Copyright and other blogs currently being worked

A young"ish" Buckminster Fuller and a flexible skin geodesic dome about the time he taught at Black Mountain College!

Please come over and see my comments and photos on my other blog "When I Was 69." And sometimes I have some ancestry information on the blog "Three Family Trees."

My info

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Teabowl with mermaid and a flower garden

I'll return to the studio tomorrow...Can't wait to do some neat things.
Well, it's good to get some perspective, which is what vacations are all about, among a few other great benefits.

So here's one of my last tea bowls I made before my hiatus.

It's fun to see how curved lines and even straight lines change when you paint them on a curved surface! 

And I was thrilled at my friends home to see her gardens in the here are a few of the inspirational flowers I saw when it wasn't raining!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Sir John Fitz Roger 1386/7-4 Oct 1441 and his ancestors

And some more historic documentation-(Note, editor, Barbara Rogers, is now making her comments in italics to help differentiate the voices/quotes posted here.)

The son of John Fitz Roger, Gentleman (and Elizabeth de Furneaux)

Sir John Fitz Roger, the second [English] generation, was born 1386-7. He married Agnes de Mercaunt of Seamer, Suffolk Co. in 1406 when he was just past the age of 19. He was the manager of the vast Furneaux estates and bought 'Benham-Valence' and other properties in Berkshire and Dorset. He received a Knighthood through recognition of military service performed. He was one of the wealthiest people in his section of England. He and Agnes had two sons, John and Thomas. He died 4 October 1441 at his home at Bryanstone. He is buried at St. Martin's Church there. His will was dated 21 September and proved 10 November 1441 and it was at this time the 'Fitz' to the Roger name was dropped and ultimately a terminal 's' added
Source: "Lineage of Rogers Family", Underwood, published in NY in 1911.


Rogers Family 
 ROGERS ARMS: Argent, a chevron between three stags sable, attired or. 
CREST: A stag trippant sable, bezantee, ducally gorged and attired or. 
MOTTO: Nil conscire sibi  - To have a conscience free from guilt
Source of the following is: 
History of MF Planters by L.C. Hills: 

[a review of much of the history we've covered in the last week.]
The Rogers Family: Sir Tancred de Hautville, born c970. died aft 1058, a nobleman of Hautville near Cautauces, Normandy, m. firstly c992 Moriella; m. secondly c1013 Fredistand. There among their sons were Robert, Roger and William.  Robert "Guiscard" born 1015, became a great General, commanding Norman troops in Italy, and was created Duke of Apulia 1059; King of Naples and had other honors, and died in 1085.  His brother Roger became Grand Count Roger I 1089-1102 of Sicily. He was born 1030 and died in 1101/2. Duke Robert and his brother Grand Count Roger were largely responsible for the Norman conquest of Sicily, and the FitzRoger name in South West England is said to have arose (sic) from descendants of these brothers. Religious upheaval in Sicily forced Aaron Fitz Rogers, a merchant of Rome, to flee to London where he engaged in business. The Rogers Family were given the right to bear the coat of arms accredited to Grand Count Roger I of Sicily. 

[editors note: Aaron FitzRoger has also been given a different birthdate from other sources...1249.]

1.  Aaron FitzRoger born c1265 of Rome, Italy; died c1330 London, Middlesex, England.  The family business was merchandising after settling in Kent, Gloucestershire and Somersetshire.  

2. John FitzRoger b. 1335 m. Elizabeth de Furneaux b. 1330 daughter and heir of Sir Symon de Furneaux of Ashington, and other manors in Somersetshire and Devonshire and Alice de Umfraville, widow of Sir John Blount, Constable of the Tower of London.  John FitzRoger was her second husband.  John was their only son and heir.  John [father] gained great wealth by marrying Elizabeth. With John FitzRoger she was co-founder of 'Rogers House' of South West England.  Sir Symon's only surviving child, and sole heiress, was his daughter, Elizabeth de Furneaux b. c1334. She m. 1351, Sir Blount, Knight and a Constable of the Tower, by whom she had Alice later that year in 1351. Sir  Blount d. 1358, leaving an attractive and wealthy widow, who inherited many large estates.

[Did you notice that father Aaron was born in 1265 and died 1330, but he had a son in 1335.  There are so many strange dates among these ancestors.  I bet they had no problem with them, but probably were busy living their lives and didn't write much of the down!]

St. Martin's Church, Bryantstone, UK, now part of a school. Sir John Rogers was buried there.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Rogers from Italy to England: John Fitz Roger, Gentleman

I left off yesterday with the first Rogers in England, Aaron Fitz Roger (abt. 1249-1335).  [WARNING FLAG...people didn't live into their nineties in those days often! I would guess some of his dates aren't right.]

He married Gonnora Crepon, 1240-1313.
There's even family crest for the Crepon family.

Aaron's son was...
"Aaron II (or John) Fitz Roger
"born the latter part of the thirteenth century in Italy - of Norman parentage, probably ab. 1260-70, removed with his family, embracing at least two sons, to London, England; where he continued his business of merchandising.

One son is thought to have located on a small country seat, some 5 mi. south of Maidstone in Co. Kent; and another certainly went to Gloucestershire, seeking a location; and this latter son of Aaron or John aforesaid (or possibly a son of his), finally located in Somersetshire."

