De Carteret biographies

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Sources for the early members of the de Carteret family are notoriously unreliable on dates of birth and death. The dates given below are the best estimates based on a comparison of generally reliable sources on the family’s history. They allow for a plausible sequence of generations but they must all be viewed as approximate. With 14 successive generations of the family using only the given names Renaud and Philippe for their principal heirs, the opportunities for confusion are unlimited.

Only brief sketches of individual de Carteret’s lives are given in this article, with links to more detailed biographies of the more important members of the family. Not every de Carteret in the descendancy is listed - only those about whom information is available - so some generations are missing from this article. The given names of the de Carteret family in this era are often to be found anglicised (eg Reginald for Renaud, Philip for Philippe, William for Guillaume).

One of the worst offenders is Payne's Armorial of Jersey, which anglicises virtually every name in early family trees. English was not in common use in Jersey in the Middle Ages, the official language of the Courts being Norman French or French and the language spoken by the people Jerriais Names were all French and remained so for many hundreds of years. It was really not until the 19th Century, and then working progressively outwards from St Helier to the country parishes, that children were given English baptismal names.

However, to assist those researchers who may already have some of the de Carteret family in their records with anglicised names, the English equivalents are given as well as the real French names where relevant.

Guillaume de Carteret (960-1004)

The first of this family of whom connected record is given is Guillaume (Guy) De Carteret or Carterai, who was Lord of the Barony of Carteret, in Normandy, circa AD 1000, and who, from his skill in the chase, was surnamed L'Oiseleur, or the Fowler to Richard II, Duke of Normandy. He died in 1004. He is usually recognised as having two sons, Guillaume, and Godefroi, but some researchers add two further sons, Jean and Pierre.

He is mentioned in the Annals of Normandy and also in the Histoire des Croisades, written by Louis de Couis. The family is also mentioned honourably in the chartularies of the Cathedral of Coutances, and those of the abbeys of Fontenelle and Bee

Guillaume de Carteret (980- )

Guillaume de Carteret jnr is mentioned as co-Lord with the King of France of the Barony of Carteret, in Normandy. He died without issue, and was succeeded by his brother, Godefroi who founded the Abbey of Fontenelle, on his return from a pilgrimage to a shrine, the name of which does not appear.

Godefroi de Carteret (1000-1047)

Payne’s Armorial shows Godefroi as son of Guillaume but most sources show them as brothers. Godefroi succeeded his elder brother as seigneur. He had four sons. Onfroi, Mauger and Roger are believed to have been at the Battle of Hastings with William the Conqueror. The name of the fourth is not known

Godefroi, Lord of the Barony of Carteret, founded the Abbey of Fontenelle on his return from a pilgrimage to a shrine, the name of which does not appear.

Onfroi de Carteret (1034-1068)

Lord of the Barony of Carteret in succession to his father Godefroi, Onfroi (Onfrey, Humphrey) fought with William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings. He is mentioned by Wace, in his Roman de Rou in the list of the Norman Barons and Knights -

E de Bohun, le vieil Onfrei
De Cartrai, Onfrei e Maugier
Ki etoit novel chevalier

Onfroi, in his old age, piously bestowed much of his wealth on the Abbey of Fontenelle. He was succeeded by his son, Renaud.

Some sources show Onfroi as born in 1042 and dying in Normandy at the age of 58 in 1100. The Domesday Survey and Geld Rolls show a Cartrai, H tenant of the Bishop of Salisbury in 1086.

Renaud de Carteret (1063-1125)

The first de Carteret to bear this name, Sir Renaud de Carteret succeeded his father Onfroi to the barony and is said to be the first of the family to go to Jersey, where he took the western parish of St Ouen by the sword and founded St Ouen's Manor. Although his name is frequently found anglicised as Reginald, he would not have been known by that name.

