attending a meeting to settle their differences.
Tomb of William Longsword- Rouen Cathedral
Dynasties Of The World: A Chronological And Genealogical Handbook - John Morby, Oxford University Press, 1989- p.86
b. 28 Aug. 933 Fecamp, Normandy
m.1. 960 Emma de Paris (d.s.p. 19 Mar. 968)- d. of Hugues of Neustria, Comte de Paris 2. GUNNORA de CREPON (b.c.936, d. 1031)
d. 20 Nov. 996 Fecamp
Richard was known as Richard Sans Peur (the Fearless) and succeeded to the title of Duc de Normandie in 942 when still a boy. He was powerless to stop King Louis IV from seizing Normandy and giving lower Normandy to Hugh the Great. The king kept him locked up in Laon, however, he escaped with the help of Osmond de Centville, Bernard de Senlis, Ivo de Bellesme and Bernard the Dane.
In 946 Richard "commended" himself to Hugh, Count of Paris and then allied himself with the Norman and Viking leaders and drove King Louis out of Rouen and took back Normandy by 947. He also fought with Theobald, Count of Blois and restored lands and monasteries to the church. He also quarrelled with King Ethelred II concerning the Danish invasions of England as the Normans were buying up most of the booty! Richard improved his relationship with Count Hugh by marrying his daughter Emma. He became a vassal to Hugh's son Hugh Capet upon the elder Hugh's death.
Richard had been well educated at Bayeux and during his reign Normandy became completely Gallicized and Christianized. He introduced the feudal system and carried out a major reorganization of the military system which was based on heavy cavalry.
Richard the Fearless and his children- 13th century
Issue- First 7 children by Gunnora
The Earliest Norman Counts- David Douglas in "The English Historical Review"- Vol. 61, No. 240 (May, 1946), p. 140
The Frankish Kingdoms under the Carolingians 751-987- Rosamund McKitterick, 1993
Predatory Kinship and the Creation of Norman Power, 840-1066- Eleanor Searle, 1998
Dynasties Of The World: A Chronological And Genealogical Handbook - John Morby, Oxford University Press, 1989- p.86
b. 23 Aug. 963
m.1. JUDITH of BRITANNY (b.c.982, d. 1017), d. of Conan I, Count of Brittany and Ermengarde of Anjou
2. ?(divorced 1024) Astrid Sveynsdottir, d. of Sveyn 'Forkbeard' Haraldsson, King of Denmark
3. Papia of Envermeu
d. 28 Aug. 1027
Statue of Richard le Bon in the Falaise Town Square
Richard Le Bon, 'the Good', became the 4th Duke of Normandy in 996, however the first few years of his reign were spent with Count Ralph d'Ivry wielding power and with putting down a peasant revolt. Richard strengthened his alliance with King Robert by helping him in his war with the Duchy of Burgundy. Richard also formed an alliance with Brittany by marrying his sister Hedwig to the Duke of Brittany and he married the Duke's sister, Judith. Richard also repelled an attack by King Ethelred on the Cotentin Peninsula. He tried to improve his relations with King Ethelred by marrying off his sister Emma to the King, but, she was not liked by the English, however, this connection became part of Richard's grandson William the Conqueror's claim to the English throne.
Richard was said to have married Astrid, daughter of Sweyn Forkbeard, however, given the political situation at the time this is very unlikely and no evidence is found for this marriage.
Issue- first 6 children by Judith, last 4 by Papia
Dynasties Of The World: A Chronological And Genealogical Handbook - John Morby, Oxford University Press, 1989- p.86
b. 22 June 1000
mistress HERLEVA de FALAISE (b.c.1003 d. of Fulbert de Falaise, m. Herluin, Vicomte de Conteville, d.c.1050)
d. 3 July 1035 Nicaea, Bithynia
Robert le Magnifique- Statue in the Falaise Town Square
Robert le Diable, 'the Devil', or le Magnifique, 'the Magnificent' (because of his love of fancy clothes) became duke of Normandy in 1028 after his brother's death. As Richard had died only a year after their father there was a suspicion that Robert had Richard murdered which gave rise to his nickname "le Diable".
Because of his aid to King Henry of France against his rebellious family, Robert was granted the Vexin in 1032. Robert also was involved in the affairs of Flanders, and supported his cousin, King Edward the Confessor who was living in exile at Robert's court. He also sponsored monastic reform in Normandy.
After making his illegitamate son his heir, Robert set out on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem travelling by way of Constantinople. He died on the return journey at Nicaea on 2 July 1035. William sent a mission to Constantinople and Nicaea with the task of bringing his father's body back to Normandy. Having travelled as far as Apulia, Italy, however, upon learning of King William's death they decided to bury Robert in Italy.Issue-
b. 1028 Falaise
m. MATILDA of FLANDERS (b. 1032, d. 3 Nov. 1083)
d. 9 Sept. 1087 St. Gervais, Rouen
Chateau de Falaise, Normandie
"William the Conqueror, king of England, natural son of Robert II, duke of Normandy, by Herleva or Arlette, daughter of Fulbert, a tanner of Falaise, whence he was called the Bastard, was born at Falaise in 1027 or 1028. His mother also bore, probably to Robert, Adeliza, wife of Enguerrand of Ponthieu. After Robert's death she married Herlwin of Conteville, by whom she had Odo, bishop of Bayeux, Robert of Mortain, and a daughter Muriel. When Robert was setting out on his pilgrimage he caused his lords to elect William as his successor, and to swear fealty to him. Accordingly on the news of his death, in 1035, William became duke, having as guardians Alan, count of Brittany, Osbern the seneschal, and Gilbert of Eu, and being under the charge of one Turold. Disturbances broke out immediately. Many of his lords were disloyal, for they despised him for his birth, they built themselves fortresses and committed acts of violence. Alan was poisoned, and Gilbert and Turold were murdered. An attempt was made to seize William's person at Vaudreuil; Osbern, who slept in his room, was slain, but William was carried off by his mother's brother Walter, who concealed him in the dwellings of some poor people.
As William grew older he proved himself brave and wise. By the advice of his lords he appointed as his guardian Ralph de Wacy, who had slain Gilbert of Eu, and gave him command of his forces. While the number of those who were loyal to him increased, many were secretly disloyal and intrigued against him with Henry I, the French king. Henry complained that the border fortress of Tillières was an annoyance to him, and the duke's counsellors ordered its destruction. The castellan, William Crispin, only yielded the place at William's express command. The French burnt it and made a raid in the Hiemois. The governor of the country revolted and garrisoned Falaise against the duke, but the castle was taken and he was banished. William and his counsellors advocated the adoption of the truce of God which was accepted by the Normans at the council of Caen in 1042. In 1047 Guy, the lord of Brionne and Vernon, son of the count of Burgundy by Adeliza, daughter of Richard II of Normandy, and the duke's companion in boyhood, hoping to gain the whole, or a good part, of his cousin's duchy, conspired against him with the lords of the Cotentin and Bessin, inciting them not to obey a degenerate bastard. The eastern, or more French, portion of the duchy remained faithful to William; the western, or more Scandinavian, portion rebelled. An attempt was made to seize the duke at Valognes; he narrowly escaped, rode alone through the night to Rye, and thence reached Falaise. He went to Poissy to meet King Henry and obtained his help. The duke and the king joined forces and defeated the rebels at Val-ès-dunes, near Caen. William then took Brionne. He ordered Guy to remain in his court, and afterwards allowed him to go to Burgundy; the other rebel lords were punished by fines and by the destruction of the castles which they had built without license; the lord who had attempted to seize the duke was imprisoned at Rouen and died there. The duke's victory established his power throughout Normandy.
In return for Henry's help William in 1048 joined him in a war against Geoffrey Martel, count of Anjou. The duke was resolved to take his place as pre-eminent among his barons in battle, and showed so much daring that the king warned him to be less adventurous. Though, so far as the French were concerned, the campaign was short, it led to a war between William and Geoffrey, in which the duke regained Domfront and Alençon, fortresses on the border of Maine, then virtually under the rule of Geoffrey. While besieging Domfront he challenged Geoffrey to a personal combat, but the count, though he accepted the challenge, retreated without meeting him. At Alençon the inhabitants jeered at William by beating hides on their walls, and calling him tanner. In revenge he cut off the hands and feet of thirty-two of them. At the end of the war he raised fortifications at Ambrières, in Maine itself. In 1051 William visited England, and must have found himself at home among the Normans and Frenchmen of the court of his cousin, Edward the Confessor, who probably during his visit promised that he should succeed him. Meanwhile he was with the advice of his lords seeking to marry Matilda, daughter of the Count of Flanders, an alliance of great political importance, both on account of the count's power and the situation of his dominions. The marriage was forbidden by Leo IX at the council of Reims in 1049, and in consequence was not celebrated until 1053. Malger, archbishop of Rouen, the duke's uncle, threatened, and perhaps pronounced, excommunication against the duke; but William gained over Lanfranc to his side, and finally Nicolas II granted a dispensation for the marriage in 1059. In accordance with the pope's commands on this occasion William built the abbey of St. Stephen at Caen.
An unimportant revolt of the lord of Eu was followed in 1053 by the revolt of William of Arques, one of the duke's uncles and brother of Archbishop Malger. This William, who had constantly been disloyal to his nephew, was upheld by the French king, who marched to the relief of Arques when it was invested by the duke. To avoid fighting in person against his liege lord, the duke left the siege for a while to William Giffard. The French suffered in a skirmish at St. Aubin, and retired without relieving the place, which surrendered to the duke. The garrison made an abject submission, and William allowed his uncle to leave the duchy. Jealous of the almost kingly power of the duke, Henry of France formed a league against him with some of his great vassals and invaded the duchy on both sides of the Seine early in 1054. To meet this pressing danger, William also divided his force into two bodies, and himself led one of them to operate against the division commanded by the king on the left of the river, giving some of his lords the command of the force which was to oppose the army led by the king's brother Eudes and others on the right of the river. The army of Eudes was surprised and routed at Mortemer, and one of its leaders, Guy, count of Ponthieu, was taken prisoner. William, who was near the king's army when he heard of the victory of his lords, sent one of his followers to climb a tree or rock near the French camp by night and announce it to the king's army, and on hearing the news Henry hastily retreated into France.
Peace was made with France in 1055, and William, with the king's good-will, turned on the Count of Anjou. He ordered that the fortification of Ambrières should be pressed forward, and sent to tell Geoffrey that he would be there within forty days to meet him. Geoffrey of Mayenne, whose town lay near Ambrières, entreated the count's help against the Normans. The count promised that it should be given, but allowed the works to be completed. He then besieged the place in conjunction with the Count of Aquitaine and a force from Brittany. William at once prepared to go to its relief, and on hearing that he was coming Geoffrey raised the siege. Geoffrey of Mayenne, who had been taken prisoner by the Normans, renounced his fealty to the count and did homage to William. About this time also William received homage from Guy, count of Ponthieu, who, in return for his release from prison, bound himself to do the duke military service.
William was highly displeased by the unseemly life and extravagance of Archbishop Malger, and often reproved him both publicly and in private. He was also angered by the line that his uncle had taken with reference to his marriage, and further suspected him of complicity in the revolt of his brother William of Arques. Accordingly he took advantage of the visit of a papal legate to Normandy to depose the archbishop, acting in this in unison with the legate at a synod held at Rouen. He banished Malger to Guernsey, and at an ecclesiastical council held in his presence in the same year (1055) caused the election of Maurilius, a French monk of Fécamp, a man of learning and holy life, to the see of Rouen. After about three years of peace, Henry for the third time invaded Normandy, in conjunction with Geoffrey of Anjou, in August 1058. The allies did much damage to the country, ravaging the Hiemois and the Bessin, and burning Caen before, as it seems, William could gather a sufficient force to meet them. While their army was crossing the Dive, and after the king and the vanguard had already crossed, William, at the head of a small company, suddenly fell on the remainder of the army at Varaville and cut it to pieces before the eyes of the king, who was prevented by the rising tide from sending any succour to his men. On this disaster the king and Geoffrey speedily returned home.
