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Ancestors of Robert Erwin William Juch

Thirtieth Generation


610583106. Baldwin II de la Fletche Count of Maine was born about 1060 in Maine, France. He died 1131. Baldwin married Mathilda of Chateau du Loire before 1092 in France. [Parents]

Successor of Baldwin I, with whom he participated in the First Crusade. In 1104 he was captured by the Muslins, who detained him until 1108. After his election as king, on the death of Baldwin I, he campaigned against the Turks, winning control of Aleppo and Dimashq. Baldwin II was succeeded by his son-in-law Fulk V the Young, count of Anjou.

610583107. Mathilda of Chateau du Loire was born about 1055 in Eure-et-Loire, France. She died after 1099.

They had the following children:

305291553 F i Erembourg (Ermengarde) of Maine was born about 1096 and died 1126.

610583112. William de Warenne 1st Earl of Surrey 1 was born 2 about 1050 in Varenne near Bellencombre, Seine-Inferieure, Normandy, France. He died 3 24 Jun 1088 in Lewes, Sussex, England and was buried in Priory of Lewes, Sussex, England. William married 3 Gundred Princess of England before 1077 in Normandy, France. [Parents]

[From "The Origins of Some Anglo-Norman Families"]

For this identification see Mr. Loyd's paper 'The Origin of the Family of Warenne' in Yorkshire Arch. Journal, vol. xxxi, pp. 97-113. The hamlet of Varenne lies on the river Varenne c. 2 miles S of Arques and c. 13 miles N of Bellencombre. The latter place, arr. Dieppe, cant. Bellencombre, where there was a castle, became the caput of the Warenne honour in Normandy.


The Conqueror and His Companions
by J. R. Planché, Somerset Herald. London: Tinsley Brothers, 1874..

"De Garenes i vint Willeme" is all we learn from Wace about his appearance at Hastings, except that his helmet fitted him admirably, "Mult li sist bien et chief li helme;" for the mention of which interesting circumstance I suspect the gallant knight is more indebted to rhyme than to record — to the art of poetry rather than to the skill of his armourer. Fortunately we have made his acquaintance some time previous to the Conquest, and there are circumstances of much more importance and interest connected with him than the well-fitting of his helmet. His parentage has been variously represented, and that of his wife the subject of the keenest controversy.

To begin with the beginning. Without bewildering the reader with the conflicting accounts of the early contemporary chroniclers, and the unsatisfactory conclusions of more recent writers, I will at once refer to the earliest mention of William de Warren in history that I am aware of, which occurs in Orderic Vital's account of the battle of Mortemer and its results in 1054. "Duke William," he tells us, "being enraged by the shelter and safe conduct granted by Roger de Mortemer, who commanded the Norman forces on that occasion, to the Comte de Montdidier, who had fought on the side of the French and taken refuge in the Castle of Mortemer, banished Roger from Normandy and confiscated all his possessions;" but being afterwards reconciled to him he restored them to him, with the exception of the Castle of Mortemer, which the Duke gave to William de Warren, "one of his loyal young vassals," whom Orderic makes the Conqueror describe as a cousin or kinsman of De Mortemer, acknowledging no consanguinity to himself.

The probabilities are that he was the son of a Ralph de Warren, a benefactor to the abbey of La Trinité du Mont about the middle of thee 11th century, who, as well as Roger de Mortemer, Nicholas de Basqueville, Walter de St. Martin, and many others, were the issue of some of the numerous nieces of the Duchess Gonnor ("Nepotes plures predicta Gunnora"), who have been inaccurately set down as kinsmen instead of distant connections of her great-grandson the Conqueror.

William de Warren, to whom the Duke of Normandy gave the Castle of Mortemer, was a young man, we are told, at that period, and would, therefore, scarcely have attained the prime of life in 1066. He is named amongst the principal persons summoned to attend the Council at Lillebonne, when the invasion of England was decided upon, and was no doubt present in the great battle, for his services in which he received as his share of the spoil some three hundred manors, nearly half that number being in the county of Norfolk.

In 1067, on the King's departure for Normandy, William de Warren was joined with Hugh de Grentmesnil, Hugh de Montfort, and other valiant men in the government of England, under the superior jurisdiction of the Earl-bishop Odo and William Fitz 0sbern.

In 1074, on the breaking out of the rebellion of Roger, Earl of Hereford, and Ralph, Earl of Norfolk, we find him associated with Richard de Bienfaite as Chief Justiciaries of England, and summoning the rebels to appear before the King's High Court; and on their refusal, William de Warren with Robert, son of William Malet, marched against Earl Ralph, and routing the rebels at Fagadune, pursued them to Norwich, taking many prisoners, whom, according to the barbarous practice of the age, they mutilated by chopping off the right foot—an unmistakable proof that the sufferers had taken a step in the wrong direction.

Of his personal prowess no special anecdote has been preserved, and it is as the husband of the mysterious Gundred, or Gundrada, that his name has descended to the present day with any special interest attached to it.

Whether the hand of this lady was bestowed upon him previously to his services at Senlac, or as a part of his reward for them, does not appear, and our ignorance of the date of their marriage has been the principal obstacle in the way of those who have so hotly disputed her relationship to William the Conqueror, for could we even arrive at an approximate date it might enable us to calculate her probable age at that period, and whether she was born before or after 1053, on which fact depends the whole question.

That they were married before 1078 is certain, as in that year they founded the Priory of Lewes in Sussex, and we have the charters of King William, which he granted to that establishment for the health of the souls of his lord and ancestor, King Edward, of his father Count-Robert, of his own soul and that of his wife, Queen Matilda, and of all their children and successors, and for the souls of William de Warren and his wife Gundrada, his (William's) daughter and their heirs.

The words "my daughter" — "filiæ meæ" — would be decisive of her being the acknowledged child of the King; but independently of their being scarcely legible, it is contended that they are in a different and later hand; and there is this to be observed, which I do not remember having seen noticed, that the King has just previously used the expression "our children and successors" (filiorum atque successorum nostrorum"), so that his particularising Gundrada as "my daughter" would imply that she was not by his wife Matilda.

Exactly in opposition to this is the declaration of William de Warren himself, in whose charter to the priory, granted after the death of Gundred in childbirth (6 kalends of June, 1085), he states his donations to be for the salvation of the souls, amongst others, of his lady Queen Matilda, mother of his wife ("matris uxoris meæ"), excluding in turn King William from any share in her parentage. Was she then the sister of Gherbod the Fleming, Earl of Chester, as Orderic Vital distinctly describes her, without the slightest allusion to her parents? And, if so, was Queen Matilda the mother of both by a previous marriage, which has been utterly ignored by contemporary writers, and never yet established by recent investigators? Mr. Freeman accepts that interpretation, and I can advance no argument in dispute of it. It is much more likely, as he observes, that a stepfather should call the daughter of his wife his daughter, than that a husband should speak of the mother of his wife in anything but a strictly literal sense.

Then how are we to account for the universal silence of the chroniclers, native and foreign, on the subject? Mr. Freeman quotes the instance of their apparent ignorance of the marriage of Robert the Devil with the widow of UIf; but this is a much more important case. We have the unequivocal declaration of William de Warren, that Queen Matilda was the mother of his wife, and unless that charter is spurious, of which there is not the slightest suspicion, the evidence to that extent is conclusive.

But we have not yet done with riddles. Amongst the benefactors of Bermondsey, I find one Richard Guett, recorded as brother of the Countess of Warren, and the donor of the manor of Cowyke to the monks of that abbey, 11th of Rufus, A.D. 1098.

Gundred at that period had been dead thirteen years; but that she is the person alluded to there can be no doubt, as she is styled only "Comtesse Warenne;" whereas Isabelle de Vermandois, wife of her son, the second William, was Countess of Warren and Surrey.

