Robert Malet

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Robert Malet (bef. 1066 – 1106?) was an English/Norman baron and a close advisor of Henry I.

Early life[edit]

Malet was the son of William Malet, and inherited his father's great honour of Eye in 1071. This made him one of the dozen or so greatest landholders in England. According to the Domesday book he held 221 manors in Suffolk, 32 in Yorkshire, 8 in Lincolnshire, three in Essex, two in Nottinghamshire, and one in Hampshire.[1] He also inherited the family property in Normandy.

Lord Great Chamberlain[edit]

Sometime, until 1130, Malet was the first Lord Great Chamberlain. Though not very much is known about him with this title or what job it evolved from. It is possible, however, that the parent job might have been Lord High Steward. While the rest of the financial responsibilities of the parent job were separated from that job and were given under the newly-formed title of Lord High Treasurer in 1126. So perhaps Malet became Lord Great Chamberlain in 1126 when the job of Lord High Treasurer seems to have been formed.

High Sheriff[edit]

From 1070 to 1080, Malet was High Sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk, and helped suppress the rebellion of Ralph Wader. Afterwards, he appeared frequently at King William I's court. All changed with the accession of William II. By 1094 Malet's English lands had been taken away from him. The reasons are unknown, and no more is known of Malet's activities during William II's reign. Most likely he was in Normandy, and it may be that his falling out with William II was due to his preference for Duke Robert of Normandy in the rivalry between the two brothers.

Malet suddenly reappeared three days after the death of William II in 1100, as a witness to Henry I's coronation charter. He must have been with Henry at the time of William's death, or rushed from Normandy when word came. In any case, Malet soon regained his office as sheriff of Suffolk, and his honour of Eye. He was a close councillor of the king, and was appointed master chamberlain (probably the first to hold that office).

It was thought that Malet had some quarrel with the king, and again lost his lands, on the basis of some statements by Orderic Vitalis, but most historians now think Orderic confused Malet with his successor William. Instead it appears he remained in the king's confidence and held his lands until his death.

Death[edit]

He may have died at the battle of Tinchebrai, though no specific evidence supports this; he may in fact have lived on through 1107.

References[edit]

  • Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came to America Before 1700 by Frederick Lewis Weis, Line 234A-25
  • C. Warren Hollister, "Henry I and Robert Malet", Viator, Vol. 4, 1973, pp. 115–22
  • Cyril Hurt, "William Malet and His Family", Anglo-Norman Studies XIX: Proceedings of the Battle Conference 1996, ed. Christopher Harper-Bill, Boydell & Brewer Ltd, 1997, pp. 123–66
  • C. P. Lewis, "The King and Eye: A Study in Anglo-Norman Politics", English Historical Review, vol. 104, 1989, pp. 569–87
Preceded by
Lord Great Chamberlain Succeeded by
Aubrey de Vere II
Preceded by
William Malet
High Sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk
1071-1106
Succeeded by
William Malet (land forfeiture)
Preceded by
William Malet
Lord of Eye
the Honour of Eye

1071-1106
Succeeded by
William Malet II
Preceded by
William Malet
Lord of Granville
1071-1106
Succeeded by
William Malet II