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View Tree for Duke Robert I of NormandyDuke Robert I of Normandy (b. 1000, d. July 22, 1035)

Duke Robert I of Normandy (son of Duke Richard II of Normandy) was born 1000, and died July 22, 1035. He married Herleva.

 Includes NotesNotes for Duke Robert I of Normandy:
Robert, called "The Magnificent" (French, "le Magnifique") for his love of finery, and also called "The Devil" was the son of Duke Richard II of Normandy and Judith, daughter of Conan I, Duke of Brittany.

When his father died, his elder brother Richard succeeded, whilst he became Count of Hiémois. When Richard died a year later, there were great suspicions that Robert had Richard murdered, hence his other nickname, "Robert le diable" (the devil). He is often mis-identified with the legendary Robert the Devil. Robert aided King Henry I of France against Henry's rebellious brother and mother, and for his help he was given the territory of the Vexin. He also intervened in the affairs of Flanders, supported Edward the Confessor, who was then in exile at Robert's court, and sponsored monastic reform in Normandy.

By his mistress, Herleva of Falaise, he was father of two children:

the future William the Conqueror (1028-1087).
Adelaide of Normandy (1030-c.1083), who was married three times:
Enguerrand II, Count of Ponthieu
Lambert II, Count of Lens
Odo II of Champagne
After making his illegitimate son William his heir, he set out on pilgrimage to Jerusalem. According to the Gesta Normannorum Ducum he travelled by way of Constantinople, reached Jerusalem, and died on the return journey at Nicaea on 2 July 1035. Some sources attribute his death to poison and date it to 1 or 3 July. His son William, aged about eight, succeeded him.

According to the historian William of Malmesbury, around 1086 William sent a mission to Constantinople and Nicaea, charging with bringing his father's body back to be buried in Normandy. Permission was granted, but, having travelled as far as Apulia (Italy) on the return journey, the envoys learned that William himself had meanwhile died. They then decided to re-inter Robert's body in Italy

William I of England (William the Conqueror; c. 1028 – 9 September 1087) was a mediæval monarch. He ruled as the Duke of Normandy from 1035 to 1087 and as King of England from 1066 to 1087. As Duke of Normandy, William was known as William II, and, as King of England, as William I. He is commonly referred to as William the Conqueror (Guillaume le Conquérant) or William the Bastard (Guillaume le Bâtard).

In support of his claim to the English crown, William invaded England in 1066, leading an army of Normans to victory over the Anglo-Saxon forces of Harold Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings, and suppressed subsequent English revolts in what has become known as the Norman Conquest.[1]

His reign brought Norman culture to England, which had an enormous impact on the subsequent course of England in the Middle Ages. In addition to political changes, his reign also saw changes to English law, a programme of building and fortification, changes in the English language and the introduction of continental European feudalism into England.

Physical appearance
No authentic portrait of William has been found, but he was described as a muscular man, balding in front.[2] In later life, William grew fat, causing King Philip of France to comment that he looked pregnant.[3]


[edit] Early life
William was born in Falaise, Normandy (now Northern France), the illegitimate and only son of Robert II, Duke of Normandy. His mother, Herleva (among other names), who later had two sons to another father, was the daughter of Fulbert, most likely a local tanner. William's birth is believed to have been in either 1027 or 1028, and more likely in the autumn of the latter year.[4] He was born the grandnephew of Queen Emma of Normandy, wife of King Ethelred the Unready and later of King Canute the Great.[5]

William succeeded his father as Duke of Normandy at the young age of seven in 1035 and was known as Duke William II of Normandy (French: Guillaume II, duc de Normandie). Plots to usurp his place cost William three guardians, though not Count Alan of Brittany, who was a later guardian. William was knighted by King Henry I of France at the age of 15. By the time he turned 19 he was successfully dealing with threats of rebellion and invasion. With the assistance of King Henry, William finally secured control of Normandy by defeating rebel Norman barons at Caen in the Battle of Val-ès-Dunes in 1047.

Against the wishes of Pope Leo IX, William married his cousin Matilda of Flanders in 1053 in the Cathedral of Notre Dame at Eu, Normandy (in Seine-Maritime). At the time, William was aged about 26 and Matilda aged 22. Their marriage produced four sons and six daughters. In repentance for what was a consanguine marriage, William founded St-Stephen's church (l'Abbaye-aux-Hommes) and Matilda founded Sainte-Trinité church (Abbaye aux Dames).

His half-brothers Odo of Bayeux and Robert, Count of Mortain played significant roles in his life. He also had a sister, Adelaide of Normandy.


