Mother of William Longespee

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This page writen and copyright 2008, by Will Johnson,, Professional Genealogist

Acknowledgements to Douglas Richardson, Peter Stewart and Hal Bradley for citing-to many of the below sources.


Goal of this research

Questions to be answered:

  1. What evidence gives us the name of William's mother?
  2. What evidence gives us the name(s) of any of William's siblings?

Brother Ralph Bigod

In Un grand feudataire on page 199 here we find this : "Enfin, à la droite des Impériaux, Renaud de Dammarlin commandait à Guillaume de Salisbury et à son frère Bigot de Clifford, avec leurs 6,000 Anglais..." This translates to "...William of Salisbury and to his brother Bigod of Clifford". Peter Stewart believes this is due to Malo's belief that since William was a son of Rosamund de Clifford, then his brother must be as well.

On page 209 of that same work we find this : "...Raoul le Bigot, frere de Guillaume Longue-Epee..." that is, "Ralph Bigod, brother of William Longespee". Here we see from the same work, that Ralph is not called "de Clifford".

Mother Ida

See these precursor statements:

Vera London, Cartulary of Bradenstoke Priory (Wiltshire Rec. Soc. 35) (1979): 143, 188, includes two charters in which Earl William Longespée specifically names his mother, Countess Ida.

In 1982 Charles Evans published a notice drawing attention to the Bradenstoke data (TG 3 [1982], 265-66), inviting further work on it (saying he could not do so himself), and suggesting Ida, countess of Boulogne, as the most compelling candidate. - Nathaniel Taylor in a thread on soc.genealogy.medieval
In 1993 Gary Roberts published a statement that Mr. Richardson had 'identified' William's mother as Ida, wife of Roger Bigod, earl of Norfolk; according to Roberts Mr. Richardson was shortly going to publish a 'monograph' (i.e. an article) substantiating the identification. That article was never published. - Nathaniel Taylor in a thread on soc.genealogy.medieval
Todd Farmerie in a thread on soc.medieval.genealogy, "Ida de Tony...", posting Jan 31, 2008 states:
Mr. Richardson first posted on this item three and a half years after Paul Reed, John C. Parsons, Kay Allen, Vickie Elam (all sorely missed) and others discussed the same hint, with Paul and John both offering independently the speculation that the "de Thouy" of the NEHGR article was, in fact, "de Thony", i.e. de Toeny. This was in 1998. (At which time the 'correct' solution in Richardson's eyes was that she was Ada de Chaumont.) In 2002 when Mr. Richardson announced the appearance of this item in NEHGR he gave no indication that the earlier discussion of this item had taken place or that this 'discovery' belonged to anyone but himself, so if you just saw the later post you can be excused for not knowing of the earlier discussion.

Adrian Benjamin Burke informs me that : "Ancestral Roots 7th edition published 1999 states that William Longespee's mother may have been Alix de Porhoet"

See also this thread where David Faris quoting Douglas Richardson quotes:
The first appearance of contemporary information about Ida became known in 1979 with the publication in the Wiltshire Record Society 35:143,188 of two charters found in the Bradenstoke Priory Cartulary in which William Longespee refers (in Latin) to his mother, Countess Ida ("Comitissa Ida, mater mea"). Doug reports his follow-up research: "I believe I first became aware of the actual charters as published by Vera London. I used to order a good many books by interlibrary loan, especially anything with charters. Afterwards I saw Mr. Evans' note attempting to identify Countess Ida as a Countess Ida of the continental Europe. I believe I am the first person to consider Roger Bigod's wife, Ida, as the Countess Ida who was William Longespee's mother. I went through all the lists of English earls in Complete Peerage until I found one with a wife Ida in the right time period. In fact, I may have known of Earl Roger's wife Ida before I saw Charles Evans' note. I don't recall the exact chain of events. I never seriously considered Mr. Evans' identification of Countess Ida. As such, I am reasonbly certain I already had Roger Bigod's wife in mind when I found Evans' published note.

In 2002 appeared an article by Raymond W "Ray" Phair "William Longespee, Ralph Bigod, and Countess Ida," The American Genealogist 77:4 (Oct 2002) (this citation supplied by Hal Bradley). This article was the first to recognize that by combining the information from the Bradenstoke Prior Cartulary with the information about William's brother being a Ralph Bigod, that the identification of Ida could be firmly established. Although prior notices have stated or implied who she was, the evidence was first put on a solid grounding by Ray Phair.

Independently, Ida's surname was cited by Mark Morris:

Mark Morris, The Bigod Earls of Norfolk in the 13th Century (2005): 2, cites a royal inquest dated 1275, in which jurors affirmed that Earl Roger le Bigod had received the manors of Acle, Halvergate, and South Walsham, Norfolk from King Henry II, in marriage with his wife, Ida de Tony [see Rotuli Hundredorum 1 (1812): 504, 537]. Morris shows that Earl Roger le Bigod received these manors by writ of the king, he having held them for three quarters of a year at Michaelmas 1182 [see PR 28 Henry II, 1181-1182 (Pipe Roll Soc.) (1910):64]. This appears to pinpoint to marriage of Ida de Tony and Earl Roger le Bigod as having occurred about Christmas 1181. - Douglas Richardson in a thread on soc.genealogy.medieval here

I had commented that we know Ida was a minor in 1181 but Hal Bradley on 1 Feb 2008 pointed out to me privately that : "Paul Reed stated, 'Actually, there is no clear indication that Ida was in wardship, but that her marriage was definitely in the King's gift.' You can find his discussion in the archives."


  • J.W. Baldwin ed. Les Registres de Philippe Augustus (1992), miscellanea no. 13
  • Un grand feudataire, Renaud de Dammartin et la coalition de Bouvines, by Henri Malo. Paris: Honore Champion Libraire 1898.
  • G.B. Roberts, Royal Descents of 500 Immigrants to the American Colonies or the United States (1993): 347.
  • Phair, Raymond W., "William Longespee, Ralph Bigod, and Countess Ida," The American Genealogist 77:4 (Oct 2002) (this citation supplied by Hal Bradley)
  • Mark Morris, The Bigod Earls of Norfolk in the 13th Century (2005): 2


Further reading

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