Niel /Nigel de Cotentin, Lord of Halton, Constable of Chester

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Niel /Nigel de Cotentin (FitzIvo), Lord of Halton, Constable of Chester

Also Known As: "Nigel", "Neel"
Birthplace: Saint-Sauveur, Basse-Normandie, France
Death: 1080 (39-50)
Halton, Cheshire, England
Place of Burial: UK
Immediate Family:

Son of Vicomte de Cotentin Ivon (Yvron) de Saint-Sauveur and Emme de Bretagne
Husband of NN of Chester
Father of John "Monoculus" FitzNigel; William FitzNigel, Lord of Halton, Constable of Chester and Matilda de Saint-Sauveur
Brother of Jean de Hatton; Odard, 1st Lord of Dutton; Wolfrid, Lord of Hatton; Walter de Hatton, Lord de Hatton; Edard, Lord of Heswall and 3 others

Managed by: Pam Wilson (on hiatus)
Last Updated:

About Niel /Nigel de Cotentin, Lord of Halton, Constable of Chester


Note from curator Pam Wilson: After much research on this very speculative family's origins, I am placing William FitzNigel as the son of Nigel of Cotentin (*not* one of the Neel de Saint-Sauveurs, Vicomtes of the Cotentin, but a son of an Ivo de Cotentin who was a younger son of one of the Neels).

brief biography and family

Nigel was named by Hugh Lupus, who upon being named Earl of Chester by William the Conqueror appointed a cabinet of sorts, as Baron of Halton in Cheshire and Constable of Chester. He was considered the highest-ranking among those in Hugh Lupus's baronial circle.

I.M. B. Pigot, History of the City of Chester. Published by T. Davidson, London, 1815. The Barons of Hugh Lupus pp. 19-20

…I will now proceed to trace as exactly as possible, in so remote and obscure a path, their priority or dignity among themselves, and the descent of their respective Baronies. Some think the Baron of Malpas to have been the prime Baron, inasmuch as Robert FitzHugh (who was Baron of Malpas, under Hugh Lupus, in the Conqueror's time) has for the most part the .priority in the writings of those ancient times, and also in the record of Domesday Book, where among all the Barons he is put down first. By this book also, it appears that Fitz-Hugh held more land in this county than any one of the others, except William Malbedeng— Admitting him, however, to have ranked first, till certain offices were annexed to the Baronies, the matter after that must he clear beyond all controversy, for William Fitz-Nigel of Halton, being made Constable of Cheshire in fee, his Barony took precedence in right of his office. For further'"satisfaction" in proof of this point, Sir Peter Leychester cites a charter of Randal the Second, made in the reign of King Stephen, by which you find the words Optimates and Burones, explaining and elucidating each other, you also have pre-eminence given to the Constable of Chester who was also Baron of Halton) above all the other Barons of the Earl. This also appears by the form of all the charters made by the Earls of Chester, in those ancient times, where the stile runs thus, "Ranulphus Comes Cestriae, Constabulario, Dapifero, Baronibus, &c. salutem;" here we find the Constable first mentioned, then the Steward, and afterwards the Barons in general; and in this order they are ranked by Cambden and Spelman, viz.

  • 1. Halton High Constable
  • 2. Montalt High Steward
  • 3. Wich-Maltebeng or Nantwich
  • 4. Malpas
  • 5. Shipbroke
  • 6. Dunham-Massey
  • 7. Kinderton
  • 8. Stockport

Nigel, First Baron Of Halton, was a cousin to Hugh Lupus, and was also made by him Constable of Chester, and Marshal of his forces, on condition that he should lead the van of his army, whenever he marched into Wales.— These great offices of Constable and Marshal were attached to the Barony, and enjoyed by his successors. William, son of the above Nigel, succeeded his father in his Barony and offices, which he enjoyed until the reign of King Stephen. This William had a daughter named Maude, who married Eustace, a Norman, by whom she had a son named Richard Fitz-Eustace, who after the decease of William, was by right of his mother, created Baron of Halton and Constable of Chester. He married Albreda de Lizours, daughter and heiress of Robert de Lizours, and sister- of Robert Lacy, Lord of Pontefract, by whom he had a son named Roger, who first assumed the name of Lacy for himself and his posterity. Lacy, Lord Pontefract dying without issue, all his possessions descended to his sister Albreda, and afterwards to his nephew Roger, son of Richard Fitz- Eustace and the said Albreda. This Roger is mentioned in ancient records, as having been Constable of Chester, when King Richard I took his journey to Syria; he also continued Constahble of Chester in the reign of King John, when he died; and left a son named John, who succeeded him in his honors, acquired great renown, and took an active part with the Barons against King John. ….

content to clean up

1 Nigel of Cotentin
(c. 1071–1080)
He was also the hereditary Constable of Chester. In 1077 he fought against the Welsh at the Battle of Rhuddlan.[3] It is almost certain that he built a motte-and-bailey castle on Halton Hill the remains are still visible today.[4]

2 William FitzNigel Main article: William fitz Nigel (d. 1134) (1080–1134) The son of Nigel de Cotentin. He also held the honour of being the Marshal of the Earls' host, which was an important position in the Norman military hierarchy. In addition to his land in Halton, his estate included land in other parts of Cheshire and also in Normandy.[5] He married the eldest daughter of Yorfid, the baron of Widnes. Yorfid left no male heir and on his death the Lancashire manors of Widnes, Appleton, Cronton and Rainhill came to William.[2] In 1115 he established a priory of the Augustinian Order of Canons Regular in Runcorn.[6] He was buried at Chester.[7]

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Niel /Nigel de Cotentin, Lord of Halton, Constable of Chester's Timeline

Saint-Sauveur, Basse-Normandie, France
Vains, Manche, Lower Normandy, France
Saint-Sauveur, Cotentin, Basse-Normandie, France
Age 50
Halton, Cheshire, England