The Phillips, Weber, Kirk, & Staggs families of the Pacific Northwest

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  • ID: I00237
  • Name: Gospatric I Earl of Northumbria of DUNBAR 1 2 3
  • Sex: M
  • ALIA: Gospatric I Earl of /Northumbria/, of Dunbar
  • Birth: ABT 1040 in Allerdale (Workington, Cockermouth, etc.), Cumberland, England 4 2
  • Death: 15 DEC 1074 in Ubbanford now Norham, Northumberland, England 5
  • Note:
    Gospatric; installed 1068/9 by William I the Conqueror as Earl, then predominantly an administrative post after his payment of a heavy fine or what would now be thought of as an entrance fee (though his hereditary claim through his maternal grandfather also played a part). Later (Oct or Nov 1072) deprived of the Earldom on a charge of having taken part in a massacre at Durham; fled to Scotland, where his cousin Malcolm III of Scotland granted him the Mormaership of Dunbar. [Burke's Peerage]

    A subsequent Earl of Nothumberland was Gospatric, son and heir of Maldred, who in turn was son of Crinan, Lay Abbot of Dunkeld in what is now Perthshire. Gospatric held the Earldom from c Feb 1068/9 to 1072. Gospatric had a hereditary claim to the office of Earl of Northumberland, as did several of his successors. Disloyalty or incompetence in governing could lead to an Earls being deprived of his position, however, and when Gospatric rebelled he was ejected. [Burke's Peerage, Earldom & Dukedom of Northumberland, p. 2117]

    Pilgrimage to Rome 1061.


    GOSPATRIC [a] son of MALDRED,[b] by Ealdgyth, daughter and heir of Ughtred, PRINCE OF NORTHUMBERLAND (and Elgiva, daughter of ETHELRED, KING OF ENGLAND), was born between 1040 and 1048; is probably identical with the "noble youth" of that name who visited Rome in 1061, in company with Tostig, the brother of Harold II; joined the Danes in an invasion of the north of England, but making peace with William I, was at Christmas 1067 entrusted with the government of Northumberland. Being, however, deprived of that post in October or November 1072, he fled to Scotland, receiving from Malcolm III "Dunbar with the adjacent lands in Lothian." He married. (----), sister of Edmund. He died probably about 1075, and most likely is the "Gospatricus Comes" whose monument was at Durham. He is stated in Hoveden to have died and been buried at Ubbanford [i.e. Norham], not long after his flight to Scotland. [Complete Peerage 4:504]

    (a) "Gospatric" is Celtic for "the servant of Patrick" the word "Gwas" meaning "servant" Joseph Bain found the word as "Qwaspatricius" in an inquisition.

    [b] Maldred was probably brother of Duncan, King of Scotland, 1034-40, who was s. of Crinan, Abbot of Dunkeld, which Crinan is conjectured (by Skene) to be the same as Crinan Tein, the father of this Maldrcd. Gospatric was thus cousin (paternally) to the Scottish and (maternally) to the English Kings.


    I received the following query (followed by my reply), along with information from from Lora:

    From: LCnobilus AT [mailto:LCnobilus AT]
    Sent: Tuesday, July 22, 2003 1:51 PM
    To: jimweber AT
    Subject: 1st Earl of Dunbar

    Hi Jim,
    According to this Electric Scotland account, it was Gospatrick I who was the first earl of Dunbar. I copied this (a small part) "Traditions and Stories of Scottish Castles -- Dunbar Castle" from their site. You show Gospatrick II as the first earl (ref. #I00234). There are a number of other sites that concur with Electric Scotland. So what do you think?

    The first traces of this early structure are found in the records relating to William the Conqueror. In 1067, that monarch conferred the Earldom of Northumberland upon Robert Comyn, but he was so unpopular with his vassals that he and all his retainers were put to death in 1068 by the inhabitants of the district. Then Cospatrick (sometimes called "Gospatrick ") grandson of Malcolm II., King of Scotland, claimed the Earldom through his mother, who was a daughter of Uchtred, the Saxon Earl of Northumberland, but had ultimately to pay "a great sum of money" for it in 1067 to William the Conqueror. Soon afterwards Cospatrick quarrelled with William, and fled into Scotland with other northern leaders, finding refuge in 1072 with Malcolm III. (Ceanmor), whose wife, St Margaret, was a Saxon Princess. Malcolm conferred upon him "Dunbar with the adjacent lands in Lothian," and he thus became the first Earl of Dunbar. His death took place about 1089, and he was succeeded by his son, Cospatrick, second Earl of Dunbar, who was a benefactor to the Abbey of Kelso. Before his death in 1139, he had probably begun the erection of Dunbar Castle, as the oldest part of the ruins belong to about that period. This Earl was present at the foundation of Scone Abbey in 1115, and Holyrood Abbey in 1128, the former by Alexander I., and the latter by his brother and successor, David I., sons of Malcolm III. (Ceanmor).

