Senlis, Simon de (DNB00)

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SENLIS or ST. LIZ, SIMON de, Earl of Northampton and Huntingdon (d. 1109), was son of a Norman noble called Randel le Ryche. According to the register of the priory of St. Andrew at Northampton (Monast. Angl. v. 190), he fought with his brother Garner for William the Conqueror at Hastings. But there is no mention of him in Domesday book, and it seems more probable that he did not come to England till about the end of the reign of William I (Freeman, Norman Conquest, iv. 604). According to the legends preserved in the pseudo-Ingulph and the ‘Vita Waldevi,’ Simon was given by the Conqueror the hand of Judith, the widow of Earl Waltheof of Huntingdon; but Judith refused to marry him on account of his lameness. Simon then received the earldom of Northampton and Huntingdon from the king, and eventually married Matilda or Maud, the daughter of Waltheof and Judith. The marriage is an undoubted fact, but probably must be placed, together with the grant of the earldoms, not earlier than 1089. According to the ‘Vita Waldevi,’ Simon went on the crusade in 1095, but he appears to have been fighting on the side of William Rufus in Normandy in 1098, when he was taken prisoner by Louis, son of the king of France (Freeman, William Rufus, ii. 190). He was also one of the witnesses to the coronation charter of Henry I in 1100 (Stubbs, Select Charters, p. 102). Afterwards he went on the crusade. He died in 1109, and was buried at the priory of La Charité-sur-Loire. Earl Simon built Northampton Castle, and founded the priory of St. Andrew, Northampton, according to tradition, about 1084, but more probably in 1108 (Monast. Angl. v. 190–1). By his wife, Matilda, Simon had two sons—Simon, who is noticed below, and Waltheof (d 1159) [q. v.], who was abbot of Melrose. A daughter Maud married Robert FitzRichard of Tonbridge.

Simon II de Senlis, Earl of Northampton (d. 1153), was a minor at his father's death. His mother married as her second husband David (1084–1153) [q. v.], afterwards king of Scotland. David obtained the earldom of Northampton in right of his wife and to the exclusion of his stepson. The young Simon witnessed the Oxford charter of King Stephen at Easter 1136, simply as Simon de Saintliz (Stubbs, Select Charters, p. 121). Stephen granted the earldom of Huntingdon to Simon's half-brother, Henry of Scotland (1114?–1152) [q. v.] When Henry and his father gave their support to the Empress Matilda, Simon not unnaturally joined Stephen, who previously to 1141 restored him to the earldom of Northampton. Earl Simon fought for Stephen at Lincoln in 1141, and was one of the three earls who remained faithful to Queen Matilda during her husband's captivity. After the death of Henry of Scotland in 1152, Simon was rewarded for his loyalty by receiving the earldom of Huntingdon. He died in August 1153. He had been one of the foremost of Stephen's supporters, and his death, coinciding with that of the king's son Eustace, removed the two chief opponents to an agreement between the king and Henry FitzEmpress (Hen. Hunt. p. 288). Henry of Huntingdon makes Robert of Gloucester describe Simon II as one whose acts never got beyond speeches, nor his gifts beyond promises (ib. p. 270). Simon II de Senlis founded the nunnery of De la Pré, near Northampton, and the abbey of Saltrey in Huntingdonshire. He married Isabel, daughter of Robert de Beaumont, earl of Leicester (d. 1118), by whom he had a son, Simon. Simon III de Senlis was apparently recognised in the earldom of Northampton as soon as he came of age in 1159; he obtained the earldom of Huntingdon also on its forfeiture by William the Lion of Scotland in 1174. He married Alice, daughter and heiress of Gilbert de Gant, earl of Lincoln, but died without offspring in 1183 or 1184.

[Ordericus Vitalis, iii. 402, iv. 169, v. 130 (Soc. de l'Hist. de France); Henry of Huntingdon (Rolls Ser.); Vita et passio Waldevi ap. Chroniques Anglo-Normandes, vol. ii.; Dugdale's Monasticon Anglicanum, v. 178, 185, 190–1, 207, 521; Freeman's Norman Conquest and William Rufus; Round's Geoffrey de Mandeville; Dugdale's Baronage, i. 58; Doyle's Official Baronage, ii. 611–12; G. E. C[okayne]'s Complete Peerage, iv. 282–4, vi. 67.]

C. L. K.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.245
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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248 ii 42 Senlis, Simon de, Earl of Northampton: for (d. 1170) read (d. 1159)