THE CONQUEROR AND HIS
\4 1 1 1) a m X the t&na us,* or K . r> & o bn / fl v>
* ft ~ ^ ""**
F. Er BLANCHE,
" We find but few historians of all ages who have been diligent enough in their
search for truth. It is their common method to take on trust what they dis-
tribute to the Public, by which means a falsehood once received from a famed
writer becomes traditional to posterity." DRYDEN, Character of Polybius.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
TINSLEY BROTHEES, 8, CATHERINE STREET, STRAND.
[Att rights reserved.]
BRADBURY, AGNEW, & CO., PEINTERS, WHITEFRIARS.
Raoul do Gael, Earl of Norfolk Hugh d'Avranches, Earl of
Chester Geoffrey de Mowbray, Bishop of Coutanoes Roger
de Mowbray (his brother) 1
Richard de Bienfaite Baldwin de Meules "Richard de Redvers
Gilbert do Montfichet Roger le Bigod .... 33
Humphrey de Bohun Henry de Ferrers Geoffrey de Mande-
ville Hugh do Grentmesnil Richard de Courci . . 63
William de Albini William Malet William de Vieuxpont
Raoul Taisson William de Moulins Hugh de Gournay . 90
William de Mohun Eudo al Chapel Eudo Dapifer Fulk
d'Aunou Richard de Nevil . . .120
Xeel de Saint- Sauveur William de Roumare The Chamberlain
of Tanker ville Urso d'Abitot Walter and Ilbert de Lacy
Robert and Ivo de Vesci Euguenulf de FAigle . .HO
VOL. II. b
Kobert Marmion Hugh de Beauchamp "William de Percy
Robert Fitz Erneis "William Patry de la Lande . . .167
"William Crispin Ayenel de Biarz Fulk d' Aulnay Bernard de
St. Valeri Eobert d'Oiley Jean d'lvri . . . .191
Raoul de Fougeres Errand de Harcourt William Pale el
Walter d'Aincourt Samson d'Ansneville Hamo de Creve-
coeur Picot de Say . . . . . . . .225
Robert Bertram Ilugli de Port William de Colombieres
Eobert d'Estouteville William Peverel . . . .247
Companions of the Conqueror unidentified, or of whose personal
history nothing has hitherto been discovered . . . 276
THE CONQUEROR AND HIS
RAOUL DE GAEL, EARL OF NORFOLK.
HUGH D'AVRANCHES, EARL OF CHESTER.
GEOFFREY DE MOWBRAY, BISHOP OF COUTANCES.
ROGER DE MOWBRAY (HIS BROTHER).
RAOUL DE GAEL, EAEL OF NORFOLK.
" Joste la Compagnie de Neel,
Chevalcha Raoul de Gael."
Roman de Ron, 1. 13,624.
HERE is another mysterious companion, respecting
whom much labour and speculation have been
expended in vain. All our historians are agreed upon
the fact that the Consulate of the East Angles, com-
prising the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk and part
of Cambridge, was given by William the Conqueror to
one of his followers named Raoul, or Ralph, indif-
THE CONQUEKOK AND HIS COMPANIONS.
ferently designated Guader, Waher, Gwyder, Gael,
Waite, Ware, and even Vacajet, so that it is almost
difficult to believe the writers are all of them really
speaking of the same individual.
This Raoul, however, who was one of the principal
leaders of the Bretons in the great expedition of
William, and received, as we are told, in reward of his
services the earldoms of Norfolk and Suffolk, married,
some say with the consent, others in positive defiance
of, his sovereign, Emma, daughter of William Fitz
Osbern, the great Earl of Hereford, and sister of his
son and successor, Roger de Breteuil, and on his very
wedding-day joined with his brother-in-law and
Waltheof, Earl of Northumberland, in a plot against
King William, which might speedily have terminated
the reign of the Conqueror had not Waltheof, repent-
ing almost in the same breath, denounced the con-
spirators, first to Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury,
and then, by his advice, to the King himself, who was
at that time in Normandy. Roger, Earl of Hereford,
was seized and thrown into prison, out of which he
never came alive; but Raoul, Earl of Norfolk, for-
tunately escaped to Denmark. His wife heroically
defended the Castle of Norwich until she could make
honourable terms for herself and the Bretons under her
command. Ralph, after ineffectually attempting an
KAOUL DE GAEL.
inroad with some forces hastily raised in Denmark.,
retired to Brittany, where he found refuge and protec-
tion with Hoel V., Count of Brittany, and in 1075,
on King William's laying siege to Dol, threw himself
into the place with Alain Fergant, the son and suc-
cessor of Hoel, and defended it valiantly against the
royal forces. Eventually Raoul, with his brave and
faithful Countess, made a pilgrimage to the Holy
Land, in which the mortal career of both is said to
These few facts, stated in as few words, are to-be
found with little variation in all our English annalists,
occasionally accompanied by a note or a parenthesis,
containing an assertion or a suggestion respecting the
parentage of this traitorous and ungrateful nobleman.
The Saxon Chronicle, which has been followed by
some of the early historians, says, under date 1075,
" This year King William gave Earl Ralph the daughter
of William Fitz Osbern to wife. The said Ralph
was Bryttisc (British) on his mother's side, and his
father was an Englishman named Ralph, and born in
Norfolk. The King, therefore, gave his son the earl-
doms of Norfolk and Suffolk, who then brought his wife
to Norwich, but
" There was that bride-ale
The source of men's bale.
4 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
"It was Earl Roger and Earl Ralph who were
authors of that plot, and who enticed the Britons
(Bryttens) to them, and sent each to Denmark after a
fleet to assist them," &c.
In contradiction to the above statement, that the
King gave to Earl Ralph the daughter of Fitz Osbern
to wife, the majority of the Norman historians contend
that the match was for unknown reasons strictly pro-
hibited by the King ; and in as positive opposition to
the assertion that Earl Ralph was British on his
mother's side, William of Malmesbury, who calls him
Ralph de Waher, says he was a Briton on his father 's
side (" Brito ex-patre "), and of a disposition foreign to
anything good. Matthew Paris and Matthew of West-
minster both call him, and not his father, an English-
man born in Norfolk, and by his mother s side of
British parentage, " which/' .says Dugdale, " they
understand -to be Welsh ; but others say he was of
Brittany in France, which is the more likely in regard
he was the owner of the Castle of Guader, in that
province." Here we begin to approximate the truth,
for Guillaume de Jumie'ges, in describing the issue of
William Fitz Osbern, says that one of his daughters
named Emma is married to Radulf de Waiet, "genere
Britoni qui fuit comes Norwicensis ; " and Wace, in
his chronicle, says distinctly, "Next the company of
EAOUL DE GAEL.
Neel rode Raol de Gael. He was himself a Breton
and led Bretons. He served for the land he had, but
he had it a short time enough, for he forfeited it as
In the paper I read at the Norwich Congress of the
British Archaeological Association in 1857, I gave
my reasons for believing Raoul dc Gael to be a son of
Ralf, Earl of Hereford, in the reign of Edward the
Confessor, who is, I think, unfairly accused of cowardice
in consequence of the flight of his troops, raw levies,
hastily raised, and compelled to fight on horseback, to
which they were unaccustomed, against the combined
Irish and Welsh forces under Algar, son of Leofric,
in 1055. I have seen nothing since to induce me to
alter my opinion. *
This Ralph was a son of Goda, sister of Edward the
Confessor, by her first husband, Dreux, Count of the
Vexin, of Pontoise, Chaumont, and Amiens, and
nephew, consequently, of the English King. Sir
Henry Ellis, in his Introduction to Domesday, has
shown that the wife of Ralph is named in the survey
as Getha and Gueth, who held lands in Buckingham-
shire ; but though identifying her as the mother of
Harold, Lord of Sudeley, he does not allude to any
other issue. The name of Getha is certainly not
Norman, and we find her acknowledged son named
THE CONQUEBOR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
Harold, tending to show that she was of Saxon origin,
which view is supported by entries in Domesday of a
Godwin, " uncle of Earl Ralph," and an Alsio (Alsy),
" nephew of Earl R.," holding land in the time of
Ralph, who is called Earl of Hereford by the
majority of the historians, is expressly described by
the old Norman poet Gaimar as Earl of the East
Angles. He tells us that Count Leuric (Leofric) held
Norfolk, and that on his death Raoul (Ralph) was seised
of his honour, but held it for a very short time, and
was buried at Peterborough, then called Burgh, Count
Leofric being buried at Coventry.
In Duchesne's list of the names of Normans who
flourished in England before the Conquest, occurs
" Ralph, Comes Est Anglice, pater Heraldi dominus de
Sudely," and in that of nobles living in the twentieth
year of King William the Conqueror, " Radulfus, Comes
Est Anglia?," is marked as " mortuus antea."
With all due deference, therefore, I cannot accept
Mr. Taylor's suggestion, strongly enforced though it be
by Mr. Freeman, that Raoul de Gael was the son of
Ralph Stalra, or the Staller, nor can I consent to hear
him branded as " the only English traitor in that motley
host," who canie to win back the lands " which some
unrecorded treason had lost him." I protest against
RAOUL DE GAEL.
this groundless accusation of a loyal and gallant soldier,
who, in 1069, had repulsed an invasion of the Danes
at Norwich while his sovereign was amusing himself
with chasing the deer in the Forest of Dean. What
are the words of Wace? "He served for the land
he had." Does this imply that he had previously
forfeited it by treason ? I think I can prove that he
was a man u more sinned against than sinning."
Walter de Mantes, Ralph Earl of Hereford's eldest
brother (according to my theory), was, together with
his wife, Biota, basely poisoned at Falaise by William
the Conqueror in 1065, in order to secure possession
of the donate" of Maine, the reversion of which was, it
is said, bequeathed to him by Biota's father after the
decease of Hugh or Herbert, Walter claiming it in
right of his wife, and being the popular candidate.
This infamous act is passed over in silence by most
of the Norman historians, but Orderic Vital, in his
account of the fatal " bride-ale " of Ixingham, where
the conspiracy against William was formed by Roger
de Breteuil and Raoul de Gael, represents the latter
as making this double murder one of the charges
against the Norman King of England, whom he
accuses, and with good reason, of having also caused
the poisoning of Conan, Duke of Brittany, and of other
foul and tyrannical actions. " He who now bears the
8 THE CONQUEKOB AND HIS COMPANIONS.
title of King," the Earl is reported to have said, " is
unworthy of it, being a bastard, and it is evident that
it is unpleasing to God that such a monster should
govern the kingdom.
"He disinherited and drove out of Normandy William
Werlenc, Count of Mortain, for a single word. Walter,
Count of Pontoise, nephew of King Edward and Biota,
his wife, being his guests at Falaise, were both his
victims by poison in one and the same night. Conan
also was taken off by poison at William's instigation
that valiant Count whose death was mourned
through the whole of Brittany with unutterable grief
on account of his great virtues. These and other such
crimes have been perpetrated by William in the case
of his own kinsfolk and relations, arid he is ever
ready to act the same part towards us and our
There is tolerable evidence that all these charges
are well founded, at any rate they are not contra-
dicted by Orderic, who recites them, and they have
never been disproved, and if I am correct in my
deductions, we have here a very strong justification of
Raoul de Gael's rebellion, which has been represented
by the partial Norman writers and their modern
copyists as a monstrous piece of ingratitude.
Walter de Mantes and Biota were, according to my
EAOUL DE GAEL.
opinion, the uncle and aunt of Raoul de Gael, and to
Conan, Duke of Brittany, the Conqueror's other victim,
Raoul would owe fealty for his possessions, Montfort
and Guader, in that province ; while to those in England
he had naturally succeeded on the death of his father,
the old Earl Ralph, and had consequently been re-
warded by William for his assistance at the Conquest
by confirmation only in his hereditary rights and
dignity, "the land," in fact, "which he had/' arid
for which he did service.
Place this unavoidable act of justice, more than
favour, in one scale, and the base assassination of his
nearest relations and of his native feudal lord in the
other, added to the imperious prohibition of his
marriage with Emma, under perhaps the most aggra-
vating circumstances, for no reasons w r ere ever given,
and we are justified in believing that William, a
notorious promise-breaker, may have acted towards the
Earl of Norfolk, as he had previously done towards
Earl Edwin, to whom he had first promised his
daughter, and then broke faith with him and drove
him into rebellion. Weigh, I repeat, these injuries
against a questionable boon, and I think you will agree
with me, that the obligations of the Breton noble to
the Norman sovereign dwindle down to a burden not
very likely to have encumbered his conscience, even if
10 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS. .
murder and tyranny could not legally as well as morally
Who shall say that the very object of the astute
tyrant in forbidding the match evidently one of
affection was not to exasperate his too powerful
vassals and drive them into rebellion, as he had
previously done Edwin and Morkar, so that he might
have a legal pretence, and of which he was always so
cunningly careful, for seizing on their large domains
in England, of course the first thing he did do 1
The assertion that the elder Ralph w r as an English-
man, born in Norfolk, may not be untrue, for his
mother, sister of Edward the Confessor, might have
been in this country, and in that county, at the time of
his birth ; while on the other hand, the Countess Getha,
or Gueth, was probably in Bretagne when Raoul was
born, from which circumstance he might take the name
of Gael, as having first seen the light in that castle.
Gael, spelt and pronounced Wael, on the same
principle that Guillaume and Gulielmus became
William and Willielmus, was anciently called Guadel,
similarly softened into Waclel. The relics of St.
Unwin were deposited in a monastery there. A
further commutation of the final 1 for r, either by the
Latin chroniclers or their careless transcribers, has
transformed Wael into Waer, and Guadel into Guader.
EAOUL DE GAEL. 11
The other varieties, Gader, Guaer, Waher, Ware, and
Waiet are evidently errors either of the scribe or the
printer, and Gwyder is obviously a guess originating
in the tradition of a Welsh mother, which if Gueth be
a corruption of Gwyneth is not to be hastily discarded,
particularly when we remember her husband was Earl
of Hereford. Vacajet, which occurs in " Neustria
Pia," and once in Maurice's "Histoire de Bretagne,"
may be the name of some other lordship by which
Raoul was occasionally called, as he appears as Ralph
de Montfort and Ralph de Dol, both castles in Brittany
belonging to himself or his family, and in the latter of
which he was besieged by King William after his
escape from Norwich. That he has not been mentioned
as the brother of Harold, Lord of Sudeley,* need
surprise no one who has any experience of the laxity
of the old chroniclers on such matters. In the pre-
ceding volume many instances have been pointed out
of their silence, either through ignorance or neglect of
genealogical points, of equal, if not more importance.
Few English antiquaries besides the late Mr. Stapleton
have turned their serious attention to the investigation
of the descents of the followers of the Conqueror,
proud as thousands are of tracing up their pedigrees
* Harold was a minor in 1066, in ward of the Lady (Queen) Ead-
gyth. Eaoul, according to my view, was his elder brother and in
possession of his patrimonial estates in Brittany.
12 THE CONQUEROE AND HIS COMPANIONS.
to tlieni and through them to Charlemagne, while
others delight in denouncing them as Richard III.,
according to Shakespere, does the followers of another
fortunate invader, " a scum of Bretons," and
" overweening rags of France,
Who, but for dreaming on this fond exploit,
For want of means, poor rats, had hanged themselves."
A mere horde, in fact, of military adventurers attracted
by the prospect of plunder and power.
In the latter class we have hitherto been led to place
Raoul de Gael, but if I have correctly affiliated him,
the blood of Charlemagne did run in his veins, for his
grandfather was the son of Alice, or Adele, daughter
of Herbert, Count of Senlis, a scion of a younger
branch of the Counts of Vermandois, and with their
blood was mingled that of the Saxon sovereigns of
England, for he was the great-grandson of Ethelred,
King of England.*
Royal lineage, however, would not advance him in
the reader's estimation were he still stained with treason
and branded with ingratitude. His rank would rather
give a deeper dye to his delinquency. But in estab-
lishing his parentage according to my theory, a clear
light is thrown upon his conduct. A rebel he
* Have we here by accident lighted on the unrevealed reason of the
Conqueror's opposition to the marriage ? Utterly to root out the royal
Saxon race was his constant anxiety, and unscrupulously did he labour
to effect his objects. What became of the younger brother, Harold f :
BAOUL DE GAEL. 13
undoubtedly was ; but it was against a felon king, the
dastardly assassin of Raoul's kinsfolk, whilst he was
" Who should against the murderer bar the door,
Not bear the knife himself,"
and of a liege lord to whom the noble Breton was
equally bound. It was against a faithless tyrant, who
had abused the power to which he had helped to raise
him, by flinging for some dark purpose a barrier be-
tween him and the chosen of his heart, for that his
union with the daughter of Fitz Osbern was one
of mutual affection is surely proved by her gallant
defence of Norwich Castle whilst her husband was
seeking aid from his friends in Denmark, and the
ultimate pilgrimage of the Earl and Countess to
Palestine, where they found a peaceful grave together.
By one of those remarkable circumstances which
are popularly termed judgments, the city of Mantes
proved fatal to the ferocious and perfidious Norman,
and avenged the double murder of its rightful lord and
his Countess Biota.
Raoul de Gael had by his Countess Emma three sons :
the eldest, William, died in 1102, Raoul, who suc-
ceeded him, and Alain, who accompanied his father to
Palestine and perhaps never returned. Raoul the
second, also called De Gael, was taken into favour by
14 THE CONQUEEOE AND HIS COMPANIONS.
Henry L, King of England, to whose illegitimate son
Richard he affianced his daughter Ita or Avicia, with the
full consent of the King, who settled on her, as a marriage
portion, the barony of Breteuil and the lands of Lire and
Glos, which had belonged to her grandmother's family,
Richard was, however, drowned in the wreck of the
White Ship, and* Avicia afterwards espoused Robert de
Beaumont, " Le Bossu " Earl of Leicester. Is it
likely that the granddaughter of Ralph the Staller
would have been proposed as a wife for" the son of
a king, even though illegitimate ? Descended as I
consider her to be, she was a match for the King him-
self. I will place this simple fact against a supposition
founded on a single entry in Domesday, wherein Ralph
the Staller is given the title of " Comes."* He was
no doubt Comes Stabuli, and so were two other
Stallers at the same period, Esgar and Bondy. But
Raoul de Gael was, I contend, son of " Radulfus,
Comes Est Angliae," and not of an officer of the
Royal Household, who cannot for a moment be placed
in the rank of the " Master of the Horse " of the present
* " Benetleiam tenuit Comes Guert. T. E. E. posteam adjunxit.
Comes Badulfus Stalra huic manerio pro berewita, T. E. Willelmi."
A Ealf Eegis " Dapifer " and a Ealf " Minister " appear as witnesses
to charters of the same period, but they cannot be identified with
Ealph the Staller. A " Eadulphus Dapifer " was an under tenant in
Northamptonshire. There are between thirty and forty Ealphs men-
tioned in Domesday, not one third of whom could be identified.
EAOUL DE GAEL. 15
day, and whose title of " Comes " no more signified Earl
than that of constable does the dignity of that great
officer of state, " the Lord High Constable of Eng-
land," though derived from the same root, the Count
of the Stable. Raoul de Gael was a powerful baron
of Brittany, lord of the Castles of Guader and Mont-
fort and large domains, which we are distinctly in-
formed were his patrimonial estates, and could not be
affected' by his attainder in England, and to which his
sons succeeded by hereditary right. Is there the
slightest evidence that Ralph the Staller was ever Lord of
Guader and Montfort, or of a rood of land in Brittany ?
The confusion has been caused by Ralph the Earl and
Ralph the Staller having each a son Ralph, but there
is this remarkable distinction, the son of the Earl is
invariably styled Comes, whereas the son of the
Staller, called " Comes," is simply named Ralph.
Ita or Avicia Countess of Leicester is incorrectly
set down by our modern genealogists as the daughter
and heir of Raoul Earl of Norfolk, for whom an arbi-
trary coat of arms has been invented which is quartered
by many of our nobility. She was, as I have shown, his
granddaughter, and not his heir ; and neither he nor
his son could ever have borne coat armour, which made
its first appearance in the reign of Henry II.
* Montfort-sur-Mer, near Eennes.
16 THE CONQUEEOE AND HIS COMPANIONS.
HUGH D'AVEANCHES, EAEL OF CHESTEE.
Here is a personage who, under the more popular
name of Hugh Lupus, is perhaps almost as well known
as the Conqueror himself.
Wace in his " Roman de Rou," speaks only of his
father Richard :
" D'Avrancin i fu Eicharz."
But it is generally contended that Richard was not in
the battle, and that it was Hugh, his son, who accom-
panied William to Hastings. The authors of "Les
Recherches sur le Domesday," to whom we are so
deeply indebted for information on these points, hesi-
tate to endorse the opinion of Mons. le Prevost upon
these grounds, that Richard was living as late as
1082, when he appears as a witness to a charter of
Roger de Montgomeri, in favour of St. Stephen's at
Caen, to which also his son, Earl Hugh, is a subscriber.
Their observations only point, however, to the proba-
bility of Richard, who in 1066 was Seigneur or Vicomte
of Avranches, having been in the Norman army of in-
vasion, as he survived the event some sixteen years ;
at the same time they deny that there is any proof
that his son Hugh was in the battle, and assert, with-
out stating on what authority, that Hugh only joined
the Conqueror in England after the victory at Senlac,
HUGH D'AVEAXCHES. 17
when he rendered the new King most important ser-
vices by his valour and ability in the establishment of
William on the throne, and contributed greatly towards
the reduction of the Welsh to obedience. That there
is authority for their assertion appears from the cartu-
lary of the Abbey of Whitby, quoted by Dugdalo in
his " Monasticon," * where we read distinctly that
Hugh Earl of Chester and William de Percy came into
England with William the Conqueror in 10G7 : "Anno
Domini millesimo sexagesimo septimo" and that the
King gave Whitby to Hugo, which Hugo afterwards
gave to William de Percy, the founder of the abbey
We have here, therefore, a parallel case to that of
Roger de Montgomeri,j* and must similarly treat it as
an open question.
The descent of Richard, surnamed Goz, Le Gotz, or
Le Gois, from Ansfrid the Dane, the first who bore
that surname, has been more of less correctly recorded,
but in " Les Recherches " it will be found critically
examined and carried up to Rongwald, or Raungwaldar,
Earl of Msere and the Orcades in the days of Harold
Harfager, or the Fair-haired; which said Rongwald
was the father of Hrolf, or Rollo, the first Duke of
* Mon. Aug. vol. i., p. 72.
\ Vide voli., p. 181.
VOL. II. C
18 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
Normandy. Rongwald, like the majority of his country-
men and kinsmen, had several children by a favourite
slave, whom he had married " more Danico" and Hrolf
Turstain, the son of one of them, having followed his
uncle Rollo into Normandy, managed to secure the
hand of Gerlotte de Blois, daughter of Thibaut Count
of Blois and Chartres, which seems to have been the
foundation of this branch of the great Norse family in
Normandy, and the stock from which descended the
Lords of Briquebec, of Bec-Crispin,of Montfort-sur-Risle,
and others who figure as companions of the Conqueror.
The third son of Gerlotte was Ansfrid the Dane, the
first Vicomte of the Hiemois, and father of Ansfrid the
second, surnamed Goz, above mentioned, whose son
Turstain (Thurstan, or Toustain) Goz was the great
favourite of Robert Duke of Normandy, the father of
the Conqueror, and accompanied him to the Holy
Land, and was intrusted to bring back the relics the
Duke had obtained from the Patriarch of Jerusalem to
present to the Abbey of Cerisi, which he had founded.
Revolting against the young Duke William in 1041,*
Turstain was exiled, and his lands confiscated and given
by the Duke to his mother, Herleve, wife of Herluin
Richard Goz, Vicomte d'Avranches, or more pro-
* Fufevol. i., p. 21.
HUGH D'AVRANCHES. 19
perly of the Avranchin, was one of the sons of the
aforesaid Turstain, by his wife Judith de Mon-
tanolier, and appears not only to have avoided
being implicated in the rebellion of his father,
but obtained his pardon and restoration to the
Vicomte* of the Hiemois, to which at his death he
succeeded, and to have strengthened his position at
court by securing the hand of Emma de Conteville,
one of the daughters. of Herluin and Herleve, and half-
sister of his sovereign. By this fortunate marriage
he naturally recovered the lands forfeited by his father
and bestowed on his mother-in-law, and acquired also
much property in the Avranchin, of which he obtained
the Vicomte, in addition to that of the Hiemois.
There was every reason, therefore, that he should
follow his three brothers-in-law in the expedition to
England, if not prevented by illness or imperative
circumstances. He must have been their senior by
some twenty years, but still scarcely past the prime
of life, and his son Hugh a stripling under age, as
his mother, if even older than her brothers Odo and
Robert, could not have been born before 1030, and if
married at sixteen, her son in 1066 would not be
more than nineteen at the utmost. Mr. Freeman, who
places the marriage of Herleve with Herluin after the
death of Duke Robert in 1035, would reduce this
20 THE CONQUEKOR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
calculation by at least six years, rendering the pre-
sence of her grandson Hugh at Senlac more than
problematical. It is at any rate clear that he must
have been a very young man at the time of the
That " he came into England with William the
Conqueror," as stated by Dugdale, does not prove
that he was in the army at Hastings, and is recon-
cilable with the assertion in the " Recherches," that
he joined him after the Conquest, corroborated by the
cartulary of Whitby, before mentioned ; very pro-
bably coming with him in the winter of 10G7, and
in company with Roger de Montgomeri, respecting
whose first appearance in England the same diversity
of opinion exists, and it might be his assistance in
suppressing the rebellion in the West and other parts
of the kingdom that gained him the favour of the King,
and ultimately the Earldom of Chester, at that time
enjoyed by Gherbod the Fleming, brother of Gundrada.
The gift of Whitby, in Yorkshire, to Hugh, which
he soon afterwards gave to William de Percy, would
seem to show that he had been employed against the
rebels beyond the Humber in 1068.
In 1071, Gherbod Earl of Chester being summoned
to Flanders by those to whom he had intrusted the
management of his hereditary domains, whatever they
HUGH D'AVEANCHES. 21
\vere,obtained from King William leave to make a short
visit to that country ; but while there his evil fortune
led him into a snare, and falling into the hands of his
enemies, he was thrown into a dungeon, " where he
endured," says Orderic, " the sufferings of a long cap-
tivity, cut off from all the blessings of life." Whether
he ended his days in that dungeon Orderic does not tell
us. A little more information respecting this Gherbod
and his sister would be a great boon to us. At present,
what we hear about them is so vague that it looks
In consequence of this " evil fortune " which befell
Gherbod, the King, continues Orderic, gave the earl-
dom of Chester to Hugh d'Avranches, son of Richard,
surnamed Goz, who, in concert with Robert de Rhud-
dlan and Robert de Malpas, and other fierce knights,
made great slaughter amongst the Welsh.
Hugh was in fact a Count Palatine, and had the
county of Chester granted to him to hold as freely by
the sword as the King held the kingdom by the
crown. He was all but a king himself, and had a
court, and barons, and officers, such as became a
We hear but little of him during the remainder of the
reign of William the Conqueror, but in the rebellion
against Rufus, in 1096, he stood loyally by his sove-
22 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
reign; lie is charged, however, with having barbarously
blinded and mutilated his brother-in-law, William
Comte d'Eu, who had been made prisoner in that abor -
tive uprising. In the same year he is also accused of
committing great cruelties upon the Welsh in the Isle
of Anglesea, which he ravaged in conjunction with
Hugh de Montgomeri, Earl of Shrewsbury, who lost
his life at that period in resisting the landing of the-
Norwegians under Magnus III., King of Norway.
The Norse poet tells us the Earl of Shrewsbury was.
so completely enveloped in armour that nothing could
be seen of his person but one eye. " King Magnus let
fly an arrow at him, as also did a Heligoland man
who stood beside the King. They both shot at once.
The one shaft struck the nose-guard of the helmet,
and bent it on one side, the other arrow hit the Earl
in the eye and passed through his head, and this arrow
was found to be the King's."
Giraldus Cambrensis gives a similar account, adding-
some few details, such as the derisive exclamation of
Magnus, " Leit loupe ! " " Let him leap!" as the Earl
sprang from the saddle when struck, and fell dead into
As this Earl of Shrewsbury Avas called by the
Welsh " Goch," or " the Red/' from the colour of his
hair, so was Hugh Earl of Chester called " Vras," or
HUGH D'AVUANCHES. 23
"the Fat." His popular name of Lupus, or ''the Wolf,"
is not to be traced to his own times, and Dugdale ob-
serves that it was an addition in after ages for the
sake of distinction ; about the same time, I presume,
that the heralds invented the coat of arms for him
"Azure, a wolf's head, erased, argent " suggested,
probably, by the name, which, if indeed of contempo-
rary antiquity, might have been given him for his
gluttony, a vice to which Orderic says he was greatly
addicted. " This Hugh," he tells us, " was not merely
liberal, but prodigal ; not satisfied with being sur-
rounded by his own retainers, he kept an army on
foot. He set no bounds either to his generosity or
his rapacity. He continually wasted even his own
domains, and gave more encouragement to those who
attended him in hawking and hunting than to the cul-
tivators of the soil or the votaries of Heaven. He
indulged in gluttony to such a degree that he could
scarcely walk. He abandoned himself immoderately
to carnal pleasures, and had a numerous progeny
of illegitimate children of both sexes, but they have*
been almost all carried off by one misfortune or
With all this he displayed that curious veneration
for the Church common to his age, which so ill accorded
with the constant violation of its most divine precepts.
24 THE CONQUEBOR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
He founded the Abbey of St. Sever in Normandy, and
was a great benefactor to those of Bee and Ouche
(St. Evroult) in that duchy, and also to the Abbey of
Whitby in Yorkshire, and in 1092 restored the ancient
Abbey of St. Werburgh at Chester, and endowed it
with ample possessions, substituting Benedictine monks
in lieu of the secular canons who had previously
occupied it ; Richard, a monk of Bee, being brought
over by Abbot Anselm, the Earl's confessor and
afterwards the great Archbishop of Canterbury, to be
the first abbot of the new community.
Being seized with a fatal illness, this pious profligate
assumed the monastic habit in the Abbey of St.
Werburgh, and three days after being shorn a monk
died therein, 6th kalends of August (July 27), 1101.
By his Countess Ermentrude, daughter of Hugh
Comte de Clermont, in Beauvoisis, and Margaret de
Rouci, his wife, he had one son, Richard, seven years
of age at the time of his father's death, who succeeded
him in the earldom, married Matilda de Blois, daughter
of Stephen, Count of Blois, by Adela, daughter of
William the Conqueror, and perished with his young
wife in the fatal wreck of the White Ship in 1119,
leaving no issue.
GEOFFREY, BISHOP OF COUTANCES. 25
GEOFFEEY DE HOWBRAY, BISHOP OF COUTANCES.
Of this unquestioned companion of the Conqueror
we have already heard, in conjunction with his eccle-
siastical brother-in-arms, Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, by
whose side he fought, if not at Senlac, at least on
other occasions, and at whose trial he presided when
that rapacious primate was impleaded by Lanfranc for
despoiling the see of Canterbury of much of its
Dugdale, apparently quoting Orderic Vital, says
that Geoffrey, being of a noble Norman extraction, and
more skilful in arms than divinity, knowing better how
to train up soldiers than to instruct his clergy, was an
eminent commander in that signal battle near Hastings,
The words of Orderic are not quite so precise as
respects the battle ; he says that the Bishop rendered
essential service and support at it, but neither by him nor
by any other writer is it indicated that he was intrusted
with a command in it. Wace describes him as re-
ceiving confessions, giving benedictions, and imposing
penalties on the night before the battle, but not as
taking active part in the battle itself, though, with the
prelate's pugnacious propensities, it is almost im-
26 THE CONQUEROK AND HIS COMPANIONS.
possible to believe lie could withstand the temptation.
" The Sire de Moubrai/' however, mentioned as a
combatant by the Norman poet, was Roger de Moubrai,
brother of the Bishop, and father of Robert de Mowbray,
Earl of Northumberland.
Montbrai (Moubrai) is a commune in the canton of
Percy, arrondissement of St. L6. Its name was cor-
rupted in England into Mowbray, which, after its
assumption by the family of Albini, I need scarcely
observe, became one of the noblest in England.
Bishop Geoffrey appears to have preferred the
name of St. L6 to that of Montbrai, and we find him
therefore described as De Sancto Laudo and St.
The first time we hear of him after the battle is at
the coronation of William in Westminster Abbey,
when, " at the instigation of the Devil," says the pious
Orderic, an unforeseen occurrence, pregnant with mis-
chief to both nations and an omen of future calamities,
suddenly occurred. For when Aldred, the Archbishop,
demanded of the English, and Geoffrey, Bishop of
Coutances, of the Normans, whether they consented to
have William for their King, and the whole assembly
with one voice, though not in one language, shouted
assent, the men-at-arms on guard outside the Abbey,
hearing the joyful acclamations of the people within in
GEOFFREY, BISHOP OF COUTANCES. 2T
a language they did not understand, suspected some
treachery, and rashly set fire to the neighbouring
The flames spreading, the congregation, seized with
a panic, rushed to the doors in order to make their
escape, and a scene of the utmost confusion ensued,
during which the ceremony of the coronation was with
difficulty completed by the trembling clergy, the mighty
Conqueror himself being seriously alarmed, not so
much for his life as for the evil effects of this untoward
event upon his new subjects.
In 1069, when the West Saxons of Dorset and
Somerset made an attack on Montacute, Bishop
Geoffrey, at the head of the men of London, Win-
chester, and Salisbury, fell upon them by surprise and
routed them, putting many to the sword and miserably
mutilating the prisoners.
In 1071 he was appointed to represent the King at
the trial of Bishop Odo, on the complaint of the Arch-
bishop of Canterbury, as already mentioned ; and three
years later we find him again in arms beside that same
Odo, marching to suppress the rebellion of the Earls
of Hereford and Norfolk, and for these and other ser-
vices he was rewarded by the Conqueror with " two
hundred and eighty vills, which are commonly called
28 THE COXQUEEOB AND HIS COMPANIONS.
An assistant at the coronation of the Conqueror, he
was an attendant at his funeral, and died on the 2nd
of February, 1093-4, leaving his large domains in
England to his nephew, Robert, Earl of Northumberland,
son of his brother, Roger de Moubrai, who fought at
Senlac, but of whom, strange to say, there appears
no trace whatever of any benefit accruing to him
for his services in that important action. His son,
Robert de Mowbray, Earl of Northumberland, having
joined in the conspiracy against William Rufus in
1095, was taken prisoner, and languished, we are
told, thirty years in a dungeon at Windsor. Orderic
describes him as distinguished for his great power and
wealth, his bold spirit and military daring causing
him to hold his fellow nobles in contempt, and being
inflated with empty pride, he disdained obedience to
his superiors. In person he was of great stature,
size, and strength, of a dark complexion, and covered
with hair. He was bold, but at the same time
crafty. His features were melancholy and harsh.
He reflected more than he talked, and scarcely ever
smiled when he was speaking.
It does not appear clearly by whom Robert de
Mowbray was made Earl of Northumberland.
After the beheading of Waltheof, one of the worst
of the many infamoui acts of William the Conqueror,
GEOFFREY, BISHOP OF COUTAJtfCES. 29
in 1075, the government of the province appears to
have been confided to Walcher, Bishop of Durham,
who was murdered during a popular commotion in
1070. The earldom was then, it would seem, con-
ferred on one Alberic, a Norman by birth, of whom
a strange story is told. Being a person of great
authority, and not satisfied with his own condition, he
consulted the Devil, and was told that he should pos-
sess Greece. Whereupon he made a voyage into that
country ; but when the Greeks understood that his
object was to reign over them, they despoiled him of
all that he had with him, and expelled him the realm.
Wearied with travel he returned to Normandy, where
King Henry gave him a noble widow in marriage, and
the priest at the altar asking the woman, whose name
was Gracza, "Wilt thou have this man ?" the bride-
groom was suddenly made aware of the illusion of the
" Keeping the word of promise to the ear
To break it to the hope."
If there be any truth in the fact of the marriage in
the reign of Henry I., apart from the legendary
portion of the story, how could Robert de Mowbray be
Earl of Northumberland in the time of William the
Conqueror, or even of his son Piufus ?
As late as 1088 (1st of Rufus), Geoffrey, Bishop of
30 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
Coutances, witnesses the charter of foundation of St.
Mary's at York as Governor of the earldom : " Eo
tempore Northymbrorum Consulatum reyebat" an
office which we have seen stated to have been held by
Walcher, Bishop of Durham, after the judicial murder
of Waltheof, and previous to the gift of the earldom
to Alberic. The latter may have either resigned or
forfeited the earldom when he left England on his
Grecian expedition, and Bishop Geoffrey held the
government of the county until his death in 1093,
when his nephew Robert, succeeding to all his vast
estates, was probably advanced to the dignity of Earl
of Northumberland by Rums. At any rate, I have
not been able to arrive at any nearer approach to
The wife of this Robert was Matilda, daughter of
Richer de 1'Aigle, by his wife Judith, sister of Hugh,
Earl of Chester. Orderic informs us that their union
took place only three months before his insurrection,
and that she was therefore early deprived of her
husband, and long exposed to deep suffering, as during
his life she could not, according to the law of God,
marry again. At length by licence of Pope Paschal,
before whom the case was laid by learned persons,
after a long period Nigel de Albini took her to wife.
Of her treatment by him we shall discourse hereafter.
GEOFFREY, BISHOP OF COUTANCES. 31
I have only mentioned the iact here as affecting the
date of the dissolution of the marriage, Paschal II.
having succeeded to the chair of St. Peter, 15th June.
1099, and dying 21st June, 1118.
Orderic Vital says in his 7th Book, that Robert
de Mowbray was detained in captivity by Rufus and
his brother Henry for nearly thirty-four years, living
to an advanced age, without having any children. In
his 8th Book, he reduces the term to thirty years,
adding that " he grew old while paying the penalty of
his crimes." Admitting the shortest period, his death
could not have occurred before 1125. Dugdale, who
gives the earliei*. date of 1106, with the addition
of the statement of his being shorn a monk at St.
Albans, takes not the slightest notice of these contra-
dictions. His reference is to Vincent's " Discoverie of
Brooke's Errors;" but if it be an error of Brooke, who
quotes no authority for his statement, Vincent has not
corrected him, which he would have been too happy
to do had it been in his power. The difference
between eleven years and thirty, or four-and-thirty, is
rather an important one ; but I have been unable as yet
to light upon any fact which would decide the question,
which is only important in this inquiry as bearing
upon another was he old enough in 1066 to be
present at Hastings with his father Roger, " the Sire
32 THE GONQUEEOE AND HIS COMPANIONS.
de Molbrai " of Wace, and therefore entitled to be
included amongst the companions of the Conqueror ?
If so, he must have been close upon fifty at the time
of his marriage, and, according to Ordcric, an octoge-
narian at that of his death.
RICHARD DE BIENFA1TE.
BALDWIN DE MEULES.
RICHARD DE REDVERS.
GILBERT DE MONTFICHET.
ROGER LE BIGOD.
RICHARD DE BIENFAITE.
THIS great progenitor of the illustrious house of
Clare, of the Barons Fitzwalter, and the Earls of
Gloucester and Hertford, was the son of Gilbert, sur-
named Crispin, Comte d'Eu and Brionne, grandson of
Richard L, Duke of Normandy. Count Gilbert was
one of the guardians of the young Duke William, and
was murdered by assassins employed by Raoul de
Gace*, as already related in the memoir of the Con-
queror (vol. i., p. 16). Orderic gives us the name
of one of the assassins Robert de Vitot ; and Guil-
laume de Jumie'ges tells us that two of the family of
Giroie fell upon and murdered him when he was
peaceably riding near Eschafour, expecting no evil.
This appears to have been an act of vengeance for
wrongs inflicted upon the orphan children of Giroie
34 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
by Gilbert, and it is not clear what Raoul de Gace had
to do in the business.
Fearing they might meet their father's fate, Richard
and his brother Baldwin were conveyed by their
friends to the court of Baldwin, Count of Flanders.
On the marriage of Matilda of Flanders to Duke
William in 1053, the latter, at the request of the
Count, restored to the two sons of Gilbert the fiefs
which in their absence he had seized and appro-
priated, Richard receiving those of Bienfaite and
Orbec, from the first of which, latinized Benefacta, he
derived one of the various names whereby he is
designated and the reader of history mystified.
By Wace, who includes him among the combatants
in the great battle, he is called
" Dam Richart ki tient Orbec ; "
and the exchange of Brionne for Tunbridge, in the
county of Kent, obtained for him the appellation of
Richard of Tunbridge. At the same time the gift
of the honour of Clare in Suffolk added a fourth
name to the list, which is swelled by a fifth, descriptive
of his parentage, viz., Richard Fitz Gilbert.
It is necessary for a reader to be acquainted with
all these particulars, in order to identify the individual
he meets with under so many aliases.
BICHAKD DE BIENFAITE. 35
In the exchange of the properties above mentioned
a most primitive mode of insuring their equal value
was resorted to. A league was measured with a rope
round the Castle of Brionne, and the same rope being
brought over to England, was employed in meting
out a league round Tunbridge ; so that exactly the
same number of miles was allotted to the latter estate
as the former had been found to contain.* Besides
Tunbridge, Richard possessed at the time of the com-
pilation of Domesday one hundred and eighty-eight
manors and burgages, thirty-five being in Essex and
ninety-five in Suffolk.
He was associated with William de Warren as
High Justiciaries of England during the King's visit
to Normandy in 1067, and actively assisted in the
suppression of the revolt of the Earls of Hereford and
Dugdale and others have confounded this Richard
Fitz Gilbert or de Clare with his grandson of the same
name, who was waylaid and killed by the Welsh
chieftains, Jo worth and his brother Morgan-ap-Owen,
in a woody tract called "the ill- way of Coed Grano,"
near the Abbey of Lanthony, in 1135.f Richard, the
son of Gilbert Crispin, would at that date have been
* Continuator of Guillaume de Jumieges.
t Florence of Worcester, Henry of Huntingdon, Welsh Chronicle,
sub anno, Giraldus Cambrensis, cap. yi.
36 THE CONQUEEOE AND HIS COMPANIONS.
nearly, if not quite, a hundred years old, and the
Richard slain in " the Wood of Revenge," as it is.
still called to this day, was the second son of the
Gilbert who was lord of Tunbridge at the beginning
of the reign of Rufus, and joined in the rebellion of
Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, against that monarch in 1088.
(Vide vol. i., page 97.)*'
The pedigree of this family is one of the most con-
fused in Dugdale's " Baronage/' and has been the
subject of some very severe comments by Mr. Hornby,
who, while conferring great obligations upon us by his
correction of the errors into which Dugdale has fallen,
forgot those we are under to the learned and laborious
herald for the mass of information collected and ren-
dered accessible to us by his research and industry,
and which he made doubly valuable by faithfully
indicating the innumerable sources whence it was
derived, enabling us to test the accuracy of his
quotations and the credibility of the evidence. For-
tunately, my present task is limited to the life of
Richard de Bienfaite, which must have terminated
either before or very early in the reign of Rufus, as
* This later Eichard Fitz Gilbert is the one who was taken prisoner
by Eobert de Belesme at the siege of Courci in 1091, and said to have
died eventually from the effects of his incarceration (Ord. Vit., lib.
viii., cap. 16), which it is clear he did not.
EICHARD DE BIEXFAITE. 37
his son Gilbert was in possession of Tunbridge in
The continued alternation of the names of Richard
and Gilbert in this particular line of Clare tends
greatly to confuse the genealogist, and nothing but a
rigid verification of dates can preserve us from the
most inexplicable entanglements. Not only has Dug-
dale reversed the order of events, but ascribed the
same acts to both father and son, and recorded the
same fate to Richard and his grandson. There is a
curious indication of the probable date of the death of
Richard de Bienfaite in the long, rambling, and ridi-
culous story of an adventure which occurred to a
priest named "NValkelin, afterwards known as St.
