RETURN TO CONTENTS PAGE

Revised 18/10/2016

RETURN TO MEDIAEVAL FAMILIES PAGE

RAYLEIGH FEUDAL LORDSHIP

[HEID281] Vicomte Ansfrid le goz de Hiesmes, Steward of Normandy m. [NORM317] Guimara
. [ESSE341] Robert FitzWimarc m. Beatrice
. . [ESSE352] --- FitzWimarch m. [SAY2391] Richard FitzScrob
. . [ESSE351] Suene of Essex m. ?
. . . [ESSE361] Robert FitzSuene de Essex m. [NORF436] Gunnora Bigod
. . . . [ESSE371] Henry de Essex m1. Cicely
. . . . . [ESSE382] Agnes of Essex m. [OXFO381] Earl Aubrey of Oxford
. . . . . [ESSE383] Alianor/Adeliza of Rayleigh m. [WARK451] Lord Roger FitzRichard of Warkworth

[ESSE341] Robert de Moyaux (born at Moyaux, Calvados, c.1007, son of [HEID281] Ansfrid II Unfoi le goz (see HEIDMARK), probably married Beatrice, as a charter for Lewes Priory, c.1114, by his grandson Robert FitzSwein, refers to his grandmother Beatrice (vide "Domesday People" (K.S.B. Keats-Rohan, 2002)).

He was one of a select number of Norman families (mostly kinsmen of King Edward the confessor, whose mother was Emma of Normandy) who came over to England after Edward returned from exile in Normandy (1041), ready to take over the throne of England (1042). Robert was known in England as "Robert son of Guimara", probably to improve his reputation and stress his noble status on his mother's side. It is possible Robert's mother Guimara was half-sister of Emma of Normandy, wife of King Edward the confessor. This would make Robert and Edward first-cousins. Robert was probably a particular favourite of King Edward the confessor, and he was present at his death at Westminster (4th January 1066).

Robert has also been referred to as Robert the deacon and Robert the dragon. It would appear likely that Roberto draco [=dragon] has been misread as Roberto diaco, with diaco taken to be an abbreviation of diaconis [=deacon]. Prior to the Conquest, Robert held considerable lands as tenant-in-chief of the king, e.g. Barrington, Croydon, East Hatley, Hatley St. George, "Witewell" [probably in Barton] and Wratworth (Cambs); Berden, Canewdon, Clavering, Eastwood, Eiland, Elmstead, Hockley, Mersea, Nayland, Nevendon, Plumberow, Prittlewell, Ramsden, Rayleigh, Sutton and Wakering (Essex); Thruxton and Winnhall (Herefs); Ashwell, Little Hadham and Little Wymondley (Herts); Eynesbury and Waresley (Hunts); half of Bromfield (Salop); Brewham and Stoney Stoke (Somerset); Aveley, Bentley, Freston, Groton, Higham, Ipswich Burgh, Nayland, Pannington, Polstead, Stoke by Nayland, Stratford St. Mary, Waldingfied, Wherstead and Withermarsh (Suffolk); Widhill (Wiltshire).

His holding at Bromfield Manor (Salop) was unusual. He had acquired half the land after its holder was banished from England. Incidentally, Robert was recorded in the Domesday Book as being "filio Wimarch", which Phillimore translates as "the son of Wymarc" and Penguin as "fitz Wimarc". But Robert gave the land to his son-in-law towards the end of 1065. The entry in the "Domesday Book" (Penguin) records:

 "... Robert gave this same to a son-in-law of his. When the canons informed the King of this, he immediately ordered the land to be returned to the Church, only waiting until, at the imminent Christmas court, he could command Robert to provide other land for his son-in-law. However, the King died during those feast days and from then till now the Church has been without the land".

This son-in-law was with little doubt Richard FitzScrob see SAYE BY ADOPTION. So Robert continued to hold on to the land for some time to come, whilst twenty-years later the "Domesday Book" (Penguin) contrarily recorded "Now Robert holds it from Earl Roger" and "The church itself holds BROMFIELD".

According to the 11th Century Norman historian William de Poitiers, Robert "filius Guimarae nobilius mulieris" [son of noblewoman Guimara] informed DUKE WILLIAM OF NORMANDY about the strength of King Harold's army prior to the Battle of Hastings. After the Conquest, Robert acquired further lands in Essex, at Foulton, Little Thorpe, Plumberow, Shoebury, Sutton, Theydon and Wakering. After his death, the bulk of his by now considerable holdings in Essex passed to his son Suene.

[ESSE352] --- FitzWimarch (born c.1030, daughter of Robert the deacon FitzWimarch) married [SAY2391] Richard FitzScrob (see SAYE BY ADOPTION).

[ESSE351] Suene/Swain/Swein of Essex.

He was Sheriff of Essex, and was recorded in the Domesday Book (1086) as holding vast lands, mostly inherited from his father. The lands were mostly in Essex (where he rebuilt the castle at Rayleigh), to a lesser extent in Suffolk, and one example in Huntingdonshire (Waresley). In addition a "Swein the Sheriff" held land in Oxfordshire, but this may not be relevant.

His Essex holdings included Clavering Manor, which somewhat strangely later passed to Roger FitzRichard, feudal Lord of Warkworth (Northumbs), by marriage to his grand-daughter Alianor (see WARKWORTH FEUDAL LORDSHIP).

 
  Rayleigh Church
(5 October 2016)
Moat of former Rayleigh Castle
(5 October 2016)

Suene died c.1114, when his son Robert succeeded him.

[ESSE361] Robert FitzSuene de Essex married 1. [NORF436] Gunnora (daughter of Roger Bigod, see NORFOLK (BIGOD) EARLDOM), possibly divorced (as afterwards Gunnor married 2. Haimo de St. Clair); then 2. Alice de Vere (born c.1124, sister of Aubrey de Vere, 1st Earl of Oxford, and daughter of Aubrey II, see OXFORD (VERE) EARLDOM). Robert founded Prittlewell Priory. He died c.1140.

[ESSE371] Henry (son & heir of Robert & Gunnora), later Lord of Haughley, King's Constable, Sheriff of Buckinghamshire and Bedford, and a Justice in many counties (1155-58). He married Cicely. Henry was defeated near Reading in trial by battle (18th April 1163), thereby forfeiting his Rayleigh lordship, and he became a monk at Reading, and was recorded still there in 1196.

[ESSE382] Agnes (born c.1152, daughter of Henry & Cicely) married (1162-63) [OXFO381] Earl Aubrey (see OXFORD (VERE) EARLDOM).

[ESSE383] Alianor/Adeliza (daughter of Henry & Cicely) married [WARK451] Lord Roger FitzRichard (see WARKWORTH FEUDAL LORDSHIP).