Earl of Devon Baldwin de Reviers
d.4 JUN 1155
Facts and Events
Baldwin de Reviers, son of Richard de Reviers, Lord of Reviers, Vernon, and Nehou (all in Normandy), supported the Empress Maud against King Stephen in the period known as the Anarchy following the death of Henry I and was by her created Earl of Devon c1141. The name of Reviers was subsequently corrupted to Redvers. As well as holding the Earldom of Devon the de Revierses were Lords of the Isle of Wight. [Burke's Peerage]
EARLDOM OF DEVON (I)
BALDWIN DE REVIERS, son and heir of Richard DE REVIERs. On the rumour of the King's death, in April 1136, he was one of the first to break into revolt. Seizing the royal castle of Exeter, he sustained a long siege by the King, and was ultimately allowed to withdraw his forces on giving up the castle. The King then proceeded to the Isle of Wight, took possession of the island, and drove him, with his wife and children, into exile. He took refuge at the Court of the Count of Anjou, and soon afterwards conducted a successful raid into Normandy. About Lent 1138 he was taken prisoner in Normandy by Enguerrand de Say, a partisan of King Stephen. He returned to England in -the autumn of 1139, shortly before the arrival of the Empress Maud, and, landing at Wareham, seized the castle of Corfe. This he defended successfully against the King, forcing him eventually to raise the siege. By the Empress he was created EARL OF DEVON, probably in 1141, and certainly before Midsummer in that year. He married Adelise. He died 4 June 1155, and was buried (as was his said wife) in Quarr Abbey, which he had founded in 1132. [Complete Peerage IV:311-2, (transcribed by Dave Utzinger)]
Baldwin de Redvers, 2nd Earl of Devon. This nobleman, upon the demise of King Henry I, espousing the cause of the Empress Maud, took up arms and immediately fortified his castle of Exeter and the Isle of Wight; but, being besieged by King Stephen, he was obliged to surrender the castle and all his other possessions and to withdraw with his family from the kingdom. We find him, however, soon again returning and in the enjoyment of the Earldom of Devon; but, like his father, generally styled Earl of Exeter, from residing in the city, His lordship m. Lucia, dau. of Dru de Balun, and had issue, Richard, his successor; William, surnamed de Verdon; and Maud. He d. in June, 1155, and was s. by his son, Richard de Redvers, 3rd Earl of Devon. [Sir Bernard Burke, Dormant and Extinct Peerages, Burke's Peerage, London, 1883, p. 140, Courtenay, Barons Courtenay, Earls of Devon]
The original title of the monastery is the Abbey of our Lady of the Quarry because there used to be a stone quarry in neighbouring Binstead. Quarr stone was used in the Tower of London and has recently helped to prove the date of the White Tower.
Ancient Quarr Abbey was founded in 1132 by Baldwin de Redvers, earl of Exeter and fourth lord of the Isle of Wight.
Little now remains of the ancient abbey which was suppressed by Henry VIII in 1536. The Abbey was demolished and its stone used for fortifications at Cowes and Yarmouth. One of the three abbey bells still calls to worship since it is now at Binstead parish church.
Bones found in the north wall of the church are thought to be those of Baldwin de Redvers the founder of the Abbey. The thigh bone belonged to a man of abnormal proportions — the grave itself is 2.05meters (6ft 9ins). The remains of Balwin's wife, princess Cicely, daughter of King Edward IV, also still lie on the site of ancient Quarr Abbey.
Geoffrey, abbot of Savigny
It was the monks from Savigny who Balwin appealed to for his monastic foundation. The abbey of Savigny lies on the edge of the forest of that name, some eighty kilometres (50 miles) to the south-west of Balwin’s Norman lands, just where Normandy, Maine and Brittany meet. Balwin may well have known the founder, Vitalis, but it was the second abbot, Geoffrey, 1122-1139, who created the Order of Savigny and who sent a group of monks to the Isle of Wight. Quarr was established at the height of Savigny’s reputation, for Geoffrey was even more of a saint and reformer than the founder and the observance was exemplary. Further, abbot Geoffrey and King Henry I were on most friendly terms.
Geoffrey agreed to send about a dozen of his monks to the Isle of Wight for the foundation at Quarr with Gervase as the first abbot and the foundation is generally agreed to have taken place in 1131 or 1132.
The Foundation charter bears no date but has been the subject of a penetrating study. It is written in an unusal venerable diploma form which requires no seal, but each witness puts a sign of the cross before his name. It can be deduced by the signatories that the charter took its final shape on some occasion between 1141 and 1143. This is some ten years after the settlement at Quarr and a five or so years after abott Geoffrey of Savigny had died.
The ancient Quarr Abbey was founded in 1132 by Baldwin de Redvers, Earl of Devon and fourth lord of the Isle of Wight. The name Quarr comes from `quarry', because there used to be a stone quarry in the neighbourhood, and so the original title of the monastery was the Abbey of our Lady of the Quarry. Stone from the quarry was used in the Middle Ages for both ecclesiatical and military buildings, for example for parts of the Tower of London. The founder was buried in the Abbey and his remains and those of his wife, Princess Cicely, daughter of King Edward IV, still lie on the site of the medieval monastery. Little now remains of the buildings of the abbey, which was suppressed by Henry VIII in 1536. The greater part of the abbey was demolished and its stone used for fortifications at the nearby towns of Cowes and Yarmouth. One of the three abbey bells is preserved in the belfry of the nearby Anglican parish church, originally built by the monks of Quarr Abbey for their lay dependents. Stone was also used to build Quarr Abbey House.
The Quarr Abbey House of the early 20th century was one of a series of fine houses built along the north coast of the Isle of Wight. It was a residence of the Cochrane family, one member of which was the daring Admiral Lord Cochrane (1775-1860), "le loup des mers" ("the sea wolf") famous for his part in the liberation of Chile, Peru and Brazil from colonial dominion and whose life and exploits inspired the fiction of novelists Captain Marryat, C.S. Forester, Patrick O'Brian and Bernard Cornwell. His nephew Admiral Sir Thomas John Cochrane (1779-1872) lived at Quarr Abbey House and his daughter Minna was lady-in-waiting to Princess Beatrice, youngest daughter of Queen Victoria. Thus it came about that it was at Quarr Abbey House that Princess Beatrice spent her honeymoon after her marriage to Prince Henry of Battenberg on July 23, 1885 at St. Mildred's Church, Whippingham on the Isle of Wight, where Henry was sadly to be interred only a few months later, in what became known as the Battenberg Chapel . Queen Victoria visited Quarr Abbey House and the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, and the German Kaiser William II watched the sailing boats from the balcony of the House during the annual Cowes Week Regatta. Only ten days before her death, Queen Victoria recorded in her diary that Minna Cochrane and her daughter Beatrice had played duets to her. After the Queen's death at Osborne House, the Cochrane family and others ceased to frequent the island so assiduously. Quarr Abbey House was left in the hands of a caretaker and put on the market.