Richard I, Duke of Normandy

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Richard I "the Fearless"
Richar fearless statue in falaise.jpg
Richard the Fearless as part of the Six Dukes of Normandy statue in the town square of Falaise.
Duke of Normandy[dubious ]
Reign 17 December 942 – 20 November 996
Predecessor William I
Successor Richard II
Spouse Emma of France
Gunnor
Issue Richard II of Normandy
Robert II (Archbishop of Rouen)
Mauger, Count of Corbeil
Robert Danus
Willam?
Emma of Normandy
Maud of Normandy
Hawise of Normandy
Geoffrey, Count of Eu (illegitimate)
William, Count of Eu (illegitimate)
Beatrice of Normandy (illegitimate)
Robert (illegitimate)
Papia (illegitimate)
House House of Normandy
Father William I, Duke of Normandy
Mother Sprota
Born 28 August 933
Fécamp Normandy, France
Died 20 November 996
Fécamp Normandy, France

Richard I of Normandy (933–996), also known as Richard the Fearless (French, Sans Peur), was the Duke of Normandy from 942 to 996.[1][dubious ] Dudo of Saint-Quentin, whom Richard commissioned to write his De moribus et actis primorum Normanniae ducum (Latin, On the Customs and Deeds of the First Dukes of Normandy), called him a dux, but this use of the word may have been in the context of Richard's leadership in war, and not a reference to a title of nobility.[2][a] Richard either introduced feudalism into Normandy, or he greatly expanded it. By the end of his reign, most important landholders held their lands in feudal tenure.[3]

Birth[edit]

Richard was born to William I of Normandy, princeps[4] or ruler of Normandy, and Sprota.[1] He was also the grandson of the famous Rollo. He was about 10 years old when his father was killed on 17 December 942.[1] His mother was a Breton concubine captured in war and bound to William by a Danish marriage.[5] William was told of the birth of a son after the battle with Riouf and other Viking rebels, but his existence was kept secret until a few years later when William Longsword first met his son Richard. After kissing the boy and declaring him his heir, William sent Richard to be raised in Bayeux.[6] After William was killed, Sprota became the wife of Esperleng, a wealthy miller; Rodulf of Ivry was their son and Richard's half-brother.[7]

Life[edit]

When his father died, Louis IV of France seized Normandy, installed the boy Richard in his father's office, then placed him in the care of the count of Ponthieu.[8] The king then split the lands, giving lands in lower Normandy to Hugh the Great. Louis kept Richard in confinement at Lâon,[9] but he escaped with the assistance of Osmond de Centville, Bernard de Senlis (who had been a companion of Rollo of Normandy), Ivo de Bellèsme, and Bernard the Dane[10] (ancestor of families of Harcourt and Beaumont).[b]

In 946, Richard agreed to "commend" himself to Hugh, Count of Paris. He then allied himself with the Norman and Viking leaders, drove Louis out of Rouen, and took back Normandy by 947.[11]

In 962 Theobald I, Count of Blois, attacked Rouen, Richard’s stronghold, but his army was defeated by the Normans and retreated never having crossed the Seine.[12][13] Lothair king of the West Franks stepped in to prevent any further war between the two.[14]

Afterwards, and until his death in 996, Richard concentrated on Normandy itself, and participated less in Frankish politics and petty wars. In lieu of building up the Norman Empire by expansion, he stabilized the realm, and united his followers into a cohesive and formidable principality.[15]

Richard used marriage to build strong alliances . His marriage to Emma connected him to the Capet family. His wife Gunnor, from a rival Viking group in the Cotentin, formed an alliance to that group, while her sisters form the core group that was to provide loyal followers to him and his successors.[16] His daughters provided valuable marriage alliances with powerful neighboring counts as well as to the king of England.[16]

He also built on his relationship with the church, restoring their lands and ensured the great monasteries flourished. His reign was marked by an extended period of peace and tranquility.[16][17]

Marriages[edit]

His first marriage (960) was to Emma, daughter of Hugh "The Great" of France,[1][18] and Hedwig von Sachsen.[18] They were betrothed when both were very young. She died after 19 March 968, with no issue.[1]

Richard & his children

According to Robert of Torigni, not long after Emma's death, Duke Richard went out hunting and stopped at the house of a local forester. He became enamoured of the forester's wife, Seinfreda, but she being a virtuous woman, suggested he court her unmarried sister, Gunnor, instead. Gunnor became his mistress, and her family rose to prominence. Her brother, Herefast de Crepon, may have been involved in a controversial heresy trial. Gunnor was, like Richard, of Viking descent, being a Dane by blood. Richard finally married her to legitimize their children:[c]

Illegitimate children[edit]

Richard was known to have had several other mistresses and produced children with many of them. Known children are:

Possible children[edit]

Death[edit]

Richard died in Fecamp, France, on 20 November 996.[23]

Depictions in fiction[edit]

The Little Duke, a Victorian Juvenile novel by Charlotte Mary Yonge is a fictionalized account of Richard's boyhood and early struggles.