[edit] Conquest of England
Main article: Norman Conquest
William believed that once Edward the Confessor was dead, he would be the rightful king of England. It is probable that Edward had promised him the throne, and it is known that in 1064, Harold Godwinson had pledged his allegiance to William under duress while his guest after being shipwrecked on the coast of Ponthieu.[6]

Upon the death of Edward the Confessor in January 1066, Harold Godwinson was crowned King of England. Harold raised a large fleet of ships and mobilized a force of militia. He then arranged these around the coasts, anticipating attack from several directions. The first would-be attacker was Tostig Godwinson, Harold's brother, but he was successfully defeated by Edwin, Earl of Mercia at a battle on the south bank of the Humber. During this time, William submitted his claim to the English throne to Pope Alexander II, who sent him a consecrated banner in support, and openly began assembling an army in Normandy, consisting of his own army, French mercenaries, and numerous foreign knights anticipating plunder or English land. Despite gaining the support from many knights and gathering a considerable army, due to the heavy militia presence on the south coast of England and the fleet of ships guarding the English Channel, it looked as if he may fair little better than Tostig.[6]

Once the harvest season arrived, Harold ordered the militia-men home due to falling morale and supplies, and consolidated the ships in London, leaving the channel unguarded. Then came the news that Harald III of Norway had landed ten miles from York with Tostig, which forced Harold and his army to head north. After a victory against the forces of earls Edwin of Mercia and Morcar of Northumbria at the Battle of Fulford, Harald and Tostig were defeated by Harold's army at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. Three days after the battle, William arrived with his army in Pevensey Bay, and then moved to Hastings, a few miles to the East, where he built a castle. On the 13 of October, he received news that an army led by Harold was approaching from London, and at dawn the next day, William left the castle with his army and advanced towards the English army, whom had taken a defensive position atop a ridge around seven miles from Hastings.[6]

The Battle of Hastings lasted all of that day, resulting in the deaths of Harold and two of his brothers, Gyrth and Leofwine Godwinson. At dusk, the English army made their last stand. By that night, the battle was over, and the English army was defeated. William's next target was London, which he approached via Dover and Canterbury. However, London was in control of supporters of Edgar Ætheling. Despite William's advance guard beating back a sortie on London Bridge, William marched westward, crossing the Thames at Wallingford and forcing the surrender of Archbishop Stigand, one of Edgar's lead supporters. When William reached Berkhamstead a few days later, the city authorities in London surrendered, and William was crowned king of England on Christmas day- December 25, 1066.[6]

Although the south of England submitted quickly to Norman rule, resistance continued in the North for six more years until 1072. Harold's illegitimate sons attempted an invasion of the south-west peninsula. Uprisings occurred in the Welsh Marches and at Stafford. Separate attempts at invasion by the Danes and the Scots also occurred. William's defeat of these led to what became known as the harrying of the North, in which Northumbria was laid waste as revenge and to deny his enemies its resources. The last serious resistance came with the Revolt of the Earls in 1075.


[edit] William's reign
See also: Domesday Book
William initiated many major changes. In 1085, in order to ascertain the extent of his new dominions and maximize taxation, William commissioned the compilation of Domesday Book, a survey of England's productive capacity similar to a modern census. He also ordered many castles, keeps, and mottes, among them the Tower of London, to be built across England to ensure that the rebellions by the English people or his own followers would not succeed. His conquest also led to Norman (and French) replacing English as the language of the ruling classes for nearly 300 years
William is said to have eliminated the native aristocracy in as little as four years. While many fled to Flanders and Scotland, others may have been sold into slavery, as their properties and titles were given to Normans. By 1070, the indigenous nobility had ceased to be an integral part of the English landscape, and by 1086, it maintained control of just 8 percent of its original land-holdings.[8]


[edit] Death, burial, and succession
William died at the age of 59, at the Convent of St Gervais, near Rouen, France, on 9 September 1087 from abdominal injuries received from his saddle pommel when he fell off a horse at the Siege of Mantes. William was buried in the church of St. Stephen in Caen, Normandy.

According to some sources, a fire broke out during the funeral; the original owner of the land on which the church was built claimed he had not been paid yet, demanding 60 shillings, which William's son Henry had to pay on the spot; and, in a most unregal postmortem, William's now corpulent body would not fit in the stone sarcophagus. Whether or not it burst after some unsuccessful prodding by the assembled bishops, filling the chapel with a foul smell and dispersing the mourners is a matter of some speculation. [9]

William's grave is currently marked by a marble slab with a Latin inscription, the slab dates from the early 19th century. The grave was defiled twice, once during the French Wars of Religion, when his bones were scattered across the town of Caen and again during the French Revolution. Following those events, only William's left femur remains in the tomb.

William was succeeded in 1087 as King of England by his younger son William Rufus and as Duke of Normandy by his elder son Robert Curthose. This led to the Rebellion of 1088. His youngest son Henry also became King of England later, after William II died without issue.

