Guillaume I Malet, seigneur de Graville

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Guillaume Malet, Lord of Eye & High Sheriff of Suffolk

Also Known As: "William Malet", "Seigneur de Graville et de fiefs en Caux"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Graville-Saint-Honorine, Eure, Seine-Maritime, Normandy, France
Death: Died in Suffolk or Norfolk, England
Cause of death: killed in battle: campaign against Hereward the Wake in the Fens
Immediate Family:

Son of N.N. Malet, seigneur de Graville
Husband of Hésilia Crespin and Elise (Hesilia) Malet
Father of Beatrice Malet; NN (Alvarissa?) Malet, daughter of William Malet; Walter de Caen, Lord of Sibton; Robert I Malet, seigneur de Graville, Baron of Eye and Gilbert Malet, Baron of Eye

Occupation: Fought In Battle Of Hastings in 1066; Sheriff of Yorkshire in 1068, Fought at Battle of Hastings [1066], Sheriff of York, Compagnon de Guillaume le Conquérant, Seigneur de Graville - Shériff d'York, Bataille d'Hastings
Managed by: Pam Wilson
Last Updated:

About Guillaume I Malet, seigneur de Graville

He was Seigneur de Graville-Sainte-Honorine, Sheriff of York (1068), and Governor of York Castle. He was a Companion of William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

William I Malet

LINKS

http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/ENGLISHNOBILITYMEDIEVAL3L-O.htm#_Toc254761425

http://www.mallettfamilyhistory.org/families/fip00994.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Malet_%28Norman_conquest%29

William Malet, or Guillaume, as he may have been called, "Sire de Graville", came from Graville Sainte Honorine between Le Havre and Harfleur, in what is today the French province of Normandy. He is said to have had a Norman father and a Saxon (read English) mother, and had some sort of association with King Harold of England before the conquest. William, through his Saxon mother, may actually have been related to King Harold, and also to the well known Lady Godiva. It is also possible that William and Harold were both God fathers of Duke William of Normandy's daughter, Abela.

The Malet Castle at Graville Sainte Honorine had an important strategic location, at the mouth of the Seine. It has now fallen into the sea, though some remnants of it may still be visible. A large section of wall with large iron rings attached was still there just over 100 years ago. The Abbey church, in which some of the Malets are buried, is now in the town of Le Havre. Though William Malet had connections to both sides in the conflict to come, his main allegiance was to Duke William of Normandy.

William fought with distinction at Hastings, as the following Excerpt from Wace's "Roman de Rou" attests:

     William whom they call Mallet,
     Boldly throws himself among them;
     With his flashing sword
     Against the English he makes furious onset;
     But his shield they clove,
     And his horse beneath him killed,
     And himself they would have slain,
     When came the Sire de Montfort
     And Lord William de Vez-Pont
     With the great force which they had,
     Him they bravely rescued.
     There many of their men they lost;
     Mallet they remounted on the field
     On a fresh war-horse.

When the battle was over, Duke William entrusted William Malet to attend to the burial of the dead English king. The body was buried under a heap of stones on top of a cliff at Hastings overlooking the shore that Harold had so bravely defended. William placed a stone on the grave with the epitaph:

     "By command of the Duke, you rest here a King, O Harold, that you may be guardian still of the shore and sea". 

This burial of Harold was only temporary and the body was later re-buried at Harold's Abbey at Waltham.

The story of the Norman conquest of England is told by the Bayeux Tapestry....

William and his brother Durand held lands in Lincolnshire, England, during the reign of Edward the Confessor, and through the reign of Harold right up to the conquest, in addition to those in Normandy. These Lincolnshire holdings, all in the Danelaw, probably came from William and Durand's mother. After the conquest William's English holdings were greatly increased, again, principally in the Danelaw, as English lands were taken from their Saxon owners and handed over to Norman Barons. It is likely that Duke William conferred these estates on William, partly because of his loyalty and skill in battle, but also because of his prior connections with his Danish "cousins" there. Perhaps the Duke felt that William was the best man to bring these proud, warlike and independent settlers under the control of their new King.

William was dead at the time of the Domesday survey in 1086, but the holdings at that time of his son Robert, and of his wife, give a good indication of the extent of his estates. He held large parts of what are today Suffolk and Norfolk, with smaller amounts of land in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire. Eye, in Suffolk appears to have been William's stronghold. Here he built a Motte and Bailey castle, after the Norman fashion. Nothing remains of the Norman fortifications, but the outline of the baileys and "Castle Mound", are still evident. There is even a slight indication of where the Market, founded by William Malet under Royal License would have been held.

William married Hesilia Crispin, by whom he had two sons, Robert and Gilbert, and one daughter, Beatrice. Robert and possibly Gilbert, along with their uncle Durand, accompanied their father at the battle of Hastings. The arms shown at the top of the page, likely carried by the Malets at Hastings, were used by many generations of the Malet family, both in England and in France, and can be seen on the Bayeux tapestry.

William was made Sheriff of York and granted considerable lands in Yorkshire following the building of the first Norman castle there (the mound now supports 'Clifford's Tower') in 1068. He and his fellow captains, Robert Fitz-Richard and William of Ghent, with 500 picked knights had to fight off a local revolt, headed by Edgar the Atheling; this in or shortly after January 1069. Robert Fitz-Richard and many of his men were killed and it was only by the timely arrival of King William that the City was saved. The natives remained restless and had another, token go, as soon as King William left but were quickly put down. The troops were strengthened and another castle built on the other side of the river from the original but, notwithstanding, in September 1069, William, his wife and two of his children were captured by a combined force of Danes and English under Sweyn of Denmark supported by Earls Waltheof and Gospatric and the Northumbrians, when York fell to them after a terrible fight. This led to King William ordering the burning and killing of everything in the north and Domesday, even 16 years later, records most of northern England as still being waste and uninhabited.

William, his wife and two children must have been released some time later and William retained most of his lands apart from those in Yorkshire, which will have come with the office of Sheriff, which had been taken from him. At some point the King awarded William the appellation of "Princep", and in the Chart granted by the King to the church of St. Martin le Grand, his signature appears as "Wilielmus Malet Princep". In the context of the times, Princep would likely have been interpreted as "leader, or chief". William is believed to have died fighting "Hereward the Wake" in the Fens near Ely Cathedral, which lies between South Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk (and in the middle of the Malet holdings), in 1071. The Domesday book records that "...He went into the marsh", and that "...he went on the King's service, where he died".

William is generally accepted to be the progenitor of many of the various branches of the Malet family (those that can trace their lines back that far), both in England and in France. The descendants of Durand continued to hold lands in Lincolnshire, and are recorded in Irby on Humber up to the 16th century.

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http://www.mallettfamilyhistory.org/getperson.php?personID=I994&tree=Main

maintained by Bob Mallett, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Excerpt from "Notices of an English Branch of the Malet Family", by Arthur Malet, published 1885, pp 1-17, appendix A1-A10:

WILLIAM MALET.

Early in the eleventh century, during the period in which Edward the Confessor was living in Normandy under the protection of the Duke, there existed an English family consisting of a brother and three sisters, Thorold, Godiva, and two other sisters whose names are unknown. (1)

Thorold was Sheriff of Lincolnshire; Godiva married Leofric Earl of Mercia; of the other sisters, one married an English husband of high rank, the other married a Norman noble named Malet, who was by her father of two sons William and Durand; the former, one of the companions of Duke William and who is named as having fought at Hastings, the latter also presumably an actor in the same battle, and both named in Domesday Book as tenants in capite.

I particularise the whole of the four members of this English family, as the history of each has its peculiar share in elucidating the mystery which has hitherto attached to the parentage of William Malet, who is described by Guy of Amiens as half Norman and half English; (2) the accumulation of evidence conclusively proving the existence of these two unrecorded sisters of Thorold and Godiva, and that William and Durand Malet were the sons of one of them.

We know, on the undoubted authority of the charter granted by Henry the Second, at Devizes, in 1152, to William Randolph, Earl of Chester, (3) that Robert Malet, son of William and Alan of Lincoln were each of them avunculus to the Earl's mother, the Countess Lucy, who was the daughter of Ivo Taillebois Count of Angers, by Lucy, one of the daughters of Alfgar Earl of Mercia, the son of Leofric, by Godiva, the sister of Thorold. (4)

Alan of Lincoln, (5) doubtless a kinsman of Alfred of Lincoln, I assume to have been his son; if so, or if he was a sister's son, he was equally the son of a nephew or a niece of Thorold. Mr. Freeman, on the English connection of W. Malet, says that Alan is more likely to have been Alfred's son than his brother, and it seems that it must have been so, otherwise he could not have borne the same relationship to the Countess Lucy as did Robert Malet; and, as the Devizes charter precludes doubt as to this relationship, Robert Malet must have had a similar descent to Alan of Lincoln. This must have been by his father having been a son of a sister of Thorold and Godiva, which alone could give him and Alan of Lincoln a similar relationship to the Countess Lucy.

Additional proof of nearness of kin may be found in the summary of a grant (6) give in the thirty-fifth report by the Deputy Keeper of Public Records, by which William de Roumara gave to Robert, grandson (nepos) of the Countess Lucy, land which had been held under Lucy the Countess by Ivo and Colswegen, uncles of the said Robert. As by no possibility could the term uncle apply to Ivo Taillebois, who moreover would not have held land under his own daughter, and as Durand Malet, the brother of William Malet, and therefore of the sae descent, had a son named Ivo, who would bear to Robert de Roumara precisely the same relationship as did Colswegen, the son of Alfred of Lincoln, it follows that the Ivo alluded to must be not Ivo Taillebois but Ivo Malet.

The relationship can now be clearly shown. (Chart)

It will be observed that the near relationship of William Malet to Harold's Queen Aldgith (7) thus manifested accounts for the otherwise incomprehensible tradition that her mother Aelgifu was a sister of William Malet. It will also be seen that this pedigree brings into similar relationship to the countess Lucy, Colswegen, Alan of Lincoln, Robert Malet, and Ivo Malet, so that Colswegen and Ivo, who are, in the summary of the grant above mentioned, called each avunculus to her grandson Robert de Roumara, are in reality his kinsmen , each of a similar relationship, though not what we now should term uncle.

Having accounted for William Malet's parentage, we may now consider how he came to be called by Guy of Amiens "Compater Heraldi," that is to say, having the ecclesiastical connection of standing at the baptismal font with Harold as a fellow sponsor for some child of sufficiently noble birth to be entitled to two such godfathers. The rivalry between the houses of Godwin and Leofric previous to Harold's marriage to Aldgith, which closed though it hardly healed the sore, militates against the supposition that the occasion could have been in England and it seems as if considerable weight may be attached to Mr. Planche's conjecture (8) that it may have been in Normandy, in 1062, during the enforced visit of Earl Godwin's son to Duke William, the year in which the Duke's daughter Adela was born. He adds, "Is it possible that Harold and William Malet were her godfathers? Guy of Amiens, Matilda's almoner, would certainly be cognizant of that fact." It may be thought that the politic Duke would hardly permit Harold to enter into intimate relations with any of his great Norman Barons; yet such a tie through his own child might be beneficial, and the conjoining with him in the holy ceremony of one who, besides being a distant connection by marriage, was an attached follower of his own, could be of no political disadvantage. I think I am warranted in thus designating William Malet, as the terms on which the Duke treated him in England fully warrant the inference that they were bound together by more than the common bond of Prince and Feudatory, even if the distant connection through his marriage with a Crispin be disregarded.

