RICHARD I The Fearless. (Sans Peur).
RICHARD I, The Fearless (French, Sans Peur). Duke of Normandy.
Born in 933; son of WILLIAM I, Longsword, Duke of Normandy, and Sprota of Senlis
He was born probably between 932 and 935; he was still a boy when his father died in 942. His mother was a Breton concubine captured in war and bound to William by a Danish marriage. After William died, Sprota became the wife of Esperleng, a wealthy miller.
Duke of Normandy from 942 to 996; he is considered the first to actually have held that title. He was called Richard the Fearless .
Richard was still a boy when his father died, and so he was powerless to stop Louis IV of France when he seized Normandy. Louis kept him in confinement in his youth at Lâon, but he escaped with the assistance of Osmund de Centeville, Bernard de Senlis (who had been a companion of Rollo), Ivo de Bellèsme, and Bernard the Dane (ancestor of families of Harcourt and Beaumont). In 968, Richard agreed to "commend" himself to Hugh, Count of Paris. He then allied himself with the Norman and Viking leaders, drove Louis out of Rouen, and took back Normandy by 947. He later quarrelled with Ethelred II of England regarding viking invasions of England because Normandy had been buying up much of the stolen booty.
Richard was bilingual, having been well educated at Bayeux. He was more partial to his Norse and Danish subjects than to the French. During his reign, Normandy became completely Gallicized and Christianized. He introduced the feudal system and Normandy became one of the most thoroughly feudalized states on the continent. He carried out a major reorganization of the Norman military system, based on heavy cavalry. He also became guardian of the young Hugh, Count of Paris, on the elder Hugh's death in 956.
He married (1) Emma of Paris, daughter of Hugh the Great, Duke of the Franks and Count of Paris. They were betrothed in 960 when both were very young. She died after 966, with no issue.
According to Robert of Torigni, not long after Emma's death, Duke Richard went out hunting and stopped at the house of a local forester. He became enamoured of the forester's wife, Seinfreda, but she being a virtuous woman, suggested he court her unmarried sister, Gunnor de Crepon, instead. Gunnor became his bride, and her family rose to prominence. Her brother, Herefast de Crepon, may have been involved in a controversial heresy trial. Gunnor was, like Richard, of Norse descent, being a Dane by blood. Richard finally married her to legitimate their children.
Richard was known to have had several mistresses and produced children with many of them. Other known children are:
* Geoffrey, Count of Brionne, (b. ca. 970)
* Hawise (b. ca. 978), d. 21 Feb 1034. m. Geoffrey of Brittany, Duke of Brittany, (ca. 997), son of Conan I of Brittany, Duke of Brittany, "le Tort", and Ermengarde of Anjou.
* William d'Eu, Count d'Eu, (b. ca. 985).
He died in Fecamp, France on 20 November 996 of natural causes.
Emma of Paris
Daughter of Hugh the Great Capet, Duke of the Franks and Count of Paris. They were betrothed when both were very young. She died after 966, with no issue.
Gunnor. (Gunnora). Of Denmark. Of Crepon.
Gunnor de Crepon was born in 936; daughter of Herbastus de Crepon (Forester of Arques) and Cyrid Queen of Sweden, granddaughter of Gonnor of Danmark and Ranulf (Rainulf) de Crepon, and great-granddaughter of Gorm the Old. She married Richard I (about 957-S6)(before 961)(after 968). She died in 1031 at age 95 years.
CHILDREN of RICHARD I The Fearless and Gunnor
- RICHARD II The Good, Duke of Normandy.
- Emma, of Normandy. Born about 985. She married (1) Ethelred II, The Unready. She married (2) Cnut (Canute II), The Great on 2 JUL 1017. He died in 1035. She died in 1052.
- Robert, Archbishop of Rouen, Count of Evreux, died 1037.
- Mauger, Earl of Corbeil, died after 1033; his alleged grandson (or perhaps great-grandson) was Robert Fitzhamon, an important Anglo-Norman baron.
- Robert Danus, died between 985 and 989
- Hawise of Normandy, wife of Geoffrey I, Duke of Brittany
- Maud of Normandy, wife of Odo II of Blois, Count of Blois, Champagne and Chartres
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