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Roger de Busli of Tickhill, Yorkshire

Back to The Bowles of Yorkshire or The Norman Origins of the Bowles Name or The Earliest Bowles in England
See also Ernold de Builli of Kimberworth, Yorkshire and  The de Busli Family Tree
Some cadet lines of the de Busli family (which includes de Builli) which came to England from Normandy after 1066 are likely origins of some of the Bowles lines which developed in England over subsequent generations.  The de Boeles/de Boelles families of the same period, who may have been connected to the de Busli family in some way yet to be sorted out, have been documented to have been an origin of the Bowell/Bowels/Bowles/Boles name in at least Bedfordshire and Staffordshire and probably in other counties as well. 
After William of Normandy's successful conquest of England in 1066 Roger de Busli was one of the most powerful men in the country and was very close to King William I and other members of the new Royal family.  Bannerman lists him as the 3rd most powerful noblemen in early Norman England after William's two half-brothers, Bishop Odo and Count Robert of Mortain (Morton).  However, Roger's line did not continue in the male line as his son Roger II died young.  Upon Roger's death the King took back the land which Roger had held directly from him.  However, the land which Roger had acquired himself from other people was inherited by his young son whose heir in turn was his cousin, Jordan de Builli, Ernold de Builli's son.  Jordan's heir was his son Richard and Richard's heir was his son John who had no sons and so the last of the de Busli land which had been passed down according to the Norman law of primogeniture went to the Vipond family with the marriage of John's daughter Idonia de Builli to Robert Vipond.  (note: their line of inheritance was well documented during the legal battle over Roger's land between his daughter Beatrix's descendant, Alice, Countess of Eu, and Robert and Idonia Vipond (de Veteri-Ponte), Jordan de Builli's descendant)
However, I have found that the de Busli/de Builli name continued on in several cadet lines of the family.  Possibly becoming another source of the Bowles surname.  There are indications that happened but not yet anything that could be called proof. For more on all this see below.

Roger's Origin in Normandy

In 1065 when William, Prince of Normandy was seeking financial support for his bid to enforce his right to the kingdom of England, Roger was the son and recent heir of the Sieur (Lord) of Busli (now called Bully) an estate near Drincourt (now called Neufchatel-en-Bray) in Normandy.  Roger sold his own rights to the tithes of the town of Busli to the Abbot of the Holy Trinity at Rouen to support William who signed as a witness on the land grant.  See Roger de Busli's Origin in Normandy for more details.
The grant document mentions that Roger's brother Ernold also had an interest in the tithes and that Ernold and Prince William also signed the grant so that none could challenge it.  At this point in history the concept of a surname had not yet developed but in the Latin text of the document Roger is described as being Rogerius 'de Buslei' (of Buslei) while Ernold is only given as Hernaldi of the ville of Buslei.  In England Roger was termed 'de Busli' while Ernold was termed 'de Builli'.  See The de Busli/de Builli Surname

