Roger of Mortemer

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Roger I of Mortemer (Roger de Mortemer, Roger de Mortimer, Roger Mortimer, Roger "fili Episcopi") (bef. 990 [1] - aft. 1074), founded the abbey of St. Victor en Caux[2] in the Pays de Caux of Upper Normandy as early as 1074 CE.[3] Roger claimed the castle built by William FitzOsbern, 1st Earl of Hereford, that was situated on the river mouth of Eaulne in Mortemer, Seine-Maritime. This castle was the chief barony of Roger's descendants.[4] He was the first Norman ancestor to assume the name Mortimer,[2] as in the place-name Morte-mer-en-Brai, the land on which the village and castle was located.[1]


Castle in Mortemer

In 1054, the territory of Évreux was invaded by French armies led by Odo, the brother of King Henry I of France.[2] In response, Duke William II of Normandy sent his general Roger "fili Episcopi", along with other commanders, to oppose Odo’s forces. They met at the castle in Mortemer, Seine-Maritime where the battle of Mortemer ensued.[5] Roger was victorious against Odo, with Guy Comte de Ponthieu taken prisoner. Roger then took possession of the castle in Mortemer and assumed its name. However, his hold on the property was short lived due to a breach of duty to Duke William.[4] Roger had entertained an enemy of the Duke,[3] who was a French operative known as Count Ralph III “the Great”.[4] Count Ralph was Roger’s father-in-law,[6] and thus gave the Count shelter for three days at his castle in Mortemer until he was able to safely return to his own territories. Upon discovering the news that Roger was providing safe haven for an enemy, Duke William banished Roger from Normandy and confiscated his possessions, giving them to his nephew, William de Warenne.[4] Eventually, Roger was pardoned by the Duke, but was never able to retain the castle in Mortemer.[7] It wasn’t until Roger’s son, Ranulph de Mortemer, was able to repossess the property by grant of Duke William.


Roger of Mortemer had been referred to as filius Episcopi meaning, "son of the bishop".[8] Thus, he has been identified as the son of Hugh, bishop of Coutances.[1] Roger’s mother was niece of Gunnora, Duchess of Normandy.[6] Roger's brother Ranulf (or Ralph), was founder of the house of Warenne[1] and was closely related to William de Warenne as noted by Ordericus Vitalis.[4] However, William was neither Roger's father, nor brother, but his nephew.[9]

Roger married Hadewisa, a Lady who inherited the Vill of Mees on the river mouth of Bresle and the district of Le Vimieu. Her father was Ralph III "The Great", Count of Amiens.[3] Roger and Hadewisa had at least three children: Ranulph, Hugh, and William.


  • Planché, J.R. On the Genealogy and Armorial Bearings of the Family of Mortimer, Journal of the British Archaeological Association, 1868, p. 21-27
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Dictionary of National Biography, Vol. 39, Mortimer p. 130
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Burke, J. A General and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerages of England, 1831, p. 371
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 J. R. Planché, 1868, p. 24
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 J. R. Planché, 1868, p. 23
  5. J. R. Planché, 1868, p. 23, 25
  6. 6.0 6.1 J. R. Planché, 1868, p. 25
  7. J. R. Planché, 1868, p. 23, 24
  8. Lynch, J. H. Christianizing Kinship: Ritual Sponsorship in Anglo-Saxon England, ISBN 0-8014-3527-7, 1998, p. 112
  9. J.R.Planché, 1868, p. 22,24