GEOFFREY, SON OF ROTROU, SEIGNEUR DE MORTAGNE, COMTE DE PERCHE
Guillaume de Poitiers distinctly enumerates "Godfredus Rotronis Moritoniæ comitus filius" as one of the combatants at Senlac, and "De Meaine il viel Geffrai" is considered by Monsieur le Prévost a misreading for "De Mortaigne," Duchesne's MS. reading "Marreigne." There is certainly no reason for believing that Geoffrey de Mayenne, the implacable enemy of William the Conqueror, took any part whatever in the invasion of England in I066; but I think Wace was misled by some report to believe he did, because the epithet "le viel" would not at all apply to Geoffrey de Mortagne, who was very young at that period, and did not succeed his father, Rotrou 1, Vicornte de Châteaudun and Comte de Mortagne, for at least thirteen years after the Conquest, as the Count was certainly living in 1079, at the time of the dedication of the Church of St. Denis de Nogent, the; precise date of his death being unknown. Guillaume de Poitiers so completely identifies his man by describing him as "the son of Rotrou, Count of Mortagne,'" that whatever the mistake may be in the "Roman de Rou," I am justified in preferring the archdeacon's authority, particularly as it is supported by the testimony of Orderic, who gives Geoffrey a very high character. "This Count," he tells us, "was magnanimous, handsome, and strong; he feared God, was a devout friend of the Church, a staunch protector of her clergy and the poor. In peace he was gentle and courteous, and of most obliging manners; in war he was powerful and successful, and became formidable to the neighbouring princes who were his enemies. The nobility of his own birth and that of his wife Beatrice rendered him illustrious above all his compeers, and he had amongst his subjects warlike barons and brave governors of castles. He gave his daughters in marriage to men of the rank of counts: Margaret to Henry, Earl of Warwick, and Juliana to Gilbert de l'Aigle, from whom sprung a noble race of handsome children. The glory of Count Geofirey was exalted by such a progeny, and he maintained it by his valour and courage, his wealth, and alliances. Above all, having the fear of God, he feared no man, but marched
boldly with a lion's port. Laying claim to the strong Castle of Domfront, which had belonged to his great-grandfather, Warin de Belesme, and other domains as his right, he endeavoured to dispossess his cousin Robert (de Belesme) of them. He was grieved to harass the unarmed and innocent, but he could not bring the public enemy (for such assuredly was Robert de Belesme) with whom he had a just quarrel to a fair field for deciding it.
"Towards the close of the year 1100, Geoffrey fell sick unto death, and having called about him the lords of Le Perche and Le Corbonnais, who were vassals to him as Count of Mortagne, he put his affairs in order with great wisdom, praying them to keep his lands and strong places for his only son Rotrou, who had gone in pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Then the brave lord having duly received all the rites of the Church, and assumed the habit of a Cluniac monk, died in his Castle of Nogent-le-Rotrou in October 1100, and was buried in the church of the monastery of St. Dionysius the Areopagite, founded in 1030 by his grandfather, Geoffrey 1, and which he richly endowed with lands and other possessions."
At the close of the year his son Rotrou returned in safety from the Holy Land, and took possession of his estates. On the fifth day after reaching home, being Sunday, he paid his devotions at the Church of St Denis, at Nogent, where his father had been buried, and made his offering on the altar of St. Denis, with the palms he had brought from Jerusalem.
By his wife Beatrice, daughter of Hilduin, fourth Comte de Montdidier and Ronci, Geoffrey had besides Rotrou, who succeeded him, and the two daughters named above, a third, daughter named Mahaut or Mathilde, married first to Raymond l, Vicomte de Turenne, and secondly to Gui de las Tours, in Limousin.
From his daughter Margaret, Countess of Warwick, descended the celebrated Beauchamps and Nevils, Earls of Warwick, and many other illustrious personages.
Added to this site through the courtesy of Fred L. Curry, who provided a photocopy of the section.