The Josselyn Lineage until c. 1150
The Original Story
This is the story of the Josselyn family pre c. 1150 as extensively recorded in family histories from at least as early in the 19th century.

Recent research however, shows that it is extremely unlikely, with three separate families of similar name having been 'grafted' together, the first join at about 1000 and again at about 1100.

The following is the original story as documented by John Hallum with the issues raised by recent research included as notes. John also noted that caution needed to be exercised over this early history.

Origins - pre-Conquest to 1500
From John Hallum's summary of the old history:
Looking back into the ancestry of the family of Charles Josselyn of Lexden, we are fortunate in having a considerable amount of recorded information, both published and unpublished, concerning the family of Josselyn, variously spelt. Much of the published work dates from the early l900's or before, and is thus available only by consultation in specialist library collections.

Two such works of particular interest which came to light early in John's research are those published by a member of the family, John Henry Josselyn, namely;

"The Genealogical History of The Ancient Family of Josselyn of Horkesley" & "Genealogical Memoranda relating to the Family of Josselyn"

Both published privately at Ipswich in 1880 and 1903 respectively. (Refs 50 & 51)

Members of the "Josselin Society" are also researching the various strands of the family comprising the full range of spellings of the name and publishing their results amongst the Society members. Likewise, the internet also features considerably in disseminating original information and recent Josselyn research data.

Lodge's 'Peerage of Ireland' gives the account of the origin of family shown to the right.

The line of descent has been published in chart form by WF Joscelyne & AW Joscelyne (1984, revised 1996); their chart differs in detail from Lodge's account in showing Gerberga (Gerbuca) to be the niece of King Lothaire and daughter of Charles, Duke of Lorraine.

Gerberga (born 976) married Lambert I, 'The Bearded, Count Josceline of Brabant. The chart further goes on to trace the ancestry back through the Josceline male line a further thirteen generations to Duke Ydulf (6th century) and back through the female Gerberga line seven generations to Charlemagne (AD 742-814), which line is stated to be then further recorded back to Antenor, King of Cimmerians (Crimea), living 443 BC.

It is only to be expected that, with an ancestry spanning such a time span, there is inevitably a great deal of speculation and debate. Richard Joscelyne, (currently President of the Josselin Society), has recently published an article in the Society Journal questioning the existence of factual information or sources to back up the earliest claims for the family line prior to the middle of the 13th century at which point the family acquired Hyde Hall at Sawbridgeworth. (Ref 106)

With the proviso of the uncertainties of the last paragraph, this chapter is the first of several tracing the descent from the time of the Norman conquest to the family of Charles Josselyn, and other lines which branched off from his direct line, and which have latterly settled upon the Jocelyn or Josselyn spellings. (Those lines which have adopted other variations of the name will not be specifically treated.)

From Lodge's "Peerage of Ireland"

"Among the various proofs of the antiquity and dignity of families, the use of the surname of one for the christian name of others of eminence and worth is accounted satisfactory and conclusive. Many instances of this might, if necessary, be given to evince the antiquity of the name of Jocelyn, which like others of long duration, hath been variously written Josselin, Josselyn, Joslyne, Jocelin etc and, by the French and Normans, Gosselin .....

Godfrey, Duke of Brabant, having married Sophia, daughter of Emperor Henry IV, was father of Joceline, Lord of Petworth in Sussex and ancestor to the Dukes of Northumberland, whose male issue terminated in a Joceline, anno 1670.

But what undoubtedly proves the family to be of great antiquity is, that, when the Romans, after being Masters of Britain for 500 years, took their final farewellof it, and carried with them many of their brave old British soldiers who had served them in their wars both at home and abroad, they rewarded their services with a grant of Amorica, in France, which country included a great part of Normandy, and from them was afterwards called Brittany, and as those Britons gave their name to the country in general, so probably they did to the particular towns and seats they inhabited. It is, therefore, reasonably supposed that some of this family were among them, and gave their name to the town of Josselin, in the Department of Morbiham, in Brittany. But however this may be, the family derives its descent from Carolus Magnus (Charlemagne), King of France, with more certainty than the houses of Loraine or Guise, who so highly boast of it for:-

'The prime ancestor of our family married Gerbuca, daughter of Lotharius, King of France, descended from the said Carolus Magnus, and a younger brother of his descendant Godfrey, Duke of Brabant (ancestor of the Northumberland family), was the father of Egidius Josselin, a nobleman of Brittany, who passed into England for the Court of Edward the Confessor in the year 1042, and had issue Sir Gilbert Jocelyne'.

