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The Royal Family of Toney

Foreword for The Royal Family of Toney

The Toney Family book by Constance Demaine Saunders was published by the Walthamstow Antiquarian Society and was originally intended to explain the first of a series of illuminated panels by Louisa Puller, in the central library at Walthamstow. Walthamstow Manor, which is situated in Essex, England, was inherited by the Toney Family through maternal lines, through Waltheof the Saxon Earl of Huntingdon and Northhampton, who possessed it at the Norman Conquest.

“In 1075, a great marriage feast (called a Bride Ale), took place at evening on the Newmarket Road, and Waltheof was among the guests”.(a) William the Conqueror had a friend Fitz Osbern, whose daughter Emma was to be the bride. Her husband to be was a Breton Lord of English blood of the name of Ralph de Guader, Earl of Norfolk. Emma’s father Fitz Osbern had died and Lady Emma was a ward of the Conqueror, and he had forbidden the marriage. It had been a long nine plus years since the Battle of Hastings and King William’s rule was becoming burdensome. Emma’s brother Roger, Earl of Hereford was leader to these malcontents and thought the time right to rebel. “William was in Normandy; the Bride ale seemed an opportunity for collecting followers and for launching plans. Great men of every kind whose disaffection was suspected, came with Waltheof to the forbidden feast. There was much drinking of ale and mead, and many raised there voices against the Conqueror.”(b) They spoke of the time when he would no longer be king. Waltheof was the most important guest at the feast, and the drinking men went as far as to offer him the Conqueror’s crown. Waltheof must have been lured into taking an oath with the conspiring group.

The next day when Waltheof’s mind was clear again, he had repented of his dastardly deeds of the night before. He rushed to talk to the Archbishop Lanfranc, and ask him to help him make peace with William. This might have worked, however Waltheof's wife Judith, niece to the Conqueror, had heard of the event and wanted revenge. “Perhaps her fierce Norman blood had revolted from the first against a political marriage, certainly she was determined that Waltheof should die. On May 31, 1076, the last Saxon earl knelt at dawn upon the downs above Winchester, and as he uttered the prayer, ”Deliver us from evil” the headsman’s sword fell.”(c) Waltheof had been a rich benefactor to the monks of Crowland, and so they carried his body and buried it at their Fenland Monastery.

His soul was believed by his friends and countrymen to now rest among the Saints on high. The will of William fell also on many that had attended the feast that fatal night. Ralph of Norfolk and Lady Emma died as they fled as fugitives toward the Holy Land. Roger of Hereford finished the rest of his life in prison, after loosing both hands and his Welsh Castle of Clifford. But this did not end the association of Roger’s family with the family of Waltheof. Roger’s mother Adeliza de Tony was sister to the Conqueror’s Standard Bearer. Waltheof’s little daughter Judith was to marry the Standard Bearer’s son.

The Royal Family Of Toney

The Castle at Conches

The Priory of St. Michels

St. Leonards at Flamstead

Tapistry Battle of Hastinags

Chateaux Gailard


The first known ancestor of the Toney Family was Malahulc/Malahule/Malahulcius, and Rollo/Rolfe his nephew. For simplicity's sake, let us call the first Malahule, and latter Rolf. Because of increasing population density in the area of the Romsdal Fjord in Norway, many young men were forced to board the famous Viking ships to seek their fortunes in other lands. It is said that Malahule and his nephew went out in their Viking ship “to find what they could find.”(d) Also, a lack of tillable land added to the need for a seafaring lifestyle. The Norwegians of this area had developed a love for adventure and were also led by prospects of fame, wealth and higher standards of living.

Many times the men would take their families and leave them in camps near the area of their attack. Others left the families home to tend the crops. A trip made out in the fall of the year would be called an Autumn Viking, one undertaken in the spring would be called a Spring Viking and etc. On many of these trips taken by Rolfe and Malahule, they would raid and pillage the coastlines of the Kingdoms of the East and West Franks. After many years of this, Charles the Simple the King of the West Franks made a deal with Rolf. He gave him his daughter to wife and the land now called Normandy, but only if he would leave the rest of the surrounding land in peace. So Rolf became the first Duke of Normandy and was an underlord to Charles The Simple. Rolf and the king signed a treaty called "St Clair-sur-Ept.

Malahule had a son named Hugh DeCalvacamp, who was most likely born in the Normandy area of France about the year 890. He was the father of two sons. The oldest was Hugh born about 915. He became a monk at the abbey of St. Denis in the Kingdom of France. Hugh was called to Normandy in 942 by William Longsword, the first truly Christian duke of the Normans, and made him Archbishop of Rouen. (William Longsword was the son of Rolf). It is said “that although Hugh was of a noble family, he was ignoble in all his works,he begat a number of illegitimate children and destroyed the church and the property of the church.” “ He was consecrated, 18 Dec 942.”(1) Obviously the children were begat without the benefit of wedlock! He gave some of the church related lands to his only brother Ralph. The land given to Ralph was in a village called in French "Toeni' or 'Tosney.'

