William de Warenne, 3rd Earl of Surrey

For other people with the same name, see William de Warenne (disambiguation).

William de Warenne, 3rd Earl of Surrey (1119–1148) was an Anglo-Norman nobleman who fought in England during the Anarchy and generally remained loyal to King Stephen.[1] He participated in the Second Crusade.[2]


He was the eldest son of William de Warenne, 2nd Earl of Surrey (d.1138) by his wife Elizabeth de Vermandois.[3][1] He was a great-grandson of King Henry I of France, and half-brother to Robert de Beaumont, 2nd Earl of Leicester, Waleran IV de Beaumont, Count of Meulan, and Hugh de Beaumont, 1st Earl of Bedford.[4]


Still in his minority in 1137 he was serving with Stephen, King of England in Normandy being one of those young nobles who initially fled the battle.[5] Stephen pursued them, held them and did his best to pacify them but did not make them fight. At his father's death in 1138, William became the third Earl of Surrey.[3] At Easter 1138 he accompanied his half-brother Waleran de Beaumont, 1st Earl of Worcester on an embassy to Paris for the purpose of ratifying a treaty between the English and French kings.[6] On February 2nd 1141 he and his half-brother Waleran were again with King Stephen at the Battle of Lincoln but fled at the initial charge of the enemy forces.[5] They both joined Queen Matilda but on King Stephen's release they were once again among his followers, and William witnessed a royal charter at Canterbury in late 1141.[5]

Marriage & progeny

William married Adela (alias Ela), daughter of Count William III of Ponthieu, by his wife Helie daughter of Odo I, Duke of Burgundy.[7] They had one child and sole-heiress, a daughter, Isabel de Warenne,[8] suo jure 4th Countess of Surrey. She married firstly William of Blois (d.1159), the second son of king Stephen, who became Earl Warenne or Earl of Surrey. After he died without progeny in October 1159, she re-married to Hamelin, half-brother of King Henry II, who became Earl Warenne or Earl of Surrey.[9] He adopted the surname "de Warenne", and the earldom continued in his descendants.[10]

Death on crusade

He was one of the nobles who, along with his second cousin, King Louis VII of France, took crusading vows at Vezelay in 1146, and he accompanied the initial army of the Second Crusade the next year.[6] He was killed at the Battle of Mount Cadmus while the crusader army was marching across Anatolia on their way to the Holy Land.[11]

In December 1147 the French-Norman force reached Ephesus. They were joined by remnants of the army of the Holy Roman Empire, which had previously suffered heavy losses at the Battle of Dorylaeum in 1147. They marched across southwest Turkey and fought an unsuccessful battle at Laodicea (34 January 1148) on the border between the Byzantine Empire and the Sultanate of Rum. On 6 January 1148 they battled again in the area of Mount Cadmus, where Turks ambushed the infantry and non-combatants only, because they had become separated from the rest of the army. King Louis VII and his bodyguard of Knights Templars and noblemen recklessly charged the Turks. Most of the knights were killed, including William, and Louis barely escaped with his life. His army arrived later at the coastal city of Adalia. The battle is recorded by Odo of Deuil, personal chaplain to Louis, in his narrative De Profectione.



  1. 1 2 Elisabeth van Houts, 'The Warenne View of the Past 10661203', Anglo-Norman Studies XXVI, Proceedings of the Battle Conference 2003, ed. John Gillingham (Boydell Press, Woodbridge. 2004), p. 105 (William III was born within a year of Robert de Beaumont's death in 1118)
  2. Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band III Teilband 4, Das Feudale Frankreich und Sien Einfluss auf des Mittelalters (Marburg, Germany: Verlag von J. A. Stargardt, 1989), Tafel 699
  3. 1 2 G. E. Cokayne, The Complete Peerage, Vol. XII/1 (The St. Catherine Press, London, 1953) p. 496
  4. K.S.B. Keats-Rohan, Domesday People, A Prosopography of Persons Occurring in English Documents 1066-1166, Volume I Domesday Book (The Boydell Press, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1999), p. 371
  5. 1 2 3 G. E. Cokayne, The Complete Peerage, Vol. XII/1 (The St. Catherine Press, London, 1953) p. 497
  6. 1 2 Paul Dalton, Graeme J. White, King Stephen's reign (1135-1154)(Boydell Press, Woodbridge, 2008), p. 8
  7. G. E. Cokayne, The Complete Peerage, vol. xi (The St. Catherine Press, London, 1949), p. 377
  8. G. E. Cokayne, The Complete Peerage, Vol. XII/1 (The St. Catherine Press, London, 1953) p. 497 note (i)
  9. G. E. Cokayne, The Complete Peerage, Vol. XII/1 (The St. Catherine Press, London, 1953) p. 497-500
  10. P. Anselme de Sainte-Marie, Histoire de la maison royale de France et des grands officiers de la Couronne, Vol. 6 (Estienne Loyson, 1674), p. 20
  11. Phillips, Jonathan, The Second Crusade: Extending the frontiers of Christendom, (Yale University Press, 2007), p. 201.


Peerage of England
Preceded by
William de Warenne
Earl of Surrey
(1st creation)
Succeeded by
Isabel de Warenne
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