Roger Bigod
(Abt 1035-)
Robert de Stafford
(Abt 1036-1088)
Adelisa de Savona
(Abt 1035-Bef 1088)
Roger Bigod 1st Earl of Norfolk
(Abt 1060-1107)
Alice de Tosny
(Abt 1064-After 1135)
Hugh Bigod 1st Earl of Norfolk
(1095-Bef 1177)


Family Links

1. Juliana de Vere

Hugh Bigod 1st Earl of Norfolk 1 2 3

  • Born: 1095, <Belvoir Castle>, Leicestershire, England
  • Christened: Framlingham, Suffolk, England
  • Marriage (1): Juliana de Vere before 1140 in <England>
  • Died: Bef 1 Mar 1177, Palestine
  • Buried: Thetford Priory, Thetford, Norfolk, England

  Research Notes:

Second son of Roger Bigod.

From Wikipedia - Hugh Bigod, 1st Earl of Norfolk :

Hugh Bigod, 1st Earl of Norfolk (1095 - 1177) was born in Belvoir Castle , Leicestershire , England .
He was the second son of Roger Bigod (also known as Roger Bigot) (d. 1107), Sheriff of Norfolk, who founded the Bigod name in England. Hugh Bigod became a controversial figure in history, known for his frequent switching of loyalties and hasty reactions towards measures of authority.

Early years
Hugh inherited large estates in East Anglia on the death of his brother William, who perished without issue in the sinking of the White Ship on November 26, 1120. He succeeded his aunt Albreda - and by extension, her eldest brother Berengar - as heir both to Berengar's tenancy-in-chief in Lincolnshire and the Norman lands of Robert de Tosny of Belvoirwas . He became Constable of Norwich Castle and Governor of the City of Norwich in 1122. He enjoyed the favour of Henry I .

During King Stephen's reign
At first a supporter of Stephen of Blois during this king's struggle with the empress Matilda . His initiation in history was on the death of Henry I in 1135, when Maud expected to succeed to the throne of England, but her cousin, Stephen of Blois usurped the throne, breaking an oath he had previously made to defend her rights. It was Bigod who claimed that Henry I (Maud's father, and Stephen's uncle) intended for Stephen to become king at the expense of the empress. Civil War resulted when in 1139 Maud could command the military strength necessary to challenge Stephen within his own realm. Maud's greatest triumph came in Feb. 1141, when her forces defeated and captured King Stephen; he was made a prisoner and effectively deposed. Her advantage lasted only until July of that year, and she released Stephen in Dec. In 1147, Maud was finally forced to return to France , following the death of Robert of Gloucester , her strongest supporter and half-brother.

King Stephen had initially kept his followers together, but in 1136 Stephen was stricken with sickness. A lethargy fastened on him and the report of his death was quickly spread abroad. A rising of the turbulent barons necessarily followed, and Bigod was the first to take up arms. He seized and held Norwich ; but Stephen, quickly recovering laid siege to the city and Hugh was compelled to surrender. Acting with unusual clemency, Stephen spared the rebel, who for a short time remained faithful. In 1140 the Earl is said to have declared for the empress, yet early in the next year he is in the ranks of Stephen's army fighting in the disastrous First Battle of Lincoln , after which the Earl deserted him and assumed a position of armed neutrality during the civil war, sometimes called 'General Anarchy' .
Later, the disagreement between King Stephen and Archbishop Theobald in 1148 created yet another scenario for Hugh Bigod to come forward; this time, he sided with the archbishop , and received him in his Castle of Framlingham , but joined with others in achieving a reconciliation.

Rise of King Henry II
Five years later, in 1153, when Henry , Duke of Normandy , soon to be King Henry II (r. 1154-89), landed in England to assert his claim to the throne, Bigod vested his interests with the rising power, and held out in Ipswich against Stephen's forces, while Henry II, on the other side, laid siege to Stamford . Both places fell. In the critical state of his fortunes Stephen was in no position to punish the rebel. Negotiations were also going on between the two parties, and Hugh again eluded retaliation.