Genealogy[edit]

Diagram based on the information found on Wikipedia

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ For different meanings of Latin word dux (pl. ducum), see Dux.
  2. ^ Follow the links to these two families for more on Bernard the Dane as progenitor.
  3. ^ See the article by Todd A. Farmerie: Robert de Torigny and the family of Gunnora, Duchess of Normandy .

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band II (Marburg, Germany: J. A. Stargardt, 1984), Tafel 79
  2. ^ Eleanor Searle, Predatory Kinship and the Creation of Norman Power, 840–1066 (University of California Press, Berkeley, 1988), pp. 125–6
  3. ^ Emily Zack Tabuteau, 'Ownership and Tenure in Eleventh-Century Normandy', The American Journal of Legal History, Vol. 21, No. 2, (Apr. 1977), p. 99
  4. ^ The Annals of Flodoard of Reims; 916–966, ed. & trans. Steven Fanning and Bernard S. Bachrach (University of Toronto Press, 2011), p. 32
  5. ^ The Normans in Europe, ed. & trans. Elisabeth van Houts (Manchester University Press, 2000), p. 47 n. 77
  6. ^ Eleanor Searle, Predatory Kinship and the Creation of Norman Power, 840–1066 (University of California Press, Berkeley, 1988), p. 95
  7. ^ Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band III Teilband 4 (Marburg, Germany: J. A. Stargardt, 1989), Tafel 694A
  8. ^ Pierre Riché, The Carolingians; A Family who Forged Europe, trans. Michael Idomir Allen (University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1993) pp. 262–3
  9. ^ Eleanor Searle, Predatory Kinship and the Creation of Norman Power, 840–1066 (University of California Press, Berkeley, 1988), p. 80
  10. ^ The Gesta Normannorum Ducum of William of Jumieges, Orderic Vatalis, and Robert of Torigni, Vol. I, ed. & trans. Elisabeth M.C. van Houts (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1992) pp. 103, 105
  11. ^ Eleanor Searle, Predatory Kinship and the Creation of Norman Power, 840–1066 (University of California Press, Berkeley, 1988), pp. 85–6
  12. ^ Eleanor Searle, Predatory Kinship and the Creation of Norman Power, 840–1066 (University of California Press, Berkeley, 1988), p. 86
  13. ^ The Annals of Flodoard of Reims; 916–966, ed. & trans. Steven Fanning and Bernard S. Bachrach (University of Toronto Press, 2011), p. 66
  14. ^ Pierre Riché, The Carolingians; A Family who Forged Europe, trans. Michael Idomir Allen (University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1993), p. 265
  15. ^ Eleanor Searle, Predatory Kinship and the Creation of Norman Power, 840–1066 (University of California Press, Berkeley, 1988), p. 89
  16. ^ a b c A Companion to the Anglo-Norman World, ed. Christopher Harper-Bill, Elisabeth Van Houts (The Boydell Press, Woodbridge, 2007), p. 27
  17. ^ François Neveux. A Brief History of The Normans (Constable & Robbinson, Ltd, London, 2008), pp. 73. 74
  18. ^ a b Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band II (Marburg, Germany: J. A. Stargardt, 1984), Tafel 10
  19. ^ a b David Douglas, 'The Earliest Norman Counts', The English Historical Review, Vol.61, No. 240 (May 1946), p. 140
  20. ^ Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band II (Marburg, Germany: J. A. Stargardt, 1984), Tafel 204
  21. ^ a b Thierry Stasser, 'Mathilde, Fille du Comte Richard: Essai d'identification', Annales de Normandie, Vol. 40, Iss. 40-1 (1990), p. 50
  22. ^ Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band II (Marburg, Germany: J. A. Stargardt, 1984), Tafel 205
  23. ^ François Neveux. A Brief History of The Normans (Constable & Robbinson, Ltd, London, 2008), p. 74

External links[edit]

French nobility
Preceded by
William I
Duke of Normandy
942–996
Succeeded by
Richard II