Revised 02/03/2021




According to "A Genealogical History of Divers Families of the Ancient Peerage of England" (T.C. Banks, 1826):

The castle of Bergavenny was built by Hamelin de Baalun, a noble Norman (see BAALUN), to whom King William gave the land of Over-Went, Monmouthshire, as his Barony. He had no issue, so the castle passed to his nephew Brientius de Insula, Baron of Wallingford, Oxon, from whom it passed to his cousin Walter of Gloucester, at that time high constable of England. Walter's son Miles of Gloucester was afterwards created 3rd Earl of Hereford, whereby the Barony as a distinct honour was dormant in the superior title of Earl. By one of the co-heiresses [Bertha] of "Hereford", the castle and lordship of Bergavenny, with the land of Over-Went, came in marriage to William de Briouze, who was the son of Philip de Briouze.

The Lordship numbers used below are a modern invention for convenience and would not have been used at the time these events were taking place.

[HER2431] Roger de Pitres (born c.1035) married [BAAL352] Eunice de Baalun [aka Ballon] (born c.1040, daughter of Drew, see BAALUN).

[HER2441] Walter Fitz Roger de Pitres (born c.1065), hereditary Sheriff of Gloucester, was tenant-in-chief in the Domesday Survey in Gloucs (Great Barrington and South Cerney) and Hants (Barton Stacey and East Dean). He married his aunt  [BAAL354] Emma de Baalun (born c.1067, daughter of Drew, Lord of Baalun, see BAALUN).

[HER2452] Matilda of Gloucester (daughter of Walter) married [CLIF411] Richard FitzPonce of Cantref Brychan (see CLIFFORD).

[HER2451] Miles of Gloucester (son & heir of Walter), hereditary Sheriff of Gloucester, married (c. May 1121) [NEWF452] Sibyl de Nova Mercato (daughter of Bernard de Nova Mercato, Marcher Lord of Brecknock, see NOVA MERCATO), by which he thereby acquired the Lordship of Brecon, Brychan centred on Talgarth, Brycheiniog centred on Brecon, the castellany of Hay, and the forest of Ystradwy in the district of Crickhowell. Miles was present at the Siege of Shrewsbury (1138), but joined EMPRESS MATILDA on her arrival 1139, taking her to Gloucester, where he received from her the Castle of St. Briavell's, and the whole of the Forest of Dean. He accompanied Matilda to Winchester, and then to Reading (where he acted as her constable), and then on to London. He accompanied her in her flight to Gloucester, and was with her subsequently at Oxford, where she created him 3rd Earl of Hereford (25th July 1141) as a reward for his assistance. He also became 3rd Lord of Abergavenny (1141). Miles died 24th December 1143, leaving (probably) five sons and three daughters.

These sons became in turn successive feudal Lords of Abergavenny, the following dates being only approximate, each leaving no issue, until eventually the title passed through Miles' 2nd daughter, Bertha. The sequence of sons is as given by Gerald de Barri, otherwise Giraldus Cambrensis, viz Roger, Walter, Henry, William and Mahel (see “The Complete Peerage”, by G.E.C., under HEREFORD).

Roger (son of Miles), married (1138) Cicely (1st daughter & coheir of Payn FitzJohn of Ewyas & Sibyl), became 4th Lord of Abergavenny (1143), then 4th Earl of Hereford (1143), finally a monk at Gloucester (1155, and died same year).

Walter of Hereford (son of Miles), the King's Constable, Sheriff of Gloucester & Hereford (1155-57), became 5th Lord of Abergavenny (1155). But he did not succeed his brother as 5th Earl of Hereford, this title for the time being rendered extinct.

Henry of Hereford (son of Miles), the King's Constable, became 6th Lord of Abergavenny (abt.1159). His wife's name was Isabel. He was slain on an Easter Eve (between 1159-61) at Castle Arnold (near present-day Llanover in the Usk valley), by Seisyll ap Dyfnwal, and was buried at "either Llanthony in Wales or at Llanthony without Gloucester". The authors of The Complete Peerage were unsure which, but Llanthony in Wales was probably deserted between 1135 when sacked and 1186 when Hugh de Lacy endowed money for the rebuilding of the Priory church there. Henry's death was avenged about 15 years later by the son of his sister Bertha (this being William, the 11th Lord, see below.

William of Hereford (son of Miles), the King's Constable, was mortally hurt by a stone dropped from Bronllys Tower (Co. Brecon), and did not succeed to the Lordship. This correction (appearing under HEREFORD in The Complete Peerage) amends the descent given under ABERGAVENNY in the same work. Gerald de Barri's statement was presumably overlooked at the time when the ABERGAVENNY article was being written. Consequently some of the Lordship numbers below are altered.

