Robert Le BIGOD
(Abt 1035-)
(Abt 1040-Abt 1092)
Baron Robert De Toeni BELVOIR
(Abt 1009-1088)
(Abt 1035-Bef 1088)
Roger Le BIGOD
(Abt 1060-Abt 1107)
Adelaide De TONI
(Abt 1064-Aft 1135)
Earl Hugh Bigod NORFOLK, I
(Abt 1095-Bef 1176)


Family Links

1. Countess Julianna De Vere NORFOLK

2. Countess Gundred De Warwick NORFOLK

Earl Hugh Bigod NORFOLK, I

  • Born: Abt 1095, Castle, Belvoir, Leicestershire, England
  • Christened: Framlingham, Suffolk, England
  • Married (1): Abt 1149, , , England
  • Died: Bef 6 Mar 1176-1177, Abbey, Thetford, Norfolk, England
  • Buried: Abbey, Thetford, Norfolk, England

   Another name for Hugh was NORFOLK Earl.

   Ancestral File Number: 8XJV-VW. User ID: 151278840.

   General Notes:

Earl of NORFOLK.

The Political History of England, Vol II, George Burton Adams Longmans Green and Co, 1905, Ch I, p54:
[1074] "Already Norman families, who were to make so much of the history of the coming centuries, were rooted in the land. Montfort and Mortimer; Percy, Beauchamp, and Mowbray; Ferrers and Lacy; Beaumont, Mandeville, and Grantmesnil; Clare, Bigod, and Bohun; and many others of equal or nearly equal name. All these were as yet of no higher than baronial rank, but if we could trust the chroniclers, we should be able to make out in addition a considerable list of earldoms which William had established by this date or soon afterwards, in many parts of England, and in these were other great names..."
Ch IX, p193: [1135] "...On the question of making Stephen king, the good, though not strong, Archbishop of Canterbury, was greatly troubled by the oath which had been sworn in the interest of Matilda. `There are not enough of us here,' his words seem to mean, `to decide upon so important a step as recognizing this man as king, when we are bound by oath to recognize another.'
"Though our evidence is derived from clerical writers, who might exaggerate the importance of the point, it seems clear from a number of reasons that this oath to Matilda was really the greatest difficulty in Stephen's way.. ...It is evident that the oath was the first and greatest difficulty to be overcome in securing for Stephen the support of the Church, and this was indispensible to his success. The active condemnation of the breaking of this oath survived for a long time in the Church, and with characteristic medieval logic the fate of those few who violated their oaths and met some evil end was pointed to as a direct vengeance of God, while that of the fortunate majority of the faithless is passed over in silence, including the chief traitor Hugh Bigod, who, as Robert of Gloucester afterwards declared, had twice sworn falsely, and made of perjury an elegant accomplishment. "If the scruples of the archbishop were to be overcome, it could not be done by increasing the number of those who were present to agree to the accession of Stephen. No material increase of the party of his adherents could be expected beforethe ceremony of coronation had made him actual king. It seems extremely probable that it was at this crisis of affairs, that the scheme was invented to meet the hesitation of the archbishop; and it was the only way in which it could have been overcome at the moment. Certain men stepped forward and declared that at the last Henry repented of having forced his barons to take this oath, and that he released them from it. It is hardly possible to avoid the accumulated force of the evidence which points to Hugh Bigod as the peculiarly guilt person, or to doubt it was here that he committed the perjury of which so many accused him. He is said to have sworn that Henry cut off Matilda from the succession and appointed Stephen hisheir; but he probably swore to no more than is stated above. That Matilda was excluded would be an almost necessary inference from it, and that Stephen was appointed heir in her place natural embroidery upon it. Nor can there be any reasonabledoubt, I think, that his oath was deliberately false. Who should be made to bear the guilt of this scheme if such it was, cannot be said. it is hardly likely that Henry of Winchester had any share in it. Whether true or false, the statement removed the scruples of the archbishop and secured his consent to Stephen's accession..."
p205: [1136] "...A rumour was in some way started that the king [Stephen] was dead. Instantly Hugh Bigod, who had been present at the Oxford meeting, and who had shown his own character by his willingness to take on his soul the guilt of perjury in Stephen's cause, seized Norwich castle. The incident shows what was likely always to happen on the death of the king- the seizure of royal domainsor of the possessions of weaker neighbours, by barons who hoped to gain something when the time of settlement came. Hugh Bigod had large possessions in East Anglia, and was ambitious of a greater position still. He became, indeed, in the end,earl, but without the possession of Norwich. Now he was not disposed to yield his prey, even if the king were still alive; he did so only when Stephen came against him in person, and then very unwillingly. That he received any punishment for his revolt we are not told."
p229: [1140] "At Whitsuntide and again in August the restlessness of Hugh Bigod in East Anglia had forced Stephen to march against him. Perhaps he felt that he had not received a large enough reward for the doubtful oath which he had sworn to secure the king his crown. Stephen at any rate was now in a situation where he could now withhold rewards, or even refuse demands in critical cases; and it was probably at this time, certainly not long after, that, following the policy he had now definitely adopted, he created Hugh Earl of Norfolk..."
p238: "By the time the conquest of Normandy was completed [by Matilda], events of equal interest had taken place in England, involving the fall ofthe powerful and shifty Earl of Essex, Geoffrey de Mandeville. Soon after Easter, 1142, he had found opportunity for another prudent and profitable change of sides. [Stephen] had fallen ill on his return from the north, and, once more, as at the beginning of his reign, the report of his death was spread abroad. Geoffrey seems to have hurried at once to the Empress, as a probable source of future favours, and to have carried with him a small crowd of his friends and relatives, including the equally unscrupulous Hugh Bigod, Earl of Norfolk. Matilda, who was then at Oxford, and had no prospect of any immediate advance, was again ready to give him all he asked. Her fortunes were at too low an ebb to warrant her counting the cost, and in any case what she was buying was of great value if she could make sure that the sellers would keep faith. Geoffrey, with his friends, and Nigel, Bishop of Ely, who was already on her side, controlling Essex, Hertford, Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridge, could give her possession of as large a territory on the east of England as she now held on the west, and this would very likely carry with it the occupation of London once more, and would threaten to cut the kingdom of Stephen into two detached fragments. Geoffrey was in a position to drive a good bargain, and he did so. New lands and revenues, new rights and privileges, were added to those he had already extorted from both sides; the Empress promised to make no peace without his consent with his `mortal enemies,' the burghers of London, towards whom she probably had herself just then no great love. Geoffrey's friends were admitted to share with him in the results of his careful study of the conditions of the market, especially his brother-in-law, Aubrey de Vere, who was made Earl by his own choice of Cambridge, but in the end of Oxford, probably because Matilda's cousin, Henry of Scotland, considered that Cambridge was included in his earldomof Huntingdon. What price was offered to Hugh Bigod, or to Gilbert Clare, Earl of Pembroke, who seems to have been of the number we do not know."
p260: "...To begin it in the proper way, the king himself set out early in 1155 for the north. For some reason he did not think it wise at thsi time to run the risk of a quarrel with Hugh Bigod, and it was probably on this journey at Northampton that he gave him a charter creating him Earl of Norfolk, the title which he had obtainedfrom Stephen..."
p266: "Returning to England in April, 1157, Henry took up again the work which had been interrupted by the demands of his brother Geoffrey. He was ready now to fly at higher game. Stephen's son William, whose great possessions in England and Normandy his father had tried so carefully to secure in the treaty which surrendered his rights to the crown, was compelled to give up his castles, and Hugh Bigod was no longer spared but was forced to do the same..."
p311: [1174] "...And the east, where Hugh Bigod, the old earl of Norfolk, was again in rebellion and was expecting the landing of the Count of Flanders with an army..."

