Did William the Conqueror have a Daughter Gundred?

+10 votes
Numerous family trees show William the Conqueror as the father of Gundred St. Omer, wife of William de Warenne.  Is there any evidence of Gundred's connection to William?
in Policy and Style by Vic Watt G2G6 Pilot (319k points)
Here's the link to her profile:


4 Answers

+7 votes
Best answer
The parentage of Gundrada has been debated for centuries. Sadly, she cannot have been the daughter of Henry I, as claimed above, because she married before 1070 and Henry was born in 1068 and we know she was born in Flanders. William The Conqueror does, indeed, call her his child in documents, but she is never quoted as being one of his daughters by Matilda of Flanders in his lifetime. One historian in the 19th C claimed she was Matilda's daughter by another man before she married William, but there is no documentary evidence for this (though at least one novel I have read makes it a central issue). She appears to be related to Gerbod the Fleming, Earl of Cheshire, and his brother Frederic, almost certainly a sister. It appears though, that she was raised by Matilda. It was not uncommon for royal women to take orphans of noble birth into their families and raise them alongside their own children. Edward III's wife Philippa of Hainault did this for the children of Paon de Roet, and like Matilda, found them good husbands. In Gundrada's case, she was married to William de Warenne, Earl of Surrey,(whose grandmother was probably sister to Richard I of Normandy, therefore was close kin to William I). She died in childbirth in 1085.
by Susan Scarcella G2G6 Mach 6 (66.6k points)
selected by Susan Scarcella
Thanks, Susan. What's the document(s) where William the Conqueror calls her his child?
I haven't see the docs, but I read that in his will he called her his daughter and according to the warren family pages his charter at his manor in Norfolk.http://warrenfamilyfromnormandytoaustralia.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/dna-to-solve-gundrada-de-warren.html  (they have an interest in her being acknowledged as the Conqueror's daughter! LOL)
Certainly, the text of his will is posted somewhere online?
I had a look but couldn't see it. Wish I could.
Not sure about having an interest.  Most Warrens aren't descended from Warennes, they're probably descended from people called Guerin or Warin.

There were Warren families of unknown origin in many parts of England, and people have tried to connect them all up to each other and connect them all back to the Warrens of Poynton, and so to the Warennes, but all these connections are "unsourced".
+9 votes
Gundred (also spelled Gundrada) was the illegitimate daughter of William's son, Henry the First. In her will, Matilda, wife of William refers to Gundrada as her beloved child, having the care of her in Falaise for some years.  Henry the First acknowledged 25 illegitimate children, most of them marrying into the noble Norman families who accompanied William in the conquest of England.    If you can locate the works of J.Round, the British historian writing in the 1880's you will find good genealogical information on the Norman families.   I hope this is a help. C. Evans
by C E G2G6 Mach 3 (36k points)
If that wasn't a good answer then I don't know what is!
Thanks for the info.  Unfortunately, it appears that earlier genealogy work may have been based on much supposition.

The Foundation for Medieval Genealogy shows that Gundrada was the sister of Gerbod "the Fleming," first Earl of Chester, but states that their parents are unknown.  Gundrada is not included in the children of either William or Henry. FMG shows no documentation that she was the daughter of any Normandy.  It does reference the charter that established Lewes Priory, and suggests that it is possibly spurious or means a relationship such as god-daughter.  Apparently, earlier attributions with William the C as Gundrada's father used this charter as evidence.

Based on FMG, I propose to disconnect Gundred from any parents, stating that they are in dispute, unless someone can come up with credible evidence of a connection.

FMG: http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/ENGLISH%20NOBILITY%20MEDIEVAL.htm#_Toc321390464
Alison Weir in Britain's Royal Families on page 48 lists a Gundred among Henry the First's acknowledged bastards. In Douglas's work William the Conqueror, the author very clearly writes that Gundred the Fleming wasn't  the daughter of William and MATILDA.

At least two different Gundreds here.  Henry I was born abt 1068, so any daughter of his was born way too late to be the wife of the 1st Earl of Surrey (he died in 1088).

The "Gundred de Dunstanville" shown as Henry's illegitimate daughter was alive in 1130.  It seems she wasn't acknowledged by Henry and she isn't said to be his daughter in any record or later tradition.  Her placing as Henry's daughter seems to be just a careless mistake by an editor of Complete Peerage.


We don't seem to have her on WikiTree, but then, her bio would only say "Nothing is known about Gundred".

Vic, eventually this community needs to work out its way of working with MEDLANDS better, which everyone seems to refer to as FMG. FMG hosts a site called MEDLANDS, and the genealogies on that site are basically the work of one person doing a lot of work. People are citing pages there, but those genealogies are changing constantly, so our links are useless or worse. It is not a reference work, and very often Charles is not even looking at secondary works which have already solved the problems he has not yet solved. It can be handy if you use it as a work in progress which tries to collect lots of notes about primary sources. Good on Charles for his hard work, but I think we are using it wrongly.
Andrew, this original G2G post is over three years old.  You bring up a good point with regard to FMG and Medlands.  I would appreciate it if you'd start a new G2G post in that regard.  Thanks for your good work with the medieval profiles!

Darlene - Co-Leader, European Aristocrats Project - British Isles 742-1499
oops. Yes noticed that after I posted.
It's 2017 now and I am not even sure if we should be using that FMG template anymore for EuroAristo at WikiTree but it's better than a bunch of Ancestry Family Trees and Edmund West citations!
Yes, but I think pre-1500 profiles are now less prone to being swayed by gedcom imports from ancestry etc.
I am also related to Hundred, by my tree says that she was of William's stock, and not his son's.
+5 votes
As regards Warenne's wife, evidently the monks saw some profit in having the tomb of the Conqueror's daughter.  So they forged one document and doctored another, tarted up the tomb, and spread the story.

No doubt if they hadn't been closed down, they would have discovered a couple of minor miracles and got her sainted.
by RJ Horace G2G6 Pilot (451k points)
+4 votes
While Round was a great figure in the history of genealogy, he sometimes made errors (not surprising given he was making great efforts to change genealogy). This particular question is a well known one and discussed often for example by some of the well known experts who frequent the Medieval Genealogy online list (people like Douglas Richardson, Todd Farmerie, Peter Stewart etc). If you use your favorite search function on your favorite version of this list you can collect a lot of notes. But suffice to say there are serious doubts about this proposed daughter! :) Apart from that there are other speculations about her.

Here is Farmerie in one old discussion involving many well known experts: http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/gen-medieval/2001-06/0993003659
by Andrew Lancaster G2G6 Mach 7 (71.4k points)
Here's a 1998 annotated bibliography found through the wayback machine:


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