~1105, Robert born in Bristol, England, younger s/o §§Harding de Meriet & Lavida ?.
~1105, Eve born in England, d/o §§Sir Estmond & Godiva ?.
~11/1115, Robert’s father died; his brother Nicholas succeeding. (S) Notes & Queries, 1879, P363.
1120s, Robert established himself as a merchant at Bristol, becoming provost of the town and acquiring a number of manors to add to that of Fifehead in Dorset which he had from his father.
~1125, Robert’s father died.
[––Robert & Eve––]
Bef. 1130, Robert married to Eve.
1130s, Robert moved from his father’s house on Baldwin Street to a great stone house upon the Frome.
12/22/1135, Stephen crowned king of England.
1139, Empress Matilda invaded England from the west, based at Bristol, to claim the crown of England.
1139-40, Robert, as an associate of the earl of Gloucester, the Empress Maud's half-brother, and greatest supporter, Robert took Maud's side against Stephen, and Maud and her son “made use of the purse of this Robertt in that wantfull tyme of theirs”.
1140, Robert began to build the abbey of St. Augustine.
4/7/1141 at Winchester, Empress Matilda acknowledged as “Lady of England and Normandy” by Bishop Henry.
12/25/1141, Stephen again crowned King. [The civil war would continue for 12 more years.]
1142-43, Henry of Normandy [future Henry II] lived in Bristol where he was tutored by Matthews on Baldwin’s street, where he became acquainted with Robert.
1143-49, … Witnesses: Bader' de Munem[outh], Walter de Clifford, Robert fil' Hard' [fitz Harding], Walter de Bello Campo [Beauchamp], Roger de Tocheham, Senard the chaplain, William de Berchel' [Berkeley], … (S) UKNA.
1146, Robert lent £80 to St. Peter’s abbey, Gloucester, in return for the grant of its manor of Treguff, lands at Penhow and the church of Llancarfan for 5 years.
Bef. 1147, From Robert, earl of Gloucester, Robert purchased the manors of Bilswick and Bedminster (now in Bristol) and the 3 Somerset hundreds of Portbury, Bedminster and Hartcliff, just south of Bristol; from others the manors of Leigh (a member of Bedminster), Portbury, Weare, Tickenham and Pawlett in northern Somerset, Bray (Devon) and South Cerney and Acton (Glos.).
10/31/1147, Robert, earl of Gloucester, died. Robert Fitz-Harding held the manor of Bedminster of the earl. (S) History of Bristol, Corry, 1816, P194.
1147, Robert succeeded the earl as ‘reeve’ of Bristol. (S) British Numismatic Journal, 1908, P22.
4/1148, Robert completed building the abbey of St. Augustine: The bishops of Worcester, Exeter, Landaffe, and St. Asaph consecrated the church and buildings which Robert fitz Harding had newly built near the town of Bristol in his manor of Bileswicke. (S) Architectural Antiquities, V3, Britton, 1835, P76.
1150-60, Robert gave his brother Elias 2 hides of land in Combe and Huntingford, both within the later manor of Wotton under Edge. The Combe heirs, through a younger son of Elias, adopted that name. Huntingford passed to the Veel family by marriage of Maud, heiress & d/o Harding, Elias’ eldest son.
1150-60, Robert Fitzharding notified his grant of land of Combe to his brother Helyas, witnessed by Domina Eva, Maurice, Nicholas and Robert his son ... Otho son of William. (S) FMG.
1/1153, Duke Henry landed an invasion force in England. Henry was heavily financed by Robert. (S) History of Bristol, Corry, 1816, P196.
1153 [early in the year], Henry, Duke of Aquitaine, visiting Bristol, granted Robert fitz Harding, for 500 marks, the manor, a mint, and a free market at Berkeley. (S) Gazetteer of Markets and Fairs. [The 1st coins were minted about 1156.]
Winter/1153, with Henry and Stephen’s forces facing each other in snow and cold, a peace agreement was made.
By 6/1153, Duke Henry, visiting Bristol, granted the entire manor of Bitton, and £100 of land in Berkeleye, to Robert, with a promise that he would build a castle there. [This grant at the cost of Roger de Berkeley, hereditary farmers of the royal demesne of Berkeley Herness, valued at £500 17s. 2d., and held in fee farm. The Berkeley’s, who had been staunch supporters of King Stephen from their castle at Dursley, were dispossessed in 1147.] (S) UKNA, BCM.
1153, To settle the dispute over Berkeley lands: a contract where Sir Robert Fitz-Harding, Lord and Baron of Berkeley, in the house of Robert Fitz-Harding in Bristowe, in the presence of King Stephen and Henry, Duke of Normandy, and Earl of Anjou, and by his ascent and in the presence of many others, both clerks and laymen; it was agreed that Maurice, eldest son and heir of Robert Fitz-Harding, should marry Alice, daughter of Roger de Berkeley, receiving with her the town of Slimebrigge … (S) The great governing families of England, Sanford, 1865, P217. [This contract was made in Robert’s house. At the same time Maurice’s sister Elena contracted to marry Alice’s brother Roger.]
11/6/1153, Signed at Westminster, by the Treaty of Wallingford, Henry recognized by his cousin King Stephen of England as his heir. Stephen was to reign without dispute until his death.
