A View of Gernon-Garland History- by Mary Therese Burns-De Francesco
MTB 2000 Revised 6-2009 - e-mail: email@example.com
I’d like to thank many people for their help in researching this paper, particularly Roy Garland (N. Ireland),without whose kind guidance this never would have been written. Many thanks to Dr. William Gernon, (Washington State), Pat Garland of the Garland Family Association (Florida) for kindly hosting this paper on this website, Dr. Deland Burns (Illinois), Pat Sipe (Kansas),many thanks for help from Hélène Havot-Darneau, François Le Tondot, Emile Guinard, Didier Blin and family (France) and others not named here, but to whom I am grateful, for their contributions and assistance. This research is dedicated to Anna Laura Gernon (Burns), my paternal grandmother, who positively influenced my life with her wisdom and sense of humour.
The following research is divided into two long articles for easier reading, “A View of Gernon-Garland History”, followed by “Researching Gernon History in Normandy” and a partial bibliography used for both. These articles attempt to give a broad view down the ages of the history of one particular Irish branch of Gernons and some of their shared history with the Garlands, who both derived from the ancient Gernon family of Normandy, first mentioned in 1065. This paper is a work in progress, much of what is currently known about the ancient and more modern history of this family is not included here, though I hope that this paper can serve as a stepping stone for others looking for the truth.
A researcher into history will at a certain point find when researching backwards through the ages, that the rare original documents surviving today are often ambiguous, only going back so far and that the traces of the people researched disappear into the fog of time. Often, what few sources surviving to today are unverifiable or contradictory, and there is no certainty of truth about a certain version of events, which has lead many later researchers down time into taking false steps.
I did my best to document this research from reliable sources, but I cannot know and confirm the truth of all the sources I used in this research, and it is not a definitive research, there are always new facts coming up that alter the perspective of this history. What I have done is to describe the various mentions of this family that I’ve uncovered since 1997 during my own personal quest to learn about my grandmother’s Irish Gernon family and their older Norman roots.
The large, beautiful De Guernon-Ranville castle in Ranville, Normandy, near Caen now offers refined accommodations and their new website, also in English is: http://www.chateaudeguernon.com
There will soon be a Wikipedia entry on the castle, written by the daughter of the owners, Hélène Havot-Darneau, who contacted me and kindly contributed new information which I’ve added in the revision of this paper in June 2009. She is in contact with French Gernon family members and has informed me that she has been able to photograph part of a handwritten Gernon genealogy that has been passed down in that Gernon family. She said that it would be good to make a connection between the branches of family who separated so many centuries ago. Many, many thanks to Hélène!
In 2006, DNA testing of a number of male Gernon-Garland family members was arranged. Pat Garland, the site-owner, can be contacted for more information.
I believe that Roy Garland is the most well-informed Gernon-Garland historian today and is the author of the Garland history on the main pages of this website. To thank him for his kind help, I too, sent him materials that I came across. Roy is a writer and author of several books, he plans to one day write a book on the history of this family, that many are eager to read. He has kindly asked me to contribute to it, also. I hope that this website will signal when it is in bookstores, whenever that may be.
I grew up knowing little of my family history, as my father died when I was 9 and we moved away from relatives at that time, giving me few chances to hear of family history from them after that, other than that my four grandparents’ families all had ancient European roots. I began wondering about these European roots soon after that I moved to Rome, Italy in 1984. I began years of correspondence with elders of my family, asking what was known about the origins of my four grandparents’ families. In 1997, when I was living on the island of Malta, I received a letter from a dear uncle, who mentioned among other things, that my paternal grandmother was a Gernon and came from an old Norman family that went back to the Middle Ages.
I was overwhelmed by curiosity to know more. As a child, I had seen the famous tv series “Roots”, based on Alex Haley’s book, which heavily influenced me about the plight of African -Americans and also created a desire in me to learn about my own roots. I decided that since I lived in Europe, and was relatively close to the original archival sources, that I could do a service to my family by searching out my four grandparents’ ancient family histories, which family elders knew a little about, and I embarked on the life-long adventure of discovering what more I could learn on my own in Europe.
That year, I traveled to England but didn’t yet know of any Gernon-related locations, then my husband and I crossed the Irish Channel to Ireland to research and visit the sites that I knew of at the time, such as Castle Bellingham, once known as Gernon(s)town or in Gaeltacht as Baile an Ghearleanagh, in the nearby Dundalk library and in the Irish National Library at Dublin, but I wondered if family members couldn’t guide me with more specific information.
I returned to live in Rome, Italy, in 1998, and enquired among family which members knew more about the Gernon history my uncle had mentioned. I was directed to Dr. William Gernon, a relative, who explained a vast history and who directed me further to Roy Garland, an Irish writer and university lecturer, who kindly explained to me many minute details he’d researched about the family in England and Ireland and he explained to me that the family had originated in Montfiquet, Normandy.
With this information in hand, I started my research at the University of Rome “La Sapienza”, in its vast Alexandrian Library and in its Library of Medieval Studies, later at the Italian National Library of Rome and up in Northern Italy, at the Library of Medieval Studies of the University of Bologna, the oldest university of the Western world, founded in 1088, I believe.
Having studied French as a young girl, I traveled to France in 1999 and in 2000 for two research trips and spent 2 months researching Gernon history at libraries and archives and photographed some Gernon –related sites in Normandy. The main body of information was found in the Calvados Regional Archives at Caen and in the Manche Regional Archives at St. Lo. I found further information in libraries of Caen, Bayeux and Cherbourg and visited most of the sites that I found mentioned, photographing them. I also was told some family history by local historians and I bought several books on local and Norman history with mentions of the family.
Unfortunately I had little time to research in Paris, where I am certain more information awaits researchers with a knowledge of French and Latin, particularly within the monolithic French National Library. I am certain there is also much to be found on the family in the British Library in London.
I also researched Gernon History during visits to the United States from 1998 onwards, in the large Newberry Genealogical Library of Chicago, at the Harold Washington Library, in the 5-story University of Illinois (SIU) Library and in other smaller ones. Since 2000, I searched on Internet for further information on English and French-language websites, but I am wary of some of these sources.
At the same time, I researched the history of my other three grandparents’ families, with ancient noble and patrician roots in different Northern European countries, my mother’s family going back to Dutch noble knights of the first crusades who lived in Jerusalem.
The original version of this paper was written in 2000 and has been updated periodically. In the future I would like to carry out more on-site research on my ancestors and to publish the results to aid the family history quests of others.
The earliest known mentions of the Gernon family name seem to appear in Normandy, France in the XI century. The exact origin of this family starts in the fog of ancient history, however, there is evidence that they were descendants of Rollon, the first Duke of Normandy, and members of the Norman Ducal family, possibly descended from a sibling of William the Conqueror.
Some Gernons and relatives partook in the Norman Conquest of England, where they gained many lands and with time, established an Old English branch. A century later, some of this family partook in the Norman invasion of Ireland, gaining lands, and they started the Irish branch of the family, from whom my grandmother’s family descend. The English branch seems to have died out by the 1500’s or so, leaving the French and Irish branches, who probably had little knowledge of one another until modern times, when historical events caused an Irish diaspora of long duration.
The Gernon surname originally meant “mustache” in old Norman and in the time before fixed surnames, people would often derive their surnames from place of birth or personal characteristics. Parents’ offspring could have entirely different surnames, making ancient genealogy very hard to follow, therefore, this is not a genealogy but a broad view of some of their history.
Under the Roman Empire
Roman historians told their accounts of the peoples the Roman armies encountered in the province of Gallia, that corresponds to much of modern-day France; there they found a mix of Celtic tribes with various names, such as the Gauls, or in the east, the Germanic Franks, whose leaders later became the ruling caste of the land, and from whom the French monarchy derived. Normandy was known as the province of Nuestria, and saw long centuries of Roman rule, where the Celtic language was replaced by the people’s version of Latin, not the Classic Latin of Cicero, however many place names of today derive from Celtic names.
The main cities of Normandy at the time were market towns with Celtic names, Caen was known as Catamagos, and Rouen was then Rotomagos, with the -magos suffix meaning “market” in the Celtic tongue.
Roman historians say of the later Roman conquest of England, that they encountered a mix of Celtic peoples, and some Germanic tribes, such as a branch of the Angles, had already immigrated there from the Frisian peninsula, where the main tribe remained.
During its period of Roman rule, England and some of France saw small movements of peoples within the empire, but the latter centuries of the Roman Empire saw the arrival within its borders of large groups of nomadic northern tribes wanting to partake in the benefits of that advanced civilization and this overwhelming immigration eventually heavily contributed to the fall of the Roman empire dated to 476. A.C.
The Origins of Normandy
In the decades after the withdrawal of Roman troops, groups of Norsemen started a centuries-long tradition of pillaging the coasts of England and elsewhere and eventually settling there, integrating themselves within the original population with time.
From the IX century, in particular, even larger waves of Norsemen began pillaging the coastal areas of England and Northern France and as earlier, many established colonies among the local populations, even farther inland.
The Xth century saw the arrival along the Northern French coasts of a particular group of Norsemen that pillaged and wrought havoc for years, that were led by Rollon, a powerful war leader.
One source says that Rollo was a son of a Swedish Jarl (earl) and I have seen a genealogy on the Gedcom files on internet, that I am wary of, linking Rollo back through the Swedish nobility to about 44 A.D. I have heard of other possible noble origins for Rollo in Norway; historians opinions are split among these versions.
