Airard Fitz Fitz Stephen

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Airard Fitz Fitz Stephen

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Normandy, France
Death: 1085 (48-49)
English Channel
Place of Burial: English Channel
Immediate Family:

Son of Étienne II, comte de Troyes and Adèle Alisia Judith d'Aumale
Husband of Matilda Fitz Stephens
Father of Lord Thomas Fitz Stephen, Cpt.
Brother of Eudes II de Troyes, comte d'Aumale

Occupation: Commander of William the Conqueror's ship the "Mora", Captain of The Mora
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Airard Fitz Fitz Stephen

http://www.stevensancestry.com/library/stevensgenealogy1904stev.pdf

Airard Fitz-Stephen, probably born about 1036, a nobleman of Normandy in France, immigrated to England with William the Conqueror in 1066.

Airard Fitz Stephen, a nobleman of Normandy,was placed by William the Conqueror in command of the" Mora", the ship presented by his Duchess and eventual Queen, Matilda of Flanders, for his personal use in the fleet conveying the Norman forces to England for the battle of Hastings, 1066.1 Vessels for this fleet had been given by all the leading nobles of the duchy, many of whom, as well known, embarked on the expedition. Detained by lack of favorable winds the vessels for the fateful expedition harbored for a time at St. Vallery on the French coast, where as Miss Strickland says,2 "William was surprised by the arrival of his Duchess at the port, in a splendid vessel of war, called the Mora, which she had caused to be built unknown to him, and adorned in the most royal style of magnificence for his acceptance. The effigy of their youngest son, William, formed of gilded bronze, some writers say of gold, was placed at the prow of this vessel, with his face turned towards England, holding a trumpet to his lips with one hand, and bearing in the other a bow, with the arrow aimed at England. It seemed as if the wind had only delayed in order to enable Matilda to offer this gratifying and auspicious gift to her departing.

Airard Fitz Stephen was the owner of the White Ship, la Blanche-nef, which it sank off the coast of Barfleur in the English Channel on 25 November 1120, taking with it the heir to the English throne and over 150 members of the leading families of Norman England, changing the course of Medieval England. Airard's son, Thomas, was the Captain on the ill-fated night. Chronicler Orderic Vitalis claimed that when Thomas FitzStephen came to the surface after the sinking and learned that William Adelin had not survived, he let himself drown rather than face the King.

Source: _______________ 1 Taylor's Anonymous MS., Littleton I, 464 ; Strickland's Queens of England I, 116. •Ibid, I, 33.

STEPHENS/STEVENS

From the files of Stephen M. Lawson

Stevens Ancestry in England

Henry Stevens and Elizabeth Gallup

Richard Stevens and Sarah Harker

John Stephens and Elizabeth

Joseph Stephens

John Stephens and Lucy Collins

Frances Stephens and Mordecai Lawson

C. M. Lawson and Sarah M. Sims

Mordecai S. Lawson and Elizabeth Caroline Turman

James Martin Lawson and Lucy Jane Freeman

Donald VanHoosier Lawson and Iva Melvina Freeman

Stephen Martin Lawson

Top of Page Freeman Family Lines Index Chart Index Surnames

Stevens Ancestry in England

 For the following STEVENS ancestry to the early 11th century, together with additional details on each generation, refer to the compilation of Don W. Stephens. As with many lineages in England prior to 1600, differences appear in the published compilations of this family. See the above cited compilation shows Thomas STEVENS, husband of Mary WALLE, as the son of Anthony STEVENS and Katherine BROKE, while elsewhere he is shown as son of Thomas STEVENS and Elizabeth STONE, daughter of John STONE (b. ca 1535) - in either case Thomas STEVENS, husband of Mary WALLE, is shown as grandson of Edward STEVENS and Jane FOWLER. This compiler will leave to others more qualified the presentation of the pre-America lineage, and the following is presented only as a suggestion, with no claim of accuracy. The principal information source from the pre-America lineage is Stevens-Stephens Genealogy and Family History, compiled by Clarence Perry Stevens, et al. (1968).
   * Airard FITZ-STEPHEN (b. ca 1036)
   * Thomas FITZ-STEPHEN (b. ca 1058, d. 1120)
   * Ralph FITZ-STEPHEN (b. ca 1090)
   * Ralph FITZ-STEPHEN (b. ca 1122, d. 1190)
   * Fitz Ralph FITZ-STEPHEN (b. ca 1154)
   * John FITZ-STEPHEN (b. 1186)
   * Henry FITZ-STEPHEN (b. ca 1218)
   * Henry FITZ-STEPHEN (b. ca 1250)
   * John FITZ-STEPHEN (b. ca 1282)
   * John STEPHENS (b. ca 1314)
   * Richard STEPHENS (b. ca 1346, d. 1390)
   * John STEPHENS (b. ca 1378) married Margaret DEDBROKE (b. ca 1381)
   * John STEPHENS (b. ca 1400, d. post 1442) married Alice
   * Thomas STEPHENS (b. ca 1420)
   * John STEPHENS (b. 1459)
   * Henry STEPHENS (b. ca 1497, d. Jan. 9, 1551/2) married Ms. LUGG
   * Edward STEVENS (b. 1523, d. Oct. 22, 1587), Lord of Eastington Manor, married Joan FOWLER (b. 1529, d. Aug. 5, 1587), daughter of Richard FOWLER and Margery BENNETT.
   * Anthony STEVENS (b. ca 1560) married Kathrine BROKE (b. 1562), daughter of Richard BROKE (b. ca 1530). They were parents of Thomas STEVENS. 

