Ellie Wood Keith Genealogy

Hugh (le Gros) (the Wolf) d\'Avranches, 1st Earl of Chester

Hugh (le Gros) (the Wolf) d\'Avranches, 1st Earl of Chester

Male Abt 1047 - 1101  (~ 54 years)

Personal Information    |    Media    |    Sources    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name Hugh (le Gros) (the Wolf) d\'Avranches 
    Suffix 1st Earl of Chester 
    Born Abt 1047 
    Gender Male 
    History Hugh \'le Gros\' d\'Avranches was born about 1047, the son of Richard Le Goz, vicomte d\'Avranches. From his father he inherited a large estate, not just in Avranchin but scattered throughout western Normandy.

    Hugh became an important councillor to William, duke of Normandy. His father contributed sixty ships to the invasion of England, and Hugh is generally supposed to have fought at the Battle of Hastings, when he would have been only 19 years old. His father remained in Normandy to protect the duchy.

    After William became king of England, Hugh was given the command of Tutbury Castle in Staffordshire, but in 1071 he was promoted to become earl of Chester and given palatine powers \'to hold as freely by the Sword as the king himself held the Kingdom of England by the Crown.\' Given Cheshire\'s position on the Welsh border he was to function as the main bulwark against the Welsh. Tutbury with its surrounding lands was passed to Henri de Ferrières, sire de Ferrières et Chambrais.

    In 1082 Hugh succeeded to the title of Vicomte d\'Avranches. He founded the abbeys of St. Sever in Normandy and St. Werburgh at Chester, as well as endowing that of Whitby in Yorkshire.

    Hugh remained loyal to King William II during the rebellion of 1088, and would serve as one of the principal councillors of King Henry I.

    Hugh spent much of his time fighting with his neighbours in Wales. Together with his cousin Robert of Rhuddlan he subdued a good part of northern Wales. Initially Robert of Rhuddlan held north-east Wales as a vassal of Hugh. However in 1081 Gruffydd ap Cynan, king of Gwynedd, was captured by treachery at a meeting near Corwen. Gruffydd was imprisoned by Hugh in a castle at Chester, but it was Robert who took over his kingdom, holding it directly from the king. When Robert was killed by a Welsh raiding party in 1093 Hugh took over these lands, becoming ruler of most of North Wales, but he lost Anglesey and much of the rest of Gwynedd in the Welsh revolt of 1094, led by Gruffydd ap Cynan, who had escaped from captivity.

    In the summer of 1098 Hugh joined with Hugues de Montgommery, earl of Shrewsbury, in an attempt to recover his losses in Gwynedd. Gruffydd ap Cynan retreated to Anglesey, but then was forced to flee to Ireland when a fleet he had hired from the Danish settlement in Ireland changed sides. The situation was changed by the arrival of a Norwegian fleet under the command of Magnus III Berrfott, king of Norway, who attacked the Norman forces near the eastern end of the Menai Straits. Hugues de Montgommery was killed by an arrow said to have been shot by Magnus himself. The Normans were obliged to evacuate Anglesey, and the following year Gruffydd returned from Ireland to take possession again. Hugh d\'Avranches apparently made an agreement with him and did not try to recover these lands.

    Due to his gluttony, Hugh became so fat that he could hardly walk, earning him the nickname of \'le Gros\' (the fat). He would also earn the nickname \'Lupus\' (wolf) for his savage ferocity against the Welsh.

    Hugh married Ermentrude de Clermont, daughter of Hugues de Clermont dit de Mouchy and Marguerite de Montdidier. Their son and heir Richard died without legitimate issue. Hugh\'s illegitimate children included Othuer, Robert and Geva, of whom Othuer and Geva would have progeny.

    On 23 July 1101 Hugh became a monk, and he died four days later, being buried in the cemetery of the abbey of St. Werburgh. His body was later moved by his nephew Ranulph de Meschines, vicomte de Bayeux, and reburied in the chapter house. Hugh was succeeded as earl of Chester by his son Richard, who married Matilda de Blois, a grand-daughter of William the Conqueror. Both Richard and Matilda died in the White Ship disaster of 1120, and Richard was succeeded as earl of Chester by his cousin Ranulph de Meschines.  [1
    Died 23 Jul 1101  St. Werburg\'s, Chester Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I2860  Ellie Wood Keith
    Last Modified 4 Apr 2018 

    Father Richard Le Goz, Vicomte d\'Avranches,   b. Abt 1020,   d. 1082  (Age ~ 62 years) 
    Relationship putative 
    Mother NN,   b. Abt 1032 
    Relationship putative 
    Family ID F1873  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    +1. Geva of Chester,   d. Aft 1144
    Last Modified 4 Apr 2018 
    Family ID F1872  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos

    White Ship disaster
    White Ship disaster
    was a vessel that sank in the English Channel near the Normandy coast off Barfleur, on 25 November 1120. Only one of those aboard survived.[1] Those who drowned included William Adelin, the only legitimate son and heir of King Henry I of England, his half-sister Matilda, and his half-brother Richard. William Adelin\'s death led to a succession crisis and a period of civil war in England known as the Anarchy.

  • Sources 
    1. [S64] Genealogics, Leo Van de Pas, http://www.genealogics.org/getperson.php?personID=I00330758&tree=LEO.