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Gilbert [Gislebert] was "surnamed Crispin [for his tightly curled hair], earl of Brionne, in Normandy." He succeeded his father at Brionne as well as at Eu. However, after the death of his father, Godfrey, Count of Eu, he soon quarreled with his uncle, Duke Richard II, and was deprived of his patrimony. Eu was given to William--another of Duke Richard II's bastard sons--and Gilbert was left with only the lordship of Brionne. He afterwards regained his position, and in the reign of duke Robert was in high favor at court, when the castle of Brionne was restored to him.

Gilbert assumed the title of count of Brionne while not relinquishing his claim to Eu, but the county of Eu had been in the meanwhile given away by duke Richard II to another member of the family. Neither Gilbert nor his descendants ever recovered possession of Eu. Even so, when count William of Eu died shortly before 1040, Gilbert assumed the land and title. Gilbert was selected in 1035, when Duke Robert was starting for the Holy Land, to be one of the guardians of the young count William {the Conqueror}, and for the next five years he was one of the most powerful nobles in Normandy.

His duty to his ward was not unfaithfully discharged, but he abused his position to plunder the orphan heirs of his neighbour, the sieur de Montreuil, and in revenge the "sons of Giroie" cruelly murdered him in 1040, as he was riding peaceably on his mule near Echaufré, "expecting no evil." His cruel death caused his faults to be forgotten and King William the Conqueror retained to the last a kindly recollection of his guardian. When the King on his death bed was recounting the horrors of his early life, he mentioned Count Gilbert, "the father of his country," among the pillars of the state who were perfidiously murdered by his enemies.

After Gilbert's assassination in 1040, his young sons--Richard and Baldwin--were forced to flee Normandy, finding safety at the court of Baldwin V, Count of Flanders. When William the Conqueror married Count Baldwin's daughter Matilda, he restored Richard and Baldwin to Normandy, but he did not invest them with either Brionne or Eu or a comital title {the title of Comte [Count]}. William granted the lordships of Bienfaite and Orbec to Richard. Although Gilbert's descendants later pressed a claim for Brionne, it was never restored.

Count Gilbert probably married a relation of the count of Flanders, for his infant sons Richard and Baldwin were taken after his death to that country and were brought up under the protection of Count Baldwin. They returned to their native country when William of Normandy married Matilda of Flanders and, by count Baldwin's intercession, were reinstated in as much of their father's fiefdoms as had not been otherwise disposed of.

Both brothers were in attendance on their kinsman during his conquest of England. The one, as Baldwin de Meules, was left in charge of Exeter on its submission (1068) and made Sheriff of Devonshire. Large estates in Devonshire and Somersetshire are entered to him in Domesday as "Baldwin of Exeter" or "Baldwin the Sheriff."

Richard now obtained the fiefdoms of Bienfaite and Orbec and, after the conquest of England, he was rewarded with 176 Lordships, 95 of which were in Suffolk.  Richard also received Tonbridge Castle in Kent as compensation for his hereditary claims to the castle of Brionne. He became known to history as Richard FitzGilbert de Clare. At the same time, Le Sap et Meules were given to Baldwin for his share and he was allowed to marry the King's cousin. His wife, Albreda, was a granddaughter of Duke Richard II and was probably a sister of Guy de Burgundy.

Death: The necrology of Saint-Nicaise de Meulan records the death of "Gislebertus comes Briognensis" as undated but listed among other deaths recorded in March 1040.

--Murdered by assassins hired by Raoul de Gace (son of Archbishop Robert) following Robert I Duke of Normandy's death.

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Replies to This Discussion

I found that I'm directly related to him thru John "The Martyr" Rogers. In Normandy, France He was known as: Gislebert "Crispin" de Clare Comte de Brionne

Here is what I've found on him and the de Clare family

The family in question is that of the de Clares, now remembered through the  surname Clare and it's derivatives. Originally a Norman family, they took their  name from Clare in Suffolk where their first castle, and the seat of their  barony, was situated. By the thirteenth century, the family held vast estates in  Wales, Ireland, and twenty two English counties - so there was little chance of  the surname becoming isolated to just one area.
The first recorded  member of the de Clare dynasty was Godfrey, Count of Eu. Godfrey was an  illegitimate son of Richard of Normandy, and his son Gilbert was assassinated in  1040 - although as you will see, Gilbert was to become a confusingly common name  for sons of the de Clare dynasty. It has been suggested that the de Clares were  distant relatives of William I of England, as William himself was the illegitimate son of another Duke of Normandy.
Distantly related to  William or not, Gilbert's sons accompanied William in his invasion of England in  the late eleventh century. They were suitably rewarded for their support -  Baldwin de Clare became Sheriff of Devonshire, and his brother Richard de Clare  was given control of 170 estates in Suffolk (95 of which were attached to Clare  Castle. Although Baldwin did not marry, Richard's marriage to Rohais Giffard  produced three sons (Richard, Roger and Gilbert) and two daughters (Rohais and  one unknown). Richard and Rohais de Clare also set about building a priory at St  Neots (now in Cambridgeshire), which was finished around 1100; Richard never saw  the dedication service however, as he died around 1090.
Richard and  Rohais' children managed to involve themselves in a great deal of the intrigue  referred to in the introduction - Roger and Gilbert were present at the murder  of William II in 1100, and the unknown daughter was married to Walter Tyrol, who  was William's murderer. Gilbert had also been involved in rebellion in 1088 and  1095, so it would seem that the de Clare family were keen to establish a leading  role in British politics from an early stage. The third of Richard's sons, named  Richard after his father, seemed more content with his lot, as he is not believed to have been involved in any such high level intrigue as his siblings;  saying this however, his son Gilbert kept up family tradition through being one  of the twenty five barons involved in the administration of the Magna Carta in  1215. The younger Richard also married Amicia, daughter of the Earl of  Gloucester, inheriting the title and passing it down through an unknown son  after his death in 1217.



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