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Anglo-Norman families: Earls of Chester

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  • Hugh "Lupus" d'Avranches, 1st Earl of Chester (1047 - 1101)
    Hugh "Lupus" d'Avranches, 1st Earl of Chester, Vicomte d'Avranches Grandson of William the Conqueror. B: abt 1047 Normandy, France D: 27 Jul 1101 St. Werburg's Abbey, Cheshire, England Many membe...
  • Richard le Goz, Viscount of Avranches (1025 - 1066)
    Richard 'le Goz', Vicomte d'Avranches Parents: Toustain le Goz and Judith Montanolier (or Monteroulier) Spouse: Emma (perhaps de Conteville, parentage unknown) Children: Hugues d'Avranches 'L...
  • Maud (Margaret) d'Avranches (c.1054 - c.1089)
    Margaret d' AVRANCHES [Parents] 1, 2, 3, 4 was born 1054 in Avranches, Manche, Basse-Normandie, France. She married Ranulph II de BAYEUX Vicomte de Bayeux on 1074 in Bayeux, Calvados, France. They ha...
  • Ranulph III "de Briquessart" le Meschin, Earl of Chester (1070 - 1129)
    Ranulph III "le Briquessart" de Bayeux, Earl of Chester (1121-1129: First Earl, Second creation) and Vicomte de Bayeux also known as Ranulph "le Meschin"' The following is from the biography on Che...
  • Ranulf de Gernon, 2nd Earl of Chester (1099 - 1153)
    Ranulph de Gernon (1128-1153: Second Earl, Second Creation - changed sides in the Stephen/Matilda War) from ChesterWiki: Summary Apparently pious early in his life, the loss of lands to the Scots...

The Earldom of Chester in England, was an important title and powerful position in medieval Norman England, and the families connected to the Earls were quite influential in the social and political system of the time.

According to Wikipedia:

Earl of Chester

The Earldom of Chester was one of the most powerful earldoms in medieval England. Since 1301 the title has generally been given to heirs-apparent to the English throne, and from the late 14th century it has been given only in conjunction with that of Prince of Wales.

Traditional power base

Cheshire belonged to the powerful Earls of Chester from the late eleventh century, and they held land all over England called 'the honour of Chester'. By the late twelfth century they had established a position of power as rulers of Cheshire which formed the basis of the later notion of the 'county palatine'.

Royal title

The earldom reverted to the Crown in 1237 on the death of John the Scot, Earl of Huntingdon, seventh and last of the Earls. It was annexed to the Crown in 1246. King Henry III then passed the Lordship of Chester, but not the title of Earl, to his son the Lord Edward in 1254; as King Edward I he in turn conferred the title and the lands of the Earldom on his son, Edward, the first English Prince of Wales. By that time the Earldom of Chester consisted of two counties: Cheshire and Flintshire. The establishment of royal control at Chester made possible King Edward I's conquest of north Wales, and Chester played a vital part as a supply base during the Welsh Wars (1275–84), so the separate organisation of a county palatine was preserved. This continued until the time of King Henry VIII. Since 1301 the Earldom of Chester has always been conferred on the Princes of Wales. Briefly promoted to a principality in 1398 by King Richard II, it was reduced to an earldom again in 1399 by King Henry IV. Whereas the Sovereign's eldest son is born Duke of Cornwall he must be made or created Earl of Chester (and Prince of Wales; see the Prince Henry's Charter Case (1611) 1 Bulst 133; 80 ER 827). Prince Charles was created Earl of Chester on 26 July 1958, when he was also made Prince of Wales.

The independent palatinate jurisdiction of Chester survived until the time of King Henry VIII (1536), when the earldom was brought under the control of the Crown. The palatinate courts of Great Sessions and Exchequer survived until the reforms of 1830.

The importance of the Royal County of Chester is shown by the survival of Chester Herald, in the College of Arms, for some six hundred years. The office, currently held by Timothy Hugh Stewart Duke, has anciently been nominally under the jurisdiction of Norroy King of Arms.

List of the Earls of Chester

First Creation (1066?)

  • Gerbod the Fleming, 1st Earl of Chester

Second Creation (1071)

(dates above are approximates)

Third Creation (1254)

Edward, Lord of Chester, but without the title of earl (1239–1307) (became King in 1272)

Fourth Creation (1264)

  • Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, 1st Earl of Chester (1208–1265) (forfeit 1265)

(There is no evidence that Alphonso, elder son of Edward I, was created earl of Chester, although he was styled as such)

Fifth Creation (1301)

  • Edward of Caernarvon, Earl of Chester (1284–1327) (became King Edward II in 1307)

Sixth Creation (1312)

  • Edward Plantagenet, Earl of Chester (1312–1377) (became King Edward III in 1327)

Thereafter, the Earldom of Chester was created in conjunction with the Principality of Wales.

[edit]Other uses

Earl of Chester was one of the GWR 3031 Class locomotives that were built for and run on the Great Western Railway between 1891 and 1915.

Sources

BE Harris, "Administrative History" in CR Elrington (ed), The Victoria County History of Chester (University of London Institute of Historical Research, London, 1979) vol II 1-97

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The following overview is written by Charles Cawley and excerpted, with some reformatting, from the FMG Medieval Lands database:

CHESTER


William I King of England granted the city of Chester and large areas surrounding it to Gerbod, avoué of the abbey of St Bertin in Flanders, in early 1070. According to Orderic Vitalis, Gerbod was "continually molested by the English and Welsh alike"[8]. He returned to Flanders where he fought and was captured at the battle of Cassel 22 Feb 1071[9]. The king must have considered this grant thereby forfeited or otherwise ineffective, as he granted the city and county of Chester to Hugues d'Avranches in 1071.

