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Bishop of Elmham
then Bishop of Thetford
Church Roman Catholic Church
See Diocese of Elmham
then Diocese of Thetford
In office 1070 – c. 1085
Predecessor Æthelmær, Bishop of Elmham
Successor William de Beaufeu, Bishop of Thetford
Ordination 1070
Personal details
Died c. 1085

Herfast or Arfast (d. 1085) was the first Lord Chancellor of Norman England. He was also bishop of Elmham and Thetford.


Born in Normandy, he joined William the Conqueror during the Norman Conquest of England and was appointed head of the royal writing office after the Battle of Hastings. He was Lord Chancellor of England from 1068 to 1070.[1] After serving as Lord Chancellor, he was consecrated Bishop of Elmham in 1070, but about 27 May 1072 he moved the see to Thetford, thus becoming Bishop of Thetford.[2] He had a conflict with the Bury St. Edmunds Abbey, and when the case was brought forward, the Archbishop of Canterbury Lanfranc ruled against Herfast. He signed the Accord of Winchester in 1072 and died in 1084.[3] He was a married bishop, and his sons held land in Norfolk at the time of Domesday Book in 1086.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fryde, E. B.; Greenway, D. E.; Porter, S.; Roy, I. (1986). Handbook of British Chronology (3rd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 83. ISBN 0-521-56350-X. 
  2. ^ Fryde, ibid., pp. 217 and 243.
  3. ^ Greenway, Diana E. (1971). Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066-1300. volume 2: Monastic cathedrals (northern and southern provinces). pp. 55–58. 
  4. ^ Williams, Ann (2000). The English and the Norman Conquest. Ipswich: Boydell Press. p. 46. ISBN 0-85115-708-4. 
Political offices
Preceded by
first Norman Chancellor
Lord Chancellor
Succeeded by
Religious titles
Preceded by
Bishop of Elmham
Succeeded by
see moved to Thetford
Preceded by
see moved from Elmham
Bishop of Thetford
1075 – c. 1085
Succeeded by
William de Beaufeu