|Birth: ||1050, France|
Lord of Brecknock, Lord of Brecon
Bernard was the son of Geoffrey de Neufmarche and Ada de Hugleville, born about 1050 at the castle of Le-Neuf-Marché-en-Lions in France, on the frontier between Normandy and Beauvais. His ancestors on his mother's side had founded the town of Aufay south of Dieppe on the Scie, and descended from Richard II of Normandy and William Longsword I of France. His paternal grandfather, Turketil, had been the guardian of William of Normandy (William the Conqueror), and killed while protecting the young man.
Bernard married Nesta verch Osborn Trahern, the daughter of Osbern FitzRichard and Nest Verch Gruffydd, and granddaughter of King of Wales Gruffydd Llewelyn. They produced two sons and one daughter, Philip, Sybil and Mahel.
While Bernard's father was an incompetent and minor Norman baron, Bernard achieved incredible power and holdings. It is still greatly debated as to whether he was with William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings, and while Bernard does not appear in the Domesday Book, and it is believed he held some sort of exemption.
Bernard also received lands in Herefordshire from William in 1086 or 1087, which included the manors of Bach, Middlewood, and Harewood in the Golden Valley and the castles of Dorstone, Snodhill, and Urishay connecting Clifford Castle to Ewyas Harold, Eardisley, Pembridge, Burghill and Brinsop, many of these previously held by Gilbert FitzThorold and Alfred of Marlborough.
Bernard joined the rebellion against William's son, William Rufus, at Lent in 1088, yet there is no record of his punishment. There was an agreement with the King that the Marcher Lords had the right to expand their lands by conquest of the smaller Welsh kingdoms Brycheiniog, Morgannwg, and Gwynllwg. Bernard charged ahead and invaded Brycheiniog, which he fashioned into his Brecon Lordship. After years of warring, he reached the valley of the Usk, the center of the kingdom. Stories and discrepancies abound as to how Bernard finally was able to take the entire kingdom in battle against the King of Brycheiniog, Bleddyn ap Maenarch with the King of Deheubarth at his side, Rhys ap Tewdwr about 1093. Rhys was killed, it is believed, on the spot where Brecknock Priory was built, Bleddyn died soon after, and Bernard's kingdom was complete.
Bernard enfeoffed (a fief in exchange for a pledge of service) his followers with extensive Welsh lands, Richard FitzPons started his own smaller kingdom in western Brycheiniog. The Welsh rebelled repeatedly over the years, attempting to regain Ystradyw for the Bishops of Llandaff. Eventually, Bernard gave lands to the sons of the kings he had removed to placate them for the return of their loyalty. Peace was made with the Welsh in the hills and the Normans in the valley.
Bernard captured Glasbury as well, issuing a charter for the lands at the abbey of Saint Peter's at Gloucester.
Bernard's eldest son, Philip, died at a reasonably young age. It is rumored that the youngest son, Mahel, mutilated one of his mother's lovers, and as revenge, she swore to the the King Mahel was her son by another, other than Bernard, disinheriting him immediately. Sibyl then became the lone heiress, a vast dynasty for the time and for a woman. King Henry quickly and personally arranged her marriage to Miles FitzWalter of Gloucester, merging the two most powerful and riches families who held vast lands into one large dynasty covering most of the south Wales.
Sibyl Neumarche Fitz Walter (1100 - ____)*
City of Gloucester
Maintained by: Anne Shurtleff Stevens
Originally Created by: Jerry Ferren
Record added: Apr 29, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 69081612
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