Gilbert, Count of Brionne

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Gilbert, Count of Brionne
Noble family de Clare
Father Geoffrey, Count of Eu
Born 1000
Died c. 1040

Gilbert (or Giselbert) Crispin (1000 – c. 1040) was a Norman noble, Count of Eu, and Count of Brionne in northern France. He was a guardian of young Duke William in his minority.


Gilbert was son of Geoffrey, Count of Eu (b. 962) who was an illegitimate child of Richard the Fearless.[1] He inherited Brionne, becoming one of the most powerful landowners in Normandy. Gilbert was a generous benefactor to Bec Abbey founded by his former knight Herluin in 1031.

When Robert I died in 1035 his illegitimate son William inherited his father's title. Several leading aristocrats, including Gilbert of Brionne, Osbern the Seneschal and Alan of Brittany, became William's guardians.


A number of Norman barons including Ralph de Gacé would not accept an illegitimate son as their leader. In 1040 an attempt was made to kill William but the plot failed. Gilbert however was murdered while he was peaceably riding near Eschafour.[2] It is believed two of his killers were Ralph of Wacy and Robert de Vitot. This appears to have been an act of vengeance for the wrongs inflicted upon the orphan children of Giroie by Gilbert,[3] and it is not clear what Ralph de Gacé had to do in the business.[a] Fearing they might meet their father's fate, his sons Richard and his brother Baldwin were conveyed by their friends to the court of Baldwin V, Count of Flanders.


Through these sons Gilbert was ancestor of the English house of de Clare, of the Barons FitzWalter, and the Earls of Gloucester (see Earl of Gloucester) and Hertford (see Earl of Hertford).

(Edit note) According to C.Cawley's Foundation for Medieval Generations, Gilbert's children were:

• Richard de Brionne (before 1035-[Apr] [1090], bur St Neots, Huntingdonshire).

• Guillaume de Brionne (-after 29 Aug 1060)

• Baudouin de Brionne (-[Feb] 1090).

• Adela, m Neel Vicomte [de Cotentin], (-Aug 1092), son of Neel [I] Vicomte [de Cotentin] & his wife ---.


  1. ^ Although, Ralph de Gacé was the brother-in-law of Hawisa d'Échauffour, daughter of Giroie. See: Schwennicke, ES II, 79; ES III/4, 697.

External Links[edit]

Further information on the life of Gilbert of Brionne and his place in the heart of Normandy's history - link to history blog


  1. ^ a b George Edward Cokayne, The Complete Peerage of England Scotland Ireland Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant Extinct or Dormant, ed. Vicary Gibbs, Vol. IV (London: The St. Catherine Press, Ltd., 1916), p. 308
  2. ^ David C. Douglas, William the Conqueror (Berkeley & Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1964), p. 40
  3. ^ Ordericus Vitalis, The Ecclesiastical History of England and Normandy, trans. Thomas Forester, Vol. I (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1853), p. 391, n. 2
  4. ^ James Dixon Mackenzie, The castles of England: their story and structure, Vol.1, (The Macmillan Co., 1896), 47.