Cheshire is described as a "County Palatine" but it is unclear what practical difference this made to its constitution or administration.

On the death of Ranulf "de Blundeville" Earl of Chester in 1232, King Henry III appointed John "le Scot", son of David of Scotland Earl of Huntingdon, as Earl of Chester. After his death in 1237, the earldom remained vacant until King Henry created his son Edward (later King Edward I) Earl of Chester in 1254.

The earldom was held briefly by Simon de Montfort Earl of Leicester in 1265, but after his death at the battle of Evesham 4 Aug 1265 King Henry III annexed the earldom of Chester to the crown.

Since then, the title Earl of Chester has been one of the titles granted to the eldest son of the monarch until the present time.


A. EARL of CHESTER 1070-1071


Brother and sister, parents not known. As noted below, one charter suggests that Gundred´s mother was Mathilde de Flandre, wife of William I King of England, by an earlier husband who is not otherwise recorded, but this information is dubious as discussed further below:


1. GERBOD (-after 22 Feb 1071). William I King of England granted the city of Chester and large areas surrounding it to Gerbod, avoué of the abbey of St Bertin in Flanders, in early 1070, whereby he is considered to have been created Earl [of Chester]. According to Orderic Vitalis, Gerbod was "continually molested by the English and Welsh alike"[10]. He returned to Flanders where he fought and was captured at the battle of Cassel 22 Feb 1071[11].

2. GUNDRED (-Castle Acre, Norfolk 27 May 1085, bur Lewes Priory). Her marriage is recorded by Orderic Vitalis who also specifies that she was Gerbod´s sister[12]. "Willelmus de Warenna…Surreie comes [et] Gundrada uxor mea" founded Lewes Priory as a cell of Cluny by charter dated 1080[13]. This charter also names "domine mee Matildis regine, matris uxoris mee", specifying that the Queen gave "mansionem quoque Carlentonam nomine" to Gundred. It is presumably on this basis that some secondary works claim, it appears incorrectly, that Gundred was the daughter of William I King of England. Weir asserts that the charter in question "has been proved spurious"[14], although it is not certain what other elements in the text indicate that this is likely to be the case. Assuming the charter is genuine, it is presumably possible that "matris" was intended in the context to indicate a quasi-maternal relationship, such as foster-mother or godmother. The same relationship is referred to in the charter dated to [1080/86] under which William I King of England donated property in Norfolk to Lewes priory, for the souls of “…Gulielmi de Warenna et uxoris suæ Gundfredæ filiæ meæ”[15]. Gundred died in childbirth.

m (1070) as his first wife, WILLIAM de Warenne, son of RODULF [Raoul] de Warenne & his first wife Beatrix --- (-Lewes 24 Jun 1088, bur Lewes Priory). He was created Earl of Surrey in [late Apr] 1088[16], although he and his immediate successors usually styled themselves "Earl de Warenne".


B. EARLS of CHESTER 1071-1120 (AVRANCHES)


HUGUES d'Avranches "Lupus", son of RICHARD "le Goz" Vicomte d'Avranches & his wife Emma [de Conteville] ([1047]-St Werburg's Abbey, Chester 27 Jul 1101[17]).

  • He is named as son of Richard "le Goz" by Orderic Vitalis[18]. A manuscript relating to St Werburgh´s Chester records that “Hugo Lupus filius ducis Britanniæ et nepos Gulielmi magni ex sorore” transformed the foundation into a monastery[19]. This suggests that the mother of Hugues may have been a uterine sister of King William, and therefore daughter of Herluin de Conteville. However, no indication has been in other primary sources which supports the contention that Hugues was the son of a duke of Brittany. It is assumed therefore that both lines of his parentage have been romanticised in this document to improve his status and reputation.
  • Robert of Torigny's De Immutatione Ordinis Monachorum records that "Hugo vicecomitis Abrincatensis postea…comes Cestrensis" founded "abbatiam Sancti Severi in Constantinensi episcopatu"[20].
  • The Brevis Relatio de Origine Willelmi Conquestoris records that "Hugone postea comite de Cestria" contributed 60 ships towards the invasion of England in 1066[21].
  • Orderic Vitalis records that William I King of England granted Hugues the whole of the county palatine of Chester[22] in 1071, whereby he is considered to have become Earl [of Chester] (as shown below, some primary sources do indicate the territorial attribution although it is unclear whether any of these documents were strictly contemporary). He succeeded his father in [1082] as Vicomte d'Avranches.
  • An undated charter records the grant of pasturage rights "ad castrum Claromontis, Credulii, Gornaci, Lusarchiarum" to Saint-Leu d´Esserant by "Hugo comes Cestrensis" and "Hugo Claromontensis et Margarita uxor eius", later confirmed by "Rainaldus comes" with the consent of "uxore eius Clementia et filiis eius Guidone et Rainaldo"[23]. Florence of Worcester records that, in 1098, he and Hugh de Montgommery Earl of Shrewsbury led troops into Anglesey where they mutilated or massacred many of the inhabitants of the island[24].
  • "…Hugonis comitis…" subscribed a charter dated 14 Sep 1101 under which Henry I King of England donated property to Bath St Peter[25]. He founded the abbeys of Saint-Sever in Normandy and St Werburg in Chester, becoming a monk at the latter four days before he died[26].
  • Orderic Vitalis states that Hugues was "a slave to gluttony, he staggered under a mountain of fat" and was "given over to carnal lusts and had a numerous progeny of sons and daughters by his concubines"[27].
  • The Annales Cambriæ record the death in 1101 of "Hugo comes Crassus urbis Legionum"[28]. A manuscript narrating the descent of Hugh Earl of Chester to Alice Ctss of Lincoln records the death “VI Kal Aug” of “Hugo primus comes Cestriæ”[29].