John Cox Underwood
" Fitz " means " Son of." It is old English and sometimes incorrectly associated with being illegitimate.
Aaron III (or John) Fitz Roger was born around 1300 and lived and died in Somersetshire, England.  If wives and mothers in these times were not royal they were lost to any recorded history.

Son of Aaron III (John) Fitz Roger was John Fitz Roger, Gentleman...
"b. ab. 1335 in England, feathered his nest luxuriantly by m. Elizabeth, b. 1330, dau. of Sir Symon de Furneaux, of Ashington & and other manors in Somersetshire, Devonshire, &c.; wid. of Sir John Blount, Constable of the Tower.  Dame Elizabeth was the very wealthy Furneaux heiress, holding by entailure vast realty possessions; and as she was the co-founder with her 2d. husband of the recognized 'Rogers House' of South West England, it is fitting that her ancestral Pedigree shall be recorded here in sufficient detail to show the origin, influence, and power of the Furneaux's..."

John Cox Underwood
Their home was
Bryanstone House 1

"The original village of Bryanston lay in the vicinity of the church, now the Portman Chapel, at the mouth of a dry valley. In mediaeval times it was a relatively large settlement; twenty-three taxpayers are recorded in the 1333 Subsidy Rolls (P.R.O., E. 179/103/5), but in 1662 the number of households had dwindled to six (Meekings, 69). Early in the 18th century the site of the village was occupied by a large house and its dependencies, the seat of the Berkeley Portman family from the 17th century onwards. In 1778 the house was demolished and replaced by another, and in 1890 this house was in turn demolished and replaced by the great mansion which still stands some 500 yds. to the N.W. of the first site. It is now part of Bryanston School. In 1898 a new parish church was built on or very near the site of the former houses.

The house demolished in 1778 is known from J. Kip's engraving (Britannia Illustrata, 1714, pl. 77) and from a perspective view included in Bastard's plan of Blandford Forum (Plate 104). Kip shows it as standing about 50 yds. S. of the old church. [Probably the illustration that came from Ancestry which is shown above.]

Earthwork Remains (875073) of gardens and outbuildings of the house which preceded that of 1778 lie on land which slopes gently E. to the R. Stour. Low banks and scarps, much obscured by later work, and rectangular platforms, appear to represent the northern third of the gardens and outbuildings of the house depicted by J. Kip (loc. cit.); presumably they were abandoned c. 1778.

The presumed all-male line from HIALTI DE HAUTEVILLE to JOHN ROGERS the martyr

1. Hialti de Hauteville, b. ca. 852
2. Guicard de Hauteville, b. ca. 880
3. Tancred de Hauteville, b. ca. 905
4. Gerard Tancred, b. ca. 930
5. Rabel Tancred de Hauteville, b. ca. 950
6. Seigneur Tancreed de Hauteville, b. ca. 970, of Normandy, France, m. Fredistina de Hauteville
7. Robert I de Hauteville, b. ca. 1025, m. Adelisia de Savona
8. Roger, b. 1093, m. Albertz
9. Son Roger, b. ca. 1145, m. Albertz
10. Tancreed, b. ca. 1171, m. Sybil d'Aquina
11. Son Tancreed, b. ca. 1197
12. Grandson Tancreed, b. ca. 1223
13. Aaron FitzRogers, b. ca. 1249, Rome,Italy
14. Aaron FitzRogers, b. 1275
15. Aaron FitzRogers, b. ca. 1300
16. John FitzRogers, b. 1335, England, m. Elizabeth Furneaux
17. John FitzRogers, b. 1386, m. Agnes Mordaunt
18. Thomas Rogers, b. 1408, m. Elizabeth Hungerford
19. Thomas Rogers, b. ca. 1435, m. Catherine Courtenay
20. Thomas Rogers, b. ca. 1485, m. Margaret Wyatt
21. Rev. John Rogers(The Martyr), b. 1506/7, m. Adriana Alids de Weyden Pratt 

And I'm so glad that the last paragraph lists all the Rogers line and their birth dates.  It is so much easier for me to understand.  I acknowledge that having some connection through the various marriages might be of interest to some, but I got a bit confused in all the Burke's details. 

I will post more information on Elizabeth de Furneaux soon!

But these are the sources of information that is behind all those little trees on Ancestry!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Those Normans in Italy

First a happy birthday wish for my oldest son, Marty.  May you enjoy the day, the year, and many more to come!

I must go back and add this interesting article, for those who read what Wikipedia had given me already...about the Tancred part of the Norman rule in Sicily. I left a few days ago wondering how Tancred IV had been sired by a deceased Tancred III and a mother also either deceased or married to someone else...according to my Ancestry tree.  (Insert emoticon here of looking crosseyed and confused.)  I'm still working on that!

Here's another version of much the same story about the Crusades and the wars of Sicily and it's Norman rule (which says it only lasted 125 years, not 700.)

