Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Tirel, Walter

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TIREL or TYRRELL, WALTER (fl. 1100), reputed slayer of William Rufus, was identified by Freeman with a son of Fulc, dean of Lisieux, who bore the same name (Will. Rufus, ii. 322, 673). He was, however, the son and successor of a Walter Tirel, lord of Poix in Picardy (Feudal England, p. 476). William of Malmesbury (ed. Stubbs, p. 378) speaks of him as brought over from France by William Rufus, with whom he was on most friendly terms, but he was certainly the Walter Tirel who appears in ‘Domesday’ (ii. 41) as holding the manor of Langham, Essex, from Richard FitzGilbert, the founder of the house of Clare, whose daughter Adeliza he married (Feudal England, p. 469). He is mentioned just afterwards (1087) in an agreement with the Count of Amiens (ib. p. 476), and is found at the court of the French king in 1091 (Rouen Cartulary, f. 46 d). The part he took in the death of William Rufus (2 Aug. 1100) has been discussed at great length by Freeman (Will. Rufus, ii. 325–37, 657–70), who concludes that ‘no absolute certainty’ exists on the matter. That Walter was generally believed to have shot the fatal arrow is clear; but he seems to have denied the fact with great vehemence afterwards, when he had nothing to gain by doing so (ib. p. 674). It appears to have been this Walter who founded the priory of St. Denis de Poix, and built the abbey of St. Pierre de Selincourt (Feudal England, p. 476).

Adeliza, his wife, is mentioned on the Pipe Roll of 1130 (ib. p. 468); she retired as a widow to Conflans, a daughter-house of Bec (ib. p. 478). By her Walter left a son and successor, Hugh, lord of Poix, who sold Langham to Henry de Cornhill when leaving for the second crusade, 1147 (ib. p. 471).

[Freeman's William Rufus; Round's Feudal England; William of Malmesbury (Rolls Ser.); Cartulary of Rouen Cathedral in public library, Rouen.]

J. H. R.