A History of STOKE GIFFORD & Nearby Parishes
Edited by Adrian Kerton
Osbern Giffard or Gyffarde
“After 1066 William the Conqueror gave the manor to Osbern Giffard, one of his generals”
One thing that everyone seems to agree on is that Osbern Giffard came from the town of Longueville le Giffard, which is now the town of Longueville sur Scie, in Normandy. The history of the town relates that Gautier Giffard had two sons, one of whom was made the Earl of Buckingham for his support of William the Conqueror. This is shown on the plaque on the castle that overlooks the town. A plaque in the church at Dives-sur-Mer, Normandy, France, lists all the knights who said mass with William the Conqueror before setting sail to invade England. This lists Berenger Giffard, Gautier [Walter] Giffard, Count de Longueville, Osbern Giffard.
From this we deduce that Berenger became the Earl of Buckingham, though I could find no mention of Berenger Giffard on the world wide web apart from his listing as attending the mass in 1066.
However there are numerous references to Walter Giffard in the Domesday book entries for Buckingham e.g. Giffard, Walter – Son of Osbern of Bolbec. Now some genealogy links suggest that Osberne of Stoke Gifford was the son of Walter De Bolbec also called Walter Giffard de Bolebec, born about 1010, son of Osbern de BOLBEC, Seigneur de Longueville. This makes Gautier [Walter] Giffard the Earl of Buckingham so is the plaque on the castle wall incorrect?
‘Our’ Osbern settled at Brimsfield, and died circa 1086. He built a castle there, which was the family residence until it was thrown down by Edward II when John (1287–1322) was executed as a rebel, and Brimpsfield Castle was destroyed.. The castle, now in ruins, overlooks the small town which takes its name from the river Scie running through it.
An approximate translation of the plaque is:
Gauthier Giffard, Lord of Longueville carried the Banner of the Duke William. Departed from this land to the Battle of Hastings accompanies by his two sons, one of whom became the Duke of Buckingham.
Reference to Osborne Gifard in the Domesday Book
Osbern obtained a grant of the lands in Gloucestershire which had belonged to a thane named Dunne or Duns: namely, three manors, in Rockhampton, Stoke, and Brimpsfield; the last named, which his predecessor held under Earl Harold in the time of Edward the Confessor, was the most extensive. Stoke is distinguished to this day by his surname from other places so called, as is still that Longueville, in Normandy, which was a fief of the land of the family. At the date of the Survey Osbern was holding a hide of land in Oldbury (on-the-hill), but the county jury found that it hid not belonged to Duns ‘ho’ whose land Osbern had. In the neighbouring, county of Wilts Osbern acquired two manors in Sherrington and eight others. Sherrington was probably his chief seat there. The abbey of St. Stephen at Fontenay was holding, two hides and a virgate in Middleton of him, probably by his gift. This was augmented by a donation of land at Brimpsfield.
THE LAND OF OSBERN GIFFARD – Note l denotes £
IN ‘LANGLEY’ HUNDRED
OSBERN Giffard holds ROCKHAMPTON of the king. There are 3 hides paying geld. Dunna held it TRE. In demesne are 2 ploughs; and 6 villans and 7 bordars with 3 ploughs. There are 5 slaves, and 20 acres of meadow, and a salt-pan at Droitwich [Worcs.] rendering 4 summae of salt, [and] woodland 1 league long and a half broad. It is worth 6l
IN “LETBERGE” HUNDRED
The same Osbern holds STOKE GIFFORD. There are 5 hides paying geld. Dunna held it. In demesne are 4 ploughs; and 8 villans and 3 bordars and a priest with 8 ploughs. There are 4 slaves. It was worth 6l; now 8l.
IN RAPSGATE HUNDRED
The same Osbern holds BRIMPSFIELD. There are 9 hides paying geld. Duns held it of Earl Harold. In demesne are 3 ploughs; and 16 villans and 6 bordars and a priest with 12 ploughs. There are 8 slaves and 4 female slaves, and 2 mills rendering 64d. In Gloucester [are] 5 burgesses paying 2s. It is and was worth 12l.
The same Osbern holds ‘OLDBURY’ [in Elkstone], but it did not pertain to the land of the man Duns which Osbern holds, as the shire says. […] Æthelric held it and could go where he would. There is 1 hide and 1 plough. It is and was worth 10s
Views of The Castle at Longueville sur Cie by Adrian Kerton
Around the Town
The town hall
Aerial View of Longueville sur Cie, the castle is on the left