De Puisay, from Puisaz, or Puisay, in the Orleannois. This place gave its name to one of the "chief nobles of France," Ebrard de Puisay, whose daughter Adelais was the second wife of the famous Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Shrewsbury.[1] Hugh de Puteaco, Pusaz, or De Pudsey, was elected Prince-Bishop of Durham in 1153. No author has told us of the place of his birth, or the name of his father: we only know that he was a nephew of King Stephen, and of the Bishop of Winchester, and at that time Treasurer of York. Nevertheless, as the Archbishop had not been consulted in the election, both he and the monks who had chosen him were forced to submit to a sound whipping, standing with bare backs in the church at Beverley. Pudsey proved a haughty, reserved, and intensely ambitious prelate, of whom one of his contemporaries affirmed that the world was not crucifixus to him, but infixus in him. However, when Richard Coeur de Lion was preparing for his crusade, the Bishop, "enflamed with the zeal of the times," also took upon him the vow and the cross, and made ready for the expedition with characteristic ostentation. He built himself a "beautiful crusading galley," and had all the necessary furniture and kitchen utensils made of solid silver. He also ordered a silver throne of rare workmanship, and, by distressing his people with "grievous exactions and taxes," collected no less than,£11,000 for the expenses of his journey. A report of this "inestimable summe of money" (as it was then considered) reached the ears of the King, who, more anxious for the Bishop's gold than for his services, proposed to dispense with his vow, that he might remain at home and take care of the realm as one of the regents in the Sovereign's absence. Pudsey joyfully agreed: whereupon the King at once demanded the treasure amassed for the crusade, as now useless to him. This led to a bargain, by which he agreed to pay the money to the King, on condition of receiving a grant of the Earldom of Northumberland for life, and the Earldom and wapentake of Sadberge for him and his successors in the Bishopric. At his investiture, when he was girt with the military sword, the young King is said to have laughed merrily: "For," cried he, "am I not cunning, and my craft's master, that can make a young Earl of an old Bishop?" An additional payment of 1000 marks induced the King to appoint him Constable of Windsor and Lord Justiciary; and it was agreed that England should be divided into two districts: the Chancellor, Longchamp Bishop of Ely, to be Regent south of the Humber, and Pudsey to govern the North.

But no sooner was Coeur de Lion out of the country, than it became evident that Longchamp had no intention of sharing his authority. He positively refused to admit the Bishop as his compeer in government; and having by "artful pretences" decoyed him to London and got possession of his commission, he committed him prisoner to the Tower, from whence he only obtained his release by surrendering Windsor Castle, Newcastle, and his two new Earldoms, and giving his son Henry and one of his principal barons, Gilbert de la Ley, as hostages for his peaceable behaviour. In vain the unhappy prelate appealed to his absent master, and furnished 2000 pounds of silver towards his ransom from the Emperor Henry VI.; Richard, on returning home, showed only an increased avidity for his wealth, and he had in the end to disburse a further sum of 2000 marks to recover Sadberge. It was while travelling to London on this business in 1194 that he was taken ill, and turning back to Hoveden, died there at the age of seventy. To the last he cherished hopes of recovery, "for Godric, the holy hermit of Finchale, having assured him he should be blind ten years before his death, he considered the prophecy literally, and did not conceive it pointed out to him the blindness which pride and ambition should involve him in; and thence, while his eyes remained good, having faith in the hermit's words, he disdained to think of settling his affairs, or preparing for death."—Hutchinson.

Hugh de Pudsey was a great builder, and left behind him many striking memorials of his munificence. He restored the Castle and city walls of Durham; rebuilt the recently destroyed borough of Elvet; threw a bridge over the Wear; repaired and strengthened Northallerton Castle, and added the Keep or Dungeon Tower to the fortress of Norham; founded a Hospital for lepers at Sherburne, and St. James' Hospital near Northallerton; commenced the splendid church of St. Cuthbert at Darlington; and added the beautiful Galilee or west chapel to his cathedral. This latter was intended for the reception of women, who could only attend the services in the cathedral under protest, not being allowed to set foot beyond the prescribed limits (still marked in the pavement near the font) that fenced in the approach to the austere shrine of St. Cuthbert.[2] He also gave to the church a crucifix and chalice in pure gold; and "Pudsey's Bible" in four volumes, folio, though robbed of many of its exquisite illuminations,[3] remains the gem of the Dean and Chapter's library.

Three illegitimate sons had been born to him while he was Treasurer of York. Henry, the eldest, was a soldier: Burchard, the second, he made Archdeacon of Durham; and Hugh, the youngest, who is said to have been his favourite, and died before him, was Count of Bar-sur-Seine and Chancellor to Louis VII. King of France. Henry de Pudsey was the founder of Finchale Priory, where he lies buried. I can find no account of his posterity, but the family certainly remained in the county up to the seventeenth century. William Pudsey served as Sheriff in 1438. Nicholas Pudsey married a daughter of the unhappy Earl of Westmoreland, who was beggared and exiled for his share in the Rising of the North. The last notice of them is in 1640, when, according to a Royalist broadside, "About one hundred of the Scottish rebels, intending to plunder the house of Master Pudsie at Stapleton in the Bishoprick of Durham, were set upon by a troupe of our horsemen under the conduct of that truly valorous gentleman Lieutenant Smith, lieutenant to the noble Sir John Digby; thirty-nine of them are taken prisoners, the rest all slain except four or five which fled." This Stapleton line ended not many years after with Ralph Pudsey, whose daughter Anne conveyed his property to the Northumbrian Brandlings.

