House of Tosny
The earliest account of the origin of the Tosny family is that of the late-11th century Acta Archiepiscoporum Rotomagensium (The Acts of the Archbishops of Rouen), which refers to a 'powerful man', Raoul, son of Hugh de Calvacamp, of illustrious stock, and brother of Hugh, Archbishop of Rouen, active from 942 to 989. He had formerly been a monk at St. Denis, suggesting a French origin for the family. The Archbishop gave Raoul lands at Tosny, taken from the church's holdings. By the early 12th-century, this French family had been given a Norman pedigree, Norman chronicler Orderic Vitalis writing in an interpolation into the Gesta Normanorum Ducum of William of Jumièges, that Roger de Tosny, then Lord of Tosny and Conches, was “de stirpe Malahulcii qui Rollonis ducis patruus...” (of the lineage of Malahulc, uncle of Duke Rollo
Coming from Île-de-France, the Tosnys first based themselves in Normandy in the 10th century to collaborate with the descendants of the Vikings. They formed part of this new elite which appeared around dukes Richard I and Richard II at the turn of the 10th to 11th century. In 991, Raoul I of Tosny witnessed an accord between Duke Richard I and the Anglo-Saxon king Ethelred II. He also participated in the Norman conquest of southern Italy As one of the top Normans, he set out to fight in southern Italy. His grandson Raoul II was at the court of William the Conqueror (1035–1087), and was the Norman standard bearer in 1054.
Narratives, more or less legendary, gathered around the family: the chroniclers report the exploits of Roger I, the Moor-Eater, in Hispania. His wife, Godehildis/Gotelina, was linked to a miracle at Sainte-Foy de Conques.
A model aristocratic family
Formation of its power
As with several Norman families (such as the Beaumont), the origin of the house of Tosny's power derived from two sources :
- recovery of church goods. According to Lucien Musset, Hugues, archbishop of Rouen (942-989) split off lands from his cathedral's lands and gave them to his brother Raoul I of Tosny
- grants of land by the dukes of Normandy, notably Richard II
The dangers in its history
Raoul II of Tosny participated in the Norman Conquest in 1066, and was rewarded with domains in England, most notably the two baronies of Flamstead (Hertfordshire) and Wrethamthorpe (Norfolk). Three other family members were also rewarded : Raoul's brother Robert de Stafford, Robert de Beauvoir and his son Béranger, belonging to a collateral branch. However, it seems that on the whole the Tosnys did not play an important role in England. In the Duchy of Normandy, they were particularly active during the troubles which followed William I's death (1087) and the subsequent conflict between Empress Mathilda and Stephen (1135–1144). Nevertheless, the 12th century gives the impression of a decline in the Tosny family fortunes in comparison to some of the neighbouring houses in eastern Normandy, such as the houses of Beaumont-Meulan, Montfort and Harcourt.
The management of its goods
Like all Norman barons, the Tosnys had fiefdoms scattered throughout Normandy and England. In 1077, a marriage between Raoul II and Isabelle de Montfort allowed the Tosnys to direct the châtellenie of Nogent-le-Roi, which they held onto until around 1200. The family possessions thus stretched as far as the border of the duchy of Normandy. Nevertheless, the heart of their continental lands was centred around Conches-en-Ouche. Parts of their fiefdoms were enfeoffed to a small clientele of vassals.
The family made grants to abbeys, notably to those they had founded themselves (the Saint-Pierre de Castillon monastery c.1035). After 1066, as Lucien Musset remarks, the Tosnys showed themselves especially liberal to their English fiefdoms but avoided diminishing their Norman lands.
The texts give little information on the administration of these lands, though we know prévôts were installed in the main centres.
The honour of Conches and of Tosny
According to the 1172 state of its fiefdoms, the "honneur" amounted to 50 or 51 knights' fiefs. The lands were mostly found in Haute-Normandie, more precisely between Risle and Iton. The vast forêt de Conches formed its centre. It also had scattered domains in the Eure valley (Fontaine-sous-Jouy, Cailly-sur-Eure, Planches, Acquigny), the Seine valley (Tosny, Villers-sur-le-Roule, Bernières-sur-Seine), in Vexin Normand (Vesly, Guerny, Villers-en-Vexin, Hacqueville, Heuqueville, Val de Pîtres), in Pays de Caux and Talou around Blainville-Crevon, Mortemer (Seine-Maritime, Mortemer-sur-Eaulne), Dieppe and Yerville. Many of these lands were let out to vassals, notably les Clères.
Hugues de Calvacamp │ ├─>Hugues, archbishop of Rouen (942-989) │ │ └─>Raoul I of Tosny († 1024/1025) │ ├─>... │ │ │ ? │ └─>Robert of Tosny († 1088), lord de Belvoir │ │ │ │ │ ├─> Béranger de Tosny │ │ │ │ │ └─> Alice de Tosny († après 1129) │ X Roger Bigod of Norfolk │ └─>Roger I of Tosny, Or Roger d'Espagne († c.1040) X Godehildis/Gotelina │ ├─>Herbert († c.1040) │ ├─>Helinant († c.1040) │ ├─>Raoul II de Conches and de Tosny († 1102) │ X Isabelle de Montfort │ │ │ ├─>Raoul III of Tosny, called the young († 1126) │ │ X Adelise daughter of Waltheof II, Earl of Northumbria │ │ │ │ │ │ │ │ │ │ │ ├─>Roger III († c.1157/1162) │ │ │ X Ida de Hainaut │ │ │ │ │ │ │ │ │ │ │ └─>Raoul IV († 1162) │ │ │ X Marguerite of Leicester │ │ │ │ │ │ │ └─>Roger IV († 1208/1209) │ │ │ X Constance de Beaumont │ │ │ │ │ └─>Hugues († c.1140) │ │ │ │ │ ├─>Roger II († 1090/1091) │ │ │ └─>Godehilde († 1097) │ X (1) Robert I of Meulan (doubtful) │ X (2) Baldwin of Boulogne, king of Jerusalem │ ├─>Robert de Stafford († 1088) │ │ │ └─>Nicolas de Stafford († vers 1138) │ │ │ └─>Robert II de Stafford († c.1177-1185) │ │ │ └─>Robert III de Stafford († c.1193/1194) │ │ ├─>Herbert († c.1040) │ ├─>Helinant († c.1040) │ ├─>Béranger l'Espagnol │ ├─>Adelise │ X William FitzOsbern, 1st Earl of Hereford │ └─>Berthe († c.1040)
Notes and references
- This article is based in large part on a translation of the article Famille de Tosny from the French Wikipedia on 19 May 2008.
- In English : Toeny, Tonei, Toni, Tony.
- Lucien Musset, "Aux origines d'une classe dirigeante: les Tosny, grands barons normands du Xe au XIIIe siecle", Francia 5 (1978), 46-77
- Source - Domesday Book of 1086. This collateral branch became extinct in the first half of the 12th century. Katherine Keats-Rohan, "Belvoir : the heirs of Robert and Beranger de Tosny" Prosopon Newsletter, July, 1998.
- A. Rhein, la Seigneurie de Montfort-en-Iveline depuis son origine jusqu'à son union avec le duché de Bretagne, Versailles, Aubert, 1910, p.32-33
- later known as Saint-Pierre de Conches
- = Technical name for large 12th century Norman baronies
- (in French) Lucien Musset, "Aux origines d'une classe dirigeante : les Tosny, grands barons normands du Xe au XIIe siècle", Francia, vol. 5 (1878), pp. 45-80