Then who was this Richard Guett? Was he another child of Matilda of Flanders, a brother or halfbrother of Gherbod and Gundred, or a brother-in-law, for the old writers pay little attention to these nice distinctions, as we have seen in the case of Odo of Champagne? Had Matilda of Flanders as many husbands as Adelaide, Countess of Ponthieu, and, like her, issue by each? What was the real cause of the inhibition of her marriage with William, Duke of Normandy, — its delay for six years? What truth is there in the story of her unreturned affection for the Angio-Saxon Brihtric Meaw, and of her vindictive conduct to him after she became Queen of England? I have hesitated to believe in the popular tradition that Duke William grossly assaulted the daughter of Baldwin in the street or in her own chamber, not that I have any doubt about his being capable of such an outrage, but because he was too politic to commit it, and she was not the woman to have forgiven it, assuming that the offence was the simple refusal of his hand on the ground of his illegitimacy. It is obvious, however, that the early life of Matilda is involved in mystery, and it is highly probable that a clearer insight into it would enable us to account for much which we now reject as legend, or fail to reconcile with acknowledged facts. If there be any foundation for the story of William's brutality, the outburst of ungovernable fury might have been due to a much greater provocation than has been assigned for it. Brihtric, the son of Algar or Alfar, sumamed Meaw (Snow), from the extreme fairness of his complexion, an Anglo-Saxon Thegn, possessor of large domains in England, had been sent on an embassy from King Edward the Confessor to the Connt of Flanders. Matilda, we are told, fell desperately in love with him, and offered herself to him in marriage! Either disgusted by her forwardness, or preferring another, he declined the flattering proposal. "Hell hath no fury like a woman foiled," and she kept her wrath warm till she was in a position to ruin the man she had so passionately loved. She had no sooner become the Queen of England than she induced William to confiscate, on some pretence, all Brihtric's estates, and obtained the greater proportion for herself. The unfortunate Thegn was arrested at his house at Hanley, in Worcestershire, on the very day Saint Wulfstan had consecrated a chapel of his building, dragged to Winchester, and died in a dungeon! The truth of this story is supported by the impartial evidence of Domesday, in which Hanley and the principal manors held by Brihtric in the time of King Edward are recorded as the possessions of Queen Matilda, and the remainder passed to Fitz Hamon.

After her hand had been rejected by the noble Saxon, it is presumed she became the wife of a Fleming, named Gherbod, who appears to have held the hereditary office of Advocate of the Abbey of Saint Bertin, in St. Omers, and by whom she had at least two children, viz., Gherbod, to whom William gave the earldom of Chester, and Gundred, "the sister of Gherbod," and wife of William de Warren. Was this a clandestine or an informal marriage, which, as it has never been acknowledged by any chronicler, contemporary or other, might have been unknown to the Duke of Normandy, when he proposed to one whom he believed to be the maiden daughter of the Count of Flanders, and the corporal chastisement inflicted, however unworthy of a man, passed over, sub silentio, for prudential reasons, by the parties wlio had been guilty of a disgraceful suppression of facts? The subsequent marriage under such circumstances will awaken no surprise in any one who has studied the character of William. Utterly unscrupulous, destitute of every generous, noble, or delicate feeling, every action of his life was dictated by POLICY alone. An alliance with the Count of Flanders might be considered by the crafty schemer sufficiently advantageous to warrant his overlooking any objectionable antecedents in the conduct of a granddaughter of a king of France, his first discovery of which had provoked his savage nature into a momentary ebullition of fury. Her being the mother of two children was a point in her favour with a man whose sole motive for marrying was the perpetuation of a dynasty, and the fair prospect of legitimate issue, in whose veins the blood of the Capets should enrich that of the Furrier of Falaise, would overcome any hesitation at espousing the widow of an Advocate of St. Bertin. On the other hand, Count Baldwin would be too happy to embrace the opportunity of reinstating his daughter in a position befitting her birth, and, as well as the lady herself, gladly condone past insults for future advantages and the hope of smothering, in the splendour of a ducal wedding, the awkward whispers of scandal.

I have said thus much simply to show the view that may be taken of these mysterious circumstances, in opposition to the rose-coloured representations of some modern historians, who, upon no stronger evidence, elevate the Conqueror into a model husband, and describe Matilda as the perfection of womankind. To return to Gundred: her mother, Matilda, the third child of parents who were married in 1027, could not well have been born before 1030, and would therefore be some three years younger than the Conqueror.

In 1047, the time named as that of the Duke's first proposal, she would have been seventeen, and at that age either passionately in love with Brihtric, or already the youthful bride of the Advocate of St. Bertin.

In either case her rejection of William — and in the latter the Papal inhibition — is perfectly understandable. Assuming the marriage, she could scarcely have been the mother of the younger Gherbod and his sister Gundred before 1050; and the Countess of Warren, who died in childbed in 1085, would, according to this calculation, have then been in her thirty-fifth year. These dates are fairly presumable, and are uncontradicted by any circumstances that I am aware of.

No date has ever been assigned to the marriage of Gundred, but it is probable that it took place subsequent to the invasion, and about the same time that the earldom of Chester was bestowed on her brother Gherbod, with whom she may have come to England in the train of their mother, Matilda, on her visit in 1068, for there is not the slightest trace of Gherbod's presence at Hastings; and the magnificent gift of the County Palatine of Chester to a foreigner unknown to fame must have been owing to private family influence, as no service of any description is recorded for which it could be considered a merited reward.

In the foundation charter to Lewes, William de Warren himself tells us that he set out with his wife, Gundred, on a journey to Rome, but was unable to pass the German frontier in consequence of the war raging between the Emperor and the Pope. They therefore visited the Abbey of Cluni, where they were most hospitably entertained by the Prior and the community in the absence of Hugh, the Abbot. No date is mentioned, but the circumstances to which he alludes enable us to arrive at an approximate one.

in the Council of Worms, 23rd of January in that year, sentence of excommunication was passed upon the contumacious Kaiser, and his subjects absolved from their oath of fidelity; and in the following year, Henry, accompanied by his wife and infant son, Conrad, presented himself as a penitent before the walls of the Castle of Canossa, in Lombardy, where the Pontiff was then residing; and after remaining for three days, with naked feet and without food, in token of his contrition, was admitted, on the fourth, to the presence of the triumphant Pontiff, in consequence of the mediation of his cousin, the Countess Matilda, the Count of Savoy, and the Abbot of Cluni, who were at that period at Canossa with his Holiness.

This latter event occurred on the 26th of January, 1077, and we therefore know that Abbot Hugh was then in Lombardy. How long he was absent from Cluni on that occasion I cannot say, but we may fairly conjecture that William and Gundred were the guests of the Prior towards the close of the year 1076, or in the early part of 1077, in which latter year, they having long before resolved to found some religious house for the welfare of their souls, determined that, in gratitude for their reception at the Abbey of Cluni, it should rather be of the Cluniac order than any other. Having obtained the licence of King William, Abbot Hugh, at their request, sent over four of his monks, the principal of whom, named Lanzo, became the first Prior of St. Pancras at Lewes, which was founded and endowed by the Earl accordingly.

The Countess died, as before stated, in 1085, and was buried in the chapter-house at Lewes.

On the breaking out of Bishop Odo's rebellion, in the first year of the reign of Rufus, William, Earl of Warren, stood fast by the King, and served him most loyally both in the field and the council-chamber, for which good service he was created Earl of Surrey.

He enjoyed his new dignity but for a brief period, dying in 1089, 8 kalends of July (where, or of what disorder, is not stated), and was buried near his wife in the chapter-house of Lewes.

The discovery of their coffins a few years ago raised the controversy respecting the parentage of Gundred, which can scarcely even now be considered absolutely decided.

As in the case of Adelaide, Countess of Ponthieu, some charter or trustworthy document may yet be discovered which will clear up, by a simple fact, the mystery surrounding the early life of the Queen of the Conqueror, and not only enable us correctly to affiliate Gherbod and Gundred, but also to identify the hitherto unnoticed claimant to the honour of being one of their nearest relations, Richard Guett, the benefactor of Bermondsey, "brother of the Countess of Warren." From the register of Ely, in the Bodleian Library, Dugdale quotes the following tale of wonder: — " It is reported that this Earl William did violently detain certain lands from the monks of Ely, for which, being after admonished by the Abbot, and not making restitution, he died miserably; and though his death happened very far off the Isle of Ely, the same night he died, the Abbot, lying quietly in his bed, and meditating on heavenly things, heard the soul of the Earl in its carriage away by the Devil, cry out loudly and with a known and distinct voice, 'Lord have mercy upon me! Lord have mercy upon me!' and moreover that the next day the Abbot acquainted all the monks in Chapter therewith; and, likewise, that about four days after there came a messenger to them from the wife of the Earl with one hundred shillings for the good of his soul, who told them that he died the very hour the Abbot heard that outcry; but that neither the Abbot nor any of the monks would receive it, not thinking it safe for them to take the money of a damned person."

"If the first part of this story," adds honest old Norroy, " as the Abbot's hearing that noise, be no truer than the last, viz., that his lady sent them one hundred shillings, I shall deem it to be a mere fiction in regard the lady was certainly dead about three years before."

What appears more incredible to me is that there was not one monk to be found in the convent who would pocket the money "for the good of the soul" of the departed delinquent, who had "died miserably," — a statement which, taken in conjunction with the preternatural communication of the event to the holy Abbot, conveys to my mind an ugly idea of a guilty foreknowledge of it.

610583113. Gundred Princess of England 1, 2 was born about 1050 in Normandy, France. She died 3 27 May 1085 in Castle Acre, Norfolk, England from childbirth and was buried in Priory of Lewes, Sussex, England.

Said to be the daughter of William the Conqueror and Queen Maud, but this has been disproven.

