ROBERT DE ESTOUTEVILLE

The "sire d'Estoteville" of Wace (l. 13561) was probably Robert from Estouteville-en-Caux, Normandy, of which country this family was one of the great houses. They held large possessions in many parts of England, especially in Yorkshire and the north. Ten or eleven years previous to the conquest, Robert d'Estouteville I (Front-de-Beouf) was governor of the castle of Ambrieres and defended it against Geoffry Martel, count of Anjou,until relieved by the approach of duke William. His name appears as a witness to a confirmation of a charter in favour of St-Evroult between 1066 and 1089. He was succeeded by his son Robert d'Estouteville II, who participated in the battle of Tinchebrai, in 1106, fought between king Henry I and his brother duke Robert, where brothers and kinsmen were aligned against each other in the opposing armies. In this engagement, Robert d'Estouteville II was with William, earl of Mortain, Robert de Belesme, William Crispin and William de Ferrers, one of the commanders of duke Robert's army. King Henry's army was superior in numbers, consequently they were defeated and all of them, including duke Robert, captured, excepting Robert de Belesme, who was in command of the rear of the army, for when he saw the outcome of the battle in doubt he took flight and escaped, treacherously abandoning his partisans to their fate. Orderic Vital informs us that "the king sent over to England all his enemies taken in the war, throwing into dungeons and condemning to perpetual punishment duke Robert, his brother," William, earl of Mortain, his nephew, Robert d'Estouteville, "and several others." "He was inflexible in his resolution to treat them all with severity and consequently withstood all the influence of entreaties, promises, and gifts from many quarters employed to mollify his resentment." Some of them, including his nephew, earl William, are reported to have had their "eyes torn out" and to have been "exposed to horrible and long-continued cruelties."

--(Falaise Roll)


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