William Malet married Hesilia Crispin, (9) who was through a female, descended in the fourth generation from Rollo I, Duke of Normandy, and therefore related to Duke William, the fifth in descent in the male line. Lanfranc states (10) that Hesilia, sister to the two Crispins (who fought at Hastings), was the mother of William Malet, a valiant soldier, who in old age became a monk in the Abbey of Bec for some years before he died. We know from the undoubted authority of Domesday (11) that William Malet died in the King's service during the campaign against Hereward before the completion of the Survey, and we know from equally undoubted authority, Robert Malet's charter to his Abbey at Eye, (12) that William Malet was his father and Hesilia his mother; it seems, therefore, that the Archbishop or his amanuensis must have fallen into some error which has been followed in the subsequent chronicles of Bec. By Hesilia Wiliam Malet had issue Robert, Gilbert, and Beatrice. As his eldest son Robert could hardly have been less than twenty-six years of age at this father's death in 1071, William's marriage may have been in about 1044, and as he possibly married at the age of twenty-five he will have been born about the year 1020, and was aged about fifty-one at the time of his death.

Having endeavoured by the means at our disposal to account for William Malet's parentage, it would be desirable to trace the earlier position of his family in Normandy before the conquest of England, but I cannot find that there ware any early records in existence in which the name occurs. In L. Dacherii notae ad Lanfranci Archiepiscopi Cantuar, Epist. 35, p. 370, we find: "Clarissima apud Caletes familia Maletana unde et illud Gallicum proverbium, 'Les Malets et les Martauxs son les plus nobles de Caux.'" ["The most famous family Malets from which (comes) that Gallic proverb 'The Malets and the Martaux are the most noble of the Caux.'"] The name too is said to have arisen "Ob bellicam fortitudinem eo quod in praeliis hostes ut malleo contunderet." [From that battle courage with which he pounded the enemies in battles as if with a hammer.--translations by Irene W.] It seems probably as the name had passed into a proverb that it was in use in the early times of the Norman settlement in France, but this is merely a matter of conjecture. It is not even known whether the cognizance of the three fermalets or buckles was borne by the family at the time of the invasion of England, or whether it was, as were so many other distinguishing coats of arms, adopted at the time of the crusades, from which time till the present it has been borne by the various French branches of the family; it was also borne by the descendants of Durand Malet of Irby.

Having elucidated the personality of William Malet in Normandy, it remains to collect the records of his life in England.

The battle of Hastings, or Senlac, is the scene in which he first appears. Wace, in that portion of his Roman de Ron in which he recounts the deeds of the Normans, names first Roger de Belmont, and next after him William Malet, whose deeds he thus describes. His archaic French may perhaps excuse my placing an English translation by its side.

Guillame ki l'en dit MalletWilliam whom they call Mallet

Hardiement entrels se met;Boldly throws himself among them;

Od l'espee ki resflambieWith his flashing sword

As Engliez rent dure escremie; Against the English he makes furious onset;

Maiz son escu si estroerent, But his shield they clove,

E son cheval soz li toerent' And his horse benath him killed,

Et il meisme eussent mort, And himself they would have slain,

Quant vint le Sire de MonfortWhen came the Sire de Monfort

Et Dam Willame de Vez-pont,And Lord William de Vez-Pont

Od granz maisnies ke il ont, With the great fore which they had,

Le rescotrent hardiement.Him they bravely rescued.

Mult i perdirent de lor gent;There many of their men they lost;

Mallet firent monter maneizMallet they remounted on the field

Sor un destrier tot freiz.On a fresh war-horse.

When King Harold's body was found after the battle, the Conqueror, refusing his mother, Gytha's offer to ransom it, entrusted it, as we are told by Guy of Amiens, William of Poitiers, Benoit de St. More, and Orderic Vital, (13) to William Malet for burial near the sea. There has been much discussion as to its delivery to William Malet and its place of burial, but it seems to have been fairly set at rest by Mr. Freeman, and there is no room to doubt that it was first buried by William Malet on the sea-shoe, possibly in a cairn on the cliff near Hastings, whence in more settled times it was by the King's permission removed, and, with such honors as the period allowed, buried in Harold's own Abbey of Waltham.

The next mention we have of William Malet is after the submission of York to the King in 1068, when a castle was built there and left to the care of William Malet, who was made Sheriff, with large grants of land in the country, Robert Fitz-Richard, and William of Ghent, with five hundred picked knights. (14) They were not suffered long to hold it in peace. In January, 1069, the King sent Robert de Comines to take possession of the earldom which Gospatric had fled from; Robert de Comines' passage lay through Durham, where he was surprised and, with his whole force, slain. This led to an immediate revolt in Yorkshire: the citizens of York slew Robert Fitz-Richard, with many of his men; and the insurgents, headed by Edgar the Atheling, attacked the castle. The Sheriff sent for aid to the King, who speedily arrived and utterly routed the revolters; he then, in addition to the first, built a second castle, which he entrusted to William Fitz-Osborn, Earl of Hereford, and and left the north in order that he might keep the feast of Easter at Winchester. Shortly after his departure the English again rose, and attacked the castles at York, but were defeated and driven off by the Earl of Hereford, who after this success must have departed, as we hear nothing of him in the events in the north which subsequently occurred.

The Sheriff, William Malet, and Gilbert of Ghent were now in command at York, with what was deemed a sufficient garrison, but they must have found some difficulty in providing food for their men, as otherwise we can hardly account for the seizure by the Sheriff of the provisions which were being brought into the city for the use of the Archbishop. The circumstances are so graphically illustrated by Mr. Freeman, in his History of the Norman Conquest, (15) that I shall be excused for transcribing them, as illustrating the overpowering sense of military necessity in the commander, and the politico-religious scrupulosity of the King. "Ealdred [the Archbishop] was present in his metropolitan city on one of the feasts of the Church, by which must be meant the Pentecost of the present year. A large stock of all manner of good things was being brought into the city from the episcopal lands in its neighbourhood. It chanced that the Sheriff -- William Malet must be meant -- was at that moment going out of York with a large company. At a short distance from the city he met the Archbishop's horses and waggons [sic] bringing in wheat and other meats for the feast. The Sheriff asked the drivers who they were, and for whom they were bringing those good things. They answered that they were the servants of the Archbishop, and were bringing in the things that were needful for his service. The Sheriff, caring little for the Archbishop or his servants, bade his own followers seize on the whole of the stores and carry them to the king's storehouse in the castle. When the news was brought to Ealdred, he sent messengers, clerks, and citizens to the Sheriff, and bade him restore the stolen property , and make good the loss to St. Peter, and to himself as his vicar; otherwise he would at once go on to wield his spiritual weapons against him. As no satisfaction was to be had, but as the Archbishop's servants were driven away with threats and insults, the high-spirited Primate made up his mind to go at once and lay his complaints in person before the King. He went to London, where William then was. His coming is said to have caused some stir in the city, and the Norman Bishop of London, William, with a crowd of clergy and people , came to meet him with all honour." Then follows the account of his interview with the King, after which "Ealdred went home in safety and honour, and one of the highest nobles in William's court was sent with letters, by virtue of which everything, even to the cords which tied the sacks of corn, was faithfully restored to the Archbishop. And from that day no man dared to wrong him any more."

Some months after this more serious events occurred. The Danish fleet under Sweyn arrived on the coast of England, and William the King, who was then in Gloucestershire, warned his officers in York to stand firmly on their defence, and to call at once for his presence should it be needed. They, over-confident in their own strength, sent back word that they could hold out for a year without further aid. I cannot do better than transcribe from Mr. Freeman's work (16) the account of what followed. "The English and Danish fleets had already met in the Humber, but their banners had not yet been seen beneath the walls of York, when a tomb within the Minster of St. Peter closed on the body of the last Primate of Northumberland of the old stock (Ealdred died 11th September, 1069). Meanwhile the confederate fleets were in the Humber. . . . The fleet sailed on; we are not told at what point of the Ouse the troops disembarked, but it is plain that the easiest road to York from any convenient landing-place would lead them along the left bank of the river, over the former battle-ground of Fulford; this road would bring them at once upon the elder of the two castles. It was indeed guarded by the stream of the Foss, but even if the bridge was not yet there, the crossing of so small a stream was a hindrance which might easily be overcome. It is plain that the castles were the first object of attack, and if the fleet, or any part of it, did sail up to York , it would be the castles which they would first come upon as barring their course. Before the Danes reached the city the whole country poured forth to join their banners. Men went on with all joy, walking and riding. A host that could not be numbered, pressing on with one heart and one soul, came within sight of the warders of the Norman Castles. Their captains had boasted that they could defend themselves for a while year without help from William, but they found that such a boast was vain indeed. They looked for a siege, and their first thought was to hinder the besiegers from filling up the ditches of the castles, and so finding a more ready approach to the walls. Lest the houses near the castle should be used for this purpose, the Normans betook themselves to their favourite element. They set fire to the houses in their own immediate neighbourhood. The flames spread, the greater part of the city was destroyed; and the fire even seized upon the metropolitan church in the opposite quarter. Whether this sacrilege was designed or no, it was speedily avenged. Two days later, while it would seem that the flames were still blazing, but while the city was not yet wholly destroyed, the host drew nigh which was to save it from its foreign masters. The Earls Waltheof and Gospatric and the chief Thegns, who had joined the army led the way; the whole force of Denmark and Northumberland followed. The garrisons ventured on a sally, (17) and a fight followed within the walls of the burning city. And now it was that for one moment Waltheof, the son of Siward and Oethelfloed, stood forth as the hero of deeds which handed down his name in the warlike songs of the tongues of both his parents; we hear again the old ring of the lays of Brunanburh of Maldon and of Stamford bridge, as we listen to the tale which speaks of the giant form of the Northumbrian Earl, his mighty arms, his sinewy breast; how he stood by the gate as the enemy pressed forth, and how as each Norman drew nigh a head rolled on the earth beneath the unerring sweep of the Danish battle-axe. (18) Three thousand of the strangers died that day, a hundred of the chiefest in rank were said to have fallen among the flames by the hands of Waltheof himself; and the scalds of the north sang how the son of Siward gave the corpses of the Frenchmen as a choice banquet for the wolves of Northumberland. The tale stirs the blood like the tale of the last victory of Harold by the banks of Derwent. . . . For the moment all seemed triumphant; the Norman garrison of York was utterly cut off; of the men who had held city and shire in dread, a few only were saved alive as prisoners; among these were the two commanders, Gilbert of Ghent and William Malet, (19) together with William's wife and two children; the two castles were broken down. . . .Thus between friends and enemies, York had become a mass of ruins. Churches and houses had fallen before the flames kindled by the Normans; the Norman castles had fallen before the hammers and crowbars of liberated Englishmen. No attempt seems to have been made to occupy the city or to defend the Roman walls which had not utterly perished. The work of the moment had been done; the enemy had been swept from the earth; till another day of battle should come there seemed to be no work on hand, save to enjoy the plunder that had been won. The Danes went back to their ships with their booty: the men of Northumberland, following the common instinct of irregular troops after either victory or defeat, went away every man to his own home. (20)

With the loss of the castle of York, and his captivity among the Danes, William Malet lost his Shrievalty, which was bestowed on Hugh the son of Baldric, who had large possessions in the shire. He seems also to have lost some of his lands: it may be that most of those he held in Yorkshire were attached to the office of Sheriff, but no doubt many were private property, as we find in Domesday Robert Malet claiming them as having belonged to his father. There is no account of William Malet's release from the Danes, but it is most probable that it was when Sweyn made his agreement with William to leave England, and return home to Denmark in the year 1069 or 1070. We have no other notice of William Malet until William's campaign in the Fenland against Hereward in 1071; but not withstanding his failure at York, we cannot suppose that a man of his reputation can, unless he was in captivity, have been left unemployed in times which called forth all the energies of the invaders.

