arrow arrow
Ranulph du Bessin Vicomte du Bessin
(-After 1098)
Marguerite d'Avranches
(-After 1098)
Ranulf du Bessin 3rd Earl of Chester, Vicomte du Bessin et d'Avranches
(Abt 1070-1138)
Ranulf de Gernon 4th Earl of Chester, Vicomte d'Avranches
(Abt 1100-1153)


Family Links

1. Matilda FitzRobert

Ranulf de Gernon 4th Earl of Chester, Vicomte d'Avranches 2 3 4

  • Born: Abt 1100 1 2
  • Marriage (1): Matilda FitzRobert about 1141 1 2
  • Died: 16 Dec 1153, Chester, Cheshire, CH1, GB aged about 53 1 2
  • BuriedMale: St. Werburgh's Abbey [now Chester Cathedral], St. Werburgh Street, Chester, Cheshire, CH1, GB

   Cause of his death was Poisoned.

  General Notes:

RANULF "de Gernon", son of RANULF Vicomte du Bessin "le Meschin" & his wife Lucy --- (Château de Gernon, Normandy before 1100-[murdered] 16 Dec 1153, bur Chester, Abbey of St Werburgh). His parentage is recorded by Orderic Vitalis. He succeeded his father in [1129] as Earl of Chester, Vicomte d'Avranches. Stephen King of England appointed him Constable of Lincoln. Earl Ranulf fought against King Stephen at Lincoln in 1141 and was seized by the king at court in Northampton 29 Aug 1146. King Stephen nevertheless granted him the castle and city of Lincoln, probably after 1151. Robert of Torigny records the death in 1153 of "Ranulfus comes Cestrić". The Annales Cambrić record the death in 1154 of "Radulphus comes Urbis Legionum". A manuscript narrating the descent of Hugh Earl of Chester to Alice Ctss of Lincoln records the death "XVI Kal Jan" of "Ranulfus de Gernons" and his burial at St Werburgh´s, Chester. It was alleged that he was poisoned by his wife and by William Peverell of Nottingham. Ralph de Diceto records that "Willelmus Peverel de Notingeham" was disinherited in 1155 for poisoning "Ranulfo comiti Cestrić".

m ([1141]) MATILDA of Gloucester, daughter of ROBERT FitzRoy Earl of Gloucester & his wife Mabel [Matilda or Sibylle] FitzRobert (-29 Jul 1190). Robert of Torigny refers to the wife of "Ranulfus comes Cestrić" as "filia Roberti comitis Gloecestrić". The Rotuli de Dominabus of 1185 records property "Wadinton de feodo comitis Cestrie" held by "Matillis comitissa Cestrie…filia Roberti comitis Gloecestrie, filii regis Henrici primi". It was alleged that she and William Peverell of Nottingham poisoned her husband. "Hugo comes Cestrie" confirmed a donation of land in Thoresby donated by "Willelmus filius Othuer" to Greenfield priory, Lincolnshire, for the soul of "patris mei Randulfi", by charter dated to [1155] witnessed by "Matilla matre sua…". The Annals of Tewkesbury record the death "IV Kal Aug" in 1190 of "Matildis comitissa Cestria".

Earl Ranulf & his wife had two children: Hugh and Richard.

[FMG/Medieval Lands]



RANULPH, styled "DE GERNON," EARL OF CHESTER, also VICOMTE D'AVRANCHES, &C., in Normandy, son and heir. He was born before 1100, in the Castle of Gernon in Normandy. To the detriment of his elder brother of the half blood, William (de Roumare), Earl of Lincoln, he appears to have Iong held a large portion of the profits of the EARLDOM OF LINCOLN. He distinguished himself as a soldier both on the side of the Empress Maud and of that of King Stephen, with the greatest impartiality. He was one of the 5 Earls (h) who witnessed the Charter to Salisbury granted at the Northampton Council of Henry I, 8 September 1131. To Stephen's second "Charter of Liberties" he was, in 1136, a witness, and by him he was made Constable of Lincoln. Against that King, however, he took part at the battle of Lincoln, 2 February 1141, in which Stephen was made prisoner, who retaliated on the Earl 29 August 1146, by seizing him at Court, at Northampton. The King granted him the Castle and city of Lincoln, probably after the pacification of 1151.

He married, about 1141, Maud, daughter of Robert, EARL OF GLOUCESTER, by Mabel, daughter and heir of Robert FITZ-HAMOND, lord of Tewkesbury. Having again taken part with King Stephen, and being consequently distrusted by both sides, he died 16 [?17] December 1153, being supposed to have been poisoned by his wife and William Peverell, of Nottingham. He was buried at St. Werburg's, Chester. His widow, who in 1172 founded Repton Priory, co. Derby, died 29 July 1189. [Complete Peerage III:166-7, XIV:170, (transcribed by Dave Utzinger)]

(h) The four others were, Robert of Gloucester, William de Warenne, Earl of Surrey, Robert of Leicester and Roger of Warwick.


