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The Conqueror and His Companions

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Space: Battle of Hastings: Identifying Those Present

The Conqueror and his Companions

  • by James Robinson Planché (1796-1880) Somerset Herald
  • published by The Tinsley Brothers, 8, Catherine Street, London, 1874
  • Source Example:
<span id='Planche'></span>Planché, J.R., ''[[Space:The Conqueror and his Companions|The Conqueror and His Companions]]'' (Tinsley Brothers, London, 1874)
  • Inline Citation Example:
<ref>[[#Planche|Planché]]: Vol.1, Page 521</ref>

Available online at these locations:

  • Vol. 1
  • Vol. 2

James Robinson Planche (1798-1880)[1][2] was a dramatist and theatrical costumier, in which role he emphasized authenticity in historical productions. His research in medieval sources led to his appointment as Somerset Herald.

Planche rejected traditional family histories in favour of collecting references found in "primary" sources. So far so good. Inevitably, those sources were mostly chronicles written by monks, as opposed to contemporary legal documents, of which few survive if indeed they ever existed. He noted the limitations of such materials in his preface; however, his assessment of their reliability tended to be less critical than that of others.

In particular, he had a soft spot for Wace's epic poem Roman de Rou. It's estimated that Wace was born around 1100-1110, though he may have written part of his poem as late as 1170. Planche thought this was close enough in time for Wace to have reasonably accurate information.

Which may be so, but that isn't the only consideration. The aristocratic landscape changed a great deal in the century after the Conquest. Many prominent families of 1066 faded, and each successive king brought in new men. Many prominent families of Henry II's reign didn't appear in the Domesday Book.

Genealogical knowledge and source criticism advanced after Planche's day, and it became clear that Wace, like Shakespeare, wrote for the entertainment of his audience, not to record history for posterity. So he included ancestors of the great families of his own day, without worrying about whether they had actually been at Hastings.

But Planche accepted Wace, and aimed to cover Wace's whole list. He found however that a number of people named by Wace were impossible to identify, and in other cases, there was no further information. Leaving all those to be mentioned briefly in the last chapter of Volume 2, he provided biographies of no less than 80 of the "companions" named by Wace.

Of those 80, only 18 have been noted as documented companions by the leading 20th-century writers on the subject, G.H White and D.C Douglas. Many of the others listed were probably present, but there's no specific evidence. Some are considered unlikely or known to be impossible. For fuller discussion see My Ancestors Came with the Conqueror.

Nevertheless, Planche's book provides interesting background reading on the people of the period, though we have to bear in mind that the genealogy is often outdated, in the light of further evidence, and indeed may have been distorted in order to place the subject at Hastings.

Table of Contents

† denotes the 18 names considered authentic by 20th-century authorities. See Space: My_Ancestors_Came_with_the_Conqueror.

Vol Ch Planche WikiTree-ID
101The ConquerorNormandie-32
102The Family of the Conqueror
103Odo, Bishop of Bayeux and Earl of KentBayeux-54
103Robert, Comte de Mortain and Earl of CornwallConteville-2
104Eudes de ChampagneChampagne-83
104Drogo de Brevere
104William de WarrenWarenne-112
104Guy de la Val
105Eustace, Count of BoulogneBoulogne-8
105Walter GiffardGiffard-6
105Hugh de MontfortMontfort-64
106William Fitz Osbern, Earl of HerefordFitzOsbern-21
106Roger de Montgomeri, Earl of ArundelMontgomery-133
106Robert de Beaumont, Count of MeulentBeaumont-29
107Raoul de Toeni, or de ConchesToeni-4
107Toustain Fitz Rou le Blanc
107Hugh de MortemerMortimer-441
107Roger de MortemerMortimer-96
107Raoul de MortemerMortimer-97
107Aimeri, Vicomte de ThouarsThouars-18
108Richard, Comte d'EvreuxEvreux-32
108Guillaume d'EvreuxEvreux-18
108Robert, Comte d'EuEu-35
108Geoffrey, son of Rotrou, Comte de MortagneChâteaudun-20
108Alain le Roux [3]?Rufus-1
201Raoul de Gael, Earl of NorfolkGael-2
201Hugh d'Avranches, Earl of ChesterAvranches-48
201Geoffrey de Mowbray, Bishop of CoutancesMowbray-201
201Roger de Mowbray
202Richard de Bienfaite [4]Clare-15
202Baldwin de Moules
202Richard de Redvers?Redvers-8
202Gilbert de Montfichet
202Roger le Bigod?Bigod-5
203Humphrey de BohunBohun-140
203Henry de FerrersFerrières-4
203Geoffrey de MandevilleMandeville-11
203High de GrentmesnilGrandmesnil-17
203Richard de Courei
204William de AlbiniAubigny-24
204William MaletMalet-2
204William de Vieuxpont
204Raoul Taisson
204William de Moulins
204Hugh de GournayGournay-10
205William de MohunMohun-53
205Eudo al Chapel
205Eudo DapiferRie-2
205Fulk d'AunouAunou-8
205Richard de NevilNeville-2060
206Neel de Saint-Sauveur
206William de Roumare
206The Chamberlain of Tankerville
206Urso d'AbitotAbitot-2
206Walter de LacyLacy-288
206Ilbert de LacyLacy-291
206Robert de Vesci
206Ivo de VesciVesci-12
206Euguenulf de l'AigleAigle-13
207Robert MarmionMarmion-37
207Hugh de BeauchampBeauchamp-115
207William de PercyPercy-382
207Robert Fitz Erneis[5]
207William Patry de la Lande
208William Crispin
208Avenel de Biarz
208Fulk d'Aulnay?Aulnay-1 or his father
208Bernard de St. ValeriSt_Valéry-18
208Robert d'Oiley
208Jean d'Ivri
209Raoul de FougeresFougères-12
209Errand de HarcourtHarcourt-128
209William PainelPaganel-6
209Walter d'AincourtDeincourt-22
209Samson d'Ansneville
209Hamo de Crevecoeur?Crevequer-5
209Picot de Say
210Robert Bertram
210Hugh de Port?Port-74 or his son
210William de Columbieres
210Robert d'EstoutevilleEstouteville-4 or his son
210William PeverelPeverel-3
211Others (based on Wace)

WikiTree identifications are provisional. Please correct any mistakes.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Wikipedia: James_Planché
  2. 2.0 2.1 Planche often spelled his name (a variant of Plank) with an affected acute accent.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Planche writes "Alain Fergent, or le Roux", apparently conflating two different Dukes. Rufus was a Penthievre; Fergent was born after 1066 and was a Cornouaille.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Ancestor of the Clares, better known as Richard fitz Gilbert.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Robert fitz Erneis was named as a likely companion by Douglas, but based on a charter which White found problematic. (The other 17 marked names were all given by White)

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