Robert Fitz Swein of Essex
- Born: Rayleigh Castle, Essex, England
- Marriage: Gunnor le Bigod 160
- Died: After 1132, Essex, England
Another name for Robert was Robert of Essex.
~Weis' Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came to America before 1700, 8th Edition, 246:26, Lord of Rayleigh and Haughley, Henry of Essex, son of Robert Fitz Suein of Essex by Gunnor Bigod, married Cicely and their daughter was Agnes of Essex who maried Aubrey de Vere. 160
Noted events in his life were:
• Background Information. 1279
Before 1066 Theydon Mountwas held by Godric as a manor and as 3 hides and 80 acres. After the Conquest it was given by William I to Robert Fitz Wimarc, who was still alive in 1069 but had been succeeded in or before 1075 by his son Swein. Robert was Sheriff of Essex and the office was later held by Swein. [V.C.H. Essex, i, 490b; J. H. Round, Cal. Docs. France, 21; Freeman, Norman Conquest, iv, 736] Swein made his castle at Rayleigh, which became the head of his honor and from that time the manor of Theydon Mount was always held of the Honor of Rayleigh. [Cf. Wards 5/3/1203 (Feodary Survey Apr. 1632)] In 1086 the manor was held of Swein by one Robert. [V.C.H. Essex, i, 490b.] Swein was succeeded by his son Robert of Essex, the founder of Prittlewell Priory, and Robert of Essex was succeeded by his son Henry of Essex. [J. H. Round, Geoffrey de Mandeville, 391] In 1163 Henry of Essex, then Constable of England, failed to clear himself of a charge of cowardice during a war against the Welsh, and was deprived of all his lands. [This paragraph is based on A. L. Browne, 'The de Theydon Family', E.A.T. n.s. xxi, 84-88 and J. H. Round, 'The Manor of Theydon Mount', ibid. xii, 198-202. For Henry de Essex see p. 287]
History of the County of Essex, Volume IV, pp. 276-281
• Background Information. 1390
Robert de Essex succeeded his father Sweyn de Essex, but he doesn' appear very often in the records. The Pipe-roll of 1130 mentions him as excused 40 shillings, his quota of an amercement levied on a district in Essex for some murder committed therein. [Rot. Pip. 31 Hen. I, p.56]
About September and October, 1131, Robert de Essex, at Northampton, and at Westminster, attests two Charters of King Henry I concerning the Church of St. Martin's, Dover, given to Cantebury Cathedral. [Monasticon IV, 538 vii.] Between the years 1113 and 1132, he is mentioned, along with his wife, Gunnora, daughter of Roger le Bigot, and his father in a charter, whereby one Robert Waste, his tenant in the Huntingdonshire Manor of Wereslai, grants to parts of the tithes thereof to Eynesbuy, then a cell of the great Norman Abbey of Bec Hollouin. [Monasticon III, 472 viii]
There are the remains of a Carter of somewhat earlier date than 1120, whereby "Robert de Essex and Gunnora his wife, daughter of Roger Bigod, for the souls of their ancestors and of their son Henry, on the day of his birth, gave to Thetford Priory the Church of Fremingham. Moreover, Gunnora, at the same time, her husband consenting, gave the Churches of Cavedon and Brom and Posingland Magna for joy of the birth of her son Henry."
Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological and Natural History, Volume II, pp. 17-18
• Background Information. 1391
Robert the son of Swein of Essex, called also Robert de Essex, and Robert Fitz Swein*, founded Prittlewell priory, according to Newcourt and Tanner, in the reign of Henry the Second, but more likely during that of Henry the First.
*Swein of Essex is one of the great land-holders in the Domesday Book. Kelbam says, "He was son of Robert, sho was son of Wilmarc, and had fifty-five lordships in Essex alone. He was settled in England before the Conquest, and readily joining with William the Conqueror, was either confimred in the possession of his lands , or had then restored to him."
~Monasticon Anglicanum, Volume V, p. 21
Robert married Gunnor le Bigod, daughter of Roger le Bigod Earl of East Anglia, "the Sheriff" and Alice de Toeni of Belvoir.160 (Gunnor le Bigod died after 1189 in Binham Priory, Binham, Essex, England 1391.)