Monday, 10 June 2013



On reasonable evidence, the Bottrill family can be traced back to Fornjot (year 500AD) who was King of Finland (Kvenland).  In a society where writing was not used, early Norse history was chronicled by the Skalds, who committed facts to memory and handed their knowledge on orally through the Sagas to their successors to keep a record of each man’s family history.

Fornjot was an ancestor of Rollo, the line traced in the Inga Saga from Orkney.  He was called ‘Rolf, the Ganger’ because he was too heavy for a pony – ‘ganger’ means ‘walker’.  Rollo/Rolf was more adventurous than his brother and took early to piracy, raiding the coasts of the Baltic.  Being short of water, he made the mistake of raiding one of his own king’s settlements. Enraged, the king summoned a ‘Thing’/council, and banished Rollo in 876AD. 

Rollo was then 26 years old and stayed for a few years in the Hebrides where he had a love affair and a daughter.  He and his gang of pirates now raided England and France leaving chaos behind them, while other Viking leaders colonised Iceland, Greenland and America.  The prosperous Seine valley with its navigable river was a particular magnet for plunderers.  King Charles ‘the Simple’ could not stop the crippling raids, which even threatened Paris.  But the king was not as simple as people thought.  He couldn’t beat them, so he joined them.  

In 911 the King met Rollo, the leader of the Norsemen/Normans and tentatively proposed to cede to the “Normans on the Seine” the lands they had taken on condition they settled down.  The change of lifestyle from pirate to farmer would be extreme, but there being little left to plunder, the Northmen were content to accept.  So Rollo grinned, placed his hands in those of the King of France as his overlord, and became the first Duke of the “Duchy of Normandy.”  

          William the Conqueror descended from Rollo.  William’s great aunt, Hawise, married Geoffroi, Duke of Brittany and their son was Eudes, Duke of Brittany, father of Geoffrey Boterel I.

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