I have extracted in Appendix A 5 (11), a passage from the Norman Conquest from which we find that some of William Malet's lands had passed from him before his death, and showing conclusively that he died about 1071, during William the Conqueror's campaign against Hereward in the marshes in the east of England.

Of the rank held by William Malet among the companions of the Conqueror, we find (21) in William's charter to St. Martin-le-Grand in London, next after the signatures of the Bishops, Abbots, and Earls, those of Richard the son of Gilbert and William Malet, and to each of their names and to no others the title of "Princeps" is attached. We also find (22) that William Malet, among the very few nobles privileged to build castles, had permission to construct one at Eye, where also he established a market.

I cannot discover that he built any monastery or founded any abbey; the grant of Cunteville to the Abbey of Bec, often attributed to him, was the act of his grandson William, the son of Robert, and to him seems to be due the foundation of the Abbey of Graville. The stirring scenes in which William Malet was so prominent an actor may well be supposed to have left him little leisure for even such works as were in those days deemed almost necessary to salvation, and his death at the age of fifty-one may be called untimely, giving him no period of old age to be passed in the performance of religious duties. It is, however, to be observed that he does not seem to have scrupled to act in opposition to the ecclesiastics, when military exigencies as at York, or his own interests as in the market at the castle of Eye, were opposed to theirs.

We have no account of his possessions in Normandy anterior to the invasion of England, but there is little doubt that he was the head of the family, and that his hereditary possession (23) was Graville, the Latinised form of which, Gerardivilla, distinguishes it from the very similar names of Grandville and Glanville which have at times been confounded with it.

Neither is there any list of his possessions in England, which must have been very large, for we find in the Survey, which was not completed until about seven years after his death, many claims made by his son Robert on lands held by his father chiefly in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, which had passed to other proprietors, besides the vast estate which apparently descended unquestioned to Robert as eldest son and heir.

His widow Hesilia appears to have been amply dowered; she is recorded in Domesday many times as holding property under the invariable designation of "Mother of Robert Malet." We have no other historical notice of her subsequent to her husband's death.

William Malet had issue by Hesilia two sons, Robert and Gilbert, and one daughter, Beatrice, married to William de Archis.

I am quite unable to enter on the subject of the branches of this family by female descent, except to notice some of the names as they occur in the course of the narrative; but there is an entry in Dug. Bar. , vol i, under the head of Vere, which, from the singularity attending it, merits notice here; it is as follows: " Alberic the Third" [he was a successor of that Alberic de Vere who was made by Henry I Grand Chamberlain of England after the banishment of Robert Malet] "was made an Earl in King Stephen's time by Maud the Empress, as it seems, for by that name she granted him all the lands which his father, Alberic de Vere, held at the time of his death; and likewise the office of Great Chamberlain of England, to hold as fully as Alberic de Vere, or Robert Malet, or any of his ancestors, did, with all usages and liberties thereunto appertaining. Moreover, by the same charter she granted him all the land of William de Abrincis, with the whole inheritance which he claimed in right of his wife, as fully as William de Archis had held the same." From this it appears that the wife of Alberic de Vere III was descended from William Malet through his daughter Beatrice, who was the wife of William de Archis. (24) Their granddaughter Beatrice, Countess of Guines, married the third Alberic de Vere, and thus William Malet's descendant became the wife of the Great Chamberlain of England, the successor of her great-uncle, Robert Malet. It appears, however, that she was divorced without issue by Alberic, so that no portion of William Malet's blood flowed in the veins of subsequent De Veres.

Appendices

(1) Dug.Mon., vol iii, p 206. Thorold , Sheriff of Lincolnshire; called also Thorold of Buckenhale, the brother of the Countess Godiva.)

(2) See Carmen de Hastingoe Proelio, in Michel's Chron. Anglo-Normandis, iii, p. 27, line 587 --""Quidam partim Normannus et Anglus."

(3) Charter of Henry Duke of Normandy and Count of Anjou, dated at Devizes 1152 (A. R. Stephani, 17), granting to Ranulph Earl of Chester "totum honorem de Eia, sicut Robertus Malet avunculus matris suae melius et plenius unquam tenuit. . . . et feudam Alani de Lincolia ei dedi qui fuit avunculus matris suae." -- Orig. Chart in the Cottonian Collection.

(4) I am chiefly indebted to Mr. Freeman's note PP, on p. 466, Norman Conquest, vol. iii, edition 1875, and to pp. 600-1, vol.ii, edition 1870, for the collected information which has enabled me to piece together the early notes of the family of Malet.

William Malet, who fought at Hastings, and was by the Conqueror entrusted with the burial of Harold, who was also partim Normanus et Anglus, and Compater Heraldi, (a) has himself left nothing by which his lineage may be traced; but from historical sources we learn that his mother must have been an Englishwoman, that his wife's name was Hesilia, and that his children's names were Robert, Gilbert, and Beatrice (b). We also learn that his son, Robert Malet, was, in common with Alan of Lincoln, kinsman (the word is avunculus) to the mother of William Randolph Earl of Chester, the son of Randolph Earl of Chester, by his wife the Countess Lucy, (c) daughter of Ivo Taillebois, by his wife Lucy, who was the daughter of Alfgar Earl of Mercia (d). There is also recognised by Mr. Freeman "a notion of the pedigree-makers, whensoever it may have come, that Aelgifa, the wife of Alfgar, was a sister of William Malet" (e). It is also stated in the Crowland Chronicle already adverted to that the Sheriff Thorold was a brother of Godgifa, the wife of Leofric, and mother of Alfgar Earl of Mercia; and there are other evidences of connexion, (f) on which Mr. Freeman remarks, "None of these indications proves much by itself, still perhaps all of them put together may have some cumulative force. They all point to Thorold as a kind of centre. Let us suppose that he was the brother of Godgifa, that another sister, married, we must suppose, to a foreign husband, was the mother of William Malet, that Alfred of Lincoln was the son of another brother or sister. Let us suppose further that the nameless widow of William Malet [she is named Hesilia in Robert's charter, noted above], by the help of a dispensation if needed, married Alfred of Lincoln, and was the mother of Alan, and that the elder Lucy was her daughter by either of her husbands. There is no evidence for either of these suppositions, but there is nothing to contradict any of them, and they would explain all our facts. Alfred of Lincoln would be the nephew of Thorold, Alan and Robert would be, as they were, the uncles of the Countess Lucy, William Malet would be partim Normannus et Anglus, and we could see the origin of the statements, inaccurate as they are in the shape in which we have them, which connect both Lucy and William Malet with the house of Leofric." Following these remarks the pedigree would fall into the following shape:--(a chart)

It will be seen that in this pedigree I have given the name Hesilia to the widow of William Malet, who by Mr. Freeman is assigned to Aluredus of Lincoln as his second wife. Robert Malet's charter to Eye (g) leaves no doubt as to his mother's name, and we know from her being entered in Domesday as Robert's mother that she survived her husband. I have also entered Lucy, the wife of Ivo Taillebois, as the daughter of "Aluredus nepos Turoldi" by a first wife, because as she was not William Malet's daughter and William Malet died in 1071, (h) and Ivo Taillebois was married to Lucy about 1073, (i) it was impossible that she could be a daughter of Hesilia by Aluredus. I have also, as suggested by Mr. Freeman in this note, entered Colswegen of Lincoln as a son of Aluredus by his first wife.

I need hardly say that this pedigree is one to which Mr. Freeman is in no way committed. It is founded on what he has given merely as suppositions to account for certain acknowledged and supposed relationships, and as perhaps affording some casual hints (of which it will be seen I have made full use) to any one who might endeavour to trace out these genealogies.

It seems to me that the cumulative evidence leaves no doubt as to the first line of the pedigree, and in adopting this we necessarily take Thorold's father as the source from which we derive in the generation after Thorold these three personages--Alfgar Earl of Mercia, Aluredus, or, to adopt the English name, Alfred of Lincoln, and William Malet, the three latter being all nephews of Thorold the Sheriff.

Alfgar Earl of Mercia married Eadgifa.I presume she cannot be identified, for there is nothing extant to give even a colour of possibility to the notions of the pedigree-makers alluded to by Mr. Freeman that she was a sister of William Malet. Alfgar and Eadgifa had for children--Edwin, Morcar, and Ealdgyth, Harold's queen. Mr. Freeman (j) states, "Orderic Vital, 511 B, distinctly calls Ealdgyth the only daughter of Alfgar." Mr. Freeman, however, goes on to state: "His [Orderic's] account is very confused; he not only leaves out their son Burkhard, but he confounds Alfgar with his father Leofric, and makes Godgifa Alfgar's wife instead of his mother. His words are: 'Devoti Deo dignique religionis laude parentes elegantem et multa laude dignam ediderunt sobolem Edwinum Morcarem et unam filiam nomine Aldit qui primo nupsit Guitfrido regi Guallorum post cujus mortem sociata est Heraldo regi Anglorum.' But the genealogy of Leofric's family, which I have already spoken of , (k) gives Alfgar a daughter Lucy, who, though unknown to Domesday, inherited the lands of the family, (Obtinuit Lucia soror eorum terras paternas) and who was married first in the Conqueror's time to Ivo Taillebois." Mr. Freeman goes on to give her other attributed marriages, &c., which I do not quote as he rejects them as impossible, and the tradition of which is only to be accounted for by the mistake of mother for daughter, both bearing the same name Lucy. After reading Mr. Freeman's opinion of Orderic's account of the Earl of Mercia's family, I think I am justified in not attaching such importance to it as to reject other evidence, whereby we add another member to it in the person of Lucy, an additional daughter of Alfgar, and who married about 1071 or 1073 Ivo Taillebois, nephew of William the Conqueror and Count of Angers.

I am not concerned to uphold the genuineness of the deeds, some said to have been forged in the name of Ingulfus, and other notices in the Peterborough Chronicles, from which I draw my conclusion that there was a Lucy, a daughter of Alfgar, who married Ivo Taillebois. All that I contend for is, that deeds, even though false as to the claim which they are forged for the purpose of establishing , may and probably do contain truth in the mention of incidental circumstances, especially when they affect personages of such exalted rank, that their history must be known at the time to all persons of intelligence more especially to those who would be judges of the claim, and any falsity concerning whom would at once discredit it.

I may also state that there seems to be not only no record, but no tradition even, of any other parentage for Lucy, wife of Ivo Taillebois, wherefrom she might be supposed to have belonged to any other family than that of Alfgar; and in the absence of any other means for identification I necessarily claim to adopt those which come down from the most ancient period, even though denied to be contemporary. It is almost superfluous to observe that the wife of Ivo Taillebois must necessarily have been of noble birth and endowed with great possessions.