m ([1093]) ERMENTRUDE de Clermont, daughter of HUGUES de Clermont [en-Beauvaisis] dit de Mouchy & his wife Marguerite de Roucy [Montdidier]. She is named as the wife of Hugues by Orderic Vitalis, who also records her parentage[30]. The Genealogiæ Scriptoris Fusniacensis refers to a sister of "comes Rainaldus" as husband of "comiti Hugoni de Cestre"[31].

Earl Hugh & his wife had one child:

1. RICHARD d'Avranches ([1093]-drowned off Barfleur, Normandy 25 Nov 1120). A manuscript narrating the descent of Hugh Earl of Chester to Alice Ctss of Lincoln records that “Richardus filius eius” was “puer septem annorum” when he succeeded “Hugo primus comes Cestriæ”[32]. He is named as the only son and heir of Hugues and Ermentrude by Orderic Vitalis[33]. He succeeded his father in 1101 as Earl of Chester and Vicomte d'Avranches. William of Malmesbury records that Richard drowned with his wife following the sinking of the “Blanche Nef [White Ship]”[34]. The Continuator of Florence of Worcester names "…Ricardus comes Cestrensis, Otthuel frater eius…" among those drowned in the sinking of the White Ship[35].

m (1115) MATHILDE de Blois, daughter of ETIENNE II Comte de Blois & his wife Adela de Normandie (-drowned off Barfleur, Normandy 25 Nov 1120). Her parentage and marriage are recorded by Orderic Vitalis[36]. William of Malmesbury records that she drowned with her husband following the sinking of the “Blanche Nef [White Ship]”[37]. The Continuator of Florence of Worcester names "…neptis regis Comitissa de Cestria" among those drowned in the sinking of the White Ship[38].

Earl Hugh had three illegitimate children by unknown mistresses:

2. OTTIWELL [Otuel] (-drowned off Barfleur, Normandy 25 Nov 1120). He was tutor to the children of Henry I King of England. "…Otuero filio comitis…" witnessed the charter dated 1114 under which Henry I King of England granted the land of Roger de Worcester to Walter de Beauchamp[39]. His parentage is confirmed more precisely by the Continuator of Florence of Worcester who names "…Ricardus comes Cestrensis, Otthuel frater eius…" among those drowned in the sinking of the White Ship[40]. [m ([1116/19], as her second husband, MARGUERITE, widow of WILLIAM de Mandeville, daughter and heiress of EUDO de Rie, dapifer, of Colchester, Essex & his wife Rohese ---. The Genealogia Fundatoris of Tintern Abbey, Monmouthshire names “Margareta” as daughter of “Eudoni dapifero Regis Normanniæ”, adding that she married “Willielmo de Mandavill” by whom she was mother of “Gaufridi filii comitis Essexiæ et iure matris Normanniæ dapifer”[41]. According to the Complete Peerage, this genealogy is “probably erroneous” but it does not explain the basis for the doubts[42]. Her second marriage is suggested by a charter dated [1141/42], under which Empress Matilda made various grants of property including a grant to "Willelmo filio Otuel fratri…Comitis Gaufredi" (identified as Geoffrey de Mandeville Earl of Essex)[43]. The only contemporary "Otuel" so far identified is the illegitimate son of Hugh Earl of Chester.] Otuel & his wife had [one] child:

a) [WILLIAM FitzOtuel ([1120]-after [1166/75]). Empress Matilda made various grants of property including a grant to "Willelmo filio Otuel fratri…Comitis Gaufredi" (identified as Geoffrey de Mandeville Earl of Essex)[44]. It is not certain that "Otuel" was the same person as the illegitimate son of Earl Hugh, although as noted above no other person of this name has yet been identified. The co-identification appears confirmed by the following two charters. "Hugo comes Cestrie" confirmed a donation of land in Thoresby donated by "Willelmus filius Othuer" to Greenfield priory, Lincolnshire, for the soul of "patris mei Randulfi", by charter dated to [1155] witnessed by "Matilla matre sua…"[45]. "Willelmus comes de Essex" confirmed a donation of land in Aby and South Thoresby donated by "Willelmus filius Otueli avunculus meus" to Greenfield priory, Lincolnshire by charter dated to [1166/75] witnessed by "Simone de Bello Campo…"[46]. "…Willelmo filio Otueri, Rannulfo de Seis, Ingeramo Bagot…" witnessed the charter dated to the reign of King Henry II under which "Matildis de Stafford" granted land in Theddlethorpe, Lincolnshire to "Matildi filie Roberti filii Gilberti filiole mee", with the consent of "Johannis filii mei et Radulfi nepotis mei"[47].]

3. ROBERT (-after 1102). He was recorded as the son of Hugh Earl of Chester by Orderic Vitalis, who specifies that he was a monk at the abbey of Saint-Evroul , Normandy[48]. He was appointed Abbot of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk in 1100 by Henry I King of England, but deposed in 1102 by Anselm Archbishop of Canterbury at the Council of London[49].

