William de Warenne and Gundrada

Historical Background

William de Warenne was an early Norman baron who fought with William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

At the Domesday Book survey, he held extensive lands in thirteen counties including the Rape of Lewes in Sussex (now East Sussex).


Gundred or Gundreda (Latin: Gundrada) died 27 May 1085. She was the Flemish-born wife of William de Warenne, first Earl of Surrey.

She and her husband established Lewes Priory in Sussex.


The remains of William de Warenne and Gundrada as they were displayed in Southover church.

The coffins were disturbed when the ruins of Lewes Priory were partially destroyed by the building of the Brighton to Lewes railway.

Lithograph by I W Woledge from a drawing by R H Nibbs, 29 October 1845.

(ESRO: PDA L19b).

The tomb slab of Gundrada, originally in the chapter house of Lewes Priory, transferred to Southover church, Lewes, 1785.

The slab was discovered in 1774 in Isfield church where it formed part of the monument to Edward Shurley, cofferer to Henry VIII.

The antiquarian, Sir William Burrell, paid for it to be removed to Southover Church.


Tomb slab of Gundrada de Warenne, Southover church (photo by M. Hughes)

Tooth of Gundrada de Warenne (died 1085) with note of authentication by Isaiah Weller.

Weller describes how two teeth of Gundrada were taken from her lead coffin when it was exhumed at Lewes Priory.

The other tooth is known to have been missing for some time.

(ESRO: ACC 8648/37/12).

  • Date details


  • Institution

East Sussex Record Office

  • Original reference

PDA L 19 B

  • Period

Middle Ages

  • Thematic

Politic and military links



Brighton – East Sussex Record Office

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