As to any credibility to be attached to the facts mentioned by Ingulfus, the Quarterly reviewer (l) writes: "the pseudo-Ingulfus, if quoted, must be quoted only in those passages where relations not improbable in themselves are uncontradicted by surer authorities." This is precisely the course I wish to pursue. There appears to be no doubt that Lucy, who is styled the Countess, was the daughter of Ivo Taillebois and his wife Lucy. This seems to be admitted both by Mr. Freeman (m) and Mr. Nichols (n) as the only possible way of unravelling the enigma of "the long -lived and often-wedded Lucy of tradition." Mr. Freeman's supposition of the marriage of Alfred of Lincoln with the widow of William Malet is not based on any tradition, but on certain relationships which can be otherwise explained. We know from the charter of Beatrix, the daughter of William Malet, by which she granted the village of Radingfield to her brother's monastery at Eye, that she had but two brothers, Robert and Gilbert, and as she mentions only them and her parents it is evident that she had no sister. William Malet died in A.D. 1071 (o). Ivo Taillebois was married to Lucy about A.D. 1073, so that she could not have been the daughter of Alfred of Lincoln by William Malet's widow. She was not William Malet's daughter, and no legend or tradition hints at her being a daughter of Alfred of Lincoln by another wife.

I see no reason to dissent from Mr. Freeman's supposition that Alan of Lincoln was a son of Alfred of Lincoln; but whether he was the son of Alfred, or of a brother or sister of his, he will hold the same relationship to the other personages with whom authentic documents show him to have been connected.

In the charter to Randolph Earl of Chester, the son of the Countess Lucy, daughter of Ivo Taillebois, granted by Henry II before he was King, dated at Devizes in 1152, Robert Malet and Alan of Lincoln are each styled avunculus to Randolph's mother, Lucy the Countess (p). Now, whatever relationship avunculus may mean -- and it is probable that the term was used loosely -- it must be that each of these avunculi stood in equal relationship to the Countess Lucy; and had it been possible for the Countess's mother to have been the daughter of Alfred of Lincoln, they might possibly have been called her uncles if he had married Hesilia, whether Hesilia or a former wife had been the mother of Alfred's son Alan; but it has been shown he did not marry Hesilia, so that the connection through her did not exist.

The little weight that can be attached to the assertion of Orderic Vital that Ealdgyth, Harold's queen, was the only daughter of Earl Alfgar and his wife Eadgifa, has been noticed above. And I think that the statements that Lucy was their daughter, (q) made in the Crowland Chronicle of Ingulfus and in the Peterborough Chronicle, must be considered to outweigh Orderic Vital's assertion. I do not maintain that the documents quoted are genuine, but I take the assertions therein made as the nearest that we have to the time when these personages were living. They affected great families whose history must have been known, if not to the public yet to the tribunals before which the documents containing them were to be produced; and it seems to me that we cannot escape the conclusion that Thorold the Sheriff was the brother of Godiva, the brother or brother-in-law of the father of Alfred of Lincoln and the brother-in -law of the father of William Malet, and that Lucy, the wife of Ivo Taillebois, was the daughter of Earl Alfgar, the son of Godiva.

We come now to the relationship between the Countess Lucy and Robert Malet and Alan of Lincoln. Alfred of Lincoln was the nephew of Thorold, and therefore first cousin of Earl Alfgar and of William Malet. Alan of Lincoln was, it is assumed, either a son or nephew of Alfred of Lincoln. I take the nearer relationship as involving less confusion with equal relationship to the other designated parties. Lucy, wife of Ivo Taillebois, was daughter of Alfgar. Robert Malet was the son of William Malet. The Countess Lucy, daughter of Lucy, Ivo's wife, therefore stood in precisely the same relationship to Alan of Lincoln as to Robert Malet, each of whom is stated in the Devizes charter mentioned above to be avunculus to her. Now these two could not have been actually uncles by the mother's side, which is the first meaning we attach to avunculus, unless Lucy, Ivo Taillebois' wife, Alan of Lincoln, and Robert Malet had been all children of Hesilia; this, as shown by the dates of Ivo's marriage and Hesilia's widowhood, was impossible. But it is also shown that Lucy, Ivo's wife, Alan of Lincoln, and Robert Malet were all children of persons who were first cousins to each other. Whether under these circumstances either Alan or Robert could in strict right have been called avunculus to Lucy's daughter, the Countess, is, I must confess, problematical; but there seems no possibility of a nearer relationship, and I therefore must conclude that the term was laxly used. It may also be that, as Ivo Taillebois, Robert Malet, and Alan of Lincoln were near neighbours, and all personages of great consequence, their social relations might have been of that intimacy which would permit the use of terms of nearer connexion than the real degree of relationship would justify.

It does, however, appear that the term avunculus was very laxly used, for Mr. Freeman (r) cites a summary of a document in the thirty-fifth report of the Deputy-Keeper of the Public Records, "showing that William de Roumare, the son of the Countess Lucy by her first husband, granted to Robert, grandson (nepos) of the Countess, land of Ivo and Colsuenus, uncles of the said Robert, held of the said William's mother (Countess Lucy), but Colswegen, being a son of Alfred, was a brother of Alan, and Alan was called Countess Lucy's uncle; so that if her grandson (we have never heard of her having a brother or sister, and if he was her grandson he must have been William de Roumare's own son) can call his grandmother's uncle his uncle we have a use of the word which shows considerable laxity in its application. The Ivo coupled with Colswegen must have been the son of Durand Malet brother of William Malet, thus being of the same kin and generation as Robert Malet, Colswegen, Alan, and Ivo Taillebois' wife Lucy; for I find (s) that Durand Malet was tenant in capite in Lincolnshire, holding several manors, among them Irby on Humber and Rothewelle, and that in 1156 Hugh, son of Ivo Malet, with the consent of his mother Margaret, and of Ralph, his son and heir, gave two oxgangs in Rothewelle to Whitby Abbey, so that there is no doubt that Ivo was the son of Durand Malet.

Under these circumstances I think we are justified in constructing the pedigree which is annexed. (Chart)

Although the evidence for these relationships is partly drawn from controverted sources, those sources are the only ones that exist. They existed in times not far removed from the lifetime of the personages concerned, and if not from more exact knowledge were probably supplied by the traditions then current.

May I, without infringing the respect due to a great name, adapt to my own conclusions the words I quoted from Mr. Freeman's Norman Conquest at the commencement? There seem to me "nothing to contradict any of them, and they would explain all our facts. Alfred of Lincoln would be the nephew of Thorold; Alan and Robert would be, as they were, uncles" [I would rather translate avunculi kinsmen] "of Lucy; William Malet would be partim Normannus et Anglus; and we could see the origin of the statements, inaccurate as they are in the shape in which we have them, which connect both Lucy and William Malet with the house of Leofric."

(a) Freeman's Norman Conquest, vol.ii, 2nd edition, p. 512, et seq.; Will. Poict., 138; Wid. Amb., 582; Wid. Amb., 573 and 587; Guy of Amiens, 588; Benoit, 37627

(b) Dug. Mon., vol.iii, p. 401, et seq. Carta Roberti Malet, Fundatoris Ecclesiae conventualis de Eya, and Carta Beatricis sororsis Roberti Malet being a grant of the village of Radingfield to the same convent

(c) Grant of Henry II, Devizes 1152

(d) Dug. Mon, vol.iii, p.215, No. I. Annales de Peterborough in Bib. Cott., and a Crowland Chronicle

(e) Norman Conquest, vol.iii, 2nd edition, p. 778

(f) Dug Mon. vol. iii, p. 216. Charter of Ivo Taillebois "pro animabus sui ipsius et conjugis suae Luciae et antecessorum Toraldi scilicet uxoris ejus." In Domesday, 351, Turoldus appears as antecessor of Ivo Taillebois, and in 346b we have Turoldus vicecomes as a benefactor of Spalding Priory

(g) Dug. Mon., vol.iii, p 401

(h) Norman Conquest, vol. iv, p.471, 2nd edition

(i) According to a Crowland Chronicle before 1071; Arch. Inst. Proceedings, 1848, Lincoln, vol. - p. 254

(j) Norman Conquest, vol. ii, p. 660, 2nd edition

(k) Norman Conquest, vol. i, p. 717. See also Ellis, vol. i, p. 490

(l) Vol. xxxiv, p. 296. I believe the paper is by Sir F. Palgrave

(m) Norman Conquest, vol. iii, p. 778, appendix PP, 2nd edition

(n) Topographer and Genealogist for 1843, vol. i, pp. 10, 11

(o) Norman Conquest, vol. iv, p. 204; Appendix W. p .787, 2nd edition

(p) Totum honorem de Eia, sicut Robertus Malet avunculus matris suae melius et plenius unquam tenuit, et feudam Alani de Lincolia ei dedi qui fuit avunculus matris suae. (Orig. Chart. in Cottonian Collections)

(q) Dug. Mon., vol. iii, p. 215, No. 1, Annales de Peterboroguh in Bib. Cott., anno MLII. Hoc tempore Thoroldus Vicecomes et frater germanius Godivae Comitessae Leycestriae. . . prioratum de Spalding inchoavit. . . . Anno MLXXIII Edwinus et Morcarus filii Algari filii Leofrici comitis Leicestriae saepius capti, sed semper miseratione regis et gratia suae nobilitatis impune demisi, postremo non vi nec dolo hostium sed suorum perfidia trucidati regem etiam ad lachrymas coegere, quorum sororem nomine Luciam cum onmibus terris eorum Yvoni Taylboys tunc Andegevensi comiti maritavit. . . Iste Yvo maritus Lucias filiae Algari comitis Leicestriae monachis Spaldingae dederet evidenter fecit confirmari.

Ibid., No. 2. Thoroldus Luciae comitessae antecessor. . . .Cumque post modum Rex Willielmus adquisivisset regnum Angliae per conquestum mortuoque dicto Thoroldo relicta sibi haerede Lucia predicta, et Yvo Taylboys eandem Luciam duxerat in uxorem.

Ibid., No. 5. Donum Yvonis Taleboys de Spalding cum una carucata terrae Ecclesiae S. Nicolai Andegaviae collatis. . . necnon pro sui ipsius et conjugis suae Luciae et antecessorum Toraldi scilicet uxoris ejus requie.

Topographer and Genealogist, 1843, vol. i, pp. 10,11; Nichols. "That Turold was sheriff, that he gave the manor of Bukenhale to Crowland Abbey rests on the authority of Domesday Book, and it is all we know with certainty of him. But the frequent repetition of his name in the charters of the priory of Spalding in enumeration of former lords of that place, shows that he was regarded as its Saxon lord, and the fact that Earl Algar occurs in Domesday Book in the same position may be thought some corroboration of the assertion that the Countess Godiva, Earl Algar's mother, was the sister of Turold. (Note) Hist. Ingulfi, anno 1051; also pretended charter in History of Croyland commencing 'Ego Turoldus de Bukenhale coram nobilissimo domino meo Leofrico comite Leycestriae et nobilissima comitessa sua Godiva sorore mea.' In another charter of Spalding, Hugh Earl of Chester enumerates 'antecessores mei scilt. Torald vicecomes et Lucia comitessa,'" &c.

Cole's Collections, MS. additions, 5844, p. 432, X : "In Spalding habebat comes Algar ix car., p. 12." Lucy, the daughter of Earl Algar, was married to Ivo Taillebois, according to the Crowland Chronicles, before the year 1071, the only issue being a daughter nobly espoused. Hist. Ingulfi: "Huic autem Yvoni Tailbois post necem duorum fratrum et comitum Edwini et Morcarii Luciam sororem eorum cum omnibus terris ad eosdem pertinentibus inclytus Rex Willielmus dederat in uxorem." In a subsequent passage the marriage is fixed in 1072.

