Sunday, April 26, 2009

Richard I, the Duke of Normandy

Richard I of Normandy was born 933 in Fecamp. He was the son of William Longsword and Sprota De Senlis. He acceded to the Dukedom of Normandy in 942.

He married Emma of Paris in 956. She was the sister of of Hugh Capet. The marriage is recorded in 956 Liber Modernorum Regum Francorum. Guillaume de Jumièges says that the marriage was arranged at the same time that Richard I was appointed guardian to her brother Hugh Capet and that it occured after her father's death.

She died after 966 with no issue. Robert of Torigny recorded that not long after her death, Richar went out hunting and stopped at the house of the local forester. He became enamored of the forester's wife, Seinfreda, but she was a virtuous woman and suggested he court her sister Gunnor, who was unmarried.

When the married Gunnor, her family rose in prominence. Her brother Herfast de Crepon was involved in a controversial trial of the Cathars. She was of Danish descent. Guillaume de Jumièges records this second marriage soon after the death of his first wife, but Robert de Torigny says it took place to legitimize their children, which would indicate, either that she was his mistress while his first wife was living, or that it took place at a later date. Gunnor's death is recorded by Robert of Torigny in 1030.

He had children:
1. Mauger of Corbeil, Earl of Corbeil died after 1033
2. Robert of Evereaux, Count of Evereaux, Bishop of Rouen died 1037
3. Matilda Maud of Normandy, wife of Odo II of Blois, Count of Blois, Champagne and Chartres.
4. Emma of Normandy b. about 986 died 1052 married Æthelred the Unready of England and then Cnut the Great of Denmark
5. Richard II, the Good of Normandy
6. Hedwig or Hawise, b. about 978 died 2-21-1034 married Geoffrey I, Duke of Brittany.
7. Beatrix of Normandy, Abbess of Montvilliers d.1034 m. Ebles of Turenne (d.1030 (divorced)
8. Godfey or Geoffey of Brionne and Eu born about 970
9. Hiesmes or William Count of Eu
10. Robert Danus died 985-989
11. Willaim d'Eu Count of Eu b. about 985
12. Papia married Gilbert de St. Valery
13. Fressenda b. about 995 died about 1057, married Tancred of Hauteville
14. Muriella married Tancred of Hauteville.

Richard was called "the Fearless" or in French Sans Peur. He was bilingual, being educated at Bayeux, and preferred his Danish subjects to his French subject.

During his reign, Normandy became completely Gallicized and Christianized. He introduced the feudal system and Normandy became one of the most thoroughly feudalized states on the continent. He carried out a major reorganization of the Norman military system, based on heavy cavalry.

His mother was a Breton concubine, captured in war and bound by a Danish marriage to his father. She married Esperlung, a wealthy miller after William Longsword's death.

Upon his father's death, Louis IV of France seized Normandy. He was still a boy and unable to do anything about it. He was imprisoned at Laon. He escaped and made alliances with the Norman and Viking leaders. With their help, he drove Louis out of Rouen and took back Normandy by 947.

Richard I, Duke of Normandy died in Fecamp, 11-20-996 of natural causes, and was buried at Fecamp.

Guillaume de Jumièges names Richard as son of Guillaume and Sprota, recording that news of his birth was brought to his father when he was returning from his victory against the rebels led by "Riulf"

Flodoard records "filio ipsius Willelmi, nato de concubina Brittana" being granted the land of the Normans by King Louis after his father's death

Dudo of Saint-Quentin described him as a boy at the time his father died. Oderic Vitalis says that he was ten years old. Guillaume de Jumièges says that he succeeded his father under the guardianship of Bernard le Danois.

He used the title Comte de Rouen/comes Rothomagensium. After 966 he used the title Marquis des Normands/marchio Normannorum.

Not long after he succeeded he suppressed a rebellion led by Rodulf "Torta", who fled to Paris after being banished. Otto I, King of Germany attempted to capture Rouen in retaliation for his having escaped from prison.

He also defeated French forces after King Lothaire of France captured Evreux.

He was appointed the guardian to the son of Hughes "le Grand". This son later became Hugh "Capet", King of France in 956.

He invited William of Volpiano, an Italian abbot of Saint-Benigne at Dijon, to reform the Norman abbeys. Monks were installed at Mont Saint-Michel and Fecamp. Richard I also founded Louviers.

He agreed to a non agression pact with Aethelred II, King of England 3-1-991. It was designed to prevent either side from sheltering Viking marauders.

McKitterick, Rosamund. The Frankish Kingdoms under the Carolingians 751-987, 1993.
Searle, Eleanor. Predatory Kinship and the Creation of Norman Power, 840-1066, 1998.

The Henry Project,,_Duke_of_Normandy
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