Duchess Sibyl De Conversana NORMANDY


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Duke Robert England NORMANDY, II

Duchess Sibyl De Conversana NORMANDY

  • Married: May 1076-1100, Apulia, , Italy
  • Died: 1103

   Other names for Sibyl were NORMANDY Duchess, CONVERSANO, Sibille, Sybil and Sybilla.

   Ancestral File Number: 8XJ0-PG.

   General Notes:

Duchess of NORMANDY.

Kings and Queens of Great Britain, Genealogical Chart, Anne Taute and Romilly Squire, Taute, 1990: "Robert II Curthose Duke of Normandy, Mar Sybilla Daughter of Geoffrey of Conversana, Died 1103."

The Political History of England, Vol II, George Burton Adams Longmans Green and Co, 1905, Ch I, p60:
[1073] "...In the year after his Scottish expedition he was called to Normandy by a revolt in his early conquest, the county of Maine, which it required a formidable campaign to subdue. William's plan to attach this important province to Normandy by a marriage between his son Robert and the youngest sister of the last count had failed through the death of the proposed heiress, and the county had risen in favour of her elder sister, the wife of the Italian Marquis Azo or of her son...By a later treaty with Fulk of Anjou, Robert was recognized as Count of Maine, but as avassal of Anjou and not of Normandy."
p65: [1082] "Much more of the last ten years of William's life was spent in Normandy than in England. Revolts of unruly barons, attacks on border towns or castles, disputes with the king of France, were constantly occupying him with vexatious details, thoug with nothing of serious import. Most vexatious of all was the conduct of his son Robert. With the eldest son of William opens in English history a long line of the sons and brothers of kings, in a few cases of kings themselves, who are gifted with popular qualities, who make friends easily, but who are weak in character, who cannot control men or refuse favours, passionate and selfish, hardly strong enough to be violently wicked as others of the line are, but causes of constant evil to themselves and their friends and sometimes to the state. And with him opens also the long series of quarrels in the royal family, of which the French kings were quick to take advantage, and from which they were in the end to gain so much. The ground of Robert's rebellion was the common one of dissatisfaction with his position and his father's refusal to part with any of his power in his favour. Robert was not able to exciteany real insurrection in Normandy, but with the aid of his friends and of the French king he maintained a border war for some time, and defended castles with success against the king. His is said even, in one encounter, to have wounded and been on the point of slaying his father. For some time he wandered in exile in the Rhine valley, supported by gifts sent him by his mother, in spite of the prohibition of her husband. Once he was reconciled with his father, only to begin his rebellion again. When the end came, William left him Normandy, but people thought at least that he did it unwillingly, foreseeing the evil which his character was likely to bring on any land over which he ruled."
p85: [1089] "In the meantime,from the beginning of Robert's rule inthe duchy across the channe, the condition of things there had been a standing invitation to his brother to interfere. Robert is a fair example of the worst type of men of the Norman-Angevin blook. Not bad in intention, and not without abilities, he was weak with that weakness most fatal fo all in times when the will of the ruler gave its only force to law, the inability to say no, the lack of firm resisting power...but Robert's prodigality of gifts was greater than the judgement of his own time approved, and, combined with the inability to make himself respected or obeyed, which often goes with such generosity, it was the source of most of his difficulites. His ideal seemed to be thatevery man should have what he wanted, and soon it was apparent that he had retained very little for himself..."
p112: [1100] "...But not every one was ready to admit the claim of Henry [I]. Between him and the door of the treasury William of Breteuil, who also had been of the hunting party and who was the responsible keeper of the hoard, took his stand. Against the demand of Henry he set the claim of Robert, the better claim according even to the law of that day, though the law which he urged was less that which would protect the right of the eldest born than the feudal law regarding homage done and fealty sworn. `If we are going to act legally,' he said to Henry, `we ought to remember the fealty which we have promised to Duke Robert, your brother. He is, too, the eldest born son of King William, and you and I, my Lord Henry, have done him homage. We ought to keep faith to him absent in all respects as if he were present.' He followed his law by an appeal to feeling, referring to Robert's crusade. `He has been labouring now a long time in the service of God, and God has resotred to him, without conflict, his duchy, which as a pilgrim he laid aside for love of Him.' Then a strife arose, and a crowd of men ran together to the spot. We can imagine they wer not merely men of the city, but also many of the king's train who must have ridden after Henry from the Forest. Whoever they were, they supported Henry, for we are told that as the crowd collected the courage of the `heir who was demanding his right' increased. Henry drew his sword and declared he would permit no `frivolous delay.' His insistence and the support of his friends prevailed, and castle and treasury were turnedover to him.
