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Early English Bolebecs

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Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: Englandmap
Surname/tag: Bolebec Bolbec Giffard
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A complicated Anglo-Norman family.


Secondary Sources

  • Cawley, Hugh Bolebec and Margery Montfichet on MEDLANDS (Oct 2018 version)
  • Hodgson, J.C (1902) A history of Northumberland, Vol.VI p.221-227
  • Keats-Rohan, K.S.B. Domesday Descendants, pp.334-5
  • Loyd, Anglo-Norman Families, p.17 (available on familysearch)
  • Round, J.H (1913) Rotuli de Dominabus et Pueris et Puellis de Donatione Regis in XII Comitatibus, 31 Henry II, 1185, Pipe Roll Society (1913), xxxix-xl. (available on Familysearch)
  • Sanders, (1960) English Baronies, under Whitchurch (p.98), Styford (pp.84-5), Stansted Mountfichet (p.83)

Works not seen

  • Colvin, 1951, The White Canons in England. Snippet views show he thinks Walter II was founder of Blanchford, and apparently that charter I and II were different Walters. Critical of Hodgson.
  • Hedley, Northumberland Families, cited by Keats-Rohan and maybe the basis of http://www.multiwords.de/genealogy/bzmisc09.htm which looks similar? For example 1187 death date and Sybil is a Vescy.


For easy reference, these are the pedigrees of Sanders, English Baronies which are simple and close to other accounts in most ways. When errors are found in Sanders, instead of changing it on this page, it will be noted as needing change. This page is then used to guide editing of the relevant profiles.

Whitchurch (p.98)

  • Hugh I
    • Walter I d after 1136 [Keats-Rohan and Cawley say d 1142. K-R says says gained Styford, m Helewise. Cawley thinks he was m to Eleanor and Sibyl]
      • Hugh II d 1165 [Keats-Rohan and Cawley agree]
        • Walter II of Whitchurch minor in 1165 (Ward of uncle Walter of Styford), d. 1190 [Keats-Rohan agrees]
          • Isabel m. Aubrey de Vere
        • Constance aunt and co-heir m Elias Beauchamp dsp before sister and husband
        • Isabel aunt and co-heir. m1 Henry de Nonant m2 Robert de Vere -> passed to Earls of Oxford

Styford (p.85)

    • Walter I living 1133. [Keats-Rohan says gained Styford, m Helewise and d. 1142] Same as above. [Sanders did not explicitly equate to the above Walter, but Wikitree currently does. See further evidence on profile.]
      • Walter II of Styford d before 1165 according to Sanders [Obvious reasoning is that 2 first charters of Blanchford are the same Walter. Keats-Rohan and Cawley do not have him d before 1165 but still think he is founder of Blanchland. K-R, possibly following Hedley, says he d. 1187, apparently based on Pipe Rolls. Problem in Sanders: Round shows he had wardship of nephew Walter II in Bucks/Beds in 1166.]
        • Walter III dsp abt 1187 according to Sanders. Founder of Blanchland according to Sanders. [Died 1205 or 1206 according to K-R or Cawley. His wife Margery and his brother Hugh were certainly still alive in 1207.[1]]
        • [?] Hugh I of Styford, Sanders says brother and heir [confirmed in plea rolls?] d abt 1194 [not possible: plea rolls 1207]. According to Sanders, this is the one who m. the Stansted heiress, which came to the family later via his son Hugh's daughters. [Improbable that he lived so long? What happened to the supposed two brothers in next generation? Cawley splits this Hugh into two generations, with the son marrying the Stansted heiress]

Two brothers who some genealogists would consider the same as the brothers above, while others split them out as a younger generation.

          • Walter IV minor in 1194 [evidence?] d abt 1205 [K-R says d 1206?]
          • [SPLIT INTO TWO] Hugh brother and heir approx 1206 d 1262 [K-R says d 1240 Others say 1262 m. Theophania. Actually has to be two generations!] 4 co-heiresses:

[NOTE. 1. According to Mountfichet IPM these daughters had a grandfather named Hugh (not Walter) who married the Stansted heiress. 2. According to Plea of 1247, the Hugh who defended the family case against the De Vere cousins in the time of King John (see Round, certainly after 9th John) was this Hugh's father of the same name.[2]]

            • Philippa m Roger de Lancaster. -> heir was John de Lancaster
            • Margery m1 Nicholas Corbet m2 Ralph fitz William de Greystoke. -> Lands stayed without Greystoke despite dsp
            • Alice m Walter de Huntercombe. -> heir was John de Lancaster
            • Maud m1 Robert de Beaumys m2 Hugh de Val. -> heir was John de Lancaster

Stansted (p.83)

        • Margery heiress of 1/3 m Hugh I d about 1194, of Styford

Primary documentation

  • The Liber Vitæ of Durham lists (in order) "Walterus de Bolebech, Sibilla uxor eius, Walterus de Bolebech pater eius, Helvwis mater eius, Hugh de Boleb frater eius, Walt et Hugo fil eius". [Surtees Society (1841) Liber Vitæ Ecclesiæ Dunelmensis (London, Edinburgh, 1841) (“Liber Vitæ Dunelmensis”), p. 101.]
  • Sanders, Keats-Rohan and Cawley agree that the same family founded Blanchland Abbey citing Monasticon Anglicanum vi, p.886. The founder in charter 1 is Walter but he mentions no relationships. Charter two the same Walter (according to a Latin title given in Monasticon) makes a grant and he mentions his late father Walter, and his still living mother Sybil, and his brother Hugh. This founder in 1165 is therefore clearly the third Walter in the Liber Vitæ above.
  • Modern comment in Monasticon Anglicanum cites the Chronicle of Mailros in order to date the founding to 1165, which is also the date Sanders gives. Keats-Rohan says 1166. See 1165.

