Richard I de Saint Sauveur Viscount of Contentin

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Richard I de St. Sauveur, de Saint-Sauveur, Vicomte du Cotentin

Birthplace: Saint-Saveur, Normandie, France
Death: Died in Cotentin (la Manche), Normandy, France
Immediate Family:

Son of Malahulc / Haldrick Eysteinsson and Maud et Temois de Boulogne et Ternois
Husband of Niece de Saint Sauveur
Father of "Nigel" Neil I, vicomte de Saint-Sauveur; Asperling (Eperling) de Vaudreuïl, I; Odile Beatrice Valenciennes Of Cambray and Richard, Baron d'Auubigne
Brother of Hugues I de Calvacamp, seigneur de Tosny and Ralph de Bayeux
Half brother of Ralph Eysteinsson

Occupation: Vicomte, de Saint-Sauveur, de Cotentin
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Richard I de Saint Sauveur Viscount of Contentin

Might be born in 880 or 933. A chief commander and associate of Rollo, the creator of Normandy.


The History of the County Palatine and City of Chester: Volume 1 by George Ormerod, Daniel King, William Smith, William Webb (sheriff.), Sir Peter Leycester. London: George Routledge, 1882. pp. 689-90, footnotes.

...It could scarcely have been a remarkable fact that in so large an army as that of William the Conqueror, some half dozen sons of a single family should be found, considering the feudal character of that army, and the object of its leader. And there is nothing beyond to urge in favour of the grammatical doubt expressed elsewhere by Leycester. It is stated that Nigel of Halton was the son of Ivo or Ivon, Viscount of Constantine, meaning Cotentin, in Normandy; and it will not be uninteresting in connection with such a history to note, that as Cotentin was, as Palgrave expresses it, the very kernel of Norman nationality, so the County Palatine of Chester, for long after the Conquest, bore much the same character.

The Viscounts of the Cotentise (their proper designation), were the St. Sauveurs. The Barony of St. Sauveur, the premier Barony, was created by grant, by Rollo in favour of Richard de St. Sauveur, one of his chief commanders. Richard's son was Neel or Nigel, Viscount of Cotentin. Compared with the power of, and no less the ability with which that power was wielded by this long and illustrious race of Viscounts, it is scarcely too much to say that of the line of Avranche (afterwards represented by Hugh Lupus), or that of almost any other house of the Baronage of Normandy, was small. In this respect they stood in much the same position to Normandy as the Earls of Chester long afterwards stood in to England.

Their fief was scarcely less extensive, and their authority scarcely less absolute, though they were not endowed with those Palatinate privileges which added so much to the prominence of the County of Chester in the affairs of this country.

On the demise of Robert of Normandy, William, his son (afterwards the Conqueror), on being declared heir to the Crown, found himself opposed vi et armis.The Duchy became involved in war, the Roman de Rou tells us, and suffered greatly through Neel de Cotentin, otherwise St. Sauveur, and Renoulf de Bessin, two Viscounts of great power. William fled to the King of France, and soon afterwards a French army met the chief Barons of Normandy at Val des Dunes, near Caen, A.D. 1047: and it seems that the Cotentise would have gained the day but for the defection, just before the battle, of Raul Tesson de Cingueleiz (a probable ancestor of the Boydels of Doddleston), and the cowardice of Renoulf de Bricasard, Viscount of the Besin. “ But,” says the chronicle, “ Neel de Cotentin fought on gallnntly, and if all had been like him, the French King would have come in an evil hour. He was called, on account of his valor and skills, his bravery and noble bearing, "Chef de Faucon"--"Noble Chef de Faucon" was his title. After the battle Neel found refuge in his castle of Brionne sur Risle, and did not humble himself, and William was prudently gracious.

At the Battle of Hastings, we are informed by Master Wace, "Neel de Saint Sauveur exerted himself much to earn the love and goodwill of his lord. He overthrew many with the poitrail of his horse, and came with his sword to the rescue of many a Baron." Finally, M. Odolent Desnos (History d'Alencon, 149) states that Neel was slain in 1074 in a battle near Cardiff, and Neel his son died in 1092, as by the account of his relation, Bishop Jeffrey de Mowbray's desire to attend his funeral (Mem. Ant. Norm I. 286 II 46).

One of the last Neel Cotentin's daughters married Jourdain Tesson, the son of Raol before-mentioned, whose family is said to have held at one time a third of all Normandy. The other daughter and co-heir was mother to Fulk de Pratis--a name to be met with in some of the more ancient Cheshire Charters.

That there were many Nigels or Neels of this house is proved by the fact that one of the name, as mentioned by Leycester, and elsewhere, slew the forces King Ethelred had sent to invade Normandy in 1004. The same, or another of the name, c. 1024, with Auvrai le Gigant his champion, conquered Brittany for Robert le Diable.

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