They had the following children:

305291556 M i William de Warenne 2nd Earl of Surrey was born about 1071 and died 11 May 1138.
F ii
Edith de Warenne 1, 2 was born about 1076 in Lewes, Sussex, England.

610583114. Hugh "The Great" de Crepi Duke of France and Burgundy 1 was born 2 1050 in Vermandois, Normandy, France. He died 2, 3 18 Oct 1101 in Tarsus, Cilicie, Turkey and was buried in St Paul de Tarse. Hugh married Adelaide de Vermandois on 1064 in France. [Parents]

610583115. Adelaide de Vermandois 1 was born about 1048 in Valois, Isle de France, France. She died 2, 3 23 Sep 1120 in Vermandois, Normandy, France. [Parents]

They had the following children:

F i
Avice de Vermandois was born 1075 in Vermandois, Normandy, France.
F ii
Emma Avice de Vermandois was born 1075 in Vermandois, Normandy, France.
F iii
Constance de Vermandois was born about 1078 in Vermandois, Normandy, France.
F iv
Matilda de Vermandois "Maud" was born 1080 in of Valois, Bretagne, France.
305291557 F v Isabel (Elizabeth) de Crepi was born about 1081 and died 13 Feb 1130/1131.
M vi
Ralph (Raoul) I de Vermandois was born about 1084. He died 14 Oct 1152.
F vii
Agnes de Vermandois was born about 1090 in France.

610583116. Robert II de Montgomery 3rd Earl Shrewsbury Count of Ponthieu, Alecon, and Montreuil was born 1 1052/1056 in Alencon, Orne, France. He died after 8 May 1131 in Wareham Castle. Robert married Agnes of Ponthieu. [Parents]

Seigneur de Belleme and Alecon.

1102 Deprived of English lands and exiled to France by Henry I.

610583117. Agnes of Ponthieu died after 6 Oct 1100. [Parents]

They had the following children:

305291558 M i William III Talvas Count of Alencon and Ponthieu was born 1084 and died 30 Jun 1171.

610583128. Gilbert FitzRichard de Clare Earl Hertford is printed as #312480298.

610583129. Adeliza (Alice) de Clermont is printed as #312480299.

They had the following children:

M i
Hervey de Clare was born 1087/1113. He died 1093/1193.
M ii
Walter de Clare was born 1087/1113. He died 1093/1193.
M iii
Baldwin FitzGilbert de Clare Lord of Bourne 1, 2 was born 1088 in Clare, Suffolk, England. He died 2 1154 in Bourne, Lincolnshire, England.

Lord of Deeping and Skellingthorpe, Lincolnshire.
F iv
Hawise de Clare was born about 1089 in Clare, Suffolk, England.
M v
Richard FitzGilbert de Clare Earl of Hertford 1 was born 1084 in Hertford, Hertfordshire and Clare, Suffolk, England. He died 1 15 Apr 1136 in Slain by Welsh near Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, Wales and was buried in Gloucestershire, England.

Lord of Cardigan in Wales

Richard de Clare first bore the title of Earl of Hertford and, being one of those who, by power of the sword, entered Wales, there planted himself and became lord of vast territories as also of divers castles in those parts, but requiring other matters of moment from the king, in which he was unsuccessful, he reared the standard of revolt and soon after fell in an engagement with the Welsh. His lordship in 1124 removed the monks out of his castle at Clare into the church of St. Augustine at Stoke, and bestowed upon them a little wood, called Stoke-Ho, with a doe every year out of his part at Hunedene. He m. Alice, sister of Ranulph, 2nd Earl of Chester, and had issue, Gilbert, his successor, with two other sons, and a dau. Alice who m. Cadwalader-ap-Griffith, Prince of North Wales. His lordship d. 1139 and was s. by his eldest son, Gilbert de Clare, 2nd Earl of Hertford. [Sir Bernard Burke, Dormant and Extinct Peerages, Burke's Peerage, London, 1883, p. 119, Clare, Lords of Clare, Earls of Hertford, Earls of Gloucester]

Richard de Clare first bore the title of Earl of Hertford and, being one of those who, by power of the sword, entered Wales, there planted himself and became lord of vast territories as also of divers castles in those parts, but requiring other matters of moment from the king, in which he was unsuccessful, he reared the standard of revolt and soon after fell in an engagement with the Welsh. His lordship in 1124 removed the monks out of his castle at Clare into the church of St. Augustine at Stoke, and bestowed upon them a little wood, called Stoke-Ho, with a doe every year out of his part at Hunedene. He m. Alice, sister of Ranulph, 2nd Earl of Chester, and had issue, Gilbert, his successor, with two other sons, and a dau. Alice who m. Cadwalader-ap-Griffith, Prince of North Wales. His lordship d. 1139 and was s. by his eldest son, Gilbert de Clare, 2nd Earl of Hertford. [Sir Bernard Burke, Dormant and Extinct Peerages, Burke's Peerage, London, 1883, p. 119, Clare, Lords of Clare, Earls of Hertford, Earls of Gloucester]
F vi
Rohesia (Rose) de Clare 1 was born about 1090 in Clare, Suffolk, England. She died 1149 in England.
F vii
Agnes de Clare was born about 1091 in Clare, Suffolk, England.
F viii
Alice de Clare 1 was born about 1093 in Clare, Suffolk, England. She died 2 1155.
F ix
Margaret de Clare 1 was born 1097 in Clare, Suffolk, England. She died 1 after 1185.
305291564 M x Gilbert "Strongbow" FitzGilbert de Clare 1st Earl of Pembroke was born 21 Sep 1100 and died 6 Jan 1147.

610583130. Robert I de Beaumont 1st Earl of Leicester 1, 2 was born 2 1040 in Beaumont-le-Roger, Eure, Normandy, France. He died 2 5 Jun 1118 in Abbey of Preaux, Normandy, France. Robert married 2 Isabel (Elizabeth) de Crepi on 1096. [Parents]


The Conqueror and His Companions
by J. R. Planché, Somerset Herald. London: Tinsley Brothers, 1874..

"Rogier li Veil, cil de Belmont, Assalt Engleis el primier front." Roman de Rou, 1. 13,462.

Thus sings the Prebend of Bayeux in direct contradiction, as I have already observed, of the Archdeacon of Lisieux, who as distinctly asserts that Roger de Beaumont was left in Normandy, president of the council appointed by the Duke to assist his Duchess in its government. There is more reason, however, to discredit Wace in this instance than even in the former one, as Orderic corroborates the statement of the Archdeacon that it was Robert, the eldest son of Roger de Beaumont, who was the companion of the Conqueror in 1066, and whom he describes as "a novice in arms." Mr. Taylor, in his translation of the poem, has mentioned also that in the MS. of Wace, in the British Museum, the name is Robert, though the epithet "le Viel" is not appropriate to his then age. Might not "le Viel" be a clerical error for "de Vielles," the name of Roger's father, which is latinized into "de Vitulis"? Roger de Beaumont would of course have been de Vielles as well as his father. The latinizing of proper names cannot be too much deplored and deprecated.

Of Roger, Count de Beaumont, it is unanimously recorded that he was the noblest, the wealthiest, and the most valiant seigneur of Normandy, and the greatest and most trusted friend of the Danish family. Son of Humphrey de Vielles, and grandson of Thorold de Pontaudemer, a descendant of the Kings of Denmark, through Bernard the Dane, a companion of the first Norman Conqueror, Duke Rollo, illustrious as was such as origin in the eyes of his countrymen, he considered his alliance with Adelina, Countess of Meulent, sufficiently honorable and important to induce him to adopt the title of her family in preference to that of his own.

We have already heard of his first great exploit, when, as a young man, in the early years of Duke William, he defeated the turbulent Roger de Toeni, who with his two sons were slain in that sanguinary conflict (vide p. 19, ante). Towards the invading fleet he contributed, according to Taylor's List, sixty vessels, and being at that time advanced in years, and selected to superintend the affairs of the duchy, sent his young son Robert to win his spurs at Senlac.

In that memorable battle he is said to have given proof of courage and intelligence beyond his years, and promise of the high reputation he would eventually obtain, and which won for him the surname of Prudhomme. "A certain Norman young soldier," writes William of Poitou, "son of Roger de Bellomont, and nephew and heir of Hugh, Count of Meulent, by Adelina, his sister, making his first onset in that fight, did what deserves lasting fame, boldly charging and breaking in upon the enemy with the troops he commanded in the right wing of the army."

His services were rewarded by ninety manors in Warwickshire, Leicestershire, Wiltshire, and Northamptonshire. In 1080 he, with his brother Henry, afterwards Earl of Warwick, were amongst the barons who exerted themselves to reconcile King William to his son Robert Court-heuse, and in 1081 he subscribed a charter of confirmation in favour of the Abbey of Fécamp. This was the last document he signed inn the name of Beaumont, for his mother dying in year, he thenceforth wrote himself Comte de Meulent, and did homage to Philip I, King of France, for the lands to which he succeeded in that kingdom, and in 1082 sat as a Peer of France in a parliament held by the said King at Poissy.

