~ the battle for England between Stephen of Blois and Matilda The Empress ~


31 July 2010

Biographies: Other Persons of Interest - Aubrey de Vere; Hugh Bigod; The Clergy

Some brief notes on other persons of interest during the period of 'The Anarchy' to conclude this section of the blog ~

• Aubrey de Vere II - Alice FitzRichard de Clare

Aubrey de Vere II
Birth: -
Death: 1141
Burial: Colne Priory, Essex
Father: Aubrey de Vere
Mother: -
Marriage: Alice FitzRichard de Clare
Aubrey de Vere, 1st Earl of Oxford m. (1) 1139 Beatrice de Guises, daughter of the Comte de Guises. He and Beatrice de Guises were divorced c.1146. (2) c.1162 Agnes of Essex, daughter of Henry of Essex, Lord Rayleigh and Haughley
Rohese de Vere, m. Geoffrey de Mandeville II, 1st Earl of Essex
Juliane, m. Hugh Bigod, 1st Earl of Norfolk
William, Bishop of Hereford
Gilbert, Prior of the Knights Hospitaller in England
? daughter m. Roger de Ramis

NOTES: Aubrey de Vere was appointed Lord Great Chamberlain by Henry I in 1133 and served both him and Stephen as well as being appointed Sheriff of several Shires. In 1139 when Stephen was summoned to a church council to answer for the seizure of castles held by Roger, Bishop of Salisbury, it was Aubrey who represented the King. His son would eventually be created 1st Earl of Oxford, and it was the de Vere family who built the still well preserved Keep, Hedingham Castle, in Essex. Matilda of Boulogne, Stephen's wife, died at Hedingham on 3 May, 1152.

• Hugh Bigod, 1st Earl of Norfolk - Juliane de Vere and Gundreda

Hugh Bigod, 1st Earl of Norfolk
Birth: 1095
Death: 1177
Father: Roger Bigod
Mother: Alice (Adeliza) de Tosny
Marriage: (1) 1140 Juliane de Vere
Roger Bigod, 2nd Earl of Norfolk
Marriage: (2) Gundreda
Hugh Bigod
William Hugh Bigod

NOTES: Infamous as the man who swore an oath that Henry I had disinherited his daughter Matilda in favour of Stephen on his deathbed, Hugh Bigod had become heir to his father's estates in East Anglia after the death of his elder brother, William Bigod, in the White Ship disaster of 1120. Hugh was married twice. His first marriage was to Juliane de Vere, daughter of Aubrey de Vere II and Alice FitzRichard de Clare, and produced a son, Roger. His second marriage was to Gundreda, daughter of Roger de Beaumont, 2nd Earl of Warwick which produced two sons, Hugh and William. Hugh Bigod was another baron who seems to have frequently changed his loyalties between Matilda and Stephen depending on which way he thought the 'wind was blowing' in his own best interests.


• Roger, Bishop of Salisbury

Roger, Bishop of Salisbury
Birth: -
Death: 11 December 1139, Salisbury

NOTES: Although he was uneducated, Roger had a great talent for administrative business and was an effective bureaucrat. Henry I appointed him Chancellor in 1101, an office which he held until late 1102. Roger devoted himself to the administrative business of the realm, The Court of Exchequer, and became its chief minister or Justiciar. He received the bishopric of Salisbury on 29 September 1102 and held this until his death in 1139. Although Roger, along with the rest of the clergy and nobility, had sworn allegiance to Matilda, he supported Stephen's claim to the throne after Henry's death. Stephen relied on him and the bishops of Ely and Lincoln yet at the same time was irritated by Roger's overwhelming influence. At a council held in June 1139, Stephen found a pretext for demanding the surrender of their castles. When they refused Stephen had them arrested and after a short struggle all Roger's wealth and possessions were seized. Stephen's attack on Roger incensed the clergy, including his brother Henry the Bishop of Winchester, who perceived it as an attack on the church itself. It proved to be a poor decision that would come to cost Stephen dearly.

• William of Corbeil, Archbishop of Canterbury

William of Corbeil
Birth: -
Death: 21 November 1136, Canterbury, Kent
Burial: Canterbury Cathedral

NOTES: Elected in 1123 to succeed Ralph d'Escures, William is best known as the builder of the keep of Rochester Castle and for his decision to crown Stephen king. In this the Archbishop was persuaded by Henry of Blois and Roger of Salisbury, who argued that the oath Henry had made the clergy and barons swear to recognise Matilda had been forcefully imposed, and by the statement of Hugh Bigod, who claimed that he had been present at Henry's deathbed and the dying king had released the barons and the bishops from their oath of fealty. The claim was untrue but no one present was willing to dispute it.

• Theobald of Bec, Archbishop of Canterbury

Theobald of Bec
Birth: -
Death: 18 April 1161, Canterbury, Kent
Burial: Canterbury Cathedral

NOTES: Theobald was elected to fill the vacant archbishopric of Canterbury in 1138, a move which earned him the enmity of Stephen's brother Henry, Bishop of Winchester. He is best known for refusing to consecrate Stephen's son and heir Eustace, and as the patron of his successor Thomas Becket.

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