The earliest colony started by Rolf, his Norsemen relatives, and friends was along the Seine River in Normandy. Here the descendants of Malahule began their new life in a new land.

Ralph de Tony I

The land that Ralph was given by his brother was in an area called, "Toeni", but it is now called "Tosny." In the word "Tosny", the only letters that have a sound are “Tony.” Thereafter Ralph was known as Ralph de Toeni or Ralph de Tony. We will hereafter use the name of Ralph de Tony, which is the name later decided on by the family. Anyway, the sleepy little Village of Toeni was set among green meadows and looking across the river you could see the Chateau Gaillard towers above Les Andelys. Ralph died 10 Nov. 989 or 990. We know very little of Ralph de Tony I, except that he was a very powerful man, no.1 because of his inherited lands, and no.2 because he was related to the Dukes of Normandy.

Map of Early Normandy & France

Ralph de Toney II

Ralph de Tony II was born around 970. In 1003 Ralph is bearing the Norman Standard in Burgundy. During the time period of 1013 or so the Duke of Normandy gave custody of the Castle at Tillieres to Ralph. His son Roger was to share in this right. Ralph had inherited Tosni/Toeny from his father Ralph. At some point this Ralph also picked up the custody of another castle at Conches. He appeared in Apula about 1015, and was present at the siege of Salerno in the company of 40 or so pilgrims returning home from the Holy Land. Salerno was being attacked at that time by the Saracens and was about to be taken, when the Pilgrims exchanged their staffs and picked up a sword in defense of their brethren. This was said to give Salerno the upper hand. The pilgrims were praised for their bravery, but said "they had done all things for the love of God."(e) Ralph was also present in France at a dispute between Duke Richard II and Robert of France. The central dispute was over the fortress of Auxerre. The Saone River surrounded it and a wall with towers also.

At this time in the world, people were seeing strange atmospheric conditions that made them shudder and fear. They thought they saw a fiery dragon in the sky and then the heavens became black. There is a very dramatic account of this by the chronicler that recorded it, but the Norseman who beheld it should have been accustomed to this midwinter phenomenon as there ancestors in Norway were. These were the flickering of the Northern Lights called the Aurora Borealis. Later Duke Richard sent for Ralph and his son Roger to help defend the Castle of Tillieres in the Cotentin from Odo of Chartres, the Duke’s supposed “evil” brother-in-law. We also hear that Ralph and Roger may have been present in the Spanish marches. This is the last we hear of Ralph II.

Roger de Tony I......Hispanicus

Roger was born around 990 and died about 1040. The word “Hispanicus” means “Spaniard”, this is possibly because of his involvement in the Spanish marches and also to distinguish him from the other Rogers’ de Tony involved in our Tony saga. We must remember that he had joint custody of the Castle at Tillieres. Now with Ralph his father gone to his reward, Roger has soul custody of the castle. It has been said “that he was a powerful and haughty man.”(2) He was also the Hereditary Standard Bearer of all Normandy. Roger appears to have inherited the fief of Toeni & Conches (known also as Chatillon) that was situate to Evreux. He established the Abbey of St. Peter and St.Paul de Chatillon in the area of Conches. Conches hangs most prominently on a hillside right above Rouloir, and there is a little stream that flows into the Seine River. About the year 1030 Roger attested a charter in the area of Wandrille, for Duke Robert I. Roger, while in Spain, distinguished himself in fighting the Moors. Roger also established a fortress in this area that is still evident to this day.

The Church of St. Faith at Conches was a result of Roger’s trip to Spain to help the Christian princes in their fight against the Moors. This all happened in the vicinity of the Pyrenean border area of Spain. While in the Pyrenean area of Spain, Roger met Godehildis, daughter of Count Ramon Borel, and sister to Beranger Raymond. Ramon Borel, being the Count of Bacelona who died fighting in a great battle of the Cerdagne some years past. It is said that Count Ramon was a good friend of Pope Sylvester II.

Roger de Tony I in Spain

As one might well imagine, a Norseman who takes a bride of The House of Barcelona would be in for a surprise. Think of the differences in the two cultures. The Tony family, as with other Norseman, were fierce, known to be brutal and they were only recently introduced to Christianity. As Constance Demaine Saunders has said, “The Tonys and their kin had changed very little in nature since the Raven banner floated over their dragon ships, between the fjords and Iceland.”(f) For the Barcelona family the most important preoccupation for the past years had been--–how to maintain Christianity against the Islamic infiltrations. Many were to have recurring nightmares of Moslem riders in white cloaks.

