The Norman Conquest in 1066 led to dramatic changes in England, not least to the Church. Accompanying William the Bastard on his invasion was Robert D’Oyly (various spellings of his family name abound) who married Ealdgyth, daughter of Wigod, the Saxon lord of Wallingford.
Wigod (also spelt Wigot) was the eleventh century Saxon thegn or lord of the English town of Wallingford, and a kinsman of Edward the Confessor. After the Battle of Hastings William the Conqueror made for lt London, but was repulsed at the River Thames. Wigod invited William to Wallingford where he then crossed the river, aiding him in his conquest of England. The Domesday Book records him as both a Lord and an Overlord in a number of places in 1066.
After Wigod’s death, William I elevated D’Oyly to Lord of Wallingford and ordered him to extend Wallingford castle’s defences. Robert and Ealdgyth produced a daughter, Maud, who in 1084 married Miles (or Milo) Crispin, another wealthy Norman with holdings in many southern counties including Wiltshire, and who was probably the son of another of William’s companions.
In 1107 Crispin died, apparently without issue and Maud then married Brian fitz Count, an illegitimate son of the Duke of Brittany. He was raised in the court of Henry I (1100 – 1135) and won the king’s favour, becoming a close friend of Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester (Henry’s illegitimate son). Already with extensive holdings of land, he acquired the Honour of Wallingford at or soon after his marriage to Maud. She and Brian are alleged to have had two sons, but both died young from leprosy.
Although initially supporting King Stephen at the start of the Anarchy, and despite his connection to Henry I’s court, fitz Count changed allegiance to the Empress Matilda (Henry I’s daughter) on her return to England in 1139, holding Wallingford Castle against King Stephen from 1139 to 1152. Matilda’s daring night time escape from Oxford in 1141 was to Wallingford.
It is not certain when fitz Count died, but early in their marriage (between 1107 & 1131) he and Maud granted Ogbourne St Andrew to the Abbey of Bec Hellouin to provide an income for monks’ clothing. Sometime between 1122 and 1147 a further grant of both St Andrew and St George was made to the Abbey, and in 1150 – 1154 Maud, by then a widow, confirmed the grant of both villages. Both Ogbournes had formed part of the lordship of Wallingford, formerly owned by Wigod, passing to Ealdgyth and eventually Maud. Thus started 300 years of association with the Abbey of Bec and the creation of the Priory and Bailiwick of Ogbourne. It is interesting to speculate as to the timing of the various grants – perhaps the first grant was a gift to the church on their wedding; the second to commemorate some success in the fight against Stephen; the third to celebrate the ending of the Anarchy? The dating of the grants is rather imprecise so tying them to specific events is speculative.
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