Robert fitz Wimarc

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Robert fitz Wimarc

Also Known As: "Robert de Essex", "de Almsteda", "de Moyaux", "Robert the Staller"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Normandie, France
Death: Died in Essex
Immediate Family:

Son of Ansfred (Ansfroi) II "le Dane" le Goz, vicomte d'Exmes et de Falaise and Guimara - Wymarche
Husband of Beatrice fitz Wimarc
Father of Suein (Sweyn) fitz Robert
Half brother of Thurston Avranches, vicomte d'Avranches, chambellan de Robert II duc de Normandie; Beatrice d'Eu and Osmond de Conteville

Occupation: Sheriff of Essex
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Robert fitz Wimarc

Who was Robert fitz Wimarc?

The surname of Wymarc was derived from the Old French and Old Breton, "Wiuhomarch", and was brought into England in the wake of the Norman conquest of 1066. The name was composed of the elements WIG (war) and MOER (famous) and this personal name which was borne by both men and women and became relatively popular in East Anglia during the early Middle Ages as a result of the influence of the Bretons who settled there in the wake of the Conquest. Early records of the name mention Robertus filius Wimarc, listed in the Domesday Book of 1086, as a tenant in the County of Essex.

Robert fitz Wimarc took his mother's surname; actually, this is a rare example of a matronymic, as discussed by Keats-Rohan in the introduction to Domesday People (p. 19). 3 Apparently,J. H. Round originally pointed out that 'Wimarc' was a woman, Robert's mother (as stated explicitly by William of Poitiers), but suggested that her name indicated she was a Breton (in 'Feudal England', pp. 256, 257). But Keats-Rohan points to statements by Vita AEdwardi Regis that Robert was a kinsman of Edward the Confessor, and by William of Poitiers that he was related to William the Conqueror. She suggests that as he was identified by his mother, she 'was surely a high-born Norman', related to the ducal house. She goes on to cite references from charters of the abbey of Montivilliers, near Le Havre, which mention a nun Vuimardis/Wimardis,widow of Ansfrid the steward, and her apparent son Robert de Moyaux, who gave land formerly held by Ansfrid.

Robert fitz Wimarc had a special interest in Essex, in his manor at Clavering and in the good sheep country of the salt-marshes of the south-east. When the Norman favourites of Edward were ousted from political power in 1052, it was to Clavering that they fled on their way to the sea and to exile. (See photo of Clavering site in the media tab) Robert stayed, found further favour with Edward and possibly with Harold after him. His interests were local and national. He was Sheriff of Essex. He was described also as regalia palatil stabilitor, or high officer, of the royal palace. He was one of the four inner councillers present at the death bed of Edward the Confessor and as such is portrayed in the Bayeux Tapestry in the company of the Queen, Earl Harold Godwinson, and Archbishop Stigand. (Note: Robert is the person standing to the right, and behind of the dying king Edward. 2) He certainly acquiesced in Harold's succession, but seems to have kept in touch with his homeland. When William the Conqueror landed at Pevensey, it was Robert fitz Wimarc who advised him as kinsman and friend, to return to Normandy, arguing that William had neither the strength nor the numbers to risk battle against Harold, fresh from his triumph against the Norwegians at Stamford Bridge. William's army would be beaten like many miserable curs (despectabiles canes). These were strong words to use to a man like Duke William, and we suspect that the Norman chronicler may have embroidered them for artistic purposes. Robert was, in fact, as well favoured by William as he had been by the Confessor, and left his extensive estates in Essex to his son, Suen, who built the famous Castellum at Rayleigh.

Fitz Wimarc was clearly a prudent, wise, well trusted counsellor whose work in the background did much to ease the transition from Saxon to Norman England. It is right and fitting that his name should be perpetuated in a school built to serve a country which he and his son Suen made peculiarly their own.

Both Robert fitz Wimarc and his son, Suen are listed as land owners in the Domesday Book.

See: "Robert fitz Wimarc." The fitz Wimarc School. Web. 14 Feb 2013. <http://www.fitzwimarc.essex.sch.uk/fw/school/fitzwimarc.htm>.