Mahel [Michel] of Hereford (son of Miles), the King's Constable, became 7th Lord of Abergavenny (abt.1163). He was buried at "Llanthony without Gloucester" [i.e. Llanthony Secunda Priory (Gloucester)] which suggests his elder brother Henry was probably buried there too. After Mahel's death the properties were divided up among his three sisters and their husbands.

[HER2464] Margaret (1st daughter of Miles) married [HERE441] Humphrey III (see HEREFORD (BOHUN) EARLDOM). She took the County of Hereford.

[HER2462] Bertha (2nd daughter of Miles) married (by.1150) [ABER361] Lord William of Briouze and of Bramber, who thereby became 9th [not 10th] Lord of Abergavenny (see below). She took the Lordship of Brecknock and Abergavenny.

[HER2463] Lucy (3rd daughter of Miles) married [HERZ461] Herbert FitzHerbert (see HERBERT). She took the Forest of Dean.

Note: Hugh of Beauchamp, 8th [not 9th] Lord of Abergavenny, appears to have been a son of Walter de Beauchamp of Elmley, Worcs, and unrelated to the preceding Lords. The Beauchamp family of Elmley are mentioned under WARWICK (BEAUCHAMP) EARLDOM.


[HIVR321] Hugh d'Ivry (born c.985) was Bishop of Bayeux.

[HIVR332] Gunnor d'Ivry (born c.1015, daughter of Hugh) later became a nun (1080) at Saint-Trinitie-de-Caen (which had been established by the wife of William the Conqueror). See next entry.

[ABER341] William de Briouze (born in Briouze, Normandy, c.1036, illegitimate son of [HIVR332] Gunnor d'Ivry).

William was a Norman baron, Lord of Briouze-Saint-Gervais (formerly Braiose), near Falaise in Normandy, and he received great estates in England after the Conquest. At the Domesday Survey he was tenant-in-chief in Berks, Dorset, Hants, Surrey, Sussex and Wilts, and became (by 1073) 1st Lord of Bramber (Sussex). He married 1. (before 1066) Agnes (born at Barnstaple, Devon, c.1046, daughter of Waldron de St. Clare & Helena le bon); then 2. (before 1070) Eve, Dame de Boessey, (widow of [HARC321] Anchetil du Harcourt, see HARCOURT-2). Other sources suggest the marriage to Agnes never took place, and there has been confusion between the Brus and Briouze families.

William built a castle at Bramber (c.1070) on the approach to the thriving inland port of Steyning on the River Adur (the river not so named until the 17th Century). He also built a bridge over the river and demanded tolls from passing ships, but this practice was curtailed in a court presided over by the king (1086). The present-day remains of the castle include the ruins of the gatehouse tower.

       Bramber Castle
Gatehouse tower remains
(3 September 2011)

William also built a cruciform church (c.1075) adjacent to the castle, incorporating a small Benedictine college. The nave today is effectively all Norman. But the original chancel-apse has been long gone, certainly by 1250. The "crossing" beneath the tower is now the chancel, whilst the north and south transepts have been dispensed with. The Norman arch and columns between the present-day chancel and nave are noteworthy. The leaflet describing the church today records:

"The capital carvings on the Norman chancel arch are particularly interesting. There are only three such examples in the country of early Norman (11th century) figured carvings. That on the north is more basic and may well date from the construction of the church. That on the south is better work and was probably carved or changed at a later date. It includes a Templar cross on a staff which is probably early to mid-mediaeval work."

       Bramber Church
(3 September 2011)
Norman column
and capital
Norman column
and capital

In 1080 William granted the advowson of St. Nicolas' Church, Old Shoreham, to the town of Saumur, which was linked to Sele Priory (not far from Bramber).

  St. Nicolas' church was an old Saxon church, which still
retains Saxon stonework, particularly in the nave. The
present Norman tower above the "crossing" dates from
1140, in the time of the 3rd Lord, replacing the original
Saxon tower which was at the rear of the nave.
    Old Shoreham Church
Norman tower
(3 September 2011)

 William died c.1093-96.

[ABER351] Philip (born c.1070, son of William & Eve) became Lord of Briouze in Normandy, then 2nd Lord of Bramber. He annexed Radnor and the Cantref of Builth, as early as 1095. He married [BARN352] Aenor of Barnstaple (daughter & co-heiress of Johel [Judael] de Totnes, see BARNSTAPLE), and thereby acquired lands in Devon. At one time Philip was the tenth most wealthy man in England. Philip built a new port at New Shoreham at the mouth of the River Adur (c.1100), as upstream the river began to silt up.  Philip died 1134-35, possibly on a Crusade.