After leading his band for years of roaming and devastating the Norman coasts, Rollon entered into negotiations with the Frankish king, who granted him the title of Count and later Duke, and from whom he negotiated the concession of the Norman dukedom around 918 (with additions of land in 924 and later) also securing the rights of Ducal succession for his family.
The Scandinavians who took up residence in Normandy took to pillaging and plundering for many years, and society nearly fell apart until they learned to settle and take on more civilized customs from the original inhabitants. The Scandinavians were known as a society of equals and warriors, and they continued using their Nordic language in the area for many generations.
These families descended from the original Scandinavian warriors became large land owners and looked down on the trades and on agriculture, they had become with time the new nobility of the land, and later refined their ways. They were known for advanced forms of laws for their time and superior organizational skills. With time they shed their Nordic names and took surnames from the lands they inhabited, with French place names.
The Origins of the Gernon Family
The earliest French Gernon family archives that I have heard of start in 1065 and state that they descend from the Norman Ducal family, but there do not appear to be any known original documents surviving today that further explain these close familial ties.
The ancestral home of the Gernon family is the Bessin region, an area between Bayeux and Caen, where Scandinavian groups settled among native peoples from around 924. The Gernons were based in the small village of Monfichet, today Montfiquet, situated inland about 20 kilometers from Bayeux in the midst of fertile farmlands bordering the ancient forest of Cerisy, of which the Gernons and their relatives, the Monfichets, were forester lords and who dominated the local timber market.
In the XIth century, the Gernons built a fortress there that took its name from the Latin"mons fixus ", a stockade, a motte and bailey-type castle which was later fortified in stone. Their castle had a fame of being impenetrable and stood for at least 350 years, having fallen during the civil war. Today few ruins remain.
There are rare mentions in XIX century local history books of a village called Guernonville in the area, that isn’t present on modern maps and may have been renamed. Ranulf Gernon, the IV Earl of Chester, was an unrelated earl that settled in Wales and had a bloodthirsty reputation. He was born in a Gernon castle at some undetermined site in the Bessin region, and he derived his surname from the castle of his birth rather than through descendancy. I have not been able to find where this Gernon castle was located, whether it was the same one in Montfichet or another.
Baron Robert De Guernon, a.k.a. De Gernon, Gernon,etc. seems to be the earliest historically documented (1065) figure bearing the Gernon name, about whose father one French Gernon genealogy says was also named Robert. I have seen several French Gernon family histories and one said that their family records state that he was an undocumented son of Duke Robert "Le Diable" of Normandy and hence was a younger brother of the then Duke of Normandy, William “Le Batarde”, later known as the William the Conqueror. However, other Gernon sources are more cautious and say that he was William’s cousin or some very close relative.
Robert De Guernon held the lands of the fief of Monfichet and the role of forester lord of the extensive oak forest then known as the forest of Monfichet, and in later times as Bur Le Roy, then Les Biards and today called the forest of Cerisy. Robert was immortalized as the "Sire de Monfichet" in "Le Roman de Rou ", a metrical chronicle by Robert Wace, composed circa 1100, recounting the events of the Norman conquest of England.
The Norman Conquest of England
I'll attempt to explain the complex nature of the Norman Conquest briefly; it came about as a reaction to a series of events around the succession to the English throne in 1066. The invasion of England was planned by William, Duke of Normandy, when Harold, whom he considered an usurper, succeeded to the English throne after King Edward's death.
William believed that he held the promise of the succession to the English throne for himself. He had extorted this promise years earlier from Harold when Harold was held as William’s prisoner in Normandy for some time after his unfortunate shipwreck on the Norman coasts. Harold later returned to England and forgot about the promise, however William upheld the extorted promise and hastily made war plans upon seeing Harold crowned as the new king.
In May 1066, William ordered the construction of a large invasion fleet and detailed preparations were made for the invasion that would change the fate of Medieval England.
William had spent his early years battling unrest among the difficult barons of his realm, he knew that moment was pivotal and by planning the invasion, he directed the attention of the quarrelsome nobility to a single scope, by promising adventure and spoils as a reward for participating in the undertaking. The invasion army drew a wide variety of participants: Barons, milites (knights) and many specialized support personnel of all trades from Normandy and other French regions flocked to William’s side.
I was told by a French historian of the family, that Norman monks in England had informed Duke William that Pevensey was the best site to land upon and of the right timing for the invasion through secret communications sent to the Duke.
The invasion force of around 20.000 assembled in the Norman port of Dives-sur-Mer to await good crossing winds. One can visit the remains of the original chapel where they prayed before departure, encased within the XIII c. church of Our Lady of Dives. The church displays a large plaque on the entry wall listing William's companions, including the names of Robert De Guernon and of a member of the De Monfichet family.The De Monfichets were a family that was very close to the Gernons, their history is entwined with one another, and some sources claim the Montfitchets were descended from the Gernons.
The crossing of the English channel departed from farther north along the coast, at St. Valery and the expedition sailed a calm sea overnight to land on the coast of Pevensey, England. The Normans immediately set to constructing a wooden fortress and prepared for battle with the English forces.
The Norman invasion and the Battle of Hastings are depicted in the medieval Bayeux Tapestry, also called the Tapestry of Queen matilde, that is in a museum at Bayeux.
The Battle of Hastings
The fate of England changed at the Battle of Hastings which took place two weeks later on an inland hill at Battle, on October 14th, 1066. Duke William's forces were about 20.000 in all, including non-fighting specialized tradesmen of all kinds, the fighting troops were in far lesser numbers, but they were well rested and confident. The English troops had already been employed in warfare in the north and when word of the Norman party’s arrival reached the King, the troops were already weary from battle and then carried out a sustained two-week march to meet the Norman invaders on unequal terms.
King Harold’s forces were solidly entrenched behind a hill for a long time and it seemed difficult for the Normans to make any gains, until they employed a retreat tactic and the English followed them in hot pursuit, abandoning their strong position.
The battle ensued at length, and it ended in a retreat after that King Harold was killed. History books say that Harold died after an arrow lodged in his eye. I read of two other versions. In one version, Harold had been surrounded in battle and captured by three knights, who had begun to mistreat the prisoner. These knights were banished in disgrace at the arrival of Duke William and he, together with two other nobles, ended King Harold’s life.
There is another popular legend that follows this line, that Roy Garland told me about, apparently an English inn of the area has this story illustrated on its walls. According to this legend, Robert De Guernon was one of the two nobles partaking in the deed of the murder of King Harold along with Duke William.Nobody will ever know for sure. Perhaps this is another possible reason for so heavily rewarding this baron as one of the most extensive landholders of the conquest of England under King William.
The Normans in England
Duke William was crowned as King of England at Winchester on Christmas of 1066, beginning the Norman line of English monarchs. Small numbers of prominent Normans were granted rewards of large quantities of land taken from the native thanes, and prominent figures of Old English society. Historians say that the Normans held control over England with probably no more than 10.000 people transplanted from France.
The majority of the English population continued speaking Old English, however French culture was emulated by the upper classes, who learned the language, as French was the official language of the court, the justice system, commerce and ports and was necessary for social advancement in that day. French heavily influenced the English language for centuries to come.
Within the first 50 years after the invasion, Norman men still married Norman women, who taught their offspring Norman French, as a mother-tongue. With time, Norman families became Anglicized, marrying English women and their children would learn Anglo-Norman or the variety of French from Ile de France from tutors, or they often sent their children to study with relatives in France. Norman families with means often held lands on both sides of the English Channel and would spend time in both lands until 1204, when the English crown lost France and they were dramatically forced to choose sides.
The Domesday Books
A rare view on the Anglo-Norman society of that day is given by the Domesday Books, a listing of English lands and properties compiled under King William's reign for levy purposes. At the beginning of these books are numbered lists of about 20 of the major landholders mentioned within each tome, though more names are mentioned throughout the pages.
Baron Robert De Guernon - Robert de Gernon, Robert Gernon, Robertus Grenonis, Rodberti Grenon, Robti Greno, Gerno, etc. referred all to the same man – I saw facsimile copies and transcriptions of the Domesday books and noticed that this Baron was always listed within the first 15 names of these lists, as a major baron, a large landholder, whom the books state held lands in at least 10 of the 24 English shires mentioned, with manors and extensive lands of many hides mainly centered near London, in Middlesex and Essex.
Though the London Domesday Book didn't survive to today, extensive holdings of his can be presumed to have existed within London, judging from the quantity of manors and villages held by him and his relatives in the immediate London surroundings.
In 1066, Baron Robert De Guernon constructed a wooden hilltop castle in Stansted Mountfitchet, which was later built in stone. The name of the village is both old English and Norman. “Stan” meant stone and “sted”, a place, or “a stony place” in Old English and Mountfitchet was added, after the Gernon's ancestral village in Normandy. Stansted is found about 45 miles north of London. The stone castle was destroyed in the middle ages, however, there is a recent reconstruction of the first wooden castle built there and a website on Internet about it. Stansted is also home to a major airport serving the London area.
Some historians have said that in Normandy and in England, within five years of the conquest, some of Robert's sons, grandsons and relatives were replacing the Gernon surname with De Monfichet, meaning from the village of Monfichet. Surnames weren’t fixed then as they are today and a common Norman practice of the day was to derive one’s surname from the place of birth, or from a personal characteristic, (such as a mustache, the original meaning of Gernon) rather than one’s father’s name.
In the London of King William's day, contemporary to the construction of London Tower, were also Baynard's Castle and the short-lived Montfichet Castle and Tower, the two palaces of medieval London that are most frequently mentioned in studies of English medieval architecture. The Montfichet castle was located between Blackfriar’s Gate and Blackfriar’s Bridge, and its foundations are said to lie somewhere under the medieval abbey of that name.
