The World of Grandpa Don

The Royal Line
Page Four
The Normans

This page traces our ancestors from William the Conquor back in time to Rolo and the Vikings in France

This line of ancestors was confirmed in May of 2011. It consists of ancestors of my 9th Great Grandfather Gen James Cudworth

This is their story, as I know it.

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For a detailed chart see:
Pedigree Chart William the Conqueror



The Normans

The Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They were descended from Norse Viking conquerors of the territory and the native population of mostly Frankish and Gallo-Roman stock. Their identity emerged initially in the first half of the 10th century, and gradually evolved over succeeding centuries.

On Page Two we ended with Henry I of England and here we pick up with His father, William the Conquer and continue back in time to his (and our) ancestor, Rolo The Viking


William I (Abt 1028– 9 September 1087), also known as William the Conqueror, was the first Norman King of England from Christmas 1066 until his death. He was also Duke of Normandy from 3 July 1035 until his death, under the name William II. Before his conquest of England, he was known as William the Bastard because of the illegitimacy of his birth.

To press his claim to the English crown, William invaded England in 1066, leading an army of Normans, Bretons, Flemings, and Frenchmen (from Paris and Île-de-France) to victory over the English forces of King Harold Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings, and suppressed subsequent English revolts in what has become known as the Norman Conquest.

William is known to have had nine children, though Matilda, a tenth daughter who died a virgin, appears in some sources.
1.Robert Curthose (1054–1134), Duke of Normandy, married Sybil of Conversano, daughter of Geoffrey of Conversano.
2.Richard (c. 1055 – c. 1081), Duke of Bernay, killed by a stag in New Forest.
3.Adeliza (or Alice) (c. 1055 – c. 1065), reportedly betrothed to Harold II of England.
4.Cecilia (or Cecily) (c. 1056–1126), Abbess of Holy Trinity, Caen.
5.William "Rufus" (c. 1056–1100), King of England, killed by an arrow in New Forest.
6.Agatha (c. 1064–1079), betrothed to Alfonso VI of Castile.
7.Constance (c. 1066–1090), married Alan IV Fergent, Duke of Brittany; poisoned, possibly by her own servants.
8.Adela (c. 1067–1137), married Stephen, Count of Blois.
9.Henry "Beauclerc" (1068–1135), King of England, married Edith of Scotland, daughter of Malcolm III of Scotland. His second wife was Adeliza of Leuven.


Robert the Magnificent (22 June 1000 – 3 July 1035), also called Robert the Devil, was the Duke of Normandy from 1027 until his death. Owing to uncertainty over the numbering of the Dukes of Normandy he is usually called Robert I, but sometimes Robert II with his ancestor Rollo as Robert I. He was the son of Richard II of Normandy and Judith, daughter of Conan I of Rennes. He was the father of William the Conqueror.

By his mistress, Herleva of Falaise, he was father of the future William I of England (1028–1087). He also had an illegitimate daughter, but the only chronicler to explicitly address the issue, Robert of Torigny, contradicts himself, once indicating that she had a distinct mother from William, elsewhere stating that they shared the same mother. This daughter, Adelaide of Normandy (1030 – c. 1083), married three times: to Enguerrand II, Count of Ponthieu, Lambert II, Count of Lens, and Odo II of Champagne.

After making his illegitimate son William his heir, he set out on pilgrimage to Jerusalem. According to the Gesta Normannorum Ducum he travelled by way of Constantinople, reached Jerusalem, and died on the return journey at Nicaea on 2 July 1035. Some sources attribute his death to poison and date it to 1 or 3 July. His son William, aged about eight, succeeded him.


Richard II (born 23 August 970, in Normandy, France – 28 August 1026, in Normandy), called the Good, was the eldest son and heir of Richard I the Fearless and Gunnora.

Richard attempted to improve relations with England through his sister Emma of Normandy's marriage to King Ethelred, but she was strongly disliked by the English. However, this connection later gave his grandson, William the Conqueror, part of his claim to the throne of England.

He married firstly (996) Judith (982-1017), daughter of Conan I of Brittany, by whom he had the following issue:
Richard (c. 1002/4), duke of Normandy
Alice (c. 1003/5), married Renaud I, Count of Burgundy
Robert (c. 1005/7), duke of Normandy
William (c. 1007/9), monk at Fécamp, d. 1025
Eleanor (c. 1011/3), married to Baldwin IV, Count of Flanders
Matilda (c. 1013/5), nun at Fecamp, d. 1033

Secondly he married Poppa of Envermeu, by whom he had the following issue:
Mauger (c. 1019), Archbishop of Rouen
William (c. 1020/5), count of Arques


Richard I of Normandy (born 28 August 933, in Fécamp Normandy, France died 20 November 996, in Fécamp) was the Duke of Normandy from 942 to 996; he is considered the first to actually have held that title. He was called Richard the Fearless count of Arques.

