The first Norman lord of Glamorgan was Robert Fitzhamon (d. 1107 ) (see D.N.B. ). He left an heiress, Mabel (‘ Mabli ’ to the Welsh — she d. 1157 ), and Henry bestowed her on his son Robert , raising him, at some time in the year 1121-3 , to the earldom of Gloucester , including the lordship of Glamorgan . He is lauded on all sides — as a brave soldier , as a wise statesman , and as a patron of letters . Geoffrey of Monmouth dedicated one version of his Historia to him. Robert Fitzhamon had already built Cardiff castle , and the town is referred to as a ‘borough’ in his time, but it was Robert of Gloucester and his son William (below) who granted Cardiff its charter in the oldest form known to us ( Mathews , Cardiff Records , i, 10-11). He favoured the monastic movement : it was under his aegis that Richard de Grenville in 1130 founded Neath abbey , and it was Robert himself, in the last year of his life, who founded Margam . He d. 31 Oct. 1147 .
All that is remembered of his son WILLIAM (d. 1183 ) is the somewhat ludicrous incident of 1158 , when he and his family were abducted from Cardiff castle by Ifor Bach of Senghennydd . Of William 's children, the son, ROBERT , predeceased him in 1166 . The eldest daughter, ISABEL (also called ‘ Hawise ’) was m. to prince (afterwards king ) John ; and although the marriage was dissolved, John clung to her lands till 1214 . They finally passed to Isabel 's sister AMICIA ; her marriage to Roger de Clare ultimately brought Gloucester and Glamorgan into the hands of the Clare family .
Emeritus Professor Robert Thomas Jenkins, C.B.E., D.Litt., Ll.D., F.S.A., (1881-1969), Bangor
Published date: 1959