Archiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2002-07 > 1025715976

From: "R Phair" <>
Subject: Countess Ida, Bigod, Longespee
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 2002 17:06:16 +0000

After he was created an earl, William Longespee issued two charters for
Bradenstoke priory, Wiltshire, in which countess Ida was described as
his mother; as the editor observed, this offers a reason why he named
one of his daughters Ida [1].

While there were several countesses named Ida in 12th c. France, the
only one known occurring in England at this time was the wife of Roger
Bigod, earl of Norfolk, leading to the guess that she was William's
mother [2].

As it turns out there is evidence that Ida countess of Norfolk was
William's mother. Among the prisoners captured at the battle of
Bouvines, Flanders, in 1214 was Ralph Bigod, described as a brother of
William (Longespee) earl of Salisbury [3].

Two Ralph Bigods have been found in the records, but the older one was
already an adult by 1156-62 and thus unlikely to have fought in a
battle over 50 years later [4]. The other Ralph was a younger son of
Roger Bigod, earl of Norfolk, whom the editors identify as still living
in 1219 [5, 6]. This later Ralph seems very likely to have been the
half-brother of earl William.

The French compilers of the prisoners list would probably have had a
greater interest in his connection to William earl of Salisbury, one of
the commanders in the battle, than to his father who is not known to
have participated [7].

It may turn out to be only coincidence, but another Bradenstoke charter
of earl William, dated by London as 1198x1199, was witnessed by, among
others, Hugh Bigod and William Bigod [1]. These happen to be the names
of both earl Roger Bigod's half-brothers and two of his sons. Both of
the half-brothers were living at this time; Hugh was the older one [8].
It is not clear if both sons would have been old enough to witness a
charter of their half-brother, nor is it certain that earl Roger's son
William was still alive. London did not attempt to identify the

[1] "The cartulary of Bradenstoke priory", ed. V.C.M. London, 1979,
pp.8-9, nos.481, 645, 646.
[2] G.B. Roberts, "The royal descents of 500 immigrants", 1993,,
348-364, credits Douglas Richardson with the identification of
countess Ida as the wife of earl Roger Bigod, although no proof was
provided. The subject of earl William's mother has generated
numerous postings. See the archives.
[3] "Les registres de Philippe Augustus", ed. J.W. Baldwin, 1992,
miscellanea no.13.
[4] "Recueil des actes de Henri II", ed. L. Delisle & E. Berger, 1:no.
4 (1); see also no.75 (spurious).
[5] "Complete Peerage", 9:586-7n, 589n (1936, repr. 1982), ed. G.H.
White & E. Stokes; "Rotuli litterarum clausarum", ed. T.D. Hardy,
5:1 (1). This might refer to his ransom after his capture at
[6] The name Ralph seems to have made its first appearance in the Bigod
family with Roger and Ida's son, perhaps introduced from Ida's
family. No link has been found, so far, between the older Ralph
Bigod and the comital family.
[7] Rolls series no.57, 7v, 1872-83, ed. H.R. Luard, 2:578-9. Cf. J.
Bradbury, "Philip Auguste: king of France 1180-1223", 1998, chapter
10; W.L. Warren, "King John", 1978, pp.223-4; G. Duby, "The legend
of Bouvines", transl. C. Tihanyi, 1990. Duby confused earl William
Longespee with his father-in-law.
[8] Earl William Longespee witnessed many charters of king John; one of
these was a confirmation of the marriage of William Bigod, earl
Roger's half-brother [Pipe Roll Society 55:no.234 (1939)].

Ray Phair

Copyright 2002 by R. W. Phair

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