Aubin, Bishop of Angers, and who in 1091 resided at
Bonne val, in the diocese of Lisieux. At the commence-
ment of the month of January in that year, having been
summoned in the middle of the night to visit a sick
man who lived at the further extremity of the parish,
he was alarmed on his road homewards by what
sounded like the tramp of a considerable body of
soldiers, and thought it was part of the forces of Robert
de Belesme on their march to lay siege to the Castle
of Courci. Considering it prudent to avoid them, he
made for a group of medlar trees at some distance
from the road, with the intention of concealing himself
38 THE OONQTJEEOE AND HIS COMPANIONS.
behind them till the troops had passed ; but he was
suddenly confronted by a man of enormous stature,
wielding a massive club, who shouted to him, " Stand!
Take not a step further ! " The priest, frozen with
terror, remained motionless, leaning on his staff. The
gigantic club-bearer stood close beside him, and with-
out offering to do him any injury, awaited silently the
passage of the troops. The moon, we are assured, shed
a resplendent light, and speedily there appeared an
apparently interminable procession of deceased persons
of both sexes and all classes, amongst whom the
priest recognised many of his neighbours who had
lately died, and heard them bewailing the excruciating
torments they were suffering for the evil they had
done in their time. There were also ladies of high
rank, and, mirabile didu, bishops, abbots, and monks,
many of whom were considered saints on earth, all
groaning and wailing, and these were followed by a
mighty host of warriors, fully armed, on great war-
horses, and carrying black banners. There were seen,
says the narrator, Richard and Baldwin, sons of Count
Gilbert, wlio were lately dead, and amongst the rest
Landri of Orbec, who was killed the same year ;
William de Glos, son of Barno, the steward of William
de Breteuil and of his father, William, Earl of Here-
ford ; and Robert, son of Ralph le Blond, the priest's
EICHARD DE BIENFAITE. 39
own brother, with whom he had a long conversation
on family matters. .
I will spare the reader the more preposterous details
of this absurd story and the sermons with which it is
interlarded, merely observing that Orderic, who relates
it, assures us that he heard it from the priest's own
mouth, and saw the mark on his face which was left
by the fiery hand of one of the terrible knights. We
have, therefore, incidental evidence of one fact
recorded in it, the death of Richard de Bienfaite
and his brother Baldwin, before January, 1091, or,
according to our present calculation, 1090, for Orderic
sometimes begins his year at Christmas, and at others
The wife of Richard de Bienfaite, Lord of Tunbridge
and Clare, was Rohesia, the only daughter of Walter
Giffard, the first Earl of Buckingham, and by her he
had six sons, Godfrey, Robert (from whom the Barons
Fitz Walter), Richard, a monk at Bee, Walter and
Roger, who both died without issue, and Gilbert, who
succeeded him, and became the direct progenitor of the
great Earl of Hertford and Gloucester. He had also
two daughters, Rohesia, wife of Eudo Dapifer, and
another unnamed, who married Ralph de Telgers.
The fact that the first Fitz Walter was the great-
grandson of Richard de Bienfaite is sufficient to prove
40 THE CONQUEEOR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
that his (Fitz Walter's) name was subsequently intro-
duced into the Roll of Battle Abbey.
BALDWIN DE MEULES.
This younger brother of Richard de Bienfaite is not
distinctly mentioned in the " Roman de Rou " in the
list of the Norman knights at Hastings; but M. le
Prevost considers him to have been the personage
spoken of as
" Oil ki fu Sire cle Eeviers."
Notwithstanding that, he contends the first who
assumed the name of Reviers was Richard, the son
of this Baldwin, who in 1082 witnessed a charter to
the Abbaye aux Dames, in which I believe him to be
Wace so constantly leaves us to discover who was
the " sire " of the fief he mentions at the date of the
Conquest, and confounds the son with the father, that
M. le Provost may be excused for his belief could he
prove that Richard Fitz Baldwin was ever called
" De Reviers," a vill near Creulli, arrondissement of
Caen, from which the family of Rivers derived their
Richard, indeed, could not have been in the battle,
as he was living 1 seventy years afterwards, and could
scarcely have been born in 1066.
BALDWIN DE MEULES. 41
No special deeds are, however, recorded of the Sire
de Keviers in that memorable conflict. He is only
said to have" brought with him many knights, who
were foremost in the fight, and trampled down the
English with their powerful war-horses.
Whatever were the services of Baldwin, he was re-
warded by the gift of one hundred and sixty-four manors
in the west of England, one hundred and fifty-nine
being in the county of .Devon, besides nineteen houses in
Exeter, and a site within the walls to build a castle on
for his own residence, the government of the city and
the shrievalty of the county being confided to him.
He is therefore called Baldwin the Viscount, or the
Sheriff, and Baldwin of Exeter, in addition to his
Norman appellations, Baldwin de Sap, Baldwin de
Meules, or, as it is latinised, de Molis (the two estates
which were restored to him by Duke William at the
same time that his brother Richard received Bienfaite
and Orbec), and his patronymic Baldwin Fitz Gilbert
de Brionne, or sometimes simply Baldwin de Brionne.
Under each of these names he will be met with in
different chronicles and histories, to the bewilderment
of the readers unversed in Norman genealogy.
By his wife Albreda,* who is said to have been a
* Dugdalo oddly enough describes her as " niece to King William,
viz., daughter of his aunt." Whichever she might be, she could not be
42 THE COXQUEBOB AND HIS COMPANIONS.
daughter of an aunt of the Conqueror, and by some
his niece, lie had issue three sons, Richard, Robert,
and William, the second of whom in 1090 was
intrusted with the custody of the Castle of Brionne,
and on being commanded by the Duke of Normandy
to deliver it up to Roger de Beaumont, to whom
for a great sum of money Court-heuse had promised
it, in his answer obliged us with the following
" If," he is reported to have said, " you will retain
it in your own hands, as your father did, I will imme-
diately render it to you, otherwise I will keep it as
my own inheritance as long as I live. For it is very
well known to all the inhabitants of this country that
old Richard, Duke of Normandy, gave it with the whole
country to Godfrey, his son, and that he at his death
left it to Gilbert, his son, who, being barbarously
murdered by wicked men, his sons for refuge fled to
Baldwin, Count of Flanders ; whereupon your father
(William the Conqueror), taking it wholly into his own
hands, disposed thereof to several persons as he thought
good ; but after a while, having wedded the daughter of
the said Count of Flanders, at the request of that
Count, he rendered to Baldwin, my father, Mola and
Sappo (Meules and Sap), and gave him his aunt's
daughter to wife ; and to Richard, my father's brother,
BALDWIN DE MEULES. 43
he restored Benefact (Bienfaite) and Orbec, and
lastly by your special favour I do now enjoy this
Brionne, the principal town of Gilbert, iny grandfather.'"'
If any dependence is to be placed on this passage in
Orderic, it is clear that Robert de Meules must have
known that his father's wife was the cousin of the
Conqueror, and that his father was then dead, which
corroborates the statement of the priest Walkelin, that
Richard and Baldwin, sons of Count Gilbert, were
recentlv deceased in 1090 or 1091. Baldwin is said to
have had also three daughters, one of whom, named
Adeliza, wife of Ralph Avenel, alone survived him, and
a natural son named Guiger, who was shorn a monk in
the Abbey of Bee. But who was his wife Albreda,
said to have been a niece of Richard II., Duke of
Normandy ? and who was Emma, another wife of
Baldwin, twice mentioned by William, both as
Duke of Normandy in 1066, and as King of
England in 1082, in his charter to the Holy Trinity
at Caen, and by which of them was his issue?
For, be it remarked, that Robert, in his address to
Court-heuse, though he speaks of his father having
married a cousin of the Conqueror, does not call her
his mother, nor by naming her enable us to identify
her either as Albreda or Emma.
In Domesday, "the wife of Baldwin the Sheriff" is
44 THE CONdUEEOE AND HIS COMPANIONS.
returned as the holder of Wimple, in Devon, but
unfortunately no Christian name is recorded. Pere
Anselm gives Baldwin two wives 1, Albreda, and 2,
Emma ; and suggests that the former was the child of
an illegitimate daughter of Richard II., Duke of Nor-
mandy, wife of Manger, Vicomte of the Cotentin, and
quotes a charter of hers by which, with the consent of
her sons Richard and Robert, she gives to the Abbey
of Bee the land of Bradeforde and the Church of
St. Michael d'Ermentonne. As the first wife of
Baldwin this evidence is conclusive as regards Richard
and Robert at any rate being the issue of Albreda.
By his second wife Emma, with whose consent he
gave the Churches of La Forest and two hundred
acres of land in the same place to the Abbey of the
Holy Trinity at Caen, he may have had the two
youngest daughters, as one appears to have been
named Emma, and married Hugues de Wast.
And now to return to the question of who was " le
Sire de Reviers " at Senlac, if Baldwin were not he.
That he had a son Richard is indisputable ; but that
son, known only as Richard Fitz Baldwin and Richard
the Viscount, having succeeded his father in the
shrievalty of Devonshire and the barony of Oke-
* In M. de Magny's list we have Badouin and fioycr de Meules.
"Who was Roger ?
RICHARD DE REDVERS. 45
hampton, died in 1137 without issue, and being first
buried at Brightly, was subsequently removed by his
sister Adeliza, his sole heiress, to Ford Abbey ; and
there is no authority for his having ever been called
De Redvers or De Reviers.
Dugdale, in his "Baronage" (vol. i., p. 785), has,
however, confounded him with one who was well
known by that title
RICHARD DE REDVERS,
who died in 1107 (thirty years before Richard Fitz
Baldwin), and was buried at Monteburgh, an abbey in
Normandy, of which he appears to have been one of
the earliest benefactors, if not the founder, by per-
mission of William the Conqueror, in 1080. The top
of his stone coffin was preserved from destruction by
M. de Gerville, and the epithet " Fundator " was
said to have been then visible upon it.
But I am burying the man before I have brought
him into existence ! Let us try, therefore, to discover
his parentage, as it is quite clear he was not the son
of Baldwin de Meules and Albreda, as till recently he
has been recorded.
The late Mr. Stapleton, in his Addenda to the second
volume of his " Illustrations of the Norman Rolls of the
46 THE CONQUEKOK AND HIS COMPANIONS.
Exchequer," appears to assert (for I confess I cannot
clearly understand the passage) that he was the son of
a William de Redvers ; but unfortunately does not
print the charter on which he seems to found his
opinion. In the grant of Lodres, in Dorsetshire, to the
Abbey of Monteburgh, Richard de Redvers certainly
gives " also the land which William de Redvers had
in Monteburgh " (Gallia Christiana, vol. xi.), but he
does not call him his father, or allude in any way to
his relationship. In another charter printed by
Mr. Stapleton, he speaks of his father and mother, but
without naming them.
In the cartulary of Carisbrook he is called the
nephew of William Fitz Osbern, and the grant of
the Isle of Wight to him after the death of Roger de
Breteuil, Earl of Hereford, certainly gives some sup-
port to the assertion. William Fitz Osbern had at
least one other daughter besides the unfortunate
Countess of Norfolk, of whom we learn no more
than that she became the mother of Raynold de
Cracci. Her daughter may have been the wife of
Richard de Redvers, which would justify the expres-
sion " nepos," used indifferently for nephew or grand-
The continuator of Guillaume de Jumie'ges tells
us that one of Gunnora's nieces married Osmund de
EICHAED DE EEDVEES. 47
Centumville (i. e. Cotenville), Vicomte de Vernon, and
had by him Fulk de Aneio (a companion of the
Conqueror of whom I shall have to speak) and several
daughters, one of whom was the mother of the first
Baldwin de Redvers : " qua mm mater fuit primi
Baldwini de Revers " (cap. xxxvii.). Some have con-
sidered this to apply to Baldwin de Brionne or de
Meules, and others to the first Baldwin de Redvers,
Earl of Devon, but the foundation charter to Monte-
burgh appears to me to solve this riddle. Richard de
Redvers (the founder) signs before Earl Simon and
Earl Eustace, and following their signatures were those
of " Baldwin, son of Richard de Redvers," and of
Willermi (William) brother of the same Baldwin.
Here we have a Baldwin de Redvers and a William
his brother, giving credibility to the assertion that their
grandfather might have been a William de Redvers,
according to Mr. Stapleton.* At the same time
it is probable that he was the first Baldwin de
Redvers, and father of the Richard who was " the
Sire de Reviers " at Hastings, and died in 1107, having
been one of the principal counsellors and champions of
Prince Henry in his conflicts with his brother, Robert
Court-heuse, and who shortly after his accession to the
throne in 1100, rewarded his friend's service by the
* In both the French lists we find a "William as well as a Richard.
48 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
gift of Tiverton and Plympton, and the third penny
of the pleas of the county of Devon.
Mr. Stapleton in his " Addenda," above mentioned,
denies that this Richard de Redvers was ever Earl of
Devon ; but if it be true that he had the third penny
of the pleas, the gift of tertinm denarium would carry
with it the earldom, though the ceremony of girding
with the sword (generally supposed not to have been
practised before the reign of John) might not have
The argument that we do not find him styled Earl
in contemporary documents is of no great value, as
such omission is common in ancient charters ; but that
his wife Adeliza thought him an earl is clear from her
charter to Twinham, in which she gives to the
Church of the Holy Trinity her Church of Thorlei for
the health of the souls of her Lord Richard, Earl of
Redvers, and of her son, Earl Baldwin ; the grant
being made with the consent of " Earl Richard ;
my grandson and heir." Here you will observe
that she styles her husband, her son, and her
grandson all earls, but not of Devon, though the two
latter were so beyond question. Therefore the omis-
sion cannot be used as an argument against the first.
This Lady Adeliza was a daughter of William
Peverel of Nottingham and his wife Adelina of Lan-
GILBERT DE MONTFICHET. 49
caster, and her family by Richard de Redvers consisted
of three sons, Baldwin, Earl of Devon, William, sur-
named De Vernon, and Robert of St. Mary Church,
and one daughter, Hawisia, wife of William de Rou-
inare, Earl of Lincoln. Baldwin and William must
both have been very young at the time they witnessed
the charter to Monteburgh, as the former did not die
till 1155. His mother survived him, but how long is
not certain. She was dead before 1165, and must, if
these dates can be relied on, have been nearly a
centenarian. But for the precise information contained
in her charter to Twinham, I should be inclined to
believe with Dr. Oliver that a generation had been
omitted in the pedigree.
GILBERT DE MONTFICHET.
This Norman lord of a commune situated on the
road from St. L6 to Bayeux, and where as late as
1827 might be seen a few ruins of the castle which
was the original stronghold of the family, is, according
to Monsieur le Prevost, " one of the most authentic
personages who can be named as having assisted at
the battle of Hastings." (Note to " Le Roman de Rou,"
vol. ii., p. 256.) But we hear of him then for the
first time, and simply as "le Sire de Monfichet, n
without any exploit having been recorded of him.
TOL. II. I
50 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
What is our astonishment, then, on consulting Dug-
dale, to learn, on the authority of an ancient history of
the family,* that the said Gilbert de Montfichet (Mont-
fiquet) was a Roman by birth, descended from an old
illustrious Roman family (De Montefixio ?) ; that he was
in the habit of dispensing palatial hospitality to all royal
visitors to the Papal Court, and specially entertaining
William, Duke of Normandy, whenever he set foot in
the sacred city ; and that he was a kinsman of the
Duke, and privy to all his councils, especially to that
design of King Edward the Confessor to make him
his successor to the realm of England.
How is it that in no contemporary historian can
we find a trace of the Count, Marquis, or Duke of the
Normans, as William is indifferently styled, having
ever crossed the Alps, or extended his travels further
than France, England, and Flanders ? As a boy he
was at Paris ; as a man, at Poissy. In 1051 he was in
England, arid it is believed in 1066 in Flanders ; but
at what other time had he a day, I might almost say
an hour, the occupation of which is not accounted for,
rendering a journey to Rome in the interim an actual
impossibility ? What can have been the origin of this
extraordinary story ? How could Dugdale have copied
this account without a comment? Is the whole
Mon. Aug., vol. ii. p. 236.
GILBERT DE MONTFICHET. 51
romance the concoction of David the Priest, a Scot
by birth, whom Gilbert so loved that he gave to him
a place called Tremhale, in the county of Essex,
whereon to build a church and other monastic edifices,
viz., the Priory of Tremhale, of which this ancient MS.
would seem to have been one of the muniments ; and
if so, how much are we to believe of it ?
Utterly incredulous of the statement that he
(Gilbert) entertained that Duke in his house when-
ever he came to Rome which implies more than
one visit to the Eternal City what faith are we
to attach to the description of Gilbert's Italian
extraction, and of his kinsmanship to the Conqueror?
AVas he named after his property in the Roman States,
and did he impart it to or derive it from this land in
Normandy acquired by gift or marriage? Nothing
has yet been discovered to elucidate the subject. We
are ignorant of whom he married or when he died ;
the aforesaid history merely informing us that, after
the gift of Tremhale to the priest David, he returned
to. Rome, leaving what he had obtained in England by
his services to the Conqueror at the battle of Hastings
and afterwards, to his son Richard, who, on arriving at
man's estate, travelled to Rome, and being a person
of extraordinary strength obtained much fame in
casting a stone, no man being able to do the like, in
52 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
memory whereof certain pillars of brass were set up
to mark the distance.
What is nearly as singular as this story is the fact
that the large possessions Gilbert is reported to have
obtained in reward for his services are not to be found
in Domesday, and that it is not till we come to a
William Montfichet, apparently a grandson or great
nephew of Gilbert the Roman, and the husband of
Margaret de Clare, daughter of Gilbert Fitz Richard
of Timbridge, that we find mention of any possessions
in England whatever.
Monsieur le Prerost asserts so positively that there
can be no question but that Gilbert was the Sire de
Montfichet mentioned by Wace amongst the com-
batants at Senlac, that he must doubtlessly have
found authority sufficient to justify his doing so. I
should otherwise be inclined to consider the companion
of the Conqueror was a William de Montfichet, father
or uncle of the William above named, who had a wife
named Rohais, and was certainly a contemporary of
the Conqueror, as in his reign he granted to the monks
of Croisy in Normandy the Church of St. Marculf,
with the tithes thereto belonging, and one plough
land ; also the Church of Fontenis and its tithes, with
certain lands in Sotaville ; likewise two salt works,
with two boats for great fish; the right use of every
GILBERT DE MONTFICHET. 53
great fish, with one, piece, of the, small, and two islands
lying in the sea. Surely at the time of this grant he
must have been the Lord of Montfichet, but whether
a brother or a son of Gilbert we are at present without
means of even surmising.
Dugdale has, I think, confounded him with his son
or nephew, the second William, who was certainly the
founder of the fortunes of the family in England,. most
probably by his marriage with a daughter of the great
house of Clare, with whose consent, and that of his
son and heir, Gilbert, he founded in 1135 (35th
Henry I.) the Abbey of Stratford Langton, in
Essex, within the precincts of his lordship of West-
ham. It was, I presume, in commemoration of this
alliance that his descendants assumed the arms of
Clare, unless, as some have suggested, they were
themselves a branch of that great family, a conjec-
ture the names of Gilbert and Richard certainly tend
to support, as well as the tradition of their being kins-
men of the Conqueror, but which would be fatal to
the story of the descent from an illustrious race of
The male line of William and Margaret de Clare
terminated in their great-grandson Richard, Sheriff of
the county of Essex, Governor of the Castle of Hert-
ford, and Justice of the King's Forests in no less than
54 THE CONQUEEOB AND HIS COMPANIONS.
fifteen English counties. His name descends to us
with the town of Stansted-Montfichet, the seat of his
barony in the reign of Henry III. Adelina, the second
of his three sisters and coheirs, married William de
Fortibus (second of that name), Earl of Albemarle,
whose granddaughter Adelina, having first married
Ingleram de Percy, became the wife of Edmund, sur-
named Crouchback, Earl of Lancaster, second son of
King Henry III., but died without adding to the royal
family of England.
ROGEK LE EIGOD.
The owner of this great historical name, who accom-
panied the Conqueror to England, was apparently the
son of Robert le Bigod, the first of the name of whom
we have any notice, and who was a witness to the
foundation of St. Philibert-sur-Risle, in 1066. Wace,
in his enumeration of the leaders in the host at
Hastings, designates the member of this family simply
as the ancestor of Hugh le Bigot, Lord of Maletot,
Loges, and Canon.
" L'Anccstre Hue le Bigot
Ki avoit terre a Maletot,
Etais Loges et a Chanon."
Roman de Ron, 1. 1-377.
Maletot is near Caen, Canon (Chanon) is in the arron-
ROGER LE BIGOD. 55
dissement of Lisieux, .and Loges may have been either
Les Loges, near Aunay, or another commune of the
same name in the neighbourhood of Falaise.*
The possession of these lands in Normandy by " the
ancestor of Hugh le Bigot " is a curious fact, taken
into consideration with the account the monk of
Jumieges gives of this ancestor. Robert le Bigod, he
tells us, was a knight in the service of William Werlenc,
or the Warling, Comte de Mortain, and so poor that
he prayed his lord to permit him to go and seek his
fortune in Apulia, where his countrymen were estab-
lishing themselves and acquiring wealth and dignity
under the leadership of Robert Guiscard. The Count
bade him remain, assuring him that within eighty days
he (Robert) would be in a position to help himself to
whatever he 'desired in Normandy.
Whether the Count contemplated the deposition of
Duke William, or was privy to the design of others,
may never be known, but Robert le Bigod, inferring
from this advice that some rebellious movement was
projected, repaired to Richard Goz, Vicomte of the
Hiemois, who was at that moment highly in favour
with the Duke, and requested him to obtain an audience
for him. Richard, who, according to the same authority,
was a kinsman of Robert it would be interesting to
* Le Preyost : Notes to Le Rom. de Rou, TO!, ii., p. 256.
56 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
learn how readily complied, and Le Bigod having
repeated to the Duke the words of the Warling, the
latter was instantly summoned to attend him, accused
of treason, banished the country, and the Comte* of
Mortain was bestowed upon the Duke's half-brother
Robert, the son of Herleve by Herluin. That William
jumped at this opportunity to rid himself of a possible
competitor whose claim to the duchy was clearly
stronger than his own, and at the same time to advance
one of his own family who would have no such pre-
tensions, there can be no doubt. The truth or false-
hood of the story told to him by Kobert le Bigod has
never been established. The defence of the accused,
if he made any, has not been recorded ; and even
Mr. Freeman admits that the Duke's "justice, if justice
it was, fell so sharply and speedily as to look very like
interested oppression." * We have seen in the previous
notice of Eaoul de Gael what opinion was held in his
own days of this suspicious act of the Conqueror. From
that moment Kobert le Bigod became a confidential
servant of his sovereign, and his sou Koger was the
companion of the Conqueror, who for his services at
Senlac received large grants of land in the counties of
Essex and Suffolk, six lordships in the former and one
hundred and seventeen in the latter.
* Norm. Conq., vol. ii., p. 290.
EOGEE LE BIGOD. 57
MODS, le Prevost remarks that Wace, always in-
clined to treat tlie present as the past, has attributed
to Roger the office of seneschal, which was only
enjoyed by his second son William. With all de-
ference, I think the learned antiquary has misunder-
stood his author. Wace is not speaking of Roger le
Bigod, the father of Hugh and William, but of " the
ancestor of Hugh," Robert, as I take it, " who served
the Duke in his house as one of his seneschals, which
office he held in fee."
Mr. Taylor remarks that there is no authority for
this statement, yet we find that Roger, who was one
of the privy councillors and treasurer of the Duke,
was seneschal or steward to Henry I., after the decease
of his father, and that both William and Hugh, his
sons, succeeded each other in that high office, which is
a fair corroboration of the assertion that it was held in
fee. If Wace be in error it is in his intimation, as I
understand him, that it was Hugh's grandfather
Robert, and not his father, Roger, who accompanied
Duke William to Hastings.
As we have no means at present of ascertaining the
age of Robert when he accused his lord of treason, it
is not improbable that he, as well as his son Roger,
was at Senlac. The latter survived the Conquest
forty-three years, and may have been a young man in
58 THE CONQUEROK AND HIS COMPANIONS.
1066, and his father not too old to bestride a war
steed and lead his retainers into action. Whether
father or son, we are told that " he had a large troop,
and was a noble vassal. He was small of body, but
very brave and daring, and assaulted the English with
his mace gallantly." (Roman de Rou, 1. 13,682-87.)
We hear nothing of him during the reign of the first
William, but at the commencement of that of the
second, Eoger le Bigod is found amongst the adherents
of Eobert Court-heuse, fortifying his castle at Norwich
and laying waste the country round about : whether
eventually reconciled to Rufus, or what was the result
of the suppressed rebellion to him personally, we are
without information; but in the first year of the reign
of Henry I., being one of those who stood firm to the
King, he had Framlingham, in Suffolk, of his gift.
In 1103, by the advice of King Henry, Maud the
Queen, Hubert Bishop of Norwich, and his own wife,
the Lady Adeliza, one of the daughters and co-heirs
of Hugh de Grentmesnil, seneschal of England, he
founded the Abbey of Thetford, in the county of
Norfolk, and, dying in 1107, was buried there.
By the Lady Adeliza he is said to have had seven
children William, his son and heir, who by his
charter, confirming his father's gift to Thetford, informs
us that he was " Dapifer regis Anglorum ;'" 2. Hugh
EOGEE LE BIGOD. 59
le Bigod, the first earl ; 3. Richard ; 4. Geoffrey ; 5.
John j 6. Maud, wife of William de Albini Pincema ;
and 7. Gunnora, who married, first, Robert of Essex,
and, secondly, Hamo de Clare. William perished in
the fatal wreck of the White Ship, and Hugh, his
brother and heir, in his turn steward of the King's
household, was eventually created Earl of Norfolk;
his descendants, by a match with Maud, the eldest
daughter and co-heiress of the Marshals, Earls of
Pembroke, becoming marshals of England, an office
enjoyed to this day by the Dukes of Norfolk.
The name and origin of this family, Mr. Taylor
remarks, seem more worthy of consideration than has
hitherto been given to it.* The name is spelt in-
differently Bigod, Bigot, Bihot, Vigot, Wigot, Wihot,
and Wigelot, generally with the prefix of " le." The
Normans are represented by the French to be " Bigoz
and Drauchiers ; " the latter term is understood to
mean consumers of barley perhaps beer-drinkers
and the former presumed to have been given them
from their constantly taking the name of the Almighty
in vain. Anderson, in his " Genealogical Tables,"
says, without quoting his authority, that Rollo was
styled " Bygot," from his frequent use of the phrase.
This derivation receives some support from the well
* Notes to Rom. de Eou, p. 235.
60 THE CONQUEKOE AND HIS COMPANIONS.
known story of the altercation between Edward I. and
Roger le Bigod, Earl of Norfolk, nephew of the former
Roger, which is recorded unfortunately in Latin by
Walter of Hemingford, and is therefore deprived of its
otherwise singularly illustrative application, which, if
the words were spoken in English, would be of some
weight in the argument.
In answer to the King's declaration, "By God,
Earl, you shall either go or hang!" the undaunted
baron replied, " By the same oath, King, I will
neither go nor hang ! " The " per Deum " and the
" per idem juramentum " of the chronicler leaves us in
uncertainty whether or not a play on the words was
intended by either speaker.
I have a theory of my own, which I by no means
insist upon, but only offer for the consideration of those
most competent to investigate the subject. The prefix
" le " distinctly points out that the name is not derived
from a possession or a place of birth. It is either a
personal or a general designation. Personal it cannot
be in this case, as it is applied to the whole nation,
and we are therefore driven to the conclusion that it
either alluded to a national habit or a national origin.
The former is the received opinion, as stated above ;
but it has to be shown that the purely Teutonic words,
" Bei Gott" were used in common parlance by the
EOGER LE BIGOD. 61
Normans. We find their war-cry was " Dex aie," and
" par Die ; " " par Dieu " is to this day so constantly
in the mouth of a Frenchman that he could scarcely
disparage a foreigner for an equally common breach of
the third commandment in any language.
I am inclined to believe the Normans were consi-
dered by the French as a race of Goths (as indeed
they were) a barbarous people, such as even now we
should describe as "Goths and Vandals;" and the
south of France having been subdued and occupied by
them for nearly five centuries by that branch of the
great Sythic family, distinguished as the West Goths or
Visigoths, the latter appellation being more familiar to
the French may have been corrupted into Vigot and
Bigot, from which source I would also derive the well-
known Norman name of Wigod.
The example I have already given of similar cor-
ruptions in the name of Raoul de Gael (p. 10, ante) will,
I think, justify me in suggesting, on these grounds,
that the family of Le Bigod was of Visigothic origin,
and, as in the case of Baldric the German, or Robert
the Frison, had assumed or been designated by the
name of their race and country, of which they were
proud, notwithstanding the sense wherein it was ap-
plied by the French to the Normans generally. We
have "le Angevin," " le Fleming," " le Breton," "le
62 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
Poiteviri," " le Scot," &c., and in tins category I think
we may class " le Vigot," an abbreviation of " le
Visigot," spelt, as we find it, indifferently with a " B "
or a " W" (Bigot and Wigot), according to the parti-
cular dialect of the writers. The application of the
name to the Normans generally, while it proves that it
was not derived from any hereditary possession or
personal peculiarity, as in other cases, also testifies
to the purity of the family, which was distinguished
amongst its own people by the designation of that great
Gothic stock whence they commonly proceeded.
A signet ring was dug up some few years ago on
one of the estates in Norfolk which had belonged to
this family, exhibiting the figure of a goat, with the
word " By " above it, being a punning device or rebus
" By Goat." It is engraved in Mr. Taylor's translation
of the " Roman de Rou " (p. 235, note), but of the legend
round it the word "God" is alone distinguishable.
This, however, is merely a mediaeval curiosity of no
importance to the question of derivation. To settle
that question we must " learn to labour and to wait."
HUMPHREY DE BOHUK
HEXRY DE FERRERS.
GEOFFREY DE MANDEVILLE.
HUGH DE GRENTMESN1L.
RICHARD DE COURCI.
HUMPHREY DE BOHUN.
" De Bohun le Vieil Onfrei."
Roman de Ron, 1. 13,583.
WACE appears to be specially addicted to represent
the companions of the Conqueror as venerable from
age as renowned for their valour. Humphrey " with
the beard," however, who is the De Bohun he is here
commemorating, may, with some propriety, be styled
" the old," as there is evidence that previous to the
Conquest he had been thrice married ; his grant to
the nuns of St. Amand at Rouen of a tithe of his own
plough and a garden, being made for the health of
his soul and the souls of his three wives, not one of
whom unfortunately is named, but it is witnessed by
" William Comes," as the Duke of Normandy was
often termed prior to his elevation to the throne of
64 THE CONQTJEROK AND HIS COMPANIONS.
England, the titles of Count and Duke being indif-
ferently used by him and by his predecessors.
The practice of close shaving amongst the Nor-
mans, and which caused the spies of Harold to report
that the invading army was an army of priests, is
further illustrated by such distinctions as " with the
beard," and " with the whiskers," being employed to
identify particular members of a family. Several
examples of this practice have already been noticed.
Of the origin of the De Bohuns very little has yet
been discovered. We are vaguely informed that the
first of this name known to us, the aforesaid Hum-
phrey with the beard, was a near kinsman of the
Conqueror, but in what particular degree, or by which
of the many branches, legitimate and illegitimate, of
the ducal house of Normandy, no information is
afforded us. After the Conquest he became possessed
of the lordship of Talesford, in the county of Norfolk,
so that whatever his relationship to or support of
William may have been, no very great benefit appears
to have resulted from it.
Bohun, or rather Bohon, the place whence the
family derived its name, is situated in the arrondisse-
ment of St. L6, in the Cotentin, where are still the
communes of St. Andre* and St. George de Bohon.
The mound of the castle was visible some thirty years
HUMPHREY DE BOHUN. 65
ago, and may be still. The honour of Bohon was in
possession of this Humphrey at the time of the
Norman invasion, and his later gift of the Church of
St. George de Bohon as a cell to the Abbey of
Marmoutier, is confirmed by William, King of the
English, " his Queen Mathildis, his sons Robert and
William, his half-brother Odo, Bishop of Bayeux,
Michael, Bishop of Avranches, Roger de Montgomeri,
and Richard, son of Turstain," husband of Emma de
Conteville, which certainly supports the belief that he
was closely connected with the Conqueror, probably
by one of his wives, respecting whose parentage we
are left so provokingly in the dark.
He died before 1113, having had issue three sons
and two daughters, but by which wife or wives we are
unhappily in ignorance. How important, genealogi-
cally, to the descent it is scarcely necessary to observe.
One of the daughters appears to me to have been
named Adela ; at least I find an Adela, aunt of Hum-
phrey de Bohun, in the Fine Roll for Wiltshire, 31st of
1 Henry L, and it could not have been on the mother's
side, or she would have been a daughter of Edward
of Salisbury, that mysterious personage, one of whose
daughters, named Maud or Mabel, was wife of Hum-
phrey II., the youngest of the three sons of " old Hum-
phrey," and the founder of the fortunes of the family.
VOL. II. F
66 THE CONQUEEOE AND HIS COMPANIONS.
The eldest son, Robert, died, in his father's lifetime
apparently, unmarried ; and from Richard, the second
son, descended in the female line the Bohuns of Mid-
hurst, in Sussex ; but the grandeur of the Bohuns
was due to the extraordinary succession of great
matches made by the descendants of the youngest
sons, who became Earls of Hereford, Essex, and
Northampton, the co-heiresses of the eleventh and last
Humphrey de Bohun being the wives, one of Thomas
of Woodstock, Earl of Gloucester, and son of King
Edward III., and the other of Henry, surnamed
Bolingbroke, son of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lan-
caster, and subsequently ascending the throne of
England as King Henry IV.
HENEY DE FEEEEES.
"Henri le Sire de Terriers," commemorated by
Wace as a combatant at Senlac, was Seigneur de
Saint Hilaire de Ferriers, near Bernay, and son of
Walkelin de Ferrers, who fell in a contest with the
first Hugh de Montfort we hear of in the early days
of Duke William II., and therefore, though a younger
son, for he had an elder brother named Guillaume,
who, Monsieur de Pluquet tells us, was also in the
great battle, must have been well advanced in years
HENRY DE FERRERS. 67
Whatever his services, it was not till after Hugh
d'Avranches was created Earl of Chester, in 10 71, that
Henry de Ferrers received at least the Castle of
Tutbury, his "caput Baronie," which had been pre-
viously granted to the said Hugh, and resigned by
him on becoming Earl of Chester. In 1085, we
find him appointed one of the commissioners
for the general survey of the kingdom, and in
that year he is recorded as the holder, besides the
Castle of Tutbury, of seven lordships in Stafford-
shire, twenty in Berkshire, three in Wiltshire, five in
Essex, seven in Oxfordshire, two in Lincolnshire, two
in Buckinghamshire, one in Gloucestershire, two in
Herefordshire, three in Hampshire, thirty-five in
Leicestershire, six in Warwickshire, three in Notting-
hamshire, and one hundred and fourteen in Derby-
shire ! When bestowed, however, or how obtained,
whether wholly by grant of the King, or partly by
marriage, is not recorded. Neither have we succeeded
in identifying his wife, Berta, in conjunction with
whom he founded and richly endowed the Priory of
Tutbury in 1089, "by the concession and authority of
William the younger (Kufus), King of the English."
The date of his death also is unknown ; but he had
issue three sons, Enguenulf, William, and Robert. The
two eldest died in his lifetime without issue, and
68 THE CONQUEEOK AND HIS COMPANIONS.
Robert, who succeeded him, was the first Earl of
Ferrers, not Earl Ferrers, as incorrectly described by
some, but " Robertus, Comes de Ferrarius " or " de
Ferriers," as in the charter of the second Earl Robert,
who was also Earl of Nottingham, and according to
Orderic Vital, the first Earl of Derby.
It is no part of the plan of this work to enter into
details respecting the descendants of the actual com-
panions of the Conqueror, but there are exceptions
to most, if not to all, rules, and there is so little to be
said about Henry de Ferrers, and so much about his
immediate successors, that I am tempted to depart
from my own rule on this occasion.
There is considerable difference of opinion, in the
absence of indubitable facts, as to which of these two
Roberts father and son distinguished himself in the
famous battle at Northallerton, known as the Battle
of the Standard, also as to the exact period at which
the earldoms of Nottingham and Derby were conferred
upon an Earl of Ferrers; but the principal bone of con-
tention is the identification of the fortunate member
of that family who married Margaret, daughter and
heiress of William Pevercl, Lord of Nottingham, who
was dispossessed of his estates by King Henry II., for
conspiring with Maud, Countess of Chester, to poison
her husband, Ranulph Gernoiis, Earl of Chester, in 1 155.
IIEXKY DE FEERERS. 69
Now this is a very curious story, which has been
received in perfect confidence, and handed down from
writer to writer, as a portion of the history of Eng-
land, until, at the Newark Congress of the British
Archaeological Association, I ventured to question the
very existence even of the Margaret Peverel, who has
been married by various genealogists to at least three
.successive Earls of Ferrers.
In the charter of King Stephen to the monks of
Lanton we find mention of this William Peverel, of
Jiis wife Oddona, and his son Henry, at that time most
probably his heir apparent ; but there is no notice
-of any daughter, and the rolls of the reign of Henry I.,
Stephen, and Henry II., in which mention is made
of many Peverels, including the mother and sister of
William Peverel of Nottingham, are equally silent on
the score of a daughter, and acknowledge no Margaret
Peverel of any branch.
Vincent gives Margaret to the first Earl William,
who tells us himself that his wife's name was Sibilla ;
others to William's father, the second Eobert, who
-explicitly declares that his wife was another Sibilla,
daughter of William, Lord Braose of Bramber; and
my dear lamented friend, the late Rev. C. Hartshorne,
in the " Archaeological Journal" (vol. v., p. 129), calls
70 THE CONQUEKOK AND HIS COMPANIONS.
Margaret the wife of the fiist Bobert, who married
Ha wise de Vitry.
For the proof that "William was the happy man we
are referred to the Oblate Eoll of the 1st of John, in
which it is said that William, the third earl of that
name, calls Margaret his grandmother. Now here is
the entry referred to, in which you will find no such
thing : " The Earl of Ferrers gives two thousand
marks for Hecham, Blidsworth, and Newbottle, that
the King may forego all claim to other lands which
were William Pevercl's, and the King gives to him
the park of Hecham, which the Lord Henry, his-
great-grandfather (that is, King Henry II.) gave in
exchange to the ancestors of William Pcverel,"'
Where is Margaret ? Where any mention of the
grandmother of the Earl of Ferrers ?
The next reference is to a plea-roll of the 25th
of Henry HI., which certainly proves that some Earl
of Ferrers assumed a right of heirship to William
Peverel, but by no means hints that it was in right
of his wife, or makes any mention of Margaret. The
words are remarkable. The Earl of Ferrers is therein
stated to have made himself heir of the aforesaid
William Peverel, and to have intruded himself into-
the same inheritance during the Avar between the
King and his barons. Now, we are told that one of
IIEXRY DE FEEREES.
the earliest acts of Henry II. in [the year after his
accession, viz., 1155, was to disinherit William Peverel,
the staunch supporter of his old rival Stephen, upon
the opportune charge of poisoning the Earl of Chester,
as before mentioned. Henry himself does not charge
him specifically with it, but the cause is distinctly
stated by the Chronicon Roffense, the register of Dun-
stable, Matthew Paris, Matthew of Westminster, and
Gervase of Dover, a goodly array of highly respectable
But how are we to reconcile this statement with the
fact that Henry, before he ascended the throne, most
probably at the time of the pacification with Stephen
in 1152, and certainly not later than 1153, in which
year Earl Ranulph died, gave to this very Ranulph the
man Peverel is accused of poisoning, with other large
estates of hostile nobles, the castle and town of Not-
tingham, and the whole fee of William Peverel,
wherever it was (with the exception of Hecham) unless
he (William Peverel) could acquit and clear himself of
his wickedness and treason ? Are we not justified in
believing, upon the evidence of this agreement for
such is the nature of the instrument, which is wit-
nessed by parties both for Henry and Ranulph, that
Peverel was dispossessed of his estates, not for assist-
ing to poison the Earl of Chester, for to that very
72 THE CONQUEEOB, AND HIS COMPANIONS.
Earl the estates are given, but for wickedness and
treason generally in plain words, for supporting
Stephen manfully and faithfully against Henry and
his mother \
Such was evidently the opinion of Sir Peter
Leycester, who printed this important document at
length in his " Prolegomena/' prefaced with these
words, " How Bandal Earl of Chester was rewarded
for taking part with Henry Fitz-Empress, being yet
but Duke of Normandy and Earl of Anjou, may
appear by this deed following." No hint of its being a
compensation to him for injury inflicted by Peverel.
And what was the punishment of the Countess
Maud, the supposed accomplice of Peverel, and if so,
the most culpable of the twain ? She survived the Earl
her husband many years, and her name is associated
with that of her son, Hugh Kevilioc, in several acts
of benevolence and piety, amongst them actually the
purchase of absolution for her husband, who died
Hugh Kevilioc, who succeeded to his father's earl-
dom with all his possessions, had a daughter named
Agnes, who became the wife of William, second of
that name, Earl of Ferrers and Derby, and thus it is
clearly evident how that Earl made himself heir of
Peverel and intruded himself into that inheritance,
GEOFFEEY DE MANDEVILLE. 73
having purchased Hecham of the King, which had
been excepted from the rest of the fee of Peverel in
the grant of Henry Duke of Normandy to Ranulph
Gernons, and claiming heirship to the estates of
Peverel, in right of his wife Agnes, sister and co-heir
of Ranulph Blondeville, Earl of Chester, the grandson
of the grantee, and not through any marriage with
this phantom Margaret Peverel, no trace of whom has
ever been found in one authentic document.
The reputed victim of Peverel's machinations is said
by King, in his " Vale Royal," to have died after
lingering in agonies, " which I suspect to be an absurd
translation of the " post multos agones " of Gervasc
of Dover. His words arc, " post multos agones mili-
taris glorise," and the context proves that the words
do not apply to bodily torture, but to struggles or
contests as a soldier in pursuit of military glory.
(Vide Ducange sub agonia and agonizare.)
What conclusive proof have we that Ranulph, Earl
of Chester died of poison at all ? " Ut fama fuit " is
all Gervase of Dover can say about it.
GEOFFEEY DE MANDEVILLE.
This progenitor of one of the noblest and most
powerful families on either side of the channel is simply
alluded to by Wace as "li Sire de Maguevile"(l. 13,562).
74 THE CONQUEEOR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
The French antiquaries, whilst agreeing as to the
individual present at Hastings, differ respecting the
locality whence he derived his name ; Mons. le
Prevost considering it to be Magneville, near Valonges,
while Mons. Delisle reports that it was Mandeville le
Trevieres, the Norman estates of the Magnavilles,
Mandevilles, or Mannevilles, as they were indifferently
called, lying partly in the neighbourhood of Creulli,
and the rest round Argentan, where, at a later period,
they held the honour of Chamboi.
No particular feat of arms is attributed to him by
the Norman poet. He is only mentioned as one who
rendered great aid in the decisive battle, and we find
him in consequence rewarded with ample domains in
England at the time of the great survey, amounting
to one hundred and eighteen lordships in various
counties, of which Walden, in Essex, was the chief
seat of his descendants, who became the first Norman
earls of that county in the reign of Stephen.
He was also the first Constable of the Tower of
London after the Conquest, an office enjoyed by his
grandson of the same name, which I mention on
account of the interesting fact that, in the charter
of the Empress Matilda, which confers this amongst
many other honours bestowed upon him, the custody
of the Tower of London is granted to him and his
HUGH DE GRENTMESNIL. 75
heirs, with the little castle there (described in another
charter as under it) which belonged to Ravenger.
This charter in which she creates Geoffrey de Man-
deville (grandson of the companion of the Conqueror)
Earl of Essex, is stated in a marginal note in Dugdale's
Baronage to be " the most ancient creation charter
which hatli been ever known/' and, I may add, for
the numberless concessions and privileges recorded in
it, the most remarkable.