The parents of Lady Godehildis build a church and called it “The Church of San Daniel de Gerona.” This church, build in the tenth century, could have been where Roger and his bride were married. After a while the fighting has ceases and Roger makes a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella, it having been recently recovered from the Moors. He then took his bride and they both went to visit the Shrine of St. Faith at Conques in Auvergne. It was a tradition to take souvenirs of body parts of Saints. They chose the relics of the Virgin Saint and took them home to Normandy. When they returned home they dedicated the church that Roger had built near his home to the Virgin who had died as a martyr at Agen in Dacian’s persecution as long as 700 years before.

When Roger returned to Normandy he was furious, Duke Robert the Magnificent had left for the Holy Land on a Crusade and had died there. Now William, the illegitimate son of Robert, would be the new Norman ruler. Roger did something then that would prove the brutality of his race. In about 1040 he ravaged the lands of his neighbors, in particular those of Humphrey de Vieilles. After this, Humphrey’s son Roger de Beaumont of Pont Audemer retaliated on behalf of his family; Roger de Tony and two of his sons were slain. He is buried in St. Peter’s Abbey in his hometown of Conches on May 30th, and that day was observed for many years. Some say that he was buried in the Chapter House under a marble slab that sits on the backs of three stone lions. After Rogers’s death, Lady Godehildis married Richard Count of Evreux, grandson of Richard the Fearless, Duke of Normandy. Godehildis had two children from this union. Their names are William, Count of Evreux and Agnes, wife of Simon de Montfort, of whom we will hear much more later.

Ralph de Tony II “the Elder”

It is not known when Ralph was born, but he died in 1102. He was the eldest son of Roger Hispanicus. From the tales we hear, he seemed always to be in quest of fame. He was especially heroic at the “Battle of Mortemer”, near Aumale. The enemy were French and rebel Normans who were asleep in their camp. They were caught at daybreak without a chance of defense. A frightful slaughter followed: Duke William was triumphant and young Ralph was chosen to bear the tidings to the King of France!(g) Ralph climbed a tree and proclaimed, ”Frenchmen awake! You sleep too long. Rise up and bury your dead friends at Mortemer.”(h)We have to understand that these Ralphs and Rogers are very hard through out history to keep straight. The author of one book claims this present Ralph is the 3rd Ralph, and another claims he is only the 2nd Ralph. But most info they give is the same. Also they are "always" at odds with their neighbors and their relatives. Most Normans were cousins. The ones closely related to nobility, were required to marry into nobility also. The Tony Standard Bearers were were members of this group.. At some point Ralph fell out of favor with the other nobles. Ralph was one of several nobles banished from the country for warring among each other. He had two friends, Hugh de Granmesnil and Ernald de’Echauffour who were deprived of their inheritance by Duke William. Ralph joined them in a raid into Normandy and burnt the town of St. Evroul.

However, the notorious English adventure of 1066 made these indiscretions seem trivial, and faults were forgotten and lands taken away were restored, including Ralph’s. Ralph was one of the nobles called to a council when the Duke got word of Edward the Confessor’s death(king of England) and the coronation of Harold(to be the new king). Ralph was fetched to reclaim his station as standard Bearer of all Normandy. He crossed the Channel with Duke William and many others to help the duke claim the throne of England. Ralph was a very stubborn and proud man, on the first day of the Battle at Hastings he refused to do anything that would keep him out of the fighting. He did not want his hands encumbered with anything that would keep him from smiting the foes of Normandy. After that great Battle at Hastings we hear little of Ralph, but the Domesday survey in 1086 shows that the Conqueror gave him land in England, in the counties of Berkshire, Essex, Gloucester, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Worcester including the Castle of Clifford in County Hereford. Ralph's most permanent residence in England was said to be at “Flamstead” in County Hertfordshire. Ralph had a tendency to support his friend Robert Curthose/Courtheuse who was son of Duke William. The Duke and his son were always at odds, so he did not feel too kindly toward Ralph in this action. We feel this is why Ralph received a smaller share of the English spoils than his brother Robert did, who was later known as Robert de Stafford. Throughout his life, in fact, he remained a “true Norman”, and joined freely in the perpetual struggles with his neighbors. “Campaigns in those times, it has been truly said, were like scuffles in the dark: we may hear the shouts or perhaps dimly discern the combatants, but we can never point out precisely how the troubles begin, or when they end.”(I) In about 1082 Ralph made a pilgrimage to Spain. When he had made a safe return trip he gave gifts to the Abbey of St. Everoul to make amends for helping Ernald’ Echauffour to burn the town. Around 1074 he assented to the purchase of some land by the Bishop of Bayeux.

