Published online by Cambridge University Press: 04 December 2009
BATH AND WELLS
Five years before the Conquest, Giso of Lorraine, a chaplain of King Edward, succeeded Dudoc, also from Lorraine, as bishop of Wells. He remained in office until his death in 1088, so that the account of the possessions of the see in Domesday in large part reflects his success in maintaining and increasing the endowment. In addition to the Domesday entries, references to the early inventory can be obtained from a group of nine Anglo–Saxon charters, two charters of William I, and the narrative of the bishopric contained in the anonymous Historiola and its supplements.
From the king, Giso obtained a writ confirming him in the see of Wells with all the lands and customs which pertained to it in the time of his predecessor. The individual estates, however, were not listed by name. Nor were they listed in the general privilege of Nicholas II who consecrated Giso in Rome on Easter day 1061. According to the Historiola, Dudoc gave the church certain property and personal possessions which had been granted to him by Cnut before he became bishop in 1033 and which included the abbey of St. Peter at Gloucester and estates at Congresbury and Banwell. An important part of the endowment, nevertheless, had been lost, which may be the reason for the absence of specific holdings in the papal letter. In Giso's version of the history he complained not only of the poverty in which he found the see upon his appointment, but also of the difficulty in recovering the lands which had been unjustly seized by other ecclesiastics and laymen.