Gherardo Gherardini, Lord of Tuscan, Baron of Gherardini

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Lord Gherado Gherardo Gheradini

Birthdate: (89)
Birthplace: Florence, Florence, Tuscany, Italy
Death: 1075 (89)
Immediate Family:

Husband of Sancia Gheradini

Occupation: Baron of Gherardini, Lord of Tuscany
Managed by: Pauline Veronica Thomas
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Gherardo Gherardini, Lord of Tuscan, Baron of Gherardini

A very detailed study of this family:


PROBABLY CORRECT: The genealogy to a Gheradini family origin is very likely true. English kings did indeed recruit many continental knights and warriors for the conquest of Ireland, who were given noble seats as their reward. In our modern era we see written record of one of the brothers Maurizio Gheradini as a knight in the invasion. However this genealogy was incorrectly placed in doubt because they thought an Irish priest would not know, but those in Florence would know. Why would those in Florence know the history of their ancient kinsmen who left for Ireland a 500 years earlier? It is the Irish priest who would know about those ex-pat Florentines in Ireland, as they had the records of births, death, marriages and history-- not the Florentines. The priest was was more likely correct, the Italian nay-sayers incorrect. How would they know? Yet, there are records of FitzGeralds corresponding with Florentines indicating this ancient connection. There are many noble families of Ireland who descend from warriors who participated in the invasion of Ireland. Another one was William le Hore who supported Strongbow and was given the seat of Pole Hore as his reward. "Le Hore" can be taken to mean "the outsider". He was a Saxon knight who helped in the invasion, certainly not Irish. The noble families of Ireland are packed with outsiders who helped in the invasion, that is why the Irish rebelled against them for centuries. They aren't irish in origin. The noble families of Ireland were largely English and other outsiders. Yet, people today assume that irish noble families have all Irish origin. No, they do not. Again, that is why the Irish rebelled against these Irish noble houses-- they were not Irish in origin in many cases. Furthermore, the Gheradini did indeed exist in Florence before it was a republic. The Gheradini lost power when it was made into a republic. The Victorians were vehemently prejudiced against all things Irish but loved all things Florentine. Thus they sneered that a Gheradini lineage could not be in Ireland. They said Gheradino was not a Cosimo, because that was the term used during the republican era. However, before Florence was a republic, of course they had local noblemen: effectively dukes, counts, barons, whatever language you wish to use, such as the Gheradini who were local pre-republican noblemen of Florence. The Geradini represent the pre-republican era before the word "Cosimo" was adopted. However the Gheradini were effectively the equivalent role as the Florentines "Cosimos" before the Medici adopted the term Cosimo for the ruler of Florence.

PROBABLY INCORRECT: Unfortunately, Other's descent from the Gherardini was claimed a fantasy, debunked by a Victorian writer. In one version of the story, he was a son of Otho di Gherardini of the Florentine family.

"The story given above is traced to an Irish priest, 'called Maurice, who was of the family of the Gherardini settled in that island,' and who, passing through Florence in 1413, claimed the local Gherardini as his ancient kinsmen."

Notes for Gherardo Gherardini:

Gherardini, Gherardo

Acceded: Florence

Child 1: Other, Dominus

Descendants of Lord Otterus (Othoer) of

Gherardini (AD980-1006) - may or may not be correct.

1. Mr. Cosimo Gherardini,

1st Great Duke of Florence. bc.AD870

2. Mr. Mathias Gherardini, bc.AD900

3. Lord Otterus (Othoer) Gherardini

(Baron of Gherardini, Lord in Tuscany b.934

Gherardini, Italia d.996 in Italia?)

4. Lord Gherardo Gherardini, Baron (Lord) of


b. AD980 Italia?, d.after AD1006 in Italia?

Residence, Florence, Italia.

5. Dominus Otho, b. AD1006 Florence, Italia or

b. AD1010 Florence, Italia,

Immigration - AD1042 Italia to Normandie, France

/ Wales to England.

d. after AD1042 in Surrey, England.

6. Mr. Walter FitzOtho of Windsor.

AD1078 Castellan of Windsor Castle.

AD1066-AD1087 Warden of Forests in Berkshire,

AD1100 Keeper of the Forest, b. AD1037 / AD1050.

