Robert FITZHAMON ( -1107)

1. Robert FITZHAMON died in March 1107 in Falaise, Normandie. He married Sibyl de Montgomery.


Robert Fitzhamon (died March 1107), or Robert FitzHamon, Sieur de Creully in the Calvados region of Normandy, was Lord of Gloucester and the conqueror of Glamorgan. As a kinsman of the Conqueror and one of the few Anglo-Norman barons to remain loyal to two successive kings Rufus and Henry, he was a prominent figure in England and Normandy. However, not much is known about his earlier life or his exact relationship to William I.

Parentage and Ancestry

Robert fitzHamon (b ca 1045-1055, d. March 1107 Falaise, Normandy) is said to be a son of Hamon, Count of Corbeil, himself a grandson of Richard I of Normandy and thus cousin to Robert I of Normandy (the Conqueror's father). However, fitzHamon is also described as the alleged grandson of Hamo Dentatus (‘The Toothy', i.e., probably buck-toothed).[1]. The second explanation might make sense if his father were also named Hamon and thus confused with the grandfather and namesake Hamon, Count of Corbeil.

Hamon was younger brother of William, Count of Corbeil (possibly also known as William, Count of Arques), and as such he was a descendant of Richard I "The Fearless" or "Sans-Peur", Duke of Normany, great-grandfather of William II, Duke of Normandy, later styled "The Conqueror". Robert and his father were thus kin to the Conqueror although this connection does not appear to have profited Robert significantly until 1087 when his cousin William Rufus ascended the throne.

Robert's mother is said to have been Halwisa (or Hawisa) alias Elisabeth d'Avoye, widow of Hugh Magnus, Prince of France and later co-king of France (elder brother of Henry I of France) and daughter of one Henri l'Oiseteur.

He was a cousin of William the Conqueror, although the details of his descent from the Norman dukes is uncertain. His family held the lordships of Torigny, Creully, Mézy, and Evrecy in Normandy.

Career in England

Few details of Robert's career prior to 1087 are available; if he was Hamon's grandson rather than his son, this is not so surprising.

Robert probably did not fight at Hastings, and does not appear in the Domesday Book, although some relatives may. He first comes to prominence as a supporter of William Rufus during the Rebellion of 1088. After the revolt failed he was rewarded with great estates in Gloucestershire and elsewhere. Some of these had belonged to the late Queen Matilda, and were supposed to be inherited by Rufus's younger brother Henry (the future Henry I); nevertheless Fitzhamon remained on good terms with Henry.

The chronology of Fitzhamon's conquest of Glamorgan is uncertain, but it probably took place in the decades after he received Gloucester.

When the Welsh prince Iestyn ap Gwrgan (Jestin), prince or Lord of Glamorgan, called in the assistance of Robert Fitzhamon, a Norman knight, Fitzhamon slew the prince of South Wales Rhys ap Tewdwr in battle in 1090. Robert Fitzhamon, with his Norman knights then took possession of Glamorgan, and "the French came into Dyned and Ceredigion, which they have still retained, and fortified the castles, and seized upon all the land of the Britons." Rhys's daughter Nest became the mistress of King Henry I of England and allegedly was mother of Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester who married Mabel, Fitzhamon's daughter and heiress and thus had legitimacy both among the Welsh and the Norman barons.[2] (Robert of Caen's mother is however unknown to historians and genealogists).

Iestyn did not profit long by his involvement with the Normans. He was soon defeated and his lands taken in 1091. Robert Fitzhamon then built [Cardiff Castle] on the site of an old Roman fort in 1091; his descendants would inherit the castle and lands.

Founder of Tewkesbury Abbey (1092)

He also refounded Tewkesbury Abbey in 1092. The abbey's dimensions are almost the same as Westminster Abbey. The first abbot was Giraldus, Abbot of Cranborne (d. 1110) who died before the abbey was consecrated in October 1121. The abbey was apparently built under the influence of his wife Sibylle (or Sibilla)[3], said to be a beautiful and religious woman like her sisters.

Fitzhamon and His Kings

Legend has it that Robert had ominous dreams in the days before Rufus' fatal hunting expedition, which postponed but did not prevent the outing. He was one of the first to gather in tears around Rufus' corpse, and he used his cloak to cover the late king's body on its journey to be buried in Winchester. How much of these stories are the invention of later days is unknown.

