§ The Last English Eorl §
Where did Anthony Munday get the basis for the play The Death of Robert Earl of Huntington? [published in 1600]. Where did names like the earl of Huntington, FitzWater, King Richard, Robin or Robert and the concept of dispossession of the estates and title of the earl of Huntington originate?

Munday with this publication, popularised the early  ballads of the yeoman "Robyn Hoode" and extended the somewhat mythical character as a nobleman which first appears as a throw-away-line in a Tudor ballad, "Queen Katherine and Robin Hood".
Although Munday is greatly discounted by historians as having any substance in fact, the answer to our question may reside within the lineage of Waltheof II, earl of Huntingdon, Northampton and Northumberland, down through the Anglo-Norman-Scottish lines.

Who was Waltheof II?
He was the first and last English earl to be executed in England until Thomas earl of Lancaster was beheaded in 1322. Waltheof was an English eorl of Northampton until elevated by William  The Conqueror to other estates in the northern marches and the honour of Huntingdon. His father, Siward the Dane, had been an earl of Northumberland and Huntingdon before the conquest. This may have been permitted in order to harness Waltheof's loyalty in order to help secure the northern marches against the Scots. Waltheof's wife, Judith de Lens, was the niece to none other than William  The Conqueror of England through William's sister Adelaide de Normandie.

                                              Waltheof II:
Born 1046, Northampton.
Executed 31st May 1076, St. Giles Hill, Winchester.
Buried: June 1076, Crowland Abbey, Lincolnshire.
He was the son of Siward [Sigurd/Syward] "The Dane" Bjornson who was made earl of  Bamburgh and Northumbria by the great Dane, King Canute. It was earl Siward who supported Malcolm Macduff  [later earl of Fife] and Malcolm Ceann mhor [later Malcolm III] in their quest to overthrow the army of the Sassenach [Saxon] hating Macbeth at Dunsinane.
At Siwards death [of natural causes] in 1055 at York, Waltheof II was about ten years old, thus allowing Tostig to secure the titles and estates to Northumbria in this year.
Waltheof revolted against William in 1069, followed by a "Harrowing of The North".
In the spring of 1070 - William The Conqueror gave permission for all monasreries to be plundered.
Waltheof married Judith De Lens, William The Conqueror's niece in 1070.
In 1070 King Swein of Denmark sailed up the Humber.
Waltheof was given the earldom of Northumbria [replacing Gospatric earl of Northumbria] in 1072 and revolted against William I in the same year.
1073 at Settrington near Malton, Waltheof assasinated Carl's family who resided at Rise near Hornsea.
Earl Waltheof built a castle at Durham against the Scots.
Eventually he was forgiven by William I*
Implicated in a planned revolt in1075.
Publicly executed 31st May 1076 [St. Petronella's Day], St. Giles Hill, Winchester in William I's absence, by Bishop Odo of Bayeux [Lanfranc and Odo were at odds]
1080 Bishop Odo of Bayeaux attacked the North.

*William I had trouble maintaining order in the North of England and therefore relied heavily upon an indigenous earl of Northumberland to maintain order, apparently though, with the connivance of  his niece.

Was it the intention of William The Conqueror to marry his family into the English earldom in order to reveal information regarding possible insurrection by the English? If this was so contrived, then this subterfuge appears to have succeeded.# According to some chroniclers, Judith betrayed her husband to her esteemed uncle. Waltheof is recorded to have taken part in rebellions [1069, 1072 & 1075] against the Norman invaders in the North of England.
Following Waltheof's self-revelations to William in Normandy, Waltheof was arrested and beheaded on William's return to England. The beheading occurred much to the dismay of the English crowd gathered at St. Giles Hill, Winchester on St. Petronella's Day [ 31st May 1076]. 
Before the earl had completed "The Lord's Prayer" his head was reportedly cut from his body in this very public execution. The final words of the prayer were said to have been uttered by his disconnected head. William I is believed to have agonized for the remainder of his life over Waltheof's execution in addition to this  William seems to have been troubled by his un-Christian behaviour during the "Harrowing of the North". Waltheof was the only English eorl executed by King William after the conquest.  As Starkey has said, the Normans made good churchmen but poor Christians.