About 1081 Ralph was listed as being at Winchester with King William, (obviously he is now the King). In 1087 after the death of King William, Ralph was included in a group of Norman nobles who helped expel the royal garrisons from their castles. In 1088 he served under his good friend Robert Curthouse, son of the former King William, in a War against Maine in France. Ralph’s wife was the beautiful daughter of Simon de Monfort, some say she was Elizabeth, and other Isabel. The story of the way the marriage was arranged tells us that old Norse customs are still “alive and well.” Simon de Monfort and Ralph being friends, hatched a careful plan. Simon knew of Ralph’s love for his daughter Elizabeth, and he wanted in turn to have Ralph’s half sister Agnes to be his wife. Agnes was daughter of Ralph’s mother Godehildis and his step father Count Richard of Evreux. So, he encouraged Ralph to ride to Evreux and steal Agnes from her parent’s home. However, this deed was not likely to promote the quiet of the countryside.!!!

Ralph’s wife Elizabeth was not only beautiful but “dauntless and reckless” as all the Montforts were said to be. She lived next door to her sister-in-law the Lady Helvisa de Nevers, wife of Count William of Evreux, her husband’s half brother. There was much turmoil between the two ladies and the Chronicler who wrote the story called it “la Guerre des Belles Dames.” “Elizabeth is described as a “bedlam indeed, marching to war in full armor, with more than a soldiers joy.” “ Both women are said to have been loquacious, high-spirited, and of a graceful figure.” (j) Helvisa was said to be the tallest woman in Normandy. It was written that they both ruled their husbands and lorded it over their inferiors, whom were terrified of them! Back in France at Conches, the family was feuding again, and Conches was under siege. After this had went on for three years, William Rufus, brother to Robert Curthouse was called for support and the victory went to the Tonys. Then, after feuding for years it was decided how to settle the argument. Count William of Evruex and wife were childless, and it was decided that Roger, Ralph’s eldest son would be William’s heir. Strange! Ralph de Toney II died in 1102 and is burried as was his father in St. Peter's abbey at Conches. His fair wife lady Elizabeth ended her days as a nun in the Priory of Haute Bruyere near their family home at Monfort l'Amauri. Strange, but Elizabeth had a beautiful half-sister Burtrada who was also a nun at the same Priory. This same sister had ruled the heart of Philip King of France for eighteen years. I expect that this means as his wife.

Roger II

Roger II was a gentle lad who inherited the religious temperament of his southern ancestors. He was made heir to The Count of Evreux, who was his uncle and had no other heirs. He seemed to be a visionary child even from his early youth. The boy would not fulfill the hopes and dreams of his family: his aspirations were not of this world, his hold upon it was very delicate and he died at Conches about 1093, not long before the fist crusade. A little about the life of Roger! Roger’s sister Godehildis was married to Baldwin the Crusader who was King of Jerusalem. He once heard Baldwin describe a dream that he had had about seeing our Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross, who then bestowed upon him a blessing. Then Roger turned to his mother and said that he knew of a person who had seen a similar vision, then he proceeded to announce that he was that person, but that the Lord had put his hands on Roger’s head and said,”Come quickly, my beloved to me and I will give thee the pleasures of life”. I am that one who was so summoned and will not remain long here. His sister Godehildis took part in the first great crusading adventure and died on the march across Asia Minor, in the scorching heat of the summer of 1097.

Royal House of Toney Pedigree

Ralph III

Ralph III died around 1026, he was also called "The Younger", being younger brother to the gentle Roger who had passed on and did not inherit the "Standard Bearer" rank from his father. We soon see that he was a true son of this turbulent group. In 1103 he was known to have been raiding in Normandy; the next thing we know he had crossed the channel, presumably with the permission of King Henry Beauclerc and and took to wife Judith(or Alice)the conqueror's great niece who was the daughter of Waltheof, the ill fated Saxon Earl of Huntington. This brought to the Toney family at least part of her mother's family estates. Wilcumestou/Waltthamstow in Essex was hers, and soon became known as Waltamstow Toney. Alice was a religious sort, possibly in retaliation to her mother's violence, or maybe from the wonderful example of her devout kinswoman Matilda, the Queen of Henry I. There was a small church that had been founded on this property she received from her mother, dedicated to St Mary the virgin. She made a gift of it to the Augustinian Priory of the Holy Trinity at Adgate. This place was the one so much favored by Queen Matilda. Ralph, as fierce as he seemed, would not be out-done by his wife's generousity. It is said that he founded the Church of St. Leonard at his manor in Flamstead. If that was not enough he also granted land he inherited from his father at Westacre in Norfolk, and another estate which his father acquired at the "Conquest", to the Prior of "St Mary and All Saints". The ruins of Westacre Priory were visible for years but in 1808 only the gatehouse with the shields of Toney, Beauchamp and Warwick were visible. Ralph's worldly career went on as ruthless and fierce as ever, but he was always careful not to appear openly rebellious, but his fidelity to the King was more than doubtful. He survived his wife and married a lady named Margaret, he had a son Hugh and daughter Margaret by this marriage. Margaret married Walter, son of Richard Fitz Pons and she received the Clifford Castle as her dower. This Castle is situated near the River Wye and was granted to Ralph II by The Conqueror. Walter and Margaret later proudly styled themselves as "de Clifford". There oldest daughter was known as "Fair Rosamond", most beloved by Henry II, and mother of William Longsword Earl of Salisbury.(k)