4. GEVA . “Geva, filia Hugonis comitis Cestriæ, uxor Galfridi Ridelli” founded Canwell priory, with the consent of “Ranulfi comitis Cestriæ cognate mei…hæredum meorum…Gaufridi Ridelli et Radulfi Basset”, by undated charter[50]. m GEOFFREY Ridel, son of --- (-drowned off Barfleur, Normandy 25 Nov 1120). He was granted Drayton Basset in Staffordshire. Orderic Vitalis records that Geoffrey Riddell drowned in the sinking of the White Ship[51].


C. EARLS of CHESTER 1120-1232 (family of RANULF "le Meschin")


RANULF du Bessin "le Meschin", son of RANULF Vicomte du Bessin [Bayeux] & his wife Marguerite [Matilda] d'Avranches (-17 or 27 Jan 1129, bur Chester, Abbey of St Werburgh).

  • Orderic Vitalis names him and his mother[52]. "…Rannulfus filius Rannulfi vicecomitis…Rannulfus vicecomes" witnessed the charter dated 24 Apr 1089 under which Robert III Duke of Normandy donated property to Bayeux cathedral[53].
  • A charter of King Henry II records donations to York St Mary, including the donation of “ecclesias de Apelby…sancti Michaelis et sancti Laurentii” by “Radulfus Meschin”[54]. He was awarded the lordship of Carlisle by Henry I King of England[55].
  • He succeeded his father as Vicomte du Bessin [Bayeux].
  • “R de Meschin, Richerio vicecomiti Karleoli” donated property to Wetherall priory, Cumberland, for the soul of “…Richard fratris mei…et uxoris meæ Luciæ…”, by undated charter, witnessed by “Osberto vicecomite, Walteof filio Cospatricii comitis, Forno Sigulfi filio, Chetello Ectredi filio…”[56].
  • “Ranulfus Meschines” donated property to Wetherall priory, Cumberland, by undated charter, witnessed by “uxore mea Lucia, Willielmo fratre meo…”[57].
  • He was appointed Vicomte d'Avranches in 1120 after the death of his first cousin Richard d'Avranches, and also obtained the grant of the county palatine of Chester thereby becoming Earl of Chester (upon which he surrendered the lordship of Carlisle).
  • He was commander of the royal forces in Normandy in 1124[58].
  • A manuscript narrating the descent of Hugh Earl of Chester to Alice Ctss of Lincoln records the death “VI Kal Feb” of “Ranulfus de Meschines” and his burial at St Werburgh´s, Chester[59].

m ([1098]) as her third husband, LUCY [Thoroldsdottir of Lincoln], widow firstly of IVO Taillebois Lord of Kendal and secondly of ROGER FitzGerold, daughter of --- & his wife [--- Malet] (-1138[60]).

  • Ingulph's Chronicle of the Abbey of Croyland records that William I King of England arranged the marriage of "Ivo Taillebois" and "Lucia sister of Edwin and Morcar", her dowry consisting of their land at Hoyland[61], but this parentage appears impossible from a chronological point of view.
  • Peter of Blois's Continuation of the Chronicle of the Abbey of Croyland records the death of Ivo and his burial at the priory of Spalding, and the remarriage of his widow "hardly had one month elapsed after his death" with "Roger de Romar the son Gerald de Romar"[62].
  • A manuscript recording the foundation of Spalding monastery records that “Yvo Talboys” married "Thoroldo…hærede Lucia" who, after the death of Ivo, married (in turn) "Rogerum filium Geroldi" and "comitem Cestriæ Ranulphum"[63].
  • She is named as wife of Ranulf by Orderic Vitalis, who also names her first husband, but does not state her origin[64].
  • The 1130 Pipe Roll records "Lucia comitissa Cestr…tra patis sui" in Lincolnshire[65]. According to a charter of Henri Duke of Normandy (later Henry II King of England) issued in favour of her son Ranulf Earl of Chester dated 1153, Ctss Lucy was the niece of Robert Malet of Eye and of Alan of Lincoln, as well as kinswoman of Thorold "the Sheriff"[66].

Earl Ranulf & his wife had four children:

1. RANULF "de Gernon" (Château de Gernon, Normandy before 1100-[murdered] 16 Dec 1153, bur Chester, Abbey of St Werburgh). His parentage is recorded by Orderic Vitalis[67]. He succeeded his father in [1129] as Earl of Chester, Vicomte d'Avranches. - see below.