The deaths of Henry and Count Geoffrey in 1060 secured William from further attacks, for Henry's successor, Philip I, was young, and his guardian was the Count of Flanders, William's father-in-law, while the new Count of Anjou, Geoffrey the Bearded, was far less powerful than his uncle had been. William had made himself feared or respected by foreign powers, and was absolute master in his duchy both in things ecclesiastical and civil. He banished several lords whom he suspected of disaffection, not always justly, for he sometimes acted on false and malicious accusations. Among others, he deposed and banished Robert, abbot of St. Evroul, brother of Hugh (d. 1094) of Grantmesnil, though he had not been condemned by synodical authority. About two years later Robert, who had laid his case before Nicolas II, returned to Normandy in company with two cardinals, and went with them to Lillebonne, where the duke then was, to claim his abbey. William was greatly enraged, and declared that, though he would receive the legates, he would promptly hang on the highest oak of the nearest forest any monk of his duchy who dared to make a charge against him. On hearing this Robert left the duchy in haste. At a council held at Caen by the duke's authority in 1061, it was decreed that every evening a bell should be rung as an invitation to prayer, and a signal for all to shut their doors and not to go forth again. This was the origin of the curfew which was afterwards introduced into England. On the death of Geoffrey Martel, William, who had let no opportunity slip of gaining power in Maine, was enabled to prosecute the claim to that land which he derived from an alleged grant to his ancestor Hrolf or Rollo. Herbert, the young heir of the last count of Maine, in the hope of gaining possession of his inheritance, commended himself and his country to the duke in 1061; it was agreed that he should marry one of the duke's daughters, that if he died childless William should have Maine, and that the count's eldest sister Margaret should marry William's eldest son Robert. Herbert died unmarried in 1063, when Robert was still a child. The people of Maine were unwilling to submit to William, and were headed by Walter of Mantes, who claimed the country in right of his wife Biota, aunt of Herbert. William ravaged the land, and compelled Le Mans to surrender, while a Norman army ravaged Walter's own territories and forced him to submit to the duke. Both Walter and Biota died suddenly, and, it is said, while they were with the duke at Falaise. In after years William's enemies asserted that he had poisoned them. Geoffrey of Mayenne continued for a while to resist the duke in Maine, who punished him by taking Mayenne. Robert's intended wife Margaret was brought to Normandy, and died there before reaching marriageable age.
In 1064, when Conan, count of Brittany, was threatening to invade the duchy, William caused Guy of Ponthieu to deliver to him Harold (1022?-1066), then earl of Wessex, who had been shipwrecked on the coast of Ponthieu. Taking Harold with him, he frightened the Britons away from before Dol, and compelled Conan to surrender Dinan. Before Harold was allowed to leave Normandy William obtained an oath from him, sworn on some relics which, it is said, were concealed from him until after the oath was taken, that he would uphold the duke's claim to succeed to the English throne on the king's death. William, who was a kinsman of Edward the Confessor (both being descended from Duke Richard the Fearless), having thus obtained an oath from Harold as well as a promise of the succession from Edward, heard with anger that immediately on Edward's death Harold had, on 6 Jan. 1066, been crowned king. The tidings came to him when he was going forth to hunt near Rouen, and he determined, on the advice, it is said, of his seneschal, William Fitzosbern (d. 1071), to take immediate action. He sent a messenger to Harold, calling on him to fulfil his oath. On his refusal the duke, by the advice of his special counsellors, summoned an assembly of his barons to meet at Lillebonne.
Meanwhile he sent Gilbert, archdeacon of Lisieux, to obtain the sanction of the pope, Alexander II, for his proposed war. In addition to William's claim, founded on kinship and the bequest of Edward, William's ambassador advanced the perjury of Harold, and the causes of offence given by the English, such as the expulsion of Archbishop Robert of Jumièges. The duke's ambassador doubtless promised that his master would improve the ecclesiastical condition of England, and bring it into close obedience to the Roman see. Nevertheless he met with violent opposition from many of the cardinals, on the ground that the church should not sanction slaughter; but the duke's cause was espoused by Archdeacon Hildebrand (Gregory VII), and, acting on his advice, the pope sent William his blessing, a ring, with a relic of St. Peter, and a consecrated banner, so that his expedition had something of the character of a crusade. The barons at Lillebonne objected to the proposals made to them by William Fitzosbern, and the duke obtained promises from them of ships and men by personally soliciting each baron singly. He received a visit from Earl Tostig, and encouraged him to invade England in May. As he desired help from other lands, he sent embassies to the German king, Henry, and to Sweyn of Denmark, and is said himself to have met Philip of France,who was adverse to his project. Volunteers from many lands, and specially from France and Flanders, joined him, in the hope of plunder and of grants of land in England, and he and his lords set about preparing a fleet. During these preparations his old enemy, Conan of Brittany, died, poisoned, it was believed, by his chamberlain, though William was afterwards accused of having poisoned him, but that was probably mere abuse. In a council that he held in June he appointed Lanfranc abbot of St. Stephen's at Caen, and shortly afterwards was present at the consecration of Matilda's church in that city and the dedication of his daughter Cicely.
William the Conqueror Invades England- "Le Miroir Historial"- Vincent de Beauvais- c.1400
The Norman fleet assembled at the mouth of the Dive in the middle of August, was delayed there for a month by contrary winds, and sailed, with some losses by shipwreck and desertion, to St. Valery about 12 Sept. There it waited for a south wind for fifteen days, during which William made constant prayers for the desired wind, and finally caused the relics of St. Valery to be borne in a solemn procession. On the 27th the south wind blew and the fleet sailed, William embarking in the Mora, the ship given him by his wife, whom he left in charge of the duchy. The passage was made by night, and a landing was effected without resistance at Pevensey on the 28th, the third day after the battle of Stamford Bridge. The story that the duke on landing fell to the ground, and that this was turned to a lucky omen either by William himself, or a sailor crying out that he took ‘seisin’ of the kingdom, is probably an adaptation of the story of Cæsar's landing in Africa. His army perhaps consisted of from twenty-five to thirty thousand men, but no certain estimate is possible. He fortified his camp at Hastings and ravaged the country. Harold marched against him from London on 11 Oct., and took up his position on the hill afterwards called Battle, eight miles from Hastings, and messages passed between them. On the morning of the 14th the duke received the communion, arrayed his army in three divisions, himself taking command of the centre, which was composed of Normans, the soldiers of Brittany and Maine composing the left, and the French and Flemings the right wing; vowed that if he was victorious he would build a monastery on the place of battle in honour of St. Martin, and made an address to his army. He rode a horse given him by Alfonso VI, of Leon and Castille, and in the course of the battle showed great personal courage as well as good generalship. He was thought to be slain, and a panic ensued; he bared his head so as to be recognised and rallied his men; his horse was killed by Gyrth; he slew Gyrth and mounted another horse; three horses were slain under him, but he remained unwounded. The Norman victory was complete and Harold was slain. After the battle William remained for five days at Hastings, when, finding that the English did not come to offer their submission, he marched to Romney, and avenged some of his men who had been slain there before the battle; thence he marched to Dover, where he remained about a week, then went northwards, being delayed a short time near Canterbury by illness, and thence went on to Southwark, the line of his march being marked by ravages. A skirmish took place at Southwark, to which he set fire, and, finding that London did not make submission, he turned away, marched through Surrey and Hampshire, and on to Wallingford in Berkshire, where he received the submission of Archbishop Stigand, and crossed the Thames. After further ravages, he finally came to Berkhampstead in Hertfordshire. The Londoners, finding themselves surrounded by devastated lands, submitted to him, and the great men who were in the city, Edgar Atheling, Aldred (d. 1096), archbishop of York, and others, came to him, and invited him to assume the crown. He received them graciously. Refusing to allow Stigand, whose position was uncanonical, to consecrate him, he was crowned, after taking the coronation oath, by Aldred at Westminster on 25 Dec. The ceremony was disturbed by his Norman guards, who, mistaking the shouts of the people for an insurrection, set fire to buildings round the abbey. The people rushed from the church, leaving the king, the bishops, and the clergy in great fear.
In consequence of this affair William determined to curb the power of the citizens; he left London and stayed for some days at Barking in Essex, while fortifications were raised in the city. At Barking possibly he granted his charter to London. He received the submission of the great men of the north, of Earls Edwin and Morcar, of Copsige, Waltheof, and others. Succeeding as king to the crown lands, he confiscated the lands of those who had fought against him, and, holding that all the laity had incurred forfeiture, allowed the landholders generally to redeem their lands in whole or in part, receiving them back as a grant from himself. During his whole reign he punished resistance by confiscation. Early in 1067 he set out on a progress through various parts of the kingdom for the purpose, as it seems, of taking over confiscated estates, establishing order, and strengthening his power by setting on foot the building of castles. He met with no opposition, and showed indulgence to the poorer and weaker people. After appointing his brother Odo, whom he made earl of Kent, and William Fitzosbern, whom he made earl of Hereford, as regent, and giving posts to others, he visited Normandy in Lent, taking with him several leading Englishmen. He was received with great rejoicing at Rouen, held his court at Easter at Fécamp, where he displayed the spoils of England, enriched many Norman churches with them, attended dedications of churches, and sent Lanfranc on an embassy to Rome on the affairs of the duchy.
William returned to England on 7 Dec. During his absence disturbances had broken out in Kent, in Herefordshire, and in the north, where Copsige, whom William had made earl, was slain, and an invitation had been sent to Sweyn Estrithson of Denmark to invade England. The Kentish insurrection had been quelled, and William made many confiscations. In the hope of averting Danish invasion he sent an embassy to Sweyn and to the archbishop of Bremen. He appointed a new earl in Copsige's place and laid a heavy tax on the kingdom. An insurrection, headed by Harold's sons at Exeter, having broken out in the west in 1068, William marched thither with English troops, ravaging as he went. He compelled Exeter to surrender, had a castle built there, and subdued the west country. Rebels gathered at York, and the king, after occupying Warwick, where Edwin and Morcar, who were concerned in the revolt, made their peace with him, and receiving the submission of the central districts, advanced to York, which made no resistance to him. As he returned he visited other parts of the country, and caused castles to be built in various towns. About this time he dismissed his foreign mercenaries after rewarding them liberally. Early in 1069 Robert of Comines, to whom he had given an earldom north of the Tees, was slain with his men at Durham, and a revolt in favour of Edgar was made at York, where the castle was besieged. William marched to its relief, defeated the rebels, and caused a second castle to be built to curb the city. Harold's sons, who, sailing from Ireland, had made a raid on the west in the preceding year, again came over with Viking crews and plundered in Devonshire. They were promptly put to flight; but it was doubtless in connection with their expedition that the fleet of Sweyn of Denmark, after some plundering descents, sailed into the Humber in September, and being joined by Edgar, Waltheof, and other English leaders, burnt York. Other revolts broke out, in the west where the rebels were defeated by the bishop of Coutances, on the Welsh border, and in Staffordshire, the movements being without concert. William, who was surprised and enraged at the news from York, marched into Lindsey, where the Danish ships were laid up, destroyed some Danish holds, and, leaving a force there, crushed the revolt in Staffordshire, and entered York without opposition. He then laid waste all the country between York and Durham, burning crops, cattle, houses, and property of all kinds, so that the whole land was turned into a desert and the people perished with hunger. After keeping Christmas amid the ruins of York, he marched to the Tees in January 1070, received the submission of Waltheof and others, committed further ravages, returned to York, and thence set out for Chester. The winter weather made his march difficult; some of his men deserted and many perished. The fall of Chester ended the revolt in that district, and was followed by ravages in Cheshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, and Derbyshire. The Danish fleet having been bribed to leave the coast after the winter, all resistance was at an end and the conquest of England was complete.
Coin of William the Conqueror
At Easter two legates came to England by William's request, and one remained with him for a year. Their coming enabled him to carry out part of his policy with respect to the church. Stigand was deposed and Lanfranc was made archbishop in his place. Three other English bishops, and in time many abbots, were also deposed, and vacancies were filled up by foreign prelates, only two sees being occupied by native bishops by the end of 1070. As he had done in Normandy, so also in England, William generally tried to appoint men of learning and good character; he avoided simony, and, though his appointments were not always successful and his abbots were not generally so worthy as his bishops, the prelates that he introduced were, taken together, men of a higher stamp than their predecessors. At the same time, his changes entailed much hardship on English churchmen, and his church appointments were often made as rewards for secular service. All disorder was abhorrent to him. He was masterful in his dealings with the church as in all else, and, though elections were often made in ecclesiastical assemblies, his will was evidently not less obeyed than in cases in which his personal action is more apparent. With Lanfranc he worked in full accord, and his general policy may be described as that of organising the church as a separate department of government under the direction of the archbishop as his vicegerent in ecclesiastical matters, in opposition to the English system by which ecclesiastical and civil affairs were largely administered by the same machinery. This policy worked well in his time, but it was necessary to its success that the throne and the see of Canterbury should be filled by men of like mind and aims to those of William and Lanfranc. William upheld Lanfranc's claim to the obedience of the see of York because it was politically expedient to depress the power of the northern metropolitan. In accordance with his system church councils were held distinct from, though generally at the same time as, the secular councils of the realm. He also separated ecclesiastical from secular jurisdiction, ordering that no bishop or archdeacon should thenceforward hear ecclesiastical pleas in the hundred court, but in courts of their own, and should try them by canon law, obedience being enforced by excommunication, which, if necessary, would be backed up by the civil power. Although he brought the church into closer relations with the papacy, from which he had obtained help both in his invasion and his ecclesiastical arrangements, he was far from being subservient to popes. About 1076 a legate came to him from Gregory demanding that he should do fealty to the pope and send Peter's pence. He replied that he would send the money as his predecessors had done, but would not do fealty, for he had never promised it and his predecessors had not done it. The pope blamed him for Lanfranc's neglect of his summons to Rome. He laid down three rules as necessary to his kingly rights: he would allow no Roman pontiff to be acknowledged in his dominions as apostolic without his command, nor any papal letter to be received that had not been shown to him; no synod might make any enactment that he had not sanctioned and previously ordained; no ecclesiastical censure was to be pronounced against any of his barons or officers without his consent. All things, temporal and spiritual, depended on his will.