Later Gernon Generations in England
A grandson of Robert De Gernon, Gilbert de Montfichet, was a well-known and successful man in his day who was mentioned in many documents of the time. I have read accounts of historians affirming that he commissioned the church and abbey of Stratford Langthorne, south of London, in what is now Newham, which was destroyed in the 1600’s. They said he also had other churches built, such as the church of Leyton, north of London. In Normandy Gilbert De Monfichet is recorded as having commissioned the church of St. Thomas in Montfiquet and others.
I found a history explaining that another grandson of Robert De Gernon, Baron Richard de Monfichet, was a figure in history recorded as one of the barons who revolted against the unpopular King John (Lackland). At this time of the Barons’ Revolt, another Gernon family member, William Gernon, was a trusted advisor of the king, who traveled with the king’s signet ring to Normandy to find support there to counter the revolt.
The Barons’ Revolt forced King John to come to terms with them and at Runnymede on 15 June 1215, John and 25 Barons signed an important charter granting wider rights to the Barons known as the Magna Carta or Charta, meaning “Great Charter” in Latin. The Barons were represented by 25 signing Barons, and Richard de Montfichet was the youngest one of their number.
The Magna Charta, also called the Magna Charta Libertatis, was one of the earliest documents of a historical process that lead through time to the creation of constitutional law, it influenced many constitutions down history and is still studied by students of Anglo-Saxon law today. King John was forced to sign under duress, he later conferred with the Pope, who took his side and allowed him to break his word after that the hostilities had ceased, and this rupture then provoked the long-lasting First Barons’ War.
Apparently, Richard De Montfichet was famous in his time for his bravery, one historian whom I read affirmed that he was known as one of England's three most brave noble-born knights, of whom he wrote “all Englishman must be proud”. The historian implied that Richard must have had a fame in his day similar to that of Lancelot found in some Arthurian legends appearing in the XIII century.
Richard probably joined the Barons’ Revolt because as a young man, he was being hosted by another family who were on the Barons’ side of the revolt and he most probably joined the struggle out of loyalty to his hosts.
I read an historical account that Richard was taken prisoner in the baronial revolt at Lincoln. Apparently, some of the King’s punitive measures against him were of banning him for a time from attending public events, of striking down the Gernon castle at Stansted and the Montfitchet Castle and Tower in London and repossessing others, a heavy blow to the entire family.
After a period of time, Richard was liberated and he and the family regained their remaining holdings. However, Richard was seen attending a major jousting tournament and word of it arrived to the King’s ears. King John was furious with him and had the remaining family holdings repossessed, he was then imprisoned once again for defying royal orders.
King John died soon after that, in 1216. John’s 9 year-old son became the next young sovereign, Henry III, who had a long reign until 1272. Under Henry, Richard was liberated and saw the restitution of prior possessions, though unfortunately the ancestral castles in England were not rebuilt. Richard never married, remaining a Baron who fought as a knight until his death.
Today, on the site of the original Stansted castle, a businessman has reconstructed a wooden castle and Norman village in the earlier Norman style, explaining how grueling life was at the time of Baron Robert Gernon. The complex is a well-known tourist attraction in Southern England and it has its own website.
Roy Garland has done extensive research on the history of this family in Ireland and England and mentioned to me finding and having visited what were once Gernon properties in many places. One of the many places he visited was in Epping Forest, a famous forest north of London, where he found a place name, Gernon’s Bushes and other family information in archives.
When reading Oxford University’s website, I also came across an inventory of the university’s Ashmolean Museum that lists some medieval artifacts from English Gernon families, such as funeral plaques bearing the likenesses of medieval knights in armour.
When reading Norman poetry during my research, I wondered as to whether a portion of London's Mountfitchet Tower survived the attack and was used for some time afterwards, for mentions of it in much later works of literature. It wasn’t clear if they were referring to part of it still existing in the period when it was written or if they had referred to it as a legend that had survived from the past.
At a certain point, some members of the family who had taken on the name De Monfichet or had anglicized it to Mountfitchet, began a tendency to shorten the name and Anglicize it even further, to Fitch. These family names apparently died out soon after. I have seen historians’ writings stating that today's Fitch families in England have different origins and can only be traced back to the 1500's.
Gilbert Montfitchet and the London Montfichet castle are mentioned in Jordan Fantosme's medieval metrical chronicle translated from French, meanwhile, the Liber Albus, in Latin, mentions the ponderous Mountfitchet Castle and Tower in London.
Among other medieval writings, one can read of a Gernon's role as close friend accompanying the King on a hunt, when the sovereign had been struck by a stray arrow. The account told of how the king’s friends all tried to save him, but to their great sorrow, he died of his wound and was covered in the Gernon’s cloak. This passage can be found within Master Geoffroy's translated work of the ”History of the English”. More recently, in the 1800’s, Sir Walter Scott included a treacherous Mountfitchet character in chapter 34 of the epic novel, Ivanhoe.
Some of the lands in the Domesday Book held by Robert de Gernon, and the titles linked to them seem to have passed on in the family in some cases. I believe Roy Garland told me that stemming from the Bakewell, Derbyshire branch of Gernons was a Ralph Gernon, who in the XIVth century was a forester Lord in the Peak District of Derbyshire. He also mentioned another Gernon family member who was a forester lord in Essex.
The Gernons and the Norman Invasion of Ireland
I have read a Gernon entry in a genealogy tome that mentioned two members of that Bakewell, Derbyshire line, Ralph and Roger De Gernon, stating that they were grandchildren of Baron Robert de Guernon and partook in the Norman Invasion of Ireland. It said that Roger founded the Irish Gernon branch and in all the family histories that I have seen, Roger De Gernon is attributed with being the founder of the Irish Gernon line.
Roy Garland shared some of his writings with me about Ralph Gernon, who was close advisor and friend of King John's and his brother, the noble knight, Roger De Guernon. Roger followed his relative, the Earl of Pembroke, known as Strongbow, to Ireland in the Norman conquest of Ireland that first landed at Wexford in 1169.
The Anglo-Normans took the best lands near Dublin and gave them to Anglo-Normans, this area was known as the Pale and they were in constant war with the Irish natives. Some medieval poems about this Norman expedition survive to today, and there are many history books on early Irish history from varying points of view that can be read for further information.
The Early Gernon Generations in Ireland
I found an old Irish peerage book, that stated that soon after arriving in Ireland, Roger de Guernon married Una O'Connor, a daughter of Odo O'Connor- known as Aed O'Conchobair - who was the King of Connaught, the son of Cathal Crovderg -aka “The Red Hand”- and King of Connaught, one of the 4 Irish kingdoms. He was of the line of O'Connor Irish High Kings, known as the O'Connor Don - the dark O’ Connors - as opposed to the Mor, or fair O'Connor line.
The peerage said they had a child, Hodierna de Guernon. It also stated that Hodierna wed Richard de Burgh, nephew of the Plantagenet king, who was the King's Commissioner to Ireland and who had usurped the Connaught kingdom from the O’Connors with trickery. Mentioned in the passage were R. De Burgh’s offspring, who included William De Burgh, also known as the Red Earl of Ulster, said to be the founder of the western branch of the Burke family of Ireland, also known for having produced Burke’s Peerage, a well-known Irish genealogical record.
Possibly the writers of that peerage entry meant that Hodierna was not his first wife, however, since writing my original research paper, I began to doubt this and some other sources I quoted, as after that my paper had been on internet for some time, I came across mentions of two other women from major Norman families having married this man and being the mother of his children.
Richard De Burgh definitely existed, and carried out that role in Ireland, but I began to doubt many peerage entries. I regret to say that I am not informed about which sources down time the majority of accredited historians doubt and which they consider reliable, so I mention the different versions that I have come across since writing the first draft in 2000.
I came across some genealogies of the Windsor Royal family, of Camilla Parker Bowles and of Princess Diana, a few years back and within them, I saw mentions of the Earls of Cavendish in their ancestries. Interestingly, I had also found a peerage stating that a XIV century Gernon family member of northern England took on the surname Cavendish and was the founder of the Cavendish family that later produced this line of famous Earls.
The genealogy that I read on Lady Diana’s ancestors, also mentioned that she counted ancestors from the Irish Burke lineage. I began to wonder if it were true about Hodierna De Gernon existing and really having married R. de Burgh, who had been the founder of the Irish Burke line. I cannot be sure at all and I think that nobody will ever know the truth about this and many other genealogical claims, for that period is so nebulous for historians and many claims cannot be proven without a doubt.
According to Roy Garland, Roger De Guernon's brother, Ralph, was an advisor and close friend of King John, and toured with the king on his visits to Ireland and elsewhere. Apparently, he received the Gernon's Killincoole Castle lands in County Louth and others within the Pale, for services rendered. These lands were settled by other Gernon family members who arrived from England.
County Louth and to a lesser extent, Northern County Meath and southern County Monaghan were the main centers of influence of this family in Ireland. There were at least two villages named Gernonstown that I have seen on old maps, one in Co. Louth, one in Co. Meath, and two parishes around them of that name. I also found a mention of a Gernonstown having existed at one time somewhere in England, and Roy Garland told me of Gernon lands in or near Epping Forest, just north of London. In my later researches, I found mention of English Gernon’s artifacts that are part of Oxford University’s Ashmolean Museum collection.
