Hugh d'Avranches, 1st Earl of Chester

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Hugh d'Avranches, 1st Earl of Chester († July 27, 1101 ) was one of the great barons of early Norman England .

He was the son of Richard Goz , Vice Count of Avranches in the extreme southwest of Normandy . He inherited a considerable amount of property from his father not only in Avranches, but in the entire west of the country.

He became an important advisor to William II, Duke of Normandy , and provided sixty ships for the conquest of England , but did not fight in the Battle of Hastings himself , as he was one of those who were left behind by William to administer Normandy.

After William became King of England , Hugh was granted further extensive land holdings and was appointed Earl of Chester in 1071 , with the power of a Count Palatinate in view of Cheshire's location on the border with Wales .

Hugh spent a lot of time fighting the Welsh. Together with his cousin Robert of Rhuddlan , he subjugated a large part of North Wales, with Robert initially holding the northeast of Wales as Hugh's vassal .

In 1081, Gruffydd ap Cynan king of Gwynedd was captured by treason at a meeting near Corwen . Gruffydd was held captive by Hugh in his Chester castle , and Robert took over his kingdom. When Robert was killed by Welsh insurgents in 1088, Hugh took over his land and became ruler of most of North Wales. In 1094 he lost Anglesey and large areas of Gwynedd in another uprising led by the escaped Gruffydd ap Cynan.

In the summer of 1098, Hugh allied with Hugh of Montgomery, 2nd Earl of Shrewsbury to make up for the losses. Gruffydd ap Cynan retired to Anglesey and was forced to flee to Ireland when a Danish fleet, whose support he had bought, switched sides. The situation changed with the arrival of a Norwegian fleet under the command of King Magnus III. who attacked the Norman fleet at the east end of Menai Strait . Hugh of Shrewsbury was killed by an arrow allegedly shot by Magnus himself. The Normans had to evacuate Anglesey, and the following year Gruffydd returned from Ireland. Hugh of Chester apparently came to an understanding with him and no longer tried to conquer his country.

Since Hugh of Chester gained so much weight over time that he could hardly walk, he was called Hugh the Fat , while the Welsh people called him Hugh Flaidd ( Hugo the Wolf or Hugo Lupus ).

He married Ermentrude de Clermont ( House of Clermont ), with whom he had a son, Richard , who became his successor.


  • Barry W. Cunliffe: The Penguin atlas of British & Irish history. Penguin. 72. ISBN 9780141009155
  • The New Encyclopaedia Britannica: Micropaedia. Encyclopaedia Britannica. 1995, p. 180. ISBN 9780852296059
  • CP Lewis: Avranches, Hugh d ', first earl of Chester (d. 1101), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press (2004)
predecessor Office successor
New title created Earl of Chester
Richard d'Avranches
Richard le Goz Vice Count of Avranches
Richard d'Avranches