On the death of the Conqueror, the Comte de Meulent and his brother sided with William Rufus; their father, Roger de Beaumont, leaving also the ducal court and retiring to his estates. The late King had given the Castle of Ivri jointly to Roger de Beaumont and Robert his son; but during the absence of the latter in England, Robert Court-heuse, having become Duke of Normandy, exchanged, in 1090, that castle for the Castle of Brionne with Roger de Beaumont, without obtaining the consent of Robert de Meulent. The latter, having a quarrel with the monks of Bec, whose monastery was in the territory of Brionne, was greatly angered by this transaction, and repairing to the Duke at Rouen, boldly demanded of him the restoration of Ivri. The Duke answered that he had given his father the Castle of Brionne for it, which was a fair exchange. The Count replied, "I was no party to that bargain, and repudiate it; but what your father gave to my father that will I have, or by Saint Nicaise I will make you repent your conduct to me." The Duke, highly incensed, had him immediately arrested and imprisoned, and seizing the Castle of Brionne, gave it into the keeping of Robert, son of Baldwin de Meules. Roger de Beaumont, on receipt of these tidings, sought the Duke, and with the skill of an old courtier contrived to pacify his resentment, and obtain the release of his son and the restoration of Brionne; but Robert de Meules, who was in charge of it, refused to surrender it, and the Count de Meulent was obliged to resort to force. Siege was laid to the castle in regular form, and the garrison stoutly holding out, Gilbert du Pin, commanding the beleaguering forces, caused arrows, with their steel heads made red-hot in a furnace, to be shot over the battlements, and which, falling on the roofs of the buildings within the walls, set them on fire. The conflagration spreading, the place became no longer tenable, and Brionne remained from that period in the hands of the Counts of Meulent.

The monks of Bec now found it necessary to patch up their quarrels with the Count, who behaved generously on the occasion, confirming their privileges and those also of the Abbey of Préaux, of Jumiéges, and St.t. Vaudrille, remitting certain imports due to him from the wine-growers of Mantes. I mention these circumstances, which have no interest for the general reader, only to notice a singular condition the Count attached to the franchise, namely, that the masters of all boats passing the Castles of Meulent and Mantes should play on the flageolet as they shot the bridges!

On the departure of Robert Court-heuse for the Crusades, William Rufus, to whom he had confided the government of Normaudy, as a pledge for the repayment of the money the King had lent to him for the expenses of his expedition, considered it a good opportunity to recover from France the province of the Vexin. The Count of Meulent found himself awkwardly situated between the two contending parties. He owed fealty to both sovereigns: to the King of France for the Comté of Meulent, and to thee King of England for his large estates, both in that country and Normandy. He decided in fayour of the latter, received into his castle the forces of the Red King, and so opened for him an entrance into France. The war ended without advantage to either side, and was followed by another between Rufus and Hélie de la FlÈche, Comte du Maine. After vainlyly attempting to reduce the Castle of Dangueul, the King withdrew from the siege, leaving the Count of Menlent to carry on the operations. On the 28th April, 1098, Hélie was drawn into an ambush by Count Robert, and,, after a desperate defence, made prisoner, and conducted by him to the King, who was at Rouen, and who consigned his captive immediately to a dungeon in the great tower of that city.

The incidents and results of this campaign are not sufficiently connected with the personal history of Robert de Meulent to require notice here. He was one of the royal hunting party in the New Forest on the 2nd of August, 1100, when William Rufus received his mysterious death-wound, and hastened on the instant with Prince Henry to Winchester, in order to secure the royal treasure, as well as the succession to the throne of England.

Under the reign of the new King he retained the favour and influence he had enjoyed during those of the two Williams, and commanded the English army, which achieved the conquest of Normandy by Henry I in 1106, who acknowledged himself indebted for it to the advice and valour of the Earl of Leicester, to which dignity Robert de Meulent had been advanced by him at some period not distinctly ascertained, but most probably in the first year of his reign.

Orderic Vital gives the following account of the mode by which he obtained the earldom: -- "The town of Leicester had four masters -- the King, the Bishop of Lincoln, Earl Simon" (Simon de St. Liz, Earl of Huntingdon), "and Ivo, the son of Hugh" (de Grentmesnil). The latter had been heavily fined for turbulent conduct, and was in disgrace at Court. He was also galled by being nicknamed "the Rope-dancer," having been one of those who had been let down by ropes from the walls of Antioch. He therefore had resolved to rejoin the Crusade, and made an agreement with the Count of Meulent to the following effect: -- The Count was to procure his reconciliation with the King, and to advance him five hundred silver marks for the expenses of his expedition, having the whole of Ivo's domains pledged to him as a security for fifteen years. In consideration of this, the Count was to give the daughter of his brother Henry, Earl of Warwick, in marriage to Ivo's son, who was yet in his infancy, and to restore him his father's inheritance. This contract was confirmed by oath, and ratified by the King, but Ivo died on his road to the Holy Land, and Robert de Meulent, by royal favour and his own address, contrived to get the whole of Leicester into his own hands, and being in consequence created an English earl, his wealth and power surpassed those of any other peer of the realm, and he was exalted above nearly all his family." (Book xi, c. 2)

This great warrior and able man is said to have died of sorrow and mortification, caused by the infidelity of his second wife Elizabeth, otherwise Isabella, daughter of Hugh the Great, Comte de Vermandois and of Chaumont in the Vexin. He had married -- the date at present unknown -- Godechilde de Conches, daughter of Roger de Toeni, Seigneur de Conches, but had separated from her before 1096, as in that year she, who could not then have been seventeen, became the wife of Baldwin, son of Eustace de Boulogne, who was King of Jerusalem after the decease of his brother Godfrey. Robert de Meulent, then being between fifty and sixty, and without issue, sought the hand of Elizabeth de Vermandois, who was in the bloom of youth, and was accepted by the lady; but Ivo, Bishop of Châtres, forbade the magiage on the ground of consanguinity; the Count off Vemandois and the Count of Meulent being both great-grandsons of Gautier II, surnamed "Le Blanc," Count of the Vexin. A dispensation was obtained, however, from the Pope, on condition that Count Hugh should take the Cross, and the marriage was celebrated on the eve of his departure for the Holy Land, the same year in which Robert's first wife married Baldwin de Boulogne.

The issue of Robert de Meulent by his second wife was a daughter named Emma, born, according to Orderic, in 1102; two sons (twins), baptised Waleran and Robert, born in 1104; a third son, known as Hugh the Poor, afterwards Earl of Bedford, and three other daughters, Adeline, Amicia, and Albreda, all of whom must have been born after 1104, when their father, then Earl of Leicester, was well stricken in years. Orderic, indeed, says he had five daughters, the fifth being named Isabel, after her mother.

All these children being born in wedlock, were of course in the eyes of the law legitimate, but William de Warren, Earl of Warren and Surrey, second of that name, son of the mysterious Gundred, had supplanted the Earl of Leicester for some years in the affections of his wife, and her ultimate desertion of him for his young rival affected his mind, and hurried hhn to the grave, June 5, 1118.

Henry of Huntingdon, in his "Letter to Walter," gives the following account of his last moments: -- "I will mention the Earl of Meulent, the most sagacious in political affairs of all who lived between this and Jerusalem. His mind was enlightened, his eloquence persuasive, his shrewdness acute; he was provident and wily; his prudence never failed; his counsels were profound; his wisdom great. He had extensive and noble possessions, which are commonly called honours, together witIx towns and castles, villages and farms, woods and waters, which he acquired by the exercise of the talents I have mentioned. His domains lay not only in England but in Normandy and France, so that he was able at his will to promote concord between the sovereigns of those countries, or to set them at variance and provoke them to war. If he took umbrage against any man, his enemy was humbled and crushed, while those he favoured were exalted to honour. Hence his coffers were filled with a prodigious influx of wealth in gold and silver, besides precious gems and costly furniture and apparel. But when he was in the zenith of his power it happened that a certain earl carried off the lady he had espoused, either by some intrigue or by force and stratagem. Thenceforth his mind was disturbed and clouded with grief, nor did he to the time of his death regain composure and happiness. "After days abandoned to sorrow, when he was labouring under an infirmity which was the precursor of death, and the Archbishop (of Rouen) and priests were performing their office for the confessional purification, they required of him that as a penitent he should restore the lands which by force or fraud he had wrung from others, and wash out his sins with tears of repentance, to which he replied, 'Wretched man that I am! If I dismember the domains I have acquired, what shall I have to leave to my sons?'

