Richard I of Normandy

Richard I
Count of Rouen
Reign17 December 942 – 20 November 996
PredecessorWilliam Longsword
SuccessorRichard II
Born28 August 932
Fécamp Normandy, France
Died20 November 996 (aged 64)
Fécamp Normandy, France
SpouseEmma of Paris
Richard II of Normandy
Robert II (Archbishop of Rouen)
Mauger, Count of Corbeil
Robert Danus
Emma of Normandy
Maud of Normandy
Hawise of Normandy
Geoffrey, Count of Eu
William I, Count of Eu
HouseHouse of Normandy
FatherWilliam I Longsword

Richard I (28 August 932 – 20 November 996), also known as Richard the Fearless (French: Richard Sans-Peur; Old Norse: Jarl Richart), was the Count of Rouen or Jarl of Rouen from 942 to 996.[1] Dudo of Saint-Quentin, whom Richard commissioned to write the "De moribus et actis primorum Normanniae ducum" (Latin, "On the Customs and Deeds of the First Dukes of Normandy"), called him a Dux. However, this use of the word may have been in the context of Richard's renowned leadership in war, and not as a reference to a title of nobility.[2][3] Richard either introduced feudalism into Normandy or he greatly expanded it. By the end of his reign, the most important Norman landholders held their lands in feudal tenure.[4]


Richard was born to William Longsword, princeps (chieftain or ruler)[5] of Normandy, and Sprota.[1] His mother was a Breton concubine captured in war and bound to William by a more danico marriage.[6] He was also the grandson of the famous Rollo. William was told of the birth of a son after the battle with Riouf and other Viking rebels, but his existence was kept secret until a few years later when William Longsword first met his son Richard. After kissing the boy and declaring him his heir, William sent Richard to be raised in Bayeux.[7] Richard was about ten years old when his father was killed on 17 December 942.[1] After William was killed, Sprota became the wife of Esperleng, a wealthy miller. Rodulf of Ivry was their son and Richard's half-brother.[8]