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Frane de Belvoir

Birthdate: (88)
Birthplace: Belvoir, Leicestershire, England, United Kingdom
Death: 1067 (88)
Immediate Family:

Son of Tor de Belvoir
Husband of Lady of Belvoir
Father of Osulf "fil Frane" du Plessis, seigneur de Belvoir

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Frane de Belvoir

Bloemfield notes that he was fl (Latin flourit, living) in 979.

The identity of this Frane (sometimes written as Frame or Fresne) is uncertain. One point of contention is whether he was Saxon or Norman. There are apparently a number of references to various contemporaneous Osule/Osulfs (some mentioning Osulf fil Frane and to his father Frane fil Tor). However, it is important to consider many factors if we are looking at the history of the holders of the honor of Belvoir in Lincolnshire and Leicestershire, England. References in the Domesday Book are particularly useful.

Discussion on GEN-MEDIEVAL-L:

From: "Genie" <> Subject: Osulf Fil Frame / Frane - son of Frane (Lord Belvoir) Date: 11 Feb 2007 05:04:09 -0800

...I found this reference to Osulf Fil Frane on the Internet:


  • Vol 2 page 395 TOR Linc. 343 b.Homo Episcopi Baiocensis (Man of Bishop) Bishop Odo of Baieux, Uterine Brother to Wm the Conqueror
  • Vol 2 page 198 OSULF Hertf. 138 bis. Buck. 149. Bedf.
  • 215 ter. Osulf filius Frane Teignus (Osulf son of Frane Baron)
  • Vol 2 page 364 Osulf Yorksh. 316 b. He had the same land previous to the Survey, which he now held as an under-tenant to Gilbert de Laci
  • Vol 2 page 112 FRANE Yorks. fillius Tor (son of Tor)
  • Vol 2 page 112 Frane et frater (brother)
  • Vol 2 page 267 Wiga Homo Soulfi, fillii, Frane (sister)

Whilst the above records refer to Osulf as Osulf filius Frane, there are many others recorded as Osulf Fil Frame. His father Frane is referred to as a Baron above, and his grandfather named as Tor.

After attempting to digest this information and exploring further, I became confused with what seems to be two prominent Osulfs in the same time-frame. The one mentioned above I imagine would have been an ally of William the Conqueror, and the another, Osulf son of Eadulf of the House of Bamburgh, who held Northumbria under Morcar, a foe...unless he changed allegiance. I presumed the second Osulf would have been the thegn to Edward the Confessor, but it is difficult for the mere beginner to determine. Sometimes there seems to be an overlap that I could be misinterpreting i.e. Horninghold Victoria County History Publication: A History of the County of Leicestershire: Volume 5 Year published: 1964 Supporting documents: Note on abbreviations Pages: 153-57Citation: 'Horninghold', A History of the County of Leicestershire: Volume 5: Gartree Hundred (1964), pp. 153-57.

...MANOR. Before the Conquest HORNINGHOLD was one of a group of estates apparently held by four thegns, Osulf, Osmund, Roulf, and Levrick. In 1086 the vill was said to be held by Robert de Todeni, lord of Belvoir, (fn. 14) though it may have been given before this date to Robert's priory of Belvoir, which had been founded in 1076. (fn. 15) At the beginning of the 12th century it was farmed by William D'Aubigny. (fn. 16) Horninghold formed part of the original endowment of the priory and remained in its possession until the Dissolution. (fn. 17) It was confirmed to the priory at various times during the Middle Ages. (fn. 18)

And this reference in Domesday Book and Beyond: Three Essays in the Early History of England by F.W. Maitland

'...Therefore let us look at two Hertfordshire villages. In one of them there is a manerium which Ralph Basset holds of Robert of Ouilly.(27*) It has been rated at 4, but is now rated at 2 hides. There is land for 4 teams. In demesne are 2 teams; and 3 1/2 villani with 2 sokemen of 1 hide and 5 bordarii have 2 teams. There are 1 cottager and 1 serf and a mill of 10 shillings and meadow for 3 teams. It is now worth £3; in King Edward's day it was worth £5. Now here, we say, is a pretty little manor of the common kind. Let us then explore its past history. 'Five sokemen held this manor.' Yes, we say, before the Conquest this manor was held in physically undivided shares by five lords. Their shares were small and they were humble people; but still they had a manor. But let us read further. 'Two of them were the men of Brihtric and held 1 1/2 hides; other two were the men of Osulf the son of Frane and held 1 1/2 hides; and the fifth was the man of Eadmer Atule and held a hide.'

