In his Introduction to Domesday Book, with regard to which he is one of the authorities. Sir Henry Ellis has an easy task in showing that Eudo the son of Hubert is Eudo the dapifer. It lies patent on the surface of the great record. His statement, however, is so clear and short, that it may serve for finish to this first step towards the recognition of the man.
‘Terra Eudonis filius Huberti’ stands as a title to Eudo's lands in Berks., Herts., Cambs., Hunts., and Beds., but the entire entries themselves uniformly begin
‘Eudo Dapifer tenet de Rege’. That this Hubert was Hubert of Rye, Freeman, Palgrave, and all the writers assert on the support of worlds of evidence.
To give proof that Hubert was Hubert Sinclair is the only thing after this necessary for the complete identification of Eudo's line. The succession of others of the name in positions and places of close relation to him and his history, might be quite legitimately used in the way of cumulative evidence. Indeed, in the case of reigning royal stocks, what with the ravages of time and the varied accidents of lives, such sidelight is often the only thing available. The extraordinarily chequered course of the history of the “Sancto de Claro” kin in England, the heights to which they reached at intervals, the mad pride of new local surnaming, and the seemingly sudden extinction of important branches, with various special experiences, which will gradually appear, make it something of a miracle that they should have had the fortune to be known thus at all.
Continuity and permanence of blood, with steady and considerable wealth, are the best conditions of the preservation of family record through such periods as eight or nine hundred years. Where gaps of centuries occur, when if any representatives at all exist, they are what is well called out of the world, it is only a chapter of accidents which rescues the facts of even their greatest men and women. The ashes of the fathers are blown away with the common ruin. When the sons are dead, or as good as dead, how can there be the piety of the natural and noblest affections ? The daughters are frail reeds in the storm of decay; for is it not their mission to find new names and interests to decorate with their beauty and effort ? It may be the cure of a dangerous exclusiveness that they are ever unconsciously busy in merging a high race among their fellow- mortals in plainer ranks, through the subtractions by dowries, and, above all, by the accidents of being heiresses.
However it has happened, considerable and authentic details have survived of the Sinclairs. Many are still to be discovered of the Norman period. Among the state MSS., among the codices of the Oxford Bodleian and other English libraries, it cannot be doubted that much additional knowledge will yet be found. It is not so likely that France has such documents, the early periods of that country, by loss in battle of their records, having far less illustration than ours; but the Normans before 1066 were learned and literary beyond all peoples, and there are indirect and perhaps undiscovered direct gleanings from French archives, for the future. Bouquet's twenty-four immense volumes, Historiens de la France, are themselves a rich store, though made up considerably of other than French writers.
The present purpose is abundantly served by what has been selected from such a rich garnering as the Cottonian and Harleian MSS. in the British Museum, One manuscript in particular, should by the lovers of England's royalties and best nobilities, of the older periods, be brought, if possible, to the full light of fame which it so well deserves. Praising it is one thing, but the sincere form of admiration would be to print it, for publicity and for the safer preservation. Filling about a hundred leaves of thick antique, but porous and therefore ink-blurring, yellow paper. No. 154 of the Harleian collection has more, and, by all the checks of cross comparison for authenticity, more accurate, information on early pedigrees than perhaps is to be found anywhere else in the same extent of writing. Its date is easily fixable from the distance it brings down the accounts, circa 1640 certainly. The handwriting is slightly difHcult, like the usual survivals from that period. The well-known signature of Shakespeare may give an idea of it. The scribe, however, was of the artistic nature, and his MS. is as beautiful to look at as the writing of his time admits, with its Germanic sweeps and knots of the letters. These externals are of importance, but the contents are such as to be grateful for, whether on genealogical or historical grounds. The value of the MS. is of national as well as wide family interest, all parts of the kingdom, in royal and noble descents, having some connection with its details, which are full where the more modern works are, by ignorance and sometimes by design, weakest, namely, during the rule of the Norman dynasty and the early Plantaganets.