2. WILLIAM FitzRanulf Meschin (-[1130/35][68]). “Willielmus filius Randulfi” donated property to the priory of St Bee, Cumberland by undated charter[69]. He was given the barony of Egremont, Cumberland by King Henry I[70]. A charter of King Henry II records donations to York St Mary, including the donation of land “in Chirkbibeceoch…et ecclesiam S. Begæ” by “Willielmus Meschin” and "villam de Ananderdale et…terræ in Egermond" by "Radulphus filius eius"[71]. Lord of Skipton-in-Craven, de iure uxoris. “Willielmus filius Ranulphi” confirmed the foundation of St Bee´s priory, Cumberland by undated charter, dated to [1105/20], which refers to donations by himself and “uxoris meæ Ceciliæ…concessione Ranulphi filii mei”[72]. “Willielmus de Meschines et Cecilia uxor mea” founded Bolton Priory by undated charter[73]. The Testa de Nevill includes a writ of King John dated 1212 which records "Ricardus de Lucy" holding "Coupland" in Cumberland, adding that King Henry I had first granted it to "Willelmo Messchin antecessori predicti Ricardi"[74]. m as her first husband, CECILY de Rumilly, daughter and heiress of ROBERT de Rumilly [Romilly] of Skipton & his wife ---. “Willielmus de Meschines et Cecilia uxor mea” founded Bolton Priory by undated charter[75]. “Cecilia de Romeli” donated property to Bolton Priory by undated charter which names “gener meus Willielmus nepos regis Scotiæ Duncani”[76]. “Willielmus filius Ranulphi” confirmed the foundation of St Bee´s priory, Cumberland by undated charter, dated to [1105/20], which refers to donations by himself and “uxoris meæ Ceciliæ…concessione Ranulphi filii mei”[77]. She married secondly[78], as his second wife, Henry de Tracy of Barnstaple. William & his wife had five children:

a) RANULF de Rumilly (-[1135/40]). “Willielmus filius Ranulphi” confirmed the foundation of St Bee´s priory, Cumberland by undated charter, dated to [1105/20], which refers to donations by himself and “uxoris meæ Ceciliæ…concessione Ranulphi filii mei”[79]. “Ranulphus Meschinus, filius Willielmi, filii Ranulphi” confirmed donations of property to the priory of St Bee, Cumberland, on the advice of “Fulconis avunculi mei…”, by undated charter[80]. He succeeded his father, but on his death soon after was succeeded by his sisters as co-heiresses[81]. A charter of King Henry II records donations to York St Mary, including the donation of land “in Chirkbibeceoch…et ecclesiam S. Begæ” by “Willielmus Meschin” and "villam de Ananderdale et…terræ in Egermond" by "Radulphus filius eius"[82].


b) MATTHEW de Rumilly (-[after 1141/42]). Empress Matilda made various grants of property by charter dated to [1141/42] including a grant to "Matheus de Rumilli" of "terram patris sui quam Gaufridus de Turevill tenet"[83]. The primary source which confirms his parentage more precisely has not yet been identified.


c) ALICE de Rumilly . A manuscript genealogy of William de Forz Comte d´Aumâle names “Aliciam de Rumeleya” as daughter of “Willielmus de Mechines primus hæres de Sciptun in Craven”, adding that she married “Willielmo filio Duncan” and was buried “apud Fontes”[84]. A different version of her parentage is provided by the Cronicon Cumbriæ which records that “Willielmus”, son of “Doncani comes de Murrayse”, married “Aliciam filiam Roberti de Romeney, domini de Skipton in Craven” and his wife “filiam Willielmi de Meschinis domini de Coupland”[85]. Lady of Skipton. “Willielmus filius Dunecani nepos regis Scotiæ…et Aeliz de Rumeili uxor mea” confirmed donations of property to Bolton Priory by undated charter[86]. “Aaliz de Rumelli” donated property to Pontefract Priory, with the consent of “Willielmi filii mei”, for the soul of “domini mei Willielmi filii Dunecani”, by undated charter[87]. Dugdale summarises donations to Southwark priory, including the donation of “cheese at Badleking in the manor of Kingston Lisle in Berkshire” made by "Alexander Fitzgerald" and confirmed by "Alice de Rumeley, wife of Alexander"[88]. m firstly (1138) [as his second wife,] WILLIAM FitzDuncan, son of DUNCAN II King of Scotland & his wife Ethelreda of Northumberland ([1091/94]-[1153/54]). m secondly ALEXANDER FitzGerold, son of ROBERT FitzGerold & Alice his wife --- (-1178).


d) MATILDA de Rumilly (-after 1189[89]). “Philippus de Belmeis” founded Lilleshall Abbey, Shropshire by undated charter, witnessed by “Philippus filius Philippi de Belmis…domina Matilda filia Willielmi Meschin uxor prædicti Philippi de Belmis…”[90]. The Complete Peerage explains the the documents which confirm her parentage and second marriage[91]: including (1) pleadings in a suit concerning land at Kimbolton, Hampshire, and in a suit dated Jan 1282 in the Chester County Court, which both name Roger de Mortimer as son and heir of "Maud la Meschine"[92]; (2) Roger Mortimer´s grant of rents in Bisley given to him by "his brothers Philip and Ranulph de Belmeis"[93]; (3) the charter of Philip de Belmeis, her first husband, quoted above. m firstly PHILIP de Belmeis of Tong, Shropshire, son of [94]WALTER de Belmeis & his wife --- (-1154 or before). m secondly HUGH [II] de Mortimer, son of RALPH [I] de Mortimer & his [second/third wife Mabel ---/---] (-Cleobury [26 Feb] [1180/81], bur Wigmore).


e) AVICE de Rumilly (-[1179][95]). “Amicia filia Cecilie de Rumilli” confirmed donations to the canons of St Mary, for the soul of “Willelmi de Curci filii mei”, by charter dated to [1138/50], witnessed by “Willelmo de Curci filio meo…”[96]. An undated manuscript relating to Croxton Abbey, Leicestershire records that “Avicia de Romely domina de Bescaudeby” married ”Willielmum Paynel”, and had “filium Willielmum de Curci et filiam Aliciam”[97]. “Avicia de Romelli” notified her donation to the canons of Drax, for the soul of “Willelmi Paganelli mariti mei”, with the consent of “domini Roberti de Gant et Adelicie filie mee uxoris eiusdem Roberti”, by charter dated to [1147/52], witnessed by “Robertus de Gant et Adelicia Paganella uxor eius et Adelicia soror Roberti de Gant…”[98]. The primary source which confirms her third marriage has not yet been identified. 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[99]. m firstly ([1125]) WILLIAM de Courcy, son of WILLIAM de Courcy [Curcy] & his wife Emma de Falaise (-before 1130). m secondly WILLIAM Paynell of Drax, son of RALPH Paynell & his [first wife ---] (-[1147]). [100]m thirdly (before 1153) WALTER de Percy, son of ALAN de Percy & his wife Emma de Gand .


