William Longsword, 2nd Duke of Normandy (893-942)

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William Longsword, 2nd Duke of Normandy, Duke of Normandy, was born circa 893 to Rollo of Normandy (860-932) and Poppa van Bayeux (c870-c910) and died 17 December 942 of assassination. He married Sprota (?-?) circa 932 . He married Liutgarde de Vermandois (c920-978) .

Vital Statistics

  • Son of Rollo of Normandy - Viking Warrior and 1st Duke of Normandy and his wife Poppa
  • Born ca 893 C.E.
  • 930-935 : 1st Marriage to Sprota
  • 936-942 : 2nd Marriage to Liutgard
  • 942-Dec-17 : Assassinated -


Longsword was the second Duke of Normandy from his father's death until his own assassination. The title dux (duke) was not in use at the time and has been applied to early Norman rulers retroactively; William actually used the title comes (count).

Little is known about his early years. He was born in Bayeux or Rouen to Rollo and his wife Poppa. All that is known of Poppa is that she was a Christian, and the daughter to Berengar of Rennes, the previous lord of Brittania Nova, which eventually became western Normandy. According to the William's planctus, he was baptised a Christian.

Between 935 and 939, William was married to Leutgarde, daughter of Herbert of Vermandois. He had no legitimate children and his successor, Richard was the son of Sprota who he had apparently married in 930 ‘more danico’.

William succeeded Rollo sometime around 927. It appears that he faced a rebellion early in his reign, from Normans who felt he had become too Gallicised. Subsequent years are obscure. In 939 William became involved in a war with Arnulf I of Flanders, which soon became intertwined with the other conflicts troubling the reign of Louis IV. He was killed by followers of Arnulf while at a meeting to settle their conflict. His son Richard the Fearless, child of his first wife, Sprota, succeeded him. William also left a widow, Liègard (Liutgard), who died in 985.

Assassination of William Longsword

In 939, Herbert supported by Arnulf of Flanders besieged Montreuil and its capture gave him all of Ponthieu and Vimeu between the rivers Somme and Bresle. Herluin II sought the support of Hugh the Great to regain his lands but Hugh refused because he already had an alliance with Arnulf. Herluin then turned to William Longsword for help. Troops from the Cotentin attacked and recaptured Montreuil, slaughtering most of Arnulf’s garrison. But at a price. Herluin had placed his lands under the protection of the Normans and performed homage to William for his help. The Normans were now assured of a buffer between their borders and those of Flanders.

For Arnulf, Hugh the Great and other Carolingian lords the Normans remained undesirable intruders in France and they decided to eliminate William who was becoming too powerful and was increasingly playing a role in the politics of the French monarchy. It was at this moment that Arnulf sent messengers to William Longsword, saying that he wanted to settle their conflict over Montreuil. William went to the meeting on an island in the river Somme at Picquigny, where he was murdered by Arnulf’s men on 18th December 942.

Residence at Falaise

In Falaise France, is a series of statues that pays tribute to the six Norman Dukes from Rollo to William Conqueror. The castle here was the principal residence of the Norman Knights.

Château Guillaume-le-Conquérant Place Guillaume le Conquérant / 14700 Falaise / Tel: 02 31 41 61 44

Children of Longsword and Sprota

His first marriage?


Offspring of William Longsword, 2nd Duke of Normandy and Sprota (?-?)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Richard I, Duke of Normandy (933-996) 28 August 933 Fécamp, Upper Normandy, France 20 November 996 Fécamp, Upper Normandy, France Emma de France (c943-968)
Gunnora, Duchess of Normandy (c936-1031)

Children of Longsword and Liegard (Liutgard)

His second marriage and his widow - no known descendants.

The Planctus of William Longsword

This poem, although it survives only in corrupt and incomplete versions and is largely hagiographic in content, nevertheless is a critical source for early Norman history. It is by far the earliest work written about the Normans from a Norman point of view, and some historical nuggets can be gleaned from it.

Noteworthy descendants include

  1. William I of England (1027-1087)

Sources and notes

‡ General
Facts about "William Longsword, 2nd Duke of Normandy (893-942)"RDF feed
Age at death49 +
Birth blurb893
Birth date893 +
Birth date-approxc +
Birth date string893
Birth latitude
Birth longitude
Birth year893 +
Children-g1Richard I, Duke of Normandy (933-996) +
Children-list1Richard I, Duke of Normandy (933-996)
Death blurb17 December 942
Death causesassassination +
Death date17 December 942 +
Death date string17 December 942
Death day17 +
Death latitude
Death longitude
Death month12 +
Death year942 +
Desc1Richard I, Duke of Normandy (933-996) +
Desc2Richard II, Duke of Normandy (963-1027) +, Robert d'Évreux (-1037) +, Mauger, Earl of Corbeil (?-aft1033) +, Robert of Normandy (?-c988) +, Hawise of Normandy (c978-1034) +, Maud of Normandy (?-?) +, Emma of Normandy (c985-1052) +, Beatrice of Normandy (c980-1034) +, Pappa of Normandy (c990-?) +, Fressenda of Normandy (c995-c1057) +, Godefroi de Brionne (962-aft1023) + and Guillaume I of Eu (985-1058) +
Desc3Richard III of Normandy (997-1027) +, Adelaide of Normandy (1002-1038) +, Robert II, Duke of Normandy (c1000-1035) +, William of Normandy (c1008-aft1025) +, Eleanor of Normandy (c1012-aft1071) +, Matilda of Normandy (c1014-aft1033) +, Mauger de Rouen (c1019-c1055) +, Guillaume de Talou (c1022-aft1054) +, Richard d'Évreux (-1067) +, Gilbert de Brionne (1000-c1040) +, Robert I of Eu (1021-1089) +, Guillaume Busac of Eu (1022-1077) +, Hugues of Eu (c1023-c1077) +, Pons FitzWilliam (c1024-c1071) +, Edward the Confessor of England (bef1005-1066) +, Goda of England (c1004-c1047) +, Ælfred Æþeling of England (-c1036) +, Bernard II de Saint-Valery (c1005-1066) + and Richard de Saint-Valery (c1008-?) +
Familysearch afn9HMF-2F +
FatherRollo of Normandy (860-932) +
Given nameWilliam +
Ifmarried-g1true +
Ifmarried-g2true +
Joined withSprota (?-?)+Liutgarde de Vermandois (c920-978) +
Joined with-g1Sprota (?-?) +
Joined with-g2Liutgarde de Vermandois (c920-978) +
Long nameWilliam Longsword, 2nd Duke of Normandy +
Middle nameLongsword +
MotherPoppa van Bayeux (c870-c910) +
Notable ancestors
Page language
SexM +
Short nameWilliam Longsword, 2nd Duke of Normandy +
SourcesWarenne Family Ancestry

<new note>[[wiWarenne Family Ancestry <new note>Wikipedia for William Longsword <new note>From Stewart Baldwin on Guillaume "Longue Épée" of Normandy <new note>FMG on GUILLAUME I "Longuespee" Comte de Normandie

<new note>History of William Longswordsword-2.html History of William Longsword]
Spouse latitude
Spouse longitude
SurnameOf Normandy +
TitlesDuke of Normandy +
Wedding1 date932 +
Wedding1 date-approxc +
Wedding1 year932 +
WikipediaWilliam I Longsword +

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