William Fitz Robert, 2nd Earl of Gloucester

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William FitzRobert
William2ndEarl OfGloucester PresentsGreatCharter ToTewkesburyAbbey.JPG
William Earl of Gloucester gives his great charter to Tewkesbury Abbey. Tewkesbury Abbey Founders Book, Bodleian Library, Oxford, made in Tewkesbury c.1500-1525. His tabard displays his attributed arms quarterly 1st & 4th Gules three clarions or; 2nd & 3rd Azure, a lion rampant guardant or an inescutcheon Or, three chevrons gules. These are forms of the attributed arms of Robert FitzHamon and actual arms of de Clare, Earls of Gloucester
Earl of Gloucester
Reign31 October 1147 – 23 November 1183
Predecessor Sir Robert de Caen
Successor John de Mortain
Born(1116-11-23)23 November 1116
Died23 November 1183(1183-11-23) (aged 67)
Spouse(s)Hawise de Beaumont
Robert FitzWilliam
Mabel FitzWilliam
Amice FitzWilliam
Isabel, Countess of Gloucester
Father Sir Robert de Caen, 1st Earl of Gloucester
Mother Mabel FitzHamon of Gloucester

William Fitz Robert, 2nd Earl of Gloucester (23 November 1116 23 November 1183) was the son and heir of Sir Robert de Caen, 1st Earl of Gloucester, and Mabel FitzRobert of Gloucester, daughter of Robert Fitzhamon and nephew of Empress Matilda.

Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester 12th-century illegitimate son of King Henry I of England

Robert FitzRoy, 1st Earl of Gloucester was an illegitimate son of King Henry I of England. He was the half-brother of the Empress Matilda, and her chief military supporter during the civil war known as The Anarchy, in which she vied with Stephen of Blois for the throne of England.

Robert Fitzhamon Norman nobleman

Robert Fitzhamon, or Robert FitzHamon, Seigneur de Creully in the Calvados region and Torigny in the Manche region of Normandy, was the first Norman feudal baron of Gloucester and the Norman conqueror of Glamorgan, southern Wales. He became Lord of Glamorgan in 1075.

Empress Matilda 12th-century Anglo-Norman royal daughter and wife of Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor

Empress Matilda, also known as the Empress Maude, was one of the claimants to the English throne during the civil war known as the Anarchy. The daughter of King Henry I of England, she moved to Germany as a child when she married the future Holy Roman Emperor Henry V. She travelled with her husband into Italy in 1116, was controversially crowned in St. Peter's Basilica, and acted as the imperial regent in Italy. Matilda and Henry V had no children, and when he died in 1125, the imperial crown was claimed by Lothair II.



William FitzRobert was the son of Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester, an illegitimate son of King Henry I of England, during whose reign William was born. Thus William was a nephew of the Empress Maud and a cousin of King Stephen, the principal combatants of the English Anarchy period. It also meant that William is the great-grandson of the famed William the Conqueror.

Henry I of England 12th-century King of England and Duke of Normandy

Henry I, also known as Henry Beauclerc, was King of England from 1100 to his death in 1135. He was the fourth son of William the Conqueror and was educated in Latin and the liberal arts. On William's death in 1087, Henry's elder brothers Robert Curthose and William Rufus inherited Normandy and England, respectively, but Henry was left landless. He purchased the County of Cotentin in western Normandy from Robert, but his brothers deposed him in 1091. He gradually rebuilt his power base in the Cotentin and allied himself with William against Robert.

The Anarchy Civil war in England between 1135 and 1154

The Anarchy was a civil war in England and Normandy between 1135 and 1153, which resulted in a widespread breakdown in law and order. The conflict was a succession crisis precipitated by the accidental death by drowning of William Adelin, the only legitimate son of Henry I, in the sinking of the White Ship in 1120. Henry's attempts to install his daughter, the Empress Matilda, as his successor were unsuccessful and on Henry's death in 1135, his nephew Stephen of Blois seized the throne with the help of Stephen's brother, Henry of Blois, the Bishop of Winchester. Stephen's early reign was marked by fierce fighting with English barons, rebellious Welsh leaders and Scottish invaders. Following a major rebellion in the south-west of England, Matilda invaded in 1139 with the help of her half-brother Robert of Gloucester.

William I, usually known as William the Conqueror and sometimes William the Bastard, was the first Norman King of England, reigning from 1066 until his death in 1087. He was a descendant of Rollo and was Duke of Normandy from 1035 onward. His hold was secure on Normandy by 1060, following a long struggle to establish his throne, and he launched the Norman conquest of England six years later. The rest of his life was marked by struggles to consolidate his hold over England and his continental lands and by difficulties with his eldest son.

