Richard I 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.
Count of Rouen
Reign 17 December 942 – 20 November 996
Predecessor William I
Successor Richard II
Born 28 August 933
Fécamp Normandy, France
Died 20 November 996 (aged 63)
Fécamp Normandy, France
Spouse Emma of Paris
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 Longsword
Mother Sprota
Not to be confused with Richard I of England.

Richard I (28 August 933 – 20 November 996), also known as Richard the Fearless (French, Richard Sans-Peur), was the Count of Rouen from 942 to 996.[1] Dudo of Saint-Quentin, whom Richard commissioned to write the "De moribus et actis primorum Normanniae ducum" (Latin, "On the Customs and Deeds of the First Dukes of Normandy"), called him a Dux. However, this use of the word may have been in the context of Richard's renowned leadership in war, and not as a reference to a title of nobility.[2][3] Richard either introduced feudalism into Normandy or he greatly expanded it. By the end of his reign, most important Norman landholders held their lands in feudal tenure.[4]

Birth[edit]

Richard was born to William I Longsword, princeps (chieftain or ruler)[5] of Normandy, and Sprota.[1] His mother was a Breton concubine captured in war and bound to William by a more danico marriage.[6] He was also the grandson of the famous Rollo. 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.[7] Richard was about ten years old when his father was killed on 17 December 942.[1] After William was killed, Sprota became the wife of Esperleng, a wealthy miller. Rodulf of Ivry was their son and Richard's half-brother.[8]

Life[edit]

With the death of Richard's father in 942, King Louis IV of France seized the lands of the Duchy of Normandy. The king installed the boy, Richard, in his father's office and placed him in the custody of the count of Ponthieu.[9] He then split up the Duchy, giving its lands in lower Normandy to Hugh the Great. Louis IV thereafter kept Richard in solitary confinement at Lâon,[10] but the youth escaped from imprisonment with assistance of Osmond de Centville, Bernard de Senlis (who had been a companion of Rollo of Normandy), Ivo de Bellèsme, and Bernard the Dane[11] (ancestor to the families of Harcourt and Beaumont).[a]

In 946, Richard agreed to "commend" himself to Hugh, the Count of Paris. At the age of 14, Richard allied himself with the Norman and Viking leaders in France, drove king Louis IV's army out of Rouen, and successfully took back Normandy from him by 947.[12]

In 962, Theobald I, Count of Blois, attempted a renewed invasion of Rouen, Richard's stronghold, but his troops were summarily routed by Normans under Richard's command, and forced to retreat before ever having crossed the Seine river.[13][14] Lothair, the king of the West Franks, was fearful that Richard's retaliation could destabilize a large part of West Francia so he stepped in to prevent any further war between the two.[15]

Afterwards, and until his death in 996, Richard concentrated on Normandy itself, and participated less in Frankish politics and its petty wars. In lieu of building up the Norman Empire by expansion, he stabilized the realm and reunited the Normans, forging the reclaimed Duchy of his father and grandfather into West Francia's most cohesive and formidable principality.[16]

Richard used marriage to build strong alliances. His marriage to Emma of Paris connected him directly to the House of Capet. His second wife, Gunnora, from a rival Viking group in the Cotentin, formed an alliance to that group, while her sisters formed the core group that were to provide loyal followers to him and his successors.[17] His daughters forged valuable marriage alliances with powerful neighboring counts as well as to the king of England.[17]

Richard also built on his relationship with the church, restoring their lands and ensuring the great monasteries flourished in Normandy. His further reign was marked by an extended period of peace and tranquility.[17][18]

Marriages[edit]

Richard & his children

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

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 enamored with the forester's wife, Seinfreda, but she was a virtuous woman and 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:[b]

Illegitimate children[edit]

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

Possible children[edit]

  • Muriella, married Tancred de Hauteville[1][23][24]
  • Fressenda or Fredesenda (ca. 995-ca. 1057), second wife of Tancred de Hauteville.[1][24][25]
  • Guimara (Wimarc(a)) (b. circa 986), Wife of Ansfred (Ansfroi) II "le Dane" le Goz, vicomte d'Exmes et de Falaise, Mother of Robert FitzWimarc, Death:Abbey of Montivilliers, Seine-Inferieure, Normandy[26]