Taormina, Sicily, Italy

From Encyclopedia Britannica:


Alternative Titles: Tancred of Lecce, Tancredi

  • Tancred of Lecce
  • Tancredi
February 20, 1194
TancredItalian Tancredi (died Feb. 20, 1194Palermo), king of Sicily whose brief reign marked the end of the Norman rule there.
An illegitimate son of Duke Roger of Apulia and grandson of Roger II, king of Sicily, Tancred joined an insurrection in 1155 against his uncle William I of Sicily and was imprisoned for five years. Released, he participated in another abortive coup in 1161 and went into exile.
Thirteen years later, forgiven his disloyalty to William I, Tancred led William II’sexpedition against Alexandria and later commanded a Sicilian fleet. William II’s death in 1189 without direct heirs found Tancred a serious contender for the throne. Opposed by the feudal barons but backed by the people and the papacy, he was crowned king in 1190. The first year of his reign was troubled by an anti-Muslim riot and by the stormy visit of Richard I the Lion-Heart of England and Philip Augustus of France on their way to the Third Crusade. Richard demanded a legacy promised him by William II and the restoration of the dowry of his sister Joan, William’s widow. During the six months he spent in Sicily while negotiations continued, Richard provoked a riot in Messina, which he then put down by plundering, burning, and occupying the city. Tancred bought peace by yielding to Richard’s financial demands, and in March 1191 Richard departed.
In 1191 the Holy Roman emperor Henry VI, who claimed the Sicilian throne through his wife, Constance I (daughter of Roger II), marched south to claim Constance’s inheritance. He invaded Tancred’s mainland territory and unsuccessfully besieged Naples. Constance remained in Salerno when he retreated and fell into Tancred’s hands. Tancred gave in to pressure by the pope to release his valuable hostage to papal custody, but en route Constance managed to escape and return to Germany.
Three years later Henry made a fresh attempt on Sicily, his campaign partly financed by the ransom paid for Richard I the Lion-Heart, who had been made a prisoner in Germany. Before Henry reached Sicily, Tancred died suddenly, leaving only a young son, William III. The barons rallied to Henry, who was crowned king of Sicily on Christmas Day, 1194. Tancred’s family was promised safe conduct but, under pretext of the discovery of a plot, was seized and sent in captivity to Germany, where William III died, probably murdered, ending the 125-year Norman rule of Sicily.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

From Sicily to England

My line didn't continue to be the royal folks in Sicily, but diverged into England eventually.

The first to be called Fitz Roger was:
Aaron I Fitz Roger b. abt 1249, Rome Italy, d. 1335 Somerset, England  (Fitz means son of)
"...This ancestry left a large number of descendants in Sicily, South Italy, Naples and Rome; and during three generations, the sons of Roger (called 'Fitz Roger'), variously flourished in and about the papal city; and finally one "Aaron Fitz Roger" (in England) alleged - a merchant of  Rome, from fear of persecution from the Roman Church, fled with his family to London, and engaged in mercantile business there.

 "And as evidence of Sicilian-Roger ancestry, the father and sons claimed the right to bear the coat-of-arms accredited to Gr.-Ct. Roger I of Sicily.  Whatever grounds there were for such legendary tradition of said family - the resultant fact is, that such a family did exist; and that a branch thereof located in the Co. of Kent, not far from London; and that another member went prospecting to the West of England, and either he or his son was the ROGER who m. the Furneaux heiress.  Therefore the absolutely certain record of the ROGERS FAMILY starts with the Norman-Italian emigrant to England, as its unquestioned English Patriarch." [More about the English Rogers tomorrow!]

John Cox Underwood

Background information reviewed:

Roger Tancred Castile de Hauteville, King of both Sicilys b. abt. 1130 Sicily d.1192 Sicily

"... King of both Sicily's, b. 1093-4 & d 1154 2/26, suc to the throne on the dth of his bro. Simon 1105; but his mother governed during his minority.  The antipope, Anacletus II, on 1129 9/27, confirmed to him the strange title of 'King of Sicily and Italy' which was modified in 1139 & confirmed to him by Pope Innocent II upon their reconciliation.

Consequently the 1st Norman royal ruler of that Island, was:  KING ROGER II of Sicily; and he was an active, energetic ruler, extending his domain in Italy, and throughout adjacent islands of the sea; and altogether, his reign was firm and prosperous.  He was suc, before his dth. by his son WILLIAM I - 'the Bad,'  who r. 1151-1166; and he, suc. by his son WILLIAM II, - the 'Good,' who r. 1166-1189, whose Queen Johanna, dau. of Henry of Anjou and England, was childless.  So, on his dth, the cr. passed to an illegitimate gr. son of King Roger.

from "Tancred, King of both Sicily's "by John Cox Underwood

Roger Tancred 1130-1192 had a son Roger Tancred III who d. in 1193. He married Irene Angelos, who apparently didn't have any children by him, according to Wikipedia (as follows:

Irene Angelina (1181 – 1208) was the daughter of the Byzantine Emperor Isaac II Angelos by his first wife Herina Tornikaina. 

In 1193 she married Roger III of Sicily, but he died on 24 December 1193. Irene was captured in the German invasion of Sicily on 29 December 1194 and was married on 25 May 1197 to Philip of Swabia. In Germany, she was renamed Maria.

Philip and Irene had four daughters, and two sons who died in infancy.