"This it was which really determined who should be king. Not that the question was fully settled then, but the popular determination which showed itself in the crowd that gathered around the disputants in Winchester probably showed itself, in the days that followed, to be the determination of England in general, and thus held in check those who would have supported Robert, while Henry rapidly pushed events to a conclusion and so became king..."
p127: [1101] "Robert had returned to Normandy from the Holy Land before the arrival of Anselm in England. He had won much golry on the crusade, and in the rush of events and in the constant fighting, where responsibility for the management of affairs did notrest upon him alone, he had shown himself a man of energy and power. But he came back unchanged in character. Even during the crusade he had relapsed at times into his more indolent and careless mood, from which he had been roused with difficulty...He was, however, now under no obligation to redeem Normandy. The loan for which he had pledged the duchy was regarded as a personal debt to William Rufus, not a debt to the English crown, and Henry laid no claim to it. Robert took possession of Normandy without opposition from any quarter. It is probable that if Robert had been left to hemself, he would have been satisfied with Normandy, and that his easy-going dispositon would have led him to leave Henry in undisturbed possession of England. But he was not left to himself. The events which had occurred soon after the accession of William Rufus repeated themselves soon after Henry's. No Norman baron could expect to gain any more of the freedom which he desired under Henry than he had had under William. The two states would also be separated once more if Henry remained king of England. Almost all the Normans accordingly applied to Robert, as they had done before, and offered to support a new attempt to gainthe crown...Natural ambition was not wanting to Robert, and in the summer of 1101 he collected his forces for an invasion of England..."
p144: [1106] "The battle upon which Henry [I] embarked in August ended by the close of September in asuccess greater than he could have anticipated. He first attacked the castle of Tinchebrai, belonging to William of Mortain, and left a fortified post there to hold it in check. As soon as the king had retired, William came to the relief of his castle, reprovisioned it, and shut up the king's men in their defences. Then Henry advanced in turn with his own forces and his allies, and began a regular siege of the castle...
"The battle was fought on September 28, and it was fiercely fought, the hardest fight and with the largest forces of any in which Normans or Englishmen had been engaged for forty years. The main body of both armies fought on foot. The Count of Mortain, in command of Robert's first division, charged Henry's front, but was met with a resistance which he could not overcome. In the midst of this struggle Robert's flank was charged by Henry's mounted allies, under Count Elias of Maine, and his position was cut in two. Robert of Belleme, who commanded the rear division, seeing the battle going against the duke, took to flight and left the rest of the army to its fate. This was apparently to surrender in a body. Henry reports the number of common soldiers whom he had taken as ten thousand, too large a figure, no doubt, but implying the capture of Robert's whole force. His prisoners of name comprised all the leaders of his brother's side except Robert of Belleme, including the duke himself, Edgar the English atheling, who wassoon released, and William of Mortain. The victory at once made Henry master of Normandy. There could be no further question of this..."
p146: "...It is of especial interest that the worst men of the prisoners taken at Tinchebrai were here condemned to perpetual imprisonment. The name of Robert is not mentioned among those included in this judgment, and later Henry justifies his conduct toward his brother on the ground of political necessity, not of legal right. The result of all these measures- we may believe it would have been the result of the conquest alone- was to put an end at once to the disorder, private warfare, and open robbery from which the duchy had so long suffered...Robert was carried over to England,to a fate for which tehre could be little warrant in strict law, but which was abundantly deserved and fully supported by the public opinion of the time. He was kept in prison in one royal castle or another until his death, twenty-eight years later. If Henry's profession was true, as it probably was, that he kept him as a royal prisoner should be kept, and supplied him with the luxuries he enjoyed so much, the result was, it is possible, not altogether disagreeable to Robert himself.Some time later, when the pope remonstrated with Henry on his conduct, and demanded the release of Robert, the king's defence of his action was so complete that the pope had no reply to make. Political expediency, the impossiblity of otherwisemaintaining peace, was the burden of his answer, and this, if not actual justice, must still be Henry's defence for his treatment of his brother."
p188: "A short time before [Geoffrey's birth in Jun 1134], the long imprisonment of Robert of Normandy closed with his death, and the future for which Henry had so long worked must have seemed to him secure..."