Ranulph de Meschines (surnamed de Gernons, from being born in Gernon Castle, in Normandy), Earl of Chester. This nobleman, who was a leading military character, took an active part with the Empress Maud, and the young Prince Henry, against King Stephen, in the early part of the contest, and having defeated the king and made him prisoner at the battle of Lincoln, committed him to the castle of Bristol. He subsequently, however, sided with the king, and finally, distrusted by all, died under excommunication in 1155, supposed to have been poisoned by William Peverell, Lord of Nottingham, who being suspected of the crime, is said to have turned monk to avoid its punishment. The earl m. Maud, dau. of Robert, surnamed the Consul, Earl of Gloucester, natural son of King Henry I, and had issue, Hugh, his successor, named Keveliok, from the place of his birth, in Merionethshire; Richard; Beatrix, m. to Ralph de Malpas. His lordship was s. by his elder son, Hugh (Keveliok), 3rd Earl of Chester. [Sir Bernard Burke, Dormant and Extinct Peerages, Burke's Peerage, Ltd., London, 1883, p. 365, Meschines, Earls of Chester]


Ranulf II de Gernons, 4th Earl of Chester, VICOMTE (Viscount) DE BAYEUX, VICOMTE D'AVRANCHES, Ranulf also spelled RANDULF, or RALPH (b. c. 1100--d. Dec. 16, 1153), a key participant in the English civil war (from 1139) between King Stephen and the Holy Roman empress Matilda (also a claimant to the throne of England). Ranulf, nicknamed 'aux Gernons' (i.e. moustaches), played a prominent and vacillating part in the civil war of Stephen's reign, his actions, in common with most of his peers, springing from personal grievances rather than dynastic loyalty or principle. Ranulf's father, Ranulf I, had been granted the earldom of Chester in 1121 after his maternal uncle had drowned in the White Ship disaster (1120) but, in return, had been compelled to surrender Cumberland and his patrimony of Carlisle. The restoration of these lost estates was the mainspring of much of Ranulf II's political life. Inheriting the Chester earldom in 1129, he initially supported Stephen as king after 1135. However, successive treaties between Stephen and King David of Scotland in 1136 and 1139 gave the Scots large tracts of land in Cumberland coveted by Ranulf who reacted by seizing the town and besieging the castle. Ranulf now allied with the Empress Matilda in defeating the king at Lincoln in February 1141, capturing and briefly imprisoning Stephen. Ranulf's association with the Angevin party was cemented by his marriage in 1141 to the daughter of Robert of Gloucester. Later (1149) he transferred his allegiance to the king in return for a grant of the city and castle of Lincoln. Coventry received its original charter from him. However, his territorial ambitions were no closer realisation as the king of Scots was also a close ally of Matilda. In 1145, Ranulf was reconciled to Stephen. However, there was no love lost between Ranulf and the king's entourage, many of whom had suffered at his hands. In August, 1146, at Northampton, Ranulf was suddenly arrested and put in chains when he refused the king's demand to restore all lands he had taken. He was only released when he surrendered all former royal property, including Lincoln. Stephen's arrest of Ranulf was a public relations disaster. He had broken his oath of reconciliation of 1145 and his own promise of protection, thus deterring any more defections from the Angevin faction. Stephen had breached a central tenet of effective medieval rule, that of being a good -- i.e. fair -- lord. Ranulf joined Henry FitzEmpress and was reconciled with David of Scotland who, in return for the lavish grant to Ranulf of most of Lancashire, retained Carlisle. But Ranulf was never a party man. His priorities remained centred on his own territorial and dynastic advantage, as shown by his 'conventio' with a leading royalist baron Robert of Leicester (1149/53). Under this treaty, the two magnates, independently of their rival liege-lords Stephen and Henry FitzEmpress, agreed to limit any hostilities forced between them by their masters and to protect their respective tenurial positions. Ranulf's career, notorious for his arrest in 1146, is more significant as evidence that the drama of high politics was played against a dense background of baronial competition for rights, lands, and inheritances which took precedence over any claims of royalty. [Encyclopćdia Britannica CD '97, RANULF DE GERNONS, 4TH EARL OF CHESTER]

Ranulf married Matilda FitzRobert, daughter of Robert FitzRoy 1st Earl of Gloucester and Mabel FitzHamon, about 1141.1 2 (Matilda FitzRobert was born about 1117 and died on 29 Jul 1190 1 2.)


• Alt. Marriage, Bef 1136. 5


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), 125-27.

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

3 Frederick Lewis Weis, Walter Lee Sheppard, William Ryland Beall, <i>Magna Carta Sureties 1215: the Barons Named in the Magna Carta, 1215 and Some of their Descendants who Settled in America during the Early Colonial Years</i> (Genealogical Publishing Company, 1999), 153-2.

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), 132a-27.

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

Buist-Taylor-Keatch-Kendall family history website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Contact      Site Map

Design your own website - Click here