A very unlikely story about William the Conqueror’s mother, c.1020…..

“Edmund Ironside, says a Saxon genealogist, had two sons, Edwin and Edward, and an only daughter, whose name does not appear in history because of her wilful conduct, seeing that she formed a most imprudent alliance with the King’s Skinner, ie., the Master of the Robes. The King in his anger banished the Skinner from England, together with his daughter. They both went to Normandy, where they lived on public charity, and had successively three daughters. Having one day come to Falaise to beg at Duke Richard’s door, the Duke, struck with the beauty of the woman and her children, asked who she was. “I am,” she said, “an Englishwoman of the Royal Blood.” The Duke on this answer treated her with honour, took the Skinner into his service, and had one of his daughters brought up in the Palace. She was Arlotte, or Charlotte, the mother of the Conqueror.” (From ‘A Short Account of the Families of Chaplin and Skinner and connected families’.)

……. and a more likely sequel, c.1070.

“The name of Skinner is of Danish origin, from the word Sken. At Herald’s College is to be found at the 28th page of the 23rd Volume of MS. pedigrees in the handwriting of Robert Dale, from 1703 to 1713 – Blanch Lion, Poursuivant Extraordinary, afterwards Richmond Herald, the following pedigree: –  ‘The name of Skenner is a name in the Kyngdom of Ingland that came with the elegetematt William Duke of Normandy, who mayd conquest of the Kyngdom; the first of the name of Skenner being a knight named Sir Robartt Skenner, borne in Normandy, who for his good services done unto the Conqueror was made a free Denneson in the aforesayd kingdom. He married in the County of Lincone unto the daughter and heayre of Sir Robartt Bolingbroke, Knight, of the rase of Saxony, from him is descended 28 Desenttes, whereof six wher Knights, they all of them lyvinge as gentelmen of name and sortte.” The arms are then described and the pedigree set forth. It is signed thus, – “Yours to command, Hamlett Sonckye.’
Transcribed from an ill-written, rude draft or pedigree, in eight sheets of paper pasted together, at the top whereof is joined another sheet with an archievement of two coats and crest in colours.


In the eighth year of Edward 1st, it appears by an Inquisito post mortem that the name was spelled ‘Le Skynnere’.  (From ‘Sketch of the Military Services of Lieutenant-General Skinner and his sons’ by Allan Maclean Skinner, 1863)

The MS pedigree was furnished to Mr Dale, at the Heralds College, in 1703, by the Rev William Skynner, Vicar of Sunbury, who died July 21, 1717; he was an elder brother of Captain Samuel Skynner, on whose monument, in Ledbury Church, it is quaintly stated that he was “no mean proficient in maritime affairs, having been conversant therein near forty years.”