Ranulph Viscount Bayeux de Briquessart Mechines born 1021 died 1089
Ranulf de Briquessart (or Ranulf the Viscount) (died c. 1089 or soon after) was an 11th century Norman magnate and viscount. Ranulf ‘s family were connected to the House of Normandy by marriage, and, besides Odo, bishop of Bayeux, was the most powerful magnate in the Bessin region.
He married Margaret, daughter of Richard Goz, viscount of the Avranchin, whose son and successor Hugh d'Avranches became Earl of Chester in England c. 1070.
Ranulf is probably the "Ranulf the viscount" who witnessed a charter of William, Duke of Normandy, at Caen on 17 June 1066. Ranulf helped preside over a judgement in the curia of King William (as duke) in 1076 in which a disputed mill was awarded to the Abbey of Mont St. Michael.
On 14 July 1080 he witnessed a charter to the Abbey of Lessay (in the diocese of Coutances), another in the same year addressed to Remigius de Fécamp bishop of Lincoln in favour of the Abbey of Préaux. and one more in the same period, 1079 x 1082, to the Abbey of St Stephen of Caen. His name is attached to a memorandum in 1085, and on 24 April 1089 he witnessed a confirmation of Robert Curthose, Duke of Normandy and Count of Maine to St Mary of Bayeaux, where he appears below his son in the witness list.
He certainly died sometime after this. His son Ranulf le Meschin became ruler of Cumberland and later Earl of Chester. The Durham Liber Vitae, c. 1098 x 1120, shows that his eldest son was one Richard, who died in youth, and that he had another son named William. He also had a daughter called Agnes, who later married Robert de Grandmesnil (died 1136).
He married Margaret de Goz and they had a son Ranulph de Bayeux Meschines born 1046 died 1116
Ranulph Viscount Bayeux de Briquessart Mechines may have had a concubine Alix Alixia of Normanby. Her father was Robert the Duke of Normanby.
They had a son Ranulf de Briquessart le Meschin, who was born 1070.
Ranulf le Meschin, Ranulf de Briquessart or Ranulf I [Ranulph, Ralph] (died 1129) was a late 11th- and early 12th-century Norman magnate based in northern and central England. Originating in Bessin in Normandy, Ranulf made his career in England thanks to his kinship with Hugh d'Avranches - the earl of Chester, the patronage of kings William II Rufus and Henry I Beauclerc, and his marriage to Lucy, heiress of the Bolingbroke-Spalding estates in Lincolnshire.
Ranulf fought in Normandy on behalf of Henry I, and served the English king as a kind of semi-independent governor in the far north-west, in Cumberland and Westmorland, founding Wetheral Priory. After the death of his cousin Richard d'Avranches in the White Ship Disaster of November 1120, Ranulf became earl of the county of Chester on the Anglo-Welsh marches. He held this position for the remainder of his life, and passed the title on to his son.
Ranulf le Meschin's father and mother represented two different families of viscounts in Normandy, and both of them were strongly tied to Henry, son of William the Conqueror. His father was Ranulf de Briquessart, and likely for this reason the former Ranulf was styled le Meschin, "the younger". Ranulf ‘s father was viscount of the Bessin, the area around Bayeux. Besides Odo, bishop of Bayeux, Ranulf the elder was the most powerful magnate in the Bessin region of Normandy. Ranulf le Meschin's great-grandmother may even have been from the ducal family of Normandy, as le Meschin's paternal great-grandfather viscount Anschitil is known to have married a daughter of Duke Richard III.
Ranulf le Meschin's mother, Margaret, was the daughter of Richard Goz. Richard's father Thurstan Goz had become viscount of the Hiémois between 1017 and 1025, while Richard himself became viscount of the Avranchin in either 1055 or 1056. Her brother (Richard Goz's son) was Hugh d'Avranches "Lupus" ("the Wolf"), viscount of the Avranchin and Earl of Chester (from c. 1070). Ranulf was thus, in addition to being heir to the Bessin, the nephew of one of Norman England's most powerful and prestigious families.
