Family Bloodlines

GIFFARD FAMILY BLOODLINE part 1



Osbern or Osbert de BOLEBEC, b. ca. 970 in Longueville, Normandy, France (son of Geoffrey de BOLEBEC and Beatrice d’ARQUES), m. Avelina or Wevie de CREPON (b. ca. 974 in Longueville, Normandy, daughter of Herbastus Herfast de CREPON and Gunhilde OLAFSDOTTER); d. ca. 1063 in France.

Little is known about Osbern de BOLEBEC beyond the bare facts of his birth, marriage and death. His wife Avelina, also known as Wevie, was of a noble Danish family which can be traced back (though here we enter a realm of uncertainty) to 465. Her earliest known Viking ancestor is Fridleif FRODASSON (ca. 465 - ca. 500), and others include Ragnar Lodbrok Hairy Breeches SIGURDSSON (ca. 765 - ca. 845), Sigurd Snake-Eye RAGNARSSON (782 - 803) and Harald Bluetooth Herbastus Gormsson de CREPON (921 - 986) who is buried at Roskilde Cathedral in Denmark. Avelina had three siblings, Seinfreda, Herfastus and Gunnora. Gunnora de CREPON (d. 1031) was Duchess of Normandy and second wife of Richard 1 ‘The Fearless’ of Normandy. There exists a 12th century depiction of Gunnora in the archives of Mount-Saint-Michel Abbey. In The Battle Abbey Roll (citation: Duchess of Cleveland 1889), three of Osbern and Avelina’s sons are named as companions of William the Conqueror from the original (now lost) commemorative list at Battle Abbey: “They were the sons of Osberne, Baron of Bolbec… [and] Avelina, one of the sisters of Gunnor Duchess of Normandy, and thus the kinsmen of their sovereign”.

[Children of Osbern de BOLEBEC and Avelina de CREPON]:

  • Godfrey or Geoffroi Vicomte d’ARQUES, b. 1006 in La Bataille, Deux-Sevres, Poitou-Charentes, France; d. 1035 at La Bataille, Deux-Sevres, Poitou-Charentes, France.
  • Walter GIFFARD of Longueville, b. 1010 in Longueville, Normandy, France; d. 1084 at Brewood, Staffordshire, bur. St Mary and St. Chad Churchyard, Brewood, Staffordshire.
  • Berenger GIFFARD of Fonthill, b. ca. 1012 in Longueville, Normandy, France; d. ca. 1102 at Fonthill, Wiltshire.
  • Osbern or Osborne GIFFARD, b. ca. 1020 in Longueville, Normandy, France; d. ca. 1085 at Brimpsfield, Gloucestershire, bur. St Michael and All Angels Churchyard, Brimpsfield, Gloucestershire.


  • Godfrey or Geoffroi Vicomte d’ARQUES, b. 1006 in La Bataille, Deux-Sevres, Poitou-Charentes, France, m. Amelie de ROUEN (b. 1010 in Rouen, Normandy, France, d. 2 Jan 1045 at Somme, Picardy, France); d. 1035 at La Bataille, Deux-Sevres, Poitou-Charentes, France.

    Also known as Chamberlain of Arques and Lord of Folkestone. Godfrey and Amelie’s son was William or Guillaume d’ARQUES, who was born in1035 in Arques, Normandy and died in 1086 in Yorkshire, England. William married twice, first to Beatrice Avelina d’ARQUES, then to Beatrice MALET.


    Berenger GIFFARD of Fonthill, b. ca. 1012 in Longueville, Normandy, France, m. Rohese; d. ca. 1102 at Fonthill, Wiltshire.

    The Battle Abbey Roll (Cleveland, Vol. 2) names Berenger as one of three brothers called GIFFARD entered in Domesday as holding English baronies from the time of the Conquest. Berenger held the barony of Fonthill, called Fonthill Giffard (now spelled Gifford), in Wiltshire in 1086. He left his name to two other manors in the county, Morris Giffard and Ashton Giffard. In ‘A New Guide to Fonthill Abbey’ (pub. 1822) he is mentioned as “Berenger Gifford [sic], who held Fontel, now Fonthill, and Bareford, now Barford“. His only known son was Robert GIFFARD of Fonthill.


    Osbern or Osborne GIFFARD, b. ca. 1020 in Longueville, Normandy, France; d. ca. 1085 at Brimpsfield, Gloucestershire, bur. St Michael and All Angels Churchyard, Brimpsfield, Gloucestershire.

    Osbern is recorded as one of the knights who invaded England in 1066 under William the Conqueror. The Battle Abbey Roll (Cleveland, Vol. 2) names Osbern as one of three brothers called GIFFARD entered (in this case posthumously) in Domesday as holding English baronies from the time of the Conquest. He had holdings throughout Hampshire, Wiltshire and Somerset, and settled in Brimpsfield, Gloucestershire where he built a castle, later destroyed by Edward II in 1322. It is believed that the Gloucestershire village of Stoke Gifford is named after him. His only known son was Elias or Helias GIFFARD of Brimpsfield (d. by 1131) who married Ala.


    Walter GIFFARD of Longueville, b. 1010 in Longueville, Normandy, France, m. Ermengarde or Ermentrude or Agnes de FLAITEL (b. ca. 1014 in Longueville, Normandy, daughter of Gerard de FLAITEL); d. 1084 at Brewood, Staffordshire, bur. St Mary and St. Chad Churchyard, Brewood, Staffordshire.

    Sir Walter GIFFARD is named in the Battle Abbey Roll (Cleveland, Vol. 2) as one of three brothers entered (in this case posthumously) in Domesday. The name GIFFARD is not territorial, but rather a sobriquet for which there are various interpretations, the most likely being a derivation from ‘Giffle’, a blow on the cheek, the GIFFARDs earning the name by their reputation as hard hitters. As Count of Longueville and Baron of Bolebec, Walter held a great fief in Normandy. Ca.1036, he was among those who accompanied King Ethelred’s son Edward to England when Edward made his ill-starred attempt to recover the crown after the death of Canute. From the mid 1040s Walter’s name appears among the loyal supporters of William the Bastard (Duke of Normandy, later William the Conqueror). In 1054, he was at the Battle of Mortemer and was among the Norman barons who surprised and defeated Counts Odo and Renaud; he was also in charge of maintaining the seige of Arques Castle against William of Talou, who had rebelled against Duke William of Normandy. Ca. 1064-65, served as a Christian knight in Spain against the Saracens. His epithet ‘Le Barbastre’ was earned when he took part in the Siege of Barbastro, an undertaking sanctioned by Pope Alexander II against the Moors in 1064. In 1066, prior the Norman Conquest of England, Walter had returned from Spain bearing a gift of a magnificent war-horse from the King of Spain (probably Sancho Ramirez of Aragon), the very horse that William called for at the Battle of Hastings. In preparation for the battle, Walter had contributed thirty ships to the invasion fleet and one hundred men, and commanded his own contingent at Hastings. He is one of the fifteen ‘proven companions’ of the Conqueror in 1066. As reward for his participation, Walter was granted the feudal barony of Crendon (now Long Crendon), comprising 107 manors, 48 of which were in Buckinghamshire.
    “The Auncient howse of Giffarde, who came out of Normandy with William the Conqueror into England in recompence of whose service don at the Conquest the said Willm having obteyned the Crowne and possession of the Realme gave unto the said Giffarde greate possessions in divers parts of Englande but especially the Countie of Buck whereof afterwards he was created Erle“ (citation: Browne Willis (1682-1760), Willis Manuscripts, Bodleian Library).


    [Walter’s wife Ermengarde was daughter of Gerard FLAITEL, a Norman knight and baron who in 1035 went on pilgrimage to Jerusalem and returned with a holy relic, reputedly a finger bone of St Stephen of which he made a gift to the Abbey of St Wandrille, where he became a monk. Ermetrude’s siblings were William FLAITEL (ca.1013-1066) Bishop of Evreux; Anscherius (ca.1015-1047); Robert (ca.1017-1047); Albert (b. ca.1020); and Basilia (ca.1026-1099) wife of William TALBOT of Battlesden. In 1086, Domesday assessed that Walter GIFFARD’s son held 9 of the 11 hides of land at Battlesden Manor in Bedfordshire; the TALBOT family were his tenants.]

    [Children of Walter GIFFARD and Ermengarde de FLAITEL]:

  • Walter GIFFARD, d. 15 Jul 1102 in England, bur. St Mary’s Church, Longueville-sur-Scie, Normandy.
  • Rohese GIFFARD, b. 1034 in Longueville, Normandy; d. 1117 in England.
  • Lora GIFFARD, b. 1043 in Longueville, Normandy.


  • Walter GIFFARD, m. Agnes de RIBEMONT (sister of Anselm de RIBEMONT); d. 15 Jul 1102 in England, bur. St Mary’s Church, Longueville-sur-Scie, Normandy.

