"d'Oillie" (Rom. de Rou, l. 13,659) to be found in the arrondissement of Falaise, Robert d'Oiley fought at Senlac and for his services was rewarded with the baronies of Oxford and St.Waleries in England. He is simply mentioned as "cil d'Oillie " by Wace to whom no particular feat of arms is accorded.

Robert d'Oiley built the Castle of Oxford, and the collegiate church of St. John within the walls. He was also one of the witnesses to the foundation charter of the Abbey of Selby by King William, and at the time of the general survey possessed four lordships in Berkshire, fourteen in Herefordshire, seven in Buckinghamshire, three in Gloucestershire, and three in Northamptonshire, one in Bedfordshire, one in Warwickshire, and twenty-eight in Oxfordshire, in all sixty-one manors; besides forty-two habitable houses in Oxford, and eight which then lay waste, with thirty acres of meadow land adjoining the wall, and a mill valued at ten shillings per annum of the money of that time. Being likewise Constable of Oxford, he had the full sway of the whole county, and was so powerful a baron that no one dare oppose him.

The exemplary wife of Robert d'Oiley was the daughter and apparently heir of Wygod of Wallingford, "a person of great note in that age," by whom he had an only daughter named Maud, the wife first of Milo Crispin, and secondly of Brien Fitz Count, to whom she brought the whole barony of Wallingford but having no issue, both she and Brien betook themselves to a religious life, whereupon King Henry I. seized Wallingford and appropriated it to his own uses.

Robert d'Oiley leaving no male issue was succeeded by his brother Nigel, whose son and successor, Robert, married the beautiful Edith Forne, mistress of Henry I., and by that king mother of Robert, Earl of Gloucester. There is a little bit of mediaeval gossip about this lady, which professes to account for the foundation of the Abbey of Oseney, near Oxford. The fair but frail Edith, having become the lawful wife of the said Robert d'Oiley, was in the frequent habit of strolling down from the castle to the banks of the Isis. The pleasure she derived from this innocent and healthful recreation was, however, considerably interfered with by the conduct of a colony of "chatterpies," who had established themselves in a clump of trees by the side of the river, and invariably on her appearance commenced a most impertinent clamour, which it was impossible to mistake for flattery. Humiliated as well as irritated by this almost daily insult, she sent for a canon of St. Fridiswides in Oxford, named Randolph, a person of virtuous life, and her own confessor, and requested his advice on the matter. Of course he suggested that the only mode of escaping the malicious mockery of the magpies was to clear away the trees and build some religious house upon the spot, which she immediately entreated her husband to do, who kindly consented, and thereupon erected and founded the Abbey of Oseney for black canons of the order of St. Augustin, and, with the consent of his two sons, Henry and Gilbert, richly endowed it with lands and other property, constituting Randolph (no doubt to his great surprise) the first prior.

Margery, the elder of Robert's two granddaughters, co-heirs of their brother Henry, the last male of the d'Oileys, married Henry de Beaumont, Earl of Warwick, and has generally been accredited as the mother of his heir, Thomas Earl of Warwick, and consequently ancestress of the Marshals and De Plessites.


Return to Main Index