Full text: "Grenzgänger"

Robert of Shrewsbury (1197-1212/1213), was ‘a wandering exile . . . who runs to 
and fro, begging at every abbey in England’.22 Admittedly exile from north Wales 
might not be voluntary: following the collapse of Norman power in Gwynedd the 
Breton Hervé had been driven from the see of Bangor towards the end of the elev¬ 
enth century and was translated to the new see of Ely in 1109;23 Godfrey, bishop of 
St Asaph, was forced to flee to England after the failure of Henry II’s last campaign 
against the Welsh in 1165 and was made the administrator of St Albans Abbey by the 
king;24 while, in the thirteenth century, Bishop Richard of Bangor (1237-67) spent 
much of his episcopate at St Albans owing to conflicts with the native prince of 
Gwynedd.25 Nevertheless, the fundamental reason why bishops in Wales sought 
monastic hospitality in England was that the Welsh bishoprics were poorly endowed 
and could only with difficulty support an episcopal household. Indeed Giraldus 
claimed that his own benefices in England in the early thirteenth century were worth 
100 marks a year, whereas if he had been appointed bishop of St David’s he would 
have had to make do with an income of only 20 marks a year.26 
It is also possible to find examples of other men of Welsh origin or background who 
carried out diplomatic functions in Wales on behalf of the English crown. Thus both 
the dean of Swansea and Bishop Reiner of St Asaph (1186-1224) were employed, in 
addition to Giraldus, to try and keep the peace early in the reign of Richard I.27 
Furthermore, some men living along the Anglo-Welsh border served English kings 
by undertaking military and diplomatic duties in Wales. The earliest clear evidence 
for the employment of such individuals appears in Domesday Book (1086), which 
states that in the time of Edward the Confessor (1042-66) it was the duty of the 
priests of the king’s three churches in Archenfield, the Welsh-speaking region of 
western Herefordshire, to take royal messages into Wales. In addition, the men of the 
district served as the vanguard on royal expeditions into Wales and the rearguard on 
22 W. S. Davies (ed.), Giraldus Cambrensis: De Invectionibus, in: Y Cymmrodor 30 (1920) 
pp. 95, 96; translation from H. E. Butler (ed. and trans.), The Autobiography of Giraldus 
Cambrensis, London 1937, p. 213. Bishop Robert held land in Kingsland, Shropshire c. 
1210-12: Hubert Hall (ed.), The Red Book of the Exchequer, 3 vols. (Rolls Series), Lon¬ 
don 1896, 2 p. 511. 
23 A. W. Haddan and W. Stubbs (eds.), Councils and Ecclesiastical Documents Relating to 
Great Britain and Ireland, 3 vols., Oxford 1869-78, 1 pp. 299, 303-5; N. E. S. A. Hamilton 
(ed.), Willelmi Malmesbiriensis Gesta Pontificum (Rolls Series), London 1870, pp. 325-6. 
24 Lloyd (as n. 3)2pp. 520 n. 127, 558. 
25 Henry Richards Luard (ed.), Matthaei Parisiensis, Monachi Sancti Albani, Chronica Majora 
(Rolls Series), 7 vols., London 1872-84, 5 pp. 602, 608-9; cf. David Stephenson, The 
Governance of Gwynedd, Cardiff 1984, pp. 169-73. 
26 Giraldus, Opera 3 p. 131. 
27 Doris M. Stenton (ed.), The Great Rolls of the Pipe for the Third and Fourth Years of King 
Richard the First, Pipe Roll Society 40, n. s. 2 (1926), p. xx; Doris M. Stenton (ed.), The 
Great Roll of the Pipe for the Fifth Year of King Richard the First, Pipe Roll Society 41, n. 
s. 3 (1927), pp. xiii-xiv. 
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