Roger III

In some ways Roger was so much like his Toney predecessors. He was so entangled with the civil upheavel of Normandy. He was imprisoned as many times as twice. He was troubling Henry I as much as possible. Henry even had to have forces occupy Roger's castle at Conches. After Henry’s death Ralph supported Geoffrey and his wife Empress Maud against Stephen. In 1136 hostilities began concerning him and the King’s generals, the twins Waleran, Count of Meulan and Robert, Earl of Leicester and soon civil war was apparent. Later Roger was ambushed and captured by count Waleran and Henry de Pommeraye. In May of 1138 he was attacked by the Count of Meulan and William d’Ypres and he eventually burned down the town of Breteuil. One day he would war with friends or family and the next day he would make amends. Before long he had patched up his differences with the twin earls and was reconciled with King Stephen. Between 1150 and 1151, he was with Henry Duke of Normandy at Rouen. He had obviously patched up his differences with King Henry because he granted Roger 100 solidates of land at Holkham, Norfolk. (3)

He gave lands to the abbey at Conches; he founded a little monastery of Nuns, called St Giles-in-the-Wood. Before he died in 1165 he confirmed his mother’s gift of St. Mary’s Church at Walthamstow to the Prior O Holy Trinity, Aldgate. He first married Ida/Gertrude sister of Baldwin IV count of Hainaut, (and daughter of Baldwin III, count of Hainault and Yolanda daughter Gerard Count of Guelders) and second he married Margaret daughter of Robert, Earl of Leicester. From the marriage to Ida he received from King Henry, 20 librates of land out of the Royal demesne at East Bergholt, Suffolk. His children were Roger IV, his successor, Baldwin, who lived in Hainault, and Geoffrey, a clerk.

Roger IV styled de Conches

He was but a lad at his father’s death. He took no part in the affairs of the kingdom until after the accession of Richard I. He was with the king at Westminster on 25 Nov. 1189, at Dover on Dec. 6th, and crossed to Calais with Richard on 12th of Dec. Roger distinguished himself in Richard’s victory at Arsuf. He was with the king at Jaffa(Joppa) on the 10th of Jan 1191, and in June he fought in the battle when Richard captured the Saracen convoy at El-Khuweilfe. He is recorded as vowing scutage in 1193-94 and 1196. In June and July of 1197 he swore at Les Andelys on behalf of Richard to observe the treaty with the Count of Flanders. In 1198 he is recorded as owing tallage on his land in Normandy and on April 7, 1199 he was at Le Vaudreuil with the archbishop of Canterbury, being the day after Richard’s death.

In the reign of John, he continued to have royal favor and was faithful to him. On 15 Aug 1199, he was at Les Andelys and was a surety who swore to observe the treaties with the Count of Boulogne and the Count of Flanders. Also in 1199 he was granted 140 librates of land at Saham in Norfolk for homage to the king. In May of 1200 he was a surety who was named in the treaty with France. He was also able to recover his castle at conches that had been taken by the King of France in 1199. Soon the King of France recaptured the lands at Tosni. In 1204 Roger lost all of the Toney Norman lands in France, being excluded from Phillips terms of pacification. Back in England he continued to attest royal charters and enjoy royal favor.

He married Constance the daughter of Richard de Beaumont, Seigneur of Beaumont-le-Vicomte, Fresnay and Ste-Suzanne, hereditary vicomete of Maine. Her sister Ermengard married William the Lion, King of Scotland, and her grandfather was Henry I. Roger died Jan 1208/9. Constance brought much land to the Toney family, but after Roger’s death it was confiscated by the King of France, but Stratfield was later recovered.(4)

Ralph de Toeni VI

He was born around 1189. In 1204 with his father and some of his brothers, he was excluded by the King of France from the terms of the pacification in Normandy. Later King John ordered Ralph’s lands of Saham and Ryhcot to be restored to him. He was presumably loyal to John and was granted land in Essex, Bucks, Cambridge, Norfold, Suffolk and Hunts. But the Toney men could never hold their rebelliousness and he later lost his land in Abberley, and his manor at Flamstead was given to Waleran A New king and new rules, King Henry III and Ralph must have hit it off because on the 27 of June 1218 he gave Ralph the manor of Newport at Essex, during pleasure.(l)

He married about 1233 Pernel/Petronilla daughter of Walter de Lacy. Her mother was Margaret, daughter of William de Briouze. Petronilla was granted custody of Maud Castle. She married 2nd William de St. Omer and was alive 25 Nov. 1288. Around the time of the 20th of Sept. 1233 Ralph was given custody of Maud Castle(Paincastle, Co. Radnor), and later that year he and John de Monmouth were appointed generals of the Poitevin mercenaries in the Welch marches. Around 1239 he took the cross and set out for the Holy Land. This was the French crusade led by Theobold King of Navarre. Ralph died about 1239 at sea.

