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PostSubject: along with his contemporaries   Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:55 pm

In 1075, three earls rebelled, for reasons unknown,[30] and sought aid from the King of Denmark, Sweyn II Estridsson, who had a distant claim to the English throne.[31] Among the rebels was Roger de Breteuil, the Earl of Hereford, whose lands neighboured those of Urse. Along with Bishop Wulfstan of Worcester, Abbot Æthelwig of Evesham, and Walter de Lacy, Urse prevented de Breteuil from crossing the River Severn.[32] Urse's actions kept the rebels from seizing control of the Severn Valley[33] and joining up with the other English rebels, Waltheof, the Earl of Northumbria, and Ralph de Gael, the Earl of Norfolk.[31] Urse and the magnates fighting alongside him, in addition to their obvious desire to suppress rebellion, had an interest in defeating de Breteuil, as he was the most powerful lord in the area.[19] De Breteuil was caught, tried, and imprisoned for life,[34] increasing the power of his rivals.[19]

Urse, along with his contemporaries, benefited from the increasing power wielded by the sheriffs. Although royal officials, including the sheriffs, had been appropriating ecclesiastical lands since the late 10th century, in the immediate years after the Norman Conquest churchmen complained about the increased amount of land seized by the sheriffs. Urse received his share of complaints, but he was part of a wider trend during the early years of William I's reign. The appropriation of land led to an increase in the recording of rights and possessions not only by clergy but also by laymen, culminating in the recording of all possessions and the rights held by the king over them in the Domesday Survey of 1086.[35] This behaviour was not limited to the sheriffs, as other nobles were also accused in contemporary chronicles of appropriating land from churches and from native Englishmen.[36]




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