Thursday 18 January 2018

Herleve (Herleva) de Falaise

Herleva, the daughter of a tanner from Falaise in Normandy, was born in 1010. When she was sixteen gave birth to a son called Richard. The boy's father was Gilbert, Count of Brionne, one of the most powerful landowners in Normandy. As Herleva was not married to Gilbert, the boy became known as Richard Fitz Gilbert. The term 'Fitz' was used to show that Richard was the illegitimate son of Gilbert.

The following year, Herleva became the mistress of Robert, Duke of Normandy. In 1028, Herleva and Robert had a son who eventually became known as William, Duke of Normandy. Instead of marrying Herleva, Robert persuaded her to marry his friend, Herluin of Conteville. After marriage, Herleva had three more children, Odo, Robert and Muriel. Later the sons became known as Odo of Bayeux and Robert of Mortain.

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