We know from an entry in the Durham Liber Vitae, c. 1098 x 1120, that Ranulf le Meschin had an older brother named Richard (who died in youth), and a younger brother named William. He had a sister called Agnes, who later married Robert de Grandmesnil (died 1136).
He married Lucy. Lucia Bolingbroke Countess of Taillebois born 1074 died 1144. Lucy had a few husbands.
Ivo Taillebois, when he married Ranulf ‘s future wife Lucy, had acquired her Lincolnshire lands but sometime after 1086 he acquired estates in Kendal and elsewhere in Westmorland. Adjacent lands in Westmorland and Lancashire that had previously been controlled by Earl Tostig Godwinson were probably carved up between Roger the Poitevin and Ivo in the 1080s, a territorial division at least partially responsible for the later boundary between the two counties.
Norman lordship in the heartland of Cumberland can be dated from chronicle sources to around 1092, the year King William Rufus seized the region from its previous ruler, Dolfin. There is inconclusive evidence that settlers from Ivo's Lincolnshire lands had come into Cumberland as a result.
Between 1094 and 1098 Lucy was married to Roger Fitz Gerold de Roumare, and it is probable that this marriage was the king's way of transferring authority in the region to Roger Fitz Gerold. Only from 1106 however, well into the reign of Henry I, do we have certain evidence that this authority had come to Ranulf. The "traditional view", held by the historian William Kapelle, was that Ranulf ‘s authority in the region did not come about until 1106 or after, as a reward for participation in the Battle of Tinchebrai. Another historian, Richard Sharpe, has recently attacked this view and argued that it probably came in or soon after 1098. Sharpe stressed that Lucy was the mechanism by which this authority changed hands, and pointed out that Ranulf had been married to Lucy years before Tinchebrai and can be found months before Tinchebrai taking evidence from county jurors at York (which may have been responsible for Cumbria at this point).
Ranulf likewise distributed land to the church, founding a Benedictine monastic house at Wetheral. This he established as a daughter-house of St Mary's Abbey, York, a house that in turn had been generously endowed by Ivo Taillebois. This had occurred by 1112, the year of the death of Abbot Stephen of St Mary's, named in the foundation deed. In later times at least, the priory of Wetheral was dedicated to St Mary and the Holy Trinity, as well as another saint named Constantine. Ranulf gave Wetheral, among other things, his two churches at Appleby, St Lawrences (Burgate) and St Michaels (Bongate).
As an incoming regional magnate Ranulf would be expected to distribute land to his own followers, and indeed the record of the jurors of Cumberland dating to 1212 claimed that Ranulf created two baronies in the region. Ranulf ‘s brother-in-law Robert de Trevers received the barony of Burgh-by-Sands, while the barony of Liddel went to Turgis Brandos.
He appears to have attempted to give the large compact barony of Gilsland to his brother William, but failed to dislodge the native lord, the eponymous "Gille" son of Boite; later the lordship of Allerdale (including Copeland), even larger than Gilsland stretching along the coast from the river Ellen to the river Esk, was given to William. Kirklinton may have been given to Richard de Boivill, Ranulf ‘s sheriff.
Earl of Chester
Henry probably could not wait long to replace Richard, as the Welsh were resurgent under the charismatic leadership of Gruffydd ap Cynan. According to the Historia Regum, Richard's death prompted the Welsh to raid Cheshire, looting, killing, and burning two castles. Perhaps because of his recognised military ability and social strength, because he was loyal and because he was the closest male relation to Earl Richard, Henry recognized Ranulf as Richard's successor to the county of Chester.
In 1123, Henry sent Ranulf to Normandy with a large number of knights and with his bastard son, Robert, Earl of Gloucester, to strengthen the garrisons there. Ranulf commanded the king's garrison at Évreux and governed the county of Évreux during the 1123-1124 war with William Clito, Robert Curthose's son and heir.
