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Our Normans hold in common the land of their ancestors, Normandy in France, and the name involves identification of its inhabitants as North men. Our alpha ancestor among them is a (probably Danish) man named Rollo, who around 911 received the land which would become the duchy of Normandy,passing  through his bloodline. The Norman invasions (the first of which can be considered in France by Rollo) involve Rollo and his descendants also direct to the Within the Vines genealogical study pages, common to both the Swope and Allied family study and The Howard and Allied families study forming the basis of Vol I :Our American Immigrants
Page Contents: The Evolution of Normandy ** Rollo, the First Norman**Intros to The Norman Invasions of England (1066)  and Ireland (1169) 
The Evolution of Normandy and the Normans from whom It Got Its Name
At the time the pagan Normans gained it in about 911, after settling there unwelcomed by the king,  Normandy was not yet known by that name, for it was then a part of France's Nuestria. The general region was referred to as Gallia Lugdunensis Secunda by the Romans who had conquered its Celtic inhabitants in 56 BC , under Julius Caesar , and the inhabitants of the area were christianized in the 3rd and 4th centuries, passing  under (German tribe descended) Merovingian Frankish rule in the late 5th, encompassed in the Frankish kingdom of Nuestria. The violent history of Nuestria in the era of the Merovingian kings and queens of the 5th and 6th century is chillingly described by Gregory of Tours (lived 538 to 594) in his History of the Franks. The Merovingian line was supplanted by the Carolingians; They continued to rule Nuestria. Charlemagne, of the Carolingian dynasty, Emperor Of The West, King Of Franks And Lombards, ruled from 768 to his death in 814. During the later part of his reign, the Vikings first appeared. The Normandy coast was repeatedly devastated by raids of the Vikings, or Northmen, from the 8th century on, and as its Carolingian rulers became weaker, the Vikings penetrated farther inland in the course of their depredations. To calm the appetite of a formidable warrior amongst them, and in an effort to gain his willingness to protect France from other Viking marauders,  the beleaguered and poorly regarded French king Charles the Simple ceded  a part of Nuestria in the region surronding the city of Rouen and the mouth of the Seine River to a (probably Danish) man named Rollo. Rollo is said to have been chief  of the largest band of Vikings, and the 
 ceded land was formalized in the Treaty of St. Clair-sur-Epte (911). 
The lands that Rollo was ceded evolved into the Duchy of Normandy. Over the years the Norman population expanded, merged with the French culture, acquired more land, and grew in power.The advent and process involved in Normandy's evolution is not dissimilar to Alfred the Great's establishment of the Danelaw in England, which served much the same result, allowing raiders to settle down, work the land, build and expand their towns, and experience less of an appetite for the sea and raids upon now neighbors and allies.  So it is that the region became known as Normandy,  was populated and ruled by men from the North, and the people living there known as Normans.  Rollo died by 933 when his son William Longsword is found their leader. William the Conqueror, 7th Duke of Normandy, and Strongbow de Clare, Earl of Pembroke are both direct to Rollo, and led their own invasions of other lands. 
The First Norman,  Rollo (Genealogical Study)  is direct to the Within the Vines study, and is often incorrectly named Normandy's first Duke. He was its founder in a way, and  leader, and its right passed through his bloodline, but the duchy was established later. Subsequent Norman invasions (of England and Ireland) involve Rollo's direct descendants- persons also direct to the genealogical study of the Within the Vines website. Details of his life, marriages and  ascendancy are clouded with uncertainty.  The Anglo Saxon Chronicles comment on him, but they were written after the events of his life, and besides add  little to enlighten regarding his birth year as then possibly conjectured.  They state in the entry for  896 obviously written much later than the year to which it refers:  "This year Rollo penetrated Normandy with his army; and he reigned fifty winters."
Stewart Baldwin and  Todd Farmerie address what is known and what is refuted regarding Rollo in their website  ÓThe Henry Project" Much, but not all,  of what follows is a synopsis of parts of  their deeeply detailed study. See  footnote one.for expanded text and link to source. 