After the murder of her husband [need more info here!] (21 April 1208), Irene - who was pregnant by that time - retired to the Burg Hohenstaufen. There, four months later (27 August 1208), she gave birth to a daughter (called Beatrice Postuma); but both mother and child died shortly afterwards. She was buried in the family mausoleum in the Staufen proprietary monastery of Lorch Abbey, along with her daughter and sons. Her grave, now destroyed, cannot be reconstructed today.
But wait, who was Tancred IV (born 1223) then? I look on Ancestry, and there he is (see screen capture below)

My tree clearly says he was son of Tancred III (died 1193) and Irene (died 1208).  But he wasn't born while his father was still alive...thus another time his mother gave birth after a husband had died.  Something about this seems fishy, and I would imagine the story wasn't correctly recorded at some point.  She obviously didn't die giving birth, or the daughters with Phillip wouldn't have been born later.

So that's a bit of a stumbling block, isn't it?

But the quoted text at the beginning of my post does say, somehow...there may well have been more children/parents/cousins involved than got on the tree!

There was someone named Aaron Fitz Roger who came to England from Italy, whoever he was descended from!

I'll go with him!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Roger II, King of Sicily

Statue of the Norman King Roger II of Sicily in a niche on the facade of the royal Palace in the Piazza of Plebiscito, Naples. Carved in 1888.

Detail of the mosaic with Roger II receiving the crown by Christ, Martorana, Palermo. The mosaic carries an inscription Rogerios Rex in Greek letters.

Roger II was the son of Count Roger de Hauteville, (see yesterday's blog.)
King Roger II of Sicily was born Dec. 22, 1095 in Sicily, and died Feb 26, 1154 in Sicily.

Roger II riding to war, from Liber ad honorem Augusti of Petrus de Ebulo, 1196.

 Roger's tomb in the Cathedral of Palermo.
Here's what Wikepdia has to say about him:

Roger II (22 December 1095[1] – 26 February 1154) was King of Sicily, son of Roger I of Sicily and successor to his brother Simon. He began his rule as Count of Sicily in 1105, later became Duke of Apulia and Calabria (1127), then King of Sicily (1130). It is Roger II's distinction to have united all the Norman conquests in Italy into one kingdom with a strong centralized government.

In the early decades of the 11th century, Norman adventurers came to southern Italy, initially to fight against the Saracens or the Byzantine Empire. These mercenaries not only fought the enemies of the Italian city-states, but in the following century they gradually became the rulers of the major polities south of Rome

At the time of the birth of his youngest son, in 1093, Roger I ruled the County of Sicily, his nephew, Roger Borsa, was the Duke of Apulia and Calabria, and a distant nephew, Richard II of Capua, was the Prince of Capua.

Alongside these three major rulers were a large number of minor counts, who effectively exercised sovereign power in their own localitites. These counts at least nominally owed their allegiance to one of these three Norman rulers, but such allegiance was usually weak and often ignored.[2]

When Roger I, Count of Sicily, died in 1101 the throne was assumed by his young son, Simon of Hauteville, who himself died but four years later.

Southern Italy in 1112 CE, at the time of Roger II's coming of age, showing the major states and cities. Numerous smaller city-states, usually under the suzerainty or vassalage of the larger states, are not shown.
The border of the Kingdom of Sicily in 1154, at the time of Roger's death, is shown by a thicker black line encircling most of southern Italy.

 Rise to power in Sicily
On the death of his elder brother, Simon of Hauteville, in 1105, Roger inherited the County of Sicily under the regency of his mother, Adelaide del Vasto. During this time the mother was assisted by such notables as Christodulus, the emir of Palermo.

In the summer of 1110, he was visited by the Norwegian king Sigurd Jorsalfare on his way to Jerusalem.

In 1112, Roger attained his age of majority and began his personal rule, being named "now knight, now Count of Sicily and Calabria" in a charter document dated June 12, 1112.[3]

In 1117, his mother, who had married Baldwin I of Jerusalem, returned to Sicily, and Roger married his first wife, Elvira, daughter of Alfonso VI of Castile and his Moorish concubine or wife, Zaida.
In 1122, William II, the Duke of Apulia and Roger's first cousin once removed, offered to renounce his remaining claims to Sicily as well as part of Calabria. Roger, in exchange, crossed the Straits of Messina to subjugate the duke's vassal, Count Jordan of Ariano. In doing so, he penetrated the Basilicata and took Montescaglioso.

Coronation mantle of Roger II

  Rise to power in southern Italy
When William II of Apulia died childless in July 1127, Roger claimed all Hauteville family possessions in the peninsula as well as the overlordship of the Principality of Capua, which had been nominally given to Apulia almost thirty years earlier. However, the union of Sicily and Apulia was resisted by Pope Honorius II and by the subjects of the duchy itself.
Royal investiture

The popes had long been suspicious of the growth of Norman power in southern Italy and at Capua in December, the pope [Pope Honorius] preached a crusade against Roger, setting Robert II of Capua and Ranulf II of Alife (his own brother-in-law) against him. After this coalition failed, in August 1128 Honorius invested Roger at Benevento as Duke of Apulia. The baronial resistance, which was backed by Naples, Bari, Salerno, and other cities whose aim was civic freedom, gave way. In September 1129 Roger was generally recognized as duke of Apulia by Sergius VII of Naples, Robert of Capua, and the rest. He began at once to enforce order in the duchy, where the ducal power had long been fading.
Upon the death of Pope Honorius in February 1130 there were two claimants to the papal throne. Roger supported Antipope Anacletus II against Innocent II. The reward was a crown, and, on 27 September 1130, Anacletus' papal bull made Roger king of Sicily. He was crowned in Palermo on the Christmas Day 1130.

