William Fitz Robert, 2nd Earl of Gloucester

Sir William Fitz Robert
Plantagenet Crest
Plantagenet Crest
Born 23 November 1116
Died 23 November 1183
Office 2nd Earl of Gloucester
Preceded by Sir Robert de Caen
Succeeded by John de Mortain

William Fitz Robert, 2nd Earl of Gloucester (died 1183) was the son and heir of Sir Robert de Caen, 1st Earl of Gloucester, and Mabel of Gloucester, daughter of Robert Fitzhamon. His father was an illegitimate son of King Henry I of England, thus William was a nephew of the Empress Maud and a cousin of King Stephen, the principal combatants of the English Anarchy period.

In October 1141, William looked after the baronial estates, when his father fell into the hands of partisans at Winchester. His father was exchanged for King Stephen, and during his father's absence in Normandy in 1144 he served as Governor of Wareham. In 1147, he overthrew Henry de Tracy at Castle Cary. In 1154 he made an alliance with Roger de Clare, 3rd Earl of Hertford, by which they agreed to aid each other against all men except Henry II of England. He was lord of the manor of Glamorgan, as well as Caerleon, residing chiefly at Cardiff. It was there that in 1158 he and his wife and son were captured by Ivor the Little and carried away into the woods, where they were held as prisoners until the Earl redressed Ivor's grievances. In 1173 he took the King's part against his sons, but thereafter he appears to have fallen under suspicion, for the following year he submitted to the King, and in 1175 surrendered to him Bristol Castle. Because his only son and heir Robert died in 1166, Earl William made John, the younger son of King Henry II, heir to his earldom, in conformity with the King's promise that John should marry one of the Earl's daughters, if the Church would allow it, they being related in the third degree. Earl William was present in March 1177 when the King arbitrated between the Kings of Castile and Navarre, and in 1178, he witnessed Henry's charter to Waltham Abbey. But during the King's struggles with his sons, when he imprisoned a number of magnates of whose loyalty he was doubtful, Earl William was among them. He died on his birthday in 1183; his wife Hawise survived him.

Family and children

He was married Hawise de Beaumont of Leicester, daughter of Robert de Beaumont, 2nd Earl of Leicester and Amica de Gael and had children:

  1. Robert FitzWilliam (1151, Cardiff, Glamorganshire1166 Unmd Vp, Cardiff, Glamorganshire).
  2. Hadwisa/Avisa of Gloucester (circa 1152 – 1189). Married Geoffrey FitzPiers, Earl of Essex de Mandeville, son of Piers de Lutegareshale and Lady Maud de Mandeville of Costow.
  3. Mabel FitzRobert of Gloucester (b. 1155); married Amaury V de Montfort.
  4. Amicia FitzRobert, Countess of Gloucester (b. 1160, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire). Married Richard de Clare, 4th Earl of Hertford.
  5. Isabel of Gloucester (b. 1170, Gloucester). She was married three times:
    1. Prince John
    2. Geoffrey de Mandeville, Earl of Essex.
    3. Hubert de Burgh, 1st Earl of Kent.

Since Earl William and Hawise's only son, Robert, predeceased his father, their three daughters became coheirs to the Gloucester inheritance.

Most of Wikipedia's text and many of its images are licensed under the
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC BY-SA)

Return to Main Index