Fitzwilliam, Roger (DNB00)

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FITZWILLIAM, ROGER, alias Roger de Breteuil, Earl of Hereford (fl. 1071–1075), was the younger son of William Fitzosbern [q. v.], to whose earldom and English estates he succeeded at his death (1071). He is described by William of Malmesbury as ‘a youth of hateful perfidy,’ and the letters of Lanfranc complain of his violence and rebellious tendencies, for which the writer eventually excommunicated him. In 1075 he gave his sister Emma in marriage to Ralf, earl of Norfolk, against the will of the Conqueror, according to Florence of Worcester. At the ‘bride-ale’ there was hatched a conspiracy between the two earls and their friends against William's rule. Roger returning to his earldom rose in revolt, but was prevented by the royal forces from crossing the line of the Severn. For this revolt he was fined in the king's court at the following Christmas (1075), and sentenced to forfeiture of his lands and perpetual imprisonment. His rage against the king, according to Ordericus, made William resolve to keep him in prison so long as he lived, but on his deathbed he sanctioned his release. He was, however, never released, and when Ordericus wrote in the time of Henry I, his two sons, Reginald and Roger, were gallantly striving to regain by their services that royal favour which their house had lost.

[Freeman's Norman Conquest. The history of Roger's revolt is told by Ordericus Vitalis in chap. xiii. of his 4th book.]

J. H. R.