m. Apr 1096
Facts and Events
Count de Meulan Earl of Worcester
In 1119, at the King's palace in Rouen, Waleran attested, as Count of Meulan, a charter issued by his brother, as Earl of Leicester, in favour of St. Nicaise de Meulan. In November 1119 they were with the King when he met Pope Calixtus at Gisors; but in 1123 Waleran was drawn into a conspiracy on behalf of William Clito, the son of Robert Curthose. The King took up arms in October, and captured the castles of Montfort and Pontaudemer before going into winter quarters. In March following Henry besieged the castle of Vatteville. Waleran succeeded in getting supplies through to the defenders, but on his way back to Beaumont he was intercepted by a royal force at Bourgtéroude on 26 March 1124.
He charged at the head of 40 men-at-arms, but his horse was riddled with arrows and he was captured. He was imprisoned successively at Rouen, Bridgnorth and Wallingford till 1129, when the King set him free and gave him back all his lands and castles, except the castle of Pontaudemer. During the remainder of the reign Waleran was usually with the King in England or in Normandy, although in May 1131 he was in his own town of Meulan. He was with Henry when the King died, 1 December 1135, at the castle of Lions. Stephen hastened to secure his support. He gave Waleran the castle of Montfort-sur-Risle and betrothed his little two-year old daughter to the Count, to whom he also gave the City of Worcester. Waleran was at Westminster with the King at Easter 1136, after which he returned to Normandy and joined his brother Robert in fighting their hereditary enemy, Roger de Toeny, whom he eventually captured on 3 October near Vaudreuil. After a visit to England he returned to Normandy with Stephen in March 1137, but went back to England with the King before Christmas. Early in 1138 he drove the King of Scots from the siege of Wark Castle. In May he returned to Normandy, where he again fought against Roger de Toeny, who had been released by Stephen; and the Angevins having invaded Normandy in June, he marched against them in July and they retreated without fighting. It was probably in the latter part of 1138 that he was created EARL OF WORCESTER, perhaps as a reward for his exertions in Normandy. He was again in the Duchy before the end of the year, but returned to England before the summer and became the leader of the party opposed to the Chief Justiciar, the great Bishop Roger of Salisbury; and in June 1139 Waleran and his brother Robert took a leading part in the arrest of Roger and his kinsmen. In the autumn, when the Empress Maud landed in England, he accompanied Stephen to Arundel; and when the King allowed his rival to join the Earl of Gloucester at Bristol, he chose Waleran, with his own brother the Legate, to escort her. In November 1139, Waleran's city of Worcester having been burnt by Gloucester's troops, the Count marched to Worcester, which he reached on 30 November; and hearing that John, son of Harold of Sudeley, had gone over to the Empress, he made a raid on Sudeley. At the battle of Lincoln, 2 February 1140/1, he was one of the Commanders of the royal army who fled when the front was broken by the opening charge, leaving the King to be captured. However, he was one of the 3 Earls who remained faithful to Stephen during his captivity, and he joined the Queen when she recovered London in June; but before the end of 1141 he abandoned Stephen and came to terms with Geoffrey Plantagenet. He seems to have returned to England in the winter of 1141/42, but soon went back to Normandy and remained there. Early in 1144 he went to the aid of Geoffrey, who had taken the city of Rouen but had failed to take the tower. He acted as one of Geoffrey's Justiciars and attested his charters at Rouen. It was probably in the same year that he went on Pilgrimage to St. James of Compostela. In 1146 he took the cross on Palm Sunday with the King of France, his half-brother the Earl of Surrey and many others. The Crusaders set forth in June 1147 and Waleran seems to have accompinied the King of France. There is no record of his deeds in the Crusade, but on his way home in 1149 his ship was caught in a storm and wrecked off the south coast of France. However, the Count and his companions gained the shore by clinging to a couple of planks and some pieces of wreckage. Early in 1150 Geoffrey Plantagenet resigned the Duchy of Normandy to his son Henry; and Waleran acted as one of the young Duke's Justiciars. In 1150, 1151 and/or 1152 Stephen made futile attempts to take Worcester Castle. In 1152 Waleran's maternal uncle the Count of Vermandois died, leaving a son and daughter, who became his wards.
In 1153 he was at Meulan; but in that year he was seized at a conference by his nephew, Robert de Montfort, who imprisoned him at Orbec; and he was compelled to surrender the castle of Montfort-sur-Risle to regain his freedom. Next year he besieged Montfort, but was put to flight by Robert. No evidence has been found that he returned to England after the accession of Henry II; or that he enjoyed the Earldom of Worcester under that monarch; and it seems likely that the King either refused to recognize the existence of that Earldom, a creation of King Stephen, or simply expropriated it. However, Waleran evidently remained on good terms with Henry, for he attested royal charters in Normandy. In 1160 he was one of the witnesses to the Treaty between Henry II and Louis VII concerning the marriage of their children; and when Henry's action in having the marriage celebrated prematurely led to a breach with the King of France, Waleran is said to have sided with Louis. In 1161 Henry seized the castles of the Count of Meulan and his other barons in Normandy, and if he had not already seized the Earldom of Worcester, he probably took this opportunity to do, so; for on 21 July 1162 Waleran granted a charter in favour of the Holy Trinity of Beaumont, and the legend on the counterseal is "Sigillum Galeranni Comitis Bellomontis," instead of "Wigornensis." Probably the breach between Henry and Waleran was only temporary. In 1166, when his end was approaching, he became a monk at Préaux.
He founded the abbey of Bordesley in 1140 or 1141, and was a benefactor to the cathedral church of Worcester, the abbey of St. Peter at Gloucester and the priory of Leominster. In Normandy he founded the abbey of le Valasse about 1150, in fulfilment of a vow which he made on the occasion of his shipwreck; in 1135 the hospital of St. Giles at Pontaudemer; and in 1154 or 1155 a chapel in honour of the Virgin Mary before the gate of his castle at Vatteville. He was a benefactor to the abbeys of Jumiéges, le Bec, Préaux and Lire, to the priories of Corneville and Ecajeul, and to the collegiate church of Beaumont; and confirmed grants to the abbey of St. Wandrille. In France about 1144 he founded the chapel of St. James at Meulan, and he was a benefactor to the abbey of Gournay-sur-Marne and the priory of St. Nicaise of Meulan; in Chartres to the abbey of St. Pére and the priory of St. Pierre de Jouziers; and in Perche to the abbey of Tiron.