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Geoffrey and Athelaise de Mandeville

Geoffrey de Mandeville (Magna Villa) was most probably buried with his first wife Athelaise in the cloister of Westminster Abbey. In a charter to the Abbey granting them the nearby manor of Eye (between about 1087 and 1097) he states that his wife is buried in the cloister and that he wishes to be buried with her, so it is assumed that this took place when he died in 1100. But the Norman cloister, built by Edward the Confessor, was swept away when Henry III rebuilt the Abbey from 1245 so the site of their graves is not known.

The family came from Manneville in the Dieppe region of France. He was sheriff of London, Essex and Middlesex and Constable of the Tower of London. He was very wealthy and had inherited the lands belonging to Esgar, an official who served King Edward the Confessor. Geoffrey founded the priory church of St Mary, Hurley in Berkshire as a cell of Westminster in about 1086. By his first wife Athelaise he had sons Richard and William. His second wife was Lesceline. William married Margaret de Ryes and was father of Geoffrey de Mandeville, 1st Earl of Essex.

Geoffrey and Athelaise de Mandeville
Westminster Abbey in early Norman times

Reconstruction drawing by Terry Ball 1980.

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2020 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

The biggest challenge we face is maintaining such a large physical collection of material within a historic building – believe it or not, there’s just not enough space for it all.

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Matthew - Keeper of the Muniments

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