William's confidant, Archbishop Lanfranc was convinced of Waltheof's "innocence", for Waltheof had shown second thoughts and fled to Normandy where he reported the plot to Lanfranc and then William.
The 1075 rebellion was followed with further "Harrying" or "Harrowing" of the North of England, principally by William I's half brother Odo the Bishop of Bayeux, another great show of  Norman power. This followed on from the massive1069 "Harrowing of the North" where it is reported by one chronicler that every male aged sixteen years and over was killed, mirroring King Herod's proclamation in the time of Christ.

                                From The Domesday Book for Yorkshire, 1086: 

Domesday Book, one of two volumes In Hallam 
[ Hallvn ] with 16 outliers, there are 29 carucates of land taxable, Earl Waltheof  [ wallef ] had a hall there.Twenty ploughs are possible there. Roger¤  had this land from Countess Judith, He [ has ] there two ploughs; and 33 villagers who have 121/2 ploughs, There, meadow, 8 acres; woodland pasture, 4 leagues long and 4 wide. The whole manor 10 leagues long and 8 wide. Value before 1066 , 8 marks of silver; now 40 shillings
Domesday deciphered
   See: The Lost Manor of Hallam
Hallam appears in reference to "Hallamshire" i.e. the manor, referred to by Hunter, Dodsworth and others. This Hallamshire covered an area to the West of  Sheffield. Today we have the names Hallam Head [ near Sandygate] on the Roman Road to Buxton [ later referred to as "t' road to nowhere" because of its decline as a passageway across Stanedge] and Hallam Moors. Both Attercliffe [Ateclife] and Sheffield [Escafeld] were said to be "inland" in Hallam in the Domesday Book..

Seductively, Loxley Common and Loxley Chase lie four miles to the NE of Hallam Moors with numerous references to Robin Hood in local place names
Hathersage the purported burial place of "Little John" lies only two miles to the SW. Four miles to the SE lie the ruins of Beauchief Abbey [built one hundred years later in 1175].
Dore 3 miles south was the meeting place between Mercia and Northumbria in the 800's. This represented an important route between the two regions through to much later times. Hallam is likely to have been only one of Waltheof's halls.

Yorkshire & Derbyshire Beginnings.
The above equates well with points made by Graham Kirkby who hypothesises that Robin Hood of Loxley was Waltheof's illegitimate son. Graham states that Waltheof's manor lay a mile or so east of Stanadge edge, the steep decline and cliff between Hallam Head [near Loxley] and Hathersage. The manor house may have been sited at Hallam  Head. 
Peveril Castle as it may have appeared to Robin of Locksley Graham also states that the original owner of Peveril castle at Castleton as well as the builder of Nottingham castle were  the same person, namely William Peverel, a favourite illegitimate son of William I, who was appointed as a Sheriff of Nottinghamshire. 
Peveril castle was no doubt sited to control the Derbyshire lead mining, much needed for the monasteries of York, Lincoln, Ely and further afield. In fact lead diggings occur downhill of the castle. Derbyshire had been the most important source for lead in pre-Norman times15 
William Peveril's grandson, according to Graham,  was also a William who some claim, tried to poison Ranulph the earl of Chester in 1153.  Certainly Ranulf IV, the 2nd earl of Chester  b. 1100 d. 1163 was titled a "comte" of Huntingdon or Count in French [eorl or earl in English] by William Smith a 1600's pursuivant.  William Langland2 referred to Randolph earl of Chester as follows:

                  "I know the rymes of Robyn Hood and Randolf Erl of Chestre"

Graham sees  The Geste's  "Edward our comly king" as being Edward the Confessor, who in Anglian lineage would have been 'Edward III'. This is in the time of Waltheof. 
Graham's site is well worth a look for its detailed arguement for Hallamshire being the birthplace of the original "Robin of Loxley", not the least of which is its proximity to Barnsdale, the setting for the earliest Robin Hood ballads. Certainly this Loxley is closer than any other to this location.