"Upon this the ministers of the Lord answered, 'Your hereditary estates and the lands which you have justly obtained are enough for your sons; restore the rest, or else you devote your soul to perdition.'

"The Earl replied, 'My sons shall have all. I leave it to them to act mercifully, that I may obtain mercy.'"

"Assuming the monastic habit, he then breathed his last, and was buried near his father at Préaux, his heart being sent to the monastery off Brackley in Northamptonshire, which he had founded, and there preserved in salt.

William of Malmesbury says of him, that his advice was regarded as though the oracle of God had been consulted; that he was the persuader of peace, the dissuader of strife, and capable of speedily bringing about whatever he desired by the power of his eloquence; that he possessed such mighty influence in England as to change by his single example the long established modes of dress and diet. Limiting himself on the score of his health to one meal a day, in imitation of Alexius, Emperor of Constantinople, the custom was adopted generally by the nobility. In law, he was the supporter of justice; in war, the insurer of victory; urging his lord the King to enforce the statutes vigorously, he himself not only respecting those existing, but proposing new. Ever loyal to his sovereign, he was the stern avenger of treason in others.

It is a relief to read such a character of a man in these darkest days of feudalism, imperfect civilization, and demoralizing superstition.

A word or two respecting his children.

The twins, Waleran and Robert, were carefully brought up by King Henry I from the time of their father's death, "for the King loved him much, because in the beginning of his reign he had greatly aided and encouraged him." On their arriving at the proper age they received knighthood at his hands, and Waleran was put in possession of all his father's domains in France and Normandy, his brother Robert receiving the earldom of Leicester and the lands and honours in England. Three of their sisters were given in marriage by Waleran: -- Adeline to Hugh, 4th Sire de Montfort-sur-Risle, Amicia to Hugh de Château-neuf in Thimerais; andd Albreda (or Aubrey) to William Louvel or Lupel, son of Ascelin Goel, Lord of Ivri. ( Vide vol. ii, p. 223)

Isabel became, according to the chronique scandaleuse of that day, one of the many mistresses of Henry I, and subsequently married Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Pembroke. What became of Emma, the eldest born, we know not. According to Orderic she was betrothed, when only a year old, to Aumari, nephew of William, Count of Evreux, but from some impediment which occurred the marriage never took place. She probably died in infancy, or entered a convent. The author of "L'Art de Vérifier less Dates," besides Hugh, Earl of Bedford, already mentioned, gives Robert, a fourth son, whom he calls Dreux, Sire de Boisemont.

610583131. Isabel (Elizabeth) de Crepi is printed as #305291557.

They had the following children:

F i
Eleanor de Beaumont was born 1100 in Leicester, Leicestershire, England.
F ii
Adeline de Beaumont was born about 1102 in Leicester, Leicestershire, England.
305291565 F iii Isabel (Elizabeth) de Beaumont was born about 1104 and died 6 Jan 1147/1148.
M iv
Robert II de Beaumont 2nd Earl of Leicester 1, 2 was born 2 1104 in Leicestershire, England. He died 2 5 Apr 1168 in England.
M v
Lord Waleran de Beaumont Count of Meulan Earl of Worcester 1 was born 1 1104 in Beaumont, Normandy, France. He died 1 4 Oct 1166.

Count of Meulan.
F vi
Alice de Beaumont was born 1105 in Beaumont, Sur-Oise, Normandy, France. She died 11 Jul 1191 in Rheims, France.
F vii
Maud de Beaumont 1 was born about 1116 in Meulan, Normandy, France. She died 1 after 1189.

610583132. Donnchadh MacMurchadh King of Dublin 1 was born about 1050 in Leinster, Ireland. He died 2 8 Dec 1115 in Killed in battle with Domnall Ua Briain. Donnchadh married Orlaith MacBranain.

610583133. Orlaith MacBranain 1 was born 1080 in Ireland.

They had the following children:

305291566 M i Diarmait MacMurchada King of Leinster was born 1100 and died 1 Jan 1170/1171.

610583134. Muirchertach Ua Tuathail O'Toole 1 was born 1089 in Leinster, Ireland. He married Inghin O'Byrne. [Parents]

610583135. Inghin O'Byrne was born 1094 in Leinster, Ireland.

They had the following children:

305291567 F i More O'Toole was born 1114 and died 1191.

610583136. Hugh VI "The Devil" de la Marche was born 1039. He died 1110. [Parents]

He had the following children:

305291568 M i Hugh VIII de la Marche was born 1065.

610583160. Philip I "The Fair" Capet King of France was born before 23 May 1052/1053 in Reims, Marne, France. He died 29 Jul 1108 in Melun, Seine-et-Marne, France and was buried in St-Benoit-sur-Lo, Loiret, France. Philip married Bertha Countess of Holland on 1072. [Parents]

610583161. Bertha Countess of Holland was born about 1054 in of Vlaardingen, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands. She died 1093/1094 in Montreuil-sur-Lo, Maine-et-Loire, France. [Parents]

Step daughter of Robert the Frisian.

Philip and Bertha had the following children:

F i
Constance was born 1071/1091. She died 1109/1179.
305291580 M ii Louis VI "The Fat" Capet King of France was born 1081 and died 1 Aug 1137.

610583162. Humbert II Count of Maurienne and Savoy, Marquis of Turin was born about 1062 in of Savoie, France. He died 17 Oct 1103 and was buried 19 Oct 1103. Humbert married Gisela (Gille) Countess of Burgundy-Ivrea on 1090 in Savoy, France. [Parents]

610583163. Gisela (Gille) Countess of Burgundy-Ivrea was born about 1060 in of Bourgogne, France. She died after 1133. [Parents]

The sources conflict on who was Gisele's father. Some show Otto William of Burgundy, grandson of Gerbega; another shows William I of Burgundy. I have picked the Stammtafeln version.

Humbert and Gisela had the following children:

305291581 F i Alix (Adelaide) Countess of Savoy was born about 1092 and died 18 Nov 1154.

610583296. Ponce de Pons was born about 1034 in Saint Pons, Charente-Maritime, France. He died 1086.

He had the following children:

M i
Pons FitzPonce was born 1065 in Saint Pons, Charente-Maritime, France.
305291648 M ii Richard FitzPonce Lord of Cantref Bychan was born 1078 and died 1129.

610583298. Walter FitzRoger Sheriff of Gloucester 1, 2 was born 3 about 1070 in Gloucester, Gloucestershire, England. He died 3 1129 in England. Walter married Berthe on 1087.

610583299. Berthe was born 1070 in Frampton, Gloucestershire, England. She died before 1091.

They had the following children:

305291649 F i Maud FitzWalter de Pitres was born 1088.

610583300. Ralph (Raoul) III de Toeni 1 was born 1029 in Conches, Normandy, France. He died about 24 Mar 1100 in Flamstead, Hertfordshire, England. Ralph married Isabel de Montfort Dame Nogent-le-Roy on 1077 in Ile de France, France. [Parents]


The Conqueror and His Companions
by J. R. Planché, Somerset Herald. London: Tinsley Brothers, 1874..

Raoul (Ralph) de Toeni, Seigneur de Conches, second of that name, was the son or grandson (for it is not quite clear which) of that turbulent Roger de Toeni, who was one of the first to dispute the succession of the base-born William to the ducal throne of Normandy, and who, with his two sons Halbert and Elinance, was slain in a conflict with Roger de Beaumont. You have beard of him before as the messenger of the Duke to the French King with the disastrous tidings of the battle of Mortemer.

The honourable office of gonfanonier (standardbearer) of Normandy was hereditary in their family, collateral descendants of its dukes from Mahaluc, uncle of Rolf or Rollo, but on whom it was first conferred has not transpired.

Previous to the battle at Senlac, Wace tells us the Duke ordered the consecrated gonfanon, which the Pope had sent to him, to be brought forth and unfurled. Then taking and raising it, he called to him Raoul de Conches, and said, "Bear my gonfanon, for I would not but do you right. By right and by ancestry your family are gonfanoniers of Normandy, and very good knights have they all been." "Many thanks to you," answered Raoul, "for the recognition of our right, but by my faith the gonfanon shall not be borne by me this day. To-day I claim quittance of that service, for I would serve you in another guise. I will go with you into the battle and fight the English as long as I have life to do so, and be assured that my hand will be worth more than those of twenty such men!"

There can be no doubt that he was as good as his word, although no especial act of gallantry has been recorded of him, for we find him rewarded by the gift of thirty-seven lordships, nineteen being in Norfolk, and making Flamstead, in Hertfordshire, his principal residence in England.

Orderic tells us that this Raoul gained great glory in the wars, and was renowned among the first of the Norman nobles for honour and wealth, serving bravely in the armies of King William and Duke Robert, his son, for nearly sixty years. Of course he must mean alternately, for he was one of the nobles who took part with Robert Court-heuse on his first outbreak, in consequence of the insult of his brothers, William and Henry, who threw water on him from a gallery in a house where they were playing at dice. Raoul was banished, and his domains seized by the King, but through the intercession of friends obtained his pardon and the restoration of his estates.

