Gilbert Malet, Baron of Eye

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Gilbert Malet, Baron of Eye

Birthdate: (48)
Birthplace: Graville St.Honorine, Normandy
Death: 1105 (48)
Curry Mallet, Langport, Somerset, England (Slain in the battle of York Castle)
Immediate Family:

Son of Guillaume I Malet, seigneur de Graville and Elise (Hesilia) Crispin
Husband of NN. de Corcelle
Father of William Malet, I; Dionysia Malet; Robert Malet, Baron of Curry Mallet and Gilbert Malet
Brother of Beatrice d'Arques; NN Malet, daughter of William Malet; Walter de Caen, Lord of Sibton and Robert I Malet, seigneur de Graville, Baron of Eye

Occupation: Steward to King Henry II, Knight - Fought in Battle of Hastings
Managed by: Pam Wilson
Last Updated:

About Gilbert Malet, Baron of Eye

Excerpt from "Notices of an English Branch of the Malet Family", by Arthur Malet, published 1885, pp 68-72, appendix B2, FF, GG:


Gilbert Malet, the second son of William Malet, the companion of William the Conqueror, does not appear in English history among the actors of the stirring deeds of the time immediately succeeding the conquest of England. We cannot suppose but that a man the son of William Malet, and brother of Robert Malet, must have been a personage of considerable importance, but in the absence of any record of his deeds or qualities it is as the transmitter to his descendants of the blood of the founder of the family that we are chiefly interested in him.

The first notice we have of him is that he, with his father, mother and sister, was among the few spared by the Danes and English from the slaughter of the garrison of the Castle of York in 1069. It is supposed that his elder brother Robert was at this time about twenty-six years of age, and if Gilbert was the youngest of the three children, he may have been at this time about twenty years old.

He is named in Beatrice Malet's gift of Radingfield to the Monastery of Eye* as her brother, and in Domesday Book, which is supposed to have been completed in 1086, so that at that time he may have been of the age of about thirty-six. In that record we find him holding land under his brother Robert,** and in two instances Hubert de Malet holds land in the same village as Gilbert. But the total thus held is so small that it is evident he must have had property elsewhere. From all these small possessions lying within the same half Hundred, I think it is not im-

probable that they may have been set apart for him by his father William while he was a youth, and that he continued to hold them after William's death under his brother Robert.

There is no historical record of Gilbert's marriage, but as we have no reason to think that any other Malets than William and Durand and their families came to England at that period, and as Durand and his descendants remained in the eastern counties, we must look to William's descendants for those of that name that we find in the West of England.

Roger de Corcelle is entered in the Domesday Book as holding in the County of Somerset more than one hundred properties. The Rev. R.W. Eyton in his Domesday Studies writes in p. 59 "Counting all additamenta of manors and all duplicate manors, this feudalist held in capite (A.D. 1086) no less than one-hundred and eight Somerset estates. Most of them were small; some were only recently acquired; waste was a characteristic of a few, value of none; only three of the number gelded for more than 3 1/2 hides; these were Shepton (4 hides), Limington (7 hides), and Curi, now Curry Malet (7 hides). Besides these tenures in capite Roger de Corcelle held many manors under Glastonbury Abbey, a position in which we learn from Domesday he had been preceded by his father. Undoubtedly that father was Wilhelm de Curcelle, whom we find in the summer of 1068 attesting the Conqueror's restoration of Banwell to Giso, Bishop of Wells."

This Roger de Corcelle after Domesday disappears, and the next owner of a portion of his Somerset estates, notably of Shepton and Curi, the former under the Abbot of Glastonbury, the latter in capite, is Robert Malet. Of the time when, or of the means by which he became possessed of them I can find no trace. I have from Canon Jackson's historical associations of Farleigh Castle,*** p.1, "At the death of this Roger de Corcelle the manor of Farlegh reverted to the Crown, and William Rufus granted it with other estates to Hugh de Monfort." And by the kindness of Mr. Wm. Daubeny in showing me the pedigree of the family of Albini, I learn that " William Albani married Cecilia Bigod, who held Roger de Corcelle's manor of South Petherton of the gift of Henry I. "Thus for the lapse and transfer of these two comparatively small portions of the estate a record exists so far important that it fixes the death of Roger de Corcelle not later than some time in the reign of William Rufus. But we learn from the return made by the Abbot of Glastonbury in the 12th year of Henry II, A.D. 1166+ that Robert Malet had possessed in the time of Henry I property which had been held by Roger de Corcelle, and which at the date of this return was accounted for by William Malet. Now we know that all the English possessions of Robert Malet the son of the first William Malet were confiscated by Henry I in the year 1101, and were afterwards bestowed by him on Stephen Count de Blois, afterwards King of England. These estates in Somersetshire, however, were never confiscated; there is no trace of confiscation or re-grant; they fell into the possession of Robert Malet noiselessly and peaceably . The only inference to be drawn is, that Gilbert Malet the son of the first William Malet must have married either a sister or a daughter of Roger de Corcelle, and his son Robert inherited the property of his mother. Had the property been obtained in any other way, some transaction would have remained either in the Crown records for the property held in capite, or in the Glaston records for that held of the Abbey. Or in failure of records, some tradition would have remained.