3. AGNES ([1098/1105][101]-bur Saint-Evroul[102]). "Agnes" is named as first wife of Robert de Grantmesnil by Orderic Vitalis, who also names her father[103]. m as his first wife, ROBERT de Grantmesnil, son of HUGUES de Grantmesnil & his wife Adelisa [Aelis] de Beaumont-sur-Oise (-1 Jun [1136], bur Saint-Evroul).

4. ALICE (-after 1139). Guillaume de Jumièges records that Richard married "la sœur de Ranulfe le jeune comte de Chester"[104]. The History of Gloucester St Peter records the confirmation by "Ranulphus comes Cestriæ" of the donation of "molendinum de Taddewelle" by "Alicia soror eius" for the soul of "Ricardi filii Gilberti viri sui" (undated)[105]. “Rics filius Gilebi” donated lands in Hawkedon, Suffolk to the abbey of St Edmunds, with the consent of “Rogs…filius me…et coiux mea Xpiana”, by undated charter[106]. This charter is attributed to Richard FitzGilbert in Collectanea Topographica et Genealogica and dated to 1154, which must be incorrect in view of Richard´s recorded death in 1136. The reference to his wife´s name as Christiana cannot be explained. It does not appear that Richard married twice, assuming that the sources quoted here are accurate. The extract from the History of Gloucester St Peter suggests that his wife “Alice of Chester” survived her husband, while the St Edmunds charter shows that “Christiana” was alive after Richard´s son Roger was old enough to consent to the donation. She was rescued from the Welsh by Miles of Gloucester[107]. A charter of Henry Duke of Normandy dated [1153/early Apr 1154] relates to donations to Gloucester by "Ranulphi comitis Cestrie…[et] Alis sororis eiusdem comitis" for the soul of "Ricardi filii Gilberti viri sui""[108]. It is not clear from the document how long before the date of the charter these donations were made. m [firstly] RICHARD FitzGilbert de Clare, son of GILBERT FitzRichard Lord of Clare & his wife Adelais de Roucy (-killed in battle near Abergavenny 15 Apr 1136, bur Gloucester). 109]Maybe m secondly ROGER de Condé [Cundet], son of --- (-10 Oct [1139/45]).]

Earl Ranulf had [one possibly illegitimate daughter] by an unknown mistress: 5. [daughter .] m --- Bacon du Molay. One child:

a) RICHARD Bacon (-[after 1142/43]). “Ric. Bacun” founded Rocester Priory, for the soul of “Ranulphi comitis Cestriæ avunculi mei”, by undated charter witnessed by “Hugone Eac…”[110].


RANULF "de Gernon", son of RANULF Vicomte du Bessin "le Meschin" & his wife Lucy --- (Château de Gernon, Normandy before 1100-[murdered] 16 Dec 1153, bur Chester, Abbey of St Werburgh).

  • His parentage is recorded by Orderic Vitalis[111].
  • He succeeded his father in [1129] as Earl of Chester, Vicomte d'Avranches.
  • Stephen King of England appointed him Constable of Lincoln.
  • Earl Ranulf fought against King Stephen at Lincoln in 1141 and was seized by the king at court in Northampton 29 Aug 1146.
  • King Stephen nevertheless granted him the castle and city of Lincoln, probably after 1151.
  • Robert of Torigny records the death in 1153 of "Ranulfus comes Cestriæ"[112].
  • The Annales Cambriæ record the death in 1154 of "Radulphus comes Urbis Legionum"[113].
  • A manuscript narrating the descent of Hugh Earl of Chester to Alice Ctss of Lincoln records the death “XVI Kal Jan” of “Ranulfus de Gernons” and his burial at St Werburgh´s, Chester[114].
  • It was alleged that he was poisoned by his wife and by William Peverell of Nottingham[115].
  • Ralph de Diceto records that "Willelmus Peverel de Notingeham" was disinherited in 1155 for poisoning "Ranulfo comiti Cestriæ"[116].

m ([1141]) MATILDA of Gloucester, daughter of ROBERT FitzRoy Earl of Gloucester & his wife Mabel [Matilda or Sibylle] FitzRobert (-29 Jul 1190). Robert of Torigny refers to the wife of "Ranulfus comes Cestriæ" as "filia Roberti comitis Gloecestriæ"[117]. The Rotuli de Dominabus of 1185 records property “Wadinton de feodo comitis Cestrie” held by “Matillis comitissa Cestrie…filia Roberti comitis Gloecestrie, filii regis Henrici primi”[118]. It was alleged that she and William Peverell of Nottingham poisoned her husband[119]. "Hugo comes Cestrie" confirmed a donation of land in Thoresby donated by "Willelmus filius Othuer" to Greenfield priory, Lincolnshire, for the soul of "patris mei Randulfi", by charter dated to [1155] witnessed by "Matilla matre sua…"[120]. The Annals of Tewkesbury record the death “IV Kal Aug” in 1190 of “Matildis comitissa Cestria”[121].