Peninsular rebellions
This plunged Roger into a ten-year war. The famous Bernard of Clairvaux, Innocent's champion, organized a coalition against Anacletus and his "half-heathen king." He was joined by Louis VI of France, Henry I of England, and the Lothair III, Holy Roman Emperor. Meanwhile southern Italy revolted.

In 1130, the Duchy of Amalfi revolted and in 1131, Roger sent John of Palermo across the Strait of Messina to join up with a royal troop from Apulia and Calabria and march on Amalfi by land while George of Antioch blockaded the town by sea and set up a base on Capri.[4] Amalfi soon capitulated.
In 1132, Roger sent Robert II of Capua and Ranulf II of Alife to Rome in a show of force in support of Anacletus. While they were away, Roger's half-sister Matilda, the wife of Ranulf, fled to Roger claiming abuse. Simultaneously, Roger annexed Ranulf's brother's County of Avellino. Ranulf demanded the restitution of both wife and countship. Both were denied, and Ranulf left Rome against orders, with Robert following.

First Roger dealt with a rebellion in Apulia, where he defeated and deposed Grimoald, Prince of Bari, replacing him with his second son Tancred. Meanwhile, Robert and Ranulf took papal Benevento. Roger went to meet them but was defeated at the Battle of Nocera on 25 July 1132. Roger retreated to Salerno.

The next year, Lothair III came down to Rome for his imperial coronation. The rebel leaders met with him there, but they were refused help because Lothair's force was too small.[5] With the emperor's departure, divisions in his opponents' ranks allowed Roger to reverse his fortunes. By July 1134, Roger's troops had forced Ranulf, Sergius, and the other ringleaders to submit. Robert was expelled from Capua and Roger installed his second son, Alfonso of Hauteville as Prince of Capua. Roger II's eldest son Roger was given the title of Duke of Apulia.

Meanwhile, Lothair's contemplated attack upon Roger had gained the backing of Pisa, Genoa, and the Byzantine emperor, each of whom feared the growth of a powerful Norman kingdom. A Pisan fleet led by the exiled prince of Capua laid anchor in Naples (1135). Ranulf joined Robert and Sergius there, encouraged by news coming from Sicily that Roger was fatally ill or even already dead. The important fortress of Aversa, among others, passed to the rebels, and only Capua resisted under the royal chancellor, Guarin. On June 5, however, Roger disembarked in Salerno, much to the surprise of the whole mainland provinces. The royal army, split in several forces, easily conquered Aversa and even Alife, the base of the natural rebel leader, Ranulf. Most of the rebels took refuge in Naples, which was besieged in July, but despite the poor health conditions within the city, Roger was not able to take it, and returned to Messina late in the year.

  Imperial invasion
In 1136, the long-awaited imperial army, led by Lothair and the duke of Bavaria, Henry the Proud, descended the peninsula to support the three rebels. Henry, Robert, and Ranulf took a large contingent of troops to besiege the peninsular capital of the kingdom, Salerno. Roger remained in Sicily, leaving its mainland garrisons helpless under the chancellor Robert of Selby, while even the Byzantine emperor John II Comnenus sent subsidies to Lothair. Salerno surrendered, and the large army of Germans and Normans marched to the very south of Apulia. There, in June 1137, Lothair besieged and took Bari. At San Severino, after the victorious campaign, he and the pope jointly invested Ranulf as duke of Apulia (August 1137), and the emperor then retired to Germany. Roger, freed from the utmost danger, immediately disembarked in Calabria, at Tropea, with 400 knights and other troops, probably mostly Muslims. After having been welcomed by the Salernitans, he recovered ground in Campania, sacking Pozzuoli, Alife, Capua, and Avellino. Sergius, terrified, was forced to acknowledge him as overlord of Naples and sway his allegiance to Anacletus: that moment marked the fall of an independent Neapolitan duchy, and thereafter the ancient city was fully integrated into the Norman realm.

Thence Roger moved to Benevento and northern Apulia, where Duke Ranulf, although steadily losing his bases of power, had some German troops plus some 1,500 knight from the cities of Melfi, Trani, Troia, and Bari, who were "ready to die instead to lead a miserable life." On 30 October 1137, at the Battle of Rignano (next to Monte Gargano), the younger Roger and his father, with Sergius of Naples, met the defensive army of Duke Ranulf. It was the greatest defeat of Roger II's career. His son fought with courage, and Sergius died honourably in battle, but Roger himself fled the field to Salerno. It capped the meteoric career of Ranulf: twice victor over Roger. Anacietus II died in January 1138, but Innocent II refused to reconcile with the King.

In Spring 1138, the royal army invaded the Principality of Capua, with the precise intent of avoiding a pitched battle and of dispersing Ranulf's army with a series of marches along sharp terrain. While the count of Alife lacked decision, Roger, now supported by Benevento, destroyed all the rebels' castles in the region, capturing an immense booty. Ranulf himself, who had taken refuge in Troia, his capital, was killed by a malaric fever on 30 April 1139. Later, Roger exhumed him from the Troian cathedral in which he was buried and threw him in a ditch, only to later repent and rebury him decently.

At this time, Sergius being dead, Alfonso was elected in his place and together with his brother Roger, went off to conquer the Abruzzi.

  Consolidation of kingship
After the death of Anacletus in January 1138, Roger had sought the confirmation of his title from Pope Innocent. However, the pope wanted an independent Principality of Capua as a buffer state between the Kingdom of Sicily and the Papal States, something Roger would not accept.[6] In the summer of 1139, Innocent II invaded the kingdom with a large army, but was ambushed at Galluccio on (22 July 1139),[7] southeast of present-day Cassino, by Roger's son and was captured. Three days later, by the Treaty of Mignano, the pope proclaimed Roger II as rex Siciliae ducatus Apuliae et principatus Capuae. The boundaries of his regno were only later fixed by a truce with the pope in October 1144.

 These lands were for the next seven centuries to constitute the kingdoms of Naples and Sicily.

In 1139, Bari, where during the wars of the past year, 50,000 inhabitants had remained unscathed behind the massive walls, decided to surrender: the excellentissimus princeps Jaquintus, who had led the rebellion of the city, was hanged together with many of his followers, but the city avoided a sack. His execution of the prince and his counsellors was perhaps the most violent act of Roger's life.
While his sons overcame pockets of resistance on the mainland, on 5 November 1139 Roger returned to Palermo to plan a great act of legislation: the Assizes of Ariano an attempt to establish his dominions in southern Italy as a coherent state. He returned to check up on his sons' progress in 1140 and then went to Ariano, a town central to the peninsular possessions (and a centre of rebellion under his predecessors). There he promulgated the great law regulating all Sicilian affairs. It invested the king and his bureaucracy with absolute powers and reduced the authority of the often rebellious vassals. While there, centralising his kingdom, Roger declared a new standard coinage, named after the duchy of Apulia: the ducat.

"The Cappella Palatina, at Palermo, the most wonderful of Roger's churches, with Norman doors, Saracenic arches, Byzantine dome, and roof adorned with Arabic scripts, is perhaps the most striking product of the brilliant and mixed civilization over which the grandson of the Norman Trancred ruled" (EB1911).

Saracen arches and Byzantine mosaics complement each other within the Palatine Chapel. The Palatine Chapel (Italian: Cappella Palatina) is the royal chapel of the Norman kings of Sicily situated on the ground floor at the center of the Palazzo Reale in Palermo.

Roger had now become one of the greatest kings in Europe. At Palermo, Roger drew round him distinguished men of various races, such as the famous Arab geographer Idrisi and the Greek historian Nilus Doxopatrius. The king welcomed the learned, and he practised toleration towards the several creeds, races and languages of his realm. To administer his domain he hired many Greeks and Arabs, who were trained in long-established traditions of centralized government.[8] He was served by men of nationality as dissimilar as the Englishman Thomas Brun, a kaid of the Curia, and, in the fleet, first by Christodulus and then George of Antioch, whom he made in 1132 ammiratus ammiratorum or "Emir of Emirs," in effect prime vizier. This title gave way to the English word admiral. Roger made Sicily the leading maritime power in the Mediterranean.

A powerful fleet was built up under several admirals, or "emirs", of whom the greatest was George, formerly in the service of the Muslim prince of Mahdia. Mainly thanks to him, a series of conquests were made on the African coast (1135–1153). Tripoli was captured in 1146 and Cape Bona in 1148. These conquests were lost in the reign of Roger's successor William and never formed an integral part of the kingdom.

The Second Crusade (1147–1148) offered Roger an opportunity to revive the attacks against the Byzantine Empire, the traditional Norman enemy to the East. It also afforded him an opportunity, through the agency of Theodwin, a cardinal ever-vigilant for Crusade supporters, to strike up a correpondance with Conrad III of Germany in an effort to break his alliance with Manuel I Comnenus. Roger never went himself on an expedition against Byzantium, handing over the command to the skillful George. In 1147, George set sail from Otranto with seventy galleys to assault Corfu. According to Nicetas Choniates, the island capitulated thanks to George's bribes (and the tax burden of the imperial government), welcoming the Normans as their liberators. Leaving a garrison, George sailed on to the Peloponnesus. He sacked Athens and quickly moved on to the Ionian Islands. He ravaged the coast all along Euboea and the Gulf of Corinth and penetrated as far as Thebes, Greece, where he pillaged the silk factories and carried off the Jewish damask, brocade, and silk weavers, taking them back to Palermo where they formed the basis for the Sicilian silk industry. George capped the expedition with a sack of Corinth, in which the relics of Saint Theodore were stolen, and then returned to Sicily. In 1149, however, Corfu was retaken. George went on a punitive expedition against Constantinople, but could not land and instead defied the Byzantine emperor by firing arrows against the palace windows. Yet the attack on the empire had no enduring results.
The king died at Palermo on 26 February 1154, and was buried in the Cathedral of Palermo. He was succeeded by his fourth son William. Roger II's elaborate coronation cloak, later used by the Holy Roman Emperors, is now in the Imperial Treasury (Schatzkammer) in Vienna. Roger is the subject of King Roger, a 1926 opera by Polish composer Karol Szymanowski.

