Revised 04/12/2019



[GAEL341] Ralph the staller [=constable] de Gael (otherwise Guader, in Brittany) (born before 1011, in Norfolk according to the contemporary Peterborough and Worcester chronicles), steward to King Edward the confessor. He married --- (possibly a sister of a certain Godwin, and a Breton according to the same chronicles). He became Seigneur de Montfort and de Gael, Brittany, and was then created 1st Earl of Norfolk & Suffolk otherwise the East Angles (1067). He held land at Tybesta in Creed (Cornwall), and lands in Lincs, Suffolk and Norfolk (e.g. Swaffham), during the time of King Edward the confessor, and immediately post-Conquest. Ralph died between 1067-69.

[GAEL351] Ralph Guader (born before 1040) was Seigneur de Montfort de Gael (Lord of Gael), and became 2nd Earl of Norfolk & Suffolk (1069). He married (at Exning, Cambs, [later in Suffolk but now back in Cambs,] 1075) [FZOS352] Emma (see HEREFORD (FITZOSBERN) EARLDOM).

Shortly after marrying, Ralph joined Roger, 2nd Earl of Hereford, and Waltheof, 1st Earl of Northumberland, in a plot against King William I. Waltheof lost heart and confessed the conspiracy. The rising was a failure, as a result of which Ralph forfeit the Earldom, and for the rest of his life remained a great baron in Normandy, with no interests in England. Accompanied by his wife, he went on the First Crusade with DUKE ROBERT OF NORMANDY (1096). Ralph was one of the Breton leaders who took part in the Siege of Nicaea. Both Ralph and his wife died during the course of the Crusade.

[GAEL362] Amice (daughter of Ralph) married [BEAM361] Earl Robert (see LEICESTER (BEAUMONT) EARLDOM).


[NORF411] Robert le Bigot was a kinsman of Ranulph d'Avranches, 6th Earl of Chester.

[NORF423] --- (daughter of Robert) married [RIDE361] Count Geoffrey of Blaye (see RIDEL).

[NORF429] Roger de Ibrei/Ivry (son of Robert) quitted the services of William Werlone, Comte de Mortain, to attach himself to DUKE WILLIAM OF NORMANDY, and was with him at the Battle of Hastings (14th October 1066). At the Domesday Survey he was tenant-in-chief in Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk. (Also, Roger d'Ivry held Culkerton, of Durand the Sheriff of Gloucester.) Roger married 1. Adeliza (daughter of Hugh I de Grandmesnil, see GRANTMESNIL, by whom he had a son William, who was drowned in the "White Ship" disaster on 25th November 1120); then 2. [TONB453] Alice (born c.1064, daughter of Robert de Tosny, see TONY). Roger founded Thetford Priory (1103).



Thetford Priory gatehouse
(3 October 2002)


Roger died at Earsham (9th November 1107), and had requested burial at Thetford, but it is said that his body was taken by Bishop Herbert to Norfolk to prevent Thetford becoming a cult shrine. Alice died sometime c.1136.

[NORF433] Maud (daughter of Roger & "probably his 2nd wife" Alice) married [ARUN351] William pincerna regis (see ARUNDEL (AUBIGNY) EARLDOM).

[NORF434] Jane (daughter of Roger & Alice) married [EUST391] Sir Richard FitzEustace (see FITZEUSTACE).

[NORF436] Gunnora (daughter of Roger & Alice) married [ESSE361] Robert FitzSuene (see RAYLEIGH FEUDAL LORDSHIP); then 2. Haimo de St. Clair.

[NORF432] Hugh le Bigod (born c.1095, son of Roger & Alice) married 1. [OXFO388] Juliane (daughter of Aubrey II, see OXFORD (VERE) EARLDOM), though this marriage was later annulled, after which she married 2. Walkelin Maminot (who died between 1145-57); then 3. [FHAM371] Robert de Crevequer (see HAMON). Meanwhile Earl Hugh afterwards married 2. Gundred of Warwick (apparently daughter of Roger, 2nd Earl of Warwick). Hugh was 3rd Earl of Norfolk (1140), though this Earldom also included Suffolk.

Hugh was at the Battle of Lincoln (2nd February 1141) in King Stephen's army, and was one of the nobles whose troops were routed and fled at the first onset. He soon went over to EMPRESS MATILDA. He joined Geoffrey, 1st Earl of Essex (1144) in laying waste the East of England, but King Stephen fell on him unexpectedly (1145), routed his forces and laid waste his lands. During an invasion by the DUKE HENRY OF NORMANDY (1153), later King Henry II, Hugh took the opportunity to rebel once more, and seized Ipswich Castle. Thereupon King Stephen marched on Ipswich, where he besieged the castle and forced Hugh to surrender. A year later King Stephen died.

Hugh joined the conspiracy (1173) of King Henry II's sons against their father. Hugh's possession of the strongholds of Framlingham, Bungay and Walton, together with his energy in his old age, made him the most formidable of the rebels in England. When Robert, 3rd Earl of Leicester, landed in England (September 1173) with an army of Flemings, they stayed for some days with Hugh at Framlingham Castle. After Robert's defeat and capture near Fornham St. Genevieve (just north of Bury St. Edmunds) in the October, King Henry II's generals concentrated large forces at Colchester, Bury St. Edmunds and Ipswich, with a view to reducing Hugh through his want of supplies.

Hugh led his Flemish troops against Norwich and stormed it (18th June 1174), massacred a large number of inhabitants, and sacked and burned the city. Hugh then marched against Dunwich, but failed to take it. The King mustered a large army at Bury St. Edmunds (July 1174), and prepared to besiege Bungay and Framlingham simultaneously. King Henry II encamped at Sileham (24th July), and next day Hugh surrendered, though apparently later he was restored to favour.

Hugh died before 1177, and afterwards Gundred married Roger to Glanville. She died between 1200-08.

[NORF442] Isabel (daughter of Hugh & Juliane) married [ENFE501] Sir John Enfeid (see ENFEILD).

[NORF441] Roger le Bigod (son of Hugh & Juliane) married [SUR2475] Ida (daughter of Earl Hamelin, see SURREY (PLANTAGENET) EARLDOM). Roger was at the aforementioned Battle of Fornham (October 1173) where he bore the standard of St. Edmund, under which the royal forces fought. He was thus in opposition to his father. He became 4th Earl of Norfolk (1189), and died before August 1221.

[NORF452] Margaret (born c.1172, daughter of Roger & Ida) married (c.1190) [HAST461] William de Hastings (born c.1165, see HASTINGS BARONY).

[NORF451] Hugh (2nd son of Roger) married 1. (c.1207) [MARS389] Maud (see PEMBROKE (MARSHAL) EARLDOM), and thereby eventually inherited the Chepstow lordship including Chepstow Castle, and patronage of Tintern Abbey. Hugh became 5th Earl of Norfolk (1221). Hugh died February 1224-25, and afterwards Maud married 2. [SUR2471] Earl William (see SURREY (WARENNE) EARLDOM). Maud died 27th March 1248, and was buried at Tintern Abbey. Later generations made many alterations at both Chepstow Castle and Tintern Abbey.




South-West Tower of Chepstow Castle


South-facing frontage of Tintern Abbey


(8 September 2007)


(8 September 2007)

[NORF469] Isabel (daughter of Hugh) married 1. [LACY481] Gilbert de Lacy (see LACY (2)); then 2. [FZG2441] Sir John FitzGeoffrey FitzPiers (see FITZGEOFFREY).