As in collecting circumstantial evidence the minutest circumstances must not be neglected, I would draw attention to the Christian names. The first Gilbert names his son Robert, after his great brother; that son names his son William, after his grandfather; the founder of the family; and this William gives to his son the name of Gilbert, his grandfather, who again names his son William. The significance of the arms also requires notice. The earliest arms borne by the Malets were the three fermalets or buckles; these were used by the descendants of Durand Malet and by the descendants of the first Robert through his son William, who was the ancestor of so many distinguished families in France, all of which retained this cognisance. But the descendants of Gilbert Malet in Somerset took for their arms++ a shield bearing Paly of six ermine and gules a lion passant regardant or, over all. Had they obtained their property by any mode excepting that of marriage, it is most improbable that they would have taken other arms than those borne by the senior branch of the family, while, as we may infer from the change of arms by the Enmore Malets a few generations on, it was not an unusual measure on a marriage with an heiress; for Baldwin Malet took the arms of Deandon on his marriage with Matilda, a daughter and coheiress of Hamelyn de Deandon (circa 1272). I may perhaps have dwelt too long on a subject which may be deemed not open to question, but it seemed to me better to work it out independently of any prepossessions than to slur it over on the strength of a supposed general acknowledgement of the fact.

Gilbert Malet was succeeded by his son Robert Malet.



Pedigrees of Some of the Emperor Charlemagne's Descendants, Compiled by J. Orton Buck, and Timothy Beard, 1978, published by the Order of the Crown of Charlemagne, page 292.

Gilbert Malet, Baron of Eye

Feudal baron of Eye.

2. Gilbert Malet, 2nd son, succeeded his brother, Robert. See below.

2. Gilbert Malet, successor to his brother, Robert, left a son, Robert.

• 3. Robert Malet, who before 1130 acquired the barony of Curry Malet in co. Somerset. He died before 1155, leaving a son, William.

• 4. William Malet, baron of Curry Malet, had other estates as well, in Sussex, Surrey, Kent, and Suffolk. He was Steward to King Henry II. and died in 1169 or 1170. He had a son, Gilbert.

• 5. Gilbert Malet was also Steward to King Henry II. and baron of Curry Malet. He married Alice Picot, daughter of Ralph Picot, Sheriff of Kent. They had several sons, including William.

• 6. William II Malet, the Surety of the Magna Charta, was mentioned in 1194 as a minor, in connection with an expedition made that year into Normandy. His principal estate was Curry-Malet. From 1210 to 1214 he was Sheriff of the counties of Somerset and Dorset. When he joined with the barons against King John and became one of the twenty-five Sureties his lands in four counties were confiscated and given to his son-in-law, Hugh de Vivonia, and to his father-in-law, Thomas Basset, and Malet was excommunicated by the Pope in 1216. He was also fined 2,000 marks, but this remained unpaid until after his death, and at that time 1,000 marks were remitted, being found due him for military service to King John at Poitou. It is interesting to note that there were five contemporary relatives named William Malet, and they all held lands in England or in Jersey. He died about 1217, having married Mabel (Alice) (Alicia) Basset, daughter of Thomas Basset, of Headington. She survived him and married (2) John Biset. William and his wife had two sons who died in their father's lifetime and three daughters as follows:

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Gilbert Malet, Baron of Eye's Timeline

Graville St.Honorine, Normandy
Age 23
Curry Mallet, Somerset, England
Age 23
Graville St Honorine, Normandy, France
Age 33
Curry Malet, Somerset, England
Age 48
Curry Mallet, Langport, Somerset, England
July 22, 1993
Age 48
March 19, 1994
Age 48
June 28, 1994
Age 48