Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 19.djvu/194
[Matt. Paris, Chron. Majora, vol. ii.; Hist. Angl. vol. ii. ll. cc.; Hoveden, vol. iii. ll. cc.; Diceto, vol. ii. ll. cc.; Richard of Devizes, ll. cc.; Annales Monastici, ll. cc.; Stubbs's Introd. to Benedictus Abbas; Wright's Historia Literaria, ii. 286–90; Miss Norgate's England under the Angevin Kings, ii. 279, 296–301, 305–10, 349, 439; Dugdale's St. Paul's, pp. 217, 258; Milman's Annals of St. Paul's.]
six months before, on 10 Sept. 1198. Few prelates of his day are spoken of in more eulogistic terms by the contemporary chroniclers, and a review of the events of his life shows that the eulogy was not undeserved. The Winchester annalist describes him as ‘vir venerandæ et piissimæ recordationis et plurimæ scientiæ,’ most benign and most merciful, whose words distilled sweetness; ‘vir exactissimæ liberalitatis et munificentiæ,’ whose bounty was so profuse that all others in comparison with him appeared covetous, admitting all without distinction to his table, except those who were repelled by their own evil deeds (Annal. Winton. i. 70). It is, however, on his literary ability that Fitzneale's fame most deservedly rests. To him, ‘the first man of letters who occupied the episcopal throne of London’ (Milman, Annals of St. Paul's), we are almost certainly indebted for the two most valuable authorities for the financial and political history of the kingdom. In his preface to the work Madox has proved by unanswerable arguments that the ‘Dialogus de Scaccario,’ termed by Bishop Stubbs ‘that famous and inestimable treatise,’ on the principles and administration of the English exchequer, begun in 1176, but describing the system of the year 1178, was written by Fitzneale. Bishop Stubbs advanced but afterwards withdrew a theory that in the ‘Acts of King Henry and King Richard,’ which have long passed under the name of Benedict (d. 1193) [q. v.], abbot of Peterborough, we have really, though altered from its inconvenient tripartite form, the chronicle of the events of Fitzneale's own lifetime, begun in the days of his youth, of which the writer of the ‘Dialogue’ declares himself the author, which was designated ‘Tricolumnus,’ from its original division into three columns, containing the affairs respectively of church and state, and miscellaneous matters and judgments of the courts of law (Stubbs, Introduction to Benedictus Abbas, i. lvii–lx, and to Diceto, ii. xxxi). Fitzneale, distinguished among his contemporaries in the pursuits of literature, employed his high position for its advancement in others, exhibiting a large and liberal patronage towards students and men of letters. The celebrated Peter of Blois [see Peter] was appointed by him to the archdeaconry of London, and he assigned to the support of the school of his cathedral of St. Paul's the tithes of the episcopal manors of Fulham and Hornsey. Ralph de Diceto [q. v.], the distinguished chronicler, was dean of St. Paul's during the whole of the episcopate, and there can hardly fail to have been much sympathy between two men of such congenial tastes brought into such close official relations.
FITZOSBERN, WILLIAM, Earl of Hereford (d. 1071), was the son and heir of Osbern the seneschal, who was connected with the ducal house of Normandy, and was murdered while guardian to the future Conqueror. His son became an intimate friend of the duke, and was, after him, in Mr. Freeman's words, ‘the prime agent in the conquest of England.’ On the accession of Harold he was the first to urge the duke to action, and at the council of Lillebonne (1066) he took the lead in pressing the scheme upon the Norman barons. He himself offered the duke a contribution of sixty ships. At the battle of Hastings he is mentioned by Wace as fighting in the right wing of the invading host. He received vast estates in the conquered land, chiefly in the west, and became Earl of Hereford. Florence of Worcester (ii. 1) states that he had already received the earldom when the Conqueror left England in March 1067. His English career may be dealt with under two heads: first in his capacity as Earl of Hereford (1067–71); secondly in his special character as joint viceroy during William's absence in 1067. In the first of these, his function as earl was to defend the English border against the South Welsh. For this purpose his earldom was invested with a quasi-palatine character, and was essentially of the nature of a military settlement. William of Malmesbury (Gesta Regum, iii. 256) asserts that he attracted a large number of warriors to his standard by liberal rewards, and made a special ordinance reducing the penalties to which they would be liable by crime. During his brief tenure of the earldom he was almost always engaged in border warfare with the Welsh, and Meredith, son of Owen, was among the princes of South Wales whom he fought and overthrew. In Heming's ‘Cartulary of Worcester’ are several references to his doings, in which he usually figures as a despoiler of the church. Several of the knights who followed him to the west, or joined him when established there, are mentioned afterwards (1086) in ‘Domesday.’
As viceroy in William's absence he played an important part. To Bishop Odo was entrusted the guard of Kent and of the south coast, while Earl William was left to guard