§ The Last English Eorl §
Where did Anthony Munday get
the basis for the play The Death of Robert Earl of Huntington?
[published in 1600]. Where did names like the earl of Huntington, FitzWater,
King Richard, Robin or Robert and the concept of dispossession of the
estates and title of the earl of Huntington originate?
Munday with this publication, popularised the early ballads
of the yeoman "Robyn Hoode" and extended the somewhat mythical character
as a nobleman which first appears as a throw-away-line in a Tudor ballad,
"Queen Katherine and Robin Hood".
Although Munday is greatly discounted by historians as having any
substance in fact, the answer to our question may reside within the lineage
of Waltheof II, earl of Huntingdon, Northampton and Northumberland, down
through the Anglo-Norman-Scottish lines.
Who was Waltheof II?
He was the first and last English earl
to be executed in England until Thomas earl of Lancaster was
beheaded in 1322. Waltheof was an English eorl of Northampton until elevated
by William The Conqueror to other estates in the northern
marches and the honour of Huntingdon. His father, Siward the Dane, had
been an earl of Northumberland and Huntingdon before the conquest. This
may have been permitted in order to harness Waltheof's loyalty in order
to help secure the northern marches against the Scots. Waltheof's wife,
Judith de Lens, was the niece to none other than William The
Conqueror of England through William's sister Adelaide de Normandie.
Born 1046, Northampton.
Executed 31st May 1076, St. Giles Hill, Winchester.
Buried: June 1076, Crowland Abbey, Lincolnshire.
He was the son of Siward [Sigurd/Syward] "The Dane" Bjornson who was
made earl of Bamburgh and Northumbria by the great Dane, King Canute.
It was earl Siward who supported Malcolm Macduff [later earl of Fife]
and Malcolm Ceann mhor [later Malcolm III] in their quest to overthrow the
army of the Sassenach [Saxon] hating Macbeth at Dunsinane.
At Siwards death [of natural causes] in 1055 at York, Waltheof II
was about ten years old, thus allowing Tostig to secure the titles and
estates to Northumbria in this year.
Waltheof revolted against William in 1069, followed by a "Harrowing
of The North".
In the spring of 1070 - William The Conqueror gave permission
for all monasreries to be plundered.
Waltheof married Judith De Lens, William The Conqueror's niece
In 1070 King Swein of Denmark sailed up the Humber.
Waltheof was given the earldom of Northumbria [replacing Gospatric
earl of Northumbria] in 1072 and revolted against William I in the same
1073 at Settrington near Malton, Waltheof assasinated Carl's family
who resided at Rise near Hornsea.
Earl Waltheof built a castle at Durham against the Scots.
Eventually he was forgiven by William I*
Implicated in a planned revolt in1075.
Publicly executed 31st May 1076 [St. Petronella's Day], St. Giles
Hill, Winchester in William I's absence, by Bishop Odo of Bayeux [Lanfranc
and Odo were at odds]
1080 Bishop Odo of Bayeaux attacked the North.
*William I had trouble maintaining order in
the North of England and therefore relied heavily upon an indigenous earl
of Northumberland to maintain order, apparently though, with the connivance
of his niece.
Was it the intention of William The
Conqueror to marry his family into the English earldom in order to
reveal information regarding possible insurrection by the English? If this
was so contrived, then this subterfuge appears to have succeeded.#
According to some chroniclers, Judith betrayed her husband to her esteemed
uncle. Waltheof is recorded to have taken part in rebellions [1069, 1072
& 1075] against the Norman invaders in the North of England.
Following Waltheof's self-revelations to William in Normandy, Waltheof
was arrested and beheaded on William's return to England. The beheading
occurred much to the dismay of the English crowd gathered at St. Giles Hill,
Winchester on St. Petronella's Day [ 31st May 1076].
