Chancellor of England, bishop of Worcester; b. c. 1235; d. Jan. 26, 1302. The son of Hugh Giffard of Boyton in Wiltshire, a royal justice, he was the younger brother of walter giffard. When Walter was appointed chancellor of England (1265), Godfrey was soon thereafter chancellor of the exchequer. Walter's translation to york (1266) and resignation from the chancellorship opened the way for Godfrey's appointment to that high office (1267–68). Godfrey was elected to the See of worcester in 1268. King edward i subsequently employed him on diplomatic missions and as an itinerant justice. As bishop of Worcester, Godfrey engaged in long-drawn controversies with the monastic chapter of the cathedral about control of properties. He disputed with the abbot of westminster over the right of visitation at malvern. Joining with other suffragans, including thomas of cantelupe, he resisted Abp. john peckham's excessive claims of metropolitan jurisdiction within the province of canterbury. Litigation with his chapter troubled his last years: William of Gloucester charged him on some 36 counts before Abp. robert of winchelsea. Among other things, it was claimed that Giffard had manumitted serfs without the consent of the chapter. But this and other charges he answered satisfactorily. Giffard contributed to the decoration and pavement of Worcester cathedral and completed and fortified Hartlebury Castle.
Bibliography: Register of Bishop Godfrey Giffard, ed. j. w.w. bund, 2 v. (Oxford 1898–1902). Annals of Worcester in Annales Monastici, ed. h. r. luard, 5 v. (Rerum Britannicarum medii aevi scriptores 36; 1864–69) v.4. j. c. campbell, Lives of the Lord Chancellors …, 12 v. (7th ed. Jersey City 1881–85). t. f. tout, The Dictionary of National Biography from the Earliest Times to 1900, 7:1172–73. a. b. emden, A Biographical Register of the University of Oxford to A.D. 1500 2:761–762.
[a. r. hogue]