Ellie Wood Keith Genealogy

Galeran IV de Beaumont, Comte de Meulan-sur-Seine, 1st Earl of Worcester

Galeran IV de Beaumont, Comte de Meulan-sur-Seine, 1st Earl of Worcester

Male 1104 - 1166  (62 years)

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  • Name Galeran IV de Beaumont 
    Suffix Comte de Meulan-sur-Seine, 1st Earl of Worcester 
    Born 1104 
    Gender Male 
    History Galeran was born in 1104, the son of Robert I de Beaumont, 1st earl of Leicester, comte de Meulan, and Elisabeth de Vermandois. He was the twin brother of Robert II de Beaumont \'Le Bossu\', 2nd earl of Leicester.

    On their father\'s death in June 1118, the twins came into the wardship of King Henry I of England. They remained in his care until late in 1120 when they were declared adult and allowed to succeed to their father\'s lands by a division already arranged between the king and their father before his death. By the arrangement, Galeran succeeded to the county of Meulan upriver on the Seine from the Normandy border, and the family\'s principal Norman honours of Beaumont and Pont Audemer. His great possessions included the forest of Brotonne, which was centred on his castle of Vatteville on the left bank of the Seine. As part of the family arrangement, Galeran also received a large estate in Dorset centred on the manor of Sturminster Marshall.

    Late in 1122 Galeran was drawn into a conspiracy with Amaury III de Montfort, comte d\'Evreux, sire de Montfort, in support of the claimant to Normandy, William Clito of Normandy, count of Flanders, son of Robert II Curthose, duke of Normandy. The king however detected the conspiracy, and Galeran and his young colleagues were caught unawares by a pre-emptive strike by the king\'s army against the rebel centre of Montfort-sur-Risle. Galeran rallied and based his resistance to the king at the castle of Brionne. In October 1123 he lost his fortress of Pont Audemer on the Norman coast in a siege, despite calling in military help from his French relations and allies. After a winter of raiding, on 25 March 1124 Galeran proceeded to the relief of his castle of Vatteville with his three brothers-in-law, Hugh de Châteauneuf, Hugues IV de Montfort and William, lord of Bréval. The returning column was intercepted by a force of knights and soldiers of Henry I\'s household between Bourgtheroulde and Boissy-le-Châtel, the royal commander being given variously as William de Tancarville or Odo Borleng. The royal household troops decisively defeated Galeran when he attempted a mounted charge at the head of his men, shooting their horses from under them. Galeran\'s remaining castles continued to resist until 16 April 1124 when Galeran was forced by the king to order his seneschal Morin du Pin to surrender them. Galeran\'s lands were seized and he was imprisoned first at Rouen, then at Bridgnorth in Shropshire and finally at Wallingford Castle.

    Galeran was released for unknown reasons in 1129. He resumed an active role at court and he and his twin brother were both present at Henry\'s deathbed. He was probably involved in the discussions of the Norman magnates in December 1135 as to who should succeed to Normandy and England.

    The accession of Stephen de Blois as king may have taken him by surprise but he had already offered his allegiance to the new king before Easter 1136. At the court he was betrothed to the king\'s infant daughter Matilde, and received the city and county of Worcester as her marriage portion. After Easter he went to Normandy, taking authority from the king to act as his lieutenant in the duchy. In September he commanded the army of Norman magnates which repelled the invasion by Geoffrey V, comte d\'Anjou et Maine, husband of Empress Matilda, daughter of Henry I. He was also able to capture the chief rebel Roger de Toeni. He remained there until the following spring and then returned to England.

    The next year he attended the king on his tour of Normandy, and crossed back to England with him at the end of the year, by which time he was beginning to undermine the previous ascendancy at the court of the bishops of Winchester and Salisbury. He and his family began to monopolise favour and patronage at Stephen\'s court and they alienated the faction headed by Robert de Caen, 1st earl of Gloucester, who in retaliation adopted the cause of his half-sister, the empress. In June 1138 Galeran was in Normandy to confront again successfully an invading Angevin army. Galeran used his extensive connections at the French court to mobilise a large force of French knights to assist him. It was probably in 1138 that he received the second title of Earl of Worcester. He founded the Cistercian abbey of Bordesley at the end of that year to mark his arrival in the county. The same year his youngest brother received the earldom of Bedford and other relations were similarly honoured.

    Before Easter 1139 Galeran was in Paris on an embassy to his cousin, the new King Louis VII of France. On his return he was the motivating force behind the overthrow of the court faction headed by the justiciar, Bishop Roger of Salisbury. The bishop and his family were arrested in June, and their wealth and many of their possessions confiscated.

    With the arrival of Robert of Gloucester in England in September 1139, the civil war between Stephen\'s and Matilda\'s supporters got under way. One of the first attacks Gloucester sponsored was an assault on Galeran\'s English base at Worcester. The city was attacked and sacked on 7 November 1139. Galeran retaliated savagely against the rebel centres of Sudfeley and Tewkesbury.