1. P.H., Reaney. "W section." A Dictionary of English Surnames. 3rd. Routledge, 1991. 3523. Print.

2. Emma , Mason and Robert Brink Shoemaker. The House of Godwine: The History of a Dynasty. Continuum International Publishing Group, Mar 4, 2004. pg.135. Print.

3. Keats-Rohan, K.S.B., Domesday People: A Prosopography of Persons Occurring in English Documents, 1066-1166 (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999.), pp. 19, 424, 977, Los Angeles Public Library, Gen 942.02 K25.

About the Author: Dr KATHERINE KEATS-ROHAN was awarded the Prix Brant IV de Koskull 1998 by the Confederation Internationale de Genealogie et d'Heraldique for her work on Domesday People. She is Director of the Linacre Unit for Prosopographical Research. Prosopography has been defined as an independent science of social history embracing genealogy, onomastics and demography.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Almesteda


Robert fitz Wimarc is also listed as a holder of Almesteda, (also a name which is considered of Scandinavian origin.) and is a property that is listed in the Domesday book. Please see the media tab to view a copy of such listing.


There are a number of small towns and villages that have names ending in "-sted" and "stead", and also by the fact that almost all these places were in eastern England, chiefly in Essex, some thirty to forty miles inland from the North Sea and that they extended in a broad line or band from northern Essex in a southern direction nearly to the Channel.

Here are the names of the towns and villages in Essex. Please remember when looking at some of them, that the English letter "x" is a double consonant, and is equivalent to "cs" or "gs". For example, Broxted is equivalent to Broc-sted, wherein you recover what seems at first a missing "s".


In Essex are: Broxted, Braxted, Thaxed, Fairsted, Felsted, Halsted, Standsted, Hempstead, Burstead, Greenstead, Harkstead, Bumstead


Turning to the pages of the Century Atlas to Denmark, you will find that in the western-part of Denmark there are easily found at least fifteen names of villages and districts that are strikingly similar in form, and manner of spelling to the Olmsted (Almesteda) name; while in southern Sweden there is the considerable town of Halmstad, nearly opposite Copenhagen.


Strong support for this argument in favor of the Scandinavian origin and spelling of the name "Olmsted" is to be found in the following list of places found mostly in the western part of Denmark.


Denmark: Holsted, Ulsted, Oldsted, Hadsted, Orsted, Ovsted, Vedsted, Nysted, Grindsted, Briersted, Graisted, Gjedsted, Fjelsted, Tisted, and Thisted, Fredrikstad, Stromstad, and Rakkestad,

In Sweden there is a city of Halmsted.


In Norway: Stiklestad. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


Before 1066 THEYDON MOUNT was held by Godric as a manor and as 3 hidesand 80 acres. After the Conquest it was given by William I to Robert fitz Wimarc, who was still alive in 1069 but had been succeeded in or before1075 by his son Swein. Robert was Sheriff of Essex and the office waslater held by Swein. Swein made his castle at Rayleigh, which became thehead of his honor and from that time the manor of Theydon Mount wasalways held of the Honor of Rayleigh. In 1086 the manor was held of Sweinby one Robert. Swein was succeeded by his son Robert of Essex, the founder of Prittlewell Priory, and Robert of Essex was succeeded by his son Henry of Essex.


In 1163 Henry of Essex, then Constable of England, failed to clear himself of a charge of cowardice during a war against the Welsh, and wasdeprived of all his lands.


[From: 'Theydon Mount: Manors', A History of the County of Essex: Volume4: Ongar Hundred (1956), pp. 276-81. URL:http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=15710&strquery=fitz%20wimarc. Date accessed: 27 August 2005]


Also:


In 1066 STAPLEFORD TAWNEY was held by Godric as 1 manor and as 5 hides.Of these 5 hides he 'gave to his 10 free men freely 4 hides, retaining 1hide in demesne'. After the Conquest Robert fitz Wimarc had the 1 hide bythe king's gift and his son Swein of Essex added the 4 hides to it afterhis father's death. In 1086 the manor was held of Swein by Siric. At thattime the manor, which had been worth £8 before 1066, was worth £10. In1086 Swein of Essex held the honor of Rayleigh, and the manor ofStapleford Tawney continued to be held of that honor, which escheated tothe Crown in the 12th century, until after 1550.