Although Waltheof lost his life to the ruling Norman class, the estates remained in Countess Judith's possession and were thus granted to her daughter, Matilda [Maud] of Huntingdon. The title earl of Huntingdon passed to Matilda's first husband, Simon I de St. Liz [pron: Senlis]. With the death of Simon, his widow married  Prince David of Scotland who later became King David I of Scotland and earl of Huntingdon. Thus the earldom of Huntingdon, a prized possession of the English crown passed into the Scottish line of kings and princes. Appeasment by strategic generosity.

Waltheof and Judith had possibly three children [FitzWaltheof ]:
1. Matilda [Maud] de Huntingdon [of Northumbria] b. 1072, d. 30th Nov. 1130 or 23rd April 1130/31, bur. Scone Abbey, Scotland.
2. Judith [Alice/Adeliza] de Huntingdon [of Northumbria] b. abt. 1085 Flamsted, 
    Herts., d. aft.1126.
3. Possibly a third daughter, who may have married a Robert FitzRichard#

Thus there was no male to carry the Waltheof name, nor the inheritance. William I, The Conqueror, had tried to entice Waltheof's widow, Judith, to marry Simon I de St. Liz of Northampton but she declined, ostensibly due to Simon's limping leg1. Eventually in 1090, Simon married Judith's daughter, Matilda [Maud] de Huntingdon.
Simon I, a Norman, thus assumed the title earl of Huntingdon through his wife. They had perhaps  five children:

1. Simon II De St. Liz [de Huntingdon] who had two sons,
Simon IV and Waltheof [Walthen, Waldef] b. abt.1100 who became a Cistercian abbot and was canonised. Simon IV should have inherited not only the earldom of Northampton but also that of Huntingdon but the latter was assumed by David I of Scotland [Matilda/Maud's 2nd husband].

2. St.Waltheof  [Waldef] of Melrose b1100, d. 1159. Waldef  began his early religious life at Nostell Priory and later rose to the position of Abbot of Melrose where he became a tutor to the young prince Malcolm, later Malcolm IV.

3. Matilda [Eng: Maud] de St. Liz of Northampton who, one source says married Robert FitzRichard of  Tonbridge, son of  Richard FitzGilbert of Tonbridge. See below. Other spouses were variously William Brito [Albini] earl of Arundel, the cross border baron Saher III De Quincy and William De Toeni.

4. Simon III De St. Liz  earl of Huntingdon who married Alice De Gand, daughter of Gilbert De Gand
     earl of Lincoln.

5. Isabel De St. Liz  who married William Mauduit.

Munday introduces the earl of Chester in his play, The Death of Robert Earl of Huntington. This earl, Munday refers to as  Rannulf [Ranulph], earl of Chester. However in reality this was the name of the first and second earl of Chester in their line as well as  Hugh de Keveliock, the third earl's son. This latter person was Ranulf de Blundeville b.1172, d.1232, an earl of Chester, who succeeded his father in title and lands. Munday made Rannulf the grandfather of Matilda [Eng: Maud]. If this were Maud Keveliock of Chester then the grandfather would have been Ranulf  IV the second earl of Chester. According to Munday, Maid Marian's real name was Matilda 'FitzWater'. 