Before the earl had completed "The Lord's Prayer" his head was reportedly
cut from his body in this very public execution. The final words of the
prayer were said to have been uttered by his disconnected head. William
I is believed to have agonized for the remainder of his life over Waltheof's
execution in addition to this William seems to have been troubled
by his un-Christian behaviour during the "Harrowing of the North". Waltheof
was the only English eorl executed by King William after the conquest. As
Starkey has said, the Normans made good churchmen but poor Christians.
William's confidant, Archbishop Lanfranc was convinced of Waltheof's
"innocence", for Waltheof had shown second thoughts and fled to Normandy
where he reported the plot to Lanfranc and then William.
The 1075 rebellion was followed with further "Harrying" or "Harrowing"
of the North of England, principally by William I's half brother Odo the
Bishop of Bayeux, another great show of Norman power. This followed
on from the massive1069 "Harrowing of the North" where it is reported by
one chronicler that every male aged sixteen years and over was killed,
mirroring King Herod's proclamation in the time of Christ.
From The Domesday Book for Yorkshire, 1086:
See: The Lost Manor
[ Hallvn ] with 16
outliers, there are 29 carucates of land taxable, Earl Waltheof
[ wallef ] had a hall there.Twenty ploughs are possible there. Roger¤
had this land from Countess Judith, He [ has ] there two ploughs; and
33 villagers who have 121/2 ploughs, There, meadow,
8 acres; woodland pasture, 4 leagues long and 4 wide. The whole manor 10
leagues long and 8 wide. Value before 1066 , 8 marks of silver; now 40
Hallam appears in reference
to "Hallamshire" i.e. the manor, referred to by Hunter, Dodsworth and others.
This Hallamshire covered an area to the West of Sheffield. Today
we have the names Hallam Head [ near Sandygate] on the Roman Road to Buxton
[ later referred to as "t' road to nowhere" because of its decline as a
passageway across Stanedge] and Hallam Moors. Both
Attercliffe [Ateclife] and Sheffield [Escafeld] were said to be "inland"
in Hallam in the Domesday Book..
Seductively, Loxley Common and Loxley Chase lie four
miles to the NE of Hallam Moors with numerous references to Robin Hood in
local place names
the purported burial place of "Little John" lies only two miles to the
SW. Four miles to the SE lie the ruins of Beauchief Abbey [built one hundred
years later in 1175].
Dore 3 miles south was the meeting place between
Mercia and Northumbria
in the 800's. This represented an important route between the
two regions through to much later times. Hallam
is likely to have been only one of Waltheof's halls.
Yorkshire & Derbyshire Beginnings.
The above equates well with points made by Graham
Kirkby who hypothesises that Robin Hood of Loxley was Waltheof's illegitimate
son. Graham states that Waltheof's manor lay a mile or so east of Stanadge
edge, the steep decline and cliff between Hallam Head [near Loxley] and
Hathersage. The manor house may have been sited at Hallam Head.
Graham also states that the original owner of
Peveril castle at Castleton as well as the builder of Nottingham castle
were the same person, namely William Peverel, a favourite illegitimate
son of William I, who was appointed as a Sheriff of Nottinghamshire.
Peveril castle was no doubt sited to control
the Derbyshire lead mining, much needed for the monasteries of York, Lincoln,
Ely and further afield. In fact lead diggings occur downhill of the castle.
Derbyshire had been the most important source for lead in pre-Norman times15
William Peveril's grandson, according to Graham,
was also a William who some claim, tried to poison Ranulph the earl of Chester
in 1153. Certainly Ranulf IV, the 2nd earl of Chester
b. 1100 d. 1163 was titled a "comte" of Huntingdon or Count in French [eorl
or earl in English] by William Smith a 1600's pursuivant. William
Langland2 referred to Randolph earl of Chester as follows:
"I know the rymes of Robyn Hood and Randolf Erl of Chestre"
Graham sees The Geste's "Edward our comly
king" as being Edward the Confessor, who in Anglian lineage would have been
'Edward III'. This is in the time of Waltheof.
