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Gunnor

Female Abt 936 - 1031  (~ 95 years)Deceased


Personal Information    |    Notes    |    Sources    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name  Gunnor  [1
    Born  Abt 936 
    Gender  Female 
    Died  1031 
    Age  ~ 95 years 
    Person ID  I10354  One Big Family Tree
    Last Modified  3 Jul 2011 

    Family  Richard "The Fearless", I, Duke Of Normandy,   b. 28 Aug 933, F‚ecamp, , Haute-Normandie, France Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 20 Nov 996, F‚ecamp, , Haute-Normandie, France Find all individuals with events at this location  Age: 63 years 
    Married 
    • From Queen Emma and the Vikings, page not numbered:

      Although he avoided having two wives simultaneously, Richard's marital status arrangements were quite as complex as those of his father and grandfather before him. Like them he had no children by his high-status wife. But he kept a number of concubines with whom he variously produced two sons and two daughters - the boys later becoming counts, the girls being usefully married to neighbouring warleaders. He also had a 'mistress', Gunnor. With the benefit of hindsight, the Norman chroniclers infer that there was a big distinction between her and the mere concubines. Dudo maintains that it was on the death of Richard's French wife that he started 'an alliance of forbidden union' with Gunnor, although this may be putting a semi-reputable spin on the chronology of their relationship. She was, he says, from the 'noble house' of the Danes and as such a very suitable partner. And he relates how it was the insistence of the Norman nobles that Richard and Gunnor were later married according to 'matrimonial' (and Christian) law so as to establish a clear line of succession. [1]
    Children 
     1. Richard "The Good", II, Duke Of Normandy,   b. 23 Aug 970,   d. 28 Aug 1026  Age: 56 years
     2. Emma,   b. 985,   d. 6 Mar 1052  Age: 67 years
     3. Robert, Archbishop Of Rouen,   d. 1037
     4. Mauger, Count Of Corbeil,   d. 1033
    Last Modified  3 Jul 2011 
    Family ID  F3117  Group Sheet

  • Notes 
    • From Queen Emma and the Vikings, page not numbered:

      Gunnor survived her husband by a good twenty years. Although no records remain that reflect her involvement in his reign, later evidence shows that she was a significant political figure. She was certainly involved in the court of her son, where she was active until well into the 1020s - a redoubtable dowager duchess. Documents recording grants of land provide a Who's Who of court life through the list of witnesses asked to attest the proceedings. These inventories detail the chosen court council and what their status was - the higher up the list the better. Not that the witnesses actually signed any charters or grants they had been asked to testify: most of the nobility would not have known how to do so. Instead a monk, seconded to the task of scribe, would write down the names of those gathered. On her son's charters Gunnor's name consistently appears at the top, after Richard's and sometimes after that of her second son Robert, but always before her daughter-in-law, her grandsons and other courtiers and churchment.

      However grand she became,
      [she] did not have quite the pedigree that the Norman chroniclers claim for her. What little has been established about Gunnor's background points to the probability that her parents were first-generation settlers with modest lands in the Cotentin. One of her sisters certainly appears to have been humbly married. Sainsfrida was the wife of a forester in northern Normandy and it was apparently through her that Richard met Gunnor. One story relates that while on a hunting expedition Richard stayed at the forester's house where he became much enamoured of Sainsfrida. Wanting to retain her virtue while not insulting the Count, she neatly sent her sister to his bed - and they all lived happily ever after, give or take a few mistresses and Richard's unproductive first marriage. [1]

  • Sources 
    1. [S175] Queen Emma and the Vikings, Harriet O'Brien, (New York, NY: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2005.).