William de Courcy (de Curci), Okehampton (c.1090 - 1171) MP

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Nicknames: "(aka/ Geoffrey/ de/ Crunes/"
Birthplace: Sussex Square, London, Middlesex, England
Death: Died in Okehampton Castle, Devon, , England
Managed by: Pablo Benítez Barreto
Last Updated:

About William de Courcy (de Curci), Okehampton

William de Courcy, Crucy or Curcy was a mysterious figure indeed. He seems to have been associated with and possibly married to Mathilda (Maud) d'Avenel, better known as Maud d'Avranches for her marriage to Robert d'Avranches and then for her marriage to Robert FitzRoy FitzEdith, illegitimate son of Henry I.

I'll paste below a discussion with research sources from the soc.gen.medieval discussion group. This also allows the newcomer to medieval genealogy and historiography an insight into the controversies of interpreting even "primary" sources.

The Mysterious William de Curcy

From: John Watson <watsonjohnm@xxxxxxxxx> Date: Fri, 17 Sep 2010 22:24:40 -0700 (PDT)

Hi all,

In Complete Peerage, Vol. 4, p. 317, sub. Devon, there is a nice chart pedigree of the heirs of Richard fitz Baldwin, which can be seen online here: http://www.archive.org/stream/completepeerageo04byucoka#page/317/mode/1up

In the centre of the chart we can see that Maud d'Avranches married firstly William de Curcy and secondly Robert, illegitimate son of Henry I. By William de Curcy, she had a daughter, Hawise, Lady of Okehampton, who married Renaud de Courtenay junior and by Robert she had a daughter Maud, who married as his second wife, Renaud de Courtenay senior.

Most people seem to have overlooked the footnote at the bottom of this chart concerning William de Curcy. "So called by his grandson, Robert de Courtenay, in a suit, Mich 6-7 Hen. III. In another suit, 6 Hen. III, his stepdaughter, Maud de Courtenay, had called him Geoffrey de Crunes [Craon]. (Bracton Note, Book, nos. 1569, 170)."

The records of the two court cases can be seen online here:

"Hawisia fuit filia Gaufridi de Crimes primi uiri Matillidis de Auerenches" F. W. Maitland, ed., Bracton's Notebook, Vol. 2 (1887) pp. 137-8, No. 170 http://www.archive.org/stream/notebook02bracuoft#page/138/mode/2up

"Willelmi de Curcy uiri eiusdem Matillidis" F. W. Maitland, ed., Bracton's Notebook, Vol. 3 (1887) pp. 450-2, No. 1569 http://www.archive.org/stream/notebook03bracuoft#page/450/mode/2up

CP seems to have changed one of his names from Geoffrey de Crimes, to Geoffrey de Crunes.

So far as I can see, these two court cases are the only evidence for the name of Maud d'Avranches' first husband. Since he is given two totally different names, how can CP be sure that his name was William de Curcy? Does anyone know of any other primary evidence that he was called William de Curcy?

Regards,

John

From: WJhonson@xxxxxxx Date: Sun, 19 Sep 2010 03:35:36 EDT In a message dated 9/17/2010 10:25:07 PM Pacific Daylight Time, watsonjohnm@xxxxxxxxx writes:

So far as I can see, these two court cases are the only evidence for the name of Maud d'Avranches' first husband. Since he is given two totally different names, how can CP be sure that his name was William de Curcy? Does anyone know of any other primary evidence that he was called William de Curcy?

On the contrary, Cawley cites Dugdale Dugdale Monasticon V, Ford Abbey, Devonshire I, p. 378.

Cawley states that she only had the two husbands I haven't checked Dugdale to see if this is actually in the source.

