Lord Robert FitzMartin, Baron of Blagdon

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Lord Robert FitzMartin, Baron of Blagdon

Birthplace: Cemmaes, Machynlleth, Powys, Wales
Death: 1159 (70-80)
Barnstaple, Devon, , England
Immediate Family:

Son of Martyn de Tours, Gen. and 1st Baron of Kemys and Geva de Burci, Dame de Falaise
Husband of Maud Peveral and Alice de Nonant
Father of Robert Secondus Fitzmartin; Sybil Fitzmartin and William FitzMartin, Lord of Cemais
Brother of Avice fitz Martin; Nicholas fitz Martin and William fitz Martin
Half brother of Emma de Falaise; Alice de Falaise; Sibyl De Falaise and NN de Falaise, Seigneur de Falaise

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About Lord Robert FitzMartin, Baron of Blagdon

Robert fitz Martin (c. 1095?–c. 1159) was a Norman knight and first Lord of Cemais, Wales.



Robert fitz Martin was born some time in the late 11th century to Geva de Burci, heiress of Serlo de Burci, and an otherwise unknown man called Martin. De Burci's second husband was William de Falaise, with whom she had a daughter, Emma de Falise, who married William de Courcy, son of Richard de Courcy of Courcy-sur-Dives; they received the manor of Stoke (renamed Stoke-Courcy, now Stogursey) in Somerset from William, and became the ancestors of the Baron Kingsale and the de Courcy family.

Robert inherited the lands of William, and of his grandfather, Serlo de Burci, in Somerset, Dorset, and Devon. At some point early in the reign of Henry I he participated in the Norman invasions of Wales, and obtained for himself the barony of Cemais, located between Fishguard and Cardigan, setting his caput at Nanhyfer, or Nevern. The lands were regained by the Welsh during the rebellion of 1135-1136. Robert spent the years 1136-1141 serving the Empress Maud during The Anarchy, and her son, Henry II. His activities from 1142 to 1155 are unknown.


By the reign of Henry II he had a new wife – Alice de Nonant of Totnes (died 1194) – and three young children.

Robert seems to have died about 1159, survived by his wife Alice and their children. Of them, Robert fitz Robert was dead by 1162 and buried in Totnes Priory; Sybil is known to have married a Warin de Morcelles and was alive in 1198; William fitz Robert fitz Martin, (c. 1155–1209) inherited the family property, and via a marriage with Angharad, a daughter of Rhys ap Gruffydd, regain the lost territory of Cemais. The family would continue to hold lands in both England and Wales until the extinction of the senior line in 1326. Cadet lines lines still flourish in England, Wales, Ireland and beyond.

Along with his first wife, Maude Peverell, sister of William Peverel the Younger, he founded St Dogmaels Abbey between 1115 and 1119.

He also led the desperate yet successful defense of Cardigan Castle following the Norman defeat at the Battle of Crug Mawr.

He is an ancestor to, among others, the Martyn family of The Tribes of Galway.



Keats-Rohan entry:

Filius Martini, Robert
Son of Geva, daughter and heiress of Serlo de Burcy (q.v.) and her first husband Martin. He established a cell of Tiron at Cemais in Wales, and was a benefactor of the priories of Tiron of Goldcliff and Stogursey. He married first Matilda, daughter of Ranulf Peverel of Essex, fl. 1086, through whom he acquired interests at Vengeons, Manche, cant. Sourdeval, His second wife was Adelicia de Nonant, probably a daughter of Guy de Nonant, for whose soul, along with those of Robert's parents and sister, he made a grant to Totnes priory (Watkins, Totnes, priory deed, iv). A supporter of the Empress during the civil war. He was dead by 1159, when his heir was his infant son by his second wife, William I FitzMartin. He also left a daughter Sibil or Mabel, wife of Warin de Moncellis. See Maxwell-Lyte, 'Burci, Falaise and Martin', Proceedings of the Somersetshire Archaeological Society lxv; Sanders, 15. His son William confirmed a charter of Robert fitz Stephen concerning South Damerham and Martin (Hampshire) c. 1170 describing Robert's then deceased wife Matilda as his kinswoman, 'sponse sue consanguinee mee'(Cart. Glastonbury, 1169/629). His widow made a grant to Totnes priory for his soul and that of their son Robert, mentioning their suriving children William and Mabel (Watkins, Totness i, 57-58; ii plate xxi).
Robert's family was associated with the abbey of St Dogmael's in Pembrokeshire where a false memory of Robert's father Martin 'of Tours' was preserved (Hist. of St Dogmael's, fols 20, 25). Martin is more likely to have been the Martin de Walis, i.e. Vaux, who attested a charter of Juhel of Totnes of c. 1084; cf. the prominence of a Hubert de Vals in Robert's charter for Cemais. Another of the witnesses to Juhel's charter was from Couvert, Calvados, arr. Bayeux, not from Vaux-sur-Seulles. For Robert's grandson Roger of Cockington and St Dogmael's, see FEA xi, 126.

Robert FitzMartin continued the work his father began with the monks of Tyrone, in Wales. Robert appointed an abbott and acquired grants of land on their behalf. His mother gifted the island called Pyr (Caldea) to the monks. They also had rights to Robert's woods, timber, the fishery of Saint Dogmael, skins of deer and other animals hunted by Robert, and a manor at Ratreu, in England. Robert's wife gifted the Church of Saint Dogmael to the monks.

Robert FitzMartin was lord of Dartington in teh reign of Henry I. Robert also appears in the Pipe Roll of 31 Henry I, in connection with Dorset. Dugdale and Eyton affiliate him as the son of Martin of Tours.

He succeeded his father as Lord of the Barony of Keymes. He also possessed the Barony of Dartingham where he lived. He and his successors were summoned to the King's Council as Barons of Keymes, and were Lords of the English Parliament.


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Lord Robert FitzMartin, Baron of Blagdon's Timeline

Cemmaes, Machynlleth, Powys, Wales
Dartingham, Devon, , England
Blagdon, Somerset, England
Blagdon, Somerset, England (United Kingdom)
Age 75
Barnstaple, Devon, , England
Age 75