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Roger de Montgomery

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Title: Roger de Montgomery  
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Subject: Arundel Castle, Shrewsbury Abbey, Montgomery, Powys, Kingdom of Powys, Toponymical list of counties of the United Kingdom, Shelvock Manor, Shrewsbury Castle, Troarn, History of Shropshire, Weston Park
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Roger de Montgomery

Roger de Montgomerie (died 1094), also known as Roger the Great de Montgomery, was the first Earl of Shrewsbury. His father was Roger de Montgomery, seigneur of Montgomery, and was a relative, probably a grandnephew, of the Duchess Gunnor, wife of Duke Richard I of Normandy. The elder Roger had large holdings in central Normandy, chiefly in the valley of the Dives, which the younger Roger inherited.


Roger was one of William the Conqueror's principal counsellors. He may not have fought in the initial invasion of England in 1066, instead staying behind to help govern Normandy. According to Wace’s Roman de Rou, however, he commanded the Norman right flank at Hastings, returning to Normandy with King William in 1067.[1] Afterwards he was entrusted with land in two places critical for the defense of England, receiving the rape of Arundel at the end of 1067 (or in early 1068), and in November 1071 he was created Earl of Shrewsbury; a few historians believe that while he received the Shropshire territories in 1071 he was not created Earl until a few years later.

Roger was thus one of the half dozen greatest magnates in England during William the Conqueror's reign. William gave Earl Roger nearly all of what is now the county of West Sussex, which at the time of the Domesday Survey was the Rape of Arundel.[2] The Rape of Arundel was eventually split into two rapes, one continuing with the name Rape of Arundel and the other became the Rape of Chichester.[2] Besides the 83 manors in Sussex, his possessions also included seven-eighths of Shropshire which was associated with the earldom of Shrewsbury, he had estates in Surrey (4 manors), Hampshire (9 manors), Wiltshire (3 manors), Middlesex (8 manors), Gloucestershire (1 manor), Worcestershire (2 manors), Cambridgeshire (8 manors), Warwickshire (11 manors) and Staffordshire (30 manors).[3] The income from Roger’s estates would amount to about £2000 per year, in 1086 the landed wealth for England was around £72,000, so it would have represented almost 3% of the nation’s GDP.[4][5]

After William I's death in 1087, Roger joined with other rebels to overthrow the newly crowned King William II in the Rebellion of 1088. However, William was able to convince Roger to abandon the rebellion and side with him. This worked out favourably for Roger, as the rebels were beaten and lost their land holdings in England.

Roger first married Mabel de Bellême, who was heiress to a large territory on both sides of the border between Normandy and Maine. The medieval chronicler Orderic Vitalis paints a picture of Mabel of Bellême being a scheming and cruel woman.[6] She was murdered by Hugh Bunel and his brothers, who in December 1077? rode into her castle of Bures-sur-Dive and cut off her head as she lay in bed.[6][7] Their motive for the murder was that Mabel had deprived them of their paternal inheritance.[8] Roger and Mabel had 10 children:

Roger then married Adelaide de Le Puiset, by whom he had one son, Everard, who entered the Church.

After his death, Roger's estates were divided.[17] The eldest surviving son, Robert, received the bulk of the Norman estates (as well as his mother's estates); the next son, Hugh, received the bulk of the English estates and the Earldom of Shrewsbury.[17] After Hugh's death the elder son Robert inherited the earldom.[17]

Cultural references

On screen, Roger was portrayed by actor John Greenwood in the two-part BBC TV play Conquest (1966), part of the series Theatre 625.


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  • J. F. A. Mason, "Roger de Montgomery and His Sons (1067–1102)", Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 5th series vol. 13 (1963) 1-28
  • Kathleen Thompson, "The Norman Aristocracy before 1066: the Example of the Montgomerys", Historical Research 60 (1987) 251-263
  • Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came to America Before 1700 by Frederick Lewis Weis Lines: 124-26, 185-1
  • Stirnet: Montgomery01

External links

  • VIMOUTIERS Heart of the Pays d'Auge in Normandy
    • OLD PICTURES - VINTAGE CARDS (scroll down to On Roger de Mont Gommeri's lands section)
    • More about Mont Gommeri
  • The Castles of Wales: Roger of Montgomery
Peerage of England
Preceded by
New Creation
Earl of Shrewsbury
Succeeded by
Hugh of Montgomery

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