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Individual Record for: Hugh BIGOD (male)

    Robert II BIGOD+
  Roger BIGOD      Family Record
Hugh BIGOD      Family Record Isabel De ST. SAUVEUR+
  Adeliza DE TOENI      Family Record
    Adela DE BELVOIR

Spouse Children
Juliana DE VERE
  (Family Record)

Event Date Details
Birth 1095 Place: Belvoir Castle, Belvoir, Leicestershire, England
Death 9 MAR 1176/77 Place: En route to Crusade in the Holy Land

Attribute Details
Title Earl

BIGOD, HUGH, first Earl of Norfolk (d. 1176 or 1177), was the second s on of Roger Bigod, the founder of the house in England after the Conques t. The origin of the name is quite uncertain. The French called the Norma ns 'bigoz e draschiers' (Rom. de Rou, iii. 4780) in contempt. The second w ord is said to mean beer-drinkers; the other has been explained as a nickn ame derived from the oath 'bi got' commonly used by the early Normans. B ut whether the family name Bigod had any connection with this term or no t, it is evident that in England in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuri es it was punned upon in words of profane swear!ng (Wright's Political Son gs, pp. 67, 68; Hemingburgh's Chronicle, ii. 121).

The first person who, bearing the name of Bigod or Bigot, appears in histo ry is Robert le Bigod, a poor knight, who gained the favour of William, du ke of Normandy, by discovering to him the intended treachery of William, c ount of Mortain. This Robert may have been the father of Roger, and o ne or the other, or both, may have been present at the battle of Hasting s. In the 'Roman de Rou,' iii. 8571-82, the ancestor of Hugh Bigod (perha ps the above Robert) is named as holding lands at Malitot, Loges, and Chan on in Normandy, and as serving the duke in his household as one of his sen eschals. He was small of body, but brave and bold, and assaulted the Engli sh gallantly. Roger Bigod is not traced in English records before 1079, b ut by this time he may have been endowed with the forfeited estates of Ral ph de Guader, earl of Norfolk, whose downfall took place in 1074. In Domes day he appears as holding six lordships in Essex, and 117 in Suffolk. Fr om Henry I he received the gift of Framlingham, which became the princip al stronghold of him and his descendants. He likewise held the office of k ing's dapifer, or steward, under William Rufus and Henry I. He died in 110 7, and was succeeded by his eldest son, William, who, however (26 Nov. 112 0), was drowned in the wreck of the White Ship. Roger's second son, Hug h, thus entered into possession of the estates.

At the time of his father's death, whom he survived some seventy years, Hu gh must have been quite a young child. Little is heard of him at firs t, no doubt on account of his youth, but he appears as king's dapifer in 1 123, and before that date he was constable of Norwich Castle and govern or of the city down to 1122, when it obtained a charter from the crown. Pa ssing the best years of his manhood in the distractions of the civil wa rs of Stephen and Matilda, when men's oaths of fealty sat lightly on the ir consciences, he appears to have surpassed his fellows in acts of desert ion and treachery, and to have been never more in his element than wh en in rebellion. His first prominent action in history was on the dea th of Henry I in 1135, when he is said to have hastened to England, a nd to have sworn to Archbishop William Corbois that the dying king, on so me quarrel with his daughter Matilda, had disinherited her, and named Step hen of Blois h!s successor. Stephen's prompt arrival in England settled t he matter, and the wavering prelate placed the crown on his head. Hugh's r eward was the earldom of Norfolk. The new king's energy at first kept h is followers together, but before Whitsuntide in the next year Stephen w as stricken with sickness, a lethargy fastened on him, and the report of h is death was quickly spread abroad. A rising of the turbulent barons neces sarily followed, and Bigod was the first to take up arms. He seized and he ld Norwich; but Stephen, quicky recovering, laid siege to the city, and Hu gh was compelled to surrender. Acting with unusual clemency, Stephen spar ed the traitor, who for a short time remained faithful. But in 11 40 he is said to have declared for the empress, and to have stood a sie ge in his castle of Bungay; yet in the next year he is in the ranks of Ste phen's army which fought the disastrous battle of Lincoln. In the few yea rs which followed, while the war dragged on, and Stephen's time was ful ly occupied in subduing the so-called adherents of the empress, who were r eally fighting for their own hand, the Earl of Norfolk probably remained w ithin his own domains, consolidating his power, and fortifying his castle s, although in 1143-4 he is reported to have been concerned in the risi ng of Geoffrey de Mandeville. The quarrel between the king and Archbish op Theobald in 1148 gave the next occasion for Hugh to come forward; he th is time sided with the archbishop, and received him in his castle of Framl ingham, but joined with others in effecting a reconciliation. Five years l ater, in 1153, when Henry of Anjou landed to assert his claim to the thron e, Bigod threw in his lot with the rising power, and held out in Ipswich a gainst Stephen's forces, while Henry, on the other side, laid siege to Sta mford. Both places fell, but in the critical state of his fortunes Steph en was in no position to punish the rebel. Negotiations were also goi ng on between the two parties, and Hugh again escaped.