[From: 'Stapleford Tawney: Manors', A History of the County of Essex:Volume 4: Ongar Hundred (1956), pp. 234-36. URL:http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=15681&strquery=fitz%20wimarc. Date accessed: 27 August 2005] Child of Robert FitzWimarc Miss de Essex+ b. c 1037 Citations [S235] Newsgroup: soc.genealogy.medieval, at groups - google.com, online google.com, Chris Phillips, 21 Jul 2003. [S277] Unknown author, Victoria County History of Essex, Volume IV, 1956, online at www.british-history.ac.uk, Stapleford Tawney Manor, see notes under Anne de Drokensford, b. 1357. [S277] Unknown author, Victoria County History of Essex, Volume IV, 1956, online at www.british-history.ac.uk, Theydon Mount Manors. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Rayleigh Castle was a masonry and timber castle built near the town of Rayleigh in Essex, England in the 11th century shortly after the Norman conquest. All that exists today are the earthwork remains of its large motte-and-bailey. The castle was built by Swein (c.1045, Theydon Mount, Ongar, Essex - after 1086, Rayleigh, Essex) (other spellings are Sweyn, Sweyne, Suen), son of Robert fitz Wimarc and a wealthy landowner, sometime between the Norman conquest of 1066 and the completion of the Domesday Book in 1086. It is one of the few castles mentioned in the book and as such considered one of the earliest Norman castles in England. It may have been built on the site of an earlier Roman fortification since fragments of Roman bricks have been found on the site. On his death it passed to his son Robert de Essex (c.1085, Rayleigh, Essex - before 1159, Theydon Mount, Ongar, Essex) and thence to his grandson Henry d'Essex. Around 1140 the motte was covered in stone rubble.

Henry was accused of cowardice in battle in 1163 and subject to a trial by combat which he lost. The castle and its estates were confiscated to become the property of the king, Richard I. Extensive alterations were made to it in 1172 and in 1183-4, and the property given by King John to Hubert de Burgh in around 1200 who probably used it as a source of building materials for the castle which he started building in 1230 5 km away at Hadleigh. 

On the death of Hubert's son in the latter half of the 13th century, ownership of the castle reverted to the monarch. Documents dating between 1279 and 1303 refer to the motte as being used for pasture, which probably means that the castle was no longer used as a fortification. In 1394 King Richard II gave permission for the townspeople of Rayleigh to use the foundations of the castle as a source of stone. Since the foundations are explicitly mentioned in the document giving permission, it is unlikely that any other masonry structures remained by then. The site of the castle was used for grazing sheep after it fell into disuse. Photos taken in the 1920's show the mount free from any large trees or shrubs as the grazing prevented their growth, however since the grazing stopped, large trees have grown on the site. The National trust has no plans to remove them for fear of disturbing any potential archeology below. The castle is known now as Rayleigh Mount and is managed by the National Trust.

The Second World War Convoy rescue ship Empire Rest was originally laid down as a Castle class corvette to have been named HMS Rayleigh Castle after the ruins.

