Robert de Romille, I

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Robert de Romille, I

Also Known As: "Romilly", "Rumilly", "Robertus de Rumilleio"
Birthplace: perhaps Remilly-sur-Lozon, near Saint-Lo, Bretagne (Brittany), France
Death: October 11, 1100 (35-44)
Skipton, Yorkshire, England
Immediate Family:

Son of Rainfred de Romille and N.N. wife of Rainfred
Husband of Cecily NN
Father of Robert de Romilly, II; Cecily de Rumilly, héritière de Skipton and Lucy de Romilly
Brother of Agnès Muriel de Romilly and Adelisia de Romille

Managed by: James Fred Patin, Jr.
Last Updated:

About Robert de Romille, I

"Soon after 1090 Robert de Romille, a Norman baron, built a primitive fort here but its timber ramparts did little to stop rampaging Scots during their frequent raids into northern England. It was replaced with a more formidable stone castle which stood on top of a rocky bluff with rising ground to the front and a sheer precipice falling to the Eller Beck behind."
History of Craven: "The Parish of Skipton" []

The Lords of Skipton Time Line 1056-1676 []

The Romilles in History and Antiquities of the Deanery of Craven in the County of York []

Robert de Romille (aka Rumilly or Remilly) was born before 1072, perhaps the son of Rainfred de Romille of Remilly-sur-Lozon near Saint-Lo on the border of Brittany and Normandy, France. He came to England as part of the Norman wave and soon became Lord of Skipton, which castle he built, and of numerous other estates. He was the father of Cecily de Rumilly who married William de Meschines, Lord of Copeland (son of Ranulph de Bayeux, Earl of Chester).


Robert de Romille

Robert de Romille (also de Rumilly) was an adventurer from Brittany who joined the Normans in their Conquest of Britain. After 1086 King William I made him lord of the estates of Bolton Abbey. Romille built the first Skipton Castle in 1090 to repel the expansions of Malcolm III of Scotland. In 1102 Romille's lands were greatly increased by Henry I of England to include all of upper Wharfedale and upper Airedale. His male line died out before 1310; but by his daughters he has many descendants today.


Said to have come from an 'old and respected family in Brittany and Normandy',[1] it is uncertain where Robert de Romille came from. The oldest references state that the family was located in both Brittany and Normandy. There is a town in eastern Brittany named Romillé that gave rise to a de Romillé family, but Robert may instead have been a younger son of Rainfred Rumille from Remilly-sur-Lozon,[2] 14 km from Saint-Lô in the County of Mortain.


In the Domesday Book, the multiple estate of Bolton Abbey was listed as going from the lordship of Edwin, Earl of Mercia, to the Clamores of Yorkshire.

The Bolton Abbey estate then included 77 carucates of ploughland (9240 acres/3850ha): Halton East, Embsay, Draughton, Skibeden, Skipton, Low Snaygill, Thorlby, Addingham, Beamsley, Holme, Gargrave, Stainton, Otterburn, Scosthrop, Malham, Anley, Coniston Cold, Hellifield, Hanlith.

But after 1086, that lordship was transferred to Romille. Finding the Saxon manse at Bolton Abbey beyond repair Romille selected a rocky outcrop in more strategic location in 1090 and built the eminently defensible Skipton Castle,[3][4]

After 1102, King Henry I confiscated the nearby Craven lands of the rebellious lords Roger the Poitevin, Erneis of Burun and Gilbert Tison. He put those in upper Wharfedale and upper Airedale into the governance of Romille. Clearly intent that Craven become a compact structure, the King added in estates from his own demesne.[5]


Robert de Romille's heir was his daughter Cecilia, who married William le Meschines, the lord of Copeland. Cecilia became famous as foundress of the Embsay Priory that became Bolton Abbey. Cecilia and William had two sons: Ranulph and Matthew, but both died without issue, so their daughter Alice, wife of William fitz Duncan, was the eventual heir.