What gives the greater weight to its account of the family of Eudo, the dapifer, is the consideration that there were no high titled and rich Sinclairs here, except those hidden under local and other new names, when the account was drawn up so carefully. Cases have been known of admiration of great living personages affecting their contemporary genealogists to untrustworthiness. Beyond mere record from materials, then much more plentiful than now, genealogy being the chief literary subject of all writers previously, it is not likely that a fraction of sentiment would go to aid of this pedigree. To forget to say so would be injustice to its so much the higher value and accuracy. The contrary possibility, that the family were so far out of sight and mind that there may be carelessness in the record, gets a double negative. Their ancient distinction was at all times akin to a national boast, and no greater insult could be thrown at a genealogist of the times when books and manuscripts were few and careful exceedingly, than to say he undervalued or overlooked anything he could possibly know of his subject. Genealogy was long the only held for the exercise of that spirit of exact science which has been lately engaged so heroically in conquering the world, and with considerable effect as to England.
Both the Cottonian and Harleian collections are wealthy in pedigrees, some by Glover, of the time of Queen Elizabeth, being remarkably beautiful and scientific. He was the Somerset herald at that time, when heraldry was the subject of subjects, Ralph Brooke, the York herald, turns up also, of these professionals. Ordinary enthusiasts are frequent. Of them all, however, amateur or otherwise, the unknown author of this somewhat late volume deserves attention for fine work. He makes reference to previous workers of the professional order, with the tone which gives the feeling that not only did he feel himself their equal, by such experience and training, but their superior, from stronger knowledge gained by later writing, with such a rich spoil of previous lore at his disposal. More than enough may have been said of a MS. that has been extremely useful, yet it would not have been just to it, nor fair to the general exposition, to pass lightly over its peculiarities. Confidence has to be gained for facts from the general obscurity of the past, though it may be said that there are few who are fully aware of the seas and lands of such literature of historical matter which exist in shapely or rugged state. To explorers of experience the nearer centuries seem barer, if the newspaper one be excepted, of the serviceable materials of history, than those stretching their steps out of England back into Normandy. The want of surnames is the sole cause why we cannot know of the men of the time then as well as of those now.
On the page where Eudo Dapifer's lineage appears the arms of the Sinclairs are given, the shield with a thick upright cross of gold dividing the quarters, three of which are gules or red. There are other antiquated heraldic distinctions describing the border. Under this “Hubert de Sancto Claro” begins the pedigree. His son is “Eudo Dapifer, Norman, lord of Colchester, who came in with the Conqueror”.
Hubert, who is Hubert of Rye, has a daughter Muriel, Eudo's sister, who married Geffrey Mandeville, as his second wife. She had a son Osberne, who had a descendant Walyein. Osberne was the ancestor of the De Caillis of Normandy, and of the Cayleys of Norfolk and Yorkshire, now represented by Sir Digby Cayley, bart. An immediate descent from Rollo is claimed for them by Burke, on the probability that they are descended from William Fitz-Osborn, the first Norman earl of Hertford, cousin to the Conqueror. The claim is made only as he says on supposition.
The truth is shown by inference drawn from part of his account of the Caillis in Normandy, coupled with facts that are well known by record and otherwise.
‘Osberne de Cailli appears to have been in possession of that barony either immediately before or immediately subsequent to the Conquest, probably father of Humphrey and of William Fitz-Osberne. Osberne, son of Osberne de Cailly, obtained the honour [barony] of Preaux (Pratella). He calls himself, in a deed of gift to L'Abbaye de la Trinite, Queen Matilda's foundation at Caen, “Ego Osbernus de Pratellis, filius Osberni de Cailleio”. From him descended the noble and distinguished family Des Preaux in France. John des Preaux was a favourite minister of Richard I and John. His brother, Sir William des Preaux, saved the life of Richard in Palestine. Osberne de Cailly married Maud de Baudemont, and his son Roger married Petronilla de Vere.’