In March 1124 Ranulf assisted in the capture of Waleran, Count of Meulan.Scouts informed Ranulf that Waleran's forces were planning an expedition to Vatteville, and Ranulf planned an to intercept them, a plan carried out by Henry de Pommeroy, Odo Borleng and William de Pont-Authou, with 300 knights. A battle followed, perhaps at Rougemontier (or Bourgthéroulde), in which Waleran was captured.
Although Ranulf bore the title "earl of Chester", the honour (i.e., group of estates) which formed the holdings of the earl of Chester were scattered throughout England, and during the rule of his predecessors included the cantre of Tegeingl in Perfeddwlad in north-western Wales. Around 1100, only a quarter of the value of the honour actually lay in Cheshire, which was one of England's poorest and least developed counties.
The estates elsewhere were probably given to the earls in compensation for Cheshire's poverty, in order to strengthen its vulnerable position on the Anglo-Welsh border. The possibility of conquest and booty in Wales should have supplemented the lordship's wealth and attractiveness, but for much of Henry's reign the English king tried to keep the neighbouring Welsh princes under his peace.
Ranulf ‘s accession may have involved him giving up many of his other lands, including much of his wife's Lincolnshire lands as well as his lands in Cumbria, though direct evidence for this beyond convenient timing is lacking. That Cumberland was given up at this point is likely, as King Henry visited Carlisle in December 1122, where, according to the Historia Regum, he ordered the strengthening of the castle.
Hollister believed that Ranulf offered the Bolingbroke lands to Henry in exchange for Henry's bestowal of the earldom. The historian A. T. Thacker believed that Henry I forced Ranulf to give up most of the Bolingbroke lands through fear that Ranulf would become too powerful, dominating both Cheshire and the richer county of Lincoln.
Sharpe, however, suggested that Ranulf may have had to sell a great deal of land in order to pay the king for the county of Chester, though it could not have covered the whole fee, as Ranulf ‘s son Ranulf de Gernon, when he succeeded his father to Chester in 1129, owed the king £1000 "from his father's debt for the land of Earl Hugh". Hollister thought this debt was merely the normal feudal relief expected to be paid on a large honour, and suggested that Ranulf ‘s partial non-payment, or Henry's forgiveness for non-payment, was a form of royal patronage.
Ranulf died in January 1129, and was buried in Chester Abbey. He was survived by his wife and countess, Lucy, and succeeded by his son Ranulf de Gernon. A daughter, Alicia, married Richard de Clare, a lord in the Anglo-Welsh marches. One of his offspring, his fifth son, participated in the Siege of Lisbon, and for this aid was granted the Lordship of Azambuja by King Afonso I of Portugal.
2. Hubert I de Vermandois m Bertha de Morvois
3. Gunhilde De Vermandois de Bayeux married Berenger de Bayeux
Count Pepin III married Cunigunde (Adela) Duchess De Rennes
Alix Fitz Richard (daughter of Richard III 5th Duke of Normandy and son of Richard II and Judith) had two children:
1.3 1. Ranulph married Maud Margaret Avranches (Heiress of Chester)
2. Agnes of Bayeux who married Robert de Grandmes
Ranulph married Maud Avranches and they had a son Ranulph de Meschines
1.4 This Ranulph married Lucia of Bolingbroke Countess of Taillebois
1.5 They had a son Ranulph de Meschines who married Maud Matilda Fitz Robert de Caen who was the daughter of King Henry I of England and Sybilla Corbet of Alcester
They had a son Hugh 5th Earl of Chester de Kevelioc married Bertrade de Evreaux (daughter of Simon of Montfort)
Early reignWhen Richard III died a year later there were suspicions that Robert had had something to do with his death. Although nothing could be proved, Robert had the most to gain The civil war Robert I had brought against his brother Richard III was still causing instability in the duchy Private wars raged between neighbouring barons. This resulted in a new aristocracy arising in Normandy during Robert’s reign.