Extending the license that they had received from William, the Danes had not sailed in May 1070; and their appearance at Ely encouraged a revolt of the fen country. They left England in June, but the revolt continued, and was headed by Hereward. In 1071 the rebels held the Isle of Ely, and the revolt, though isolated, became serious. William in person attacked the island with ships and a land force. He reduced it in the course of the year, punished the rebels with mutilation or lifelong imprisonment, fined the monastery of Ely, and caused a castle to be built in its precinct. Early in 1072 he was in Normandy where he held a parliament and addressed an ecclesiastical synod. The Accord of Winchester, signed in 1072, made the archbishop of Canterbury the highest primate in England, elevating him over the archbishop of York. Returning to England he invaded Scotland, for Malcolm had been ravaging the north, and made his court a refuge for William's enemies. He advanced to Abernethy, where Malcolm did him homage. On his return he founded a castle at Durham and committed it to the bishop to hold against the Scots.
The Accord of Winchester- the large X's are the signatures of William & Matilda
The citizens of Le Mans having, after domestic conflicts, called in Fulk, count of Anjou, William in 1073 led an army largely composed of English into Maine, wasted it, received the submission of the city, defended his allies against Fulk, and, having made peace with him, returned to England in 1074. Then he again visited Normandy, apparently leaving Lanfranc as his chief representative in England. During his absence Ralph Guader, earl of Norfolk, and Roger, earl of Hereford, conspired against him. Waltheof, who was concerned in the conspiracy, went to William in Normandy, confessed, and asked forgiveness. The rebels were overthrown in the absence of the king, who, returning to England in 1075, found the Danish fleet in the Humber; it had been invited over by the rebels, but after plundering York the Danes sailed off, for they dared not meet the king. William punished those of the rebels that he had in his power, blinding and mutilating the Briton followers of Earl Ralph, and in May 1076 caused Waltheof to be beheaded, the only capital punishment that he inflicted during his reign. Possibly about this time he laid waste a district in Hampshire extending for thirty miles or more to form the New Forest, in order to gratify his love of hunting, driving away the inhabitants and destroying churches and houses.
The White Tower in the Tower of London- Built by William the Conqueror
Hoping to seize Earl Ralph, who had escaped to Brittany, and also to enlarge his dominions, he crossed to Normandy and laid siege to Dol, swearing not to depart until it surrendered; but Philip of France came to the help of Count Alan, and William fled, leaving his camp and much treasure in the hands of the enemy. He made peace with the count, and in 1077 with Philip. About that time his eldest son, Robert (1054?-1134), demanded that Normandy and Maine should be made over to him, and, on William's refusal, rebelled and attempted to seize Rouen, for he had a party in the duchy. William ordered his arrest, but he fled from Normandy; his mother sent him supplies, and William was in consequence highly displeased with her. With Philip's help Robert established himself at Gerberoi, near Beauvais, and William besieged him there early in 1080. In a skirmish beneath the walls William was unhorsed and wounded in the hand by his son. He raised the siege, and was persuaded by his queen, his lords, and the French king to be reconciled with Robert and his friends. On the murder of Walcher, bishop of Durham, he sent Bishop Odo to punish the insurgents, and shortly afterwards sent Robert with an army into Scotland, for Malcolm had again been invading Northumberland. He was in England in 1081, and Robert again quarrelled with him, and finally left him. In that year he made an expedition into Wales, freed many hundred captives there, received the submission of the Welsh princes, and is said to have made a pilgrimage to St. David's.
Silver Penny c.1075- Lewes Mint
William was again in Normandy in 1082, when he heard that his brother Odo, to whom he had committed the regency in England during his late frequent visits to the duchy, was about to make an expedition into Italy. He crossed in haste, caught him in the Isle of Wight, and, having gathered his lords, laid before them his complaints against Odo, accusing him of oppression and misgovernment in his absence and of a design to lead abroad forces needed for the defence of the kingdom. He caused him to be arrested, and, when Odo objected that he was a clerk, replied that he was not arresting a bishop but one of his earls whom he had made his viceroy; he kept him in prison until his own death was near, in spite of the remonstrances of the pope. He returned to Normandy, where in 1083 died his queen Matilda, for whom he mourned deeply. An insurrection in Maine, headed by Hubert de Beaumont, caused him trouble. He personally led an army against Hubert's castle, but left the war to be prosecuted by his lords, who carried it on for three years without success.
Cnut, or Canute the Saint, king of Denmark, threatened to invade England in 1085. William gathered a force to meet him, crossed to England, and, quartering his soldiers on his vassals, wasted the coasts, that the Danes might find no sustenance on landing. The invasion was not made, and William dismissed part of his force, keeping some part with him during the winter. After much discussion with his lords at a court that he held at Gloucester at Christmas, he ordered a survey of his kingdom. This survey, the object of which seems to have been to ascertain and apportion every landholder's liability with respect to taxation and military service, caused much indignation among the English; its results are embodied in Domesday book. William remained in England, held his courts according to custom at Easter 1086 at Winchester, and at Whitsuntide at Westminster, apparently travelled about the kingdom, and on 1 Aug. at a great assembly at Salisbury required that all men, whether holding immediately of the crown or of a mesne lord, should do fealty to him. All present at the assembly, ‘whose men soever they were,’ did so. The doctrine thus established, that the fealty owed to the king could not be overridden by an obligation to any inferior lord, saved England from the worst evils of feudalism. William heavily fined all against whom he could bring any charge, true or false; stayed in the Isle of Wight while the money was being collected, and then sailed off with it to Normandy.
A long-standing dispute as to the right to the French Vexin came to a head in 1087, when the French garrison in Mantes committed some ravages in the duke's dominions. William, who had become unwieldy through fat, was at Rouen seeking to reduce his bulk by medicine. Hearing that Philip had compared him to a woman in childbed, he swore his special oath, ‘by the splendour and resurrection of God,’ that he would light a hundred thousand candles when he went to his churching mass. He invaded the Vexin in August, ravaged the land, entered Mantes on the 15th, and burnt it. As he rode through the town his horse threw him forward in the saddle, and he received an internal injury. He was carried to Rouen, and was taken from his palace to the priory of St. Gervase for the sake of quiet. There he was attended by his bishops, sent for Anselm, who was unable to go to him, repented of his sins, and ordered that his treasure should be distributed between the poor and churches. He directed that Robert should succeed him in Normandy; expressed his wish that his son William, who was with him, might succeed him in England; left Henry, who was also with him, a sum of money; and ordered that his prisoners should be released. He died on 9 Sept. His lords forthwith rode off to defend their lands from plunder, and his servants, after seizing all they could find, left his body uncared for. A knight named Herlwin had it borne to Caen and buried in St. Stephen's, the Conqueror's own church. The ceremony was interrupted by a claim made to the land on which the church was built, and William's son Henry and the bishops present satisfied the claimant's demand. The monument raised by William Rufus to his father was destroyed by the Huguenots in 1562, and the king's bones were scattered. A later tomb was destroyed in 1793, when the last bone left was lost.
William was of middle height and great muscular strength; in later life he became very fat; he had a stern countenance, and the front of his head was bald. His demeanour was stately and his court splendid. He was a man of iron will and remarkable genius; no consideration could divert him from the pursuit of his aims, and he was unscrupulous as to the means he employed to attain them. In a large degree his achievements were due to himself alone. Despised in his youth by the proud and restless barons of his duchy, he compelled their obedience and respect, became stronger than his neighbours, extended his dominions by policy and war, conquered a kingdom far richer and larger than his duchy, forced its people to live quietly and orderly under his rule, and, dying a powerful sovereign, left his dominions in peace to his sons. He was religious, was regular in devotion and liberal to monasteries; he fulfilled his vow by building Battle Abbey, which was not finished at his death; he made no gain out of the church, promoted many worthy ecclesiastics, and was blameless in his private life. Though not delighting in cruelty, he was callous to human suffering. In addition to his two signal acts of cruelty, the devastation of the north and the making of the New Forest, he oppressed his conquered people with heavy taxes and brought much misery upon them. While affable to those who gave him no offence, he was stern beyond bounds to those who withstood his will, was merciless in his punishments, and though, with one exception, he took no man's life by sentence of law, inflicted blinding and shameful mutilation with terrible frequency, especially on men of the lower class. Loving ‘the tall deer as though he had been their father,’ he decreed that all who slew deer should be blinded; his forest laws troubled rich as well as poor, ‘but he recked not of the hatred of them all, for they needs must obey his will, if they would have life, or land, or goods, or even his peace.’
His rule was strict, and he put down all disorder with a strong hand. That he had at one time some desire to govern the English justly may be inferred from an attempt he made to learn their language; but his conquest brought temptations, his character seems to have deteriorated as he met with resistance, and, though he was always ready to allow his own will to override justice, he became more tyrannical as he grew older. He amassed great riches by oppression and became avaricious. Like all his race, he was addicted to legal subtleties; his oppression generally wore the garb of legality, and was for that reason specially grinding. Adopting the character of the lawful successor of the Confessor, he maintained English laws and institutions, continuing, for example, the three annual courts of the earlier kings; but he gave these courts, and indeed all the higher machinery of government and administration, a feudal character, though he kept English feudalism in subordination to the power of the crown. Nor does his surname, ‘the Conqueror,’ used by Orderic, prove that he laid stress on the fact that he gained and held England by the sword, for the term at that time signified ‘an acquirer’ or, in legal phraseology, ‘a purchaser.’ He is generally called ‘the Bastard’ by contemporary writers, and after the accession of William Rufus is often distinguished from him by being called ‘the Great’. His laws in their fuller form cannot be accepted as genuine, but the short version printed by Bishop Stubbs, and given with some variations by Hoveden, apparently represents enactments made by him on different occasions, and his confirmation of Canute's law and his regulation of appeals are most probably genuine. Hoveden, apparently on the authority of Ranulf de Glanville, says that in the fourth year of his reign William caused twelve men from each shire to declare on oath the customs of the kingdom. There seems no reason to reject this tradition, though the pretended results of the inquest cannot be accepted as genuine. Assertions that he had any illegitimate children or was unfaithful to his wife lack historical basis."(1)
(1) Dictionary of National Biography- H.C.G. Matthew ed., Oxford Univ. Press
b. Sept. 1068 Selby, Yorkshire
mistress Lady SYBILLA CORBET (d. after 1157)
m.1 11 Nov. 1100 Westminster Abbey, MATILDA, Queen of Scots (b.c.1080, d. 1118)
mistress Isabel de Beaumont (b.c.1102, d.c.1172)
m.2. 29 Jan. 1121 Windsor Castle, Adeliza of Louvain (b.c.1103, d. 23 Apr. 1151 Affligem Abbey, Brabant)
d. 1 Dec. 1135 St. Denis en Lyons, Normandy
Bur. Reading Abbey, Berkshire
King Henry I- from the Illuminated Chronicle of Matthew Paris- c.1250
"King Henry I, fourth son of William the Conqueror and Matilda, was born, it is said, at Selby in Yorkshire, in the latter half of 1068, his mother having been crowned queen on the previous Whitsunday. As the son of a crowned king and queen of England he was regarded by the English as naturally qualified to become their king; he was an English ætheling, and is spoken of as clito, which was used as an equivalent title. He was brought up in England, and received an unusually good education, of which he took advantage, for he was studious and did not in after life forget what he had learnt. The idea that he understood Greek and translated Æsop's Fables into English is founded solely on a line in the Ysopet of Marie de France, who lived in England in the reign of Henry III, but it is extremely unlikely, and there is so much uncertainty as to what Marie really wrote or meant in the passage in question that it is useless to build any theory upon it. It is certain that he understood Latin, and could speak English easily. At least as early as the thirteenth century he was called clerk, the origin of the name Beauclerc. While he was with his father at Laigle in Normandy, in 1077, when the Conqueror was on bad terms with his eldest son Robert, he and his brother, William Rufus, went across to Robert's lodgings in the castle, played dice with their followers in an upper room, made a great noise, and threw water on Robert and his men who were below. Robert ran up with Alberic and Ivo of Grantmesnil to avenge the insult, a disturbance followed, and the Conqueror had to interfere to make peace. His mother at her death in 1083 left Henry heir of all her possessions in England, but it is evident that he did not receive anything until his father's death. The next year, when his father and brothers were in Normandy, he spent Easter by his father's order at the monastery of Abingdon, the expenses of the festival being borne by Robert of Oily. At the Whitsuntide assembly of 1086 his father dubbed him knight at Westminster, and he was armed by Archbishop Lanfranc. He was with his father when the Conqueror lay dying the next year at Rouen, and, on hearing his father's commands and wishes about his dominions and possessions, asked what there was for him. I give thee 5,000l., was the answer. But what, he said, can I do with the money if I have no place to live in? The Conqueror bade him be patient and wait his turn, for the time would come when he should be richer and greater than his brothers. The money thus left had been his mother's, and he went off at once to secure the treasure. He returned for his father's funeral at Caen.
