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Baldwin of Redvers (DNB00)

BALDWIN of Redvers (d. 1155) was the eldest son of Richard, earl of Devon, the son of Baldwin of Moeles [q. v.]. He succeeded his father in the earldom, in the lordship of Okehampton, and also, it is said, in the lordship of the Isle of Wight. From his residence in Exeter Castle he is usually styled earl of Exeter. On a report being raised of the death of Stephen in 1136, Baldwin, with the connivance of other barons, made a revolt. He began to oppress the city of Exeter. The citizens sent to the king for help, and Stephen ordered 200 horse to march at once to their relief. Baldwin's men, having heard that the citizens had complained of them, sallied forth to take vengeance on them. They were defeated, and had scarcely taken shelter within the walls of the castle, when the king with the main body of his army entered the city. Baldwin had a strong garrison in the castle, and held it against the royal forces. The siege and defence were alike conducted with all the military skill the time. During its progress Baldwin's garrison at Plympton surrendered to the king. His rich lands were harried, and his tenants all through Devonshire were brought to submission. The blockade was strict, and want of water forced Baldwin to propose a capitulation. By the advice of the bishop of Winchester Stephen at first refused to grant any terms to the rebels, and withstood a piteous appeal made to him by Baldwin's wife, Adeiza. A large number, however, of the chief men of the king's own army were not disposed to allow him to take severe measures, some had relatives within the castle, and some, though they were now fighting against Baldwin, had secretly counselled him to revolt. In the spirit of that continental feudalism from which England had hitherto been saved by the firmness of the earlier Norman kings, they reminded Stephen that the garrison had never made oath to him as king, and that in taking up arms against him they were acting faithfully to their lord. Stephen yielded to their wishes, and allowed the garrison to come forth. Baldwin fled to the isle of Wight, and prepared to carry on the rebellion. On hearing that the king was about to embark at Southampton to reduce him to obedience, he surrendered himself, He was banished and took shelter with Geoffrey, count of Anjou, by whom he was honourably received. At the instigation of the empress he intrigued with the Norman lords, and raised up a revolt against Stephen in the duchy. He was taken prisoner by Ingelram de Say in a skirmish before the castle of Ormes. In 1130 he landed with a strong force at Wareham, and held Corfe Castle against the king. After a long siege Stephen turned away from Corfe on hearing of the landing of Robert of Gloucester. Baldwin joined the empress, and was present at the siege of Winchester in 1141. The earl was a great benefactor of religious houses. He founded a priory of Austin canons at Bromere in Hampshire, and a Cistercian abbey at Quarrer, or Arreton, in the Isle of Wight. He caused the secular canons of Christ Church at Twynham to give place to regular canons. He enriched the priory of Plympton, and gave his chapelry of St. James at Exeter, with its tithes and estates, to the monasteries of St. Peter at Cluny and of St. Martin-des-Champs. Baldwin died in 1155, and was buried in his monastery at Arreton with Adeliza his wife. He left three sons — Richard, who succeeded him in his earldom; William, called Vernon, and Henry; and one daughter, named Hadwisa.

[Gesta Stephani; Henry of Huntingdon, 259, R.S.; Gervase, 1340; Orderic, 916; R. de Monte, sub an. 1155; Dugdale's Baronage, i. 255 ; Monasticon. v. vi.; Tanner's Notitia Monastica; Third Report of the Lords on the Dignity of a Peer, p. 177.]

W. H.