Crusader Ancestors of Peter Worden I


John R. Schuerman


Peter Worden I, the immigrant to New England, had a number of ancestors who participated in the crusades.  The term “crusade” covers a wide range of activities from 1096 until the mid-1400s.  Of course, the central thrust of the crusades was the fight against Muslims in the Holy Land and the Iberian Peninsula, but there were other efforts directed against non-believers, heretics, and pagans in Europe.  I focus here on ancestors in the first crusade.  There were a number of other ancestors in later crusades.


Today, many historians see the crusades as a horrible blot on the reputation of Christianity, embodying intolerance against peoples of other religions (including Judaism) and even other Christians.  Only the first crusade can be considered a reasonable success, but that success did not last, and in the end, Jerusalem and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre remained in Muslim hands.  All lands in the Holy Land were relinquished by 1291, after the ninth crusade which ended in 1272.


The first crusade was proclaimed by Pope Urban II in 1095.  At the time, Muslims controlled the entire middle east, north Africa, and southern Spain.  However, Muslims were by no means united, the land being divided up into a number of sultanates, emirates, and caliphates.  At first, the Muslims were quite tolerant of other religions, allowing them to continue their worship, although sometimes at the price of higher taxes.  The Balkans and Greece were controlled by the Byzantine Empire, headquartered in Constantinople (now Istanbul).  Control of Asia Minor (now Turkey), once held by the Byzantine Empire, had been taken over by the Muslims. Although the Eastern Christian church nominally acknowledged the supremacy of the Pope in Rome, there was considerable tension.  Europe was also highly fragmented.  The Holy Roman Emperor controlled much of what is now Germany and northern Italy.  There was a King of France, but he controlled only a part of the country, much of which was divided into independent satrapies.  The Normans controlled Normandy, England, and southern Italy.  In general, the Muslim states and the Byzantine Empire were more advanced culturally than western Europe.


The Byzantine Emperor, Alexius I Comnenus, had asked Pope Urban for help in fighting the Muslims, who were getting close to his capital, Constantinople.  The Emperor was thinking about a few thousand troops.  But Urban decided turn this request into a massive crusade against the Muslims.  In addition to wanting to rescue the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem from the infidels, he had other motives.  At the time there were frequent conflicts among the dukes and counts controlling various pieces of Europe.  The knights roaming the countryside knew no productive occupations, only fighting among themselves.  So the Pope saw the crusade as a way to divert the knights from this activity, uniting them against a common enemy.  Urban and his bishops preached the crusade throughout Europe, promising indulgences to those who took the cross.  The result was a surge of enthusiasm.  Many thousands volunteered, far in excess of what the Emperor expected or wanted.


The principal leaders of the first crusade were French and German (some were Normans from southern Italy).  There were only a few Englishmen involved.  Several large bands of fighters set out, some of them comprised of ordinary people generally poorly armed but led by charismatic figures, such as Peter the Hermit.  Knights sometimes were accompanied by their wives and children.  Many of the crusaders took an overland route, through Germany and the Balkans, the first objective being Constantinople.  This was a long and arduous journey, taking many months.  Knights were on horseback, but the many ordinary people walked.  Others traveled from France to southern Italy, sailing across the Adriatic to Byzantine territory.  Among these was Robert Curthouse, Duke of Normandy, who mortgaged his dukedom to his brother, King William II (“Rufus”) of England in order to pay for the expedition (they were both sons of William the Conqueror who had died in 1087).


Along the way, the crusaders engaged in slaughter and persecution of a number of Jewish communities.  As they passed through the Byzantine Empire, the Emperor was terribly worried about the unruliness of these large groups, inclined to pillage any settlement along the way.  Of course, the crusaders had to keep themselves fed, which they did largely through foraging, much to the detriment of the local residents.  The Emperor was eager to get them in and out of Constantinople, across the Bosporus into Asia Minor.  He provided the troops with provisions and the leaders with lavish gifts.  In return for his aid, the crusaders agreed that any lands conquered would be turned over to him, a pledge that was not kept.