To return to the first Geoffrey, we learn from his
charter of foundation of the Benedictine Monastery of
Hurley, in Berkshire, that he was twice married. His
first wife Athelaise (Adeliza) being the mother of his
heir William de Mandeville, and other children not
named ; and his second wife, Leceline, by whom he
appears to have had no issue.
Mr. Stapleton, in his annotations to the Norman
Eolls of the Exchequer, suggests that Adeliza, the first
wife of Geoffrey, was sister to Anna, wife of Turstain
Haldub, mother of Eudo al Chapel.
HUGH DE GEENTMESNIL.
Of this noble Norman we have considerable infor-
mation afforded us by Orderic, in consequence of his
being one of the founders of the Abbey of Ouche,
better known as that of St. Evroult, in which the
76 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
historian was professed a monk by the venerable Abbot
Maiiier, in the eleventh year of his age, by the name of
Vitalis (Vital), and in which monastery he lived fifty-
From him we learn that Hugh de Grentmesnil was
one of the sons of a Robert de Grentmesnil (now known
as Grandmesnil, in the arrondissement of Lisieux) by
Hawise de Giroie, which Robert was mortally wounded
in the battle between Roger de Toeni and Roger de
Beaumont, already mentioned, vol. i., pp. 19, 217.
He fought on the side of De Toeni, and being
carried off the field, lingered for three weeks, and
then died and was interred without the Church
of St. Mary at Norrei, between Grandmesnil and
Falaise. His issue by Hawise de Giroie was two
sons, Robert and Hugh, between whom he divided
Robert became a monk in the abbey he had assisted
to re-edify. Hugh, who was " eminent for his skill and
courage," was, through the machinations of Mabel de
Montgomeri, banished by Duke William without any
real cause of offence in 1058, but recalled from exile
in 1063, and intrusted with the custody of the Castle
of Neufmarche-en-Lions, from which the Duke, on
equally slight grounds, had expelled Geoffrey de Neuf-
marche', the rightful heir ; and nobly forgetful of past
HUGH DE GEENTMESNIL.
injustice, did the valiant Hugh justify the trust reposed
in him, restoring in the course of a year the disturbed
district to perfect tranquillity. We next find him
amongst the principal combatants in the great battle,
but he surely cannot be the person described by Wace
as "a vassal of Grandmesnil," who was in great peril
during the action in consequence of his horse becoming
masterless through the breaking of his bridle-rein in
leaping over a bush.. He was near falling, and the
English perceiving his flight ran towards him with
their long axes, but the horse taking fright, and wheel-
ing suddenly round, bore his rider safely back into the
ranks of the Normans. Hugh was certainly a vassal
of the Duke of Normandy, but a baron of his reputa-
tion and power would scarcely be so described by
Wace. Mons. le Prevost, however, appears by his note
on the passage to consider it refers to Hugh himself,
and Mr. Taylor follows him without comment. It
may perhaps be argued that there is nothing in the
incident itself to give it sufficient importance to be re-
corded by the poet unless the person endangered was
some one of consequence. At all events, Hugh de
Grentmesnil was certainly present at Senlac, and no
doubt did his devoir, as he was wont to do ; for in
1067 we find him one of the principal persons joined
with William Fitz Osbern and Bishop Odo in the
78 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
government of England during the King's absence in
Normandy, and besides the donation of one hundred
manors in this country, sixty-five of which were in
Leicestershire, he was appointed Viscount (i.e., sheriff)
of that county and Governor of Hampshire.
He was one of the Norman nobles who interceded
with the Conqueror in favour of Eobert Court-heuse,
and effected a temporary reconciliation. On the
accession of Eufus he espoused the cause of the
young duke ; but like many others of his rank and
country, weary of his vacillations, and disgusted by
his general conduct, he ultimately took part against
In 1090 we find him in Normandy, in his old age,
strenuously opposing the aggressions of the detestable
Kobert de Belesme, who had erected strongholds at
Fourches and at La Conebe, on the river Orme,
whence he made inroads on his neighbours, and
harried all the country round.
Hugh de Grentmesnil and Richard de Courci, whose
domains lay nearest to him, and most exposed to his
depredations, were the first to take arms against him.
Both these knights were now grey-headed, but their
spirit was unbroken, and their intimate connection
strengthened the bond of friendship between them,
Richard de Courci, the son of Richard, having married
HUGH DE GBENTMESNIL. 79
Kohesia, daughter of Hugh. Matthew, Count of
Beaumont-sur-rOise, brother-in-law of Hugh, William
de Warren, second Earl of Surrey, with many other
knights, hastened to their support, eager to exhibit
their prowess in such a field. Theobald, son of
Walter de Breteuil, called " the White Knight," because
his steed and appointments were all white, and his
brother-in-arms Guy, called " the Ked Knight " for a
similar reason, were slain in some of these encounters ;
but Eobert de Belesme finding that he was unable to
cope alone with his brave and resolute opponents, pre-
vailed on the Duke of Normandy, by humble supplica-
tions and specious promises, to march to his assistance.
In the month of January, 1091, the Duke accordingly
laid siege to Courci-sur-Dive ; but unwilling to come
to extremities with his great nobles, took no measures
for closely investing the place. De Belesme, however,
used every means by force and stratagem to get pos-
session of the castle. He caused a huge machine,
called a belfry (berfradum), being a wooden tower
containing a number of stages or floors, and moving
on wheels, to be constructed and rolled up to the
castle walls, filled with soldiers, who could leap from
it on to the battlements, or fight hand to hand with
the defenders ; but the device proved in vain, for as
often as he attempted an assault, a powerful force
80 TIIE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
from Grentmesnil hastened to the rescue, and drew
him off from the attack.
In one of these conflicts the garrison during a rally
took prisoners William, son of Henry de Ferrers
(who fought at Hastings), and William de Rupiere,
whose ransoms were a great assistance to the
besieged ; but, on the other hand, the besiegers cap-
tured Ivo, one of the sons of Hugh de Grentmesnil and
Richard Fitz Gilbert de Clare, the latter of whom did
not lonoj survive the horrors of the dungeon to which
De Belesrne consigned him.
An oven had been built outside the fortifications,
between the castle gate and De Belesme's belfry, and
there the baker had to bake the bread for the use of
the garrison, the siege having been begun so suddenly
that the inhabitants of Courci had no time to con-
struct one within the walls. The thickest of the fight
was therefore often around this oven, for the men of
Courci stood in arms to defend their bread while
De Belesme's followers endeavoured to carry it off.
This led occasionally to a general engagement, in
which there was much slaughter, without special
advantage to either side ; but in one of them, the
besiegers having repulsed their assailants, set fire to
the belfry, and succeeded in destroying it.
Hugh de Grentmesnil, who did not bear arms him-
HUGH DE GEENTMESN1L. 81
self, on account of his advanced age, was much dis-
tressed by the long continuance of the siege, and in
consequence sent the following message to the Duke
of Normandy: " I long served your father and grand-
father, and suffered much in their service ; I have also
always been loyal to you. What have I done 1 Tn
what have I offended you ? How have I merited at
your hands this hostility ? I openly acknowledge
you as my liege lord, and on that account will not
appear in arms against you ; but I offer you two
hundred Hvres to withdraw when it may suit your
pleasure for one single day, that I may fight Robert
de Belesme ! " Orderic has not acquainted us with
the reply of Court-heuse to this manly appeal of the
chivalric old warrior, who, as he mentions his service
to the Duke's grandfather, could not at this period
have been much under eighty.
At all events, neither the letter nor the mediation
of Gerrard, Bishop of Se'ez, who took up his abode at
the Convent of Dive during the siege, in the hope of
restoring peace in his diocese, had any effect upon
either the Duke or Robert de Belesme ; but the
arrival of King William (Rufus) with a great fleet
caused them to decamp with all haste and dis-
band their forces, each man returning to his own
VOL. II. O
82 THE CONQUEEOE AND HIS COMPANIONS.
Three years afterwards, Hugh de Grentmesnil was
again in England, and worn out with age and
infirmity, finding his end approaching, assumed, in
accordance with the common practice of the period,
the habit of a monk, and expired six days after he
had taken to his bed, 22nd of February, 1094, accord-
ing to our present calculation, and presumably in the
city of Leicester.
His body, preserved in salt and sewn up in the hide
of an ox, was conveyed to Normandy by two monks
of St. Evroult, named Bernard and David, and honour-
ably buried by the Abbot Roger on the south side
of the Chapter House, near the tomb of Abbot
Arnold de Tillieul, his nephew, caused a marble
slab to be placed over his grave, for which Orderic
tells us he himself furnished the Latin epitaph in
heroic verse, with which he obliges his readers; but
as it is simply laudatory I will not inflict it on mine,
observing only that it is a relief to feel that in this
instance the praise appears to have been truly de-
served, as I find nothing recorded of Hugh de Grent-
mesnil that does not redound to his credit.
In his youth we are told he married a very beauti-
ful lady, Adeliza, daughter of Ivo, Count of Beau-
mont-sur-1'Oise, by his first wife Judith, with whom
EICHAED DE COUECI. 83
he had Brokesbourne, in Herefordshire, and three
lordships in Warwickshire.
She died at Kouen seven years before her husband,
and was buried in the Chapter House of St. Evroult,*
having had issue by him five sons and as many
daughters namely, Eobert, William, Hugh, Ivo, and
Aubrey ; Adeline, Hawise, Rohais, Matilda, and
Agnes none of whom except Robert lived to an
advanced age, and he, although thrice married, died
without issue in 1136. Hugh died young. William,
Ivo, and Aubrey forfeited their reputation for bravery
by their dishonourable and ludicrous escape from
Antioch, which obtained for them the name of rope-
dancers. With the exception of Hawise, who died
unmarried, his daughters became the wives of noble
knights : Adeline,~of Roger d'lvri, Rohais, of Robert
de Courci, Matilda, of Hugh de Montpincon, and
Agnes, of William de Say.
EICHAED DE COTJECI.
I have just mentioned Robert, the son of this
Richard, and son-in-law of Hugh de Grentmesnil, and
shall conclude this chapter with a notice of this
* A charter of her son IYO indicates that she was buried at Ber-
84 THE CONQUEBOK AND HIS COMPANIONS.
memorable family, the direct male descendant of
\vliich wears at the present day the coronet of a baron,
one of the very few instances that can be quoted of an
unbroken line of nobles in the same family from the
Wace simply mentions " Oil de Corcie " amongst
those knights who " that day slew many English."
Courci is in the arrondissement of Falaise, and I have
just described its siege by Robert Court-heuse in 1091,
at which time it was held by Richard de Courci, the
companion of the Conqueror. He was the son of
Robert de Courci, who was one of the six sons of
Baldric the Teuton, or German, Lord of Bacqueville-
en-Caux, and held the office of Archearius under Duke
William. He married a niece of Gilbert Comte de
-Brionne, grandson of Richard first Duke of Normandy,
name unknown, by whom he had six sons and two
daughters, and here we have an example of the diffi-
culty the general reader would experience in endeavour-
ing to form an idea of the family and connections of
many important personages with whose names he in-
cidentally meets in the popular histories of England.
Robert, the third of these six sons, alone bore the name
of De Courci : all the rest assumed surnames simi-
larly derived from their particular properties or the
place of their birth. The eldest, Nicholas, succeeding
RICHABD DE COUECI. 85
to his father's fief of Bacqueville-en-Caux, was thence
called Nicholas de Bacqueville. The second son, Fulk,
was named Fulk d'Aunou from his fief of Aunou le
Faucon, arrondissement of Argentan. Richard, the
fourth son, was the first of the famous name of Nevil,
derived from his fief of Neuville-sur-Tocque, in the
department of the Orne and the canton of Gacd.
Baldric, fifth son, was surnamed de Balgenzais, from
his fief of Bouquence or Bouquency. The youngest,.
Vigerius or Wiger, was named after an uncle, and also
called Apulensis, having been born, it is presumed, in
Apulia. Who, meeting with the names of these noble
and powerful Normans in their study of English his-
tory, would, without such an explanation, suspect they
were all sons of the same father, and cousins of- William
the Conqueror on their mother's side ? Elizabeth,
named after her aunt, who was a nun at St. Amand,
married Fulk de Boneval ; and Hawise was the wife
of Robert Fitz Erneis, who fought and fell at Senlac.
It was Robert, the third son of Baldric the
Teuton, as I have said, who assumed the name of De
Courci from his inheritance of Courci-sur-Dive, and
transmitted it to his immediate descendants. His son
Richard married a lady named Guadelinodis, and was
the Sire de Courci present at Hastings and Senlac.
For his services he received from the Conqueror the
86 THE CONQUEEOE AND HIS COMPANIONS.
barony of Stoke in the county of Somerset, and the
manors of Newnham, Setenden, and Foxcote, in Oxford-
shire. At least, he held them at the time of the great
We hear no more of him during the reign of the
elder William, though it is improbable he could have
remained quiescent during all the commotions that
were constantly convulsing the duchy ; but whether
ne fought or not we may be satisfied that he remained
loyal to the Conqueror, and to his successor William
Eufus, whose opportune arrival in Normandy caused
Robert Court-heuse and Robert de Belesme to raise the
siege of Courci, as before related.
Both he and his friend and neighbour Hugh de
Grentmesnil, who was now connected with him by the
marriage of their children, were considerably advanced
in years, and lik,e Hugh, the Lord of Courci, may not
have mingled in the melee ; but it is strange not to
find Robert's name mentioned amongst the gallant
defenders of his own property and that of his father-
Besides this Robert, whose line was not of long en-
durance, Richard had a second son named William,
from whom descended the famous John de Courci,
Earl of Ulster, and the present Lord Kingsale, who
enjoys the enviable privilege of wearing his hat in the
EICHAED BE COUECI. 87
presence of his sovereign, traditionally granted by
King John to the said Earl of Ulster in reward for the
Philip Augustus, King of France, having proposed
to King John to settle the difference between the
Crowns of England and France respecting their pre-
tensions to the Duchy of Normandy by single combat,
had appointed on his side a champion. King John,
who had unwarily fixed the day, could find no one of
sufficient strength -or prowess to oppose the Frenchman
but the Earl of Ulster, who, at the instigation of Hugh
de Lacy, had been dispossessed of .his estates, and was a
prisoner in the Tower. Having accepted the challenge
for the honour of his country, he appeared in the lists
on the appointed day, and so terrified the French
champion by his gigantic form and warlike demeanour
that, on the third sounding of the trumpets, he wheeled
about, broke through the lists, and galloping to the
coast took ship for Spain, leaving De Courci victor
without a blow. To gratify King Philip, who desired
an exhibition of his extraordinary strength, the Earl
directed a massive suit of mail surmounted by a
helmet to be placed on a block, and at one stroke he
cleft armour and helmet asunder, his sword entering
so deep into the wood that no one present could pull
it out with both hands, but he did in an instant with
88 THE CONQUEKOB AND HIS COMPANIONS.
one. King John being well satisfied with his extra-
ordinary service restored him to his titles and estates,
and bade him ask besides anything it was in his
power to grant, to which the Earl replied, that he had
titles and estates enough, but desired that he and his
successors, the heirs-male of his family, might have
the privilege, their first obeisance being paid, to remain
covered in the presence of him and his successors the
Kings of England, which was granted accordingly.
There is about as much truth in this story as there
was in the one formerly told by the warders in the
Tower of London, who were wont to show a remarkably
large suit of plate armour of the time of Henry VIII.
as being that of the very redoubtable John dc Courci
The King of France, Philip Augustus, never set foot
in England. William II., King of Scotland, never saw
King John, save on the one occasion when he did
homage to him at Lincoln. De Courci was never re-
stored to his estates by John, and no one knows when
a privilege, as worthless as it is unmannerly, was con-
ferred, or by whom or on what authority it was first
claimed and exercised.
Almericus, the twenty-third Baron Kingsale, aston-
ished King William III. by presenting himself with
his hat on, but had the good taste to reverse the
RICHARD DE COUECI. 89
custom by remaining uncovered after the first assertion
of his privilege.
George II. good-humouredly observed to Gerald,
cousin and successor of Almericus, that, although his
lordship had a right to wear his hat before him, he
had no right to do so before ladies.
Let us trust that good sense and good taste will
combine to abolish an absurd custom, for the observ-
ance of which no credible authority can be produced
no dignity lost by its discontinuance.
WILLIAM DE ALBINI.
WILLIAM DE VIEUXPONT.
WILLIAM DE MOULINS.
HUGH DE GOURNAY.
WILLIAM DE ALBINI.
THAT one or more of the family of Aubigny
(Latinised into De Albinio, and better known in
England as De Albini) " came over with the Con-
queror/' and fought at Hastings, there can be no
question ; but "Wace, who does not specify the
individual, but simply calls him "li boteillier
d'Aubignie," has been accused of an anachronism by
Mr. Taylor, who considers the office of Pincerna, or
butler, to have been first conferred upon the grand-
son of William by Henry I. circa 1100, when for his
services to that monarch he was enfeoffed of the
barony of Buckenham to hold in grand-sergeantry by
the butlery, an office now discharged at coronations
by the Duke of Norfolk, his descendants possessing a
WILLIAM DE ALBINI. 91
part of the barony. The companion of the Conqueror
he believes to have been William, the first of that name
we know of, or his son Eoger, father of the second
William] and Nigel de Albini, of whom we have pre-
viously spoken (p. 30).
M. le PreVost votes for Roger, who made a dona-
tion to the Abbey of L'Essai in 1084. There is no
reason why he should not also have been in the battle.
In the absence of conclusive evidence I have headed
this chapter with -William de Albini, the earliest
known of that name, which he derived from the com-
mune of Aubigny, near Periers, in the Cotentin,
and with whom the family pedigree commences.
This William married a sister of Grimoult du
Plessis, the traitor of Valognes and Val-es-Dunes, who
died in his dungeon in 1047 (vol. i., pp. 25 and 31),
and Wace may after all be right in styling him " Le
Botellier," as it is probable that he held that office in
the household of the Duke of Normandy. By his wife,
the sister of Grimoult (I have not yet lighted on her
name), he had a son, the Roger d' Aubigny aforesaid,
who married Amicia, or Avitia, sister of Geoffrey,
Bishop of Coutances, and of Roger de Montbrai, and is
supposed by M. le PreVost to have been with his
brothers-in-law in the battle.
Roger d' Aubigny, or De Albini, had issue by his
92 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
wife Avitia de Montbrai, five sons : William, known
as William de Albini " Pincerna" (i.e., Butler), ancestor
of the Earls of Sussex, who married Maud, daughter
of Eoger le Bigod, and died 1139. Richard, Abbot of
St. Albans, Nigel, Humphrey, and Rualon, or Ralph.
Nigel, the third son, was heir of Robert de Montbrai,
or Mowbray, his first cousin, whose wife he married
during the lifetime of her husband by licence of Pope
Paschal, and for some time treated her with respect
out of regard for her noble parents ; but on the death
of her brother Gilbert de 1'Aigle, having no issue by
her, he craftily sought for a divorce on the ground of
that very kinship which he exerted so much influence
to induce the Pope to overlook, and then married
Gundred, daughter of Gerrard de Gournay, by whom
he had Roger, who assumed the name of Mowbray,
and transmitted it to his descendants, Dukes of Norfolk
and Earls Marshal of England ; and Henri, ancestor
of the line of Albini of Cainho.
To return to the first William, it is clear that his
grandsons were mere infants even if born in 1066,
and therefore I believe that it was the William, then
Pincerna, and probably also Roger, his son, who were
companions of the Conqueror in his expedition ;
Roger's eldest brother William being in disgrace in
Normandy at the time, and not restored to favour,
WILLIAM DE ALBINI. 93
or allowed to enter England before the reign of
Rufus, or it may have been Henry I.
Of William de Albini, third son and successor of
William II., and Maud le Bigod, a romantic story has
been invented to account for the lion rampant subse-
quently borne by his descendants.
Having captivated the heart of the Queen Dowager
of France by his gallant conduct in a tournament at
Paris, she offered to marry him, an honour which he
respectfully declined^ having already given his word
and faith to a lady in England, another Queen
Dowager, no less a personage than Adeliza, widow of
King Henry I. of England. His refusal so angered the
French Queen, that she laid a plot with her attendants
to destroy him by inducing him to enter a cave in her
garden, where a lion had been placed for that pur-
pose ; but the undaunted Earl, rolling his mantle round
his arm, thrust his hand into the lion's mouth, tore
out its tongue, and sent it to the Queen by one of her
maids. " In token of which noble and valiant
act," says Brooke, in his " Catalogue of Nobility,"
"this William assumed to bear for his arms a lion
gold in a field gules, which his successors ever since
As this third William de Albini died as late as
1176, it is possible he might have, assumed armorial
94 THE CONQUEEOB AND HIS COMPANIONS.
bearings, but the lion was more probably first borne
by his son, the second Earl of Arundel of the line of
Aubigny, in token of his descent from Adeliza, widow
of Henry I., in whose reign we have the earliest evi-
dence of golden lions being adopted as a personal
decoration, if not strictly an heraldic bearing.
Here again is a memorable personage of whose
origin and family little is known. Wace mentions
him as " Guillaume ki Ten dit Mallet," but why so
called has not even been guessed at. Geoffrey, Count
of Anjou, is popularly said to have received his name
of Martel from the horseman's hammer, which is
assumed to have been his favourite weapon ; but this,
like many such stories, is unsupported by any sub-
stantial evidence, and is contested by the French
antiquary, M. de la Mairie, who asserts that Martel is
simply another form of Martin, and the well-known
charge in heraldry, Martlet, Martelette, or little
Martin, or Swallow, appears to corroborate that asser-
tion. Therefore, although the "maillet," a two-
headed hammer, was as early known to the Normans
as the "martel de fer,"* if, indeed, it were not the
* " L'un tient une 6pee sans fourre,
L'autre une maillet, 1'autre une hache."
Guiart. , y. 6635.
WILLIAM MALET. 95
same weapon, I have no belief in such a derivation,
the name being, moreover, borne by the whole family.
Whether the companion of the Conqueror was the
first so called is unknown. Le Provost simply says
he was the source of a noble race still existing in
France, that of Malet de Graville.
The author of " Carmen de Bello " tells us he was
partly Norman and partly English, and "Compater
Heraldi," which would seem to signify joint sponsor
with Harold, compere, as the French have it (vide
Ducange in voce).
It would be interesting to discover whose child
they stood godfathers to, and why we find him in the
ranks of his fellow-gossip;* the knowledge of that
fact might reveal to us many others. Was it in
England or in Normandy that he stood at the font
with Harold ? If in the latter, it must have been in
1062, during the enforced visit of Godwin's son to
Duke William, the year in which Adela was born.
Is it possible that Harold and William Malet were her
godfathers ? Guy, of Amiens, Matilda's almoner ,
would certainly be cognizant of that fact.
His name, however, is not met with, I believe,
* From the Saxon God-syb, a relation in God. There was formerly
a spiritual kinship supposed to exist between a child and its sponsors
expressed by the word gossiprede.
96 THE CONQUEEOB AND HIS COMPANIONS.
either in Saxon or Norman annals previous to the
invasion, when we hear of his valour and his peril.
" Guillaume, whom they call Mallet, also threw him-
self boldly into the midst. With his naming sword
he terrified the English. But they pierced his shield
and killed his horse, and he would have been slain
himself, when the Sire de Montfort and William de
Vez-Pont (Vieuxpont) came up with a strong force,
and gallantly rescued him, though with the loss of
many of their men, and mounted him on a fresh
horse" (Roman de Rou, 1. 13,472-85).
We next hear of him as the person appointed by
the Conqueror to take charge of the body of Harold,
which had been discovered by the swan-necked
Eadgyth, and to bury it on the sea-shore ; his
selection for that purpose would seem to have some
connection with the curious statement of Bishop
Guy, as from his previous knowledge of the Saxon
King, and the spiritual brotherhood which is said to
have existed between them, he may have been con-
sidered by William to have the best claim to the
melancholy honour after the mother, to whom it had
been sternly refused.
After this we find him mentioned as accompanying
the newly-seated sovereign in his expedition to the
North, and the reduction of Nottingham and York
WILLIAM MALET. 97
(1068), in which year Mulct was rewarded with the
shrievalty of Yorkshire, and large grants of land in
the county. He was in York the following year, and
governor of the castle (newly built by the Conqueror)
when it was besieged by the Northumbrians, led by
the Saxon prince Edgar. The citizens having joined
the insurgents, William Malet, sorely pressed, sent to
the King for assistance, without which he assured
him he should be compelled to surrender. The King
arrived with a powerful force in time to raise the
siege and take fearful vengeance on the besiegers,
as well as on the city and its inhabitants. Again,
with Gilbert de Ghent he was in command in
York when the Danes assaulted it in 1069 arid in con-
junction with the Earls Waltheof and Gospatric burnt
the city, slew three thousand Normans, and took
prisoners Gilbert de Ghent and William Malet, with
his wife and two of their children.
How long he remained in captivity does not appear,
nor where or at what time or under what circum-
stances he died. Lucia, widow of Koger Fitz Gerald,
and subsequently Countess of Chester, is stated, in a
grant of King Henry IL, to have been niece of Robert
Malet and of Alan of Lincoln ; and this Robert is
said to have been the son of a William Malet, slain
in 1069. the period at which our William Malet was
98 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
taken prisoner at York. Another William Malet, set
down as the son of Hesilia Crispin, died an old man
in the Abbey of Bee ; but there is no identifying either
with the companion of the Conqueror, though each
has a claim to the distinction, for our William, the
sheriff of Yorkshire and compere of Harold, certainly
had a son and heir named Robert, and a sister of
William Crispin, named Hesilia, is variously asserted
to have been the mother or wife of the William Malet
who fought at Senlac.
He was a witness to a charter of King William to
the Church of St. Martin-le-Grand in London, and is
therein styled " Princeps." He also gave Conteville
in Normandy to the Abbey of Bee,* which indicates
some connection with Herluin and Herleve. How came
he possessed of Conteville ? We know r that Herluin
had been previously married, and had by his first wife
a son named Ralf. Was that first wife an English-
woman, and had she a second son named William,
heir eventually to Conteville ? Glover, in his invalu-
able collections, has jotted down the subscribing
witnesses to a charter by a Gilbert Malet, who styles
himself "Dapifer Regis," and we find amongst them
William Malet, his heir "hserede meo," Robert, and
* "De dono Gulielmi Malet manerium de Conteville cum ecclesia
et omnibus ejusdem ecclesise et manerii pertinentiis suis" (Neustria
Pia, p. 484).
WILLIAM DE VIEUXPONT. 99
Kalph, brothers of William, and another William,
grandson or nephew of the grantor (" nepote meo ").
Unfortunately it is without date ; but I am inclined
to consider Gilbert a brother of the sheriff, and the
William he calls his nephew, the youngest of the
two sons of the sheriff, who were taken prisoners with
him at York ; the other being Robert, who succeeded
him, obtained the honour of Eye in Suffolk, and
at the compilation of Domesday was found to
possess two hundred and sixty-eight manors in
England, Eye being the chief. His father was then
dead, and that is all we at present know for a cer-
tainty. If not slain in 1069, he might well be the
old man who died in the Abbey of Bee, to which he
was a benefactor, for we have no means of guessing
his [age at the time of the invasion. The smallest
contribution to his history would be gratefully
WILLIAM DE VIEUXPONT.
The combatant at Senlac who with the Sire de
Montfort saved the life of William Malet, as described
in the preceding memoir, is named by Wace, who
records the incident, " William." M. le PreVost says,
authoritatively, that it was Robert de Vieuxpont, and
he is followed by Mr. Taylor, who produces no evidence
100 THE COXQUEEOE AND HIS COMPANIONS.
in corroboration of the assertion of the learned
antiquary whose opinion he has adopted, and which
appears to have been formed not upon any contempo-
rary documents, but from the simple fact of a Eobert
de Vieuxpont, or Vipount, as it became anglicised,
having been sent in 1073 to Normandy, to the assist-
ance of Jean de la Fleche, as stated by Orderic (lib. iv.
cap. 13) ; but the existence of a Eobert de Vieuxpont
in 1073 does not convince me that there was not a
William, lord of Vieuxpont, at Hastings in 1 066. Wace,
it is true, cannot be implicitly depended upon for the
baptismal names of the personages he mentions as
taking part in the great battle ; and M. le Prevost
has in two or three instances made some valuable
corrections of his text on good and sufficient authority ;
but in this case he cites none in support of his assertion,
and therefore, with great respect for his opinion, I
venture to differ from him and accept Wace's account,
which is uncontradicted by anything within my know-
ledge, and has great probability in its favour.
William and Eobert were favourite names in the
family, supposed to have its origin in Vieuxpont-en-
Ange, in the arrondissement of Lisieux ; and in 1131
there was a William de Vipount, apparently a son of
the Eobert aforesaid, who claimed certain lands in
Devonshire, and agreed that his right to them should
WILLIAM DE VIEUXPONT. 101
be determined by a trial by battle. A Robert de
Vieuxpont, probably his brother, was with the Cru-
saders at Sardonas, near Antioch, in 1 1 1 1 ; and in the
4th of John (1203) we have another William obtaining
the King's precept to the Steward of Normandy, to
have a full possession of the lordship of Vipount in
that duchy, as Robert de Vipount, his brother, had
when he went into France after the war.
All these Williams and Roberts are mixed up to-
gether by Dugdale. in the most inextricable confusion.
It is not my duty here to attempt the task of identi-
fying and affiliating them, and they are only men-
tioned in order to explain my reason for believing
that the first Robert we hear of had a brother or per-
haps a father named William, who was the companion
of the Conqueror mentioned by Wace, a belief which
does not preclude the possibility of Robert's presence
at Hastings also.
As we hear no more of William after his rescue of
William Malet, it is probable that he died previous to
1073, and may indeed have been killed at Senlac ; for
it is a singular fact that only three Normans of note
are named as having faUen in that battle, although
hundreds must have done so. That we have no list
of the killed and wounded in the Saxon army is not
surprising, but that none of the Norman writers should
102 THE CONQUEROK AND HIS COMPANIONS.
have thought fit to perpetuate the memories of the
noble and gallant knights who perished in that me-
morable conflict is to me most surprising.
The first Robert is said by Orderic to have been
killed at the siege of St. Suzanne in 1085 ; but M. le
Prevost quotes a charter of Henry I. in favour of
the Abbey of St. Pierre-sur-Dive, which records his
having become a monk in that house.
We hear nothing of the wives of the first Vipounts,
nor by what means they became possessed of the lands
they held in England, but great accessions of honours
and estates^were acquired in the reign of King John
by a Robert de Vipount, w T ho~was high in favour with
that sovereign, and had custody of the unfortunate
Prince Arthur, taken prisoner in the battle of Miravelt,
for his services in which Robert had a grant from
the King of the castle and barony of Appleby; and,
adhering strictly to John during the whole of his
reign, is ranked by Matthew Paris, with a brother
named Ivo, amongst the King's wicked counsellors.
This Robert's mother we find was Maude, daughter
of Hugh de Moreville, of Kirk Anvald, county Cum-
berland, who gave divers lands in Westmoreland to
the Abbey of Shap, but of which previous Robert or
William she was the wife does not appear. Her son,
the favourite of King John married Idonea, daughter
WILLIAM DE VIEUXPONT. 103
of John de Builly, lord of the honor of Tickhill, of
which, with all the lands and chattels of his father-in-
law, he had livery in 1114, and died in 1228 (12th of
Henry III.), being then notwithstanding his great
revenues, the wealth he had amassed by rapine and
plunder during the civil wars, and the emoluments
derived from the various offices he held, amongst
others those of a justice itinerant in the county of York
and one of the justices of the Court of Common Pleas
indebted to the King in the sum of 1997Z. 11 s. 6d.,
besides five great horses of price for five tuns of wine,
which debt was not paid off many years after.
The male line of these Vipounts terminated in the
grandson of this Robert, who was slain, as it would
seem, in the battle of Evesham, on the side of the
rebellious barons under Simon de Montfort, A.D. 1261,
when his lands were seized by the King, but were sub-
sequently restored to his two daughters and co-heirs,
Isabella and Idonea; the former of whom married Roger
de Clifford and the latter Roger de Leybourne, after
whose death she re-married with John de Cromwell.
Through the match with Clifford the Castle of Appleby
and other estates in Westmoreland and Cumberland
passed into the family of the Tuftons, Earls of Thanet,
and are at present in the possession of Sir Henry
104 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
We have already heard of a Kaoul Taisson, Lord of
Cingueleiz, at the battle of Val-es-Dunes in 1047 ;
descended, it is supposed, from the Counts of Anjou,
and the founder of the Abbey of Fontenay. Three
Lords of Cingueleiz were so named in succession
during the time of the Conqueror. ' The " Eaol
Teisson " mentioned by Wace as present at Hastings,
is presumed to have been the second, and the son of
the combatant at Val-es-Dunes.
The name of " Kodulfi Taisson," the father, is
appended to the foundation charter of the Priory of
Sigi by Hugh de Gournay before 1035, the other
witnesses being Neel the Viscount, Geoffrey the
Viscount, William the Count, son of the glorious
Robert, Duke of the Normans, and William, " Magistri
Comitis," whoever he may be. After Val-es-Dunes we
find him summoned by the Duke to his aid on the
invasion of the French in 1054. He is not named in
any account of the battle of Mortemer, and was there-
fore most probably with the Duke himself.
His son, Raoul Taisson II., followed him to Hastings.
He is presumed to have been killed in the battle, as no
more is known about him, nor of any of his descend-
ants in England, although for some time nourishing
EAOUL TAISSON. 103
in Normandy, and M. le Prevost speaks of an opu-
lent family existing in France, which claims a descent
from the Norman Lords of Cingucleiz.
This Raoul Taisson, the second of the name, married
Matilda, daughter of Walter the uncle of King
William, who had so carefully watched over his child-
hood. Both she and her father are subscribing wit-
nesses to the foundation charter of the Abbey of
Fontenay, the lady describing herself most explicitly
as " Mathildis filia Gualteri avunculo Gulielmi Regis
Anglorum." She was, therefore, a first cousin of
the Conqueror ; but what was the worldly estate of
her father Walter does not appear, nor who was the
mother of the said Matilda. By her, however, Raoul
had a son Jordan and a daughter Letitia,* in whose
fortunes we are less interested than in those of their
mother and grandfather, some knowledge of which
would be invaluable as illustrating a branch of the
Conqueror's family which has been singularly
neglected by chroniclers and genealogists botk past
and present, the few facts discovered by the late
Mr. Stapleton only whetting our appetite for more.
From the period of the accession of the boy William
* Jordan Taisson married one of the daughters of the last Neil de
St. Sauveur (Hardy's Rot. Nona. 16) ; her name, according to M. de
Gerville, was Letitia.
106 THE CONQUEEOE AND HIS COMPANIONS.
to that of the foundation of the Abbey of Fontenay,
we hear nothing of uncle Walter but what his dying
nephew relates respecting his care of him when a
The marriage of his daughter Matilda with so im-
portant and wealthy a person as Raoul Taisson, Sire de
Cingueleiz, indicates that Walter held some rank and
possessions in Normandy at that period, although they
have never been specified.
Who was Walter de Falaise, father of an un-
doubted companion of the Conqueror, of whom I will
next speak in order to continue this inquiry ; namely,
WILLIAM DE MOULINS.
William, Lord of Moulins-la-Marche, arrondissement
of Mortagne, is mentioned by Wace as one of the
combatants at Senlac
" E dam Willame des Molins " (Rvm. de Rou, 1. 13,565) ;
but neither Le Prevost nor Taylor enlightens us as to
his pedigree, the latter merely describing him as the
son of Walter of Falaise, as we already knew from
Orderic, who is silent respecting the family of his
father and his mother. In the absence of any infor-
mation on the subject, I am strongly inclined to
believe that this Walter of Falaise was the Walter
son of Fulbert the burgess of Falaise, brother of
WILLIAM DE MOULINS. 107
Herleve and uncle of William the Conqueror, who
with his daughter Matilda, wife of Raoul Taisson, wit-
nessed the foundation charter of Fontenay as already
The title of De Moulins, borne by the son of Walter
de Falaise, was obtained by him through his marriage
with Alberede or Albrede, daughter and heir of a
certain Guitmund, whose hand was bestowed by the
Conqueror on William, with the whole of her father's
fief of Molines, in reward of his services either at
Senlac or elsewhere, he being, as Orderic informs us,
" a gallant soldier."
In conjunction with his wife Alberede he was a
great benefactor to the Abbey of St. Evroult, bestow-
ing on it the Church of Mahern, with the titles and all
the priest's lands and the cemetery belonging to it,
the Church of St. Lawrence in the town of Moulines,
and his demesne land near the castle, and the Church
of Bonmoulines, with all the tithes of corn, the mill,
and the oven.
In 1073 he was sent by King William, in company
with William de Vieuxpont and other brave knights,
to the assistance of John de la Fleche against Fulk le
Rechin (the Quarreller), Count of Anjou, and his ally,
Hoel V., Duke of Brittany, following himself with a
large army ; but serious hostilities were prevented by
108 THE CONQUEEOR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
a mediation which terminated in the Peace of Blanch e-
lande (vol. i., p. 198).
After Albrcda had borne him two sons, William and
Robert, it appears he divorced her on the plea of con-
sanguinity. This may afford us some clue to the
William married secondly Duda, daughter of Wal-
cran de Meulent, by whom also he had two sons, Simon
and Hugh, who were both cut off by a cruel death,
Orderic informs us, leaving no issue.* The divorced
Albreda ended her days in a nunnery.
The same author, describing William de Moulines,
says " he was too fond of vain and empty glory, in
pursuit of which he was guilty of indiscriminate
slaughter. It is reported that he shed much blood,
and that his ferocity was so great that every blow he
dealt was fatal. Through prosperity and adversity he
lived to grow old, and, so far as this world is concerned,
passed his days in honour. Dying at length in his
own castle, he was buried in the chapter-house of
His son and successor, Robert, fell under the dis-
pleasure of Henry I., was banished, and with his wife
Agnes, daughter of Robert de Grentmesnil, went to
Apulia, where he died ; his brother Simon succeeded
* Hugh was drowned in the wreck of " the White Ship."
HUGH DE GOURNAY. 109
to his inheritance, and with his wife Adeline ,con-
firmed all the gifts of his family to St. Evroult. He
was probably personally known to Orderic, who evi-
dently knew more of Guitmond and his sons-in-law
than he has unfortunately thought it necessary to
HUGH DE GOUENAY.
" Le viel Hue de Gournai " may well have de-
served that venerable distinction in the year 1066,
since the same writer has bestowed it upon him in
1054, when he was one of the commanders in the
sanguinary battle of Mortemer (vide vol. i., p. 234), and
is even then spoken of as " De Gornai le viel Huon."
Moreover, he is presumed by M. de Gondeville, the
historian of the family, to be identical with the " Hugo
Miles " who authorised the gift of the land of Calvel-
ville to the Abbey of Montvilliers by William the
Count, son of Robert Duke of Normandy, which he
considers must have been before the death of Robert
in 1035. Allowing, however, that he was of full age
as early even as 1030, though children scarcely in
their teens were accustomed to witness charters when
they had a contingent interest in the property be-
stowed, still, admitting he was one-and-twenty at
that date, he would not have been sixty at the time of
110 THE CONQUEEOE AND HIS COMPANIONS.
the Conquest, and though fairly to be described as an
old man, the term " le viel " may be held to signify
simply " the senior," as it appears that there were
three of the family of Gournay present at Hastings,
viz., Hue de Gournay, the Sire de Brai le Comte, and
the Seigneur de Gournay.
Hugh de Gournay, the second of that name, would
be the Seigneur de Gournay at that period, and Hue
de Gournay his son the third of the name, who
married Basilia, daughter of Gerrard Flaitel, sister of
the wife of "Walter Giffard, 1st Earl of Buckingham,
and widow of Kaoul de Gacd Hugh, his father,
Seigneur de Gournay, is described by Wace as being
accompanied at Senlac by a strong force of his men of
Brai, and doing much execution on the English.
He is said by the Norman chroniclers to have been
mortally wounded in a battle at Cardiff in 1074, and
carried to Normandy, where he died. There is,
however, considerable doubt about their account of
this battle, as it is clear that several persons said to
have been engaged or slain in it were either deceased
long prior to it, or could not possibly have been
present ; but more of that anon.
The first of the family of Gournay is presumed to
have been a follower of Kalf or Kollo, to whom, after
the settlement of the Norsemen in Neustria, was
HUGH DE GOUENAY. Ill
allotted part of the district of Le Brai, the principal
places in which were Gournay, La Ferte', Lions, Charle-
val, and Fleury.
La Fert^ was assigned to a younger branch of the
house of Gournay before the Conquest. Hugh, the son
of Eudes, is reported to have been the first to make
Gournay a place of strength. The ancient records of
the family ascribe to him the erection of a citadel
surrounded by a triple wall and fosse, and further
secured by a tower named after him, " La Tour Hue,"
which was standing as late as the beginning of the
17th century. Such was the reputed strength of
this fortress that a rhyming chronicler (William de
Brito) declares it was able to resist a hostile attack
undefended by a single soldier. A description magni-
ficent enough to take rank amongst the most amusing
exaggerations of our transatlantic brethren.
Hugh was succeeded by a Renaud de Gournay, the
first of the family mentioned in any charter, who by
his wife Alberada had two sons, Hugh and Gautier,
the elder becoming Lord of Gournay, and the younger
of La Fertd-en-Brai, of which he founded the Priory
circa 990, by command or request of his brother
Hugh, and for the health of the souls of Renaud and
Alberada, their father and mother.
This division of the great fief was according to a
112 THE CONQUEKOK AND HIS COMPANIONS.
Norman custom called Paragium, from the younger
son being put " pari conditione " with the elder. The
old " Coutume de Normandie " gives this definition of
it : "La tenure par parage est quand cil qui tient et
cil de qui il tient sont pers es parties de 1'heritages qui
descend de leurs ancesseurs." The younger son in
such case was not the feudal vassal of the elder, but
held his portion of the fief by equal tenure, the elder,
however, doing homage to the over-lord for the whole
fief to the seventh generation, when all affinity was
supposed to cease.
I have made this little digression, because I consider
such explanations of ancient customs most important
to readers of history, as accounting for acts and
circumstances otherwise inexplicable or liable to mis-
interpretation and confusion, as in the instance I have
already pointed out in my notice of Aimeri de Thouars
(vol. i., p. 242).
Hugh II., Seigneur de Gournay, most probably the
son of the former Hugh, is the personage I have
already mentioned as believed to be " the -old Hue "
of Wace's Chronicle, and the Hugo Miles who autho-
rised the gift of the land of Calvelville to the Abbey
of Montvilliers by William while Count of the
Mr. Daniel Gurney, in the first volume of his sump-
HUGH DE GOUKNAY. 113
tuous work, " The Record of the House of Gournay,"
remarks in his notice of this charter that Calvelville, it
seems likely, is the modern Conteville, so called from
this donation by William the Count. If there were
any facts to be adduced in support of this otherwise
mere fancy, they would be very important, inasmuch
as they would enlighten us respecting the parentage
and position of Herluin de Conteville, whose name has
been preserved to us from the accident of his being
" le mari de sa femme." Beatrice, Abbess of Mont-
villiers, was aunt to Robert Duke of Normandy,
William's father, and William Malet, as we have
seen, had power to give Conteville to the Abbey of
This second Hugh was one of the Norman leaders
of the fleet of forty ships which accompanied Edward
the Saxon Prince, son of King Ethelred, to England
in 1035, when, on the death of Knute, he made an
attempt to recover the kingdom. The expedition
sailed from Barfleur, and landed at Southampton, but
was ill recaived by the English, who had espoused the
cause of Harold Harefoot. Edward, seeing the dis-
position of the country, returned with his fleet to
Barfleur, more fortunate than his brother Alfred, who,
at the same time making a descent on Dover, was
taken prisoner by Earl Godwin, confined in the
VOL. II. I
114 THE CONQUEEOR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
Monastery of Ely, had his eyes put out, and died
Subsequently we find Hugh de Gournay, one of the
victors in the battle of Mortemer, A.D. 1054, and
finally at Hastings in 1066, in company with his son
Hugh, and his relative, the " Sire de Brai," a title by
which the latter Hugh was distinguished in some
rolls, and may in this instance have been appropriated
to his son Gerrard. I have already alluded to the
reported death of the elder Hugh from wounds
received in the mysterious battle of Cardiff, A.D. 1074,
and will give my reasons for discrediting that account.