It was also during this time that many of the lesser nobility left Normandy to seek their fortunes in southern Italy and elsewhere. Soon after assuming the dukedom, possibly in revenge for supporting his brother against him, Robert I assembled an army against his uncle, Robert, Archbishop of Rouen and Count of Évreux. A temporary truce allowed his uncle to leave Normandy in exile but this resulted in an edict excommunicating all of Normandy, which was only lifted when Archbishop Robert was allowed to return and his countship was restored. Robert also attacked another powerful churchman, his cousin Hugo III d'Ivry, Bishop of Bayeux, banishing him from Normandy for an extended period of time. Robert also seized a number of church properties belonging to the Abbey of Fecamp.
Outside of NormandyDespite his domestic troubles Robert decided to intervene in the civil war in Flanders between Baldwin V, Count of Flanders and his father Baldwin IV whom the younger Baldwin had driven out of Flanders. Baldwin V, supported by king Robert II of France, his father-in-law, was persuaded to make peace with his father in 1030 when Duke Robert promised the elder Baldwin his considerable military support. Robert gave shelter to Henry I of France against his mother, Queen Constance, who favoured her younger son Robert to succeed to the French throne after his father Robert II.
For his help Henry I rewarded Robert with the French Vexin. In the early 1030s Alan III, Duke of Brittany began expanding his influence from the area of Rennes and appeared to have designs on the area surrounding Mont Saint-Michel After sacking Dol and repelling Alan's attempts to raid Avranches, Robert mounted a major campaign against his cousin Alan III.
However, Alan appealed to their uncle, Archbishop Robert of Rouen, who then brokered a peace between Duke Robert and his vassal Alan III. His cousins, the Athelings Edward and Alfred, sons of his aunt Emma of Normandy and Athelred, King of England had been living at the Norman Court and at one point Robert, on their behalf, attempted to mount an invasion of England but was prevented in doing so, it was said, by unfavourable winds. Gesta Normannorum Ducum stated that King Cnut sent envoys to Duke Robert offering to settle half the Kingdom of England on Edward and Alfred. After postponing the naval invasion he chose to also postpone the decision until after he returned from Jerusalem.
The Church and his pilgrimage
Robert's attitude towards the Church had changed noticeably certainly since his reinstating his uncle's position as Archbishop of Rouen. In his attempt to reconcile his differences with the Church he restored property that he or his vassals had confiscated, and by 1034 had returned all the properties he had earlier taken from the abbey of Fecamp.
After making his illegitimate son William his heir, he set out on pilgrimage to Jerusalem. According to the Gesta Normannorum Ducum he travelled by way of Constantinople, reached Jerusalem, fell seriously ill and died on the return journey at Nicaea on 2 July 1035. His son William, aged about eight, succeeded him.
According to the historian William of Malmesbury, decades later his son William sent a mission to Constantinople and Nicaea, charging it with bringing his father's body back to Normandy for burial. Permission was granted, but, having travelled as far as Apulia (Italy) on the return journey, the envoys learned that William himself had meanwhile died. They then decided to re-inter Robert's body in Italy.
By his mistress, Herleva of Falaise, he was father of:
- William the Conqueror (c.1028–1087).
- Adelaide of Normandy, who married firstly, Enguerrand II, Count of Ponthieu. She married secondly, Lambert II, Count of Lens, and thirdly, Odo II of Champagne.
- Richard II "the Good", Duke of Normandy
- Robert, Archbishop of Rouen, Count of Evreux
- Mauger, Count of Corbeil
- Emma of Normandy, wife of two kings of England
- Maud of Normandy, wife of Odo II of Blois, Count of Blois, Champagne and Chartres
- Hawise of Normandy m. Geoffrey I, Duke of Brittany
- Papia of Normandy
- William, Count of Eu
- Richard (c. 1002/4), duke of Normandy
- Alice of Normandy (c. 1003/5), married Renaud I, Count of Burgundy
- Robert (c. 1005/7), duke of Normandy
- William (c. 1007/9), monk at Fécamp, d. 1025
- Eleanor (c. 1011/3), married to Baldwin IV, Count of Flanders
- Matilda (c. 1013/5), nun at Fecamp, d. 1033. She died young and unmarried.
