Osbern FitzOsbern

Exeter Cathedral - South East view
Engraved by R Sands

Exeter Cathedral - North West view
Engraving by W Deeble

Born c. 1027, Bishop of Exeter, Died 1103. Osbern FitzOsbern was the son of Osbern, high-steward of Normandy and brother of William FitzOsbern, Earl of Hereford. A Norman by birth, Osbern succeeded Leofric as Bishop of Exeter, being consecrated by Lanfranc at St. Paul's, London, on 28th March, 1073. Osbern was second cousin to Edward the Confessor and was brought up in England as part of Edward's royal household. As chaplain to King Edward, Osbern was witness to the dedication of Westminster Abbey on 28th December, 1065.

Osbern had property holdings in 7 different counties, Surrey, Hampshire, Berkshire, Gloucester, Norfolk, and Oxfordshire. In Sussex he held part of the lands of the great church at Bosham.

Osbern was greatly beloved by the people for his personal frugality, his bounty to the poor, his fine English manners and his blameless character. The survival of the Exeter version of the Domesday Book has been attributed to Osbern and one of the earliest surviving Anglo-Norman episcopal seals, depicting the Bishop in his robes with a halo round his head can be seen on a confirmation charter to the Church of St Nicholas. In the year 1103, Osbern, through blindness and bodily infirmity, surrendered his soul to God.

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