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He was an illegitimate son of Geoffrey of Anjou, and thus a half-brother of King Henry II, and an uncle of Richard the Lionheart and King John. His half-brother Henry gave him one of the wealthiest heiresses in England, Isabella de Warenne, in her own right Countess of Surrey. She was the widow of William of Blois. Hamelin and Isabella married in April 1164, and after the marriage he was recognized as Comte de Warenne, that being the customary designation for what more technically should be Earl of Surrey. In consequence of the marriage Hamelin took the de Warenne toponymic, as did his descendants. He and Isabella would have four children.
Warenne land in England centered around Conisbrough in Yorkshire, a location in which Hamelin built a powerful castle. He also possessed the third penny of County Surrey and held the castles of Mortemer and Bellencombre in Normandy.
Hamelin joined in the denunciations of Thomas Becket in 1164, although after Becket's death he became a great believer in Becket's sainthood, having, the story goes, been cured of blindness by the saint's help. In 1176, he escorted his niece Joan of England to Sicily for her marriage.
He remained loyal to Henry through all the problems of the later part of the king's reign when many nobles deserted him, and continued as a close supporter of his nephew Richard I. During Richard's absence on the Third Crusade, he took the side of the regent William Longchamp. Hamelin appeared in the 2nd coronation of King Richard in 1194 and at King John's coronation in 1199.
He died in 1202 and was buried at the Chapter House at Lewes Priory, in Sussex. He was succeeded by his son William de Warenne, 6th Earl of Surrey. A daughter, named Adela, was the mistress of her cousin King John of England, and by him the mother of Richard Fitz Roy.
|Offspring of Hamelin de Warenne and Isabel de Warenne (1130-1202)|
|William de Warenne (1166-1240)||<year not a number>||<year not a number>|| Maud Marshal (1192-1248)|
|Adela de Warenne (c1170-c1218)||<year not a number>||<year not a number>|| John of England (1167-1216)|
|Isabel de Warenne (?-1234)|| |
|Maud de Warenne (c1162-c1212)||<year not a number>||<year not a number>|| Henri Hastings (-c1183)|