Graham's site is well
worth a look for its detailed arguement for Hallamshire being the birthplace
of the original "Robin of Loxley", not the least of which is its proximity
to Barnsdale, the setting for the earliest Robin Hood ballads. Certainly
this Loxley is closer than any other to this location.
Although Waltheof lost his life to the ruling Norman
class, the estates remained in Countess Judith's possession and were thus
granted to her daughter, Matilda [Maud] of Huntingdon. The title earl of
Huntingdon passed to Matilda's first husband, Simon I de St. Liz [pron:
Senlis]. With the death of Simon, his widow married Prince David of
Scotland who later became King David I of Scotland and earl of Huntingdon.
Thus the earldom of Huntingdon, a prized possession of the English crown
passed into the Scottish line of kings and princes. Appeasment by strategic
Waltheof and Judith
had possibly three children [FitzWaltheof ]:
1. Matilda [Maud] de Huntingdon [of Northumbria] b. 1072, d.
30th Nov. 1130 or 23rd April 1130/31, bur. Scone Abbey, Scotland.
2. Judith [Alice/Adeliza] de Huntingdon [of Northumbria] b.
abt. 1085 Flamsted,
Herts., d. aft.1126.
3. Possibly a third daughter, who may have married a Robert FitzRichard#
Thus there was no male to carry the Waltheof name, nor the inheritance.
William I, The Conqueror, had tried to entice Waltheof's
widow, Judith, to marry Simon I de St. Liz of Northampton but she declined,
ostensibly due to Simon's limping leg1. Eventually in 1090,
Simon married Judith's daughter, Matilda [Maud] de Huntingdon.
Simon I, a Norman, thus assumed the title earl of Huntingdon
through his wife. They had perhaps five children:
1. Simon II De St. Liz [de Huntingdon] who had two sons,
Simon IV and Waltheof [Walthen, Waldef] b. abt.1100 who became a Cistercian
abbot and was canonised. Simon IV should have inherited not only the earldom
of Northampton but also that of Huntingdon but the latter was assumed by
David I of Scotland [Matilda/Maud's 2nd husband].
2. St.Waltheof [Waldef] of Melrose b1100, d. 1159. Waldef
began his early religious life at Nostell Priory and later rose to
the position of Abbot of Melrose where he became a tutor to the young prince
Malcolm, later Malcolm IV.
3. Matilda [Eng: Maud] de St. Liz of Northampton who, one
source says married Robert FitzRichard of Tonbridge, son
of Richard FitzGilbert of Tonbridge. See below.
Other spouses were variously William Brito [Albini] earl of Arundel, the
cross border baron Saher III De Quincy and William De Toeni.
4. Simon III De St. Liz earl of Huntingdon who married
Alice De Gand, daughter of Gilbert De Gand
earl of Lincoln.
5. Isabel De St. Liz who married William Mauduit.
|OUT OF CHAOS COMES MYTH?
Munday introduces the earl of Chester in his play, The Death of
Robert Earl of Huntington. This earl, Munday refers to as Rannulf
[Ranulph], earl of Chester. However in reality this was the name of the
first and second earl of Chester in their line as well as Hugh de
Keveliock, the third earl's son. This latter person was Ranulf de Blundeville
b.1172, d.1232, an earl of Chester, who succeeded his father in title
and lands. Munday made Rannulf the grandfather of Matilda [Eng: Maud]. If
this were Maud Keveliock of Chester then the grandfather would have been
Ranulf IV the second earl of Chester. According to Munday, Maid Marian's
real name was Matilda 'FitzWater'.
Maud Keveliock married David Ceann mhor de Huntingdon, earl
of Huntingdon, this title then went to his 2nd son, John Ceann mhor Le
Scot [ a.k.a. FitzDavid or Dunkeld] then to Alexander II Cean mhor King
of Scotland, by-passing the eldest son of David and Maud , Robert Ceann mhor Le Scot b.1191 d. 1221.