Roger de Toeni V

Lady Petronilla was left with a son to raise. Roger became a ward to Humphrey de Bohun, known as “the good earl” of Hereferd and Essex. Humphrey carried, through his mother Maud, the celebrated badge of the Knight of the Swan. Humphrey was very smart in reserving his daughter Alice to marry Roger, that way the multiple & famous Toney estates would stay in the Bohun family. Alice may also have been known as Isabel. They married in 1254. Humphrey was opposed to King Henry but did not succeed in swaying his son-in-law to feel the same way.(L) Roger was known to have been of full age by 26 Apr 1242. On 15 of Oct of the same year the earl of Hereford & Wessex was ordered to deliver Paincastle to Roger,who held it by reason of knight’s service. He was given rights of use for life, to hunt with his own dogs the hare, fox, cat and badger in Southampton, Somerset, Dorset, and Wilts. He was also summoned by the Earl of Hereford to support the Welsh marches between Montgomery and Gloucester. In Oct 1257 went to Wales with Edward the king’s son and was among those asked to meet the king in London with all the service they owed. In Apr 1260 he crossed the seas with the Queen. In Feb. 1262 he was summoned to be at Hereford for action against Llewellyn. In June of 1263 he supported the King in the Barons’ war. Roger fought on the royal side at Lewes and was taken prisoner there in 1264, and in that year he died. His widow may have later married Edmond the King’s son.(5) Nothing more is known of his life.

Ralph de Toney VII

Ralph was born about 1255. Arrangement for marriage and custody of his lands were given to Earl of Hereford, and Essex, and to Edmund the son of King Edward on about 12 May 1264. Then in 1265 they were granted to Richard de Bus. He was summoned for service in Whales in 1277, 1282, 1283 and 1287. He was summoned to a meeting at Shrewsbury in 1283. In 1294 he was summoned for service in Gascony in 1294 and was taken prisoner at Risonces, 31 Mar 1295, and then was sent to Paris. He married Mary or Clarissa, (her surname is unknown) about 1276. It is presumed that he died as a prisoner before 29 July 1295 in France.

About 1275 and during the lifetime of Ralph, some striking murals were painted in St Leonards Church at Flamstead. There has been discovered a Huge painting of St Christopher on the wall opposite to the South door. This was meant to render safety to all those who past by. There were heroic sized murals of the apostles painted at the church also. He and Lady Clarissa had two children Alice and Robert Knight of the Swan., who was summoned to Parliament in as the first Baron de Toney in 1301.

Baron Robert de Toney

Robert, son of Ralph de Toney and Lady Clarissa, was the first of the Toney family to receive this title, although, Standard Bearers to the Dukes of Normandy and to the Kings of England seems very important! Robert was the last male with the name of Toney, and the last heir of his house. He had also fought in Gascony and as his father, he faithfully followed King Edward to the end of his reign. Robert is known to have sent an important/famous letter to the pope and it was sealed with the emblem of the swan. The seal also contained the Toney maunch or coatsleeve. It is felt that he inherited this emblem from his Bohun grandmother. During his lifetime he participated in the siege at Caerlaverocke, along the Scottish border, and there is a French rhyme that tells about him.

                                          White surcoat, and white alettes
                                          White shield and white banner
                                          Bearing the Red Maunch
                                          Robert de Toney shews well
                                          That he is of the Knight of the Swan.

Much praise of Robert and the siege is written, and he was apparently valiant, but in 1306 he tired of the constant warring in Scotland and went home without leave. His lands were temporarily confiscated. He died in 1310 without children and his sister Alice, widow of Thomas Leyburne, then became his heir. About 1311 she married Guy Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick.


During the four centuries covered, the Toney character remains the same. They were true to their Northern ancestors, fearless as a Seagull, they cared less to achieve than to venture, less to acquire than to pursue.(m)We nowhere see them in a settled ambition or a fixed political desire . No matter where on land, sea, or in fire, their spirit forges onward to Normandy, Palestine, Italy, Spain, England, Wales, Gascony, and Scotland, it seemed they never fought just for gain but for the Joy of the fight itself. Certainly there has never been such a Family in all the history of the world.