    My reply to the above is:
    Gospatric was the first to settle in Dunbar, fleeing Northumbria after incurring the wrath of William the Conqueror. However both Burke's Peerage and the Complete Peerage, which are well respected in terms of the peerage of Great Britain, state that his son was the first Earl of Dunbar. So, according to peerage law, I think that BP and CP are probably correct. To be absolutely sure, one might check the Scots Peerage as well.

    I can see where informally Gospatric could be assumed to be the first Earl of Dunbar, because he was the first to hold the Castle of Dunbar (there was a castle or something there before, but it was abandoned and may not have been called Dunbar), which became associated with the Earldom of Dunbar. For example in early England, titles were associated with holding certain castles/estates, such as Arundel or Shrewsbury, and whoever held them became known as the Earl of Arundel (Sussex) or the Earl of Shrewsbury (Salopshire/Shropshire). To my way of thinking these were the "real" earls and were immensely wealthy in a comparative sense (ie. The Earl of Chester "held" the entire county of Chester and there were only 25 or 30 of these earls who held the entire country). With very few exceptions the Scottish Peerage has maintained this relationship of titles to the holding of certain lands, whereas the English have gotten far away from that.

    However I suppose that CP and BP did not consider Dunbar Castle to be the honour of an Earldom until Gospatric's son was proven to be an Earl. The "proof" of the son's status as an Earl did not come until a charter which was confirmed 16 Aug 1139, after his death, mentioned him as "Comes" or Earl. I suppose that one could argue that his father may have been styled an earl as well, but there is no proof.

    Jim Weber

    Father: Maldred Lord of Carlisle & ALLERDALE b: 1003 in Allerdale, Cumbria, England
    Mother: Aeldgyth (Edith) of NORTHUMBRIA b: ABT 1015 in Northumbria, England

    Marriage 1 Sister of Edmund of SCOTLAND b: ABT 1069 in Scotland

      Marriage 2 Aethelreda of ENGLAND b: 1042 in Wessex, England
      • Married: 1057
      1. Has Children Dorothy (Agnes) DUNBAR b: ABT 1057 in Dunbar Castle, East Lothian, Scotland
      2. Has Children Gospatric II 1st Earl of DUNBAR , Sir b: 1062 in Dunbar Castle, East Lothian, Scotland
      3. Has Children Athelreda of NORTHUMBRIA b: ABT 1065 in Dunbar Castle, East Lothian, Scotland
      4. Has Children Maud of DUNBAR b: ABT 1070 in Dunbar Castle, East Lothian, Scotland
      5. Has Children Waltheof (Waldeve) Lord of ALLERDALE b: BEF 1075 in Dunbar Castle, East Lothian, Scotland
      6. Has Children Gunnilda (Gunhilda) of DUNBAR b: BEF 1075 in Dunbar Castle, East Lothian, Scotland

      1. Title: Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists, 7th Edition, by Frederick Lewis Weis, additions by Walter Lee Shippard Jr., 1999
        Page: 34-22, 121b-27
      2. Title: Complete Peerage of England Scotland Ireland Great Britain and the United Kingdom, by G. E Cokayne, Sutton Publishing Ltd, 2000
        Page: IV:504
      3. Title: The Royal Descents of 500 Immigrants to the American Colonies or the United States, by Gary Boyd Roberts, 1993
        Page: 416
      4. Title: Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists, 7th Edition, by Frederick Lewis Weis, additions by Walter Lee Shippard Jr., 1999
        Page: 34-22
      5. Title: Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists, 7th Edition, by Frederick Lewis Weis, additions by Walter Lee Shippard Jr., 1999
        Page: 34-22
        Text: c 1074/5
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