This Robert Le Scot according to John Fordun died young. Some have tried
to equate this person with the legendary 'Robin Hood' with little success.
The earldom of Huntingdon was lost upon the death of John Le Scot
on the 7th June 1237.14 This was during Henry III's reign
when the honour of Huntingdon was divided three ways, to the Bruces, the
Balliols and the Hastings after the death of John Le Scot's wife,
Helen, who lingered on for some years after her husband's death, a suspected
poisoning carried out by Helen. Herein lies the idea of the dispossession
of the title and lands of the Huntingdon honour, separated barely two
years before the purported death of 'Robin Hood' at Kirklees Priory. The title
only may have lingered on in Alexander II.
The title earl of Huntingdon was later granted to William
Fiennes [Clinton] in 1337 during Edward III's reign, for the honour
had now served its purpose in 'buying off' the Scottish kings, for Edward,
'hammer of the Scots' sought war not appeasement. Eventually,with the English
defeat at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1315, that part of the honour
held by the Bruce family was absorbed into the Bruces of Exton and Conington,
of Rutland and Huntingdonshire.
The earldom of Huntingdon had been earlier assumed by David de Huntingdon
after his grandfather's, David I's death [Earl David was the youngest
son of Henry de Huntingdon of Scotland, Henry pre-deceased his father,
David I of Scotland by one year]. David and Maud had four children.
See earl of Huntington
In the aftermath of the Battle Of the Standard 
David I regained almost all that he had lost in northern England for the
king, Stephen, needed a strong ally and overlord in the North who would
pay homage to England.
Robert FitzRichard could have made some claim for
his wife was descended from the Anglian Waltheof II and her father
Simon de St. Liz, both former title holders of the earldom of Huntingdon
On Simon de Liz's death, David I [d.1153] of Scotland aquired
the earldom of Huntingdon [from Simon's older and half-brother] by marrying
Matilda about 1113. The earldom of Huntingdon and Northumberland passed
to David I. David I and Matilda had a son :
Henry Prince of Scotland, earl of Huntingdon &
Northumberland.d. 1152, i.e. he pre-deceased his father by one year.
Henry married Ada [Adelaide/Adeline/Adele] de Warrene, daughter of William
de Warrene II, earl of Surrey and Warrene.
Henry and Ada had five children who reached maturity, one of whom
was David earl of Huntingdon, b.1144 who inherited the earldom of Huntingdon
through his brother William I of Scotland:
1. Malcolm IV of Scotland "The Maiden". It was Malcolm "The
travelled to Peveril Castle at Castleton, Derbyshire to
submit to Henry II in 1158, Waltheof was Malcolm IV's
great-grandfather, Malcolm was also uncle to Robert and John
Le Scot. Plantagenet Somerset Fry11 states that Malcolm
ceded Norhumbria, Cumberland and Westmoreland
to Henry II in 1157 in exchange for the earldom of
2. William I King of Scotland "The Lion" married Ermengarde
de Beaumont 1168 Woodstock Palace, Oxon.
3. Ada de Huntingdon, Princesss of Scotland., married Floris
Count of Holland.
4. Margaret de Huntingdon of Scotland, married Henry IV De
5. Matilda, died young
6. David earl of Huntingdon b.1144, d. 17th June 1219. Yardley,
7. Marjory, married Gilchrist earl of Angus
8. Maud, died young.
David earl of Huntingdon b.1144, d.1219 married Maud Keveliock
Countess of Chester, b.1171 d.1232 daughter to Hugh de Keveliock
d. 1181, earl of
Chester. They were active during King Richard I's reign and would
have been alive on his return from his imprisonment in Austria in 1194.
In 1189 with the Scots battling the Norwegian Vikings in the Hebrides and
Argyll, Richard I recognised Scotland as an independent state in return
for cash for the third crusade. David and Maud had up to seven children.
