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William I DE WARENNE, Earl of Surrey[1]

Male Bef 1055 - 1088  (> 33 years)


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  • Name William I DE WARENNE 
    Suffix Earl of Surrey 
    Born Bef 1055  Bellecombe, Seine-Maritime, Haute-Normandie, France Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Gender Male 
    Name William de Warren  [2
    _AMTID 330126063615:1030:114017017 
    _FSFTID L8BS-QXC 
    _UID 73331BC2DD034B81911ABDC4A4E7753D9861 
    Died 24 Jun 1088  during siege Pevensey Castle, Pevensey, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Buried Priory of Lewes, Lewes, Sussex, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Notes 
    • Earl of Surrey
      Lewes Castle was built by William de Warenne at the end of the eleventhcentury. After the Norman invasion in 1066 William de Warenne was givenland in Sussex, Surrey, and Norfolk. He built three castles but hischief residence was at Lewes. Lewes Castle was built by William deWarenne soon after the Norman invasion. Most experts say it wasoriginally made of wood but others insist it was flint. It was probablyin the early 12th century that a sturdy stone castle was erected.
      Some sources say he died at Pevensey.
      Ruth Cobb, "'Travellers to the Town," London: The Epworth Press, 1953,pp. 25-26:
      The commander of this part of Sussex [around Lewes] appointed by Williamthe Conqueror was one William de Warenne, who had long been high in theConqueror's favour, having distinguished himself as a warrior in France.A contemporary account says
      William de Warenne his own squadron led,
      And well sat the helmet on so knightly a head.
      ....The land over which William de Warenne was given control consistedof the Burgh and the entire Rape of Lewes--about a sixteenth of Sussex.He was also given the land at Castle Acre in Norfolk and at Reigate inSurrey. Later he was to be created Earl of Surrey as a reward for helpthat he had given in quelling an insurrection of some rebelliousbarons.
      [on p. 30 Cobb refers to him as "dark-haired".]
      p. 31: Although it is now a ruin, the castle built by William de Warennein the centre [of Lewes]--and from where his descendants were to ruleuntil the end of the [14th] century--still seems to dominate the place.The entrance is off the High Street where, in medieval days, a MarketCross once stood. Where there was once a drawbridge, there is now apermanent causeway, and the name 'Castle Ditch' is still in use for thepiece of moat that protected it on one side. It is now a narrowthoroughfare.
      The entrance arch built by William de Warenne still stands, but in frontof it is a magnificent Barbican, one of the finest in England, built inthe [14th] century by a later de Warenne. To the left, on its highmound, stands about half of the old keep with two of the towers thatwere added, still intact, and with windows of a much later date. Fromthe keep, there is a magnificent view down the valley over which the seaonce flowed when the castle guarded a port, as well as the heights ofthe downs on either side.
      See notes on his wife Gundrada for Cobb's commentary on his andGundrada's founding of the Priory at Southover after visiting themonastery at Cluny.
      Cobb, p. 54: In the time of William de Warenne, the Priory at Southover,which he had built, must have needed large supplies of food--not onlyfor the members of the community, but also for the many travellers whostayed in the guest house. The low-lying land nearby was not suitablefor the growing of corn; a grange or farm elsewhere was a necessity, soone was built on the land that William de Warenne had given to thePriory at Swanborough. The charter says that 'he gave to God and theAbbot of Cluny, five hides and a half of land, and also free fishing inthe waters'. This must have been in 1080, for by then the building ofthe grange had been completed. It is possible that some of the greatbeams in the barn which are still to be seen at the present farm atSwanborough, may have been put up by the monks who worked there so longago.

      Ancient Lineage of Magna Carta Baron: William de Warenne
      William the Conqueror was a third or fourth generation Viking whoseancestor was reportedly from Honefoss in what is now Norway, near theOslofjord. The de Vermandois connection relates to one of the smallpost-Carolingian Frankish kingdoms along the northern border ofpresent-day France. Princesses from the Frankish kingdom married deWarennes on at least two occasions. Perhaps this was done to placate thefierce Vikings and to enlist their help for defensive purposes. Thisstrategy was used by the King of France who arranged similar marriagesfor his daughters in 911 when he recognized the Duchy of Normandy underRollo aka Rolf or Hrolf, an altogether evil king. [1]
      The House of Warren can be traced to Hugh of Normandy, born 990, laterordained Bishop of Contances. He married a sister of Gunnora, the wifeof Richard I, Duke of Normandy. Rodulf, son to Hugh, a benefactor to theAbbey of La Trinite du Mont, died c1050. He married first Beatrix andsecondly Emma. Emma became the mother of his son William created Countde Warenne of Normandy and later first Earl of Surrey. [2]
      William de Warenne, son of Rodulf, was born in Normandy and accompaniedWilliam the Conqueror to England in 1066. At the Battle of Hastings, hecommanded a detachment and was rewarded with estates and manors inNorfolk becoming the first Earl of Surrey. Before 1070, William deWarenne married Gundred, a lady with disputed parentage since manyscholars disbelieve she was the daughter of the Conqueror. Some contendshe was the Duke's daughter as proven by her tombstone at St. John'sChurch, Southover, Lewes: "Within this Pew stands the tombstone ofGundrad, daughter of William the Conqueror, and wife of William, theFirst Earl of Warren, which having been deposited over her remains inthe Chapter-House of Lewes Priory and lately discovered in IffieldChurch, was removed to this place at the expense of William Burrell Esq.in 1775 A.D. [3]
      Gundred died in childbirth at Castle Acre May 27, 1085, and was buriedin the Priory of Lewes in County Sussex. Four of her children matured:William Son & Heir, Reginald, Gundred, and Edith. William, now Earl ofSurrey, rebuilt, enlarged, and strengthened Lewes Castle which is nowused as the museum of Sussex Archaeological Society. William de Warennefounded Cluniac Priory in 1078, now a ruin, and endowed the chapterhouse of the Priory. He married secondly a daughter of William, sisterof Richard Guet of Montmirail, and died June 24, 1088, from woundsreceived at the siege of Pevensey. He is buried near Ely Cathedral inEast Anglia. [4]
    Person ID I5264  Work in progress june2018
    Last Modified 27 Jun 2010 

    Father Rudolf II DE WARENNE,   b. 998, France Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Mother Emma,   b. Abt 1000, Europe Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Married Abt 1020 
    Family ID F2904  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Gundred OF FLANDERS, Countess of Surrey,   b. Abt 1063, Normandie, France Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 27 May 1085, Castle Acre, Norfolk, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 22 years) 
    Married Bef 1077  Normandie, France Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Children 
     1. William II DE WARENNE, Earl of Surrey,   b. Abt 1065, Sussex, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 11 May 1138, Chapter House, Lewes Priory, Sussex, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 73 years)
    Last Modified 30 Jun 2018 
    Family ID F2901  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart