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He was sheriff of Yorkshire in 1068, and fought at Hastings in 1066. According to Keats-Rohan, he was half English and half Norman, but his parentage is unknown. His father was probably his predecessor as lord of Graville and tenant of the Giffards of Longueville who had landed interests in England in 1066. Legends associating his son-in-law, Turold the Sheriff, with Godiva of Mercia, mother of King HaroldÕs wife, probably indicate a relationship between WilliamÕs mother and the earls of Mercia or their wives. A strong association of William and his family with Lincolnshire suggests that his English roots may lie there. Between 1060 and 1066 he occurs with William the Conqueror in a number of charters relating to the abbeys of Montivilliers and Jumeiges. He was associated with the abbey of Preaux in the Lieuvin, and with the abbey of Le Bec. His interests in the region probably originated in his marriage. He fought at Hastings, and was soon credited with having been ordered to bury HaroldÕs body on the seashore; whether he had anything to do with HaroldÕs burial is uncertain, but it now seems clear that the body was buried at the church Harold founded at Waltham. In 1068, William became castellan of the first castle at York and sheriff of Yorkshire. In September, 1069, the city was attacked by the Danes. Briefly held captive, William, his wife, and his younger children were among the few to escape alive. He lost the shrievalty of York and the associated lands soon afterwards, and was thereafter occupied in suppressing the fenland revolt led by Hereward the Wake. Domesday Book makes it clear he died in the campaign, probably in 1071. At his death, the bulk of his wealth lay in the honor of Eye, a vast lordship in East Anglis, principally in Suffolk, but also in Norfolk, ssex, Surry, Bedfordshire, and Nottinghamshire. Few of his numerous children can be identified.
Database: stanwardine Bridge Family Tree
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