See also: http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/s/t/e/William-Lackey--St...

Acc. to: http://www.bransoncook.systemaxonline.com/whiteship.htm

Wreck of the White Ship

Airard FITZ-STEPHENS was born about 1036 in Normandy, France. He died at Sea.

Airard Fitz- Stephen, a nobleman of Normandy in France, immigrated to England with William the Conqueror in 1066. When William the Norman invaded England, Queen Matilda presented him with a magnificent ship called the "Mora" commanded by Airard Fitz Stephen, a nobleman of Normandy. A son Thomas commanded the "White Ship." Thomas Fitz Stephen had two sons: 1st was Ralph his heir, founder of the English line; 2nd Stephen, founder of the Welsh and Irish lines.

Source: William Lackey Stephens; http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/s/t/e/William-Lackey--St...

The Wreck of the White Ship

Source: http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/s/t/e/William-Lackey--St...

On the 25th November 1120 a disaster struck in the English Channel which had a dramatic effect, not only on the families of those involved, but on the very fabric of English Government. Some of the following is simply speculation, since only one man survived and he was not one of the crew and would not have known much of what took place on deck with the captain, Thomas Fitz Stephen, and the crew.The Norman dynasty had not long established itself on the English throne and King Henry I was eager that his line should continue to wear the crown for many generations to come. Despite having numerous bastard offspring, he had but two surviving legitimate children and his hopes for his family were firmly secured by the birth of his only son, William the Aethling: called by the Saxon princely title to stress that his parents had united both Saxon and Norman Royal Houses. William was a warrior prince who, even at the age of seventeen, fought alongside his father to reassert their rights in their Norman lands on the Continent.After the successful campaign of 1119 which culminated in King Louis VI of France's defeat and humiliation at the Battle of Brémule, King Henry and his entourage were finally preparing to return to England. Henry was offered a fine vessel, the White Ship, in which to set sail for England, but the King had already made his traveling arrangements and suggested that it would be an excellent choice for his son, William.

As the rising star of the Royal Court, Prince William attracted the cream of society to surround him. He was to be accompanied by some three hundred fellow passengers: 140 knights and 18 noblewomen; his half-brother, Richard; his half-sister, Matilda the Countess of Perche; his cousins, Stephen and Matilda of Blois; the nephew of the German Emperor Henry V; the young Earl of Chester and most of the heirs to the great estates of England and Normandy. There was a mood of celebration in the air and the Prince had wine brought aboard ship by the barrel-load to help the party go with a swing. Both passengers and crew soon became highly intoxicated: shouting abuse at one another and ejecting a group of clerics who had arrived to bless the voyage. Some passengers, including Stephen of Blois, who was ill with diarrhea, appear to have sensed further trouble and decided to take a later craft.

The onboard revelries had delayed the White Ship's departure and it only finally set out to sea, after night had already fallen. The Prince found that most of the King's forces had already left him far behind yet, as with all young rabble-rousers, he wished to be first back home. He therefore ordered the ship's master to have his oarsmen row full-pelt and overtake the rest of the fleet. Being as drunk as the rest of them, Thomas Fitz Stephen complied and the ship soon began to race through the waves.An excellent vessel though the White Ship was, sea-faring was not as safe as it is today. Many a boat was lost on the most routine of trips and people did not travel over the water unless they really had to. With a drunken crew in charge moreover, it seems that fate had marked out the White Ship for special treatment. It hit a rock in the gloom of the night and the port-side timbers cracked wide-open to reveal a gaping whole.