By Monsieur le Prevost he is said to have become a
monk at Bee ; but it is suggested that the Hugh de
Gournay recorded to have done so, was his son
Hugh, third husband of Basilia Flaitel, who also
retired from the world, and ended her days there,
together with her niece Anfride, and Eva, wife of
The Sire de la Ferte mentioned by Wace (Rom. de
Ron, 1. 13,710) was not one of the Gournay family, the
last of that branch, lords of La Ferte-en-Bray, having
died without issue a monk in the Abbey of St. Ouen
at Eouen previous to the invasion.
And now for a word or two about the battle of
Cardiff. Mr. Daniel Gurney had his attention drawn to
HUGH DE GOUENAY. 115
this subject by the inclusion of the name of Hugh de
Gournay amongst the personages connected with it,
and following a French account in "L'Histoire et
Chronique de Normandie," printed at Rouen by
Megissier in 1610, he very naturally questioned the
fact of there ever having been such a battle at Cardiff
Having had occasion to examine this subject upon
other grounds some years ago, I went deeper into it
than my amiable friend had done, and believe I dis-
covered a substratum of truth on which a story irre-
concilable with established facts had been constructed.
The Norman Chronicle describes the battle as
having occurred in 1074, during the lifetime of the
Conqueror, and states that the Danes were met by
" Guilhaume le fils Auber " (who was slain in Flanders
in 1071), Guilhaume le Roux, the King's son (at that
time a boy of fourteen), Roger de Montgomeri, Hue
de Mortemer, and the Comte de Vennes ; that the
Normans were victorious, but suffered great loss.
That " Guilhaume le Roux was taken prisoner ; " that
"Arnoult de Harcourt," "Roger de Montgomeri,"
" Neil le Vicomte," " Guilhaume le fils Auber," and
many others were killed and buried on the spot, and
" Hue de Gournay " and the " Comte d'Evreux " were
carried, desperately wounded, into Normandy, where
116 THE COXQUEEOE AND HIS COMPANIONS.
they died soon afterwards ; winding up with the infor-
mation that Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, and the Comte
de Vennes retired after the battle with the remainder
of their forces to Caerleon.
That this account is a jumble of two or three
separate actions is evident from the names introduced
in it. The Comte de Vennes was Count Brian of
Brittany, who defeated the two sons of Harold and
their Irish allies in 1069. Odo, Bishop of Bayeux,
was in arms against the Earls of Norfolk and Here-
ford in 1074, and the battle of Cardiff, according to
the Welsh Chronicler, was fought some twenty years
later, when " Guilhaume le Eoux " was king, and had
been lying sick at Gloucester.
In Dr. Powell's continuation of Humphrey Lloyd's
description of Wales, translated from the Welsh, and
published in 1584, it is recorded under the date of
1094 : "About this time Roger Montgomery, Earl of
Salop and Arundell, William Fitz-Eustace, Earl of
Gloucester, Arnold de Harcourt and Neale le Vicount
were slain between Cardiff and Brecknock by the
Welshmen ; also Walter Evereux, Earl of Sarum,
and Hugh Earl Gourney were there hurt, and died
after in Normandy"
That the French account is a garbled version of the
above is obvious on comparison of the names and
IIUGII DE GOUENAY. 117
words I have put in italics with those in the
"Chronique de Normandie," where they are almost
literally translated ; but William Fitz Eustace trans-
formed into William Fitz Osbern, and Walter Evreux
into the Comte d' Evreux.
Mr. Gurney, who appears not to have known of
this curious record, sufHcicutly demolished the French
account by comparing the dates of the deaths of the
combatants with that given of the battle, and a
similar test applied to the Welsh one elicits the im-
portant fact, that of the three well-known individuals
who are named as having fallen in the battle of
Cardiff, or died in Normandy from the wounds they
received in it, nothing whatever is recorded which can
fairly be said to invalidate the statement. None are
known to have survived that period, and their deaths
arc not accounted for in any other manner.
Roger de Montgomeri, the most important person
of the group, was, as I have already shown, buried
at that precise date, the cause of death not being
Monsieur de Gerville in his notice of the Lords of
Nehou mentions the report that Neel Vicomte de
Saint-Sauveur was killed at Cardiff in 1074, but
corrects the date, and says he died in 1092, and
that Geoffrey de Mowbray buried him at Coutances,
118 THE CONQUEEOE AND HIS COMPANIONS.
confounding him with his successor. As for Hugh
de Gournay, in whom at this moment we are more
specially interested, the last we hear of him is that he
became a monk in Normandy, where he died some
time after 1085 ; but nothing is positively known
how long after, or what was the cause of his death,
and the assertion that he " was hurt " at Cardiff,
" and died after in Normandy," is quite reconcilable
with the fact, if it be one, that he became a monk
there, as it was a common practice in those days for a
warrior to assume the monastic habit even in articulo
mortis ; and the same observation applies to Roger de
Montgomeri, who died a monk at Shrewsbury in
Of Arnould de Harcourt, named in both accounts,
I have found nothing to affect the question either
way, and we have therefore only Walter Evreux,
Earl of Sarum, and William Fitz Eustace, Earl of
Gloucester, to dispose of.
That there is evidence of the existence of a William
Fitz Eustace, probably a son of Eustace, Count of
Boulogne, I demonstrated some years ago at
Cirencester.* That there ever was a Walter
* Vide William of Tyre. Bohcmond, Prince of Antioch, in a letter
to his brother Eoger, mentions another son of Eustace named Hugo.
Sir H. Ellis, in his Introduction to Domesday, also mentions a charter
of William, the son of Eustace, in the British Museum.
HUGH DE GOUENAY. 119
Evreux, Earl of Sarum, is still an open question,
which I am not warranted in discussing here. We
know Hugh was not Earl of Gournay ; but that does
not destroy his identity. In the absence of any posi-
tive authority, the simple statement of the Welsh
Chronicler, uncontradicted in any important point, and
throwing a light upon several obscure points of his-
tory and biography, deserves respectful consideration.
Although recorded under the year 1094, it does not
fix the precise date of the battle. The words are
" about this time!' There is nothing, therefore, to
prevent our considering it to have been fought in
1092, or before March, 1093, which would reconcile
every apparent discrepancy.
WILLIAM DE MOHUN.
EUDO AL CHAPEL.
FULK D AUNOU.
RICHARD DE NEVIL.
WILLIAM DE MOHUN.
THIS ancestor of the first Earls of Somerset is named
by AVace amongst the Norman barons at Senlac, but
simply as " le Viel Willame cle Moion " (Rom. de Rou,
1. 13,620). Deriving his name from a vill three
leagues south of St. L6, where the remains of the
castle were recently to be seen, all we learn of him
from the rhyming chronicler is that he had with him
many companions, " ont avec li maint compagnon ; "
but if we were to give any credit to a list handed down
to us by Leland (" Collectanea de Rebus Britannicis,"
Ed. Hearne, vol. i., p. 202), he had a following worthy
of an emperor, and deserved the description bestowed
upon him by the writer, viz., " le plus noble de tout
1'oste." This William de Moion, he tells us, had in his
train all the great lords following, as it is written in
WILLIAM DE MOHUN. 121
the book of the Conquerors. " To wit : Eaoul Taisson
dc Cingueleiz, Roger Marmion le Viel, Monsieur Nel
de Sein Saviour, Raoul de Gail, who was a Breton,
Avenel de Giars, Hubert Paignel, Robert Ber-
thram, Raol the Archer de Va 1 , and the Sire de Bricoil,
the Sires de Sole and de Sereval, the Sires de St. Jean
and de Breal, the Sire de Breus and two hundred of his
men, the Sires de St. Sen and the Sires de Cuallic, the
Sires de Cenullie and the Sire de Basqueville, the Sires
de Praels and the Sires de Souiz, the Sires de Saiiitels
and the Sires de Vieutz Moley, the Sires de Monceals
and the Sires de Pacie, the seneschals of Corcye and
the Sires de Lacye, the Sires de Gacre and the Sires de
Soillie, the Sires de Sacre, the Sires de Vaacre, the Sires
de Torneor, and the Sires de Praerers, William de
Columbieres and Gilbert Dasmeres le Veil, the Sires
of Chaaiones, the Sires of Coismicrcs le Veil, Hugh de
Bullebek, Richard Orbec, the Sires of Bonesboz and
the Sires de Sap, the Sires de Gloz and the Sires de
Tregoz, the Sires de Monfichet and Hugh Bigot, the
Sires de Vitrie and the Sires Durmie, the Sires de
Moubrai and the Sires de Saie, the Sires de la Fert and
the Sire Boteuilam, the Sire Troselet and William
Patrick de la Lande, Monsieur Hugh de Mortimer and
the Sires Damyler, the Sires de Dunebek and the
Sires de St. Clere and Robert Fitz-Herveis, who was
122 THE CONQUEKOR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
killed in the battle." And this astounding catalogue
is wound up by the repeated assurance that " all the
above-named seigneurs were in the retinue of Monsier
de Moion as aforesaid."
I have copied the list in order that whoever pleases
may satisfy himself, as I have done, respecting its
origin. It is in fact nothing more nor less than
a copy of all the names mentioned in the "Roman
de Rou," from line 13,621 to line 13,761, just as they
follow each other in the poem ; and the assertion that
all these noble Normans were "a la retennaunce de
Monsier Moion/' resulted from the curious blunder
of the copyist, who considered the lines
" Le Viel Willame de Moion
Ont avec li maint compagnon,"
had reference to the knights and barons named imme-
diately afterwards, all of whom he pressed into the
service, and would no doubt have included half the
army if an unmistakable full stop and change of
subject had not pulled him up short with the death of
Robert Fitz Erneis, which he writes incorrectly
Herveis. This expose' is necessary to prevent any
one from imagining that this list is extracted from
some independent authority. "Le livre des Con-
querors " turns out to be " Le Roman de Rou."
The services of " Monsier de Moion " were, however,
WILLIAM DE MOIIUN. 123
sufficiently appreciated to obtain for him the grant
of the lordships of Clchangre, in the county of
Devon, and Button, in the county of Wilts, with
fifty-five others in the county of Somerset ; Dunster
Castle being apparently his caput baronise and prin-
cipal residence, near which he founded a priory and
made it a cell to that at Bath, giving to it the Church
of St. George in Dunster, as also the lordship of
Alcombe, with the tithes of all his vineyards and
arable lauds at Dunster and Karampton.
Of his age at the time of the Conquest we have no
means of judging. As I have previously remarked,
the epithet " le Viel" may simply signify " the elder,"
and not imply " old " in the fullest sense of the word.
Writing in the time of his sou, Wace would natu-
rally so distinguish him. We do so in similar cases
in the present day. He appears to have survived the
Conqueror, and was buried in the Priory of Bath. Of
his parentage we are equally ignorant. For all I
know, he may have been descended from one of the
same family as Kaoul, surnamed Mouin, the reported
assassin of Robert, the Conqueror's father; for the
name is spelt indifferently Moion, Moun, and Moyne.
By his wife, whoever she may have been, he had a
son named after him ; and his son, a third William,
was the first Earl of Somerset. In his foundation
124 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
charter of the priory at Bruton he distinctly calls
himself "Willielmus cle Moyne, comes Somerset-
ensis." From the time of the Conquest to that of
this Earl, history is silent respecting the deeds of the
EUDO AL CHAPEL.
There are some doubts as to whom Wace alludes as
" le Sire de la Haie," whom he describes as charging
impetuously at Senlac, neither sparing nor pitying
any, dealing death on all he encountered, inflicting
wounds which no skill could cure.
Eudo, or, as Wace calls him in a previous portion
of his Eoman, Iwun al Chapel, was the eldest son
of Turstain Haldub (Halduc, and Haralduc as it
is indifferently written) by Emma or Anna his wife,
and subscribes himself " Eudo Haldub " in a charter
A.D. 1074. At the time of the Conquest he was head
of the house of Haie-du-Puits, in the Cotentin,
near the Abbey of 1'Essay, founded by Turstain (also
called Richard) his father.
Eudo married Muriel, a daughter of Heiiuin de
Conteville and Herleve, and sister of the half blood
to the Conqueror, who we have seen summoned him
to attend the family council held previous to the
general assembly at Lillebonne in 1066, together with
ETJDO AL CHAPEL.
Eudo's brothers-in-law, Bishop Oclo and Robert Comte
de Mortain (vol. i., p. 51). It can scarcely be doubted,
therefore, that he accompanied them to England, and
was present in the battle. Mr. Taylor inclines to the
opinion of M. le Prevost, that the Sire de la Haie of
AVace was Ralph de la Haie, seneschal at that period
to Robert Comte de Mortain, and it is of course
probable that he might have followed his lord to Eng-
land ; but Robert de la Haie, son of the above Ralph,
only became Lord of Halnac in Sussex by gift of King
Henry L, and the confusion between Eudo al Chapel
and Eudo Dapifer, son of Hubert de Rie, which com-
menced with Orderic, has not been cleared up by
either the French or the English annotators of Wace.
Mr. Stapleton, however, in his Notes on the Norman
Rolls of the Exchequer, has adduced evidence that
dissipates the doubts expressed by Mr. Taylor respect-
ing the precise way in which the Haies succeeded to
Eudo cum Capello. Robert, son of Ralph de la
Haie, Dapifer to Robert Count of Mortain, married
Muriel, the daughter and heir of Eudo. The charter
quoted by Mr. Taylor from Gallia Christiana, which
describes Robert de Haie, sou of Ralph, seneschal to
Robert Comte de Mortain, as the grandson (nepos)
of Eudo, Dapifer to King William, has contributed
to the confusion, as Robert de Haie was son-in-law to
126 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
Eudo al Chapel, Dapifer to William Duke of Nor-
mandy, and in no way appears related to Eudo, son
of Hubert de Rie, Dapifer to the King of England,
with whom it seems to have been his fate to be con-
Kobert's mother, wife of Ealph, appears to have
been Oliva, a daughter of William de Albini Pincerna,
the second of that name.
There is no satisfactory evidence of this celebrated
Norman having fought at Senlac, although it has
been suggested that Wace may have designated him
as the Sire de Preaux " Gil de Praels," of which
Eudo was undoubtedly possessed in 1070. M. le
Provost, therefore, who himself furnishes us with this
information, for which he acknowledges his obligation
to M. Renault, is rather inconsistent in at the same
time charging the poor poet with " a gross ana-
chronism," on the ground that the house of Preaux
was a junior branch of the family of Cailli, which had
only just been detached from it at the period Wace
wrote, A.D. 1160; for if the evidence ("titre") dis-
covered by M. He'nault be trustworthy, Eudo Sire de
Pre*aux in 1070 may well have been so four years
previously, and at any rate we know that he died in
EUDO DAPIFER. 127
his Castle of Pre'aux in 1120, which is of itself a
sufficient answer to M. le Prevost's objection, and as
he himself records that fact, his note on the subject *
But to our memoir. This Eudo was the fourth son
of Hubert de Hie, the loyal vassal who saved the life
of Duke William in his flight from Valognes by
mounting him on a fresh horse, and misleading his
pursuers, who were close upon his heels (vide vol. i.,
p. 23). Three of Hubert's four sons were directed by
him to escort the Duke, and not leave him till he was
safe in Falaise. Whether Eudo was one of the three
we know not, as Orderic does not name them ; but as
they must all have been young at that time, and Eudo
the youngest of the four, it is probable that Ralph,
Hubert, and Adam were the guides and guardians
of their youthful prince, themselves not much his
Whether all four were in the Conqueror's army we
have at present no means of ascertaining, but we find
them all in England, and, if we may trust our
authority, their father also immediately after William
was possessed of the crown. |
* Roman de Eou. Tom. ii., p. 250.
\ History of the foundation of St. Peter's, Colchester. Cotton, MS.
Nero, D 8.
128 THE CONQUEEOE, AND HIS COMPANIONS.
The account from which we derive it is rather
apocryphal. In the time of King Edward the
Confessor, we are told, Hubert de Kie, a trusty
servant to William Duke of Normandy, being by him
sent on a mission to that king when he lay on his
death-bed, came with a pompous equipage* into
England, and after conference with King Edward,
returned to the Duke with certain tokens by which he
was declared by that King his heir to the crown of
this realm, viz., a sword, in the belt whereof were
enclosed the relics of some saints, a hunter's horn of
gold and the head of a mighty stag, for which service
the Duke promised Hubert he should be steward of his
But, continues the writer, when Duke William had
got the crown, fearing that disturbances might arise in
Normandy, and well weighing the sagacity in counsel
and dexterity in action of this Hubert, he sent him
thither to have an eye to that danger, and soon after
him his sons Ralph, whom he had made Castellan of
Nottingham, Hubert, governor of the Castle of
Norwich, and Adam, to whom he had given large
possessions in Kent ; the which Adam was first
* " Cum pompa magna, equis phaleratis et frematu terribilibus,
hominibus serico indutis et colore vestrum spectabilis." Such an
embassy would scarcely have escaped the notice of the Saxon
appointed by the King to be one of the commissioners
for the compilation of the great survey, 1085.
But Eudo, the fourth son, continuing here in King
William's service, obtained from him divers lordships
in sundry counties, viz., in Essex twenty-five, in
Hertfordshire seven, in Berkshire one, in Bedfordshire
twelve, in Norfolk nine, and in Suffolk ten ; and
personally attending the court it so happened that
William Fitz Osbern, then steward of the household,
had set before the King the flesh of a crane scarce half
roasted, whereat the King took such offence as that he
lifted up his fist and had stricken him fiercely but
that Eudo bore (warded off) the blow. Whereupon
Fitz Osbern grew so displeased as that he quitted his
office, desiring that Eudo might have it. To which
request the King, as well for his father Hubert's
demerits and his own, at the desire of Fitz Osbern
readily yielded. Of this story, which I have quoted
nearly verbatim from Dugdale,* my readers may
believe as little as they please respecting the embassy of
Hubert to England, and the gifts and bequest of Edward
the Confessor, which if true would not have been kept
secret by William, whose special interest it was to pro-
mulgate the dying declaration of the King of England.
* Baronage, vol. i. p. 109. The detailed account is to be found in.
his Monasticon, vol. ii. p. 889.
VOL. n. K
130 THE CONQUEROK AND HIS COMPANIONS.
The anecdote about the ill-roasted crane is not im-
probable, and is at least characteristic, and may have
partly influenced the Conqueror in his decision to send
Fitz Osbern to Normandy in 1070 (vide vol. i. p. 178),
for he could ill spare at any time the personal
attendance of a trustworthy " cousin and councillor,"
like the newly created Earl of Hereford.
It is clear, however, that Eudo became Dapifer after
the departure of the Earl for Normandy, and for
seventeen years enjoyed the favour of his sovereign,
and being in attendance on the dying Conqueror at
Rouen, was mainly instrumental to the securing
of the crown to Rufus, whom he accompanied to
England, and by his representations obtained from
William de Pont arch e the keys of the treasury at
Winchester, wherein the regalia, as well as the
money, was deposited. Thence he hastened to Dover,
.and bound the governor of the castle by a solemn
oath that he would not yield it to any one but by his
Pevensey, Hastings, and other maritime strong-
holds he managed to secure in like manner, pretending
that the King, whose death was still rumoured in
secret, would stay longer in Normandy, and desired to
have good assurances of the safety of his castles in
England from himself, his then steward.
EUDO DAPIFEE. 131
Returning to Winchester he publicly announced
the death of the Conqueror ; so, while the nobles were
consulting together in Normandy respecting the
succession, William II., by Eudo's policy, was pro-
claimed King in England.
His great service was duly appreciated by Rufus, in
whose favour he remained during his whole reign, and
in 1096-7 founded the Church of St. Peter's at
Colchester, he himself laying the first stone, Rohesia,
his wife, the second, and Gilbert Fitz Richard de Clare,
her brother, the third.
On the death of Rufus he was coldly looked upon
by the new King, Henry, who suspected him of being
a partisan of his brother Robert Court-heuse, but sub-
sequently was reconciled to him and visited him when
he was dying in his Castle of Preaux, and advised him
as to the disposition of his temporal estates.
To his Abbey at Colchester, wherein he desired to be
buried, he bequeathed one hundred pounds in money,
his gold ring with a topaz, a standing cup and cover
f adorned with plates of gold, his horse and a mule, and
in addition to the lands he had endowed it with on
its foundation, he bestowed on it his manor of Bright-
His body was brought over to England, and accord-
ing to the desire expressed in his will, buried at
132 THE CONQTJEKOR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
Colchester on the morrow preceding the kalends of
March, 1120 (20th of Henry I.).
By his wife Rohesia, daughter of Eichard Fitz
Gilbert de Clare or de Bienfaite, and Rohesia, only
daughter of Walter Giffard, the first Earl of Bucking-
ham, he left issue one sole daughter and heir, named
Margaret, married to William de Mandeville, and
mother of Geoffrey de Mandeville, first Earl of Essex,
to secure whose services King Stephen and the
Empress Maude appear to have bid against each other
to a fabulous extent. Dying excommunicated for
outrages committed on the monks of Ramsey, his
corpse was carried by some Knights Templars into their
orchard in the Old Temple at London, arrayed in the
habit of the Order, and after being enclosed in lead,
hung on a branch of a tree, where it remained until
absolution being obtained from Pope Alexander, by
the intercession of the Prior of Walden, it was taken
down and privately buried in the porch of the New
Temple, where his efHgy is still to be seen.
" Oil ki ert Sire d'Alnou," another of those Norman
seigneurs Master Wace leaves us to identify, is gene-
rally held to have been Fulk or Foulques, second son
of Baudry le Teuton or Baldric the German, of whom
FULZ D'AUNOU. 133
I have spoken in the memoir of Eichard de Courci
(p. 85), nephew of Fulk, being the son of his brother
Eobert. Fulk, like the rest of his brothers, took
for their surnames those of their fiefs, and Fulk was at
the time of the Conquest Lord of Aunou-le-Faucon, or,
as Mons. le Prevost instructs us we should call it,
" le Foulcon," a designation it had derived from the
repetition of the name of Fulk during several genera-
tions of its ancient possessors. However this may be,
I think it probable that the Fulk d'Aunou at the time
of the Conquest, and of whom there are charters as
late as 1082, was a son of the first Sire d'Aunou, and
a cousin of Richard de Courci and Martel de Bacque-
ville, the son of Nicholas de Bacqueville-en-Caux, the
eldest of Baldric's children, which said Martel is also
included by Wace in his catalogue of the companions
of the Conqueror.
" De Bacqueville i fu Martel." Ram. de Eou, 1. 13,651.
A descendant of this Martel was Dapifer to King
Stephen in 1143 ; but, although we are told by
Orderic that the six sons of Baldric the German
distinguished themselves by their great valour under
Duke William, from whom they received riches and
honours, and left to their heirs vast possessions in
Normandy, not a single feat of arms or important
action of any description is recorded either of them or
134 THE CONQUEKOK AND HIS COMPANIONS.
their sons, two, if not three, of whom were in the army
A Fulcone Claudo is set down in Taylor's List as
having contributed forty vessels to William's fleet
"A Fulcone Claudo xl. naves ; "
but unless Claudo be a clerical error, and we should
read Alnou, I cannot venture to appropriate the gift
to the son of Baldric the Teuton.
Another son of that Baldric was the immediate
ancestor of a family unequalled for fame and power
by any in England. The name of Nevil is one of the
greatest inscribed on the roll of Anglo-Norman
chivalry ; and though not mentioned by Orderic,
Wace, Guillaume de Poitiers, or any other chronicler
in their list of the companions ol the Conqueror, we
cannot, however questionable may be the authority of
the Koll of Battle Abbey, challenge the insertion of it
as one of the proofs of its inaccuracy.
RICHAED DE NEVIL
was the fourth son of Baldric the German, and so
called from his fief of Neuville-sur-Tocque, in the
department of the Orne, the arrondissement of Argen-
tan, and the canton of Gace. The name of his wife
is as yet unknown to us, but she bore to him four
sons, Gilbert, Robert, Richard, and Ralph. Gilbert,
EICHAED DE NEVIL. 135
apparently the eldest, is the " Gilbert Normanus "
traditionally said not only to have come over with
the Conqueror, but to have been the admiral of his
This assertion, apparently first made towards the
close of the fifteenth century, is reported by Leland on
the authority, as he tells us, of " a roulle of the
genealogie of the Erles of Westmoreland," but giving
us no idea of the date of that roll or the authorities
from which it was compiled. At best it can only
be looked upon as a family tradition supported, as Mr.
Drummond appears to think, by the device of a ship
which is to be seen on the seal of his grand-nephew
Henry de Neville, preserved in the Duchy of Lan-
caster Office, and the date of which would be between
1199 and 1216.
My experience in these matters induces me to draw
an inference from this fact directly opposed to that of
Mr. Drummond. It is my belief, founded on the
many analogous examples I have met with in the
course of a tolerably long period passed in such in-
vestigations, that the tradition of Gilbert de Neville
having been an admiral has actually arisen from the
appearance of this ship, which, so far from indicating
any such office, is nothing more than a device alluding
to the family name ; Nef, in the old French language
136 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
signifying a ship, and, therefore, picturing the first
syllable of Nefville, as we find Muscce (flies) upon
the old seals of the Museamps, and hosts of similar
and much farther-fetched canting devices.
Nearly all the strange stories and bold assertions to
be met with in the works of early historical writers are
found upon examination to have originated in an
attempt to account for such concetti, and if Gilbert's
uncle did really contribute so large a contingent as
forty ships to the invading fleet, the supposition in the
present instance seems a very natural one. Monsieur
Leopold de Lisle, one of the ablest antiquaries in
France, has in a recently compiled catalogue which has
been cut in the stone of the western wall of the
Church of Dives, introduced a Richard de Neuville
amongst the followers of William, but no Gilbert ; but
neither by him nor by the Viscount de Magny, who
has printed the list with some additions in his
" Nobiliaire de Normandie," is any authority quoted in
support of the statement, and they have probably so
distinguished him from observing that the first of the
name, and who was a contemporary of Duke William,
was Richard de Novavilla, the father of Gilbert ; but
this Richard had also a son named Richard, and that
some of the sons or nephews of the elder Richard
were present at Hastings is very probable.
EIOHAED DE NEVIL. 137
The name of Nevil, it has been confidently asserted,
does not appear in Domesday. Like many other con-
fident assertions, it is untrue. Dugdale, who states
this, and those who have followed him, have overlooked
the name of Ralph Nevil, who held Thorpe of Turold,
Abbot of Peterborough. Sir Henry Ellis has also
omitted the name in his " Introduction " and indexes.
It occurs however in the Clamores in Westriding,
county Lincoln, and if Ealph the bishop's man be
identical with the Ralph Nevil of Thorpe, as there is
reason to believe, he was tenant of several other lands
at the time of the survey, and we have seen that the
youngest brother of Gilbert was named Ralph.
Be this however as it may, it is no disparagement to
the family of Nevil to hesitate, in the absence of
positive authority, to number their direct ancestor
amongst the leaders of that famous host ; for many of
the greatest men in Normandy set down in the
catalogues as having fought at Senlac are now known
to have first set foot in England after Duke William
had secured the crown.
Gilbert, the traditionary admiral, was the direct
progenitor of Isabella de Neville, wife of Robert Fitz
Maldred, Lord of Raby, and sole heir to her brother,
the Henry de Neville before mentioned.
From her son Geoffrey Fitz Maldred, who assumed
138 THE CONQUEROK AND HIS COMPANIONS.
his mother's name but retained his father's arms,,
sprang the magnificent tree the branches of which
are truly said to have overshadowed the land. This
Saxon line of Nevil has given to England two queens,
a Princess of Wales, a mother of two kings, a Duke
of Bedford, a Marquis of Montacute, Earls of North-
umberland, "Westmoreland, Salisbury, Kent, Warwick,
and Montacute; Barons Nevil, Furnival, Latimer,
Fauconberg, Montacute, and Abergavenny ; Duchesses
of Norfolk, Exeter, York, Buckingham, AVarwick,
Clarence, and Bedford ; a Marchioness of Dorset ;
Countesses of Northumberland, Westmoreland, Arun-
del, Worcester, Derby, Oxford, Suffolk, Rutland,
Exeter, Bridge water, and Norwich ; Baronesses de Eos,
Dacre, Scrope, Dovercourt, Mountjoy, Spencer, Fitz
Hugh, Harrington, Hastings, Comyn, Willoughby de
Broke, Hunsdon, Cobham, Strange, Montacute, and
Lucas ; nine Knights of the Garter, two Lord High
Chancellors, two Archbishops of York, a Bishop of
Salisbury, of Exeter, and of Durham !
I regret that the nature and limits of this work
debar me from particular notice of many members of
this wonderful family, the above remarkable list of
illustrious descendants being of itself a departure from
the rule I have generally observed of confining my
annotations to the origin and actions of the actual
RICHARD DE NEVIL. 139
companions and contemporaries of the Conqueror.
Memoirs of " the Peacock of the North " and " the
King-maker" would alone demand a volume for their
illustration ; and it is unnecessary to point out the
impossibility of doing similar justice to the many
distinguished descendants of other families whose
ancestors are recorded to have been present with
Duke William at Hastings, and would have equal
claims on my consideration.
NEEL DE SAINT-SAUVEUIK
WILLIAM DE ROUMARE.
THE CHAMBERLAIN OF
WALTER AND ILBERT DE
ROBERT AND 1VO DE
EUGUENQLF DE L'AIGLE.
NEEL DE SAINT-SAUVEUB,
M. LE PROVOST, the French annotator of Wace, is
disinclined to believe that Neel le Vicomte, whom we
have seen in arms against Duke William at the battle
of Val-es-Dunes (vol. i. p. 30), was fighting in his
cause at Senlac ; and Mr. Taylor, in his English
version, does little more than cite Le Prevost's
The reasons of the latter are of no great weight :
simply that the presence of Neel at Hastings is
not vouched for by any contemporary authority, an
objection that would equally apply to three-fourths of
NEEL DE SAINT-SAUYEUE. 141
the persons who undoubtedly were there and that
the name of " Sanzaver " in Brompton's List is not a
corruption of Saint-Sauveur, but of Sanzavier (Sans-
avoir), a family which established itself in England
at the time of the Conquest, and of whom some
charters are to be found in Dugdale's " Monasticon."
Surely this is very illogical. Brompton's inclusion
of the name of Sanzavier in his List, which is as
little to be relied upon as any other, does not dis-
prove the presence of Neel de Saint-Sauveur in the
army of William, any more than the silence of Guil-
laume de Poitiers, or the other historians of the
Conquest who merely mention a few of the principal
leaders and contradict each other about them. That
Wace is in error requires some much stronger argu-
ment, and I think I can show that probabilities are at
least in his favour.
He speaks of the Barons of the Cotentin, of which
province Neel was the Viscount, that he was at the
head of a company " Jost la cumpaigne Neel "
(1. 13,626), and that he exerted himself greatly to
gain the love and favour of his feudal lord, vigorously
assaulting the English, overthrowing many by the
poitrail of his horse, and speeding, sword in hand, to
the rescue of many barons (1. 13,489). It is quite
clear that Wace knew well enough whom he was
142 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
describing : and now let us see what evidence we can
find to support him.
It is well known that after the " Noble Chef de
Faucon," as he was called, unwillingly retreated from
Val-es-Dunes, he was banished by Duke William, and
took refuge in Brittany, that he was subsequently
pardoned and restored to his estates, at what time is
not exactly ascertained, but most likely at the moment
the politic Duke felt the importance of such assistance
as the valorous Viscount could afford him in his pro-
jected expedition; and, consequently, we find him at
the head of a company, exerting himself to deserve
the favour of the suzerain who had forgiven him his
That he is not mentioned in " Domesday " is, as Mr.
Taylor admits, to be accounted for by the supposition
that he died previously to its compilation ; and that
supposition receives support from the fact that his son
and successor, the last Neel de Saint-Sauveur, died in
1092, seven years afterwards, as is proved by the
desire of his relative, Geoffrey, Bishop of Coutances,
to attend his funeral ("Mem. Ant. Norman." i. 286,
the bishop himself dying the following year.
According to the Welsh Chronicles, as trans-
mitted to us by Humphrey Lloyd and Dr. Powell,
Neel the Viscount was one of the slain in the battle
NEEL DE SAINT-SAUVEUB, U3
of Cardiff, A.D. 1094 (p. 116). Mons. de Gerville,
following the French account, says 1074, but after-
wards, as I have already mentioned, corrects as
he imagines this date, substituting that of 1092 ;
evidently confounding him with his son and suc-
cessor above mentioned.
The more critically the Welsh account of the battle
of Cardiff is examined, the more does the general
truth of the, story appear, and if the last Neel the
Viscount was killed in Wales in 1092, in company
of Koger, Earl of Shrewsbury, and Arnold de Har-
court, there is every probability that his father was
a companion of the Conqueror in 1066.
But Wace names also a " Sire de Neahou "
amongst the combatants at Senlac, and it is a question
whether he is alluding to Neel de Saint-Sauveur by
another title, or to some distinct individual. The
fief of Nehou, in the arrondissement of Valognes,
received its name from Neel, an ancestor of the Saint-
Sauveur family, Nehou signifying Neel's Hou or Holm,
i. e. Nigelli Humus. On the banishment of Neel the
Viscount in 1047, Nehou is said to have been given by
Duke William to Baldwin de Meules ; but it could not
have been at that period, as Baldwin and his brother
Eichard were then refugees in Flanders, and not
received into the Duke's favour until 1053. Was
144 THE UONQUEEOE AND HIS COMPANIONS.
Nehou excepted when William restored to Neel his
estates previous to the Conquest, or did it pass to the
Bivieres (De Redvers, Kivers) on the death of his son,
the last of the family, in 1092 ? I shall return to
this subject when noticing the Vernons (vide p. 205),
who were Sires de Nehou from the end of the eleventh
to the end of the thirteenth century.
WILLIAM DE EOUMAEE.
This is supposed to be another inaccuracy of Master
Wace's, and we are told by M. le Prevost that we
should read Roger instead of William, the Norman
poat having substituted the name of the son for that
of the father. That William, the son of Roger de
Roumare, was not at Hastings I readily admit, but
Wace does not say he was. He simply mentions a
" Dam Willame de Romare," and unless we could
clearly show there was no such person then existing,
it is hardly fair to tax an almost contemporaneous
author with even unintentional misrepresentation.
The pedigree of the family of Roumare is one of the
most puzzling in the whole catalogue of Norman
nobility. The diligent study of forty years has not
enabled me to penetrate its mysteries. Edward of
Salisbury, one of its most important members, has still
to be satisfactorily affiliated, and the Roger de
WILLIAM DE ROUMARE. 14 >
Koumare suggested to be substituted for the William
of Wace is equally difficult to identify.
It is almost impossible to move a step in these
directions without acknowledging our obligations to-
the late Mr. Stapleton, who has done so much to eluci-
date the descent of our Anglo-Norman ancestors.
To him we are indebted for the information that
previous to the Conquest there lived a certain Gerald,
who had two wives, Albreda and Emicia, and a son
probably by the first, who is presumed to be the-
Kobert Fitz Gerald of Domesday, and the brother of
Roger Fitz Gerald, father of William de Roumare,
created Earl of Lincoln by King Stephen.
In my paper on " The Family and Connections of
Robert Fitz Gerald," the Domesday holder of Corfe, in
the county of Dorset (Congress of the British Archaeo-
logical Association, at Weymouth, 1872), I exposed the-
absurd story, stereotyped in English History, of the
three husbands of Lucia, Countess of Chester, which had
been first doubted by the Rev. Mr. Bowles in his
" History of Laycock Abbey ; " but with the particular
object of that Paper I have at present nothing to do.
All that we know of Roger Fitz Gerald, also called
De Roumare, or De Romara, is that he was the father
of the William de Roumare, first of that name, Earl of
Lincoln, by a lady named Lucia, who, through the
146 THE CONQUEROK AND HIS COMPANIONS.
neglect of verifying dates, has been confounded pro-
bably with her mother, married to her father before
she was born, set down as the sister-in-law of her own
son, and thus innocently made the cause of consider-
able trouble to the learned and curious in history and
genealogy. The first fact we are in possession of
respecting Eoger Fitz Gerald is his appearance as Lord
of Spalding in the county of Lincoln, before the death of
Rufus in 1100. The date of his marriage is unknown,
but his son William must have been of full age in
1122, as in that year he claimed of King Hemy I.
certain lands which his step-father, Ranulf de
Briquessart, had surrendered to the King for the
earldom of Chester. It is clear, therefore, that Roger
was dead and William twenty-one and upwards in
1122, so that the latter could not possibly have fought
at Senlac, seeing that he was not born till at least
thirty } 7 ears after it.
It is a question, indeed, whether his father Roger
de Roumare was present at Hastings, as we find him
Lord of Spalding thirty-four years afterwards, and are
informed that he was a young man newly married at
that period, and I am not aware of any reliable evi-
dence to the contrary.
But, as I have already observed, there is nothing in
what we do know to disprove the statement of Wace,
WILLIAM DE ROUMARE. 147
that there was a William de Roumare in the ranks of
the Norman army of invasion. Without relying on
the statement of Peter de Blois, that Roger Fitz
Gerald had an elder brother named William, by whom
Lucia was honourably received on her marriage, and
whom the writer inaccurately styles Earl of Lincoln,
there is every probability that such was the fact.
Gerold de Roumare, the presumed father of Roger,
had two wives Albreda and Emicia ; but we have
no information whatever that can be relied on re-
specting the number of his offspring, or, with the
exception of Robert, of which of his wives they were
The above little but important fact is derived from
a charter printed in Pommeraye's " Histoire de I'Ab-
baye de St. Amand de Rouen," fol. 1662, in which a
knight named Gerold gives to the Abbey of St. Amand
the Church of Roumare for the sake of his own soul
and that of his wife Albreda, with the assent of his
son and heir Robert, and the attestation of Ralph,
brother of Gerold.
The son Robert is supposed to be the Robert Fitz
Gerald of "Domesday," and the brother Ralph the
Chamberlain of Tankerville, of whom I shall have to
speak presently. Roger is not mentioned, nor any
William ; but if there was a William de Roumare, an
148 THE CONQUEROE AND HIS COMPANIONS.
elder brother, he would at the time of the Conquest
be " Dom (Dominus) William de Romare," and dying
unmarried before the compilation of " Domesday," no
traces might have been left of him. At all events I have
found nothing to justify the rejection of Wace's state-
ment, and therefore leave the name of William at the
head of this chapter as a companion of the Conqueror,
convinced that there might be a Eobert, but certainly
not a Roger, Fitz Gerald in the host at Hastings.
THE CHAMBEELAIN OF TANKERYILLE.
No identification of this noble Norman has yet been
made by any of the commentators on the " Roman de
Rou," in which alone we find such a personage in-
cluded in the list of the followers of the Duke of
Normandy. Mr. Taylor says, " M. le PreVost rather
inconclusively observes that Ralph, William's guardian,
was too old and his children too young to be engaged;"
and adds, " Ralph's age is hardly itself a competent
contradiction to Wace's statement ; /or his charter
giving the Church of Mireville to Jumieges shows
that he was living in 1079. William, his son and
successor as Chamberlain, so appears in 1082."
I certainly do not share the opinion of Le Prevost,
and am at a loss to know where he found that Ralph,
the Chamberlain of Tankerville, was guardian to
THE CHAMBERLAIN OF TANKERVILLE. 149
Duke William. I have just mentioned this Ralph as
the supposed brother of Gerold de Roumare and uncle
of the William de Roumare I believe to have been
at Hastings. Ralph was hereditary chamberlain of
Normandy ; but which of his family had first exer-
cised that office is at present unknown.
The small Church of St. George, in the vill of that
name in the forest of Roumare, first endowed by Duke
William, was subsequently rebuilt by Ralph, who is
styled by the Duke in his charter of confirmation,
" Meus magister Aulaque et Camera mea princeps."
" My major-domo or master of the household and first
chamberlain/' Ralph also had the church re-deco-
rated, and confirmed the grant which his father, Ge-
raldus, and his brothers had given to St. George. A
brother of Ralph, named Giraldus, was also an officer
of William's household ; and it was " Coram Giraldo
Dapifer meo" that William, while yet Duke of the
Normans, ratified a convention between Hugh de
Pavilly and the Canons of St. George, the witnesses
being the same Giraldus and Robert his son.
Now we have here two Gerolds, one who simply
styles himself " a soldier of Christ," and the other
the Dapifer (steward or seneschal) of William, King of
the English. We also find one of these Gerolds re-
joicing in two wives, named Albreda and Emicia, and
150 THE CONQTTEBOB AND HIS COMPANIONS.
who has a son, Robert, by the first ; while the other
Gerold had a wife named Helisendis. Whether they
were both Gerolds of Eoumare, how they were con-
nected, which was the father of Roger de Roumare,
and which of Ralph the Chamberlain, has yet to be
distinctly proved. The names of Gerald, Robert,
Ralph, and William were much too common at that
period to be of themselves sufficient identification ;
but that the chamberlain of Tankerville mentioned by
Wace was Ralph, the son of Gerold and father of
William the Chamberlain, I think cannot reasonably
be doubted. A little more light on the family of the
Chamberlain has been thrown by the authors of
" Recherches sur le Domesday," in their notice of a
personage better known to the readers of English
The name of "Dabitott" appears in the Roll of
Battle Abbey, and although not mentioned by Wace
and the other chroniclers of the eleventh and twelfth
centuries, may fairly be admitted as belonging to one
of the companions of the Conqueror, the absence of his
baptismal name, however, preventing us from appro-
priating it to Urso or to his father, Aumary d'Abetot,
an appellation derived from the lands of St. Jean
UESO D'ABETOT. 151
d'Abetot, canton of Calbose, arrondissement of Havre,
the lordship of which belonged to the family of
Tankerville, as appears from the charter of formation
of the college of St. George de Bosherville, to which
Ralph Fitz Gerald, in 1050, gave the church and
tithes of Abetot for the support of the monks of that
college, which was made an abbey in 1124.
This Ralph Fitz Gerald, who is the Chamberlain of
Tankerville of the last memoir, was the elder brother
of Aumary d'Abetot, above mentioned. Their father
being the Gerold who was the husband of Helisendis
(not Gerold of Roumare, husband of Albreda), and
who probably, as Sire de Tankerville, held the hereditary
office of chamberlain to the Dukes of Normandy, which
we find his son Ralph and his grandson William
enjoying in succession.
Aumary, his younger son, inherited the fiefs of
Abetot, and was the father of two sons, Urso and
Robert, the latter distinguished as "Despencer," an
office which gave a name to the noble families of Le
Despencer and Spenser, who trace their descent from
the niece of this Robert d'Abetot. Whether Urso
was or was not in the army at Hastings there is at
present no decisive evidence; but that he was in
England shortly afterwards, and made sheriff of the
counties of Gloucester and Worcester, there is proof
152 THE CONQUEEOE AND HIS COMPANIONS.
enough. In 1073 he was one of the King's council,
and rendered great service in the suppression of the
rebellion of the Earls of Hereford and Norfolk. His
character, however, as a spoiler and devastator is,
amongst the worst recorded of the Norman settlers in
England, and he appears to have especially oppressed
the Church of Worcester, building so close to it that
the mole of the castle encroached on the cemetery
of the monks.*
A complaint being made to Archbishop Ealdred,
Archbishop of York, he came to Worcester and in-
spected the work, and sternly reproved Urso, to whom
he is reported to have said :
" Hightest thou, Urse?