    An Anglo-Norman magnate, by 1085 Walter inherited his father’s barony of Crendon in Buckinghamshire, and as Lord of Longueville also held a castle in Longueville at the River Scie. As he held lands in both England and Normandy, he was a vassal to both Robert CURTHOSE (Duke of Normandy, son of William the Conqueror and unsuccessful claimant to the throne of England) and William RUFUS (King of England 1087-1100 and son of William the Conqueror). Under William RUFUS, Walter served as Justiciar of England and in 1097 was created Earl of Buckingham. In 1101, he was one of the magnates who joined Robert CURTHOSE’s unsuccessful invasion against Henry I of England. His wife Agnes was sister of Anslem de RIBEMONT, Count of Ostrevant and Valenciennes (one of the most significant figures in the first Crusade, his death in 1099 being recorded by several eye-witnesses of the expedition). After Walter’s death in 1102, his body was taken to Normandy where it was interred at St Mary’s Church in Longueville. His widow Agnes was reputed to be the mistress of Robert CURTHOSE, supposedly promising that if he married her he would have the support of her powerful family. CURTHOSE’s wife Sybella di CONVERSANO had died shortly after the birth of her first child in 1102; it was claimed that the death was a result of binding her breasts too tightly, or alternatively that she was murdered by a cabal of noblewomen led by Agnes GIFFARD (de RIBEMONT). Walter and Agnes had two children: Walter GIFFARD, 2nd Earl of Buckingham, and Catherine or Isobel GIFFARD who married Richard FITZ-ROBERT FIZ-HAMON de GRAYNVILLE.


    Lora GIFFARD, b. 1043 in Longueville, Normandy, m. Sir Robert de HAMPDEN (son of Simon de Hampden).

    Lora is mentioned in the Willis Manuscripts held at Bodleian Library (Browne Willis 1682-1760) as “of the House and kindred of Giffard Earl of Buckingham”, and that “Walter Giffard gave unto Robert Hampden and Lora his wife certain landes about Tame, and that the said Robert Hampden gave the said landes unto the Abbye of Notley, of the foundation of one of the Giffards” and “Lora Giffarde, wife of Sir Robt Hampden was discended of the Auncient howse of Giffarde, who came out of Normandy with William the Conqueror into England … Theis Giffards after that the Lorde of Hampden had matched with their howse were greate furtherers and advauncers of the Hampdens unto creditt and estimacon with theire Prince and Countrye, insomuch that after this matche from that tyme forwardes they and theire posteritie began to growe to that countenance and authorotie as they were inferior therein to fewe or no other gentlemen in that countrey“. Lora and Robert had a son, Bartholmew de HAMPDEN, who increased his inherited wealth by marrying Agnes, daughter of William de FIENNES, Lord of Wendover and Missenden. “The Heires gen’all of this howse of Giffarde have at sondery tymes byn maried to sondery howses of noble men and gentlemen, whose posteritie do yet enjoye the Landes and quarter the Armes of the same” (Browne Willis 1682-1760).


    Rohese GIFFARD, b. ca. 1035-6 in Longueville, Normandy, m. Richard FITZ-GILBERT de TONBRIDGE and CLARE (b. 1035, illegitimate son of Gilbert de BRIONNE and Herleva de FALAISE; d. ca. 1091, bur. St Neot’s Priory); d. ca. 1117 in England.

    Rohese is recorded in Domesday as a landowner in her own right, holding lands at St Neot‘s in Huntingdonshire where she co-founded, with her husband, a Benedictine Priory. Richard FITZ-GILBERT was the founder of the house of CLARE, he was also known as Richard de BIENFAITE because of his numerous lordships, and Richard of TONBRIDGE; he was also Count of Eu and Brionne. In 1066, Richard came to England with his kinsman William the Conqueror and in consequence received 176 lordships and large gifts of land, 95 of which were in Suffolk; he built castles at Clare in Suffolk, Tonbridge in Kent, Bletchingley in Surrey and Hanley in Worcester. The Peerage records him thus: “In the times of the Heptarchy the border fortress of Clare (Suffolk), on the confines of the Kingdoms of East Anglia and Essex, was of the greatest importance, and continued to be so for many centuries afterwards, when it was granted by the Conqueror to Richard FitzGilbert”. As Chief Justiciar, Richard took a leading part in the suppression of the Revolt of 1075 (a rebellion led by three earls against the Conqueror); at Christmas 1080 he was in attendance to the King at Berkeley, and again in 1081 at Winchester. In 1088, following the accession of William RUFUS, Richard was part of a failed rebellion which sought to place Robert CURTHOSE on the throne of England and in consequence his castle at Tonbridge and the surrounding town were burnt to the ground. In 1113, after her husband’s death, Rohese granted the entire manor of St Neot’s to the Benedictine Priory. Richard is said to be buried at St Neot’s Priory (citation: Dictionary of National Biography).

    [Children of Rohese GIFFARD and Richard FITZ-GILBERT]:

  • Avice or Avoye de CLARE, b. 1050 in Normandy, France.
  • Roger FITZ-RICHARD de CLARE, b. in Normandy, France; d. after 1131.
    Isabel de CLARE, b. ca. 1060.
  • Richard FITZ-RICHARD de CLARE, b. 1062 in Tonbridge, Kent; d. 1107 at Ely, Cambridgeshire, bur. St Neot‘s Priory, Cambridgeshire.
  • Rohais or Ronais GIFFARD de CLARE, b. 1062/67 in Tonbridge, Kent; d. 1121.
  • Robert FITZ-RICHARD of Little Dunmow, b. ca. 1065; d. 1134 at Little Dunmow, Essex, bur. St Neot’s Priory, Cambridgeshire.
  • Gilbert FITZ-RICHARD de Tonbridge and CLARE, b. ca. 1065; d. 1114/7.
  • Rohese or Rohesia de CLARE, b. ca. 1067 in Dunmow, Essex; d. 1121 at Holy Trinity, London.
  • Adeliza or Alice de CLARE, b. ca. 1068; d. 1138.


  • Avice or Avoye de CLARE, b. 1050 in Normandy, France, m. ca. 1064 Robert de TOSNY, Lord of Stafford (b. 1039, son of Roger de TOSNY Lord of Conches and Godeheut or Godehilde de BORRELL, d. after 1100, bur. Stone Priory, Staffordshire); d. ca. 1138.

    Avice is also known as Avitia de CLARE and Avoye de BIENFAIT. Avice was married at the age of 14 and gave birth to her daughter Adeliza at St. Saveur in Normandy the same year; she also had at least six sons: Alan, Jordan, Nicholas, Nigel, Robert and Roger, who all bore the name de STAFFORD. Avice’s husband was Robert de TOSNY (later de STAFFORD), whose father Robert de TOSNY was killed along with his two eldest sons, Elbert and Elinant, in an armed rebellion against William the Bastard (later the Conqueror) being named Duke of Normandy. Paradoxically, Robert de TOSNY was Standard Bearer for Duke William in 1066 at the Battle of Hastings. In 1066 Robert de TOSNY became Robert de STAFFORD when he was made governor of the hastily built castle at Stafford (formerly Staithford) with a garrison of 60 knights. Both Avice and Robert were cousins of the Conqueror, and thus Robert was granted 131 lordships in Staffordshire, Gloustershire and Warwickshire and served as first sheriff of Stafford. Their daughter Adeliza married Roger BIGOD (d. 1107), who appears in Domesday as holding six lordships in Essex and 117 in Suffolk, and who received from Henry I the gift of Framlingham in Suffolk which became the principal stronghold of his family and descendants.

    [Much of the above information is based on research by Neil F. Stafford (www.johnstafford.org/Ancient/First_Stafford.htm). The genealogy database Stirnet.com however gives Avice/Avoye’s husband as Rauol de Fougeres (d. 1124). She may have married twice, but it seems unlikely.]


    Roger FITZ-RICHARD de CLARE, b. in Normandy, France; d. after 1131.

    Roger inherited his father’s lands in Normandy and was possibly the eldest son (citation: The Peerage). Ca. 1080, witnessed a charter to St Evreul. In 1088, fortified the castle at Tonbridge, with his brother Roger, against King William Rufus. In August 1100, in attendance with his brother Gilbert at the death of King William Rufus, after the king had been accidentally shot and killed by their brother-in-law Sir Walter TIREL during a stag hunt in the New Forest.


    Isabel de CLARE, b. ca. 1060, m. Reginald AUBREY of Aberkinrigg and Slough (a. 1094, son of St Aubrey).

    Isabel had two known sons, Reginald and William. Her grandson (son of Reginald) was Earl of Dunmartyn and Bulloine and Lord Marshal of France.


    Richard FITZ-RICHARD de CLARE, b. 1062 in Tonbridge, Kent; d. 1107 at Ely, Cambridgeshire, bur. St Neot‘s Priory, Cambridgeshire.

    A former monk at Bec, Richard was appointed Abbot of Ely ca. 1100, when he resumed building work to the Abbey Church which had ceased after 1093. Ca. 1105, asserted independence from the diocese of Lincoln and pressed for Ely to be made a diocese in its own right, with the Abbey Church as its Cathedral, which was subsequently achieved by his successor Hervey de BRETON.


