Battle of Mortemer

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Battle of Mortemer
Date 1054
Location Mortemer, Normandy
Result Decisive Norman victory
Kingdom of France Duchy of Normandy
Commanders and leaders
Henry I of France William the Bastard

The Battle of Mortemer was a defeat for Henry I of France when he led an army against his vassal, William the Bastard, Duke of Normandy in 1054. William was eventually to become known as William the Conqueror after his successful invasion and conquest of England.


William the Bastard became Duke of Normandy as a boy. Later he would become king of England but his reign as Duke of Normandy did not start well, he had to experience twenty years of internal strife.[1] The chronicler William of Jumièges reported that the duke's guardian, his teacher and his steward were all killed by rebels. Members of William's extended family attempted to unseat him. In 1046 there was a rebellion led by Guy of Burgundy, William's cousin. William defeated the rebels at the Battle of Val-ès-Dunes in 1047, with the support of Henry I of France.[1]

The battle

The French king had supported William at the Battle of Val-ès-Dunes, but in 1052 he decided to oppose William and led an alliance of French magnates against him.[1] A large force under Odo, brother to the king, came from north-eastern France along with troops under Rainald, Count of Cleremont and Guy, Count of Ponthieu. This second force entered Eastern Normandy and began widespread devastation.

While Duke William faced off against the French King to the west of the Seine River, an allied force of Norman barons led by Robert, Count of Eu, Hugh of Gournay, Walter Giffard, Roger of Mortemer, and the young William de Warenne came out of their own lands to stop the incursion by Count Odo and Count Rainald.

The French force was widely scattered in its depredations of rape and pillage in the Norman lands and was an easy target for the Norman forces of Robert, Count of Eu. The fierce engagement lasted many hours, but the French left with heavy losses. Guy, Count of Ponthieu was captured during the course of the battle.[2]

When news of the battle reached the other side of the River, where the French King was preparing to battle Duke William, the French king withdrew in dismay.

After the defeats of 1052-1054 the rebellious Norman lords were exiled, the Norman lands of the Counts of Pointhieu were confiscated, and Guy, Count of Ponthieu swore homage to William after two years imprisonment.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Cassandra Potts. Normandy, 911—1144 in A Companion to the Anglo-Norman World, ed. Christopher Harper-Bill and Elisabeth Van Houts Available from Questia p. 32
  2. 2.0 2.1 Tanner. Families, Friends and Allies. pp.95-96.


  • Potts, Cassandra (2003). Harper-Bill, Christopher; Van Houts, Elisabeth (eds.). A Companion to the Anglo-Norman World. Suffolk, England: Boydell Press. ISBN 0-85115-673-8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Tanner, Heather J. (2004). Families, Friends and Allies: Boulogne and Politics in Northern France and England, C.879-1160. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill Academic Publishers. ISBN 90-04-13243-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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