Have thou God's curse !"
adding, " and mine and that of all holy men unless
thou removest thy castle from hence, and know of a
truth that thine offspring shall not long hold the land
of St. Mary to their heritage. "
The prophecy, if not a subsequent invention, was
soon fulfilled, for his son Eoger d'Abetot, having
killed a servant of Henry I., was banished and his
confiscated estates given by the King, with the hand
of his sister Emmeline dAbetot, to Walter de Beau-
champ of Bedford.
* William of Malmesbury : De Gestis Pontificum.
WALTER AND ILBERT DE LACY. 153
Urso was living as late as the reign of Henry L,
but the date of his death is not recorded. The
authors of " Eecherches " were mistaken in saying that
his wife's name was unknown. She witnessed her
husband's charter to Great Malvern as "Atheliza,
Vicecomitissi." Of her parentage however, we are
The ungallant conduct of the early genealogists
toward the female members of our noble Norman
families, deprives history of much of its interest and
is the cause of endless confusion and perplexity.
WALTER AND ILBERT DE LACY.
Lacie, now called Lassy, the place from which this
great Norman family derived its name, is on the road
from Vere to Auvray. Of its earlier lords we know
nothing, and Waco's " Cil de Lacie " and " Le
Chevalier de Lacie/' do not enlighten us. Neither do
we receive much assistance from his French or English
annotators, who refer us to Dugdale and the English
From them we learn that a Walter and an Ilbert dc
Lacy were certainly present at Senlac, though how
related to each other they have no evidence, nor can
we venture to suggest which was the " Sire de Lacie "
of the poet, and which " the Chevalier/' if we are to
154 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
consider them two distinct personages. That they
were brothers, however, is fairly presumable, from the
fact that the mother of Ilbert de Lacy, Emma, is
named in a charter, and Walter had a daughter Emma,
named according to custom after her grandmother.
No particular deed of arms is attributed to either ; but
the Sire de Lacie is named as one of a party of seven
or eight knights who charged the J^nglish in company,
" fearing neither prince nor pope. Many a man did
they overthrow, many did they wound, and many a
good horse did they kill." As early as the third year
of William's reign, 1069, Walter de Lacy was sent into
Wales with William Fitz Osbern and other tried
soldiers, against the people of Brecknock, led by their
Prince of Wales, Rhys ap Owen, Cadogan ap Blethyn,
and Meredith ap Owen, whom they attacked and de-
feated with great slaughter.
Subsequently he assisted Wulstan, Bishop of
Worcester, and Urso d'Abitot, then sheriff of that
county, in preventing the passing of the Severn by
the Earls of Hereford and Norfolk, with the object of
effecting a junction of their forces.
His death, however, was not on the field of battle,
nor was he shorn a monk in some abbey according to
a prevalent custom of the period.
Having founded the Church of St. Peter at Hereford,
WALTER AND ILBERT DE LACY. 155
and taking much interest in the building, when the
work was nearly finished, he mounted a ladder to
inspect some portion of it, when his foot slipping, he fell
and was killed on the spot (6 kalends of April, 1084).
He was buried in the chapter-house of the Cathedral
at Gloucester, to which Emmeline, his wife, for the
health of his soul, gave five hides of land at
By this lady, whoever she was, he left three sons,
Roger, Hugh, and "Walter, the last a monk in the
Abbey of St. Peter at Gloucester ; and two daughters,
Ermeline and Emma.
Dying before the compilation of Domesday, we can-
not be certain what was his reward in lands and
honours for the sendees he had rendered his
sovereign ; but in that precious record we find his
son and successor, Roger, in possession of ninety-six
lordships, sixty-five of which were in Gloucestershire,
besides four carucates of land lying within the limits
of the Castle of Civia, which King William had
bestowed on his father. Conspiring, however, against
William Rufus, first with Odo, Bishop of Bayeux,
and afterwards with Robert de Mowbray, Earl of
Northumberland, he was banished the realm and all
his lands given to his brother Hugh, the founder of
Llanthony Priory, who, dying without issue, left his
156 THE CONQUEKOK AND HIS COMPANIONS.
great inheritance between his two sisters above
named. Ermeline had no children ; but Emma,* by a
husband unnamed, had issue, a son, Gilbert, who
assumed the name of Lacy and became the ancestor of
the great lord of Ulster and conqueror of the largest
part of Ireland.
ILBEET DE LACY.
The other companion of the Conqueror received for
his services at Senlac, the castle and town of Ponte-
fract and all that part of the county of Lancaster then
as now called Blackburnshire, with other lands of vast
extent, so that at the time of the general survey he
possessed one hundred and seventy lordships, the
greater portion of them in Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire,
and Lincolnshire, and obtained from King William
Eufus a confirmation of all those customs belonging to
his Castle at Pontefract, which he had enjoyed in the
time of King William his father.
By his wife, a lady named Hawise, he left two sons,
Eobert and Hugh, the former of Avhom completed
the building of the Abbey of St. Oswald at Nostcll, the
foundation of which was commenced by his father, and
amply endowed it.
* An Emma de Lacie, probably the aunt of this Emma, took the
veil in the Convent of St. Amand de Eouen before 1069.
EGBERT AND IVO DE VESCI. 157
This true line of Lacy terminated with the grandson
of the above Kobert, and the Constables of Chester and
the Earls of Lincoln, who assumed the name, inherited
the lands and honours, but not a drop of the Lacy
blood, as it would be inferred from the polite peer-
ages in which the reader would naturally look for
information. As frequently we find it to be the case,
they need not the flattering unction applied to them,
being descended from equally ancient and valiant
progenitors, the families of the De Lizures and the Fitz
Nigels, barons of Halton, united in the persons of
Kichard Fitz Eustace, Constable of Chester, in right of
his mother Agnes, the first wife of Henry de Lacy, by
her former husband, Eustace Fitz John, and of
Albreda, daughter of Robert de Lizures, by the second
wife and widow of the said Henry.
EGBERT AND IVO DE VESCI.
Robert and Ivo de Vassy, in the arrondissement of
Vere, and anglicised Vesci, are admitted to have been
' O *
in William's expedition, and to have settled in England.
Their family connection with the later Lacies, Earls of
Lincoln, induces me to select them for the notice
The relations of these two valiant Normans is as
uncertain as that of Walter and Ilbert de Lacy, and
158 THE CONQUEROE AND HIS COMPANIONS.
the same difficulty exists of identifying the " Sires de
Vaccie," mentioned by Wace with the Eobert and Ivo
The former we find in Domesday the possessor of
nineteen lordships in the counties of Northampton,
Warwick, Lincoln, and Leicester, and Ivo equally well
provided for, the Conqueror having presented him
with the hand of Alda, the granddaughter of Gilbert
Tyson, Lord of Alnwick, in the county of Northum-
berland, who had fallen on the side of Harold at Senlac,
and only daughter and heir of his son William, Lord
of Alnwick and Malton, to whom she bore an only
daughter and heir, Beatrice, the first wife of Eustace
Fitz John, whose son, by her named William, assumed
the name of De Vesci and bequeathed it to his heirs.
His grandson John was the first Baron de Vesci sum-
moned to Parliament by writ, 24th December, 1264 ;
and with William, the illegitimate son of his brother
William, summoned by writ as third Baron, 8th
January, 1313, and killed at the battle of Sterling
in 1315, the title became extinct, and the estates
were carried by the heiress of a collateral branch into
the family of the Cliffords, Earls of Cumberland, with
the exception of Alnwick, which was sold in 1309 to
Henry de Percy, and thus became one of the noblest
possessions of the Earls of Northumberland.
EUGUENULF DE L'AIGLE. ., 159
The present Viscount de Vesci and Lords Fitz
Gerald and Vesci claim to be descended from a
collateral branch of this family which settled in
M. le Prevost, in the supplement to his Notes on
the " Eoman de Rou," tells us that according to the
information furnished to M. Lachesnaye des Bois, the
family of Vassy descended from Richard, nephew of
Raoul Tete-d'Ane (Raoul de Grace' so called) by his
grandson Auvray, who inherited the lands of Vassy,
and gave his name to the forest of Auvray ; but that
unfortunately such persons are only known to us from
the traditions of the family at present bearing the
M. de G-erville remarks that there is a Vesey near
Pontorson, but does not consider that it is in any way
connected with the Vassys of Normandy, or the Vescis
of England ; the latter of whom, wherever they hail
from, are undoubtedly descendants of the companions
of the Conqueror.
EUGUENULF DE L'AIGLE.
This gallant Norman, called Enguerrand by Wace,
was the son of Fulbert de Beine, founder of the Castle
of 1'Aigle, on the river Risle, arrondissement of Mortain,
160 THE CONQUEKOR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
and therefore probably one of the knights in the
service of Robert, Comte de Mortain.
Wace tells us "he came with shield slung at his
neck, and with his lance fiercely charged the English.
He strove hard to serve the Duke well for the sake of
the lands he had promised him " (Roman de Rou,
Alas ! he was not allowed to enjoy what he had
so bravely striven to obtain. He is one of the very
few whose names have descended to us as having
undoubtedly fallen in that memorable battle. "Wace,
strangely enough, says nothing of his death, which is
thus recorded by Orderic : " The Normans, finding the
English completely routed, pursued them vigorously
all Sunday night, but not without suffering a great
loss, for galloping onward in hot pursuit they fell un-
awares, horses and armour, into an ancient trench,
overgrown and concealed by rank grass, and rolling
over each other were crushed and smothered. This
accident restored confidence to the routed English,
for, perceiving the advantage given them by the
mouldering rampart and a succession of ditches,
they rallied in a body, and, making a sudden
stand, caused the Normans severe loss. At this place
Enguerrand, Lord of 1'Aigle, and many others fell,
the number of the Normans who perished being,
EUGUENULF DE L'AIGLE. 161
as reported by some who were present, nearly fifteen
Fifteen thousand ! Exactly a fourth of the invad-
ing army, the entire force of which is calculated at
sixty thousand men. Orderic must surely mean the
loss in the whole action, and not in that particular
disaster in the " Malefosse," which is still to my
mind as uncertain both as regards time and locality
as ever. The scene of this celebrated incident has
been generally considered to be on one side or other of
the hill of Senlac itself ; but if Orderic's account is to
be credited, and the Normans were hotly pursuing the
fugitives all Sunday night, they must have been some
miles distant from the field of battle when they
floundered into this fatal ravine or morass in the grey
light of Monday morning.
The death of Euguenulf is all that concerns us at
the present moment, and whether he was slain in the
thick of the fight or in the pursuit may never be
ascertained. All the accounts we have of the battle
are derived from hearsay evidence only, and are as
loose and contradictory as such accounts must ever be.
To return to Euguenulf himself. He had for wife
a lady named Bicheveride, by whom he was father of
three sons, Koger, Richard, and Gilbert. Roger, the
* Lib. iii., cap. xii.
162 THE CONQUEROK AND HIS COMPANIONS.
eldest, was slain (how is not recorded) about the year
1060, and Orderic informs us that Euguenulf and his-
wife Bicheveride came to St. Evroult in deep grief,
entreating the prayers and good offices of the monks
for the salvation of their souls and that of their son
Roger, which were granted, and thereupon Roger's-
best horse was offered by his parents to God and the
monks. The horse being very valuable, Arnould
d'Eschafour begged to have it in exchange for the
lands and services of Baldric de Bacquency, whose
fief had been ceded to him by the Abbey.
We find, therefore, that six years before the inva-
sion Euguenulf was married, and the father of appa-
rently grown-up sons, and we may therefore conclude-
that he was between forty and fifty in 1066, when he
was killed at Senlac.
A sad fate seemed to pursue his family. On the
18th November, 1085, while the royal army under
the command of Alan the Red, Earl of Richmond,
was marching to the siege of the Castle of St.
Suzanne, a beardless youth, concealed in the bushes on
the roadside, shot an arrow, which mortally wounded
Richer de TAigle, the eldest surviving son of Euguenulf,
in the eye. His followers rode up, burning with rage,
and seizing the youth, would have put him to death on
the spot ; but the dying Baron, with a violent effort,
EUGUENULF DE L'AIGLE. 163
generously exclaimed, "Spare him for the love of
God ! It is for my sins that I am thus called to die."
The assassin being allowed to go free, the noble
lord confessed himself to his companions in arms,
and expired before they could convey him to I/Aigle.
His body was borne to the convent of St. Sulpice-
sur-Risle, which his father had founded near L'Aigle,
where he was buried, with great lamentations of
his kinsfolk and connections, by Gilbert Bishop of
In the month of January following, Gilbert de
1'Aigle, eager to avenge his brother, made, in con-
junction with William de Warren and William Comte
d'Evreux, a desperate assault on the Castle of St.
Suzanne ; but they were vigorously repulsed by the
garrison. William Comte d'Evreux being taken prisoner.
In 1091 we find Gilbert in high favour with Robert
Court-heuse, who made him Viscount of the Hiemois,
and gave him the castle for his residence.
This deeply offended the violent and detestable
Robert de Belesme, of whose turbulence and wicked-
ness you have heard so much already, who assembled
his troops, and in the first week of January, 1091,
besieged the castle for four days, assaulting it with
great fury and persistence, notwithstanding a severe
frost and heavy fall of snow. Gilbert had but a small
1G4 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
number of retainers in the castle, but they were brave
and loyal, and made a stout resistance, hurling spears
and stones on the assailants, and precipitating into
the ditch those who attempted to scale the walls.
Meanwhile his nephew, Gilbert, the young lord of
L'Aigle, son of Eicher slain on the march to St. Suzanne,
hearing of his uncle's position, came to his assistance
with eighty men, and getting into the castle by night,
supplied the garrison with fresh provisions and arms,
and enabled them to continue the defence. Upon
this, Eobert de Belesme, finding the place too strong
for him, in great rage and mortification drew off his
troops, and retreated ingloriously to his own territory.
The following year, as the elder Gilbert, brother of
Eicher, was returning home from a visit to Sainte
Scholasse, he halted at Moulins to pay his respects to
Duda, daughter of Waleran, Earl of Meulent, and
second wife of William de Moulins, lord of that castle,
and leaving towards evening unarmed and attended
only by his esquires, was seen and pursued by Gerrard
Chevreuil and Eobert de Ferrers, with some thirteen
men-at-arms of the Corbonnais, who endeavoured to
take him alive. He spurred his horse to a gallop, but
was overtaken and wounded in the side by one of their
spears so badly that he died the same day, and on the
morrow, which was bissextile- day (29th of February,
EUGUENULF DE L'AIGLE. 165
1092), he was buried at St. Sulpice, by the side of his
parents, amid universal sorrow, Gilbert, Bishop of
Evreux, and Serlo, Abbot of St. Evroult, officiating.
Thus we see the three sons of Euguenulf, who him-
self fell in battle, meet one after the other Avith a
violent death. Roger slain in his youth, Eicher in
the pride of manhood, and Gilbert while still in the
prime of life.
The latter was unmarried, but Richer was the
husband of Judith, daughter of Richard, surnamed
Goz, Viscount of the Avranchin, and Emma de Conte-
ville, half-sister of the Conqueror, to whom he conse-
quently stood in the position of a nephew.
This lord, says Orderic, " was deservedly regretted
by his acquaintance for the many virtues with which
he was endowed. In person he was strong, handsome,
and active; a faithful observer of the divine laws,
courteous and humble with men of religion, prudent
and eloquent in worldly affairs, and gentle and liberal
in all his conduct."
The issue of Richer and Judith were Gilbert, Eugue-
nulf, Matilda, and, according to Orderic, "several
other sons and daughters " but I have not found
traces of them. "They all," he adds, "died" (early,
I presume he means) with the exception of Gilbert,
" who became the heir to his father's virtues, estates,
166 THE CONQUEKOR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
and honours." He should have also excepted Matilda,
wife of Kobert de Mowbray, and who by dispensation of
the Pope married, during her husband's incarceration,
Nigel de Albini (vide p. 30, ante), but who cer-
tainly was not an exception to the unfortunate destiny
attending the majority of her family.
Gilbert, the second of that name, Lord of L'Aigle,
the young warrior who so opportunely came to the
rescue of his uncle when besieged by Kobert de
Belesme, married Juliana, daughter of Geoffrey, Count
of Mortagne, who, reflecting that the slaying of Gilbert
Viscount of the Hiemois, by men who were his vassals,
had sown the seeds of infinite mischief to his own
territories, endeavoured to accommodate matters with
the nephew, and prove that he had no participation in
the act, by the offer to him of his daughter's hand,
which was accepted, and secured peace between the
two families for a period of forty years, an unprece-
dented circumstance in the early history of Normandy,
the barons whereof were in constant hostility one with
But even peace could not preserve the line of
L'Aigle from calamity. Of the four sons born to
Gilbert and Juliana, two were drowned together in
the wreck of the " White Ship," 25th November,
HUGH DE BEAUCHAMP.
WILLIAM DE PERCY.
ROBERT FITZ ERNEIS.
WILLIAM PATRY DE LA
THIS name, familiarised to the reader's ears by the
noble poem of Walter Scott, will conjure up visions of
" Norham's castled steep/' and the welcome that
awaited there the
' ' Lord of Fontenraye,
Of Lutterward and Scrivelbaye,
Of Tamworth. Tower and Town ; "
a fictitious personage, as " the Wizard of the North "
admits, but invested by his genius with such a sem-
blance of truth, that it is difficult not to believe in his
Wace speaks of the companion of the Conqueror
-as " old Roger Marmion ; " but no Roger appears
in the pedigree before the times of Richard I. It is
generally conceived that Roger is either a clerical or
168 THE CONQTJEBOB AND HIS COMPANIONS.
typographical error, and that Kobert, to whom Wil-
liam the Conqueror gave "Tamworth Tower and
Town " shortly after the Conquest, must be the
Marmion who had assisted him in the achievement.
Of that Kobert the following story is told by Dug-
dale, on the faith of an ancient MS. in his day in
the possession of John Ferrers, Esq., of Tamworth
" In the time of the Norman Conqueror, Eobert
Marmion having, by the gift of that king, the Castle of
Tamworth, in the county of Warwick, with the territory
adjacent, thence expelled those nuns he found there
unto a place called Oldbury, about four miles distant,
after which, within the compass of a twelvemonth it
is said, making a costly entertainment at Tamworth
Castle for some of his friends, amongst which was Sir
Walter de Somerville, Lord of Whichever, in the county
of Stafford, his sworn brother, it so happened that as he
lay in his bed, St. Edith appeared to him as a veiled
nun, with a crozier in her hand, and advertized him,
that if he did not restore the Abbey of Poles worth,
(which lay within the territories of the Castle of
Tamworth,) he should have an evil death, and go to
." Well, it appears St. Edith did not mince her
words, but spoke pure Anglo-Saxon, " and that he
might be the more sensible of this her admonition,"
EGBERT MABMION. 1GJ>
continues the narrator, " she smote him on the side
with the point of her crozier, and so vanished away !
Moreover, that by this stroke being much wounded,
he cried out so loud that his friends in the house
arose, and rinding him extremely tormented with the
pain of his wound, advised him to confess himself to
a priest, and vow to restore them (the nuns) to their
former possession. Furthermore, that having so done,
his pain eased, and that in accomplishment of his
vow, accompanied by Sir Walter de Somerville and
the rest, he forthwith rode to Oldbury, and craving
pardon of the nuns for the injury done, brought them
back to Polesworth, desiring that himself and his
friend Sir Walter de Somerville might be reputed
their patrons, and have burial for themselves and their
heirs in the Abbey, viz., the Marmions in the chapter-
house, and the Somervilles in the cloister." "How-
ever," adds worthy Norroy, " some circumstances
in this story may seem fabulous" (as they un-
doubtedly do), " the main substance of it is certainly
true, for it expressly appeareth by the very words of
his charter, that he gave to Osanna the prioress, for
the establishing of the religion of those nuns there,
the church of St. Edith of Polesworth, with its appur-
tenances, so that the Convent of Oldbury (de Aldo-
beria) should remain in that place, and afterwards
170 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
bestowed on them the whole lordship of Polesworth,
with its demesnes in Waverton, which grant King
Stephen afterwards confirmed."
Robert Marmion had a wife named Milicent, with
whose consent he gave the neighbouring town of
Butegate to the monks of Bardney, in the county of
Lincoln, for the health of the souls of his father and
mother (unfortunately not naming them), his own and
his wife's soul, and the souls of their heirs.
No particular feats of arms are recorded of old
Robert or Roger, as the case may be, either at Senlac
or elsewhere; Wace merely says that in the great
battle he and Raoul Taisson de Cingueleiz behaved
themselves as barons should, and were afterwards
When he died I have not found, but if deserving
the epithet of "old" in 1066, he could scarcely have
lived till the reign of Henry L, who granted to his
son and heir, Robert, free warren in all his lands in
Warwickshire, as Robert his father had, and particu-
larly at Tamworth.
This second Robert possessed the strong Castle of
Fontenai, near Caen, called from its ancient lords
Fontenai le Marmion, to distinguish it from eight
other communes of the same name in Normandy ; and
it is a question whether the " Sire de Fontenei " men-
EGBERT MAKMION. 171
tioned by "Wace (1. 13,796) was the lord of another
Fontenai, or, as it has been suggested, the same
person he has previously spoken of as " le viel Rogier
Marmion." Several other analogous instances occur
in the " Roman de Rou," and 1 think its author has
been too hastily accused of inaccuracy.
The fate of the second Robert Marmion, who
married a Maud de Beauchamp, whom 1 have not yet
been able to affiliate, is deserving notice. " Being a
great adversary to the Earl of Cliester, who had a
noble seat at Coventry in the eighth of Stephen, he
entered the priory there, which was but a little
distance from that Earl's castle, and expelling the
monks, fortified it, digging in the fields adjacent
divers deep ditches covered over with earth, to the
intent that such as made approaches thereto should be
entrapped ; whereupon it so happened that as he rode
out himself to reconnoitre the Earl of Chester's forces
that began to draw near, he fell into one of them and
broke his thigh, so that a common soldier presently
seizing on him, cut off his head."'"'
The Mannions held the manor of Scrivelsby, in the
county of Lincoln, by the service of performing the office
of champion at the King's coronation : a co-heir of the
family brought Scrivelsby and the championship into
* Dugdale : Baronage, vol. i.
172 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
the family of Ludlow, and thence to that of Dynioke,
and the office was claimed and served by Sir Henry
Dynioke of Scrivelsby, most probably for the last time,
at the coronation of his Majesty King George IV.,
July 19, 1821. But the name of Marmion indi-
cates the possession originally of another office, as its
meaning is much the same as Despenser. William
Beauchamp of Bedford, connected with the Marmions,
acted as grand almoner at the nuptials of King
HUGH DE BEAUCHAMP.
The name of this great historical, prolific, and wide-
spreading family, of which no less than ten branches
are recorded in the Baronage of England, appears in
every list of the companions of the Conqueror, but is
not mentioned by any of the contemporary writers. Nor
do the old lists in which it occurs give the baptismal
names of the persons recorded, and we have therefore
to search in other quarters for evidence that will enable
us to identify the particular member or members of
the family who may be fairly presumed to have been
present in the battle of Hastings.
In this instance, Domesday supplies us with
sufficient information to justify us in admitting the
probability of the statement of MM. de Magny and
HUGH DE BEAUCHAMP. 173
Delisle, that it was a Hugh cle Beauchamp who for
his services at the time of the Conquest, received
four lordships in Buckinghamshire, and forty-three,
or the greatest portion of them, in Bedfordshire,
and was the immediate ancestor of the Beauchamps of
Of his own parentage I have found no note, but he
was most probably descended from the Norman lords
of Beauchamp of Avranches, seated between that city
and Granville, and a kinsman of the Robert de Beau-
champ, Viscount of Argues, in the reign of Henry L,
who is first mentioned by Orderic under the year
1171, when by the King's order he seized the castle of
Elias de Saint-saens, who had the guardianship of the
young heir of Normandy, William Clito, with the
object of arresting that prince and consigning him to
By his wife, unknown, Hugh de Beauchamp is said
to have had three sons : Simon, who died without
issue ; Pagan or Payne, to whom William Rufus gave
the whole barony of Bedford with the castle, which was
the caput or head of the barony, and Milo, the
ancestor of the Beauchamps of Eaton. Thus Dugdale
and others ; but there is undoubtedly some confusion
here which, though noticed by the English translator
of Orderic, has not been cleared up by him.
174 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
The De Beauchamps who so strongly defended Bed-
ford Castle were,- according to Orderic, the sons of
Robert de Beauchamp, and not of Hugh, as above
stated ; and if this Eobert be identical with the
Viscount of Arques we have just heard of, the whole
line of Beauchamp of Bedford is thrown into
Orderic says that King Stephen, against the
advice of his brother Henry, Bishop of Winchester,
laid siege to Bedford, but as it was the season of
Christmas, and the winter very rainy, after great
exertions he had no success. Indeed, the sons of
Robert de Beauchamp defended the place with great
resolution, and until the arrival of the Bishop, the
King's brother, rejected all terms of submission to
Stephen. Not that they resolved to deny the fealty
and service they owed to him as their liege lord, but
having heard that the King had given the daughter of
Simon de Beauchamp to Hugh, surnamed the Poor,
with her father's lordships, they feared they should
lose their whole inheritance.*
Now here we have also the information that Simon,
who is said to have died without issue, left a daughter,
for that she could not be the daughter of the second
Simon in the pedigree, son of Pagan, first baron of
* Lib. xiii. cap. xxxyi.
HUGH DE BEAUCHAMP. 175
Bedford, is clear, as that Simon was living in the eighth
of John, 1207.
Dugdale, upon no authority that I can see, calls
her the sister of the defenders of Bedford, whom he
describes as the sons of the second Simon de Beau-
champ, steward to King Stephen, which is simply
impossible, for the reason just given. We have there-
fore three different fathers to choose from for the
progenitors of the line of Eaton.
Let us now turn to the account of the siege of
Bedford by another contemporary writer. The ano-
nymous author of the Acts of King Stephen, says
" The King having held his court during Christmas
(at Dunstable) with becoming splendour, despatched
messengers to Milo de Beauchamp, who by royal
licence had the custody of the Castle of Bedford, with
orders that he should hold the castle of Hugh, and do
service to him instead of the King. If he readily
obeyed this command he should have honour and
reward, but if he withstood it in any manner, he was
to be assured that it would be his ruin. On receipt of
the royal message, Milo replied that he was willing to
serve the King as his true knight and to obey his com-
mands, unless he attempted to deprive him of the
possessions which belonged to him and his heirs by
hereditary right ; but if that was the King's intention,
170 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
and lie endeavoured to execute it by force, lie would
bear the King's displeasure as best he could ; and as
for the castle, he would never yield it unless he was
driven to the last extremity. Finding how things
stood, the King's indignation was roused against Milo,
and he raised an army from all parts of England to lay
siege to Bedford. Aware of his approach, Milo swept
off all the provisions he could lay his hands on, making
violent seizures both from the townsmen and the in-
habitants of the neighbourhood, with whom before he
had been on good terms, as belonging to his lordship.
These supplies he stored in the castle, and securely
closing the gates he for this time excluded the King's
people without any loss on his own side. The King,
however, after carefully reconnoitring the fortifications,
placed under cover bands of archers at convenient posts,
with directions to maintain such a constant discharge
of arrows against those who manned the battlements
and towers, as should prevent them keeping a good
lookout and hold them always in a state of confusion.
" Meanwhile, he exerted all his energies to have
engines constructed for filling the trenches and
battering the walls. All that skill and ingenuity,
labour and expense could compass was effected.
Night watches were posted at all the castle gates to
prevent any communication by the besieged with their
HUGH DE BEAUCHAMP. 177
friends without, or the introduction of provisions or
necessaries within the fortress. By day every means
were employed to distress and annoy the enemy. But
the castle stood on a very high mound, surrounded
by a solid and lofty wall, and it had a strong and
impregnable keep, containing a numerous garrison of
stout and resolute men, so that the expectation of soon
taking it proved abortive, and the King having other
affairs on his hands which required immediate
attention, withdrew, leaving the greater part of his
army to carry on the siege, with orders that in case
the engines could not effect the reduction of the place,
a blockade should be maintained till want and hunger
compelled its surrender. After the King's departure
the besieging army continued their hostilities, till the
garrison, having exhausted their provisions and finding
their strength failing, confessed that they could hold
the place no longer, and therefore surrendered it to the
King according to the laws of war."
Now, in this circumstantial account we hear only
of Milo, and there is no hint as to his parentage ; but
he is spoken of as the holder of Bedford Castle under
the King, and as the then head of the family defending
his inheritance for himself and his heirs. If he had
brothers with him, which Orderic's language implies,
they must have been younger sons of Robert the
178 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
Viscount and Milo his successor ; in wliich case, how
was he related to the nameless daughter of Simon, the
wife of Hugh de Mculcnt, surnamed "the Poor,"
Earl of Bedford ? A word, by the way, of this
surname, the explanation of which is clearly given by
the author of the " Acts of King Stephen " in a subse-
quent passage in his history, though no modern writer
appears to have paid attention to it.
The reader is told that King Stephen bestowed the
earldom of Bedford on Hugh, surnamed the Pauper,
and naturally imagines that the said Hugh was raised
by the munificence of his sovereign from a state of
poverty to rank and affluence. The case, however, is
exactly the reverse, for thus says the author just
quoted : " Hugh, also surnamed ' The Pauper,' who
by royal licence possessed the earldom of Bedford,
after the expulsion of Milo de Beauchamp, conducted
his affairs with so much negligence, like the careless
and effeminate man he was, that, willing or not will-
ing, he gave up the task to Milo, becoming by the
righteous judgment of God, from an earl a simple
knight, and from that shortly a penniless man" It
was not, therefore, Hugh " the Poor/' or " the Pauper"
who was made the Earl of Bedford, but Hugh de
Meulent, third son of Robert Earl of Leicester, by a
daughter of the great house of Vermandois, a man of
HUGH DE BEAUCHAMP. 179
noble birth, who being created Earl of Bedford,
reduced himself by his own folly and effeminacy to so
miserable a condition as to acquire the appellation
which has been associated with his name for seven
centuries, and not unnaturally misled our later
annalists and annotators.*
Still we are unable to affiliate Milo, who, whether
the son of Hugh or Robert de Beauchamp, must, if the
above account can be depended upon, have been
in 1137 in possession of the patrimonial estates,
including the Castle of Bedford, for which he was
commanded thenceforth to do homage to Hugh de
Meulent instead of to the King. Pagan, to whom
the barony of Bedford was given by William Rufus,
must then have been dead ; but as he left issue by his
wife Rohesia two sons, Simon and Pagan, the eldest of
whom confirmed the gifts of his mother, the Countess
Rohesia, to the Priory of Chicksand, and to the
Abbey of Newenham, founded by his father, and
was sheriff of Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire in
the reign of Richaxd I., it is in our present state of
information impossible to account for the position of
* The intelligent English translator of Orderic even observes in a
note (vol. iv., p. 195), " Nor was it any wonder that the sons of Roger
(Robert ?) de Beauchamp should oppose the alliance of their cousin-
german with a person of such mean substance as this Hugh." An
altogether gratuitous assumption.
180 THE CONQUEROK AND HIS COMPANIONS.
Milo and the language attributed to him. He appears
to have been living in the reign of Henry II., when,
with consent of Pagan, his heir (not his son, observe),
he gave a mill at Bedford to the monks of
But I must hasten to the line of Beauchamp of
Ehnley, from which sprang all the most distinguished
personages of this proud and potent family. Here
again we are met with the same difficulty at starting,
for no one has yet been able to show the relationship
of Walter, the earliest known of this branch, to Hugh,
the companion of the Conqueror, or to Kobert the
Viscount of Arques. We first hear of him as the
husband of Emmeline, daughter of Urso d'Abetot,
and sister of Roger, who, for slaying a servant of King
Henry L, was banished the realm, and all his estates
given to his brother-in-law, this Walter de Beauchamp
.(then called of Bedford), with the office of Dispensator
Regis, which Robert, the brother of Urso, had for-
merly held ; and the shrievalty of Worcestershire to
hold as freely as Urso had done, confirming also to
him the lands given him by Atheliza, the widow of
Urso. Making Elmley Castle in Worcestershire his
chief residence, he and his descendants were thence-
forth known as Beauchamp of Elmley.
William, the fourth in descent from Walter, married
HUGH DE BEAUCHAMP. 181
Isabel, sister and heiress of William cle Mauduit, Earl of
Warwick, who brought with her the honours and
estates of that noble family to swell the fortunes of
the already powerful and affluent one of Beauchamp.
Henry, the sixth earl in descent from William, was
created Duke of Warwick by King Henry VI. in
1444, and by the marriage of his sister Anne with
Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury, he became Earl of
Warwick in right of his wife, and is well known to
every schoolboy as " the King Maker."
From the same William descended the branches of
Alcester and Powick, and the co-heiresses of Richard,
last Lord Beauchamp of Powick, carried the repre-
sentation into the families of Willoughby de Broke
and Lygon, ancestors of the present Earls of Warwick
and Beauchamp. As in my previous memoir of Nevil,
I must express my regret that I am debarred from
even briefly describing the interesting events and
gallant exploits of the most important members of
this family : of Guy Earl of Warwick not the
legendary killer of the Dun Cow, but the valiant
leader in the battle of Falkirk, " The Black Dog of
Arden," as he was called by Piers Gaveston, an insult
which cost that unworthy favourite his life upon the
Hill of Blacklow.
Of John, son of that Guy who bore the royal
182 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
standard at Cressy, and was one of the founders of
the most noble Order of the Garter, or of Richard,
an account of whose magnificent array and knightly
prowess in the celebrated jousts at Calais would of
itself occupy more space than the longest notice I can
afford to give to the most important companion of the
Conqueror, I cannot venture to speak. I must even
apologise to the general reader for the genealogical
details which I have been led into by the imperfect
and perplexing pedigree of the early Barons of Bedford.
WILLIAM DE PERCY.
The name of Percy, strange to say, does not occur
in the Roll of Battle Abbey ; for I cannot agree with
my old friend Sir Bernard Burke in his discovery of
it in Percelay, a form in which I have never found it
in any authority. Strange, because in view of the
numerous interpolations it contains, one can scarcely
imagine the omission of a name so distinguished in
Anglo-Norman history. But for those manifest addi-
tions the fact of the absence of the name of Percy
would go far to establish the genuineness of the Rolls,
as no member of that family appears to have fought
at Senlac, and William dc Percy must be placed in
the list of those noble Normans who " came over with
the Conqueror "on his return to England in 1067,
WILLIAM DE PERCY. 183
amougst whom I have already mentioned Roger de
Montgoineri and Hugh d'Avranches.
William de Percy was the sworn brother-in-arms of
the latter, and accompanied him to England,* and who
on being made Earl of Chester transferred to him the
lordship of Whitby, with the extensive domains
attached to it in the East Riding of Yorkshire. By
what service he obtained the vast possessions held by
him at the time of .the general survey we have no
information, an old manuscript, quoted by Dugdale,
simply saying that, " being much beloved by the
King," he enjoyed them through his bounty, and it is
not till we arrive at the reign of Stephen that we hear
of any remarkable actions attributed to his descend-
ants, when his great-great-grandson, William de
Percy, distinguished himself by his valour in the
famous battle of the Standard.
The name of this ancient and noble family was
derived from their great fief of Perci, near Villedieu,
in Normandy, and according to tradition they were
the descendants of one Mainfred, a Dane, who had
preceded Rollo into Neustria. Geoffrey, the son of
Mainfred, followed him in the service of Rollo, and
was succeeded in rotation by William, Geoffrey, Wil-
liam, and Geoffrey, all born in Normandy, the latter
* Mon. Ang., vo 1 . i., p. 72.
184 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
Geoffrey being the father of William de Percy, the
subject of this notice, and of Serlo, his brother, the
first abbot of Whitby, a monastery founded by William
on the site of one called Skinshale, which had been
destroyed by Inguar and Hubba.
Upon this abbey William bestowed the towns of
Seaxby and Everley ; but resumed and regranted them
to Ealph de Everley, his esquire, who had been in his
service many years.
Abbot Serlo, his brother, feeling injured by this
proceeding, made his complaint to William Eufus, with
whom he had been on terms of intimacy during the
reign of his father, and the King ordered restitution to
be made. Serlo, however, was not satisfied with the
restoration of the towns, and having no confidence in
his brother, determined to quit Whitby and establish
himself where he should hold under the King only,
and be out of his brother's power. He therefore
legged of Rufus six carucates of land in Hakerias and
Northfield, and translated thither part of the commu-
nity of Whitby.
William de Percy married a lady named Emma de
Port, " in discharging of his conscience," says our
ancient writer, she being " very heire " to the estates
given to him by William the Conqueror, and in 1096 r
having joined the first Crusade in company with
EOBEET FITZ ERNEIS. 183
Eobert Court-heuse, died at Montjoye, near Jerusalem,
the celebrated eminence so named by the Christian
Pilgrims, because from there they first caught sight
of the sacred city. His body was brought back
to England, and buried in the chapter house at
This Anglo-Norman race of the Percys became ex-
tinct in the male line at the close of the 12th century
by the deaths, without issue, of the four sons of his
grandson William, when this great inheritance was
divided between their two sisters and co-heirs, Maud,
wife of William de Mauduit, Earl of Warwick, who
died without issue, and Agnes, on whom the whole
possessions of the Percys in England devolved, and
passed with her hand to Joceleyn de Louvaine, brother
of Adeliza, Queen of Henry L, who assumed the name
of Percy, retaining the arms of his own family.
From the issue of this marriage descended those
great Earls of Northumberland and Worcester, whose
deeds and fortunes are interwoven with the most im-
portant portions of our history from the reign of
Henry III. to that of Charles IT.
EOBEET FITZ EENEIS.
Here we have a companion of the Conqueror who
fought and fell at Senlac one of the very few recorded
186 THE CONQUEROE AND HIS COMPANIONS.
to have done so a most remarkable fact, for surely
the names of men who died in the hour of victory
were as deserving of commemoration as those of the
survivors. That a list of the killed, if not of the
wounded, should not have been specially drawn up,
and preserved " in memoriam " by the pious monks of
Battle, or, at any rate, distinguished by some mark in
the Koll, is to me incomprehensible, in days, too, when
mortuary Rolls were compiled in nearly every mon-
astic establishment. I cannot help thinking some such
document has unfortunately perished, although the
silence of Wace and of all other chroniclers respecting
the slain at Senlac may be adduced in proof of the
little regard paid at that period to the subject.
Robert Fitz Erneis, the only Norman mentioned by
Wace as having fallen in battle was, as his name
imports, the son of Erneis, a collateral descendant of
the family of Taisson, by his wife Ha wise, sister of
Fulk d'Aunou. His death is thus described by
Wace : " Robert Fitz Erneis let fall his lance, took
his shield and galloped towards the standard,
sword in hand, hewing down with its trenchant
blade an Englishman who stood before it, and,
fighting his way through many others, reached the
standard, and endeavoured to cut it down, but the
English surrounded it, and killed him with their
WILLIAM PATEY DE LA LAXDE. 187
guisarmes.* He was found on the spot, when they
afterwards sought for him, lying dead at the stan-
He married a lady named, like his mother, Hawise,
and had a son called after himself Eobert Fitz Erneis,
who, in a charter printed in Gallia Christiana (vol. ix.
Instrumentum, 334), mentions his father's death :
" Eodem vero Patre meo in Anglia occiso."
WILLIAM PATEY DE LA LANDE.
" William Patric de la Lande called aloud for King
Harold, saying that if he could see him he would
appeal him of perjury. He had seen him at La
Lande, and Harold had rested there on his way
through, when he was taken to the Duke, then at
Avranches, on his road to Brittany. The Duke made
him a knight there, and gave him and his companions
arms and garments, and sent him against the Bretons.
Patric stood armed by the Duke's side, and was much
esteemed by him." (Rom. de Ron, 1. 13,723.) Thus
far Wace : but the correctness of his account has been
questioned by Le Prevost, who considers it contradic-
tory to the evidence of Guillaurne de Poitiers, who
says the Duke received Harold at Eu, and also of the
* A fearful weapon, combining a pike and a curved blade like that
of a reaping nook. Several may be seen in the Tower. No such
weapon, however, is depicted in the Bayeux Tapestiy.
183 THE CONQUEROK AND HIS COMPANIONS.
Bayeux Tapestry, which represents Harold being
surrendered to the Duke of Normandy by the Count
of Ponthieu in person, observing also that the Duke
did not send Harold against the Bretons, but took him
with him. This is rather hypercritical, and the whole
story of this campaign is one of the most confused in
the annals of Normandy, no light being thrown upon
it by those of Brittany. Duke William, contem-
plating the war with Conan, might have been at
Avranches, on the borders of Brittany, when the news
of Harold's captivity reached him ; and the demand
for his release despatched thence to Count Wido,
William, with his usual rapidity of action, following
almost on the heels of his messenger to Eu ; on the
frontier of Ponthieu, to receive the Saxon prince, or
enforce his demand if not promptly complied with.
La Lande Patry is in the arrondissement of Dom-
front, not far from Avranches, and its lord may
have first seen Harold when passing with the Duke
to Avranches, on their road to Brittany, instead of on
his journey from Beaurain. There is no point of
importance involved in this little discrepancy.
The time and place of William's bestowal of knight-
hood, and giving arms to Harold, is a question of
more interest, as the fact represented in the Bayeux
Tapestry is distinctly stated by Wace in the passage
WILLIAM PATRY DE LA LANDE. 189
I have quoted to have occurred at Avranches pre-
vious to the setting out of the expedition ; and I am
inclined, with all due deference to the contrary
opinion of Mr. Freeman, to believe such was the case.
Harold, when embarking with hawk and hounds on
a pleasurable excursion, was not dreaming of warfare,
and was consequently unprovided with armour. It
was a positive necessity to present him with helm and
hauberk, shield and lance, before he entered the
enemy's country, and simultaneously with the bestowal
of that Norman knighthood, which, while ostensibly
an honour, was one of the toils in which the artful
Duke entangled his captive guest.* William Patry
de la Lande, one of the Duke's vassals whose fief was
nearest to the enemy's frontier, would naturally have
been summoned to join his suzerain with whatever
power he was bound to bring, and was most probably
a witness of the ceremony when, according to the
usual formula, Harold must have taken the oaths of
chivalry. It is equally probable, as we are assured,
* The position the representation of this incident occupies in the
Bayeux Tapestry cannot be used as an argument in favour of the
opinion expressed by Mr. Freeman, as chronological order is not in-
variably observed in that valuable relic. For instance, the funeral of
Eil ward the Confessor precedes his death ; and I have also to observe
that the figure of Duke William giving arms to Harold appears to
have been squeezed, if I may so express myself, into that portion of
the Tapestry, as though the insertion had been an after-thought
the correction of an omission in the nearest place available.
J90 THE CONQUEKOB AND HIS COMPANIONS.
that Patry was particularly a favourite with his Duke,
and that he was also a witness to the oath said to have
been taken by Harold somewhere or other, for no two
authorities are agreed, by which he bound himself to
be " William's Man," and to acknowledge his right
to the crown of England on the death of King
Edward the Confessor. Who then so likely to accuse
Harold of perjury as the Lord of La Lande Patry ?
His name may be indicated by "De la Lande" in
the Roll of Battle, and another catalogue, but history
is silent respecting him or his descendants subsequent
to the Conquest, and I have nothing to add to the
brief but suggestive notice of him by the Canon of
AVENEL DE BIARZ.
BERNARD DE ST. VALERI.
IT is with great diffidence that I offer any observa-
tions whatever on this very mysterious family, from
whom so many of the noblest houses in England claim
Wace enumerates amongst the combatants at
Senlac, " William ki Ton dit Crespin," and he has
previously mentioned " Gil ki done gardont Tillieres,"
who, if not the same personage, must have been one
of the family, and is presumed by M. le Prevost to
have been Gilbert Crispin, second of that name,
brother, according to some genealogists, of William,
who was Seigneur de Bec-en-Caux, and whose name
192 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
appears in charters of the dates of 1080 and 1082.
