Godfrey Giffard

Godfrey Giffard

Infobox bishopbiog
name =Godfrey Giffard

religion =Catholic
See =Diocese of Worcester
Title = Bishop of Worcester
Period = 1268–1302
Predecessor = Nicholas of Ely
Successor =John St German
ordination =
bishops =
post =Archdeacon of York
date of birth = c. 1235
place of birth =
date of death =26 January 1302
place of death =

Godfrey Giffard, (c. 1235 – 1302) was Chancellor of the Exchequer of England, Lord Chancellor of England and Bishop of Worcester.

Early life

Giffard was the son of Hugh Giffard of Boyton in Wiltshire, [http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=34352 British History Online Archdeacons of Wells] accessed on 3 November 2007] a royal justice, and of his wife Sibyl, daughter and co-heiress of Walter de Cormeilles. He was born about 1235 and was the younger brother of Walter Giffard who was to become Archbishop of York and whose successful career ensured the preferment of Godfrey. His sister Mabel was the Abbess of Shaftesbury Abbey.


Giffard appears to have profited from his brother's position, and held the following positions:

*Canon of Wells
*Rector of Mells.
*Rector of the greater moiety of Attleborough in Norfolk
*Archdeacon of Barnstaple between 1265 and 1267, and (after Walter later became archbishop of York) [http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=6444 British History Online Archdeacons of York] accessed on 3 November 2007]
*Archdeacon of York
*Chancellor of the exchequerPowicke "Handbook of British Chronology" p. 83]
*Chancellor of England and
*Rector of Adlingfleet in 1267]

Complaints were later made to the Pope at Rome about the way in which the Archbishop had given this and many other benefices to his brother - as Godfrey was it was claimed, "...only in minor orders and deficient in learning".

Bishop of Worcester

Giffard was still Chancellor when the monks of Worcester elected him as Bishop of Worcester about 13 June 1268,Powicke "Handbook of British Chronology" p. 261] on the translation of Bishop Nicholas of Ely to the See of Winchester. Henry III accepted his appointment, and he received the temporalities on 13 June 1268. After some little resistance, Archbishop Boniface of Savoy confirmed his election, but it was not until 23 September that he was consecrated by the archbishop at Canterbury and he was enthroned in Worcester Cathedral on Christmas Day 1268. [http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=33881 British History Online Bishops of Worcester] accessed on 3 November 2007]

He retained the chancellorship until October of 1268, and in 1268 received a grant of five hundred marks a year for the support of himself and the clerks of the chancery.

In 1272 he acted with Roger de Meyland Bishop of Lichfield in treating with Llywelyn the Last of Wales. In May of 1273 he was sent abroad with Nicholas of Ely, Bishop of Winchester, and Walter Bronescomb, Bishop of Exeter, to meet King Edward I on his return from the Holy Land. He was made a commissioner along with Roger Mortimer to investigate certain grievances of the Oxford scholars, and in 1278 acted as an itinerant justice in Hertfordshire and Kent.

In 1279 he succeeded to the very extensive property of his brother the Archbishop of York. He was also one of the four negotiators selected in 1289 by King Edward I of England to treat at Salisbury with the Scottish and Norwegian envoys about sending Margaret of Norway to Scotland.

Giffard ruled over the See of Worcester for more than thirty-three years, and his activities were almost confined to his own diocese.

Activities as bishop

Giffard was engaged in many disputes with his monastic cathedral chapter, long accounts of which, written from the monks' point of view, have survived in the "Annals of Worcester". One main area of disagreement was whether or not the Bishop should be allowed to annex some of the more valuable livings in his gift, to the prebends of the college at Westbury. This dispute led to some tedious litigation which was ultimately decided in favour of the monks. However, the claim of the Bishop that he was entitled to receive the monks' ‘profession’ produced still more law suits. In 1288, at an ordination at Westbury, an unseemly dispute arose between the precentor of Worcester and John of Evreux the then Archdeacon of Gloucester (he was a favourite nephew of the Bishop) as to who had the right to call over the names of the candidates and which led to the expulsion of the precentor from the chancel with the connivance of the Bishop.

Some time later a truce patched matters up, but at Bromsgrove the Bishop, "...would not permit the prior to exercise his office, regardless of the peace that had been made, which we believe to have been as vain as a peace with the Welsh." The monks also complained of his depriving them of the chapel at Grafton and of his constant efforts to visit and to exercise jurisdiction over them. In 1290 he held a visitation, and required the convent to support his 140 horses leaving the place in anger.

Giffard was also involved in another great dispute with the Abbot of Westminster after he had deposed William of Ledbury, the Prior of Malvern, for "gross crimes". The monks of Westminster took up William's cause, as Malvern was a cell of their Abbey, and they also obtained the support of the King. In the end Giffard was glad to compromise the case, and received a grant of land at Knightwick and agreed not to visit Malvern as his predecessors had done and Ledbury was restored.

However, this settlement was attacked by Archbishop Peckham as being simoniacal. Giffard had already been involved, like the other suffragans to Canterbury, in the struggle against Peckham's excessive claims of metropolitical jurisdiction; he however later more friendly with him, and sent the Archbishop many expensive gifts.

