Humphrey de Vieilles

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Humphrey (or Honfroy, Onfroi or Umfrid) de Vieilles[1] (died c. 1050) was the first holder of the "grand honneur" of Beaumont-le-Roger, one of the most important groups of domains in eastern Normandy[2] and the founder of the House of Beaumont. He was married to Albreda or Alberée de la Haye Auberie.

His early life and origins are the subject of much discussion. As reported by later Norman chronicler Robert of Torigni, he was son of Thorold de Pont-Audemer and grandson of a Torf, from whose name derived that of the village of Tourville-sur-Pont-Audemer.[3] Humphrey's mother, according to Robert of Torigni, was Duvelina, sister of Gunnora, concubine of Richard I, Duke of Normandy. Thus Humphrey and his Beaumont descendants were kinsmen of the Norman Dukes and other members of the early Anglo-Norman nobility similarly descended from Gunnora's kindred.

Besides Beaumont-le-Roger, he had lands dispersed through the whole of Normandy, in Cotentin, in Hiémois, in the Pays d'Auge, in Basse Seine (Vatteville-la-Rue), in Évrecin (Normanville) and in Vexin normand (Bouafles). These lands originated in the favour of the dukes Richard II and Robert II, from confiscated church lands. The "honneur" of Beaumont was, for example, constituted from the remains of the lands of the abbey of Bernay.[4] On the other hand, the possessions around Pont-Audemer came to him by family inheritance.

In 1034, he 'founded' (or, rather, restored) the monastery at Préaux, a few kilometres from Pont-Audemer, with monks from the Saint-Wandrille.

During the minority of Duke William the Bastard, Roger I of Tosny, holder of the "honneur" of Conches, attacked Humphrey's domains. But around 1040, Humphrey's son, Roger de Beaumont, met and defeated Roger in battle, during which Roger of Tosny was killed.

Family and descendants[edit]

His known children by his wife Albreda or Alberée de la Haye Auberie:

  • Robert, the elder, assassinated by Roger de Clères[5] after 1066 and buried at the abbey of Saint-Pierre de Préaux;
  • Roger de Beaumont, known as le Barbe († 1094), who succeeded his father.
  • Dunelma (perhaps a corrupted form of Duvelina, the name of her grandmother) sister of Roger of Beaumont and mother of a daughter who was a Nun at Saint-Léger de Préaux

One other possible child :

  • Guillaume de Beaumont, Monk at the abbey of Saint-Pierre de Préaux

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Vieilles is the name of a former village, now merged with Beaumont-le-Roger
  2. ^ Pierre Bauduin, La première Normandie (Xe-XIe siècles), Presses Universitaires de Caen, 2004, p.216-217. Among the other grands honneurs of the Pays d'Ouche, were those of Breteuil and of Conches
  3. ^ Robert of Torigni relates that Thorold was brother of Turquetil, the father of Harcourt family founder Ansketil de Harcourt.
  4. ^ Veronica Gazeau, Monachisme et aristocratie au XIe siècle : l'exemple de la famille de Beaumont,, PhD thesis, University of Caen, 1986-1987 (dactyl.), p.67-73. The abbot of Bernay, Raoul, parent of Humphrey, would have entrusted to him between 1027 and 1040, part of the heritage of his monastery. Like other lords of the beginning of the 11th century, like the family of Bellême, he increased the family's power by recovering or winning of ecclesiastical lands
  5. ^ Orderic Vitalis, History of Normandy, Éd. Guizot, 1826, vol. III, livre VIII, p. 373. Charpillon et Caresme, Dictionnaire historique des communes de l'Eure, vol I, 1879, art. Beaumont-le-Roger


  • (in French) Pierre Bauduin, La première Normandie (Xe-XIe siècles), Presses Universitaires de Caen, 2004
  • (in French) Véronique Gazeau, Monachisme et aristocratie au XIe siècle : l'exemple de la famille de Beaumont, doctoral thesis, Université de Caen, 1986-1987 (dactyl.)
  • Cawley, Charles, Normandy, Nobility, Medieval Lands database, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy 
  • [S6] G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume VII, page 521. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage.