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Arms of FitzMartin: Argent two bars gules

FitzMartin was the surname of a Norman family based in England and Wales between 1085 and 1342.

Family origins[edit]

The first known member of the family was William Martyn de Tours,[1] who appears to have died prior to 1100. Records show a Sir William Martyn of Tours, as having been born c. 1020 to Nicholas de Caineis in Tours,Puy-de-Dome, Auvergne, France. This Sir William Martyn joined William the Conqueror against the ursurper, King Harold. Duke William became the King of England after a successful military campaign which began as the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The Norman French system of government was implanted in England. Sir William Martyn obtained the lands of Combe Martin in Devon, England, then engaged in his own battle against Wales, acquiring by force a barony in Pembrokeshire. Sir William Martyn died c. 1094 at was buried St Dogmaels Abbey, Pembrokeshire, Wales. Sir William Martyn, Lord Combe Martin, Lord Kemys, married Geva de Burci, daughter and sole heiress of Serlo de Burci, feudal baron of Blagdon in Somerset. By Geva de Burci, William Martyn he was father to a Sir Robert FitzMartin.

In his lifetime, Sir William Martin's son was known as Robert FitzMartin (i.e. French fils de, "son of"), and this patronymic developed into the surname FitzMartin.

Geva's second husband, William de Falaise, is listed in the Domesday Book of 1086 as a landowner in Devon, Dorset and Somerset. The bulk of the estates of Serlo de Burci, including the feudal barony of Blagdon in Somerset and Dartington, Devon, later devolved on Robert.

Other children of Sir William Martin and Geva de Burci, include son Nicholus, son William & daughter Avice[2]


The Arms of FitzMartin are: Argent two bars gules. The arms of Nicholas FitzMartin in Glover's Roll of Arms (no. 202) show a label azure for difference. The label is charged on each point with three bezants for William Martin in Collins Roll (134) and for another William Martin in Segar's Roll (171) and Gwillim's Roll (60) where there are five points to the label each charged with three bezants.[3]

Robert fitz Martin[edit]

Robert FitzMartin was born between 1070-1080 in the Lordship of Cemais (or Kemys), Pembrokeshire. He was the son of William Martyn de Tours 1st Lord of Cemais by his wife Geva De Burci. He married Alice De Nonant (or Maud Purvell).

The children of Robert FiztMartin and Alice De Nonant (or Maud Purvell) were:

  • Oliver FitzMartin,
  • Robert FitzMartin born in Cemais,
  • Sibyl FitzMartin was born about 1113,
  • William FitzMartin, born in Dartingham, Devon. He married Angharad Griffydd, daughter of Rhys ap Griffydd.

The Lords of Cemais[edit]

The Lords of Cemais (or Kemys) in Pembrokeshire from the early 12th century are as follows:

  • Martin, fl. 1090's.
  • Robert fitz Martin, c.1095? - died c.1159
  • William I FitzMartin, c.1155-1209
  • William II FitzMartin, 1177?-1216
  • Sir Nicholas FitzMartin, 1210–1282
  • William, Lord Martin, 1257–1324
  • William, Lord Martin, 1296–1326
  • Joan Martin, fl.1296-1311
  • James Audley, 1313–1386
  • Nicholas, Lord Audley, c.1330-1391
  • John Touchet, Lord Audley, d. 1409
  • James Touchet, Lord Audley, d. 1459
  • John Touchet, Lord Audley, d. 1491
  • James Touchet, Lord Audley, c.1465-1497
  • John Touchet, Lord Audley, d. 1558
  • William Owen, c. 1488-1574
  • George Owen, 1552–1613
  • Alban Owen, 1580–1656
  • David Owen, fl. 1651
  • William Owen, c.1654-1721
  • Elizabeth Owen, d. 1746
  • Anne Owen, d. c.1720?
  • William Lloyd, d. 1734
  • Anne Lloyd, c. 1715-1775
  • Colonel Thomas Lloyd, 1740–1807
  • Thomas Lloyd, 1788–1845
  • Sir Thomas Davies Lloyd, bart., 1820–1877
  • Sir Marteine Lloyd, bart., 1851–1933
  • Nesta Lloyd Withington, d.1943
  • Morfa Withington Winser, 1920–1958
  • Joan Gregson Ellis, d. 1973
  • Hyacinthe Hawkesworth, married John Hawkesworth in 1943
    • Heir presumptive: John Phillip Cemaes Hawkesworth, born 1947. Married to Elizabeth Sparke of Gunthorpe Hall, Norfolk, with children Alexander and Clare Hawkesworth.