Gernonstown and Other Gernon Castles
Approaching the Irish Gernons’ ancestral village north of Dublin, along the coastal road, there are two names on the village sign, " Castlebellingham" and in the Gaeltacht language, "Baile an Ghearlanaigh" or Gernonstown.
This village was once the seat of an influential branch of Gernons who had built a large stone fortress there, I have been told, in 1368, which they kept in the family for generations but were dispossessed of in 1666, during the Cromwellian army’s confiscations. The castle was destroyed when it was burned during the 1690 retreat of King William's army from the Battle of the Boyne.
Today’s later castle possibly may have encased the ruins of that original Gernon fortress, or been built from the original castle’s stones. Major Bellingham of Cromwell’s army was given the property and his family built the second castle and its later additions on the same site. Today it is the Bellingham Arms Hotel, in Castlebellingham, a large complex with a nice pub in it. Behind the hotel some stone ruins are visible, but their origins are uncertain.
There were other castles, built by the Gernons, still surviving today. Milltown Castle and Darver Castle, to name a few, hail from the days when the Gernons were marcher lords on the border of the Pale, needing defenses to contrast the offensives of adversaries, such as the Mac Mahons, until they became allies with this family in the 1500’s.
There was a large Gernon castle located in Killincoole, that is now a ruin. I found mentions of another castle having stood in the village of Mayne, which no longer exists. There may be more castles, villas or churches built by the family that I overlooked, as I had little time to research. Roy Garland knows much more on the details of the history regarding the family and is planning on writing a book on it.
The Elizabethan-era Athcarne Castle in Duleek, County Meath was bought in the late XIX century by Esq. James Gernon, I have read that at its estate sale held in the 1930’s, among some items sold were the furs of the last Irish wolves and King William’s bed, where he had slept one night while in Ireland. The castle left the possession of the Gernon family in the 1950’s and fell to ruin. Unsuccessful attempts have been made to interest authorities in restoring it. An entry on that Esquire in a late 1890’s Irish peerage was the last date that I found the surname in any Irish peerage book.
The Irish Gernon family grew over time to include many branches, and some family members, began calling themselves Garland. However, the Gernon name in England seems to have disappeared from records before the XVIth century. The Gernon families found in England today seem to have arrived there from Ireland at some point.
Other history notes I read said that in the XIV century, the Earl of Louth was assassinated and many prominent families of Louth were suspected in the plot, including the Gernons.
I also saw the mention of some evidence of a Gernon being linked to the Silken Thomas plot against King Henry VIII. However, I saw an affirmation that the Gernon name was more frequently associated with the law and that a Gernon became a Sheriff in Co. Louth in 1538.
In the XVII century, Father Anthony Gernon, was a Franciscan scholar who was known for an Irish literary work. Father Gernon studied in Prague and later taught at the University of Leiden in Belgium. The monastery there where Father Gernon lived, recorded that he was of noble birth and was a member of the Gernon family from Ardee. In 1645 he wrote a book in Gaelic, Parthas an Anam or The Soul’s Paradise, mentioned in Irish anthologies as a classical example of the Irish language. He returned to Ireland later in his life and was heavily embroiled in church politics until his death.
Over the centuries of living in Ireland, the family became large landholders and were influential in Counties Louth, Meath and parts of Monaghan, from their 1169 arrival until around 1700, when by such time they had lost many lands under the Cromwellian and Williamite confiscations.
With the rise of Protestantism, the harsh Penal Laws were issued against Irish Catholics, severely limiting their rights, but were applied unevenly from place to place, there were also many exceptions to the rules. Many Catholics’ ancestral properties were taken from them and in general, Catholics weren’t allowed to study, or advance in society, the Penal Laws kept them down at the bottom of society in the land of their birth.
Records show that members of at least 11 branches of this family were involved in unfortunate attempts to regain their lands and later underwent trials for rebellion. Pressure was placed on Catholics to convert to Protestantism. Some Gernon or Garland families converted with time, other families refused to give up Catholicism and some remained Catholic, yet still loyal to the crown, such as my family line, before my branch immigrated and naturalized in North America.
I found mentions of Gernon family members who had emigrated to foreign lands in the 1700's, some entering foreign armies, such as two Gernon brothers that were listed on the Spanish army rolls. Many went to France, and I found mentions of some who were advisors of the French court, of some who became winemakers in Bordeaux or of others who prospered as merchants or studied in France and of at least one Irish Gernon family in Paris.
In some cases Garland is a synonym for Gernon, as in this period, many more family members changed their name to Garland, many of whom were branches of family that had converted to the Protestant religion. Within some families, different members would use both the Gernon and Garland names interchangeably, even well into the XIX century.
My Grandmother’s Gernon Line
In Ireland it was common for families to specialize in a trade and pass that trade down through the generations. My grandmother’s Gernon family, from the Ardee area, specialized as a medical family and from the first physician that we know of from their line, around 1700, there has been an unbroken line of eight generations of doctors to this day. They have passed down to one heir of each generation the original medical instruments of the first Gernon doctor in Ireland.
A few years ago, I was contacted by Pat Sipe, a Gernon descendant who kindly shared her transcripts and scans of old Gernon family letters and tintypes of the Canadian family members. Many thanks to her contributions, she has helped shed more light on this period.
Our ancestor, James T. Gernon and one of his brothers left Ireland for Montréal around 1840, and I have seen the transcripts of the letters they received from their parents and relatives. The letters from their parents in Ireland were written at Drumkill, Ireland, near Ardee, were dated between 1840 and 1843 and they mentioned other family members living in the area. The letters from Ireland mentioned the brothers who had already gone Canada having urged them to immigrate to Montréal to study medicine. We know that eventually 4 brothers went to Québec.
After writing in the first draft of this paper in 2000, a family story that I’d heard about our ancestor, James. T. Gernon, and his brothers who had immigrated from Ireland to Montréal, I learned that my grandmother’s younger sister evidently was the source of the story. She had been a French teacher who had researched her heritage and had traveled to Montfiquet in Normandy.
Over the years I found strong discrepancies in some of what I was told by family that she had affirmed about them. I think the family history became very mixed up in retelling it down the generations, so that now nobody knows what is true and what not any longer. I have rewritten the part that I now strongly doubt, that some of the brothers had studied medicine at the University of Paris before migrating to French-speaking Montréal.
I doubt this as I searched the University of Paris Medical school archives for the period and couldn’t find mention of any of the Gernon brothers among the students of that decade. However, I did find the signature of Count De Guernon-Ranville, a Gernon Count from the Norman village of Ranville, who was the French Minister of Education at the time and who signed the student’s Medical School admission papers.
I also learned from the transcripts of the 1840’s Gernon letters that none of the brothers seemed to know French before arriving in Montréal. This meant they could not have studied in France. I also doubt my grandmother’s sister’s affirmation that for a time he studied at Trinity College, as it was barred to Catholics. Most likely they studied medicine after arriving in Montréal, as one letter was trying to convince a brother still in Ireland to immigrate to Montreal for this reason.
What I do know is that our ancestor, Dr. James T. Gernon settled in Beauharnois, a suburb of Montreal, Quebec, located on an island in the St. Lawrence River, where he practiced medicine and later became a town official. I believe he studied medicine at Mc Gill University in Montréal. The brothers became Francophone, married French women there and they raised their families speaking French in Quebèc.
I found James T. Gernon’s elderly wife and their children listed in the 1870 United States Federal Census, living in a French-speaking community near Chicago. I presumed they had moved there and naturalized themselves after James T. Gernon’s death. Their son had studied medicine at Mc Gill University in Montréal, and he finished his studies at the University of Chicago.
At least two of James T. Gernon’s brothers (or their sons) followed his family to the Chicago area, one was a doctor living nearby and one was a merchant who had settled just over the state line in Indiana.
I was told by a descendant of the other brothers in the Montréal area that I corresponded with, that some of the Gernon brothers in the Montreal area or their descendants later moved to the French-speaking Louisiana area around Baton Rouge. I found mention on Internet of a man with the Gernon surname living in Louisiana who most probably was one of their descendants.
One can read of many people with Gernon surnames on Internet, such as the incident of a US Air Force pilot of Florida, with a Gernon surname, who spoke of an episode in the Bermuda Triangle. I know there is a well-known Hollywood film director with a Gernon surname, too.
The descendants of my particular Chicago-area line were Francophone within an English speaking country, French was still spoken in communities of that area until about the 1940’s. The French language was obligatory in some area schools until 1976 and I had learned French there as a child. My grandmother, Anna Laura Gernon, spoke only French until the age of 14 within her community.
She later went on to study as one of the first women to study medicine at the University of Chicago and worked in the WWI effort in the Army and the Navy as a French and German-language codebreaker. When she had been decommissioned from the army, the then Secretary of the Navy, Roosevelt, went to the Washington D.C. train station to stop her from boarding a train back home and begged her to join the Navy for the rest of the war. She agreed.
She had met a naturalized Irishman from her area and her family angrily disinherited her for choosing a man with no money; they only later grudgingly reinstated her in good standing when he became a war hero.He was from an old Irish family, descended from the Bran dynasty of kings of Leinster, one of the four Irish kingdoms and they had anglicized their surname in the early 1800’s to Burns.
He was one of the aide-de camps of General Pershing during WWI (the general in charge of the US forces in Europe), along with Robert Mc Cormick, the heir to the Chicago Tribune fortune.My family had once owned the field copy of the WWI armistice, but it was stolen. The ex-aides remained close friends for life and my father used to speak of how the family were frequent visitors to Gen. Mc Cormick’s sprawling estate called Cantigny, (after the WWI headquarters in France) outside Chicago, that is today a war museum.
