• Richest of the Rich position: 4
  • Birth/Death: c 1031-1090
  • Origin of wealth: Land
  • Wealth: £8,000
  • Net National Income: £150,000
  • Net National Income Percent: 5.33%
  • In Today’s Money: £59.155 billion

The half brother of William the Conqueror, Robert was created Count of Mortain in south-west Normandy around 1055. He later played a leading role in the 1066 invasion of England and its subsequent pacification until 1069, proving himself to be an effective military leader. Robert is depicted on the Bayeux Tapestry advising William on strategy after the landings. His reward was immense. Within twenty years of the Conquest, he had 800 manors all over Britain from Sussex to Yorkshire in the north and out to Cornwall in the west.

While his lands were valued at around £2,500 at prevailing prices, his total wealth is put at around £8,000, or over 5.3% of net national income (£59.1bn in today’s GDP). However, Robert’s wealth did not save him when William the Conqueror died. He rebelled against the Crown going to William Rufus and withstood the six-week siege at Pevensey (where William of Warenne was fatally wounded), but after his submission to William Rufus, he was pardoned and withdrew to Normandy where, surprisingly, he died peacefully in 1090.

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