Rollo's  birth year is unknown, said to be ca 870-880, but  there is no good documentation to support a time frame.  Rollo is said to have been baptized in Rouen in about 912, taking the Christian name Robert; It is often commented that this baptism was part of the agreement between the king who ceded him land and Rollo. He lived in 928 when he held a hostage, and he was probably dead by 933 when his son William Longsword is called leader of the Normans. It is suggested that Rollo subsequently abandoned Christianity and died as he was born, a pagan. 

Rollo is often credited a wife named Gisela, said to be daughter of Charles the Simple, and is said to have returned to a mistress, Poppa, purported to be the daughter of Berenger DE SENLIS, Count Of Bayeux, whom Rollo killed in battle. Gisela is unknown in Frankish sources and if she existed at all her mothering of his children is unlikely. Poppa is likewise foggy for her ascendancy and her birth family receives vigorous research.

Rollo's ascendancy too,  is in question, though often purported. He was probably Danish and not Norse as so often presented; He  is felt confused with Rolf the Granger, AKA the Norseman Hrólfr, son of Rognvaldr of Møre [see footnote one] celebrated in Norse Saga. Rollo's  ascendancy , as Stewart Baldwin explains, must be considered unknown until better evidence describes it. 



The Norman Invasions involve three periods of time and three countries in regards to the Within the Vines study.
The first is France ca 911 , owed to Rollo, and is described above. The second involves Rollo's GGG Grandson, William the Conqueror who in 1066 gained England, for which see The Norman Invastion of England.  The third involves both Henry II Plantagenet (King of England, Duke of Normandy and Acquitaine through his wife Eleanor,  descendant of Rollo, Great grandson of William the Conqueror) and the Norman Welshman Richard fitz Gilbert De CLARE, Earl of Pembroke, better known as Strongbow, (also a direct descendant of Rollo , and whose ancestors on both sides accompanied William the Conqueror to England). At the invitation of Diarmait mac Murchada, deposed king of Leinster, in Ireland, an army of Norse Welshman invaded England and opened the door to the English king, and thus to English interferance in the affairs of Ireland. Diarmait's strongest ally was Strongbow, who married Diarmait's daughter and inherited the kingdom of Leinster.  See The Norman Invasion of Ireland

The Norman Invasion of England in Short
The second Norman invasion involved Rollo's GGG Grandson, William Duke of Normandy, henceforth known as the Conqueror, who in 1066 sailed across the English Channel from his duchy in France with an unprecedented army of knights WITH war horses. England's king Edward the Confessor had died that year, and Harold Godwinnison, his brother in law, trusted advisor and the realm's 2nd most powerful man, had been named succesor, supported by the Witan. William felt the right to England his, based on a convoluted blood line involving a distant aunt. 
Harold had  anticipated William's invasion, but the winds from France had not allowed the sailing of the Normans in the timeframe usual for the crossing.  Late in the season,  when Harald believed such a sailing could not be undertaken and England safe at least until the next year's weather,  had disbanded the army he had perched on Englands southern border through the summer.  When William arrived, Harald believed England safe from Norman invasion for the time being,  and had just been caught off gaurd by the invasion of another pretender to his throne. He rushed to meet the Normans and was defeated, killed by an arrow through the eye,  and dismembered in the famous Battle of Hastings. 
This invasion caused the systematic colonisation of England by the Normans, and immeasurable chaos and sadness to a country ruled by persons not speaking their common language, neither caring to involve the natives in its administration. 
William the Conqueror had many children, and he is in the direct line of the Stewart kings of Scotland,  the Norman, Plantagenette ,  Tudor, Stuart,  Brunswick Hanover, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha houses of England.  The current (Windsor) Queen of England holds him direct via her maternal (Stewart arising) lines. 