    Robert FITZ-RICHARD de CLARE of Little Dunmow, b. ca. 1065, m1. Judith of HUNTINGDON (b. ca. 1072, daughter of Waltheof Earl of Huntingdon and Northampton, and Judith of LENS), m2. ca. 1112, Maud or Matilda de ST LIZ (daughter of Simon de ST LIZ, Earl of Huntingdon and Northampton and Maud of HUNTINGDON, d. 1140); d. ca. 1134 at Little Dunmow, Essex, bur. St Neot’s Priory, Cambridgeshire.

    Robert was feudal baron of Little Dunmow in Essex and constable of Baynard’s Castle in the City of London, which position was granted by the king after it was forfeited in 1110 by William Baynard, whose grandfather Ralph Baynard had built the castle. From 1100-1134, steward to King Henry I. Robert’s son by Maud de ST LIZ was Sir Walter FITZ-ROBERT of Woodham (b. ca. 1124, d. 1198) who married 1st Margaret de Bohun and 2nd Maud de LUCY, and who succeeded his father as 2nd Lord of Little Dunmow. Robert’s daughter by Maud de ST LIZ was Maud FITZ-ROBERT (b. ca. 1132) who married William d’AUBIGNY.


    Gilbert FITZ-RICHARD de Tonbridge and CLARE, b. ca. 1065, m. by 1090 Adeliza de CLERMONT (b. 1058 in Northamptonshire, daughter of Hugh de CLERMONT and Margaret de ROUCY, d. 1125); d. ca. 1114/7.

    Heir to his father Richard FITZ-GILBERT’s possessions in England. In 1088, with his brother Roger, fortified the castle at Tonbridge against King William Rufus. Subsequently the castle was stormed and Gilbert was wounded and taken prisoner. In 1090, founded the Priory at Stoke-by-Clare in Suffolk, giving its church and its endowments to the Benedictine Bec Abbey in Normandy. In June 1095, recorded as giving warning to the king on his northward march of an ambush. On 29 August 1096, laid one of the foundation stones at St John’s Abbey in Colchester which was founded by his brother-in-law Eudo de Rie. In August 1100, in attendance, with his brother Roger, at the death of King William Rufus after the king had been accidentally shot and killed by Gilbert’s brother-in-law Sir Walter TIREL during a stag hunt in the New Forest. On 3 Sep 1101, witnessed a charter at Norwich. In 1101, at the Christmas court of King Henry I at Westminster. In 1110/11 Henry I had taken the Lordship of Cardigan from Owain ap CADWGAN as punishment for a number of crimes including the abduction of Nest, wife of Gerald de WINDSOR, and gave the Lordship, including Cardigan Castle, to Gilbert. Gilbert and Adeliza had at least seven children: Richard FITZ-GILBERT de CLARE 1st Earl of Hertford (b. 1084/90 d. 1136) who married Adeliza/Alice de MESCHINES; Baldwin FITZ-GILBERT of Bourne (b. ca. 1088/92 d. 1154) who married Adeline de ROLLOS; Gilbert FITZ-GILBERT de CLARE 1st Earl of Pembroke who married Elizabeth de BEAUMONT; Alice/Adeliza de CLARE (b. ca. 1080 d. ca. 1163) who married Alberic de VERE Great Chamberlain of England; Margaret de CLARE who married William de MONTFICHET; Walter FITZ-GILBERT de CLARE; and Hervey de MONTE MARISCOE.


    Rohese or Rohesia de CLARE, b. ca. 1067 in Dunmow, Essex, m. ca. 1088 Eudo de RIE (b. ca. 1047 in Normandy, France, youngest son of Hubert de RIE, d. 1120 at Preaux, Normandy, bur. 28 Feb at the Chapter House of St John‘s Abbey, Colchester); d. 1121 at Holy Trinity, London.

    Rohese’s husband Eudo de RIE, also known as Eudo DAPIFER (Latin: server/steward), was steward in succession to William the Conqueror, William Rufus and Henry I. Rohese and Eudo had one daughter, Margaret, who married William de MANDEVILLE (d. 1130); Margaret was the mother of Geoffrey de MANDEVILLE, first Earl of Essex. Eudo was one of several powerful Norman landowners after the Conquest, receiving lands in Essex, Hertfordshire, Berkshire, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, Norfolk and Suffolk; he was also involved in the building of Colchester Castle and was its custodian until his death, when it reverted to Crown ownership. On 9 Sep 1087, Eudo was present when William the Conqueror died at Rouen, then accompanied the new king, William Rufus, to England. In 1096/7, at Colchester, founded St John’s Abbey, the Leper Hospital and Church of St Mary Magdalene and restored St Helena‘s Chapel. On 29 August 1096, laid the first foundation stone at St John’s Abbey in Colchester; Rohese laid the second and her brother Gilbert FITZ-RICHARD de CLARE the third. During William Rufus’s reign, Eudo witnessed 27 royal writs. In August 1100, he was one of the witnesses to Henry I’s coronation charter, and in 1101 was a witness to the treaty between Henry I and his brother Robert CURTHOSE. In 1101, Rohese and Eudo’s son-in-law William de MANDEVILLE was removed as Constable of the Tower of London and Eudo appointed in the position; also in 1101, granted the borough of Colcester by Henry I. In 1103, their son-in-law William de MANDEVILLE had lands confiscated which were then granted to Eudo (this punishment was likely for allowing Ranulf FLAMBARD to escape from the Tower of London in 1101). At his death in 1120, Eudo bequeathed to St John’s Abbey at Colchester one hundred pounds, his gold ring with a topaz, a standing cup and cover adorned with plates of gold, his horse and mule, and his manor at Brightlingsea. There is a statue of Eudo de RIE on the wall of Colchester Town Hall.

    [Rohese and Eudo’s grandson Geoffrey de MANDEVILLE, first Earl of Essex, died “excommunicated for outrages committed on the monks of Ramsey. His corpse was carried by some Knights Templars into their orchard in the Old Temple at London, arrayed in the habit of the Order, and after being enclosed in lead, hung on a branch of a tree, where it remained until absolution being obtained from Pope Alexander, by the intercession of the Prior of Walden, it was taken down and privately buried in the porch of the New Temple, where his effigy is still to be seen“.
    (“The Conqueror and His Companions” by J.R. Planche 1874)]


    Adeliza or Alice de CLARE, b. ca. 1068, m. ca. 1090 Walter TIREL or TYRELL (b. 1065 in Tonbridge, Kent, son of Walter TIREL and Ann de BRIONNE, d. after 1100); d. 1138.

    Adeliza’s husband Sir Walter TIREL was lord of Poix-de-Picardie in France and of Langham in Essex, and he has been identified as the accidental killer of King William RUFUS. On 2 Aug 1100, Walter accompanied William RUFUS on a hunting expedition at Brockenhurst in the New Forest; his brothers-in-law Gilbert FITZ-RICHARD de CLARE and Roger FITZ-RICHARD de CLARE were also with the king. According to chroniclers, when TIREL shot at a passing stag the bolt from his crossbow misfired and hit William in the chest, puncturing his lung, and stricken with panic Walter leapt on his horse and later fled to France. A version of the event is given by William of MALMESBURY in his “Chronicle of the Kings of the English” (c.1128): “The day before the king died he dreamt that he went to hell and the Devil said to him ‘I cannot wait for tomorrow because we can finally meet in person’. He suddenly awoke. He commanded a light to be brought, and forbade his attendants to leave him. The next day he went to the forest … Walter Tirel remained with him, while the others were on the chase. The sun was now declining, when the king, drawing his bow and letting fly the arrow, slightly wounded a stag which passed before him … The stag was still running … The king followed it a long time with his eyes, holding up his hand to keep off the power of the sun’s rays. At this instant Walter decided to kill another stag. Oh, gracious God! The arrow pierced the king’s breast. On receiving the wound the king uttered not a word; but breaking off the shaft of the arrow where it projected from his body … This accelerated his death. Walter immediately ran up, but as he found him senseless, he leapt upon his horse, and escaped with the utmost speed. Indeed there were none to pursue him: some helped his flight; others felt sorry for him. The king’s body was placed on a cart and conveyed to the cathedral at Winchester … blood dripped from the body all the way. Here he was buried within the tower. The next year, the tower fell down … He was a man much pitied by the clergy, he had a soul they could not save.” Conversely another chronicler, Abbot SUGER, a friend of Walter’s who gave him shelter in France wrote: “It was laid to the charge of a certain noble, Walter Tirel, that he had shot the king with an arrow; but I have often heard him, when he had nothing to fear nor to hope, solemnly swear that on the day in question he was not in the part of the forest where the king was hunting, nor ever saw him in the forest at all”. Whatever the truth of Walter’s involvement, William RUFUS’s brother Henry, who was also in the hunting party, benefited directly from William’s death when he was shortly after crowned king. Adeliza and William had four sons: Walter Le GENERAUX (b. ca. 1092); Baldwin (b. ca. 1095); Robert le Seigneur de BERGICOURT; and Hugh (b. ca. 1105). It is not known whether Adeliza joined William in exile in France, but the birth of their son Hugh suggests that she did. According to the Pipe Roll of 1136, Adeliza was “seized (put in possession of), as a widow, of the Manor of Langham in Essex”.