(r) Norman Conquest, vol. iii, Appendix PP

(s) Yorkshire Archaeological and Topographical Journal, 1875-6, vol. iv, p. 144; A.S. Ellis

(5) Archaeological Institute Proceedings, 1848, Mr. Nichols, Lincoln, p. 255. "Alan of Lincoln, the other uncle, was doubtless a kinsman of Alured of Lincoln, who held an extensive fief in Lincolnshire at the Domesday Survey, and who probably was the same person who is designated, under the 'City of Lincoln,' in that record as Aluredus nepos Turoldi."

(6) E.A. Freeman, Norman Conquest, Vol. III, note PP, p. 776, et seq.

"In the thirty-fifth report of the Deputy-Keeper of the Public Records there is a summary of another document which throws yet further light on the English kindred of the Countess Lucy, and as I think on that of William Malet; . . . this is a grant by William of Roumare, the son of the Countess by her first husband, to Robert, nephew or grandson (nepoti) of the Countess, of the land of Ivo and Colsuenus, uncles of the said Robert, held of the said William's mother. There is a certain risk in making inferences from a description of this kind without seeing the document itself, but we seem to have here a most important piece of evidence, which may connect all the person of whom we have just been speaking [the houses of Leofric Earl of Mercia, and William Malet] with another famous Englishman of Lincolnshire, of whom I have something to say in my fourth volume, Colswegen and Ivo, that is doubtless Ivo Taillebois, are spoken of as uncles of a nephew [nepos may be grandson] of the Countess Lucy. If we take uncle to mean great-uncle we might suppose Colswegen to have been a son of Alfred of Lincoln. He would thus be an uncle of Lucy and great-uncle of her nephew; but if by Ivo is meant Ivo Taillebois it is not easy to see how he could be the uncle or great-uncle of his daughter's nephew."

Yorkshire Archaeological And Topographical Journal, 1875-6, Vol. IV, p. 144. "Biogrpahoical Notes by Alfred E. Ellis."

"Durand Malet was tenant in capite in Lincolnshire, holding several manors, among them Irby (on Humber), Rothewelle, and Willingore. His descendants continued at Irby for many generations. In 1156 Hugh, son of Ivo Malet, with the consent of his mother Margaret , and Ralph, his son and heir, gave two oxgangs in Rothewelle to Whitby Abbey ."

We have here another Ivo than Ivo Taillebois, and it seems that this Ivo, the son of Durand Malet, must be the one meant in the document alluded to. This obviates the difficulty about the relationship to the Countess Lucy alluded to by Mr. Freeman, whose whole paper PP, on the English connexions of William Malet, should be read. It is too long for me to insert here. This also determines the fact of Durand being the brother of William Malet.

(7) Grithfridi quoque Regis Wallorum, postquam hostilis eum gladius peremit, pulchram conjugem Aldith praeclari Comitis Algard filiam sibi [Heraldus] junxit. --Willelmi Caluculi Gemmet. Mom. Hist. Mormannorum, lib. vii.

(8) See his work, The Conqueror and his Companions, vol. ii, p .95.

(9) A chart.

(10) Lanfranci, Opera omnia Migue Patrologie, vol. 150, p. 737.

"Iste Gislebertus, qui ut diximus Crispini cognomen primus est adeptus, accepit uxorem Senioris Fulconis de Alnov germanam nomine Gonnorem, de qua tres filios genuit, Gislebertum Crispinum pro quo scribere ita suscepimus, et Robertum, duasque filias, Emmam Petri de Cundeto genetricem, atque Esiliam matrem Willielmi Malet, qui miles strenuus in senectute factus est monachus Becci, et transactis aliquot annis honorifice in caenobiali observatione bono fine quievit... Willielmus Cripinus medius frater" (t).

M. Gilles Andre' de la Roque, Histoire Genealogique de la Maison de Harcourt, Tom, 1er; a Paris, 1662, p. 826.

"La Chronique du Bec nous apprend que Guillaume Mallet chevalier genereux estant parvenu a une belle vieillese ce fit moine en cette Abbaye; et qu'il estoit fils de Robert Mallet premier du nom Sire de Graville et Esile de Brionne, soeur de Richard sire de Bienfaite et de Claire, enfans de Gilbert Crespin, (u) Comte de Brionne (Tuteur de Guillaume, second Duc de Normandie), et de Gonnor, soeur Germaine de Fouques d'Annou, le dit Gilbert fils de Godefroy Comte d'Eu et de Brionne fils de Richard premier duc de Normandie."

The first extract is from Lanfranc's account of the family of Crispin.

The second from La Roque, who states that he gathers it from the chronicles of Bec. Both state that Esilia, the daughter of Gilbert Crispin, was the mother of a William Malet, the latter stating also that she was the wife of Robert Malet, who was banished by King Henry I in 1101, her son by him being the William Malet who was banished by King Henry I in 1109.

Both these statements are supposed to be in accord with one another, but they are not reliable as confirmatory because they arise from the same source, Lanfranc having been of the Abbey; but they are mutually explanatory, showing that the William Malet who died at Bec was not the William Malet who fought at Hastings, and who died in England 1071. For as Lanfranc died in 1089, the William Malet who he states died an old man at Bec could not be the William Malet who was banished by Henry I in 1109. A similar objection shows that Lanfranc could not have mistaken the name of William for that of Robert, the son of Hesilia and William Malet, and who was banished by Henry I in 1101.

We are, therefore reduced to the belief that the story is apocryphal, as it cannot be true of the William Malet the companion of the Conqueror, and no other William Malet historically existed of whom it could be said that he was the son of Hesilia Crispin and died a monk in Bec before the death of Lanfranc in 1089.

All accounts agree that there existed an Hesilia Crispin, sister of the Crispins who fought at Hastings; all connect her with the Malet family, and no doubt has ever been thrown on the authenticity of Robert Malet's charter to the Monastery of Eye in which he expressly states that William Malet was his father and Hesilia was his mother. It seems to me that there is no alternative but to decide that she was the Crispin alluded to by Lanfranc, who by some error, either of Lanfranc or his amanuensis, was designated the mother of William Malet.

It seems to me certain that Lanfranc's paper on the Crispin family was the early document, and that the circumstances were adapted by the chronicler to persons of a time subsequent to the death of Lanfranc.

In impugning the value of such authorities we must not omit to note that the sister of the Crispins who fought at Hastings would be the contemporary of their comrade, William Malet, and as such might well be his wife, but by no possibility his mother.

(t) The third brother.

(u) Gilbert Crespin of Bec, and Gilbert Count of Brionne were of different families, as shown in the foregoing pedigree kindly furnished to me by Mr. Buckler, Deputy Somerset Herald

(11) E.A. Freeman, Norman Conquest, Vol. IV, 2nd edition, p. 204, et seq., Notices of William Malet in Domesday.

"It is from the second volume of Domesday that I am able to put together the evidence which leads me to believe (see vol. iv, p. 471) that William Malet was killed in the war with Hereward. That volume contains a crowd of references to the death of William Malet; at some time before the date of the Survey (see pp. 294, 273b, 334b, 380b, 407, 440b, 441, 442b. and 444. Most of these are cases in which the land had passed away from his son Robert to various owners, among them the East Anglian Bishopric; but these passages give us no hint as to the manner of his death. In three other entries things get more distinct. In 247 we read of land being held 'die quo pater R. Malet ivit in servitium Regis.' In 322b we read of land in Suffolk 'ex hoc erat seisitus Willielmus Malet quando ivit in servitium Regis ubi mortuus est.' Lastly, in 133b we find land in Norfolk claimed by Robert Malet, who 'dicit quod pater suus eam tenuit quando ivit in maresc, et hoc testatur hundret et tamen non tenebat ea die qua mortuus fuit.' This certainly looks to me as if William Malet had been killed in the campaign in the fenland."

(12) Pro animabus patris mei Willielmi Malet et matris Meas Hesilias.

(13) Carmen de Hastingae proeliio in Michel's Chron. Anglo-Normandis, Vol. III, p. 27, l. 587, Guy of Amiens:--

"Ex templo quidam partim Normannus et Anglus

Compater Heroldi jussu libenter agit

Corpus enim Regis cito sustulit etsepelivit,

Imponons lapidem scripsit et in titulo

Per mandata Ducis Rex hic Heralde quiescis

It custos maneas littoris et pelagi."

William of Poitiers, 128:--

"Enim non decere tali commercio aurum accipi, dictum est illudendo opportere situm esse coustodem litoris et pelagi, quae cum armis ante vesanus insedit, Gulielmo agnomine Maletto concessit."

Benoit de St. More writes:--

"Le Reis Heralut fut sevelizMais a un Guillaume Malet,

Et si me retrait li escriz,Qui n'est losel pas ne valet,

Que sa mere pour lui aveir, Maiz chevaliers durs et vaillanz.

Vout au Duc doner grant aveir;Icist l'en fut depreianz,

Mais n'en vout unques doner prendre,Qu'il le dona a enfoir,

Ne pour rien nule le cors rendre;La ou li veudreit a plaisir."

Orderic Vital writes, "ad tumulandum prope litus maris, quod diu cum armis servaverat Gulielmo agnomine Malleto victoris jussu traditus est."

(14) E.A. Freeman, Norman Conquest, Vol. IV, p. 202.

"The submission of York was accepted, but William put little trust in the promises which were made to him, and he determined to take every means to secure the city, which was his greatest conquest since the submission of London," . . . . . "After the erection of the castle five hundred picked knights were set to guard the fortress, under the command of at least three trusty captains. One of them, Robert Fitz Richard, we know only from his fate next year; of the others one was the Flemish adventurer Gilbert of Ghent: the other man was a man whose name must always awaken a certain sympathy in English hearts, William Malet, who had borne the body of Harold to its first hasty burial on the rocks at Hastings. He received the office of Sheriff, and was at once rewarded with large gifts of land in the shire."

(15) Vol. iv,p 257; 2nd Edition.

(16) Norman Conquest , vol iv, p. 264.

(17) Ord. Vit, 513 D. "Castellani obviam eis inconsultius exeunt, et intra urbis maenia infeliciter confligunt. Non valentes resistere multitudini omnesinterimuntur aut capiuntur.

(18) Will. Malms., u. 8 Flor. Wig., 1069

(19) "In Florence and Simeon we get the names; Willelmo Malet (qui tunc vice-comitatem gerebat. Sim.) cum sua conjuge et duobus liberis et Gileberto de Gant (Sim.), aliisque perpaucis viatae reservatis."

(20) Simeon's Expansion of Florence, 85.

(21) Dug. Mon., Vol. VI, Part 2, 1324, Ecclesia Collegi Sti. Martini le Grand infra civitatem London, carta Regis Willelmi Conquestoris de prima fundatione ejusdem. After the signatures of the ecclesiastics and earls there follow: "Ego Ricardus, filius Gilberti Princeps; Ego Willielmus Malet, Princeps."No other names have this title attached to them.