On Henry II's accession in December 1154, Bigod at once received confirmation of the possession of his earldom and stewardship by charter issued apparently in January of the next year. The first years of the new reign were spent in restoring order to the shattered kingdom, and in breaking the power of the independent barons, which had grown out of control during King Stephen's reign.
It was not before long that Bigod became agitated under the rule of law initiated by Henry. He grew restless with measures such as the scutage , a fee paid by vassals in lieu of military service, which became the central feature of Henry II's military system of operation by 1159. The Earl showed signs of resistance, but was at once put down. In 1157 Henry II marched into the eastern counties and received the earl's submission.

After this incident Hugh Bigod makes no significant appearances in the chronicles for some time; he is named among those who had been excommunicated by Becket, in consequence of his retention of lands belonging to the monastery of Pentney in Norfolk .

The revolt of 1173

In 1173 the young crowned prince Henry (also known as Henry the Young King ), raised a revolt against his father, Henry II . This gave Hugh Bigod, yet another chance for rebellion, along with the league of the English barons with the kings of France and Scotland in his favour. He at once became a leader in the cause, perhaps eager to revive the feudal power, which Henry II had curtailed. In addition to the fact that the inevitable conflict, as far as England was concerned, centered round his possessions. The custody of Norwich Castle was promised by the young prince as his reward.

The king's energy and good fortune were equal to the occasion. While he held in check his rebel vassals in France, the loyal barons in England defeated his enemies there. Robert de Beaumont, 3rd Earl of Leicester (d.1190) landed at Walton , in Suffolk , on September 29, 1173 and marched to Framlingham , joining forces with Hugh. Together they besieged and took the castle of Hagenet in Suffolk on October 13, held by Randal de Broc for the crown. But the Earl of Leicester was defeated and taken prisoner setting out from Framlingham at Fornham, St. Genevieve, near Bury St Edmunds , Suffolk by the justiciar , Richard de Luci and other barons. These, then turned their arms against Earl Hugh, not strong enough to fight, he opened negotiations with his assailants. It is said he bought them off, and at the same time secured a safe passage home for the Flemings in his service.

Final days
Though defeated and compelled to surrender his castles, Bigod kept his lands and his earldom, and lived at peace with Henry II until his death reportedly in 1177, in Palestine .

It should be noted, however, that on March 1st 1177, his son Roger Bigod appealed to the king on a dispute with his stepmother. Hugh being dead at this time, the date of his death is fixed 'ante caput jejunii', (i.e. before March 9th). If, then, he died in Palestine, his death must have taken place in the preceding year, 1176, to allow time for the arrival of the news in England . Henry II took advantage of Roger's appeal to seize upon the late Earl's treasure. He possessed vast estates, which he inherited, and was also the recipient of the third penny levied in the county of Norfolk.

Marriage and family
He married twice.
Before 1140 he married Juliane de Vere (died c.1199) probably born in Essex , England . She was the daughter of Aubrey de Vere II and Adeliza de Clare, the daughter of Gilbert Fitz Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Clare . Their marriage was dissolved before 1168. Their son:
Roger Bigod, 2nd Earl of Norfolk (b. c. 1144-1221).
His second wife was Gundreda Warwick (c.1135-1200), daughter of Roger de Beaumont, 2nd Earl of Warwick . They had two children:
Hugh Bigod (b. 1156)
William Hugh Bigod (b.1168)

  Noted events in his life were:

Constable of Norwich Castle, 1122.

Governor of the City of Norwice, 1122.

Hugh married Juliana de Vere, daughter of Aubrey II de Vere of Great Addington & Drayton and Adeliza de Clare, before 1140 in <England>. (Juliana de Vere was born about 1116 in <Hedingham, Essex, England>, christened in Hedingham, Essex, England and died about 1199.)


1 Browning, Charles Henry, The Magna Charta Barons and their American Descendants (Philadelphia, 1898.), p. 77.

2, Hugh Bigod, 1st Earl of Norfolk.


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