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ETHELSTAN, BISHOP OF HEREFORD.
ETHELSTAN, BISHO OF HEREFORD.
PROFESSOR STUBBS places the consecration of Æthelstan in 1012. This seems to be the right year, because in that year we find his first signature (“Æðelstanus episcopus," Cod. Dipl. vi. 165), as well as the last signature (Cod. Dipl. iii. 357) of his predecessor Athulf-he seems always to use this contracted form. At first sight this date seems inconsistent with a document in Cod. Dipl. iv. 234, one to which I have already referred for another purpose (see above, p. 563), in which "Epelstan Bisceop" is said to have bought lands in Worcestershire of Leofric-perhaps the famous Earl while still a private man in his father's lifetime—the purchase of which was witnessed by the two Archbishops Ælfheah and Wulfstan. Now Elfheah, who was taken captive in September 1011 (see vol. i. p. 350), can neither have consecrated Æthelstan in 1012 nor yet have witnessed a purchase made by him in that year. The transaction spoken of in the document must belong to an earlier time. But the document itself was not written till long after. Many years after the purchase ("æfter þysan manegum gearum ") -at some time between the accession of Cnut and the death of Ealdorman Leofwine-Wulfstan and his son Wulfric tried to disturb Æthelstan in its possession, but a compromise was come to in the Scirgemót of Worcestershire, in which Leofwine, Hakon (see above, p. 563), and Leofric were present.
The explanation doubtless is that, in a deed drawn up so long after, Æthelstan is spoken of by a title which belonged to him then, but which did not belong to him at the time of the purchase. As for his consecration in 1012, there seems to be no evidence as to the consecrator, but it could not have been Elfheah.
Bishop Ethelstan is mentioned in Domesday 185, where we read of lands at Frome in Herefordshire, "Alviet [Elfgyth?] tenuit de Estano episcopo et poterat ire quo volebat."
NOTE II. p. 415.
THE FAMILY OF LEOFRIC.
I KNOW of no authority for any children of Leofric and Godgifu except Earl Ælfgar. It is hardly needful to refute the notion, entertained even by Sir Henry Ellis (ii. 146), that Hereward was a son of the Mercian Earl. On this score even the false Ingulf is guiltless. The mistake arose solely from a late and blundering genealogical roll, printed in the Chroniques Anglo-Normandes, ii. xii. The same roll gives Leofric a third nameless son, who was a child ("tertium parvulum cujus nomen non habetur") at the coming of William, and was beheaded for the sake of his inheritance. Leofric died an old man in 1057; a son of his could hardly be "parvulus" in 1066. This family seems to have been picked out (see vol. i. p. 717) as the special sport of pedigree-makers.
Mr. C. H. Pearson (i. 367) attributes the mistake about Hereward to Sir Francis Palgrave, who is quite guiltless of it. See his History, iii. 467.
Ælfgar's wife was called Elfgifu. Her name appears in Domesday in a position which clearly shows that she survived the Conquest, that she retained her lands, or parts of them, but that she was dead at the time of the Survey. In Leicestershire (231 b) there is a special heading, "Terra Alvevæ Comitissæ," and in Suffolk (ii. 286 b) one of "Terra matris Morchari Comitis." But the word used is not "tenet" but "tenuit." Cf. also Nottinghamshire, 280 b. I know not on what authority pedigree-makers affirm her to have been a Frenchwoman, sister of William Malet. If so, she must, like the Lady Emma, have changed her name at her marriage. Possibly it was a standing rule that all wives from beyond sea should take the name of Ælfgifu, as if they had come from Elfland.
Of the children of Elfgar and Ælfgifu, their two famous or infamous sons, Eadwine and Morkere, need no mention here. The existence of a third son, Burhhard (see pp. 452, 456), depends on the amount of trust which we may give to a charter preserved in the local history of Rheims, and which is backed by the still surviving tradition of the place. The charter is quoted by Sir Henry Ellis (i. 325), and it is given in the Monasticon, vi. 1042, where the text seems very corrupt. The words, as given by Ellis, are, “Notum sit
THE FAMILY OF LEOFRIC.
Algarum quemdam, Anglorum Comitem, consentiente Edwardo Anglorum Rege, Sancto Remigio villam de Lapeleiâ dedisse pro animâ filii sui Burchardi, cujus corpus in polyandrio ecclesiæ quiescit." Lapley belonged both at the time of the Survey and T. R. E., not to "the Church of Rheims," as Sir Henry Ellis says, but to "Saint Remigius of Rheims" (Domesday, 222 b), that is, to the Abbey. This entry, strangely enough, is found in Northamptonshire, which must be a mistake for Staffordshire, where there was a Priory of Lapley (whose church still survives), which was a cell to Saint Remigius. See Monasticon, vi. 1042, 1043. Now the name Burhhard, though a possible name and one borne by several men T. R. E., can hardly be called a common English name. This name, and the apparent devotion of Elfgar and his son to the Abbey of Rheims, are by no means enough to prove the foreign origin of Elfgifu, but they certainly fall in with the tradition.
