Herleva (Falaise) de Mortain
Privacy Level: Open (White)

Herlève (Falaise) de Mortain (abt. 1003 - abt. 1055)

Herlève (Herleva) "Arlette, Harlette" de Mortain formerly Falaise aka de Falaise
Born about in Falaise, Normandie, Francemap [uncertain]
Daughter of [uncertain] and [uncertain]
Wife of — married about 1030 [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died about in Mortain, Normandie, Francemap
Profile last modified | Created 14 Sep 2010
This page has been accessed 23,227 times.
European Aristocracy
Herleva (Falaise) de Mortain was a member of aristocracy in Europe.
Join: European Royals and Aristocrats Project
Discuss: euroaristo

Contents

Biography

  • Herleve[1]  : Herlava; Arlette (c.1003- c.1050)[2][3]
  • Arlette [1]

Parents

Herleve's father was Fulbert de Falaise. [4][5]

Herleve's mother was named Doda or Duwa. [5] [6]

Bree Ogle | Mar 2014 WikiTree -- The earliest accounts of Herleva come from Orderic Vitalis (1075 – c. 1142).[7] They were not written down until 80 years after she met Robert the Magnificent. It was only through Wace and Benoit in the 12th century, and later 17th century writings, that she became known as a the daughter of tanner.[8]

Scholarship discounts this based on examination of the original source, the context of the public heckling of Duke William, and the Latin and French words later chroniclers had trouble translating.[8]

According to van Houts (1986), Fulbert was probably a mortician. He is described as, "a person who laid out corpses," and "might have embalmed bodies." As Chamberlain of the ducal court, this was one of Fulbert's duties.[8]

The Legend of Robert and Herleve

According to one legend, still recounted by tour guides at Falaise, it all started when Robert, the young Duke of Normandy saw Herleva from the roof of his castle tower. The walkway on the roof still looks down on the dyeing trenches cut into stone in the courtyard below, which can be seen to this day from the tower ramparts above. The traditional way of dyeing leather or garments was for individuals to trample barefoot on the garments which were awash in the dyeing liquid in these trenches. Herleva, legend goes, seeing the Duke on his ramparts above, raised her skirts perhaps a bit more than necessary in order to attract the Duke's eye. The latter was immediately smitten and ordered her brought in (as was customary for any woman that caught the Duke's eye) through the back door. Herleva refused, saying she would only enter the Duke's castle on horseback through the front gate, and not as an ordinary commoner. The Duke, filled with lust, could only agree. In a few days, Herleva, dressed in the finest her father could provide, and sitting on a white horse, rode proudly through the front gate, her head held high. This gave Herleva a semi-official status as the Duke's mistress. [9]

1027 Robert I and William the Bastard

There is some controversy as to whether Herleve married Robert. Freeman reports their relationship as a marriage: "Herleve married first Robert, Duke of Normandy. Issue: William the Conqueror [10]

There is also the possibility that they were married according to "More danico", the "Danish Way". [11] She was referred to in the Grestain abbey as "a legitimate wife according to old Norman traditions." [12]

At the same time, up-and-coming reformists like pope Gregory VII (Hildebrand of Sovana) hoped to ban these customs and establish authoritarian rule. As a "concubine" through this lens, a "frilla" like Herleve is a glance at the long process of the Christianization of Europe, and the outing of indigenous culture.[13][14]

Still struggling for power and legitimacy, the seat of Rome had barely cleaned up its own house, before it got caught between the Roman aristocracy, and the slaughter of the Saracens and unstoppable Norman "barbarians." Unable to maintain its own security, the papacy cut a deal with the devil, and asked for the backing of the Norman military. It worked, but Rome paid a fateful price before it was able to achieve absolute rule.[14]

So at this juncture, the lack of a wedding sanctioned by the Roman church was no threat to the rank or inheritance of England's future Norman king.[15] And by the time the Conqueror was on the throne, the papacy was lucky to have any influence on him at all.[16] Incidentally, William was born around c.1028 in Falaise, Normandy.[17]

Nevertheless, contemporary genealogists such as Douglas Richardson state that "she became the mistress of Robert I, Duke of Normandy, and by him had one illegitimate son, William the Conqueror, King of England, Duke of Normandy."[1]

It should also be noted that while William was never known as "the Conqueror" during his life time, he was often referred to as "William the Bastard." [18]

1030 Marriage of Herleve and Herluin

About 1030 Herleve married Herluin de Conteville, Vicomte, seigneur of Conteville. [1] Some writers assume that the marriage to Herluin occurred only after Robert's death.