Death[edit]

Richard died of natural causes in Fecamp, France, on 20 November 996.[27]

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. ^ Follow the links to these two families for more on Bernard the Dane as progenitor.
  2. ^ 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. ^ For different meanings of Latin word dux (pl. duces), see Dux.
  4. ^ Emily Zack Tabuteau, 'Ownership and Tenure in Eleventh-Century Normandy', The American Journal of Legal History, Vol. 21, No. 2, (Apr. 1977), p. 99
  5. ^ The Annals of Flodoard of Reims; 916–966, ed. & trans. Steven Fanning and Bernard S. Bachrach (University of Toronto Press, 2011), p. 32
  6. ^ The Normans in Europe, ed. & trans. Elisabeth van Houts (Manchester University Press, 2000), p. 47 n. 77
  7. ^ Eleanor Searle, Predatory Kinship and the Creation of Norman Power, 840–1066 (University of California Press, Berkeley, 1988), p. 95
  8. ^ Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band III Teilband 4 (Marburg, Germany: J. A. Stargardt, 1989), Tafel 694A
  9. ^ Pierre Riché, The Carolingians; A Family who Forged Europe, trans. Michael Idomir Allen (University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1993) pp. 262–3
  10. ^ Eleanor Searle, Predatory Kinship and the Creation of Norman Power, 840–1066 (University of California Press, Berkeley, 1988), p. 80
  11. ^ 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
  12. ^ Eleanor Searle, Predatory Kinship and the Creation of Norman Power, 840–1066 (University of California Press, Berkeley, 1988), pp. 85–6
  13. ^ Eleanor Searle, Predatory Kinship and the Creation of Norman Power, 840–1066 (University of California Press, Berkeley, 1988), p. 86
  14. ^ The Annals of Flodoard of Reims; 916–966, ed. & trans. Steven Fanning and Bernard S. Bachrach (University of Toronto Press, 2011), p. 66
  15. ^ Pierre Riché, The Carolingians; A Family who Forged Europe, trans. Michael Idomir Allen (University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1993), p. 265
  16. ^ Eleanor Searle, Predatory Kinship and the Creation of Norman Power, 840–1066 (University of California Press, Berkeley, 1988), p. 89
  17. ^ a b c A Companion to the Anglo-Norman World, ed. Christopher Harper-Bill, Elisabeth Van Houts (The Boydell Press, Woodbridge, 2007), p. 27
  18. ^ François Neveux. A Brief History of The Normans (Constable & Robbinson, Ltd, London, 2008), pp. 73. 74
  19. ^ a b Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band II (Marburg, Germany: J. A. Stargardt, 1984), Tafel 10
  20. ^ Further Genealogical Notes on the Tyrrell-Terrell Family of Virginia and Its English and Norman-French Progenitors by Edwin Holland Terrell published 1909, p. 12.
  21. ^ The History of Normandy and of England: William Rufus, accession of Henry Beauclerc, Volume 4 by Francis Palgrave Parker, published 1864, p. 222
  22. ^ a b David Douglas, 'The Earliest Norman Counts', The English Historical Review, Vol.61, No. 240 (May 1946), p. 140
  23. ^ Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band II (Marburg, Germany: J. A. Stargardt, 1984), Tafel 204
  24. ^ a b Thierry Stasser, 'Mathilde, Fille du Comte Richard: Essai d'identification', Annales de Normandie, Vol. 40, Iss. 40-1 (1990), p. 50
  25. ^ Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band II (Marburg, Germany: J. A. Stargardt, 1984), Tafel 205
  26. ^ K.S.B. , Keats-Rohan. Domesday People: A Prosopography of Persons Occurring in English Documents 1066-1166 vol I. Boydell Press , 1999.
  27. ^ François Neveux. A Brief History of The Normans (Constable & Robbinson, Ltd, London, 2008), p. 74

External links[edit]

French nobility
Preceded by
William I
Count of Rouen
942–996
Succeeded by
Richard II