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Warenne, Earls

WARENNE, EARLS. The Warennes derived their surname from the river of Guarenne or Varenne and the little town of the same name near Arques in Normandy. William de Warenne, who crossed with William I. in 1066, was a distant cousin of the Conqueror, his grandmother having been the sister of Gunnora, wife of Richard I. of Normandy: De Warenne received as his share of English spoil some 300 manors in Yorkshire, Norfolk, Surrey and Sussex, including Lewes Castle. He was wounded at the siege of Pevensey and died in 1089, a year after he had received the title of earl of Surrey. Both he and his successors were more commonly styled Earl Warenne than earl of Surrey. His wife Gundrada, described on her monument as stirps ducum, 1 appears to have been a sister of Gharbod, earl of Chester.

Their son William, 2nd earl (c. 1071-1138), was a suitor for the hand of Matilda of Scotland, afterwards queen of Henry I. He was temporarily deprived of his earldom in 1101 for his support of Robert, duke of Normandy, but he commanded at the battle of Tenchebrai (1106), and was governor of Rouen in 1135. He carried off Elizabeth of Vermandois, granddaughter of Henry I. of France, and wife of Robert, count of Meulan, and married her in 1118 after her husband's death.

William de Warenne, 3rd earl (d. 1148), was, with his halfbrother, Robert de Beaumont, early of Leicester, present at the battle of Lincoln, where his flight early in the day contributed to Stephen's defeat. He remained faithful to the queen during Stephen's imprisonment, and in 1146 he took the cross, and was killed near Laodicea in January 1 148.

His daughter and heiress, Isabel, married in 1153 William de Blois, second son of King Stephen and Matilda of Boulogne, and in 1163 Hamelin Plantagenet, natural son of Geoffrey, count of Anjou. Both Isabel's husbands appear to have borne the title of Earl Warenne. Earl Hamelin was one of those who at the council of Northampton denounced Becket as a traitor; he remained faithful to his half-brother, Henry II., during the trouble with the king's sons, and in Richard I.'s absence on the crusade he supported the government against the intrigues of Prince John. William de Warenne (d. 1240), son of Isabel and Hamelin, who succeeded to the earldom in 1202, enjoyed the special confidence of King John. In 1212, when a general rebellion was apprehended, John committed to him the custody of the northern shires; and he remained faithful to his master throughout the troubles which preceded the signing of the Charter. In 1216, as the king's situation became desperate, the earl repented of his loyalty, and, shortly before the death of John, made terms with Prince Louis. He returned, however, to his lawful allegiance immediately upon the accession of Henry III., and was, during his minority, a loyal supporter of the crown. He disliked, however, 1 See R. E. Chester Watson, " Gundrada," in the Jnl. of the Arch. Inst., xli. p. 1 08.

the royal favourites who came into power after 1227, and used his influence to protect Hubert de Burgh when the latter had been removed from office by their efforts (1232). Warenne's relations with the king became strained in course of time. In 1238 he was evidently regarded as a leader of the baronial opposition, for the great council appointed him as one of the treasurers who were to prevent the king from squandering the subsidy voted in that year. His son John de Warenne (c. 1231-1304) succeeded in 1240, and at a later date bore the style of earl of Surrey and Sussex. In the battle of Lewes (1264) he fought under Prince Edward, and on the defeat of the royal army fled with the queen to France. His estates were confiscated but were subsequently restored. He served in Edward I.'s Welsh campaigns, and took a sill more prominent part in Scottish affairs, being the king's lieutenant in Scotland in 1296-1297. In September 1297 he advanced to Stirling, and, giving way to the clamour of his soldiers, was defeated by William Wallace on the nth. He invaded Scotland early the next year with a fresh army, and, joining Edward in the second expedition of that year, commanded the rear at Falkirk By his first wife, Alice of Lusignan, half-sister of Henry III., Eari Warenne had three children Alice, who married Henry Percy, father of the 1st baron Percy; Isabella, who married John Baliol, afterwards king of Scots; and William, who predeceased his father, leaving a son John.

John de Warenne (1286-1347) succeeded his grandfather in 1304, and was knighted along with the prince of Wales in 1306, two days after his marriage with the prince's niece, Joanna, daughter of Eleanor of England, countess of Bar. From that time onwards he was much engaged in the Scottish wars, in which he had a personal interest, since John Baliol was his cousin and at one time his ward. As there were no children of his marriage, his nephew, Richard Fitzalan II., earl of Arundel (c. 1307-1376), became heir to his estates and the earldom of Surrey. His northern estates reverted to the crown, and the southern estates held by Joanna of Bar during her lifetime passed to Fitzalan. The Warrens of Poynton, barons of Stockport, descended from one of Earl Warenne's illegitimate sons by Isabella de Holland. Earl Warenne had received from Edward Baliol the Scottish earldom of Strathearn, but seems never to have established effective possession.

See G. E. C(okayne), Complete Peerage, vol. vii. (1896) ; and John Watson, Memoirs of the Ancient Earls of Warren or Surrey (2 vols., Warrington, 1782).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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