Robert of Normandy, who was in want of money, asked Henry for some of his treasure; Henry refused, and the duke then offered to sell or pledge him some part of his dominions. He accordingly bought the Avranchin and the Côtentin, along with Mont St. Michel, for 3,000l., and ruled his new territory well and vigorously. In 1088 he went over to England, and requested Rufus to hand over to him his mother's lands. Rufus received him graciously, and granted him seisin of the lands, but when he left the country granted them to another. Henry returned to Normandy in the autumn in the company of Robert of Bellême, and the duke, acting on the advice of his uncle, Bishop Odo, seized him and shut him up in prison at Bayeux, where he remained for six months, for Odo made the duke believe that Henry was plotting with Rufus to injure him. In the spring of the following year the duke released him at the request of the Norman nobles, and he went back to his county, which Robert seems to have occupied during his imprisonment, at enmity with both his brothers. He employed himself in strengthening the defences of his towns, and attached a number of his nobles to himself, among whom were Hugh of Chester, the lord of Avranches, Richard of Redvers, and the lords of the Côtentin generally. When the citizens of Rouen revolted against their duke in favour of Rufus in November 1090, Henry came to Robert's help, not so much probably for Robert's sake, as because he was indignant at seeing a city rise against its lord. He joined Robert in the castle, and headed the nobles who gathered to suppress the movement. The rebellious party among the citizens was routed, and Conan, its leader, was taken prisoner. Henry made him come with him to the top of the tower, and in bitter mockery bade him look out and see how fair a land it was which he had striven to subject to himself. Conan confessed his disloyalty and prayed for mercy; all his treasure should be given for his life. Henry bade him prepare for speedy death. Conan pleaded for a confessor. Henry's anger was roused, and with both hands he pushed Conan through the window, so he fell from the tower and perished. In the early part of the next year Robert and William made peace, and agreed that Cherbourg and Mont St. Michel, which both belonged to Henry, should pass to the English king, and the rest of his dominions to the Norman duke. Up to this time Henry had been enabled to keep his position mainly by the mutual animosity of William and Robert. Now both his brothers attacked him at once. He no longer held the balance between them in Normandy, and the lords of his party fell away from him. He shut himself up in Mont St. Michel, and held it against his brothers, who laid siege to it about the middle of Lent, each occupying a position on either side of the bay. The besieged garrison engaged in several skirmishes on the mainland. Their water was exhausted, and Henry sent to the duke representing his necessity, and bidding him decide their quarrel by arms and not by keeping him from water. Robert allowed the besieged to have water. After fifteen days Henry offered to surrender if he and his men might march out freely. He was accordingly allowed to evacuate the place honourably.
The surrender of Mont St. Michel left Henry landless and friendless, and for some months he wandered about, taking shelter first in Brittany and then in the Vexin. In August he accompanied his two brothers to England, and apparently joined in the expedition against Malcolm of Scotland. Then he probably resumed his wandering life, travelling about attended only by a clerk, a knight, and three armed followers. Apparently at the end of 1092 he received a message from the men of Domfront inviting him to become their lord. He was received at Domfront by Archard, the chief man of the town, who had instigated his fellow-townsmen to revolt against Robert of Bellême, their former lord. Henry promised that he would never give up the town to any other lord, and would never change its laws and customs. Domfront, situated on the Varenne, dominated part of the border of Normandy towards Maine; lies not far to the east of Henry's old county, and was a place of great strength. The interests of Henry and Rufus were now one; both alike desired to win all the parts of Normandy they could from the duke. Henry from his new fortress carried on constant war against the duke and Robert of Bellême; before long he regained a large part of his old territory in the west, and in doing so certainly acted with the goodwill of Rufus, though there appear to have been some hostilities between them (too much weight must not be given to this passage; in the first place it is rather vague and may apply to an earlier period, and in the second a war such as that which Henry was carrying on, consisting of attacks on single towns and castles, was certain to lead to quarrels with others besides those immediately concerned). Some places in his old county yielded to him out of affection, for, as the people of Domfront had discerned, he was a good lord, others he took by force of arms, and his old friends and followers again joined him. In 1094 he received an invitation from Rufus, who was then carrying on open war against Robert in Normandy, to meet him with Hugh of Chester at Eu, and because the duchy was in too disturbed a state for them to pass through it safely, Rufus sent ships to bring them. They sailed, however, to Southampton, and waited at London for the king, who met them there shortly after Christmas. Henry stayed with Rufus until Lent, and then returned to Normandy with a large supply of money, and carried on war against Robert with constant success. When Normandy passed into the possession of Rufus in 1096, Henry joined him and remained with him, receiving from him the counties of Coutances and Bayeux, with the exception of the city of Bayeux and the town of Caen, and having further committed to his charge the castle of Gisors, which Rufus built on the frontier against France.
On 2 Aug. 1100 Henry was hunting in the New Forest, when men came hastening to him one after another telling him of the death of Rufus. According to popular belief he had shortly before gone into a hut to mend his bowstring, and an old woman had declared that she had learnt by augury that he would soon become king. When he heard of his brother's death, it is said that he grieved much, and went to where his body lay. In reality he spurred at once to Winchester, where the royal treasure was kept, and demanded the keys of the treasury from the guards. William of Breteuil refused to deliver them, declaring that, as Robert was his father's first-born, he was the rightful heir. The dispute waxed hot, and men came running to the spot, and took the count's part (Professor Freeman's assumption that these men were Englishmen as opposed to Normans seems unwarranted). Henry clapped his hand on his sword, drew it, and declared that no one should stand between him and his father's sceptre. Friends and nobles gathered round him, and the treasury was delivered over to him. The next day such of the witan as were at hand met in council, and after some opposition chose Henry as king, chiefly owing to the influence of Henry Beaumont, earl of Warwick. As king-elect he bestowed the see of Winchester, which Rufus had kept vacant since January 1098, on William Giffard; he then rode to London, and was crowned at Westminster on Sunday, 5 Aug., by Maurice, bishop of London, for Archbishop Anselm was then in exile. Thomas, archbishop of York, hastened from the north to perform the ceremony, but came too late. When he complained of this as an infringement of his right, the king and the bishops told him that it was necessary to hasten the coronation for the sake of the peace of the kingdom. At his coronation he swore to give peace to the church and people, to do justice, and to establish good law. On the same day he published a charter in which, after declaring that he had been made king by the ‘common concent of the barons,’ he forbade the evil customs introduced during the last reign. The church was to be free, its offices and revenues neither sold nor farmed, and the feudal incidents of relief, marriage, and wardship were no longer to be abused by the king as instruments of oppression. As he did by his tenants-in-chief so were they to do by their tenants, a provision which may be said to have been founded on the law of his father that all men, of what lord soever they held, owed the king allegiance, a provision wholly contrary to the feudal idea. The coinage was to be reformed, and justice done on those who made or kept bad money. Wills of personalty were permitted. Men who incurred forfeiture were no longer to be forced to be at the king's mercy. Knights who held by knight-service were to have their demesne lands free of tax, and were to be ready both with horses and arms to serve the king and defend his realm. Good peace was to be kept throughout the kingdom, and the ‘law of King Edward,’ with the amendments of the Conqueror, was restored. The forests were, with the common consent of the barons, to remain as they were in the days of the king's father. This charter was taken by the barons in the reign of John as the basis of their demands. Henry also wrote a letter to Anselm inviting him to return, and declaring that he committed himself to the counsel of the archbishop and of those others whose right it was to advise him. There was great joy among the people at his accession, and they shouted loudly at his coronation, for they believed that good times were at last come again, and saw in their new king the ‘Lion of Justice’ of Merlin's prophecy.
Henry was thirty-two at his accession. He was of middle height, broad-chested, strong, stoutly built, and in his later years decidedly fat. His hair was black and lay thickly above his forehead, and his eyes had a calm and soft look. On fitting occasions his talk was mirthful, and no press of business robbed him of his cheerfulness. Caring little what he ate or drank, he was temperate, and blamed excess in others. He was, however, exceedingly licentious, and was the father of a large number of natural children by many mistresses. At the same time he was free from the abominable vices which Rufus had practised, and, sensual as he was, his accession was at once followed by a reform in the habits of the court. In common with all his house he was devoted to hunting, and one of his lords who quarrelled with him gave him the nickname of ‘Pie-de-Cerf,’ because of his love of slaying deer. From the studies of his youth he acquired an abiding taste for books. He formed a collection of wild beasts at Woodstock, where he often resided. He was an active, industrious king, and when in England constantly moved about, visiting different places in the southern and central parts of the kingdom, though he seems very seldom to have gone north of the Humber. In his progresses the arrangements of his court were orderly, for he was a man of method; there were no sudden changes of plan, and people brought their goods to the places on his route, certain that the court would arrive and stay as had been announced, and that they would find a market. The morning he gave to affairs of state and to hearing causes; the rest of his day to amusement. He was not without religion. Reading Abbey he founded; he completed the foundation of the abbey of Austin canons at Carlisle; he formed the see of Carlisle; Cirencester Abbey, and Dunstable and Southwyke priories, all for Austin canons, were founded by him, together with some other houses. He was a benefactor to some older English foundations, and rebuilt many churches in Normandy which suffered during his wars. He was liberal to pilgrims and to the military orders in Palestine, and seems to have treated clergy of holy life with respect. Contemporaries were much impressed by his wisdom; he did not love war, and preferred to gain his ends by craft. An unforgiving enemy, he was said to be an equally steadfast friend. He was, however, such a thorough dissembler that no one could be sure of his favour; and Robert Bloet, bishop of Lincoln, declared that when he praised any one he was sure to be plotting that person's destruction (De Contemptu Mundi). He was cruel, and his cruelties proceeded from a cold-hearted disregard of human suffering. Policy rather than feeling guided his actions. Without being miserly, he was avaricious, and the people suffered much from his exactions, which, though apparently not exorbitant in amount, were levied with pitiless regularity alike in times of scarcity and plenty. His justice was stern. Unlike his father, he caused thieves, robbers, and other malefactors to be hanged, and sometimes inflicted such sweeping punishments that the innocent must have suffered along with the guilty. Criminals were constantly blinded and mutilated, though in his later years he often substituted heavy fines for these punishments. He strictly enforced the forest laws; no one was allowed, except as a special privilege, to hunt on his own land or to diminish the size of his woods; all dogs in the neighbourhood of a forest were maimed, and little difference was made between the slayer of a deer and of a man. On the whole, however, Henry's harsh administration of justice was good for the country; while it brought suffering to the few, it gave peace and security to the many. His despotism was strong as well as stern; no offender was too powerful to be reached by the law. Private war he put down peremptorily, and peace and order were enforced everywhere. He exalted the royal authority, and kept the barons well under control, both by taking sharp measures against those who offended him, and by choosing his counsellors and chief officers from a lower rank, raising up a number of new men, whom he enriched and ennobled in order to make them a counterpoise to the power of the great houses of the Conquest. Although he kept a large number of stipendiary soldiers, to whom he was a liberal master, he was persuaded by Anselm to sharply restrain them from injuring the people, as they had done in his brother's time, and as they did in the earlier years of his own reign. Trade was benefited by his restoration of the coinage, and the severity with which he punished those who issued bad money or used false measures; he is said to have made the length of his own arm the standard of measure throughout the kingdom. The peace and order which he established were highly valued by the people, and the native chronicler, though he makes many moans over his exactions, yet, writing after his death, and looking back in a time of disorder to the strong government of the late reign, says of him: ‘Good man he was, and great awe there was of him. No one durst misdo another in his time. Peace he made for man and deer. Whoso bare his burden of gold and silver no man durst say to him aught but good’.