The following excerpt is from an article which contains a wealth of information about Robert fitz Wimarc, as well as his son, Swein de Essex who was the great grandfather of Henry de Essex. Please see the link below for the full story and credits. http://www.archive.org/stream/trialbycombatofh00hurruoft/trialbycombatofh00hurr uoft_djvu.txt Henry de Essex was a man " held in high esteem amongst the great men of the realm, a man of much account, of noble birth, conspicuous by deeds of arms, the King's standard- bearer, and feared by all on account of his power." Such is the description given by Jocelin of Brakelond in his famous " Chronicle." ' The founder of the family of de Essex was Robert Fitz Wimark a Norman noble who settled in England in the days of Edward the Confessor. He was a great favourite of the King, who died supported in his arms, in the presence of the Queen " the Lady Eadgyth," Dux Haraldus (afterwards King Harold) and Stigand Archbishop of Canterbury, a group which appears in the Bayeux Tapestry. 2 His common title was Robert the Staller (Regalis Palatii Stabilitor), and he held the office of Sheriff of Essex. Just before the battle of Hastings Robert Fitz Wimark despatched a message to William of Normandy, urging the folly of risking a pitched battle with Harold who was advancing to meet him at the head of 100,000 men. Had the advice of Robert Fitz-Wimark been followed the whole history of England might have been changed. At the death of Robert, his son Sweyne assumed the affix " de Essex," and is so styled again and again in the Essex Domesday. Sweyne was a great landowner and according to Domesday held fifty-five lordships in Essex, apart from properties in Suffolk and Hants. He built the castle of THE TRIAL BY COMBAT AT READING ABBEY Rayleigh, called in Domesday Riganea? and was succeeded by his son Robert de Essex who founded Prittlewell Priory, near Southend. Henry de Essex, son and heir of Robert de Essex, survived combatants form the dramatis personce of the famous " trial by combat " which forms the subject of this Essay. The scanty details of their history that have survived may be gathered together in brief biographical sketches. 1

Sources 1 "Trial by Combat of Henry de Essex and Robert Montfort" (http://www.archive.org/stream/trialbycombatofh00hurruoft/trialbycombatofh 00hurr uoft_djvu.txt). RAYLEIGH FEUDAL LORDSHIP

[HEID281] Vicomte Ansfrid le goz de Hiesmes, Steward of Normandy m. [NORM317] Guimara . [ESSE341] Robert Fitz Wimarc m. Beatrice . . [ESSE352] --- FitzWimarch m. [SAY2391] Richard FitzScrob . . [ESSE351] Suene of Essex m. ? . . . [ESSE361] Robert FitzSuene de Essex m. [NORF436] Gunnora Bigod . . . . [ESSE371] Henry de Essex m1. Cicely . . . . . [ESSE382] Agnes of Essex m. [OXFO381] Earl Aubrey of Oxford . . . . . [ESSE383] Alianor/Adeliza of Rayleigh m. [WARK451] Lord Roger FitzRichard of Warkworth

34. [ESSE341] Robert de Moyaux (born at Moyaux, Calvados, c.1007, son of [HEID281] Ansfrid II Unfoi le goz (see HEIDMARK), probably married Beatrice, as a charter for Lewes Priory, c.1114, by his grandson [ESSE361] Robert FitzSwein, refers to his grandmother Beatrice (vide "Domesday Descendants" (K.S.B. Keats-Rohan, 2002)).

He was one of a select number of Norman families (mostly kinsmen of King Edward the confessor, whose mother was [NORM313] Emma of Normandy) who came over to England after Edward returned from exile in Normandy (1041), ready to take over the throne of England (1042). Robert was known in England as "Robert son of Guimara", probably to improve his reputation and stress his noble status on his mother's side; but also could have been because Ansfred and Guimara were not officially married - thus the common practice was to name the child after the maternal parent. It is possible Robert's mother Guimara was half-sister of Emma of Normandy, wife of King Edward the confessor. This would make Robert and Edward first-cousins. Robert was probably a particular favourite of King Edward the confessor, and he was present at his death at Westminster (4th January 1066).

Robert has also been referred to as Robert the deacon and Robert the dragon. It would appear likely that Roberto draco [=dragon] has been misread as Roberto diaco, with diaco taken to be an abbreviation of diaconis [=deacon]. Prior to the Conquest, Robert held considerable lands as tenant-in-chief of the king, e.g. Barrington, Croydon, East Hatley, Hatley St. George, "Witewell" [probably in Barton] and Wratworth (Cambs); Berden, Canewdon, Clavering, Eastwood, Eiland, Elmstead, Hockley, Mersea, Nayland, Nevendon, Plumberow, Prittlewell, Ramsden, Rayleigh, Sutton and Wakering (Essex); Thruxton and Winnhall (Herefs); Ashwell, Little Hadham and Little Wymondley (Herts); Eynesbury and Waresley (Hunts); half of Bromfield (Salop); Brewham and Stoney Stoke (Somerset); Aveley, Bentley, Freston, Groton, Higham, Ipswich Burgh, Nayland, Pannington, Polstead, Stoke by Nayland, Stratford St. Mary, Waldingfied, Wherstead and Withermarsh (Suffolk); Widhill (Wiltshire).