The castle of Preaux and its barony belonged to Eudo Dapifer. It was there he died, and it is clear that his sister's son, Osberne of Cailli, really a younger son of Geffrey Mandeville of 1066, received it, the Mandevilles getting Eudo's Norman estates. This Sinclair lady's descendants are thus of high distinction. But Sinclairs have more to do with the descendants by his first wife of Geffrey, who, the pedigree says, “came into England with the Conqueror, who gave him all the land which Aesgarus Stallere, earl in Essex, had”.
He was made sheriff or viscount of Middlesex, Essex, and Hertford. He had a son by his first wife (Ethelarda, buried at Westminster, the lands of which, to the fourth part, was her husband's), William de Mandeville (Magna Villa), who got the title of earl of Essex the first of this family. How, will appear hereafter. He simplified the paternal arms by making the coat plain and leaving out the carbuncle which Geffrey wore. This hint as to his character need not be lost, though it is possible his wife or others may have had something to do with so curious a change, recorded here.
Eudo is given as married to Roesia, filia. She is therefore the daughter of Rose Giffard, the wife of Richard Fitz-Gilbert of Tunbridge and Clare. The Monasticon in one place mistakes the mother for the daughter, both being Roses, probably in all senses, and makes Eudo marry Rose Giffard as a widow, and not his real wife, the Rose Clare of fourteen. It corrects itself in its Genealogia et Historia Eudonis Majoris Domus regiae in Angliae Regno, which Dugdale and Bouquet have printed in their collections Ex MS. codice in Bibliotheca Cottoniana, sub effigie Neronis D.8, ad calcem. It was to be expected that this more elaborate account should be the right one, but it is none the less pleasant to have it corroborated by the Harleian authority. Morant quoted the wrong passage in the Monasticon with regard to the relationship of Eudo St.Clare with the Clares, though both accounts keep them as near as marriage can bring families.
If the dapifer was the first man next to the king, his wife's father, Richard Clare, was the acknowledged greatest fighting captain, possessor of, if not the widest, the best lands, of all the Normans, and justice of England besides. The love match was as wise as it was fortunate. She had too many brothers to bring chance of heirship to her husband and his family. Gilbert succeeded his father; Roger got the estates in Normandy of Brionne and others; Walter had Welsh and western lands; there was a Robert; and, besides herself, a daughter married to Roger of Tillieres. The mercenary thought then could not have been present, but only the high honourable, in gazing so effectively at youthful Rose's famous eyes.
Monks are monks, or their colour also had been celebrated. William Gemeticensis, a monk, however, tells us that the brother Gilbert, earl of Clare, had a daughter Rose, and we ought to be grateful for his giving a third Rose to this fine family of the castle of Tunbridge. Each of the generations had its Rose, and Eudo plucked the fairest flower in all the gardens of his period.
His descendants will illustrate his lineage further, but it is by the record of his father, Hubert of Rye, as “Hubert de Sancto Claro” at that time, 1640, when there was no motive whatever to create a lineage, as has sometimes, though perhaps seldom, in the older periods at all events, been done, that success of tracing the family is assured. The chances were all that Eudo Dapifer should have been lost in the crowd of first men with first names only, as a very powerful Norman, had not the Harleian MS. saved thus what is a brilliant addition to the roll of England's great names in the very highest rank of political activity. It is, however, quite possible that other, but it cannot be better, evidence may be gathered of this same fact, now that the darkness, even of Domesday Book, has been thoroughly cleared away as to who “Eudo filius Huberti” or “Eudo Dapiferus” really was in blood.
Some of the findings of Robert Glover, the Somerset herald, may be referred to in this inquiry of lineage. Smith, the Rouge-dragon in 1600, transcribed in red and black ink, very beautifully, a volume of his pedigrees, and which forms MS. 245 of the Harleian collection. The connection of Hamo Dapifer and Eudo Dapifer has had general treatment already in the chapter “Eudo Huberti Filius”, but Glover's tree of Hamo is too suggestive not to notice. He begins with Richard, duke of Normandy after William Longsword, and husband to the famous Princess Gunnora. Their third son, Mauger, was archbishop of Rouen and earl of Corbeil, and Glover makes him the ancestor of the Robert Fitz-Hamo and Hamo Dapifer family. The son of the archbishop was Hamo, called Dentatus, the Earl of Corbeil. His son was Hamo, the lord of Torigion or Thorigny, in Normandy. This Hamo's two sons were Robert Fitz-Hamo and Hamo the dapifer and viscount.