The Martin feudal barons[edit]

The FitzMartin's oldest feudal barony had its caput at the manor of Blagdon, Somerset, or possibly at Dartington, Devon.[4] They later inherited in addition the feudal barony of Barnstaple in Devon. Their descent was as follows:

Martin [a] b abt 1052, of Blagdon, Somerset, England, d bef 1086. He md Geva de Burci abt 1074, daughter of Serlo de Burci. She was b abt 1058, of Somerset and Dorset, England, d aft 1086. Child of Martin and Geva de Burci was:

Robert Fitz Martin [b] b abt 1084, of Blagdon, Somerset, England, d bef 1159. He md [1] Adelise abt 1106, and [2] Alice de Nonant abt 1132, daughter of Roger de Nonant. She was b abt 1108, d aft 1175. Child of Robert Fitz Martin and Alice de Nonant was:

William Fitz Martin [c] b abt 1140, of Blagdon, Somerset, England, d 1208/09. He md Angharad verch Rhys abt 1168, daughter of Rhys ap Gruffydd, Prince of South Wales, and Gwenllian verch Madog. Child of William Fitz Martin and Angharad verch Rhys was:

William Fitz Martin [d] b abt 1176, of Blagdon, Somerset, England, d bef 15 Feb 1215/16. He md Avice de Toriton abt 1199. She was b abt 1184, d aft 1246. Child of William Fitz Martin and Avice de Toriton was:

Sir Nicholas Fitz Martin [e] b abt 1212, of Blagdon, Somerset, England, d 1282. He md [1] Unknown abt 1232, and [2] Isabel 1259/60. Child of Nicholas Fitz Martin and unknown first wife was:

Sir Nicholas FitzMartin [f] b abt 1236, of Somerset, England, d abt 1260. He md Maud de Brian bef 1257, heiress of the feudal barony of Barnstaple, Devon, daughter of Guy de Brian and Eve de Tracy. Nicholas had pre-deceased his father Nicholas FitzMartin (died 1282), feudal baron of Blagdon, Somerset.[5] Maud married secondly Geoffrey de Camville (died 1308), of Clifton Campville, Staffordshire, who had summons to attend the king at Portsmouth, with horse and arms, to embark in the expedition then proceeding to Gascony. He was subsequently summoned to parliament as Baron Camville, of Clifton, in the county of Stafford, from 23 Jun 1295 to 22 Feb 1307.[6] Camville survived her by about 29 years during which time he retained possession of the barony under the curtesy of England.

The barony of Barnstaple was recovered on Geoffrey's death by Maud's son William I FitzMartin (died 1324). He marriedd Eleanor Fitz Piers bef Jan 1281/82, daughter of Sir Reginald Fitz Piers (Fitz Herbert), Knight, and Joan de Vivonia.

The son and heir of William Martin and Eleanor Fitz Piers was William II FitzMartin died sine prole in 1326, leaving as his co-heirs his surviving sister Eleanor FitzMartin (died 1342), who died without progeny, albeit having married twice, and James Audley, 2nd Baron Audley (died 1386), the son of his other sister Joan FitzMartin (died 1322), by her second husband Nicholas Audley, 1st Baron Audley (died 1316) of Heleigh Castle, Staffordshire. Joane Martin b abt 1290, Barnstaple, Devonshire, England, d abt 1321. She md [1] Henry de Lacy, Earl of Lincoln, and [2] Sir Nicholas de Audley, Lord Audley, abt 1312, Staffordshire, England, son of Nicholas de Audley and Catherine Giffard.

NOTES: a. The earliest progenitor of this family is shown in the charter of his son, Robert, to the monks at Montacute, around 1121, wherein are given the names of Robert's parents, Martin and Geva. Little else is known of this Martin, but his wife Geva is known to have been the daughter and heiress of Serlo de Burci. Thus, Geva de Burci brought the lands of her father to her marriage, which included Low Ham, Pylle, and Hornblotton. By her second marriage to William de Falaise, which had occurred by 1086, she was to pass to her son and heir, Robert, additional land in Devonshire. It should also be noted that the surname Martin was not used in this family until the generation of Nicholas Martin (d abt 1260), and individuals previous to Nicholas were almost always recorded as "son of", but confusingly, successive early generations were recorded, regardless of the father's first name, as for example, Robert son of Martin (father of) William son of Martin. Thus, they are shown here as Fitz Martin (something which even CP gives way to intermittently) in an attempt to simplify their entry in the index, as well as to minimize confusion.