After a successful siege of Nicaea, a little south of Constantinople, in 1096, the crusaders moved south through Asia Minor.  They engaged in a long siege of Antioch in the southern part of what is now Turkey, near the Mediterranean, achieving success in 1098.  From there they moved further south, finally taking Jerusalem in 1099.  The crusaders set up various small states, the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the County of Tripoli, the Principality of Antioch, and the County of Edessa.  Jerusalem remained in crusader hands for nearly 90 years, being conquered by Saladin in 1187.


Among the leaders of the First Crusade was Hugh I, Count of Vermandois (Hugh de Crepi) who was an ancestor of Peter Worden I.  Hugh was younger son of King Henry I of France and his wife, Anne of Kiev, and brother of King Philip I.  Hugh led a small army that traveled to Italy where they crossed the Adriatic to Byzantine territory.  After the siege of Antioch, he returned to Constantinople to ask for help from Emperor Alexius, who turned him down.  Hugh returned to France where he was criticized for not sticking with the crusade until Jerusalem, thus not having fulfilled his vows as a crusader.  In 1101, he joined a minor crusade and died of wounds in October in Tarsus, Asia Minor.


The descent from Hugh of Vermandois to Peter Worden I is as follows:

Hugh of Vermandois, d. 1101 = Adelaide de Vermandois

Isabel (or Elizabeth) de Vermandois = Earl William de Warenne, d. 1138

Ada de Warenne = Earl Henry of Huntingdon, d. 1152

William I king of Scotland, d. 1214

(illegitimate) Isabel of Scotland = Robert de Ros, d. aft. 1264, Magna Carta Surety

Sir William de Ros, d. aft. 1264 = Lucy Fitz Peter

Sir William de Ros, d. bef. 28 May 1310 = Eustache Fitz Peter

Lucy de Ros = Sir Robert Plumpton, d. 1325

Sir William Plumpton, d. 1362 = Christiana de Mowbray

Alice Plumpton = Sir Richard Sherburne, d. 1369/70

Margaret Sherburne = Richard Bayley, d. bef. 1387

Richard Sherburne (changed name from Bayley), d. 1441 = Agnes Harrington

Richard Sherburne, d. 1441 = Matilda Hamerton

Agnes Sherburne = Henry Rushton, bef. 1490

Nicholas Rushton, d. 1508 = Margaret Radcliffe

Agnes Rushton = Richard Worthington, d. 1526

Peter Worthington, d. 1577 = Isabel Anderton

Isabel Worthington = Robert Worden, d. 1580

Peter Worden I, d. 1638/39


(All of the following are ancestors of Alice Plumpton, so the descent from her is not repeated.)


Gerard de Gournay was a major landholder in Normandy.  Along with his wife, Edith de Warenne, he accompanied Robert Curthouse and was present at the siege of Nicaea and probably reached Jerusalem, after which he returned to Normandy.  A few years later he and Edith returned on pilgrimage to Jerusalem where he died (the year of his death is not known with certainty).  Edith returned to Normandy where she remarried.


Descent to Alice Plumpton:

Gerard de Gournay = Edith de Warenne

Gundred de Gournay = Nigel d’Aubigny d. 1129

Roger de Mowbray (changed name from d’Aubigny), d. 1188 (went on the second crusade, 1147-49) = Alice de Gand

Nigel de Mowbray, d. 1191 (accompanied King Richard I on the third crusade, died in the siege of Acre) = Mabel Patric

Lord William de Mowbray, d. bef March 1223/4 = Agnes d’Aubigny

Lord Roger de Mowbray, bef. 18 Oct. 1263 = Maud de Beauchamp

Lord Roger de Mowbray, d. bef. 21 Nov. 1297 = Rose de Clare

Lord John de Mowbray, d. 23 March 1322/23 = Aline de Braose

Christiana de Mowbray = Sir William Plumpton, d. 1362

Alice Plumpton



Ralph de Gael was a Norman who fought with William the Conqueror at Hastings (1066).  He married Emma, daughter of William fitzOsbern (who was also at Hastings).  In 1096 he went with his wife on crusade and participated in the siege of Nicaea.  Shortly after that he died on the road to Palestine. 