My grandfather built my grandmother a large stone mansion in a forest and worked as a judge all his life. He spent the last ten years of his life as a Democratic legislator in the House; he was known as a sort of Robin Hood who gained favor with people as he curtailed lawmakers’ salaries during the depression; however he made bitter enemies among politicians. He died in office while he was running an election campaign as Lieutenant Governor of Illinois, he died just before the vote and as many hadn’t heard of his death, he was on the ballot and still earned many votes.
After his death,my grandfather’s political friends convinced my grandmother to run for county health commissioner and she was elected for a decade, a job she took on in order to support her 11 children, helped by my father, the eldest child , who was 17 at the time of his father’s death. She worked lifelong in hospital charities and was known as a very learned, wise and worldly woman who knew the Kennedy family and frequented many of elite society. She also had a proverbial sense of dry, witty humour which she passed on to her children.
My father was a lawyer who after WWII later ran for district attorney, but changed his mind and left the race early, embittered by the dirty political tactics. He later went back to school for a degree in education and another in social work, and became the clinic director of a state boy’s school and later of a state girl’s school, where he met my mother.
She was from an old family of Dutch noble knights who had lived in Jerusalem during the crusades and who immigrated to America in the 1890’s. She was an ex-English and German teacher who had become a social worker of the girls’ school staff and was involved in the civil rights movement. They married and I was born soon afterwards.
My father died when I was 9 years old and we moved away from family; I had to learn family history through correspondence and rare visits with other relatives over the years and was much helped by an uncle and an aunt on the basic family history, which brought me to write this paper.
Researching Gernon History in Normandy - by Mary Therese Burns-De Francesco
MTB 2000-revised 6-2009 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
I have been fortunate enough in my travels to visit Normandy for two months, in 1999 and again in 2000, where I researched archives and libraries for traces of the Gernon family and followed the mentions to many Norman sites linked to the Gernon family.
The first time, I rented a bicycle in Bayeux and rode the 22 kilometers to visit Monfiquet, as it is called today, to visit the ancestral village of the Gernon family. I took transport and went by car throughout the surrounding Bessin area countryside, to visit and photograph churches and monasteries built by or linked to that family. I was fascinated by the visit of the ruins of the castle with the village historian, Emile Guinard, met the mayor of that village, Madame Moulle and was also kindly helped by Mr. Blin and his family.
Today the castle ruins form a five-meter high plateau within meandering perimeter walls of the keep, the Gernon's castle had a fame of being an impenetrable fortress, in fact it held for at least three hundred fifty years, until the civil war in the mid 1300’s. It was gutted by fire when the family’s adversaries held the castle under siege for months, in the end, they resorted to burning out the castle and its walled village. Apparently its prison was still standing in the 1700’s and was much loathed by locals.
A local history book shows a drawing of a large, ornate castle on the pages where the Gernon castle is mentioned; I wondered if this was a drawing of the Gernon castle itself or if it was an anonymous drawing. I tried contacting the editor, to ask the question of the author, but received no reply.
I was told that quite remarkably, the stone used in the castle construction was transported from a site more than thirty kilometers away. It was a grey schist stone, harder than the local rust-streaked schist of the site. Today the long perimeter walls, moat and castle plateau can be seen, on the plateau is an overgrown meadow, lined by trees, but the actual two-story house on the site, which was a presbytery and is now in private hands, was built of the old castle's recuperated stones.
During the tour of the site, Mr. Guinard told me that there was a tunnel originally linking the castle to the abbey of St. Vigor of Cerisy, on the other side of the forest, 7 kilometers away. He said that it had been discovered when a farmer's tractor collapsed into the tunnel itself, evidencing the old escape route.
The perimeter walls of the castle compound meander through the valley and within them, are two small farms built in grey schist stone, which were dependant on the castle, still surviving today.
was told in a letter from Mr. Guinard that the village of Montfiquet prepared an historical exhibition for the spring of 2001 on its history. For further information on the village, the address of the City Hall is: Mairie de Montfiquet, 14190 Montfiquet, Calvados, Normandy, France.
The most noticeable feature of the village, after the Mairie, is the small, ancient church of St. Thomas à Beckett, built by Montfichet descendants of the Gernon family around 1060-70. History books state that Gilbert de Montfichet, grandson of Baron Robert de Guernon, built it.
I read in a history book of how Gilbert de Monfichet was attending to the building of the church at Monfichet, constructed over the site of ruins of an old monastery, when he received a visit from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas à Beckett, who had been exiled over a dispute from England to Normandy for favoring the rules of the church and his conscience rather than complying to the will of his friend, the King.
Apparently, Thomas à Beckett talked to Gilbert and complimented him on the church under construction, asking to what saint it was to be dedicated. Gilbert replied that they would dedicate it to the next saint to be declared: ironically it was to be Thomas à Beckett himself.
The archbishop met an untimely end. He was assassinated by four knights of the English king who tragically misinterpreted the King’s phrase "Who will rid me of this priest?!!" as a definite order, they sped off to confront poor Thomas and actually assassinated the prelate within Canterbury Cathedral itself. It was a gruesome deed that greatly disturbed the people of the time. The knights were banished in heavy disgrace for the rest of their days.
The King was repentant for the tragic accidental end of his friend and advisor and often visited the site of his massacre, where many miracles were said to happen. The sad end of Thomas à Beckett struck a popular chord among people of that time and he was declared a saint soon afterwards.
The interior of the church of Monfiquet holds remains of the older monastery incorporated into its structure, a column and arches of it can be seen in a lateral wall near the apse. Carved stone details from the old abbey were also incorporated in the walls of the church school behind the churchyard. The church of St. Thomas à Beckett is a simple, quiet country chapel, often adorned with wildflowers and candles, and the visitors are urged to sign the guest book.
Bordering the village is the forest of Cerisy, a large forest of centuries-old beech trees towering above. It saw large battles during World War II and is a national forest now. About 7 kms on the other side of the forest, is the newly-restored ancient abbacy and cathedral of St.Vigor.
This large and elaborate cathedral once hosted many pilgrims on pilgrimage to Santiago di Compostela in Spain. The cathedral is a striking example of gothic architecture, where restoration continues today. It is open to visitors and when I visited, there was a modern art exhibit displayed within the towering naves. I saw in microfilms in the archives that it had been built in 1032, by Duke Robert, "Le Diable", William the Conqueror's father, upon the site of an older monastery.
I studied the abbey records at the St. Lo archives, as it was the major monastery in the zone and oversaw much of the lands held by the Gernons, who lived scattered about in different villages in the area between Bayeux and Caen. I found mention of four main Gernon, De Guernon, and De Monfichet lines in the area, it must be remembered that the early De Monfichets were of the same family. I know there was much more information that I didn’t see and remains to be found by others.
A French peerage book entry stated that the Gernons are one of the most ancient Norman noble families, but also one of its most unfortunate ones, too. The De Monfichets seemed to have had more fortune as nobles, being the foresters of the area, until they lost importance during the Revolution.
There is evidence of the main Gernon line in Monfichet until the mid XIV century, when they were burned out of their castle and fled Monfichet to resettle in nearby areas. There is mention in 1204 of a branch of De Guernons descended from Baron Robert, based in the village of Ranville, about 12 km north of Caen, who took on the name De Guernon-Ranville.
Ranville was home to major events of D-Day during WWII, and Operation Overlord took place in Ranville, which was the first French village to be liberated by the Allied forces. There is a commemorative plaque in the village explaining the facts of this operation.
There were the De Guernons of Epinay-sur Odon who were related. A notable XVII century family member of this branch was Sire Barnabe’ De Guernon, whom I saw mentioned in the Calvados archives, besides mentions of other branches in nearby villages such as Cerisy-La Salle and Treviéres.
I was able to visit the castle of the Gernon-Ranville Counts with the kind help of the ex-mayor of Ranville, Mr. Le Tondot, also a local historian. He also showed me their private cemetery, which was donated to the village recently. We visited the castle grounds, now belonging to a top manager and I was given permission to photograph the immense building from the back courtyard.
Apparently, the last person to carry the De Guernon-Ranville surname was a famous count living in the XIX century, a well-known and exceptional man of state with a long career of service. From the position as Prefect of Bordeaux, he rose through different official posts and spent many years as the Public Education Minister under Charles X. He was also jailed for a period, falling from favor.
Mr. Le Tondot told me that the count was present at the guillotining of Marie Antoinette and picked up one of her shoes, keeping it as a souvenir in the family until it was united with the other shoe in the Louvre. The count also received a gold watch from King Charles during his career.
The De Guernon-Ranville stone castle was enormous, two stories tall, very long and in the shape of an "L”, with a high sloping roof of black slate. Behind the main core of the castle lie huge stables and servants quarters stretching back to the thick forest.
The locals call it the “old castle”, as there are several other more recent castles and huge estates in the village at a walking distance from the De Guernon-Ranville estate. The castle lies behind a high stone wall and behind it is a huge walled forest of oak and yew, which was once far larger. There is a tall iron gate at the entrance.
Mr. Le Tondot knew much history of the zone and said that there was once a walled private road leading to the De Guernon's private cemetery, so that they could visit it in private. There were unconfirmed ancient rumours of an underground escape tunnel connecting the De Guernon-Ranville castle to nearby Caen's Ducal City compound, 12 kilometers away. The village has a beautiful church and tower and also has a very old stone cross on a hillock by the road to the castle, that many people visit.
