Ref: Burke, pp. 568-569.
The following account is from Crispin and
Macary in "Falaise Rolls":
"The family derived its name from the
fiefdom of Vareene in St.-Aubin-le-Cauf, arrondissement of Dieppe.
William, Count of Warren (Varenne) in Normandy, was descended
from Gautier de St.-Martin and a niece of the duchess Gonnor,
who had issue: 1. Raoul de Warren, a benefactor to the abbey
of Trinite du Mont in the middle of the 11th century, was the
father of William de Warren I and of Roger de Mortemer, father
of Raoul de Mortemer, who was present at Hastings; 2. sire de
St.-Martin, possibly named Gautier, ancestor of the family of
this name in Normandy and England. Orderic Vital styles William
the cousin or kinsman of Roger de Mortemer; however, this is an
error. Norman People published this pedigree: Gautier
de St.-Martin, and a niece of the aforesaid duchess had a son,
William de St.-Martin, whose issue were: 1. Roger de Mortemer,
father of Raoul de Mortemer, a warrior at Hastings; 2. Raoul
de Warren; and 3. sire de St.-Martin, but this makes too many
generations for the known facts.
William de Warren is first mentioned in history
in connection with the battle of Mortemer in 1054 by Oderic Vital,
and again as having attended the council at Lillebonne, where
it was determined to invade England. He later was one of the
powerful seigniors who attended Duke William to the Conquest,
and Wace records "De Garenes i vint Willeme," but nothing
of importance is chronicled concerning him at Hastings. In 1067
he was one of the nobles entrusted with the government of England
during the king's absence in Normandy under the jurisdiction of
Bishop Odo and William Fitz Osberne. In 1074 he was associated
with Richard de Bienfaite in the suppression of the rebellion
of the Earls of Hereford and Norfolk and as joint-Justice-General
with him for administering justice throughout the whole realm.
His reward was princely, since he held the great baronies of
Castle Acre in Norfolk, Lewes in Sussex, where he usually resided,
and Coningsburg in Yorkshire, with twenty-eight towns and hamlets
in its soke. In all he possessed 300 manors and was created the
first Earl of Surrey by King William Rufus. The reason for this
enormous reward was probably because he married Gundreda,
who is believed to have been the daughter
of Queen Matilda (and William the Conqueror?);
she died in 1085. This theory is supported by a charter of William
de Warren to Lewes priory, in which he states that his donations,
among others, were for Queen Matilda, the mother of his wife.
It is conjectured that Grundreda and Gherbold the Fleming, created
Earl of Chester, her brother, were the children
of Queen Matilda by a former marriage, probably clandestine, and
therefore not reported by the historians of the day.
William de Warren I. was succeeded by his son, William de Warren
II., Earl of Warren and Surrey, who married Elizabeth, daughter
of the great Earl of Vermandois, the widowed countess of Meulent,
by whom he had, among other children, William de Warren III.,
the last earl of his line, who succeeded him and died in the Holy
Land, leaving an only child, Isabel Warren, who inherited his
vast domain and through whom the family descended. In addition
to Wace, William de Warren is reported in Hastings by William
de Poitiers, Oderic Vital and Benoit de St.-More."
The following account is from Burke and Wurts.
This potent noble built the castle of Holt, and founded the priory of Lewes, in Sussex. He resided principally at the castle of Lewes, and had besides Castle-Acres, in Norfolk, and noble castles at Coningsburg and Sandal. He died on June 24, 1088, and Dugdale gives the following curious account of his parting hour. "It is reported that this Earl William did violently detain certain lands from the monks of Ely; for which, being often admonished by the abbot, and not making restitution, he died miserably. And, although his death happened very far off the Isle of Ely, the same night he died, the abbot lying quietly in his bed, and meditating on heavenly things, heard the soul of this Earl, in its carriage away by the devil, cry out loudly, and with a known and distinct voice, Lord have mercy on me : Lord have mercy on me. And, moreover, that the next day after, the abbot acquainted all the monks in chapter therewith. And likewise that about four days after, there came a messenger to them from the wife of this Earl, with 100 shillings for the good of his soul, who told him that he died the very hour that the abbot had heard the outcry. But that neither the abbot nor any of the monks would receive it; not thinking it safe for them to take the money of a damned person." "If this part of the story," adds Dugdale, "as to the abbot's hearing the noise, be no truer than the last, that is that this lady sent 100 shillings, I shall deem it to be a mere fiction, in regard the lady was certainly dead about three years before." The Earl was succeeded by his son, William.
The earl died May 11, 1138 (1135), and was succeeded by his son, William.
In 1147, the Earl of Warrenne and Surrey assumed the cross, and accompanied King Louis of France to the Holy Land against the Saracens. From this unfortunate enterprise he never returned, but whether he fell in battle or died in captivity has never been ascertained. He d.s.p.m. in 1148.
The eldest son, William, succeeded his father.
He died in 1240, and was succeeded by his son, John.
See the continuation of this lineage in the Fitz Alan Line.