    [Pipe rolls are the annual financial records of the Crown. They are named for the pipe shape of the rolled up parchments on which the records were originally written. The medieval documents are some of the earliest financial records available from the period and were based on the sheriffs’ accounts.]

    Today, a memorial known as the Rufus Stone marks the spot where it is believed William RUFUS fell. The inscription on the stone reads: “Here stood the oak tree on which an arrow shot by Sir Walter Tyrell at a stag glanced and struck King William the Second, surnamed Rufus, on the breast, of which he instantly died on the second day of August anno 1100. King William the Second, surnamed Rufus, being slain, as before related, was laid in a cart, belonging to one Purkis and drawn from hence to Winchester and buried in the Cathedral Church of that city.”


    Rohais or Ronais GIFFARD de CLARE, b. 1062/67 in Tonbridge, Kent, m. Ralph de TELLIERES (b. ca. 1062 in Tellieres, Normandy, France, son of Gilbert de TELLIERES); d. 1121.

    Rohais is sometimes confused with her similarly named sister Rohese/Rohesia. She is shown as daughter of Rohese GIFFARD and Richard FITZ-GILBERT in J.L. Vivian’s “Visitations of the County of Devon”, which gives an authoritative ancestral family tree of the GIFFARDs of Halsbury. Rohais’s son reverted to the GIFFARD family name, and was called Robert GIFFARD of Whitchurch and Lamerton.

    [Child of Rohais GIFFARD de CLARE and Ralph de TELLIERES]:

    Robert de TELLIERES GIFFARD, b. ca. 1096, m. ? de WARENNE (b. ca. 1100); d. at Weare, Torrington, Devon.

    Robert took his maternal grandmother’s family name and was known as Robert GIFFARD of Whitchurch and Lamerton. Before 1129, also awarded the lordship of Weare in Devonshire by Henry I, and further granted the manor of Auton (now Aveton) (see Appendix). Later a templar of Henry II (who reigned 1154-1189). His marriage to a female heir of the de WARENNE family forged a connection between the GIFFARDs and another noble family that included the earliest Earls of Surrey, the first of whom was William de WARENNE who was among the companions of the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings.

    [Child of Robert de TELLIERES GIFFARD and ? de WARENNE]:

    Gervaise GIFFARD, b. 1122 in Whitchurch, Devon.

    A templar of Richard I (who reigned 1189-1199). There is no record of Gervaise’s wife, by whom he had two sons.

    [Children of Gervaise GIFFARD]:

  • Walter GIFFARD, d. at Weare Giffard, Devon.
  • Roger GIFFARD, b. in Awliscombe, Devon; a. 1243, d. at Clovelly, Devon.


  • Walter GIFFARD, m. Alice de ST GEORGE (daughter of Henry de ST GEORGE and Alice de BRETVILLE; bur. Holy Trinity Church, Weare Giffard); d. at Weare Giffard, Devon, bur. Holy Trinity Church, Weare Giffard.

    Sir Walter GIFFARD held the manor of Weare in the Torridge district of Devon; the manor subsequently took his name as its suffix, becoming Weare Giffard; the Church of the Holy Trinity there and adjacent Weare Giffard Hall are now Grade I listed buildings. Stone effigies of Sir Walter and his wife exist in Holy Trinity church in Weare Giffard, and are now housed in arched niches in the north nave and choir, but no identifying inscriptions or armorials survive; their original location was in the north transept side by side on an altar tomb from which they were removed in the 19th century to make room for a new organ. There is a legend that the ghost of Sir Walter walks at midnight seeking his wife from whom he has been separated in his last rest. Walter is recorded as active during the reign of Henry III (who reigned 1216-1272). In 1242/3, recorded in a list of landholdings in the Testa de Nevill (aka The Book of Fees) as “Walterus Giffard tenet I. feodum de comite Devonie de honore de Plimton, m. Alice“. Walter and Alice had one child, Emma (d. 1276) who married Sir Hugh WIDWORTHY. A writ dated 26 Aug ‘4 Edw I’ (4th year of the reign of Edward I = 1276) records inquisitions which name “Alice Giffard and Emma her daughter who were out of their minds, as is said”. Another writ dated 10 Sep ‘4 Edw I’ records the death of “Emma daughter and heir of Walter de Giffard, who was not of sound mind”, saying that “Isabel de Fortibus countess of Albemarle” requested confirmation that “Emma her daughter aged 10 on the last day of March last is her next heir” and “Hugh de Wydewrthe her father whose heir she is“. Hardinge Frank GIFFARD in an essay of 1902 wrote the following: “Upon the death (4 Ed.1) of Sir Walter Giffard’s daughter Emma, who had married Sir Hugh de Widworthy, the daughter, Emma de Widworthy, was sixteen years old. The last-named Emma married Sir Robert de Dynham, and died s.p., when the representation in the female line of the Giffards of Weare Giffard passed to the families of Prowse and Trewin. The large fief of the Giffards of Weare Giffard was thus split up - Weare Giffard, Lamerton, and Whitchurch passing to the Trewins, and Aveton Giffard apparently to the Prowses. The Trewins took the name Weare from their dwelling, and from them the property passed by successive marriages to the Fortescues.” (Devonshire Association’s “Report and Transactions” 1902).


    Roger GIFFARD, b. in Awliscombe, Devon, m. Anne BREWER (b. ca. 1158 in Buckland Brewer, Devon, daughter and co-heir of Sir William BREWER of Brewer and Beatrice de VALLE, d. 1192); a. 1243, d. at Clovelly, Devon.

    Known as Sir Roger GIFFARD of Clovelly, Awliscombe and Milford-in-Hartland. The estate of Clovelly was first acquired by the GIFFARD family in 1242, and Roger ‘subinfeuded’ (sublet) the manor from his brother Walter. ‘Clovelie’ is recorded in Domesday as held in chief from William the Conqueror by the Saxon nobleman BRITRIC, and was later held by the King’s wife Matilda, after whose death in 1083 it was granted in turn to her son King William RUFUS (d. 1100); then Robert FITZ-HAMON (d. 1107); then by marriage from FITZ-HAMON’s daughter Maud to Robert de CAEN 1st Earl of Gloucester (d. 1147); thus the GIFFARDs later held Clovelly as feudal tenants of the Honour of Gloucester. The Book of Fees records Roger GIFFARD holding Clovelly “from the part of Earl Richard”, that is Richard de CLARE 5th Earl of Hertford and 6th Earl of Gloucester and feudal Baron of Gloucester. The feudal barony of Gloucester was absorbed into the Crown, when the GIFFARDs became tenants in chief. The manor of Weare Giffard eventually devolved through his brother Walter’s female descendants to Elizabeth DENZILL who married Martin FORTESCUE in 1454. Roger’s wife Anne was daughter and co-heiress of the eminent Devonian BREWER family; Sir William BREWER (d. 1226), a major landholder and founder of a number of religious institutions, was a judge and Sheriff of Devon and several other counties.

    [Children of Roger GIFFARD and Anne BREWER]:

  • William GIFFARD, b. 1192 in Awliscombe, Devon; d. 1228.
  • Walter GIFFARD of Clifford, b. in Devon.
  • Matthew GIFFARD of Awliscombe, b. in Devon.
  • Philip GIFFARD, b. in Devon.
  • Robert GIFFARD, b. in Devon.


  • Walter GIFFARD of Clifford, b. in Devon.

    Walter’s son was Gervaise GIFFARD (a. 1330), who himself fathered three sons: Richard of Bowood (a. 1358); Henry (a. 1355) who married Alice TIRELL; and Robert, vicar of North Petherwin (a. 1355).


    Matthew GIFFARD of Awliscombe, b. in Devon, m. Edith de BEDEFORD (widow of Richard de BEDEFORD).

    Matthew and Edith had two daughters: Isabell who married Sir John STANTON; and Eva who married ? MANDEVILLE.


    Robert GIFFARD, b. in Devon, a. 1282.

    Robert was rector of Clovelly and canon of Exeter Cathedral. He had an illegitimate daughter, Margery, recorded as living in Gorvin in Hartland in 1301 (citation: Hartland Manorial Documents 1301-1566).


    William GIFFARD, b. 1192 in Awliscombe, Devon; d. 1228.

    William’s wife is unknown, although some sources cite Alice FREBODY as his wife, but this seems to be a misreading of a different and later line of the GIFFARDs wherein another William GIFFARD, of Thorpe Mandeville, married Alice FREBODY in 1530.

    [Children of William GIFFARD]:

  • Sir Walter GIFFARD, dsp.
  • Sir Roger GIFFARD of Awliscombe Giffard, dsp.
  • Bartholomew GIFFARD of Halsbury, b. 1228 in Awliscombe, Devon; d.1314 at Halsbury, Devon.