(a)The Toney Family, by Constance Demaine Saunders. Pg.#1
(b) The Toney Family, by Constance Demaine Saunders. Pg.#1
(c)The Toney Family, by Constance Demaine Saunders. Pg.#1
(d) The Toney Family, by Constance Demaine Saunders.Pg.#1
(e) The Toney Family, by Constance Demaine Saunders.Pg.#8
(d)(e) (f)(g) (h)(I)The Toney Family, by Constance Demaine Saunders.Pg.#10
(j) The Toney Family, by Constance Demaine Saunders.Pg.# 11
(k) The Toney Family, by Constance Demaine Saunders.Pg.# 11
(l)The Toney Family, by Constance Demaine Saunders Pg. 13-14
(m)The Toney Family, by Constance Demaine Saunders Pg. 14
(1)The Complete Peerage, by Geoffrey H. 753-754
(2)The Complete Peerage, by Geoffrey H. 762-764
(3)The Complete Peerage, by Geoffrey H. 764-769
(5)The Complete Peerage, by Geoffrey H. 769-771
(6)The Complete Peerage, by Geoffrey H. 771-773

Castle at Conches

Built at the end of XIe century by Roger III of TOSNY, lord of Conches. The thickness of the walls is of 2,60m. The walls and the embrasures of the windows were coated with a bed lime mortar mixed and fine sand in order to give a nobler appearance to this flint construction. The roof was conical and was surmounted by beautiful terra cotta ears representations of the figures of birds and animals. There were at least three stages.

Priory Of St.Michels

Mont St. Michel Priory

Perched on a rocky islet in the midst of vast sandbanks exposed to powerful tides between Normandy and Brittany stand the 'Wonder of the West', a Gothic-style Benedictine abbey dedicated to the archangel St Michael, and the village that grew up in the shadow of its great walls. Built between the 11th and 16th centuries, the abbey is a technical and artistic tour de force, having had to adapt to the problems posed by this unique natural site.

Mont St. Michel is on the north coast of France, near the border of Brittany and Normandy, and home to centuries of tradition. In the early eighth century, the Archangel Michael appeared to Bishop Aubert of Avranges, who started an oratory. In 966, a Benedictine monastery was established. In 1020, Richard II began the Abbey Church, and supported Abbot Hildebert's construction efforts. Over time, the spiritual foundations of the abbey waned, and in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries it was used as a prison. In 1874, the French government assumed responsibility for the abbey's upkeep and restoration. What makes this monument striking, and the destination of so many visitors in the past twelve centuries, is its magnificent, almost arrogant location.

Geography Mont St. Michel is a small quasi-island, separated by approximately one kilometer of waves from the mainland at high tide. It is about one kilometer in diameter and about 80 meters high, jutting defiantly above the ocean. At low tide, however, it is separated from the mainland by approximately one kilometer of sand. Before a causeway was built in 1879, the only approach to the Mount was by foot over this land bridge.

This was never a casual stroll, however. The tides here are among the greatest in France, with a swing of up to 14m between the high and low water marks. The unwary pedestrian could easily be drowned by the sudden onslaught of high tide. Furthermore, the force of those terrible tides shifts the sands about unpredictably, leading to unchartable quicksand fields. (The Bayeux tapestry bears the mention that Harold the Saxon and William the Conquerer, visited Mont St. Michel. Hic Harold dux trahebat eos de arena, it says, "Harold pulled them out of the quicksand.") Pilgrims needed great faith to visit Mont St. Michel! Modern pilgrims can drive above the water, bypassing quicksand and irresistible tides. When they arrive, they will find an edifice nearly as impressive as its geographical location.

Architectural History The first spurt of grand construction commenced in 1020, with Abbot Hildebert's ambitious works. Instead of removing rock to make a level base for the church, Hildebert added a masonry foundation to make a level base, and built from there. By 1058, the church was well-enough established to host William and Harold. That construction was completed in 1135, but in the meantime Abbot Roger II planned and built a trilevel gallery/cloister/dormatory as well. In about 1170, Abbot Robert de Toringy started building a new facade on the western side of the church. In 1203, the Duke of Brittany accidentally set fire to the church as a side effect of Phillip Augustus expelling the British from Normandy. Ooops.

Phillip Augustus was not too happy about Archangel Michael's building being damaged, so he used his influence with the King of France to allocate funds to repair the buildings. As is frequently the case with public monies, there was a little bit of alteration of the plan, and Abbot Jordan planed and started building The Merveille - The Marvel - in around 1210. The Merveille contains a number of great halls (presumably for dining and assembly), kitchens, cloisters, and a dormatory. Work was completed around 1230.

Unfortunately, Hildebert's original masonry was not adequate for supporting the weight of the granite his successors placed upon it. In 1300, one of de Torigny's towers collapsed, followed in 1421 by the collapse of Hildebert's nave. As there was some minor business about a war with the English going on at that time, reconstruction was stalled until 1450 and was not completed until 1521. In 1618 the de Toringy facade started to collapse, and had to be pulled down a mere century and a half later.

