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Robert (The Magnificent) OF NORMANDY, Duke of Normandy

Male 1000 - 1035  (35 years)

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  • Name Robert (The Magnificent) OF NORMANDY 
    Suffix Duke of Normandy 
    Born 22 Jun 1000  Normandy, France Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    History Robert the Magnificent (French: le Magnifique) (22 June 1000 – 1–3 July 1035), was the Duke of Normandy from 1027 until his death. Owing to uncertainty over the numbering of the Dukes of Normandy he is usually called Robert I, but sometimes Robert II with his ancestor Rollo as Robert I. He was the father of William the Conqueror who became, in 1066, King of England and founded the House of Normandy.
    He was the son of Richard II of Normandy and Judith, daughter of Conan I, Duke of Brittany. He was also grandson of Richard I of Normandy, great-grandson of William I of Normandy and great-great grandson of Rollo, the Viking who founded Normandy. Before he died, Richard II had decided his elder son Richard III would succeed him while his second son Robert would became Count of Hiémois. In August of 1026 their father, Richard II, died and Richard III became duke, but very soon afterwards Robert rebelled against his brother, was subsequently defeated and forced to swear fealty to his older brother Richard.
    Early Reign
    When Richard III died a year later there were suspicions that Robert had something to do with his brother's death and although nothing can be proved, Robert had the most to gain. But the civil war Robert I had brought against his brother Richard III was still causing instability in the duchy. Private wars between neighboring barons raged resulting in a new aristocracy which rose in Normandy during Robert’s reign. It was also during this time that many of the lesser nobility left Normandy to seek their fortunes in southern Italy and elsewhere. Soon after assuming the dukedom, however, possibly in revenge for supporting his brother against him, Robert I assembled an army against his uncle, Robert, Archbishop of Rouen and count of Évreux. Only a temporary truce allowed his uncle to leave Normandy in exile but with an edict of excommunication placed on all of Normandy, which was only lifted when Archbishop Robert was allowed to return and his countship was restored. Robert also attacked another powerful churchman, his cousin Hugo III. d'Ivry, Bishop of Bayeux, banishing him from Normandy for an extended period of time. Robert also seized a number of church properties belonging to the abbey of Fecamp.
    Outside of Normandy
    Despite his domestic troubles Robert decided to intervene in the civil war in Flanders between Baldwin V, Count of Flanders and his father Baldwin IV whom the younger Baldwin had driven out of Flanders. Baldwin V, supported by king Robert II of France, his father-in-law, was persuaded to make peace with his father in 1030 when Duke Robert promised the elder Baldwin his considerable military support. Robert gave shelter to Henry I of France against his mother, Queen Constance, who favored her younger son Robert to succeed to the French throne after his father Robert II. For his help, Henry I rewarded Robert with the French Vexin. In the early 1030s Alan III, Duke of Brittany began expanding his influence from the area of Rennes and appeared to have designs on the area surrounding Mont Saint-Michel. After sacking Dol and repelling Alan's attempts to raid Avranches, Robert mounted a major campaign against his cousin Alan III. However, Alan appealed to their uncle, Archbishop Robert of Rouen, who then brokered a peace between Duke Robert and his vassal Alan III. His cousins, the Athelings Edward and Alfred, sons of his aunt Emma of Normandy and Athelred, King of England had been living at the Norman Court and at one point Robert, on their behalf, attempted to mount an invasion of England but was prevented in doing so, it was said, by unfavorable winds. Gesta Normannorum Ducum stated that King Cnut sent envoys to Duke Robert offering to settle half the Kingdom of England on Edward and Alfred. After postponing the naval invasion he chose to also postpone the decision until after he returned from Jerusalem.
    The Church and His Pilgrimage
    Robert's attitude towards the Church had changed noticeably certainly since his reinstating his uncle's position as Archbishop of Rouen. In his attempt to reconcile his differences with the Church he restored property that he or his vassals had confiscated, and by 1034 had returned all the properties he had earlier taken from the abbey of Fecamp.
    After making his illegitimate son William his heir, he set out on pilgrimage to Jerusalem. According to the Gesta Normannorum Ducum he travelled by way of Constantinople, reached Jerusalem, fell seriously ill and died on the return journey at Nicaea on 2 July 1035. His son William, aged about eight, succeeded him.
    According to the historian William of Malmesbury, decades later his son William sent a mission to Constantinople and Nicaea, charging it with bringing his father's body back to be buried in Normandy. Permission was granted, but, having travelled as far as Apulia (Italy) on the return journey, the envoys learned that William himself had meanwhile died. They then decided to re-inter Robert's body in Italy.
    By his mistress, Herleva of Falaise, he was father of:
    • William I of England (c.1028–1087).
    By Herleva or possibly another concubine, he was the father of:
    • Adelaide of Normandy, who married firstly, Enguerrand II, Count of Ponthieu. She married secondly, Lambert II, Count of Lens, and thirdly, Odo II of Champagne. 
    Buried Abt Jul 1035  Nicaea, Turkey Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Later reinterred in Italy. (see research note)
    Died 3 Jul 1035  Nicaea, Turkey Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • It was an ancient Hellenic city just east of current Istanbul, and served as an interim capital city for the Byzantine Empire.
    Person ID I54292  Reid Family | David's side of the family
    Last Modified 7 May 2013 

    Father Richard (The Good) OF NORMANDY, II, Duke of Normandy,   b. Abt 978, Normandy, France Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 28 Aug 1026, Normandy, France Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 48 years) 
    Mother Judith OF BRITTANY (RENNES), Duchess of Normandy,   b. Abt 982,   d. 16 Jun 1017, France Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 35 years) 
    Married Abt 1000 
    Family ID F36596  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Herleva DE FALAISE,   b. Abt 1003, Falaise, Normandy, France Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Abt 1050, France Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 47 years) 
    +1. King William (The Conqueror, The Bastard) OF NORMANDY, I, 1st Norman King of England, Duke of Normandy,   b. Abt 1028, Falaise, Normandy, France Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 9 Sep 1087, Priory of St. Gervase at Rouen, France Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 59 years)
    Family ID F36595  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    of Normandy, Robert I (The Magnificent)-1000
    of Normandy, Robert I (The Magnificent)-1000