Sunday 29 October 2017

Robert de Bellême 

Born in c1056 to Roger II de Montgomery, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury ( - 1094) and Mabel de Bellême ( - 1079), in his lifetime, Robert was known as Seigneur de Bellême, Seigneur de Montgomery, Viscount of the Hiemois, 3rd Earl of Shrewsbury, Count of Ponthieu, and Robert the Devil due to his brutality.

Orderic Vitalis called him “grasping and cruel, an implacable prosecutor of the Church of God and the Poor ... unequalled for his iniquity in the whole of Christendom.”

He was knighted in 1073. In 1077, Robert took part in the 1077 revolt of Robert Curtose (1054 – 1134) against Duke William of Normandy (1024 – 1087), and in 1088 against William Rufus (1056 – 1100), aimed at putting Curtose on the Throne, defending Rochester Castle. After the rebellion, he returned to Normandy, where he was imprisoned by Bishop Odo of Bayeux, who thought he was preparing to overthrow him. By 1090 he was released and back in favour with Curtose, helping him put down a revolt in Rouen, throwing many into dungeons.

Robert married Agnes of Ponthieu (c1080 – after 1105), later imprisoning her. They had one child, William III Talvas of Ponthieu.

When Henry I Beauclerc (1068 – 1135) became king, Robert again took sides with Curtose's claim to the throne. In 1106 he was one of Curtose's commanders at the Battle of Tinchebrai, fleeing as Henry won. Robert took part in other rebellions against Henry. He was imprisoned by Henry in 1112, for failing to attend the royal court after being summoned three times, and by acting against Henry's interests by supporting the King of France. He died, still in prison after 1130.

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