Ranulf Flambard

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Ranulf Flambard (c.1060–1128). A Norman cleric whose nickname—Flambard meaning incendiary—probably reflects the burning and destructive eloquence which he turned against the king's enemies. His role as political and financial adviser to William Rufus—in 1097 Flambard was managing, to his own and his king's profit, no less than sixteen vacant bishoprics and abbeys—made him notorious in the church circles in which most contemporary historians moved. In 1099 he was made bishop of Durham. In 1100 Henry I, in a gesture calculated to win support, threw Flambard into the Tower. Within six months he escaped and made his way to Normandy. He helped to plan Duke Robert's 1101 invasion, yet soon afterwards was back in Henry I's favour and restored to Durham. Here, though his life-style scandalized the monks, he won applause as an effective defender of the rights of the see, a generous patron, and a great builder.

John Gillingham

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Flambard, Ranulf. See Ranulf Flambard.