the opponent of Louis VI of France. His mother, Agnes, must have been an otherwise unknown daughter of Count Stephen of Blois and Adela, daughter of William the Conqueror; for King Stephen, in a charter to Hugh as bishop, describes him as his nephew. Hugh is also called the king's nephew by Geoffrey of Coldingham; other writers speak of him as ‘cognatus regis’ (Hist. Dunelm. Scriptores tres, pp. 5, xxvii, xxxii). Hugh's elder brother Ebrard was viscount of Chartres, and his great-uncle, Hugh de Puiset, had been made first count of Jaffa by his kinsman Baldwin I of Jerusalem (cf. a notice of the family pedigree ap. Stubbs, Pref. to Rog. Hov. vol. iii. p. xxxiii n.)
Hugh was probably born in the latter part of 1125 (Will. Newb. ii. 436; but cf. Geoffrey of Coldingham, p. 4). He perhaps came to England under the protection of his uncle, Henry of Blois [q. v.], bishop of Winchester, who made him his archdeacon. In September 1143 his cousin William was consecrated archbishop of York, and from him Hugh received the treasurership of that church, thus commencing his lifelong connection with the north of England (John of Hexham, p. 155). This connection Hugh strengthened by an alliance with Adelaide de Percy, who was certainly mother of his son Henry, and perhaps of his other son Hugh also. After Hugh became bishop, Adelaide seems to have married a Morevill, and thus Hugh was closely connected with two great northern families (Stubbs's Pref. to Rog. Hov. vol. iii. p. xxxiv n. 3). Hugh, who styled himself ‘Dei gratia Ebor. thesaurarius et archidiaconus’ (Monasticon Anglicanum, v. 315), supported his cousin William in his contention for the archbishopric, and in 1147 was one of those who joined in the election of Hilary (d. 1169) [q. v.] in opposition to Henry Murdac [q. v.] In 1148 Murdac excommunicated Hugh, who replied by excommunicating the archbishop, but soon after withdrew to his uncle Henry in the south. When, in 1151, Henry of Winchester went to Rome, Hugh was left in charge of his uncle's possessions, and kept his castles and trained his soldiers. Henry of Winchester obtained from Pope Eugenius an order for his nephew's absolution, and after Hugh had been taken into favour at Yarm, the trouble in the northern province for a time was healed (John of Hexham, pp. 155, 158, 162; Norgate, Angevin Kings, i. 382). It was, however, renewed when, on 22 Jan. 1153, Hugh was chosen bishop by Prior Lawrence (d. 1154) [q. v.] and the monks of Durham. Murdac, supported by Bernard of Clairvaux, quashed the election on the score of Hugh's uncanonical age, worldly character, and lack of the requisite learning (Geoffrey of Coldingham, pp. 4, 5). In the consequent quarrel between Murdac, the monks of Durham, and their supporters, Hugh, who was still in the south of England, took no part. But in August he made a fruitless visit to York, and soon after set out for Rome in the company of Lawrence of Durham, and with the approval of Theobald of Canterbury. Before Hugh and his supporters reached Italy they heard that Eugenius, the Cistercian pope, was dead; Anastasius, his successor, approved Hugh's election, and on 20 Dec. consecrated him bishop (ib. p. 6).
Hugh returned to England in the spring of 1154, and on 2 May was enthroned at Durham. Murdac had died in the previous October, and William of York had recovered his archbishopric, according to Gervase, through Hugh's influence with the new pope (Gervase of Canterbury, i. 157). William had hardly reached home when he died in June 1154, and one of Hugh's first acts as bishop was to celebrate the funeral of his cousin and metropolitan. During the first years of his episcopate Hugh was chiefly engaged in securing his position in the north, and took little part in general affairs. He was, however, present at the coronation of Henry II on 19 Dec. 1154, and he seems to have attended at the royal court with tolerable frequency. Thus he was with the king at York in February 1155, and at Windsor in September 1157, and in Normandy when Henry made peace with Louis VII in May 1160 (Eyton, Itinerary of Henry II, i. 5, 30, 49). He was again at Rouen in April 1162, and was an assessor in the royal curia at Westminster on 8 March 1163 (Dugdale, Mon. Angl. vi. 1275). In May 1163 he was one of the English bishops who attended the council of Tours (Ralph de Diceto, ii. 310). In 1166, on the occasion of the marriage of Matilda, daughter of Henry II, he made a return of the military tenures and services within his franchise (Surtees, Hist. Durham, vol. i. pp. xxiv, cxxvi). He steered comparatively clear of the quarrel between the king and Thomas Becket, probably sympathising with the archbishop's ecclesiastical principles, but not wishing to compromise his own political position by decided action. He was, however, present with Roger (d. 1181) [q. v.], archbishop of York, at the coronation of the young king on 14 June 1170, and was in consequence suspended by Alexander III; but he received absolution without having to take an oath of submission to the pope (Gesta Henrici, i. 5–6; Materials for the History of T. Becket, vii. 477–8).