"Guillaume d'Aubellamare, Seigneur de Fougeres," is on Tailleur's list of those who came over with the Conqueror; and "at the battle of Hastings, "Cil de Felgieres," as Wace calls him, "also won great renown with many very brave men he brought with him from Brittany." This is believed to have been Raoul or Ralph, the third but only surviving son of Maine II., who, as well as William, is entered in Domesday; but their exact relationship has not been ascertained. They came of a very ancient Breton stock, for the ancestry of the Barons of Fougeres or Filgeres reaches back to the year 900: and bore branches of fern (fougere) in allusion to their name. These armes parlantes, "may be seen on the seal of William de Fougeres, engraved in Lobineau's Histoire de Bretagne, and are also those of the town of Fougeres to the present day."—J. R. Planche.

William was only a sub-tenant in Buckinghamshire; but Ralph held by barony, and possessed land in six different counties. He was a great benefactor of the Church. In 1112 he founded the Abbey of Savigny [1] in Normandy; "he confirmed the foundation of the Priory of the Holy Trinity by his mother Adelaide, and gave it, as well as the church of St. Sulpice at Fougeres, to the Abbey of Marmoutier. Subsequently he travelled to Rome, and passing by Marmoutier, confirmed all his previous gifts to it. He died in r 124, leaving by his wife Avoyse or Avicia, daughter of Richard de Bienfaite, seven children—Meen, Henri, Gauthier, Robert, Guillaume, Avelon, and Beatrice."—Ibid.

His eldest son died s. p. in 1137; and the second, who married Olive de Bretagne, was probably the Henry de Fulgeres entered in the Liber Niger as a sub-tenant of Walter Maminot in Kent. His line ended with his great grandson, whose sister Clemencia was the wife first of Alan de Dinant, and secondly of Ralph Blundeville, Earl of Chester. Alan de Fulgeres, in 1165 held of Henry de Scaliers in Cambridgeshire, and William by barony in Yorkshire.—Ibid. It is believed that many branches of this old Breton family existed in England., The Barons Bohun of Midhurst derived from Frangualo [2] de Fougeres, the first husband of Cana, daughter of Gelduin II., Lord of Chaumont-sur-Loire, who "transmitted to his heirs a considerable interest in the barony of Fougeres."—E. Chester Waters. See Bohun. He was an uncle of the Raoul that fought at Hastings.

Another Domesday baron, Robert de Albemarle, left a numerous posterity in Devonshire, where he held twenty manors in 1086. He belonged to quite another family. "From the silence observed by historians concerning this Robert, we may presume that he was either a descendant of the ancient Seigneurs d'Aumale, or a simple knight residing in that town, who had adopted its name. There existed, in fact, a very old family of this name in the province of Picardy, which probably had the same origin, and continues there undoubtedly to the present day. The first we meet with is Jean d'Aumale, Seigneur of Herselines (near Gamaches), who, with his squire, Aliaume de Boucret, repaired to Lisle in 1339 to serve under the Constable of France, Raoul de Brienne, Count of Eu and of Guisnes, one of the barons that defended Tournay against the English. This house was divided into several branches, comprising the Seigneurs of Balastre, of Bugny, of Ivrencheux, of Hancourt, of La Horgue, of Gondreville, and of Nampfel. They bore Argent a bend Gules charged with four besants. It is evident that this family of Albemarle or Aumale still existed in England at the beginning of the 15 th century. We find, in the archives of La Manche, a charter of the date of 1206, by which Reginald de Albemarle, miles et dominus de Wodbery, gives to the Abbey of St. Michael his domain of Blakedon; and, later on, we likewise find a William de Albemarle, father of another William, and of a daughter named Elizabeth, coheiress to her brother, defunct in 1361. Elizabeth was then only seventeen. She was twice married; first to John de Maltravers, obt. 1386; and secondly to Humphrey de Stafford, the elder. She died at the age of sixty-nine, in 1413, leaving issue only by her first marriage.

"Finally, whatever may have been the alterations undergone by the name of Albemarle or Aumale either in France or in England, we cannot discern in it the least affinity to the English family of Damarell, which, according to Lysons, derived from Robert de Albemarle, and gave their name to the manors of Milton-Damarell and Stoke-Damarell in Devonshire."—Recherches sur le Domesday.

This conclusion is palpably erroneous; for, in point of fact, both the Sir Reginald and the Sir William above quoted were Damarells of Woodbury. Their coat of arms differed altogether from that of the Aumales of Picardy, for they bore Per fesse Gules and Azure, three crescents Argent.

Peter de Lameil—perhaps one of the grandsons of Robert—held of the Honour of Exeter in 1165 (Liber Niger): and for the next two hundred years the family grew and prospered in the county, with increased possessions and extending influence. Sir William de Albemarle or Damarell had a writ of summons to parliament in 1367 with other barons and prelates; and Sir John served as Sheriff in 1374. Five different branches, the Damarells of Milton-Damarell, North Huish, Woodbury, Gidley, and Aveton-Giffard—distinguished from each other by some slight variations of blazonry—are enumerated by Lysons: but all simultaneously disappear from the scene in the time of Edward III. Milton-Damarell—one of the Domesday manors—had been sold to the Courtenays during the previous reign. Woodbury, which had come to them from the Carbonells through a succession of female heirs, passed away again with two co-heiresses married to Maltravers and Bonville. Gidley Castle and Aveton Giffard (both of them brought by the heiress of Prouz to Roger de Mules, and by their daughter Alice to John Damarell) were similarly transferred; the former through William Damarell's daughter to Walter Code of Morvall in Cornwall, the latter to the Durnfords and Berrys. Fleet-Damarell, which had been inherited from the time of the Conquest, went to the Hills and the Prideaux. All these families appear to have collapsed in the male line at about the same date: yet a branch of the Damarells survived "in a mean condition" in Sir William Pole's time. They resided at Stone, a manor that had been theirs "for many descents." A John Damarel of Ilton was living when the Magna Britannia was written (1822).

Another of Robert de Albemarle's Domesday manors, Stoke-Damarell, is the site of the town of Devonport. It passed successively to the Courtenays, Keniells, Branscombes, Britts, and Wises, and was sold to Sir William Morice in 1667 for £11,000. About twenty years afterwards, a project that is said to have been first conceived by Charles II. was carried out by William of Orange, and the Royal dockyard commenced that was to transform it into the great arsenal of the West of England. In the last census, Devonport numbered sixty-three thousand nine hundred and eighty inhabitants: and "the ancient village of Stoke has developed into a very handsome residential suburb."—Worth's Devon.

  1. The Cistercian Abbey of Savigny was "originally a hermitage situated in the woods which terminated the southern frontier of the diocese of Avranches. It soon established itself as the leader of a separate Order, called Savigniac or Tironensian, but in 1147 was re-united to the Cistercian body."—R. IV. Eyton.

  2. This name is peculiar to the house of Fougeres; and "was originally a sobriquet, for the bearer of it in 1112 is styled in a charter of Marmoutier 'Maino cognomento Fransgualo.'"—Ibid.

-- Cleveland

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