Prince William's quick-thinking bodyguard immediately rushed him on deck and bundled him into a small dinghy. They were away to safety even before the crew had begun to make their abortive attempts to hook the vessel off the rocks. However, back aboard ship, the Prince could hear his half-sister calling to him, begging him not to leave her to the ravages of the merciless sea. He ordered his little boat to turn round, but the situation was hopeless. As William grew nearer once more, the White Ship began to descend beneath the waves. More and more people were in the water now and they fought desperately for the safety of the Royal dinghy. The turmoil and the weight were too much. The Prince's little boat was capsized and sank without trace.It is said that the only person to survive the wreck to tell the tale was a Rouen butcher, called Berold, who had only been on board to collect debts owed him by the noble revellers. Finely dressed bodies, such as the Earl of Chester's, were washed up along the Norman shoreline for months after.

After King Henry heard of the disaster, it is said that he never smiled again. Desperate to secure his family's succession, he had the English barons swear an oath to uphold the rights of his only remaining legitimate child: his daughter Matilda who they were to recognize as their Queen after Henry's death. But the time had not yet come for a woman to be accepted on the English throne. When King Henry died, his nephew, Stephen of Blois seized the crown and four years later, the status quo degenerated into a patchy Civil War.


Acc. to: http://www.bergergirls.com/showmedia.php?mediaID=5118

The Battle of Hastings was fought October 14, 1066, the Saxon king being defeated and slain by Duke William of Normandy, known in history as William the Conqueror, who was crowned king of England on Christmas, although it took him five years longer to subdue all the kingdom. Seldom has one nation been more complete subjugated by another than England by William and his Normans. During these five years of battles, most of the outstanding Saxon nobles were slain. The better portion of the lands of their and of the conquered lesser barons he confiscated on the theory that he was entitled to the throne and they were guilty of treason in warring against him. William made but few earls or barons, but after allocating much of the land to himself, distributed the remainder among his followers according to their prominence or merits, so that the greater portion of the best land of England changed hands from Saxons to Normans and thus gave William a kind of armed land support during his reign.

The Fitz-Stephens received their land allotment in Glouchestire – now the county of Glouchester, located in the southwestern part of middle England. At least as early as the reign of the fifth Norman king, Henry II, 1154-1189, they were feudal barons in Glouchestire with their seat at Lyplatt Park.


Airard was a nobleman of Harfleur, Normandy at the time of the Battle of Hastings in 1066. He commanded the ship "Mora" carrying William the Conqueror across the channel.

He is depicted in the Bayeaux Tapestry panel 98.

After arriving across the channel, Airard was forced to stay and take part in the battle since William ordered the hulls of the ships destroyed.


Married to Maud (born 1018 – died 1049).

He was captain of the Mora, the ship given to William the Conqueror by his wife, Queen Matilda, on which he sailed across the English Channel and launched the Norman invasion of England in 1066.

Vessels for this fleet had been given by all the leading nobles of the dutchy, many of whom, as well known, embarked on the expedition. Detained by lack of favorable winds, the vessels for the fateful expedition harbored for a time at St Vallery on the French coast, where, as Miss Strickland says “William was surprised by the arrival of his Dutchess, at the port, in a splendid vessel of war, called the Mora, which she had caused to be built unknown to him, and adorned in the most royal style of magnificence for his acceptance. The effigy of their youngest son, William, formed of gilded bronze, some say of gold, was placed at the prow of the vessel, with his face turned towards England, holding a trumpet to his lips with one hand, and bearing in the other a bow, with the arrow aimed at England. It seemed as if the wind had only delayed in order to enable Matilda to offer this gratifying and auspicious gift to her departing lord; for scarcely had the acclamations with which it was greeted by the admiring host died away when the long desired breeze sprang up.”

“A joyful clamor,” says William of Malmsbury, “then arising, summoned every one of the ships.”

The Mora, as depicted on the famous Bayeaux Tapestry The Mora, as depicted on the famous Bayeaux Tapestry

Wace, in the Roman de Rou, mentions that the Mora was anchored in the outer harbor, and set sail in the lead of the fleet, which it soon left out of sight. In the Bayeaux Tapestry, Queen Matilda has given a representation of this vessel and of Airard Fitz Stephen, but the figure of Prince William is presented at the stern instead of the prow of the ship, and the outlines of the craft are conventionalized so as to diminish the actual proportions.

Arrived on the English coast, the Conqueror slipped in landing, and fell, clutching the sand; but quickly turned the incident to account by declaring that it was a token of his possession of the kingdom. He ordered the hulls of the ships to be pierced so as to prevent easy retreat by his troop.

Airard Fitz Stephen remained for the Battle of Hastings.


Commanded the ship “Mora” - fasted ship in the fleet which was a gift for William the Conqueror from Matilda, his wife.

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Airard Fitz Fitz Stephen's Timeline

1036
1036
Normandy, France
1058
1058
Normandy, France
1085
1085
Age 49
English Channel
1956
January 16, 1956
Age 49
1957
January 7, 1957
Age 49
????
English Channel