Roger's first marriage was in 1117 to Elvira of Castile, a daughter of King Alfonso VI of Castile. They had six children:
  1. Roger (b. 1118 - d. 12 May 1148), heir, Duke of Apulia (from 1135), possibly also Count of Lecce;
  2. Tancred (b. 1119 - d. 1138), Prince of Bari (from 1135).
  3. Alfonso (b. 1120/1121 - d. 10 October 1144), Prince of Capua (from 1135) and Duke of Naples;
  4. Adelisa (b. ca.1126? - d. aft.1184), Countess di Florenzia in her own right; married firstly with Joscelin, Conte di Loreto, and secondly with Robert, Conte di Loritello e Conversano.
  5. William (b. 1131 - d. 7 May 1166), his successor, Duke of Apulia (from 1148);
  6. Henry (b. 1135 - d. young).
Roger's second marriage was in 1149 to Sybille of Burgundy, daughter of Hugh II, Duke of Burgundy. They had two children:
  1. Henry (b. 29 August 1149 - d. young);
  2. Stillborn child (16 September 1150).
Roger's third marriage was in 1151 to Beatrix of Rethel, a grandniece of King Baldwin II of Jerusalem. They had a daughter:
  1. Constance (b. posthumously 2 November 1154 - d. 28 November 1198), married with the Emperor Henry VI, who became King of Sicily in his right.
Roger also had several illegitimate children. One illegitimate daughter, Marina, married the great admiral Margaritus of Brindisi. Another illegitimate child, Simon, became the Prince of Taranto.

Another source gives a bit of information about the succession of Roger II:

b. 1093-4 & d 1154 2/26, suc to the throne on the dth of his bro. Simon 1105; but his mother governed during his minority.  The antipope, Anacletus II, on 1129 9/27, confirmed to him the strange title of 'King of Sicily and Italy' which was modified in 1139 & confirmed to him by Pope Innocent II upon their reconciliation.  Consequently the 1st Norman royal ruler of that Island, was:  KING ROGER II of Sicily; and he was an active, ewnergetic ruler, extending his domain in Italy, and throughout adjacent islands of the sea; and altogether, his reign was firm and prosperous.  He was suc, before his dth. by his son WILLIAM I - 'the Bad,'  who r. 1151-1166; and he, suc. by his son WILLIAM II, - the 'Good,' who r. 1166-1189, whose Queen Johanna, dau. of Henry of Anjou and England, was childless.  So, on his dth, the cr. passed to an illegitimate gr. son of King Roger."

When I read these details for the third time, I noticed King Roger's son William I became ruler in 1151, while King Roger didn't die until that strange sounding to you? It is to me. Perhaps he was sick and gave his son the crown...I wonder.

And still, where do these Norman/Sicilian Rogers connections come to my own family? Come back tomorrow on my blog (I'm doing genealogy all week...who knows, maybe all month! OK, probably not that long!)

I'm going to add this post to Sepia Saturday, to share the ancient and confusing history of Italy in the time of it's dukedoms, and the strife over the Papal states...though I have very little knowledge of those histories.  And I can sigh that the royalty of Sicily didn't continue to have my line, according to Ancestry at least, as I'll share tomorrow.)

Apologies for all the length of detail, which would probably make anyone snooze.  But I just don't have any sepia photos related to this week's topic...

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Sir Roger de Hauteville

 Sir Roger Guiscard de Hauteville was the Grand Count of Sicily. He was born in Sicily about 1031 and died there June 22, 1101.

His Wikipedia information is intriguing:

