Warenne, William de (d.1148) (DNB00)

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WARENNE or WARREN, WILLIAM de, third Earl of Surrey (d. 1148), was the eldest son of William de Warenne, second earl of Surrey (d. 1138) [q. v.], and half-brother of Robert de Beaumont (1104–1168) [q. v.], earl of Leicester, Waleran de Beaumont [q. v.], count of Meulan, and Hugh, earl of Bedford. He was with Stephen's army at Lisieux in June 1137; he took a prominent part in the disturbance that broke out between the king's Norman and Flemish followers (Orderic, p. 910). He succeeded his father as Earl of Surrey in 1138. Together with Robert de Beaumont he was present at the battle of Lincoln in 1141, and fled early in the fight (ib. p. 922; Henry. Hunt. p. 273). During the king's imprisonment he remained faithful to the queen (Orderic, p. 923), and when the empress Matilda and her forces retreated from Winchester he pursued them, in company with William of Ypres [q. v.] and his Flemings, and assisted in the capture of Earl Robert of Gloucester [q. v.] at Stockbridge, near Andover (Cont. Flor. Wig. ii. 135; the chronicler's words are somewhat ambiguous, and Watson, in his Earls of Warren and Surrey, has taken them as meaning that Earl William was on the side of the empress, and was taken together with Earl Robert; but the declaration of Orderic that he remained faithful to the queen is conclusive). He was with the king at his Christmas court at Canterbury, and when he was in the eastern counties early in 1142 (Round, Geoffrey de Mandeville, pp. 143, 158). A notice of a bribe paid to him and three others of the king's captains by Geoffrey, abbot of St. Albans, where they were minded to burn the town (Gesta Abbatum S. Albani, i. 94), has suggested (Round, u.s. p. 206) that he assisted at the capture of Geoffrey de Mandeville [q. v.] in September 1143 (Historia Anglorum, i. 271).

The earl took the cross with Louis VII and a crowd of other nobles at Vézelai on Easter-day, 31 March 1146, and accompanied the crusading army which set out in June 1147. In the march from Laodicea in January 1148 he was helping to guard the rear of the army when he was cut off by the Turks, and either killed on the spot or, according to the belief of some in England, died after a very short captivity (Suger, Ep. 39, from Louis VII, who speaks of the earl as his kinsman, as he was through his mother; William of Tyre, xv. 1, c. 25, where he is said to have been slain on the day of the fight; John of Hexham, a. 1148; Will. Cant. i. 100 ap. Becket Materials, where his noble end is contrasted with his brother Reginald's evil conduct towards Archbishop Thomas; Chron. de Mailros, a. 1147). His death is dated in the register of Lewes priory (f. 106) 13 Jan.

He married Ela or Adela, daughter of William Talvas, count of Ponthieu, son of Robert de Bellême [q. v.], who married for her second husband Patrick, earl of Salisbury, and died in 1174. By her he had one daughter, Isabel, his heir, who married, (1) before 1153, William, second son of King Stephen, who became in consequence Earl of Surrey, and was sometimes designated as ‘William de Warenne;’ and after his death, without children, in October 1159, (2) Hamelin, natural son of Geoffrey, count of Anjou [see Warenne, Hamelin de]. She died in 1199, and was buried in the chapter-house of Lewes priory.

Earl William gave a charter to Lewes priory conveying seisin of his grant by offering hair which Henry of Blois [q. v.], bishop of Winchester, cut from his and his brother Ralph's heads before the altar (Monasticon, v. 15), and before going on the crusade founded the priory of Thetford, Norfolk, for canons regular of the Holy Sepulchre (ib. vi. 729).

[Authorities cited in text.]

W. H.