Suein (Sweyn) fitz Robert (of Essex)
|Also Known As:||"Suein", "Sweyn", "Suen", "de Almsteda", "de Olmstede", "of Essex", "of Theydon", "Swegen"|
|Birthplace:||Theydon Mount, Essex, England|
|Death:||Died in Rayleigh, Essex, England|
|Occupation:||Lord of Theydon & Reyleigh, Sheriff of Essex at the Conquest|
|Managed by:||Private User|
About Suein (Sweyn) fitz Robert
Swein is an Old Norse name:
"Swein" is a traditional English name derived ultimately from the Old Norse personal name Sveinn, Sven, Sweyn, and means "a youth - a young man". This name appears in Teutonic, Scandinavian, Norwegian, Danish, and English countries. (Old English: Swegen)
According to sources Swein was already settled in England before the Norman Conquest. He and his family met up with William the Conqueror once he had arrived on English soil.
These are other examples of the name, Swein, and their origins:
-Sweyn Forkbeard (960–1014),King of Denmark,England,and Norway as Sweyn I.
-Sweyn Knutsson (1016–1035), King of Norway as Sweyn II.
-Sweyn II of Denmark (1019–1074/76), King of Denmark
-Sweyn III of Denmark (1125–1157), King of Denmark
-Blot-Sweyn (d. 1087), King of Sweden
Rayleigh is one of 48 castles mentioned in the Domesday Survey of 1086 and the only one in the county of Essex. The Survey records that Swein (other spellings are Sweyn, Sweyne, and Suen) built the castle in his manor. He was the son of Robert FitzWimarc, a Norman lord and favourite of Edward the Confessor (r. 1042–1066). Swein was one of the wealthiest landholders in post-Conquest Essex, and the Survey records that in 1086 his lands were worth £255. As Swein was the son of a favourite of Edward it is likely that he did not arrive with William the Conqueror in 1066, but was instead born in England. Most land owners with significant holdings at the time of the Domesday Survey had disjointed, scattered properties however Swein was one of the exceptions and most of his land was within the hundreds of Rochford and Barstable with Rayleigh Castle as the administrative centre. Adian Pettifer notes that Rayleigh's plan is similar to that of two other castles in Essex: Pleshey and Ongar.
On Swein's death the castle passed to his son Robert de Essex (c.1085 - before 1159) and thence to his grandson Henry d'Essex. Around 1140 the motte was covered in stone rubble.
Henry was accused of cowardice in battle in 1163 and subject to a trial by combat which he lost. The castle and its estates were confiscated to become the property of the king, Henry II. Extensive alterations were made to it in 1172 and in 1183-4. The property given by King John to Hubert de Burgh in around 1200 who probably used it as a source of building materials for the castle which he started building in 1230 about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) away at Hadleigh.
On the death of Hubert's son in the latter half of the 13th century, ownership of the castle reverted to the Crown. Documents dating between 1279 and 1303 refer to the motte being used for pasture, which probably means that the castle was no longer used as a fortification. In 1394 King Richard II gave permission for the townspeople of Rayleigh to use the foundations of the castle as a source of stone. Since the foundations are explicitly mentioned in the document giving permission, it is unlikely that any other masonry structures remained by then.
The site of the castle was used for grazing sheep after it fell into disuse. Photos taken in the 1920s show the mount free from any large trees or shrubs as the grazing prevented their growth, however since the grazing stopped, large trees have grown on the site. The National Trust who manage the site have no plans to remove the trees for fear of disturbing any potential archaeology below.
Rayleigh is a place name that was originally derived from the Old English, "ra leah", and means "a meadow for deer." According to the English Place Names Society, "Rayleigh" derives from "raege", and "leah", meaning "Female roe-deer stream" or "she-goat stream'". According to the Rayleigh Civic Society, "Roa" is a Saxon word for Roebuck and "Lea" a pasture probably for goats.
In any case, the connection with deer continued through the centuries. Lands around Rayleigh were used as Royal hunting forests for many hundreds of years. A deer was included in the coat of arms of Rayleigh Urban District Council
Swein is also listed as a holder of Almesteda, (also a name which is considered of Scandinavian origin.) and is a property that is listed in the Domesday book. Please see the media tab to view a copy of such listing.
There are a number of small towns and villages that have names ending in "-sted" and "stead", and also by the fact that almost all these places were in eastern England, chiefly in Essex, some thirty to forty miles inland from the North Sea and that they extended in a broad line or band from northern Essex in a southern direction nearly to the Channel.
Here are the names of the towns and villages in Essex. Please remember when looking at some of them, that the English letter "x" is a double consonant, and is equivalent to "cs" or "gs". For example, Broxted is equivalent to Broc-sted, wherein you recover what seems at first a missing "s".
In Essex are: Broxted, Braxted, Thaxed, Fairsted, Felsted, Halsted, Standsted, Hempstead, Burstead, Greenstead, Harkstead, Bumstead
Turning to the pages of the Century Atlas to Denmark, you will find that in the western-part of Denmark there are easily found at least fifteen names of villages and districts that are strikingly similar in form, and manner of spelling to the Olmsted (Almesteda) name; while in southern Sweden there is the considerable town of Halmstad, nearly opposite Copenhagen.
Strong support for this argument in favor of the Scandinavian origin and spelling of the name "Olmsted" is to be found in the following list of places found mostly in the western part of Denmark.
Denmark: Holsted, Ulsted, Oldsted, Hadsted, Orsted, Ovsted, Vedsted, Nysted, Grindsted, Briersted, Graisted, Gjedsted, Fjelsted, Tisted, and Thisted, Fredrikstad, Stromstad, and Rakkestad,
In Sweden there is a city of Halmsted.
In Norway: Stiklestad.
Suein (Sweyn) fitz Robert's Timeline
Theydon Mount, Essex, England
Essex, England, United Kingdom
Rayleigh, Rochford, Essex, England
Rayleigh, Essex, England