He was born to William I of Normandy, ruler of Normandy, and Sprota. He was still a boy of around 10 years of age when his father died on 17 December 942. His mother was a Breton concubine captured in war and bound to William by a Danish marriage. After William died, Sprota became the wife of Esperleng, a wealthy miller; Rodulf of Ivry was their son and Richard's half-brother.

He married 1st (960) Emma (not to be confused with Emma of France), daughter of Hugh "The Great" of France, and Hedwiga de Sachsen. They were betrothed when both were very young. She died 19 Mar 968, with no issue.

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 enamoured of the forester's wife, Seinfreda, but she being a virtuous woman, suggested he court her unmarried sister, Gunnor, instead. Gunnor became his mistress, and her family rose to prominence. Her brother, Herefast de Crepon, may have been involved in a controversial heresy trial. Gunnor was, like Richard, of Norse descent, being a Dane by blood. Richard finally married her to legitimize their children:
Richard II "the Good", Duke of Normandy (996), died 1026.
Robert, Archbishop of Rouen, Count of Evreux, died 1037.
Mauger, Earl of Corbeil, died after 1033
Robert Danus, died between 985 and 989
another son
Emma of Normandy (c.985-1052) wife of two kings of England.
Maud of Normandy, wife of Odo II of Blois, Count of Blois, Champagne and Chartres
Hawise of Normandy (b. ca. 978), d. 21 February 1034. m. Geoffrey I, Duke of Brittany
Orielda of France (c.936-1031)

Richard was known to have had several other mistresses and produced children with many of them. Known children are:
Geoffrey, Count of Eu, (b. ca. 970)
William, Count of Eu (ca. 972-26 January 1057/58)[2] m. Leseline de Turqueville (d. 26 January 1057/58).
Beatrice of Normandy, Abbess of Montvilliers d.1034 m. Ebles of Turenne (d.1030 (divorced)
"Papia" m. Gilbert de St Valery (based on a claim his wife as a daughter of "Richard of Normandy" -- the only Richard who chronologically fits is Richard I. Name is not confirmed in any source. ref)

Richard may have had at least two more illegitimate children:
Fressenda (ca. 995-ca. 1057)


William I Longsword  (893 – 17 December 942) was the second Duke of Normandy from his father's death until his own assassination. The title dux (duke) was not in use at the time and has been applied to early Norman rulers retroactively; William actually used the title comes (count).

He was ambushed and killed by followers of Arnulf on 17 December 942 at Picquigny on the Somme while at a meeting to settle their differences.

His son Richard the Fearless, child of his first wife, Sprota, succeeded him.


Rollo (c. 846 – c. 931), baptized Robert and so sometimes numbered Robert I to distinguish him from his descendants, was a Norse nobleman of Norwegian or Danish descent and founder and first ruler of the Viking principality in what soon became known as Normandy. His descendants were the Dukes of Normandy.

The name "Rollo" is a Latin translation due to the clerics from the Old Norse name Hrólfr, modern Scandinavian name Rolf but Norman people called him Rouf, and later Rou. He married Poppa. All that is known of Poppa is that she was a Christian, and the daughter to Berengar of Rennes, the previous lord of Brittania Nova, which eventually became western Normandy.

In the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte (911) with King Charles, Rollo pledged feudal allegiance to the king, changed his name to the Frankish version, and converted to Christianity, probably with the baptismal name Robert. In return, King Charles granted Rollo land between the Epte and the sea as well as Brittany and the hand of the Kings daughter, Gisela. He was also the titular ruler of Normandy, centred around the city of Rouen. There exists some argument among historians as to whether Rollo was a "duke" (dux) or whether his position was equivalent to that of a "count" under Charlemagne.

According to legend, when required to kiss the foot of King Charles, as a condition of the treaty, he refused to perform so great a humiliation, and when Charles extended his foot to Rollo, Rollo ordered one of his warriors to do so in his place. His warrior then lifted Charles' foot up to his mouth causing the king to fall to the ground.

Rollo married twice:

1. Poppa, the daughter of Berengar II of Neustria and had issue:
William Longsword
Crispina, who married Grimaldus I of Monaco
Kadlin, who married a Scottish King called Bjolan, and had at least a daughter called Midbjorg, she was taken captive by and married Helgi Ottarson.

2. Gisela of France (d.919), the daughter of Charles III of France.


The Viking Connection

Rolo,  of course, was a Viking and for his immediate ancestors I invite you to read of The Vicking Connection.


The American Connection

For the connection to our "common" and more recent ancestors in America see:
 Cudworth line and from there to join the Doolittle Family, then Thayer and finally Copeland Families.

Other Royal Pages

The pages that cover our Royal Ancestors are:

Page One - Royal Heritage

Page Two -  Plantagenet Kings

Page Three - The House of Wessex

Page Four - William and the Normans

Page Five - Charlemagne and his Ancestors

Royal Research & Conclusion


© Grandpa Don Plefka
aka Harry Ronald Cecora
 May 11, 2011


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