I was told by Mr. Le Tondot that the direct de Gernon-Ranville line died out after the last Count de Guernon-Ranville's death in the late XIX century and the family estate passed on to the daughter's husband's family, the Colmiches. Mr. Le Tondot said that he knew the descendants of the count’s daughters, an elderly woman and her son, who lived in the walled city of Fougères, near Mont St. Michel. There are other Gernon family lines existing in Normandy besides this branch.
I was contacted recently by Hélène Havot-Darneau, the daughter of the current owner of the De Guernon-Ranville castle in Ranville, Normandy, who was very helpful and who informed me of many facts which I ignored and corrected my errors in this paper. She just created a charming new website for the castle, which is rented out for accommodation, the website has an English version and is at: http://www.chateaudeguernon.com/
She also informed me that she is in contact with some members of the Gernon family, who own a hand-written family genealogy book that was compiled by a family member in the early 1900’s, of which only two differing copies exist. She was able to photograph some of the book and told me that it was incomplete, originally the author had intended upon writing some chapters on the Gernons in England, such as the Earls of Cavendish, a family descended from a 1300’s Gernon, and other family branches such as the Irish Gernons, some of whom had emigrated to France in the 1700’s and were winemakers in Bordeaux, but he never completed these chapters.
I was able to find some old limestone Gernon graves in several villages. The crumbling XIX century grave of Pierre Gernon lies in the Montfiquet church cemetery, surrounded by a rusting iron fence with a flame motif on the corner posts. I later photographed the XVIII and XIX century graves of two Gernons in the cemetery of the church of Epinay-sur-Odon, with unusual coats of arms and Masonic symbols such as a compass around the sides.
The archives hold many mentions of villas, churches and monasteries built by the Gernon family. One large church that I visited in Normandy was the church of the village of Mosles, 7 km west of Bayeux, on the westbound number 13 road. Documents of the St. Vigor Abbey said that it was built by Guillaume Gernon in 1183, and was called St. Marie de Mosles. Evidently, it was enlarged a century later by Guillaume Gernon’s wife’s family, the De L'Isles, who added a belfry tower and a long nave in the XIV century, renaming it the church of St. Eustache de Mosles.
Particularly interesting is the delicately harmonic original apse and choir section built by the Gernons, behind the altar and under the belfry, which was the old west-facing entrance. It is decorated with delightful faces, today it is the choir in the sachristy behind the altar, directly under the belfry tower, facing the nave.
The choir is adorned at chest-level with two interesting mustached male heads, supporting two central columns in the choir that rise up, branching into the typical gothic supporting ribs that spread geometrically over the ceiling. Elsewhere are details of faces with a variety of quirky expressions on capitals of long thin Norman columns of the earlier gothic school.
Decorating the columns of the belfry are four crowned male and female heads adorning columns in the upper corners of the belfry, which was the original entrance to the old church. Other faces adorn the window frames on the interior and on the exterior right side of the church in the older sachristy section.
Some of the other stone faces on the exterior window frames had clearly been chiseled away at some point in time. The older choir section which was built in 1183, is further distinguished on the exterior by a "lacework” border decoration immediately under the roofing and some windows of this older section have a serrated decoration framing the windows. The whole older part is ornate and original and has a delicately harmonic feel of unity to it, not visible in the sprawling, plain and frankly boring later addition of the nave, which is of a simple floral gothic style, constructed a century later.
The elaborately carved walnut altarpiece from the XVII century separates the chorus from the sacristy. The nave is long and narrow, with old wooden pews, the walls are adorned with statues of Saints such as Joan of Arc and paintings of the Stations of the Cross.
Unfortunately, the windows are modern replacements, of transparent pastel yellow, blue and pink glass, which are very sunny in the morning. There is a simple clear glass rose window replacing the lost original, high above the main western-facing entrance that harmonizes the nave, letting in much golden light in the afternoon.
The ceiling of the nave is of plain wooden paneling curved downwards at the corners. The belfry tower and nave is of clearly later date than the chorus, with the chorus pavement starting at the old entrance under the belfry being two steps higher than the nave.
Near the entrance to the churchyard stands a very interesting three-meter high, double-sided Romanic stone cross guarding the entrance to the church grounds, it demonstrates an old mystic norse iconography which I saw only one other time in Normandy, in a carved wooden detail on a medieval house some 50 km away.
The rough Romanic period granite cross displayed a Christ on one side and another figure on the reverse, facing the church, with praying hands and entwined legs in a serpentine form. The Mosles church is open only Sunday for mass and for a few hours afterwards.
The other churches that I found mentioned that were built by the Gernon family and that I visited are the church of Montrabot, with the ruins of its brick monastery, the rustic limestone churches of Fontenay and that of St. Marcouf, among four or five others that are now ruins. The 4 or 5 rolls of film with the photographs of some of these churches were stolen from our hotel room, strangely, the only thing missing. Within archives there are many more mentions of churches, estates, fisheries, mills, boats, etc., some of which were mentioned in documents of Gernon family donations to churches and abbacies down the centuries.
I visited the University of Caen and I talked to Professor Neveux, who suggested that I speak with a librarian at the Archives of the Manche region at St. Lò. The man was a scholar who had written in earlier years an archeological society paper on the church of Mosles and had stated that it was built by the De L’Isles family. I met him, but he was too busy with work and could not discuss the church with me when I was there.
I found an earlier mention of the origins of the church in question, within the St. Vigor Abbey records, the passage stated the church of Mosles, as having been being built in 1183 by Guillaume Gernon, a century earlier, and that it was known originally as St. Marie de Mosles. I also saw a recently published Norman history book stating the same thing.
I was able to read Prof. Francois Neveux's monumental tome on the history of Bayeux and Lisieux, where he dedicated numerous mentions to the Gernons and the Monfichets, some of the richest families of Bayeux. They were wood merchants for their traditional role of foresters, a role that some of the family continued in England, as foresters in Essex.
Some De Monfichets, Gernons and De Gernons in Normandy were known as a dynasty of law officials, from lawyers to ecclesiastical court officials, such as a Bozo De Gernon, a medieval ecclesiastical court official in Bayeux. There is so much more in the archives that is not mentioned here, this is just a sample of what can be found locally in Norman archives.
Mme. Moulle, the mayor of Montfiquet, gave me an article on how a certain branch of De Monfichet family lost all during the Revolution in 1792, for the cruelty of Madame De Monfichet, who had a local pigeon poacher killed. This outraged the locals, and miners in Cerisy –La Salle and an angry mob went after that family. Madame de Montfichet had servants hide her children in the house and she escaped through the woods and found refuge with relatives elsewhere. Their different properties were ransacked by the angry mob, their belongings and estates were removed from their possession, but they can be considered extremely lucky to have conserved their lives under the circumstances of the Revolution.
I have heard that were several Gernon families in Paris, at least one of them deriving from Christopher Gernon who emigrated from Ireland in the 1700’s and became a vintner and I have heard of a Gernon family in Paris that fared badly under the Revolution, and of an Irish Gernon family in Paris, I don’t know if they are all one and the same or not. I hope that this research has helped some people understand some of their own family history and can be of help to eventual future family researchers.
-MTB 2000- revised June 2009
Here is a selection of some of the books consulted for this research. First, there are some English language publications listed, then some English language websites on Internet, then a selection of some French language publications that provided information for this text.
English Language publications:
A Guide to Dundalk and Co. Louth- p. 131-33
A History of Kilsaran- Rev. J.B.Leslie- Dundalk, Printed by William Tempest, 1908, reprint 1986
Townlands in County Louth- M.P. Mc Connon -1985
Domesday Book- original form with translation and maps- Phillimore, Chichester 1980- Shires of: Somerset-Vol.8, Middlesex- Vol. 11, Hertfordshire- Vol 12, Buckinghamshire- Vol. 13, Herefordshire- Vol. 17, Cambridgeshire- Vol. 18, Essex-Vol. 32, Norfolk-Vol. 33, Suffolk-Vol. 34, and Kent in photostat copy, without translation. Possibly missed references in other shires, to be checked.
The General Armory of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. – B.Burke, 1884
A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames-London-H. Froude, 1901
A Dictionary of British Surnames. – P.H. Reaney, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London and Boston, 1976
Letters of Antiquities of Co. Louth-Ordnance Survey 1835-36-Ed. By Rev. Michael O’Flanagan , Bray, 1928
Louthiana: An introduction to the antiquities of Ireland.-Thomas Wright. London, W. Faden, 1748 Vol. I-II
The Irish and Anglo-Irish Landed Gentry- E. Mac Lysaght, Irish University Press, Shannon, Ireland, 1969
The Monaghan Story- A Documented History of the County from the Earliest Times to 1976- Peadar Livingston, Clogher Historical Society, Enniskillen, 1980
A series of modern reprints of medieval English rolls as below:
De Rerum Brittanicarum Medii Aevi Scriptores (Rolls Series) Vol. 1-99
By Kraus Reprints, 1965, London.