See Dedicated Page The Norman Invasion of England

The Norman Invasion of Ireland
The third Norman invasion involves that of Ireland in 1169, was invited by a deposed king of Leinster, and occured during the reign of England's Norman king Henry II Plantagenet, Descendant of Rollo, Great grandson of William the Conqueror,  husband of Eleanor of Acquitaine, and Duke of Normandy. This French-speaking Norman King of England with huge possesions in the antogonistic king of France's domain was greatly  preoccupied with controlling his French territories. He had, however,  contemplated an invasion of Ireland as early as 1155, with the approval of the only English  Pope, Adrian IV. Amongst his Welsh nobles was one Richard fitz Gilbert De CLARE, better known as Strongbow, also a direct descendant of Rollo, and the Earl of Pembroke. Strongbow's  ancestors on both sides had accompanied William the Conqueror to England and shared in the bounty that king awarded. But the Normans of Wales were perpetually engaged in warfare against the native Welsh.
The invitor of this invasion was Diarmait mac Murchada, the deposed king of Leinster, Ireland. He had deep emnity with the king of Waterford, and with Tiernan O'Rourke, king of Breifne, whose wife he had abducted in 1152 and who still sought revenge in 1166. Diarmait was forced to flea his stronghold at Fearns in 1166, deposed for his violent struggle against rival kings for the high kingship, and his refusal to accept the king of Connought as Ireland's high king. In an effort to regain his lost kingdom, Diarmait  went to Bristol and finally to Acquitaine and there met with England's king Henry II  seeking , and gaining permission  to obtain mercenaries within the King's domains.  The idea of an invasion of Ireland fit nicely into Henry's vision, and he authorised Dermait to seek allies among the Norman lords in Britain. Diarmait returned to Bristol but was unsuccesful, so he turned his attention to Wales and the Lords there tired of warfare with the natives. Strongbow was attentive; he was currently out of favour with Henry II, and he saw this opportunity as one able to return his standing. In appreciation or in order to seal the deal, Diarmait promised Strongbow his daughter Aoife in marriage, and promised him through her the inheritance to Leinster. Strongbow advocated for Diarmait, and so the deposed king of Leinster won support of other Welsh Normans, notable Robert FitzStephen, a Welsh warlord, and Maurice de Prendergast. 
"At the beginning of May 1169, three single-masted longships beached at Bannow Bay, County Wexford. They had sailed from Milfordhaven in
 Wales, and on board were Normans, Welshmen and Flemings. Their  leader was Robert FitzStephen, a Welsh warlord, and they made camp
 on Bannow Island, separated from the mainland by a narrow channel which has since silted up. A day later, two further ships arrived under the
command of Maurice de Prendergast, bringing their numbers to around 600. They were soon joined by 500 Irish warriors led by Dermot MacMurrough, King of Leinster.
From Bannow the combined armies headed towards Wexford, a Norse seaport some twenty miles away.There was a brief skirmish at Duncormick, before the assault on Wexford's walls. After some resistance, the Norsemen acknowledged the superiority of the armoured knights and their archers and surrendered the town. A year later, in response to a plea from Dermot, Strongbow despatched a small force under Raymond le Gros. It landed at Baginbun, near Bannow, and immediately routed a strong army of Irishmen and Norsemen from Waterford, inspiring the couplet: "At the creek of Baginbun, Ireland was lost and won." Strongbow himself arrived with 1,200 men in August 1170, stormed Waterford, where he married Aoife MacMurrough, and within a month had captured Dublin.
With Dermot's death in May 1171, Strongbow became King of Leinster, and his skilful knights and archers continued to defeat larger Irish and  Norse armies. The arrival of Henry II in October 1171 launched a new phase of the conquest. By grants of land , the King encouraged his barons to gain control of most of Ireland, marking their advance with formidable castles. A justiciar or king's lieutenant was appointed to head a central government in Dublin. Irish parliaments were occasionally summoned, and from 1297 included elected representatives. However, Gaelic resistance to the Norman conquest was never wholly eliminated, and the foundations were laid for eight centuries of Anglo-Irish conflict. " The Norman Conquest from Irelandseye.com

In the early part of the 10th century France, like much of Europe, suffered catastrophic Viking raids. 