In the first days of his reign Henry imprisoned, in the Tower of London, Ranulf Flambard, bishop of Durham, the evil minister of Rufus, and began to appoint abbots to the abbeys which his brother had kept vacant in order to enjoy their revenues. He met Anselm at Salisbury, on his return to England about Michaelmas, and required him to do homage as his predecessor had done, and receive back from him the temporalities of the see, which were then in the king's hands. Anselm refused, and Henry, who could not afford to quarrel with him, and would probably in any case have been unwilling to do so, agreed to delay the matter, in order that the pope might be consulted whether he could so far change his decrees as to bring them into accordance with the ancient custom of the kingdom. In this dispute as to the question of investiture Henry took his stand on the rights of his crown as handed down by his predecessors, and on the undoubted usages of his realm. He made no new demand; the innovation was introduced by Anselm, who, in obedience to papal instructions, refused to accept the temporalities from Henry, as he had accepted them from Rufus, and as former archbishops had accepted them from former kings. Nor did Henry make the quarrel a personal matter; he did not persecute the archbishop, or thwart him in the exercise of his office, as Rufus had done. He behaved throughout with a due regard to law, and on the whole acted fairly, though he naturally availed himself of every lawful means to gain his point. He was urged by his counsellors, and especially by the bishops, to marry and reform his life. He had for some time been in love with Eadygyth (Edith) or Matilda, daughter of Malcolm Canmore, king of Scotland, by Margaret, daughter of Edward the Exile, son of Edmund Ironside. Matilda had been brought up in the convent at Romsey, and many people declared that she had taken the veil. Anselm, however, pronounced that she was not a nun, and married her to the king, and crowned her queen in Westminster Abbey on 11 Nov. 1100. The English were delighted to see their king take a wife of ‘England's right kingly kin’. Before long, his example was followed by others, and intermarriages between Normans and English became common. They were encouraged by Henry, who by this and other means did all he could to promote the amalgamation of the two races within his kingdom. His efforts were so successful that he has been called the ‘refounder of the English nation’. For a while he devoted himself to his queen, but before long returned to his old mode of life. His marriage was not pleasing to the Norman nobles, who knew his early misfortunes, and as yet held him in little respect; they sneered at the domestic life of the king and queen, calling them by the English names Godric and Godgifu (Godiva). Henry heard their sneers but said nothing. Already they were plotting against him in favour of Robert, who had returned from the crusade, and had again resumed his government, such as it was, of Normandy, though Henry kept the castles which he held in virtue of his grant from Rufus. Some hostilities were carried on in Normandy between his men and the duke's. At Christmas the king held his court at Westminster, and there received Louis, who had lately been made joint king of France by his father, Philip. While Louis was with him a letter came from Bertrada, Philip's adulterous wife, purporting to have been sent by Philip, and requesting Henry to keep Louis in lifelong imprisonment. Henry, however, sent his guest home with many presents. At Christmastide Flambard escaped from the Tower and fled to Normandy, where he stirred up Robert against his brother. During the spring of 1101 the conspiracy of the Norman nobles against the king spread rapidly, and when the Whitsun assembly met it was known that Robert was about to make an invasion. A large number both of nobles and of the people generally came to the assembly to profess their loyalty. Henry and the nobles met with mutual suspicions. Among the nobles only Robert FitzHamon, Richard of Redvers, Roger Bigot, Robert of Meulan, and his brother Henry, earl of Warwick, were steadfast to him; all the rest were more or less on Robert's side. The English people and the bishops were loyal, and by the advice of Anselm Henry renewed his promises of good government. He gathered a large army, and was joined by Anselm in person. With him he went to Pevensey, and sent a fleet to intercept the invaders. Some of the seamen were persuaded to join the duke, who landed near Portsmouth on 20 July. Henry advanced to meet him, and though some of his lords, and among them Robert of Bellême, now earl of Shrewsbury, deserted him, many were kept from following their example by the influence of Anselm. The king and the duke met at Alton in Hampshire. Henry's army was largely composed of Englishmen. He rode round their battalions, telling them how to meet the shock of a cavalry charge, and they called to him to let them engage the Normans. No battle took place; for the brothers had an interview, were reconciled, and came to terms. Henry agreed to give up all he held in Normandy except Domfront, which he kept according to his promise to the townsmen, to restore the lands in England which Robert's adherents had forfeited, and to pay the duke three thousand marks a year. Robert renounced his claim on England and on homage from Henry, and both agreed that if either should die without leaving an heir born in wedlock the other should succeed to his dominions. The duke went back to Normandy, and Henry bided his time to take vengeance on the lords who had risen against him. By degrees one after another at various times and by various means he brought them to judgment and punished them. One of them, Ivo of Grantmesnil, began to carry on war in England on his own account, was cited before the king's court, and was forced to part with his lands for the benefit of the king's counsellor, Robert of Meulan, and to go on a crusade.
Henry now prepared to deal with Robert of Bellême, the most powerful noble in his kingdom, and his enemy alike in England and in Normandy. He knew that while Robert remained lord of so many strong fortresses, and held an almost independent position in the Severn country, where he could easily find Welsh allies, it was hopeless to attempt to carry out his design of enforcing order and of humbling the great feudatories. His war with the earl was the principal crisis in his reign. Not only did Robert's wealth and dominions make him a dangerous foe, but the chief men in Henry's army also sympathised with him. Henry depended on the loyalty of men of lower degree. In fighting out his own quarrel he was also fighting against the foremost representative of a feudal nobility, which would, if triumphant, have trampled alike on the crown, the lesser landholders, and the nation generally. The shouts which were raised on the surrender of Shrewsbury, the earl's last stronghold in England, and the song which celebrated his banishment, show that the people knew that the king's victory insured safety for his subjects. During the early part of the war the earl received help from the Welsh under Jorwerth and his two brothers, who ruled as Robert's vassals in Powys and the present Cardigan. The king won Jorwerth over to his side by promising him large territories free of homage, and he persuaded his countrymen to desert the earl and uphold the king. When, however, he claimed the fulfilment of Henry's promise, it was refused, and in 1103 he was brought to trial at Shrewsbury and imprisoned.
It is characteristic of the spirit in which Henry carried on his dispute with Anselm that while in 1102 he allowed the archbishop to hold his synod at Westminster, he in 1103 banished William Giffard, the bishop-elect of Winchester, for refusing to receive consecration from Gerard of York. He was anxious for a settlement of the question, and willingly gave Anselm license to go to Rome. Henry was relieved from some anxiety by the death of Magnus Barefoot, king of Norway, who was slain while invading Ireland, and he enriched himself by seizing on 20,000l. deposited by the Norwegian king with a citizen of Lincoln. Some interference in the affairs of Normandy was forced on the king by the attacks made on his son-in-law, Eustace of Pacy, lord of Breteuil, the husband of his natural daughter, Juliana. Robert of Meulan was sent to threaten the duke and his lords with the king's displeasure unless they helped Eustace, and his mission was successful. Duke Robert came over to England, and was persuaded by the queen to give up the pension of three thousand marks which the king had agreed to pay him. Normandy was in a state of confusion. Henry's enemies, and above all Robert of Bellême, who was now in alliance with the duke, were active, and were joined by William of Mortain, one of the king's bitterest foes, who claimed the earldom of Kent as heir of Bishop Odo. Since the overthrow of Robert of Bellême the king had become too strong for the nobles. William was tried in 1104 and sentenced to banishment. He went over to Normandy and attacked some of the castles belonging to men of the king's party. Henry himself crossed with a considerable fleet, and visited Domfront and other towns, apparently those held by the lords who also had English estates. In an interview with Robert he complained of his alliance with Robert of Bellême and of his general misgovernment. Robert purchased peace by ceding to him the lordship of the county of Evreux. Henry's lords seem to have fought with some success. The king returned before Christmas. It was a time of trouble in England; for he was determined to invade Normandy, and accordingly taxed his subjects to raise funds for his expedition. He was collecting an army, and, as he had not yet made his decree against military wrongdoing, his soldiers oppressed the people, plundering, burning, and slaying. He held his Christmas court at Windsor, and in Lent 1105 left England with a large force. He landed at Barfleur, and spent Easter day at Carentan. Thither came Serlo, bishop of Seez, who had been driven out of his see by Robert of Bellême, and prepared to celebrate mass. The king and his lords were sitting at the bottom of the church, among the goods and utensils which the country-folk had placed there to preserve them from plunder. Serlo called on the king to look at these signs of the misery of the people, and exhorted him to deliver them and the church from those who oppressed them. He wound up by inveighing against the custom of wearing long hair which prevailed among the men of the English court, and spoke to such good effect that the king allowed him then and there to shear off his locks, and the courtiers followed the king's example. Geoffrey, count of Anjou, and Elias, count of Maine, came to his help; Bayeux, with its churches, was burnt, and Caen, where the treasure of the duchy was kept, was bribed to surrender. On 22 July Henry met Anselm at Laigle. There was some talk of a possible excommunication, which would have damaged his position. The interview was amicable, and terms were almost arranged. Although he won many of the Norman barons over by gifts, he failed to take Falaise, and found it impossible to complete the conquest of the duchy that year. He returned to England in August.
On his return he laid a tax on the clergy, who kept their wives in disobedience to Anselm's canon, and, finding that it brought in little, extended it to all the secular clergy alike. A large number appeared before him at London in vestments and with bare feet, but he drove them from his presence. Then they laid their griefs before the queen, who burst into tears and said she dared not interfere. Robert of Bellême came over to endeavour to obtain the king's pardon, and was sent back indignant at his failure. Duke Robert also came early in 1106 and found the king at Northampton; he failed to persuade the king to give up his conquests and make peace. Contrary to his usual custom, Henry held no court at Easter or Whitsuntide, and spent the one feast at Bath and the other at Salisbury. In July he again went over to Normandy. On 15 Aug. he had a satisfactory interview with Anselm at Bec, and the archbishop returned to England. At Caen he received a visit from Robert of Estouteville, one of the duke's party, who offered to surrender the town of Dives to him, proposing that he should go thither with only a few men. Henry did so, and found that a trap had been laid for him, for he was attacked by a large number. Nevertheless, his men routed their assailants and burnt both castle and monastery. He raised a fort outside Tinchebray, a town between Vire and Flers, belonging to the Count of Mortain, and stationed one of his lords there to blockade the place. As the count succeeded in introducing men and stores, and the siege made no progress, Henry appeared before the town in person. Robert and his army found him there on 2 Sept. Henry's army, which comprised allies from Anjou, Maine, and Brittany, had the larger number of knights, while Robert had more foot-soldiers. The clergy urged the king not to fight with his brother. Henry listened to their exhortations, and sent to Robert, representing that he was not actuated by greed or by a desire to deprive him of his dukedom, but by compassion for the people who were suffering from anarchy, and offering to be content with half the duchy, the strong places, and the government of the whole, while Robert should enjoy the revenues of the other half in idleness. Robert refused. Both armies fought on foot, with the exception of the duke's first line, and Henry's Breton and Cenomannian cavalry, which he placed at some little distance from his main body under the command of Count Elias. The Count of Mortain, who led the first line of the ducal army, charged the king's first line under Ranulf of Bayeux and shook without routing it. Then Elias with his cavalry fell on the flank of the duke's second line of foot, and cut down 225. Thereupon Robert of Bellême, who commanded the rear of the army, fled, and the whole of the duke's forces were scattered. The duke, the Count of Mortain, Robert of Estouteville, and other lords were made prisoners, and the battle completed the conquest of the duchy. It was regarded as an English victory, and a reversal of the battle of Hastings, fought almost on the same day forty years before, for it made Normandy a dependency of the English crown. The war in Normandy helped on Henry's work of consolidating the Norman and English races in England, and this process was still further forwarded by his later wars with France. His subjects in England of either race were counted Englishmen as opposed to Normans or Frenchmen. Duke Robert was kept a prisoner until his death in 1134; there is no ground for the story current in the thirteenth century that he was blinded. Henry caused William of Mortain to be blinded, and kept him in prison until he died. In the middle of October he held a council of the Norman lords at Lisieux, in which he resumed the grants made by his brother, and ordered the destruction of all ‘adulterine’ or unlicensed castles, and at the same time held a council of the Norman church. In order to accustom the Norman lords to his rule he held a court at Falaise the following January, and it was there probably that he caused Robert of Montfort sur Risle to be tried for disloyalty and banished by legal process. In March he again held a council at Lisieux, and settled the affairs of the duchy, where he pursued the same policy as in England, depressing the baronage and protecting the lower classes from tyranny and violence.
