Richard de Normandie, I

Richard de Normandie, I

Male 932 - 996  (64 years)

Personal Information    |    Media    |    Notes    |    Sources    |    Event Map    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name Richard de Normandie 
    Birth 28 Aug 932  Fecamp, Normandie, France Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2, 3, 4
    Gender Male 
    Death 20 Nov 996  Fecamp, France Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2, 5
    Burial Fecamp, France Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Person ID I50862  The Hennessee Family
    Last Modified 24 Oct 2019 

    Father William of Normandy, I, Duke of Normandy,   b. ~893, Normandy, France Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 17 Dec 942, Piquigny, France Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Mother Sprota,   b. 0911, Bretagne, France Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 0940 (Age ~ 29 years) 
    Marriage Y  [5
    Residence (Family) Rouen, France Find all individuals with events at this location  [5
    Residence (Family) Bayeux, France Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    Family ID F18989  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Gonor de Crepon, Duchess of Normandy,   b. 936-941, Rouen, France Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 5 Jan 1031, Normandie, France Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 90 years) 
    Marriage Y  [1, 6
     1. Richard de Normandie, II,   b. 23 Aug 963, Normandie, France Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 28 Aug 1027, Normandie, France Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 64 years)
     2. Emma of Normandy, Queen consort of England,   b. ~985, Normandie, France Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 6 Mar 1052, Winchester, Hampshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location
     3. Robert d'Evereux, Comte d'Evreux,   b. Normandie, France Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 16 Mar 1037, Seine-Inferieure, Normandy, France Find all individuals with events at this location
     4. Hawise of Normandy, Duchess of Brittany
    Family ID F18911  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart
    Last Modified 30 Apr 2023 

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBirth - 28 Aug 932 - Fecamp, Normandie, France Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDeath - 20 Nov 996 - Fecamp, France Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBurial - - Fecamp, France Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Photos
    Richard I 'the Fearless'
    Richard I "the Fearless"

  • Notes 
    • Richard I (28 August 932 – 20 November 996), also known as Richard the Fearless (French: Richard Sans-Peur; Old Norse: Jarl Richart), was the Count of Rouen or Jarl of Rouen from 942 to 996.[1] Dudo of Saint-Quentin, whom Richard commissioned to write the "De moribus et actis primorum Normanniae ducum" (Latin, "On the Customs and Deeds of the First Dukes of Normandy"), called him a Dux. However, this use of the word may have been in the context of Richard's renowned leadership in war, and not as a reference to a title of nobility.[2][3] Richard either introduced feudalism into Normandy or he greatly expanded it. By the end of his reign, most important Norman landholders held their lands in feudal tenure.[4]

      Richard was born to William Longsword, princeps (chieftain or ruler)[5] of Normandy, and Sprota.[1] His mother was a Breton concubine captured in war and bound to William by a more danico marriage.[6] He was also the grandson of the famous Rollo. William was told of the birth of a son after the battle with Riouf and other Viking rebels, but his existence was kept secret until a few years later when William Longsword first met his son Richard. After kissing the boy and declaring him his heir, William sent Richard to be raised in Bayeux.[7] Richard was about ten years old when his father was killed on 17 December 942.[1] After William was killed, Sprota became the wife of Esperleng, a wealthy miller. Rodulf of Ivry was their son and Richard's half-brother.[8]

      With the death of Richard's father in 942, King Louis IV of France installed the boy, Richard, in his father's office. Under the influence of Arnulf I, Count of Flanders the King took him into Frankish territory[9]:32–4 and placing him in the custody of the count of Ponthieu before the King reneged and seized the lands of the Duchy of Normandy.[10] He then split up the Duchy, giving its lands in lower Normandy to Hugh the Great. Louis IV thereafter kept Richard in close confinement at Lãaon,[11] but the youth escaped from imprisonment[9]:36–7 with assistance of Osmond de Centville, Bernard de Senlis (who had been a companion of Rollo of Normandy), Ivo de Belláesme, and Bernard the Dane[12] (ancestor to the families of Harcourt and Beaumont).[a]

      In 946, at the age of 14, Richard allied himself with the Norman and Viking leaders in France and with men sent by King Harold of Denmark. A battle was fought after which Louis IV was captured. Hostages were taken and held until King Louis recognised Richard as Duke, returning Normandy to him.[9]:37–41 Richard agreed to "commend" himself to Hugh, the Count of Paris, Hugh resolved to form a permanent alliance with Richard and promised his daughter Emma, who was just a child, as a bride, the marriage would take place in 960.[9]:41–2

      Louis IV working with Arnulf I, Count of Flanders persuaded Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor to attack Richard and Hugh. The combined armies of Otto, Arnulf and Louis IV were driven from the gates of Rouen, fleeing to Amiens and being decisively defeated in 947.[9]:41–2[13] A period of peace ensued, Louis IV dying in 954, 13 year old Lothair becoming King. The middle aged Hugh appointed Richard as guardian of his 15-year-old son, Hugh Capet in 955.[9]:44

      In 962, Theobald I, Count of Blois, attempted a renewed invasion of Rouen, Richard's stronghold, but his troops were summarily routed by Normans under Richard's command, and forced to retreat before ever having crossed the Seine river.[14][15] Lothair, the king of the West Franks, was fearful that Richard's retaliation could destabilize a large part of West Francia so he stepped in to prevent any further war between the two.[16] In 987 Hugh Capet became King of the Franks.