[See also Loxley
and Earl Huntington].
Maud de Kevelioch/Keveliock was the eldest of four other siblings,
Hawise de Keveliock, Rannulf Blundeville of Chester, b. ca.1172
d.1232, Adeliz de Keveliock and Agnes de Keveliock. Their father was the
3rd earl of Chester, Hugh de Kevelioch was born 1147 d. 1181 at
Hugh was the son of Ranulph IV the 2nd earl of Chester b. 1100
d.1163 and Maud.
Ranulph IV was the son of Ranulph III the first earl of Chester
d. 1128, married Lucy Malet. The first earl of Chester's sister, Adeliz
married Richard FitzGilbert De Clare [Richard of Tonbridge] b. before
1100 d. 1136. Richard de Tonbridge had four children by Adeliz [FitzRichards],
the youngest of whom, Robert FitzRichard married Matilda of
Northampton de Liz[ours] d.1140.
A Matilda [Alice] de Huntingdon had married
firstly Ralph de Toni [Toney/Tonei] The Younger and secondly Robert FitzRichard
the son of Richard de Tonbridge [Kent]. Richard was a predecessor
of the Lords FitzWalter such as Sir Robert FitzWalter [d. 9th Dec.
1235] and his grandson Robert FitzWalter b. 1247.
In this way the FitzWalter name seems connected through the
earldom of Chester, the de Keveliochs' and the earldom
of Huntingdon of David and his Countess, Maud Keveliock.
1. Robert Ceann mhor Le
Scot [FitzDavid/Dunkeld], John Le Scot's older brother who apparently
did not receive the earldom held by his father Earl David. David did not
die until 1219, two years before the death his son Robert. The FitzDavid
family were active during King John's reign.
2. John Ceann mhor Le Scot[t] or FitzDavid [the second
son of David earl of Huntingdon] who was the earl of
Chester through his wife's father inherited the earldom of Huntingdon through
his father, however he was .
3. Marguerite Ceann mhor Dame of Huntingdon
married Alan of Galloway.
4. Ada Ceann mhor de Scot of Huntingdon
I De Hastings.
5. Maud Ceann mhor married John of Monmouth.
6. Isabella Ceann mhor married Robert IV De Bruce.
7. Henry of Stirling [a natural son] b. 1193
The period in which
Munday's play is set therefore equates to the time of David de Huntingdon
and Maud de Keveliock and their Ceann mhor children in the reign of King
John. The eldest daughter of this family had a son, John Balliol, who in
1290, under Edward I's overlordship was given the kingdom of Scotland above
twelve other "Competitors" amongst whom were members of the Hastings
and the De Bruce lines. It was these families who eventually each gained
one of the three parcels of Huntingdon honour estates which were granted to
them under Henry III.
|John Hastings, First Baron Hastings, Lord Hastings created
1290. First Lord of [A]bergavenny [Wales] and Constable of Winchester Castle.
He assisted Edward I in the Scottish Wars and as a result received in 1273
a grant of lands formerly held by Lord [Fitz?] Alan]
Some claim that the earldom passed back from John Le Scot to the
ruling Scottish monarch Alexander II who married Joan the daughter of King
John ["John Lackland"or Sans Terre]. This was probably a temporary political
move by John to gain some aquiescence along the Scottish-English border.
King Alexander II died unexpectedly and was succeeded by his son King
Alexander III when he was eight years old, thus a number of Ceann
mhor regents carried the Scottish nation.
However in 1286 Alexander the III on a stormy night set out from
Edinburgh against all advice to see his true love. He crossed the River
Forth by ferry but at Burntisland in Fife his horse faltered and he was
pitched over a cliff. There appears no record that Alexander III was ever
granted the earldom of Huntingdon. It may have ceased with his father Alexander
II, however this unfortunate death created a quandry, for Alexander III's
grand-daughter, Margaret "The Fair Maid of Norway who was his heiress
was only aged nine. She died at sea on her return to England from Norway
to marry Edward of Caernarvon, the first prince of Wales [later Edward
II]. This marriage, if it had been effected would have welded England,
Scotland, Wales and Norway together.