Early career

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.

Winchester city in Hampshire, England

Winchester is a city and the county town of Hampshire, England. The city lies at the heart of the wider City of Winchester, a local government district, at the western end of the South Downs National Park, on the River Itchen. It is 60 miles (97 km) south-west of London and 14 miles (23 km) from Southampton, the closest other city. At the 2011 Census, Winchester had a population of 45,184. The wider City of Winchester district, which includes towns such as Alresford and Bishop's Waltham, has a population of 116,800.

Normandy Administrative region of France

Normandy is the northwesternmost of the 18 regions of France, roughly referring to the historical Duchy of Normandy.

Wareham, Dorset town in Dorset

Wareham is a historic market town and, under the name Wareham Town, a civil parish, in the English county of Dorset. The town is situated on the River Frome eight miles (13 km) southwest of Poole.

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.

Henry II of England 12th-century King of England, Duke of Aquitaine, and ruler of other European lands

Henry II, also known as Henry Curtmantle, Henry FitzEmpress or Henry Plantagenet, ruled as King of England, Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, Count of Anjou, Maine, and Nantes; at various times, he also partially controlled Scotland, Wales and the Duchy of Brittany. Before he was 40 he controlled England, large parts of Wales, the eastern half of Ireland and the western half of France—an area that would later come to be called the Angevin Empire.

FitzRobert granted Neath, a town in Glamorgan, a charter. He was Lord of the manor of Glamorgan, as well as Caerleon, residing chiefly at Cardiff Castle. It was there that in 1158 he and his wife and son were captured by the Welsh Lord of Senghenydd, Ifor Bach ("Ivor the Little") and carried away into the woods, where they were held as prisoners until the Earl redressed Ivor's grievances.

Neath town and community in county borough of Neath Port Talbot, Wales

Neath is a town and community situated in the principal area of Neath Port Talbot, Wales with a population of 19,258 in 2011. The wider urban area, which includes neighbouring settlements, had a population of 50,658 in 2011. Historically in Glamorgan, the town is located on the river of the same name, 7 miles (11 km) east northeast of Swansea.

Glamorgan one of the thirteen historic counties and a former administrative county of Wales

Glamorgan, or sometimes Glamorganshire, is one of the thirteen historic counties of Wales and a former administrative county of Wales. It was originally an early medieval petty kingdom of varying boundaries known as Glywysing until taken over by the Normans as a lordship. Glamorgan is latterly represented by the three preserved counties of Mid Glamorgan, South Glamorgan and West Glamorgan. The name also survives in that of Vale of Glamorgan, a county borough.

Caerleon village and community in Wales

Caerleon is a suburban town and community, situated on the River Usk in the northern outskirts of the city of Newport, Wales. Caerleon is a site of archaeological importance, being the location of a notable Roman legionary fortress, Isca Augusta, and an Iron Age hillfort. The Wales National Roman Legion Museum and Roman Baths Museum are in Caerleon close to the remains of Isca Augusta. The town also has strong historical and literary associations, as Geoffrey of Monmouth elevated the significance of Caerleon as a major centre of British history in his Historia Regum Britanniæ, and Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote Idylls of the King while staying there.

Relationship with King Henry II

In 1173 the earl 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.

Bristol Castle

Bristol Castle was a Norman castle built for the defence of Bristol. Remains can be seen today in Castle Park near the Broadmead Shopping Centre, including the sally port.

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.

Family and children

He was married to Hawise de Beaumont of Leicester, daughter of Robert de Beaumont, 2nd Earl of Leicester and Amica de Gael and had children:

  1. Robert fitz William (1151, Cardiff, Glamorganshire 1166, Cardiff, Glamorganshire).
  2. Mabel fitz William, married Amaury V de Montfort, her son Amaury briefly being Earl of Gloucester
  3. Amice fitz William, d. 1220. Married Richard de Clare, 3rd Earl of Hertford, their descendants eventually inherited the Earldom of Gloucester.
  4. Isabel, Countess of Gloucester. She was married three times:
    1. John of England
    2. Geoffrey FitzGeoffrey de Mandeville, 2nd Earl of Essex, Earl of Gloucester
    3. Hubert de Burgh, 1st Earl of Kent

The earl died in 1183; his wife Hawise survived him. Since their only son, Robert, predeceased his father, their daughters became co-heirs to the feudal barony of Gloucester.


Preceded by
Earl of Gloucester
Succeeded by

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