Amaury Raoul d'Arbitot
(Abt 1018-Abt 1076)
Atheliza "Agnes" de Ponthieu
Robert le Despencer royal steward, or "dispenser", under King William II
(Abt 1045-1098)


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Robert le Despencer royal steward, or "dispenser", under King William II

  • Born: Abt 1045, Normandy, France
  • Marriage (1): Unknown
  • Died: 1098, England about age 53 1

bullet  General Notes:

Robert Despenser (sometimes Robert Despensator,[1] Robert Dispenser,[2] or Robert fitzThurstin;[3] died after 1098) was a Norman officeholder and landholder in post-Conquest medieval England.

Despenser was the brother of Urse d'Abetot, who was sheriff of Worcestershire shortly after the Conquest.[1] Despenser and his brother were originally from Normandy, and were tenants of the lords of Tancarville there.[3] Despenser held the office of royal steward, or dispenser, under King William II.[1] Despenser's surname derived from his office.[4][note 1] Although Despenser was married, the name of his wife is not known for sure. He may be the Robert de Abitot referred to in a confirmation charter of King Stephen of England's, but this identification is not certain.[1]

In 1086, Despenser was listed in Domesday Book as holding lands as a tenant-in-chief in Gloucestershire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Oxfordshire, and Warwickshire, as well as holding lands in Worcestershire from the Bishop of Worcester.[3]

Robert was still alive in 1098, as he restored some estates to Westminster Abbey,[3] but likely died shortly thereafter.[4] In Normandy, Robert was a benefactor to the Priory of St. Barbe-en-Auge, which had been founded by the Tancarville lords.[6]

Despenser appears to have had no legitimate male children, as his heir was his brother Urse.[1] He may have had a daughter, as some of his lands were inherited by the Marmion family, but it is also possible that a daughter of Urse married into the Marmion family.[4] Despenser's office as steward may also have gone to Urse, as later the office passed to Urse's heirs. A later steward, Thurstin, might have been an illegitimate son of Despenser.[3] The medieval writer Orderic Vitalis states that it was Despenser who gave Ranulf Flambard his surname of Flambard, which means torch-bearer or incendiary. This was applied to Flambard because of his overwhelming personality


Robert married.



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