Defenders of the Norman Crown -...
Sharon Bennett Connolly
A history of one of medieval England’s most powerful families, from its origins in Normandy to its demise during the reign of Edward III.
In the reign of Edward I, when asked Quo Warranto—by what warrant he held his lands—John de Warenne, the 6th earl of Surrey, is said to have drawn a rusty sword, claiming “My ancestors came with William the Bastard, and conquered their lands with the sword, and I will defend them with the sword against anyone wishing to seize them.”
John’s ancestor, William de Warenne, 1st Earl of Surrey, fought for William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. He was rewarded with enough land to make him one of the richest men of all time. In his search for a royal bride, the 2nd earl kidnapped the wife of a fellow baron. The 3rd earl died on crusade, fighting for his royal cousin, Louis VII of France . . .
For three centuries, the Warennes were at the heart of English politics at the highest level, until one unhappy marriage brought an end to the dynasty. The family moved in the highest circles, married into royalty and were not immune to scandal.
Defenders of the Norman Crown tells the fascinating story of the Warenne dynasty, of the successes and failures of one of the most powerful families in England, from its origins in Normandy, through the Conquest, Magna Carta, the wars and marriages that led to its ultimate demise in the reign of Edward III.
Praise for Defenders of the Norman Crown
“In this book Sharon not only provides the reader with a deep insight into the whole Warenne dynasty, but also opens a window into a turbulent period of English history.” —Aspects of History
“A riveting insight into the rise and fall of the most influential family you’d otherwise never have heard of. . . . 5/5.” —HistoriaMag
“Sharon Bennett Connolly’s detailed, meticulous research brings together a wealth of sources to give the reader a fascinating view of one of the powerful families on which the Crown depended for centuries. Politics and power, Marriages and mistresses, Lordship and land, Defenders of the Norman Crown has it all. [Connolly] has written a very fine book indeed—I loved it.” —Elizabeth Chadwick, bestselling author of historical fiction
“A vivid portrayal of a powerful aristocratic family. . . . A highly readable and well-illustrated survey.” —Michael Jones, author of The Black Prince