According to a manuscript roll, formerly preserved in the Cathedral of Bayeux, he was present, among other knights, under Robert Courte-heuse, Duke of Normandy, and Godfrey de Bouillon, Duke of Lorraine, at the taking of Jerusalem. Du Moulin, in his list of the knights, gives also their arms. Those of Sir Renaud were " De Gueule, a une fesse fusée d'argent, accompagné d'un lambel d'azur". Sir Renaud, with other Norman knights, was in the train of the Comte d'Eu.

In 1125 he gave to the Abbey of Mont St Michel the Church of St Germain of Cartrait, with all its appurtenances, and also the land belonging thereto, in Jersey, being the King's Almoyne. He further gave tithe of his household goods decimal honorum domus mee.

He married Lucia, who survived him and bore him three sons, Geoffroi, Onfroi and Philippe.

In the archives of Saint Lô exists a charter, dating from the 1st Crusade, on which is found the seal of Renaud de Carteret. This seal shows that during the latter part of the 12th century the de Carterets discarded their non-heraldic "equestrian" seal, and took into use the following arms:

Blazon of Gules, en Fess Three Fusier Argent, Etiqueter Azure. (Red Shield, a Horizontal Stripe with Three Silver Lozenges (fusils) with a Blue Label).

The 'Etiqueter Azure', or blue label, is a device of cadency (brisure) used by a first son. A label is removed on the death of the father, and the son inherits the plain coat. This proves that his father was still alive in 1099.

Philippe de Carteret (1085-1156)

Knight, Lord of Carteret and Saint Ouen. In 1135, he confirmed his father's gifts to the Abbey of Mont St Michel, which, until then, he had repudiated, adding thereto the tithes of his mills, and also two pieces of land adjoining his manor in Jersey.

In 1156 he gave to the same abbey - the Abbot, Robert de Thorigny (better known as Robert de Monte) being his kinsman - the Church of St Ouen, with the Chapel of St Mary, both in Jersey. About 1130, in pursuance of a vow made at sea, when in danger of shipwreck, he erected and endowed the parish church of St Philip de Torteval, in Guernsey. He married Nicholaa (possibly de Torigny), by whom he had sons Renaud and Richard and a daughter Alice.

Renaud de Carteret (1107-1180)

Knight, Lord of Carteret and of St Ouen, who is styled Baron Carteret in Normandy in 1156, had two sons, Reginald and Richard.

This Renaud is credited on the de Carteret family website with being the Seigneur who sided with King John in the wake of the split from Normandy in 1204. This is incorrect, because Renaud died in or shortly after 1180.

It was his son (see below) who had to take the decision whether to return to Normandy or lose his possessions there and remain in Jersey.

Renaud de Carteret (1140- )

Knight, Lord of Carteret and St Ouen. On 8 July 1203 on the occasion of the invasion of Normandy by the French, King John ordered Pierre de Préaux, then Lord of the Isles, to cause to be levied by the hands of “Renaud de Cartray”, on the inhabitants of those islands, a reasonable aid for the maintenance of the knights and men-at-arms engaged in their defence.

On the final conquest of Normandy, de Carteret continued faithful to the English crown, so losing his estate and lordship of Carteret, with others he possessed in that duchy, which escheated to the French king. In 1207-8, the King having demanded hostages for their fidelity, from the principal men of the island, Renaud de Carteret gave his son Philip, who was committed to the custody of Renaud’s younger brother Richard, then Constable of Winchester Castle.

He was, however, not in his uncle's charge long, for in 1212 he was transferred to the custody of Philippe d'Aubigné, Warden of the Isles. This Sir Renaud gave to the Abbey of St Helier one acre and half a vergée of land, as appears from documents relating to the abbey, previously in the archives of St Lo, but destroyed during WW2. He had one son Philippe. Suggestions on Wikipedia and elsewhere that he had a second son, Godefroi, who founded Fontenelle Abbey are erroneous. It was Godefroi (1000-1047) who founded this abbey.

Philippe de Carteret (1180- )

Seigneur of St Ouen, who accompanied Henry III on his expedition to Brittany in 1230-1. The following year he was, in consequence of the good service he had there and then rendered, constituted, in conjunction with Arnaud de St Amand, Warden of the Isles, by Letters Patent, dated at Reading, 25 October, 1232.

