Reginald (d.1175) (DNB00)


REGINALD, Earl of Cornwall (d. 1175), was a natural son of Henry I by Sibil, daughter and, in her issue, coheir of Robert Corbet of Longden, Shropshire (Eyton, vii. 145, 159, 181), and was probably born between 1110 and 1115 (ib.) His mother was afterwards the wife of Herbert FitzHerbert, and was living in 1157, when, as the ‘mother of Earl Reginald,’ she is entered as in receipt of 5l. a year from a crown manor. Reginald is not mentioned in Mr. Freeman's list of Henry I's illegitimate issue (William Rufus, ii. 379–382), but the ‘Continuator’ of William of Jumièges (lib. x. cap. 27) speaks of him as one of Henry's three natural sons, living when he wrote, who as yet had not been provided for. Mr. Eyton believed that he was allowed to retain the barony of Robert Corbet for life, to the prejudice of the legitimate heirs (vii. 151).

Reginald's name is first found in the pipe roll of 1130, where it occurs (with that of his sister Gundrada) under Wiltshire, while he also appears under Surrey, as a landowner. He seems, as ‘Reginald the king's son,’ to have attended King Stephen's great Easter court in 1136 (Geoffrey de Mandeville, p. 263), but in 1138 he is found, with Baldwin de Redvers and Stephen de Mandeville, ravaging the Côtentin, till defeated by Enguerrand de Sai (Ord. Vit.) He is said by William of Malmesbury to have been created Earl of Cornwall by his half-brother, the Earl of Gloucester, in 1140, but this statement is doubtful (Geoffrey de Mandeville, p. 68). He certainly, however, at this period married the daughter of William FitzRichard (see Pipe Roll, 31 Hen. I), a Cornish magnate, who had charge of the county for the king, but now handed it over to Reginald (Gesta Stephani, p. 64). He at once made it a base of operations against Stephen, and his lawless raids brought about his excommunication by the bishop of Exeter. The king soon marched against him, recovered some castles, and left Earl Alan to wage war against him (ib.) On Stephen's capture next year (1141) Reginald accompanied the empress on her progress, witnessing her charters first as ‘Filio Regis,’ and then as ‘comite filio Regis,’ which implies that he was created an earl about April 1141 (Geoffrey de Mandeville, pp. 68, 82). He was present with her at Oxford in July (ib. pp. 123, 125), and accompanied her to the siege of Winchester (Gesta Stephani, p. 79).

He is again traced by charters, as with her at Devizes (Geoffrey de Mandeville, pp. 234, 418; Add. Chart. No. 19577), between 1144 and 1147, and was captured by his nephew Philip while on a mission from Maud to Stephen, seemingly in 1146 (Gesta, p. 119). In April 1152 he attended a council held at Lisieux to urge that Henry (now Duke of Normandy) should come to England (Rob. Tor. p. 164). In June 1152 he made terms with the bishop of Salisbury (Sar. Doc. p. 23). From his language on this occasion he appears to have claimed to hold pleas of the crown on behalf of his nephew Henry. The following year he is found with Henry himself at Bristol (Genealogist, x. 12; Jeayes, Berkeley Charters, p. 2), and at Wallingford (Geoffrey de Mandeville, p. 419).

From Henry's coronation (19 Dec. 1154) the earl is found in constant attendance on him (Eyton, pp. 2–16), accompanying him to the siege of Bridgnorth (May 1155), and to Dover (January 1156) on his departure for Normandy (ib. p. 16; Geoffrey de Mandeville, p. 236). In addition to his earldom of Cornwall, with its territorial possessions, he was provided for out of the crown lands in Devonshire and Somerset to the amount of more than 160l. a year (Rot. Pip. 4 Hen. II). His name occurs among the witnesses to the constitutions of Clarendon in 1164, and Henry employed him with others to win the primate's assent to them beforehand (Rog. Hov. i. 222). At the council of Northampton (October 1164) he was sent, with the Earl of Leicester, to visit Becket when lying ill, and again to announce to him the sentence of the barons (ib. pp. 226, 228). Early in 1166 he sent in, with the other magnates, the return of his knight's fees in Devonshire and Cornwall (Hall, Liber Rubeus, p. 261), 215 in number, and seems from the pipe roll of 1168 to have also administered the fief of his son-in-law, Richard, earl of Devon, who had died in 1162 (Rob. Tor. p. 213; see Redvers, Family of). He is found at Winchester as a chief adviser of Henry ‘the young king,’ in October 1170 (Engl. Hist. Rev. vi. 367), and at Pembroke with the king himself (Morant, History of Essex, i. 331) a year later (October 1171). In 1173, when the rebellion broke out, the earl, supporting the king's cause, joined Richard de Luci [q. v.] in time to take part in the battle of Fornham (Rog. Hov.. ii. 54). He was also with him the previous July, when Leicester was stormed and burnt (ib. ii. 57). He served as sheriff of Devonshire from 1173 to his death in 1175. Mr. Eyton has shown (Itinerary of Henry II, p. 192) that he died (at Chertsey) 1 July in that year. He was buried at Reading (Rob. Tor p. 268).

There is some difficulty about his children. Robert of Torigny says (ib.) that the king seized on his fief for the use of his son John, only giving small portions of it to the earl's daughters. These were Dionys, wife of Richard, earl of Devon (d. 1162); Matilda, wife of Robert, count of Meulan (Rob. Tor. p. 227), who brought him two manors in Cornwall (Stapleton ii. cxcvii, cciii); and Sara, who married, in 1159, Ademar, vicomte of Limoges (Eyton, Itinerary, p. 48). Mr. Eyton, who had specially studied the subject, assigned him one legitimate son, Nicholas, who left no lawful issue (History of Shropshire, vii. 159). His natural son, Henry ‘FitzCount,’ a man of some note, received, in 1194, from Richard I the manors of Kerswell and Diptford, Devonshire, which, according to the ‘Testa de Nevill,’ had belonged to his father (Round, Ancient Charters, p. 101), together with Liskeard, Cornwall. He obtained lands and money from John, whose cause he supported, and was given, at the close of his reign, the county of Cornwall at ferm. At the accession of Henry III he was placed in the same position as his father over Cornwall, but was subsequently deprived of it, and, going to the Holy Land, died about 1221 (Dugdale, Baronage, p. 610).

Mr. Eyton has printed an interesting charter of Earl Reginald towards the close of his life (History of Shropshire, vii. 157–8); this mentions several of his relatives, and a pedigree is appended. Besides a brother William, who held of him in the return of 1166, he had three half-brothers, the legitimate sons of his mother, by her husband, Herbert FitzHerbert. In 1177 at the council of Oxford, Henry II bestowed on his brother William, his half-brother Herbert, and their nephew Joel de Pomerai the fief of Limerick (Rog. Hov. ii. 134); but they decided to refuse it (ib. p. 135).

[Authorities quoted in the text.]

J. H. R.