In 1077, he married Elizabeth, or Isabel, daughter of Simon de Montfort l'Amauri, whose hand he obtained by the audacious act of carrying off by night Agnes, daughter of Richard, Comte d'Evreux, who was his half-sister, and marrying her to the said Simon. Orderic gives an amusing account of this Isabel and her sister-in-law Havise, daughter of William, Comte de Nevers, the wife of her brother Willliam, Comte d'Evreux. The Countess Havise took offence, it appears, at some taunts of the Lady of Conches, and used all her influence with her husband and his barons to have recourse to arms, in which mischievous attempt she unfortunately succeeded. "Both these ladies," the chronicler tells us, "were great talkers, and spirited as well as handsome; they ruled their husbands, oppressed their vassals, and inspired terror in various ways: but still their characters were very different. Havise had wit and eloquence, but she was cruel and avaricious; Isabel, on the contrary, was generous, enterprising, and lively, so that she was beloved and esteemed by those immediately about her. She rode in knightly armour when the vassals took the field, and exhibited as much daring amongst belted knights and men-at-arms as Camilla, the renowned Virgin of Italy, among the squadrons of Tevenus."

By turns the people of Evreux and Conches plundered and destroyed the property of each other. The Lord of Conches, who was less powerful than the Count of Evreux, sought his sovereign, Robert Court-heuse, and laying before him an account of the losses to which he was exposed by the aggressions of the Count of Evreux, demanded the aid he had a right to expect from his liege lord; but Robert turned a deaf car to his prayer, and Raoul in his distress sought a more powerful protector in the King of England, promising him by his envoys the fealty of all his estates in return for his assistance. Rufus was highly pleased at the proposal, and sent orders to Stephen Count of Aumale and Gerrard de Gournay, with others in command of his forces in Normandy, to give every aid to Raoul de Toeni, and throw supplies of all kinds into his castles.

In the month of November, 1090, Count William assembled a large force and laid siege to Conches, his two nephews, Richard de Montfort and William de Breteuil joining him with their respective powers. Richard de Montfort was slain while taking possession of the Abbey of St. Peter de Châtillonn at Conches, and in a subsequent attack William de Breteuil was taken prisoner. This worse than civil war, the wagers of it being all nearly related to each other, lasted three years; at length the Count of Evreux and his allies, ashamed that, having commenced hostilities on so frivolous a provocation, they had suffered the greatest losses, consented to a truce, and peace was proposed upon the following terms: -- William de Breteuil paid three thousand livres for his ransom, and made his cousin Roger, eldest son of Raoul de Toeni, heir to the whole of his fief; the Count of Evreux appointed the same youth, who was his nephew, his successor in the comté. "But," adds the pious writer, "Divinee Providence, which is not ruled by the will of man, provided otherwise." The boy was of an excellent disposition and much beloved by his companions, the vassals, and the neighbors. He had a great regard for the clergy and the monks, to whom he paid due reverence. Rejecting the pomp of dress, in which the nobility too much gloried, his whole demeanour was simple and modest. Upon one occasion, when the knights were amusing themselves in the hall at Conches, playing at various games and talking on various subjects, "as the custom is," the Lady Isabel being present, the conversation took a serious turn, and one of Roger's youthful companions said, "I had a dream lately which much alarmed me. I saw our Lord upon the cross, his whole body livid and writhing with agony. My eyes were riveted upon him in the greatest terror." The listeners gravely remarked that so solemn and fearful a dream seemed to forebode some terrible judgment of God upon him. Baldwin, the son of Eustace, Count of Boulogne, who was of that company, said, "I, too, lately saw in a dream our Lord upon the cross, but in my vision He appeared bright and glorious, and smiled benignantly upon me, stretching forth one hand and making the sign of the cross upon my head." The bystanders all agreed that this vision portended some singular grace and favour. Young Roger de Toeni, upon this, said to his mother, "I know some one not far from here who had recently a similar dream." Her curiosity being excited, she pressed him to say who it was, and what had been seen; but the boy blushed, and was unwilling to say more. At length, yielding to the general entreaties of his friends, he said: "A certain person saw in a vision the Lord Jesus, who, laying his hand on his head, blessed him, saying, 'Come quickly to me, beloved, and I will give you the joys of life.' I therefore believe firmly that one whom I know has been called by the Lord, and will not live long."

The three youths, we are told, experienced different fates, corresponding with what had been foreshadowed to each of them. The first, whose name is not given, was mortally wounded in a hostile inroad, and died without having confessed or received the viaticum. Baldwin, as is well known, took the sign of the Cross, and distinguishing himself in the Holy Wars, was, on the death of his brother Godfrey, elected King of Jerusalem. The youthful heir-presumptive of the Count of Evreux and William de Breteuil took to his bed the same year that he had seen his vision, and departing this life on the 15th of May, was buried amidst general sorrow with his ancestors in the Abbey of St. Peter's at Châtillon, now called off Conches.

Leaving my readers to decide for themselves the question how much credibility may be attached to this story, the like of which are to be found by scores in the pages of our monkish chronicles, I shall only direct their attention to the interesting view it affords us of the manners and habits of the age in which it was written, the words "as the custom now is" proving that although the anecdote may be mere idle gossip, the picture of domestic life is drawn from personal knowledge and observation. Here we see the high-spirited Lady of Conches, seated on the dais or haut pas, in her own castle hall, the ruins of which were recently and may still be existing, surrounded by her family and their young companions, the knights owing service to her lord, the officers of her household, and her handmaidens in attendance on her -- all the features of the court of baron of the eleventh century familiar to the sight of the narrator; the various groups, each with its favourite pastime or topic of conversation, and the peculiar character imparted to the latter by the religious atmosphere of the age. We have here the earliest glimpse of that future King of Jerusalem when, probably, a newly-belted knight and a guest of Raoul de Toeni, he may have seen for the first time the young Countess Godechilde, daughter of his host, who, just separated from her husband, Robert de Meulent, and still under age, was shortly to become his wife, although not destined to share with him the crown of his eastern kingdom.

Raoul de Toeni, like his grandfather Roger, made a journey into Sprain, but with a more peaceful object. The former had hoped to carve out with his sword a dominion for himself, as Rollo had done in Normandy and Robert Guiscard in Sicily; but gained nothing by his enterprise except an empty name --- being afterwards distinguished from other members of his family as Roger of Spain.

His grandson most probably went, like Walter Giffard, to visit the shrine of St. Iago of Compostella.

Previously to setting out on his journey he attended a chapter at the Abbey of St. Evroult, and implored pardon of the abbot and monks for having abetted Arnould d'Eschafour when he burnt the town of Ouche. Laying his gage on the altar, he made many pious vows to be fulfilled on his safe return, and recommended to their care his physician Goisbert, whom he much loved, and who, as soon as he departed, made his profession as a monk, and kept it for nearly thirty years. Goisbert must, therefore, have been personally known to Orderic -- a fact which increases our reliance on any information he communicates to us respecting the family of De Toeni.

On Raoul's return, he tells us, the Lord of Conches faithfully redeemed his promises by the gifts of certain lands and privileges to St. Evroult, and that some years afterwards he took Goisbert, the monk, with him to England, and, through his means, added to his former benefactions two farms or manors -- one named Caldecot, in Norfolk, and the other Abington in Worcestershire; his wife, Roger and Ralph, his sons, freely joining in the grant, which was also confirmed by King William.

Ralph II de Toeni died 24th March 1102, and was buried in the Abbey of Conches, beside his father and his son Roger. His widow Isabel, repenting of the sinful levity in which she had too much indulged in her youth, gave up the world, and took the veil in a convent of nuns at Haute Bruyère (a priory of the order of Fontevrauld, at St. Remi-l'HonorÉ, nearar Montfort l'Amauri), where she reformed her life and worthily ended it in the favour of the Lord.

From Robert, a cadet of this house, the family of Stafford is descended, but I have not been able to satisfy myself as to the exact place of Robert and his brother Nigel de Stafford in the pedigree. They were probably younger brothers of the subject of this memoir, or possibly his uncles. They appear in Domesday as possessors of considerable property, but whether companions of the Conqueror in 1066 is uncertain. The first Robert de Toeni who assumed the name of Stafford, from the Castle of Stafford, married, it is said, Avicia de Clare; but I cannot identify any such person.

