Rufus, Geoffrey (DNB00)

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RUFUS, GEOFFREY (d. 1140), bishop of Durham and chancellor, was a clerk in the service of Henry I, who about the beginning of 1124 made him chancellor. In the great roll of 1131 Geoffrey is mentioned as owing 3,000l. 13s. 4d. ‘pro sigillo;’ this has been supposed to be part of a fine paid for the grant of his office, but more probably it represents some payments of money received by him in the ordinary course as chancellor (Foss, i. 82–5). On 6 Aug. 1133 Geoffrey was consecrated bishop of Durham by Archbishop Thurstan at York. Contrary to the usual custom, he retained the chancellorship, and, as ‘Galfridus Cancellarius Episcopus Dunelmensis,’ witnessed the charter creating Alberic de Ver chamberlain, certainly after 1 Oct. 1133 (Madox, Hist. Exchequer, i. 56). It is not unlikely that Geoffrey retained the chancellorship till the death of Henry I. Like others of the court officials, he adhered to Stephen, and in 1138, when Norham Castle was captured by King David of Scotland, refused to repurchase it at the price of his allegiance. As bishop of Durham he was at first severe to his monks, but afterwards indulgent, and at his death left the furniture of his chapel to the church (cf. Durham Wills and Inventories, i. 2, Surtees Soc.) He is supposed to have been the first prelate who exercised the regal privilege of the mint. He built Allerton Castle, and gave it to his nephew, who married a granddaughter of the Earl of Albemarle. He died on 6 May 1140, and was buried in the chapter-house at Durham, the building of which was completed in his episcopacy. Geoffrey had a daughter, who married Robert de Amundeville (John of Hexham, ap. Sym. Dunelm. ii. 316). William Cumin, who after Geoffrey's death endeavoured to usurp the bishopric, had been one of his clerks. Geoffrey was also the patron of Lawrence (d. 1154) [q. v.], prior of Durham. It is not known to what circumstance Geoffrey owed his surname of Rufus.

[Sym. Dunelm. i. 141–3, 161, ii. 309, 316 (Rolls Ser.); Chron. de Mailros, pp. 69, 72 (Bannatyne Club); Surtees's Hist. of Durham, vol. i. pp. xx–xxi; Foss's Judges of England, i. 134–6.]

C. L. K.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.240
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
390 ii 13 Rufus, Geoffrey: after 1134 insert certainly after 1 Oct. 1133
21f.e.  after Durham insert (Laurentius Dunelmensis, Dialogi, p. 12)