But if brothers, of whom were they the sons ?
The late Mr. Stacey Grimaldi, who considered himself
a collateral descendant of the family of Crispin, or
Crespin as indifferently written, took great pains to
establish the fact, and published in the " Gentleman's
Magazine" for October, 1832, a pedigree, founded on
his researches, differing from that set forth in the
appendix to the works of Lanfranc by D'Achery. His
son, the Rev. Alexander B. Grimaldi, of Eastry, Kent,
has most kindly intrusted to me what I may call the
working papers of his father ; but unfortunately they
do not throw sufficient light on the point in question.
Mr. Stapleton, in his illustrations of the Norman Rolls
of the Exchequer, only deals with the later genera-
tions, and Le Prevost, in his notes on Wace, simply
makes a statement differing from that of Mr. Grimaldi,
without citing any evidence in support of it.
According to the latter, Crispinus, Baron of Bee,
was the son of Crispina, daughter of Rollo, by
Grimaldus, Prince of Monaco. By his wife Heloise
of Guynes and Boulogne, Crispinus had five sons, one
of whom, Rollo, was the father of Goisfrid cle Bee or
Marescal, and Toustain Fitz Rou, the standard-bearer
at Hastings. Another, named Gilbert Crispin, first suc-
ceeded his father as Baron of Bee, and had three
WILLIAM CTJSPIN. 193
sons, William, Gilbert, and Milo, all present at
Hastings. The usual provoking omission of the
names and families of the wives of these noble
Normans renders it impossible to verify their descent,
and deprives genealogy of half its interest. In this
particular case it is exceedingly deplorable, as any
information respecting the female members of this
family would tend to clear up the mystery still
involving those of Malet, Lincoln, Roumare, Tanker-
ville, and others, as I have already pointed out.
We may fairly consider, however, that William
Crispin I. was the son of Gilbert, Baron of Bee
and Castellan of Tillieres, who defended that fortress
against the French King Henry, and reluctantly sur-
rendered it to him by command of the boy-duke
. William at the commencement of his reign. Ac-
cording to Pere Anselm, who quotes, however, no
authority, his mother was Gonnor, sister of Fulk
d'Aunou, the companion of the Conqueror. She was
also the mother of four other children Gilbert, who
succeeded his father as Baron of Bee; Robert, who
died without issue ; and two daughters Emma,
married to Pierre de Conde, and Elise, wife of Robert
According to the same genealogist, William Crispin
who fought at Senlac married, previous to 1077,
194 THE CONQUEEOE- AND HIS COMPANIONS.
Eva, the daughter of Simon de Montfort 1'Aumary, by
whom he had William Crispin II., the doughty
warrior at the battle of Bremule, and Gilbert, who
became a monk in the Abbey of Bee, and eventually
Abbot of Westminster.
William Crispin I., the subject of this memoir, we
have previously heard of as one of the victorious
leaders in the murderous battle of Mortemer, 1054.
He must have been a very young man at that time,
and probably it was the first combat of consequence
he had ever been engaged in. He was living in
1082, when he witnessed the foundation charters of
the Conqueror to the Abbeys of St. Stephen and the
Holy Trinity, at Caen, and the confirmation of the
privileges of the Abbey of Fontenville, in the same
year, at the council held at Oistel, near Rouen. No
particular exploit is recorded of him at Senlac, nor do
we hear of his being employed in any military service
either in England or Normandy after the Conquest.
He was probably deceased before 1085, as his name
does not appear in Domesday, Milo Crispin, a brother
of his, according to Mr. Grimaldi, but not named by
Pere Anselm, being at the time of the survey in pos-
session of certain estates, some of which may have
been granted previously to William.
His brother Gilbert was probably, as already men-
WILLIAM CRISPIN. 195
tioned, the personage "who held Tillieres " in 1066,
and followed his feudal lord to England. He and
Henry de Ferrers charged the English together, each
having brought a large company into the field. All
who opposed them were either killed or captured.
"The earth trembled beneath them" (Rom. de Ron,
1. 13,503). From him descended the Seigneurs de
Tillieres, one of whom, Gilbert, presumably his son
and heir, was the second husband of Eleanore de
Vitre, afterwards wife of William Fitz Patrick, first
Earl of Salisbury.
Milo, the tenant in Domesday, is not attempted to
be affiliated by Dugdale, and is altogether ignored by
Anselm. I do not find him in any way alluded to by
Wace as having been in the battle, and Mr. Grimaldi
alone makes him a brother of William and Gilbert.
Whoever he might be, he was a very substantial per-
sonage, possessing no less than eighty-eight lordships
in England at the time of the survey, and, by marriage
with Maud, daughter of Robert d'Oiley, becoming Lord
of Wallingford, in Berkshire, the castle whereof he
made his principal seat.
But I must now return to the sisters of William and
Gilbert, one of whom, called by Anselm Elise, he
marries to Robert Malet. This is important, if true,
for in that case she may be the sister of William
196 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
Crispin, otherwise named Hesilia (Elisia ? ), mother,
according to the pedigree in D'Achery, of the William
Malet who fought at Senlac, and gave Conteville
(however he came by it) to the Abbey of Bee.
I have pointed out the curious association of the
names of Heiieve, mother of the Conqueror, and Gil-
bert Crispin. Is it probable that she survived Herluin,
and married secondly Gilbert, Baron of Bee-Crispin
and Castellan of Tillieres, and that Conteville passed in
this way by his daughter, Hesilia or Elisia, to her son
William Malet, who gives it, you observe, to the Abbey
of Bee, and not to Gerstein, founded by Herluin ?
We have no dates or evidence whatever of the
marriage of Gilbert with Gonnor, or of their decease,
and where there is so much confusion and incertitude
a little speculation is perhaps allowable when pro-
voked by evidence hitherto apparently disregarded.
There is a charter of foundation of the priory of
Chateauceaux, printed by Morice in his " Histoire de
Bretagne," Preuves, torn, i., pp. 384-5, which contains
some interesting information respecting a branch of
the Crispin family to be identified. In English it
would run thus : I, Gaufridus (Geoffrey or Godfrey)
Crispin, Lord of Chateauceaux, for my salvation and
the redemption of the soul of my beloved wife Mar-
garet, and with the assent and authority of my
WILLIAM CRISPIX. 197
brothers, Herluin, Onderic, Joscelin, and Ralph, &c. ;
and the gift is witnessed by Theobald, his eldest son,
the lady Girbergia, his mother, and Simon Crispin,
his brother ; a William Crispin being also named in the
charter. Le Prevost, in his notes to Wace, strenuously
opposes the theory of Mr. Grimalcli, who derives
Toustain Fitz Rou and Geoffrey de Bee from the same
stock as the Crispins. "William Crispin," he says,
" first of the name, Lord of Bee-Crispin, a celebrated
barony which has given its name to the two com-
munes of Notre Dame and of St. Martin du Bee-
Crispin, near Montvilliers. This family has nothing
in common with Toustain, standard-bearer to the Duke
at Hastings, and originally of Bec-aux-Cauchois ;" the
former being in the arrondissement of Havre, and the
latter in that of Yveto.
This is very authoritative, but requires some docu-
mentary evidence for its support. In the charter to
Chateauceaux we find a Gaufridus Crispin, who may
be the brother of Toustain, though his name is not
mentioned ; in which case Girbergia would be the
wanting wife of Rollo. But unfortunately she is not
named by Mr. Grimaldi, and Gaufridus does not name
his father, so that we are still unable to decide that
Toustain Fitz Rou is said to have been the grand-
198 THE CONQUEKOK AND HIS COMPANIONS.
father of Walkelin Malet. I am weary of saying, " is
said," but as that would take us two generations
below the Conquest, I need not pursue that line or
" bestow my tediousness " any further on the general
I shall therefore conclude my notice of the Crispins
by observing, that from Geoffrey de Bee, or Marescal
of Domesday, Mr. Grimaldi derives the present family
AVENEL DE BIARZ.
The Seigneur de Biarz is twice mentioned by Wace
in his " Roman de Rou." First in company with
" D'Avranchin i fu Bicharz
Ensemble od li cil de Biarz " (1. 13,600-1).
and subsequently thus
" Des Biarz i fu Avenals" (1. 13,632).
Which might or might not be the same person, or
simply that there was more than one of that family in
the Duke's army. "There were the Avenels of the
Biarz." Les Biards being a bourg on the banks of the
Selune, canton of Isigny, arrondissement of Mortaiii.
The companion of the Conqueror is assumed by Le
Provost to have been William Avenel, Seigneur des
Biards, who was seneschal of Robert Comte de
AVENEL DE BIAEZ. 193
Mortain, the Duke's half-brother, and would therefore
probably follow his lord to the wars. There is no
reason, however, that one or more of his brothers (he
appears to have had five) should not have accom-
The name of Avenel does not occur in either of
the Kolls of Battle Abbey, but it is included in
Brompton's List, and the rhyming one of Leland. A
sub-tenant of that name occurs also in Domesday,
holding half a hide of land in the hundred of
Cendovre, under Roger de Montgomeri, Earl of
Shrewsbury ; but we trace no grants from the Con-
queror to any one of the family in reward of their
services at Senlac, a circumstance which excites the
surprise of the authors of " Les Recherches," to whom
we are indebted for many particulars of the early lords
of the Biards or Es-Biards.
According to Vincent de Beauvais, an historian of
the thirteenth century, one Harold Avenel was the
first of the family who settled in Normandy, whither
he had accompanied Rolf, of whom he was a kinsman
as well as of the Paynels, the Taissons, the Giffards,
and others of Scandinavian origin, and his statement,
though not always to be relied upon, is in this
instance fairly supported by documentary evidence.
In a charter by Hugues, the son of John de Roceto,
200 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
A.D. 1035, granting to the Abbey of Marmoutiers the
Church of St. Martin de Belesme, the gift is declared
to be made with the consent of Odo, brother of
Henry I. King of France, of Geoffrey Count of
Anjou, Ivo Bishop of Se'ez, and of the grantor's kins-
man, Herve de Braviard (Biuard, or Biard). In
another charter, dated 1067, having reference to a
dispute respecting the above donation, the name recurs
of Herve, the kinsman of Hugues de Roceto, in con-
j unction with that of a Sigemberg des-Biarz, appa-
rently the son of Herve, who also seems to have been
the father of Ormellinus, surnamed Avenellus, who,
with the consent of his wife Avitia, in 1060 concedes
a third of his rights on the Church of St Martin de
Say.* Sigemberg des Biarz dying without male issue,
we find the sons of his brother Osmellinus joining
the name of Biarz to that of Avenel, borne by their
We thus arrive at the epoch of the Conquest, when
it appears that Sigemberg des Biarz was still living,
and possibly Ormellinus his brother also, as he and
his wife Avitia were benefactors to St. Martin de Say
in 1060. Sigemberg if not too old might therefore be
in the battle, and be the "Seigneur" de Biarz of
Wace, distinguished from the " Avenels," his nephews,
* Gall. Christ Instr., col. 1-53.
AVEXEL DE BIARZ. 201
none of whom could have succeeded to the lordship of
Des Biards before 1067.
These Avenels, sons of Ormellinus and Avitia were,
as I have already intimated, six in number. William,
the seneschal, selected by Le Prevost as the com-
batant at Senlac; Ranulf, living in 1081 ; Joel, Abbot
of La Couture in 1081 ; Walter, living in 1081, and
Herve and Traslen, or Gradin, both living in 1106.
William Avenel des Biarz in 1082, in conjunction
with his brother, gave the Church of Ye'zens and the
Priory of Les Biarz to the Abbey of La Couture in the
diocese of Mans, of which his brother Joel was the
fifth abbot ; and Eanulf, his other brother, caused the
gift to be confirmed by his son and heir, Rainold
Avenel, at that date in his childhood. The same
William Avenel also witnesses the charter of Robert,
Comte de Mortain, by which he founds a prebend in
the college of St. Evroult for the priory of Mortain in
10S8. His wife is unknown, but his sons by her were
William, second of that name, Richard, Robert, and
Hugh AveneL From William II. descended the
Avenels of France, the elder branch of w r hich family
terminated in the male line with the death of his
great-grandson in the fourteenth century, whose
daughter Guillenine brought the whole of the Barony
des Biards to the house of Le Sotherel.
202 THE CONQTJEKOK AND HIS COMPANIONS.
How the Avenel of Domesday was connected with
William the Seneschal, and from which of his brothers
the English branch descended, remains yet undecided ;
but an Avenel of Hacldon witnessed the foundation
charter of the Priory of Linton in Nottinghamshire by
William Peverel in the reign of Henry L, in com-
pany with Henry de Ferrers, Ealph Ansleyn, and
The same Avenel by his own charter granted to
that priory two manors which formed part of his
domain of Haddon. Another charter by William
Peverel in the register of Lenton is witnessed by a
William Avenel, and a Kobert Avenel subscribes the
foundation charter of the Abbey of St. James at
Welbeck ; and I am inclined to believe that Ranulf,
one of the younger brothers of William the Seneschal,
was the progenitor of the English Avenels.
Vincent has transcribed a charter of William, the
son of William Avenel, wherein he names Richard de
Vernon and Simon Basset as the husbands of his two
daughters and heirs, with whom they had lands in
Haddon and Welbeck, and we obtain the name of the
daughter who married Richard de Vernon from a
charter of their son William de Vernon, who calls his
mother Avicia Avenel, a family name which we can
trace from the wife of Ormellinus in the eleventh
FULK D'AULNAY. 203
century to the Avicia Avenel who married John
Rollesly in the fourteenth.
By the above charter we see how H addon passed
from the Avenels to the Vernons. The romantic but
authentic story of the flight of the fair Dorothy,
daughter and co-heir of Sir George Vernon, with Sir
John Manners, from Haddon Hall, has been told too
often to call for repetition here, and is only referred to
in illustration of the Norman descent of the Dukes of
Rutland from Ormellinus, " qui cognominhabitus Ave-
nellus," through the baronial house of Vernon, a scion
of which also demands our notice, under the name of
The Sire "d'Alnei" mentioned by Wace (Rom. de
Ron, 1. 13,775) receives but little attention from either
the French or the English commentators of the Norman
poet, and they have made no attempt to identify him.
There are several communes of that name in Normandy,
one of which, Aulnay I'Abbaye, near Caen, belonged
in the twelfth century to the family of Say, a
member of which was present at Senlac ; Monsieur
de Gerville mentions also a Laulne near Lessay,
latinised de Alno, but I find no conclusive evidence as
to the fief or locality from which the Sire d'Alnei of
AVace derived his appellation.
204 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
The continuator of Guillaume de Junaieges, however,
enlightens us as to his parentage ; a point of more
importance. As I have already stated, page 47 of
this volume, he tells us that Fulk de Aneio (de
Alneto, de Aneto, d'Anet, for it is spelt all manner of
ways) was the son of Osmund de Centumville (i.e.
Cotenville) by a niece of the Duchess Gonnor or
Gunnora, and, according to the same authority, uncle
of a Baldwin de Redvers. Osmundo de Centumville
was Vicomte de Vcrnon, and a Hugh de Redvers,
also called Hugh de Vernon, another uncle of the
same Baldwin, made grants to Brumore in 1089.
That members of the latter family were indiffer-
ently called De Rivieres and De Vernon many
proofs could be adduced, showing that they were of
the same stock, assuming the names of their own fiefs
for distinction, as in the instance of the sons of Baudry
le Teuton, to the great confusion of the genealogist
and mystification of the readers of history.
That Vernon was the general name of the descen-
dants of Osmund, can, I think, be scarcely doubted.
William de Vernon possessed the town and Castle of
Vernon in 1052, a fief which had been held by Guy of
Burgundy, on whom, in his youth, Duke William had
bestowed it together with Brionne, but who lost both
by his defeat at Val-es-Dunes in 1047. Brionne, we see,
FULK D'AULNAY. 205
was given to Baldwin de Meules on the marriage of
William and Matilda, and Vernon probably bestowed
it on Osmund de Centumville when he became the
husband of a niece of the fortunate Gonnor, Duchess of
Normandy. William, probably his son, who was Sire
de Vernon in 1052, had two sons, Walter and Eichard
de Vernon, both of whom are stated to have followed
Duke William to England.* That the name of Vernon
appears in the Eoll of Battle, in the list printed by
Duchesne, and the rhyming one of Leland, would be
no corroboration of that statement ; but there is
evidence enough that Richard de Vernon was one of
the barons created by Hugh d'Avranches, Earl of
Chester, by the title of Shipbroke, and a holder of large
estates at the time of the general survey. There is
consequently proof that, if not actually in the invading
army, he was a distinguished Norman at that period,
and is probably the Sire de Neahou whom Wace
says was in the battle, as that fief, Neel's Hou or Holm,
in the arrondissement of Valognes, passed from the
Vicomtes de St-Sauveur to that of Reviers- Vernon,
and in the red book of the Exchequer a Richard de
Vernon is returned as holding the honour of Nehou
by the service of ten knights, and having the custody
of the Castle of Vernon.
* The French catalogues add " Huard " de Vernon, a name hitherto
20G THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
I will not pretend to decide upon the exact relation-
ship of Fulk d'Aulnay to William de Vernon, but
that they were very near connections, if not brothers,
I think cannot be well disputed.
From a similarity of names, Fulk d'Aulnay has
been confounded constantly with Fulk d'Aunou, of
whom I have already discoursed (p. 132, ante). Even
M. le Prevost has been partially misled by it.
Beyond his presence in the battle, I have no
information to give. Genealogy and history are both
silent about him as far as I know. The name
of De Alneto is of frequent occurrence in charters of
the subsequent century. A Berenger d' Alneto sub-
scribes the foundation charter of the Abbey of Aumale
in 1115. Hubert de Alneto witnesses two charters of
Henry I., and Roger de Alneto appears to be a relation
of Gundred de Gournay, wife of Nigel de Albini ; but
no link is discoverable between either of these and
Fulk. Was he amongst the hundreds of unrecorded
slain ? Did he fall in the fight for the standard, or
was he slaughtered in the slough of the Malefosse ?
A Simon d'Aneti or de Aneio, recorded in the red book
aforesaid, is asserted by the authors of the " Recherches
sur le Domesday " to be the recognized descendant of
" Foulques d'Anet," but they have not favoured us
with the materials for such recognition.
BERNARD DE ST. VALERI. 207
I have said so much about the Vernons in this
notice of one of the family that I shall not appropriate
a separate article to them, as I could only repeat my
suggestion, that if a De Vernon was present at Senlac,
he was probably alluded to by Wace as the Sire de
Nehou, a portion of which fief was certainly held by
Kichard de Vernon when Wace wrote, and might have
been held by him, under the Viscount of Saint-
Sa'uveur, by military service at the time of the inva-
sion, if indeed Nehou was restored to Neel after its
forfeiture in 1047, at which period it was probably
given to Baldwin de Eedvers who has been so
frequently confounded with Baldwin de Meules, as I
have instanced in my memoir of him (page 40, ante).
BERNARD DE ST. VALERI.
Orderic has supplied us with plenty of material
for a memoir of the family of St. Valeri, indifferently
written Waleri and Galeri, so many of which were
benefactors to his beloved Abbey of Ouche, otherwise
St. Evroult, and, as the fleet of Duke William sailed
from the port of St. Valery-sur-Somme, the bourg from
which they took their name, it would be strange
indeed if a " Sire de St. Galeri " had not been
found in Wace's catalogue of the companions of the
208 THE CONQUEKOE AND HIS COMPANIONS.
They did not, however, hold the fief of St. Valeri
in their own right, but as hereditary advocates of the
abbey, founded there by Lothaire in 613, in which the
lordship was vested. To the devotion of the Duke
and his barons to its patron saint, the Merovingian
Walleric, and the solemn procession of the abbot and
monks bearing the shrine which contained his holy
relics, was attributed the favourable change of the
wind for which William had so long waited.
The Sires of St. Valeri were also connected by
marriage with the ducal family, and could claim
cousinship by blood with the Conqueror. Gilbert,
the Advocate of St. Valeri, married Papia, daughter
of Richard II. Duke of Normandy, by his wife, "more
Danico," of that name. She bore to him two sons, Ber-
nard and Richard. Of Richard, I shall speak hereafter.
It is with his elder brother that we have first to deal,
as he has been unhesitatingly named by M. le Prevost
as the " Sire de Galeri " of the Norman poet, though
upon what authority I have not been able to discover.
Certainly not upon that of Orderic, who, provok-
ingly enough, while most liberal in his information
respecting Richard and his descendants, tells us
nothing about Bernard except that he was the father
of Walter de St. Valery, who w T as probably the Walter
of Domesday, possessing at the time of its compilation,
BEEXAED DE ST. VALERI. 209
amongst other estates, tlie extensive manor of Isle-
worth, in the county of Middlesex, but whether as
the heir of his father, on whom they might have
been bestowed by the Conqueror, or acquired by
himself, either as a reward for service rendered to
his sovereign or through some fortunate marriage, we
are left to conjecture.
If Bernard was really the companion of the Con-
queror at Hastings and Senlac, the former solution of
the question is most reasonable, and the possession of
the domains by his son Walter has probably been the
chief ground for Le Frevost's statement, which Mr.
Taylor copies without observation, as well as for that
of MM. de Magny and Delisle. Still it is rather
extraordinary that the historian of the family should
record the military services, the marriages and issue of
Eichard and his sons, and make no mention of so in-
teresting a fact as the presence of the elder brother
Bernard in the expedition which sailed from his own
port, and the famous victory in which it resulted.
We must therefore content ourselves perforce with
the assurance of Wace, that the Lord of St. Valeri,
t and those he rode with, demeaned themselves like
brave men, and sorely handled all whom their weapons
could reach. We hear nothing of him after the Con-
quest, and he was probably dead when Walter de
210 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
St. Valery was found seized of the manor of Isle-
worth. The latter was living in 1097, when, with his
son Bernard, he was in the Holy Land, and fought
under the banners of Bohemond in the great battle of
But Walter de St. Valery was not the only one of
the name who held lands in England at the time of the
A Eanulf de St. Walerie was Lord of Randely,
Stamtone, Refan, Stratone, Burgrede, and Scotome, in
Lincolnshire, but how related to Walter does not
appear. " What came of him or his posterity," says
Dugdale, " if he had any, I know not, for those in the
succeeding ages had not any lands in that county."
u Those " being the issue of Reginald, son of Guy de
St. Valerie, who held Hazeldine, in Gloucestershire, of
which he was deprived by King Stephen, being a
partizan of Henry Fitz Empress, but recovered it again
on the accession of the latter, and who was one of the
persons sent by him with letters to the King of France,
requesting him not to give any reception or protection
to the fugitive Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas a
That this Reginald was .a lineal descendant of Ber-
nard and Walter is obvious from the fact that, on the
death of his grandson Thomas, in 1219 (3 Henry III.),
BEENAED DE ST. VALEEI. 211
all his hereditary estates passed with Annora, sole
child of Thomas, to her first husband, Robert Comte
de Dreux, to whom at the same time she brought the
manor of Isleworth, which Walter held in the reign of
the Conqueror, and of which the Comte de Dreux was
found seized in right of his wife in 1220.*
Let us, however, before leaving this subject, hear
what Orderic has to ay respecting Richard de St.
Valery and his descendants. This second son of
Gilbert and Papia was " long employed in the military
service of his uncle, Richard Duke of Normandy, from
whom he received in marriage Ada, widow of the
elder Herleuin de Heugleville, with all her inheritance."
Hence it appears he assumed, according to custom,
the name of Heugleville, and built a town at a place
formerly called Isnelville, on the river Sie, naming it
from the hill which rose above it covered with beech
trees, Aufay (Alfagium), thus acquiring a third appella-
tion as the Lord of Aufay. He was distinguished for
his military abilities and his great liberality -a formid-
able foe and a faithful friend. During the minority
of Duke William, when William of Arques revolted
against him, and he was deserted by nearly all the
Lords of Talou, Richard alone held his castle near the
* Annora married secondly Henry de Sullie, but had no issue by
either husband. Orderic makes no mention of Eanulf, Guy, or Eegi-
nald in his account of the family.
212 THE CONQUEEOR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
Church of St. Aubin against the rebels, and exerted
himself to defend the loyal inhabitants of the country
from the inroads of the garrison of Arques.
Now this Richard de Heugleville, Lord of Aufay,
had a son named, as usual after his grandfather,
Gilbert, who married Beatrice, daughter of Christian
de Valenciennes, "an illustrious captain." This lady,
Orderic tells us, was a cousin of Queen Matilda, and
bore to her husband two sons and one daughter.
Gilbert d'Aufay, as he was called from his patrimonial
estates, was also, by his grandmother Papia, a kinsman
of Duke William, and the same author affirms that " he
fought by the Duke's side at the head of his vassals
in all the principal actions during the English War."
That he included the most important of all is, I
think, evident from the passage which follows : "But
when William became King, and peace was established,
Gilbert returned to Normandy, notwithstanding Wil-
liam offered him ample domains in England, for with
innate honesty of character he refused to participate in
the fruits of rapine. Content with his patrimonial
estates, he declined those of others, and piously devoted
his son Hugh to a monastic life under Abbot Mainer,
in the Abbey of St. Evroult,"
The name of St. Valery is only to be found in
Brompton and the modern lists, and that of Aufay no-
ROBERT D'OILEY. 213
where. In deference to M. le Prevost, who may have
had grounds for his opinion which he has omitted to
cite, I have headed this memoir with the name of
Bernard as the " Sire de St. Galeri " mentioned by
Wace ; but it is quite possible that the Lord of Aufay
may have been designated by his original patronymic,
and he is the only member of the family of St. Valery
who appears indubitably to have been a companion of
There may be, it seems, a question whether by
"d'Oillie" (Rom. de Rou, 1. 13,659) the author means
one of the many u Ouillies " to be found in the arron-
dissement of Falaise, or Ailly, near Centibo3uf ; but
whatever doubt there may be respecting the locality
from which this valiant Norman derived his name,
there is none as to his having been at Senlac, and
rewarded for his services there with the baronies of
Oxford and St. Waleries in England. He is simply
mentioned as " cil d'Oillie " by Wace amongst some
dozen of doughty knights, to whom no particular feat
of arms is accorded; and unless we are to consider
" Duylly " in Leland's alliterative list is intended for it,
the name occurs in no catalogue of those who came in
with the Conqueror one of the many proofs of the
little dependence that can be placed on any.
214 THE CONQUEEOE AND HIS COMPANIONS.
Eobert d'Oiley built the Castle of Oxford, and the
collegiate church of St. John within the walls. He
was also one of the witnesses to the foundation charter
of the Abbey of Selby by King William, and at the
time of the general survey possessed four lordships
in Berkshire, fourteen in Herefordshire, seven in
Buckinghamshire, three in Gloucestershire, and three
in Northamptonshire, one in Bedfordshire, one in
Warwickshire, and twenty-eight in Oxfordshire, in
all sixty-one manors ; besides forty-two habitable
houses in Oxford, and eight which then lay waste,
with thirty acres of meadow land adjoining the wall,
and a mill valued at ten shillings per annum of the
money of that time. Being likewise Constable of
Oxford, he had the full sway of the whole county, and
was so powerful a baron that no one durst oppose him.
With the King's consent he took possession of a
large meadow near the Castle of Oxford which
belonged to the monks of Abingdon, who, being sorely
aggrieved by this act, came in a body before the altar
of our Lady, and prostrating themselves, prayed with
tears to God that He would avenge the injury. Where-
upon, says Dugdale, it shortly after happened that
D'Oiley fell into a grievous sickness, but continued im-
penitent until one night he dreamed that he was in a
royal palace, where, amongst many nobles standing
EOBEET D'OILEY. 215
about it, was a glorious throne, on which sat a
beautiful person habited like a woman, and before her
knelt two monks of Abingdon whom he knew, and
who, when they saw him enter the palace, said with
deep sighs to the Lady, " Behold this is he who
usurpeth the inheritance of thy church, having taken
away that meadow from us for which we make this
complaint/' The Lady, much moved, commanded
that he should be thrust out of doors and taken to
that meadow, there to be tormented. Two young
men who stood near immediately seized and led him
to the meadow, where they made him sit down, and
he was forthwith surrounded by divers ugly children
with loads of hay upon their shoulders, who laughingly
said to each other, "Here is our friend, let us play
with him ! " Upon which, setting fire to the hay,
they smoked and burned him till in his anguish he
called out aloud, " blessed Lady ! have pity upon
me, for I am dying ! " His wife, much alarmed,
exclaimed, " Awake, sir, for you are much troubled in
your sleep," and being thus aroused, he answered,
" Yes, truly, for I was amongst devils ! " " The Lord
preserve thee from all harm ! " ejaculated his pious
and affectionate helpmate, and on hearing his dream,
consoled him with the text, " Whom the Lord loveth
216 THE CONQTJEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
At her instance, to quiet his conscience, he shortly
afterwards repaired to Abingdon, and there, before the
altar, in presence of Abbot Reginald and the whole
convent, as well as of many personal friends, he gave
to the community the lordship of Cadmerton, value
ten pounds per annum, solemnly protesting that he
would never meddle more with any of their posses-
sions. He also presented them with more than a
hundred pounds in money towards the reconstruction
of their monastery, in atonement for the wrong he had
done them. Moreover, he amended his ways for the
rest of his life, repairing divers churches both within
and without the walls of Oxford, becoming very
charitable to the poor, and amongst other good works
building the great bridge there.
I have told this silly story (omitting some little
coarseness), as I have told others of the same nature
in the course of this work, in illustration of the
childish superstition by which men of the most un-
daunted courage fierce, proud and powerful men
were weak enough to be enslaved. Some of these
tales were doubtless subsequent inventions by the
monks themselves, while others are veritable descrip-
tions of "pious frauds" practised by them on the
sick or the dying, for the purpose of augmenting their
funds or increasing their influence. At the same time
HOBELT D'OILEY. 217
it is singular to observe the simple good faith with
which truly religious and honest writers, such as
Orderic, testify to the veracity of the most prepos-
terous narrations on the grounds of their having heard
them from the very lips of the persons who have been
favoured with such miraculous manifestations.
However unworthy of credit they may generally be,
there are few that do not afford us peeps into past
manners and customs, pictures of the inner life of our
ancestors, and incidental information on a variety of
subjects formerly considered beneath the notice of the
historian, but of which the value has within the last
fifty years been discovered and acknowledged by the
most eminent authors of France, England, and Ger-
many. One of the results recorded by the monks of
Abingdon of the dream of Robert d'Oiley if ever he
had such a dream was the building of the first great
bridge at Oxford ; the earliest information we possess
upon the subject, and which may be depended upon,
whatever doubt may be entertained of the veracity of
The exemplary wife of Robert d'Oiley was the
daughter and apparently heir of "Wygod of \Yalling-
ford, " a person of great note in that age," by whom
he had an only daughter named Maud, the wife first
of Milo Crispin, and secondly of Brien Fitz Count, to
218 THE CONQUEEOE AND HIS COMPANIONS.
Avhom she brought the whole barony of Wallingford,
but having no issue, both she and Brien betook them-
selves to a religious life, whereupon King Henry I.
seized Wallingford and appropriated it to his own
Robert d'Oiley leaving no male issue was succeeded
\)y his brother Nigel, whose son and successor, Robert,
married the beautiful Edith Forne, mistress of Henry I.,
and by that king mother of Robert, Earl of Gloucester.
There is a little bit of mediaeval gossip about this lad}',
which professes to account for the foundation of the
Abbey of Oseney, near Oxford. The fair but frail
Edith, having become the lawful wife of the said
Robert d'Oiley, was in the frequent habit of strolling
down from the castle to the banks of the Isis. The
pleasure she derived from this innocent and healthful
recreation was, however, considerably interfered with
by the conduct of a colony of " chattcrpies," who had
established themselves in a clump of trees by the side
of the river, arid invariably on her appearance com-
menced a most impertinent clamour, which it was
impossible to mistake for flattery. Humiliated as
well as irritated by this almost daily insult, she sent
for a canon of St. Fridiswides in Oxford, named
Randolph, a person of virtuous life, and her own con-
fessor, and requested his advice on the matter. Of
course lie suggested that the only mode of escaping
the malicious mockery of the magpies was to clear
away the trees and build some religious house upon
the spot, which she immediately entreated her husband
to do, who kindly consented, and thereupon erected
and founded the Abbey of Oseney for black canons of
the order of St. Augustin, and, with the consent of his
two sons, Henry and Gilbert, richly endowed it with
lands and other property, constituting Randolph (no
doubt to his great surprise) the first prior.
Margery, the elder of Robert's two granddaughters,
co-heirs of their brother Henry, the last male of the
D'Oileys, married Henry de Beaumont, Earl of War-
wick, and has generally been accredited as the mother
of his heir, Thomas Earl of "Warwick, and conse-
quently ancestress of the Marshals and De Plessites.
By a writ of " Novel disseisin/' llth of Henry III., I
am inclined to believe Thomas was the son of
Philippa, the second wife of Henry de Beaumont, who
was daughter of Thomas, Lord Basset of Heddington,
and has been hitherto said to have died without
issue. Many erroneous descents have been recorded
in these early pedigrees through the neglect of accu-
rately ascertaining, in cases where a man has married
two or more Avives, which lady was the mother of his
heir. In the instance of Adeliza, sister of the Con-
220 THE CONQUEEOE AND HIS COMPANIONS.
queror, we have seen her issue by each husband most
I shall conclude this chapter with a few lines con-
taining all I have hitherto discovered respecting this
personage, who is only known as the sworn brother-
in-arms of Kobert d'Oiley, and who appears to be
equally entitled with him to claim companionship
with the Conqueror, yet I do not find his name in any
roll or catalogue, nor can I detect him amongst the
many unidentified leaders mentioned by Wace. That
he is not a myth, however, is clear from the fact of
his having received from Robert d'Oiley a large
share of the spoil, and specially the honor of St.
Waleries ; but whether he married or left issue does
not appear. His patronymic would point to a descent
from Ralph, Comte d'lvri, or Yvery (latinized Ibreio
and Iberico), half-brother of Richard I., being the son
of Sprote, mistress of William Longsword, Duke of
Normandy, by Asperleng, the wealthy Miller of
Yaudreuil, whom she married after the death of the
Aubree or Alberade, wife of Count Ralph, built the
famous Castle of Ivri. The architect was Larifred,
whoso reputation transcended that of all the masters
JEAN DTVEI. ' 221
of his craft at that period. Having, with vast labour
and expense, constructed a fortress unequalled in
Normandy, the bright idea occurred to the lady that
it should so [remain as far as Lanfred was concerned.
In order, therefore, that his skill should not be exer-
cised by an endeavour to surpass himself for the
benefit of some other, perhaps hostile employer, she
prudently had his head cut off as soon as his work
was completed. The lady eventually suffered the
same fate at the hands of Count Ralph, her husband,
who, though he seems to have connived at her murder
of the architect, considered her attempt to expel him
from his own castle was an offence amounting to no
less than treason, and made her pay the penalty of
such high crime and misdemeanour.
She had borne to him two sons, Hugh, Bishop of
Bayeux, and John, Bishop of Avranches and after-
wards Archbishop of Rouen. The name of John
indicates some family connection between the Arch-
bishop and the friend of Robert d'Oiley. There was
also a Roger d'lvri, who was cupbearer to King
AVilliam the Conqueror, and married Adeline, one of
the daughters of Hugh de Grentmesnil, the founder
of the Abbey of Ivri in 1071, and was probably the
brother of John I. The father of Roger was Walernn
d'lvri, who held one knight's fee in the bailiwick of
222 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
Tencliebrai, in Normandy, by service of cupbearer
to the Duke, so that the office appears to have been
hereditary in the family ; also eight and a half knights'
fees in the town and castle of Ivri. They were not
lords of Ivri, but apparently hereditary castellans of
the fortress until the close of the eleventh century.
According to tradition, Count Ralph had Ivri given
to him by Duke Richard, his uterine brother, in conse-
quence of his slaying a monstrous bear when they
were out hunting together. The fief appears to have
passed from Ralph to Fitz Osbern, and in the second
year of the reign of Rufus was in the possession of
William de Breteuil.
Ascelin Goel de Percival, son of Robert d'lvri, Lord
of Breval, took the Castle of Ivri by surprise and
delivered it to Robert Court-heuse. De Breteuil, un-
willing to lose it, redeemed it from the Duke for fifteen
hundred livres. Having recovered his castle, to punish
Goel he deprived him of the hereditary right to its
custody, and of everything he held in his lordship.
The fierce Lord of Breval avenged himself by laying
waste the whole neighbourhood. Aumari de Montfort,
called Le Fort, having fallen in an inroad he was
making on the lands of William de Breteuil, Richard,
his brother, devoted himself to avenge his death, and
joining his forces with those of Ascelin Goel, they
JEAN D'lVEI. 223
attacked and defeated De Breteuil in a pitched battle,
taking him prisoner, and consigning him to a noisome
dungeon, in which he lingered until Richard de Mont-
fort relenting, succeeded, with the assistance of Hugh
de Montgomeri, Earl of Shrewsbury, Gervase de
Neuchatel, and many others, in making peace between
Ascelin Goel and his feudal lord and prisoner. Ac-
cording to the terms of the treaty concluded at Breval,
William de Breteuil gave his illegitimate daughter
Isabel in marriage to Goel, and ransomed himself at
the expense of a thousand livres of Dreux, besides
horses, arms, and other property. With great sorrow
he added also the impregnable Castle of Ivri. " The
infamous freebooter," as Orderic calls Goel, " thus
enriched, grew intolerably insolent, and enclosed his
castle,* which was indeed a very den of thieves, with
deep ditches and stout palisades, passing his life
there in continued rapine and bloodshed. He had
seven sons by his wife Isabel, who, as they grew in
years, increased in wickedness, so that the cries of the
widow and the destitute followed their evil deeds."
Of these seven very bad men only three are known,
Robert, lord of Ivri, Roger le Begue, and William Louvel
(Lupellus, the little Wolf), ancestors of the Levels of
* Breval, I presume, for Ivri was in no need of further defences.
It was, as we have seen, a model fortress.
224 THE CONQUEKOE AND HIS COMPANIONS.
Tichmarsh, the Lords Lovel of Kary, and the Percivals,
Earls of Egmont. The introduction, therefore, of the
name of Lovel in the Roll of Battle Abbey, Brompton's
List, and the second list in Leland is completely un-
justifiable, as William the son of Ascelin Goel, on
whom it was first bestowed, could not have been born
for at least thirty years after the Conquest. The
same observation applies to that of Percival, unless
a Sire de Percival can be found earlier than Ascelin
EAOUL DE FOUGERES.
ERRAND DE HARCOURT.
SAMSON D ANSNEV1LLE.
HAMO DE CREVECCEUR.
PICOT DE SAY.
EAOUL DE FOUGERES.
" HE of Felgieres," says Wace, " also won great
renown with many very brave men he brought from.
Brittany." The absence of the baptismal name, as in
so many other instances, is a serious obstacle to satis-
A Ralph and a William de Fougeres (de Filgeriis,
as it is latinized) are found tenants in Domesday,
but we have no evidence to show that the Ralph
therein returned was the Raoul presumed to have
been "Oil de Felgieres," as Wace writes it, alluded
to in the above passage (" Rom. de Rou," 1. 13,496).
Meen or Main II. was Baron of Fougeres in Brit-
tany at the time of the Conquest, and not too old
to have been himself in the expedition, being about
the age of the Conqueror, having succeeded his father
226 THE CONQUEEOE AND HIS COMPANIONS.
Alfred I. in 1048, and surviving the invasion of
England some sixteen or seventeen years. By his
wife Adelaide he had three sons Juthael, Elides or
Odo, and Raoul. The two former died in his life-
time without issue, and he was therefore succeeded by
his younger son Raoul, circa 1084. So says Dom.
Morice, in his "Histoire de Bretagne," and M. de
Pommereul, who follows him in his History of the
Barons of Fougeres ("1'Art de Verifier les Dates,"
vol. xiii. p. 270, edit. 1818). This would be fairly
borne out by the date of Domesday, at which a Raoul
is stated to hold certain lands in Surrey, Devonshire,
Buckinghamshire, Norfolk, and Suffolk.
But then who was "William ? The first William de
Fougeres that I can find mention of was one of the
seven children of Raoul by Avoyse or Avicia,
daughter of Richard de Bienfaite, and as he was
certainly not the eldest son, Raoul being succeeded
first by Meen III., who died without issue, and he by
Henri I., the next brother, in 1137, "William, their
younger brother, could surely not be of sufficient age
to hold lands in England in 1085. There must be
either some great confusion of dates or there was a
"William de Fougeres unknown to Morice or his
copyist. The account of Raoul is very vague.
Long before he succeeded his father we are told
KAOUL DE FOUGEEES. 227
he had given proofs of his valour, by following William
Duke of Normandy to the conquest of England. By
that prince he was put in possession of large terri-
tories, out of which he made various donations to the
Abbey of Kisle and to that of Savigny, which he
founded in 1112. He confirmed the foundation of
the Priory of the Holy Trinity by his mother, Ade-
laide, and gave it, as well as the Church of Saint
Sulpice at Fougeres, to the Abbey of Marmoutier.
Subsequently he travelled to Eome, and passing by
Marmoutier, confirmed all his previous gifts to it.
He died in 1124, leaving by his wife aforesaid seven
children Meen, Henri, Gauthier, "Robert, Guillaume,
Avelon, and Beatrice.
Now if these dates can be depended on, and they
are not materially affected by any test I have been
able to apply to them, it is not surprising that Le
PreVost should doubt the presence of Eaoul at Hast-
ings, between which event and that of his death there
would elapse fifty-eight years. Still, allowing him to
have been a young man of two-and-twenty in 1066,
he would have been only eighty in 1124 not an
improbable age for him to have attained, and we have
no evidence to show that he did not do so. Unless we
could prove that he was too young to fight at Senlac in
1066, the benefit of the doubt must be accorded to him.
228 THE CONQUEEOE AND HIS COMPANIONS.
He was therefore, we may conclude, the companion
of the Conqueror and the tenant in Domesday : but
this does not advance us a step in our knowledge of
the William de Fougeres in the same record. He
must have been born before 1066 to have held land in
capite in 1085, and as "William, the son of Eaoul and
Avicia, had certainly two if not four elder brothers,
not counting the sisters whose births might have inter-
vened, we must date the marriage of Eaoul as far back
as 1060 at least, which would make a serious addition
to the venerable age I have already accorded to
We have two later Williams, who of course are
quite out of the question, but whom I must mention,
in order to correct a serious error in " 1'Art de Verifier
les Dates," which its authors have been led into by
Morice, tending to create the greatest confusion.
Henri Baron of Fougeres, second son of Eaoul L,
and brother of Meen, whom he succeeded, had, by his
wife, Olive de Bretagne, three sons Eaoul, Frangal,
and Guillaume. Eaoul, the eldest, succeeded his father
as Eaoul II. The above writers give him two wives,
and make him father, without distinguishing the
mothers, of four sons Geoffrey, Juhel, Guillaume,
and Henri the eldest of whom, they say, succeeded
him. Mr. Stapleton has clearly shown that Geoffrey
EEEAND DE HAECOUET. . 229
was not the son, but the grandson of Raoul II., being
the only son of Guillaume (William) de Fougeres,
who died in his father's lifetime, 7th June, 1187,
leaving issue this Geoffrey, a minor at his grand-
father's death in 1194, and inward to his great-uncle,
Guillaume, and an only daughter, Clemencia, married
first to Alain de Dinant, and secondly, to Ranulph
Blondeville, Earl of Chester.
There are many other inaccuracies involved with
this in the account of Raoul and his family, but with
them I have no business here. The important one
affecting the pedigree of the Earls of Chester I could
not pass without notice. The seal of William de
Fougeres (Cotton. Charters, 52 A, 15) affords us an
interesting example of " armes parlantes." The
shield is simply charged with branches of fern
EEEAND DE HAECOUET.
" The Sire de Herecourt was also there riding a very
swift horse, and gave the Duke all the aid he could."
