WILLIAM PEVERAL - Norman form of Peuerellus.

Bolsover Castle
Bolsover Castle, Derbyshire
Photo © David Smith, Oct 2005

William, the Conqueror of England was, or supposed himself to be, the father of a certain William Peveril, who attended him to the battle of Hastings, and there distinguished himself. The liberal-minded monarch, who assumed in his charters the veritable title of 'Gulielmus Bastardus,' was not likely to let his son's illegitimacy be any bar to the course of his royal favour, when the laws of England were issued from the mouth of the Norman victor, and the lands of the Saxons were at his unlimited disposal. William Peveril obtained a liberal grant of property and lordships in Derbyshire, and became the erector of that Gothic fortress, which, hanging over the mouth of the Devil's Cavern, so well known to tourists, gives the name of Castleton to the adjacent village.

In 1068 we find William Peverel in charge of the newly-built Castle of Nottingham, and at the time of the compilation of Domesday the lord of one hundred and sixty-two manors in England, and possessing in Nottingham alone forty-eight merchants' or traders' houses, thirteen knights' houses, and eight bondsmen's cottages, besides ten acres of land granted to him by the King to make an orchard, and the churches of St. Mary, St. Peter, and St. Nicholas. His services must have been most important and his reputation for valour and ability well established, to have merited such magnificent rewards. To have obtained for him from the wary and suspicious Conqueror so important a trust as the custody of Nottingham Castle. William Peverel was no doubt of full age at the time of the Conquest, and might have been, twenty-four or five when appointed to the government of Nottingham, and near upon seventy at the time of his death.

Some uncertainty exists as to the identity of William peveral. One story is that the daughter of Ingelric, an AngloSaxon nobleman, and a benefactor if not the founder of the collegiate church of St. Martin-le-Grand, London, having been the mistress of Duke William and the mother by him of a son named after him, married subsequently Ranulph Peverel, who accompanied the Conqueror to England, and that not only the children born of that marriage, but also the Duke's son William, were thenceforth known by the name of Peverel. The other version is, that the lady, called Ingelrica or Maud, was the wife of Ranulph Peverel before she became the mistress of the Duke, whose son by her took the name of her husband's family.

The wife of William Peverel of Nottingham was Adelina de Lancaster, the daughter of Roger de Poitou, son of Roger de Montgomeri, Earl of Shrewsbury, who was sometimes called Earl of Lancaster, in consequence of the large possessions in that county which he obtained with his wife. This lady appears to have borne to her husband two sons, each named William, the elder dying in his father's lifetime, and the other William succeeding him. She had also by him two daughters Matilda, and Adeliza, wife of Richard de Redvers. Adelina was living as late as 1140, when as "Adelina, mother of William Peverel of Nottingham," she was pardoned by the King eighteen shillings due for Danegeld in that year.

A Ranulph Peverel also appears in Domesday as the lord of sixty-four manors. The Ranulph Peverel of Domesday may have been William's half-brother. He is also reported to have had two other sons, Payne Peverel of Brune, and William Peverel of Dover. --(Planche, Falaise Roll)

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