Robert FitzWimarc was a Norman by birth, though it is highly probable that his mother was a Breton. His blood was noble, and we are told that he was a kinsman both to the English king, Edward the Confessor, and to Duke William of Normandy. He was brought to England by Edward and flourished, holding lands in many parts of the country. He had a special interest in Essex. When the Norman favourites of Edward were ousted from political power Robert stayed, found further favour with Edward and possibly with Harold after him. His interests were local and national. He was Sheriff of Essex. He was one of the four inner councillors present at the death bed of Edward the Confessor and as such is portrayed in the Bayeux Tapestry in the company of the Queen, Earl Harold Godwinson, and Archbishop Stigand. When William the Conqueror landed, it was Robert FitzWimarc who advised him as kinsman and friend, to return to Normandy, arguing that William had neither the strength nor the numbers to risk battle against Harold, fresh from his triumph against the Norwegians at Stamford Bridge. William's army would be beaten. Robert was, however, as well favoured by William as he had been by the Confessor, and left his extensive estates in Essex to his son, Suen, who built the Castle at Rayleigh.

FitzWimarc was clearly a prudent, wise, well trusted counsellor whose work in the background did much to ease the transition from Saxon to Norman England. It is right and fitting that his name should be perpetuated in a school built to serve a country which he and his son Suen made peculiarly their own.


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