Rom. de Rou, 1. 13,769. La Koque, the French his-
torian of the house of Harcourt, names the member of
that family who accompanied William to England,
Errand, and he has been followed by Pere Anselm
and other genealogists. Le Prevost views him sus-
230 THE CONQUEKOfi, AND HIS COMPANIONS.
piciously, and calls him a person little known, and
much less authentic, than his father, Anchetil, or his
brother Robert, the first Sire d'Harcourt of that name.
I do not participate in these suspicions. I believe him
to have been a veritable companion of the Conqueror,
and shall adduce my reasons presently for taking a
particular interest in him.
The family of Harcourt, illustrious on both sides of
the Channel, is fairly enough shown by La Roque to
have descended from Bernard the Dane, Governor
and Regent of Normandy, A.D. 912, and from the same
stock he derives the Sires de Beaumout, Comtes de
Meulent, the Barons of Cancelles and St. Paer, the Lords
of Gournay and Milly, the Barons of Neubourg, the
Viscounts of Evreux, the Earls of Leicester and War-
wick, and many other French and English noble
Turketil, Seigneur de Turqueville and de Tanqueraye,
named circa 1001 in several charters concerning
the Abbeys of Fe'camp and Bernay, is identical
according to La Roque with the Thurkild or Thorold,
Lord of Neufmarche-eu-Lions, the governor of the boy-
Duke William, who was treacherously assassinated by
the hirelings of Raoul de Gace (vide vol. i., p. 16), and
was the second son of Torf, the son of Bernard. The
wife of Turketil was Anceline, sister of Toustain,
EEEAND DE HAECOURT. 231
Seigneur de Montfort-sur-Risle, and their issue two
sons, Anchetil and Walter, and one daughter, Leceline
de Turqueville, who married "William, Comte d'Eu, the
natural son of Richard L, Duke of Normandy.
Anchetil, the eldest son, was the first who assumed
the name of Harcourt, from the bourg of Harcourt
near Brionne, and was present with his father,
Turketil, at the confirmation of the foundation of the
Abbey of Bernay, by Judith, Duchess of Normandy,
in 1014. By Eve de Boessey, Dame de Boessey-le-
Chapel, he had seven sons and one daughter, the eldest
son being the Errand de Harcourt asserted to have
been the companion of the Conqueror.
We have no dates of births, marriages, or any other
events which would assist us to form an idea of the
age of Errand at the time of the Conquest. His
father Anchetil must have been a mere child when he
witnessed with his father the confirmation charter of
His father was murdered shortly after 1035, and
Anchetil must therefore have been of mature age in
1066. Still, according to the genealogy, he survived
his eldest son, and w T as succeeded by his second son
Robert, who was living in 1100, and father of Philip
Harcourt, Bishop of Salisbury, 1140.
From Robert all is clear, but it is with his eldest
232 THE CONQUEBOB AND HIS COMPANIONS.
brother Errand and his younger ones that we have to
do. Why Errand should have been selected as the
Sire d'Harcourt who fought at Senlac, if Robert had
really been the man, is incomprehensible. The vice of
ancient genealogists was the endeavour to exalt the
character and exaggerate the valorous achievements
of the ancestors of the family, to the extent even of
inventing stories to account for armorial devices which
they could not comprehend, or sobriquets they took
no trouble to trace to their origin. Had Robert, who
was Sire d'Harcourt when Wace wrote, been present in
the battle, some tradition would surely have been pre-
served in the family and eagerly recorded by its
That Errand " is little known " is no reason for
doubting his presence at Hastings. How many were
there of whom we know nothing at all ? How many,
I grieve to say, are named even in these pages of
whom we know next to nothing ? That he should be
less known than his father and brother is not at all
surprising, as it is evident from the fact of Robert's,
succession that Errand died during his father's life-
time, leaving no male issue by his wife, who was of
the family of Estouteville.
Jean le Feron informs us that he returned to Nor-
mandy in 1078, and probably died soon after, as from
EEEAND DE HARCOURT. 23?
that period we hear no more of him. But I must
have yet another word with M. le Pre'vost. He
accuses the English genealogists of having fabricated
an apocryphal affiliation in order to show that the
English branch of the Harcourts came in with the
Conqueror, and for this purpose have created a
Gervase, a Geoffrey, and an Arnold de Harcourt,
whom they pretend were all three present in the battle
of Hastings ; and he adds, that according to La
Roque it was Raoul, second son of Robert II., Baron
de Harcourt, who being attached to King John, quitted
France and became the second ancestor of the Har-
courts of England.
"We will not," he says in conclusion, "guarantee
this assertion of a not very scrupulous historian, but
we can affirm that those of the English genealogists
are utterly false."
Now disregarding the very strong language in
which this learned and generally courteous gentleman
has pronounced his opinion, he has made a singular
mistake in accusing our genealogists of having created
Harcourts in order to fabricate a pedigree.
If there be any fabrication it is the work of his own
countrymen, and we can only be blamed for believing-
them. Pere Anselm, following La Roque, states that
Anchetil had by his wife, Eve de Boessey, seven sons.
234 THE CONQUEEOE AND HIS COMPANIONS.
Errand, Robert, Jean, Arnold, Gervais, Yves, and
Renauld de Harcourt.
Here are two, at any rate, out of the three laid at
the door of the genealogist, and what proof that they
are apocryphal ? What evidence to show that they
were not at Hastings with their brother Errand?
That an Arnoul de Harcourt was in England, and
killed in a skirmish with the Welsh either in the
mysterious battle of Cardiff in 1094, according to the
Welsh Chronicles, or in some one of the other frays
which have been mixed with it by the Norman his-
torians, I think there can be little doubt. At all
events, the name is not likely to have been invented
by the Welsh, and there is nothing in the date to pre-
vent his being the son of Anchetil, recorded by La
Roque. It may be quite true that the Harcourts did
not settle in England before the reign of John, but
how does that prove that none of their ancestors
fought at Senlac ?
The important family of Paisnel, Painel or Paganell,
as it is variously written in French or English docu-
ments (latinised Paganellus), were Lords of Moustiers-
Hubert, in the arrondissement of Lisieux.
WILLIAM PAINEL. 233
" Des Moustiers-Hubert Painals"
is named by Wace in his "Roman de Ecu"
(1. 13,630), in company with Avenel de Biarz and
Kobert Bertram the Crooked, as killing many of the
Le PreVost remarks that there are two ways of
reading the above line " Hubert Paisnel of Mous-
tiers," or " Paisnel of Moustiers-Hubert," and adopts
the latter as the more correct, the Paisnels being the
ancient proprietors of the district so called, a William
Paisnel, who founded the Abbey of Hambie in 1145,
making sundry donations to it derivable from his
forest and castle of Moustiers-Hubert. He therefore
suggests that the Painel of Wace was an earlier
William, who is mentioned by Orderic as dying about
the same time as the Conqueror.
In the Roll printed by Leland of the noble Normans
who came into England with William the Conqueror,
absurdly represented as specially the followers of
William de Mohun, the name occurs of Hubert
Paignel ; but that is evidently only the copyist's
interpretation of the language of Wace, and little
-doubt can exist that it was the William Paisnel men-
tioned by Orderic who was in the army at Hastings,
and who subscribed a charter to the Cathedral of
Bayeux in 1073. He is said by Orderic to have
236 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
died " about the same period " as King William. It
must have been a year or so before him, as Ralph
Painel is the tenant in Domesday, holding forty-five
lordships in 1085, and no mention is made of William,
to whom he had succeeded either as son or brother.
This Ralph founded, in 1089 (second William Rufus),
the Priory of the Holy Trinity at York for nuns, on the
site of a house for canons which had been destroyed
by that devoted son of the Church, the Conqueror.
Either Ralph, or his son Fulk Painel, married
Beatrice, daughter and sole heir of William Fitz
Ansculph, a probable companion of the Conqueror,
and the possessor of vast domains in England at the
time of the survey, the greater portion, if not all, of
which she brought into the family of Painel, particu-
larly her father's principal seat, Dudley Castle, in the
county of Stafford, which was demolished in the reign of
Henry II., in consequence of Gervase Painel, the then
possessor, being in rebellion.
The name of D'Aincourt is not mentioned by Wace,
unless it has been derived from Driencourt, a
suggestion thrown out by Mr. Taylor which I am by
no means inclined to adopt, as the original name of
Neufchatel-en-Bray was Drincourt (Driencuria), and
WALTER D'AINCOURT. 237
we have evidence of a family of that name being in
existence previous to the Conquest. In a cartulary
of the Abbey of the Holy Trinity du-Mont-de-Eouen,
under the date of 1030, the names are found of Kichard
de Drincourt, Harold de Drincourt, and Hugh de
Drincourt ; and Monsieur de la Mairie,* to whom we
are indebted for this information, tells us also that a
Sire de Drincourt, who accompanied Duke William in
his expedition to England, was killed in the battle of
Hastings, a circumstance which would account for his
name not appearing in Domesday. The name of the
place itself also gradually disappeared at the com-
mencement of the twelfth century, being called " Le
Neufchatel de Drincort," from a castle built there by
Henry I. in 1106, and subsequently Neufchatel only.
It would seem that the Sire de Driencourt slain at
Senlac was the last of the family.
The Aincourts derived their name from a parish in the
Vexin-Normand, between Mantes and Magny so called,
the patronage of which was given by one of the
descendants of Walter to the Abbey of Bee.
The services of Walter d'Aincourt, whatever they
may have been, were rewarded by the Conqueror with
the gift of fifty-five lordships in England, of which
* Eecherches sur le Bray Normand et le Bray Picard. Tom. i.,
238 THE CONQUEEOE AND HIS COMPANIONS.
Blankney in Lincolnshire was one, and made by him
the head of his barony.
Of his origin and antecedents no more is known
than of his actions. Contemporary history is en-
tirely silent about him. We do not find him
engaged in any combat, intrusted with any office,
employed on any mission, founding or endowing any
monastic establishment, or even witnessing a charter,
and might well doubt his having ever existed but for
the enumeration of his possessions in Domesday, and
the epitaph of his son William in Lincoln Cathedral,
on a leaden plate found in his grave in the church-
yard there. From that we learn that he was a kins-
man of Eemi or Remigius, Bishop of Lincoln, who,
according to Taylor's List, contributed a ship and
twenty knights or men-at-arms to the fleet of Duke
William, a fact that leads one to the conclusion that the
lucky Walter owed his barony to the good offices of
the bishop, and not to any merit of his own.
His son William is stated in his epitaph to have
been in some way descended from royalty. " Prse-
fatus Willielmus regige stirpe progenitus." How
provoking are these vague insinuations. The descent
must have been through his mother, as the wording of
the sentence expressly limits the honour to William,
and not even her baptismal name is known to us.
SAMSON D'ANSNEVILLE. 239
William died in the reign of Eufus, leaving a son
and heir named Ralph, who was the founder of
Thurgarton Priory. The male line became extinct in
the twenty-first of Henry VI., by the death of Robert,
uncle of William, last Baron d'Eyncourt, when
Margaret and Alice, sisters of the said William, were
found his heirs and carried the estates into the
families of Cromwell and Lovel.
Wace records, as forming one of a troop or company
of Norman knights who charged together, " fearing
neither stake nor fosse, and overthrowing and killing
may a good horse and man," a certain " Sire de Val
de Saire." M. le PreVost rather too hastily observes
in a note on this passage : " Our author takes Val de
Saire for the name of a lordship, while it is that of a
canton in the peninsular of the Cotentin. The mis-
take is still more extraordinary for him to have made,
as that part of the province was well known to him."
The commentator has himself fallen into an error.
He seems not to have been aware that there was
a noble Norman family of the name of Ansneville,
derived from, or given by them to a parish in Val de
Saire, of which they were the lords.
The chronicle of the Abbey of St. Etienne at Caen,
240 THE CONQUEEOE AND HIS COMPANIONS.
as well as the history of the Island of Guernsey,
furnish us with the earliest information respect-
ing the family of Ansneville. Previous to the year
1050, some pirates from the Bay -of Biscay re-
peatedly ravaged the Island of Guernsey, at that
time belonging to Normandy, and finally established
themselves there. The inhabitants not being able to
eject them, applied to their Duke, William, for assist-
ance. He was at that time at his favourite residence
at Valognes, and immediately sent a force under the
command of Samson d' Ansneville, who destroyed the
forts built by the pirates, and drove them out of the
island, to which they never returned.
In 1061, according to an entry of that date in an
Exchequer Koll at Eouen, Duke William gave to
Samson d' Ansneville, " his esquire," and to the
Abbey of Mont St. Michael, half of the Isle of
Guernsey in equal portions, the said Samson d' Ansne-
ville engaging for himself and his heirs to serve the
Duke and his successors as esquires of the body
whenever they came into the island, to pay ten
livres for livery of the land, do homage, and perform
all other services due to the Duke and the duchy.
In 1066, at the time of the Conquest, and during
the regency of Queen Matilda, a Seigneur d' Ansneville
was Governor of the Val de Saire, and in Domesday
SAMSON D'ANSXEVILLE: 241
occur the names of William and Humphrey Ansneville
as subtenants, the former of Earl Roger cle Mont-
gomeri in Hampshire, and the latter of Eudo Dapifer
The authors of " Researches sur le Domesday "
assume that the Seigneur d' Ansneville, Governor of
Val de Saire in 1066, was a brother of Samson, and
that William and Humphrey were his sons, he Samson
being deceased previous to the compilation of the
survey. Without speculating upon the relationship
to each other of these personages, I will only point
out that the connection of the family of Ansneville,
Anslevillc, Asneville, and Anneville, its latest form as
now borne by the descendants in France, with the
canton of Yal de Saire would fully justify Master
Wace in designating the particular member of it in
the Duke's army as a " Sire " (he does not say " Seig-
neur") " de Val de Saire."
In a more corrupted form the family name may be
recognised in the Roll of Battle Abbey in Andeville,
while in Brompton's List, by the amalgamation of the
" de " with it, it becomes Dandevile (d'Aundevyle),
under which it is familiar to us in England.
Which of the Ansnevilles fought at Senlac I will
not presume to guess ; but Samson was a contem-
porary and a liegeman of the Duke, sworn to do him
2*2 THE CONQUEEOE AND HIS COMPANIONS.
suit and service, and I have therefore placed his name
at the head of this notice.
HAMO DE CEEVECCEUB.
Wace speaks of a Sire " de Crevecoeur," who, in
company with those of Driencourt and Briencort,
followed the Duke wherever he went in the battle.
I think he might have spoken in the plural, for it
is highly probable that two of the family were in the
You have already heard of Hamon-aux-Dents, or
"with the teeth," who was killed in the battle of
Val-es-Dunes in 1045. He left two sons, the eldest
Hamo or Hamon, who became Dapifer to King Wil-
liam, and the second Robert, both of whom subscribe
a charter of the Conqueror to the Abbey of St. Denis,
at Paris. The latter appears to have died without
legitimate issue before Domesday was compiled.
Hamo, the Dapifer, was sheriff of Kent, and one of
the judges in the cause between Lanfranc and Odo,
Bishop of Bayeux. He had two sons, the eldest,
Robert Fitz Hamon, a prominent personage in the
reign of Rufus and of Henry I., the founder of Tewkes-
bury and father of Mabel, wife of Robert de Caen,
Earl of Gloucester. Of the second son, Hamo, nothing
HAMO DE CBEVECCEUR. 243
appears absolutely known, but I believe him to be the
progenitor of that family of Crevecoeur, the last male
of which, Hamon de Crevecoeur, married, temp.
Richard I., Maude d'Avranches, the great heiress of
But who then was the Sire de Crevecoeur who
fought at Senlac ? We must hark back to examine
Hamon-aux-Dents was Lord of Thorigny and
Creulli ; but, dying in rebellion, his estates would be
forfeited, and we consequently find his grandson,
Robert Fitz Hamon, coming over to England with
Duke William, described as a young man, Lord of
Astremeville, in Normandy,* a designation soon lost
sight of in the great honour of Gloucester bestowed
upon him by Rufus, his conquest of Glamorgan, and
the lordships of a host of manors and castles seized or
given to him by Jestin ap Gurgunt for his assistance
against Rhys, Prince of South Wales, in 1091.
His father is only known as Hamo the Dapifer, or
" Hamo Vice-comes," holding certain lands in England,
but not as the possessor of any seigneurie in Nor-
mandy. Hasted, however, asserts that his family-
name was Crevecoeur, implying, of course, his posses-
sion of a fief of that name, Crevecoeur-en-Auge, in the
* Dugdale, MOD. Aug. yol. i. p. 154.
244 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
arronclissement of Lisieux, which might have passed to
his son Hamon, Robert succeeding to Astremeville.
If Hasted had satisfactory authority for his assertion,
and I have found nothing whatever to contradict or
throw the least doubt upon it, Hamo the Dapifer
must surely have been " the Sire de Crevecoeur " of
the " Roman de Rou." Robert Fitz Hamon, we know,
had no male issue but Hamon ; Fitz Hamon I take to
be the father of the first Robert de Crevecoeur of whom
we are cognizant, who, in 1119, founded the Priory of
Leeds, in Kent, and had, by his wife Rohais, three
sons, Adam, Elias, and Daniel, and a daughter named
He was succeeded by Daniel, who, in the 12th of
Henry II., on assessment of aid for the marriage of
the King's daughter, certified to the possession of
fourteen knights' fees " de veteri feoffemento," and
his son and successor, another Robert, was the father
of Hamon, the last of the race and name, who
married the heiress of Folkestone.
PICOT DE SAY.
"Gil de Saie," mentioned by Wace (1. 13,712), is
supposed to be Picot de Say, one of a family deriving
their name from Say, near Argentan, the lords of
TICOT DE SAY. 245
which were vassals of Koger cle Montgomeri in
Normandy, as well as subsequently in England.
In 1060, Robert Picot de Say, Adeloyse his wife,
their sons Eobert and Henri, and Osmelin de Say
and Avitia his wife, were benefactors to the Church of
St. Martin of Seez, and in Domesday we find Picot de
Say registered holding under Earl Roger twenty- nine
manors in Shropshire. In 1083 he was amongst the
barons invited by the Earl to witness his foundation of
the Abbey of Shrewsbury. He had probably followed
his feudal lord to England in 1067, and would not,
therefore, in that case have been at Senlac ; but, at
the same time some of the family might have been
in the invading army, and as Wace has represented
Roger de Montgomeri as a leader in it, he would be
likely to name one of his principal vassals as fighting
in his company. Picot appears to have been the here-
ditary name of the family, it being sometimes used by
itself, as in the instance of Picot Vicecomes, or Picot
of Cambridge, one of the founders of the Priory of
Barn well, or with a baptismal name prefixed to it, as
in that of Robert Picot de Say above mentioned. It
it doubtful, however, whether the Picot of Cambridge
was of the same family as Picot de Say, and it is the
name of Say that is most prominent in Anglo-Norman
history ; Enguerrand de Say having been a distin-
246 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
guished warrior in the reign of Stephen and William
de Say, and by his marriage with Beatrice, sister of
Geoffrey de Mandeville, Earl of Essex, increasing the
wealth and power of both families.
A William de Say, the grandfather of that William,
married Agnes, daughter of Hugh de Grentmesnil
(see page 83, ante), and might have been in the
battle with his father-in-law, as confidently stated in
the pedigree of the Lords Say and Sele, who deduce
their descent from him through the family of Fiennes,
as do also the Dukes of Newcastle.
The Pigots, or Pigotts, assume to be the descendants
of the Norman Picots of Domesday, one family from
the Shropshire and the other from the Cheshire branch.
We have nothing, however, but probability to guide us
in our attempt to identify the actual companion of the
Conqueror indicated by Master Wace, nor have we
any materials for the biography of any Sire de Say
who might be entitled to that distinction.
HUGH DE PORT.
WILLIAM DE COLOM-
ROBERT D ESTOUTEVILLE.
" Robert Bertram, ki esteit torz."
Rom. de Ron, I. 13,634.
HERE we have not only the baptismal name,
but a personal description to assist us in identi-
fying this companion of the Conqueror. " Robert
Bertram, who was crooked, but was very strong on
horseback, had with him a great force, and many men
fell before him."
Notwithstanding these particulars, and the fact that
Bertram, surnamed " le Tort," or the crooked, is a real
personage, who was Seigneur of Briquebec, near Valo-
nore, who founded, before the Conquest, the Priory of
" Bcaumont-en-Auge," and on his death bed (immi-
nente morte) made sundry donations to the Abbey of
248 THE CONQUEEOE AND HIS COMPANIONS.
St. Stephen at Caen, about 1082, M. le PreVost tells.
us it is commonly considered that it was not Robert
Bertram who took part in the expedition, but William
Bertram, probably his brother ; and also that he was
son or grandson of Toustain de Bastenbourg, pro-
genitors of the Lords of Briquebec and those of
Mr. Taylor presumes that both William and Robert
were in the battle, which I will not dispute ; but I
believe Waco to be right in this instance, as well as in
many others which have been questioned but not
disproved. Kobert Bertram was evidently dead before
the compilation of Domesday ; and Dugdale makes
no mention of him, beginning his account of the
family with William, Baron of Mitford, who, with the
consent of Hawise his wife, as also of Roger, Guy,
William, and Richard, his sons, founded, temp,
Henry I., the Priory of Brinkholm, Northumberland,
for canons regular of the order of St. Augustin. The
branch of the Bertrams of Bothall I take to be the
eldest, and Richard, the first of that line mentioned, to
have been a grandson of Robert, as he held the barony
of Bothall in capite of the King, Henry II., by the
service of three knights' fees, as his ancestors had
done, " de veteri feoffemento," and confirmed to the
monks of Loirmouth two sheaves out of his lordship
HUGH DE PORT. 249
of Bothall, which they had of the gift of his
The male Hue of the Bertrams of Mitford failed in
the reign of Edward II., and that of Bothall in the
reign following. Agnes, eldest sister and co-heir of
Eoger, the last Baron of Mitford, married Sir Thomas
Fitzwilliam of Sprotborough, an ancestor of the
HUGH DE POET.
" Cil de Port," alluded to by Wace (Rom. de
Rou, 1. 13,613), may have been either Hugh or
Hubert de Port, a commune in the Bessin, near
Bayeux, for both are reported to have been in the
battle, but I have specially named Hugh, as, from his
share of the spoil, it is evident he must have been the
most prominent in the fight for it, " slaying many
English that day." At the time of the survey he held
fifty-five manors in Hampshire of the King, one of
which was Basing, the head of his barony ; likewise
twelve more of Odo, Bishop of Bayeux (in whose com-
pany most likely he came) ; one in Dorsetshire, and two
in Cambridgeshire ; in all seventy lordships.
We hear nothing more about him till the ninth of
Eufus (1096), in which year he gave to the monks of
Gloucester his lordship of Littletone, in Northampton-
2JO THE CONQUEEOE AND HIS COMPANIONS.
shire, a subsequent acquisition, probably by marriage,
and assuming the monastic habit at Winchester, ended
his days there, leaving, by an unnamed wife, Henry, his
son and heir, who founded the Priory of Shirebourn,
A Gilbert as well as a Hubert de Port appears as
witness to various charters from 1080 to 1082.
Adam de Port, grandson of the Henry above men-
tioned, married Mabel de Aurevalle, daughter and heir
of Muriel de St. John, whose grandfather, William de St.
John, is stated to have been a companion of the Con-
queror, which is possibly true ; but he is also described
as the "Grand Master of Artillery" a title which would
mislead a reader who was not sufficiently an antiquary
to know that Artillaria was a term in use long before
the invention of cannon, and signified munitions of
war in general, but more especially the machines con-
structed for the purpose of casting heavy stones and
other missiles, movable towers for assaulting a castle,
battering rams, &c. It would be interesting to
discover what authority there is for this family tradi-
tion. In the Bayeux Tapestry we see men bearing
body armour and lances to the ships, but no catapults,
mangonels, or balistse ; nor does Wace or any other
author speak of such engines being conveyed on
board the fleet to England ; but in the wider sense of
WILLIAM DE COLOMBIEBES. 251
the word, as may be seen by reference to Ducange,
William de St. John might have been Magister Artil-
lariae, having the care of all the military store?, armour,
and weapons included.
The son of Adam de Port and Mabel de Aurevalle
assumed the name of St. John as representative of his
mother's family ; and from his great-grandson John,
Lord St. John of Basing, descended the Marquises of
Winchester, the Dukes of Bolton, the Barons St. John
of Bletshoe, the. Viscounts Grandison, the Earls of
Jersey, and the Earls and Viscounts Bolingbroke.
" Awake, my St. John, leave all minor things
To low ambition and the pi-ide of kings."
Pope has done more to immortalize the name of
St. John than the Grand Master of the Artillery of
William the Conqueror.
WILLIAM DE COLOMBIERES.
Little is known of this personage mentioned by
Wace (Rom. de Ron, 1. 13,462) beyond the fact of the
occurrence of his name in a charter in favour of the
Abbey aux Dames at Caen in 1032.
He was probably deceased before the compilation
of Domesday, in which a Rannulph de Columbcls
is returned as the holder of sundry manors in Kent,
the reward of the services rendered to the Conqueror
THE CONQUEROB AND HIS COMPANIONS.
cither by Bannulph himself or the William of Wace,
whom he might have succeeded. Colombieres is in
the arrondissement of Bayeux, and it is worthy of
note that in the charter above mentioned a Raoul
cVAsnieres is found in company with the Lord de
Columbieres. Asnieres being in the same arrondisse-
ment, and " Gilbert le viel d'Asnieres " coupled with
" Willame de Columbieres " in the " Eoman de Kou,"
it is fairly presumable that they were near connections
as well as near neighbours. The family of Colom-
bieres (Columbers, Columbels) alone appears to have
struck root in England, and had become an important
baronial family in the reign of Henry II., in the 12th
of whose reign Philip de Columbers accounted for ten
knights' fees " de veteri feoffemento " and one " de
novo," and in the 22nd of the same reign paid twenty
marks for trespassing in the King's forests. Dugdale's
account only begins with this Philip, and he has not
noticed that in a Plea Eoll of Henry II. Roger Bacon
is set down as brother to Philip de Columbers, nor
that a Gilbert de Columbers was a contemporary of
Philip and settled in Berkshire. (Lib. Niger.)
The family of Columbers intermarried with the
families of Chaudos and Courtenai, and were Seigneurs
of Dudevill, in Normandy ; but the male line failed in
England towards the close of the 13th century.
ROBERT D'ESTjTJTEVILLE. 2o3
The " Sire d'Estoteville " of the " Roman cle Rou "
(1. 13,561) was in all probability Robert, surnamed
Fronteboeuf, Granteboef, or, according to the French
antiquaries, Grand-bois ; but whether he was of Es-
touteville-sur-Cailly or Estouteville-sur-Mer may be
an open question. There was a knightly family
deriving their name from the former (at present a
commune in the canton of Bouchy, arrondissement de
Rouen), one of whom, Nicholas d'Estouteville, the
great-great-grandson of Robert, married Gunnor or
Gunnora, daughter of Hugh IV. de Gournay, and
widow of Robert de Gant, in the 12th century, and
received with her in dower the manors of Beddingfield
and Kimberly in Norfolk, which remained for many
generations in the family of Stuteville, as it is
called in England. This Estouteville was formerly a
mouvance, i.e., a dependency on the fief of La Ferte-
en-Brai, of which the Gournays were the lords, and it
is therefore likely that Robert d'Estouteville followed
Hugh II. de Gournay to England in the invading
Dugdale's account of him and his son is very
meagre and incorrect, and neither M. le Prevost nor
254 THE COXQUEEOR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
Mr. Edward Taylor has taken any trouble on the
subject, although some information has been furnished
us by Orderic which enables me to correct Dugdale
and answer the observation of M. le Prevost, echoed by
Mr. Taylor, that he (Robert) must have been very
young if he was the same who fell forty years after at
Tenchebrai, in 1106, by the simple assurance to them
that he was not the same.
Some ten or eleven years previous to the Conquest,
Robert I. d'Estouteville was governor of the Castle of
Ambrieres, and stoutly defended it against Geoffrey
Martel until relieved by the approach of Duke William.
He could not therefore have been very young even at
that time say between twenty and thirty, and in
1066 he would have been between thirty and forty.
Of his exploits at Senlac we hear nothing, and his
name does not appear in Domesday, so we are in
ignorance of the reward, if any, which he received for
his services. The latest mention of him is by
Orderic, who records him as a witness to a confirma-
tion charter of William son of Fulk de Querneville,
Dean of Evreux, to the Abbey of Ouche or St. Evroult,
before the year 1089.
The date of his death is unascertained ; but he was
succeeded by his son Robert II. d'Estouteville, alto-
gether omitted by Dugdale, but in connection with
whom the following strange story is told by Orderic
(lib. XL, cap. xiii.) :
"The same year (1106) the following occurrence
happened in Normandy : Robert d'Estoteville, a
brave and powerful baron, was a strong partizan of
the Duke (Robert Court-heuse), and superintended his
troops and fortresses in the Pays de Caux. It chanced
on Easter-day (9th of April, 1105-6), as his chaplain
was administering the holy sacrament to the baron and
his household, that a certain knight having approached
the altar for the purpose of reverently receiving the
Eucharist, the priest took the consecrated wafer in his
hand for the purpose of putting it into the mouth of
the communicant, but found that he was quite inca-
pable of lifting his hand from the altar. Both parties
were exceedingly terrified by this circumstance, but at
length the priest said to the knight, ' Take it if you
can ; for myself, it is out of my power to move my
hand and deliver the Lord's body to you.' Upon this
the knight stretched his neck over the altar, with
some effort reached the chalice, and received the Host
in his open mouth from the priest's hand. This ex-
traordinary occurrence covered him with confusion,
and apprehending some misfortune, but of what
nature he knew not, he distributed in consequence
the greatest portion of his wardrobe and other pro-
256 THE CONQUEROK AND HIS COMPANIONS.
perty amongst the poor and clergy. He was slain
soon after Easter in the first battle fought at Ma-
romme, near Rouen.
" The chaplain, whose name was Robert, related to
me what happened to him and the unfortunate knight,
as I have stated, during the celebration of the life-
The effect of this alarming miracle on Robert, the
Lord of Estouteville, and his family, who were wit-
nesses of it, is not recorded, but it is possible they
might have some gloomy forebodings as respected
themselves, which were speedily verified ; for Robert,
the son and heir of this Robert II., was taken prisoner
by King Henry I. a few months afterwards, at the
storming of Dive, and his father also at the battle of
Tenchebrai, closely following. The son was liberated;
but the elder Robert was sent a captive to England
and immured for life in a dungeon, and the whole of
his estates were seized and bestowed by King Henry
on Nigel de Albini, ancestor of the second race of the
It was Robert III. de Stoteville, or Stuteville,
the young knight who was taken at Dive, who dis-
tinguished himself in the battle of the Standard
(temp. Stephen), and was made sheriff of Yorkshire
by Henry II., in the sixteenth year of his reign,
EGBERT D'ESTOUTEVILLE. 257
and who was in possession at that time of seven or eight
knights' fees in England, how acquired does not appear,
but as he was twice married, his second wife being
Sibilla, sister of Philip de Valoines, it is probable that
some of the lands came to him with his wives-
Thorpenhow, in the county of Cumberland, he certainly
had in frank marriage with the latter. He also
it was who, with Ranulph de Glanville and Bernard
de Balieul, defeated the Scots near Alnwick (20
Henry II.), and took their king prisoner. He then
laid claim to the barony of Roger de Mowbray,
which had been given to Nigel, Roger's father, by
Henry I., as above mentioned, and would therefore
seem to have been held by his father and forfeited
by his adherence to Robert Court-heuse. A long
suit, during which we are told the country in general
favoured Stoteville's title, terminated in a compro-
mise, Roger de Mowbray giving up the lordship of
Kirkby Moorside, with its appurtenances, to Robert
de Stoteville, to be held by the service of nine
This Robert de Stoteville founded two monasteries
in Yorkshire, one at Rossedale and the other at Keld-
holme, and was a benefactor to the monks of St.
Mary's Abbey in York. He also gave to the monks
of Ricvaulx all the lands between Redham and
VOL. II. s
258 THE CONQUEBOB AND HIS COMPANIONS.
Kirkby, for the health of the soul of Robert his
grandfather, and for the souls of Robert his father,
and Erneburga his mother, as also for the souls of
Helewisa his wife, and William his son, Sibilla his
second wife surviving him.
It is singular that although Dugclale has recited the
provisions of this charter, and printed a pedigree
which corresponds with it, he should have confounded
the first Robert with the second, the second with the
third, and invented a fourth, to whom he attributes
the charter to the Abbey of Rievaulx.
There are other inaccuracies in his account of this
family, but they are beyond my province in this
work. I have travelled already sufficiently far out
of the record in clearing up the extraordinary confu-
sion of its commencement, which appears to have
puzzled M. le Prevost and Mr. Taylor.
The omission of the name of this personage, the
subject of so much controversy, by the author of the
" Roman de Rou," is not so remarkable as his silence
respecting Eustace, Count of Boulogne, whose rank in
his own country, and the unenviable notoriety he had
justly or unjustly acquired in England, would, we
WILLIAM PEVEREL. 259
should imagine, render it impossible for him to have
been completely overlooked. Nor does the appearance
of the name of Peverel in the Koll of Battle Abbey,
Duchsne's List, the rhyming catalogue, and those
recently compiled by Messrs, de Magny and Leopold
Delisle, justify us in claiming for him, on their
unsupported and very questionable authority, the right
to be classed amongst the conquerors at Senlac.
At the same time we have no evidence, as in the
cases of Roger de Montgomeri, Hugh d'Avranches,
tind Henry de Percy, to warrant our entertaining a
contrary opinion. "We must therefore give him the
benefit of the doubt, particularly as we find him as
early as 1068 in charge of the newly-built Castle of
Nottingham, and at the time of the compilation of
Domesday the lord of one hundred and sixty-two
manors in England, and possessing in Nottingham
alone forty-eight merchants' or traders' houses, thirteen
knights' houses, and eight bondsmen's cottages,
"besides ten acres of land granted to him by the King
1 to make an orchard, and the churches of St. Mary,
St. Peter, and St. Nicholas, all three of which we find
he gave with their land, tithe, and appurtenances by
his charter to the Priory of Lenton.
Surely his services must have been most important
his reputation for valour and ability well established,
260 THE CONQUEROB AND HIS COMPANIONS.
to have merited such magnificent rewards. To have
obtained for him from the wary and suspicious Con-
queror so important a trust as the custody of Notting-
ham Castle at so early an age too for if the date of
his death in the register of St. James's, Northampton,
one of his foundations, can be relied on, viz., 5th
kalends of February, 1113 (1114 according to our
present calculation), he could scarcely have been more
than four or five-and-twenty at the time of his
How is it then that, previous to that period, no-
deed of arms is recorded of him? That in all the
battles and commotions of which Normandy was the
theatre during the thirty years preceding the Conquest,
the name of Peverel, if such a family existed in the
duchy, never crops up, even accidentally, in any of
the pages of the contemporary chroniclers 1
A Kanulph Peverel also appears in Domesday as
the lord of sixty-four manors. Of a verity, the merits
of these Peverels must have been great, or their
influence at Court from some cause or another
Of course, if it were true, as we have hitherto been
led to believe, that William Peverel was a natural son
of William the Conqueror, not a word more need be
wasted on the subject ; but Mr. Eaton, in his History
WILLIAM PEVEEEL. 261
of Shropshire, discredits the report, and Mr. Edward
Freeman rejects it with contempt and indignation as
the unvouched-for assertion of a Herald (see vol. i.,
I am unfortunate in being opposed in my opinion
to two such great authorities ; but until they produce
.something like evidence to support theirs, I cannot
consent to surrender my own.
Let us dispassionately examine the arguments of the
first dissenter, Mr. Eaton, who in refutation of the
.assertion says, " Its improbability arises in two ways.
It is inconsistent with the general character of Duke
William." To whom shall we refer for the general
character of this master of dissimulation, who so
thoroughly understood and practised the policy of
.assuming a virtue if he had it not ? To his paid
servants and courtly flatterers, Guillaume de Poitiers,
his own chaplain, or Guy of Amiens, his wife's almoner,
who, if he did write the " Carmen de Bello," I consider
not worthy to be believed on his oath \ These are the
only actual contemporaries who could have informed
us what was the Duke's general character for morality
in Normandy in his own time, and they have not
thought it worth while to do so.
William of Malmesbury, a writer of the reign of
Henry II., is the first and only one in the twelfth
262 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
century* who praises him for the exercise of that
single virtue that has been so ostentatiously paraded
by his later panegyrists or apologists, and even he at
the same time acknowledges that " there were not-
wanting persons who prated of matters" irreconcilable
with such a reputation. I am therefore at a loss to
discover " the general character of Duke William ""
which is the foundation of one of Mr. Eaton's argu-
The other is easier to deal with, because it consists-
of matters of fact, not merely matters of opinion.
" Moreover," he continues, " this alleged liaison with a,
Saxon lady of rank can have originated in no earlier
circumstance than the event of the Duke's visit to the
Court of Edward the Confessor in 1051. However,.
William Peverel must have been born before that
period, for he was old enough in 1068 to be intrusted
with one of the most responsible affairs in the kingdom
the custody of the castle and province from which,
he took his name."
The possibility never seems to have occurred to Mr.
Eaton, that the Saxon lady of rank might have visited
Normandy before 1051, a circumstance which would
remove the only serious difficulty in the story. Wil-
* Roger of Wendover simply copies William of Malmesbury. No-
other writer alludes to the subject.
WILLIAM PEVEREL. 263
Ham Peverel was no doubt of full age at the time of
the Conquest, and might have been, as I have said,
four or five-and-twenty when appointed to the govern-
ment of Nottingham, and near upon seventy at the
time of his death. According to this calculation he
would have been born a year or so previous to Duke
William's first proposal to Matilda of Flanders.
" Mystery," Mr. Eaton admits, " there certainly is
about the whole subject, and the truth may very
possibly be buried with some tale of courtly scandal,
though not of the precise character hitherto pointed
The entire history of William Duke of Normandy
up to the invasion of England is involved in mystery,
and that of William Peverel might tend to elucidate
some part of it.
If the Duke was not his father, as asserted and
believed as early at least as the time of Camden and
Glover, who could not have been the originator, as Mr.
Freeman implies, of the " uncertified and almost
impossible scandal" who were his parents? Upon
no occasion docs he allude even to them ; a
most singular and significant fact. Ho founds and
endows the Priory of Lenton, near Nottingham, for
the health of the soul of King William and Matilda
his wife, King William Kufus, King Henry I.
264 THE CONQUEEOE AND HIS COMPANIONS.
and Maud his consort, as also for the souls of Wil-
liam and Maud their children ; and likewise for the
health of his own soul and the souls of Adeline his
wife, William his son, and all his other children. No
mention of father or mother, nor of any ancestors
whatever. He was, in fact, "nullus films."
And how came it that the young " nameless ad-
venturer," of whom nothing is previously known, was
laden with wealth and honours, and selected from a
host of noble, valiant, and experienced warriors for so
important a command ?
And next his name. I will not draw any inference
from his baptismal one, though it certainly does not
weaken the argument ; but whence that of Peverel ?
Not from his place of birth, nor lands which he
possessed, or we should somewhere find the Norman
" de " prefixed to it.
One story is that the daughter of Ingelric, an Anglo-
Saxon nobleman, and a benefactor if not the founder
of the collegiate church of St. Martin-le-Grand,
London, having been the mistress of Duke William
and the mother by him of a son named after him,
married subsequently Eanulph Peverel, who accom-
panied the Conqueror to England, and that not only
the children born of that marriage, but also the Duke's
son William, were thenceforth known by the name of
WILLIAM PEVEREL. 265
Peverel. The other version is, that the lady, by
Leland called Ingelrica, and by Morant, Maud, was
the wife of Ranulph Peverel before she became the
mistress of the Duke, whose son by her took the name
of her husband's family.
One of these accounts must of course be inaccurate,
but both agree respecting the main question at issue,
are equally probable, and uncontradicted by any cir-
cumstantial evidence. The latter version disposes
altogether of the second objection of Mr. Eaton, as the
wife of Ranulph Peverel would naturally have been
resident in Normandy when the Duke made her
acquaintance, and therefore his assumption that the
liaison could have originated in no earlier circumstance
than the Duke's visit to King Edward in 1051 is
shown to be erroneous, and in either case a much too
History, it has been said, repeats itself, and the
account given by Dugdale of William's liaison with the
daughter of Ingelric is curiously similar to that of his
father Robert with the daughter of Fulbert the Furrier.
The young prince, scarcely perhaps of age, is attracted
by the beauty of a girl who becomes his mistress, and
having borne him a son, marries, when lie marries, a
Norman knight by whom she has several children.
* " Cujus erat pellex." C.imden, 445.
266 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
There is nothing remarkable in such circumstances,,
except their coincidence with those of Robert and
Herleve, nor indeed in that, as they were of common
occurrence in Normandy, and tolerated, if not sanc-
tioned, as the custom of the country. And what if
the existence not only of a wife more Danico, but of a
son should have been one of the hitches in the matri-
monial arrangements of William and Matilda of
Flanders ? Several good reasons might be adduced to-
show the bearing of this case on the mystery that still
enshrouds the singular courtship of the lady and the
unexplained prohibition of the Pope, but I have no-
desire to multiply theories which cannot be fairly
supported by facts, and have only endeavoured to
show as briefly as possible that there are better
grounds for believing in the story than for contemptu-
ously dismissing it. Tradition should always be re-
ceived with great caution, but where not irreconcilable
with dates, nor met by " rebutting evidence," it should
not be hastily discarded as utterly unworthy of
We are not dealing with mystic personages. Wil-
liam Peverel of Nottingham, as well as Eanulph of
Essex, had each a local habitation as well as a name.
The latter was founder of the Priory of Hatfielcl
Peverel, at the instigation of, or in conjunction with,.
WILLIAM PEVEEEL. 26T
the daughter of Ingelrie, his wife, or, as I believe, his
mother. Weever, who tells her story in language too-
highly coloured for these pages, says she died about
1100, and was buried there. Her image, he states,
was in his time to be seen carved in stone in one of
What have we against all this corroborative testi-
mony ? A denial, and an opinion !
The name of Peverel, as I have observed, was not
derived from a fief or a locality. In a paper I read
many years ago at Nottingham, I pointed out that Sir
William Pole, in his Collections for Devonshire, speak-
ing of the branch which settled in that county, says
the name was Peverell or Piperell, and in Domesday
we find it continually spelt " Piperellus Terra
Ranulphi Pipperelli." This, however, does not illus-
trate its derivation, and the detestable practice of
latinising proper names only tends to confuse and
mislead us, as they become in turn translated or cor-
rupted till the original is either lost or rendered hope-
lessly inexplicable. My belief is, that like " Mesquin,"
lesser or junior, translated into Mischinus, and dis-
torted into De Micenis, Peverel is the Norman form of
Peuerellus, as we find it written in the Anglo-Norman
Pipe and Plea Kolls. The u being pronounced v in
Normandy, and Peuerellus being simply a misspelling.
S38 THE CONQUEROK AND HIS COMPANIONS.
of the Latin Puerulus, a boy or child, naturally applied
to the son to distinguish him from his father.
William Peverel was therefore, literally, boy or child'
We see in the instance of the descendants of Richard
-d'Avranches how " Mesquin," used to distinguish
a younger son, became the name of a family, and so I
take it to have been with Peverel, which, originally
.applied to William, was afterwards borne by so many
of his relations in England.
