Geoffrey de Mandeville, Earl of Essex

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Geoffrey de Mandeville (de Lutgareshole), 1st Earl of Essex

Also Known As: "Geoffrey Fitz Peter", "3rd Earl of Essex"
Birthdate: (52)
Birthplace: Rycott, Oxfordshire, England
Death: September 16, 1144 (52)
Mildenhall, Suffolk, England (mortally wounded during attempted siege of Burwell Castle, Cambridgeshire, England)
Place of Burial: New Temple Church, Holborn, Suffolk, England
Immediate Family:

Son of Sir William de Mandeville, I, Constable of the Tower of London and Lady Marguerite De Mandeville (de Rie)
Husband of Rohese de Vere, Countess of Essex
Father of Geoffrey de Mandeville (Mandeville), III 2nd Earl of Essex; William Mandeville, 3rd Earl of Essex; Maud de Mandeville; Ernulf de Mandeville; Alice de Lacy (de Mandeville) and 2 others
Brother of Lady Beatrice de Mandeville; Gilbert de Mandeville; Alice de Mandeville and Geoffrey De Mandeville, Ii; Earl Essex
Half brother of Earl William de Mandeville, of Essex and Walter de Mandeville

Occupation: 1st Earl of Essex, hereditary Justice and Sheriff of London, Middlesex, Essex and Hertfordshire
Managed by: James Fred Patin, Jr.
Last Updated:

About Geoffrey de Mandeville, Earl of Essex

He is recorded to have had four sons, but NO daughters.

GEOFFREY de Mandeville, son of WILLIAM de Mandeville & his wife [Margaret de Rie] ([1100/05]-Mildenhall, Suffolk 14 or 16 Sep 1144, bur 1163 New Temple Church). The Genealogia Fundatoris of Tintern Abbey, Monmouthshire names “Gaufridi filii comitis Essexiæ et iure matris Normanniæ dapifer” as son of “Willielmo de Mandavill” and his wife “Margareta”[516]. The 1130 Pipe Roll records "Gaufr de Manevilla" in Oxfordshire[517].

King Stephen created him Earl of Essex by charter at Westminster [Jun/Dec] 1140. He deserted the king after the battle of Lincoln in Feb 1141, and obtained another charter of the earldom of Essex from Empress Matilda in [Jun] 1141 which also appointed him hereditary Justice and Sheriff of London, Middlesex, Essex and Hertfordshire.

He was charged with treason in [Oct] 1143, arrested at St Albans and forced to surrender his castles of Walden, Pleshey and the Tower. He then revolted, sacked Cambridge and besieged Burwell Castle, Cambridgeshire, in the course of which he was mortally wounded[518]. The History of the foundation of Walden abbey records the death “XVI Kal Oct 1144” of “Galfridus de Mandavilla…fundator noster”[519].

m as her first husband, ROHESE de Vere, daughter of AUBREY de Vere, Chamberlain of England & his wife Adelisa de Clare ([1105/10]-after 1166, bur Chicksand Priory). The History of the foundation of Walden abbey records that “Galfridus de Mandavilla…fundator noster” married “Rosam sororem Albredi de Oxenford”[520]. As her son by her first marriage, Arnulf de Mandeville, received a grant of property in [1141/42] (placing his birth to [1120/25]), it is likely that Rohese was one of her parents´ older children. “G de Magnavilla et Roeisa uxor eius” donated property to Hurley Priory, Berkshire by undated charter[521]. She married secondly Payn de Beauchamp Lord of Bedford, with whom she founded the priory of Chicksand where she was buried[522]. “Paganum et comitissam Roheis…sponsa mea” donated property to Thorney Monastery, by undated charter witnessed by “…Ivo Taillebois…”[523].