Encyclopaedia Britannica, Micropaedia, 1981, Vol II, Bigod, p12:
"Also spelled Bigot, the name of an Anglo-Norman family conspicuous for its opposition to the crown. Hugh (died 1177), created earl of Norfolk by King Stephen, was a leader of the rebellion (1173-1174) against Henry II. His son Roger (died 1221) joined the barons against King John (1215)..."

Vol VII, Norfolk Earls and Dukes of, p388: "An English title held since 1483 by members of the Howard family. Norfolk is the premier English earldom and dukedom."


Ancestral File Ver 4.10 8XJV-VW Mar Julianna De VERE (AFN:8XJT-09) Abt 1149 Probably England, Ver 4.13 Mar Gundred De WARWICK [Countess of Norfolk] (AFN: V9VP-D5).

   Marriage Information:

Hugh married Countess Julianna De Vere NORFOLK, daughter of Chamberlain Aubrey De Vere ENGLAND, II and Adeliza De CLARE, about 1149 in , , England. (Countess Julianna De Vere NORFOLK was born about 1108-1116 in Hedingham, Essex, England, christened in Hedingham, Norfolk, England and died about 1199-1200.)

   Marriage Information:

Hugh also married Countess Gundred De Warwick NORFOLK, daughter of Earl Roger De Beaumont WARWICK and Countess Ada Gundred De Warrene WARWICK. (Countess Gundred De Warwick NORFOLK was born about 1130 in , Warwickshire, England, died after 1200 and was buried before 1208.)

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