William, Lord of Moulins-la-Marche, arrondissement of Mortagne, is mentioned by Wace as one of the combatants at Senlac —
" E dam Willame des Molins " (Rom. de Rou, 1. 13,565);
but neither Le Prévost nor Taylor enlightens us as to his pedigree, the latter merely describing him as the son of Walter of Falaise, as we already knew from Orderic, who is silent respecting the family of his father and his mother. In the absence of any information on the subject, I am strongly inclined to believe that this Walter of Falaise was the Walter son of Fulbert the burgess of Falaise, brother of
Herleve and uncle of William the Conqueror, who with his daughter Matilda, wife of Raoul Taisson, witnessed the foundation charter of Fontenay as already stated.
The title of De Moulins, borne by the son of Walter de Falaise, was obtained by him through his marriage with Alberede or Albrede, daughter and heir of a certain Guitmund, whose hand was bestowed by the Conqueror on William, with the whole of her father's fief of Molines, in reward of his services either at Senlac or elsewhere, he being, as Orderic informs us, "a gallant soldier."
In conjunction with his wife Alberede he was a great benefactor to the Abbey of St. Evroult, bestowing on it the Church of Mahern, with the titles and all the priest's lands and the cemetery belonging to it, the Church of St. Lawrence in the town of Moulines, and his demesne land near the castle, and the Church of Bonmoulines, with all the tithes of corn, the mill, and the oven.
In 1073 he was sent by King William, in company with William de Vieuxpont and other brave knights, to the assistance of John de la Flèche against Fulk le Rechin (the Quarreller), Count of Anjou, and his ally, Hoel V, Duke of Brittany, following himself with a large army; but serious hostilities were prevented by a mediation which terminated in the Peace of Blanchelande (vol.i.,p.l98).
After Albreda had borne him two sons, William and Robert, it appears he divorced her on the plea of consanguinity. This may afford us some clue to the desired information.
William married secondly Duda, daughter of Waleran de Meulent, by whom also he had two sons, Simon and Hugh, who were both cut off by a cruel death, Orderic informs us, leaving no issue. [Hugh was drowned in the wreck of " the White Ship."] The divorced Albreda ended her days in a nunnery.
The same author, describing William de Moulines, says "he was too fond of vain and empty glory, in pursuit of which he was guilty of indiscriminate slaughter. It is reported that he shed much blood, and that his ferocity was so great that every blow he dealt was fatal. Through prosperity and adversity he lived to grow old, and, so far as this world is concerned, passed his days in honour. Dying at length in his own castle, he was buried in the chapter-house of St. Evroult."
His son and successor, Robert, fell under the displeasure of Henry 1, was banished, and with his wife Agnes, daughter of Robert de Grentmesnil, went to Apulia, where he died; his brother Simon succeeded to his inheritance, and with his wife Adeline confirmed all the gifts of his family to St. Evroult. He was probably personally known to Orderic, who evidently knew more of Guitmond and his sons-in-law than he has unfortunately thought it necessary to chronicle.
Added to the site through the courtesy of Fred L. Curry, who provided a photocopy of the chapter.