As I said, this is all very new territory for me, and I have gotten myself into a right muddle trying to figure it out! Was Osulf son of Frane the thegn to Edward the Confessor, or was it Osulf of the House of Bamburgh or were they one and the same? I am also very confused as to whether there were two Belvoirs or one. I would really appreciate some clarity on this situation if possible. ...

Julie Frame Falk NSW Australia

From: "Matt Tompkins" <> Subject: Re: Osulf Fil Frame / Frane - son of Frane (Lord Belvoir) Date: 12 Feb 2007 03:23:13 -0800

...I won't try to disentangle all the references to Anglo-Saxon Osulfs which you have found, except to say that Osulf was not an uncommon name and they are unlikely all to have been the same man.

It must also be unlikely that the Frani who was Osulf's father, or any other Frani (there seem to have been several of them), was the ancestor of the modern Frames, because patronymic surnames did not become hereditary until much later, in the 13th and 14th centuries, or even later. In fact I think it is safe to say that there is no patronym formed from an Anglo-Saxon personal name which can be shown to have begun with an Anglo-Saxon living at the time of the Conquest. There are of course a number of patronyms formed from Anglo-Saxon personal names, but these are names which were still in use among the English population at the time when patronymic surnames were adopted and became hereditary.


Matt Tompkins

Julie replied: ... Osulf Fil Frame keeps crossing my path one way or another and keeps me pondering. I began to question whether there might still have been a Frame connection with Suffolk when I saw that Roger Bigod, the husband of Odulf's granddaughter Adeliza de Toeni, "obtained Framlingham in Suffolk as a gift from the Crown. Roger established a dynasty which dominated East Anglia from the 1140s, as earls of Norfolk, until 1306." [Who's Who in Early Medieval England, Christopher Tyerman, Shepheard-Walwyn, Ltd., London,1996]... ...

Matt replied:

Framlingham is a place-name meaning 'the ham [or home] of the people of Framela', or some name similar to that. Framela would have been an Anglo-Saxon living several centuries before the Norman Conquest, and we know of his existence only from the place-name. If centuries later a place of this name were granted to the husband of a grand-daughter of a man called Frame that could never be relevant to the surname Frame, which cannot have originated before the 12th century at the earliest. (There is a place in Norfolk called Framingham, presumably once the home of the people of a man called Fram, and a few other place-names may also incorporate the personal name Fram or Frame, but they equally irrelevant, for the same reason.)

In any event Osulf's father was probably called Frani or Frane, not Frame (as far as I can tell the spelling in -m- is an invention of modern genealogists). But even if he had been called Frame, it remains extremely improbable that any modern person surnamed Frame is descended from him, simply because few, if any, patronymic surnames began with people living in the 11th century. Patronyms (and most surnames) only became hereditary much later, and the modern surname Frame would have began with other later individuals called Frame (or possibly nicknamed Frame), probably 13th-century peasants. It is unlikely that we will ever know who the first Frames were.

...I will leave it to those who specialise in that kind of thing to comment on whether Robert de Tosni really did marry a daughter of Osulf filius Frani, whether she really was called 'de Frame', and whether they left any descendants surnamed Frame, and just point out that (i) if Adeliza was born in Normandy in 1024, four decades before the Norman Conquest, then she can hardly have been the daughter of an Anglo-Saxon thegn and (ii) 'filius Frani' is a patronymic surname, and 'de Frame' is a toponymic one - that is to say, Osulf was surnamed 'son of Frani' and Adeliza was surnamed 'of a place called Frame'. She could not have derived a toponymic surname from her grandfather's personal name.

Please see the DNA Project information page here:

On both sides of the English Channel, families surnamed Freme/Freame/Frame, Fremaux/Fremault and variants were enterprising merchants, bankers and money changers, held positions of civic authority, were yeomen, clothiers, weavers and also artisans such as hatmakers, coaters and shoemakers etc. These families were heavily involved in the textile trade at all levels for centuries. The 'Frame' family lore is that their ancestors were weavers from Flanders and it seems inevitable that some ancestors once had a French version of the surname. As shown on the Surname Origins page, according to Förstemann, surnames such as the English FRAME and FREEM / FREAME and the French FRÉMY, FREMEAUX / FREMAULT, FROMMÉ and FORME are derived from the framea - the spear. Our aim is to eventually discover if there is a genetic relationship between any bearers of the English and French surname variants....

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Frane de Belvoir's Timeline

Belvoir, Leicestershire, England, United Kingdom
Age 88