Redvers, family of (DNB00)
|←Redpath, Peter||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 47
Redvers, family of
|Redvers, Baldwin of→|
REDVERS, Family of, derived its name from the vill of Réviers, in the Bessin (Stapleton, II. cclxix.), and is first mentioned in 1060, when Richard of this house, with his brothers William and Baldwin, gave land at Gourbesville in the Cotentin to St. Père de Chartres (ib.). The pedigree begins, however, with that Richard de Redvers who is found as ‘Francus’ holding Mosterton in Dorset in 1084 and 1086 (Eyton, Key to Domesday, p. 113). In 1090 he was one of those barons of the Cotentin who supported Henry ‘Beauclerc’ against his brothers (Ord. Vit. iii. 351), and this proved the foundation of his fortunes, for Henry, on his accession, endowed him with lands in England. Richard, in return, supported him staunchly (ib. iv. 95, 110; Will. Malm. p. 471), and was one of his trusted advisers. Dying in 1107 (Ord. Vit. iv. 276), he was buried at the abbey of Montebourg, of which he is deemed the founder (ib.), though he had merely been given its patronage by Henry (Stapleton, II. cclxxii.), and had given it some lands (Gallia Christiana, vol. xi.; Monast. Angl. vi. 1097). Henry had also given him Twinham Priory, Hampshire, which he endowed with lands in the Isle of Wight on obtaining its lordship (ib. vi. 304). By his wife Adeliza, daughter of William Peverell [q. v.] of Nottingham, who gave her marriage portion, the manor of Woolley, to Montebourg after his death (ib. vi. 1097), he left three sons—Baldwin, his successor [see Baldwin of Redvers], William ‘de Vernon’ (so named from the castle of Vernon), his heir in Normandy, and Robert ‘de Ste. Mère Église,’ who received the manor of that name—and a daughter Hawys, wife of William de Roumare, earl of Lincoln [q. v.] (Stapleton, II. cclxxv.). Their mother's letter to the bishop of Exeter is found in ‘Sarum Charters’ (p. 5). It is important to distinguish Richard de Redvers from Richard, son of Baldwin of Exeter [see Clare, Family of], with whom he has been persistently confused. Nor was he, as asserted (Planché, Conqueror and his Companions, ii. 48; Complete Peerage, iii. 100), created Earl of Devon by Henry I (Geoffrey de Mandeville, p. 272).
His successor, Baldwin, the first Earl of Devon (d. 1155) [q. v.], left issue (with William, afterwards fifth earl) a son and heir, Richard, who was sheriff of Devon (as ‘Ricardus Comes’) in 1155–6, and as Richard ‘de Redvers’ in 1156–7; he is reckoned the second Earl of Devon. An interesting writ was addressed to him by the king as Richard ‘de Redvers’ only, in April 1157, in favour of Montebourg Abbey (Eyton, Itinerary, p. 25). He died in 1162 (Robert de Tor. p. 213), leaving by Dionys, daughter of Reginald, earl of Cornwall [q. v.], two sons (Baldwin and Richard), who succeeded him as third and fourth earls of Devon. On the death of the latter without issue (1184?) the succession opened to his uncle William (d. 1216).
Stapleton doubted whether this William was really styled, as alleged, ‘de Vernon;’ but a Montebourg charter of 1175 (ib. p. 188) clearly distinguishes him as William de Vernon ‘junior,’ from his uncle, William de Vernon ‘senior’ (a justiciar of Normandy), whose son Richard had at that date succeeded him. It was, however, as William ‘de Redveriis,’ earl of Devon, that he made a grant to ‘Domus Dei,’ Southampton, still preserved at Queen's College, Oxford (Hist. MSS. Comm. 4th Rep. App. pp. 454–5), the seal of which shows the family device, a griffin clutching a hare. Though Hoveden styles him ‘Earl of the Isle of Wight’ (of which he was lord) at the coronation of Richard I, it was not till 28 April 1194 that the king granted him, as ‘Earl William de Brion’(?), the tertius denarius of Devon as his father Baldwin and predecessor Richard had held it (ib. 9th Rep. App. ii. p. 205). Dying at a great age in 1216, he was succeeded by his grandson Baldwin, whose son and namesake was the last earl (1245–1262). His sister and heiress Isabel, countess of Albemarle, who styled herself occasionally Countess of Devon, died in 1293, immediately after selling her hereditary lordship of the Isle of Wight for 4,000l. to the crown; she left no issue.[Stapleton's Rolls of the Norman Exchequer (App. to vol. ii.); Ordericus Vitalis (Société de l'Histoire de France); William of Malmesbury, Robert of Torigny, and Sarum Charters and Documents (Rolls Ser.); Monasticon Anglicanum; Gallia Christiana; Reports of Hist. MSS. Comm.; Eyton's Key to Domesday and Itinerary of Henry II; Planché's Conqueror and his Companions, with his ‘Earls of Devon’ (Collectanea Archæologica, vol. i.), and ‘Lords of the Isle of Wight’ (Brit. Arch. Assoc. vol. xi.); Dugdale's Baronage; Round's Geoffrey de Mandeville.]