He returned to England in Lent, and according to his custom held courts at Easter and Whitsuntide, the first at Windsor, the second at Westminster. On 1 Aug. he held a council at Westminster, at which the terms of the compromise between the crown and the papacy were finally settled. The issue of the struggle was that the church was freed from the feudal character which had gradually, and especially in the reign of Rufus, been imposed upon it, and that the king tacitly recognised a limitation of secular authority. On the other hand, Henry surrendered a shadow and kept the substance of power; for the appointment of bishops remained as much as before in the king's hands. At this council five vacant sees were filled by the consecration of bishops, some of whom had been elected long before. One of the new bishops, Roger, consecrated to the see of Salisbury, formerly the king's chancellor, was now made justiciar. Henry used the revenues and offices of the church as a means of rewarding his ministers, whom he chose from the clergy rather than from the baronial class. He employed Bishop Roger to develope a system of judicial and fiscal administration. The curia regis, or king's court, became specially active in judicial matters, and while the three solemn courts were regularly held, at which the king came to decisions on more important judicial cases in the presence, and theoretically by the advice, of his counsellors, the permanent court of which he, or in his absence his justiciar, was the head, and which was composed of the great officers of the household and any others whom he might select, gained greater distinctness; the king further sent out justices to go on circuit to transact judicial business and to settle and enforce the rights of the crown. The court of exchequer was organised for the purpose of royal finance; it seems to have consisted of the justiciar and the other ordinary members of the curia regis, and to have been the body which received the royal revenue from the various officers appointed to collect it. Its business was recorded, and the earliest exchequer roll known to be in existence is that of the thirty-first year of Henry I. From this it appears that the royal revenue was then fully 66,000l. The ordinary direct taxes were the danegeld, the ferm, or composition paid by the shires, and certain fixed amounts paid by towns. Besides these sources of revenue there were, among others, the feudal incidents, the sale of offices, and the profits of the royal jurisdiction. In July 1108 Henry again crossed over to Normandy, where trouble was beginning. He had given Robert's son William, called ‘Clito,’ into the charge of Elias of Saint-Saen, and now, by the advice of his courtiers, wanted to get hold of the lad. An attempt to seize him in the absence of Elias failed, and his guardian refused to give him up, and when Henry took his castle from him, went from one lord to another asking help for his young charge. Many of the Norman nobles were ready to uphold their old duke's son, and his cause was favoured by several of the great French feudatories, and by Louis VI, who, after his father's death, was crowned king on 3 Aug. During all the earlier part of 1109 Henry remained in Normandy, and in the course of the next year a quarrel broke out between him and Louis about the border fortress of Gisors. According to the French statement an agreement had been made between them, when Henry conquered the duchy, that Gisors should be a kind of neutral ground, and should belong to neither of them. Henry, however, turned out the castellan and made it his own. Louis gathered a large army and marched to meet him at the town of Neauffles; the Epte flowed between the two armies, and could only be crossed by a crazy bridge. Messengers came to Henry from Louis asserting his grievance and offering to decide the matter by combat. Henry would not hear of this. After some altercation Louis offered to fight the matter out if Henry would allow the French army to cross over the river, but Henry answered that if Louis came over to the Norman side he would find him ready to defend his land. The two armies retired each to its own quarters. This was the beginning of a long border warfare between the Normans and the French, during which Louis did much harm to the castles and lands on the Norman march. About 1111 Theobald, count of Blois, Henry's nephew, relying on his uncle's help, began to make war on Louis on his own account. Meanwhile Henry continued his work of repressing the baronage, and in 1110 banished from England Philip of Braiose, William Malet, and William Bainard, and confiscated their lands. While he was fighting in Normandy he kept England at peace. In 1111 Fulk V of Anjou joined Louis against him, for Fulk had married the daughter and heiress of Elias of Maine, and on the death of his father-in-law revived the old claim of his house on Maine; the war increased in importance, and Henry remained in Normandy for about two years. He seems to have acted warily, to have trusted much to good management and bribes, and to have avoided actual fighting as much as possible. He caught his old enemy, Robert of Bellême, sent him over to an English prison, and captured his town of Alençon. The Norman barons were not universally faithful, and Henry banished the Count of Evreux and William Crispin. By the beginning of 1113 the war seems to have died out. Henry spent the festival of the Purification (2 Feb.) at the monastery of Evroul, and early in Lent met Fulk at Pierre-Pécoulée, near Alençon, and there made peace with him, for, as he had by gifts won over to his side many of the nobles of Maine, the count was not unwilling to come to terms; he did homage to Henry for Maine, and promised to give his daughter in marriage to Henry's son William. Henry pardoned the Count of Evreux and some other banished lords. Shortly afterwards Henry and Louis made peace at Gisors. The amount of Henry's success may be gauged by the concessions of the French king, who acknowledged his right to Bellême, Maine, and all Brittany. He received the homage of the Count of Brittany, subdued the forces which held out in Bellême, and then returned to England.
During Henry's reign the English power in Wales was strengthened by colonisation and conquest. The English regarded with dislike the large number of Flemish which had settled in their country since the Conquest, and Henry in 1111 settled them in the southern part of Dyfed or Pembrokeshire, where they formed a vigorous Teutonic colony, held their ground against the Welsh, and converted a land originally Welsh into an outlying English district, ‘Little England beyond Wales’. Barnard, an English bishop of Norman race, was appointed to the see of St. David's, and professed obedience to Canterbury; obedience was likewise professed by the Bishop of Llandaff, who was consecrated by Anselm in 1107. Owen, the prince of Powys, caused a good deal of trouble, and carried on constant wars against the Normans and Flemings until he was slain in 1116. After one of his raids Henry granted the present Cardiganshire to Gilbert of Clare, who subdued the district in 1111. After his return from Normandy, Henry, in the summer of 1114, led a large army into Wales against Gruffyd of North Wales and Owen. On his approach the Welsh made peace with him, and after ordering castles to be built he returned, and on 21 Sept. embarked at Portsmouth for Normandy, where he remained until the following July. His relations with Scotland, where three of his wife's brothers reigned in succession, were uniformly peaceful. David I, the queen's youngest brother, passed his youth at the English court, and Henry gave him an English wife and an English earldom. At the same time he was careful to strengthen the borders against the Scots as well as against the Welsh. The eastern border he gave in charge to Ranulf Flambard, bishop of Durham, whom he reinstated in his see in 1107; over the western border he first set an earl of Carlisle, and on his death divided the district of Carlisle into baronies, and gave it a county organisation. He also carried on the work begun by his brother of making Carlisle an English city by completing the monastery of Austin canons, and making it the cathedral church of a bishop of Carlisle. In 1114 he sent his daughter Matilda over to Germany to be the wife of the Emperor Henry V; at the time of her betrothal in 1110 he had levied an aid which the English chronicler says was specially burdensome because it came in a year of scarcity. When he was in Normandy in 1115 he made all the barons do homage and swear fealty to his son William as heir to the duchy, and on 19 March 1116 he caused the prelates, nobles, and barons throughout the whole of England to do the like at an assembly which he held at Salisbury (Dr. Stubbs considers this to have been a general muster of landowners, and William of Malmesbury says that the oath was taken by all freemen of every degree in England and Normandy. In the face of the English chronicler and Florence this may perhaps be put down as merely rhetorical).
After Easter Henry again visited Normandy, and, taking up the quarrel of his nephew Theobald with Louis VI, sent forces into France, took the castle of St. Clair, and did much damage. Provoked by this invasion, Louis adopted the cause of Robert's son William, and attacked Normandy, and, as he knew that the dukes had thoroughly fortified the border, seized by a clever stratagem a little town called Gue Nichaise, where there was a bridge across the Epte. Henry tried to blockade him by building two forts against his quarters, but Louis called them ‘Malassis’ and ‘hare's-form’ (trulla leporis), stormed Malassis, and carried on a desultory warfare. The French king was joined by Baldwin of Flanders and Fulk of Anjou, who combined with him to place William Clito in possession of Normandy. Many of the Norman barons revolted, and Amaury of Montfort, who claimed Evreux, the fief of his uncle William, was active in gaining fresh adherents to the league against Henry. During 1117 Henry remained in Normandy, and in the following year matters became serious. While Count Baldwin was mortally wounded at Eu, and the king did not suffer any important defeat, the defection of his lords still continued. On 1 May of this year his queen, Matilda, died, and he also lost his faithful counsellor, Robert of Meulan. To this time also is to be referred a conspiracy which was made by one of his chamberlains to assassinate him. The plot was discovered, and the traitor punished by mutilation. It is said to have had a considerable effect on the king; he increased his guards, often changed his sleeping-place, and would not sleep without having a shield and sword close at hand. Hearing that Richer of Laigle had admitted the French into his town, he marched against it, but was stopped by William of Tancarville, who brought him false news that Hugh of Gournay, Stephen of Albemarle, and others of his rebellious lords were at Rouen. When he found that they were not there, he attacked Hugh of Gournay's castle, la Ferté, but heavy rain forced him to abandon the siege. Having laid waste the country he attacked and burnt Neubourg. In September he seized Henry of Eu and Hugh of Gournay at Rouen, imprisoned them, and reduced their castles. He held a council at Rouen in October, and endeavoured to make peace with his lords. While he was there Amaury of Montfort made himself master of Evreux. About the middle of November he attacked Laigle, and was hit on the head by a stone sent from the castle by the French garrison; his helmet, however, protected him. In December Alençon rebelled against his nephews Theobald and Stephen, and was occupied by Fulk of Anjou. Henry had caused Eustace de Pacy, the husband of his natural daughter Juliana and lord of Breteuil, to send him his two little daughters as hostages for his good faith, and had put a castellan, Ralph Harenc, in charge of his tower of Ivry, making him send his son as a hostage to Eustace. By the advice of Amaury of Montfort, Eustace, who was on the rebels' side, put out the boy's eyes. On this Henry, in great wrath, sent his two grand-daughters to Harenc that he might serve them in the same way. Harenc tore out their eyes, and cut off the tips of their noses. Their parents then fortified all their castles against Henry, and Juliana gathered a force, and shut herself in the castle of Breteuil. The townsmen who were loyal sent to Henry, and he appeared before the castle in February 1119. Juliana tried to kill her father by a shot from an engine. She failed, and was forced to offer to surrender. Her father would not allow her to leave the castle except by letting herself down into the moat and wading through the icy water. During the early months of the year the war went on much as in the year before; the Norman lords still remained disloyal, Louis took Andelys, which was held by the king's natural son Richard, by surprise, and the French became masters of all the neighbouring country. Henry was losing ground, and Amaury of Montfort scornfully rejected his offer of reconciliation.