The Pudseys were very numerous in the adjoining county of York, where they gave their name to Burton Pudsey (Pidsey), and were seated at Settle, Northam, Barforth-on-Tees, Arnford, Lawfield, &c. In the time of Edward III. Simon Pudsey of Barforth married Catherine de Bolton, who brought him the fair domain of Bolton-by-Bolland, in Craven; where, for many generations "the Pudseys enjoyed, within the compass of a moderate estate, every distinction, feudal or ecclesiastic, which their age and country could bestow—the manor, free-warren, park, advowson, and family chantry."—Whitaker. Here, in their ancient hall, standing "very pleasantly among sweet woods and fruitful hills," Sir Ralph Pudsey sheltered Henry VI. during the summer months that succeeded the disastrous battle of Hexham. "An adjoining well still retains the name of "King Harry," who is said to have directed it to be dug and walled, in its present shape, for a cold bath. It may at first be matter of wonder how a beaten and hunted sovereign could be concealed so long. But it must be recollected that in the fifteenth century there were scarcely any formed roads, and as little communication between the remoter parts of England and the capital. It is probable that a royal fugitive would be sooner discovered at present in the farthest of the Hebrides, than at that period in Craven." Several relics of the poor King were long treasured up at Bolton: a silver gilt spoon he used, and the boots and gloves, of fine Spanish leather lined with deerskin, made for "hands and feet not larger than a middle-sized woman's," that he had worn. The tomb of the loyal Sir Ralph remains in Bolton church; a slab of mountain limestone, bearing the effigies of himself, his three wives, and twenty-five children; One of his great-granddaughters, Florence, is remembered for "the number and splendour of her marriages. This lady, whose attractions or good fortune must have been uncommon, was matched, first with Sir Thomas Talbot of Bashall, who died 13 Hen. VII.: after which she became the second wife of Henry Lord Clifford the Shepherd, and after his decease, by the procurement, as appears, of Henry VIII., gave her hand to Richard Grey, younger son of Thomas Marquess of Dorset." William Pudsey, who held the estate from 1577 to 1629, found "a good store of silver ore on his town-ship of Rimington," and nearly forfeited his life by coining it for his own use;[4] for though he eventually obtained his pardon, he was at one moment so close-pressed that he had to take a frightful leap—still called Pudsey's Leap—to escape his pursuers. The line ended with Ambrose, High Sheriff of Yorkshire in 1683 and 1693, whose heiress conveyed Bolton to the Dawsons.

There is a place bearing this name in Berkshire. "Pusey, in the hundred of Ganfield, lies about five miles east of Faringdon, to the south of the London road. The manor is said to have been granted to the family of Pusey by King Canute, and an ancient horn is still preserved, by which it is said to have been held. The tenure of lands by cornage, or the service of a horn, was by no means unfrequent; and the Pusey horn, as well as the family of Pusey, are of considerable antiquity; but it may be much doubted whether they possessed the manor of Pusey till long after the time of Canute. When the Norman Survey was taken, there were two manors in Pusey; the principal manor, which belonged to Roger de Iveri, and a smaller one, which belonged to the foreign monastery of St. Peter super Dinam. The lay manor had, in the reign of Edward the Confessor, been the property of Aluric, a freeman. The first mention of the Puseys to be found on record is in the year 1316; but it appears by ancient deeds, in the possession of the present proprietor, that they had been settled at Pusey for six generations before Henry Pusey, who appears then to have been lord of a manor in this parish. The family became extinct, in the male line, in 1710, by the death of Charles Pusey, who bequeathed the manor to his nephew, John Allen, directing that he should take the name of Pusey, in addition to his own."—Lyons. He died s. p. and the estate passed by settlement to his wife's nephew, the Honourable Philip Bouverie. It is remarkable that there is no mention of the Puseys in the list of Berkshire gentry bearing date 1433, and that none of the name appear as Sheriffs of the county. Their tenure from Canute seems to be clearly disproved by the facts. Yet in spite of Fuller's assertion that "the lands of Berkshire are very skittish and apt to cast their owners," their long continuance at their manor remains indisputable; and they no doubt derived their name from it.[5] I can trace no possible connection between them and the Pudseys of the North, who bore Vert a chevron between three mullets Or pierced of the field; while the coat of the Puseys was Gules, three bars Argent.

Nor did the Northern family bestow its name on Pudsey, near Leeds, the Podechesaie of Domesday, which was held in the Confessor's time by two Saxon Thanes.

  1. This Countess Adelais came to England in 1083; and during her voyage was overtaken with so terrible a tempest, that the hearts of all on board fainted within them, and they gave themselves up for lost. But a priest in her train—apparency her chaplain—exhausted by vigils and anxiety, fell asleep and dreamed a dream. He saw before him a holy matron, who bade him tell his mistress that "if she desired to be liberated from the instant danger of horrible shipwreck, she must make a vow to God, and promise to build a church in honour of the blessed Mary Magdalene, on the spot where it happened that she first met the Earl her husband, and exactly where a hollow oak grew by a pig-stye." The Countess, obedient to the vision, vowed and performed her vow: and so Quatford Church, in Shropshire, was built on the unsavory spot described by the holy matron, where, as was foretold, she met her husband.

  2. He is said to have first commenced his new building at the E. end of the church: but as it repeatedly "failed and shrank," endangering the lives of the workmen, it was made clear to him that the intended work was "not acceptable to St. Cuthbert," who would not suffer women to be near him, either during life or after death. The figure of the Bishop may still be seen painted on the wall of the Galilee.

  3. This was done either by the wife or nursery-maid of one of the canons, Dr. Dobson, who having the key of the library, was sent to go and play there with his child in rainy weather, and deliberately cut out "the bonny shows" for the child to play with.

  4. Webster writes in 1671: "There may be many shillings marked with an escallop, which the people of that country call Pudsey Shillings to this day."

  5. In Domesday it is "Peise" or "Pesei."

-- Cleveland

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