Sir H. Ellis' Introduction to Domesday Book, Vol. I. p. 252:--

"Under Hoxana" [the Hundred of Hoxana, in which Eye and Dunwich are situate] "we have a curious entry, which seems to show that the Norman tenants in capite had sometimes the power to establish a market to their own advantage: "In hoc manerio erat unum mercatum T.R.E. paulo post Willelmus Rex advenit. Sedebat in Sabbato et W'us. Malet fecit suum castellum ad Eiam. Eadem die qua erat mercatum in manerio Episcopi Willus Malet fecit alium mercatum in suo castello, et ex hoc ita pejoratum est mercatum Episcopi ut parum valeat et modo sedet die Veneris Mercatum aut de Heia sedet die Sabbati modo tenet Robertus de dono Regis.'"

(22) Dug. Mon., Vol.III, p. 401, note.

"Eya olim nobile castellum habebat paludibus adjacens cujus nunc tantum specula et murorum in aliquot locis runae extant hoc castellum vi Gulielmi Normanni (ut oppidani praedicunt) dirutum fuit quod ejus violentum imperium non admisivit."

(23) Neustria pia, p. 864,"Abbatia de Graville fundatur ab illustri heroe Gulielmo Malet, cujus charta ibi recitatur, vocatur Dominus Gerardi Villae (i.e., Graville) in Normanina, et donat omnes suas ecclesias in Normannia et Anglia."

I can find no absolute proof that Graville was the property of the family of Malet previous to the invasion of England. That there were members of a family of that name before that time seems certain, as, if there were any foundation for Lanfranc's assertion that a valiant soldier of that name became a monk and died in a good old age at Bec, it was most probably before that time, and that they possessed Graville is also probable from the saying attributed to them by Wulson de la Colombiare: "Ceux de cette maison, dit il, pretendent que Jules Cesar leur donna la qualite de Sires; d'out est venu le vaudeville conserva dans la famille: 'Il ya plutot un Sire de Gravile qu'un Roi en France.'" Now, although there may have been Sires de Graville long before the time of the Normans, for a town on a river near its mouth was important in ancient days, and its name Gerardivilla may be of great antiquity, and although there may have been Sires de Graville of other names than Malet before the times of the Normans, the family of Malet would hardly have adopted the saying if they had not believed their name to have existed in a period anterior to so comparatively modern a period as that of William, the seventh Duke of Normandy.

(24) Diary of Sir Symonds d'Ewes, Harl. MSS. 646, p. 102. [2]

Histories The Conqueror and his Companions — William Malet


Sources

  1. [S136] Family History, Malet, Arthur Malet, (Harrison & Sons, St. Martin's Lane, London, England, MDCCCLXXXV (1885)), M8W994S136., p 7.
  2. [S136] Family History, Malet, Arthur Malet, (Harrison & Sons, St. Martin's Lane, London, England, MDCCCLXXXV (1885)), M8W994S136., pp 1-17, appendix A1-A10.

--------------------

Ref: Wurts, pp. 95-97.

William Malet, Lord Malet, a Norman baron, one of the generals and

companions of William the Conqueror, said to have been the brother of

King Harold's wife, and to have been entrusted with the guard of Harold's

body after he had been slain on the battlefield. After the conquest he

was made Governor of York Castle and was slain in its defense about 1071.

He married Hesila (Esilia) Crispin, daughter of Gilbert Crispin I, baron

of Tillieres. She probably married (2) Alured de Lincoln, a great

Domesday baron who attended Duke William on his expedition to England in

1066 (See Crispin and Macary, "Falaise Roll", Appendix 20, pg. 156-160).

According to Crispin and Macary, "William (Guillaume) Malet de Graville

stands out as one of the most imposing figures at the Conquest. There can

be no doubt about his presence there, which is subscribed to be William

of Poitiers, Guy of Amiens, Orderic Vital, and all the historians of this

epoch. So much has been placed on record concerning him that just a few

facts of his life will be recited here. He was probably descended from

Gerard, a Scandinavian prince and companion of Duke Rollo, which gave the

name of the fief of Gerardville or Graville, near Havre. Robert, the

eldest son, occurs in a document of about 990 in Normandy. On his

mother's side William Malet was of Anglo-Saxon origin, for she was

probably the daughter of Leofric, Earl of Mercia, and Godwa or Godgifu,

the supposed sister of Thorold the Sheriff in the time of Edward the

Confessor, and therefore the aunt of Edwin and Morcar, Earls of

Northumberland. He was nearly killed in the battle of Hastings but was

rescued by the sire de Montfort and William of Vieuxpont, and was

appointed by William the Conqueror to take charge of the body of Harold,

a statement that has been disputed. The consensus of opinion favors it,

and it is most logical if William Malet's mother was as stated the sister

of Algar II., 7th Earl of Mercia, who was the father of Alditha, wife of

Harold. He accompanied King William at the reduction of Nottingham and

York in 1068, for which he was rewarded with the shreivalty of land in

that county. Gilbert de Gand and Robert Fitz Richard were also commanders

in this expedition. The following year he was besieged in the castle of

York by Edgar, the Saxon prince, and was only saved from surrender y the

timely arrival of the Conqueror. In the same year he was attacked by the

Danes, who captured the city of York with great slaughter and took

William Malet, his wife and children, prisoners, but their lives were

spared, as was that of Gilbert de Gand, for the sake of their ransoms.

There is evidence that he was slain in this year, but it is uncertain and

the date of his death is unknown. An entry in Domesday that "William

Malet was seized of this place (Cidestan, Co. Suffolk), where he

proceeded on the King's service where he died," would indicate that his

death occurred during the compilation of that book. He was witness to a

charter of King William to the church of St. Martin-le-Grand, in London,

and is there styled "princeps," which title, however, was honorary and

not hereditary, having ceased with his death."

--------------------

Willelm Malet, seigneur de Graville

b. circa 1026, d. circa 1071

    Willelm Malet, seigneur de Graville was a Norman from Graville-Saint-Honorine, Seine-Maritime, Normandy.1,2 He was half English, on this mother's side, no doubt related somehow to Lady Godiva of Mercia.3 He was born circa 1026 at Graville-Saint-Honorine, Eure, Normandy.4 

He married Elise Crespin, daughter of Gilbert de Brionne dit Crespin, baron du Bec-Crespin and Gunnor d'Aunou, at Normandy.1,5,6 William of Normandy invades and takes England. On 14 October 1066 at the Battle of Hastings, England.7

Willelm Malet, seigneur de Graville was recorded by William of Poitiers, he is the 12th of 20 men known with certainty to have fought with William the Conqueror on 14 October 1066 at the Battle of Hastings, England.7 Sheriff of Yorkshire at England in 1068.2 He died circa 1071. He was killed suppressing the revolt led by Hereward the Wake.2,1,5

Family

Elise Crespin b. circa 1031

Children

   * N. N. Malet+ 3
   * Robert I Malet of Eye+ 3

Citations

  1. [S1032] K.S.B. Keats-Rohan, Domesday People, pg. 389.
  2. [S206] With additions and corrections by Walter Lee Sheppard, Jr. and assisted by David Faris Frederick Lewis Weis, Weis: AR 7th ed., Line 234A.25.
  3. [S936] K. S. B. Keats-Rohan, "Parentage of Countess Lucy".
  4. [S750] Robert B. Stewart, "My Theories".
  5. [S1278] K.S.B. Keats-Rohan, Domesday Descendants, pg. 1022.
  6. [S1345] Anselme de Sainte-Marie (augustin déchaussé), Pere Anselme's Histoire, 3rd Ed., VI:632 - says wife of Robert Mallet.
  7. [S215] Revised by others later George Edward Cokayne CP, XII/1, App. L, pg. 47-48.

--------------------

  • William Malet

born 1026 Grenville, St. Honorine, Normandy

died 1071 Curry Malet, Somersetshire

father:

unknown

mother:

unknown

siblings:

unknown

spouse:

  • Hesila Crispin

born about 1030

died about 1060

married about 1045

children:

  • Robert Malet born about 1080 Curry Malet, Somerset, England died 1155
  • Beatrice de Malet born about 1044 Alkborough, Lincolnshire, England

biographical and/or anecdotal:

notes or source:

