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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Miles of Gloucester (? – Dec 24 1143) AKA Miles FitzWalter; Miles de Pitres

Miles of Gloucester (? – Dec 24 1143)
          AKA Miles FitzWalter; Miles de Pitres

Miles is my 25th great grandfather and is known as the 1st Earl of Hereford. He was the son of Walter of Gloucester and therefore is also known as Miles FitzWalter of Gloucester.  Walter’s wife was known as Berta. Some references refer to her as a relative of Hamelin de Balun, Lord of Abergavenny, but does not confirm de Balun as her family name. Walter’s father was Roger de Pitres, who was the Sheriff of Gloucester, from about 1071 to about 1083. At that time Roger’s brother became Sheriff and remained so until about 1096. The title then passed to Walter, Roger’s son, who had the favor of King Henry I.

A charter dated to (1123) records that "Walt de Gloec" gave Little Hereford in fee to "Willo de Mara nepoti suo".  "Walter de Gloecestria, Milo fili ei…Willelm de Mara" witnessed the charter dated to (1127) (Round: Ancient Charters. Part 1, 11 p.19)  This charter establishes that Walter of Gloucester gave Little Hereford to his nephew (nepoti suo), William de Mara or William de la Mare, whose mother was Walter’s sister. This does establish a family connection, yet “nepot suo” could mean grandson. However the dates are more in line with William being Walter’s nephew. There are other, earlier, charters (1101) that mention Walter and his wife Bertha donated Westwode in Jerchenfeldf (Erchenfeld), for the memory of Walter’s mother and father and for his brother, Herbert.

Walter’s son, Miles married Sybil de Neufmarché, daughter of Bernard de Neufmarché. Sybil was the great granddaughter of Gruffydd ap Llywelyn, King of Wales and his wife Edith of Mercia.  King Stephen of England granted to Miles  the honor of Gloucester and Brecknock in 1136 and appointed him Constable of Gloucester Castle. Miles met Empress Matilda on her arrival in England in 1139, acting as her Constable. He was created Earl of Hereford at Oxford 25 Jul 1141, by Empress Matilda. He was also granted the castle of Abergavenny.

Miles was Sheriff of Gloucester by about 1128 and Sheriff of Staffordshire by 1130. Together with Pain FitzJohn, who was Sheriff of Herefordshire and Shropshire, they ruled the entire Welsh border. By 1137 Miles had contributed property to Llanthony Abbey. When Miles was killed in a hunting accident on Dec. 24 1143, he was laid to rest at this abbey. His wife and others of his family were also buried there. 
                                                     Ruins of Llanthony Abbey

Miles and Sybil had 5 sons and three daughters. All five sons died without issue.
Of the three daughters, Margaret married Humphrey de Bohun III, Bertha married William de Braose and Lucy married Herbert FitzHerbert.

When Miles’ son Roger died (d.s.p.) in 1155, the Earldom became extinct. In 1200, Henry de Bohun (1176-1220), grand nephew and heir of Earl Roger FitzMiles, was granted the Earldom by King John.

Miles’ sister, Margaret, had a son, also named Humphrey (IV) after his father. This Humphrey married Margaret of Huntingdon, daughter of Henry of Scotland 3rd Earl of Huntingdon and granddaughter of David I, King of Scotland. 

Their son was Henry de Bohun who was restored to the Earldom in 1200. He married Maud de Mandeville and they had Humphrey (V). This Humphrey was married twice, first to Maud de Lusignan of Normandy, France and then later to Maud d’Avenbury.  Next the son of Humphrey (V) and his first wife, Maud of Lusignan, Humphrey (VI) married Eleanor de Braose. This marriage connects two of the daughters of Miles of Gloucester, Margaret and Bertha, as Humphrey (VI) is the 3x gt. grandson of Miles and Eleanor is his 3x gt. granddaughter. This would make Humphrey and Eleanor 4th cousins.

This continues on with the de Bohun’s who eventually married into the Plantagenet family, children of various Royal branches.

Bertha’s son, William de Braose (2nd) has become a rather infamous historical figure. He lured three Welsh Princes to a Christmas feast at Abergavenny Castle, under the guise of peace, and then had the three men murdered. He was exonerated and then accompanied King Richard I to Normandy. When King Richard died, he then supported King John’s claim to the throne. Standing in the way was Arthur, the son of John’s older, deceased brother, Geoffrey. Prince Arthur disappeared when he was 16 and the mystery of who, how, what, when and where is still to be solved. William de Braose has been suspected of dealing the same fate to Arthur as he did to the three Welsh Princes, but nothing has ever been found to prove it. It is believed that, if nothing else, he was aware of the who, how and when. He received lands from King John and the speculation has been that these were rewards for his service and his silence. However, he fell out of favor and was soon being hunted, diligently, by King John’s men. William’s wife, Maud de St. Valery and their son, William, were starved to death in 1210, while being held prisoner, in Corfe Castle. In the dungeon, they were walled in, alive. William (the husband and father) died the following year in France. Although William and his mother died in the castle, William had been married and had four sons, John de Braose being the eldest son. John’s mother was Maude de Clare. John married Margaret ferch Llewelyn ap Iowerth, the  granddaughter of King John, by his daughter, Joan of England.
I have browsed many documents, books and other information concerning the de Braose family. It seems they became more obscure after the 1300’s and some lines may have daughtered out. To be sure there are descendants, but they may not carry the name de Braose. I have several lines to different de Braose families, most of whom are women. I will leave the sorting out to those who have the interest.

              Ruins of Abergavenny Castle

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