With Strongbow's approval, Dermot won the support of FitzStephen and
                                                 other Welsh-Norman lords, to whom he promised grants of land.

and he readily authorised Dermot to seek allies among
                                                 the Norman lords in Britain.
. On each side of his bloodline his people where those who accompanied William the Conqueror. Pembroke, known as Strongbow, was an experienced campaigner, but he had fallen out of favour at Henry's court. Ireland offered an opportunity to restore his standing and  add to his wealth, but he put a price on his assistance. 

The harrassed the French in a manner not terribly disimilar to the way the English dealt with Vikings in establishing the Danelaw. As a result of raids and  as a result of raids and  was an attempt by a beleaguered French King to calm the appetite of a (probably Danish) warrior named Rollo that in ca 911 when a beleaguered French king, Charles the Simple, ceded lands in Nuestria near the city of Rouen which would eventually evolve into the duchy of Normandy, to the first Norman, Rollo, 

that of 1066 under William the Conqueror, with his army embarking from Normandy in France to England, and that of 1169, when an army of Norman, Welsh and Flemmings arrived in Ireland. 
We hold direct William the Conqueror who, in 1066 and with the Battle of Hastings, succeeded his invasion of England in search for the crown he felt was his by right. The culture of Normandy, where rule was based on bloodline, was much different than England, where a king could name his succesor who then had to get approval of the Witan. Although the Witan had given support to Harold after the former King had died without naming a succesor. 
We also hold direct Richard Fitz Gilbert De CLARE, Earl of Pembroke the II, better known as Strongbow, who in 1169 mounted the support and army in support of the deposed king of Leinster, Diarmait, and who invaded Ireland with his army of Norman, Welsh and Flemmings. 

Footnote One: The Normans gain their name from the region of France they inhabited, and our first Norman is Rollo, probably a Dane , who likely died by 933 when his son William is found leading the Normans. Rollo is direct in the line of  England's 1066 Norman Conqueror, William and the later Strongbow and his king Henry II Plantagenet responsable for the Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169.  Rollo's identification is somewhat clouded by the many historians and sagas  posthumously identifying him as son and brother, but documentation adequately describing his birth family remains absent. He is often identified as one in the same as the Norseman Hrólfr, son of Rognvaldr of Møre, AKA Rolf the Granger,  for which complicated and questionable identification see Stewart Baldwin and Tom Farmerie's detailed study at  The Henry Project (The ancestors of king Henry II of England) . Succinctly identifying the confusion, Tom Farmerie writes in post apart from The Henry Project: 

 žBasically, there are no similarities whatsoever between the Hrolf of the Orkneyinga Saga and the Rollo of Norman histories.  One is Norse and too fat to ride on a horse with a large family of brothers, but no Gorm among them, and is named Hrolf (but has a brother named Hrollogr - which appears to represent Rollo).  The other is quite militarily active, and a Dane, with only named sibling Gorm, and is named Rollo.  It sure looks like the Norman leader has been mistakenly identified with this Rollo.  The biographical material for Rollo comes from an historian, a contemporary of Rollo's grandson, Richard I, while the Hrolf stuff comes from a saga tradition recorded 200+ years later.Ó" Todd Farmerie, one of the scholars involved in the Henry Project,   in SocGen.Midieval post entitled Re: Orkneyinga Saga and Landnamabok Dated 2001-02-23
Stewart Baldwin writes in the Henry Project Web Pages regarding the purported wife of Rollo: žGisla, said to be daughter of Charles the Simple, king of France [Dudo, 46-7, 53]. She is unknown in the Frankish sources. The fact that Charles the Simple's kinsman Charles the Fat had a daughter also named Gisla who married a Viking (Godefridus) in the ninth century has led to the natural suspicion that this Gisla is an invention based on the earlier woman of the name. If she existed at all, there is no reason to believe that she was a mother of any of Rollo's children.ÓThe Henry Project