LDS -------------------- William, Lord Malet, son of of Aelfgar, Earl of Wessex and Great-great-great-great-grandson of Alfred the Great of England was the brother of the wife of Harold Godwinsson, King of England (1066) and one of William the conqueror's most trusted lieutenents, tasked by William with burying the body of Harold following the Battle of Hastings. Sheriff of Yorkshire. -------------------- WILLIAM MALET The Conqueror and His Companions by J.R. Planché, Somerset Herald. London Tinsley Brothers, 1874. Here again is a memorable personage of whose origin and family little is known. Wace mentions him as Guillaum ekilen 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 horsemans hammer, which is assumed to have been his favourite weapon but this, like many such stories, is unsupported by any substantial 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 assertion. Therefore, although the maillet, a two headed hammer, was as early known to the Normans as the martel de fer, L un tient une épée sans fourre, L autre une maillet, l autre line hache. Guiart, v. 6635. if, indeed, it were not the same weapon, I have no belief in such a derivation, the name being, moreover, borne by th e whole family. Whether the companion of the C on qu ero r wa s the first so called is unknown. Le Prevos t si mpl y sa ys h e was the source of a noble race still e xisti ng i n Fra nce , that of Malet de Graville. The author of Carmen de Bello tells us he was partl y N o r m an and partly English, and Compater Heraldi,wh ic h wo u l d seem to signify joint sponsor witli Harold, c omp ère , a s t he French have it vide Ducange in voce . It would be interesting to discover whose child the y s t o o d godfathers to, and why we find him in the rank s o f h i s fe llow gossip From the Saxon God syb, a rela tio n i n Go d. Th ere was formerly a spiritual kinship sup pose d t o exis t betw een a child and its sponsors express ed b y th e word g ossipre de. the knowledge of that fac t migh t reve al to u s many oth ers. Was it in England o r in Norm andy th at he st ood at th e font with Harold? I f in the la tter, i t must hav e been i n 1062, during th e enforced vis it of Go dwin s so n to Duke W illiam, the y ear in which Ad ela was b orn. Is i t possible th at Harol d and William Mal et were he r godfathe rs? Guy, of Am iens , Matilda s almone r, would ce rtainly b e cognizant of t h at fact. His name, however, is not met with, I believe, eith e r i n S a xon or Norman annals previous to the invasion , wh en w e he a r of his valour and his peril. Guillaume , who m the y cal l M allet, also threw himself boldly int o the m idst . With h is f laming sword he terrified the En glish. B ut th ey pierce d hi s shield and killed his horse , and h e woul d have bee n slai n himself, when the Sire d e Montfo rt an d William d e Vez Pon t Vieuxpontcame u p with a st rong f orce, and ga llantly re scued him, thoug h with the l oss o f many of thei r men, and m ounted him o n a fresh hor se R oman de Rou, l . 13,472 85 . We next hear of him as the person appointed by the Conq u e r o r to take charge of the body of Harold, which had b e e n di sc overed by the swan necked Eadgyth, and to bur y i t o n th e se a shore his selection for that purpose w oul d see m t o hav e some connection with the curious stat emen t of B isho p Guy , as from his previous knowledge o f the S axon Ki ng, a nd th e spiritual brotherhood which i s said t o have e xiste d betwe en them, he may have been c onsidere d by Willi am t o have th e best claim to the mela ncholy ho nour afte r the m other, t o whom it had sternl y refused. After this we find him mentioned as accompanying the ne w l y seated sovereign in his expedition to the North, a n d t h e re duction of Nottingham and York 1068 , in whi c h yea r M ale t was rewarded with the shrievalty of Yorks hi re, an d la rg e grants of land in the county. He was i n Yo rk th e follo win g year, and governor of the castle newl y buil t by th e Conq ueror when it was besieged by t he No rthumbr ians, le d by th e Saxon prince Edgar. The ci tizen s havin g joined th e insurg ents, William Malet, sor ely pr essed, s ent to the K ing for a ssistance, without w hich h e assure d him he shoul d be compel led to surrender . The K ing arriv ed with a power ful force i n time to rai se the s iege and t ake fearful veng eance on th e besieger s, as wel l as on th e city and its inh abitants. Ag ain, w ith Gilber t de Ghen t he was in command i n York when t h e Danes assa ulted it i n 1069 and in conjunct ion with th e E arls Walth eof and Gos patric burnt the city , slew thr ee thou sand No rmans, and t ook prisoners Gilber t de Ghen t and Willi am M alet, with hi s wife and two of the ir chi ldren. How long he remained in captivity does not appear, no r w h e r e or at what time or under what circumstances h e die d . Lu ci a, widow of Roger Fitz Gerald, and subseque ntly C ou ntes s o f Chester, is stated, in a grant of Kin g Henr y II , to h av e been niece of Robert Malet and of A lan o f Linco ln an d th is Robert is said to have been th e so n of a Wil liam Ma let , slain in 1069, the period a t whic h our Willia m Male t wa s taken prisoner at York. A nothe r William Malet , set d own a s the son of Hesilia Cr ispin , died an old ma n in th e Abbe y of Bec but there i s no i dentifying eithe r with th e compa nion of the Conqu eror, t hough each ha s a claim to t he disti nction, for o ur Willi am, the sherif f of Yorkshir e and compè re of Ha rold, cert ainly had a so n and heir name d Robert, a n d a sister of W illiam Crispin , named Hesilia , is vario usl y asserted t o have been the m other or wife o f the Wi lliam M alet wh o fought at Senlac. He was a witness to a charter of King William to the C h u r c h of St. Martin le Grand in London, and is therei n st yl e d Princeps. He also gave Conteville in Normand y t o th e A bbe y of Bec, De dono Gulielmi Malet maneriu m d e Cont evil le c um ecclesia et omnibus ejusdem ecclesi &ael ug e t maner ii pe rtinentiis suis Neustria Pia, p . 484 whic h indica tes so me connection with Herluin an d Herle ve. Ho w came h e possess ed of Conteville? We kno w that He rluin h ad been p reviousl y married, and had b y his firs t wife a s on named R alf. Wa s that first wif e an Englishw oman, and h ad she a se cond so n named Willi am, heir event ually to Con teville? Glo ver, i n his inval uable collectio ns, has jotte d down the su bscribi ng witn esses to a chart er by a Gilber t Malet, who s tyles hi mse lf Dapifer Begis , and we fin d amongst them Wi lliam Ma l et, his heir hæ rede meo, Robe rt, and Ralph, bro ther s of W illiam, and a nother William , grandson or nephe w o f the gran tor nepo te meo . Unfor tunately it is with o ut date bu t I am inc lined to conside r Gilbert a broth er o f the sherif f, an d the William he ca lls his nephew , the yo ungest of th e t wo sons of the sheri ff, who wer e taken pris oners with h i m at Yorkthe othe r being Rob ert, who succee ded him, o btai ned the honour o f Eye in S uffolk, and at th e compila tion o f Domesday wa s found t o possess two hundre d and si xty eigh t manors i n England , Eye being the chief . His fa ther was th en dead , and th at is all we at presen t know f or a certainty . I f not sl ain in 1069, he might wel l be t he old man who di e d in t he Abbey of Bec, to which h e wa s a benefactor, fo r w e h ave no means of guessing his a g e at the time of th e inv a sion. The smallest contributi o n to his history woul d b e gra tefully received. -------------------- William was also known as Willelm Malet, seigneur de Graville, was a Norman, but he was half English, on this mother's side, no doubt related somehow to Lady Godiva of Mercia.

William took part in the Battle of Hastings, 14 October 1066, and the subsequent conquest of England.

He was Sheriff of Yorkshire at England in 1068.

William was killed suppressing the revolt led by Hereward the Wake.

William was our ancestor through two distinct descent lines--through his son Robert and through his daughter UNKNOWN (the wife of Turold of Bucknell), each of whom was independently our ancestor.

See "My Lines"

( http://homepages.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~cousin/html/p348.htm#i21613 )

from Compiler: R. B. Stewart, Evans, GA

( http://homepages.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~cousin/html/index.htm ). -------------------- Lord William Malet

   * Born: England
   * Marriage: Hesila Crispin 1044, England

picture

bullet General Notes:

See:

Pedigrees of Some of the Emperor Charlemagne's Descendants, Compiled by J. Orton Buck, and Timothy Beard, 1978, published by the Order of the Crown of Charlemagne, page 292

Lord William Malet was a follower of William the Conquerer.

picture

Lord married Hesila Crispin, daughter of Gilbert Crispin Lord Of Tillie and Gunnore D' Ainon, in 1044 in England.

--------------------

Gilbert Malet

(-After 1078)

Daughter Of Decorreole

(-)

Robert Malet Baron Of Curry Malet

(-After 1130)

William Malet

(1125-1169)


Family Links

Spouses/Children::

Maud Mortimer

   * Gilbert Malet+

William Malet

   * Born: 1125, Curry Malet, England
   * Marriage: Maud Mortimer
   * Died: 1169, Curry Malet, England, at age 44

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// ////////////////////////////////////////////////////

See:

Pedigrees of Some of the Emperor Charlemagne's Descendants, Compiled by J. Orton Buck, and Timothy Beard, 1978, published by the Order of the Crown of Charlemagne, page 292

--------------------

William Malet, Baron of Curry Malet, steward to King Henry II of England. -------------------- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Malet_(Norman_conquest)

William Malet accompanied William the Conqueror during the Norman conquest of England and, being half Saxon, was entrusted with the burial of King Harold (the English king) after his death in the Battle of Hastings.

William Malet (died 1071) fought at the Battle of Hastings, a fact recorded in the Bayeux Tapestry.[1] He had substantial property in Normandy, chiefly in the Pays de Caux, with a castle at Graville-Ste-Honorine, at the mouth of the Seine near Harfleur (and nowadays a suburb of Le Havre).

Legend has it that his mother was English, and that he was the uncle of King Harold II of England's wife Edith (the claim being that he had a sister Aelgifu who married Aelfgar, Earl of Mercia, who was the father of Edith).

Divided loyalties or no, Malet fought on the Norman side at Hastings. Legend also claims that he buried Harold after the battle.

Malet's activities during the first few years of the Norman conquest of England are not known. But after York was captured in 1068, he was appointed the first high sheriff of Yorkshire and was one of the commanders of the garrisons in the new castles built in the city of York. His efforts at defending the shire from Danish raids were, in the end, a terrible failure, for the next year the city was burned and the garrison slaughtered. Malet, his wife, and two of their children were held as hostages, and finally released when the Danes were driven off.

Malet was relieved of his duties in the north, but seems not to have lost the king's favour, for he soon was appointed sheriff of Suffolk, and given the great honour of Eye, with lands in Suffolk and several other shires. It was in fact the largest lordship in East Anglia. He built a motte and bailey castle at Eye, and started a market there.

He died around 1071, probably during the rebellion of Hereward the Wake, and was succeeded by his son Robert.

The Domesday Book also mentions a Durand Malet, who held land in Lincolnshire[2] and possibly some neighboring shires. This may be William Malet's brother, but this is not certain.

On screen, Malet has been portrayed by Peter Halliday in the two-part BBC TV play Conquest (1966), part of the series Theatre 625, and by Gawn Grainger in the TV drama Blood Royal: William the Conqueror (1990).

-------------------- Excerpt from "Notices of an English Branch of the Malet Family", by Arthur Malet, published 1885, pp 1-17, appendix A1-A10:

WILLIAM MALET.

Early in the eleventh century, during the period in which Edward the Confessor was living in Normandy under the protection of the Duke, there existed an English family consisting of a brother and three sisters, Thorold, Godiva, and two other sisters whose names are unknown. (1)

Thorold was Sheriff of Lincolnshire; Godiva married Leofric Earl of Mercia; of the other sisters, one married an English husband of high rank, the other married a Norman noble named Malet, who was by her father of two sons William and Durand; the former, one of the companions of Duke William and who is named as having fought at Hastings, the latter also presumably an actor in the same battle, and both named in Domesday Book as tenants in capite.

I particularise the whole of the four members of this English family, as the history of each has its peculiar share in elucidating the mystery which has hitherto attached to the parentage of William Malet, who is described by Guy of Amiens as half Norman and half English; (2) the accumulation of evidence conclusively proving the existence of these two unrecorded sisters of Thorold and Godiva, and that William and Durand Malet were the sons of one of them.

We know, on the undoubted authority of the charter granted by Henry the Second, at Devizes, in 1152, to William Randolph, Earl of Chester, (3) that Robert Malet, son of William and Alan of Lincoln were each of them avunculus to the Earl's mother, the Countess Lucy, who was the daughter of Ivo Taillebois Count of Angers, by Lucy, one of the daughters of Alfgar Earl of Mercia, the son of Leofric, by Godiva, the sister of Thorold. (4)

Alan of Lincoln, (5) doubtless a kinsman of Alfred of Lincoln, I assume to have been his son; if so, or if he was a sister's son, he was equally the son of a nephew or a niece of Thorold. Mr. Freeman, on the English connection of W. Malet, says that Alan is more likely to have been Alfred's son than his brother, and it seems that it must have been so, otherwise he could not have borne the same relationship to the Countess Lucy as did Robert Malet; and, as the Devizes charter precludes doubt as to this relationship, Robert Malet must have had a similar descent to Alan of Lincoln. This must have been by his father having been a son of a sister of Thorold and Godiva, which alone could give him and Alan of Lincoln a similar relationship to the Countess Lucy.

Additional proof of nearness of kin may be found in the summary of a grant (6) give in the thirty-fifth report by the Deputy Keeper of Public Records, by which William de Roumara gave to Robert, grandson (nepos) of the Countess Lucy, land which had been held under Lucy the Countess by Ivo and Colswegen, uncles of the said Robert. As by no possibility could the term uncle apply to Ivo Taillebois, who moreover would not have held land under his own daughter, and as Durand Malet, the brother of William Malet, and therefore of the sae descent, had a son named Ivo, who would bear to Robert de Roumara precisely the same relationship as did Colswegen, the son of Alfred of Lincoln, it follows that the Ivo alluded to must be not Ivo Taillebois but Ivo Malet.

The relationship can now be clearly shown. (Chart)

It will be observed that the near relationship of William Malet to Harold's Queen Aldgith (7) thus manifested accounts for the otherwise incomprehensible tradition that her mother Aelgifu was a sister of William Malet. It will also be seen that this pedigree brings into similar relationship to the countess Lucy, Colswegen, Alan of Lincoln, Robert Malet, and Ivo Malet, so that Colswegen and Ivo, who are, in the summary of the grant above mentioned, called each avunculus to her grandson Robert de Roumara, are in reality his kinsmen , each of a similar relationship, though not what we now should term uncle.