The Eanulph Peverel of Domesday I believe to
have been William's half-brother. At any rate, he
could scarcely have been the Ranulph who married
the daughter of Ingelric, for we find his eldest son
Hamnio, or Hammond, a man grown, settled in England
a few years after the Conquest, and one of the chief
tenants or barons of Roger de Montgomeri, Earl of
Shrewsbury. He is also reported to have had two
other sons, Payne Peverel of . Brune, and William
Peverel of Dover ; but I have no business with
these in this place, and I fear I may have already
wearied the reader with my attempt to affiliate
William the child and controvert the recently formed
opinion of the immaculate morality of William the
father, which, notwithstanding they must have been
.all acquainted with the passage in Malmesbury, was
not entertained by Camden, Glover, Dugdale, Sand-
ford,, Weever, Thoroton, Deering, Morant, nor any
genealogist or historian as far as I can remember to the
middle of the present century, the erudite translator
of Orderic, Mr. Thomas Forester, in 1853, unhesitat-
ingly speaking of William Peverel of Nottingham as
"the son of William the Conqueror," and "half-
brother " of William Peverel of Dover.
I have no doubt in my own mind that the son of
Robert and Herleve "had at least three natural chil-
dren, and should not be surprised if the mysterious
Matilda of Domesday should prove to be a fourth.
The wife of AVilliam Peverel of Nottingham was
Adelina de Lancaster, but her parentage is not ascer-
tained. From her surname she may be supposed to
have been the daughter of Roger de Poitou, son of
Roger de Montgomeri, Earl of Shrewsbury, who was
sometimes called Earl of Lancaster, in consequence
of the large possessions in that county which he
obtained with his wife, or perhaps one of. the
family of those Barons of Kendal of whom William of
Lancaster was a wealthy and powerful person in the
reigns of Henry I., Stephen, and Henry II., but we
have nothing beyond the name to guide us.
This lady appears to have borne to her husband
two sons, each named William, the elder dying in his
272 THE CONQUEROK AND HIS COMPANIONS.
by any one, I have already called attention to in the
first volume of this work, but subsequent inquiry
having strengthened my suspicions, and the question
being raised by me for the first time, I cannot con-
clude this memoir without placing my facts before the
dispassionate reader, leaving him to draw his own
conclusions from them as I have done.
Here is the extract from the charter as printed by
Olivarius, verbatim et literatim.
11 In nomine, &c., Ego Willielmus divina dispen-
sante misericordia, Eex Anglorum & Due Nor-
manorum, &c. Anno Dominica Incarnationis MLXXXI
scripta est hsec charta & ab excellentiorabus regni
personis testicata & confirmata, in nomine Dm
feliciter, Amen. Ego WILLIELMUS Dei gratia Anglo-
rum Eex hoc prseceptum possi scribere & scriptum
signo Dominica Crucis confirmando impressi >fc. Ego
MATHILDIS confirmavi >J. Ego Lanfrancus Arehae-
pisc >J. Ego THOMAS Archiepiscopus Kegis filius *fc.
Ego Eogerius comes. Ego Hugo comes. Ego Alanus
comes. Ego EODBERTUS comes. Ego Eustatius
comes >fc. WILLIELMUS Eegis filius >J<. Willielmus
filius Osbert^. Walter de Gaud *." (Arch. S.
Observe that the name of Thomas is printed in
capital letters, as arc those of alJ the royal family,
WILLIAM PEVEREL. 273
while those of the Primate Lanfranc, the great Earls
of Shrewsbury, Chester, Richmond, and Boulogne are
in ordinary type.
What the distinction may have been in the charter
itself, I cannot presume to say ; but there can be no
doubt there was a distinction of equal importance, or
it would not have been thus indicated by Olivarius
rendering the words "Regis films" still more signifi-
cant. Another remarkable circumstance is the occur-
rence of the name of a William, the son of Osbert,
amongst the witnesses. The names of the parents of
Archbishop Thomas are said to have been Osbert and
Muriel, on the authority of some entries made from
time to time in the blank spaces left in a calendar
printed in an appendix to the Surtees Edition of the
Liber Vitne Duuelm., from a MS. marked B iv, 24,
which belongs to the Dean and Chapter of Durham.
"Februarius V. Kal. Mar. 0' (biit) Osbertus Pater
domini Archiepiscopi Thomse."
"Jimius V. Id. 0' Muriel, Mater Domini Archie-
piscopi Thomse." No year stated.
These entries are assumed to apply to Thomas of
Bayeux, the successor of Aldred, 1070 1100; but
what proof is there that they do not refer to his
nephew Thomas, Provost of Beverley, and Bishop-
elect of London, who before consecration thereto was
promoted to York, A.D. 1109, and who has been occa-
VOL. If. T
272 THE CONQUEROR ANL HIS COMPANIONS.
by any one, I have already called attention to in the
first volume of this work, but subsequent inquiry
having strengthened my suspicions, and the question
being raised by me for the first time, I cannot con-
clude this memoir without placing my facts before the-
dispassionate reader, leaving him to draw his own.
conclusions from them as I have done. '
Here is the extract from, the charter as printed by
Olivarius, verbatim et literatim.
" In nomine, &c., Ego Willielmus divina dispen-
sante misericordia, Rex Anglorum & Due Nor-
manorum, &c. Anno Dominica Incarnationis MLXXXI
scripta est haec charta & ab excellentiorabus regni
personis testicata & confirmata, in nomine DnT
feliciter, Amen. Ego WILLIELMUS Dei gratia Anglo-
rum Rex hoc prseceptum possi scribere & scriptum
signo Dominica Crucis confirmando impressi >J<. Ego
MATHILDIS confirmavi >J. Ego Lanfrancus Archae-
pisc >J<. Ego THOMAS Archiepiscopus Regis filius ^
Ego Rogerius comes. Ego Hugo comes. Ego Alanus
comes. Ego RODBEETUS comes. Ego Eustatius
comes i*. WILLIELMUS Regis filius ^. Wilh'elmus
filius Osbert^. Walter de Gand ^." (Arch. S.
Observe that the name of Thomas is printed in.
capital letters, as arc those of alJ the royal family,
WILLIAM PEVEREL. 273
while those of the Primate Lanfranc, the great Earls
of Shrewsbury, Chester, Richmond, and Boulogne are
in ordinary type.
What the distinction may have been in the charter
itself, I cannot presume to say ; but there can be no
doubt there was a distinction of equal importance, or
it would not have been thus indicated by Olivarius
rendering- the words "Regis filius" still more signifi-
cant. Another remarkable circumstance is the occur-
rence of the name of a William, the son of Osbert,
amongst the witnesses. The names of the parents of
Archbishop Thomas are said to have been Osbert and
Muriel, on the authority of some entries made from
time to time in the blank spaces left in a calendar
printed in an appendix to the Surtees Edition of the
Liber Vitue Dunelm., from a MS. marked B iv, 24,
which belongs to the Dean and Chapter of Durham.
"Februarius V. Kal. Mar. 0' (biit) Osbertus Pater
domini Archiepiscopi Thomae."
"Junius V. Id. 0' Muriel, Mater Domini Archie-
piscopi Thomse." No year stated.
These entries are assumed to apply to Thomas of
Bayeux, the successor of Aldred, 1070 1100; but
what proof is there that they do not refer to his
nephew Thomas, Provost of Beverley, and Bishop-
elect of London, who before consecration thereto was
promoted to York, A.D. 1109, and who has been occa-
VOL. ir. x
274 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
sionaJly confounded with his uncle of the same name
and position ? Be this as it may, we have in the
above charter evidence of a William Fitz Osbert living
in 1081, and subscribing a document in company with
the Archbishop Thomas, who calls himself "Regis
filius," though asserted by Brompton to be the son of
a priest, " Namque presbyteri fuit filius."
Thomas of Bayeux had a brother named Samson,
who was sent with him to Liege by Bishop Odo for
his education. He was ordained a priest by Anselm,
Archbishop of Canterbury, 14th June, 1096, at Lam-
beth, and consecrated Bishop of Worcester at St. Paul's
Cathedral the next day ! What influence could pos-
sibly have been at work to elevate and enrich in so
remarkable a manner the sons of an obscure eccle-
siastic, the married or unmarried priest Osbert ?
Of course, as in the instance of Peverel, if Thomas
was the son of William Duke of Normandy and King
of England, the answer is obvious.
Well, the fortunate Thomas 1st had an equally for-
tunate nephew, Archbishop Thomas 2nd. Was he
the son of Bishop Samson, or was he or not related to
the William the son of Osbert who witnessed the
Charter of William the Conqueror in company with
Archbishop Thomas " Regis filius " ?
The career of this Thomas of Bayeux and William
Peverel are singularly similar. Each, without previous
WILLIAM PEVEREL. 275
distinction, was suddenly raised to rank and power on
the first opportunity. Nothing is positively known of
their parentage. Tradition, uncontradicted by facts,
asserts Peverel to have been a son of King William,
and Thomas declares himself another.
If the entry in the Calendar really refers to him,
and Muriel was his mother, and not his sister-in-law,
she could only have been the " compagne " of Osbert,
as the marriage of priests was prohibited by the Synod
of Lisieux and Eouen, and she therefore holds no
higher position than Ingelric.
The story of Peverel could not have been the in-
vention of an enemy, as in the eleventh century no
shame was attached to such illicit connections. From
Rolf the Dane to Robert the Devil, every ancestor of
the Conqueror had left illegitimate issue, and there-
fore in the summary of his crimes and vices no con-
temporary would have dreamed of including inconti-
nence. That neither Glover nor Camden ever ques-
tioned the fact, is to me sufficient evidence that they
had satisfied themselves as to the authenticity of the
information on which they had asserted it. They may
have been deceived, but they did not invent the story,
in which there is nothing incredible, and if false, lias
yet to be traced to its origin before we are justified in
OF the following personages but few can be
identified, and of those few no materials have been
found hitherto for the briefest biographical notice.
To the meagre information and vague speculations
of Messrs, le Prevost and Edgar Taylor I have
added in some instances a fact, and in others a sug-
gestion ; and generally upheld the authority of Wace
where it could not be shaken by direct evidence. I
have already given my reasons for the confidence I
place in his testimony, and feel assured that subse-
quent researches will justify my opinion of him.
The honest Prebend of Bayeux, at the conclusion
of what may be fairly called his "Roll," candidly
acknowledges, " Many other barons there were whom
I have not even named, for I cannot give an account
of them all, nor can I tell of all the feats they did, for
I would not be tedious. Neither can I give the
names of all the barons, nor the surnames of all
whom the Duke brought from Normandy and Brittany
in his company." Those, however, whom he has
WIESTACE DE ABEVILE. 277
named he had, I firmly believe, good authority for
naming, and with one important exception (the pre-
sence of Roger de Montgomeri at Senlac), which is
yet an open question, I have seen no reason to doubt
his accuracy, or to endorse the opinion, that in
specifying the baptismal names of the early Norman
barons he has "often erred." He was much more
likely to be right than his commentators in the nine-
teenth century, who, unless they can prove distinctly
that no member of the family bore such a baptismal
appellation in October, 1066, are not justified, except
by the production of the most conclusive evidence, in
asserting that he was not also a companion of the
The recently published lists of Messrs, de Magny
and Delisle, while supplying some hundreds of names,
are unfortunately unaccompanied by the evidence on
which they have been recorded, and consequently
cannot be confidently quoted either in corroborate on
or in contradiction of the older catalogues, varying
as they do from them in many important instances,
and occasionally from each other.
ABEVILE, Wiestace dc, 1. 13,562. M. le PreVost
merely remarks that there is a commune so named in
the arrondissemcnt of Lisieux, but that he thinks it
more probable that Abbeville, the well-known city in
278 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
Ponthieu, is the locality indicated. I have mentioned
in my memoir of Eustace, Count of Boulogne, the
fact that both the Counts of Ponthieu and the Counts
of Boulogne were occasionally called " of Abbeville."
But strange as it appears that so remarkable a person
as Eustace II. should have been altogether omitted
by Wace, which he certainly has been if not alluded
to as above, there is nothing to enable us to identify
him with the unknown companion of the Conqueror
recorded by the Prebend of Bayeux. He would surely
have written " Li quens Wiestace de Abevile " had
he intended to speak of Count Eustace. Who then
was this Wiestace ? No one of the name of Abbe-
ville appears in Domesday. An obscure adventurer
a soldier of fortune, perhaps killed in the battle
would scarcely have been classed with the Cham-
berlain of Tankerville, the Lord of Mandeville, and
William Crispin, or even mentioned at all by the
Norman poet for the sake of the rhyme, unless he
had distinguished himself in the conflict, or in some
way made the name of Eustace of Abbeville familiar
to his countrymen.
I am strongly under the impression that for Abbe-
ville we should read Appeville, of which name there
was more than one Norman family of note in the
eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries.
WIESTACE DE ABEVILE. 279
Three parishes so named are to be found in Nor-
mandy : 1. Appeville, canton of Montfort-sur-Risle,
arrondissement of Pontaudemer ; 2. Appeville-le-
Petit, canton of Affranville, arrondissement of Dieppe;
3. Appeville-la-Haye, canton of Haye-du-Puits, arron-
dissement of Coutances. The lords of Montfort-sur-
Kisle were also seigneurs of Appeyille, and several of
their charters are subscribed by persons of that name,
as arc also some charters of the Counts of Meulent,
sires de Pontaudemer. Gosce d'Appeville witnesses
the gift of the hermitage of Brotone to the Abbey of
Preaux, by Robert, Comte de Meulent, circa 11G3.
Appcville-le-Petit furnishes us with no indications ;
but Appeville-la-Haye was no doubt the cradle of a
family so named. Our former acquaintance, Turstain
Haldub, lord of Haye-du-Puits at the time of the
Conquest, was also Seigneur d'Appeville; and from
the foundation charter of the Abbey of Lessay we
learn that lie, with his son Eudo al Chapel, gave to
that abbey all the churches, lands, woods, and meadows
in Apavil and Osulfvill, " et aliis maisnillis quse ad
Apavillam pertinebant." Observe that Appeville is
here spelt with one p, as Abbeville in the " Roman
de Rou " is with one Z>. A very slight slip of the
pen may have caused all the confusion.
Still stronger presumptive evidence is afforded us
280 THE CONQUEKOR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
by Domesday. Walterus de Appevillc is therein
recorded as holding, tinder William de Arcis, the
manor of Folkestone, in the hundred of that name.
We have here distinct proof that an Appevillc
had established himself in England before 1085, and
may fairly draw from it the inference, that either
Walter himself or one of his family was a companion
of the Conqueror in 1066. MM. de Magny and
Delisle have Gauticr (Walter) d'Appeviile, but no
Eustace. The name of Abbeville occurs in the Roll
of Battle Abbey, but that is no evidence.
ASNEBEC (Onebac), "cil d'," 1. 13,748. Asnebec is
a commune in the neighbourhood of Voie. M. le
Prevost doubts that it was a seigneurie at the time
of the Conquest, and believes it to have belonged to
Kobert, the younger son of Hamon-aux-Dents, the
rebel lord of Thorigny killed at Val-es-Dunes in 1047.
That Robert succeeded his father in the lordship of
Thorigny, as Le Prevost implies, is very proble-
matical ; but he may have been Sire d'Asnebec, and
as such recognized in 1066, if he were in the in-
vading army, which must first be ascertained. If not,
"He of Onebec" remains for the present unidenti-
ASNIERES, " Gilbert le Yield'/' 1. 13,663. Asnieres,
a commune in the arrondissement of Bayeux. A Raoul
cTAsnieres witnesses a charter to the Abbey-aux-
Damcs, at Caen, in 1082 ; but there is no trace of a
Gilbert, nor mention of any of the family, in Domes-
day ; neither do I find it in any form in the Kolls or
lists of "the Conquerors 5 ' that have come down to
us. Mr. Edgar Taylor, however, has noticed that in
the Bayeux Inquest the Maulevriers, a well-known
Anglo-Norman family, are found to hold half a
knight's fee in Asnicres, the only connection of it
with this country yet discovered.
AUVILLIERS, "Sire d'," 1. 13,747. There are two
communes of this name, one near Pont-1'Eveque,
and the other near Mortemer-sur-Eaulne. As the
" Sire d'Auvillers " is described by Wace as charging
in company with Hugh de Mortemer, it is probable
he hailed from the latter, and was a vassal of the
Mortemers. A Hugh de Aviler was a vassal of
Eobert Malet, in Suffolk, in the days of the Con-
queror, and a benefactor to the Priory of Eye, founded
by him ; but there is nothing to show who was the
Sire d'Auvilliers who fought at Senlac.
BERTRAX, " de Peleit le filz," 1. 11,510. A Breton
who joined the army of invasion at St. Valery, in
company with the Sire de Dinan, Raoul de Gael, and
many others of his countrymen. Nothing more
appears to be known of him by any one; and "do
282 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
Peleit Ic filz Bertran" may be interpreted either as
Bertrancl the son of Peleit, or de Peleit the son of
Bertrand, or Fitz-Bertrand de Peleit !
BRIENCORT, "le Sire de/' 1. 13,773. No such place
known in Normandy. Supposed by Le Prevost to
be intended for Brucourt, arrondissement of Pont-
1'EvCque. A Robert de Brucourt confirmed grants
by Geffry de Fervaques to Walsingham, the only
instance of the connection of the name with English
BOSXEBOSQ, "leSircde," 1. 13,GG7. From Bonnc-
bosq, arrondissement of Pont-1'EvCque. No identifi-
cation or connection with England.
BOTEVILAIN, 1. 13,711. A Sire de Bouttevilc, arron-
dissement of Valognes, is certified by Mous. de
Gerville to have been in the expedition. The name
occurs in the Roll of Battle Abbey, and the family
established itself in the counties of Somerset and
Bedford. At the same time a family named Boutte-
villain is found seated in Northamptonshire, in which
county a Guillaume Boutevileyn founded, in 1143,
the Abbey of Pipewell. This name appears in
Brompton's List ; but whether the Boutevilles and
the Bouttevillains were one and the same family is
left to conjecture, as well as who were the actual
companions of the Conqueror. The Thynnes, Mar-
EGBERT DE BELFOU. 283
quises of Bath, claim descent from Botevillc of
Shelton, county of Salop.""'
BELFOU, " Robert le Sire de," 1. 13,558. Here we
have a baptismal name to assist us, and as Guillaumc
de Poitiers also calls him Robert, I adopt it, merely
observing that Le Prevost states he is called Ralf in
some contemporary documents, and that we find a
Radulph de Bellofago in Domesday. The modern
lists have Raoul and William.
Beaufou, Beaufoi, or Belfai, latinised Bellofagus, is
ill the neighbourhood of Pont-rEveque. Its lords
were descended in female line from Ralph, Comte
d'lvri, uterine brother of Duke Richard I., already
mentioned (page 220, ante) ; and Sir Henry Ellis,
in his "Introduction to Domesday," suggests that
the Radulplms of that book was a near relation, if
not a son, of William dc Beaufoe, Bishop of Thetford,
Chaplain and Chancellor of the Conqueror. I con-
sider him more likely to have been the son of Robert,
the combatant of Senlac, and nephew of William the
Bishop. No particulars are known of either, and
except through females no descendants are traceable
CAILLY, "Sirede," 1. 13,649. Cailly is in the arron-
dissement of Rouen, and there can be no doubt that
* Xot one of the last seven names occurs in the modem catalogues.
k84 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
one or more of the family may have been in the
expedition. Osbern de Cailly was apparently the
holder of the fief in 10GG, as his son Roger made a
donation to St. Ouen in 1080. A "William de Cailgi
also appears in Domesday. Although by alliances
with the Giffards and the Tateshalls they became of
importance in England, the companion of the Con-
queror has afforded no materials for a memoir. By
the death of Thomas de Cailly, Baron of Buckenham
(10th Edw. II.), without issue, the property passed,
through his sister and heir Margaret, to the family of
CARTE AT, "Onfroi and Mangier, "1. 13,584. Carteret,
in the arrondissement of Valognes, imparted its name
to this family, from a branch of which, settled in
Jersey, the Barons Cartcret, and from the sisters and
co-heirs of Robert, second Earl Granville, Viscount
and Baron Carteret, who died without issue in 1776,
descend the present Marquises of Bath and Tweeddale,
and the Earls Dysart and Cowper. Of Humphrey
and Mangier, the companions of the Conqueror, no-
thing is known but their names. That of Roger is
added by the modern compilers. Regnaud de Car-
teret, son of an earlier Humphrey, accompanied Duke
Robert the Magnificent to the Holy Land in 1035.
CFIAIGNES, "le Sire de," 1. 1 3,664. LePrevost derives
LA FERTE. 283
this family from Cab agues, in the arrondisscment de
Bayeux, the lords of which were benefactors to the
abbey of Grestein, in Normandy, and the priory of
Lewes, in Sussex. The name also appears in Domes-
day, and with the addition of Guillaume in the
COMBRAI, " cil de," 1. 13,775. Combrai is near Har-
court Thury, arrondissement of Falaise. We have no
particulars respecting its earlier lords, nor any indica-
tion which of them was in the battle. The modern
lists have Geoffrey.
EPIN, " cil de," 1. 13,613. All speculation even on
who is indicated by this personage would be idle under
present circumstances. There are numerous fiefs and
communes so called, and unless, as M. le Prevost
observes, we are to consider the name was latinized
into De Spincto, we have no trace of the family in
FERTE. "li Sire de la," 1. 13,707. The authors of
" Recherches sur le Domesday " have set at rest all
doubts respecting this personage and the locality from
which he derived his name. Under the head of
ACHARDUS they state incidentally that, in 1066,
Achard d'Ambrieres, Henri de Domfront, and Mathcw
de la Fet-te Mace brought eighty men-at-arms from le
Passais-Nonnand to join the forces assembled by Duke
280 THE COXQUEBOR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
William for tlic conquest of England. We have here,
therefore, the names of two other companions of the
Conqueror, neither of whom is mentioned by M. de
Magny or Delisle ; William de la Fertc, who with
Turgis de Tracic were governors of Maine in 1073,
was perhaps of the same family. A William de Feri-
tate (Ferte) held Weston and Stokes in Baronise from
the Conquest of England (Testa dc Neville, p. 286).
A Sire de Ferte Mace*, either Mathias or William,
married a sister of Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, and his
son William is described as nephew of that worthy
prelate in the charter of an Archbishop of Tours, temp.
St. Louis. What sister of Odo, and by which father ?
GASCTE, " cil de," 1. 13,658. Gace, arrondissement
of Argentan. It is not known who was Sire de Gace
in 1066. Baoul de Gace", the instigator of the murder
of Gilbert, Count of Eu, died childless before the
Conquest, and his domains were seized by Duke
William. The holder under him has not been dis-
GLOS. See SAP.
Goviz, " cil de," 1. 13,653. Gouvix is in the arron-
dissement of Falaise, but no possessor of it is known
at the time of the Conquest.
JORT, "cil de/' 1. 13,614. Jort is a commune near
Courci, arrondissement of Falaise. It had belonged to
LA MARE. 287
Lesceline, Countess of Eu, but no possessor of it in
10G6 is known to French antiquaries. It was pro-
bably held by some one under the De Courcis of that
day, as they are named together " Gil de Courci e Oil
LITHAIRE, "li Sire de," 1. 13,554. Lithaire, com-
mune of Haye-du-Puits, in the Cotentin. Eudo al
Chapel was lord of it in 1066 ; but Robert de Hale,
who married Muriel, daughter and heir of Eudo,
might have held under him (see p. 125, ante).
LA MARE, "Sire de," 1. 13,555. The name of this
great Anglo-Norman family was derived from the
fief of La Mare, at St. Opportune, arrondissement of
Pontaudemer, where the castle was built on piles on
the border of the lake, still called Grand-Mare.
Lemare occurs in the Roll of Battle Abbey and
Duchesne's List, and De la Mare in Leland's ; but I
cannot find a Hugues de la Mare, as suggested by Le
Prevost, in any, no baptismal names being men-
tioned. The modern lists have Guillaume.
MOLEI, "le Sire de," 1. 13,777. The family name
of the Sire de Molay, or Vieux-Molay, in the eleventh
century, was Bacon, subsequently so illustrious in
England ; and it is presumed that a Guillaume Bacon,
who in 1082 made donations to the Abbey of the
Holy Trinity at Caen, wherein his sister had taken
288 THE CONQUEROK AND HIS COMPANIONS.
the veil, is the Sire de Molai of the "Roman de Ron."
A Richard Bacon, nephew of Ranulf, Earl of Chester,
founded the priory of Roncester, county of Stafford.
The family of the great Lord Chancellor and the
premier baronets of England do not deduce their
descent from the Norman lords of Molay, but from
Grirnbald, a cousin of William, de Warren, whose
great grandson, according to their genealogists, as-
sumed the name of Bacon in Normandy.
MONCEALS, "La," 1. 13,654. There are several
communes of the name of Monceaux in Normandy.
Le Prevost considers the one in question is in the
neighbourhood of Bayeux, and the seat of the family
of Drogo de Monceaux, the second husband of Edith
de Warren, widow of Gerrard de Gournay. Either
Drogo or his son of the same name witnessed the
foundation charter of Dun stable, in the county of
Bedford, temp. Henry I, and the name is of frequent
occurrence in later documents. Guillaume dc Mon-
ceaux occurs in the modern lists.
PACTE, "cil ki ert Sire de," 1. 13,655. Paci-sur-
Eure was, at the time of the Conquest, in the posses-
sion of William Fitz Osbern, and after his death, in
1074, formed a portion of the inheritance of William de
Breteuil, his son. M. le Prevost denounces this as an
evident mistake, but some one may have held under
PIROIL PINS. 289
Fitz Osbern, though not entitled perhaps to be called
the " Sire de Paci."
PIROU, " un Chevalier de," 1. 13,557. Pirou is near
Lessai, but " a chevalier of Pirou " might not be the
lord of it. It would be idle to speculate as to the
person alluded to by the poet. William, Lord of
Pirou, is said by Orderic to have perished in the fatal
wreck of the "White Ship," in 1120. In a later
charter, however, a "Gulielmus de Pirou, Dapifer,"
appears as a witness. Mon. Ang. vol. ii., p. 973.
PRAERES, "le Sire de," 1. 13,661. Even the locality
of this seigneurie is undetermined, and when it is
stated that a Sire de Praeres appears about 1119 as a
vassal of the Earl of Chester, all is said that is known
of the family.
PINS, " cil ki ert Sire des," 1. 13,567, supposed to
be Pin au Haras, arrondissement of Argentan. A Foul-
ques des Pin is named in a charter to Saint Pierre-sur-
Dive as a contemporary of the Conqueror ; a Morin du
Pin was Dapifer to Kobert, Comte de Mortain, and
living in 1080, and the name frequently occurs in.
connection with events of the next century ; but the
Sire des Pins of Senlac has not been identified. The
family were seated in England shortly after the Con-
quest, and appear to have been in the service of the
Counts of Meulent (Orderic Vital, 687, 881).
290 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
REBERCIL, "le Sire de," 1. 13,777. Now called
Rubercy, in the arrondissement of Bayeux. The com-
panion of the Conqueror not known, but in 1168
Hughes Wae (Wake), Lord of Rebercil, founded the
Abbey of Longues, and the family of Wake is one of
the most important in Anglo-Norman history. How
he became Lord of Rebercil, whether by inheritance
or marriage, has yet to be discovered. His wife was
Emma, daughter of Baldwin de Gant and Adelaide de
Rullos ; but Hugh could not have been born at the
time of the Conquest, and we have no knowledge of
his father. No connection is hinted to have existed
between Hugh and the celebrated Hereward, whose
name of Le Wake is of dubious derivation ; but the
founding of the Priory of Brunne in Lincolnshire by
Baldwin de Gant, the father-in-law of Hugh, is worthy
of observation, taken in connection with the story
that Hereward was a son of Leofric, Lord of Brunne.
The name of Wake occurs in all the Rolls and cata-
logues except those of MM. de Magny and Delisle,
and the Wakes of Clevedon, in the county of Somerset,
laim to be descended from Sir Thomas, called from his
large possessions " the great Wake " in the reign of
SAINT CLER, "le Sire de," 1. 13,749. Saint Clair is
the principal town in the canton of that name in the
ST. MARTIN. ST. SEVER. 291
^arrondissement of St. L6. The site of the castle was
still to be seen near the church when M. de Gerville
wrote his valuable work on the castles in La Manche.
A William de Saint Clair was a benefactor to the
Abbey of Savigny in the reign of Henry I., and one
of the same name, if not the same person, founded the
Priory of Villiers Fossard in 1139; but who "came
over with the Conqueror " does not appear. A Richard
de Sender is found in Domesday, from whom, as a
matter of course, the English Sinclairs are reported to
ST. MARTIN, "le Sire de/' 1. 13,565. No identifica-
tion either of place or person. There are very many
St. Martins, and we know nothing of their seigneurs
in 1066. A family of that name was seated in Eng-
land early in the following century, and a Robert de
St. Martin founded the Abbey of Robert's Bridge, in
the county of Sussex, in 1176.
SAINT SEVER, "cil de." Le Prevost doubts the
existence of any seigneur of Saint Sever in 1066, that
place having been always the property of the Viscounts
of the Avranchin. Now " Saint Sever ! Sire St.
Sever I " was the war cry of Renouf de Bricasard at
the battle of Val-es-Dunes (see vol. i, p. 29), and his
son Ranulph de Bricasard, called Le Meschin, or the
younger, afterwards Earl of Chester, would have pro-
292 THE CONQUEEOE AND HIS COMPANIONS.
bably been the Lord of St. Sever at the time of the
expedition had he been old enough, but as he lived
till 1129 that is not probable. At all events the-
learned antiquary is, I think, mistaken. Renouf de
Bricasard was Viscount of the Bessin in 1047, not of
the Avrauchin, and therefore frequently called Eenouf
de Bayeux. He married Matilda, daughter of Richard
d'Avranches, by Emma de Conteville, and sister of
Hugh, Earl of Chester. That is the only connection
with the Vicomtes d'Avranches, which, supposing hint
to be married in 1047, might account in some way
for his war cry. We have no means of ascertaining-
the age of either father or son in 1066 ; but as Neel
de Saint-Sauveur, the other rebellious viscount, was
in the expedition, the odds are in favour of the elder
son-in-law of that " Richarz ki fu d'Avrancin " (see-
p. 16, ante), under whom he might have held St.
Sever, or been enfeoffed with it in frank marriage at
the time of his union with his daughter.
SAP, "cil de,"l. 13,668. Wace couples with "cil
de Sap," "cil de Gloz," upon which Le Prevost re-
marks : " Here again are two seigneurs of our author's
creation. At the time of the Conquest Sap had been
given with Moules to Baldwin Fitz Gilbert, Comte de
Brionne, as we have already said, and could not con-
sequently have a ' seigneur particulier.' As to Gloz,
at belonged to William de Breteuil, and it appears
that its possession dated from a very early period,
because we find Barnon de Glos in the service of his
( William's) father about the year 1035. William de
Xjloz, son of this Barnon, was dapifer to William de
Breteuil, and assisted probably at the Conquest in that
capacity." Exactly so, and therefore why, dear M.
le Provost, to whom we are all so much indebted, do
you charge the honest Prebend of Bayeux with having
created two " seigneurs " out of his imagination ? The
title is of your own bestowing. He does not style
Ihem seigneurs. He speaks of them simply as " cil
<le Sap," and " cil de Gloz " (celui), and the context
dearly shows that he does not rank them as lords of a
iief, but as chevaliers distinguished by their family
names, who in later days in England would have
been called Sir William de Gloz, and Sir de
.Sap. Sire not only signified lord, but the senior
member of the family ("plus vieux, phis ancien,"
Manage), and was familiarly applied to men of
.any rank (" pauvre sire, honime sans merite," Lan-
dais). Granting that Wace may have occasionally
used it inaccurately, the persistence of his annotator in
^refusing to recognize the existence of the persons so
designated is, I humbly submit, a mistake on his
294 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
SACIE, "cil de," 1. 13,659. M. de Gerville, in liis^
" Keclierches sur les Chateaux de la Manche," has.
pointed out that the place here mentioned is not Sassy
near Falaise, but Sacey near Pont Orson. A Jourdain
de Sacey, chevalier, was living in the twelfth century,
and an Emeric de Sacey occurs in the " Monasticon,"
but no guess has been made as to the actual com-
panion of the Conqueror. I will venture a suggestion..
In the Commune of Sacey, on the banks of the Coes-
non, a river dividing the provinces of Normandy and
Brittany, a castle was built in 1030 by Eobert Duke
of Normandy, father of the Conqueror, the site of which
was, and may be still, visible on a hill about a quarter
of a league from the bourg of Sassy. This castle,,
indifferently called Charruez and Cheruel, is said to>
have given its name to the well-known Norman family
of Kyriel. Wace makes no mention of a Kyriel, but
if one of the family held lands in the commune he
might have been known as a Sire de Sassy. Vide
Recherches de M. deGerville, and Sir Bernard Burke's-
Koll of Battle Abbey.
SAINTEALS, "cil de," 1. 13,643. This commune,,
now called Cintheaux, near Gonvix, arrondissement de
Falaise, offers no record of a possessor in 1066. In.
1081 it belonged to Robert Marmion, who gave the
church there to the Abbey of Barbery. One of that
SEMILLEE. SOLIGNTE. 295
family may have been an under-tenant at the time of
SEMILLIE, "li Sire dc," 1. 13,650. A Guillaume
de Semilly (near St. L6) is a witness to two charters
in 1082, and appears to have been a person of some
importance, as he signs immediately after Odo Bishop
of Bayeux and Eoger de Montgomeri. He was pro-
bably the " Sire de Semillie" of Senlac. His daughter
and heiress, Agnes, married Guillaume, son of .Richard
de Hommet, Constable of Normandy, and their eldest
son Guillaume assumed the family name of his mother,
granting as Guillaume de Semilly a hundred acres of
land in his demesnes to the Abbey of Aunay, with the
consent of his brothers, Jourdain, Bishop of Lisieux,
Geoffrey and Enguerrand du Hommet (Recherches sur
le Domesday, p. 94).
SOLTGNIE, "le Sire de," 1. 13,602. Subligny, near
Avranches. According to Le PreVost (Corrections
and Additions to vol. ii.), one of this family, who
wrote themselves Sulligny, Sousligny, and Subligny,
became Bishop of Avranches, and another took part
in the first crusade. A marriage with the Paniells,
or Paganels, caused the property of a branch in
Normandy to pass into that family, and the name of
Subligny existed in the counties of Cornwall, Devon,
and Somerset as late as the present century. The
290 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
companion of the Conqueror, however, has yet to be
TOUQUES, "cilde," 1. 13,555. A place at the mouth
of the river of that name, arrondissement of Pont-
1'Eveque. Mons. le Prevost notices the appearance
of the names of Jordan, Koger, Robert, and Henri de
Touques in Dugdale's Monasticon ; but neither he nor
Mr. Edgar Taylor seems to have been aware of the
ancient family of Toke of Godington, in the county of
Kent, who claim descent from the companion of the
Conqueror. Thoroton, who spells the name in seven-
teen different ways, states that a branch of this family
was seated in Nottinghamshire in the reign of Rufus,
and other ramifications may be found in the counties
of Derby, York, Cambridge, Herts, and Dorset. The
present representative of the house is the Rev. Nicholas
Toke, of Godington, near Ashford.
TORNEOR, "Sire del," 1. 13,661. -| Of the Sire of
ToRNifcRES, "Sire de," 1. 13,664. J Le Tourneur,
near Vire, or his comrade the Sire of .Tournieres, arron-
dissement of Bayeux, nothing is known by either the
French or the English annotators of Wace. A Richard
de Tourneriis is mentioned in the foundation charter of
Kenilworth, temp. Henry I., and the Earl of Win-
terton claims to be descended from a Sire de Tour-
nour who came over with the Conqueror.
TRACIE, "Sire de," 1. 13,605. The Norman family
of Tracy does not appear to have been of much im-
portance in England before the reign of Stephen, who
bestowed upon Henry de Tracy the honour of Ben-
stable (Barnstaple) in Devonshire ; but the first of the
name we hear of is Turgis, or Turgisins de Tracy, who
with William de la Ferte was defeated and driven out
of Maine by Fulk le Rechin, Count of Anjou, in 1073,
and who was therefore in all probability the Sire de
Tracy in the army at Hastings. Tracy is in the
neighbourhood of Vire, arrondissement of Caen, and
the ruins of a magnificent castle of the middle
ages were and may still be seen there. In 1082 a
charter was subscribed at Tracy by a William de
Traci and his nephew Gilbert (Gallia Christina, xi.
Instrum. p. 107), one or the other being most
likely the son of Turgis, and the father of Henry of
The name of Tracy- is principally known to the
readers of English history from the unenviable noto-
riety of a William de Tracy, one of the cowardly mur-
derers of Thomas & Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury,
A.D. 1170 ; but his connection with the inain line is
obscure, as in his charter granting to the Canons of
Torre, in the county of Devon, all his lands at North
Chillingford, he writes himself William de Traci, son
298 THE CONQTJEBOR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
of Gervase de Courtenay, whose name I do not find
in the pedigree of that house.
TREGOZ, "cil ki done tenoit," 1. 13,669. Tregoz is
in the arrondissement of St. L6. The ruins of a castle
were existing lately at the confluence of the Vire and
the brook of Marqueran, but the name of him " who
then held Tregoz" is unknown to me. Mr. Edgar
Taylor, in his notes to Wace, says " Jeffery de Tregoz-
would, according to Dugdale (Baronage, i., 615), be
the probable contemporary of the Conquest." What
he founds that opinion upon I am at a loss to dis-
cover. The first Geoffrey de Tregoz mentioned by
Dugdale was the son of a William de Tregoz, who in
1131 had the lands of William Peverel of London in
farm, and therefore even he could not have been old
enough in 1066 to have fought at Senlac, where Wace-
tells us that " he who then held Tregoz " killed two
Englishmen, transfixing one with his lance and cleav-
ing the skull of the other with his sword, and galloping
back unwounded by the enemy. It may have beerr
the father of that William who performed that
exploit ; but Dugdale takes us no higher than Wil-
liam. A Robert de Tregoz was Sheriff of Wiltshire
and a distinguished warrior in the time of Richard I. y
and the name has descended to us in his old place of
residence in the above county Ledyard-Tregose.
TROSSEBOT, 1. 13,711. This name is coupled with
that of Botevilain by Wace as two warriors who feared
neither cut nor thrust, fighting furiously that day, and
giving and receiving severe blows. M. le Prevost
could not, however, trace the origin of this family in
Normandy, and a William Troussebot is first brought
to our notice in the reign of Henry I. by Orderic
Vital, who includes him amongst the men of low
origin, whom for their obsequious services that sove-
reign raised to the rank of nobles, raising them as it
were from the dust, heaping wealth upon them, and
exalting them above earls and noble lords of castles-
(lib. xi. cap. 2). The Troussebots are supposed to have
been resident in the north-western part of the district
of Neubourg, near the domain of Robert de Harcourt,.
whose daughter Albreda became the wife of William
Trussbot above mentioned, son of Geoffrey and grand-
son of Pagan Troussebot, who in all probability was--
the combatant at Senlac.
Geoffrey Fitz Payne, as he is called, was seated
before the reign of Henry I. at Wartre in Holderness r
in the county of York, and the family was thenceforth,
styled the Trusbutts of Wartre. The male line failed by
the death of the three sons of William without issue, and
their three sisters, Rose, Hillarie, and Agatha, became-
heirs of the estates. The two latter dying childless r
300 THE CONQUEROB, AND HIS COMPANIONS.
the whole property devolved upon William de Eos,
grandson of Eose, who married Everard de Eos, a
great baron in Holderness, who assumed the allusive
.coat of Trussbot of Wartre : three water-bougets.
" Trois bouts d'eau," or three bougets of water.
UEINIE, " cil d'," 1. 13,705. Supposed to be
Origny, of which name there are two communes in
JSormandy, one near Belesme, and the other near
Mamers, but nothing has been learned respecting the
person alluded to.
VITRIE, " cil de," 1. 13,604. Eobert Seigneur de
Vitre (Ille-et-Vilaine), grandson of Eivallon-le-Vicaire,
is stated by the historians of Brittany to have been
the person who is indicated by Wace. Of him or his
deeds we have no record.
Andre de Vitry married Agnes, daughter of Eobert
Cornte de Mortain (vol. i., p. 114), and consequently
niece to the Conqueror. We have not the date, but
.as her younger] sister Denise was married in 1078,
it appears doubtful to me if Eobert, son of Agnes,
*could have been old enough to have fought at Senlac
in 1066. The annalist of the family of Vitre states
ithat on Eobert's birth his grandfather (the Comte de
JMortain) came to Vitre, and at his baptism gave him
Ms name and all the land he held in Trugny, Nicey,
.and Vercreuil in Normandy. An inference might be
drawn from this that Robert was born after the Con-
His son Robert, called the younger, married Emma,
daughter of Alan de Dinan, and their only daughter,
Eleanora de Vitre, married, 1st, William, son of Fulk
Painel, 2ndly, Gilbert de Tillieres, and Srdly, William
Fitz Patrick, second Earl of Salisbury, whom she also
survived, and married 4thly Gilbert de Malmaines,
outlived him, and died in 1233. She is generally
stated to have been the mother of Ela, sole daughter
and heir of her third husband, the Earl of Salisbury,
and wife of William de Longuespee, son of the cele-
brated " Fair Rosamond," by Henry II. I have con-
tested that descent elsewhere, but it is not necessary
to repeat my arguments in these pages. I have only
to do here with the companion of the Conqueror, who
I "take to have been Andre, the husband of his niece,
and not their son Robert, who, if even born, must
have been a child at that period.
Only one out of the last twenty names, viz., that of
"Tracy," occurs in the compilations of Messrs, de
Magny and Delisle.
One word at parting I lay down my pen with a
feelino- o f reoret that I have been unable to throw
302 THE CONQUEROR AND HIS COMPANIONS.
more light upon the many perplexing points which are
forced upon our consideration in pursuing these
inquiries, by the silence or contradiction of the con-
temporary writers to whom we naturally turn for
authentic information. In venturing to differ with
some of the most erudite of the present day, T have
raised, however, a few questions which will no doubt
be either at once conclusively answered, or if deemed
worthy of attention, lead to further investigation, with
probably interesting results. I have no desire to
awaken controversies which end in convincing nobody,
and too often offend somebody. The great object we
have all at heart is truth, and I can sincerely adopt
the words of my old friend and master, the late Sir
Samuel Eush Meyrick, who was wont to say, " the
greatest pleasure any one can give me, next to proving
me to be right, is kindly showing me where I am
Abeville or Apeville .
Dapifer (Eudo) .
Eu, Count of . . 257
Evreux, Count of . 248
Bayeux, Odo Bishop of 88
FitzOsbern . .173
Fitz Rou, Toustain
Beaumont . . . 203
(Le Blanc) . . 227
Giffard . . .160
Count of . .148
Bretagne, Counts Alain
of . . . .264
La Lande (Patry)
Brevere . . .127
La Mare .
LaVal . . 145
Lithaire . . .
Mandeville . .
Champagne, Odo Count
of . . . .118
Chapel, Eudo al .
Combrai . .
Courci . .
Montfort . . .167
VoL 1. VoL 2. | VoL 1. VoL 2.
Montfichet . . 49 St. Sever ... 291
Montgomery . .181 St. Valeri ... 207
Mortagne . . .261 Sap .... 292
Mortain. Count of . 107 Say .... 244
Mortemer . . . 232 Semillie . . . 295
Moulins ... 106 ' Solignie . . . 295
Mowbray ... 25 ', Taisson. or Tesson . 104
Nevil . . . 134 Tankerville . . 148
Oiley . . . 213 Thouars . . .242
Pacie ... 288 Toeni . . .217
Painel . . . 234 Torneor .
Percy . . . 182 : Tornieres .
Peverel . . . 258 Touques .
Pins .... 289 Toustain le Blanc
Pirou ... 289 (Fitz Rou) . . 227
Port .... 249 Trade
Praeres ... 289 Tregoz
Rebercil ... 290 ! Trossebot .
Redvers ... 45 Urinie
Roumare * . . 144 Vesci
Sacie . . . 294 Yieuxpont
St. Cler ... 290 Vitrie
Sainteals . . . 294 Warren . . .131
St. Martin . . . 291 William the Conqueror 1
St. Sauveur . . 140 Family of . 77
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