b. He succeeded to the lands which Serlo de Burci had held in 1086, and also to land held by his stepfather. He was a benefactor to various monasteries, giving land at Compton to Goldcilffe, the church of Blagdon to Stanley in Wiltshire, and the manor of Teignton to Montacute Priory in Somerset. He founded the abbey of St. Dogmael about 1118. Not later than 1120, Robert Fitz Martin and Maud Peverel, his wife, granted to the abbey of Savigny land at Vengeons (la Manche) which had belonged to William Peverel. In 1134, he joined with other Norman lords in South Wales in resisting the sons of Gruffydd, and witnessed several charters of the Empress Maud, to whom he was adhered. In 1155, Henry II confirmed to him the lands of his grandfather, Serlo de Burci, with all their liberties. Maud predeceased him, and he secondly married Alice de Nonant, who survived him and remarried in or before 1175.

c. Son and heir by his father's second wife, he was sometimes referred to as William son of Robert son of Martin. Sometime between 1170 and 1183 he granted a messuage and land in the manor of Blagdon to the canons of St. Augustine's in Bristol, and also confirmed to the church of St. Michael a grant of land in Uphill. In 1198 he made an exchange of lands in Combe Martin, Devon, with Warin de Morcells, who had married his sister, Sibyl. While he married Ankaret, daughter of Rhys ap Gruffydd, this did not keep the Prince of South Wales from expelling William from his castle of Nevern, which Rhys then gave to his own son. His widow survived him.

d. In 1209 he had letters of protection while staying in Wales. In 1212 he held Blagdon, Dartington, and other manors. He died while still a relatively young man before 15 Feb 1215/16, when the custody of his lands and his heir was granted to Fulk de Breaute. His wife, Avice de Toriton was likely a sister of Fulk. After his death, Avice married Nicholas de Bolewill and was apparently still living in 1246.

e. As noted above, he was a minor at his father's death and his custody and lands in the wardship of Fulk de Breaute. In 1222, while still under age, the King granted him licence to have a fair at his manor of Combe Martin in Devon, every year until he should come of age, which occurred before Sep 1231. In 1245 he was ordered to take action against the King's enemies in Gloucestershire, and in 1253 he had orders to attend "diligently" to the King's affairs while he was abroad. In 1257 he had custody of the castles of Cardigan and Kilgarran, but in that year was taken prisoner by the Welsh, and his tenants were used by the King to contribute to his ransom. The following year he was constable of Carmarthen. In 1268, being a justice in Surrey, he was allowed 50 marks out of the fines of that county for his expenses. The King's son, Edmund, in 1271, gave him custody of the castles and counties of Carmarthen and Cardigan, and in 1278 he was one of the justices appointed to hear and determine complaints concerning the Bishop of St. David's in Wales. The name of his first wife is not known, and he secondly married, around 1259 or 1260, Isabel, widow of Hugh Peverel.

f. Son and heir apparent, he died in his father's lifetime, being probably in his early forties. His widow, Maud, daughter of Guy de Brian married Geoffrey, Lord Canville, whom she also survived.

g. Grandson and heir, he was aged 25 in 1282, and received livery of his inheritance 1 Apr 1282. About this time he was charged to have no dealings with the Welsh rebels, and in this and subsequent years was frequently summoned to service against the Welsh and was ordered to continually dwell in the Welsh marches. He was summoned to Parliament from 24 Jun 1295 to 24 Sep 1324, whereby he became Lord Martin. In Nov 1290 he came to an agreement with William de Valence, Earl of Pembroke, as to the disputed rights in Kemeys. He served in Gascony 1295-1297, and in Sep 1297, while staying at Ghent on the King's service, he made an agreement with John de Hastings, Lord of Abergavenny, by which William, son and heir of said John de Hastings was to marry Eleanor, elder daughter of William Martin, and Edmund, son and heir of William Martin should marry Joan, elder daughter of John de Hastings. This was confirmed by the King 3 Nov 1297, and on 10 Apr 1298, he was granted custodies and marriages, in recompense for his losses in a storm at sea while coming with the King from Flanders. In 1300/01 and later years, he was commissioner of oyer and terminer in Devon, and in 1304 he was one of a commission to treat with the Scots. In Dec 1307 he was one of the keepers of the peace in Devon during the King's absence. In Sep 1308, after the death of Geoffrey, Lord Canville, he succeeded to the inheritance of his mother. In 1309 he joined in the Barons' letter to the Pope and in 1310 he was chosen as one of the fifteen ordainers to draw up ordinances for the reform of the kingdom. He was conservator of the peace for Devon in 1314, and in Feb 1314/15 he was appointed justice of the West and South Wales and keeper of the castle of Carmarthen and other of the King's castles there. In 1318, he was a member of the standing royal council and in Nov of that year he was in the King's service in the marches of Scotland. In Nov 1321, he and Hugh de Courtenay were ordered to attack any who might rise against the King in Cornwall and Devon, and he was also ordered to abstain from the meeting of the "good peers" convened by Thomas, Earl of Lancaster. The following Feb he was ordered to Coventry to resist the Earl of Lancaster. He died before 8 Oct 1324, when the writ to the escheator was issued. His son and heir, William, died s.p. bef 4 Apr 1326, when the Barony of Martin fell into abeyance between his surviving sister, Eleanor (wife of Philip de Columbers and widow of William de Hastings) and James, Lord Audley, (son of his younger sister Joan, who had first married Henry de Lacy, and secondly, Nicholas de Audley).

