Norman Tax Collector: Ranulf Flambard

Ranulf Flambard, England’s head tax-collector during the reign of King William II, was responsible for the taxes, and became very rich in the process.

In 1099, he succeeded William de St.Calais as the second Norman Bishop of Durham.

In 1100, King Henry I, accused Flambard of extortion, and sent him to the White Tower in chains.

Under the cover of Candlemas, he made his escape.  He invited his guards to join him in a drink of wine, and when they were drunk and sleeping, used the rope smuggled in the wine, climbing down to waiting friends with horses.

Flambard escaped to Normandy, and within six months, Robert Cuthose, Henry’s rival and elder brother, made him chief of staff, and he led Robert’s army in an incursion across the channel to England.

Ranulf Flambard was reinstated to the Bishopric of Durham, and reinstated as Bishop of Durham with Henry I, as his ally.

Ranulf Flambard died in 1128.

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