Pearsalls Norman Pedigree

Gilbert de Corbeil (surnamed Count of Corbeil by courtesy)

Gilbert de Corbeil married Isabella Lupus (descendant of Rognvald The Wolf and his son Hrollauf, son of the slave woman) ) She was the daughter of Richard de Goz, de Avranches, and his wife Emma de Conteville, half-sister by the same mother (by her second husband Herlwin) of William Duke of Normandy, surnamed the Conqueror. Gilbert probably abducted her as was the custom. Family tradition tells that her parents disapproved.

Gilbert was born in either 1049 or 1052. His wife was born in 1061. Their children were educated in Northumberland in "the best schools in Europe, those intended for Norsemen." (Ibid p. 152)

Isabella and Gilbert met at the time of the migration to the vicinity of Stone Priory. Isabella's father, Hugh became Earl of Chester.

Gilbert was about four or five years old when his grandfather Werlac was banished from Normandy and his estates of Corbeil and Mortaigne confiscated. Since his mother was a member of the Bernician nobility, she had lands in Bernicia from her dowry. Gilbert grew up there. It is ironic that the father of his future wife was one of the conspirators who dispossessed Werlac and thus took the great wealth enjoyed by the family to that time away from their descendants. Gilbert de Corbeil was the son of Regnault de Corbeil.

Regnault de Corbeil (surnamed Count of Corbeil by courtesy)

He was a favorite of King Philip I of France. He used his seal on the act of dedication of a gift in 1067. He was buried in the church of the monks of Vincennes in a tomb of black marble which had been placed in the nave of the church of the convent. He was the son of Guillaume.

Guillaume, (surnamed Werlac) Count of Corbeil and Mortaigne and Count of Banastre in Calabria in Italy.

Mention was made of him the first time in about 1040 in a charter of an abbey in Corbeil. (Ibid. P.121)

Shortly after 1050 Werlac was dispossessed by Duke William of his lands and exiled. The Catholic Church could have backed him as a more legitimate heir to the title. And Duke William was not yet "The Conqueror".

It appears that a false charge of sedition was brought against him by Robert de Avranches and his brother Robert the Bigod. The quote they falsely attributed to Werlac sounded like a plan to take over Normandy. Werlac was seventy years old at this time. The exile left him as a traveling knight with only a squire as his attendant. The conspirators did not get his wealth. Instead, that went to the Duke's brother.

Duke William invited the elderly Werlac to visit as his beloved cousin. He was accompanied by one squire for this short visit. William then banished him beyond the border of Normandy and cast him penniless into France. The same evening the Duke's brother took possession of Werlac's estate and all it contained. Without information of what had been arranged with the King of France, Werlac and his man continued on horseback through France and crossed the Alps to Apulia to stay with Robert Guiscard where he was received with enthusiasm for his gifts of statesmanship, wisdom and experience.

Apulia was largely in the control of Norman families who had journeyed there as pilgrims and had seized the opportunity to set up their own republic with twelve Counts elected by popular suffrage. Amalfi was their capital.

Guiscard gave Werlac the manor of Banestere in Calabria. Some of his descendants still use the name Banistre to this day. His son returned to France and succeeded in a military career with the king.

Werlac became more and more homesick. With the permission of Duke William he went back to France and settled in Corbeil and repaired (in some measure) his fortunes.

Duke William allowed the aged man to return to die in the Church of St. Maur in Corbeil . He died May 27th 1067.

"While Guillaume or Werlac, after his return, was in Corbeil the inhabitants were greatly troubled by the plague caused by the intemperance of the season, which injured the crops and brought the famine. This followed so closely after the ravages of the pest of 1060 which had depopulated La Breipaque, the birthplace of St. Jean Baptist, that it added very much to the sufferings of the people. Werlac devoted so much of his time to visiting the sick and gave so freely of his private means to the poor and so feelingly extended his sympathy and encouragement in this time of great adversity that even to this day in Corbeil his name is spoken with veneration and respect. [Society Historie & Archeologique de Corbeil de Etamps et du Huipoix, bulletins 10 and 5] " (Ibid p.128) He was the son of Mauger de Normandii.

Mauger de Normandii
Mauger married Germaine de Corbeil . He was the second son of Richard I surnamed the Fearless, Duke of Normandy. Germaine de Corbeil brought Corbeil as her dowery.

Richard I, Duke of Normandy
Born 932. Died 996.
He was surnamed "The Fearless" and reigned for fifty three years - beginning at age ten. He built a castle in Rouen which stood on the site of the "halles" or markets. It was called Vielle Tour and was the seat of the Norman sovereigns. It was demolished in 1204. He established the first mint at Rouen. In his day the majority of citizens were worshippers of Odin. He married Esme, a Christian noblewoman related closely to the throne of France.

They had no children. After her death, he married his Danish wife Gunnor in the rites of the church. Their daughter Emma de Normandii married Aethelred, King of England in 1002. By this first marriage she became the mother of Edward the Confessor. By her second marriage she became the mother of King Hardicanute. His father was William Longsword, son of Rollo, grandson of Rognvald the Wolf.

Stories of the ancestors of this time come from the *chartularies of Kenilworth and of Stone Priory in Staffordshire. They are the source of the Norse and Northumbiran stories. It was from the old Northumbrian families that the story of Robin Hood first came.

"I ken rymes of Robyn Hood
and Randolf, Earl of Chester."

This is the oldest known mention of Robin Hood. The nobleman mentioned was a special friend of Fulke Fitz Warine.

Another instance, John de Fordun, who died in 1386 describes Robin Hood as a very religious sort of person, who frequented Harnisdale. Then Andrew Wyntoun, about 1420 says:

"Lytell Ihon and Robyne Hude
Wathmen (1) ware commendyd gude;
In Yngilwode and Barnysdale
Thai oysed (2) all this tyme thare trawale (3).
(1. Read sportsmen; 2.used, frequented; 3. Travel, work, labor)"

Robin Hood was no myth, but there was a succession of them. The first being one Dan Waryn of Northumberland. There was a Robin Hood of Redesdale in Northumberland. These first outlaws were local nobles hounded from their homes by the men of the Conqueror and forced to live in the forest until a place could be found for them in the feudal society as an ally or vassal of another noble.

*Chartulary, chartularies pl. Woodbox sized container made of wood or metal with lid. It was used to contain family documents, letters and records.


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