Some corrections and additions to the Complete Peerage: Volume 7: Leicester


See also "proposed" section

Volume 7, page 532:
[Robert, Earl of Leicester (d. 1190)] m., before 1155-1159, Pernel (Petronilla), heiress of the Norman honour of Grandmesnil, great-granddaughter of Hugh de Grandmesnil, the Domesday tenant, but her ancestry has not been discovered. (h)
Note h:
Hugh de Grandmesnil, the Domesday tenant, had five sons - Robert, William, Hugh, Ives and Aubrey ... Robert, the eldest son, inherited the Norman lands which are later found in Robert FitzPernel's hands [i.e. Robert, Earl of Leicester (d. 1204), the son of Pernel]. He m., 1stly, Agnes, da. of Ranulph de Bayeux; 2ndly, Emma, da. of Robert d'Estouteville; and, 3rdly, Lucy, da. of Savary FitzCana (Orderic, vol. iii, p. 359). ... if she [Pernel] inherited the Norman lands she would in all probability be a daughter of a son of Hugh's son Robert. Hugh's father and son are both called Robert, and if this alternating nomenclature - a very usual system - was continued, a son of Robert the younger would be named Hugh. This is the name given to Pernel's father in the foundation narrative of Leicester Abbey, and although the story told there is fictitious ... it is possible that the writer may have had before him a document such as a list of obits giving the authentic name. It is not claimed that this suggested descent is more than speculative.

In fact, Pernel's father was called William, as shown by a charter for St-Evroult discovered by David Crouch [The Beaumont Twins, p.91, citing the Cartulary of St-Evroult, ii, fo 33v]. However, the argument that her grandfather is likely to have been Robert, the eldest son of Hugh de Grandmesnil, still seems sound. To some extent it is supported by the following evidence.

In 1157, Henry II confirmed gifts made to the hospital of Falaise by William de Grentmesnil and others [Cal. Docs France, no 1157]. By an undated charter (perhaps from 1160 or later), one Beatrix de Rye gave land to the abbey of St Jean of Falaise, for the well-being of her mother Emma and of her brother William de Grentemesnil [Lechaude d'Anisy, Extrait des Chartes ... dans les archives du Calvados, vol.1, p. 323, no 9 (1834)]. It seems likely that this Beatrix was a daughter of Robert de Grandmesnil by his second wife, Emma d'Estouteville, particularly as the name Beatrix occurs in the Estouteville family, and was possibly borne by Emma's mother [C.T. Clay, ed., Early Yorkshire Charters, vol.9, p.2 (1952)]. If so, this would confirm that Robert also had a son William, who would probably be Pernel's father.

Note that K.S.B. Keats-Rohan [Domesday People I, p.263 (1999)] states that Pernel's father William was the son of Robert by Emma d'Estouteville, but no evidence is cited for the relationship.