    Galeran was present at the Battle of Lincoln in 1141. He was one of the royalist earls who fled when they saw the battle was lost. Galeran escaped, but the king was captured and imprisoned at Bristol. Galeran fought on for several months, probably basing himself at Worcester, where he had to deal with the defection of his sheriff, William de Beauchamp. It may have been at this time that he seized and fortified the Herefordshire Beacon, for the bishop of Hereford complained of his lordship of this castle in 1148. At last late in the summer of 1141 Galeran gave up the struggle as news reached him that his Norman lands were being taken over by the invading Angevin army. He surrendered to the Empress Matilda, and had to accept her appropriation of the abbey of Bordesley as it had been founded on a royal estate. However, once in Normandy, Galeran was accepted at the court of Geoffrey of Anjou, and his lands in England and Normandy were confirmed to him. His first engagement, to the king\'s daughter Matilda, had ended with the child\'s death in London in 1137. Around the end of 1142, Galeran married Agnès de Montfort, dame de Gournay-sur-Marne, daughter of Amaury III de Montfort, comte d\'Evreux, sire de Montfort, and Agnès de Garlande. As a result of the marriage he obtained estates in the Pays de Caux and the lordship of Gournay-sur-Marne in the île de France. Galeran had already obtained his mother\'s marriage portion of the honour of Elbeuf on the Seine on her death in or around 1139. Despite the political reverses in 1141, Galeran was considerably wealthier at the end of the year than he had been at the beginning. He and Agnès had two sons and a daughter who would all have progeny.

    Galeran served with Geoffrey of Anjou at the siege of Rouen in 1143/4. During it he captured and burned the suburb of Emendreville and the Church of St. Sever, where many perished in the flames. He consolidated his position as a leader of the Norman nobility by a formal treaty with his cousin Robert du Neubourg, seneschal of Normandy. However, Galeran seems to have turned his mind to the French court at this time. In Easter 1146 he was at Vézelay for the preaching of the Second Crusade and attended the great assembly of magnates at Paris from April to June 1147 to meet the pope and Louis VII. On 29 June he was joint leader of the Anglo-Norman crusaders on their rendezvous with Louis VII at Worms. He accompanied the crusade to Syria and its unfortunate conclusion before Damascus. He seems to have left Palestine before King Louis, taking the sea voyage home. He was shipwrecked somewhere on his return, perhaps on the coast of Provence. He promised to build an abbey of Cistercians if he survived the wreck, and in due course he built the abbey of St. Mary de Voto (of the Vow) or Le Valasse in fulfilment of his vow.

    Galeran\'s great influence in Normandy survived until 1151, but the new regime of Duke Henry was not sympathetic to him. He made the fatal error of temporising with the Capetian court and assisting the campaigns of Louis VII, his overlord for Meulan. Though his support gained Galeran the hugely profitable wardship of the great county of Vermandois during the minority of the young Ralph II, his first cousin, it also led to his downfall. In the second half of 1153 he was ambushed by his nephew and enemy Robert de Montfort, who held him captive while his Norman and English estates were stripped from Galeran by Duke Henry\'s friends and officers. The earldom of Worcester was suppressed and his Worcestershire castle destroyed in 1155. Although Galeran was released, his power in Normandy was broken, and an attempt to reclaim Montfort-sur-Risle from his nephew Robert de Montfort was a humiliating failure. Galeran was an outsider at the court of Henry II, and between 1160 and 1162 he lost his Norman lands and castles when he supported Louis VII against Henry II. His last years were eked out as a landowner and justice in the duchy. The last notice of his activities is a settlement of his affairs relating to his priory of Gournay-sur-Marne around the end of 1165. Twenty days before his death he entered the abbey of St. Peter of Préaux, the ancestral abbey of his family south of Pont Audemer in Normandy, and died as monk there on 9 or 10 April 1166. He was buried in its chapter house alongside several other members of his dynasty.

    Galeran was an important twelfth-century character in ways other than political. He was a literate man educated in the liberal arts and philosophy. The elegy to him by Stephen de Rouen, monk of Bec-Hellouin, reveals that he composed Latin verse. In 1142 he tells us that he personally researched the deeds in the archive of Meulan priory before confirming its possessions. Like his twin brother, he also seems to have been an assiduous writer of letters and a number of them survive. He was also a literary patron, as Geoffrey of Monmouth dedicated the earliest edition of his _History of the Kings of Britain_ to him in 1136.

    Galeran founded Cistercian abbeys at Bordesley, Worcestershire (1130), and Le Valasse, Normandy (c.1150), though in both cases the abbeys were taken over by the king. He was a generous patron of the two ancestral Benedictine monasteries of Préaux (St. Peter for men and St. Leger for women). He was also accepted as advocate of the abbey of Bec-Hellouin, and was patron of its priory at Meulan, founding another at Beaumont-le-Roger. He founded a Benedictine priory at Gournay-sur-Marne. He endowed a major hospital at Pont Audemer, which still survives.  [1
    Died Apr 1166  Preaux Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I3110  Ellie Wood Keith
    Last Modified 19 Apr 2018 

    Father Robert I De Beaumont, 1st Earl of Leicester, Comte de Meulan,   b. Abt 1046,   d. 5 Jun 1118  (Age ~ 72 years) 
    Relationship putative 
    Mother Elisabeth (Isabel) De Vermandois,   b. About 1081,   d. Abt 31 Mar 1131  (Age ~ 50 years) 
    Relationship putative 
    Married 1096 
    Family ID F1403  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Agnes de Montfort, Dame de Gournay-sur-Mame,   d. 10 Dec 1181 
    Married 1142 
    +1. Isabelle de Meulan,   b. Abt 148,   d. 10 May 1220  (Age ~ 107 years)
    Last Modified 19 Apr 2018 
    Family ID F2037  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos

  • Sources 
    1. [S64] Genealogics, Leo Van de Pas, http://www.genealogics.org/getperson.php?personID=I00164681&tree=LEO.