In any case Fitzhamon proved as loyal to Henry I as he had been to his predecessor, remaining on Henry's side in the several open conflicts with Henry's brother Robert Curthose. He was one of the three barons who negotiated the 1101 truce between Henry I and Robert Curthose.

In 1105 he went to Normandy and was captured while fighting near his ancestral estates near Bayeux. This was one of the reasons Henry crossed the channel with a substantial force later that year. Fitzhamon was freed, and joined Henry's campaign, which proceeded to besiege Falaise. There Fitzhamon was severely injured in the head; although he lived two more years he was never the same mentally. He was buried in the Chapter House at Tewkesbury Abbey, which he had founded and considerably enriched during his lifetime.

Marriage and Children

Fitzhamon married circa 1087-1090 Sibyl (or Sybille), apparently the youngest daughter of Roger of Montgomery, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury by his first wife Mabel of Bêlleme, by whom he is said to have had four daughters. His eldest daughter Mabel inherited his great estates and married circa 1119 Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester. Fitzhamon's Gloucestershire property thus became the nucleus of the Earldom of Gloucester later given to his son-in-law. Fitzhamon is sometimes called Earl of Gloucester, but was never so created formally.

Another daughter Isabella (or Hawisa) is said to have been married to a count from Brittany, but no further details exist. His widow and two other daughters (unnamed) are reported to have entered a convent.

Robert fitzHamon's great granddaughter Isabel of Gloucester married John of England.


Sibyl de Montgomery was the daughter of Roger of Montgomery, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury ( - ) and Mabel of Belleme ( - ). She and Robert FITZHAMON had the following children:



Mabel of Gloucester ( -1156)

Second Generation

2. Mabel of Gloucester, daughter of Robert FITZHAMON and Sibyl de Montgomery, died in 1156. She married Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester.


Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester, son of Henry I KING OF ENGLAND (1068-1135) and unknown lady ( - ), was born in 1090. He died on 31 October 1147. He and Mabel of Gloucester had the following children:



William FitzRobert, 2nd Earl of Gloucester (1116-1183)

Third Generation

3. William FitzRobert, 2nd Earl of Gloucester, son of Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester and Mabel of Gloucester, was born on 23 November 1116. He died on 23 November 1183. He married Hawise de Beaumont of Leicester.


William Fitz Robert, 2nd Earl of Gloucester (died 1183) was the son and heir of Sir Robert de Caen, 1st Earl of Gloucester, and Mabel of Gloucester, daughter of Robert Fitzhamon. His father was an illegitimate son of King Henry I of England, thus William was a nephew of the Empress Maud and a cousin of King Stephen, the principal combatants of the English Anarchy period.

In October 1141, William looked after the baronial estates, when his father fell into the hands of partisans at Winchester. His father was exchanged for King Stephen, and during his father's absence in Normandy in 1144 he served as Governor of Wareham. In 1147, he overthrew Henry de Tracy at Castle Cary. In 1154 he made an alliance with Roger de Clare, 3rd Earl of Hertford, by which they agreed to aid each other against all men except Henry II of England. He was lord of the manor of Glamorgan, as well as Caerleon, residing chiefly at Cardiff. It was there that in 1158 he and his wife and son were captured by Ivor the Little and carried away into the woods, where they were held as prisoners until the Earl redressed Ivor's grievances. In 1173 he took the King's part against his sons, but thereafter he appears to have fallen under suspicion, for the following year he submitted to the King, and in 1175 surrendered to him Bristol Castle. Because his only son and heir Robert died in 1166, Earl William made John, the younger son of King Henry II, heir to his earldom, in conformity with the King's promise that John should marry one of the Earl's daughters, if the Church would allow it, they being related in the third degree. Earl William was present in March 1177 when the King arbitrated between the Kings of Castile and Navarre, and in 1178, he witnessed Henry's charter to Waltham Abbey. But during the King's struggles with his sons, when he imprisoned a number of magnates of whose loyalty he was doubtful, Earl William was among them. He died on his birthday in 1183; his wife Hawise survived him.


Hawise de Beaumont of Leicester was the daughter of Robert de Beaumont, 2nd Earl of Leicester (1104-1168) and Amice de Montfort ( - ). She and William FitzRobert, 2nd Earl of Gloucester had the following children:



Amice FITZROBERT (c. 1160-1220). Amice was born circa 1160. She married Richard de Clare, 4th Earl of Hertford circa 1172. She died in 1220.