William, Count of Évreux

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William d'Évreux
Armorial Bearings of the DEVEREUX (Viscount Hereford) family of Weobley, Herefs.png
Spouse(s) Helvise de Nevers
Noble family House of Normandy
Father Richard d'Evreux
Mother Godechildis
Died 16 April 1118(1118-04-16)
Buried Fontenelle Abbey

William, Count of Évreux (died 16 April 1118) was a powerful member of the Norman aristocracy during the period following the Norman conquest of England. He is one of the few documented to have been with William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings.

Career[edit]

William was the son of Richard, Count of Évreux, and his wife, Godchildis (Adelaide).[1] William, referred to as Count of Évreux in early 1066, contributed 80 ships towards the planned invasion of England later that year.[2] However, as William did not succeed his father until the year following, this seems to be the lists only anachronism "as far as Norman names are concerned."[3] William is one of the few known companions of William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.[4] For his participation he was rewarded with a modest tenancy-in-chiefdom.[5] However, he was probably not yet of age in 1066 which might have prevented him from taking a more profitable share in England.[6] Another indicator of his youth in 1066 was that he fought for King Henry I at the Battle of Tinchebray in 1106, some 40 years later.[5]

William was taken prisoner during the siege of the castle of Sainte-Suzanne in 1085. In 1090, William caused his cousin Robert Curthose more problems when he waged a private war against his neighbor in Conches, Raoul II of Tosny.[7] As one of his early supporters Raoul sought help from Duke Robert but in return received only vague promises.[7] Ralph then went to King William II of England who readily agreed to help; as he was looking for ways to undermine his brother the Norman duke.[7]

As Count William became older and somewhat feeble, his wife assumed the governing of Évreux.[8] Orderic Vitalis described her: "The Countess was distinguished for her wit and beauty; she was one of the tallest women in all Evreux, and of very high birth, being the daughter of William, the illustrious count of Nevers."[8] But she was headstrong and bold in her political affairs, often ignoring the council of her husband's barons.[8] After numerous complaints against her to the king, and that she had the king's donjon leveled at Évreux; this caused both William and Helvise to be exiled on two occasions.[8]

In 1114, Countess Helvise died and was buried at Noyon.[9] William d'Évreux was "struck down by apoplexy" on 16 April 1118, and was buried in Fontenelle Abbey, next to his father.[8] The fact he died without children caused King Henry I of England problems as Count William's nearest relative was Amaury III of Montfort, a vassal of Louis VI of France.[10]

Count William and his wife, Helvise, donated property to the abbey of Saint-Martin, Troarn by charter dated to [1100/14]. With council from Roger, abbot of Saint-Evroul, they founded a monastery at Noyan.[11] In 1108 William and his wife, out of their own funds, laid out the foundation of a church devoted to St. Mary, mother of God, but with interruptions due to their exile and other troubles, they died before the project was completed.[12]

Family[edit]

William married Helvise de Nevers, daughter of William I, Count of Nevers, and his first wife Ermengarde of Tonnerre.[13] They had no issue.[10]

Domesday landholdings[edit]

According to the Domesday Book, William d'Evreux held the following lands in 1086 as Tenant-in-chief:[a]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ he also had a number of smaller holdings which were held of other tenants-in-chief. For a list of his holdings by folio see: K.S.B. Keats-Rohan, Domesday People, A Prosopography of Persons Occurring in English Documents 1066-1166, Vol. I (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999), p. 469 "Willelm Comes Ebroicensis". The folio numbers for his holdings are found in: Domesday Book, seu Liber Censualis Willelmi Primi Regis Angliae ed. Abraham Farley, 2 vols Record Commission (London, 1783).

References[edit]

  1. ^ George Edward Cokayne, The complete peerage; or, a history of the House of lords and all its members from the earliest times, Volume XII, Part 1, ed. Geoffrey H. White (London: The St. Catherine Press, Ltd., 1953), p. 757
  2. ^ Elisabeth M. C. van Houts, 'The Ship List of William The Conqueror', Anglo-Norman Studies X; Proceedings of the Battle Conference 1987, ed. R. Allen Brown (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1988), Appendix 4, p. 179
  3. ^ Elisabeth M. C. van Houts, 'The Ship List of William The Conqueror', Anglo-Norman Studies X; Proceedings of the Battle Conference 1987, ed. R. Allen Brown (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1988), p. 167
  4. ^ George Edward Cokayne, The complete peerage; or, a history of the House of lords and all its members from the earliest times, Volume XII, Part 1, ed. Geoffrey H. White (London: The St. Catherine Press, Ltd., 1953), Appendix L, pp. 47-8
  5. ^ a b K.S.B. Keats-Rohan, Domesday People, A Prosopography of Persons Occurring in English Documents 1066-1166, Vol. I (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999), p. 469
  6. ^ Eleanor Searle, Predatory Kinship and the Creation of Norman Power, 840-1066 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988, p. 134
  7. ^ a b c David Crouch, The Normans; The History of a Dynasty (London; New York: Hambledon Continuum, 2007), pp. 216-17
  8. ^ a b c d e Ordericus Vitalis, The Ecclesiastical History of England and Normandy, trans. Thomas Forester, Vol. III (Henry G. Bohn, London, 1854), p. 420
  9. ^ Ordericus Vitalis, The Ecclesiastical History of England and Normandy, trans. Thomas Forester, Vol. III (Henry G. Bohn, London, 1854), p. 420 & n. 2
  10. ^ a b David Crouch, The Normans; The History of a Dynasty (London; New York: Hambledon Continuum, 2007), p. 186
  11. ^ Ordericus Vitalis, The Ecclesiastical History of England and Normandy, trans. Thomas Forester, Vol. III (Henry G. Bohn, London, 1854), p. 419
  12. ^ Ordericus Vitalis, The Ecclesiastical History of England and Normandy, trans. Thomas Forester, Vol. III (Henry G. Bohn, London, 1854), pp. 419–20
  13. ^ Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band III Teilband 4 (Marburg, Germany: J. A. Stargardt, 1989), Tafel 716
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Domesday Book, A Complete Translation eds. Ann Williams; G.H. Martin (London; NY: Penguin Books, 2003), p. 146
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h Domesday Book, A Complete Translation eds. Ann Williams; G.H. Martin (London; NY: Penguin Books, 2003), p. 431


Preceded by
Richard
Counts of Évreux
1067–1118
Succeeded by
Amaury III of Montfort