Documents of Anglo-Normans in Ireland- Vol. 1
The Register of the Malmesbury Abbey- Vol. 1
Munimenta Gildhallae Londoniensis- Liber Albus, Liber Custumarum et Liber Horn – Vol. III
Monasterii Sancti Albani
Bartholomei de Cotton- Monaci Norwichensis, Historia Anglicana-449-1298
Chronicon Monasterii de Abingdon Vol. II , 110-1135
Historia et Cartularium Monasterii Sancti Petri Gloucesteriae, Vol.I, II
Brut y Twysogion or the Chronicles of the Princes
Chartulary of the Monastery of St. Mary’s Abbey, Dublin with the register of its house at Dunbrody and Annals of
Ireland-Edited by J. Gilbert
Chronicles of the Reigns of Stephen, Henry II and Richard I- Vol. 82, Tome III
A Roll for the Proceedings of the King’s Council in Ireland – For a portion of the XVI year of the reign of Richard II-
Historical works of Gervase of Canterbury- Vol. III minor works, comprising the Gesta Regum and the Mappa Mundi
by Gervase, Monk of Canterbury,
Le Roman de Rou- Robert Wace 1100 A.D. c. , stanza 8545
Cartularium Monasterii de Ramseia- Vol. I , III
Le Storie des Engles- Maistre Geoffrey Gaimar-Vol. 91 , Tome II, stanza 6395-6400
Sarum Charters and documents illustrating the history of the cathedral, city and diverse of Salisbury in the XII c.
Chronica Majora- Matthew Paris , also appendix. Vol. VII
Liber Albus (Charter to the friars preachers)
Annales de Burton (Magna Carta)
Flowers of History- Roger of Wendover 1154- 1st year of Henry II’s reign
Liber Rubeus de Scaccario-Red Book of the Exchequer. Vol. 99
Chronicon Monasterii de Abingdon- Vol. II
W. Annales Monasticii- Vol.I- Annales de Morgan(1066-1232), Annales de Theokesberia (1066-1263), Annales de
Annales Monastici- Annales Monasterii de Wintonia (519- 1277)
Annales Monasterii de Waverlaeia ( A.D. 1- 1291)
Matheiae Pariensis-Monachi Sancti Albani-Chronica Majora- Vol. II (1067-1216),
Vol. III (1216-1239), Vol. IV (1240-1247) Vol. VI (additamenta)
Book of Archbishops and Bishops of England
Year Books of the Reign of King Edward III- Year XIX
History and Papers of the Monastery of St. Peter of Gloucestershire – Vol. I,II
Chronicles of the Reigns of Stephen, Henry II and Richard I Vol.III –Tome IV
Metrical Chronicle of Richard of Devizes- Jordan Fantosme
Chronicle of the War between the English and the Scotch in 1173-4-J. Fantosme
The Annals of Loch Cé (1242-3)
Burke’s Family Index- Burke’s peerage Ltd. MCMLXXVI-London
Faribairn’s Crests of Families of Great Britain and Ireland- James Fairbairn, New York, Bonanza Books
A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames- Charles Waring Bardsley, London, Henry Froude, 1901
Cambridge Medieval History- Vol. V 1964, Cambridge Press
English Historical Documents- Vol. III , (1042-1189) Ed. David C. Douglas and G. Greenbury- Eyre Methwen, Oxford University Press- 1981
Domesday Book: A Guide- R. Welldon Finn- Publ. Phillimore, London and Chichester, 1973
Anglo-Norman Studies XIII- Proceedings of the Battle Conference, 1990, Ed. M. Chibnall- Boydeel Press
Anglo-Norman Studies XII- Proceedings of the Battle Conference, 1989, Ed. Marjorie Chibnall- St. Edmondbury Press, Suffolk, GB
Domesday Book: A re-assessment- By Peter Sawyer- Publ. Edward Arnold, 1985 , London
A New History of Ireland- Royal Irish Academy- T. W. Mody-Vol. II , Medieval Ireland 1169-1534
Supplement to Irish Families- E. Mac Lysaght-Genealogical Book Co. Baltimore, MD
Walford’s Country Families of the United Kingdom- London, Spottiswoode and Co. 1906
Armorial Families- A directory of Gentlemen of Coat and Armour- A. C. Fox-Davies, Vol. I Charles Tuttle and Co. Vermont
Landed Gentry of Great Britain and Ireland, 8th ed. , Sir B. Burke, Harrison, Pall Mall, London, 1894
Patronymica Brittanica- M. A. Lewes- 1860, London
AA Trucker’s Atlas of Great Britain
Irish Families. Their Names , Arms and Origins
Ireland County Index, p. 195-6
The Shell Guide to Ireland-Lord Killanin and Michael V. Duigan, Gill and Mac Millan
Ireland- Irish Tourist Board- Bord Failté
Cerisy – La- Forét Abbey- official pamphlet
Irish Pedigrees- Principal Families of Ulster-County Louth, or Ancient Oriel
The Irish and Anglo-Irish Landed Gentry- John O’Hart, Irish University Press, Shannon, Ireland, 1969
Cheshire under the Norman Earls- 1066-1237- B.M.C. Husain, Cheshire Community Council, Publications Trust Ltd. Watergate House, Chester
A History of the Surnames of the British Isles- C. L’Estrange Ewen, London, Kegen Paul, Trench, Trubner and Co. Ltd. , 1931
The Oxford Companion to Irish Literature- Ed. By Robert Welch- Clarendon Press
Illustrated Ireland Guide- Pub. Bord Failté Eirann-Irish Tourist Board
Atlas of Medieval Europe- A. Mackay, D. Ditchburn
The A.A. Roadbook of Ireland- Gazetteer
Map of County Meath- Map of East-Central Ireland
Peerage of Ireland- A Genealogical History of the Present Nobility of the Kindgdom- John Lodge, Esq. Vol. I, Dublin, James Moore, College Green, 1789
King John- W.L. Warren- Yale University Press, New Haven and London
Pedigree of Gernons as given by Chesters of Chicheley, by Waters
Falaise Roll recording prominent companions of William, Duke of Normandy of the Conquest of England- Crispin, M. Jackson and Macary, Léonce, Baltimore- Genealogic Company, 1969
Norman Institutions- C. Haskins, Harvard Historical Studies, Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1918
Regesta Regum Anglo Normanorum- MCMLVI- C. Johnson and Cronne- Tome II, 1100-1135, Oxford, Clarendon Press
Within this: #1283- (1121) Apr.-May- Winchester; #1400- (1120-3) Charter by H. Laval ; #1401- (1123) Notes of
Henry II ; #1402- (1120-3) Wallingford ; #1518- (1121-7) London- Henry I to Bishop of London ; # 1607- (1129)
Waltham: Notes de Henri I ; #1645- (1130) Mar-Sept., Westminster, Henri I ; #1719- London, Notes de Henri I
Calendar of Documents Preserved in France, 918-1206- Ed. By J.H. Round , London, 1899
Anglo-Norman England- M. Chibnall, Oxford, 1986
The Norman Settlement of Heresfordshire under William I – 1985
Nobility and Family in Medieval France: A Review Essay- French Historical Studies, 1990
The Authority and Interpretation of the Bayeux Tapestry, N.P. Brooks, H.E. Walker, 1978
The Governance of Medieval England from the Conquest to the Magna Carta, Edinburgh, 1963
A Conflict of Interests at Mont St. Michel- Jean-Luc Leservoisier- Archives d’Avranches
Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names – Eilert Ekwall, IV° ed. –Oxford, Clarendon Press,1960
Ireland under the Normans, 1169-1333-G.H.Orpen, Oxford
Selection of some English-language websites on Internet regarding Gernon History from 1999-2003 ; I have been told
that some of these sites no longer exist on internet at the same address.
Transactions of the Essex Archeological Society Vol. I New Series- Colchester
Genealogy of Cathal Crovderg, King of Connacht-
London Underground Website-Stratford Excavation Site-
Stansted Montfitchet-Local History of Montfitchet-
Montfitchet Castle and Norman Village-
William de Montfitchet-
Gilbert de Montfitchet-
Margaret and Richard de Burgh-
Sir John Gernon-Lord of Lexton- 1290-1333-p.4-6
Go Ireland.com Irish genealogy-Garland,Gernon-
Companions of Duke William at Hastings-
Charlemagne and Descendants- -
Rules of England and Great Britain-
Domesday Witham- The Lands of Robert Gernon by Janet Gyford-
Magna Carta- A Translation as Confirmed by Edward I with his Seal in 1297-
Map of North Weald, Epping and Theydon Gernon-
The History of the Tower of London-Fortress, Palace, Prison-The Normans-
Medieval London-Images of medieval Art and Architecture-England-London- Map of Ludgate (Mountfitchet Castle site) – http://www.info.pitt.edu/htbin/htimage/~medart/mennengl/siteseng.config?312,352
David Nash Ford’s Narrative History of London: The Norman Period-
Sir John Gernon-Lord Lexton-
Haydcock, Thomas C. Jr.:21st Generation(back several generations, follow links)- http://www.uftree.com/UFT/WebPages/mikehaydcock/default/d4/i0002123.htm#i2123
The Gernon Surname Message Board-
Towards a Sociological Analysis of Pedagogic Heritage texts- Dowling and Brown, 1998- http://www.ioe.ac.uk/ccs/dowling/dowling&brown1998.html
County Louth Genealogy-
West Ham’s Timeline- Lal and Amy’s West Ham Timeline-
Family History Resource Center- De Guernon and Gernon Family-
A Baronial Family in Medieval England- The Clares- 1217-1314- Michael Altschul, Hopkins Press 1965- http://www.worldroots.com.clicktron.com/~brigitte/clare.htm
Rootsweb.com Presents : Ancestry of Camilla Parker Bowles-
Conquest. Part II. Three Kings and a Conqueror- http://www.historymedren.about.com/education/historymedren/library/weekly/aa110899.htm?iam=mt&terms=%2Bdamsht%2Baristocracy
Stansted Mountfitchet: A Brief History-
Family Tree Maker’s Genealogy Site: User’s Home Page Book; Ancestors of Walter Richard Moeller-39360. William Fytche- http://www.familytreemaker.com/users/b/r/i/Cathy-F-Brinkman/BOOK-0001/0004-0034.html
The Clan Cargill-
Heraldry of England and Wales- Essex (Obsolete)- Leyton Bourough Council
Oxford University –Ashmolean Museum-Other Information-Monumental Brasses- Antiquities:Brass Rubbings, England, Museums/Societies, p.2-
Castle Notes- Mountfitchet Guide Book, p.6- http://www.ioe.ac.uk/ccs/dowling/castlenotes.html
Fitch Genealogy, p.3-6 – http://www.home.earthlink.net/~nstephan/fitch.htm
Clegg Family History-Pt. 2- Tenth Generation:Hodierna de Gernon-Walter de Burgh- http://www.uftree.com/UFT/WebPages/johnteinweber/CLEGG2/d0/I0000314.htm#i314
William the Conqueror, King of England, (follow genealogy links backwards centuries to early days in Sweden) - http://www.dcs.hull.ac.uk/cgi-bin/gedlkup/n=royal?royal18740
A selection of some French Language publications:
Dictionnaire de la Noblesse- De la Chenaye Dubois et Badier- 3° ed.Vol. XIV-Paris, 1869
Publication de la Société Historique de Tréviéres- Notes Historiques sur le Bessin- Tréviéres, 1924
Répertoire Periodique de Documentation Normande no. 12- Cahiers Léopold De Lisle- Vol. XXV . no spéciale-1976
Le Marquis de la Salle- Edmond Le Monchois
Annuaire Association Normand (A.A.N.)- 1931
Notes sur le Bessin- (Huppain-Villiers-Neuville-sous-Port)
Annuaire Association Normand – (A.A.N.) Congrés de Bayeux – Un saint du Contentin : Saint Marcouf, son culte populaire dans le diocése de Coutances.