He continued to deserve so well of his country that Henry III granted him two permits, to endeavour to reclaim his lands and lordships in Normandy, which, however, did not procure the re-establishment of his honours in that duchy .

By a charter, without date, he gave to the Chapel of St Mary de la Wie, and to the monks of Mont St Michel, ‘’ibidem Deo servientibus’’ twenty-nine perches of land, adjoining the manor of la Wie. In 1252 he and Jourdan de La Hogue were commanded by the King personally to survey the castles in the islands of Jersey and Guernsey, and to take an account of the state of their armaments, when Drouet de Barentin, Warden of the islands, was discharged from that office.

He married, and had sons, Philippe and John, who was knighted, and was Bailiff of Jersey, and who, in a letter addressed by the Dean of Jersey to the official of the see of Coutances, dated 1 September 1291, was stated, conjointly with Colin de Vinchelays and Philippe Fondans, to have caused certain tithes in the parish of St Ouen to be arrested by Pierre de Arcis (or Darcys), Bailiff. He was, with Sir Nicholas de Cheny and Jean de Ditton named by the King's Justices to inquire into the rights of the Abbey of Mont St Michel to the Priory and Manor of St Clement.

Philippe de Carteret (1205-)

Seigneur of St Ouen, of which Manor he was styled Lord in 1281. He married Margaret d'Aubigny, niece of Warden of the Isles Philippe d'Aubigné. Dates for this marriage differ wildly from source to source, but it is likely to have been in 1234, when Philippe was 29 and Marguerite 25. Their son Renaud was born the following year.

Payne's Armorial of Jersey gives the date as 1279 and the de Carteret website shows Margaret marrying this Philippe's father. Both are believed to be chronologically impossible.

Renaud de Carteret (1235- )

Seigneur of St Ouen, who, before the death of his father, as appears by an inquisition held in 1274, was, in right of his mother Margaret, possessed of lands and tenements in the parishes of St Peter and St John to the yearly value of £20. In 1270, John, Bishop of Coutances, desires the Dean of Jersey to admonish Renaudd de Carteret and his tenants, and even to compel them by censure, to permit the Abbess of Caen and her nuns to enjoy their goods and revenues in the Island.

He was conspicuous for his services both by sea and land, and, in 1297 was granted by Edward I a prize of certain wines taken from the enemy. In 1300 he was appointed, with Henry de Guldeford and John de Ditton, a Judge Itinerant, and three years later, the King grants

to his beloved and faithful Renaud De Carteret, those lands and tenements forfeited in the island of Jersey by Thomas Paynell, and which he held by the death of Robert de Melcsches, and the which Otto de Grandison holds by grant of the King for life, to have and to hold to the said Renaud for his life freely, and to his heirs for ever after his decease, paying yearly sixty livres Tournois, and a pound of cummin-seed.
Witness, the King, at Lavertost , 4 December 1307. Sir Renaud died before 1309 and left three sons, Philippe, Geoffroy, and Jean, and possibly a fourth, Robert.

Collins, in his history of the family, and some other authorities, makes Jean the eldest son of Renaud, although Payne's Armorial of Jersey disagrees amd suggests that he was the youngest, and heir of his brother Geoffroi, who was a monk in the Benedictine Abbey of Mont St Michel, held for some time the office of Dean of Jersey, possessed, as appears by the Extente of 1331, the fief of Melcsches from his father; and in 1364, was constituted Prior of the Vale in Guernsey.

At his death, his brother, Jean, inherited Melesches, and during the reign of Edward II, was frequently commissioned as one of the Justices of Assize. In 1309 he appeared before the Justices of Assize in Jersey, as respondent in appeal made by Jean de Ditton Lieutenant of Otto de Grandison.

That he was not a successor of his father, as Seigneur of St Ouen, is, says Payne, proved by an extract from a document in the Archives of St Lo. Among the Jurats present at the hearing of a cause, on 10 October 1318, before Henry De St Martin, Bailiff were, Sire Johan De Quartyt, chr, le Segnor De Saint Ouayn, Maistre Gyeffrey De Quartyt, le priour de I'Islet, e autres sages."