Earl Geoffrey & his wife had [four] children:

1. ARNULF ([1120/25]-1178). Empress Matilda made various grants of property by charter dated to [1141/42] including a grant to "Ernulf de Mannavill" and service of knights "de comite Gaufredo patre suo"[524]. Son of Geoffrey according to Matthew of Paris, who records his capture and exile after his father's death in 1144[525]. He held the manors of Highworth, Wiltshire and Kingham, Oxfordshire[526].

m ALICE de Oilly, daughter of ROBERT de Oilly of Hook Norton, Oxfordshire & his wife Edith Forne [of Greystoke, Cumberland]. Arnulf & his wife had four children:

a) GEOFFREY (-after [1190/94]). “Galfridus de Mandevila filius Galfridi de Mandevila” granted property to “Galfrido patri meo filio Arnulfi de Mandevila” for life by charter dated to [1190/94][527]. He attested a charter of his uncle Henry d'Oilly for Osney abbey in [1154][528]. m ---. The name of Geoffrey´s wife is not known. Geoffrey & his wife had one child:

i) GEOFFREY . “Galfridus de Mandevila filius Galfridi de Mandevila” granted property to “Galfrido patri meo filio Arnulfi de Mandevila” for life by charter dated to [1190/94], witnessed by “Roberto de Mandavilla, Radulfo fratre eiusdem…Hugone de Mandevilla”[529]. Ancestor of the MANDEVILLE family of Highworth, extinct in the male line after 1291[530].

b) RALPH de Mandeville of Kingham .

c) ERNULF de Mandeville .

d) MATILDA . m ADAM de Port, son of ---.

2. GEOFFREY (-Chester 21 Oct 1166, bur Walden Abbey). He received a grant of his father's lands from Empress Matilda at Devizes before 1147, and he was created Earl of Essex [Jan 1156][531]. The Red Book of the Exchequer refers to "Galfridus de Mondeville iii m i militem et dimidium" in Somerset in [1160/61][532]. The Chronicle of Ralph of Coggeshall records the death in 1166 of "Galfridus junior de Mandavilla"[533]. The History of the foundation of Walden abbey records the death “1165 XII Kal Nov” of “Galfridus de Mandavill comes Essexiæ”[534].

m (1158 or before, divorced) as her first husband, EUSTACHIE, [535][relative of HENRY II King of England], daughter of --- & his wife Isabelle (-before 1 Nov 1264[536]). Earl Geoffrey refused to live with his wife, the king therefore causing them to be divorced535. Evans[537] speculates that she was the illegitimate daughter of Eustache IV Comte de Boulogne, based only on onomastic reasons, but other families besides the counts of Boulogne used this name at the time[538]. If correct, this would also mean that she was little more than a child, even at the time of her second marriage, as her alleged father was himself born in [1127/31], which makes the report of Earl Geoffrey refusing to cohabit rather unlikely. She married secondly as his second wife, Anselme "Candavène" Comte de Saint-Pol (-1174).

3. WILLIAM (-[Rouen/Gisors/Le Vaudreuil] Normandy 14 Nov 1189, bur Abbey of Mortemer). He succeeded his brother in 1166 as Earl of Essex. “Willelmus de Mandavilla, comes Essexiæ” donated property to Hurley Priory, Berkshire by undated charter witnessed by “Simone de Bello Campo fratre meo…”[539]. He succeeded as Comte d'Aumâle, de iure uxoris. The History of the foundation of Walden abbey records that “Willielmus de Mandevilla comes Essexiæ, frater et hæres…Gaufridi” died “in Normannia 1181” childless[540]. The Chronicle of Ralph of Coggeshall records the death "II Id Dec" in 1189 of "Willelmus de Mandavilla"[541]. The History of the foundation of Walden abbey records the death “1189 XIII Kal Dec” of “Willielmus de Mandavill comes Essexiæ”[542].

