Hugh de Grentmesnil

Mary De Castro church and old castle gateway, Leicester
Mary De Castro church and
old castle gateway, Leicester

Hugh de Grentmesnil was one of the principal combatants in the great battle and has been described as being in great danger during the action in consequence of his horse becoming masterless through the breaking of his bridle-rein in leaping over a bush. He was near falling, and the English perceiving his flight ran towards him with their long axes, but the horse taking fright, and wheeling suddenly round, bore his rider safely back into the ranks of the Normans.

For his valiant actions in the great battle Hugh was rewarded with 100 manors, 65 of which were in Leicestershire. Hugh was appointed Governor of Hampshire and Sheriff of Leicestershire. In 1067 Hugh de Grentmesnil along with William de Warren, Hugh de Montfort and other high ranking men formed the government of England under the jurisdiction of Odo, Bishop of Bayeux and William Fitz-Osbern during the King’s absence in Normandy. Hugh de Grentmesnil was responsible for effecting a temporary reconciliation between Robert Court-heuse and the Conqueror and although initially supporting Rufus on his assession, ultimately came to oppose him. In 1090 both Hugh de Grentmesnil and Richard de Courci took up arms against the detestable Robert de Belesme with the assistance of William de Warren and many other knights. A hard fought battle ensued. Three years after the battle with Beleme, Hugh returned to England dying there shortly afterwards in 1094. His body was returned to Normandy where he was buried close to the tomb of Abbot Mainer. Arnold of Rhuddlan, his nephew, placed a marble slab over his grave which was engraved with an epitaph composed by Orderic Vitalis.


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