Earl Ranulf & his wife had two children:

1. HUGH "of Kevelioc" (Kevelioc, co. Monmouth 1147-Leek, Staffordshire 30 Jun 1181, bur Chester, Abbey of St Werburgh).

  • Robert of Torigny names "Hugonem filium suum" as successor of "Ranulfus comes Cestriæ"[122].
  • He succeeded his father in 1153 as Earl of Chester, Vicomte d'Avranches, as a minor coming of age in 1158.
  • "Hugo comes Cestrie" confirmed a donation of land in Thoresby donated by "Willelmus filius Othuer" to Greenfield priory, Lincolnshire, for the soul of "patris mei Randulfi", by charter dated to [1155] witnessed by "Matilla matre sua…"[123].
  • He joined the rebellion of Henry "the Young King" against Henry II King of England and was taken prisoner at Alnwick 13 Jul 1174.
  • He was deprived of the earldom but restored in Jan 1177[124].
  • A manuscript narrating the descent of Hugh Earl of Chester to Alice Ctss of Lincoln records the death “II Kal Jul” of “Hugo”, son of “Ranulfus de Gernons”, and his burial at St Werburgh´s, Chester[125].

m (1169) BERTRADE de Montfort, daughter of SIMON de Montfort Comte d'Evreux & his wife Mahaut --- ([1155]-1227). Robert of Torigny records the marriage arranged by Henry II King of England in 1170 of "Hugoni comiti Cestriæ cognate suo" and "filiam comitis Ebroicensis cognatam suam ex parte patris sui"[126]. The Rotuli de Dominabus of 1185 records property “Beltesford et Hemmingebi et Dunintone” held by “Bertia comitissa, filia comitis de Evereros, uxor Hugonis comitis Cestrie”[127]. The Annals of Burton record the death in 1227 of “Bertrudis comitissa Cestriæ”[128].

Earl Hugh & his wife had five children:

a) MATILDA [Matilda] (1171-6 Jan 1233). The Annales Londonienses record that "Ranulphus comes Cestriæ" had four sisters, of whom "primogenita…Matilda" married "comiti David"[129]. Benedict of Peterborough records the marriage in 1190 of "David frater Willelmi regis Scotiæ" and "sororem Ranulfi comitem Cestriæ"[130]. "Comes David frater regis Scottorum" founded Lindores Abbey, for the souls of "…Matilde comitisse sponse mee et…David filii mei", by undated charter (dated to before 1203 from the names of the subscribers)[131]. The Testa de Nevill includes a writ of King John dated 1212 which records that "comes Cestrie" gave land "in Forthington et in Ulesbi" in Lincolnshire to "comiti Davidi in maritagium cum sorore ipsius comitis"[132]. m (26 Aug 1190[133]) DAVID of Scotland Earl of Huntingdon, son of HENRY of Scotland, Earl of Huntingdon and Northumberland & his wife Ada de Warenne ([1144]-Yardley, Northants 17 Jun 1219, bur Sawtrey Abbey, Hunts).

b) RANULF "de Blundeville"[134] (Oswestry, Powys [1172]-Wallingford 28 Oct 1232, bur 3 Nov 1232 Chester, Abbey of St Werburgh).

  • A manuscript narrating the descent of Hugh Earl of Chester to Alice Ctss of Lincoln records that “Ranulfus filius eius” succeeded on the death of “Hugo”, son of “Ranulfus de Gernons”[135].
  • He succeeded his father in 1181 as Earl of Chester, Vicomte d'Avranches.
  • Earl of Richmond, Duke of Brittany from 1189, de iure uxoris, until his divorce in 1199.
  • He supported John King of England against the rebellious barons in 1215. He was created Earl of Lincoln 23 May 1217-1231.
  • He left on crusade in May 1218 and fought at the siege of Damietta in 1219.
  • He resigned the earldom of Lincoln [Apr 1231/1232] in favour of his sister Hawise[136].
  • A manuscript narrating the descent of Hugh Earl of Chester to Alice Ctss of Lincoln records the death “VII Kal Nov” of “Ranulfus” and his burial at St Werburgh´s, Chester[137].
  • The Annals of Dunstable record that “Ranulfus comes Cestriæ” died in 1232[138]. The Annals of Tewkesbury record the death “VII Kal Nov apud Walingeford” in 1232 of “Randulfus comes Cestriæ” and his burial “apud Cestriam”[139].

m firstly (3 Feb 1188, divorced 1199) as her second husband, CONSTANCE Dss of Brittany, widow of GEOFFREY of England Duke of Brittany, Earl of Richmond, daughter of CONAN IV Duke of Brittany & his wife Margaret of Scotland ([1161]-[Nantes] 3/4 Sep 1201, bur Villeneuve-les-Nantes, Abbaye de Notre-Dame).

