Ranulf Flambard

Ranulf Flambard (sometimes Ralph Flambard, Ranulph Flambard, or Ranulf Passiflamme; c. 1060 – 5 September 1128) was a medieval Norman Bishop of Durham and an influential government minister of King William Rufus of England. Ranulf was the son of a priest of Bayeux, Normandy, and his nickname Flambard means incendiary or torch-bearer, and may have referred to his personality. He started his career under King William I of England, probably in the compilation of the Domesday Book, as well as being the keeper of the king's seal. On the death of William I, Ranulf chose to serve the new king of England, William Rufus.

Under Rufus, he continued to hold the king's seal, and also became involved in the financial administration of the kingdom, where he quickly made a name for himself by his novel methods of raising revenue. He was given custody of a number of vacant ecclesiastical offices, administering at one point sixteen vacant bishoprics or abbeys. His many duties have led to him being considered the first Chief Justiciar of England. During Rufus' reign, Ranulf supervised the construction of the first stone bridge in London and oversaw the construction of the king's hall at Westminster. In 1099 he was rewarded with the bishopric of Durham.

On the death of Rufus in 1100, Ranulf was imprisoned in the Tower of London by Rufus' successor Henry I of England. Ranulf was a convenient scapegoat for the financial extortions of Rufus' reign. He became the first prisoner to escape from the Tower and went into exile in Normandy with Rufus' and Henry's older brother Robert Curthose, the Duke of Normandy. Ranulf became a leading advisor to Robert, and assisted in his unsuccessful invasion of England, an attempt to oust Henry from the throne. The brothers reconciled, but although Ranulf was restored to office he spent the next few years in Normandy, returning only after Henry had defeated Robert at the Battle of Tinchebray. Ranulf subsequently retired from political life, with only occasional appearances in public. He remained active in ecclesiastical affairs, attending councils and working to defend the rights of his see.

Read more about Ranulf FlambardEarly Life, Work Under Rufus, Under Henry I, Death and Legacy

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Godalming (hundred) - History - Domesday
... lord before 1066 was called Wulfmer "who held it for the king" and he was replaced by Ranulf Flambard by William the Conqueror ... Tuesley - The surveyors note that "the same Ranulf (Flambard) holds from the king, Tuesley ... Hambledon - After the conquest, Edward of Salisbury owns Hambledon but Ranulf Flambard seems to be the man on the ground ...
Ranulf Flambard - Death and Legacy
... Ranulf worked to complete the cathedral which his predecessor, William de St-Calais, had begun fortified Durham with a wall around Durham Castle, built Norham Castle to help ... While the chroniclers mainly condemned Ranulf for his morals, his own cathedral chapter held him in high esteem because of his building activities and his defense of the rights of Durham ... Flambard attracted scholars to his household, and reformed the administration of the diocese, by dividing it into archdeaconries ...