William de Warenne, 2nd Earl of Surrey, was born 1080 in Bellencombre, France to William de Warenne (c1040-1088) and Gundred (1053-1085) and died 11 May 1138 Lewes, Sussex, England, United Kingdom of unspecified causes. He married Elizabeth de Vermandois (c1081-1131) 1118 JL .


He is more often referred to as Earl Warenne or Earl of Warenne than as Earl of Surrey.

In January 1091, William assisted Hugh of Grantmesnil (d.1094) in his defense of Courcy against the forces of Robert de Belleme and Duke Robert [1].

Sometime around 1093 he tried to marry Matilda (or Edith), daughter of king Malcolm III of Scotland. She instead married Henry I of England, and this may be the cause of William's great dislike of Henry I, which was to be his apparent motivator in the following years.

He accompanied Robert Curthose (Duke Robert) in his 1101 invasion of England, and afterwards lost his English lands and titles and was exiled to Normandy[2]. There he complained to Curthose that he expended great effort on the duke's behalf and had in return lost most of his possessions. Curthose's return to England in 1103 was apparently made to convince his brother to restore William's earldom. This was successful, though Curthose had to give up all he had received after the 1101 invasion, and subsequently William was loyal to Henry.

To further insure William's loyalty Henry considered marrying him to one of his many illegitimate daughters. He was however dissuaded by Archbishop Anselm of Canterbury, for any of the daughters would have been within the prohibited degrees of consanguinity. The precise nature of the consanguinous relationship Anselm had in mind has been much debated, but it is most likely he was referring to common descent from the father of duchess Gunnor.

William was one of the commanders on Henry's side (against Robert Curthose) at the Battle of Tinchebray in 1106. Afterwards, with his loyalty thus proven, he became more prominent in Henry's court.

In 1110, Curthose's son William Clito escaped along with Helias of Saint-Saens, and afterwards Warenne received the forfeited Saint-Saens lands, which were very near his own in upper Normandy. By this maneuver king Henry further assured his loyalty, for the successful return of Clito would mean at the very least Warenne's loss of this new territory.

He fought at the Battle of Bremule in 1119 [3], and was at Henry's deathbed in 1135.

William's death is recorded as 11-May-1138 in the register of Lewes priory and he was buried with his father at the chapter-house there.


Offspring of William de Warenne and Elizabeth de Vermandois (c1081-1131)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Gundred de Warenne (1119-1165) 1119 1165 Roger of Warwick (1102-1153)
William of Lancaster (-c1170)
William de Warenne, 3rd Earl of Surrey (1120-1148) 1119 8 January 1148 Turkey Adele de Ponthieu (c1119-1174)
Ada de Warenne (c1120-1178) 1120 1178 Henry of Scotland (1114-1152)
Ralph de Warenne (1124-?) 1124 Warwick
Reginald de Warenne (1126-1179)
Ela de Warenne (1128-?)


Offspring of William de Warenne (c1040-1088) and Gundred (1053-1085)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Edith de Warenne (1075-aft1125) 1075 1125 Girard de Gournay (c1076-1099)
Dreux III de Monchy (1080-)
William de Warenne, 2nd Earl of Surrey (1080-1138) 1080 Bellencombre, France 11 May 1138 Lewes, Sussex, England, United Kingdom Elizabeth de Vermandois (c1081-1131)
Reginald de Warenne (1082-?)


  1. ^ Orderic Vitalis, p. 692
  2. ^ Orderic Vitalis p.785
  3. ^ Orderic Vitalis p.853-4

See Also

Footnotes (including sources)