In May 1120 Henry joyfully received his son William, who came over to him from England. The object of his coming was shown by the despatch of messengers to Count Fulk to propose that the marriage contract between William and Fulk's daughter Matilda should be fulfilled. Fulk agreed and made peace with Henry, offering to end the ancient dispute between the houses of Normandy and Anjou by settling Maine upon his daughter, and to give up Alençon provided that the king would restore it to William Talvas, son of Robert of Bellême, and heir of its ancient lords. This marriage, which was celebrated in June at Lisieux, changed the aspect of the war, for the alliance with Count Fulk enabled Henry to devote all his energies to repelling Louis and punishing his rebellious vassals. In the summer he made a terrible raid on the disloyal lords; he laid siege to Evreux, and finding it well defended called the Bishop Audoin to him, for Audoin, in common with the bishops and clergy of the duchy generally, was loyal to Henry, and asked him whether it would not be well for him to fire the town provided that if the churches were burnt he would rebuild them. As the bishop hesitated to give an answer, the king set fire to the town and burnt it, churches and all, he and his nobles giving the bishop ample pledges that he would rebuild the churches, which he afterwards did. When Amaury heard that his town was burnt, he sent to Louis for help. On 20 Aug. Henry, who had heard mass that morning at Noyon, was riding towards Andelys to make war, with five hundred of his best knights, when his scouts told him that the French king, who had ridden out from Andelys with four hundred knights, was close at hand. The two bands met on the plain of Brenneville. Besides William the Ætheling two of Henry's natural sons, Robert and Richard, fought in their father's company; Richard with a hundred knights remained mounted, the rest of Henry's knights fought on foot. Among the knights of Louis fought William of Normandy. Louis neglected to marshal his force; William Crispin, a rebel Norman, charged Henry's forces with eighty horse. He and his men were surrounded, but he made his way to the king and struck him a deadly blow on the head, but Henry's headpiece saved him, though it was broken by the blow, and wounded his head so that the blood flowed. All the eighty knights were taken. A body of knights from the Vexin for a moment shook the Norman lines, but was quickly repulsed. When Louis saw that William Crispin and the knights whom he led did not return from their charge, he and his men took flight, and the Normans pursued some of the fugitives as far as Andelys. Henry's men took 140 prisoners and the banner of the French king. Henry returned this banner to Louis together with his charger, and William the Ætheling sent back the charger of his cousin William of Normandy. Henry also sent back without ransom some knights who owed allegiance to Louis as well as to himself. Only three knights were slain out of the nine hundred engaged in the fight; for all were clad in complete armour, and on both sides there was a feeling of knightly comradeship which prevented any sanguinary conflict; indeed the aim of both sides was rather to make prisoners than to slay the enemy. The whole affair was more like a great tournament than a battle. Louis raised a large force and overran part of Normandy and Chartres, gaining nothing by his raid, while Henry organised his army. In October Louis, who evidently felt himself overmatched, appeared before Calixtus II at the Council of Rheims, and made his complaints against the English king. Geoffrey, archbishop of Rouen, rose to reply to the charges brought against his lord, but the council would not hear him. The pope, however, was anxious to make peace with the emperor, and did not care to offend the father of the empress. Meanwhile Henry received the submission of several rebel lords, and was reconciled to Amaury of Montfort, Eustace, and Juliana, Hugh of Gournay, and others, who agreed, though against their wills, to let William Clito and Elias of St.-Saen remain in exile. In November he met the pope at Gisors, and replied in person to the charges brought against him by Louis of usurping the inheritance of his brother and nephew, declaring that he had offered to make William earl of three counties in England, and to bring him up with his own son. His answers on these and other points thoroughly satisfied the pope, by whose intercession a peace was arranged in 1120 between Henry and Louis and the Count of Flanders; all conquests were to be restored, captives liberated, and offences pardoned, and Louis accepted the homage of Henry's son, and thus gave a pledge that he should succeed to his father's fiefs. Henry thus passed safely and honourably through the most dangerous crisis of his reign. After devoting some time to settling the affairs of the duchy, he embarked at Barfleur on 25 Nov. to return to England, from which he had been absent for four years. His only legitimate son, William, was to follow him, with his half-brother Richard, his half-sister the Countess of Perche, many young lords and ladies, and the king's treasure, in the White Ship. The ship foundered, and all were drowned except a butcher of Rouen. Although Henry's lords were mourning their own losses, they concealed the disaster from the king for a day after the news had come, for they feared to tell him. At last the young son of Count Theobald knelt before him and told him of his loss. Henry fell senseless to the ground, and though in a few days he restrained his grief, and applied himself to his kingly business, he was deeply affected by his son's death.
The disaster ruined his schemes at the very moment when their success appeared certain, and when it seemed as though nothing could prevent his son from inheriting both his kingdom and duchy. All his dominions would now naturally pass at his death to his enemy, William Clito. By the advice of his counsellors he married again, taking to wife, on 29 Jan. 1121, Adela, or Adelaide, daughter of Godfrey VII, count of Louvain, in the hope of having a son by her, and also, it is said, to keep himself from disgraceful conduct. Unfortunately the marriage proved barren. After Whitsuntide Henry led an army into Wales, where the natives had taken advantage of the death of the Earl of Chester to rise in revolt. He marched as far as Snowdon, and received the submission of the Welsh nobles, who gave him their sons as hostages, and paid him tribute, so that he is said to have fully subdued the land. While on this expedition, and as the army was passing through English territory, he was hit by an arrow which was shot at him secretly. His armour saved him from harm. The man who made the attempt was not discovered, and Henry swore ‘by God's death,’ his favourite oath, that he was no Welshman, but one of his own subjects. Shortly before this time Henry brought to a close a quarrel with Thurstan, archbishop of York. His rule was as despotic in ecclesiastical as in civil matters, and in both alike he maintained the principle of holding to the hereditary rights of the crown. After the death of Anselm in 1109, he broke the promise of his coronation charter by keeping the see of Canterbury vacant until 1114, when he summoned the suffragan bishops and the monks of Christ Church to Windsor, and allowed the election of Ralph, bishop of Rochester, to the archbishopric. This election led to a dispute with Pope Paschal II, who in 1115 wrote to Henry, complaining that his legates were shut out from the kingdom, and that he translated bishops without papal license. On the other hand, the king informed the bishops that the pope had infringed the privileges enjoyed by his father and brother. He commanded Thurstan, the archbishop-elect of York, to make profession to Archbishop Ralph. Thurstan refused, and was upheld in his refusal by Pope Paschal and his successors, Gelasius II and Calixtus II. A long quarrel ensued, in which Henry upheld the rights of Canterbury. He allowed Thurstan to attend the pope's council at Rheims in 1119, on his promising that he would not receive consecration from the pope, and so evade the profession, and allowed the English prelates to go thither also, warning them that, as he intended to abide by the ancient customs and privileges of his realm, they had better not bring back any idle innovations. Finding that Thurstan, in spite of his promise, was trying to obtain consecration from Calixtus, he charged the bishops to prevent it. They were too late, and the pope consecrated Thurstan, whereupon the king forbade him to enter England, and seized the estates of his see. Nor would Henry at Gisors assent to the pope's demand for his restoration. Thurstan, however, did Henry a service by forwarding the negotiations with Louis, and Henry allowed him to return, and gave him the temporalities.
Although Henry sent the young widow of his son back to her father against his own will¾for, besides her importance as a kind of hostage for Count Fulk's conduct, he seems to have been fond of her ¾he did not return the money which formed part of her dower, nor would he satisfy the envoys from the count who came to his court, probably on this matter, at Christmas 1122. The settlement of the county of Maine, however, was broken by William's death, and Fulk was induced, partly by his anger at the retention of the dower, and partly by the persuasions of Louis of France and Amaury of Montfort, count of Evreux, to give the county to William Clito, to whom he betrothed his second daughter Sibyl. At the same time in 1123 a revolt was excited among the Norman lords, chiefly through the instrumentality of Amaury and of Waleran of Meulan, the son of Henry's late counsellor. Henry heard of the movement, and crossed over from Portsmouth immediately after Whitsuntide, leaving his kingdom under the care of his justiciar, Roger, bishop of Salisbury, who was at this period, after the king himself, all powerful both in church and state. In September the rebels met at Croix-St. Leuffroy, and arranged their plans. As soon as Henry knew of their meeting, he gathered his forces at Rouen, and took the field in October. His promptitude would have taken them by surprise had they not received timely warning from Hugh of Montfort, of whom the king required the surrender of his castle. Henry burnt Montfort, and forced the garrison to surrender the fortress, and then laid siege to Pont Audemer, the town of Waleran. The town was burnt, but the castle was held by a strong garrison, partly composed of men who had pretended to be on Henry's side, while some, the poet Luke de Barré among them, were fierce and valiant warriors. In spite of his age Henry was as active during this siege as the youngest soldier of his army, superintending everything himself, teaching the carpenters how to build a tower against the castle, scolding bad workmen, and praising the industrious, and urging them on to do more. At last, after a siege of six weeks, the castle was surrendered. On the other hand Gisors was taken by a treacherous stratagem. Henry at once hastened thither, and the rebels evacuated the town on his approach. In returning he seized Evreux. Heavy rains compelled him for a time to forbear further operations. While his rebellious lords seem to have been no match for him, their attempts gained importance from the fact that they were upheld by Louis, who was ready, if matters went ill with Henry, to take a prominent part in the war. In order to prevent this, Henry's son-in-law, the emperor, threatened France with an invasion, but did not advance further than Metz. A decisive blow was struck on 25 March 1124, when Ranulf of Bayeux, who held Evreux for the king, defeated a large force led by Waleran, and took him and many others captive at Bourgthéroulde. This battle virtually ended the war, and after Easter Henry pronounced sentence on the rebel prisoners at Rouen. Many were imprisoned, Hugh of Montfort being confined miserably at Gloucester. Waleran, whose sister was one of the king's mistresses, was kept in prison in England until 1129, and then pardoned and received into favour. Two rebels who had forsworn themselves were condemned to lose their eyes. A like doom was pronounced against the warrior poet, Luke de Barré, for he had mortally offended the king by his satirical verses, as well as by his repeated attacks upon him. Charles, count of Flanders, who chanced to be at the court, and many nobles remonstrated at this, for, as they pleaded, Luke was not one of Henry's men, and was taken while fighting for his own lord. Henry acknowledged this, but would not remit his sentence, for he said that Luke had made his enemies laugh at him. Luke escaped his doom by dashing out his own brains. The king's success was crowned by the publication of a papal decree, obtained by his persuasion, annulling the marriage contract between William Clito and the daughter of the Count of Anjou, on account of consanguinity. The war cost much money, and Englishmen moaned over the burdens which were laid upon them; ‘those who had goods,’ the chronicler writes, ‘were bereft of them by strong gelds and strong motes; he who had none starved with hunger.’ The law was enforced vigorously, and sometimes probably unjustly; at Huncote in Leicestershire the king's justices at one time hanged forty-four men as thieves, and mutilated six others, some of whom, it was generally believed, were innocent. At the end of the year Henry sent from Normandy, commanding that severe measures should be taken against debasers of the coin, which had deteriorated so much that it was said that a pound was not worth a penny in the market. The offenders were punished with mutilation.
On the death of his son-in-law the emperor in 1125, Henry sent for his daughter Matilda, who went back to him, and in September 1126 he returned to England with his queen, his daughter, and his prisoners. Finding that it was unlikely that his queen would have children, he determined to secure the succession for his daughter, and at the following Christmas assembly at Westminster caused the prelates and barons to swear that if he died without a male heir they would receive Matilda as Lady both of England and Normandy. Among those who took this oath were David, king of Scots, who had come to the English court at Michaelmas, and Stephen, count of Boulogne, the king's nephew, and the brother of Count Theobald.
His good fortune was soon chequered, for shortly after he landed in England, in July 1129, he heard that Geoffrey had quarrelled with his wife, and that she had returned to Rouen. Towards the end of the year he scandalised the English bishops by a trick to raise money. With his concurrence William of Corbeuil, archbishop of Canterbury, held a synod at Michaelmas 1127, at which it was ordered that married priests should put away their wives. Nevertheless after his return the king allowed the clergy to keep their wives by paying him a fine. On 4 May following, the repairs of Christ Church, Canterbury, being finished, he attended the consecration, and there is a story that when the anthem ‘Terribilis est locus’ was sung with a trumpet accompaniment, he was so much moved that he swore aloud that by God's death the place was indeed awful. Four days later he went to Rochester, where another monastic and cathedral church was to be dedicated, and while he was there the city was almost destroyed by fire. At Michaelmas he went to Normandy to his daughter. Innocent II was then in France, having been forced to leave Rome by the supporters of his rival Anaclete. Henry was urged to take the side of Anaclete, who was, it is said, favoured by the English bishops. Bernard, abbot of Clairvaux, persuaded him otherwise, and he left his own dominions and came to Chartres to meet Innocent, promised him his support, and afterwards received him at Rouen with much honour, and used all his influence on his behalf. He returned to England with Matilda in July 1131, and soon received a message from Geoffrey asking that his wife should come back to him. By the advice of a great council held at Northampton on 8 Sept., it was decided that his request should be granted, and Henry again required all the nobles who were present to swear fealty to Matilda as his successor. During 1132 he remained in England, and at Christmas lay sick at Windsor. The following Easter he kept at Oxford at the ‘new hall,’ which he had just completed; this was Beaumont Palace, outside the north gate of the city. The birth of his grandson, afterwards Henry II, on 5 March, seemed to secure the success of his policy, and in August he embarked, for the last time, for Normandy, to see the child. An eclipse of the sun which took place during his voyage was afterwards held to have been ominous. Matilda joined him at Rouen, and there, at Whitsuntide 1134, bore a second son named Geoffrey. He took much delight in his little grandchildren, and stayed at Rouen contentedly until, in 1135, he heard that the Welsh had made an insurrection and had burnt a castle belonging to Pain Fitzjohn. In great wrath he bade his men prepare to return to England, and was thrice on the point of embarking, but was prevented by fresh troubles. His son-in-law claimed certain castles in Normandy, which he asserted had been promised to him at the time of his marriage; and, according to a later story, seems to have demanded to receive fealty for all Henry's strong places in England and Normandy. Henry indignantly declared that so long as he lived he would make no one his master or his equal in his own house. Geoffrey destroyed the castle of the viscount of Beaumont, the husband of one of Henry's natural daughters, and behaved so insultingly towards him that he threatened to take Matilda back with him to England. But he was unable to leave Normandy, for some of the nobles were disaffected and held with the count. Chief among these were William Talvas and Roger of Toesny. He kept Roger quiet by sending a garrison to Conches, and when Talvas, after disregarding several summonses, fled to Angers, he made an expedition into his country and compelled the surrender of his castles. Matilda made frequent attempts to persuade him to pardon Talvas, and when Henry refused quarrelled with her father, and went off to Angers to her husband.
