Robert DE RUMILLY, Lord of Skipton and Harewood


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Robert DE RUMILLY, Lord of Skipton and Harewood

  • Married:

   Also called Robert DE ROMELLI and Robert DE ROMILLE.

  General Notes:

Compiler's 25/27/30 x great-grandfather

  Research Notes:

[A charter dated to [1069] records the property of Troarn abbey including donations of land at “Tallivalla" by "Turstin de Croilleio, William de Columberiis, Roscelin son of Herald, Robert son of Rainfred, Richard vicomte of Avranches”. The estimated date of this document seems early for “Robert son of Rainfred” to be the same person as Robert de Rumilly, although it is possible that the estimate was incorrect.] 1


I. ROBERT DE RUMILLY. It is reasonably certain that he took his name from the place now known as Remilly in Normandy.* He had a sister named Adeliz, who described as the sister of Robert de Rumilleio gave to the abbey of St. Martin de Troarn 5 acres of land in Asnières, 4 acres between Tailleville and St. Aubin-sur-mer, 4 acres which Gunterius held of her, and whatever she possessed of the fee of Langrune and Bernières.

Robert de Rumilly is not mentioned in the Domesday survey, but he evidently acquired lands in England shortly afterwards. By a charter which he issued to the same abbey of Troarn in 1094-96, for the health of his lord king William and his parents, he gave the church of St. Andrew, Wheatenhurst, co. Gloucester, with the land of the priests and the tithe of all his things belonging to the vill; the church of Mappowder, Dorset, with the land of the priest and the land of one plough with the meadows adjacent, and two tenants, one free and the other a serf, and the tithe of all his things of the vill; the church of Molland, Devon, and the priest and land for one plough, three tenants with their land, and the tithe of all his things belonging to the manor; in Spitchwick, Devon [in Widdecombe in the Moor] one tenant; the church of Warkleigh, Devon; and the tithe of all killing of his hogs, and a tithe of the skins of stags and beasts, and common of pasture for beasts and sheep in all his land when necessary; signum Willelmi regis, signum Johannis episcopi Somerset, signum Willelmi cancellarii, signum Roberti de Romeleio, signum Willelmi episcopi Dunelmi.

Of these lands Wheatenhurst passed to the family of Say and thence to the Bohuns, earls of Hereford.... Of the other places Spitchwick and Warkleigh formed part of the inheritance of Avice daughter and coheir of William Meschin and Cecily de Rumilly, and wife of William de Curcy II. In 1242-43 one fee in Spitchwick was held by Michael de Spichewik' of John de Neville as of the honour of Stoke Curcy, and one fee in Warkleigh was also held of him. Moreover in the carta of William de Curcy III in 1166 a Michael de Spichwich held one knight's fee of the barony of William Meschin which William de Curcy had inherited from his mother, incidentally showing that what was described as the barony of William Meschin included some Rumilly land. Lastly,.... the manors of Mappowder and Molland were held by the heirs of Maud, another daughter and coheir of William Meschin and Cecily de Rumilly. Thus, with the exception of Wheatenhurst, all these lands held by Robert de Rumilly can be traced in the possession of Cecily's descendants.

The two questions to which attention must be principally directed for the present purpose are, first, whether Robert de Rumilly was the father of Cecily de Rumilly, wife of William Meschin; and, secondly, whether Robert de Rumilly held the lordship of Skipton in Craven. On the first point, although no charter or other documentary authority can be produced to prove Cecily's parentage, the descent of the places mentioned in the charter of Robert de Rumilly to the abbey of Troarn is convincing. Thus, as has been shown above, Spitchwick and Warkleigh passed to the descendants of her daughter Avice; and Mappowder and Molland passed to the descendants of her daughter Maud. It is difficult to suppose that this could have happened unless Cecily had been Robert's daughter....

The acceptance of Cecily's parentage, if that may be assumed, is of help in dealing with the second question. This resolves itself into deciding whether the lordship of Skipton was held by Robert de Rumilly, descending to Cecily his daughter, or whether William Meschin, her husband, held it in his own right. The evidence is overwhelming that the first of these alternatives is correct. An examination of the charters issued by Cecily in favour of Embsay priory after the death of her first husband William Meschin leaves little room for doubt that she was dealing with Yorkshire lands of the honour of Skipton in her own right, and not by reason of dower. It will also be noticed that Embsay priory was the joint foundation of William Meschin and Cecily. Moreover, if Skipton had been held by William Meschin in his own right, it would have passed on his death to his son Ranulf; and, although the latter certainly succeeded his father in Copeland, and issued charters dealing with lands of that barony, there is not the faintest trace of his ever having dealt with lands of the honour of Skipton. It appears to be safe, therefore, to deduce that Cecily inherited Skipton from her father Robert de Rumilly; and to assume that the latter had been granted it as a tenure in chief at some date subsequent to 1086.

The same line of reasoning suggests the probability that Robert de Rumilly held Harewood with many manors in Wharfedale, which passed to Avice, one of the three daughters of Cecily de Rumilly. There is no trace of Ranulf Meschin having succeeded his father William Meschin therein; and the charter issued by Cecily de Rumilly, giving her mills of Harewood to Embsay priory, certainly suggests that she was dealing with property in her own right. 2

* Dept. Manche, arr. St. Lô, cant. Marigny. It is unlikely that he can be identified with Robert de Remileio, who witnessed a charter of Ralph de Conches, son of Roger de Toeni, c. 1080..., and who probably took the name from Romilly-sur-Andelle, dept. Eure, arr. Les Andelys, cant. Fleury-sur-Andelle.


Cecily was the daughter of Robert de Rumilly. It is unclear when Robert arrived in England, or how he acquired his lands. By 1096, however, but no earlier than 1094, he is found to be in possession of a several estates, and able to grant the churches of St Andrew in Wheatenhurst (Gloucestershire), Mappowder (Dorset), Molland and Warkleigh (Devon), and lands in Spetchwick (Devon), to the Benedictine abbey of St Martin de Troarn, Normandy. A decade or so later the benefaction of Robert de Rapoliolo, alias Robert de Rumilly, to Martin's was confirmed by Henry I. There does not appear to have been a surviving male heir and after the death of Robert, Cecily de Rumilly and her sister, Lucy, were valuable heiresses, with Lucy receiving land in Normandy, together with some in Oxfordshire, and Cecily claiming the bulk of her father's lands in England, turning her attention to the barony of Skipton. 3

  Marriage Information:

Robert married Cecily. (Cecily died on an unknown date.)


1 Foundation for Medieval Genealogy, Medlands: Rumilly.

2 Early Yorkshire Charters: Volume 7, The Honour of Skipton, William Farrer, Charles Travis Clay, 2013, pp. 1-4.

3 Bolton Priory: Its Patrons and Benefactors 1120-1293, Katrina Legg, 2004, p. 4.

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