      For the last 30 years until his death in 996 in Fâecamp, Richard concentrated on Normandy itself, and participated less in Frankish politics and its petty wars. In lieu of building up the Norman Empire by expansion, he stabilized the realm and reunited the Normans, forging the reclaimed Duchy of his father and grandfather into West Francia's most cohesive and formidable principality.[17]

      Richard was succeeded in November 996 by his 33-year-old son, Richard II, Duke of Normandy.

      Relationships with France, England and the Church
      Richard used marriage to build strong alliances. His marriage to Emma of Paris connected him directly to the House of Capet. His second wife, Gunnora, from a rival Viking group in the Cotentin, formed an alliance to that group, while her sisters formed the core group that were to provide loyal followers to him and his successors.[18]

      His daughters forged valuable marriage alliances with powerful neighboring counts as well as to the king of England.[18] Emma marrying firstly ¥thelred the Unready and after his death in 1016, the invader, Cnut the Great. Her children included three English kings, Edward the Confessor, Alfred Aetheling and with Cnut, Harthacnut so completing a major link between the Duke of Normandy and the Crown of England that would add validity to the claim by the future William the Conqueror to the throne of England.

      Richard also built on his relationship with the church, undertaking acts of piety,[19]:lv restoring their lands and ensuring the great monasteries flourished in Normandy. His further reign was marked by an extended period of peace and tranquility.[18][20]


      Richard & his children
      His first marriage in 960 was to Emma, daughter of Hugh "The Great" of France,[1][21] and Hedwig von Sachsen.[21] They were betrothed when both were very young. She died after 19 March 968, with no issue.[1]

      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 enamored with the forester's wife, Seinfreda, but she was a virtuous woman and suggested he court her unmarried sister, Gunnor, instead. Gunnor became his mistress and her family rose to prominence. Her brother, Herfast de Crepon, may have been involved in a controversial heresy trial. Gunnor was, like Richard, of Viking descent, being a Dane by blood. Richard finally married her to legitimize their children:[b]

      Richard II "the Good", Duke of Normandy[1]
      Robert, Archbishop of Rouen, Count of Evreux[1]
      Mauger, Count of Corbeil[1]
      Emma of Normandy, wife of two kings of England[1]
      Maud of Normandy, wife of Odo II of Blois, Count of Blois, Champagne and Chartres[1]
      Hawise of Normandy m. Geoffrey I, Duke of Brittany[1]
      Papia of Normandy
      Orielda (963-1031) wife of Fulk Seigneur de Guernanville, Dean of Evreax [22][23]
      Illegitimate children

      Richard was known to have had several other mistresses and had children with many of them. Known children are:

      Geoffrey, Count of Eu[1][24]
      William, Count of Eu (ca. 972-26 January 1057/58),[24] m. Lasceline de Turqueville (d. 26 January 1057/58).
      Beatrice of Normandy, Abbess of Montvilliers d.1034 m. Ebles of Turenne[1] (d.1030 (divorced)
      Possible children
      Muriella, married Tancred de Hauteville[1][25][26]
      Fressenda or Fredesenda (ca. 995-ca. 1057), second wife of Tancred de Hauteville.[1][26][27]
      Guimara (Wimarc(a)) (b. circa 986), died Abbey of Montivilliers, Seine-Inferieure, Normandy, wife of Ansfred (Ansfroi) II "le Dane" le Goz, vicomte of Exmes and Falaise, mother of Robert FitzWimarc[28]
      Richard died of natural causes in Fecamp, France, on 20 November 996.[29]

      Depictions in fiction
      The Little Duke, a Victorian juvenile novel by Charlotte Mary Yonge, is a fictionalized account of Richard's boyhood and early struggles.

      Count of Rouen
      Reign 17 December 942 – 20 November 996
      Predecessor William Longsword
      Successor Richard II
      Born 28 August 932
      Fâecamp Normandy, France
      Died 20 November 996 (aged 64)
      Fâecamp Normandy, France
      Spouse Emma of Paris
      Issue Richard II of Normandy
      Robert II (Archbishop of Rouen)
      Mauger, Count of Corbeil
      Robert Danus
      Emma of Normandy
      Maud of Normandy
      Hawise of Normandy
      Geoffrey, Count of Eu (illegitimate)
      William, Count of Eu (illegitimate)
      Beatrice of Normandy (illegitimate)
      Robert (illegitimate)
      Papia (illegitimate)
      House House of Normandy
      Father William I Longsword
      Mother Sprota

      end of biography [5]

  • Sources 
    1. [S12311] "William the Conqueror", Pedigree,

    2. [S12312] "Lineage from Charlemagne to William the Conqueror",

    3. [S12469] "Richard I of Normand", Biography,, abstracted by David A. Hennessee.

    4. [S12538] "Sprota", Biography,, by David A. Hennessee,, revisited.

    5. [S12470] "Richard I of Normandy", Biography,, abstracted by David A. Hennesse.

    6. [S12486] "Gunnora", Biography,,.