Geoffrey de Brionne, 1st Count of Eu
|Geoffrey de Brionne|
1st Count of Eu
1st Count of Brionne
Arms of the Counts of Eu from the House of Normandy: D'azur, au lion d'or,l'écu semé de billettes d'or
|Count of Eu||996-1015|
|Predecessor||None. First Creation|
|Successor||Gilbert de Brionne|
|Wife||Lasceline De Turqueville|
|Family||House de Clare|
|Father||Richard I of Normandy|
|Mother||Gunnora de Crepon|
Brionne, Duchy of Normandy
Brionne, Duchy of Normandy
|Buried||Duchy of Normandy|
Geoffrey deBrionne, 1st Count of Eu, 1st Count of Brionne (962-1015), was the son of Richard I of Normandy by his wife Gunnora de Crepon. He was also called Godfrey. While there is little doubt Geoffrey (Godfrey) was Count of Eu, there is an open question as to whether Geoffrey was ever "Count" of Brionne in the late tenth and early eleventh centuries, however, for expository simplicity he was the Count of Brionne. He married Lasceline De Turqueville and had at least one child by that marriage.
He was a son of Duke Richard I of Normandy by an unnamed wife or concubine. The early Normans followed the Viking custom of marriage called more danico that they considered a legitimate form of marriage. It was the Church that considered this the same as concubinage. Legitimacy would not have been an issue at this time. The county of Eu was an appanage created for Geoffrey by his half-brother Richard II of Normandy in 996 as part of Richard's policy of granting honors and titles for cadet members of his family. The citadel of Eu played a critical part of the defense of Normandy; the castle and walled town were on the river Bresle, just two miles from the English Channel. It had long been an embarkation point for England and in time of war was often one of the first places attacked.
The castle of Brionne had been held by the Dukes of Normandy as one of their own homes but Richard II also made a gift of Brionne to his half-brother Geoffrey, Orderic in a speech attributed to Roger, Count of Mullent to Robert II, Duke of Normandy, in asking for the castle of Brionne stated that it was Duke Richard the elder (I) who gave Brionne to his son Geoffrey (Godfrey). See Ordericus Vitalis, Ecclesiastical History, Trans. Forester, Vol. II (1854), p. 490.</ref> who held it for life passing it to his son Gilbert and was only returned to the demesne of the Duke after his murder.
Both Geoffrey and his son Gilbert are styled counts in a diploma to Lisieux given by Duke Richard II, but without territorial designations. Geoffrey died. This older fortification was besieged twice; first in 1047 and then in 1090. After that second siege the Lord of Brionne built a massive square Norman keep on a hill overlooking the town. It was defended by an earthen enclosure and a dry moat from the rest of the plateau. In 1735, Brionne Tower was largely demolished by the townspeople to provide building materials for several mills at the Risle river.
Geoffrey deBrionne, 1st Count of Eu married Lasceline de Turqueville, daughter of Turchetil d'Harcourt, Seigneur de Tourville (951-1024) by his wife Anceline de Montfort (953-1030), and had at least one child by that marriage:
Upon his death, Geoffrey was succeeded as Count of Eu and Count of Brionne by his son Gilbert de Brionne.
- J.H. Round, The Family of Clare, The Archaeological Journal, Vol. LVI, Second Series Vol. VI, (1899), pp. 223-4
- Philip Lyndon Reynolds, Marriage in the Western Church: The Christianization of Marriage During the Patristic and Early Medieval Periods (Boston: Brill, 2001), p. 110
- David Crouch, The Normans: The History of a Dynasty (London: Hambledon Continuum, 2007), p. 24
- Frank Stenton, Anglo-Saxon England (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1971), p. 555; David Crouch, The Normans: The History of a Dynasty (London: Hambledon Continuum, 2007), p. 60
- Edmund Chester Waters, The Counts of Eu, Sometime Lords of the Honour of Tickhill, The Yorkshire Archaeological and Topographical Journal, No. 9 (1886), p. 262
- Edmund Chester Waters, The Counts of Eu, Sometime Lords of the Honour of Tickhill, The Yorkshire Archaeological and Topographical Journal, No. 9 (1886), p. 261
- The Gesta Normannorum Ducum of William of Jumieges, Orderic Vitalis, and Robert of Torigni, Vol. II, Ed. & Trans. Elizabeth M.C. Van Houts (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1995), pp. 228-9
- David Douglas, The Earliest Norman Counts, The English Historical Review, Vol. 61, No. 240 (May, 1946), p. 134
- Edmund Chester Waters, The Counts of Eu, Sometime Lords of the Honour of Tickhill, The Yorkshire Archaeological and Topographical Journal, No. 9 (1886), p. 257