Ranulph "le Meschin" DU BESSIN, Vicomte de Bayeux
(-Aft 1098)
Mathilde (Margaret) D' AVRANCHES
(-Aft 1098)
Thorold (Turold) of Bucknall, Sheriff of Lincolnshire
(-Bef 1079)
Alvarissa MALET
Vcte Ranulph "le Meschin" DU BESSIN, 1st Earl of Chester
Lucia of Mercia
Ranulph DE GERNON, 2nd Earl of Chester
(Bef 1100-1153)


Family Links

Matilda FitzRobert DE GLOUCESTER, Countess of Chester

Ranulph DE GERNON, 2nd Earl of Chester

  • Born: Before 1100, Château de Guernon, Normandy, France
  • Married: Abt 1141, Bristol, Gloucestershire, England
  • Died: 16 Dec 1153, Chester, Cheshire, England
  • Buried: St Werburgh, Chester, Cheshire, England

  Research Notes:

His parentage is recorded by Orderic Vitalis.

He succeeded his father in [1129] as Earl of Chester, Vicomte d'Avranches. The Annales Cestrienses record in 1128 the death of “Ranulphus Miscinus comes Cestrie” and the succession of “Rannulphus comes filius eius”. Stephen King of England appointed him Constable of Lincoln. Earl Ranulf fought against King Stephen at Lincoln in 1141 and was seized by the king at court in Northampton 29 Aug 1146. The Annales Cestrienses record in 1141 “III Non Feb” that King Stephen was captured “a duobus comittibus...Ranulpho comite Cestriæ et a Roberto comite Gloucestrie...in bello apud Lincolniam” and in 1146 that “Ranulphus comes de Cestrie” was captured by King Stephen “apud Northamantiam IV Kal Sep”. King Stephen nevertheless granted him the castle and city of Lincoln, probably after 1151.

Robert of Torigny records the death in 1153 of "Ranulfus comes Cestriæ". The Annales Cambriæ record the death in 1154 of "Radulphus comes Urbis Legionum". The Annales Cestrienses record the death in 1153 of “Ranulphus II comes Cestrie”. A manuscript narrating the descent of Hugh Earl of Chester to Alice Ctss of Lincoln records the death “XVI Kal Jan” of “Ranulfus de Gernons” and his burial at St Werburgh’s, Chester. It was alleged that he was poisoned by his wife and by William Peverell of Nottingham. Ralph de Diceto records that "Willelmus Peverel de Notingeham" was disinherited in 1155 for poisoning "Ranulfo comiti Cestriæ". 1


RANULPH, styled "DE GERNON," EARL OF CHESTER, also VICOMTE D'AVRANCHES, &C., in Normandy, son and heir. He was born before 1100, in the Castle of Gernon in Normandy. To the detriment of his elder brother of the half blood, William (de Roumare), Earl of Lincoln, he appears to have Iong held a large portion of the profits of the EARLDOM OF LINCOLN. He distinguished himself as a soldier both on the side of the Empress Maud and of that of King Stephen, with the greatest impartiality. He was one of the 5 Earls (h) who witnessed the Charter to Salisbury granted at the Northampton Council of Henry I, 8 September 1131. To Stephen's second "Charter of Liberties" he was, in 1136, a witness, and by him he was made Constable of Lincoln. Against that King, however, he took part at the battle of Lincoln, 2 February 1141, in which Stephen was made prisoner, who retaliated on the Earl 29 August 1146, by seizing him at Court, at Northampton. The King granted him the Castle and city of Lincoln, probably after the pacification of 1151.

He married, about 1141, Maud, daughter of Robert, EARL OF GLOUCESTER, by Mabel, daughter and heir of Robert FITZ-HAMOND, lord of Tewkesbury. Having again taken part with King Stephen, and being consequently distrusted by both sides, he died 16 [?17] December 1153, being supposed to have been poisoned by his wife and William Peverell, of Nottingham. He was buried at St. Werburg's, Chester. His widow, who in 1172 founded Repton Priory, co. Derby, died 29 July 1189.

(h) The four others were, Robert of Gloucester, William de Warenne, Earl of Surrey, Robert of Leicester and Roger of Warwick. 2


Ranulph de Meschines (surnamed de Gernons, from being born in Gernon Castle, in Normandy), Earl of Chester. This nobleman, who was a leading military character, took an active part with the Empress Maud, and the young Prince Henry, against King Stephen, in the early part of the contest, and having defeated the king and made him prisoner at the battle of Lincoln, committed him to the castle of Bristol. He subsequently, however, sided with the king, and finally, distrusted by all, died under excommunication in 1155, supposed to have been poisoned by William Peverell, Lord of Nottingham, who being suspected of the crime, is said to have turned monk to avoid its punishment. The earl m. Maud, dau. of Robert, surnamed the Consul, Earl of Gloucester, natural son of King Henry I, and had issue, Hugh, his successor, named Keveliok, from the place of his birth, in Merionethshire; Richard; Beatrix, m. to Ralph de Malpas. His lordship was s. by his elder son, Hugh (Keveliok), 3rd Earl of Chester. 3

  Marriage Information:

Ranulph married Matilda FitzRobert DE GLOUCESTER, daughter of Robert DE CAEN, Earl of Gloucester and Maud (Mabel, Sibyl) FITZ HAMON, about 1141 in Bristol, Gloucestershire, England. (Matilda DE GLOUCESTER died on 29 Jul 1190 in Chester, Cheshire, England.)


1 Foundation for Medieval Genealogy, Medlands, Ranulf "de Gernon".

2 Complete Peerage III:166-7, XIV:170.

3 Sir Bernard Burke, Dormant and Extinct Peerages, Burke's Peerage, Ltd., London, 1883, p. 365, Meschines, Earls of Chester.

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