  • Bartholomew GIFFARD of Halsbury, b. 1228 in Awliscombe, Devon, m. Joan or Jone de HALSBURY (b. 1232, daughter and heir of Peter de HALSBURY); d.1314 at Halsbury, Devon.

    By his marriage to Joan de HALSBURY, who was sole heiress of her father’s estate, Bartholomew gained possession of the manor of Halsbury in Devon, which is situated 2 miles north-east of the village of Parkham and 4 miles south-west of the town of Bideford. In 1290, Bartholomew witnessed a deed at Portledge, the seat of the COFFIN family, with Jellanus DACUS or DENYS of Orleigh in the parish of Buckland Brewer (there are later connections by marriage between the GIFFARDs and the COFFIN and DENYS families). On 23 March 1314, Bartholomew presented William MARTYN to be ordained deacon at Exeter (Episcopal Register of Exeter), and on the following 21 December his son Baldwin presented the same William to be ordained priest, thus setting the date of Bartholomew‘s death between those two dates.

    [Children of Bartholomew GIFFARD and Joan de HALSBURY]:

  • Baldwin GIFFARD b. in Halsbury, Devon.
  • Robert GIFFARD b. in Halsbury, Devon.
  • Matthew GIFFARD b. in Halsbury, Devon.


  • Matthew GIFFARD

    The Book of Aids of 1284-86 gives the following account of Matthew GIFFARD’s fees: “1. Trill, held by John de Trill of Matthew Giffard, who held it of Hugh de Courtenay. 2. Mete and Stockheye, held by Matthew Giffard of Alan fitz Roald, and Alan holds it of Hugh de Courtenay. 3. Cobbeton, held by Peter Spudding of Matthew Giffard, who holds it of the Earl of Cornwall. 4. Houlescombe [Awliscombe], ¼ of a K.F. held by Matthew Giffard of the heirs of Richard Tremenet, who holds it of William Spek, who holds it of the Earl of Cornwall. 5. Houlescombe, ½ K.F. held by Matthew Giffard of the heirs of Henry de Pomeray of Beri. 6. Clovelly, held by Matthew Giffard of Robert de Dinham, who held it of the Earl of Gloucester.” In 1294, summoned in Devon for military service against the Welsh (Parliamentary Writs). In 1297, summoned to the Military Council held at Rochester, and in the same year summoned for service in Flanders (Parliamentary Writs). In 1298 summoned for military service in Scotland (Parliamentary Writs). Matthew had a daughter, Maud who married William DABERNON of Stoke Dabernon.


    Baldwin GIFFARD of Halsbury, b. 1260 in Halsbury, Devon, m. Joan or Jane.

    Hardinge Frank GIFFARD in an essay of 1902 wrote the following: “Baldwin was a younger son of the Weare Giffard family who had been enfeoffed in the manor of Clovelly by his father, and obtained through his mother the Briewere manors” and “reference to Baldwin Giffard is found on the Chancellor’s Roll of 3 John under ‘Devon’ where he and John de Abernon … are returned as owing 40 marks for a writ of right” (Devonshire Association’s “Report and Transactions” 1902). On 21 December 1314, Baldwin presented William MARTYN to be ordained priest at Exeter (Episcopal Register of Exeter). In 1318, with his maternal grandfather Peter de HALSBURY, witnessed a deed at Portledge.

    [Child of Baldwin GIFFARD and Joan]:

    John GIFFARD, b. in Halsbury, Devon, m. Sybel or Sybella.

    [Child of John GIFFARD and Sybel]:

    Walter GIFFARD, b. ca. 1303 in Halsbury, Devon, m. Isabell; d. ca. 1336.

    [Child of Walter GIFFARD and Isabell]:

    John GIFFARD, b. ca. 1335 in Halsbury, Devon, m. Joan or Jone Deuclive (b. ca. 1339 in Devon, daughter and coheir of Richard DEUCLIVE, d. ca. 1369).

    [Children of John GIFFARD and Joan DEUCLIVE]:

  • Thomas GIFFARD, b. ca. 1367 in Halsbury, Devon.
  • Andrew GIFFARD, b. ca. 1369 in Halsbury, Devon.


  • Andrew GIFFARD, b. ca. 1369 in Halsbury, Devon, m. Ingaret de ESSE (b. ca. 1373 in Thewborough, Devon, daughter and co-heir of Sir Alan de ESSE, m.2 Richard HALSE of Kennedon); d. ca. 1393.

    Andrew was known as GIFFARD of Thewborough in Sutcombe; his wife Ingaret was the eldest of two daughters who were co-heiresses to their father’s estate of Thewborough (now Thuborough) in Devon. Her sister Elizabeth married John GIFFARD of Helland, Cornwall. Andrew and Ingaret had a son, John who married Alice UGWORTHY (daughter and coheir of John UGWORTHY).


    Thomas GIFFARD, b. ca. 1367 in Halsbury, Devon, m. Wilmot KNIGHT (b. 1371 in Halsbury, Devon).

    Thomas was known as Thomas GIFFARD of Halsbury. His and Wilmot’s daughter Margaret married William COFFIN of Alwington.

    [Children of Thomas GIFFARD and Wilmot KNIGHT]:

  • John GIFFARD, b. 1399 in Halsbury, Devon.
  • Margaret GIFFARD, b. in Halsbury, Devon.


  • Margaret GIFFARD, b. in Halsbury, Devon, a. 1486, m. William COFFIN of Alwington (son of John COFFIN of Alwington and Thomasin HATHEY), d. 11 Sep 1486).

    Margaret and William had three children: Richard (ca. 1456-1523) who married Alice GAMBON of Merston; John of Northam; and Constantia who married John WYE.


    John GIFFARD, b. 1399 in Halsbury, Devon, m. Joan or Jane DABERNON (b. 1412 in Dunsland Cross, Devon, daughter of John DABERNON and Isabella MULES of Irishborough).

    [Children of John GIFFARD and Joan DABERNON]:

  • Thomas GIFFARD, b. 1442 in Halsbury, Devon; d. 15 Mar 1532.
  • John GIFFARD, b. in Halsbury, Devon.
  • Lewis GIFFARD, b. in Halsbury, Devon.


  • Thomas GIFFARD, b. 1442 in Halsbury, Devon, m1. Avis Dennis (b. ca. 1435 in Orleigh, Devon, daughter of John DENNIS of Orleigh and Eleanor GIFFARD; d. ca. 1469), m2. Anne CORYTON (b. 1466 in Newton Ferrers, St Mellion, Cornwall, daughter of John CORYTON of Newton St Quethiock and Katherine STOFORD or STAWFORD); d. 15 Mar 1532.

    Avis DENNIS’s mother Eleanor GIFFARD was daughter and coheir of Stephen GIFFARD of Thewborough and granddaughter of John GIFFARD and Alice UGWORTHY. Thomas and Avis therefore had great-grandparents in common: John GIFFARD (b. 1335) and Joan DEUCLIVE (ca.1339-1369). Thomas’s second wife Anne was descended from Jeffrie CORITON of Devon (a. 1242) and Isolda FERRERS of West Newton; the CORYTONS became established in Devon in the reign of Henry III, then in Newton, Cornwall which was created a baronetcy in 1662 for a later John CORYTON MP. Several monuments to the CORYTON family exist in the church of St Melanus in the village of St Mellion, Cornwall. On 31 July 1511, Thomas made a settlement on his wife Anne, for life. On 3 March 1513, he made his will. The Inquisition taken at Thomas’s death states that he held “the manor of Hallysbury and lands and tenements in Bolland, Wodeland, Cheppyngtoriton, Godeleight, Exeter, Braddon, Ludecot, Wylleswylle, Walden, Hatherlegh, Wykescosy, lands in West Clyfford, East Clyfford, Trew, Nuttecote, Thornbury” also land in “Upton Helyon, with a moiety of the advowson of the church, a moiety of the manor of Podyngton,a fourth part of the advowson, one-fourth of a moiety of the manor of Offewell and rents from Helegh Sackvyle, and Helegh Mandeville and Gorwen”.

    [Children of Thomas GIFFARD and Avis DENNIS]:

  • John GIFFARD, b. in Halsbury, Devon; d. 22 Feb 1527.
  • Thomas GIFFARD, b. in Halsbury, Devon.


  • [Children of Thomas GIFFARD and Anne CORYTON]:

  • Roger GIFFARD, b. 1494 in Halsbury, Devon; d. 1 May 1547 at Brightleigh, Devon, bur. Chittlehampton, Devon.
  • William GIFFARD, b. in Halsbury, Devon.
  • Walter GIFFARD, b. in Halsbury, Devon.
  • Alice GIFFARD, b. in Halsbury, Devon.
  • Catherine GIFFARD, b. in Halsbury, Devon.