610583301. Isabel de Montfort Dame Nogent-le-Roy 1, 2 was born about 1058 in Montfort-sur-Risle, Eure, Normandy, France. [Parents]

They had the following children:

305291650 M i Ralph IV de Toeni de Conches Lord Flamstead was born about 1081 and died about 1126.

610583302. Waltheof Siwardsson Earl of Huntingdon and Northumberland 1, 2 was born about 1025 in Huntington, Northumberland, England. He died 2 31 May 1076 in Beheaded at St. Giles Hill, Winchester, Hampshire, England. Waltheof married 2 Judith of Lens on 1070 in Artois, France. [Parents]

Life and Times of Waltheof, Earl of Huntingdon and Northumberland By Geoff Boxell
Waltheof, Earl of Huntingdon and Northumberland

Unlike his contemporary and fellow resistance leader, Edric the Wild, the life of Waltheof is reasonably well documented. The youngest son of one of Canute's Danish jarls, Siward, and Aefled, the daughter of the English Earl of Northumberland, he appears to have been prepared as a child for a life in the Church. This all changed when Siward, with the encouragement of King Edward the Confessor and the Witan, led an expeditionary force in 1054 to Scotland in support of Malcolm, son of Dunstan, King of Scots, against King Thorfinn Macbeth. In the resultant campaign Siward's eldest son, Osbarn, was killed, thus leaving Waltheof at the likely age of 10, as Siward's heir. Siward died from natural causes in 1055. The earldom was given to Tostig Godwinson as Waltheof was obviously too young to control a vital marcher region.

For a variety of reasons, Northumberland revolted against Tostig in 1065 and the thegns demanded that the earldom be given to Morcar, brother of the Earl of Mercia, Edwin. The lower part of the earldom, what had been Middle Anglia, was passed to Waltheof and his title is now given sometimes as Earl of Huntingdon and sometimes that of Northampton. Given that the earldoms in England at that time were awarded on a combination of family mana and personal ability, this granting of a minor earldom to the young and inexperienced Waltheof can be seen as a wise and shrewd move.

The young Earl's involvement in the battles of 1066 is subject to much speculation. The reliable English sources are silent but various Icelandic sources contain garbled and, at times contradictory, story of him being involved in the battles of Fulford, Stamford Bridge and Hastings. Be that as it may, by late 1066 he had made his peace with William the Bastard and retained his earldom. This in itself suggests that he was not involved at Hastings, as William had proclaimed all who fought against him there traitors and their land confiscated. This presumptuous proclamation was made despite the fact that he had not being proclaimed King by the Witan until much later!

Waltheof was one of the hostages, including Edwin, Morcar and Archbishop of Canterbury Stigand, taken to Normandy in 1067 and kept there till mid 1068. The North of England at this time was still out of William's grasp, though he had appointed Copsi, a henchman of Tostig Godwinson, to rule in the absence of the hostage, Morcar. This may have been a very cunning move as the North then seethed with disputes between the various thegns appointed by King Harold, Earl Morcar and William the Bastard. Another unsettling element was the presence of Edgar Aetheling who had, after King Harold's death, been declared King by the Witan. Over this fermenting brew of self-interest there hovered the vinegar fly of Gospatric, a descendent of the old Northumbrian kings and a cousin of the King of Scots. At an opportune moment Gospatric bought the earldom of Northumberland from the money hungry William.

1068 saw the first uprising in Northumberland against the new Norman king, but the split leadership ensured it fizzled out before the flames of revolt could catch. 1069 and there were four uprisings in the area. Waltheof appears in the last and most important of them. The first uprising had been caused by the appointment of Robert of Comings as Earl of Northumberland to replace Gospatric, who had fled to Scotland when the previous year's risings had collapsed. The northerners had found it hard enough to accept a southerner such as Tostig as Earl, and they certainly didn't want a Frenchman. They killed Robert and his whole force of 500-900 men (accounts vary) at Durham, allowing only one to escape and tell the tale. Encouraged by this the City of York revolted, slaying the Norman governor, but failing to take the newly erected castle. Eastertide and the whole North erupted, but William soon brought up an army and broke the Northumbrian force that was besieging York castle. However, it was the arrival of the Danish fleet in September 1069 that caused the Normans to suffer their heaviest defeat in the North.

King Swegyn Astrithson of Denmark had a strong claim on the English throne. An appeal to him by the English to pursue that claim, and revenge his cousin, King Harold, had been made during William's absence in Normandy in 1067. Ever cautious, Swegyn did not make a move until two years later. Even then he sent his brother, Asbjorn, to lead the fleet. It was an act that, rather than uniting the English behind one war leader, as they might have behind Swegyn, just added yet another strand to the cloth of confused leadership.

Raiding the East Coast on their way North, the fleet of Danes and other elements met little success until they entered the River Humber. Here Waltheof and those who had fled earlier to Scotland, including Edgar Aetheling and Gospatric met them. The Anglo Danish force moved on York, which by this time now had two castles to keep it subservient to Norman wishes. On the arrival of the allies the Normans fired houses near the castles to clear their view and destroy any material that may have been used to fill the defensive ditches surrounding the castles. This act was done with the normal Norman delicacy, with the result that almost the entire city was burnt down! In the resultant fight the Norman garrisons left their castles to attack and then die at the hands of the allies. Waltheof's exploits of beheading many of the Normans with his long axe as they came through the gates was recorded in sagas and remembered for years after.

William's reaction was immediate and he personally hastened North with a large army. With York having been burnt and unable to provide sustenance, the allied army broke up; the Danes to the Humber where they wintered over and the English to more northern parts of the earldom. This revolt and its tying down of William and so many of his military resources led to an explosion of uprisings elsewhere. William took what was left of York and began pursuing the scattered elements of English and Danes but very quickly he was obliged to turn his attention elsewhere, leaving lieutenants to meanwhile contain the northern revolt. But they were not up to the job.

As a result of his men's failure, William then had to move back North from his base at Nottingham, only to be blocked by the flooded River Aire. Despite this and constant harassment from the locals and the Danes, he continued to move North after one of his knights found a usable ford. York was still a devastation so, given his normal priorities, the first thing William did was rebuilt the castles. He then commenced to teach the Northumbrians what it meant to upset a Norman King by starting the harrowing of the North, killing anything animate and destroying anything not. Those who could fled. The wealthy fled to the North of the Earldom or Scotland, the rest to the Camp of Refuge at the Isle of Ely, where Hereward the Wake was defying the Normans. Few made it through the winter weather and their unburied corpses littered the countryside. Having lost their Northumbrian allies, the Danes allowed themselves to be bought off. Only Waltheof and a small number of followers fought on, holding out near Coatham on the coast. However, even they eventually saw the hopelessness of their situation and submitted to King William.

It was after this that William, possibly trying to buy loyalty, married Waltheof to his own niece, Judith, in 1070. After behaving himself for 2 years, Waltheof was granted the Earldom of Northumberland as a replacement for the disgraced Gospatric. He also retained those lands he had held as Earl of Huntingdon, though it would appear he transferred the ownership of his personal holdings in the area to Judith, in the English manner of providing a wife with land of her own.

A blot on Waltheof's character now appeared in his renewing an old family feud that had its origins in 1016. Waltheof sent some of his huscarls to kill the brothers Carlson and their kin. He did this despite the fact that they, and Waltheof and his kin had earlier been fighting side by side against the Normans. Balancing this dark side of Waltheof's character is his support of the Church, including the financing of several new foundations. He also played a part in the Church's attempt to restore the northern lands that William had harrowed. Aldwin, Prior of Winchcombe, recruited two monks from Evesham, Elfwi and a former Norman knight, Reinfrid, to join him in establishing the Church's presence in the harrowed land. They based themselves at Jarrow, and it was here that Waltheof granted them the Church at Tynemouth and all its lands. He also gave them his nephew Morcar, to be educated.

From his being made Earl of Northampton in 1072 to 1075 Waltheof spen this time ruling his earldom, giving to the Church, begetting children and serving on a royal commission looking into the losses suffered by the Church at Ely.

It was in 1075 that the half English - half Breton Ralf, Earl of East Anglia, married the sister of Roger Earl of Herefordshire and, at the wedding feast, began weaving the sticky web of intrigue that was to ensnare and prove fatal to Waltheof. Just what his involvement was will never be known. Some sources, such as the Anglo Saxon Chronicle and the Book of Hyde, indicate that he was intimately involved. Others, such as Orderic Vitalis and William of Malmesbury, claim that he refused to take part but had to swear an oath not to betray the plot.

The desirability of their wishing to involve Waltheof, in what became known as the Revolt of the Earls, is easy to see. His lands in the Midlands would provide a corridor between those of Roger in the West and Ralf in the East, effectively cutting England in half. Waltheof must have quickly had second thoughts about being involved as, the day after the Bridal Ale, he rushed to London and confessed his share of guilt to Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury. Lanfranc absolved him and advised him to go to Normandy and throw himself on William's mercy. This Waltheof did, together with presenting some expensive gifts that he knew would appeal to William's avarice.