Died after AD1100 in England.

married 1stly Ms. Beatrice.

married 2ndly AD1067 Ms. Gladys Ferch Rhywallon

refer One POSSIBLE HISTORY: The first ancestor to immigrate to England was Otho Gherardini. Otho was from Tuscany (now Italy) and he was a Duke. His move was made in two steps -- first to Normandy in the first quarter of the 11th Century and then to England in 1041 AD. So from Otho (Geraldini) we have a progression of names such as: Walter FitzOtho, Gerald FitzWalter, William FitzGerald, and William FitzWilliam. Two prominent branches were the FitzGeralds and the Geralds. The FitzGeralds branch of the family went to Ireland. The Geralds became Garrard, Garrett, etc. Otho was from Italy, born around 1006 AD. * Researcher note: He must have been born before this, as his son was born in 1006). He was a Florentine and a member of the Geraldini family. Sometime between 1016 and 1035 Otho went from Tuscany to Normandy (France) in the caravan of the Anglo-Saxon King Canut (Cnut or Canute) who had passed through Florence on his way home from a pilgrimage to Rome. Later, Otho came to England with Edward the Confessor when Edward was called back from exile to be King of England in 1041.Researcher note: an earlier birth date corresponds better with this information. Otho Geraldini, Duke of Tuscany, came from a family whose beginnings, so say the legends, go back to the days of Troy. Definite records take us back well over a thousand years, and say that the family was indigenous to Italy, being either Etruscan or Roman. Its members had estates in various parts of the Florentine territory. In Florence, their principal residence was near the Ponte Vecchio Bridge. Their tower still exists, being part of the Palazzo Bartolomei. The Italian historian Gammurini, says "the Gherardinis were among the most ancient and wealthy families of Tuscany in 900 A.D. The map shows the route that my ancestors took through.

Mona Lisa is said to be a descendant of the Gherardini family. The family flourished in Tuscany until the year 1125. Then, during a political upheaval, the patrician families were driven into exile. In order to remain in Florence, the Gherardini renounced their patrician rank and became mere citizens. Later they were restored to their ancient honors, became very wealthy, and served the Republic of Florence both in the senate and on the battlefield. Three were Consuls of the Republic; others died as leaders of the Republican armies in the many civil wars. Confiscations and losses during the civil wars impoverished the Gherardini, and they also suffered much by the destruction of their property in the great fire of Florence in 1303. From the 14th century onwards they seem to have played a smaller part in the history of Florence. At different times, between 1000 and 1400, individuals of the family emigrated, passing into France, England, Wales, Ireland, Cracow and the Canary Islands. Those who stayed in Florence became extinct, as did those in France and Cracow. It is recorded that the Gherardini of Florence and the Irish "Geraldines" did not lose touch with each other. There are records of visits back and forth until the late 1500's. The Duke of Tuscany’s father was Baron Ottorus Gherardo GHERADINI. His father was Lord Otterus (Othoer) Gherardini. His father was Mathias Gherardini. His father was Cosimo (Cosmus) Gherardini who was born around 870 and was the 1st Great Duke of Tuscany. Otho Geraldini Moves to Normandy In 1027, when Otho Geraldini was 21 years old, King Canut of England passed through Florence on a return trip from an audience with the Pope in Rome. In those days, merchants and pilgrims traveled in groups (for protection) stopping along the way to visit with the local powers. They were required to pay fees and tolls to those whose domain they crossed. Thus, it was natural for King Canut’s group to stay in Florence for a while with the Geraldini family. We don’t know why for certain, but Otho decided to join King Cnut’s caravan. His leaving, however, was not the end of the Geraldini family in Tuscany. We know that the family flourished in Tuscany for several centuries after Otho left. So perhaps, although he was a Duke, he was not the eldest in the family and knew that he would not inherit. As King Cnut’s caravan continued its journey back to England, they undoubtedly stayed for a while with Robert, Duke of Normandy who lived in area around Rouen and Caen. In 1027, Richard, Duke of Normandy had just died to be succeeded by Robert. There, Otho Geraldini met the 17 year-old Duke Robert and the 24 year-old Edward who eventually was to become King Edward the Confessor of England. Otho Geraldini decided to stay with Robert, Duke of Normandy. Anyway, Otho Geraldini was in Normandy in the 1030’s living with the future King Edward of England, who since the age of 10 had been in exile, first under the protection of his grand father, Duke Richard of Normandy and later with his uncle, Duke Robert of Normandy. Edward is 3 years older than Otho and Otho is 4 years older than Robert. In 1035, Within, a year of Otho’s arrival in Normandy, Duke Robert’s mistress, Herleve of Falaise. gives birth to a son named William who would become William the Conqueror. A few years later, Otho Geraldini has a son that he names, Walter FitzOtho. Walter’s mother’s name is not recorded.

William was 8 or 9 years older than Walter FitzOtho but apparently they “grew-up” together. Some genealogist maintain that Otho’s son, Walter FitzOtho was the half brother of William (the Conqueror) but I do not believe it. To make this so, Otho Geraldini would have to had married Duke Robert’s mistress, Herleve of Falaise. While there is no name available for Otho’s wife, I can not find any data that supports Herleve having a son by Otho Geraldini. To better understand the possible relationships between the various parties in Normandy, I have developed the following timeline.

