Robert DE BEAUMONT-LE-ROGER, Earl of Leicester
- Born: 1104, Pont Audemer, Eure, Normandy, France
- Married: After Nov 1120, Brittany, France
- Died: 5 Apr 1168, Leicester Castle, Leicestershire, England
- Buried: St Mary de Pre Priory, St Albans, Hertfordshire, England
On Leicester, Earldom of [Burke's Peerage, p. 1671]:
Robert de Beaumont, a companion in arms of William I (The Conqueror) at Hastings was granted after the Conquest much land in the Midlands of England, but most of it was in Warwickshire rather than Leicestershire. Indeed his younger brother became Earl of Warwick. Robert also held territory in Normandy and is usually referred to as Count of Meulan. He was a leading political figure in the reigns of William II and Henry I and on the death of one Ives de Grandmesnil in the First Crusade, the funds for campaigning in which Ives had raised from Robert on the security of his estates, [Robert] came into full possession of them, including a sizeable part of Leicester. The rest of the town was granted him by Henry I and it is possible that he became Earl of Leicester. His son, another Robert, certainly called himself Earl of Leicester.
EARLDOM OF LEICESTER (II) 1118
ROBERT (a), EARL OF LEICESTER, younger son, being twin with Waleran, who succeeded his father as Count of Meulan, was born 1104, and was commonly called Le Bossu or Le Goczen. He
styles himself Earl of Leicester in the confirmation of his charter on behalf of Bec and St. Nicaise-de-Meulan in 1119. He and his brother Waleran were brought up at the court of Henry I with great care on account of the King's gratitude to their father. They accompanied Henry when he interviewed Pope Calixtus at Gisors, November 1119 where they astonished the Cardinals by their learning. On 8 September 1131 Robert was one of the five Earls who witnessed Henry's charter to Salisbury at the Northampton Council, and both the brothers were present at the deathbed of Henry L In the anarchy which followed Stephen's accession he engaged in private warfare with his hereditary enemy, Roger de Tosny, whom he captured with the assistance of his brother Waleran. In 1137 the twins returned to England with Stephen. Meanwhile, during Robert's absence in England, his possessions in Normandy were overrun until he came to terms with Roger de Tosny. In June 1139 the two brothers took a leading part in the seizing of the Bishops o! Salisbury and Lincoln at Oxford. At about this time he received from Stephen a grant to him as Earl of Leicester and to his heirs of the town and castle of Hereford "et totum comitatum de Herefordisc.," excepting the lands of the Bishop, those of the Abbot of Reading and of other churches and abbeys holding in chief of the King, and excepting also the fees of Hugh de Mortemer, Osbert son of Hugh, and others, "cum aliis omnibus rebus et libertatibus quae ad omnia prefata pertinent cum quibus Gul. filius Osbern unquam melius vel liberius tenuit." This grant was made at Newton (probably near Leominster) at a time when Miles of Gloucester had already taken possession of the county for the Empress, and therefore cannot have been effectual to bestow either the lands or the Earldom of Hereford, if such was Stephen's intention. After the defeat of Stephen, 2 Feb. 1141, Robert appears to have made a truce with the Angevin party in Normandy until he should return from England, and devoted himself to his foundation of St. Mary de Pré at Leicester, which was accomplished in 1143. According to the narrative of St. Mary's, he became a canon regular there circa 1153, and so remained until his death, but the story conflicts with his known public career. In that year Henry, son of the Empress, anticipating his succession to the throne (which was agreed by the Treaty of Waningford in November 1153), gave Robert and his son Robert charters, dated at Bristol, "restoring" to them the lands then held by the elder, Robert, and granting them the Stewardship of England and of Normandy, whereby he doubtless secured their support of his claims to the crown. Robert was at the siege of Torigny in October 1154 with Henry II just before his accession, attended his Coronation in December 1154, and rapidly rose in the new King's favour. He received a confirmation charter of the grant made at Bristol and thus became Steward of England and of Nor:mandy. He was made Justiciar in the following year, and he acted as Viccroy part of the time with Richard de Luci during the King's absence from England from December 1158, after Eleanor left the country until his rcturn 25 January 1162/3. He was present at the Council of Clarendon, 13-28 January 1163/4, and was the first to attest the "Constitutions," to which he procured the assent of Thomas à Becket. He took part with the Crown in its struggle with Becket, but sought to reconcile the King and the Archbishop at the Council of Northampton in October 1164. As Justiciar he pronounced sentence on the Archbishop, who cut short his address by denying the jurisdiction of the court. In 1165 he again acted as Viceroy on the King's departure. In the spring of 1166 he went to Normandy with the King, but was in England again in October, and retained the Justiciarship until his death two years later.
He married, after November 1120, Amice, daughter of Ralph, SEIGNEUR OF GAEL AND MONTFORT in Brittany, who was son of Ralph, EARL OF NORFOLK, by Emma, daughter of William FITZOSBERN, 1st Earl of Hereford. By this marriage he acquired a large part of the FitzOsbern inheritance in Normandy and England. He died 5 April 1168, and was probably buried in St. Mary de Pré. Amice survived him, and is said to have entered the convent of Nuneaton. [Complete Peerage VII:527-30, XIV:429, (transcribed by Dave Utzinger)]
[a] It has become the established usage to apply the name of Beaumont to the Earls of Leicester of the first line. Though doubtless a convenient form of nomenclature, it lacks contemporary authority. Roger, Seigneur of Beaumont-le-Roger, the contemporary of the Conqueror, is called Roger de Beaumont with good reason. Orderic speaks of his younger brother Robert as Robert de Beaumont, but in doing so is clearly transferring to him the style borne later by Roger, for Robert always appears in charters as Robertus flius Humphredi. Robert, son of Roger, was also styled de Beaumont until he became Count of Meulan, but his son Robert, 2nd Earl of Leicester, is never so styled. In the next generation the question does not arise, for there were no younger sons. In the last generation of these Earls, William, the eldest brother (who d. vp), is in charters always William de Bréteuil, and Robert, before he succeeded as Earl, figures as Robert de Bréteuil in two charters, and is also so styled in the Chron. de Mailros. There was no reason why this branch of the family should take its style from a place in which it had no interest. Hugh (said to have become Earl of Bedford), younger brother of Robert and Waleran, witnesses a charter circa 1123-38 as Hugone de Mellent. With respect to the elder branch, those who were not themselves Counts were called de Mellento, and this though the caput of their Norman honour was Beaumont, and this endured as the name of two branches of the family after the loss of the comti of Meulan.
Robert married Amice (Uta) DE GAËL Countess of Leicester, dame de Breteuil, daughter of Raoul I DE GAËL de Montffort and Emma (Avise) DE VERMANDOIS, after Nov 1120 in Brittany, France. (Amice (Uta) DE GAËL Countess of Leicester, dame de Breteuil was born about 1108 in Breal-sous-Montfort, Ille-et-Vilaine, Bretagne, France and died after 1168 in Convent of Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England (as a nun).)