m (Pleshey, Essex 14 Jan 1180) as her first husband, HAWISE Ctss d'Aumâle, daughter of GUILLAUME "le Gros" Comte d'Aumâle, Lord of Holderness [Champagne-Blois] & his wife Cecily Lady of Skipton (-11 Mar 1214). Robert of Torigny records the marriage of "Guillermus comes de Magnavilla" and "filia Willermi comitis Albæ Marlæ" together with the county of Aumâle in 1179[543]. Ralph de Diceto records that "Willelmus de Magna-villa comes Essexiæ" married "Hadewisam comtis Albimarlæ primogenitam…apud Pleizet in Essexia XIX Kal Feb" in 1180 and was granted his father-in-law´s county[544]. The 13th century Histoire des ducs de Normandie et des rois d´Angleterre records that "Aubemalle…Havi le contesse" married successively "le conte de Mandeville…Guillaumes" by whom she was childless, "Guillaume de Fors" by whom she had "i fills…Guillaumes", and thirdly "Bauduin de Biethune"[545]. “Hawisia comitissa Albemarlæ” donated property to Garendon Abbey, for the soul of “domini mei Willielmi de Mandevill comitis Essex”, by undated charter which refers to “post mortem domini mei Baldewini de Betunia…Willielmi comitis Albemarle patris mei”[546]. She married secondly (after 3 Jul 1190) Guillaume de Forz, who succeeded as Comte d'Aumâle, de iure uxoris, and thirdly (before Jul 1196) Baudouin de Béthune Seigneur de Choques [en-Artois]. William & his wife had --- children:

a) children died before their father[547].

4. ROBERT (-before 14 Nov 1189[548]). He is named with his brothers Geoffrey and William in a charter to Chicksand priory[549].

Geoffrey de Mandeville was the Earl of Essex in the time of King Stephen (1135-1154). He is famous for his treachery and violence around the time of the civil war waged between Stephen and Henry Ist's daughter, the empress Matilda. As we shall see, his ability to wreak havoc and suffering was to be felt heavily by the people of Cambridgeshire.

The civil war of 1139-1153 is characterised by the greed and ruthlessness of many knights and gentry who declared themselves to be allied to either Stephen or Matilda but proceeded to wage war on whoever they could gain most from whether it helped either of the main protagonists or not. Stephen, King Henry Ist's nephew, had opportunisticly seized the throne immediately after Henry died with the help of his brother, the powerful bishop of Winchester. Henry had persuaded his barons to swear an oath in support of Matilda, his only surviving legitimate heir. However, Matilda had spent most of her life in far away Germany, she was a poor diplomat, was married to an Angevin (an unpopular alliance as far as both the English and the Normans were concerned) and she was a woman. It wasn't a hard decision for many of the barons to renege on their oath in support of Matilda and support Stephen instead. Stephen might have avoided much bloodshed during his reign had he not made a big mistake in the way he dealt with Roger, bishop of Salisbury whom he suspected, perhaps not unreasonably, of being in league with the empress. Roger had experienced a meteoric rise in fortune during the reign of Henry. Henry, if one historian is to be believed, had discovered Roger in France where he had been impressed at the speed at which the clergyman could read a mass. Henry appointed him as chancellor and as bishop of Salisbury and quickly elevated him to justiciar - making him the second most powerful man in England after himself. During Stephen's reign, Roger had established a powerful dynasty with his son as chancellor, his nephew Nigel as bishop of Ely and another nephew as bishop of Lincoln, all of whom were building or strengthening and garrisoning their own castles and ostentatiously taking large retinues of armed men about with them wherever they went. Stephen used a street brawl involving Salisbury's men as an excuse to seize Salisbury, his son and the bishop of Lincoln and chase Nigel of Ely to Devizes. After three days seige, Nigel was betrayed by Salisbury's mistress who feared for the safety of her husband and son. The king now had all the castles of Salisbury's family and had badly abused the legates in his custody. This action proved to be disastrous for Stephen. The church was appalled at the way in which Stephen had treated the clergymen. The king found many of his supporters switching to Matilda's side, including his own brother, the bishop of Winchester.