Maud Keveliock married David Ceann mhor de Huntingdon, earl of Huntingdon, this title then went to his 2nd son, John Ceann mhor Le Scot [ a.k.a. FitzDavid or Dunkeld] then to Alexander II Cean mhor King of Scotland, by-passing the eldest son of David and Maud , Robert Ceann mhor Le Scot b.1191 d. 1221. This Robert Le Scot according to John Fordun died young. Some have tried to equate this person with the legendary 'Robin Hood' with little success.
The earldom of Huntingdon was lost upon the death of John Le Scot on the 7th June 1237.14  This was during Henry III's reign when the honour of Huntingdon was divided three ways, to the Bruces, the Balliols and  the Hastings after the death of John Le Scot's wife, Helen, who lingered on for some years after her husband's death, a suspected poisoning carried out by Helen.  Herein lies the idea of the dispossession of the title and lands of  the Huntingdon honour, separated barely two years before the purported death of 'Robin Hood' at Kirklees Priory. The title only may have lingered on in Alexander II.

The title earl of Huntingdon was later granted to William Fiennes [Clinton] in 1337 during Edward III's reign, for the honour had now served its purpose in 'buying off' the Scottish kings, for Edward, 'hammer of the Scots' sought war not appeasement. Eventually,with the English defeat at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1315, that part of the honour held by the Bruce family was absorbed into the Bruces of Exton and Conington, of Rutland and Huntingdonshire.
The earldom of Huntingdon had been earlier assumed by David de Huntingdon after  his grandfather's, David I's death [Earl David was the youngest son of Henry de Huntingdon of Scotland, Henry  pre-deceased his father, David I of Scotland by one year]. David and Maud  had four children.
See earl of Huntington
In the aftermath of  the Battle Of the Standard [1138] David I regained almost all that he had lost in northern England for the king, Stephen, needed a strong ally and overlord in the North who would pay homage to England.
Robert FitzRichard could have made some claim for his wife was descended from the Anglian Waltheof  II and her father Simon de St. Liz, both former title holders of the earldom of Huntingdon

On Simon de Liz's death, David I  [d.1153] of Scotland aquired the earldom of Huntingdon [from Simon's older and half-brother] by marrying Matilda about 1113. The earldom of Huntingdon and Northumberland passed to David I. David I and Matilda had a son :
Henry  Prince of Scotland, earl of Huntingdon & Northumberland.d. 1152, i.e. he pre-deceased his father by one year. Henry married Ada [Adelaide/Adeline/Adele] de Warrene, daughter of William de Warrene II, earl of Surrey and Warrene. 
See Wakefield Manor
Henry and Ada had five children who reached maturity, one of whom was David earl of Huntingdon, b.1144 who inherited the earldom of Huntingdon through his brother William I of Scotland:

1. Malcolm IV of Scotland "The Maiden". It was Malcolm "The Maiden" who A sketch of Peveril Castle as it may have appeared.
    travelled to Peveril Castle at Castleton, Derbyshire to submit       to Henry II in 1158, Waltheof was Malcolm IV's                         great-grandfather, Malcolm was also uncle to Robert and John     Le Scot. Plantagenet Somerset Fry11 states that Malcolm            ceded Norhumbria, Cumberland and Westmoreland to        Henry II in 1157 in exchange for the earldom of                  Huntingdon.

2. William I King of Scotland "The Lion" married Ermengarde       de Beaumont 1168 Woodstock Palace, Oxon.
3. Ada de Huntingdon, Princesss of Scotland., married Floris Count of Holland.
4. Margaret de Huntingdon of Scotland, married Henry IV De Bohun.
5. Matilda, died young
6. David earl of Huntingdon b.1144, d. 17th June 1219. Yardley, Herefordshire.
7. Marjory, married Gilchrist earl of Angus
8. Maud, died young.

David earl of Huntingdon b.1144, d.1219 married Maud Keveliock Countess of Chester, b.1171 d.1232 daughter to Hugh de Keveliock d. 1181, earl of Chester. They were active during King Richard I's reign and would have been alive on his return from his imprisonment in Austria in 1194.  In 1189 with the Scots battling the Norwegian Vikings in the Hebrides and Argyll, Richard I recognised Scotland as an independent state in return for cash for the third crusade. David and Maud had up to seven children. See below.
[See also Loxley and Earl Huntington].