From: John Watson <watsonjohnm@xxxxxxxxx> Date: Sun, 19 Sep 2010 02:48:08 -0700 (PDT) On Sep 19, 2:35 pm, WJhon...@xxxxxxx wrote: In a message dated 9/17/2010 10:25:07 PM Pacific Daylight Time,

watsonjo...@xxxxxxxxx writes: <<So far as I can see, these two court cases are the only evidence for the name of Maud d'Avranches' first husband. Since he is given two totally different names, how can CP be sure that his name was William de Curcy? Does anyone know of any other primary evidence that he was called William de Curcy?>>

<On the contrary, Cawley cites Dugdale Dugdale Monasticon V, Ford Abbey, Devonshire I, p. 378.

Cawley states that she only had the two husbands I haven't checked Dugdale to see if this is actually in the source.>

Hi Will,

I have already had a look at the long account of the history of the foundation of Ford Abbey. My Latin isn't up to giving a full translation, but if I understand it correctly, it says that Maud, who they say was a daughter of Ranulf Avenel, had two husbands and the first one was called Robert de Aubrincis or Averinges [Avranches], by whom she had three daughters, Hawise, and two others who became nuns. She married secondly Robert son of Henry I, by whom she had a daughter called Maud. I don't think that we can exactly trust this record, when the monks have confused her father with her first husband.

As I said, a man of mystery, even his relatives don't seem to know what he was called, and the monks of Ford certainly didn't keep a record either.

Regards,

John

From: "Peter Stewart" <psssst@xxxxxxxxxxx> Date: Sun, 19 Sep 2010 19:41:01 +1000

<WJhonson@xxxxxxx> wrote in message news:mailman.293.1284881747.18752.gen-medieval@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx In a message dated 9/17/2010 10:25:07 PM Pacific Daylight Time, watsonjohnm@xxxxxxxxx writes:

<<So far as I can see, these two court cases are the only evidence for the name of Maud d'Avranches' first husband. Since he is given two totally different names, how can CP be sure that his name was William de Curcy? Does anyone know of any other primary evidence that he was called William de Curcy?>>

<On the contrary, Cawley cites Dugdale Dugdale Monasticon V, Ford Abbey, Devonshire I, p. 378.

Cawley states that she only had the two husbands I haven't checked Dugdale to see if this is actually in the source.>

Why not? It's available online at http://monasticmatrix.usc.edu/bibliographia/index.php?function=detail&id=2659.

If you had bothered to look for yourself, you would have discovered that Cawley's idea of an appropriate "source" is characteristically ignorant. This one is just another of those countless late and fanciful monastic histories that scarcely deserve to be mentioned, much less followed.

Note that it claims Maud d'Avranches was actually Maud Avenell, and that her first husband was neither of the two men variously named by her daughter and grandson but instead a fictitious "Robert of Avranches".

It also preposterously claims that Renaud de Courtenay was son of Florus, a son of King Louis le Gros. However, Louis VI's son named Florus was none other than Louis VII (baptised Louis Florus). Louis VI also had a half-brother named Florus, whose only child was Isabelle, dame of Nangis. The true parentage of Renaud de Courtenay is unknown.

In other words, Cawley's "source" is tainted.

Peter Stewart

From: John Watson <watsonjohnm@xxxxxxxxx> Date: Sun, 19 Sep 2010 04:29:46 -0700 (PDT)

There is actually one historical record which may be our man William de Curcy. In the Pipe Roll of 2 Henry II, (1156) a William de Curci, accounts for 16s. 9d. in Devonshire [1]. This is only a supposition, because this could be William de Curcy III of Stoke Curcy.

CP says that William de Curcy, the first husband of Maud d'Avranches was dead before 1162, and there is evidence that Maud was married to Robert son of the king as early as 1158.

1158 and 1164, Grant: Fellelega and Hiwetonam and Hwettestanam [? Whitestone] by military service of the Honour of Okehampton, and the land of Alward on Exe Island without the west gate of the City of Exeter "inre hereditario ad se hospitandum". Robert son of King Henry to Thomas son of Roger, Confirmed by Matilda de Abrinco, lady of Okehampton, the wife of Robert. Mark of Roger and Matilda [2].