The New Columbia Encyclopedia, 1975, p2333, Robert II: "(Robert Curthose) c1054-1134. duke of Normandy (1087-1106); eldestson of King William I of England. Aided by King Philip I of France, he rebelled (1077) against his father. Father and son became reconciled, but Robert was later exiled. At William's death he inherited Normandy. England fell to his younger brother William II, with whom Robert was intermittently at war (1090-96) until Robert went (1096-1100) on the First Crusade. While he was away William II died and Henry I, youngest son of William I, was crowned. Robert invaded (1101) England but was forced to recognize Henry. In Normandy, Robert's misgovernment propmted an invasion by Henry (1105), who defeated (1106) Robert at Tindhebrai, seized Normandy, and kept Robert a prisoner. See biography by C W David (1920)."

The Oxford Bookof Royal Anecdotes, Elizabeth Longford, 1991, Oxford Univ Press, pxix: "Normans and Plantagenets Genealogy: Robert Duke of Normandy, died 1134."

A History of the English Speaking People Winston S Churchill Vol I The Birth of Britain Dodd Mead& Co p169:
"...Queen Matilda was a capable regent at Rouen, but plagued by the turbulence of her sons. The eldest, Robert, a Crusading knight, reckless and spendthrift, with his father's love of fighting and adventure but without his ruthless genius or solid practical aims, resented William's persistent hold on life and impatiently claimed his Norman inheritance. Many a time the father was called across the Channel to chastise rebellious towns and forestall the conspiracies ofhis son with the French Court. Robert, driven from his father's lands, found refuge in King Philip's castle of Gerberoi. William marched implacably upon him. Beneath the walls two men, visor down, met in single combat, father and son. Robert wounded his father in the hand and unhorsed him, and would indeed have killed him but for a timely rescue by an Englishman, one Tokig of Wallingford, who remounted the overthrown conqueror. Both were sobered by this chance encounter, and for a time there was reconciliation."
p179: "...William I's decision to divide his English from his Norman lands brought new troubles in its train...Both Duke Robert and William II were dissatisfied with the division, and their brotherly ties did notmitigate their covetous desires. During the thirteen years of the reign of William the Anglo-Norman realms were vexed by fratricidal strife and successive baronial revolts...The feckless Robert, who had plagued the Conqueror so long, eventuallydeparted in a fit of gallantry on the First Crusade, leaving Normandy pawned to Rugus for the loan of 10,000 marks..."

The Wall Chart of World History, Edward Hull, 1988, Studio Edition, Normandy 1087: Robert III Duke of Normandy 1087-1106..."

The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England, Antonia Fraser, 1975, Alfred Knopf, p24: "Robert III Curthose Duke of Normandy c1054-1134, mar Sybil of Conversano..."

Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1981, Micropaedia, Vol IV, p1022, Henry I of England: "Crowned king of England (1100) in succession to his brother William II while his elder brother, Robert Curthose, was away on the First Crusade, Henry successfully asserted his right to the succession when Robert invaded England in 1101 and also took Normandy from him in 1106.

Macropaedia, Vol VIII, p763, Henry I of England: "The youngest and ablest of William the Conqueror's sons,...he was crowned at Westminster, on August 5, 1100, three days after his brother, King William II, William the Conqueror's second son, had been killed in a hunting accident. Duke Robert Curthose, the eldest of the three brothers, who by feudal custom had succeeded to his father's inheritance, Normandy, was returning from the First Crusade and could not assert his own claim to the English throne until the following year. The succession was precarious, however, because a number of wealthy Anglo- Norman barons supported Duke Robert, and Henry moved quickly to gain all the backing he could...and he recalled St. Anselm, the scholarly archbishop of Canterbury whom his brother, William II, had banished.
"When Robert Curthose finally invaded England in 1101 several of the greatest barons defected to him. But Henry, supported by a number of his barons, most of the Anglo-Saxons, and St. Anselm, worked out an amicable settlement with the invaders. Robert relinquished his claim to England, receiving in return Henry's own territories in Normandy and a large annuity.
"Although a crusading hero, Robert was a self-indulgent, vacillating ruler who allowed Normandy to slip into chaos. Normand churchmen who fled to England urged Henry to conquer and pacify the duchy and thus provided moral grounds for Henry's ambition to reunify his father's realm at his brother's expense. Paving his way with bribes to Norman barons and agreements with neighbouring princes, in 1106 Henry routed Robert's army at Tinchebrai in southwestern Normandy. Robert was captured and remained Henry's prisoner for the rest of his life."

The Political History of England, Vol II, George Burton Adams Longmans Green and Co, 1905, Ch I, p127:
[1101] "Robert had returned to Normandy fromthe Holy Land before the arrival of Anselm in England. He had won much glory on the crusade...In southern Italy, where he had stopped among the Normans on his return, he had married Sibyl, daughter of Geoffrey of Conversana, a nephew of Robert Guiscard, but the dowry which he received with her had rapidly melted away in his hands..."

The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England, Antonia Fraser, 1975, Alfred Knopf, p24: "Sybil of Conversano, mar Robert III Curthose Duke of Normandy..."

Ancestral File Ver 4.10 8XJ0-PG.

   Marriage Information:

Sibyl married Duke Robert England NORMANDY, II, son of King William Normandy ENGLAND, I and Queen Matilda Flanders ENGLAND, in May 1076-1100 in Apulia, , Italy. (Duke Robert England NORMANDY, II was born in 1051-1056 in , Normandy, France, died on 10 Feb 1134 in Cardiff, Glamorganshire, Wales and was buried in Church, St Peters, Gloucestershire, England.)

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