FITZSTEPHEN, ROBERT (died c. 1183), one of the conquerors of Ireland

Name: Robert Fitzstephen

Date of death: c. 1183

Parent : Nest ferch Rhys ap Tewdwr

Parent: Stephen

Gender: Male

Occupation: one of the conquerors of Ireland

Area of activity: Military; Politics, Government and Political Movements

Author: Bertie George Charles

Son of Stephen, constable of Cardigan castle in 1136, by Nest, daughter of Rhys ap Tewdwr. He had lands in Cemais and succeeded his father as constable of Cardigan. When Henry II invaded the realm of Owain Gwynedd in North Wales in 1157, Robert went to his assistance with a fleet. In the fighting he was badly wounded but escaped to the waiting ships. He seems to have successfully defended the fortress of Cardigan for the Clares for a long period, even against the onslaught of Hywel ab Owain in 1145. Not until 1165, after Rhys ap Gruffydd had subdued almost the whole of Ceredigion, did the castle fall into the hands of the Welsh. It was then betrayed to Rhys, razed to the ground, and Robert was imprisoned for over three years. On his release he crossed to Ireland to aid the king of Leinster and played a significant role in the conquest of Ireland where he was granted lands in Wexford and its neighbourhood. In 1177 he received a joint grant of the kingdom of Cork, where he ruled until his death, c. 1183. The abbey of Strata Florida was founded in 1164 on land given to the monks by Robert. He also gave Llanfyrnach on the Taf to the knights of Slebech.