MALE "Sprota"

Wife or concubine of Guillaume (William) "Longsword" (of Normandy), 10th century.

Called a Breton concubine by Flodoard [s.a. 943: "Rex Ludowicus filio ipsius Willelmi, nato de concubina Britanna, terram Nortmannorum dedit; ..." (clearly referring to Richard), MGH SS 3, 389, van Houts (2000), 47], she was first given a name by William of Jumièges [GND iii, 2 (vol. 1, 78-9)], who, writing in the second half of the eleventh century, stated that she was bound to William by the Danish custom ("... Danico more iuncta, nomine Sprota ..."). Although the name "Sprota" gives us a convenient name to refer to the mother of Richard I, the unusual form of the name and the lateness of the source (more than 100 years later) make it uncertain that her name has been correctly reported, hence the above use of quotes.

Date of Birth: Unknown.
Place of Birth: Unknown.

Date of Death: Unknown.
Place of Death: Unknown.

Father: Unknown.
[As mentioned on the page of Rollo's wife Poppa, the statement of Dudo [iv, 76 (pp. 106-7)] that William's son Richard was a nephew of Bernard of Senlis was most likely due to Bernard's relationship to William's wife Liutgard, and it is therefore very unlikely that anything about the origin of "Sprota" can be deduced from this statement.]

Mother: Unknown.

Partner(s)/Spouse(s):

(1) Guillaume (William) "Longsword" of Normandy, d. 942.
[GND iii, 2 (vol. 1, pp. 78-9)]

(2) [Esperleng].
His name is given only in Robert of Torigny's additions to GND, which states that after the death of William, Sprota was forced to become the concubine of a very rich man called Esperleng, who held mills at Vandreuil [GND (Rob. Tor.) vi, 17(38) (vol. 2, p. 175)]. but his existence is guaranteed by other sources which state that count Rodulf was a half-brother of Richard by the same mother [GND iv, 20 (vol. 1, pp. 134-5); see also Dudo iv, 77 (p. 171), who calls him a brother of Richard].

Children:

by William Longsword:

MALE Richard I "the Fearless" of Normandy, d. 996.
[GND iii, 2 (vol. 1, pp. 78-9)]

by [Esperleng]:

MALE Rodulf, count of Ivry.
[See comments above under Sprota's second union.]



Bibliography

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.

Flodoard's Annals = See MGH SS 3, 363-408 (Latin), and van Houts (2000), 42-51 (English translation of excerpts relating to the Normans).

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.

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

Keats-Rohan (1997) = K. S. B. Keats-Rohan, "Poppa of Bayeux and her Family", The American Genealogist 72 (1997), 187-204.

MGH SS = Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores series.

PL = P. Migne, Patrologiae Cursus Completus, series Latina, 221 vols. (Paris, 1844-1859).

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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