Herleve and Herluin had two sons, and one daughter:[1]

  1. Eudes or Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, Earl of Kent, died Jan 1097 [1]
  2. Robert de Mortain, Count of Mortain, [1] born after 1040 - d. 8 Dec 1090.
  3. Muriel. [1]

1050 Grestain Abbey: ✝ Abbey Notre Dame de Grestain ✝

Herluin founded Grestain Abbey i Normandy about 1050. He and his wife renounced their claim to the tithe of Toutainville and to the vill called Mesnil-Dastin to Preaux Abbey. [1][19]

At some point, Herlave's second husband supposedly had leprosy.[20] This is said to have inspired the couple to found the Abbey Notre-Dame de Grestain in 1050,[20] but other sources state Herleva had no part in it.[21] It's assumed Herlave is buried there or Mortain, Haute-Normandie.[22]

1050 Death

Herluin's wife, Herleve, is thought to have been living in 1050-51, but died soon afterwards. [1]

Herluin and his first wife, Arlette, were buried in Grestain Abbey. [1]

Remarriage of Husband

Herluin married, 2nd, Fredesende. They had two sons, Jean, who appears to have died young, and Raoul Fitz Herluin (or de Conteville), seigneur of Corneville-sur-Risle and Martainville-en-Lieuvin, presumably Domesday tenant of Chapel Allerton, Huish (in Burnham), Adber (in Trent) and Brent, Somerset. Herluin de Conteville died about 1066. [1]

His widow, Fredesende, granted part of dower lands at Le Neubourg, Cantelou, and Honnaville, to Grestain Abbey. [1]

Issue

Documented Children

Herleve had children by both Robert and Herluin. Herleve and Herluin had two sons, and one daughter:[1]

  1. Guillaume de Normandie or William of Normandy, son of Herleve and Robert of Normandy, born at Falaise Castle in Normandy in 1027.
  2. Eudes or Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, Earl of Kent. [1], born 1030, died 1097.
  3. Robert de Mortain, Count of Mortain, [1] born after 1040 - d. 8 Dec 1090.
  4. Muriel. [1]

Other Children Attributed to Herleve

  1. An uncertain daughter married Guillaume de la Ferté-Macé. She might have been the dau. of Frendesendis [23]
  2. Adelais de Lens, born 1035 in Falaise Castle. [24]
  3. Emma d'Avranches born April 30, 1039 in Conteville, Calvados

Note

.[25]

living 1049.[6]

Sources

See also:

Abbott, J. (1903). William the Conqueror (pp. 41). N.p.

Chronicle of St-Maxentius.

Crouch, D. (2002). The Normans- The History of a Dynasty, (pp 52–53, 58). Hambledon.

Douglas, D.C. (1964). William the Conqueror, (pp. 15, 381-382). Berkeley and LA: University of California Press.

Freeman, E. A. (1867). The History of the Norman Conquest, (pp. 530, 615). N.p.

McLynn, F. (1999). 1066: The Year of the Three Battles, (pp. 21–23). N.p.

Palgrave, F. (1864). The History of Normandy and of England, (pp.145). N.p

Additional notes from Unknown-290714

From http://www.englishmonarchs.co.uk/normans.htm

Falaise CastleEngland's first Norman king, the formidable William I, was born in 1028 at Falaise Castle. Wiliam was the illegitimate son of Robert 'the Devil' or the Magnificent, Duke of Normandy and his mistress Herleve, (sometimes called Arlette) the daughter of Fullbert, a tanner of Falaise. Before history renamed him the Conqueror he was more commonly known to his contemporaries as William the Bastard. Herleve was reported to have attracted Duke Robert with her dancing, in some accounts, he is said to have first caught sight of her while she was washing her linen in the castle moat.

The Norman dynasty had been founded by Robert's ancestor Rollo or Hrolf the Ganger, a Viking raider chief, who was granted the duchy by Charles the Simple, King of France, in 911, at the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte, in exchange for feudal allegiance and conversion to Christianity at which he took the baptismal name of Robert.

William's mother, Herleve, also had a daughter, Adelaide, to Duke Robert. Although they had a long relationship, the gap in their social standing rendered marriage out of the question and Herleve was married off to one of Robert's vassals, Herluin, a knight. From this marriage, Herleve produced two further sons, Robert, who later became Count of Mortain and Odo, destined to become Bishop of Bayeux and Earl of Kent and also to play a part in England's history.

Sources

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families. Kimball G. Everingham, ed. Salt Lake City, Utah: 2013. Volume 5, page 487
  2. Cawley, C. (2006). Medieval Lands. [1]
  3. Wikipedia: Herleva;
  4. Stewart Baldwin, Henry Project. [2]
  5. 5.0 5.1 Charles Cawley, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy, Medieval Lands Database. [3]
  6. Royals and Nobles: A Genealogist's Tool. pp.45. iUniverse, 2002).[4]
  7. Wikipedia: Orderic Vitalis
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Van Houts, (1986). The Origins of Herleva, Mother of William the Conqueror. The English Historical Review, 101(399), pp. 399-404. Oxford University Press. JSTOR. Retrieved 26 Mar 2014.
  9. Posted by Roger Wehr, 2011
  10. "When the said William had been born, in that same year Duke Robert took as his wife the boy's mother, whom he had deflowered." (Freeman, 1870, pp.615)
  11. Danish Way."
  12. Arlette. Abbey Notre-Dame de Grestain
  13. Abbey Notre-Dame de Grestain: The family of Arlette.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Norwich, J. J. (2011). A History of the Papacy: Absolute Monarchs. NY: Random House. eBook.
  15. Danish Way
  16. Wikipedia:Pope Gregory VII
  17. "William the Conqueror," (n.d.). bio.com. Web. Accessed 08 Mar 2014.
  18. Wikipedia. William the Conqueror. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_the_Conqueror. Accessed May 12, 2017. jhd
  19. Wikipedia: Grestain Abbey; Abbey Notre-Dame de Grestain;
  20. 20.0 20.1 Wikipedia: Grestain Abbey
  21. Wikipedia: Herleva
  22. Ogle, B. (2014, March 26). Herlave Falaise Mortain: Biography. WikiTree. Web.
  23. Cawley, 2006.[5]
  24. 1 GEDCOM asserts she had another daughter with Robert named Adelaide of Normandy (1029-1090).[citation needed]
  25. place of birth unknown. Some say family was from Chaumont in diocese of Liège but moved to Falaise, Calvados, Basse Normandie. Other state they were from Huy.[citation needed]