Stephen was a fearsome soldier. His chivalry and misplaced generosity, however, could be said to have been excessive and detrimental to his cause. His downfall at the battle of Lincoln in 1141 can be attributed to behaviour which was typical of him. Towards the end of 1140 one of Matilda's supporters, Rannulf, the earl of Chester seized the castle of Lincoln. Instead of attempting to punish Rannulf, Stephen gave him the castle plus the city of Lincoln, plus a number of other castles. It was complaints of harsh treatment by the citizens of Lincoln which caused Stephen to rush to the city to sort Rannulf out. However Rannulf had slipped away to get reinforcements among the desperate knights who had lost everything they possessed fighting for the Empress.

The battle of Lincoln took place on the 2nd of February 1141. The kings forces easily defeated scouts sent by the earl to impede his progress and gained a good tactical position. Obeying his fatally chivalrous nature, Stephen took his men from easily defendable high ground to a marshy plane by the city of Lincoln to meet the earl's rabble for a fair fight. His cavalry failed to ward off frenzied attacks of the disinherited knights who had nothing to lose and everything to fight for. Stephen fought fiercely until both his sword and axe were broken and eventually was forced to surrender to Robert of Gloucester when he was knocked down by a flying stone.

Stephen's cause was now left in the hands of his shrewd queen, also called Matilda. She stood her own Cambridgeshire estates as collateral for a loan from the London justiciar, Gervase of Cornhill. She repurchased the support of Geoffrey de Mandeville who had transferred his allegiance to the empress when things started to go wrong for Stephen. She also won back the support of Stephen's brother, the bishop of Winchester whose support Stephen had lost after he mis-handled dealing with Roger of Salisbury.

In November of 1141 Stephen was released in exchange for Robert of Gloucester, an important ally of the empress who had been captured by royalist forces whilst fleeing a defeat at Winchester. Unchastened by his experience with the earl of Chester, he heaped rewards and privileges on the treacherous Geoffrey de Mandeville on top of the payment already made to him by the queen. De Mandeville became sheriff and justiciar in three separate counties. He was made constable of 'The Tower' - a role which effectively put him in charge of London but in which he evidently earned the loathing of the people of that city. The proof of the Londoners' hatred of de Mandeville exists in a document which points to his ultimate treason (that is, before he turned into a sadistic monster of the fens). He changed his allegiance back to the empress, drawing up a charter in which he dictates that she should make no peace with the burgesses of London without his consent 'because they are his mortal foes'. He continued to attend court and feign friendship with the king even though it was generally known that he was in league with the Stephen's enemies. Eventually his arrogance was too much for the royalists and he was arrested suddenly in St. Albans in 1143. As punishment for treason he was given the choice of execution or giving up the Tower and his castles in Essex. He chose life and vengeance - on the people of Cambridgeshire!

De Mandeville fled to the marshy swamps of the fens with an army of mercenaries and ruffians. He seized and occupied Ely, using it as a fortress and drove the monks out of Ramsey Abbey and used it as a headquarters for his mob. From here he plundered, ransacked, and burnt property. He employed every type of torture conceivable to extract crippling ransom from anyone unfortunate enough to fall into his hands. Cambridge itself was ransacked and burnt. No one, regardless of age, sex or profession was safe. Over a stretch of twenty or thirty miles of countryside there was not an ox or plough to be seen. A serious famine resulted to add to the already enormous death toll. Stephen was unable to get an army through the impenetrable fens to rid the area of the evil earl leaving de Mandeville free to carry on at will. Fortunately, however, de Mandeville was hit by an arrow whilst attacking Burwell Castle in August 1144 and died soon afterwards.

The earl of Chester was arrested for treason two years later and on his release after surrendering his castles, plunged into an similar orgy of ferocious brutality. Scores of lesser barons and free lances around the country waged horror upon anyone they felt they could extract plunder from.

The anarchy slowly abated over several painful years. Two factors helped bring back order. Firstly, the Angevin cause was fading. Stephen cut Matilda off from her Gloucestershire strongholds with a success at Faringdon in 1145 and effectively ended the Angevin threat for the rest of his reign. Secondly, the fall of Edessa in 1144 eventually led to the second crusade which gained momentum in 1146 when Louis VII of France and emperor Conrad III took the cross. Many lawless Anglo-Norman noblemen took leave from their bloody work in England to slaughter and get slaughtered in the Holy Land.

