William le Gros, 1st Earl of Albemarle

William le Gros (died 20 August 1179) was the Count of Aumale (Earl of Albemarle), Earl of York, and Lord of Holderness. He was the eldest son of Stephen, Count of Aumale, and his spouse, Hawise, daughter of Ralph de Mortimer of Wigmore.

He founded the town of Chipping Sodbury, South Gloucester.

William witnessed two charters of King Stephen in 1136, in which he is recorded as Willelmus de Albamarla, but is not placed among the earls.

He distinguished himself at the Battle of the Standard in 1138, and was made Earl of Yorkshire (apart from Richmondshire) as his reward. He was with Stephen in his defeat at Lincoln on 2 February 1141. He founded the Abbey of Meaux in 1150.

His Scarborough Castle was forfeited to King Henry II as a result of unauthorised construction during the Anarchy.

William married Cicely, Lady of Skipton, the daughter and co-heir of William Fitz-Duncan by his spouse Alice, Lady of Skipton, daughter of William Meschin, Lord of Copeland.

He was intombed within the Abbey of Thornton, Lincolnshire, which he had founded in 1139.

Dying without male issue, the Earl of York and Albemarle left a daughter and heiress, Hawise (died 11 March 1214), who succeeded her father in the County of Aumale and Lordship of Holderness. Hawise married thrice, firstly, on 14 January 1180, William de Mandeville, 3rd Earl of Essex, who thereby became Count of Aumale. He died without issue 14 January 1189, and she married secondly after 3 July 1190, the crusader William de Forz (d. 1195), who thereby became Count of Aumale, by whom she had her heir and successor.


  • Cokayne, G. E., The Complete Peerage, 1904, volume 1, p. 353.