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Guillaume I de Normandie King of England (William I), Duc de Normandie
(Abt 1027/1028-1087)
Mathilde de Flandre
(Abt 1032-1083)
Henry I of England King of England, Duc de Normandie
Mistress 1
Robert FitzRoy 1st Earl of Gloucester
(Abt 1090-1147)


Family Links

1. Mabel FitzHamon

2. Unknown

Robert FitzRoy 1st Earl of Gloucester 1 2 3

  • Born: Abt 1090, Caen, Calvados, Basse-Normandie, FR 1
  • Marriage (1): Mabel FitzHamon before 1112
  • Partnership (2): Unknown
  • Died: 31 Oct 1147, Bristol, GB aged about 57 4
  • BuriedMale: Bristol Priory (St. James's Priory) [now Priory Church of St. James], Bristol, GB

   Another name for Robert was Robert de Caen.

  General Notes:

ROBERT de Caen, illegitimate son of HENRY I King of England & his mistress --- ([1090]-Bristol 31 Oct 1147, bur Priory of St James, Bristol). Also known as Robert FitzRoy. Orderic Vitalis records him as "Robert the king's son", and specifies that he led a force from the Cotentin in Sep 1123 to quell the rebellion led by Amaury de Montfort Comte d'Evreux and Waleran de Beaumont Comte de Meulan. According to the Gwentian Chronicle, Robert was the king´s son by "Nest, daughter of Rhys son of Tewdwr, who was afterwards the wife of Gerald of Pembroke Castle", but this appears unlikely from a chronological point of view. He was created Earl of Gloucester in [Jun/Sep] 1122. He had the custody of his uncle Robert ex-Duke of Normandy as a prisoner at Bristol in 1126. He did homage to King Stephen in 1136, but quarrelled with him in 1137, and his English and Welsh estates were forfeited. He joined forces with his half-sister "Empress" Matilda, landing in England with her in Sep 1139. He became her commander-in-chief in the civil war. After a series of successes against King Stephen's forces, including the capture of the King at Lincoln in Feb 1141, he himself was captured at Stockbridge 14 Sep 1141 and imprisoned at Rochester. He was freed shortly after in exchange for the king. The Gesta Stephani Regis records the death of "comes…Glaornić" at Bristol, dated from the context to [1147].

m (before [1112]) MABEL [Matilda or Sibylle] FitzRobert, daughter & heiress of ROBERT FitzHamon Lord of Glamorgan and Gloucester & his wife Sibylle de Montgomery (-[29 Sep] 1157). The Chronica de Fundatoribus et Fundatione of Tewkesbury Abbey names (in order) "Mabiliam, Hawysiam, Ceciliam, Amisiam" as the four daughters of "Robertum filium Haymonis, dominum de Astramervilla in Normannia", recording that Mabile married Robert Fitzroy. Her marriage is recorded by Orderic Vitalis, who also names her parents. Robert of Torigny records that "filia Roberti Belismensis" was the mother of "Rogerius Wigornensis episcopus", son of "Robertus comes Gloecestrensis…filius primi Henrici regis Anglorum", clarifying that the bishop's grandfather was "Robertus filius Haimonis dominus de Torigneio". The Annals of Tewkesbury record that "Mabilia comitissa Gloucestrić" died in 1157.

Earl Robert & his wife had [seven] children: William, Roger, Hamon, Philip, Matilda, Mabel and Richard.

Earl Robert had [three] [illegitimate] children: Richard, Robert and Mabel.

[FMG/Medieval Lands]


Robert, EARL OF GLOUCESTER, by Mabel, daughter and heir of Robert FITZ-HAMOND, lord of Tewkesbury.

[Complete Peerage]


An undoubted Earl of Gloucester, perhaps the first authentic one, at any rate after the Conquest, is Robert FitzHamon's son-in-law, another Robert, who was an illegitimate son of Henry I and was so created 1122. The Earldom passed to his eldest son, William FitzRobert, and from him to John, later King John and husband from 1189 to 1199 (when he divorced her) of Isabel, the youngest of William FitzRobert's three daughters. On John's coming to the throne the title did not merge in the Crown for it was not his in his own right but in right of his wife.