30 May 1035
Baldwin IV, born c.980, was the son of Arnulf II, Count of Flanders (c. 961 - 987) and Rozala of Lombardy (950/60 – 1003), of the House of Ivrea. He succeeded his father as Count of Flanders in 987, but with his mother Rozala as the regent until his majority.
In contrast to his predecessors Baldwin turned his attention eastward, leaving the southern part of his territory in the hands of his vassals the counts of Guînes, Hesdin, and St. Pol
To the north of the county Baldwin was given Zeeland as a fief by the Holy Roman Emperor Henry II, while on the right bank of the Scheldt river he received Valenciennes (1013) and parts of the Cambresis as well as Saint-Omer and the northern Ternois
In the French territories of the count of Flanders, the supremacy of the Baldwin remained unchallenged. They organized a great deal of colonization of marshland along the coastline of Flanders and enlarged the harbour and city of Brugge. Baldwin IV died on 30 May 1035.
Marriage and issueBaldwin first married Ogive of Luxembourg, daughter of Frederick of Luxembourg, by whom he had a son and heir:
- Baldwin V, Count of Flanders (1012 – 1067). Married Adèle of France (1009-1079), and had issue,
- Baldwin VI,
- Queen Matilda and
- Robert I of Flanders.
19 August 1012
1 September 1067 (aged 55)
He was the son of Baldwin IV, Count of Flanders, who died in 1035.
HistoryIn 1028 Baldwin married Adèle of France in Amiens, daughter of King Robert II of France; at her instigation he rebelled against his father but in 1030 peace was sworn and the old count continued to rule until his death.
During a long war (1046–1056) as an ally of Godfrey the Bearded, Duke of Lorraine, against the Holy Roman Emperor Henry III, he initially lost Valenciennes to Hermann of Hainaut. However, when the latter died in 1051 Baldwin married his son Baldwin VI to Herman's widow Richildis and arranged that the sons of her first marriage were disinherited, thus de facto uniting the County of Hainaut with Flanders. Upon the death of Henry III this marriage was acknowledged by treaty by Agnes de Poitou, mother and regent of Henry IV. Baldwin V played host to a grateful dowager queen Emma of England, during her enforced exile, at Bruges. He supplied armed security guards, entertainment, comprising a band of minstrels. Bruges was a bustling commercial centre, and Emma fittingly grateful to the citizens. She dispensed generously to the poor, making contact with the monastery of Saint Bertin at St Omer, and received her son, King Harthacnut of England at Bruges in 1039.
From 1060 to 1067 Baldwin was the co-Regent with Anne of Kiev for his nephew-by-marriage Philip I of France, indicating the importance he had acquired in international politics. As Count of Maine, Baldwin supported the King of France in most affairs. But he was also father-in-law to William of Normandy, who had married his daughter Matilda. Flanders played a pivotal role in Edward the Confessor's foreign policy. As the King of England was struggling to find an heir: historians have argued that he may have sent Harold Godwinsson to negotiate the return of Edward the Atheling from Hungary, and passed through Flanders, on his way to Germany. Baldwin's half-sister had married Earl Godwin's third son, Tostig. The half-Viking Godwinsons had spent their exile in Dublin, at a time William of Normandy was fiercely defending his duchy. It is unlikely however that Baldwin intervened to prevent the duke's invasion plans of England, after the Count had lost the conquered province of Ponthieu.]By 1066, Baldwin was an old man, and died the following year.
FamilyBaldwin and Adèle had three children:
- Baldwin VI, 1030–1070
- Matilda, c. 1031–1083 who married William the Conqueror
- Robert I of Flanders, c. 1033–1093
- Richard the Forester, participated the in Battle of Hastings with his brother-in-law and later received grant of later site of Kenilworth Castle
- Baldwin VI, Count of Flanders (c. 1030–1070).
- Matilda of Flanders (c. 1032–1083). In c. 1053 she married
- William, Duke of Normandy, the future King of England a