William made light of the matter, but had his agents in England move against the other two Earls. An Anglo-Norman force crushed Roger who then spent his remaining years a prisoner. Another Anglo-Norman force defeated Ralf and then penned him up in Norwich. From here Ralf went to Denmark, to gather reinforcements, whilst his new bride held the city. After three months Norwich was compelled to surrender, just before the arrival of the Danish fleet. After sporadic raiding, the Danes returned home, leaving Ralf to join his wife in Brittany and thenceforth continue his war against William.

With the revolt now broken, William placed Waltheof under close arrest. The reason for this action is unknown, though some sources say that Waltheof was betrayed by his wife, Judith, William's niece, who passed on information that she had been privy to. Waltheof was kept in close confinement for several months before he was sentenced by the King to be beheaded for treason.

The execution took place on 31 May 1076 on St. Giles Hill, Winchester. After giving away his clothes to the poor, Waltheof's last moments were spent in prayer. Feeling he was taking too long, the executioner drew his sword and struck just as Waltheof got to: "Lead us not into temptation." According to witnesses, the severed head was then heard in a clear voice to complete the prayer with: "but deliver us from evil. Amen"

After lying in unconsecrated ground for a fortnight, Abbot Ulfkettle of Crowland, a foundation that Waltheof had been a patron of, asked for and was granted permission to take the body away for reburying. To his dying day, Archbishop Lanfranc insisted Waltheof was guiltless of the crime he had been accused of. It is also recorded that the English and Normans alike at William's court were horrified at the King's actions.

One fate of traitors was the confiscation of all their possessions to the crown. In this case it didn't happen. All of Waltheof's personal holdings passed to his wife, Judith, who also continued to oversee the Earldom of Huntingdon. A consideration for a beloved niece? Or a reward for providing information on her husband that allowed William the Bastard to remove the last of the native English nobility from the scene?

It was not long before the English began to treat Waltheof as a martyr in the ilk of St Edmund King and Martyr and miracles were soon being reported at his tomb. Waltheof may only have been a pseudo-Saint, more a symbol of a people's suffering and longing, but his grandson, also Waltheof, was later canonized.

Waltheof was a man who, in more peaceful times, would have been a national figure, and if needed, a powerful warrior. But he did not have the personality needed to lead the English resistance to the Norman Conquest. Often he failed to see the woods for the trees, and allowed his opportunities to be stolen from him.

Geoff Boxell is author of the novel: "Woden's Wolf" that deals with the English resistance to the Norman Conquest.

610583303. Judith of Lens 1, 2 was born 3 1054 in Lens, Artois, France. She died 1 after 1086. [Parents]

They had the following children:

F i
Matilda Huntingdon Queen of Scots "Maud" 1, 2 was born 3 about 1072 in Huntingdon, Northumberland, England. She died 4 23 Apr 1131 in Scone, Perthshire, Scotland.

Maud, m. 1st, to Simon de St. Liz, and 2ndly, to David, brother of Alexander, King of Scotland. [Sir Bernard Burke, Dormant, Abeyant, Forfeited, and Extinct Peerages, Burke's Peerage, Ltd., London, 1883, p. 467, St. Liz, Earls of Huntingdon]
305291651 F ii Alice Huntingdon was born about 1077 and died after 1126.

610583304. Osbert de Condet Lord Wickhambreux was born about 1082 in Wickhambreux, Kent, England. He died 1 before 1130 in South Carlton, Eagle and Skellingthorpe, Lincolnshire, England. Osbert married Adelaide de Chesney.

610583305. Adelaide de Chesney 1 was born about 1088 in of Lincolnshire, England. [Parents]

They had the following children:

305291652 M i Robert de Condet Lord of Appleby was born about 1108 and died about 1141.

610583306. Ranulph III de Meschines 3rd Earl of Chester is printed as #152645732.

610583307. Lucy de Taillebois is printed as #152645733.

They had the following children:

305291653 F i Alice de Meschines was born about 1094 and died 1154.
M ii
William de Meschines Earl of Cambridge was born 1096 in Gernon Castle, Normandy, France. He died about 1132 in of Egremont, Cumberland, England.
M iii
Ranulph de Gernon 4th Earl of Chester Vicomte de Avranches 1, 2 was born 3 1099 in Guernon Castle, Normandy, France. He died 3 16 Dec 1153 in Chester, Cheshire, England and was buried in St Werburgh, Chester, Cheshire, England.

Ranulph de Meschines (surnamed de Gernons, from being born in Gernon Castle, in Normandy), Earl of Chester. This nobleman, who was a leading military character, took an active part with the Empress Maud, and the young Prince Henry, against King Stephen, in the early part of the contest, and having defeated the king and made him prisoner at the battle of Lincoln, committed him to the castle of Bristol. He subsequently, however, sided with the king, and finally, distrusted by all, died under excommunication in 1155, supposed to have been poisoned by William Peverell, Lord of Nottingham, who being suspected of the crime, is said to have turned monk to avoid its punishment. The earl m. Maud, dau. of Robert, surnamed the Consul, Earl of Gloucester, natural son of King Henry I, and had issue, Hugh, his successor, named Keveliok, from the place of his birth, in Merionethshire; Richard; Beatrix, m. to Ralph de Malpas. His lordship was s. by his elder son, Hugh (Keveliok), 3rd Earl of Chester. [Sir Bernard Burke, Dormant and Extinct Peerages, Burke's Peerage, Ltd., London, 1883, p. 365, Meschines, Earls of Chester]


Ranulf II de Gernons, 4th Earl of Chester, VICOMTE (Viscount) DEBAYEUX, VICOMTE D'AVRANCHES, Ranulf also spelled RANDULF, or RALPH (b. c. 1100--d. Dec. 16, 1153), a key participant in the English civil war (from 1139) between King Stephen and the Holy Roman empress Matilda (also a claimant to the throne of England). Ranulf, nicknamed 'aux Gernons' (i.e. moustaches), played a prominent and vacillating part in the civil war of Stephen's reign, his actions, in common with most of his peers, springing from personal grievances rather than dynastic loyalty or principle. Ranulf's father, Ranulf I, had been granted the earldom of Chester in 1121 after his maternal uncle had drowned in the White Ship disaster (1120) but, in return, had been compelled to surrender Cumberland and his patrimony of Carlisle. The restoration of these lost estates was the mainspring of much of Ranulf II's political life. Inheriting the Chester earldom in 1129, he initially supported Stephen as king after 1135. However, successive treaties between Stephen and King David of Scotland in 1136 and 1139 gave the Scots large tracts of land in Cumberland coveted by Ranulf who reacted by seizing the town and besieging the castle. Ranulf now allied with the Empress Matilda in defeating the king at Lincoln in February 1141, capturing and briefly imprisoning Stephen. Ranulf's association with the Angevin party was cemented by his marriage in 1141 to the daughter of Robert of Gloucester. Later (1149) he transferred his allegiance to the king in return for a grant of the city and castle of Lincoln. Coventry received its original charter from him. However, his territorial ambitions were no closer realization as the king of Scots was also a close ally of Matilda. In 1145, Ranulf was reconciled to Stephen. However, there was no love lost between Ranulf and the king's entourage, many of whom had suffered at his hands. In August, 1146, at Northampton, Ranulf was suddenly arrested and put in chains when he refused the king's demand to restore all lands he had taken. He was only released when he surrendered all former royal property, including Lincoln. Stephen's arrest of Ranulf was a public relations disaster. He had broken his oath of reconciliation of 1145 and his own promise of protection, thus deterring any more defections from the Angevin faction. Stephen had breached a central tenet of effective medieval rule, that of being a good -- i.e. fair -- lord. Ranulf joined Henry FitzEmpress and was reconciled with David of Scotland who, in return for the lavish grant to Ranulf of most of Lancashire, retained Carlisle. But Ranulf was never a party man. His priorities remained centered on his own territorial and dynastic advantage, as shown by his 'conventio' with a leading royalist baron Robert of Leicester (1149/53). Under this treaty, the two magnates , independently of their rival liege-lords Stephen and Henry FitzEmpress, agreed to limit any hostilities forced between them by their masters and to protect their respective tenurial positions. Ranulf's career, notorious for his arrest in 1146, is more significant as evidence that the drama of high politics was played against a dense background of baronial competition for rights, lands, and inheritances which took precedence over any claims of royalty. [Encyclopedia Britannica CD'97, RANULF DE GERNONS, 4TH EARL OF CHESTER]
F iv
de Meschines was born about 1102 in of Chester, Cheshire, England.

610583308. Aubrey de Mello was born 1080 in Mello, Oise, France. He married AElis of Dammartin about 1104.

610583309. AElis of Dammartin was born 1084 in Dammartine, Seine-et-Marne, France.

They had the following children:

305291654 M i Aubrey I de Dammartin High Chamberlain was born 1110 and died 1183.

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