Petronilla de Grandmesnal

Petronilla de Grandmesnal

Female Abt 1135 - 1212  (~ 77 years)

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  • Name Petronilla de Grandmesnal 
    Born Abt 1135  Calvados, Normandy, France Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Female 
    Died 1 Apr 1212  Ware, Hertfordshire, Englandmap Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I3947  avefamily
    Last Modified 25 Nov 2018 

    Family Robert de Beaumont,   b. 1135, Beaumont, Normandy, France Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 31 Aug 1190, Durazzo Province, West Albania Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 55 years) 
    +1. Margaret De Beaumont,   d. 12 Jan 1234/5
    Last Modified 25 Nov 2018 
    Family ID F1388  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • She was the last representative of the great Norman aristocratic house of Grandmesnil. Her father's name is known only from a grant by her to the abbey of St Evroult in his memory.

      She was given in marriage by Henry II to Robert de Breteuil. The marriage took place by 1159. They first lived in Normandy, where Robert had charge of his father's honor of Breteuil. By 1164, they had had seven children.

      In 1168, Robert had inherited his father's earldom. When the new earl rebelled against Henry II, he took Petronilla with him into exile at the court of Louis VII. The countess seems by now to have established a reputation as a strong-willed, political figure.


      Daughters Hawise, Petronilla, Amice and Margaret. Sons William, Robert and Roger.


      The Phillips, Weber, Kirk, & Staggs families of the Pacific Northwest, by Jim Weber,

      Robert Earl of Leicester married, before 1155-1159, Pernel (Petronilla), heiress of the Norman honour of Grandmesnil, great-granddaughter of Hugh de Grandmesnil, the Domesday tenant, but her parentage has not been discovered*. Robert died on his return journey from Jerusalem, 31 August 1190, at sea near Brindisi, or in Romania on his way to Jerusalem. His widow had a grant of the market and bridge at Ware for life, 10 March 1207/8. She died 1 April 1212.[1]

      In the account of the foundation of Leicester Abbey she is called daughter of Hugh de Grandmesnil, who is said to have given with her the honour of Hinckley and the seneschalship of England. This story is clearly wrong, since Orderic tells us that Robert Count of Meulan obtained the English lands from Ives, son of Hugh de Grandmesnil, the Domesday tenant, and the Leicestershire Survey of 1124-1129 shows them to be held by the Earl of Leicester. Robert de Torigni, recording under the year 1168 the death of Robert Earl of Leicester, says that he left a son "qui accepit cum uxore sua hereditatem de Grentemesnill." As the Norman honour of Grandmesnil was in 1172 in the Earl of Leicester's hands, and as it had been separated from the English lands at the death of Hugh the Domesday tenant, descending to his eldest son Robert, this is clearly the inheritance which Pernel brought to her husband, and it is in the Norman branch that her ancestors must be sought. Hugh de Grandmesnil, the Domesday tenant, had five sons - Robert, William, Hugh, Ives and Aubrey. With respect to the younger sons, William went to Apulia, where he m. Mabel, daughter of Robert Guiscard, and no more is heard of him in England or Normandy. Hugh d. young circa 1087, and was buried in St. Evroult. Ives succeeded to his father's lands in England, which he mortgaged and lost to Robert, Count of Meulan. He m. a daughter of Gilbert de Gand, and had a son Ives. Orderic says that two of Ive's sons perished in the White Ship; of these Ives the younger may be one. Nothing more is heard of Ives's descendants. Aubrey, the youngest son, was brought up a clerk, but eventually became a knight. Robert, the eldest son, inherited the Norman lands which are later found in Robert FitzPernel's hands [i.e. Robert, Earl of Leicester (d. 1204), the son of Pernel]. He m., 1stly, Agnes, daughter of Ranulph de Bayeux; 2ndly, Emma, daughter of Robert d'Estouteville; and, 3rdly, Lucy, daughter of Savary FitzCana. Orderic elsewhere says that Robert had a daughter Agnes, who m. Robert de Moulins, but otherwise he gives no information as to his children. Now we know that Pernel was the great-granddaughter of Hugh the Domesday tenant, and if she [Pernel] inherited the Norman lands she would in all probability be a daughter of a son of Hugh's son Robert. Hugh's father and son are both called Robert, and if this alternating nomenclature - a very usual system - was continued, a son of Robert the younger would be named Hugh. This is the name given to Pernel's father in the foundation narrative of Leicester Abbey, and although the story told there is fictitious, Pernel was a benefactress of the abbey, and it is possible that the writer may have had before him a document such as a list of obits giving the authentic name. It is not claimed that this suggested descent is more than speculative. Against this view must be set the entry in the Fine Rolls of 1204 which implies that the Leicestershire honour of Grandmesnil was the inheritance of Pernel, but as this is a recital of a bargain between her and the King after the death of her son Robert FitzPernel, its weight is greatly weakened; the more so as, for the reasons given above, it seems impossible for Pernel to have inherited the English lands.

      "Some Corrections and Addions to CP", concerning note (h) above:

      In fact, Pernel's father was called William, as shown by a charter for St-Evroult discovered by David Crouch [The Beaumont Twins, p.91, citing the Cartulary of St-Evroult, ii, fo 33v]. However, the argument that her grandfather is likely to have been Robert, the eldest son of Hugh de Grandmesnil, still seems sound. To some extent it is supported by the following evidence.

      In 1157, Henry II confirmed gifts made to the hospital of Falaise by William de Grentmesnil and others [Cal. Docs France, no 1157]. By an undated charter (perhaps from 1160 or later), one Beatrix de Rye gave land to the abbey of St Jean of Falaise, for the well-being of her mother Emma and of her brother William de Grentemesnil [Lechaude d'Anisy, Extrait des Chartes ... dans les archives du Calvados, vol.1, p.232, no 9 (1834)]. It seems likely that this Beatrix was a daughter of Robert de Grandmesnil by his second wife, Emma d'Estouteville, particularly as the name Beatrix occurs in the Estouteville family, and was possibly borne by Emma's mother [C.T. Clay, ed., Early Yorkshire Charters, vol.9, p.2 (1952)]. If so, this would confirm that Robert also had a son William, who would probably be Pernel's father.

      K.S.B. Keats-Rohan [Domesday People I, p.263 (1999)] states that Pernel's father William was the son of Robert by Emma d'Estouteville, but no evidence is cited for the relationship.

      Petronilla was born in 1134. Petronilla Grandmesnil ... She passed away in 1212. [2]

      Petronilla Grantmesnil ... [3]


      Name: Petronilla /de Grandmesnil/
      Source: #S5
      Ancestry Family Trees
      Name: Petronille /DeGrentmesnil/[4]
      Petronella (Pernel) De /Grandmesnil/
      Name: Petronella (Pernel) De

      Date: About 1134
      Place: Leicester, Leicestershire, England, United Kingdom

      Date: 1212-04-01
      Place: Leicester, Leicestershire, England
      Date: 1212-04-01
      Place: Leicester, Leicestershire, England
      1212 4 1[7]

      Place: Abbey, Leicester, Leicestershire, England
      Ancestral File Number: 9G81-07
      Source S5
      Ancestry Family Trees
      Publication: Name: Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network. Original data: Family Tree files submitted by Ancestry members.;