Ralph de Gael
Sir Ralph de Gael, Earl of Norfolk and Suffolk, Lord of Gael [a], b abt 1038, of Brittany, d aft 1096. He md Emma 1075, Exning, Cambridgeshire, England, daughter of Sir William Fitz
Osbern, Earl of Hereford, and Richilde.
Child of Ralph de Gael and Emma was:
Amice de Montfort b abt 1104, prob Norfolk, England, d aft 5 Apr 1168. She md Sir Robert de Beaumont, Earl of Leicester, Justiciar of England, aft Nov 1120, son of Sir Robert de
a. Son of Ralph the Staller (from his position as royal Staller), Earl of Norfolk and Suffolk, he was likely born before 1040, as not later than 1060 he attested a notification at Angers. In 1065, he was with Conan in Brittany when that Duke besieged Rhiwallon, Lord of Dol. He inherited the great Breton barony of Gael, which consisted of more than forty parishes. Whether by inheritance or a grant from Crown, he also held large estates in Norfolk, as well as property in Suffolk, Essex, and Hertford. It is doubtful that he received the Earldom immediately upon his father's death. In Feb/Mar 1068, he was present with his father at the Conqueror's court and in 1069, he routed a force of Norseman which had invaded Norfolk and occupied Norwich. Perhaps in recognition of this service, the Conqueror created him Earl of Norfolk and Suffolk (or the East Angles). In 1075, on the occasion of his marriage to the sister of Roger, Earl of Hereford, he joined with that Earl and Earl Waltheof of Northumberland, in a plot against the King. But Waltheof backed out of this plot, and confessed the conspiracy to Lafranc, who then urged Earl Roger to return to his allegiance, and finally excommunicated him and his adherents. The uprising was a failure, and Ralph hurriedly retreated to Norwich, and pursued by the royal army, left his wife to defend the castle and sailed to Denmark to enlist support. He eventually returned to England with a fleet of 200 ships under Cnut and Hakon, but this also proved ineffective. Having obtained terms for herself and her followers, the Countess was allowed forty days to leave England, and then retired to Brittany with her husband. Ralph was deprived of all of his English lands and Earldom, and lived the remainder of his life in Brittany. In 1096, accompanied by his wife, he went on Crusade with the Duke of Normandy. It is said that he and his wife died in the course of the Crusade.
b. He succeeded his elder brother, William, and in 1119 obtained the honour of Breteuil, which his daughter Amice carried to her husband, Robert, Earl of Leicester.
CP: Vol IX[568-574]; AR: Line 53.
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