Roger I of Sicily at the battle of Cerami—victorious against 35,000 Saracens—in 1061.
Roger I (1031 – June 22, 1101), called Bosso and the Great Count, was the Norman Count of Sicily from 1071 to 1101. He was the last great leader of the Norman conquest of southern Italy.
Roger was the youngest son of Tancred of Hauteville by his second wife Fredisenda. He arrived in Southern Italy soon after 1055.
Malaterra, who compares Robert Guiscard and his brother to "Joseph and Benjamin of old," says of Roger: "He was a youth of the greatest beauty, of lofty stature, of graceful shape, most eloquent in speech and cool in counsel. He was far-seeing in arranging all his actions, pleasant and merry all with men; strong and brave, and furious in battle." Roger shared the conquest of Calabria with Robert, and in a treaty of 1062 the brothers in dividing the conquest apparently made a kind of "condominium" by which either was to have half of every castle and town in Calabria.
Robert now resolved to employ Roger's genius in reducing Sicily, which contained, besides the Muslims, numerous Greek Christians subject to Arab princes who had become all but independent of the sultan of Tunis. In May 1061 the brothers crossed from Reggio and captured Messina. After Palermo had been taken in January 1072, Robert Guiscard, as suzerain, invested Roger as Count of Sicily, but he retained Palermo, half of Messina, and the north-east portion (the Val Demone). Not till 1085, however, was Roger able to undertake a systematic crusade.
In March 1086 Syracuse surrendered, and when in February 1091 Noto yielded, the conquest was complete. Much of Robert's success had been due to Roger's support. Similarly, when the leadership of the Hautevilles passed to Roger, he supported his nephew Duke Roger against Bohemund, Capua, and other rebels. In return for his aid against Bohemund and the rebels, the duke surrendered his share in the castles of Calabria to his uncle in 1085, and in 1091 his inheritance in Palermo. Roger's rule in Sicily was more absolute than Robert Guiscard's in Italy. At the enfeoffments of 1072 and 1092 no great undivided fiefs were created, so the mixed Norman, French and Italian vassals all owed their benefices to the count. No feudal revolt of importance therefore troubled Roger.
In 1091 Roger, in order to avoid an attack from North Africa, set sail with a fleet to conquer Malta. His ship reached the island before the rest. On landing, the few defenders the Normans encountered retreated and the following day Roger marched to Mdina. Terms were discussed with the Maltese qadi. It was agreed that the islands would become tributaries of the count himself and that the qadi should continue to administer the islands. With the treaty many Greek and other Christian prisoners were released, who chanted to Roger the Kyrie eleison (Mulej Hniena). He left the islands with many who wished to join him and so many were on his ship that it nearly sunk, according to Goffredo Malaterra. Roger repatriated Malta to Christian Europe.
Politically supreme, the count also became master of the insular church. The Papacy, favouring a prince who had recovered Sicily from Greeks and Muslims, in 1098 granted Roger and his heirs the Apostolic Legateship of the island. Roger created new Latin bishoprics at Syracuse, Girgenti, and elsewhere, nominating the bishops personally, while he turned the archbishopric of Palermo into a Catholic see. Roger practised general toleration towards Arabs and Greeks, allowing to each race the expansion of its own civilization. In the cities, the Muslims, who had generally secured such rights in their terms of surrender, retained their mosques, their kadis, and freedom of trade; in the country, however, they became serfs. Roger drew the mass of his infantry from the Muslims. Saint Anselm, visiting him at the siege of Capua, 1098, found "the brown tents of the Arabs innumerable". Nevertheless, the Latin element began to prevail, as Lombards and other Italians flocked to the island in the wake of the conquest, and the conquest of Sicily proved decisive in the steady decline of Muslim power in the western Mediterranean from this time.
Roger, the "Great Count of Sicily," died on June 22, 1101, in his seventieth year and was buried in S. Trinità of Mileto.
[edit] FamilyRoger's eldest son was a bastard named Jordan, who predeceased him. His second son, Geoffrey, may have been a bastard, but may also have been a son of his first or second wife. Whatever the case, he was a leper with no chance of inheriting.
Roger's first marriage took place in 1061, to Judith, daughter of William, Count of Évreux and Hawisa of Échauffour. She died in 1076, leaving all daughters:
  1. A daughter, married Hugh of Gircea (or Gercé)
  2. Matilda, married Raymond IV of Toulouse
  3. Adelisa, married Henry, Count of Monte Sant'Angelo
  4. Emma (d.1120), briefly engaged to Philip I of France; married firstly the count of Clermont and secondly Rudolf, Count of Montescaglioso
In 1077, Roger married a second time, to Eremburga of Mortain, daughter of "William, Count of Mortain" (probably William Warlenc). Their children were:
  1. Mauger, Count of Troina
  2. Matilda, married Guigues III, Count of Albon
  3. Muriel, married Josbert de Lucy
  4. Constancia, married Conrad of Italy
  5. Felicia, married King Coloman of Hungary
  6. Violante, married Robert of Burgundy, son of Robert I of Burgundy
  7. Flandina, married Henry del Vasto
  8. Judith, married Robert I of Bassunvilla
Roger's third and last wife was Adelaide del Vasto, niece of Boniface, Lord of Savona. They married in 1087. Their children were:
  1. Simon, Count of Sicily
  2. Matilda, married Ranulf II, Count of Alife
  3. Roger II, Count, later King, of Sicily
  4. Maximilla, married Hildebrand VI (of the Aldobrandeschi family)
[edit] Sources
  • Geoffrey Malaterra
  • Norwich, John Julius. The Normans in the South 1016-1130. Longmans: London, 1967.
  • Houben, Hubert (translated by Graham A. Loud and Diane Milburn). Roger II of Sicily: Ruler between East and West. Cambridge University Press, 2002.
Preceded by
Count of Sicily
1071–1101Succeeded by
Retrieved from ""
Another source gives this information, not totally the same as that above:
Sir Roger de Hauteville
b. 1030 & d. 1101-2, a great commander as well as his bro. Robert, who by bravery, military genius and his own energetic exertions, attained nobility and became:  1st.-Count (1080) & afterward Grand-Count ROGER I of Sicily, 1089-1102.   He received in 1098 from Pope Urban II, for himself and his successors, the title of 'Legate Apostical."  He m. twice, and his third son became King of Sicily.  His first wife was Cremburga, by whom he had a son Jordan - who d. 1093 while his father was living; his second wfe. was Adalasia, and by her he had two sons - the eld. Simon, suc. his father, but dying shortly thereafter (1105), was sec. by his younger bro. Roger. ) 
 From Anderson's "Royal Genealogies"; another record states, that his wife was 'Margaret of Monferrat')" 


How much further down this tree before the Rogers appeared? I'm not sure they obviously had centuries to blossom and then to come to the shores of America.  I'll look further for you tomorrow.