  • John GIFFARD, b. in Halsbury, Devon, m1. Joane SYDENHAM (daughter of John SYDENHAM of Orchard and Margaret POPHAM of Alfacton), m2. ? SPEAKE (daughter of George SPEAKE of Somerset), m3. Ebete WOODE (daughter of Alexander WOODE of North Tawton); d. 27 Feb 1527.

    Eldest son by Thomas GIFFARD’s first wife Avis DENNIS. John’s first wife Joane was descended from John de SYDENHAM (a. 1225) whose wife is recorded as an heiress of KITSFORD. John and Joane had seven children: Thomas ‘of Hales’ (b. 22 Feb 1506, bur. 19 Apr 1550) who married Margaret MONKE (daughter of Anthony MONKE of Powdridge); Anthony of Milton Damerell who married Dorothy WIKES (daughter of Richard WIKES); Philippa who married John CROSSMAN of Cross (d. 1567); John (bur. 27 Nov 1544); William; Margaret; and Anne.

    [Thomas, eldest son of John GIFFARD and Joane SYDENHAM, is known for the following incident:

    “Not far distant from Peppercombe Castle, is noted for a remarkable accident which happened there … which is thus: Some of the ancient family of Giffard, and others, on a party of pleasure, having seated themselves on the top of this cliff, which commands an extensive view of the sea, one of the Giffards (a young man) sitting carelessly near the brink, and turning himself about hastily, fell backward over the precipice, upwards of one hundred and thirty feet perpendicular, and the floor at bottom covered with craggy rocks and large stones, yet received no manner of hurt: since which this place has borne the name of ‘Giffard’s Jump’.” (“History of Devonshire” by Richard Polwhele)

    In an essay written in 1902 by Hardinge Frank GIFFARD and published in the Devonshire Association’s “Report and Transactions” in that year, Hardinge identifies the young man as Thomas GIFFARD, and cites mention of Thomas’s wife Margaret MONKE in a poem entitled “Giffard’s Leap” (1791) by Sir Ambrose Hardinge GIFFARD from which the occasion - the couple’s wedding party - and date of the incident, 28 Oct 1537, are deduced. (see Appendix 19)]

    In 1528, the Inquisition taken on John GIFFARD’s death states that he died on 22 Feb 1527 and that his son Thomas was his nearest heir aged twenty two years of age and upwards.


    Roger GIFFARD, b. 1494 in Halsbury, Devon, m. Margaret COBLEIGH (b. 1502 in Brightleigh, Devon, daughter of John COBLEIGH and Joan FORTISCUE, d. 23 Dec 1547 at Chittlehampton, Devon, bur. St Hieritha Church, Chittlehampton); d. 1 May 1547 at Brightleigh, Devon, bur. St Hieritha Church, Chittlehampton.

    First-born son of Thomas GIFFARD by his second wife Anne CORYTON. Roger inherited lands owned by his father in Walton in the parish of Milton Damerel. His wife Margaret, one of the wealthiest women in Devon, was sole heir to her father’s estate of Brightleigh in Chittlehampton and other estates which included Tapeley in Westleigh, which in turn by marriage descended to the Halsbury GIFFARDs. Tristram RISDON in his book “The Chorographical Description or Survey of the County of Devon” (1632) writes that “… this land came to the name of Cobley, whose only daughter and heir, Margaret, was married to Sir Roger Giffard, a flourishing branch of Halsbery-house, who made the place a dainty seat, with a park thereunto belonging”. In 1534, Roger was appointed temporary custodian of Hartland Abbey. In 1547, the year of his death, Roger was knighted. Dated 15 Oct 1547, his post-mortem Inquisition states that he died in possession of the manor of Tapleigh and lands in Westleigh, Walden and Milton Damerel; also lands and tenements in Upcot and Hatherleigh (formerly held by the monastery of Tavistock). The Inquisition on Margaret’s death later the same year states that she possessed the manors of Brightleigh, Stowford, Snape, Wollacombe Tracy, Bremybridge, Nymet St George, and lands and tenements in Cobleigh in Lapford. Both Roger and Margaret were buried at St Hieritha Church in Chittlehampton which contains monuments to later members of the GIFFARD family and floor brasses in the chancel with effigies and inscriptions to earlier members of the COBLEIGH family.

    [Children of Roger GIFFARD and Margaret COBLEIGH]:

  • John GIFFARD, b. ca. 1523 in Brightleigh, Devon; d. 1585 at Brightleigh, Devon.
  • Anne GIFFARD, b. in Brightleigh, Devon.
  • Hugh GIFFARD, b. ca. 1530 in Brightleigh, Devon.
  • Roger GIFFARD of Tiverton Castle, b. 1533 in Brightleigh, Devon; d. 8 Oct 1603 at Tiverton, Devon.
  • Joan or Jane GIFFARD, b. in Brightleigh, Devon; d.1596, bur. at Bradninch, Devon.
  • Alice GIFFARD, b. in Brightleigh, Devon, m. Robert FRY of Mallydor, Cornwall.
  • Mary GIFFARD, b. in Brightleigh, Devon, d. Jan 1598; bur. St Andrews Church, South Tawton, Devon.
  • Elizabeth GIFFARD, b. in Brightleigh, Devon; bur. 21 Jan 1579.
  • Wilmot GIFFARD, b. ca. 1538 in Brightleigh, Devon.
  • Walter GIFFARD, b. in Brightleigh, Devon.
  • Fulk GIFFARD, b. in Brightleigh, Devon.
  • Thomas GIFFARD, b. in Brightleigh, Devon.
  • Andrew GIFFARD, b. in Brightleigh, Devon.
  • Philippa GIFFARD, b. in Brightleigh, Devon.


  • Anne GIFFARD, b. in Brightleigh, Devon, m. 1555 William FORTESCUE (b. in Buckland Filleigh, Devon, son of John FORTESCUE and Christian ARCOTT; d. before1583 at Buckland Filleigh).

    Anne and William are said to have had either 11 or 12 children: those whose names are recorded are: John (d. 1604) who married 1st Anne PORTER of Thetford and 2nd Susanna CHICHESTER of Raleigh; Faithful (d. ca. 1608); Martin who married Jane GOVE of Idsley; Jane who married John HARRIS; Elizabeth who married 1st John YEO of Hewish and 2nd John HERLE of West Buckland; Mary who married ? ROCKLEY of Buckland; Grace who married Anthony HERLE of West Buckland; Catherine who married David KNIGHT; Bartholomew; Eleanor; and Frances. In “A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry Vol. 2“, John BURKE cites 12 children: “William Fortescue, esq. of Buckland Filleigh, who m. Anne, daughter of Sir Roger Giffard, of Brightleigh, in Devonshire, and (with eight daughters …), had four sons …” More than one source gives William FORTESCUE’s year of birth as 1503, but when it is considered that he married Anne in 1555 and subsequently fathered 11 or 12 children this seems questionable (though not impossible). “William, the eldest son, succeeded his father. He married, in 1555, Anne, daughter of Sir Roger Giffard, of Brightley, near South Molton, in the parish of Chittlehampton, the seat of a younger branch of the ancient family of the Giffards of Halsbury. The mansion and chapel of Brightley are now in ruins, a farm-house occupying part of the former; and the park is broken up. The issue of their marriage was four sons and eight daughters ... By his will, dated 15th April, 1580, and proved 6th April, 1583, he leaves his manor and lands within the parish of St. Peter’s Marland, to his three younger sons, Faithful (afterwards Sir Faithful), Martyn, and Bartholomew bequeathing Buckland-Filleigh to his eldest son, John, and his heirs. He died in 1580” (“A History of the Family of Fortescue” by Thomas Fortescue, Lord Clermont 1880). Their second son was Sir Faithful FORTESCUE, “‘distinguished for his eminent abilities’, says the Biographia Britannica. He served in the army in Flanders for several years, and, when the Spanish invasion was threatened, received, in the year 1588, a commission from Queen Elizabeth to raise men and arms for the camp at Tilbury, and he was knighted by the queen” (“A History of the Family of Fortescue” by Thomas Fortescue, Lord Clermont 1880). Faithful’s reputed date of birth is questionable, indeed unviable, but several sources quote the year 1512 based on the following: “Faithful (Sir), a soldier of high reputation, who served several years in Flanders, and was commissioned by the lords of council, in the time of Elizabeth, to raise men and arms for Tilbury camp, in the memorable era (1588) of the ARMADA. Sir Faithful Fortescue died about the year 1608, at the advanced age of 96 .” (“A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry” Vol. 2 by John Burke); this puts Faithful’s birth 43 years before his parents’ marriage and his involvement with the Armada at the unlikely age of 76.


    Hugh GIFFARD ‘of Wey’ of St Giles, b. ca. 1530 in Brightleigh, Devon, m. Joane BAMPFIELD (widow of Richard POLLARD of Horwood, daughter of John or Edward BAMPFIELD of Poltimore and Elizabeth WADHAM).

    Hugh and Joane had four children: Achilles of Instow who married Dorothy HOLWORTHY of Bridgwater; Margaret or Mary who married 1st Robert YEO (1545-1582) of Hatherleigh and 2nd Lewis POLLARD; Wilmot who married Leonard POTE (ca. 1568-1634); and Martha who married John WEBBER.