His holding at Bromfield Manor (Salop) was unusual. He had acquired half the land after its holder was banished from England. Incidentally, Robert was recorded in the Domesday Book as being "filio Wimarch", which Phillimore translates as "the son of Wymarc" and Penguin as "fitz Wimarc". But Robert gave the land to his son-in-law towards the end of 1065. The entry in the "Domesday Book" (Penguin) records:

"... Robert gave this same to a son-in-law of his. When the canons informed the King of this, he immediately ordered the land to be returned to the Church, only waiting until, at the imminent Christmas court, he could command Robert to provide other land for his son-in-law. However, the King died during those feast days and from then till now the Church has been without the land".

This son-in-law was with little doubt [SAY2391] Richard FitzScrob see SAYE BY ADOPTION. So Robert continued to hold on to the land for some time to come, whilst twenty-years later the "Domesday Book" (Penguin) contrarily recorded "Now Robert holds it from Earl Roger" and "The church itself holds BROMFIELD".

According to the 11th Century Norman historian William de Poitiers, Robert "filius Guimarae nobilius mulieris" [son of noblewoman Guimara] informed DUKE WILLIAM OF NORMANDY about the strength of King Harold's army prior to the Battle of Hastings. After the Conquest, Robert acquired further lands in Essex, at Foulton, Little Thorpe, Plumberow, Shoebury, Sutton, Theydon and Wakering. After his death, the bulk of his by now considerable holdings in Essex passed to his son Suene.

   33. [ESSE352] --- Fitz Wimarch (born c.1030, daughter of Robert the deacon Fitz Wimarch) married [SAY2391] Richard FitzScrob (see SAYE BY ADOPTION).

30. [ESSE351] Suene/Swain/Swein of Essex.

He was Sheriff of Essex, and was recorded in the Domesday Book (1086) as holding vast lands, mostly inherited from his father. The lands were mostly in Essex (where he rebuilt the castle at Rayleigh), to a lesser extent in Suffolk, and one example in Huntingdonshire (Waresley). In addition a "Swein the Sheriff" held land in Oxfordshire, but this may not be relevant.

His Essex holdings included Clavering Manor, which somewhat strangely later passed to [CLAV451] Roger FitzRichard, feudal Lord of Warkworth (Northumbs), by marriage to his grand-daughter [ESSE383] Alianor (see WARKWORTH FEUDAL LORDSHIP).

Suene died c.1114, when his son Robert succeeded him.

29. [ESSE361] Robert FitzSuene de Essex married 1. [NORF436] Gunnora (daughter of Roger Bigod, see NORFOLK (BIGOD) EARLDOM), possibly divorced (as afterwards Gunnor married 2. Haimo de St. Clair); then 2. [OXFO386] Alice de Vere (born c.1124, sister of Aubrey de Vere, 1st Earl of Oxford, and daughter of [OXFO371] Aubrey II, see OXFORD (VERE) EARLDOM). Robert founded Prittlewell Priory. He died c.1140.

28. [ESSE371] Henry (son & heir of Robert & Gunnora), later Lord of Haughley, King's Constable, Sheriff of Buckinghamshire and Bedford, and a Justice in many counties (1155-58). He married Cicely. Henry was defeated near Reading in trial by battle (18th April 1163), thereby forfeiting his Rayleigh lordship, and he became a monk at Reading, and was recorded still there in 1196.

   25. [ESSE382] Agnes (born c.1152, daughter of Henry & Cicely) married (1162-63) [OXFO381] Earl Aubrey (see OXFORD (VERE) EARLDOM).
   27. [ESSE383] Alianor/Adeliza (daughter of Henry & Cicely) married [WARK451] Lord Roger FitzRichard (see WARKWORTH FEUDAL LORDSHIP). 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Robert "The Deacon" FITZ WYMARC [Parents] 1, 2, 3 was born 1006 in , Normandie, France. He died 1071 in Rayleigh, Essex, England. Robert married Beatrice ________ on 1029 in Rayleigh, Essex, England.