This second tragedy led to the formation of the"Thirteen Competitors"
of whom one was chosen by Edward I, namely the supplicant John Balliol
who descended from one of the three daughters of Earl David. This caused
resentment in the de Bruce family who had not been chosen, even though they
had a good claim through another of Earl David's daughters, Isabella Ceann
mhor and had been promised the kingship if Alexander II had not had a son.
The Scottish Wars which erupted with England during Edward I's
reign led to Edward granting the earldom of Huntingdon to William Fiennes
who had assisted Edward in his Scottish Wars. This earl Anglicised his
name to Clinton after the family seat, Climpton in Oxfordshire. This
moved the title away from the male Scottish line of descent back to an
Anglo-Norman one. After the death of Fiennes it would not be until Henry
VIII's time that the title to the earldom would be revived in a decendant
beneficiary of the breakup of the Huntingdon honour, Lord George Hastings
earl of Huntingdon.
Here then we have fertile
ground for the basis of Munday's play. The swinging pendulum for the title
earl of Huntingdon from Anglo-Norman to Anglo-Norman-Scottish and then
back to Anglo-Norman ownership, with dispossession of the title earl of
Huntingdon & the lands in the honour. The names Richard, Robert [contracted
to Robin perhaps, yet the name Robin is also a French-Norman surname with
its own coat of Arms], Matilda/Maud, FitzWalter [phonetically FitzWater,
given by Munday as the true name of Maid Marian], Rannulf [Randolf/Ranulf]
earl of Chester mirror the play. In addition we have the descending line
of the last English earl, [replaced by a Norman and then a Scot] who was
executed in1076 by the great Norman overlord himself, William The Conqueror.
Waltheof's death was recognised as a huge loss to the English cause and
no doubt would have been made the subject of many clandestinely performed
ballads. To the first written reference of a Robin Hode in 13772
we must wait a long time. Any dispossession begins to look distinctly Anglo-Scottish.
See Hood Statistics
Is this the mould in which Robin Hood is cast
and used as the basis for Munday's play?
¤ Roger mentioned
here is Roger de Busli [Terra Rogerii De Bvsli]
# Certainly it was common practice to inter-marry with the
enemy. Earlier the betrothal of St. Margaret of England, the sister
to Edgar the Aethling, to Malcolm Ceann mhor [Canmore] III ,
King of Scotland helped to influence the Scottish Church and Court. [See
I Malcolm's son]
*Matilda/Mathilda [Fr.] ~'Maudtilda' = Maud
[Eng.] = Maund; all seem to be synonymous.
Fitz - refers to the latin Fili or "family of". Some have
tried to equate the affix, Fitz to some form of illegitimacy in the
ruling class, which would indicate some "royal blood flowed in their veins"
and was therefore something to be coveted.
EARLS OF CHESTER.
1. Dugdale, William. Antiquities of Yorkshire.
2. Langlands,William. Piers Plowman,[ed.W. Skeat], London,
3. Siward &
Waltheof, earls of Huntingdon
4. Waltheof Siwardson
6. Waltheof II
8. Paul Mc Bride's
9. Speed, John, The Counties of Britain, 1610.
10. Andrews, Allen, Kings & Queens of England & Scotland,
11. Fry, Plantagenet, Somerset, Kings & Queens, Dorling
12. Stringer, K.J., Earl David of Huntingdon 1152-1219, Edinburgh
13. Savage, Anne, The AngloSaxon Chronicles, Phoebe Phillips/Heineman,
14. Graham Kirkby's "Robin Hood Bold Outlaw of
15. Whitelock Dorothy, The Beginnings of English Society, Penguin,
Copyright © Tim Midgley, April 2002, revised