    Roger GIFFARD of Tiverton Castle, b. 1533 in Brightleigh, Devon., m1. 27 Jan 1562 Awdrie STUKLEY (widow of William YEO of Braunton, daughter of Sir Hugh STUKLEY of Affeton and Lady Jane POLLARD mistress of Henry VIII), m2. 8 Jul 1574 Jane HOBBYE (widow of John DUKE of Otterton, daughter of Thomas HOBBYE of London), m3. 4 May 1580 Richarda or Richord PROUS (widow of Richard WALDRON, daughter of John PROUS of Tiverton); d. 1603 at Tiverton Castle, bur. 8 Oct 1603 at St Peter’s Church, Tiverton, Devon.

    Roger GIFFFARD is described by John Prince in his book “The Worthies of Devon” (pub. 1701) as a “gentleman of elegant form and comely presence of person, but of much better accomplishment and endowments of mind … A worthy and eminent person, though it must be acknowledged the history of those actions which made him so is for the most part perished.” Tiverton Castle was built by Richard de REDVERS at the beginning of the 12th century; later in the reign of Elizabeth I the estates at Tiverton, then owned by the COURTENAYs, Earls of Devon, were sold and Roger leased one eighth of the manor ‘apto cum lare’, in other words with the castle. Within the castle’s courtyard he rebuilt a portion as a Tudor mansion, which probably destroyed a lot of the old castle buildings, and this became known as Giffard’s Court; in the angle between the old gatehouse and the new wing there is a slab let into the wall with his initials and the date: “R 1588 G XXVI VII”. His first wife Awdrie STUKLEY’s brother Thomas STUKELY is reputed to be the bastard of Henry VIII.

    [Thomas STUKLEY (d. 4 Aug 1578) was an English mercenary who fought in France, Ireland, and at the battle of Lepanto, and was killed at the Battle of Alcazar. He was a Roman Catholic recusant and a rebel against Queen Elizabeth I. Thomas is thought to have been conceived when Henry VIII stayed at the STUKLEY’s home of Affeton Castle in Devon.]

    Roger and his first wife Awdrie had two sons: George (1564-1622) who married Joane HODGES of Wedmor; and John (b. 1596). George succeeded his father and was in turn succeeded by his own son Roger, whose daughter Joan succeeded as sole heiress and married into the BURGOYNE family; she had two sons who sold their quarter of the manor of Tiverton with the castle to Peter WEST, who was Sheriff of Devon in 1707. There were no children from Roger’s two subsequent marriages. In 1603, died at Tiverton Castle, and on 8 Oct 1603, buried at St Peter’s Church in Tiverton, where there is a memorial on the north wall of the chancel, described by Hardinge Frank GIFFARD as “A handsome monument with a Latin inscription, and adorned with his armorial bearings, crest, and motto” (Devonshire Association’s “Report and Transactions” 1902).


    Joan or Jane GIFFARD, b. in Brightleigh, Devon, m. 1545 Amyas or Amias CHICHESTER (b. 28 Mar 1527 in Arlington, Devon, son of John CHICHESTER of Raleigh and Margaret BEAUMONT; d. 4 Jul 1577, bur. St James Church, Arlington, Devon); d. 1596, bur. at Bradninch, Devon.

    Joan and Amyas had 19 children: Henry (1544-1589) who married Mary BURGOYNE of Zeale (d.1616); John who married Mary CHICHESTER; Robert (1540-1622) who married Susanna MANSELL; Philip of Melbury who married Catherine PROUT, widow of William HODGES; Bartholomew (d. 1634) who married Katherine AVERY of Barstable (d. 1636), widow of John ANDREWES; Elizabeth who married 1st Henry BELLEW and 2nd Stephen BRADDON; Honor who married Balthazer BOTILER of Stone; Frances (Fanny) who married John WYOT or WYATT of Braunton; Margaret who married Edward POINTZ; Richard; Hugh; Giffard (d. before 1620); Severus (d. before 1620); Edward (d. 1590); Silvester (d. before 1612); Paule (d. 1589); Gregory; Francis (d. 1611); and Roger. There is a portrait of Joan’s grandson Amyas (son of Henry CHICHESTER and Mary BURGOYNE) in the collection of Burton Constable Hall in East Yorkshire. In 1597, Joan’s will was proved in Exeter.


    Mary GIFFARD, b. in Brightleigh, Devon, m. John WYKES (b. ca. 1525 in North Wyke, Devon, son of John WYKE and Elizabeth POKESWELL; d. 1591, bur. 1 Nov 1591 at St Andrews Church, South Tawton, Devon); d.1598, bur. 21 Jan 1598 at St Andrews Church, South Tawton, Devon.

    Mary’s husband was known as ‘Warrior’ WYKES because of his considerable repute as a soldier. In 1553, John WYKES was Constable of the Parish; he was also a captain in the Devon Militia and held command of a horse regiment; he fought and was wounded at Havre de Grace, and it is thought that he fought in the Armada wars; in 1572 WYKES is named in a list of “Captaynes of the Posse Comitatus“ (ie County Militia) when John OXENHAM was with Sir Francis DRAKE at Nombre de Dios. John is credited with completing the building of the family mansion at North Wyke, which dates back to 1242 and still exists; on the corbels of one of the windows on the east wall of the mansion’s chapel are carved three battle-axes of the WYKE arms and three lozenges of the GIFFARD arms marking the marriage of John and Mary. They had 11 children: Roger of North Wyke (bur.1603/4) who married Jane PARKER of London (bur.1622/3); Marke of Collibear who married 1st Elizabeth KNAPMAN and 2nd Elinor (bur. 1622); William who married ? GOUGH, daughter of Rev GOUGH of Drewsteignon; Erkenwald (chr. 1557) who married Elizabeth PROBYN; Christopher (1562-1614) who married Mary PROUSE of Chagford; Honor (b. 1559) who married Arthur HARRIS; John (b. 1552); Launcelot (1553-1562); Walter (b. 1561); Edith (1555-1569); and Gertrude (1558-1584). Mary erected her husband’s monumental tomb in 1592 in the Wykes Chapel at St Andrew’s Church in South Tawton: his effigy lies in armour, its spurred feet resting on a goose which represents his maternal ancestor BURNELL of Cocktree; the arms of WYKES are displayed on the monument with the arms of his wife’s family GIFFARD. After John’s death, Mary held North Wyke manor until her death, after which it passed to her eldest son Roger.


    Elizabeth GIFFARD, b. in Brightleigh, Devon, m. Roger PRYE (b. in Horwell, Devon, son of Richard PRYE of Horwell and Elizabeth HEXT or HECKLES of Staverton; bur. 16 Apr 1590); bur. 21 Jan 1579.

    Elizabeth and Roger had three children: John (d.1624) who married Margaret SLADER of North Tawton; Dorothy who married John ASH of Stoke Courcy; and Ann who married Peter DUN of Colebrook. After Elizabeth’s death in 1579, Roger remarried twice; his second marriage was to Elizabeth TROWBRIDGE of Crediton by whom he had two children: Roger (chr. 1580/1) who died in infancy, and Marie (1583/4-1594); his third marriage was to Alice WESTSCOT of Raddon.


    Wilmot GIFFARD, b. ca. 1538 in Brightleigh, Devon, m. Lewis FORTESCUE (b. ca. 1527 in Filleigh, Devon, son of Bartholomew FORTESCUE and Ellen MOORE; d. 1595).

    Wilmot and Lewis had three sons: James of Chittlehampton who married Elizabeth HOLWORTHIE; Nicholas; and Martin. Lewis FORTESCUE was the younger brother of Richard FORTESCUE, MP for Tavistock, Sheriff of Devon and Justice of the Peace, whose depiction in a monumental brass can be seen in the south aisle of Filleigh Church in Devon.


    John GIFFARD, b. ca. 1523 in Brightleigh, Devon, m. Mary GRENVILLE (daughter of Sir Richard GRENVILLE of Stow, Sheriff of Devon, and Matilda BEVILLE of Gwarnock, m2. Arthur TREMAYNE of Collacombe; bur. 25 Mar 1608); d. 1585 at Brightleigh, Devon.

    John was the eldest son and heir to the manor of Chittlehampton in Brightleigh, its mansion house once occupying a moated site to the west of a later large farmhouse known as Brightleigh Barton which incorporates some elements of the earlier house. Mary’s father, Sir Richard GRENVILLE (1495-1551), was Sheriff of both Devon and Cornwall, Marshal of Calais and a Justice of the Peace; her brother was Sir Roger GRENVILLE who was captain of the Mary Rose when it sank in Portsmouth Harbour on 15 Jul 1545, and Sir Roger’s son (and Mary’s nephew) was Sir Richard GRENVILLE (1542-1591) who was captain of the Revenge at the Battle of Flores.

