MALE Richard I "Sans Peur" ("the Fearless")

Leader of the Normans of Rouen [anachronistically, "duke of Normandy"], 942-996.

A minor at the assassination of his father William in 942, it was largely during Richard's long period of rule that what eventually became the duchy of Normandy evolved from what was essentially a pirate principality into a feudal state. Richard is described by such a wide range of words (comes, marchio, consul, princeps, dux) by various sources (sometimes of dubious authority) that it would be difficult to argue that there is a specific "title" by which he should be called [see Helmerichs 1997]. Richard was succeeded by his son Richard II in 996.

Date of Birth: uncertain, but still a boy at the death of his father in 942.
Place of Birth: Unknown.

Date of Death: 21 November 996.
[Dudo iv, 57 (p. 173: year only); GND iv, 20 (vol. 1, pp. 134-5: year only); Ex Obituario Gemmeticensi, RHF 23, 422 (21 Nov.); Notæ Monasterii Montis Sancti Micaelis, RHF 23, 570 (21 Nov.); see also Douglas (1950)]
Place of Death: Fécamp.
[Dudo iv, 57 (pp. 171-3); GND iv, 20 (vol. 1, pp. 134-5)]

Father: Guillaume (William) I, d. 17 December 942, princeps Nortmannorum.
[Flodoard's Annals, s.a. 960, MGH SS 3: 405, van Houts (2000), 51]

Mother: Sprota.
[GND iii, 2 (vol. 1, pp. 78-9)]


m. (1) 960 [Flodoard's Annals, s.a. 960 (MGH SS 3, 405)], Emma of France, still alive 966 [GND 1: 129, n. 6, citing Fauroux (1961), #3], d.s.p. [Dudo iv, 85 (p. 163); GND iv, 18 (vol. 1, pp. 128-9)], daughter of Hughes le Grand, duke of France. [Flodoard's Annals, s.a. 960 (MGH SS 3: 405); GND iv, 10, 18 (vol. 1, pp. 116-7, 128-9)]

m. (2) [GND iv, 18 (vol. 1, pp. 128-9): not long after Emma's death], Gunnor [Dudo iv, 125 (p. 163)], d. 4 or 8 January 1031 [Chron. Rothomag. RHF 10: 324 (year only); Ex Obituario Gemmeticensi, RHF 23, 417 (4 Jan.); Notæ Monasterii Montis Sancti Micaelis, RHF 23, 576 (8 Jan.)]. Robert de Torigny, in his additions to GND, stated that she was first Richard's mistress, and that the marriage occurred after the birth of the children. [GND (Rob. Tor.) viii, 36 (vol. 2, pp. 266-9)]


by Gunnor:
Dudo iv, 125 (p. 164) indicates that there were five sons and three daughters of this union, without listing them. Of the children, Guillaume de Jumièges names Richard, Robert, and Mauger, and all three of the daughters, including their marriages [GND iv, 18 (vol. 1, pp. 128-131)].

MALE Richard II, d. 23 August 1026, duke of Normandy.

MALE Robert, d. 1037, archbishop of Rouen and count of Évreux.

MALE Mauger, died after 1033, count of Corbeil.

MALE Robertus Danus, d. bef. 985×989.
[See the note by Elisabeth van Houts in GND 1: 130 (she cites Fauroux (1961), 22 and Obit. Sens 2: 193)]

MALE son
One additional son of Richard and Gunnor is needed to make the total come to five.

FEMALE Emma of Normandy, d. 1052;
m. (1)
Æthelred II "the Unready", d. 23 April 1016, king of England;
m. (2) Knud/Canute, d. 1035, king of England, Denmark and Norway.

FEMALE Hawise, d. 1034, m. Geoffrey I, duke of Bretagne (Brittany).

FEMALE Mathilde, d. bef. 1005, m. Eudes II, count of Blois.

by unknown mistress(es):
Dudo [iv, 125 (p. 163)] states that Richard had two sons (named as Geoffrey and Guillaume) and two daughters (unnamed) by other mistresses. The fact that the number of daughters matches the additional daughters who can be established from other sources is probably a coincidence.

MALE Godefroy/Geoffrey, count of Eu and Brionne.

MALE Guillaume, count of Eu, prob. d. bef. 1040 [see Douglas (1946), 137-8].

MALE Robert, count of Avranches.
That count Robert was an illegitimate son of Richard was proposed by Douglas (1946). The arguments given in Potts (1992) seem to place this attribution beyond any reasonable doubt. The key pieces of evidence given by Potts are the statement of Vita Gauzlini that Robert's son Richard was a nephew of Richard II, and a charter of William the Conqueror referring to Robert as brother of Richard II.

FEMALE Béatrix, abbess of Montvilliers in 1035, earlier m. Ebles, viscount of Turenne
[From The Miracles of Sainte-Foy, with translated excerpts in van Houts (2000), 215-7]