CP: Vol VIII[530-537]; AR: Line 63A[31], Line 71[33], Line 122[32].

End of the Line[edit]

The last of the senior line of the family, Eleanor, died in 1342. By this stage, junior branches of the family were already established in Waterston, Dorset (later of Athelhampton); St. David's, Wales; and by 1365 Thomas Martyn had settled in the town of Galway, Ireland. The Martyn family in Devon continued in several branches, at Oxton, Lindridge, Tonacombe, Hempston, Plymouth, etc.[7]

Family tree 1085 - 1342[edit]

                  Serlo de Burcy
            |                          |
            |                          |
   Martin = Geva = William de Falaise   Nun of Shaftsbury
          |        |
          |        |
  Robert, d.1159   Emma = William Fitz Humphry (ancestors of John de Courcy)
 =Maud Peverel, alive 1133.
 =Alice de Nonant, d. 1194.
  |                  |                   |
  |                  |                   | 
  Robert, d. 1162?   Sibyl, alive 1198   William, d. 1209
                    =Warin de Morcells  =Angharad ferch The Lord Rhys, d. August 1226.
   ______________________________________|  _ _ _ _ _
   |                                                 |
   |                                                 | 
   William, d. by 15th Feb. 1216.            Martin FitzWilliam
  =Avice de Breaute, alive 1246.    (illegitimate; Grandfather of admiral Philip)
   |                          | 
   |                          |
   Sir Nicholas, d. 1282.     Robert Fitz Martin, alive 1235.
  =? ?, d. before 1260.       (issue)
  =Isabelle Fitz William
   |                       |           |          |      |             |         | 
   |                       |           |          |      |             |         | 
   Sir Nicholas, d. 1260.  Sir Robert  Sir Warin  Avice  Bishop David  John     William
  =Maud de Brian           fl. 1303    d. 1328           d. 1327    fl. 1268   fl. 1326
   |                       issue                                                issue
   |                                           |
   |                                           | 
   William, Lord Martin; d. by Oct. 1324.      Mary Martin
  =Eleanor Fitz Piers; marr. by Jan. 1282.    =Richard Le Fleming, Lord of Slane, Ireland. 
   |                 |                       |                               |
   |                 |                       |                               | 
   Edmund, fl. 1297  Eleanor, 1285-1342      William, Lord Martin, d.1326    Joan, d. 1322.
  =Joan Hastings    =William Hastings       =Margaret Hastings              =Earl of Lincoln
   no issue         =Phillip de Columbers     no issue                      =Nicholas Audley
                        no issue                                             |
                                                                 James, Lord Audley (1313–86) 
                                                                   (Baron Audley)


  • The Baronial Martins, Lionel Nex, 1987.
  • The Lords of Cemais, Dilwynn Miles, Haverfordwest, 1996.
  • The Tribes of Galway, Adrian J. Martyn, Galway, 2001.
  • CP: Vol VIII[530-537]; AR: Line 63A[31], Line 71[33], Line 122[32].


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Sanders, I., English Baronies, Oxford, 1960, p.15, Blagdon
  5. ^ Sanders, 1960, p.15, Blagdon, note 5
  6. ^
  7. ^ Vivian, Lt.Col. J.L., (Ed.) The Visitation of the County of Devon: Comprising the Heralds' Visitations of 1531, 1564 & 1620, Exeter, 1895, pp.552-9

Society of Sire Guillaume Martin de Tours, Baron 1020-1094[1]

  1. ^