About William Hill, of Buntingdale
- John Burke, A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland, 4 volumes (London, England: R. Bentley, 1834-1838) Page: 1:655
- Visitation of Shropshire - 1623 Page: 28:243
Reputed descendant of William of Tortosa, which some sources gave his son the courtesy title of Earl of Glamorgan because he was a great-grandson of William the Conqueror and grandson of Robert Curthose, as son of the illegitimate William, Lord of Tortosa.
The son of William, Lord of Tortosa would have been the instant target of assassins if he tried to assert any claim to the English throne, while having little wealth, political allies, or the power of armies behind him to secure such claim. His father died while still young before any claims were made.
Taking the name to "Hill" was an English translation of his mother's line: de Ribemont, which means "ribbon of hills". His grandmother was the widowed Countess Agnes de Ribemont who had an affair with Robert Curthose (son of William the Conqueror) resulting in William of Tortosa.
Brewer's British Royalty by David Williamson, Cassell Wellington House, 125 Strand, London, 1996 pg 307-8
Duke Robert would have wished the crown to one of his lineal bastard sons after the death of his legitimate son William Clito.
One of his illegitimate sons was named Richard, which is the first name of Captain Hill-Male that was continued in the family lineage. After the death of Richard, William Tortosa, son of Duke Robert, joined a Crusade with his father and perished in the same (The Ecclesiastical History of Orderic Vitalis, edited and translated by Marjorie Chibnall,Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1978, Vol 3, pgs 259-260).
William's mother was a beautiful widowed French noblewoman, Agnes de Ribemont Giffard, a daughter of a bishop, who bore children sired by Robert Curthose. She presented these sons to their father Robert who accepted them publicly as his own. Both of her sons died as young men without claiming the throne of England or Normandy and her daughter Ros was married.
Sometime after the death of William of Tortosa in a Crusade in Palestine, his young son by Agnes who was not yet grown, approached Duke Robert, his grandfather, while the Duke was held in prison in Glamorgan (by his brother Henry for 28 years) to ask that he be his heir - as his sole surviving direct male descendant.
This, assuredly, Duke Robert did, not wanting to see his lineage die.
There was little chance for the son of William of Tortosa to assert a claim to the throne in spite of having a blood claim, as he was not raised in the royal court to acquire noble allies, and had no armies or great wealth to back him up. With many rivals for the crown, he would have been a instant subject of possible assassination the moment he made any claim to the throne. His uncle Richard had been killed in a hunting accident that was rumored to be an assassination. The death of his father may have been assassination as well. The death of the legitimate heir to Robert Curthose, William, might have been an assassination too. His step- grandmother Sybil of Conversano was poisoned, reputedly by supporters of his grandmother, Agnes de Ribemont after a legitimate heir was born to Robert Curthose, supplanting the illegitimate sons Richard and William Lord of Tortosa.
It was not uncommon to assassinate possible claimants to a throne. He may have been suspect as an impostor who claimed to be the son of William of Tortosa.
However, this lineage can be ascertained by the laws of heraldry at the time displayed in the boy's arms. People could not legally bear heraldry without approval from the crown. So, at some point he was granted arms revealing a claim of royal lineage. There were granted Two Battle Axes to represent his father and grandfather's royal battles as well as the Spear that Robert used to kill the Saracean King (showing his descent from Robert).
By coincidence, William the Bastard Conqueror was sired by Robert Duke of Normandy and history repeated itself for William the Bastard's son Robert Curthose, Duke of Normandy, who then also sired a Bastard son that he also named William.
Thus, William of Tortosa's son used the two Battle Axes in Saltire to represent this double lineage and double battles that brought them to power.
There is a Blue Ribbon that serves to connect the Spear to the small Shield on which appear the Two Battle Axes. This represents his mother's line Ribemont.
William was raised by his mother, who was the Countess of Ribement. "Ribe" means ribbon and the surname Hill is the English translation of "mont". Ribemont means ribbon of hills. Hence the use of Hill became the family name.
