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William I DE WARENNE, Earl of Surrey

William I DE WARENNE, Earl of Surrey

Male Bef 1055 - 1088  (> 33 years)

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  • Name William I DE WARENNE  [1
    Suffix Earl of Surrey 
    Born Bef 1055  Bellecombe, Seine-Maritime, Haute-Normandie, France Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Gender Male 
    Died 24 Jun 1088  during siege Pevensey Castle, Pevensey, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Buried Priory of Lewes, Lewes, Sussex, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Notes 
    • Earl of Surrey
      Lewes Castle was built by William de Warenne at the end of the eleventh century. After the Norman invasion in 1066 William de Warenne was given land in Sussex, Surrey, and Norfolk. He built three castles but his chief residence was at Lewes. Lewes Castle was built by William de Warenne soon after the Norman invasion. Most experts say it was originally made of wood but others insist it was flint. It was probably in 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 William the Conqueror was one William de Warenne, who had long been high in the Conqueror'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 consisted of 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 in Surrey. Later he was to be created Earl of Surrey as a reward for help that he had given in quelling an insurrection of some rebellious barons.
      [on p. 30 Cobb refers to him as "dark-haired".]
      p. 31: Although it is now a ruin, the castle built by William de Warenne in the centre [of Lewes]--and from where his descendants were to rule until the end of the [14th] century--still seems to dominate the place. The entrance is off the High Street where, in medieval days, a Market Cross once stood. Where there was once a drawbridge, there is now a permanent causeway, and the name 'Castle Ditch' is still in use for the piece of moat that protected it on one side. It is now a narrow thoroughfare.
      The entrance arch built by William de Warenne still stands, but in front of it is a magnificent Barbican, one of the finest in England, built in the [14th] century by a later de Warenne. To the left, on its high mound, stands about half of the old keep with two of the towers that were added, still intact, and with windows of a much later date. From the keep, there is a magnificent view down the valley over which the sea once flowed when the castle guarded a port, as well as the heights of the downs on either side.
      See notes on his wife Gundrada for Cobb's commentary on his and Gundrada's founding of the Priory at Southover after visiting the monastery 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 only for the members of the community, but also for the many travellers who stayed in the guest house. The low-lying land nearby was not suitable for the growing of corn; a grange or farm elsewhere was a necessity, so one was built on the land that William de Warenne had given to the Priory at Swanborough. The charter says that 'he gave to God and the Abbot of Cluny, five hides and a half of land, and also free fishing in the waters'. This must have been in 1080, for by then the building of the grange had been completed. It is possible that some of the great beams in the barn which are still to be seen at the present farm at Swanborough, may have been put up by the monks who worked there so long ago. [2]
    • Ancient Lineage of Magna Carta Baron: William de Warenne
      William the Conqueror was a third or fourth generation Viking whose ancestor was reportedly from Honefoss in what is now Norway, near the Oslofjord. The de Vermandois connection relates to one of the small post-Carolingian Frankish kingdoms along the northern border of present-day France. Princesses from the Frankish kingdom married de Warennes on at least two occasions. Perhaps this was done to placate the fierce Vikings and to enlist their help for defensive purposes. This strategy was used by the King of France who arranged similar marriages for his daughters in 911 when he recognized the Duchy of Normandy under Rollo aka Rolf or Hrolf, an altogether evil king. [1]
      The House of Warren can be traced to Hugh of Normandy, born 990, later ordained Bishop of Contances. He married a sister of Gunnora, the wife of Richard I, Duke of Normandy. Rodulf, son to Hugh, a benefactor to the Abbey of La Trinite du Mont, died c1050. He married first Beatrix and secondly Emma. Emma became the mother of his son William created Count de Warenne of Normandy and later first Earl of Surrey. [2]
      William de Warenne, son of Rodulf, was born in Normandy and accompanied William the Conqueror to England in 1066. At the Battle of Hastings, he commanded a detachment and was rewarded with estates and manors in Norfolk becoming the first Earl of Surrey. Before 1070, William de Warenne married Gundred, a lady with disputed parentage since many scholars disbelieve she was the daughter of the Conqueror. Some contend she was the Duke's daughter as proven by her tombstone at St. John's Church, Southover, Lewes: "Within this Pew stands the tombstone of Gundrad, daughter of William the Conqueror, and wife of William, the First Earl of Warren, which having been deposited over her remains in the Chapter-House of Lewes Priory and lately discovered in Iffield Church, 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 buried in the Priory of Lewes in County Sussex. Four of her children matured: William Son & Heir, Reginald, Gundred, and Edith. William, now Earl of Surrey, rebuilt, enlarged, and strengthened Lewes Castle which is now used as the museum of Sussex Archaeological Society. William de Warenne founded Cluniac Priory in 1078, now a ruin, and endowed the chapter house of the Priory. He married secondly a daughter of William, sister of Richard Guet of Montmirail, and died June 24, 1088, from wounds received at the siege of Pevensey. He is buried near Ely Cathedral in East Anglia. [4] [4]
    Person ID I6370  Joel
    Last Modified 27 Jun 2010 

    Father Rudolf II DE WARENNE,   b. 0998, France Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Mother Emma,   b. Abt 1000, Europe Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married Abt 1020 
    Family ID F2900  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  [2
    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)
    Family ID F2897  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart