Gloucester, Robert, earl of, d. 1147, English nobleman; illegitimate son of Henry I. Henry created (c.1121) the earldom of Gloucester for him. After his father's death (1135), Robert appeared to accept the seizure of the throne by Henry's nephew, Stephen, to whom he did conditional homage in 1136. They soon quarreled, however, and after Stephen had seized (1138) Robert's lands, Robert led a baronial rebellion in favor of his half-sister, Matilda. The earl captured Stephen at Lincoln in 1141, but later in the year he himself was captured, while covering Matilda's retreat from Winchester, and exchanged for the king. Robert then went to France to get aid from Matilda's husband, Geoffrey IV of Anjou, and returned to England with her son Henry (later Henry II). Robert held the Angevin party in England together and consistently labored for Matilda's cause.
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