William FitzNigel, Lord of Halton, Constable of Chester

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William "FitzNeel" fitzNigel (de Cotentin), Lord of Halton, Constable of Chester

Also Known As: "Guillaume de Hatton", "FitzNeel de Halton"
Birthplace: Saint-Sauveur, Cotentin, Basse-Normandie, France
Death: 1134 (71-81)
Halton, Cheshire, England
Immediate Family:

Son of Niel /Nigel de Cotentin, Lord of Halton, Constable of Chester and NN of Chester
Husband of Agnes de Widnes, heiress of Widnes
Father of Leucha fitzNeel de Halton; Agnes, heiress of Halton and Widnes; William FitzNeel, Baron Halton, Constable of Chester; childless and Matilda "Maud" FitzWilliam, of Halton
Brother of John "Monoculus" FitzNigel and Matilda de Saint-Sauveur

Occupation: Constable of Chester, Baron of Halton
Managed by: Eric Michael Anderson
Last Updated:

About William FitzNigel, 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).

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 Constable 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. ….

Sources for his wife being Agnes de Widnes, daughter of Torfid:


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]

Source #2: Starkey, H. F. (1990), Old Runcorn, Halton: Halton Borough Council, p. 8


Following the Norman conquest, William the Conqueror granted the Earldom of Lancaster to Roger de Poictou who in turn granted the barony of Widnes to Yorfrid. Yorfrid had no sons and his elder daughter married William FitzNigel, the second Baron of Halton. On Yorfrid's death the barony of Widnes passed to that of Halton.[10]

Source: Poole, Charles (1906), Old Widnes and its Neighbourhood, Widnes: Swale, pp. 7-8

( http://homepages.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~cousin/html/index.htm ) William fitz Nigel (d. 1134) From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

William fitz Nigel, 2nd Baron Halton, was a prominent 12th-century noble. He was a son of Nigel, 1st Baron Halton. William died in 1134.

He succeeded to the title Baron of Halton and position of Constable of Chester upon his father's death. He held lands in Halton, throughout Cheshire and also in Normandy. Through his mother [CURATOR NOTE: Other sources say she was his wife], as heiress, he obtained the title Baron of Widnes and the Lancashire manors of Widnes, Appleton, Cronton and Rainhill. In 1115 he established a priory of the Augustinian Order of Canons Regular in Runcorn. He died in 1134 at Halton Castle and was buried at Chester.

Marriage and issue His wife is unknown [CURATOR NOTE: Other sources name her as Agnes, daughter of Yorfrid of Widnes]. His children were:

	*Agnes, she married Eustace fitz John . Had issue.  	* Leucha, she married Robert De Mohaut. Had Issue.  	* Matilda, she married Albert de Grelle. Had issue.  	* William, who succeeded his father as Baron of Halton but died 1149 with no issue. When he died, Halton passed to the family of his sister Agnes.


  1. Whimperley 1986, p. 9.
  2. Starkey 1990, p. 8.
  3. Nickson 1887, p. 136.
  4. Whimperley 1981, p. 1.


  • Nickson, Charles (1887), History of Runcorn, London and Warrington: Mackie & Co.
  • Starkey, H. F. (1990), Old Runcorn, Halton: Halton Borough Council
  • Whimperley, Arthur (1981), Halton Castle: An Introduction & Visitors' Handbook, Widnes: Arthur Whimperley
  • Whimperley, Arthur (1986), The Barons of Halton, Widnes: MailBook Publishing

William FitzNigel (-1134)
Barons of Halton Post

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William FitzNigel, Lord of Halton, Constable of Chester's Timeline

Saint-Sauveur, Cotentin, Basse-Normandie, France
Halton, Cheshire, England (United Kingdom)
Halton Castle, Runcorn, Cheshire, England
Age 76
Halton, Cheshire, England
September 7, 1909
Age 76
September 7, 1909
Age 76
September 7, 1909
Age 76
September 7, 1909
Age 76
March 15, 1912
Age 76