1154, Henry Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine and Count of Anjou … granted to Nigel son of Arthur the land of Cumma [Combe] … which the said Nigel gave to his wife Ald[eva], daughter of Robert Fitzharding, as a dowry, … Witnesses: …, Robert son of Hard[ing], Maurice his son, … (S) UKNA.
10/1154, King Stephen died.
12/19/1154, Henry II crowned king of England.
Aft. 1154, Robert fitz-Harding made a grant to Adam Stut, his esquire, of land at Wica. (S) Reports of Commissioners, 1874, P29.
By 1158-9, Richard de Moreville gave Robert half a knights’ fee at Portbury, Somerset.
1162, Robert fitz Harding owed service of 5 knights’ fees. (S) Feudal England, Round, 2010, P256.
Bef. 1166, The Earl of Warwick granted Robert a fourth of a knight’s fee.
1166, The settlement of 1153 is recorded in the Red Book of the Exchequer. Robert in undisputed possession of Berkeley [after the death of Roger de Berkeleye].
8/1167 at Bristol, Robert fitz Harding housed Dermot MacMurchada, King of Leinster, with 60 of his men, recently banished from Ireland. Dermot had also brought his daughter Aoife. (S) The Making of Ireland, Lydon, 1998, P57. [Robert described as ‘a wealthy merchant, money-lender, and favorite of King Henry’s.’]
3/12/1169, Eve died at the Maudlins of Bristol, which she founded; buried at St. Augustines.
Bef. 1170, Robert, son of Harding, to all his liegemen … I have given and granted to my son Maurice the land which I had in Brist, of the barony of Richard Foliot, … the land … of the barony of Richard de Saint Quintin in Great Street, … and the land … barony of Gilbert de Umfravill, to him and his heirs … land which I had in Bradestrete, in which I first dwelt, … also the stone house which I built upon Frome, … provide that Eva my wife shall hold that land during her life, … (S) The Spectator, V301, 2006, P763.
By 1170, Robert became a canon of St. Augustine's Abbey.
2/5/1170, Robert died. [His brother Nicholas died about the same time.]
(S) The great governing families of England, Sanford, 1865, P217. (S) UKNA. (S) The Accession of Henry II, Amt, 1993. (S) Haskins Society Journal, 1989. (S) UKNA, BCM.
· §§Harding de Meriet, s/o §§Eadnoth “the staller” [a descendent of the kings of Denmark], held a position under Edward the Confessor.
· 1086, Harding witnessed a royal charter.
· ~1125, Harding died; his other son Nicholas [d.~1170] the ancestor of the Meriets of Somerset. [There is no known evidence for which son was the elder.]
Children of Robert and Eve:
i. Helena Fitz Harding, born ? in England. [Eldest daughter]
Helena married Robert de Berkeley, eldest s/o Sir Roger de Berkeley, and brother of Maurice’s wife. On the wedding of his daughter Helena, Robert gave her a dower of the Manor of Dursley in fee. Dursley was to be held directly of the king and, in addition, Roger held Ozleworth, half of Newington and the lands of Bernard Capelli, for which he did no service to FitzHarding.
ii. Maurice Fitz Robert (19989664), born ~1130 in England.
iii. Robert Fitz Robert Fitz Harding, born ~1135 in England.
Robert “Juvenis”, Lord of Were, received many properties including Beverstone. Smyth says “this Robert lyved in great reputation litle inferior to his elder brother the lord Maurice, and was attended with knights and other servants, of eminent familyes and estimation.” He was given the town and castle of Malmesbury by Henry II.
Robert married 1st widow Hawise, d/o Robert de Gurney, who brought him the Somerset manors of Barrow and Englishcombe. [1 daughter, Eve.]
By 1168, Hawise died.
By 1182, Robert bought the wardship of Avice, d/o Robert de Gaunt (189112084); heiress of her mother Alice Paynel.
Robert married 2nd Avice de Ghent.
1192, Avice died, Robert paying 60 marks for wardship of her inherited lands. (S) Proceedings, Royal Arch. Inst., 1848, P59.
1193-95, Robert paid 33 marks annually for the lands of Avice.
1195, Robert died, his son and heir Maurice de Gaunt [took the name of his mother], by his wife Avice. [1230, Maurice died without issue, his heirs the son of his half-sister Eve, Robert de Gurney, and the lands of Avice going to a Paynel relative of hers, Andrew Lutterell.]
iv. Nicholas Fitz Robert Fitz Harding, born ~? in England.
Nicholas settled with the manors of Hill and Nympsfield from the Herness, and the manor of Tickenham and other manors and lands in Somerset.
1189, Nicholas died.
Sons: Henry died in Nicholas’ lifetime. Roger the heir (d.1220). Roger’s son & heir was Nicholas Fitz Roger married to Sibyl, heiress of Elmore in Gloucestershire.
v. Thomas Fitz Robert Fitz Harding, born ~? in England.
Thomas became archdeacon of Worcester.
vi. Henry Fitz Robert Fitz Harding, born ~? in England.
Henry became dean of Mortain in Normandy; treasurer to Henry [II], duke of Normandy; and archdeacon of Exeter.
1188, Henry died.
vii. Margery Fitz Harding (39979665), born ~1145 in England.