FEMALE(probable) daughter, m. Gulbert, advocate of St. Valéry-en-Caux.
The main primary source is OV vi, 8 [vol. 3, pp. 252-3]: "Gulbertus cognomento Aduocatus de Sancto Gualerico filiam Ricardi ducis uxorem duxit ex qua Bernardum patrem Gualteri de Sancto Gualerico et Ricardum de Hugeuilla genuit. Ricardus autem duci Normanniæ auunculo uidelicet suo diu militauit, cuius dono nobilem Adam Herluini senis de Hugleuilla relictam cum toto patrimonio eius accepit." The "duke Richard" whose daughter married Gulbert has been variously identified, e.g., as Richard I [e.g., Searle (1988), 100, 289], Richard II [e.g., Stasser (1990), 56], and even Richard III [e.g., Douglas (1964), 65]. Although Searle did not explicitly state her reason for making Richard I the father of Gulbert's wife, it seems clear that it was based on chronological considerations, for she cites a charter of 1025 [Faroux no. 34] which was attested by Richard son of Gulbert, which seems to rule out that Richard's mother could be a daughter of any Norman duke later than Richard I. The chronology of other members of the family also fits well with Richard I as Gulbert's father-in-law. The matter has been confused somewhat by two other references, one in the ninth book of Orderic's Ecclesiastical History, in a list of those joining Robert Curthose on Crusade in 1096 ["... Gualterius comes de Sancto Gualerico Ricardi iunioris ducis Normannorum ex filia nomine Papia nepos, ...", OV, 5: 34-5], and the other in Robert de Torigny's Chronicle under the year 1026 ["Mortuo Ricardo secundo duce Normannorum, filio primi Ricardi, successit ei filius eius Ricardus tercius.  Hic genuit Nicolaum postea abbatem Sancti Audoeni et duas filias, Papiam videlicet uxorem Walteri de Sancto Walerico, et Aeliz, uxorem Ranulfi vicecomitis de Baiocis.", Chr. Rob. Tor., MGH SS 6: 478]. It seems difficult to reconcile all three accounts without having marriages between the families in three succesive generations, which would give highly unlikely first-cousin marriages in two successive generations. It seems likely that at least one of the three accounts is confused (most likely Orderic's second account). Since the accounts could well be describing more than one marriage between the two families, the name of Gulbert's wife is unclear. The above contradictions (which make it possible that it is Orderic's first account that is confused), and the fact that there is no known contemporary proof for the relationship, is why the link is listed as "probable" above. Given the lack of a detailed discussion in the secondary sources mentioning this link, a more detailed study would be desirable. (In September 2002, there was a thread entitled "Reginald de St. Valery and His Descendants" in the soc.genealogy.medieval/GEN-MEDIEVAL internet newsgroup/mailing list, in which some of the postings discussed this matter, including one by Todd Farmerie that discussed the above chronological considerations.)

See Commentary for supposed additional children.


Falsely attributed children:

FEMALE Muriella, m. Tancred de Hauteville.

MALE Fredesende, m. Tancred de Hauteville.

These two women are sometimes also given as children of Richard II. ES 2, 79 places them as children of Richard I. See the page of Richard II for a discussion of why they should not be placed as daughters of either one of these Norman leaders.


Chr. Rob. Tor. = L. C. Bethemann, ed., Roberti de Monte Chronica (a continuation by Robert de Torigny of the chronicle of Sigebert de Gembloux), MGH SS 6, 476-535.

Douglas (1946) = David Douglas, "The Earliest Norman Counts", EHR 61 (1946), 129-156.

Douglas (1950) = David Douglas, "Some Problems of Early Norman Chronology", EHR 65 (1950), 289-303.

Douglas (1964) = David C. Douglas, William the Conqueror (University of California Press, Berkeley & Los Angeles, 1964).

Dudo = Eric Christiansen, ed. & trans., Dudo of St. Quentin, History of the Normans (The Boydell Press, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1998). Citation is by book and chapter of Dudo's work, with the page number in parentheses.

ES = Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln (neue Folge), (Marburg, 1980-present).

Fauroux (1961) = Marie Fauroux, Recueil des actes des ducs de Normandie de 911 à 1066 (Mémoires de la Société des Antiquaires de Normandie 36, Caen, 1961).

Flodoard' Annals = Flodoard, Annales, MGH SS 3: 363-408.

GND = Guillaume de Jumièges, Gesta Normannorum Ducum, as edited in Elisabeth van Houts, ed. & trans., The Gesta Normannorum Ducum of William of Jumièges, Orderic Vitalis and Robert of Torigni, 2 vols., (Oxford, 1992). Citation is by book and chapter of Guillaume's work, with the volume and page number of the edition by van Houts in parentheses. Unless otherwise stated, references are to Guillaume's work, and not to later additions by such authors as Orderic Vitalis and Robert de Torigny.

GND (Rob. Tor.) = Additions to GND by Robert de Torigny.

Helmerichs (1997) = Robert Helmerichs, "Princeps, Comes, Dux Normannorum: Early Rollonid Designators and their Significance", Haskins Society Journal 9 (1997), 57-77.

MGH SS = Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores series.

Obit. Sens = Obituaires de la Province de Sens (2 vols. in 3, Paris, 1902-6).

OV = Marjorie Chibnall, ed. & trans., The Ecclesiastical History of Orderic Vitalis, 6 vols. (Oxford, 1969-80).

Potts (1992) = Cassandra Potts, "The Earliest Norman Counts Revisited: The Lords of Mortain", The Haskins Society Journal 4 (1992), 23-35.

RHF = Recueil des historiens des Gaules et de la France.

Searle (1988) = Eleanor Searle, Predatory Kinship and the Creation of Norman Power, 840-1066 (Berkeley, Los Angeles, London, 1988).

Stasser (1990) = Thierry Stasser, "'Mathilde, Fille du Comte Richard': Essai d'identification", Annales de Normandie 40 (1990), 49-64.

van Houts (2000) = Elisabeth van Houts, ed. & trans., The Normans in Europe (Manchester & New York, 2000) [gives English translations of many of the primary sources relevant to early Norman history]

Compiled by Stewart Baldwin

First uploaded 8 February 2004

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