Friday, January 25, 2013

de Tancarville

The muse prompted me to write about the first file I opened in today. It is a random pick. That person is – “ta-da”  

William (or Guillaume) de Tancarville, Chamberlain of Normandy.  

This well-favored Frenchman breathed his first Norman air in 1070 just four years after the Norman invasion of England – a major, world-changing event. He died in Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire, England in 1129 at 59 as a well-entrenched member of the English/Norman nobility.

As noted on in reference to the de Tancarville’s in England (after 1066): “[The name de Tancarville was] first found in Lincolnshire where they were anciently seated as Tenants-in-Chief and Lords of many Manors. This family has to be considered one of the premier Norman families of all time.”
Borrowing from Wikipedia we learn that Normandy is famous in our day for its beaches where allied troops invaded in their push against the Nazi’s in World War II. We know that part of Normandy, which is approximately 5% of France, is facing the English Channel and is known for its seafood. The lower part of Normandy is known for agriculture with products such as apple cider and apple brandy, cattle and horses.

 Normandy Flag
Tancarville Coat of Arms
 Tancarville is a village in Normandy surrounded by woodland and on the banks of the river Seine. The 11th Century Château de Tancarville, has been designated Monument historique since 1862. The walls were probably new and still rising during William’s childhood. He took over the title of Chamberlain from his father, Ralph “Raoul” de Tancarville.

Château deTancarville
Tancarville park

According to the Chamberlain is ‘an official who manages the living quarters of a sovereign or a member of the nobility’ and is considered a high official of a royal court.

William’s father Raoul de Tancarville was the Chamberlain of William the Conqueror, a very high office indeed. Raoul took part in the conquest of England in 1066 right alongside the Conqueror.

Later, as confirmed by charter to King Henry I, in 1114 William de Tancarville donated the abbey of St Georges de Bocherville to the king. I find it comforting that somewhere in time our family had no money worries what so ever. Of course, after the pillage of England this was probably an act of contrition. It is also recorded that William ‘requested’ of his in-laws the donation of the abbey of Sainte-Barbe. And King Henry II confirmed the donation of Savigny abbey by William. They obviously had abbeys to spare.

William married well. His wife, Maud “Mahaut” d’Arques was descended from every royal family imaginable and was no doubt a good match and a step up the nobility ladder for the de Tancarville family. Certainly Mahaut held the key to a bright future.

Arques Coat of Arms
Arques Coat of Arms

Lately we have been reading about our great grandfather William Marshall.

“As a younger son of a minor nobleman, William had no lands or fortune to inherit, and had to make his own way in life. Around the age of twelve, when his father's career was faltering, he was sent to Normandy to be brought up in the household of William de Tancarville, a great magnate and cousin of young William's mother. Here he began his training as a knight.”

Those dates don't line up correctly as the records show that William de Tancarville died before William Marshall was born. However, it was the Tancarville estate where Sir William Marshall received his early training.

I’ve not found exactly how William de Tancarville died. He was at Kenilworth Castle which was founded in the early 1120s by Geoffrey de Clinton, Lord Chamberlain to Henry I and grandson of William de Tancarville. William died in 1129 and Geoffrey died in 1133. Geoffrey was losing favor with King Henry I. His rival was Roger de Beaumont, the Earl of Warwick and owner of the neighboring Warwick Castle was gaining favor with King Henry. Possibly William was defending his grandson's castle.

                                          Kenilworth Castle