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Ralph (Gael) de Montford (abt. 1042 - abt. 1096)

Earl Ralph "Ralf Raoul" de Montford formerly Gael aka de Montfort, Second Earl of Norfolk
Born about in Bretagne, Francemap
Ancestors ancestors
Son of [father unknown] and [uncertain]
Husband of — married 1094 [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died about [location unknown]
Profile last modified | Created 12 Sep 2010
This page has been accessed 6,542 times.



Two Somewhat Different Takes

Planché provides different parentage and a somewhat positive take on the rebellion, against his negative views of WIlliam the Conqueror, but includes the standard descendancy. Stephen and Lee provide the standard parentage and take on the rebellion, but include a slightly different descendancy. The Foundation for Medieval Genealogy & Charles Cawley both agree, and disagree, with each source, in some way.

Raoul de Gael, Earl of Norfolk

The Conqueror and His Companions, Vol II, by James Robinson Planché

"HERE is another mysterious companion, respecting whom much labour and speculation have been expended in vain. All our historians are agreed upon the fact that the Consulate of the East Angles, comprising the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk and part of Cambridge, was given by William the Conqueror to one of his followers named Raoul, or Ralph, indifferently designated Guader, Waher, Gwyder, Gael, Waite, Ware, and even Vacajet, so that it is almost difficult to believe the writers are all of them really speaking of the same individual."

"This Raoul, however, who was one of the principal leaders of the Bretons in the great expedition of William, and received, as we are told, in reward of his services the earldoms of Norfolk and Suffolk, married, some say with the consent, others in positive defiance of, his sovereign, Emma, daughter of William Fitz Osbern, the great Earl of Hereford, and sister of his son and successor, Roger de Breteuil, and on his very wedding-day joined with his brother-in-law and Waltheof, Earl of Northumberland, in a plot against King William, which might speedily have terminated the reign of the Conqueror had not Waltheof, repenting almost in the same breath, denounced the conspirators, first to Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury, and then, by his advice, to the King himself, who was at that time in Normandy. Roger, Earl of Hereford, was seized and thrown into prison, out of which he never came alive; but Raoul, Earl of Norfolk, fortunately escaped to Denmark. His wife heroically defended the Castle of Norwich until she could make honourable terms for herself and the Bretons under her command. Ralph, after ineffectually attempting an inroad with some forces hastily raised in Denmark., retired to Brittany, where he found refuge and protection with Hoel V., Count of Brittany, and in 1075, on King William's laying siege to Dol, threw himself into the place with Alain Fergant, the son and successor of Hoel, and defended it valiantly against the royal forces. Eventually Raoul, with his brave and faithful Countess, made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, in which the mortal career of both is said to have terminated."

"Raoul de Gael had by his Countess Emma three sons : the eldest, William, died in 1102, Raoul, who succeeded him, and Alain, who accompanied his father to Palestine and perhaps never returned."

Guader or Wader, Ralph, Earl of Norfolk

The Dictionary of National Biography, Vol XXIII, by Sir Leslie Stephen and Sir Sidney Lee

"After his father's death Guader seems to have been outlawed by Harold, perhaps for some act of treason, and to have retired to his mother's estate in Brittany. At any rate he appears at the battle of Hastings in the train of Count Alan, and at the head of a band of Bretons (Roman de Rou, 13625), being the only English traitor in William's host. Guader was made Earl of Norfolk, or East Anglia, by the Conqueror, probably previous to 1069, in which year he defeated, with great loss, a band of Danes who were threatening Norwich (ORD. VIT. 513 C). In 1075 he married, against the king's wish, Emma, daughter of William Fitzosbern [q. v.], and sister of Roger, earl of Hereford."

"Ralph subsequently lived at his castles of Wader and Montfort in Brittany. Many years later he took the cross, and together with his wife went on the crusade in the company of Robert of Normandy (ORD. VIT. 724 C). They started in September 1096, and, after wintering in Italy, crossed over to Epirus, where they joined Bohemond, and reached Nicaea early in June 1097, in time to take part in the siege (ib. 727 B, 728 D). Guader is again mentioned as fighting at Dorylaeum with his son Alan on 1 July 1097 (ib. 729 D). He must have died some time before July 1098, the date of the capture of Jerusalem, for Ordericus says that he died ' in via Dei.' He is sometimes spoken of as Ralph Gael, and also as Waer or Waher."

"By his wife he had two sons : Ralph, whom William of Breteuil, his uncle, wished to make his heir (WILLIAM of JUMIEGES, viii. 15), and Alan, who went on the crusade; and one daughter, Amicia (ORD. VIT. 875 D), or Itta as she is called by William of Jumieges (viii. 15); she married Robert de Beaumont, earl of Leicester (1104-1168) [q. v.] Mr. Planche (The Conqueror and his Companions, ii. 15) makes her the granddaughter of Guader."