Factual information in this article was obtained from 'Domesday Book to Magna Carta' by A.L. Poole, published by Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-285287-6.

Fatally wounded at Burwell, fighting against Stephen.,_1st_Earl_of_Essex
Not married to Matilda de Bidun.

FitzWilliam de Mandeville (-after 1200). m ---. The name of Geoffrey´s wife is not known. According to Domesday Descendants, Geoffrey FitzWilliam married "Matilda, daughter of John de Bidun & Alice Mauduit". However, this is incorrect, as Matilda married Geoffrey FitzGeoffrey, as shown in the document UNTITLED ENGLISH NOBILITY A-C. Geoffrey & his wife had one child: William FitzGeoffrey.

Geoffrey de Mandeville 1st Earl of Essex born 1092 in Rycott, Oxforshire, died 16 September 1144, Mildenhall, Suffolk, married 1119 Rohese de Vere born 1103, Saffron Walden, Essex, died 1166. Geoffrey succeeded his father William before 1130, and worked on restoring lands that Henry I had confiscated from his father. In 1140 he supported king Stephen and was made Earl of Essex, and had his fathers lands in Essex restored, and in 1141 he was made custodian of the Tower of London, a position held by his father. In February 1241 King Stephen was taken captive in Lincoln and in February 1241 Geoffrey switched sides when Matilda entered London recognising her as Queen, Matilda confirmed Geoffreys position as custodian of the Tower, forgave the large debts his father had incurred to the crown, granted him the Norman lands of Eudo Dapifer, and appointed him sheriff of Essex, Middlesex and London, and Hertfordshire. But before the end of the year, learning that Stephen's release was imminent, he returned to his original allegiance. In 1142 Geoffrey had secret negotiations with Matilda, Geoffrey was deprived of his castles by the king in 1143 after he rebelled and used the Isle of Ely and Ramsey Abbey as headquarters, King Stephen could not afford to let the tower of London fall to Matilda. In 1144 he was hit by an arrow in a skirmish and died of the would, but since he had been excommunicated he was refused burial so the body was wrapped in led and taken to the Templar community in London where he was buried in the chapel.

Born the son of William de Mandeville. During the years of succession civil strife between Maud and Stephen, he appeared in the record as Stephen's supporter. Stephen repaid him by making him Earl of Essex about 1140, it is the earliest charter granting an English earldom known. About a year later he was also appointed custodian of the Tower of London. After Stephen's defeat by Maud's forces in 1141, he immediately switched his allegiance to Maud who forgave his debts to the crown and appointed him sheriff of Essex. Before Maud's forces were routed at Winchester in September 1141, Stephen's queen enticed Geoffrey to turn coat yet again, probably by granting him viceregal powers in London. It is possible that by 1142 he may have been intriguing with Maud again; but was apparently found out. He was arrested at St. Albans for treason against Stephen in 1143, he sacrificed his offices and castles in return for his freedom. He then seized Ramsey Abbey near Peterborough, evicting the monks, and using it as a base during his subsequent career as an infamous rebel and bandit. Stephen besieged his fortified abbey without result. A year later Geoffrey was mortally wounded while laying siege to Burwell. He lingered for over a month before he died. As he died excommunicate, a rebel against his king, he was denied burial and his body was wrapped in lead before it was taken to the Templar chapel in London where he was finally interred. (bio by: Iola)

Family links:

 Rohese de Vere (1110 - 1167)*

 Maud de Mandeville (1138 - 1232)*

Burial: Temple Church London Greater London, England

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Geoffrey de Mandeville, Earl of Essex's Timeline

Rycott, Oxfordshire, England
Age 32
Rycott, Oxford, England
Age 34
Great Waltham, Essex, England, United Kingdom
Age 42
Age 46
Oxfordshire, England, United Kingdom
Age 48
Of, Highworth, Wiltshire, England
Age 49
Oxfordshire, England
September 16, 1144
Age 52
Mildenhall, Suffolk, England
Age 52