Titres, Anoblissement et Pairies de la Restauration-1814-1830- Vicomte A. Reverend- Paris Libraire Honoré Champion-1974
Nouveau Nobiliare de France. Vol II – L. Izarny Gargas, J.J. Lartigue, J. Vaulchier- Recueil de Preuves de Noblesse- ed. Mémoire e Documents 1998, Versaille, Vol. E-L , Vol. T-Z
Dictionnaire des Figures Héraldiques- Vol. VI – Comte Theodore de Renesse, Bruxelles, Société Belge de Librairie-1902
Nobiliare de Normandie- E. de Magny- Editions Contrepoint, Paris, 1979
Gallia Regia ou Etat des officiers royaux des baillages et des sénéchaussées de 1328 à 1515- Société Parisienne d’Histoire et d’Architecture Normandes-1997
Filiations Bretonnes – Vol II – H. Frotier de la Messeliére, 1913- 2° ed. J. Floche-Ed. Mayenne, 1965
Notices, Mémoires et Documents (N.M.D.) XI° Vol. Ed. A. Jacqueline, St. Lò,1894
Enciclopedie La Rousse- 1962- Vol.VI
Abbayes de l’Eveche de Bayeux- Paul de Farcy, Vol.I –(Cerisy, Cordillon, Fontenay, Longues, Laval)- Imprimerie L. Moreau,1887
Receuil des Manuscrits de Henri II- (Inventaire de les Archives de la Manche (Abbaye de Montebourg, Guernon, l’Eglise de Canteloup, Abbaye de Longues, Gernon, Ponteaiulfi) 1174-1189.
Receuil des Manuscrits de Henri II – Archives de la Manche- Collection De Lisle- (G.Gernon, Eglise de Mosles, Eglise de Monfichet, Thomas Gernon, Eglise de Neuville)
Inventaire des Archives Départementales de la Manche- Monasteries et Abbayes, incl. L’Abbaye de Cerisy-la-Forét- Serie H (Burnt during Allied bombing , descriptions of documents remain in the inventory of Series H, was recomposed through scribed copies made before the war.)
Notes Historiques sur le Bessin- Mandeville, Tréviéres, Colleville, Blay, Tour-en-Bessin, Vierville-sur-Mer, (Trévierés, 1924)
Généologie de la Famille de la Riviére-Frederic Alix, Caen, Ed. Louis Jouan, 1911
Biographie Normande- Theodore Le Breton, Vol.III, Ed. A. Le Brument, Rouen, 1861
Les Consiliiers du Parliament de Normandie au XVI° siécle- (1449-1594), Recueil généologique , établi sur la base du Manuscrit Bigot, de la Bibliothéque de Rouen, par Henri De Frondeville, Société de l’Histoire de Normandie,1960
Dictionnaires Biographiques Illustrées Départementaux- Calvados et la Manche , II° ed. , R. Wagner Ed. , Paris (Librérie E. Flammarion)
Nouvelle Biographie Normande- N.N.Oursel, Vol.II , Alphonse Picard Ed. , Paris, 1886
Nobiliare de Normandie- (Publié d’après Chevillard , sur les réchérches de M. de Chamillard, et des autres intendants de cette province)M. de Saint Allais
Récherche de Montfaut- contenant les noms de ceux qu’il trouvà , nobles, et de ceux qu’il imposà à la taille, quoi qu’ils se prétendissent nobles en l’année 1465. II° ed. Mr. P.E.M. L’Abbey de la Roque, Caen, Imprimerie de F. Poisson, Rue Froide, 1818
Histoire Géneologique des Clerel Srs. De Rampan- Tocqueville- 1066-1954- Chanoine G.A. Simon, Caen , Imprimerie Ozanne, 1954
Anoblis en Normandie, de 1545-1661, avec un supplément, 1398-1687- L’Abbé P.F. Le Burier, Evreux, 1886
Statistique Monuméntale du Calvados- M. de Caumont, Vol. Arrondissements de Vire et Bayeux- Caen, A. Hardel, Paris, Derache, Didron,Dentu Libraire, 1857- J. Floch Ed. Imprimerie Mayenne 1967
Société d’Archéologie et d’Histoire de la Manche, St. Lò, Supplément à la Révue de la Manche – fasc. 100, Oct.1983- Mélanges de la Société d’Archéologie de la Manche- XIV° série, 1985- Jean-Michel Bouvris
Histoire du Bessin –Des Origines au XVI° siécle- Vol. I Edmond La Heudrie, Paris, Res Universis, 1991,(reprint from 1920-30’s).
Guide de la Normandie (Map of Monfiquet and Cerisy Forest)
Armorial Général ou Régistres de la Noblesse de France , Paris, Firmin-Didot et C.ie.,1884
Who’s Who in France- Qui est Qui en France- XIII ed. Dictionnaire Biographique, 1977-78, Ed. J. La Fille, Paris
Dictionnaire de Biographie Française- M. Prevost, R. d’Amat- (Vol. Gil-Gir), Paris, Librairie Letouzey et Ané, 1982
Dictionnaire des Ministres de 1789 à 1989- Bénoit Yuert, Ed. Perrin, Paris,
Répértoire de Généologies Françaises Imprimées- E. Arnaud, Vol. II (G-M),
Répértoire des Sources Historiques du Moyen Age – Ulysse Chevalier- Bio Bibliographie, (Vol.I, A-I) Paris, A. Picard, Janvier 1905
Bulletin de la Société Historique de Lisieux- 1926-1930- no.27, Joigny, Imprimerie L. Voulliez et R. Chiot, Fauborg Porte Percy, 1930
Dictionnaire Biographique du Calvados et de la Manche.
Guillaume le Conquérant – Lucie , Delaine, Mardrus.
Notice Biographique sur le Comte de Guernon –Ranville – Ancién Ministre-
M. Boullée, Ancién Magistrat- Caen, chez F.le Blanc Hardel, Imprimaire Libraire-1867
Testament de Ministre Martial Papetire Magliore de Guernon-Ranville, 14 Juin,1863
Genealogical Tree of Gernon-Ranville Family
Plan of Gernon-Ranville Private Cemetery
Journal d’un Ministre- Oeuvre posthume du Comte de Guernon-Ranville-M. Julien Travers- II° ed. Caen, Typographie F. Le Blanche-Hardel, Librairie-1874
Bayeux et Lisieux- Prof. François Neveux- Université de Caen
Cartulaire de l’Abbaye de Longues
Inventaire du Château d’Equilly- art. 61, 1227-1865,
165 Articles- R. Villard, Multigraphie, 1982
Généologie Française- no. 916, 8 Juillet, 1782, f. 12
Bibliothéque National- Catalogue Général des Manuscrits Françaises- Table Général Alphabétique des Ancién et Nouveau Fonds- (no. 1.33264) et des nouvelles acquistes (no. 1-10.000) , Paris, 1931-48, 6 Vol. 11.925 Nouv. Acqu.
Inventaire du Chartrier de la Famille de Moul- 1216-1943- R. Villard- Société d’Archéologie de la Manche- Publ. Multigraphies- fasc. 58, 1985
Libre Noir de Bayeux
Notices biographiques, litteraires et critiques sur les hommes du Calvados- F. Boisard, Caen , 1848
Microfilms in the Archives of the Manche Region- There are more to be searched through, this is just a sample.
Mi57-R51- Nouvelle acquisition 21659- Cartulaire de l’Abbaye de St. Vigor de Cerisy –la-Forét, fondée dans l’an 1032….
Mi 395-R (1-11) (Roll 7,8)
RNC1, RNC2, RNC3
Archives de la Manche – 1551-1707, 1462-1496, 1670-1708, 1723-1781, CDXXVII(1381) , CDLIII -1381