- AFN: Name> Listed in Ancestral File as Ralph Seigneur De GAEL ;Earl of Norfolk - AFN: V9SX-RS.
ANCESTRY: There exists considerable doubt about his parentage. According to J. R. Planche, 'The Conqueror and His Companions', vol. II p. 1 & c, who gives various reasons in support of his theory, he was the son of Ralph Earl of Hereford and East Anglia (younger brother of Walter Count of Pontoise and Mantes who was poisoned with his wife, by William the Conqueror, 1065); which Ralph (the elder) and Walter, were sons of Dreux Count of the Vexin and Pontoise, by Goda, sister of Edward the Confessor King of England. The chief reasons for supposing that Ralph de Guader was the son of Ralph Earl of Hereford are (1), That he held 4 Carucates of land in Eccles (Shropsham Hundred) Norfolk, which Earl Ralph held T.R.E. (Dooms.Norf.fo 194); (2) That the latter was the only Earl named Ralph in the time of Edward the Confessor; (3) That Ralph Earl of Hereford is also considered to have been Earl of East Anglia (Duchesne, p 1023) (Gaimar, 1.4923).
BIRTH: Place> As his father was Earl of East Anglia, it is quite possible that his son was also born in Norfolk, as stated by Matthew Paris and Matthew Westminster. On the other hand, the description by William de Jumieges (vii.cap.15) of the younger Ralph, as a Breton, is equallyl true. Father and son had a lot of native British blood in their veins, as well as Breton. Since his grandmother and mother were both English Women, and h is grandfather a Breton Noble, it is not surprising that he should be, by different chroniclers, referred to as British and Breton born.
TITLES: Lord of Guader, in Brittany.
MILITARY: Battles and Wars> Accompanied William Duke of Normandy to England, and fought at Hastings, 14 Oct 1066.
PROPERTY: He repelled the invasion of the Danes, 1069 (Ord,Vital.lib.iv.cap.5), and was rewarded with the Earldom of Norfolk, c. 1070 (Ord,Vital.lib.iv.cap.7).
POLITICS: Joined his brother-in-law Roger de Breteuil, Earl of Hereford, and Waltheof Earl of Northumberland, against the King William I in 1074.
TRAVELS: Being betrayed by Waltheof Earl of Northumberland, he fled to his Castle at Norwich, and thence taking ship, made for Denmark (Ord,Vital.lib.iv.cap.14), and never returned. From there, he reached Brittany, where his attainder in England could not affect him (Ord,Vital.liv.iv.cap.14).
MILITARY: In his old age, he joined the Crusaders.
MILITARY: Battles and Wars> At the siege of Nice, 1097.
DEATH: Date> Shortly after the siege of Nice in 1097 at Jerusalem (Ord,Vital.lib.iv.cap 14).