This one does not seem to fit any secondary source, nor other primary sources. It seems the scribe may have got it wrong, which would not be unusual.

  • A charter from Alnwick Abbey from the time of Edward II, describing the descendants of their founder, records that Cecilia the sister of Eustace fitz John (or de Vescy) was given to “Hugoni de Bolbek seniori, qui genuit Walterum [Cawley says error for Hugoni] de Bolbek, qui Hugonem juniorem, qui Feliciam [Should be Phillipa] matrem domini Johannis de Lancastria” [Dugdale Monasticon VI.2, Alnwick Abbey, Northumberland IV, p. 868.]

Concerning the Lancaster marriage there are other sources which confirm the wife was Philippa, and her grandfather was (as Cawley says) Hugh, not Walter.

  • An undated writ "52 Hen III", after the death of "Richard de Muntfichet", records that "he had 3 sisters, Margery, Avelina and Philippa, from Margery issued Hugh de Bolebek" [Inquisitions Post Mortem, Vol. I, Henry III, 689, p. 217. ].
  • A writ dated 20 Feb "3 Edw I", after the death of "Avelina late the wife of Edmund the king’s brother", names as heirs of "Richard de Munfichet…his three sisters, the first sister Margery married Hugh de Bulebec, and from them issued Hugh de Bulebec who had four daughters, Philippa married to Roger de Lancastre, Margery married to Nicholas Corbet, Alice married to Walter de Huntercumbe, and Maud married to Hugh de la Valle…"[Inquisitions Post Mortem, Vol. II, Edward I, 130, p. 86. ]

Fine Rolls (like the Plea rolls) show that there were two Hughs in the 13th century in Styford:

  • 24/51 (26 March 1240). [No date]. Northumberland. Hugh , son of Hugh de Bolbec, owes £100 for his relief for the lands which he ought to hold of the king in chief. Order to the escheators in Northumberland to take etc.
  • 25/819 (February 1241) Hugh de Bolbec has the county of Northumberland for £20, and he is to keep the castles of Bamburgh and Newcastle , and he will have the demesne lands pertaining to Bamburgh castle and the wards pertaining to the same castles .

Apparent problems in the secondary sources

1. Sanders.

  • William II of Styford chronology. Died before 1165 because not founder, but alive in 1166 Pipe Rolls and guardian of his nephew. Maybe a problem with Mon Ang assumptions and not founder? (Charter I and II different Walter? Maybe what Colvin and Hedley think?)
  • Did not apparently see plea roll evidence?
  • Hugh I of Styford son of Walter and Sybil. Evidence he died 1194? Seems to be alive 1207.
  • Walter d. 1205 and Hugh II of Styford. Evidence that these were a new generation?
  • Collapses the last two generations of Hugh (d. 1240 and 1262; based on the Mountfichet IPM, Plea rolls, and Fine Rolls which all seem clear and careful)

2. Cawley.

  • Does not seem aware of date of foundation of Blanchland being 1165. He does not cite the Chronicle of Melrose.
  • Cawley gives the first Walter two wives, first "Eleanor" (although the records he cites show her name as more likely Helewise) and second Sibyl (although the records he cites show that Walter who married Sibyl was son of Walter and Helewise). Sibyl should be the wife of the Walter currently showing as her son.
  • This means the founder of Blanchland is given a grandfather named Hugh, whereas (if the first two charters are the same Walter) the charters show he was the third Walter in a row. The founder should be the son of the Walter currently showing as the founder.

3. Keats-Rohan

  • In effect, apparently merges the founder of Blanchland with his father and has him married to his own mother, Sibyl. The charters show two Walters had died before the foundation.
  • Describes the founder of Blanchland in "1166" as having a grandfather named Hugh, whereas (if the first two charters are the same Walter) the charters show he was the third Walter in a row.
  • Walter II's wife Subyl is given the surname "de Vescy". Cawley shows a Cecilia de Vescy who apparently married a Hugh "senior". (See primary sources.)


  • Sanders seems to agree with Keats-Rohan that a Walter died 1187, with an heir Walter. The Pipe Rolls seem to show it. Could it be Walter III who made second Blanchland charter?


  1. Northumberland pleas from the Curia regis and assize rolls, 1198-1272 p.28
  2. Northumberland pleas from the Curia regis and assize rolls, 1198-1272 p.147

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Thanks for making this page.
posted by Isaac Taylor
The charters show three generations of Walter: 1. husband of Hawise, then 2. husband of Sybil then 3. SON of Sybil who founded Blanchland in 1165.
posted by Andrew Lancaster