Beatrice 1 was born 1010 in Rayleigh, Essex, England. She married Robert "The Deacon" FITZ WYMARC on 1029 in Rayleigh, Essex, England.

They had the following children:

  (F) i N.N. FITZ ROBERT was born 1030. 
  (M) ii Suein FITZ ROBERT Sheriff of Essex was born 1035. 

Source:

1Keats-Rohan, K.S.B., Domesday People: A Prosopography of Persons Occurring in English Documents, 1066-1166 (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999.), pp. 19, 424, 977, Los Angeles Public Library, Gen 942.02 K25.

About the Author: Dr KATHERINE KEATS-ROHAN was awarded the Prix Brant IV de Koskull 1998 by the Confederation Internationale de Genealogie et d'Heraldique for her work on Domesday People. She is Director of the Linacre Unit for Prosopographical Research. Prosopography has been defined as an independent science of social history embracing genealogy, onomastics and demography.

2Cokayne, George Edward, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct, or Dormant (London: St. Catherine Press, 1910.), 9:256g, Los Angeles Public Library, 929.721 C682.

3Stevenson, Joseph, The Church Historians of England (London: Seeleys, 1853-1858.), 2:285, Library of Congress, DA130.A2 C5.

http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~hwbradley/aqwc1827.htm#32898C

Additional Reading: Be sure to check out the "Media" tab to download a free eBook, Trial by Combat, which has some interesting information about Robert FitzWimarc. An Adobe Reader is required for viewing it.

Read an interesting article about Rayleigh Castle here: [http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=cr&CRid=2291313] ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

ROBERT FitzWimarc (-after 1066). Guillaume de Poitou names "natione Normannus, Rotbertus filius Wimaræ nobilis mulieris" as one of the supporters of Guillaume II Duke of Normandy "domino suo atque consanguineo" at the battle of Hastings[250]. Domesday Book records that “Robert fitzWymarc” held Shoebury (and other properties) in Essex after the death of King Edward "now Swein [holds it]"[251]. m ---. The name of Robert’s wife is not known. It is possible that she was BEATRICE, daughter of ---, who was one of the grandmothers of Robert FitzSwein (see below), as shown by the manuscript recording the priors of Prittlewell which quotes a charter under which “Robertus filius Sueni” founded Prittlewell priory, for the souls of “…aviæ meæ Beatricis”[252], but the document does not specify whether she was the founder’s paternal or maternal grandmother. Robert & his wife had one child:

a) SWEIN FitzRobert (-after 1085). “…Sven fil Roberti, Hugonis de Port, Josfridi de Magna Villa, Willielmi Caticet, Huberti de Port…” witnessed the charter dated to [1070/75] under which William I King of England donated Plumstead to St Augustine’s, Canterbury[253]. Domesday Book records “Swein of Essex” holding Waresley in Huntingdonshire; numerous properties in Essex and Suffolk[254]. m ---. The name of Swein’s wife is not known. Swein & his wife had two children:

i) WILLIAM FitzSwein . "…William fitz Suen…" witnessed the charter dated 5 Sep 1082 which records the settlement of a claim by the abbey of Saint-Wandrille about "Oxcessus"[255].

ii) ROBERT FitzSwein (-after 1130). A manuscript recording the priors of Prittlewell quotes a charter under which “Robertus filius Sueni” founded Prittlewell priory, for the souls of “…aviæ meæ Beatricis”, witnessed by “Alberico de Ver et Roberto fratre eius…”[256].

See: http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/ENGLISHNOBILITYMEDIEVAL3D-K.htm#RobertFitzSweindied1132

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Robert fitz Wimarc's Timeline

1007
1007
Normandie, France
1035
1035
Age 28
Theydon Mount, Essex, England, United Kingdom
1071
1071
Age 64
Essex
????