Where was William Longespee born?

+8 votes

I received a private message asking for information about place of birth: Anjou, France. I pulled out Richardson's Royal Ancestry, Vol. III, p 599, that had William. Doesn't have birth location, but says to "see ENGLAND 4" for his ancestry. BUT. There is no "ENGLAND" section in the RA series. MedLands doesn't show a location for his birth either. Help?

Dear Liz, ... I notice that you have Wiliam born in Anjou.  I have him down as being born in England.  This information came from Ancestry & I know it is not always accurate.  I believe you are correct in having him born in Anjou.  Would you confirm that for me please.

WikiTree profile: William Longespée
in Genealogy Help by Liz Shifflett G2G6 Pilot (655k points)

Marlyn Lewis shows he was born "at of" Woodstock Manor, England, citing Richardson's Plantagenet Ancestry ("p. 456-459") & Richardson's Royal Ancestry ("Vol. III, p. 599-601"). I'll look again in RA, but I didn't see a place of birth.

see his entry in Lewis's database:


If he hasn't got a birthplace, he just sticks in wherever they were "of" in adult life - often a whole list of places.

1 Answer

+7 votes
Best answer

He was born in England.  We know this from a letter which survives, dated 1221-1222, in which he directly states he was born in England - "nos omnes naturales homines Angliae"  This is the only record or indication of his birth place.

 The identity of his mother "Countess Ida" was one of the great genealogical puzzles which has only fairly recently been solved.  Among the many theories of the past was various Ida's from continental families which is probably where the birth place of France came from.

The identification of his mother as Ida de Toeni, wife of Roger le Bigod, Earl of Norfolk has only recently been made.  With his mother now known to be English, it is another strong indicator that he was born in England.  It cannot be known that he was born at Woodstock manor, or any specific place in England.


The American Genealogist, volume 77 (April 2002): 137–149. Countess Ida, Mother of William Longespée, Illegitimate Son of Henry II, by Paul C. Reed.

The American Genealogist, volume 77 (October 2002): 279–281. William Longespée, Ralph Bigod, and Countess Ida, by Raymond W Phair.

by Joe Cochoit G2G6 Pilot (265k points)
selected by John Atkinson
Great info Joe! Thanks so much. I changed his birth location to England & ref'd this G2G question.
There is text on his profile that he was son of Rosamund. There is also text on Rosamund's profile that she was his mother. This needs addressing.
Thanks, Liz.

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