There is also a charter of Henry II, which could show that Maud married Robert as early as 1156.

1156-63, Charter of Henry II. addressed generally. He notifies that the church of St. Peter of Sap, with the chapel of St. Martin, the tithes, men, lands and other appurtenances, and the entire tithes etc. etc. within the parish of St. Peter had been adjudged (recognita) to abbot Robert and the monks of St. Evroul … by twelve lawful knights and other men of the vicinage of Sap (de visneto Sappi), against his uncle Robert the king's son (filius regis), and Matildis his wife, who claimed it all as belonging to their lay fee, on St. Cecily's day [Nov. 22] at Rouen before Rotrou bishop of Evreux, then his justice for all Normandy; and as the abbot and monks had been unjustly troubled and disturbed, in the matter, repeatedly since, by Robert and Matildis, he has at length made a concord between them as follows: all the particulars mentioned above are to remain for ever the possession of the abbey in frankalmoin. And because at the time they had not their own seal, at their request and earnest entreaty, he confirms this agreement to the abbot and monks by his own seal, against all claims of Robert and Matildis his wife, and for this concession and concord Robert and Matildis have received in his presence two palfreys worth twenty pounds of Anjou, the property of the abbey. This peace and concord is to be faithfully observed by both parties [3].

Or possibly they were married even earlier, but I don't know if the dates attributed to this record are correct:

1119-1147, Matilda of Avranches, wife of Robert son of King Henry [I] to Philip de Hantons: Confirmation of the grant of Aylesbeare, and to his son the church of St. Michael, Alphington, both given to them by the said Robert [4].

Regards,

John

Sources: 1. Joseph Hunter, The Great Rolls of the Pipe for the Second, Third, and Fourth Years of the Reign of King Henry the Second (London: 1844) p. 47 2. A2A: Devon Record Office, Fortescue of Castle Hill [1262M/T/ 529-530] 3. 'Orne', Calendar of Documents Preserved in France: 918-1206 (1899), pp. 218-248 4. A2A: Duchy of Lancaster: Deeds, Series L, DL 25/1

From: "Peter Stewart" <psssst@xxxxxxxxxxx> Date: Sun, 19 Sep 2010 22:40:46 +1000

This charter was printed by Charles Haskins in 'The Early Norman Jury', _American Historical Review_ 8 (1903) p. 634 note 2. He noted (p. 633 note 4) that it "cannot be earlier than the election of Abbot Robert in 1159 or later than Henry's departure for England at the beginning of 1163". He also said that the text was "evidently somewhat corrupt". The charter was witnessed by Rotrou as bishop of Évreux - he became archbishop of Rouen after 11 November 1164.

Later Haskins concluded that the charter was false, as reported by Berger in _Recueil des actes de Henri II, roi d’Angleterre et duc de Normandie_, vol. 1 pp. 351-352 no. 214, noting some irregular usages and its similarity to a charter of Rotrou as archbishop of Rouen regarding the same matter in the same cartulary of Saint-Évroul.

Peter Stewart

From: John Watson <watsonjohnm@xxxxxxxxx> Date: Tue, 21 Sep 2010 01:36:46 -0700 (PDT) Just in case someone actually believes the flawed family history produced by the monks of Ford (and a few people do judging by some of the pedigrees out there on the internet), here is a record which clearly shows that Maud, wife of Robert son of Henry I was the daughter of Robert d'Avranches and an heir of Richard fitz Baldwin.

C[arta]. Rob'ti filii Henrici Regis per concessionem Mathildis, filiae Roberti de Avrenchis et heredis Ricardi filii Baldewini, dans totam vineam quam Rob'tus fil. Baldewini et Ricardus frater ejus Eccl. S. N. dederunt. Collectanea Topographica et Genealogica, Vol. 1 (London: 1834) p. 188, Charters in the Cartulary of St. Nicholas Priory, at Exeter, No. 151

Regards,

John

From: WJhonson@xxxxxxx Date: Tue, 21 Sep 2010 09:00:44 EDT

I don't have a person named Richard FitzBaldwin or Robert FitzBaldwin in my database, could he be hiding under another name?

