Raoul de Toeni - Tosni, Tosny

Belvoir Castle
Belvoir Castle, Lincolnshire

Photo © Alan Saunders, April 2006

The family of de Toeni held the honourable office of gonfannonier or standard bearer of Normandy. It was Duke William’s intention that Raoul de Toeni should be the one to carry the consecrated gonfannon that the pope had sent him on the day of the battle. William taking the gonfannon and unfurling it called to Raoul and said,

"Bear my gonfanon, for I would not but do you right. By right and by ancestry your family are gonfanoniers of Normandy, and very good knights have they all been." "Many thanks to you," answered Raoul, "for the recognition of our right, but by my faith the gonfanon shall not be borne by me this day. To-day I claim quittance of that service, for I would serve you in another guise. I will go with you into the battle and fight the English as long as I have life to do so, and be assured that my hand will be worth more than those of twenty such men!"

For his valour in the great battle he was rewarded with 37 lordships, 19 of which were in Norfolk. Flamstead in Hertfordshire was his principal residence. In consequence of the insult of his brothers, William and Henry, who threw water on King William from a gallery in a house where they were playing at dice, Raoul was banished, and his domains seized by the King, but through the intercession of friends obtained his pardon and the restoration of his estates. In 1077 he married Isabel, daughter of Simon de Montfort, having two sons Roger and Ralph. --

Belvoir Castle

Robert de Tosny, Founder of Belvoir Castle (pronounced Beaver) is a stately home in Leicestershire, overlooking the Vale of Belvoir. A Norman castle originally stood on the high ground in this spot. During the English Civil War, it was one of the more notable strongholds of the king's supporters. It eventually passed into the hands of the Dukes of Rutland and following a fire, was rebuilt, its present façade dating from the 19th century. The architect James Wyatt was chiefly responsible for this restructuring, and the result is a building which bears a superficial resemblance to a medieval castle, its central tower reminiscent of Windsor Castle. The castle was used as a filming location for The Da Vinci Code - it represented Castel Gandolfo (the Pope's summer residence)

Roger I de Toeni b abt 992                brother           Robert de Toeni b abt 996
              |                                                                                 |
Sir Ralph III de Toeni b abt 1034                             Sir Robert de Toeni, Lord of Belvoir, b abt 1042
Roger and Ralph

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