[Burke's Peerage]

  Research Notes:

Curt Hofemann, curt_hofemann AT, provided the following information in a post-em, including an indication that he was a son of Sybil Corbet. I believe that Robert was born too early to be a son of Sybil. Certainly The Complete Peerage did not indicate he was her son (although there was a confused reference to Sybil daughter of Robert Corbet, burgess of Caen, which has been refuted):

Birth: ABT 1090 in Caen, Calvados, Normandy, France

born: about 1090 [Ref: ES III:354, Paget p11, Watney p404 & 494, Weis AR7 124:26], father: [Ref: CMH p600, Paget p11, Sheppard Apr65 p96, Weis AR7 124:26]

Research note 1: mother Sibyl Corbet [Ref: Weir RoyalFam p48]
Research note 2: illegitimate son of Henry I, probably by Sibil, dau of Robert Fitz Corbet, burgess of Caen [Ref: Watney p404]
Research note 3: shown as son of Sibilla Corbet, but "There is no certain evidence to show that Sybilla really was Robert's mother, who may have been an unknown woman of Caen" [Ref: Weir RoyalFam p48]

Death: 31 OCT 1147 in Bristol, Gloucestershire, England

died 31 Oct 1147 [Ref: ES III:354, Paget p11, Watney p404 & 494] 1147 [Ref: CMH p600, Weis AR7 124:26, Weis AR7 63:26], place: [Ref: Paget p11, Watney p404 & 494, Weis AR7 124:26]

Burial: Priory of St. James, Bristol, Gloucestershire, England

Research note: Buried Tewkesbury [Ref: Paget p11]

married 1119 Maud (Mabel) FitzHammon
date: [Ref: Watney p404 & 494], names: [Ref: Paget p11, Turton, Weis AR7 63:26 & 124:26]

1122-1147 Earl of Gloucester [Ref: Weis AR7 124:26]
Earl of Gloucester, created between Jun and Sep 1122 [Ref: Paget p11]

Robert, earl of Gloucester (d. 1147). An illegitimate son of Henry I, who supported the claim to the throne of his half-sister Matilda in 1135. He invaded England with her in 1139 and captured King Stephen at Lincoln in feb 1141. A few months later he was himself taken prisoner and exchanged for the king. His death from fever at Bristol effectively ended Matilda's bid for the throne. [Ref: Dict of Brit History, pg 305]