Maud de Kevelioch/Keveliock was the eldest of  four other siblings, Hawise de Keveliock, Rannulf Blundeville of Chester,  b. ca.1172 d.1232, Adeliz de Keveliock and Agnes de Keveliock. Their father was the 3rd earl of Chester, Hugh de Kevelioch  was born 1147 d. 1181 at Cyvelioc, Wales.

Hugh was the son of Ranulph IV the 2nd earl of Chester b. 1100 d.1163 and Maud.
Ranulph IV was the son of Ranulph III the first earl of Chester d. 1128, married Lucy Malet. The first earl of Chester's sister, Adeliz married Richard FitzGilbert De Clare [Richard of Tonbridge] b. before 1100 d. 1136. Richard de Tonbridge had four children by Adeliz [FitzRichards], the youngest of whom, Robert FitzRichard married Matilda of Northampton de Liz[ours] d.1140.

A Matilda [Alice] de Huntingdon had married firstly Ralph de Toni [Toney/Tonei] The Younger and secondly Robert FitzRichard the son of Richard de Tonbridge [Kent]. Richard was a predecessor of the Lords FitzWalter such as Sir Robert FitzWalter [d. 9th Dec. 1235] and his grandson Robert FitzWalter b. 1247.
In this way the FitzWalter name seems connected through the earldom of Chester, the de Keveliochs' and the earldom of Huntingdon of David and his Countess, Maud Keveliock.
See Maid Marian

1. Robert Ceann mhor Le Scot [FitzDavid/Dunkeld], John Le Scot's older brother  who apparently did not receive the earldom held by his father Earl David. David did not die until 1219, two years before the death his son Robert. The FitzDavid family were active during King John's reign. 
2. John Ceann mhor Le Scot[t] or FitzDavid [the second son of  David earl of Huntingdon] who was the earl of Chester through his wife's father inherited the earldom of Huntingdon through his father, however he was .
3. Marguerite Ceann mhor Dame of Huntingdon married Alan of Galloway.
4. Ada Ceann mhor de Scot of Huntingdon married Henry I De Hastings.
5. Maud Ceann mhor married John of Monmouth.
6. Isabella Ceann mhor married Robert IV De Bruce.
7. Henry of Stirling [a natural son] b. 1193

The period in which Munday's play is set therefore equates to the time of David de Huntingdon and Maud de Keveliock and their Ceann mhor children in the reign of King John. The eldest daughter of this family had a son, John Balliol, who in 1290, under Edward I's overlordship was given the kingdom of Scotland above twelve other "Competitors" amongst whom were  members of the Hastings and the De Bruce lines. It was these families who eventually each gained one of the three parcels of Huntingdon honour estates which were granted to them under Henry III.
John Hastings, First Baron Hastings, Lord Hastings created 1290. First Lord of [A]bergavenny [Wales] and Constable of Winchester Castle. He assisted Edward I in the Scottish Wars and as a result received in 1273 a grant of lands formerly held by Lord [Fitz?] Alan] 

Some claim that the earldom passed back from John Le Scot to the ruling Scottish monarch Alexander II who married Joan the daughter of King John ["John Lackland"or Sans Terre]. This was probably a temporary political move by  John to gain some aquiescence along the Scottish-English border.
King Alexander II died unexpectedly and was succeeded by his son King Alexander III when he was eight years old, thus a number of  Ceann mhor regents carried the Scottish nation.

However in 1286 Alexander the III on a stormy night set out from Edinburgh against all advice to see his true love. He crossed the River Forth by ferry but at Burntisland in Fife his horse faltered and he was pitched over a cliff. There appears no record that Alexander III was ever granted the earldom of Huntingdon. It may have ceased with his father Alexander II, however this unfortunate death created a quandry, for Alexander III's grand-daughter, Margaret "The Fair Maid of Norway who was his heiress was only aged nine. She died at sea on her return to England from Norway to marry Edward of Caernarvon, the first prince of Wales [later Edward II]. This marriage, if it had been effected would have welded England, Scotland, Wales and Norway together.
This second tragedy led to the formation of the"Thirteen Competitors" of whom one was chosen by Edward I, namely the supplicant John Balliol who descended from one of the three daughters of Earl David. This caused resentment in the de Bruce family who had not been chosen, even though they had a good claim through another of Earl David's daughters, Isabella Ceann mhor and had been promised the kingship if Alexander II had not had a son.

