William FitzOsbern Timeline 1020-1071

Jocasta Culpeper Likeness Unknown

Father – Osbern the Steward (d. 1040)
Mother РEmma of Ivry 
Spouses – Adeliza de Tosny, Richilde de Hainault
Children – By Adeliza – William (d. 1103), Roger (1056 – 1087), Emma (d. c1100)

1020 (around)
William FitzOsbern was born to Osbern the Steward and Emma d’Ivry. Osbern was steward to Robert Duke of Normandy.
1027 (around)
William grew up in the court of Duke Robert of Normandy.
1027 or 1028 (during)
A son, William, was born to Robert Duke of Normandy and his mistress, Herleve at Falaise, Normandy.
1032 (around)
William’s brother Osbern FitzOsbern was born to Osbern the Steward and Emma d’Ivry.
1035 (22nd July)
Robert Duke of Normandy died while returning from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He was succeeded by his son William. William was still a child and was placed in the care of a legal protector. He was also in danger from the many factions that wanted to kill him and take his dukedom.
1040 (during)
William’s father, Osbern, became protector of William Duke of Normandy. Later that year, Osbern was killed while watching over the young duke sleeping. William managed to escape.
1046 (during)
William FitzOsbern founded the Lyre Abbey.
1050 (around)
William FitzOsbern married Adeliza de Tosny.
1051 (Autumn)
William Duke of Normandy paid a visit to England where he visited Edward the Confessor. It is likely that William was seeking approval for his marriage to Matilda of Flanders. He claimed that during this visit Edward promised him the English crown.
1053 (around)
A son, William of Breteuil, was born to William FitzOsbern and Adeliza de Tosny.
1054 (around)
A daughter, Emma of Breteuil, was born to William FitzOsbern and Adeliza de Tosny.
1056 (around)
A son, Roger of Breteuil, was born to William FitzOsbern and Adeliza de Tosny.
1060 (around)
William FitzOsbern founded the abbey at Cormeilles.
1064 (Spring/Summer)
Harold Godwinson, Earl of Wessex, was shipwrecked off the coast of Ponthieu and taken prisoner by Guy of Ponthieu. William Duke of Normandy ordered that Harold be placed in his care and Harold was placed under virtual house arrest. He accompanied William into battle at Rouen. After the battle he swore an oath to support William’s claim to the throne of England after the death of Edward.
1066 (mid January)
William Duke of Normandy learned that Edward the Confessor had died and that Harold Godwinson had been crowned King of England. He was furious as he felt the crown should be his.
1066 (late January)
Council of Lillebonne
This was a meeting of Duke William’s most trusted advisers. William FitzOsbern was one of those that spoke in support of invading England. The council decided to support William’s proposed invasion of England and began making plans.
1066 (20th May)
William of Normandy made a case against Harold and presented it to the Pope. He was successful and gained papal backing for his invasion. The Pope sent him a banner to carry into battle.
1066 (28th September)
William FitzOsbern sailed with William Duke of Normandy across the Channel and landed at Pevensey on the South coast of England in the morning. They were surprised to find no army waiting for them.
1066 (30th September)
William of Normandy decided to move the Norman army to Hastings as there was insufficient food in Pevensey to feed the army for more than a few days. Hastings also offered better defence and a more direct route to London.
1066 (14th October)
Battle of Hastings
Early in the morning William marched north to meet the Saxons. Harold Godwinson knew he did not have enough men to defend Caldbec Hill so moved to Senlac Hill where his army formed a shield wall.

William FitzOsbern was given charge of the right flank of the Norman army. The battle lasted all day and despite William of Normandy managing to break the shield wall a few times by commanding his soldiers to turn and run down the hill so that the Saxons pursued him, the shield wall held. With the light beginning to fade Duke William ordered his archers to fire again but to angle them higher so that they hit the men just behind the shield wall. It is thought that one of these arrows went through the eye slit of Harold’s helmet and struck him in the eye or near to the eye. While he was reeling from the attack it is believed that he was cut down and killed. With Harold dead and most of the leading nobles also dead many of the remaining men fled the battlefield. Those that remained were soon cut down. William was victorious.

1066 (25th December)
Having subdued the south of England and received the submission of the Witan, Duke William was crowned King William I of England in Westminster Abbey.
1066 (late December)
FitzOsbern was given control of the Isle of Wight.
1067 (February)
William FitzOsbern was created Earl of Hereford.
1067 (after February)
William FitzOsbern ordered the construction of castles at Chepstow, Monmouth and Berkeley.
1067 (March)
William FitzOsbern and Odo of Bayeux were left in England as regents when William I returned to Normandy.
1067 (August)
FitzOsbern and Odo of Bayeux successfully put down a rebellion by Eadric the Wild.
1067 (7th December)
King William returned to England.
1068 (during)
After the Battle of Hastings, King Harold’s mother, Gytha, had fled to Exeter and was probably accompanied by Harold’s children.¬† She had persuaded the people to support her and resist the Norman Conquest. William FitzOsbern accompanied King William I to Exeter and helped place the city under siege. He then dug tunnels under the city walls to weaken them and the city fell after 18 days. Gytha fled the city and avoided capture.
1068 (May)
FitzOsbern was at court for the Whitsun celebrations.
1068 (Summer)
William FitzOsbern returned to Normandy.
1069 (Spring)
Back in England, FitzOsbern was sent to York.
1070 (during)
William FitzOsbern ordered the construction of castles at Wigmore and Clifford.
1070 (during)
FitzOsbern married Richilde, Countess of Hainault after she appealed for the marriage to help her secure Flanders.
1071 (22nd February)
Battle of Cassel
William FitzOsbern was killed in this battle with Robert I of Flanders.


Published Sept 20, 2019 @ 2:05 pm – Updated – [last-modified]

Harvard Reference for this page:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2019 – 2020). William FitzOsbern 1020 – 1071. https://www.thetimelinegeek.com/william-fitzosbern-1020-1071 Last accessed [date]


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