Here is a (not so) brief biography of Robert, Earl of Gloucester, probably the best-known of Henry's spectacular brood of bastards. It is largely a paraphrase of the information in CP.
Robert 'of Caen', Earl of Gloucester, born circa 1090 in Caen, Normandy; married 1107 Mabel fitz Robert FitzHamon (died 1157). Robert died 31 Oct 1147 in Bristol, England; buried at the Priory of St. James, Bristol. [children are at foot of bio] Sources: Given-Wilson & Curteis 'The Royal Bastards of Medieval England' pp 63, 75 Cokayne 'Complete Peerage' (Gloucester) Sanders, 'English Baronies: A study of their origins and descent'.
Robert was born about 1090, probably in Caen, Normandy (hence he was known as 'Robert of Caen'). His mother was probably an unknown woman of Caen and not Sibyl Corbet, as is stated by CP and others. He was acknowledged by his father King Henry I from his birth, and was raised at court from the time of his father's accession to the throne and educated under his direct supervision. Robert had a reputation for learning and literary appreciation, rare attributes at this time, which were undoubedly fostered by his scholarly father. By the time he was in his early twenties he was one of his father's leading military captains and advisers.
In 1107 he received from Henry the hand of a wealthy heiress, Mabel of Gloucester, daughter of Robert FitzHamon, who brought with her the barony of Gloucester and lordship of Glamorgan. They had a mansion at Tewkesbury.
Robert fought at the Battle of Bremule in 1119, where Henry defeated King Louis VI of France. In 1122, after the death of his legitimate half-brothers, the earldom of Gloucester was created for his benefit.
In 1123, he led a force to assist in the capture of the castle of Brionne, which was held by rebel Norman barons. In 1126 he had custody of his uncle, the imprisoned rebel, Robert, Duke of Normandy.
In 1127 he did homage to his half-sister the Empress Matilda, recognizing her as their father's successor to the throne. Henry looked to him to protect Matilda's interests after his death. Robert was with his father when he died in 1135, and it was Robert who made the funeral arrangements.
Robert was a significant figure in the struggle for succession between Stephen (his cousin) and Matilda. Robert and Stephen had been fierce rivals at the English court since 1127, and some barons encouraged Robert to claim the throne himself (after all, his grandfather William the Conqueror had also been illegitimate), but when Stephen was chosen as king, Robert eventually did conditional homage to him for his English lands.
In 1137 he accompanied King Stephen to Normandy, where Matilda was raising support, and a quarrel ensued between the men when Stephen tried to ambush Robert. Robert then threw his support behind Matilda, who was in Normandy, and obtained the surrender of Caen and Bayeux to her husband Geoffrey, Count of Anjou. In September 1139 Robert landed in England with Matilda and took her to Arundel Castle. He then made his way to Bristol Castle, which had remained loyal to him, and was later joined there by Matilda.
Robert became her commander-in-chief in the civil war which followed. Unlike most barons of the time, he fought his battles within the rules of warfare and was not unnecessarily violent or cruel, but was also regarded as brave and a good commander. He was also known for his respect for law and justice, and his integrity and chivalry. Between 1139 and 1141, he progressively took control of most of the south-west.
In early 1141, Robert obtained word that Stephen was besieging Lincoln Castle. Robert quickly moved there and forced battle by personally swimming across the River Trent and requiring his troops to follow. In the battle, many of Stephen's knights fled and Stephen was captured by Robert; he was imprisoned at Bristol in the care of Robert's wife Mabel.
Matilda went to London to be crowned, but she made herself unpopular with the Londoners and they were forced to flee. While beseiging Winchester, they themselves were surrounded. Robert engaged Stephen's queen's army for long enough to allow Matilda to escape, but he himself was captured and place in the custody of Stephen's queen at Rochester. Stephen and Robert were then returned to their respective camps in an even exchange, although Robert had wanted some of his supporters released to compensate for his lower status. The even exchange reflected Robert?s value to Matilda as her main supporter and battle leader.
In 1142 Matilda sent Robert to Anjou to attempt to convince her husband Geoffrey to come to her aid. Geoffrey declined to help until he had conquered Normandy, so Robert joined in his campaign. However, hearing that Matilda was besieged at Oxford, he hurried back to her assistance. He took Matilda and Geoffrey's son, nine year old Henry (the future King Henry II), with him. Despite some more victories, Matilda's support had gradually dwindled; Robert was unable to continue to press her cause, although he continued to support his nephew Henry. He did however retain control of most of the West Country, imposing law and order there. In 1144 one of Robert's sons, Philip, rebelled against his father in support of Stephen.
In 1147 thirteen year old Henry arrived in England with mercenary troops, meaning to conquer England. After a couple of weeks he turned up on Robert's doorstep in Bristol asking for money to pay the troops. Robert marched him straight to Wareham and put him on a ship, paying the captain to make sure he got back to his father in Normandy. Henry later regarded Robert as one of the formative influences on his life, the man who had made it possible for him to become king of England.
Later in 1147 Robert died of a rapid fever at Bristol, even though he was still very fit and able to lead an army himself. After his death Matilda's cause collapsed completely, a measure of his indispensability to her.
Robert was a patron of scholars, including some of the best-known medieval chroniclers such as William of Malmesbury and Geoffrey of Monmouth, and was known for his own cleverness and literary ability. One of his enemies, Baldwin fitz Gilbert, described him in terms which suggested he was all bark and no bite - a man who threatened much but did little, eloquent but lazy. His record as a soldier would tend to refute this last point, at the very least. He was also a generous benefactor of the Church, founding the Benedictine priory of St. James just outside Bristol and a Cistercian abbey at Margam, South Wales, and suppporting abbeys at Tewkesbury, Gloucester, and Neath. He was buried in a magnificent green jasper tomb at his foundation of St. James [CP queries the site of his burial, also claimed for Tewkesbury]. [Ref: Suzanne Doig 14 Sep 1998 messaage to soc.genealogy.medieval]


Robert married Mabel FitzHamon, daughter of Robert FitzHamon Lord of Glamorgan, Lord of Gloucester and Sibylle de Montgommery, before 1112. (Mabel FitzHamon was born about 1090 and died about 29 Sep 1157 5.)

Robert had a relationship with.


1 Frederick Lewis Weis, Walter Lee Sheppard, David Faris, <i>Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came to America Before 1700: The Lineage of Alfred the Great, Charlemagne, Malcolm of Scotland, Robert the Strong, and Some of Their Descendants</i> (Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1992), 124-26.

2 Charles Mosley, <i>Burke's Peerage & Baronetage</i> (Burke's Peerage, 1999), cxviii.

3 George Edward Cokayne, "Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom" (Sutton Publishing Ltd., 2000), XII:166-167.

4 Frederick Lewis Weis, Walter Lee Sheppard, David Faris, <i>Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came to America Before 1700: The Lineage of Alfred the Great, Charlemagne, Malcolm of Scotland, Robert the Strong, and Some of Their Descendants</i> (Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1992), 63-26.

5 Newsgroup: soc.genealogy.medieval, at groups -, John Ravilious (Therav3), 10 Sep 2002.

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