William is known to have had nine children, though Agatha, a tenth daughter who died a virgin, appears in some sources. Several other, unnamed daughters are also mentioned as being betrothed to notable figures of that time. Despite rumors to the contrary, there is no evidence that he had any illegitimate children.[10]

Robert Curthose (1054–1134), Duke of Normandy, married Sybil of Conversano, daughter of Geoffrey of Conversano.
Richard (c. 1055 – c. 1081), Duke of Bernay, killed by a stag in New Forest.
Adeliza (or Alice) (c. 1055 – c. 1065), reportedly betrothed to Harold II of England.
Cecilia (or Cecily) (c. 1056–1126), Abbess of Holy Trinity, Caen.
William "Rufus" (c. 1056–1100), King of England.
Gundred (c. 1063–1085), married William de Warenne (c. 1055–1088), Also called "Matilda". Some scholars question whether Gundred was an illegitimate child of William I or merely a step-daughter, foundling or adopted daughter. See discussion pages for further information.
Agatha (c. 1064–1079), betrothed to (1) Harold of Wessex, (2) Alfonso VI of Castile.
Constance (c. 1066–1090), married Alan IV Fergent, Duke of Brittany; poisoned, possibly by her own servants.
Adela (c. 1067–1137), married Stephen, Count of Blois
Henry "Beauclerc" (1068–1135), King of England, married (1) Edith of Scotland, daughter of Malcolm III, King of the Scots, (2) Adeliza of Louvain.
Every English monarch down to Queen Elizabeth II is a direct descendant of William the Conqueror.[11]

ROBERT (-Nikaia 22 Jul 1035, bur Nikaia basilica St Mary, transferred [1187] to Apulia). Guillaume de Jumièges names (in order) "Richard, Robert et Guillaume" as the three sons of Duke Richard II and Judith[154]. Ademar names Robert as brother of Richard[155]. Guillaume de Jumièges records that he rebelled against his brother Duke Richard III from his stronghold at Falaise[156]. He succeeded his brother in 1027 as ROBERT II "le Diable" Duke of Normandy. "Rotbertus Normannorum dux, Ricardi filio" founded the abbey of Sainte-Trinité at Rouen in 1030[157]. He gave shelter to Henri, son of Robert II King of France, during his dispute with his mother Queen Constance, the king granting le Vexin to Robert after his accession to the French throne in 1031[158]. He went on pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 1035[159]. Orderic Vitalis dates his departure to "after seven and a half years", but it is unclear from the context whether this is calculated based on his accession or his father's death[160]. Guillaume de Jumièges records the death of Duke Robert 2 Jul 1035 at Nikea on his return from a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and his burial in the basilica of St Mary at Nikaia[161]. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, he died while on pilgrimage in 1031[162]. Orderic Vitalis specifies that Duke Robert died "in the city of Nicæa in Bythinia"[163]. William of Malmesbury recounts that his remains were disinterred from Nikaia on the orders of his son, but interred in Apulia on their way back to France after the messenger learnt of the death of William I King of England[164]. Mistress (1): ---. Robert de Torigny names "Aeliz" as daughter of Duke Robert II "de alia concubina" from Herleve[165]. The name of Duke Robert's first mistress is not known. Mistress (2): HERLEVE [Arlette], daughter of FULBERT [de Falaise] & his wife Doda [Duwa] ---. Guillaume de Jumièges names "Herlève fille le Fulbert valet de chamber du duc" as mother of Duke Guillaume II, recording that "un certain Herluin, brave chevalier, prit Herlève pour femme" after the death of Duke Robert[166]. Orderic Vitalis calls her "Duke Robert's concubine", and records her marriage, referring to her husband as stepfather to Duke Guillaume[167]. The Chronicle of Alberic de Trois-Fontaines refers to the mother of Duke Guillaume as "filia…Herbertus pelliparius et uxor eius Doda sive Duwa", specifying that they were from Chaumont in the diocese of Liège but moved to Falaise but that others said they were from Huy, and refers to her marriage to "Herlewino de Vado comitis"[168]. She married Herluin de Conteville. Duke Robert II had one illegitimate child by Mistress (1):

a) ADELAIS (-[1081/84]). Robert de Torigny names "Aeliz" as the daughter of Duke Robert II "de alia concubina" from Herleve[169]. She retained the title Comtesse d'Aumâle after her first marriage. The primary source which confirms her first and second marriages has not yet been identified. Orderic Vitalis calls her "the king's sister" when referring to her marriage to Eudes[170]. m firstly ENGUERRAND II Comte de Montreuil, son of HUGUES de Ponthieu Comte de Montreuil & his wife Berthe d'Aumâle (-killed in battle Château d'Arques 25 Oct 1053). m secondly ([1053/54]) LAMBERT de Boulogne Comte de Lens, son of EUSTACHE I Comte de Boulogne & his wife Mathilde de Louvain (-killed in battle Phalampin 1054). m thirdly ([1060]) EUDES III Comte de Troyes et d'Aumâle, son of ETIENNE I Comte de Troyes [Blois] & his wife Adela --- (-after 1118).

Duke Robert II had one illegitimate child by Mistress (2):

b) GUILLAUME (Château de Falaise, Normandy [1027/28]-Rouen, Prioré de Saint-Gervais 9 Sep 1087, bur Caen, Abbé de Saint-Etienne). His birth date is estimated from William of Malmesbury, according to whom Guillaume was born of a concubine and was seven years old when his father left for Jerusalem[171], and Orderic Vitalis, who states that he was eight years old at the time[172]. He succeeded his father in 1035 as GUILLAUME II Duke of Normand


Children of Duke Robert I of Normandy and Herleva are:
  1. +King William I of England, b. October 14, 1024, Falaise, Calvados, d. October 09, 1087, Hermantruville, Rouen.
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