The First Crusade

The History of the Crusades, by, Joseph Fr. Michaud, William Robson, and Hamilton W Mabie

"The men of the Vermandois marched with the subjects of Philip under the colours of their count Hugh, a young prince whose brilliant qualities had been much admired by the court."

"Robert, surnamed Courte-heuse, duke of Normandy, who led his vassals to the holy war, was the eldest son of William the Conqueror."

"Another Robert, count of Flanders, placed himself at the head of the Frisons and the Flemings."

"Stephen, count of Blois and Chartres, had also taken up the cross."

"These four chiefs were accompanied by a crowd of knights and nobles, among whom history names Robert of Paris, Evrard of Prusaiè, Achard de Montmerle, Isouard de Muson, Stephen, count d'Albermarle, Walter de St. Valery, Roger de Barneville, Fergant and Conan, two illustrious Bretons, Guis de Trusselle, Miles de Braiës, Raoul de Baugency, Rotrou, son of the count de Perche; Odo, bishop of Bayeux, uncle of the duke of Normandy; Raoul de Gader, Yve and Albéric, sons of Hugh de Grandménil. The greater part of the counts and barons took with them their wives and children, and all their war equipages. They crossed the Alps, and directed their march towards the cities of Italy, with the intention of embarking for Greece. They found in the neighbourhood of Lucca Pope Urban, who gave them his benediction, praised their zeal, and offered up prayers for the success of their enterprize. The count de Vermandois, after having received the standard of the Church from the hands of the sovereign pontiff, repaired to Rome, with the other princes, to visit the tombs of St. Peter and St. Paul."

"The passage of the French Crusaders, however, had awakened the zeal of the Italians. Bohemond, prince of Tarentum, was the first who resolved to associate himself with their fortunes, and to partake of the glory of the holy expedition."

Research Notes

Known as Waders etc, but I can see no reason to change his name to Montfort. Called Waiet on many websites but I can see no reason for that either.

Also known as Ralph of Montfort, Ralph de Gael, Ralph de Guader, Radulf Waders or Ralph Wader.

His father was Ralph the Staller. William de Gael-25 is his highly questionable grandfather.

[citation needed] for his questionable mother .

[citation needed] for son Walter.

  • Planche disagrees with Ralph being the son of Ralph the Staller, includes a son, William, and has Amice as his granddaughter. While Planche acknowledged that Staller had a son, also named Ralph, as the others below, he did not think that Ralph to be Gael.
  • Sir Stephen and Sir Lee agree with Gael being the son of Staller. They do not include a son, William, and make Amice his daughter.
  • Cawley and FMG agree with Planche, about Amice and William. They agree with Stephen and Lee, about Staller.
  • None include a son, Walter
Note: Lord of Gael and Montfort in Brittany
Earl of Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridge in England
info obtained from Some Descedants of Charlemagne
Forfeited his English titles and lands in 1075 for his role in leading the revolt of the Earls. Retired to France. His son was not restored.
"Crusade - In 1096, accompanied by his wife and under Robert Curthose, he went on Crusade. He was one of the Breton leaders who took part in the siege of Nicaea, after which he joined Bohemund I of Antioch’s division of the army. Both Ralph and his wife Emma died on the road to Palestine in the course of the Crusade".

False Gaither Pedigree

This profile was previously linked to an additional child Walter de Gader, supposedly born in Brittany in 1076. The child was part of a false pedigree which is shown in its entirety at False Gaither Pedigree. No documentation has been found for such a son, and he has been de-linked.


  • RALPH (before 1040-on crusade after 1096).MedLands
  • The Conqueror and His Companions, Vol II, by James Robinson Planché, pg 1 [1]
  • The Dictionary of National Biography, Vol XXIII, by Sir Leslie Stephen and Sir Sidney Lee, pg 314 [2]
  • The History of the Crusades, by, Joseph Fr. Michaud, William Robson, and Hamilton W Mabie, pg 83 [3]
  • Wikipedia contributors, "Ralph de Gael," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, [4] (accessed March 22, 2016).
  • Geni. Sources listed. Good Discussion.
MEDIEVAL LANDS: A prosopography of medieval European noble and royal families by Charles Cawley © Foundation for Medieval Genealogy & Charles Cawley 2000-2018.

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Comments: 3

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None of the sources list a son Walter, and I propose to de-link him as a son if there is no objection.
posted by Jack Day
Geni says his parents were Ralph "the Staller" de Gael and Agatha Wulfnothsdotter.
posted by Steve Selbrede
Gael-2 and Gael-22 appear to represent the same person because: It looks as if these 2 people are actually one and the same person
posted by Steven Ringer

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Categories: Companions of William The Conqueror | Battle of Hastings | First Crusade