    [In 1591, when a squadron of queen’s ships and private men-of-war was sent to the Azores to look out for the homeward-bound treasure fleet of Spain, Sir Richard GRENVILLE was appointed captain of the Revenge, a ship of 500 tons and 250 men, which had carried Drake’s flag against the Armada in the Channel three years before. Eventually fighting against overwhelming odds, GRENVILLE refused to surrender his ship when his fleet of 16 vessels met 53 Spanish warships near Flores in the Azores. The Revenge was captured and GRENVILLE, mortally wounded, was taken on board the Spanish admiral’s ship, the San Pablo, where he died a few days afterwards.]

    Mary probably was considerably younger than John GIFFARD, who died at the age of about 62. Having had 6 sons before she was widowed, on 2 Jun 1586, she remarried Arthur Tremayne of Collacombe (1550-1634/5) by whom she had 17 more children: Edmund (1587-1667) who married Bridget COOPER of Dorchester and Nutwell (d. 1670); Digory (1588-1669/70) who married 1st Mary ADDINGTON of Harlow (d. 1621) and 2nd Elinor MONK (d. 1630); Elizabeth who married Baldwin ACLAND of Hawkridge; Mary (chr. 1591, d. infant?); John (chr. 1592, bur. 1594); Eulalia (chr. 1593) who married Thomas LOWER of Trelaske; Catherine who married 1st Roger EDGCUMBE and 2nd Humphry ARUNDEL; Rebecca who married John EDGCUMBE; John (chr. 1596, a. 1629); Bridget (chr. 1597) who married Bernard FLAMANK of Boscarne; Mary (chr. 1598/9, bur. 1602); Richard (chr. 1600, a. 1629); Arthur (a. 1601); Roger (1603-1676/7); Mary (chr. 1603); Margaret (chr. 1604) who married George SLEE; and Philadelphia (chr. 1606, bur. 1606).

    [Children of John GIFFARD and Mary GRENVILLE]:

  • John GIFFARD, b. 1552 in Brightleigh, Devon; d. 1622 at Chittlehampton, Devon.
  • Achilles GIFFARD, b. in Brightleigh, Devon, a. 1620, d. by 1621.
  • Roger GIFFARD, b. in Brightleigh, Devon, a. 1621.
  • Arthur GIFFARD, b. in Brightleigh, Devon.
  • Hannibal GIFFARD, b. in Brightleigh, Devon, chr. 16 Jul 1560.
  • Walter GIFFARD, b. in Brightleigh, Devon, chr. 20 Aug 1562.


  • Achilles GIFFARD, b. in Brightleigh, Devon a. 1620, d. by 1621, m. Frances ACKWORTH of Kent (a. 1621).

    Achilles and Frances had three children: John (b. 1588) who married his first cousin Jane or Joan GIFFARD (bur. 1631, daughter of John GIFFARD of Brightleigh and Honor ERLE); Achilles of Instowe (b. ca. 1593) who married Elizabeth widow of Woolton of Pilton; and Elizabeth who married Dr Dorrell of Kent. In 1621, Frances and her eldest son John are named in the will of Achilles’s brother John GIFFARD thus: “I give unto my sister [ie sister-in-law] Ffrances Giffard ten poundes of lawfull English money … I give unto my cosen [ie nephew] John Giffard sonne of the foresaid Ffrances Giffard the some of thirtie poundes to be paid within two months after my death”.


    Roger GIFFARD, b. in Brightleigh, Devon, m. Jane BEARE (chr. 1567 in Brushford, Somerset, daughter of John BEARE); a. 1621.

    In 1621, named in his brother John GIFFARD’s will thus: “I give unto my brother Mr Roger Giffard thirteen poundes five shillings & eight pence to be paid unto him within one month after my decease”.


    John GIFFARD, b. 1552 in Brightleigh; m. Honor ERLE (chr. 3 Aug 1555, daughter of Sir Walter ERLE of Charborough, Bindon and Colcombe, and Mary WYKES; bur. 5 May 1638 at St Hieritha Church, Chittlehampton, Devon); d. 1622 at Chittlehampton, bur. at St Hieritha Church, Chittlehampton, Devon.

    Eldest son and heir, a templar of James I (reigned 1603-1625) and Sheriff of Devon, Sir John GIFFARD possessed the estate of Brightleigh in Chittlehampton and land and property in Winkleigh, High Bickington, Chulmleigh, Atherington and Westleigh. His wife Honor was the eldest daughter of Sir Walter ERLE (ca.1520-1581) who was a courtier-musician and servant to two of the wives of King Henry VIII, namely Catherine HOWARD and Catherine PARR, and successively to Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I. Honor’s brother Sir Thomas ERLE (d. 1597) is buried at St Mary’s Church, Morden in Dorset, where there is a monument to him and three of his children who predeceased him. Honor’s nephew (Thomas’s eldest son) was Sir Walter ERLE (1596-1665), who was a Justice of the Peace, MP for Lyme Regis and Sheriff of Dorset, and was one of the five knights incarcerated in 1627 for not paying a forced loan demanded by Charles I to pay for wars against the Spanish and French. John and Honor had eleven children, five of whom were sons who all predeceased their father. On 28 June 1620, John is named in an indenture of leases made by his son-in-law George Broughton “and Hugh Broughton his father to John Giffard, esq. … of the capitall mesuage, barton and demeasnes of Winckleigh Keynes for ninety nine yeares, if Arthur Lewes or Thomas Giffard, grandchildren of the said John Giffard, live so long” (citation: “An Index to the Calendar of the Deeds Enrolled Within the County of Devon” compiled by John C. Tingey 1930, transcribed by Debbie Kennett). On 1 Apr 1621 John made his will, the principal beneficiary of which was his grandson John GIFFARD: “I do give & bequeath all my Mannors landes tenements Rentes Reversions & hereditatments whatsoever in the Countie of Devon or elsewhere within the Realme of England where I have any estate of inheritance unto my said grandchild John Giffard”. Other beneficiaries were his son John (then still alive but without issue) and his grandchildren Arthur, George, Lewis, Thomas, Maria, Honor, Frances and Elizabeth (all children of Arthur GIFFARD (1580-1616)); also his brother Roger, his sister-in-law Frances (nee ACKWORTH) and her son John, and “unto every of my Servantes tenn shillings apiece”. Honor, who outlived her husband, is not named in the will. The sole executor was John GIFFARD his grandson, with the request that “my good friends John Giffard of Lightburne Esqr Ralph Barries of Eastleigh Esqr my cosen William Leigh of Northam Esqr and my sonne in law John Garland of Whitfill Esqr to be ayding and assisting my executor”. The witnesses were William LEIGH, John GIFFARD and Bartholomew SHAPTON, and the will was proved on 19 May 1623. The church of St Hieritha in Chittlehampton contains in the north transept a tomb memorial with a recumbent effigy of John GIFFARD, beneath whom kneel in effigy his son Arthur and grandson and heir John (who erected the monument in 1625); the monument’s Latin inscription translates thus: “Here lies John Giffard, esquire, a man of outstanding piety, probity, prudence and providence who from Honora his wife, from the family of Erle, received a most plentiful progeny. However with Arthur his firstborn having died with his father still living, he substituted for him as his heir John the son of Arthur. Thus with his family splendidly and successfully settled, with his sons and with the sons of his sons sufficiently provided for and with John his heir having been allied in marriage to the most select Joan from the illustrious stock of Wyndham of Somerset, already a seventy-year-old, he departed from the living. With his urn having been touched (2 Kings 13:21), those famous names once upon a time dead seemed as if to have risen up again: Roger Giffard, knight, sprung from the family of Halsbury, who had as his wife Margaret the daughter and heiress of John Cobleigh of Brightleigh; John Giffard esquire, who Mary was the wife, the daughter of Richard Grenville, knight; and of the greatest hope Arthur Giffard who received for his wife Agnes, the daughter of Thomas Leigh, esquire. John Giffard, his most sorrowful grandson, placed here this monument, a symbol of most pious observance.”

    [Children of John GIFFARD and Honor ERLE]:

  • Maria GIFFARD, b. in Brightleigh, Devon, chr. 29 Oct 1576.
  • John GIFFARD, b. in Brightleigh, Devon, chr. 22 Apr 1578; bur. 1 Aug 1578.
  • Arthur GIFFARD, b. 1580 in Brightleigh, Devon, chr. 17 Jun 1580; d. 1616.
  • Alice GIFFARD, b. in Brightleigh, Devon.
  • Elizabeth GIFFARD, b. in Brightleigh, Devon.
  • William GIFFARD, b. in Brightleigh, Devon, chr. 15 Oct 1586.
  • Jane or Joan GIFFARD, b. in Brightleigh, Devon, chr. 1 Feb 1587/8.
  • Honor GIFFARD, b. in Brightleigh, Devon, chr. 31 Mar 1587/8.
  • Margaret GIFFARD, b. in Brightleigh, Devon.
  • Thomas GIFFARD, b. in Brightleigh, Devon.
  • John GIFFARD, b. ca. 1593 in Brightleigh, a. 1621.


  • [Continue to Giffard Family Bloodline part 2]