More Genealogy Tools



Sponsored Search




Memories: 1
Enter a personal reminiscence or story.
According to one legend, still recounted by tour guides at Falaise, it all started when Robert, the young Duke of Normandy saw Herleva from the roof of his castle tower. The walkway on the roof still looks down on the dyeing trenches cut into stone in the courtyard below, which can be seen to this day from the tower ramparts above. The traditional way of dyeing leather or garments was for individuals to trample barefoot on the garments which were awash in the dyeing liquid in these trenches. Herleva, legend goes, seeing the Duke on his ramparts above, raised her skirts perhaps a bit more than necessary in order to attract the Duke's eye. The latter was immediately smitten and ordered her brought in (as was customary for any woman that caught the Duke's eye) through the back door. Herleva refused, saying she would only enter the Duke's castle on horseback through the front gate, and not as an ordinary commoner. The Duke, filled with lust, could only agree. In a few days, Herleva, dressed in the finest her father could provide, and sitting on a white horse, rode proudly through the front gate, her head held high. This gave Herleva a semi-official status as the Duke's mistress.[
posted 4 Dec 2011 by Roger Wehr
Login to add a memory.
Sponsored Search by Ancestry.com

DNA
No known carriers of Herleva's DNA have taken a DNA test.

Have you taken a DNA test? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.

Comments: 24

Leave a message for others who see this profile.
There are no comments yet.
Login to post a comment.
happy to remain on trusted lost but relinquish pm role

Ronin

posted by Robin Wood
With this profile being managed by the EuroAristo project, there are way too many project managers. Please advise if you wish to remain as a PM or are fine with just being on the trusted list.
Falais-2 and Falaise-2 appear to represent the same person because: same father, merge proposed, same birth
posted by Robin Lee
HI, It appears that you have "several errors/suggestions" on this profile. Just go to http://wikitree.sdms.si/function/WTWeb/Suggestions.htm?UserID=104809 to see the errors/suggestions list please.
posted by Paula (Hawkins) Reinke
Source: Douglas Richardson. Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, 5 vols, ed. Kimball G. Everingham (Salt Lake City: the author, 2013), volume I, page 208 AUMALE 1.

Alice Of Normandy, illegitimate daughter of Robert, Duke of Normandy, possibly by his mistress, Arlette (or Harleve), born 1035. She was the sister of William the Conqueror, King of England. She married (1st) Enguerrand II, son of Hugues II, by Berthe, daughter of Guerinfried. They had one daughter, Alice. She married (2nd) 1053/4 Lambert Of Boulogne, son of Eustache I, by Mathilde (or Mahaut), daughter of Lambert I. They had one daughter, Judith. Alice, married (3rd) in 1060 Eudes III, son of Etienne, by his wife, Adelaide. They had one son, Stephen (or Etienne). Alice, was living in 1086, and died before 1096. Eudes, Count of Champagne, died in prison sometime between Jan. 1096 and 2 August 1107.

Thank you!

Unknown-290714 and Falaise-2 appear to represent the same person because: The biographical blurb on Unknown-200714's profile seems to indicate the profile is meant as William the Conqueror's mother. I have adapted the date of birth to reflect this.
There is no documentation that Herleve, mistress of Robert, Duke of Normandy and mother of William the Conqueror, was ever married to Robert, therefore I have delinked them as husband and wife. Links for cros-reference remain in the narrative.
posted by Jack Day
De Falaise-133 and Falaise-2 appear to represent the same person because: Clear duplicate
Unknown-290714 and Falaise-2 do not represent the same person because: Unknown-290714 contains nothing but a name and a DOB that is wildly different from Falaise-2. There is no useful information in it, and no way of knowing what person it represents. This merge was previously proposed and has already been rejected.
posted by Marc Cohen
I agree with David Robinson. About Unknown-290714 all we have is a name and a DOB that is nowhere near Falaise-2. The simplest solution is just to drop the nearly vacuous profile for Unknown-290714.
posted by Marc Cohen

Herleva is 35 degrees from Ludwig Kraayenbrink, 15 degrees from Henry VIII of England and 30 degrees from Ferdinand von Zeppelin on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

F  >  Falaise  |  D  >  de Mortain  >  Herlève (Falaise) de Mortain

Categories: Royal Mistresses | Famous People of the 11th Century