1003 The future King Edward the Confessor is born in England

1006 Otho Geraldini is born in Tuscany

1016 Edward goes into exile at his grandfather’s place in Normandy

1026 King Edward’s grandfather, Richard Duke of Normandy dies and his son, Robert, Duke of Normandy inherits.

1027 Otho Geraldini goes from Tuscany to Normandy

1028 William, the bastard son of Robert, Duke of Normandy is born.

1037 Otho Geraldini’s son, Walter FitzOtho is born.

1042 King Edward returns to England to be king. Takes Otho Geraldini with him. Otho may, or may not have taken his 5 year old son with him.

1051 William visits King Edward in England where (it is claimed) that Edward promised William his throne upon his death.

1066 King Edward the Confessor dies at the age of 53.

1066 Thirty-eight year-old, William the Conqueror invades England. Thirty year-old, Walter FitzOtho goes with him or meets him in England.

King Edward and the Geraldinis

King Edward was in exile because when King Cnut of Demark seized the kingdom of England in 1016, he murdered the existing Anglo-Saxon King and every member of King Aethelred's royal family he could get his hands on. Only Edward (eventually, King Edward) and his brothers, the younger sons of Aethelred, survived. They fled to Normandy, where they took refuge with their grandfather, Duke Richard, the father of their mother, Emma. King Cnut died in 1035 but it was not until 1042 that the English invited King Edward to return from Exile. When he did return, he found that England was really being controlled by the Godwine family. This family had prospered greatly while Edward was in exile and had amassed so much land that they were second only to the power and wealth of the King. Edward had spent his entire adult life waiting for the chance to be King of England, and having achieved it had found his power circumscribed by the over-powerful subjects of his predecessors, so much so that he was forced to marry Edith, daughter of Godwine, in a marriage of dynastic expediency. The chroniclers say that he despised his wife so much that he never consummated the marriage. To counter the power of the Godwines, Edward promoted a notorious group called the “Normans” or the “Frenchmen” who were made up of the Norman and French nobles with whom Edward had shared his young adulthood in Normandy. One of these “Frenchmen” was Otho Geraldini, my ancestor. Another was Eustace of Boulogne, who was possibly an ancestor of Frances – the Eastes branch. Eustace is another spelling of the name, Estes. In 1051, Edward’s friend, Eustace, was by the King’s order, given the town of Dover, which order was resisted by the Godwines. When King Edward called the Godwines to account they chose to flee which permitted Edward to dump his hated wife, Edith. Soon after the Eustace-Godwine flap, William of Normandy came to visit England where it is claimed (but much disputed) that King Edward offered William the crown of England upon his death and in the event he (Edward) did not have an heir. King Edward was kind to his Norman friend and buddy, Otho Geraldini as noted by an old English lyric which says, “the Earldom which to Otho brave, the Saxon sainted Edward gave”. Otho (Geraldini) was so powerful that his favor with King Edward was greatly resented by the native Norman nobles. He possessed: 3 lordships in Surrey, 3 in Buckinghamshire, 2 in Berkshire, 4 in Middlesex, 9 in Wiltshire, 2 in Hampshire, 3 in Dorset, and 1 in Somerset. In 1052 the Godwines returned even stronger than before requiring that the “Frenchmen” (such as Otho Geraldini) flee or lie low. This mostly likely gave reason for Otho Geraldini and others to welcome William when he arrived in England in 1066. We don’t know if Otho returned at this time to Normandy or just kept a low profile until William the Conqueror returned. Otho Geraldini’s son, Walter FitzOtho, who at this time was a young man, probably went to (or stayed in) Normandy to train under William of Normandy. In 1053, Harold Godwine became head of the Godwine family. In 1064, it was obvious to all that Edward was going to die without an heir and Harold saw himself as being in the catbird seat. William the Conqueror and the Geraldinis On January 5, 1066 King Edward died without an heir. Harold Godwine crowned himself King and was busy leading his army far to the north against his brother and the Viking King Hadrada who were invading from the north. William of Normandy began planning to invade England to claim the throne that he was promised. He even obtained the blessing of the Pope. So, eight months after Edward’s death, William of Normandy, his followers and his army landed on the southeast coast of England. Otho's son, Walter FitzOtho (Geraldini), was 29 years old and was with William during the invasion in the Battle of Hastings where he must have done very well as we will see later.

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Gherardo Gherardini, Lord of Tuscan, Baron of Gherardini's Timeline

Florence, Florence, Tuscany, Italy
Age 89