About the personality of Ealdgyth, daughter of Ælfgar, and wife successively of Gruffydd and Harold, there is no doubt. Florence mentions her incidentally under 1066, as the widow of Harold and the sister of Eadwine and Morkere. She appears also in Domesday (238 b), where it is said of lands in Warwickshire belonging to Coventry Abbey, "Hanc terram tenuit Aldgid uxor Grifin." At the time of the Survey it had passed from her to Osbern of Herefordshire, who had sold it to the Abbot. I do not identify her with "Alveva uxor Heroldi" who also appears in Domesday (149), but who must have been the wife of some much smaller Harold. Indeed I doubt whether a Norman record would give the title of "uxor Heroldi” to Ealdgyth, a wife married in contempt of Harold's pledges to the daughter of William. The description of her as "uxor Grifin" is significant. The Norman writers seem to have more to tell about her than the English. William of Jumièges tells us (vii. 31) that Harold “Grithfridi quoque Regis Wallorum, postquam hostilis eum gladius peremit, pulcram conjugem Aldith, præclari Comitis Algari filiam, sibi uxorem junxit." So Orderic, 492 D; "Ipse [Heraldus] Edgivam sororem eorum [Edwini et Morcari] uxorem habebat, quæ prius Gritfridi fortissimi Regis Guallorum conjunx fuerat." He goes on to say that she had borne two children to Gruffydd, "Blidenum regni successorem," and a daughter named Nest. This "Blidenus" is of course a confusion with Gruffydd's brother or
kinsman Bleddyn or Blethgent, but Nest may very well have been the daughter of Ealdgyth. This is doubtless the same Nest whose daughter of the same name became the wife of Bernard Newmarch (see Gir. Camb. It. Kamb. i. 2. pp. 28, 29, Dimock), and to whom the virtues of her great-great-grandmother Godgifu certainly did not descend. Benoît de Sainte More (vv. 36758-36771) has a very curious account of Ealdgyth;
Après que Heraut se fu fait Reis,
Ce li pesa c'unc à sa char
I need not point out the glaring mistake of putting Harold's Welsh war after his election to the Kingdom. But the supposed attachment of Ealdgyth to Gruffydd rather than to Harold may be a genuine tradition, as it falls in with other indications.
Two questions here arise about Ealdgyth. Was she the “Eddeva pulcra" of Domesday? and, Was she the only daughter of Ælfgar? Sir Henry Ellis (ii. 79) argues at length that she is " Eddeva pulcra," in opposition to Mr. Sharon Turner, who identifies that Eddeva with Eadgyth Swanneshals. There is no very distinct evidence, but I rather incline to the latter belief, which I shall have to speak of again (see vol. iii. p. 764). As for the other question, Orderic (511 B) distinctly calls Ealdgyth the only daughter of Elfgar. But his account is very confused; he not only leaves out Burhhard, but he confounds Elfgar with his father Leofric, and makes Godgifu Elfgar's wife instead of his mother. His words are, "Devoti Deo dignique relligionis laude parentes elegantem et multâ laude dignam ediderunt sobolem, Eduinum, Morcarum, et unam filiam nomine Aldit, quæ primo nupsit Guitfrido Regi Guallorum, post cujus mortem sociata est Heraldo Regi Anglorum." But the genealogy of Leofric's family which I have already spoken of (vol. i. p. 717; see also Ellis, i. 490) gives Ælfgar a daughter Lucy, who, though unknown to Domesday, inherited the lands of the family ("obtinuit Lucia soror eorum terras paternas "), and who was married, first, in the Conqueror's time, to Ivo Taillebois, then, in the time of
enry the First, to Roger Fitzgerald, lastly, in the time of Stephen,
to Randolf, Earl of Chester. She had a son by each of the last two husbands. The chronology is as amazing as the whole chronology of this pedigree. A woman whose father died before 1065 is made to bear a son at some time between 1135 and 1154. There was undoubtedly a Lucy, who did marry in succession Roger Fitzgerald and Earl Randolf (Ord. Vit. 871 B), and who was the mother of the Earl's son William Randolf (an early case of a double name), and who was alive in 1141 (ib. 921 B); but I know of nothing to connect her either with Ivo Taillebois or with the house of Leofric. Lucy, as the name of an Englishwoman in the eleventh century, is as impossible as Rowena or Ulrica, unless indeed the supposed French origin of her mother is again called in. The false Ingulf is, I need not say, great on the subject of Ivo and Lucy, and the legend is still swallowed by novelists and local antiquaries. But it is truly amazing to find Sir Francis Palgrave, who was the first to scotch the Crowland snake, in the same company (iii. 472).
Godgifu herself, the grandmother of so many of our characters, is shown to have survived the Conquest, but to have died before the Survey, by the same evidence which proves the like in the case of her daughter-in-law Elfgifu. Her lands in Leicestershire (231 b) and Warwickshire (239 b) are entered in exactly the same form as those of the wife of Elfgar. See also Nottinghamshire (280 b), where she appears in company, among others, with Ælfgifu and with "Goda Comitissa," that is, her own namesake the sister of Eadward and mother of Ralph of Hereford. But I cannot but think that some of the entries in Staffordshire (248 b, 249) refer to some other Godgifu. In the entries of which I have spoken, including one immediately following (249 b), she is called reverentially "Godeva Comitissa;" here we simply read "Godeva tenuit et libera fuit;" "Hanc tenuit Godeva etiam post adventum Regis W. in Angliam, sed recedere non potuit cum terra." Surely this cannot be the widow, mother, and grandmother of successive Earls of the Mercians.
I may notice that Godgifu, Elfgifu, and other wives of Earls, are in Domesday and in other Latin writings freely called "Comitissa." But I have not found any English equivalent for that title. "Lady" is reserved for the King's wife; an Earl's wife seems to be simply called the Earl's wife and nothing else.