Roger de Busli in England

It's stated in most de Busli histories that when William's fleet sailed for England Roger accompanied it and fought with William at the Battle of Hastings but it is also possible that Roger only provided ships, knights, horses and arms to William's army.  I could not find any contemporary reference to Roger actually in the battle.  Some historians have pointed out the Boels name listed in the Battle Abbey Roll as proof of Roger's involvement but that might also refer to a member of the de Boeles family which was closely connected to the de Buslis and whom may in fact have been amongst Roger's knights.  When William divided up England amongst his closest Norman supporters, Roger de Busli was awarded a large domain in the north which extended across large parts of Nottinghamshire (all or part of 110 manors) and South Yorkshire (58 manors) and some adjacent parts of Lincolnshire (3 manors), Leicestershire (5 manors) and Derbyshire (7 manors) which he held directly from the King. 
Roger established himself at Blythe on the Yorkshire/Nottinghamshire border nearby which he built Tickhill Castle for himself as well as a number of smaller fortifications at strategic points around his holding. He placed  Ernold as a sub-tenant of a large holding nearby where he built Kimberworth Castle.  His retainers who had accompanied him from Normandy were put in charge of other of Roger's manors.  This would have made them powerful nobles also although enfeoffed to Roger.  See a list of Roger's holdings and a discussion of his retainers in Roger de Busli’s Holdings in the Domesday Book of 1086.
Roger's holding became the Honour (a feudal barony) of Blyth, later the Honour of Tickhill, which was one of the honours and manors under great Norman Lords which spanned northern England as a defensive wall between William's England and the unruly Scots.  
In addition to the manors which Roger held directly from the king he also held several from others.  These were important acquisitions as generally the land that the king had granted directly to a person would revert to the king on that person's death but any land that a person acquired from others in his own right could be passed down to his heir.  I know of three such events.  King William's niece Judith, the widow of Earl Waltheof who had lost his head for conspiring against the king, had been allowed to retain her husband's manors.  She then sub-enfoeffed the manors of Hallam, Attercliffe and Sheffield to Roger.  For another aquisition from the royal household but not directly from the king, the  Domesday Book of 1086 records that the manor of Sanforde (Sampford Peverell) in Devonshire was given to Roger de Bully 'with his wife' by Queen Mathilda.  Some historians believe that this reference means that Roger's wife Muriel had been a Lady of Queen Mathilda's court whom Mathilda had sent to marry Roger along with their wedding present, Sanforde manor.  Also Roger and Albert de Gresley had been jointly granted "the land bounded by the Ribble and Darwen Rivers" in South Lancashire by Roger de Poitou, who had been charged with defending the northern most part of England against the Scots possibly for their help forming a defensive wall between the secure Norman holdings south of them and the contested holdings in Cumberland on the Scottish frontier.  The landings which Roger held a half share in with Albert de Gresley included the manors of Blackburn, Whalley, Huncoat, Walton-le-Dale and Pendleton.  See The de Busli Landholdings
The de Busli connection to Albert de Gresley is also interesting as the land which Albert de Gresley had been granted directly from the king included a large area in Lincolnshire including the site where de Gresley would build his own castle at the head of the Swine River where he would later establish the Swineshead Abbey in 1135 and where the town of Swineshead would develop.  His son Robert would be the first Lord of Swineshead.  A younger son of the de Busli family could well have been settled in the Swineshead area through this family connection although this is pure speculation based on the later false claim that the Bolles of Swineshead were themselves the Lords of Swineshead. 

The de Busli Line of Descent

Some histories of Roger de Busli found online do not even identify his brother Ernold, merely stating that Roger's holdings directly from the King were taken back by the King upon Roger's death, ignoring the fact that Ernold continued to hold the land which Roger had sub-tenanted to him and also the substantial land which Roger had held as a sub-tenant of other Lords which was passed to Ernold's son Jordan de Builli. 
The histories which do include Ernold all state that his line ended with his great-grandson, John de Busli, whose daughter and heir Idonia brought the last of Roger de Busli's land to the Vipond family.  It's correct that the Roger de Busli direct line of inheritence ended with John de Busli but I have found that the de Builli family name continued on in association with the Vipond family.  We know that Jordan was described in the legal battle in 1219 as the eldest son of Ernold de Builli, there may also have been younger sons in Jordan's son Richard's generation and I've documented two more generations from Richard's son John's generation.  See The de Busli Family Tree  While no definitive proof has been found these surviving lines were almost certainly from one or more of these cadet lines.
There were also the de Boeles who were major landholders in Bedfordshire, who became Bowles over the centuries and possibly a branch of theirs who were knights of the Royal house.  See The de Boeles   This line has often been connected with the de Busli line but these assumptions seem to have been based on other coincidental contacts through the Vipond family, no proof of such a connection has yet been found.  See The De Busli/de Boeles/Vipond Connections.
See The Line of Descent from Ernold de Builly for more information about these lines.

De Busli Family Histories

There are several references available for the history of the de Busli Family all of which contain errors due to incorrect assumptions and all of which state that the line ended with Ernold's grand-daughter's marriage into the Vipond family but they also include nuggets of information, often with source references, which once verified have helped to fill in my own version of the de Busli Family History.  See Several Histories of the de Busli Family
(note: the Busli (Bully) and Busci (Bussy/Bussey/Bussell) lines are sometimes confused in some of the family trees online due to the similarity in their spelling but Busci is an entirely different Norman family which also had land holdings in this same area and in fact a Busci married into the Busli family.  This confusion may have originated with Bannerman in his otherwise excellent history of the Busli family which hopelessly confuses a real William de Busci with an imaginary William son of Jordan de Builli in pages 107 to 112 of his paper.)

This site was last updated 01/01/20