St Leonards at Flamstead

Chalk and flint are the two main building materials found in Hertfordshire and as a consequence the churches tend to vary in style and construction. However, one peculiarity exhibited by many is a spirelet known as the 'Hertfordshire Spike', a needle-thin spike on top of the tower, usually shingled and then encased in lead. Flamstead's is a typical example. Large parts of St Leonard's date from the fourteen century, but the nave is Early English and displays on the capitals the stiff leaf carving that is common to this period. One of the best medieval wall paintings in Hertfordshire is preserved in the church, showing St Christopher, Christ in Glory and details of the Last Supper. Also discovered this century under layers of plaster, was one of the original consecration crosses, which denotes the spot anointed with holy oil during the church's dedication.

Bayeux Tapistry of the Battle of Hastings

Duke William of Normandy left St.Valery in Normandy with about 600 ships and 10 to 12,000 men Sept 27th in 1066. William and his barons had been recruiting and preparing the invasion of England since early spring of that year. He was a seasoned general and master tactician, using cavalry, archers and infantry and had fought many notable battles. Off Beachy Head, his ship, the Mora, arrived ahead of the fleet.. William waited and ate a hearty breakfast. As his fleet straggled into place behind him they moved eastward to the first sheltered bay to provide protection for his armada. Pevensey and Bulverhythe were the villages on each promontory. Pevensey, to the west, was protected by an old Roman Fort and behind the fort there was much flat acreage to house his large Army. To suggest this landing was not pre-planned, is not in keeping with the preparatory time taken by William, or his track record. There had been much intelligence gathering in the past few months. see the map

The bay, wide enough for maneuverability of this large fleet, was flat shored. William is said to have fallen on the beach, grasped the sand, and declared "This is my country" or words to that effect. Next, the ships were disembarked without resistance. They included 2,500 horses, prefabricated forts, and the materiel and equipment was prepared for any contingency. The ships shuttled in and out of the bay with the precision of a D Day landing. A Fort was built inside Pevensey Roman Fort as an H.Q, while the army camped behind it. William and Fitz Osborn scouted the land He was unhappy with the terrain but it had proved to be a satisfactory landing beach. Taking his army around Pevensey Bay he camped 8 miles to the east, north of what is now known as Hastings all of which was most likely pre-planned. He camped to the east outside the friendly territory of the Norman Monks of Fecamp who may have been alerted and were waiting for his probable arrival. William waited. Perhaps he was waiting to know of the outcome of the battle to the north. In those two weeks William could have marched on London and taken it. He was obviously waiting for something?

Harold, far to the north in York at Stamford Bridge, was engaged in a life and death struggle against his brother who had teamed up with the Viking King Hadrada to invade England. Whether this was a planned Norman tactic, part of a pincer movement north and south, is not known, but students of Norman and Viking history might find it very feasible. The timing of each invasion was impeccable, and probably less than coincidental. Harold managed to resist the invasion to the north and killed both commanders. He was advised of the landing to the south by William.

Bringing the remnants of his Army south, Harold camped outside London at Waltham. For two weeks he gathered reinforcements, and exchanged taunts, threats and counterclaims to the Crown of England with William. Finally he moved his army south to a position about six miles north of where William waited.

Chateaux Gailard

Chateaux Gaillard has a number of very interesting features which are worthy of mention.. The keep is very unusual in being basically cylindrical to outward attackers)as shown in the picture) but with 2 square faces fronting onto the inner bailey a design which I believe is unique to Gaillard. The curtain wall of the inner bailey is also very unusual. It has a 'wobbled' design which allowed a defender on the wall a line of fire along the wall it self while remaining protected thus doing away with the need for projecting towers. The castle was built by Richard I and cost £8,000...A lot of money in 1196!!!....

This impressive stronghold of the 12th C., built by Richard the Lionheart, King of England and Duke of Normandy. Erected in one year on a hill commanding the river Seine at the Andelys meander, Chateau Gaillard was the key building of the vast defence system closing the access to Normandy. During the Wars of Religion, after a two year siege, Henri IV overpowered Chateau-Gaillard and had it demolished.

Overhanging the Seine of a hundred meters, 40 kms upstream of Rouen, with Andelys, Castle-strapping man still testify to the formidable one confrontation between Richard Heart of Lion, duke of Normandy, king from England, and Philippe Auguste, king de France. Built in one year, between 1197 and 1198, in order to protect Rouen and the Norman duchy appetite of Philippe, he was not to survive with Richard, fallen in front of Châlus in 1199, in a conflict the opponent with sound vassal, the Viscount of Limoges. The seat of the fortress by Philippe Auguste as of the winter 1203, and its fall in 1204, finally Normandy delivered to the king of France. Castle-strapping man was dismantled 400.