There is an entry for Rollo, or Rolf, of the Anglo Saxon Chronicles (compiled in about 890 on order of Alred the Great)  stating for the year 876  žA.D. 876 . This year Rollo penetrated Normandy with his army; and he reigned fifty winters. " General sources which seem to combine these two men, not yet certainly the same man, present this synopsis: 

. There is for the year 876 in the Anglo Saxon Chronicles (compiled starting 890 by King Alfred) this entry:  " žA.D. 876 . This year Rollo penetrated Normandy with his army; and he reigned fifty winters. " 

Rollo is said to have been born ca 880-890, but there is no good documentation to support this birth frame. What we do know is that he probably died by 933 when his son William is mentioned as leading the Normans, that around 911 king Charles the Simple of France ceded him  a disctirct around the city of Rouen which eventually evolved into the duchy of Normandy. He is said to have been baptized in Rouen in about 912, at which time he took the Christian name Robert. 

žThe founding of Normandy bears a similarity to the way Danelaw came into existence in England some years earlier. The possible founding of Normandy may have been a direct result of the difficulty they found themselves in when invading England, now that it was becoming more organized in resisting them. By the early 900s, Viking raids were common place in northern Europe, including France. To allay these attacks, Charles the Simple, in 911 made a pact with the leader of the Vikings ... Rollo. As a condition of the peace, he (Rollo) accepted baptism. In return he was given an area off the north eastern cost of France which later became known as Normandy, which loosely translates as North man. He was renamed Robert and married princess Gisele, who was the daughter of Charles the Simple. When she died a few years later, he returned to a former mistress by the name of Poppa. Poppa's father was Count Beranger of Bayeux who he had killed in battle. ž © copyrightBattle of Hastings 1066- chapters Glen Ray Crack 1998 - 1999 -: Battle - East Sussex - United Kingdom :-http://battle1066.com/intro.html

More complete identification is provided by 
His identity is often mixed with Rollo, or Rolf, of the Anglo Saxon Chronicles (compiled in about 890 on order of Alred the Great)  which state for the year 876 state " žA.D. 876 . This year Rollo penetrated Normandy with his army; and he reigned fifty winters. " 

Britannica.com states: žRollo also called Rolf, or Rou, ›French Rollon›Scandinavian rover who founded the duchy of Normandy. 
Making himself independent of King Harald I of Norway, Rollo sailed off to raid Scotland, England, Flanders, and France on pirating expeditions and, about 911, established himself in an area along the Seine River. Charles III the Simple of France held off his siege of Paris , battled him near Chartres, and negotiated the treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte, giving him the part of Neustria that came to be called Normandy [on condition that he defend it against attack and that he receive baptism. The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition.››2001.]; Rollo in return agreed to end his brigandage. He gave his son, William I Longsword, governance of the dukedom (927) before his death. Rollo was baptized in 912 [as Robert. ]  but is said to have died a pagan. žBritannica.com ] ž RolloŪs direct descendants included William the Conqueror.Ó

. He was baptized in Rouen in about 912, at which time he took the Christian name Robert. He is often called the first duke of Normandy, but" the title is an anchronism. Probably about 911 [see Douglas 426-31], king Charles the Simple of France ceded a district around the city of Rouen to Rollo, which eventually evolved into the duchy of Normandy. He is said to have been baptized in 912, assuming the Christian name Robert [Dudo ii, 30 (p. 50)]. He was still living in 928, when he was holding Eudes, son of Heribert of Vermandois, as a captive [Flodoard's Annals, s.a. 928, see PL 135: 439, van Houts 45], and was probably dead by 933, when his son William was mentioned as leading the Normans [Flodoard's Annals, s.a. 933, see PL 135: 445, van Houts 45]." 1

1. Stewart Baldwin; Todd Farmerie ÓThe Henry Project (The ancestors of king Henry II of England) . ) 


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