Regenbald (DNB00)

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REGENBALD (fl. 1065), chancellor of Edward the Confessor, has been deemed the first English chancellor on record. But on Leofric (d. 1072) [q. v.] becoming bishop of Crediton (Exeter) in 1046, Florence of Worcester styles Leofric ‘cancellarius regis.’ The earliest appearance of Regenbald is as ‘Ræinbaldus presbyter,’ a witness to Edward's Exeter charter (Cod. Dipl. No. 791) in 1050, but Kemble questioned its authenticity. He witnesses as ‘cancellarius’ a royal charter of 1062 (ib. No. 813), and as ‘Rengebold cancheler’ a writ of Edward after 1052 (ib. No. 891). Charters of 1060 (Ramsey Cart. fol. 139), 1061, and 1066, which he witnesses (Cod. Dipl. Nos. 810, 824, 825), are doubtful. Mr. Freeman pronounced him a ‘Norman’ (Norm. Conq. ii. 357), but without authority. A charter of Edward to him as ‘Reinbold min preost’ is printed in ‘Archæologia’ (xxvi. 256), and confirms to him sac and soc, which his predecessors enjoyed. With it are printed two charters of King William, who also styles him ‘my priest,’ confirming him in his lands and granting him fresh ones.

In Domesday he is found in several counties, both as a tenant-in-chief and as an under-tenant. In the former capacity he held in Gloucestershire lands at Ampton, Driffield, Northcote, and Preston, in Dorset at Pulham, in Wiltshire at Latton, in Berkshire at Cookham, Hagborne, and Aston, and in Buckinghamshire at Boveney. He also held the church of Frome, Somerset, with its estates, and land at Bodicote, Oxfordshire. He seems also to have held the church of Milborne, Somerset, with Frome, as well as that of Cheltenham. The ‘Survey’ also enters him—styling him ‘Reinbaldus Canceler’—as having held an estate in Herefordshire under the Confessor. Domesday also mentions his brother as holding Ampney St. Peter, under Gloucester Abbey; and Mr. Ellis (Domesday Tenants of Gloucestershire, p. 111) has well suggested that Elward Reinbaldson, who held land at Aldsworth in 1086, was his son. Henry I endowed Cirencester Abbey with ‘the lands of Reinbald the priest’ (Mon. Angl. ii. 177), and Leland states that he was dean of the College of Prebendaries it replaced (Itinerary, ii. 49), and that his epitaph there ran ‘Hic jacet Rembaldus presbyter quondam hujus ecclesiæ decanus et tempore Edwardi Regis Anglie cancellarius.’ This story is supported by his being once styled in Domesday ‘Reinbaldus de Cirecestre’ (i. 63). The charter of Henry I (ut supra) is valuable for its list of his possessions. He probably held, besides his estates, ‘sixteen churches, rich in tithes and glebe’ (Feudal England, p. 426).

[Kemble's Codex Diplomaticus; Archæologia; Domesday Book; Bristol and Gloucestershire Archæological Society, vol. iv.; Round's Feudal England; Leland's Itinerary.]

J. H. R.