Archiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2002-07 > 1028113301

From: "Rosie Bevan" <>
Subject: Liber Vitae and the family of Roger and Ida Bigod
Date: Wed, 31 Jul 2002 23:07:04 +1200

Today I had a look at the two volumes from the Surtees Society volumes
covering the Liber Vitae of Durham. They are:

v.13 - Liber Vitae Ecclesiae Dunelmensis: Nec Non Obituaria Duo Ejusdem
Ecclesiae, edited by J.Stevenson (1841)

v.136 - Liber Vitae Ecclesiae Dunelmensis : A Collotype Facsimile of the
Original Manuscript, edited by A.H.Thomson (1928)

The Liber Vitae is a volume compiled over a period of 600 years which
consists of the names of the benefactors to the Church of St Cuthbert,
Durham. It was placed on the High Altar and was used by the monks when
praying for the benefactors during Divine Service, though probably
impracticable to read out the whole list. It was initially a very sumptuous
work, highly structured and written in alternate lines of gold and silver
ink in a very beautiful hand, and begun some time in the ninth century at
Lindisfarne. However from about 1200 onwards, the handwriting degenerated,
and as the book filled, spaces in previous pages were randomly filled in, or
the writing on some of the pages was rubbed out to make room for new
entries, resulting in a chaotic mess.

Perhaps owing to this, the editor of volume 13, J. Stevenson, was not very
consistent in copying the names as they appeared on the original pages, with
the result that family clusters are obscured in his transcription.

For example on page 107 of v. 13 is the following:

"Comes Rogerus Bigot
Ida uxor ejus
Henricus Capellanus
G G Dapifer
Ida, pueri ejus"

Somewhat baffled by the inclusion of Henricus Capellanus, GG Dapifer and
wondering whether Basilia was a previously unknown daughter of Roger and
Ida, I looked in vol. 136 which has the folio pages reproduced
photographically, and realised that the editor had extracted the names
reading from left to right, ignoring the context.

The names were actually arranged thus

"Comes Rogu's Bigot. Ida uxor ej Henricus capell.
Hugo Will's Rogu's Johs Radulf GG Dapifer
Maria Margared Ida pueri ej [illegible] Basilia"

The three names at the end had been added later in the space left between
the Bigod entry and the end of the page. This is clearly an example of the
misleading editing of the first volume of the Liber Vitae, and why it was
felt the second one needed to be published.

From this we can see that the children of Roger and Ida Bigod are said to be
named Hugh, William, Roger, John, Ralph, Maria, Margaret and Ida. How
contemporary or reliable this entry is, I have no idea, nor whether the
William named is William Longespee or William Bigod.

Another significant entry is supportive of Ray Phair's recent post on the
subject on the mother of Robert fitzMeldred, Joan de Stuteville.

"Gilebert Halsart et Johanna de Stuteville " (v.13 p. 19; v.136 f.23b]

It is known that Gilbert Hansard was brother of Robert fitzMaldred, though
evidently by different fathers, by the attestation of a charter, ["Roberto
fil. Meldredi, Gileberto Hansard fratri suo"]. Gilebert Halsart mentioned in
the Liber Vitae is probably husband of Joan de Stuteville and father of
Gilbert Hansard.

Another family grouping of Malcolm, Earl of Atholl appears in v.13 p.100
"Malcolmus filius Mal. et comes Athodlie
Hextilda filia Ucthredi uxor ejus
Simon filius ejus
Henricus filius ejus
Dunecanus frater ejus
Bedoch soror ejus
Kelehathoni filius ejus
Cristina soror ejus
Constantinus nepos ejus"

One entry which caught my interest is that of
"Comes Willelmus de Salesburie,
Gundre comitissa"

This is clearly not William Longespee as he was Earl of Salisbury by right
of his wife, Ela, who outlived him. This must then refer to William
FitzPatrick, but I was not aware that he had a wife called Gundred nor is it
mentioned in the Complete Peerage. Nevertheless, it would be reasonable to
assume that he had a previous wife because he married Eleanor de Vitre,
mother of his daughter and heir, when he was about 40 years of age.

It seems to me that the Liber Vitae, which contains over 3000 names, has
much raw genealogical data, which would be of value and interest to this



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