On Henry's accession in December 1154, Bigod at once received a confirmati on of his earldom and stewardship by charter issued apparently in Janua ry of the next year. The first years of the new reign were spent in restor ing order to the shattered kingdom, and in breaking the power of the indep endent barons. It was scarcely to be expected that Hugh should rest quie t. He showed signs of resistance, but was at once put down. In 1157 Hen ry marched into the eastern counties and received the earl's submission. A fter this Hugh appears but little in the chronicles for some time; on ly in 1109 he is named among those who had been excommunicated by Becke t. This, however, was in consequence of his retention of lands belongi ng to the monastery of Pentney in Norfolk. In 1173 the revolt of the you ng crowned prince Henry against his father, and the league of the Engli sh barons with the kings of France and Scotland in his favour, gave the Ea rl of Norfolk another opportunity for rebellion. He at once became a movi ng spirit in the cause, eager to revive the feudal power which Henry had c urtailed. The honour of Eye and the custody of Norwich Castle were promis ed by the young prince as his reward. But the king's energy and good fortu ne were equal to the occasion. While he held in check his rebel vassa ls in France, the loyal barons in England defeated his enemies here. Robe rt de Beaumont, earl of Leices[er (d. 1190) [q. v.], landing at Walto n, in Suffolk, on 29 Sept. 1173, had marched to Framlingham and joined for ces with Hugh. Together they besieged and took, 13 Oct., the castle of Hag enet in Suffolk, held by Randal de Broc for the crown. But Leicester, sett ing out from Framlingham, was defeated and taken prisoner at Fornham St. G enevieve, near Bury, by the justiciar, Richard de Lucy, and other baron s, who then turned their arms against Earl Hugh. Not strong enough to figh t, he opened negotiations with his assailants, and, it is said, bought th em off, at the same time securing for the Flemings in his service a safe p assage home. In the next year, however, he was again in the field, with t he aid of the troops of Philip of Flanders, and laid siege to Norwich, whi ch he took by assault and burned. But Henry returned to England in the sum mer, and straightway marched into the eastern counties; and when Hugh hea rd that the king had already destroyed his castle of Walton, and was appro aching Framlingham, he hastened to make his submission at Laleham on 25 Ju ly, surrendering his castles, which were afterwards dismantled, and payi ng a fine. After these events Hugh Bigod ceases to appear in history. H is death is briefly recorded under the year 1177, and is generally mention ed as occurring in the Holy Land, whither he had ac.companicd Philip of Fl anders on a pilgrimage. It is to be observed, however, that on 1 Mar ch of that year his son Roger appealed to the king on a dispute with his s tepmother, Hugh being then dead, and that the date of his death is fixed ' ante caput jejunii,' i.e. before 9 March. If, then, he died in Palestin e, his death must have taken place in the preceding year, 1176, to allow t ime for the arrival of the news in England. Henry took advantage of Roger 's appeal to seize upon the late earl's treasure. Besides the vast estat es which he inherited, Hugh Bigod was in receipt of the third penny levi ed in the county of Norfolk. He was twice married, his first wife being Ju liana, sister of Alberic de Vere, earl of Oxford, by whom he had a son, Ro ger, d. 1221 [q.v.], his successor; and his second, Gundreda, who after h is death was married to Roger de Glanville.

[Chronicles of Henry of Huntingdon, Rog. de Hoveden, Rad. de Diceto, Bened ict of Peterborough, Gervase of Canterbury (Rolls Series, passim); Dugdale 's Baronage, i.123; Blomfields's Hist. of Norfolk, iii, 24 seq.; Stubbs 's Constitutional History and Early Plantagenets; Eyton's Itinerary of Hen ry II; Additional MS. 31939 (Eyton's Pedigrees) f. 129.] E.M.T.

Notes Source: bulkeley.txt

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