[ABER364] Philip II (born c.1100, son of Philip & Aenor Eve), married Eva de Braose (born c.1114). Philip died 1177 and Eva died 1200.

[ABER374] Agnes (daughter of Philip II & Eva) married [HARC351] Sir Ivo de Harcourt (HARCOURT-2

[ABER361] William (born c.1106), Lord of Briouze, 3rd Lord of Bramber and Sheriff of Hereford. He married (about. August 1148) [HER2462] Bertha (daughter of Earl Miles, see above), from whom he obtained the lordships of Brecon and Abergavenny. He became 9th [not 10th] Lord Abergavenny (1173). He died c.1192-93.

[ABER372] Sibyl (daughter of 9th [not 10th] Lord) [allegedly] married 1. [DERB381] Earl William (see DERBY (FERRIERES) EARLDOM); then 2. Adam de Port, Lord of Basing.

[ABER373] Maud (daughter of William) married 1. [BXXX421] William of Elmley (see WARWICK (BEAUCHAMP) EARLDOM), died 1167; then 2. John de Brampton.

[ABER371] William the ogre of Abergavenny (son of 9th [not 10th Lord]) became Lord of Briouze, 4th Lord of Bramber, Marcher Lord of Brecon, Over-Gwent, etc, then 10th [not 11th] Lord of Abergavenny (c.1192). He married [VALE373] Maud de Saint-Valerie (daughter of Bernard, see SAINT-VALERIE). William & Maud seem to have had 16 children, the youngest of whom was named Bernard, after Maud's father.

On Christmas Day 1175 William slaughtered Seisyll ap Dyfnwal, his son Geoffrey, and a host of unarmed Welshmen in Abergavenny Castle, in revenge for the death of his uncle Henry, the 6th Lord (see earlier). Simultaneously, William's men attacked and destroyed Castle Arnold, killing Seisyll's other son, 7 year-old Cadwaladr. The Welshmen took their revenge in 1182 when they sacked and burned down Abergavenny Castle, but this was subsequently rebuilt.

William failed to pay the King his dues despite frequent demands, and was outlawed (1210). He was stripped of his lands and exiled in France, where he died at Corbeil near Paris (9th August 1211). Meanwhile, Maud was deliberately starved to death at Windsor (or, less likely, Corfe) Castle (1210).

[ABER384] Margaret (daughter of Lord William) married [LACY471] Walter de Lacy (see LACY (2)).

[ABER385] Bertha (daughter of Lord William) married [BXXX441] Walter de Beauchamp (see WARWICK (BEAUCHAMP) EARLDOM).

[BRAM451] William (son of Lord William) married [HERT472] Maud de Clare (see HERTFORD (CLARE) EARLDOM). (See BREWOSE BARONY for further details).

[ABER381] Reynold (son of [ABER371] Lord William) became 12th [not 13th] Lord of Abergavenny (May 1216), succeeding his elder brother Giles, who died without issue (November 1215). Reynold married 1. [BRIG463] Grecia (daughter of Sir William, see BRIGUERRE); then 2. (1215) [GWYN398] Gwladys ddu (ferch Llywelyn) (see GWYNEDD KINGDOM (1)). Reynold joined forces with his father-in-law Llywelyn in 1215, and together they regained Abergavenny Castle from King John's men. Reynold had restored to him (1217) many of his Welsh lands, and the Bramber estate, which had been confiscated from his father. Reynold died 1228 (said to be buried at Brecon), after which Gwladys married 2. (1230) [MORT461] Ralph Wigmore (see WIGMORE (MORTIMER) BARONY).

[ABER391] William black (born c.1197, son of William & Grecia), received Bramber from his father (1218), and became Marcher Lord of Brecon, Builth and Abergavenny (see MARCHES) and became 13th [not 14th] Lord of Abergavenny (1228). He married [MARS386] Eve (daughter of Earl William, see PEMBROKE (MARSHAL) EARLDOM), thereby acquiring for example Cilgerran Castle.

William was captured and imprisoned (1229) by Llywelyn fawr ab Iorwerth (see GWYNEDD KINGDOM (1)) during Hubert de Burgh's disastrous campaign. William was ransomed and released after agreeing to cede Builth as a marriage portion to Llywelyn's son Prince Dafydd, on his betrothal to his daughter Isabel (see below). The following Easter, Llywelyn learned of a clandestine relationship between his wife and William. Accordingly, William was publicly hanged at St. Clears, 10 miles west of Carmarthen, (2nd May 1230) "for excessive familiarity with Joan". Llywelyn fawr afterwards immediately wrote to William's widow Eve and her brother, the Earl of Pembroke, asking for confirmation that the intended marriage should go ahead, which was agreed.

