Beaufeu, William (DNB00)

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BEAUFEU, WILLIAM, otherwise de BELLAFAGO, BELLOFAGO, BELFOU GALSAGUS, VELSON (d. 1091), bishop of Thetford, was, apparently, a son of Robert Sire de Belfou, who fought on the Conqueror's side at Senlac, and whose lordship was situated in the neighbourhood of Pont-l'Evéque. His brother Ralph received several lordships in Norfolk from the Conqueror, and was a personage of great importance in East Anglia. Of the bishop little is known except the fact that he was consecrated at Canterbury by Lanfranc in 1086, and that he died in 1091. Before his elevation to the episcopate he appears to have acted as chancellor; so at least he is designated in a deed attested by him at some date in or subsequent to 1080 — the date is so far fixed by the fact that another attesting witness was William de Carlisle, bishop of Durham, who was not appointed till 1080 — by which the Conqueror empowered Ivo Tailboys to endow the church of St. Nicholas of Angers with the manor of Spalding. Whether he was married, and had a son who succeeded to some of his estates; whether he was a monk at Bec; whether he was the husband of Agnes de Tony, and father of Richard de Bellofago, who was archdeacon of Norwich in his time; finally, whether any such person ever existed, and whether he were not identical with his successor, Herbert de Losinga, are questions which have been discussed by antiquaries.

Roger de Bellafago, who lived [see Beaufeu or Bello Faqo, Roger de] in the time of Edward I, may with probability be reckoned as a member of the same family as the bishop.

[Munford's Analysis of the Domesday Book for the County of Norfolk, 8vo, 1858, p. 31; Planché's The Conqueror and his Companions, 8vo, 1874, ii. 283; Blomefield's Norf., iii. 465; Norfolk Antiquarian Miscell., 8vo, 1877, i. 413; Stubbs's Reg. Sacr. Anglic.]

A. J.