One Cottonian MS., which must be much older than Glover's time, Sir Robert Cotton, the heir of the last of the English Bruces, living in the sixteenth century, is much more limited, beginning with Hamo, father of Robert, calling him a kinsman of the Conqueror. The connections with the Consuls, descended from Henry First and a princess of Wales, Tudor, are fully given, and agree with the usual accounts. Sir Henry Ellis says no one has made a guess at the Hamoes' lineage except one writer, who thought they might be Crevecoeurs. There are relationships, at all events affinities, between later Sinclairs and these Crevecoeurs; and as their name is only a Norman soubriquet, it is within the bounds of possibility that this thought may be corroborative of the Hamo lineage, for which the proofs are being sought, Palgrave is incautious in his sweeping statement that nothing is hardly known of even this dapifer's father. The view that the family was of male line of the dukes of Normandy, and also Sinclairs, conflicts with the theory given previously. Marriages early and frequent did connect them. Glover, an expert, can hardly but be correct, the connections of the family being soon semi-royal.
Robert Fitz-Hamo was the famous “knight of Rye”, in Sussex, who fought so well for Rufus at Rochester against his uncle Odo, and in Normandy against his two brothers, Duke Robert and Henry. In pity for his landlessness, but also for cash down, £3000 to moneyless Curthose, Henry had the province of Coustance to govern. Rufus got everything his own way. Henry at one period was so weak and stripped that he had only five attendants, and these of the peaceful clerical and serving orders, going from place to place as he could find hosts. His fierce struggling with his nobles all through his reign, but most at first, is explained by the early bitterness of life he had. The character of the man must have been bad, though he was so undoubtedly able a king. The monks have carefully chronicled his thirteen illegitimate children.
Describing the beginning of his reign Brady, in his History of England published 1685, shows how if it were not for Archbishop Anselm, the German, he would probably not have reigned. William of Breteuil, son of William Fitz-Osborn, the fallen dapifer, who got the earldom of Hereford, the Isle of Wight, and the half-governorship of England from the Conqueror, when the death of Rufus in the New Forest was known, proposed at once to Henry to fulfil his vow of allegiance and theirs by going directly to Robert his brother and acknowledging him as king of England and Normandy. William of Breteuil bravely kept up the controversy which Henry's refusal to submit himself caused. William of Malmesbury says that only four nobles clung to Henry: Robert Fitz-Hamo, his former bitter enemy, in whose favour Rufus had dispossessed him of the lands of his mother; Roger Bigod; Robert, the earl of Mellent; and Richard de Redvors, Robert de Belesme, who was a Montgomery, Walter Giffard, Eudo Dapifer's wife's uncle, and William de Warenne, the earl of Surrey, began in 1101 the fighting in England and Normandy that made Henry's reign so dangerous a time, especially for leading men.
It has been seen how difficult Eudo himself found it to keep his position in so fierce and uncertain light as played then around the throne. The ruin of great men is the notorious feature of the reign. Surrey's appeal as exiled loser of his lands, worth £1000 annually, is suggestively described by Brady.
But it is of Robert Fitz-Hamo and his brother the inquiry now is. Robert married first a daughter of Tudor ap Rhees, prince of South Wales, and afterwards the daughter of Roger Montgomery, count of Arundel. His daughter Matilda became Henry I's daughter-in-law, by marrying his son Robert Consul, earl of Gloucester, the greatest noble of his time. When he died in 1146, after his brave struggling for his sister, Matilda, the empress, and for her son Henry Second, his wife married another husband, Nigel of Mowbray, son of Roger of Albeni. Robert Fitz-Hamo had three other daughters. Amicia was married to the earl of Brittany. Two were abbesses, Hawisa, of Shaftesbury, and Cecilia, of Wilton.