Was their father that same Baldwin FitzGilbert who was Lord of Okehampton, Devon who I currently have as dying in 1090 but with no source cited. .

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

http://www.thepeerage.com/p24828.htm

William de Crucy1 M, #248273

Last Edited=23 Oct 2007

    William de Crucy married Matilda d'Avranches, Dame du Sap, daughter of Robert d'Avranches.1
    William de Crucy was also known as Geoffrey de Crunes.1

Child of William de Crucy and Matilda d'Avranches, Dame du Sap Hawise de Crucy, Lady of Okehampton+1 d. 31 Jul 1219

Citations [S37] Charles Mosley, editor, Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes (Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003), volume 1, page 1122. Hereinafter cited as Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition.

The following from:Medlands strongly suggests that William de Courcy did not marry Maud d'Avranche.

(Maud was widow of Robert d'Avranche not daughter)

http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/ENGLISHNOBILITYMEDIEVAL3.htm#WilliamCourcydiedbefore1130

WILLIAM [I] de Courcy [Curcy] (-[1114]). "Willelmus de Curceio regis dapifer" donated "villa…Niweham" to Abingdon monastery, with the advice of "fratris mei Roberti", confirmed by Henry I King of England[1060]. m as her second husband, EMMA de Falaise, widow of WILLIAM FitzHumphrey, daughter of WILLIAM de Falaise of Stogursey & his wife Geva de Burcy (-after 1129). The primary source which confirms her family origin and marriage has not yet been identified. The 1130 Pipe Roll records "Emme de Falesia" in Wiltshire[1061]. William & his wife had two children:

i) WILLIAM [II] de Courcy (-before 1130). "Willelmi filius eius Willelmus…de Curceio" (following the donation by "Willelmus de Curceio regis dapifer") confirmed the donation of "villa…Niweham" to Abingdon monastery, with the consent of "fratris mei Roberti"[1062]. m ([1125]) as her first husband, AVICE de Rumilly, daughter of WILLIAM FitzRanulf du Bessin, of Skipton-in-Craven & his wife Cecily de Rumilly (-[1179]). She married secondly as his second wife, William Paynell of Drax, and thirdly (before 1153) Walter de Percy. Military fee certifications in the Red Book of the Exchequer, in 1166, record that "Avicia mater Willelmi de Curcy" held two knights´ fees from "Roberti de Gant" in Yorkshire[1063]. William & his wife had one child:

(a) WILLIAM [III] de Courcy (-1171). Military fee certifications in the Red Book of the Exchequer, in 1166, record the knights´ fees held by "Willelmi de Curcy dapiferi" in Somerset "quam avus suus et pater suus tenuerunt"[1064]. "…Willelmo de Curci dapifero…" witnessed the charter dated to [1165/89] under which Henry II King of England confirmed concessions made to Bayeux abbey[1065]. The Red Book of the Exchequer records enfeoffments in the duchy of Normandy in [1172], "Willelmus de Curseio" with five knights "de honore de Curceio" and 33 knights in his own service[1066]. m as her second husband, GUNDRED de Warenne, widow of PETER de Valognes, daughter of RAINALD de Warenne & his wife Alice de Wormgay (-1224). She married thirdly Geoffroy Hose.

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William de Courcy, Okehampton's Timeline

1090
1090
Sussex Square, London, Middlesex, England
1134
1134
Age 44
Okehampton, Devon, , England
1135
1135
Age 45
Okehampton, Devonshire, England
1137
1137
Age 47
Okehampton, Devonshire, England
1171
1171
Age 81
Okehampton Castle, Devon, , England
1946
January 14, 1946
Age 81
1996
April 2, 1996
Age 81
1997
August 30, 1997
Age 81
????
????