Giffard's many favours to the Franciscans, whose General had in both 1277 and 1282, admitted him as a brother of the order, must have procured him the friendship of the Franciscan primate. However his remissness in allowing the monks of the cathedral to steal the body of one Henry Poche from the Franciscans and bury it in their churchyard in 1290 was another new source of friction.

By the year 1300 Giffard had become sick and infirm; in March of that year he was visited by Archbishop Winchelsey at Wyke. In 1301, William of Gloucester produced thirty-six articles against him before the Archbishop; although mostly small, technical and legal, they included:
*A charge of manumitting serfs without its consent,
*Another complaint of him unduly favouring his nephews. Both complaints were well investigated, and the Bishop's answers are recorded along with the charges in his register.

Death and legacy

Giffard died on Friday 26 January 1302, and was buried on 4 February by John de Monmouth, Bishop of Llandaff, in Worcester Cathedral, on the south side of the altar of the lady chapel; his tomb remains there still.

Under the terms of Giffard's will, which was dated 13 September 1300, he left a large number of legacies to his kinsfolk, including his sister Mabel, Abbess of Shaftesbury, and to various churches.

His heir was his nephew John, who was the son of his brother William Giffard and who after fighting on the baronial side at Boroughbridge, was hanged at Gloucester, thus forfeiting his estates to the Crown. However, these estates were later restored, and subsequently the Giffords of Weston-sub-Edge assumed the arms of the See of Worcester in memory of their ancestor.

Despite his long running quarrels with the chapter at Worcester, Giffard was a benefactor of his Cathedral; during his reign he beautified the pillars of both the choir and lady chapel by interlacing them with smaller pillars and in 1280 he laid the first stone of the pavement of the cathedral.

He also sought leave to fortify and finish Hartlebury Castle which Bishop Cantelupe had begun. He extracted from the Bishop's executors a legacy which had been left to the See, for supplying a stock of cattle on the lands of the Bishopric.

Giffard also obtained a "grant of fairs" to Stratford-on-Avon and Blockley and secured permission to fortify his palaces at Worcester and Wydindon as he had done at Hartlebury.

ee also

* List of Bishops of Worcester
* List of Lord Chancellors and Lord Keepers



* [http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=34352 British History Online Archdeacons of Wells] accessed on 3 November 2007
* [http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=6444 British History Online Archdeacons of York] accessed on 3 November 2007
* [http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=33881 British History Online Bishops of Worcester] accessed on 3 November 2007
* Powicke, F. Maurice and E. B. Fryde "Handbook of British Chronology" 2nd. ed. London:Royal Historical Society 1961

External links

* [http://www.medievalgenealogy.org.uk/families/giffard/godfrey.shtml Godfrey Giffard's Will]

NAME=Giffard, Godfrey
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Chancellor of the Exchequer; Lord Chancellor of England; Bishop of Worcester
DATE OF DEATH=26 January 1302

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Godfrey Giffard —     Godfrey Giffard     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Godfrey Giffard     Bishop of Worcester, b. about 1235; d. 26 Jan., 1301. He was the son of Hugh Giffard of Boyton in Wiltshire, and Sybil, the daughter and coheiress of Walter de Cormeilles. His… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Giffard — is an Anglo Norman surname, carried by the Earls of Halsbury:*Bonaventure Giffard *Daniel Giffard *George Giffard *Godfrey Giffard (c. 1235 – 1302), Lord Chancellor of England and Bishop of Worcester *Graham Giffard *Hardinge Giffard, 1st Earl of …   Wikipedia

  • Giffard, Godfrey — • Bishop of Worcester, b. about 1235; d. 26 Jan., 1301 Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Godfrey Ludham — Infobox Archbishop of York name = Godfrey Ludham consecration = 22 September 1258 began = December 1258 term end = 12 January 1265 predecessor = Sewal de Bovil successor = Walter Giffard birth date = birthplace = death date = 12 January 1265… …   Wikipedia

  • Walter Giffard — Infobox Archbishop of York name = Walter Giffard consecration = translated 15 October 1266 began=1 November 1266 term end = late April 1279 predecessor = Godfrey Ludham successor = William Wickwane birth date = circa 1225 birthplace = death date …   Wikipedia

  • Alexander Giffard — Das Wappen der Giffards von Brimpsfield. Alexander Giffard († nach 1250) war ein englischer Kreuzritter im 13. Jahrhundert. Er entstammte dem Zweig von Brimpsfield (Gloucestershire) der alten normannischen Familie Giffard, die im 12. Jahrhundert… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • RGS Worcester and The Alice Ottley School — See Royal Grammar School for the other schools with the name RGS. Infobox Secondary school name = RGS Worcester and The Alice Ottley School motto = respice et prospice (ex RGS) candida rectaque (ex AO) established = 2007 Merger of Royal Grammar… …   Wikipedia

  • Malvern, Worcestershire — Coordinates: 52°06′29″N 2°19′30″W / 52.108°N 2.325°W / 52.108; 2.325 …   Wikipedia

  • Liste der Lordkanzler von England und Großbritannien — Diese Liste zeigt jene Personen, die das Amt des Lordkanzlers beziehungsweise alternativ das Amt des Lordhüters des Großen Siegels von England bzw. Großbritannien innehatten. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Frühe Kanzler von England 2 Lordkanzler von… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Edward I of England — Edward I redirects here. For other kings who might be known by this name, see King Edward. Edward I Longshanks …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.