Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester (c. 1090 - 31 October 1147) was an illegitimate son of King Henry I of England, and one of the dominant figures of the period of English history sometimes called The Anarchy. Robert was acknowledged at birth, and raised at his father's court. He eventually took the side of Mathilda the Empress, against King Stephen the Beaumont faction.
He had a reputation of being an educated man, not altogether surprising considering his father's scholarly inclinations. He was a patron of William of Malmesbury and Geoffrey of Monmouth.
Apart from being referred to by his title as Earl of Gloucester, he is also known as Robert of Caen, and Robert "the Consul", though the latter derives simply from the practice of using the Latin word consul to translate the English title of 'Earl'.
Robert was probably the eldest of Henry I's many illegitimate children.
Notes on mother
He is thought to have been born at Caen in Normandy before his father's accession to the English throne. His mother has not been identified.
MEDLANDS presumes she was from Caen, but:
"Her origin is assumed because her son is styled "Robertus de Cadomo" by Orderic Vitalis. A possible family connection of hers is suggested by the undated charter, arranged with charters dated 1127/28 in the compilation, under which Henry I King of England confirmed an exchange of property between the abbot of Fécamp and "Nigello filio Willelmi, nepote Roberti comitis Gloecestrie filii mei", "Nigellus" donating property "in villa Fiscanni habuit et avus et pater eius". The wording of the document is incompatible with "Willelmi" being another son of King Henry I. The relationship with Robert Earl of Gloucester must presumably therefore be established through Robert´s mother. The alternatives appear to be that William, father of Nigel, was the son of Robert´s mother by a later marriage (and therefore uterine half-brother of Earl Robert), that William´s wife was her daughter by a later marriage (uterine half-sister of Earl Robert), or that the word nepos denotes a more remote blood relationship and that Nigel was the first or second cousin of Earl Robert. Another relative of Robert Earl of Gloucester was Christiana, who married, as his first wife, William FitzAlan. Orderic Vitalis records that "William fitz Alan castellan and vicecomes of Shrewsbury" married "a niece of Robert Earl of Gloucester". "William Fitz Alan" donated the fishery of Upton-upon-Severn to Haughmond abbey by undated charter, witnessed by "Walter his brother, Christiana his wife…"."
David Crouch (Historical Research, 1999), identifies her as a member of the Gay or Gayt family of north Oxfordshire, possibly a daughter of Rainald Gay (fl. 1086) of Hampton Gay and Northbrook Gay in Oxfordshire. Rainald had known issue Robert Gaay of Hampton (died c. 1138) and Stephen Gay of Northbrook (died after 1154. Both men had male-line issue surviving to 1240. Crouch notes that a number of Oxfordshire women feature as the mothers of Robert's siblings.
The Henry II project says she was "evidently a relative of Philip Gai and of Nigel son of William, both of whom appear in the sources as relatives of Robert. [Thompson (2003), 142-3], and there does not appear to be any reason to regard him as a son of Sibyl Corbet".
Some authorities claim the mother of Robert, Earl of Gloucester to be Nesta, daughter of Rhees ap Tewder, Prince of South Wales. Charles Cawley's MEDLANDS website says:
"According to the Gwentian Chronicle, Robert was the king´s son by "Nest, daughter of Rhys son of Tewdwr, who was afterwards the wife of Gerald of Pembroke Castle", but this appears unlikely from a chronological point of view."
Family and children
Robert's wife was Mabel FitzRobert. They had several legitimate children. Some of the following may be illegitimate.
Richard FitzRobert. MEDLANDS follows a legitimate Richard under Creully, a legitimate son. However Wikitree calls him a bishop and shows no issue. According to MEDLANDS, Wikitree is mixing with an illegitimate Richard named also by MEDLANDS.
Hi Doris I have the following dates for Robert de Caen FitzRoy: Birth: April 11 1090 at Caen, Calvados, Basse Normandie Death: Oct 31 1147, Tewkesbury, Bristol, Gloucestershire, England I got these details from the Internet together with a picture of his effigy and tomb off the Internet. My Family tree is on My Heritage: Lemmon-Warde Family Tree. Hope this helps. Regards Shirley [South Africa]