Hamo the dapifer's personal history, Robert Fitz-Hamo's brother, is extremely short in point of lineage. He had no children, Glover says. Sir Henry Ellis shows that he is the same as the “Hamo Vicecomes” of Domesday Book. It is a possible theory to maintain, that as he was viscount of Kent, and as viscounts, whose chief duties were to settle cases like sheriffs, walk with twelve men any disputed marches, and so forth, were often called dapifers, he may have only got called dapifer of England as being that of the leading county in England. The viscountship Kanciae, was easily situated to Rye, in Sussex, and the younger brother had claim and opportunity there. But the relationship by blood to Eudo Dapifer is the best explanation of his services, both as dapifer of England and viscount of Kent. The substitute-dapifership was high appointment for the “vicecome”, and the necessary absences of Eudo in Normandy, for the great duties there of his seneschalship, gave Hamo practically the dapifership of England. His want of heirs would also satisfy the hereditary nature of the appointment. That it was an arrangement of consanguinity is implied by the fact that in the roll in the church of Dives, Normandy, of the companions of William in the conquest of England, the names of both appear, as “Eude le Senechal” and “Hamon le Senechal”.
Perhaps one of the strongest arguments that Hamo and Robert Fitz-Hamo, with his four brilliant and religious daughters, were Sinclairs, and nearly related to Eudo Sinclair, the dapifer, is to be found in the tenacity with which hereditary right to this office was always maintained. When Hamo and Eudo were registered in Domesday Book as dapifers, Eudo was in high favour with the Conqueror, and no encroachment could have occurred upon his rights. Eudo's brother, Adam of Campes, in Kent, was one of the commissioners in 1080-86; his wife's uncle, Walter Giffard, earl of Buckingham, was another; Ferrers, earl of Derby, was the third; and Remigius, bishop of Lincoln, the fourth: his rights would probably be well upheld by them; and if they have not entered his name as dapifer of England and Normandy in words, it is because Eudo Dapifer meant dapifer as wide as the king's rule was. Dapifer, in the small sense, it has been shown, occurs often.
There is nothing to be gained in the way of male lineage subsequent to Robert Fitz-Hamo and Hamo Dapifer, both of them, unless Robert Fitz-Hamo be found to have had sons by his first wife, dying without successors to whatever name they had, Sinclair or other. Such accumulation of coincidences does all but fix them as of the line of Hubert of Ryes, of whom Eudo was son, Eudo de Sancto Clare. Dr. Brady says, “He was son to Hubert de Rie, privado to both Edward the Confessor and William the Conqueror, and envoy in the greatest and most private matters that passed between them”; and in another place he has, “Eudo being his fourth son”. The date of the great embassy is given as 1065. Besides the sister married to Geffrey Mandeville, first of the name in England, he had another sister married to the lord of Valoniis, whose son Petrus was one of the intercessors for this uncle Eudo with King Henry I.
It is not yet satisfactory wholly, the discussion of relationship of Robert Fitz-Hamo and Hamo Dapifer to Sinclairs, but the likelihoods recur in so many ways that the question could hardly be escaped. Eudo's family, the Clares, the Consuls, the Giffards, the Hamoes, are inextricably woven together; and perhaps this is the wise way now of leaving the question of fixing the past for the house of Rye, to which Eudo was so great an ornament, of whose surname there is, by the Harleian MS., absolute surety. The relationships of his own children to the Mandeville earls of Essex, the Bigod earls of Norfolk, the Vere earls of Oxford, the Beauchamp earls of Warwick, the Bohun earls of Oxford, Hereford, Essex, and Northampton, and to the lords Saye, Buckland, and Ludgershall, are accurately and artistically displayed on its pedigree page, the evidences taking the other side of the leaf.