Henry's health, which had now been failing for some time, was further impaired by the agitation brought on by these quarrels, and he fell sick while hunting in the forest of Lyons towards the end of November, his illness, it is said, being brought on by eating lampreys contrary to the orders of his physician. He became feverish, and, feeling that his end was near, sent for Hugh, archbishop of Rouen, by whose directions he remitted all sentences of forfeiture and banishment. To his son Robert, earl of Gloucester, the only one of his children who was with him, he gave 6,000l. from his treasury at Falaise, ordered that wages and gifts should be distributed among his household and mercenary soldiers, and declared Matilda heiress of all his dominions. He received absolution and the last sacrament, and died in peace, after a week's illness, on the night of 1 Dec., at the age of sixty-seven. It was afterwards asserted that he had on his deathbed repented of having caused his lords to swear to receive Matilda as his successor, and that he had on one occasion absolved them from their oath.
His corpse was carried to Rouen, and was followed thither by twenty thousand men. There it was roughly embalmed, and his bowels having been buried in the church of St. Mary de Pre at Emandreville, near Rouen, which had been begun by his mother and finished by him, his body was taken to Caen, where it lay for a month in the church of St. Stephen, and thence, according to his orders, was brought over to England, and buried, on 4 Jan. 1136, in the church of the monastery which he had founded at Reading.
Besides William and Matilda, his two legitimate children by his first wife, he had many natural children.
Of these the most noteworthy was Robert, earl of Gloucester, who is said on insufficient grounds to have been the son of Nest or Nesta daughter of Rhys ap Tewdwr (d. 1093), king of Deheubarth, one of Henry's mistresses, who afterwards married Gerald of Windsor, constable of Pembroke Castle, by whom she had four children: Robert was probably born at Caen before his father's accession, and was most likely the son of a French mother. He was the eldest of Henry's sons.
Of Henry's other natural children, Richard, and Matilda, wife of the Count of Perche, were both drowned in the White Ship; Reginald of Dunstanville, whose mother was Sibil, daughter and (in her issue) co-heir of Robert Corbet of Longden, Shropshire, was created Earl of Cornwall in 1140, and died 1175; Matilda was wife of Conan III of Brittany; Juliana, wife of Eustace of Pacy, lord of Breteuil; Constance, wife of Roscelin, viscount of Beaumont; and Sybilla, born to him by a sister of Waleran, count of Meulan, married Alexander I, king of Scotland, fourth son of Malcolm Canmore and Margaret, grand-niece of Edward the Confessor. By his mistress Nest or Nesta he was father of Henry ‘filius regis,’ who was slain in Anglesey in 1157, and was also father of Meiler Fitzhenry and of Robert Fitzhenry.(1)
Issue- first child by Gieva de Tracey, second child by Edith, next 3 children by Ansfride, next 6 children by Sybilla, next 2 children by Edith Sigulfson, next 3 children by Matilda, seventeenth child by Nesta, Princess of Dehuebarth, next 2 children by Isabel, last 7 children by unknown mistresses
(1) Dictionary of National Biography- H.C.G. Matthew ed., Oxford Univ. Press
d. after 1135
There has been an assumption that William de Tracy, second son of John de Sudeley took his name from his mother's family, Grace being the daughter and heir of William de Tracy, an illegitimate son of King Henry I. However, no primary source for this statement has been found. Professor Nicholas Vincent states he could "find no reliable evidence to suggest that the royal bastard fathered a daughter named Grace and that she seems to have been invented, perhaps in comparatively recent times, to explain certain irregularities in the Sudeley descent and to justify the claims of the Hanbury-Tracy family of Toddington in Gloucestershire to be descended both from the blood royal of Henry I and from William de Tracy, the murderer of Thomas Becket".(1)Issue-
(1) The Murderers of Thomas Becket- Nicholas Vincent, in "Bischofsmord im Mittelalter", Gottingen, 2003- p. 232
The Complete Peerage - St. Catherine's Press, London- Vol. XI, p. 109; XII/2, p. 413
Domesday Descendants- K.S.B. Keats-Rohan, Boydell Press, 2002- p. 725
Tim Powys-Lybbe's web page at: http://www.tim.ukpub.net
m. MABEL FitzRICHARD
d. 1 July 1175 Chertsey, Surrey
bur. Reading Abbey
Reynold de Dunstanville was made Earl of Cornwall by King Stephen, however, he afterwards took up the cause of his sister the Empress Matilda and forfeited his lands and titles. About 1173 he granted a charter to his free burgesses of Truro and addressed his meetings to "All men both Cornish and English" which suggests a continued differentiation between the two peoples.
Issue- first seven children by Mabel, last two by his mistress, Beatrice de Vaux.
The Children of Reginald de Dunstanville, Earl of Cornwall- Walter Lee Sheppard Jr., in TAG- Vol. 29 (June 1953), pp. 13-7; Vol. 31 (Apr. 1955), p. 118
The Complete Peerage - St. Catherine's Press, London- Vol. III, p. 429; IV, pp. 312-2, 315-6; VII, appx I, p. 740; XI, Appx D, pp. 107-8; XIV, p. 259
Domesday Descendants- K.S.B. Keats-Rohan, Boydell Press, 2002- p. 230
Tim Powys-Lybbe's web page at: http://www.tim.ukpub.net
m. HERLEVE de Rouen (b.c. 960, d.c.1030)
d. 16 Mar. 1037
Robert was Archbishop of Rouen from 989 until his death in 1037. He was also Count of Evreux.
Tour Saint Romain- Built by Archbishop Robert in 1035- Bombed by the Allies in 1944
As noted above Robert "the devil" was accused of killing his brother and the archbishop evidently believed this so Robert "the devil" laid siege to his castle at Evreux and forced him into exile for which the archbishop placed all of Normandy under an interdict. For a while things worsened and even Alan of Brittany became involved in the attack on the duke. By 1031 the situation had settled down by the efforts of the archbishop. Archbishop Robert was always involved in the government of the duchy and Robert "the devil" would probably had difficulty governing without his uncle's support. After their reconciliation the interdict was lifted and the war with Brittany ended. Unfortunately, at upon the archbishop's death the duchy fell into a period of anarchy which did not resolve until after the minority of Duke William the Bastard.
Archbishop Robert was married prior to becoming archbishop. Oderic Vitalis states that he had "a wife named Herleve" who me married "in his capacity as count". He also states that "the practice of celibacy among the clergy was so relaxed that not only priests but even bishops freely shared their beds with concubines and openly boasted of their numerous progeny".(1) Clerical marriage was not formally prohibited in Normandy until the Council of Lisieux in 1064. The councils of Lateran I in 1123 and Lateran II in 1139 ruled that the major holy orders were an impediment to marriage.Issue- first five children by Herleve, last by an unknown mistress.
(1) Orderic Vitalis- Vol. III, book V- pp. 85, 121
Chronique de Robert de Torigni, abbé de Mont-Saint-Michel - L. Delisle, Ed., Rouen, 1872- Vol. I, 1037- p. 40; VIII c.36
Histoire des ducs de Normandie, par Guillaume de Jumiège- M. Guizot, Ed., Paris, 1826- IV.18, p. 104; IV.19, p. 106
m. GODECHILDIS (m.1. Roger I of Tosny, d. after 1055)
d. 13 Dec. 1067, bur. monaster of Saint-Wandrille, Fontenelle
Richard was Count of Evreux. He donated a mill at Evreux to the abbey of Jumieges 26 Mar. 1038/14 Apr. 1039.(1) He and Godehyldis founded Saint-Sauveur d'Evreux where their daughter Godehyldis became a nun.(2) he donated the church of Gravigny to Sainte-Trinité de Rouen c.1060.(3) Richard also took part in the battle of Hastings on 14 Oct. 1066.(4)
The Miracles of Sainte-Foy states that Godechildis was cured of a serious illness by a miracle when she was still married to Roger de Conches.(5) King Henry I confirmed the foundation of Conches in 1130 by Roger quoting the donation by his widow "Godehildis comitissa Ebroicae civitatis, quondam uxor Rogerii de Totteneio" with the consent of "seniore meo comite Richardo".(6)
Orderic Vitalis states that Ralph de Tosny carried away by night his uterine sister and gave her in marriage to Simon de Montford and received Simon's daughter Isabel as his wife.(7)Issue-
(1) Chartres de l'abbaye de Jumièges, Tome I c 825-1169- J.J. Vernier, Ed., Rouen, 1916- Vol. 10, p. 60
(2) Neustria Pia, seu de omnibus et singulis abbatiis et prioratibus totius Normanniæ- A. Monstier, Rouen, 1663- p. 592
(3) Cartulaire de l'abbaye de la Sainte-Trinité du Mont de Rouen, Collection des cartularies de France- A. Deville, Ed., Paris, 1840- Vol. XXIII, p. 433
(4) The Gesta Guillelmi of William of Poitiers- R.H.C. Davis and M. Chibnall, Eds., Oxford, 1998- Vol. II, c. 22
(5) Liber Miraculorum Sancte Fidis- A. Bouillet, Ed, Paris, 1897- pp. 144-5
(6) Gallia Christiana- XI, instrumenta, V, col. 128
(7) Orderic Vitalis- Vol. III, book V, p. 129
The Complete Peerage - St. Catherine's Press, London- Vol. VII, appx D, p. 711 and table p. 709
Tim Powys-Lybbe's web page at: http://www.tim.ukpub.net
m. LESCELINE de HARCOURT (d. 1058)- d. of Turchetil, Seigneur de Tourville
There has been some debate about William's parentage with some stating that he was an illegitimate son of Richard by a mistress other than Gunnora, another lists him and Godfrey as sons of Duke Richard by his mistresses. The "Europaische Stammtafeln" states he was a younger son of Geoffrey of Brionne, Richard's illegitimate son.(1) There is an agreement between the abbots of Jumieges and Bougeuil concerning an exchange of land in Poitou in 1012 which is subscribed by "Richardus... filius Ricardi principi magni... Robertus archiepiscopus... ecclesie Rotomagensis et Guillelmus et Malgerus fratres Richardi comitis"(2)
Guillaume de Jumiege records the rebellion of "a certain brother of the duke, born of the same father... William" against Duke Richard after receiving the county of Hiesme. He talks of his capture and imprisonment for five years at Rouen, his escape and investment as Comte d'Eu by his brother.(3)
By a charter c.1049 Lesceline donated land on the Seine to Sainte-Trinité de Rouen with the consent of her sons Hugh, William and Robert.(4) Robert de Torigny records that "countess Lesceline, relict of count William" founded the monastery of Saint Peter with her sons Robert, count of Eu and Hugh, Bishop of Lisieux.(5)Issue-
(1) Dudo of Saint-Quentin- chapter 58; Histoire des ducs de Normandie, par Guillaume de Jumiège- M. Guizot, Ed., Paris, 1826- IV.18, p. 105; "Chronique de Robert de Torigny"- Vol. I, 965- p. 25; "Europaische Stammtafeln"- Vol. III, p. 693; Vol. VII, p. 15
(2) Chartes de l'abbaye de Jumièges, Tome I c 825-1169 - J.J. Vernier, Ed., Paris, 1916- Vol. VII, p. 16
(3) Histoire des ducs de Normandie, par Guillaume de Jumiège- M. Guizot, Ed., Paris, 1826- V.3, pp.112-3
(4) artulaire de l'abbaye de la Sainte-Trinité du Mont de Rouen, Collection des cartularies de France - A. Deville, Ed., Paris, 1840- LXIX, p. 457
(5) Chronique de Robert de Torigni, abbé de Mont-Saint-Michel - L. Delisle, Ed., Rouen, 1872- Vol. II, p. 200
33I. WILLIAM, Count of Soissons (HALFDAN 1, EYSTEIN 2, HALFDAN 3, IVAR 4, EYSTEIN 5, RAGNVALD 6, HROLF 7, WILLIAM 8, RICHARD 9, WILLIAM 10)
m. ADA de SOISSONS, d. of Renaud I, Count of Soissons and Adelaide of Roucy
William witnessed a charter dated 29 May 1067 by which King Philippe of France confirmed the lands of Saint-Martin-des-Champs.(1) Guillaume de Jumieges talks of the rebellion in Normandy by William "Busac" and stating that he was forced into exile with King Henri I of France who granted him the county of Soissons.(2) William obtained Soissons by his marriage to Ada which was arranged by King Henri I.(3)Issue-
(1) Recueil de chartes et documents de Paris St Martin-des-Champs, monastère parisien, Archives de la France monastique- J. Depoin, Paris, 1917- Vol. XII, p. 28
(2) Histoire des ducs de Normandie, par Guillaume de Jumiège- M. Guizot, Ed., Paris, 1826- VII.20, p. 196
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