Descent to Alice Plumpton:

Ralph de Gael, d. abt 1096 = Emma von Crepon

Ralph de Gael de Montfort =

Amice de Montfort = Earl Robert I de Beaumont, d. 1168

Hawise de Beaumont = Earl William fitz Robert Gloucester, d. 1183

Amice of Gloucester = Earl Richard de Clare, d. 1217

Earl Gilbert de Clare, d. 1230 = Isabel Marshal

Earl Richard de Clare, d. 1262 = Maud de Lacy

Rose de Clare = Lord Roger de Mowbray, d. 1297

John de Mowbray, d. 1322/3 = Aline de Braose

Christiana de Mowbray = Sir William Plumpton, d. 1362

Alice Plumpton



Philip de Braose was lord of Briose in Normandy and of Bramber in Sussex.  He was the son of William de Braose who was probably with the Conqueror at Hastings and was given large grants of land by the Conqueror.  Philip is believed to have gone on the first crusade because of a charter he issued in 1096 in which he said that he was going to Jerusalem.  I have found nothing about his activities in the crusade.  He returned to England and in 1110 was accused of being a traitor of King Henry I, as a result of which his estates were confiscated, but then restored in 1112.  He was married to Aenor, daughter and co-heir of Baron Johel de Totnes whose lands were seized by King William II. 


Descent to Alice Plumpton:

Philip de Braose, d. 1134/35 = Aenor de Totnes

William de Braose d. 1192/93 = Bertha of Hertford, daughter of Earl Miles of Hertford

William de Braose d. 1211 = Maud de St. Valery

William de Braose d. 1210 = Maud de Clare

John de Braose d. bef. 16 July 1232 = Margaret of Wales, daughter of Llewelyn ap Ioworth, Prince of North Wales

William de Braose, d. bef. 6 Jan. 1290/91 = Aline de Multon

William de Braose, d. 1326

Aline de Braose = Lord John Mowbray, d. 1322/23

Christiana Mowbray = Sir William Plumpton, d. 1362

Alice Plumpton = Sir Richard Sherburne, d. 1369/70



Sources: There are hundreds of books on the crusades.  The principal primary sources are chronicles, some by eye witnesses while others are second-hand.  I have depended on Steven Runciman, A History of the Crusades, 3 volumes, 1962.  I have also consulted Wikipedia.  The following are sources for accounts of individual crusaders and the descents.  The sources listed here for the descents are not exhaustive. 


For Hugh of Vermandois: Runciman, Wikipedia. Descent: Hugh to Ada de Warenne: G.E.Cokayne, Complete Peerage, v. 7:526, v. 12(1): 496, v. 6:642; William I to Peter Worden: Gary Boyd Roberts, The Royal Descents of 600 Immigrants to the American Colonies or the United States, 2004 and later editions; William I to the second Sir William de Ros: Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2005; the Plumptons: Plumpton Correspondance, Thomas Stapleton, ed., Camden Society Publications, v. 4, 1839.


For Gerard de Gournay: D. Gurney, The Record of the House of Gournay, part 1, 1848; Albert of Aachen, Historia Ierosolimitana, translated and edited by Susan B. Edington, 2007, pp. 98-99. Descent: Nigel d’Aubigny to Nigel de Mowbray: Complete Peerage, v. 9:367-73; William Mowbray to second Roger Mowbray: Magna Carta Ancestry, pp. 598-99; John Mowbray: Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry, 2004, p. 530; Christiana Mowbray: Plumpton Correspondance.


For Ralph de Gael: Wikipedia, Runciman. Descent: Ralph de Gael to Amice de Montfort: Complete Peerage, v. 7: 529; Amice de Montfort to Hawise de Beaumont: Magna Carta Ancestry, pp. 192-93; the Clares: Michael Altschul, A Baronial Family in Medieval England, 1965; Rose de Clare: Magna Carta Ancestry, p. 197.


For Philip de Braose: The Chartulary of the Priory of St. Peter at Sele, ed. by L.F. Salzman, 1923, p. xii; Genealogist, v. 4 (1880), pp. 133-138.  Descent: Philip to second William: Chartulary and Genealogist; third William to Aline: Magna Carta Ancestry, pp. 133-137; Christiana Mowbray: Plumpton Correspondance.