The Scottish Wars which erupted with England during Edward I's reign led to Edward granting the earldom of Huntingdon to William Fiennes who had assisted Edward in his Scottish Wars. This earl Anglicised his name to Clinton after the family seat, Climpton in Oxfordshire. This  moved the title away from the male Scottish line of descent back to an Anglo-Norman one. After the death of Fiennes it would not be until Henry VIII's time that the title to the earldom would be revived in a decendant beneficiary of the breakup of the Huntingdon honour, Lord George Hastings earl of Huntingdon.
See Hastings

Here then we have fertile ground for the basis of Munday's play. The swinging pendulum for the title earl of Huntingdon from Anglo-Norman to Anglo-Norman-Scottish and then back to Anglo-Norman ownership, with dispossession of the title earl of Huntingdon & the lands in the honour. The names Richard, Robert [contracted to Robin perhaps, yet the name Robin is also a French-Norman surname with its own coat of Arms], Matilda/Maud, FitzWalter [phonetically  FitzWater, given by Munday as the true name of Maid Marian], Rannulf [Randolf/Ranulf] earl of Chester mirror the play. In addition we have the descending line of the last English earl, [replaced by a Norman and then a Scot] who was executed in1076 by the great Norman overlord himself, William The Conqueror. Waltheof's death was recognised as a huge loss to the English cause and no doubt would have been made the subject of many clandestinely performed ballads. To the first written reference of a Robin Hode in 13772 we must wait a long time. Any dispossession begins to look distinctly Anglo-Scottish.
See Hood Statistics
    Is this the mould in which Robin Hood is cast and used as the basis for Munday's play?
¤  Roger mentioned here is Roger de Busli [Terra Rogerii De Bvsli]

# Certainly it was common practice to inter-marry with the enemy. Earlier the betrothal of St. Margaret of England, the sister to Edgar the Aethling, to Malcolm  Ceann mhor [Canmore] III , King of Scotland helped to influence the Scottish Church and Court. [See David I Malcolm's son]

*Matilda/Mathilda [Fr.] ~'Maudtilda' = Maud [Eng.] = Maund; all seem to be synonymous.

Fitz - refers to the latin Fili or "family of". Some have tried to equate the affix, Fitz to some form of  illegitimacy in the ruling class, which would indicate some "royal blood flowed in their veins" and was therefore something to be coveted.

                                         NEXT- EARLS OF CHESTER.

  1. Dugdale, William. Antiquities of Yorkshire.
  2. Langlands,William. Piers Plowman,[ed.W. Skeat], London, 1886.
  3. Siward & Waltheof, earls of Huntingdon
  4. Waltheof Siwardson
  5. Waltheof's Execution
  6. Waltheof II
  7. Earl of Northumberland
  8. Paul Mc Bride's WWW pages
  9. Speed, John, The Counties of Britain, 1610.
10. Andrews, Allen, Kings & Queens of England & Scotland, Marshall 
      Cavendish, 1976.
11. Fry, Plantagenet, Somerset, Kings & Queens, Dorling Kindersley, 1990.
12. Stringer, K.J., Earl David of Huntingdon 1152-1219, Edinburgh U.P.,
13. Savage, Anne, The AngloSaxon Chronicles, Phoebe Phillips/Heineman, 
14. Graham Kirkby's "Robin Hood Bold Outlaw of Loxley"
15. Whitelock Dorothy, The Beginnings of English Society, Penguin, 1952.

Copyright ©  Tim Midgley, April 2002, revised November 2010.