Having accounted for William Malet's parentage, we may now consider how he came to be called by Guy of Amiens "Compater Heraldi," that is to say, having the ecclesiastical connection of standing at the baptismal font with Harold as a fellow sponsor for some child of sufficiently noble birth to be entitled to two such godfathers. The rivalry between the houses of Godwin and Leofric previous to Harold's marriage to Aldgith, which closed though it hardly healed the sore, militates against the supposition that the occasion could have been in England and it seems as if considerable weight may be attached to Mr. Planche's conjecture (8) that it may have been in Normandy, in 1062, during the enforced visit of Earl Godwin's son to Duke William, the year in which the Duke's daughter Adela was born. He adds, "Is it possible that Harold and William Malet were her godfathers? Guy of Amiens, Matilda's almoner, would certainly be cognizant of that fact." It may be thought that the politic Duke would hardly permit Harold to enter into intimate relations with any of his great Norman Barons; yet such a tie through his own child might be beneficial, and the conjoining with him in the holy ceremony of one who, besides being a distant connection by marriage, was an attached follower of his own, could be of no political disadvantage. I think I am warranted in thus designating William Malet, as the terms on which the Duke treated him in England fully warrant the inference that they were bound together by more than the common bond of Prince and Feudatory, even if the distant connection through his marriage with a Crispin be disregarded.

William Malet married Hesilia Crispin, (9) who was through a female, descended in the fourth generation from Rollo I, Duke of Normandy, and therefore related to Duke William, the fifth in descent in the male line. Lanfranc states (10) that Hesilia, sister to the two Crispins (who fought at Hastings), was the mother of William Malet, a valiant soldier, who in old age became a monk in the Abbey of Bec for some years before he died. We know from the undoubted authority of Domesday (11) that William Malet died in the King's service during the campaign against Hereward before the completion of the Survey, and we know from equally undoubted authority, Robert Malet's charter to his Abbey at Eye, (12) that William Malet was his father and Hesilia his mother; it seems, therefore, that the Archbishop or his amanuensis must have fallen into some error which has been followed in the subsequent chronicles of Bec. By Hesilia Wiliam Malet had issue Robert, Gilbert, and Beatrice. As his eldest son Robert could hardly have been less than twenty-six years of age at this father's death in 1071, William's marriage may have been in about 1044, and as he possibly married at the age of twenty-five he will have been born about the year 1020, and was aged about fifty-one at the time of his death.

Having endeavoured by the means at our disposal to account for William Malet's parentage, it would be desirable to trace the earlier position of his family in Normandy before the conquest of England, but I cannot find that there ware any early records in existence in which the name occurs. In L. Dacherii notae ad Lanfranci Archiepiscopi Cantuar, Epist. 35, p. 370, we find: "Clarissima apud Caletes familia Maletana unde et illud Gallicum proverbium, 'Les Malets et les Martauxs son les plus nobles de Caux.'" ["The most famous family Malets from which (comes) that Gallic proverb 'The Malets and the Martaux are the most noble of the Caux.'"] The name too is said to have arisen "Ob bellicam fortitudinem eo quod in praeliis hostes ut malleo contunderet." [From that battle courage with which he pounded the enemies in battles as if with a hammer.--translations by Irene W.] It seems probably as the name had passed into a proverb that it was in use in the early times of the Norman settlement in France, but this is merely a matter of conjecture. It is not even known whether the cognizance of the three fermalets or buckles was borne by the family at the time of the invasion of England, or whether it was, as were so many other distinguishing coats of arms, adopted at the time of the crusades, from which time till the present it has been borne by the various French branches of the family; it was also borne by the descendants of Durand Malet of Irby.

Having elucidated the personality of William Malet in Normandy, it remains to collect the records of his life in England.

The battle of Hastings, or Senlac, is the scene in which he first appears. Wace, in that portion of his Roman de Ron in which he recounts the deeds of the Normans, names first Roger de Belmont, and next after him William Malet, whose deeds he thus describes. His archaic French may perhaps excuse my placing an English translation by its side.

Guillame ki l'en dit MalletWilliam whom they call Mallet

Hardiement entrels se met;Boldly throws himself among them;

Od l'espee ki resflambieWith his flashing sword

As Engliez rent dure escremie; Against the English he makes furious onset;

Maiz son escu si estroerent, But his shield they clove,

E son cheval soz li toerent' And his horse benath him killed,

Et il meisme eussent mort, And himself they would have slain,

Quant vint le Sire de MonfortWhen came the Sire de Monfort

Et Dam Willame de Vez-pont,And Lord William de Vez-Pont

Od granz maisnies ke il ont, With the great fore which they had,

Le rescotrent hardiement.Him they bravely rescued.

Mult i perdirent de lor gent;There many of their men they lost;

Mallet firent monter maneizMallet they remounted on the field

Sor un destrier tot freiz.On a fresh war-horse.

When King Harold's body was found after the battle, the Conqueror, refusing his mother, Gytha's offer to ransom it, entrusted it, as we are told by Guy of Amiens, William of Poitiers, Benoit de St. More, and Orderic Vital, (13) to William Malet for burial near the sea. There has been much discussion as to its delivery to William Malet and its place of burial, but it seems to have been fairly set at rest by Mr. Freeman, and there is no room to doubt that it was first buried by William Malet on the sea-shoe, possibly in a cairn on the cliff near Hastings, whence in more settled times it was by the King's permission removed, and, with such honors as the period allowed, buried in Harold's own Abbey of Waltham.

The next mention we have of William Malet is after the submission of York to the King in 1068, when a castle was built there and left to the care of William Malet, who was made Sheriff, with large grants of land in the country, Robert Fitz-Richard, and William of Ghent, with five hundred picked knights. (14) They were not suffered long to hold it in peace. In January, 1069, the King sent Robert de Comines to take possession of the earldom which Gospatric had fled from; Robert de Comines' passage lay through Durham, where he was surprised and, with his whole force, slain. This led to an immediate revolt in Yorkshire: the citizens of York slew Robert Fitz-Richard, with many of his men; and the insurgents, headed by Edgar the Atheling, attacked the castle. The Sheriff sent for aid to the King, who speedily arrived and utterly routed the revolters; he then, in addition to the first, built a second castle, which he entrusted to William Fitz-Osborn, Earl of Hereford, and and left the north in order that he might keep the feast of Easter at Winchester. Shortly after his departure the English again rose, and attacked the castles at York, but were defeated and driven off by the Earl of Hereford, who after this success must have departed, as we hear nothing of him in the events in the north which subsequently occurred.

The Sheriff, William Malet, and Gilbert of Ghent were now in command at York, with what was deemed a sufficient garrison, but they must have found some difficulty in providing food for their men, as otherwise we can hardly account for the seizure by the Sheriff of the provisions which were being brought into the city for the use of the Archbishop. The circumstances are so graphically illustrated by Mr. Freeman, in his History of the Norman Conquest, (15) that I shall be excused for transcribing them, as illustrating the overpowering sense of military necessity in the commander, and the politico-religious scrupulosity of the King. "Ealdred [the Archbishop] was present in his metropolitan city on one of the feasts of the Church, by which must be meant the Pentecost of the present year. A large stock of all manner of good things was being brought into the city from the episcopal lands in its neighbourhood. It chanced that the Sheriff -- William Malet must be meant -- was at that moment going out of York with a large company. At a short distance from the city he met the Archbishop's horses and waggons [sic] bringing in wheat and other meats for the feast. The Sheriff asked the drivers who they were, and for whom they were bringing those good things. They answered that they were the servants of the Archbishop, and were bringing in the things that were needful for his service. The Sheriff, caring little for the Archbishop or his servants, bade his own followers seize on the whole of the stores and carry them to the king's storehouse in the castle. When the news was brought to Ealdred, he sent messengers, clerks, and citizens to the Sheriff, and bade him restore the stolen property , and make good the loss to St. Peter, and to himself as his vicar; otherwise he would at once go on to wield his spiritual weapons against him. As no satisfaction was to be had, but as the Archbishop's servants were driven away with threats and insults, the high-spirited Primate made up his mind to go at once and lay his complaints in person before the King. He went to London, where William then was. His coming is said to have caused some stir in the city, and the Norman Bishop of London, William, with a crowd of clergy and people , came to meet him with all honour." Then follows the account of his interview with the King, after which "Ealdred went home in safety and honour, and one of the highest nobles in William's court was sent with letters, by virtue of which everything, even to the cords which tied the sacks of corn, was faithfully restored to the Archbishop. And from that day no man dared to wrong him any more."

Some months after this more serious events occurred. The Danish fleet under Sweyn arrived on the coast of England, and William the King, who was then in Gloucestershire, warned his officers in York to stand firmly on their defence, and to call at once for his presence should it be needed. They, over-confident in their own strength, sent back word that they could hold out for a year without further aid. I cannot do better than transcribe from Mr. Freeman's work (16) the account of what followed. "The English and Danish fleets had already met in the Humber, but their banners had not yet been seen beneath the walls of York, when a tomb within the Minster of St. Peter closed on the body of the last Primate of Northumberland of the old stock (Ealdred died 11th September, 1069). Meanwhile the confederate fleets were in the Humber. . . . The fleet sailed on; we are not told at what point of the Ouse the troops disembarked, but it is plain that the easiest road to York from any convenient landing-place would lead them along the left bank of the river, over the former battle-ground of Fulford; this road would bring them at once upon the elder of the two castles. It was indeed guarded by the stream of the Foss, but even if the bridge was not yet there, the crossing of so small a stream was a hindrance which might easily be overcome. It is plain that the castles were the first object of attack, and if the fleet, or any part of it, did sail up to York , it would be the castles which they would first come upon as barring their course. Before the Danes reached the city the whole country poured forth to join their banners. Men went on with all joy, walking and riding. A host that could not be numbered, pressing on with one heart and one soul, came within sight of the warders of the Norman Castles. Their captains had boasted that they could defend themselves for a while year without help from William, but they found that such a boast was vain indeed. They looked for a siege, and their first thought was to hinder the besiegers from filling up the ditches of the castles, and so finding a more ready approach to the walls. Lest the houses near the castle should be used for this purpose, the Normans betook themselves to their favourite element. They set fire to the houses in their own immediate neighbourhood. The flames spread, the greater part of the city was destroyed; and the fire even seized upon the metropolitan church in the opposite quarter. Whether this sacrilege was designed or no, it was speedily avenged. Two days later, while it would seem that the flames were still blazing, but while the city was not yet wholly destroyed, the host drew nigh which was to save it from its foreign masters. The Earls Waltheof and Gospatric and the chief Thegns, who had joined the army led the way; the whole force of Denmark and Northumberland followed. The garrisons ventured on a sally, (17) and a fight followed within the walls of the burning city. And now it was that for one moment Waltheof, the son of Siward and Oethelfloed, stood forth as the hero of deeds which handed down his name in the warlike songs of the tongues of both his parents; we hear again the old ring of the lays of Brunanburh of Maldon and of Stamford bridge, as we listen to the tale which speaks of the giant form of the Northumbrian Earl, his mi

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Guillaume I Malet, seigneur de Graville's Timeline

1014
1014
Graville-Saint-Honorine, Eure, Seine-Maritime, Normandy, France
1044
1044
Age 30
Alkborough, Lincoln, England
1045
1045
Age 31
Graville St Honorine, Normandy, France
1045
Age 31
Curry Malet, Somerset, England
1050
1050
Age 36
Caen, Calvados, Normandy, France
1057
1057
Age 43
Graville St.Honorine, Normandy
1063
1063
Age 49
Graville,Normandy,France
1071
1071
Age 57
Suffolk or Norfolk, England
1969
March 11, 1969
Age 57
April 25, 1969
Age 57