Furthermore, the ribbon connects the Shield of Accomplishment to the Spear, and there is only one person who is famous for using a Spear in any of the Crusades - Duke Robert Curthose. The ribbon was also used anciently to show the order of birth between sons which indicates that William might have sired more than one son before he went on the Crusade.
"Riband or Ribbon. A subordinary containing the eighth part of the bend. The Ribbon applied as a difference of the younger sons is of very high antiquity." A Dictionary of Heraldry by C.N Elvin, 1889, reprinted Heraldry Today, marlborough, 1969
This unnamed juvenile son of William of Tartosa was in Glamorgan at the time of Robert's death and escorted his father's body back to Gloucester where he was buried and where was spent a small fortune to build Duke Robert an effigy.
While in Gloucester, the juvenile son of William met with his cousin, Robert Earl of Gloucester (Robert's Curthose's nephew) who would have sealed the right to the Ducal Crown.The boy was possibly offered the earldom of Glamorgan by his uncle.
With the death of his grandfather Robert, who had been imprisoned by his own brother, there was only a dangerous future for his young grandson, unless a warrior of great resources, training cunning-- and allied by powerful men, with a willingness to do battle against competing relatives for the throne.
This heir remained in Glamorgan and one of his descendants was Captain Richard Hill-Male.
When a descendant Sir John removed from Glamorgan, the Spear and Battle Axe was dropped from the Inescutcheon and replaced with a Saltire, keeping the Leopard with the Crown. However, in both his and Captain Richard's shield the Leopard is a Demi leopard and this is of royal significance as Robert's grandson and heir, as the son of a bastard as King William was before him. This is signified in the crest by the Demi-leopard. Demi-leopard means untaken or illegitimate royal descendant. William of Tartosa and William the Conqueror were both royal bastard sons and the young grandson did not attempt to take power. The resistance against the son of William of Tortosa would have been tremendous from men who had armies at their command.
The royal use of the crowned leopard needed to be authorized with proof of lineage. "But if under a will or deed of settlement an illegitimate child is required to assume the name and arms of its father or of its mother, a Royal License to assume such name and arms is considered to be necessary, such petition is granted on proper proof of the facts, if made in due form to the proper channels. The Royal License to that effect is then issued. But the document contains two conditions, the first being that the arms shall be exemplified according to the laws of arms 'with due and proper marks of distinction.'"
In the ancient Welsh language, the word 'male' means prince as the only persons who could afford Mael or Mail armour at the time were noblemen. "*mael, eg. 1. arfogaeth. ARMOUR. 2. tywysog, pennaeth. PRINCE, LORD." ("Welsh-English, English-Welsh Dictionary", H. Meurig Evans, M.A., Saphrograph Corp., 194 Elizabeth Street, New York, Ny, 1969, pg 321).
The prince of England that bore a Crowned Leopard as his crest was Robert Curthose, Duke of Normandy and son of William the Conqueror.
As Captain Richard was "the son of the Prince" the Crowned Leopard was given as his crest and the escutcheon of accomplishment, as well as the nickname Gambaron, which means exactly the same.
His descendants dropped the title "Mal", retaining the last name Hill and the White Leopard with the Duke's Crown to show their lineage. The royal title 'mael' was dropped because in the English language, "mal" came to mean "bad or evil" (i.e. Malefactor etc),
These symbols (Leopard, Crown, Spear, Red Shield, Battle Axe's in Saltiere, Glamorgan, Gambaron, Hill-Male etc., gather together into one crest according to the laws of the heraldry of the times, which combine together to show that Sir John Hill, is a direct descendant, through Captain Richard, son of the prince, from crown prince Robert Curthose also son of a prince, as son of William the Bastard Conqueror King of England and Normandy, who is himself a direct descendant, through Robert Duke of Normandy, via Rolo and Halfdan and Machir via the Monarchy established in Normandy.
William Hill, of Buntingdale's Timeline
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Market Drayton, Shropshire, , England