  • The Chronicle of Alberic de Trois-Fontaines names "Constantiam comitis Conani filia" as wife of "Gaufridus dux Britannie comes Richemontis filius Henrici regis Anglie natu tertius", specifying that she married [thirdly] "Guido frater vicecomitem de Tuart"[140].
  • She is named by Matthew of Paris, who also gives her parentage, when he records her betrothal[141].
  • The Genealogia Comitum Richemundiæ records that "Constantia filia Conani" married secondly "Ranulphus Comes Cestriæ", stating that he divorced her because of her adultery and that the marriage was childless[142].
  • Living apart from her second husband, he captured her at Pontorson in 1196 and imprisoned her at his castle at Beuvron.
  • She was liberated in Summer 1198, and repudiated her marriage.
  • She married thirdly (Oct 1199) as his first wife, Guy de Thouars. The Genealogia Comitum Richemundiæ records that "Constantia filia Conani" married thirdly "Guidoni de Thoarcio"[143].
  • The Annals of Burton record the death in 1201 of “Constantia mater Arthuri comitis Britanniæ”[144].
  • m secondly (before 7 Oct 1200) as her second husband, CLEMENCE de Fougères, widow of ALAIN de Vitré Seigneur de Dinan, daughter of GUILLAUME de Fougères & his wife Agatha du Hommet (-1252 after 25 Dec).
  • The primary source which confirms her first marriage has not yet been identified.
  • King John confirmed "manerio de Belinton" made by "Gaufr de Fulgeriis" to "R. com Cestr…in maritagio cum Clementia sorore sua" by charter dated 29 May 1204[145]. The Annals of Burton record the death “post Natale Domini” in 1252 of “Clementia comitissa de Rependun relicta…Ranulfi quondam comitis Cestriæ”[146].
  • A writ of certiorari dated 26 Jan "55 Hen III", was issued by "Ralph de Krumbewell and Margaret his wife, John le Straunge and Joan his wife, Walter de Suly and Mabel his wife, and Henry de Erdington and Maud his wife" concerning lands of "Clemence sometime countess of Chester…taken into the king´s hands upon her death by reason of the minority of the said Ralph her heir, lately deceased, of whom the said Margaret, Joan, Mabel and Maud claim to be heirs"[147].

Earl Ranulf & his [second] wife had one child:

i) [MARGUERITE (-[1220] or before). Marguerite is shown in Europäische Stammtafeln[148] as the daughter of Ranulf Earl of Chester and his first wife Constance Dss of Brittany, although the primary source on which this is based has not yet been identified. Assuming that Marguerite was the daughter of Earl Ranulf, it is more probable that she was his daughter by his second wife as no record has been found of her claiming the succession to Brittany, despite what would have been her superior claim to her younger half-sister Alix. In addition, the Genealogia Comitum Richemundiæ records that the second marriage of "Constantia filia Conani" and "Ranulphus Comes Cestriæ" was childless[149]. The primary source which confirms her marriage has not yet been identified. m as his first wife, GEOFFROY [I] Vicomte de Rohan, son of ALAIN [IV] Vicomte de Rohan & his wife Mabile de Fougères (-15 Sep 1221).]

c) RICHARD (-before 1181). He is named in Domesday Descendants as the son of Earl Hugh[150].

d) MABEL (-after 1232). The Annales Londonienses record that "Ranulphus comes Cestriæ" had four sisters, of whom "secunda…Mabillia" married "comiti Arundelle"[151]. The Testa de Nevill includes a writ of King John dated 1212 which records that "comes Cestrie" gave land "in Calswah" in Lincolnshire to "comiti de Arundell in maritagium cum sorore sua"[152]. m WILLIAM d'Aubigny Earl of Sussex and Arundel, son of WILLIAM d'Aubigny Earl of Arundel and Sussex & his wife Matilda de Saint-Hilaire (-Cainell, near Rome before 30 Mar 1221, bur Wymondham Priory).

e) AGNES [Alice] (-2 Nov 1247). The Annales Londonienses record that "Ranulphus comes Cestriæ" had four sisters, of whom "tertia…Agnes" married "comiti de Ferrariis, id est Derby, Willelmo seniori"[153]. Lady of Chartley, Staffordshire, and Bugbrooke, Northamptonshire, following her brother's death in 1232[154]. The Annals of Burton record the death “X Kal Oct” in 1247 of “Willelmus de Ferrariis…comes Derbeiæ” and “IV Non Nov” of “Agnes comitissa uxor eius”[155]. m (1192) WILLIAM de Ferrers Earl of Derby, son of WILLIAM de Ferrers Earl of Derby & his wife Sibyl de Briouse (-22 Sep 1247).

f) HAWISE ([1175/81][156]-[6 Jun 1241/3 Mar 1243]). The Annales Londonienses record that "Ranulphus comes Cestriæ" had four sisters, of whom "quarta…Hawisia" married "Roberto de Quenci"[157]. Ctss of Lincoln [Apr 1231/1232] on the resignation of her brother of this Earldom in her favour[158]. m (before 1208) ROBERT de Quincy, son of SAHER de Quincy, later Earl of Winchester & his wife Margaret of Leicester ([1187/90][159]-London 1217).

Earl Hugh had one illegitimate child by an unknown mistress:

g) AMICIA . The primary source which confirms her parentage and marriage has not yet been identified. m RALPH de Mesnilwarin [Mainwaring], Justice of Chester, son of ---.

2. RICHARD (-[1170/75], bur Coventry[160]).

Earl Ranulf had one possible illegitimate child by an unknown mistress:

3. [ROBERT FitzCount (-before 1166). The primary source which confirms his parentage has not yet been identified. m (after 1157) as her second husband, AGNES, widow of EUSTACE FitzJohn, daughter of WILLIAM FitzNeel Constable of Chester, Baron of Halton & his wife ---. The primary source which confirms her parentage and two marriages has not yet been identified.]