Robert of Thornham

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Robert of Thornham (or Robert de Turnham) (died 1211) was an English soldier and administrator. The namesake of his landowner father, he was the younger brother of Stephen of Thornham. Robert made his reputation in connection with the conquest of Cyprus in 1191 during the Third Crusade. On order of King Richard I, he led half the fleet in that battle. Subsequently, he was responsible for controlling the island when the Crusaders moved on, first jointly with Richard de Camville and then independently, when he defeated a group of Cypriot rebels.[1] After he left Cyprus, Robert became more closely identified with Richard I. As the king's familiaris, he carried Richard's equipment from the Holy Land to England. When Richard I was captured in 1192 in Vienna, among the terms of his release was the presentation of men to stand as "pledges" that the ransom would be paid.[2] Robert was among these hostages,[3] though evidently not for long, as he was back by the king's side in 1194 at Poitiers. Appointed Seneschal of Anjou,[4] he served in France with Richard I, primarily in Anjou and Normandy, throughout the rest of Richard's reign. At around the same time, he was also appointed High Sheriff of Surrey, but he did not return to England until after Richard's death. In 1196, he led troops at Richard's behest into Brittany on an unsuccessful attempt to capture the child Duke of Brittany Arthur, whose mother Constance was resistant to Richard's control.[5] In 1197, King Richard arranged for Robert to marry Isabella Fossard, daughter and heiress of the powerful Yorkshire baron William Fossard. The Fossard inheritance included the castle, honor, and lordship of Mulgrave with 34.5 attached knight's fees.

Robert was not with Richard at the siege of Château de Chalus-Chabrol in 1199, where Richard died, and after Richard's death became an important source of information about the activities of the king.[6] After Richard's death, Robert ceremonially transferred Chinon castle to the new king, Richard's brother John.[7] He traveled with John in Normandy and England for several years before he was appointed the Seneschal of Anjou and of Gascony in 1201. For the next several years he was troubled by conflict with the French and by rebellious barons in Poitou, which caused him to limit his efforts to his northern territories. In 1203, he made an effort to regain the city of Angers from the French, but though he partially destroyed the city he was unsuccessful and was captured. Ransomed in 1205, he continued to serve John, travelling with him during the Anjou campaign of 1206. From 1205 to 1207 he focused on his service as High Sheriff of Surrey before returning in 1207 to France as Seneschal of Poitou. He died on 26 April 1211 with the Bishop of Winchester at his deathbed.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Gillingham, 152.
  2. ^ McLynn, Frank (2008). Richard and John: Kings at War. Da Capo Press. p. 235. ISBN 0-306-81738-1. 
  3. ^ Gillingham, 248.
  4. ^ Sources do not agree on the date of this appointment. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, cited below, estimates this appointment ca. 1194. The Oxford Illustrated History of Medieval England states the appointment had been made by Henry II, who died in 1189, a view echoed by Sidney Painter in The Reign of King John. Saul, Nigel (15 May 1991). The Oxford Illustrated History of Medieval England. Oxford University Press. p. 10. ISBN 0-19-820502-3. ; Painter, Saul (1979). The Reign of King John. Ayer Publishing. p. 8. ISBN 0-405-10575-4. .
  5. ^ Everard, Judith (2000). Brittany and the Angevins: Province and Empire, 1158-1203. Cambridge University Press. p. 162. ISBN 0-521-66071-8. 
  6. ^ Gillingham, 82, 329.
  7. ^ Gillingham, 335.

Sources[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Payen de Rochefort
Seneschal of Anjou
1196–1199
Succeeded by
Amauri VII of Thouars
William des Roches
Preceded by
Unknown
Lieutenant of Gascony
1196–1199
Succeeded by
Unknown
Preceded by
Unknown
Seneschal of Poitou
1207–1211
Succeeded by
Unknown
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Unknown
High Sheriff of Surrey
1194–1199
Succeeded by
Unknown
Preceded by
Unknown
High Sheriff of Surrey
1205–1207
Succeeded by
Unknown

IN POPULAR CULTURE: link to page with interview of screenwriter who co-wrote original script that had ROBERT OF TORNHAM as its hero, and Russell Crowe signed on to play that role -- but after Ridley Scott signed on to direct the movie, he threw that script out and had it rewritten so Robin Hood was the hero, instead of a supporting character, and that became the 2010 ROBIN HOOD movie.

Here's the LINK:

http://www.boldoutlaw.com/robint/reiff.html