William was succeeded by four daughters, and his lands were divided between them as follows:

[ABER405] Eve (daughter & coheir of William) received Abergavenny, and thus became 14th [not 15th] Lord of Abergavenny, though no date of accession is recorded, and with it, for example, Cilgerran Castle. Her wardship, after her father's death, was granted to William de Cauntelou (see below) who soon afterwards arranged for her marriage (c.1238) to his son [CAUN471] William, (see ABERGAVENNY (CAUNTELOU) BARONY) below). Meanwhile in 1233 Llywelyn ab Iorwerth and Richard Marshal, 6th Earl of Pembroke, were in strife against King Henry III, and their forces attacked and burned Monmouth, and destroyed the castles at Abergavenny, Blaenllyfni, Bwlchydinas and Pencelli. The task of rebuilding Abergavenny Castle was afterwards undertaken by the 16th Lord, William de Cauntelou, (see later).

[ABER402] Alianor (daughter & coheir of William), received Brecon, married [HERE481] Humphrey (see HEREFORD (BOHUN) EARLDOM).

[ABER403] Maud (daughter & coheir of William), received Radnor, married (1247) [MORT472] Sir Roger (see WIGMORE (MORTIMER) BARONY).

Isabel (daughter of William), received the castle and lordship of Builth.


[CAUN431] Walter de Cauntelou (born c.1102).

[CAUN441] Walter de Cauntelou (born c.1128) married Melette de Dynan. He died 1182.

[CAUN452] Maud (born c.1151, daughter of Walter) married [LONC451] Henry de Longchamp (see LONGCHAMP).

[CAUN451] William de Cauntelou the elder (born c.1159, son of Walter) married (c.1180) Mascelina de Brasci (daughter of Arnulf de Brasci). William died 7th April 1239.

[CAUN461] William Cauntelou the younger (born 1180) married (c.1215-16) [GURN462] Milicent de Gourney (born c.1180-83, daughter of Hugh V, see GOURNEY). Milicent had previously married 1. (c.1203) Amauri de Montfort, Count of Evreux (died 1213). William died February 1250-51. In 1255, at which date his son & heir George was still a minor, Abergavenny Castle came into the possession of Prince Edward, afterwards to become King Edward I. Maud died c.1260.

[CAUN472] Juliane (born c.1192, daughter of William junior) married (c.1245) [TREG481] Robert (see TREGOZ BARONY).

[CAUN473] Agnes (daughter of William) married [PORT391] Robert de St. John of Basing (see PORT).

[CAUN471] Sir William (born c.1216, son of William junior), of Calne (Wilts), and Aston Cantelow (Warks), married (c.1238) [ABER405] Eve, 14th [not 15th] Lord of Abergavenny, (see ABERGAVENNY (BRIOUZE) BARONY above), acquiring, for example, Cilgerran Castle. William died at Calstone (Wilts), (25th September 1254), after returning from the king's service in Gascony. He was buried at Studley Priory (Warks). Eve died July 1255 and was buried (or simply her heart was interred) at Abergavenny Priory, where there is an effigy to her.


Abergavenny Priory Church
(9 November 2007)


Eva de Braose
(9 November 2007)





The modern plaque with the effigy reads "EVA de BRAOSE d 1246" which date would be more correct for Eve Marshal wife of William de Braose, who died by 1246. However, the effigy has a shield with the Cauntelou arms, viz Gules three fleurs de lis or, which is correct for her married daughter Eve de Braose who died 1255. The Guide book to the church (2000) also shows 1246, whilst the latest Brief Guide & History (undated) shows 1256.



Fleurs de lis on tomb
(17 August 2010)


[CAUN483] Milicent (daughter of Sir William) married 1. John de Mohaut; then 2. [ZOUC411] Sir Eudo la Zouche (see HARYNGWORTH (ZOUCHE) BARONY), and their son William inherited the Cauntelou manor of Eaton Bray (Beds) and Eve's moiety of Totnes (Devon).

[CAUN482] Joan (born c.1240, daughter of Sir William) married [HAST481] Sir Henry de Hastings (see HASTINGS BARONY), and their son [HAST491] John inherited Abergavenny, see ABERGAVENNY (HASTINGS) BARONY below.



[HAST492] Sir John de Hastings (nephew & coheir of George Cauntelou, 15th [not 16th] Lord of Abergavenny, who died without issue) became 16th [not 17th] Lord of Abergavenny (1273), being eldest son of Joan de Cauntelou who married Sir Henry de Hastings, and thus acquired for example Cilgerran Castle.



Abergavenny Castle ruins
(9 November 2007)