Jean de Carteret married Lucia de Vinchelez, and left, among others, an elder son, also named Jean, one of whose descendants, another Jean , in 1446, on the Monday next before the feast of the conversion of St Paul, conveyed the fief of Melesches to Sire William Le Hardy, as appears by a contract passed before the Royal Court of Jersey of that date.

Philippe de Carteret (1260- )

Seigneur of St Ouen, eldest son of Sir Renaudd, succeeded his father; and in 1309, at the assizes held in Jersey by Fressingfield was sued to show quo warranto he exercised certain feudal rights in his manor of St Ouen; likewise jointly with his brother Geoffroi for certain property they claimed as belonging to their manor of Melesches. He died in or before 1329, for in that year the King signified to the Warden of the islands of Jersey and Guernsey that, whereas Renaudd, son and heir of Sir Philippe De Carteret, deceased, cannot leave the island of Jersey to go to England personally to do homage to the King for the lands and tenements there belonging to his late father, by reason of his being Governor of the King's castles there, and for certain other causes; therefore the King, of his special favour, respites his homage for one year, provided he performs the accustomed services.

Renaud de Carteret (1288- )

Seigneur of St Ouen, did homage, in person, to the King at Amiens on 8 June 1330, who sent letters to Jean des Roches, Warden of the Isles saying tht he had taken homage of Sir Renaud de Carteret, son and heir of the late Sir Philippe, of all the lands and tenements which Philippe held at the time of his death.

During the lifetime of Philippe the French made several destructive attacks on the island, burning and destroying houses and crops, and attacking the Castle of Mont Orgueil, then held by the Warden, Drew de Barentin, who was killed defending it. Sir Renaud was elected by public acclaim to succeed him and he finally forced the French to retreat. He then joined the English fleet under Reynold de Cobham and Geoffroy d'Harcourt, and mainly contributed to the recovery of Guernsey, which the French had captured. Sir Renaud married Genette Le Gueripel, and died in February 1349, leaving sons Philippe, Renaud and Guillaume.

Renaud de Carteret (1338- )

Inherited from his Brother Philippe who died a minor, became Siegneur of St Ouen

He led the defence of Mont Orgueil Castle against Bertrand du Guesclin, Constable of France in 1374. Du Gruesclin, whose encounters with the English had generally been crowned with success, crossed suddenly from Brittany to Jersey in 1374, with an army of 10.000 men, including the Duke de Bourbon and the elite of the chivalry of France.

Sir Renaud, however, having secured the castle, defended it with such distinguished skill and valour that the French general, after many fruitless assaults, finally withdrew his forces, decimated by sword and disease. For this gallant achievement, De Carteret and his seven sons were knighted in one day by Edward III. He died in 1381, and was succeeded by his son Renaud.

Renaud de Carteret (1359- )

Seigneur of St Ouen and of Longueville, who was Bailiff of Jersey, as appears by Rolls of the Royal Court, in 1446. He was succeeded by his son, Renaud.

Philippe de Carteret (1400- )

Seigneur of St Ouen, who at the time of his father's death was a minor in ward of the King. His guardianship was granted to Roger de Walden, Rector of Drayton, Leicester, "he paying into the Exchequer ten pounds per annum, for which the said Roger gave security". This Sir Philippe inherited all the military talents of his ancestors, and was one of the principal instruments in rescuing the island after a period of French occupation.

Sir Philippe married the sole daughter and heiress of Sir William Newton, of of Gloucestershire, by whom he had a son Philippe, who married Perrine, daughter of Penna de Caux, of the Pays of Caux in Normandy, and had a son, another Philippe.

Philippe de Carteret (1452- )

Although not quite as dramatic as his grandfather's seige of Mont Orgueil, this Philippe de Carteret was involved in another dramatic saga which involved his wife rushing to the Court of Henry VII in London to persuade him to bring to a halt a duel in which Philippe might have lost his life.

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