  1. de Moulin, Gabriel (1631). Historie Generale de la Normandie. Jean Osmont de Rouen.
  2. Nègre, Ernest (1998). Toponymie générale de la France. Formations préceltique, celtiques, romanes (in French) (1 ed.). Genève. p. 583.
  3. Whitaker, Thomas Dunham (1805). The History and Antiquities of the Deanery of Craven, in the county of York. British Library. ISBN 978-1-241-34269-2. page 210
  4. Castle Explorer: Skipton Castle Access date July 2012
  5. Dalton, Paul (1994). Conquest, Anarchy & Lordship: Yorkshire 1066-1154. UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521524644.


from Charles Cawley's Medieval Lands Database:

Two siblings:

1. ROBERT de Rumilly [Romilly] of Skipton, son of [RAINFRED & his wife ---]. [A charter dated to [1069] records the property of Troarn abbey including donations of land at “Tallivalla" by "Turstin de Croilleio, William de Columberiis, Roscelin son of Herald, Robert son of Rainfred, Richard vicomte of Avranches”[700]. The estimated date of this document seems early for “Robert son of Rainfred” to be the same person as Robert de Rumilly, although it is possible that the estimate was incorrect.] m CECILY, daughter of ---. The primary source which confirms her marriage has not yet been identified. Robert & his wife had two children:

a) CECILY de Rumilly . “Willielmus de Meschines et Cecilia uxor mea” founded Bolton Priory by undated charter[701]. “Cecilia de Romeli” donated property to Bolton Priory by undated charter which names “gener meus Willielmus nepos regis Scotiæ Duncani”[702]. “Willielmus de Meschines et Cecilia uxor mea” founded Bolton Priory by undated charter[703]. “Willielmus filius Ranulphi” confirmed the foundation of St Bee’s priory, Cumberland by undated charter, dated to [1105/20], which refers to donations by himself and “uxoris meæ Ceciliæ…concessione Ranulphi filii mei”[704]. Her children by her first marriage used the name Rumilly. Domesday Descendants notes that Cecily de Rumilly married as her second husband "Henry de Tracy of Barnstaple", without citing the corresponding primary source, but adds that "there is no evidence to suggest that she was the mother of Henry de Tracy’s heir Oliver"[705]. m firstly WILLIAM FitzRanulf, son of RANULF Vicomte du Bessin [Bayeux] & his wife Marguerite [Mathilde] d'Avranches (-[1130/35]). [706]m secondly as his second wife, HENRY de Tracy of Barnstaple, son of WILLIAM de Tracy & his wife Rohese --- (-[1164/65]).
b) [LUCY (-after 15 Jul 1131). Domesday Descendants says that Robert de Rumilly was "doubtless father also of Lucy wife of Jordan de Sai", but does not explain the reasoning[707]. According to Gallia Christiana, the abbey of Aunay was founded 15 Jul 1131 by Jordan “de Saio prope Argentomum” and Lucy his wife[708]. Henry II King of England confirmed the possessions of the abbey of Aunay, including donations by "Jordani de Saio et Lucie uxoris sue", by charter dated to [1181/89][709]. m JORDAN de Say, son of --- (-after 15 Jul 1131).]

2. ADELISIA . Henry II King of England confirmed the property of the abbey of Saint-Martin de Troarn, including donations by "…Adelicie sororis Roberti de Rumilleio…" of property "in Anaeriis et…inter Taillevillam et Sanctum Albinum…", by charter dated to [1155/57][710].


[700] Round (1899), 463, p. 164.

[701] Dugdale Monasticon VI, Bolton Priory, Yorkshire, II, p. 203.

[702] Dugdale Monasticon VI, Bolton Priory, Yorkshire, III, p. 203.

[703] Dugdale Monasticon VI, Bolton Priory, Yorkshire, II, p. 203.

[704] Dugdale Monasticon III, St. Bee’s Priory, Cumberland, III, p. 577.

[705] Domesday Descendants, p. 675.

[706] Domesday Descendants, p. 675.

[707] Domesday Descendants, p. 675.

[708] CP XI 464, citing Gallia Christiana Vol. XI, col. 443.

[709] Actes Henri II, Tome II, DCCXLV, p. 379.

[710] Actes Henri II, Tome I, XXVIII, p. 123.

Robert fitz Rainfred de Rumelio, Lord of Skipton and Harewood, was related to Alice de Rumilly, granddaughter and heir of Robert de Rumeli, Lord of Skypton. Robert was also called Robert de Romelli.

He acquired land at Molland, Devon, and elsewhere, shortly after the date of Domesday Book. He had given to Troarn churches at Wheatenhurst, in Gloucestershire, and Mapowder, in Devon before 1090.

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Robert de Romille, I's Timeline

perhaps Remilly-sur-Lozon, near Saint-Lo, Bretagne (Brittany), France
Skipton, Yorkshire, England
Normandy, Plouigneau, Brittany, France
Skipton, Yorkshire, England
October 11, 1100
Age 40
Skipton, Yorkshire, England