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Samson (d.1112) (DNB00)


SAMSON (d. 1112), bishop of Worcester, born at Douvres near Caen, was the son of Osbert and Muriel, who were of noble lineage. Thomas (d. 1100) [q. v.], archbishop of York, was his brother. Samson was sent to study philosophy at Liège by Odo (d. 1097) [q. v.], bishop of Bayeux, and at Angers he was a pupil of Marbod, afterwards bishop of Rennes. From childhood he was befriended by William I, in whose chapel he was clerk. In 1073 William offered him the bishopric of Le Mans, but he refused it on the ground that his character was not irreproachable (Ord. Vit. iv. 11). In 1082 he was treasurer of the church of Bayeux (Beziers, p. 217), of which he was also a canon (Gesta Pontiff. p. 289; some manuscripts say he was dean). On 8 June 1096 he was consecrated bishop of Worcester at St. Paul's, London, Anselm and his brother Thomas officiating. He was admitted to priest's orders at Lambeth on the preceding day. On 15 July 1100 he assisted at the dedication of Gloucester abbey-church, and in 1102 was present at a council held by Anselm at Westminster. Samson was married before he took orders, and in 1109 he was required to take part against his son Thomas (d. 1114) [q. v.], archbishop of York, who refused obedience to Anselm. He made rich grants to the prior and monks of Worcester, and brought ornaments for the church from London; but he offended the whole monastic order by removing the monks from Westbury, putting secular canons in their place.

Samson corresponded with Anselm, Ivo of Chartres, and Marbod of Rennes. His son Richard became bishop of Bayeux (1108–1133), and his daughter, Isabella de Douvre, is said to have been mistress of Robert, earl of Gloucester (d. 1147) [q. v.] He died at Westbury on 5 May 1112, and was buried in Worcester Cathedral, at the bottom of the steps going up into the choir. William of Malmesbury describes him as gluttonous but charitable.

[Ordericus Vitalis, ed. Le Prévost, ii. 249, iii. 266; William of Malmesbury's Gesta Pontificum, ed. Hamilton; Eadmer, ed. Stubbs, pp. 74, 174; Liber Vitæ Dunelm. (Surtees Soc.), pp. 139, 140; Beziers' Hist. de Bayeux, p. 217, quoting the Journ. de Verdun, October 1760, p. 276; Wharton's Anglia Sacra, i. 474; Symeonis Monachi Opera, ii. 227, 230, 235, 247; Hist. et Cart. Mon. S. Petri Gloucest. passim; Heming's Cartulary, pp. 426, 575; Flor. Wig.; Letters to and from Samson in Migne's Patrologia, clxv. col. 162, clix. col. 248, clxxi. col. 1658; Freeman's Norman Conquest and William Rufus.]

M. B.