William of Eu held about seventy-seven manors in the west of England and was one of the rebels against King William II of England in 1088. Although he made his peace with that King, together with William of Aldrie (his wife's nephew), Roger de Lacy and Robert de Mowbray, he conspired to murder William II and to replace him on the throne with Stephen of Aumale, the King's cousin.
In 1095 the rebels impounded four Norwegian trading ships and refused the King's demand to return the merchandise. King William conducted a lightning campaign, outflanking the rebels at Newcastle upon Tyne and capturing a rebel stronghold at Morpeth in Northumberland. He besieged the rebels at Bamburgh Castle and built a castle facing the surviving one. During January 1097 in Salisbury, William was formally accused of treason, challenged to trial by battle and was defeated by Geoffrey Baynard, former High Sheriff of Yorkshire. It was finally decided that William was to be blinded and castrated. William died sometime later and was buried at Hastings.William's son Henry inherited the countship of Eu and also became Lord of Hastings.
Marriage and children
William married twice:
- Firstly to Beatrice de Builli, daughter of Roger I de Builly (d. circa 1098/1100), feudal baron of Tickhill in Yorkshire and sister and heiress of Roger II de Builli. By this first wife he had one son:
- Secondly to Helisende d'Avranches, daughter of Richard le Goz, Viscount of Avranches, and sister of Hugh d'Avranches, Earl of Chester (d. 1101).[b]
- Professor David Douglas disputed this identification, basing himself on the genealogical researches of Edmund Chester Waters. In support of Douglas, while the west country estates of William were confiscated by the Crown in 1095, the strategically important Honour of Hastings was left in the hands of the Counts of Eu. It seems likely therefore that different people are referred to
- Sanders does not give her first name or father's name
- Barlow, Frank (2000). William Rufus. Yale University Press.
- Cownie, Emma (1998). Religious Patronage in Anglo-Norman England, 1066-1135. Royal Historical Society.
- Sanders, I.J. (1960). English Baronies: A Study of their Origin and Descent 1086-1327. Oxford at the Clarendon Press.