740 to 1000
The ancestry of Gerberga of Lorraine, granddaughter of Louis IV of France and descendant of Charlemagne is well documented (see for example Genealogics - Leo van de Pas:
Charlemagne (Charles "the Great")
(742 - 814)
King of the Franks 768
Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire 800
Emperor of the Byzantine Empire 812
= Hildegarde of Vinzgau
Louis I (Ludwig) "The Pious"
(778 - 840)
King of Aquitaine 781
King of France 814
Ruler of the Holy Roman Empire 814
= Judith of Bavaria
Charles II "the Bald"
(823 - 877)
King of West Franks in 843
King of Italy 875
= Ermentrude
Louis II "the Stammerer"
(843 - 879)
King of France
= Adelaide of Paris
Charles III "The Simple"
(879 - 929)
King of France, 893
= Eadgifu (Edgiva) of England
Louis IV "D'Outremer"
(918 - 954)
King of France, 936
= Gerberga of Saxony
Charles I of Lorraine
(953 - 994)
= Bonne D'Ardennes
Gerberga of Lorraine
(ca. 975 - )
= ca. 990, Lambert I "the Bearded" of Louvaine
Lambert I "the bearded" of Louvaine
(c. 950 - 1015)
married ca 990 Gerberga of Lorraine
(ca. 975 - )
Lambert II "the belted" of Louvaine
(ca. 991 - aft. 1062)
Egidius Jocelyn (G29)
(ca. 1005 - )
Henry II of Brabant
(ca. 1021 - aft. 1078/9)
Sir Gilbert Jocelyn (G28)
(ca. 1040 - ca. 1131)
Godfrey I "Barbatus" de Louvaine
(1060 - 1140)
Gilbert Josselyn
(St Gilbert of Sempringham)
(ca. 1083 - 1189)
Egidius Josselyn (G27)
(or Galfridus or Geoffry)
Joscelyn de Louvaine
(ca. 1100 - 1180)
= Agnes de Percy
dau of William de Percy
(Jocelyn changed his name to Percy)
Descent to Charles Josselyn
Dukes of Northumberland
Josceline, 1670 (last male issue)
The dotted lines show the two areas of contention.

Older sources such as Lodge (above) show the Josselyn and Percy family trees sharing a common ancestor, Lambert I of France, as in the diagram. However this would appear to be based on no greater evidence than them sharing a similar name.

Modern authoritative researchers such as Dr Katharine Keats-Rohan say that there is no evidence whatever, to show that Lambert I and Gerberer had a son Egidius (see for example, Genealogics - the website of Leo van de Pas - for a typical family tree).

Egidius Josslin, the Domesday Book and St Gilbert
G29 Egidius Josslin
G28 Sir Gilbert Jocelyn
G27 Gilbert (St Gilbert of Sempringham) Egidius (Geoffry)
Egidius Josslin, (Generation G29) born in the Chateau de Josselin, about 1005, passed into England from France with Edward the Confessor in 1042, and had issue (Sir) Gilbert.

Sir Gilbert Jocelyne, (G28) returned to France and later accompanied William the Conqueror in his expedition to England, where he was awarded possessions including the Lordships of and Tyrington (Torrington) , in Lincolnshire. He had two sons, Gilbert and Egidius (or Galfridus, Geoffry).

"Sir Gilbert" (G28) is almost certainly "Joscelin, man of Alvred de Lincoln" in the Domesday Book. However there does not appear to be any historic basis to the name Gilbert. Further, Keats-Rohan* says "Gozelin's children were Gilbert of Sempringham, Roger and Agnes" and "Agnes by 1166 was the heir to Gozelin" and so a son Egidius is unlikely and even if he existed, died without issue.

* Dr Katharine Keats-Rohan of Oxford University, the leading authority in the people of the Domesday Book.

Gilbert (G27), (St. Gilbert of Sempringham), the eldest son of Sir Gilbert, was born at Sempringham about 1082 and educated in France. He was physically deformed and thus not suitable to become a knight, so after his return he taught at a free school. He later became household clerk to Robert Blount, Bishop of Lincoln, and when that Bishop died, he stayed on at the court of his successor, Alexander. When his father died, he was presented with the parishes of Sempringham and Torrington, built on his father's land. Not being ordained he appointed a vicar but continued to lead a very strict 'monastic style' life, presenting most of the revenues to the poor. He was ordained a priest by Alexander and offered an archdeaconry but he refused the offer and returned to take over the parsonages of Sempringham and Torrington and also become Squire of the villages in 1132. He also established an order of nuns at Sempringham, the order continuing to grow such that he asked the Cistertians to take over the foundation. This they were unable to do but Gilbert was persuaded by Pope Euginius III to carry on by himself. The order grew to encompass some 1500 and became known as the Gilbertians, being the only medieval order of English origin and existing until the time of the dissolution, at which time there were some twenty-six monasteries.Gilbert himself became Master General of the order but resigned before his death due to loss of sight. He amazed others by his sparse living, particularly with regard to food, having at his table 'the plate of the poor' into which he put the best of his food for the benefit of the poor. He wore a hair shirt and took his rest by sitting in short spells, spending most of the night in prayer.

He assisted the Archbishop of Canterbury to escape from his pursuers and also backed Thomas a Beckett but escaped sentence with a pardon.

He died in 1189 aged 106 and was canonised by Pope Innocent III at Anagin in 1202. His relics were taken by Louis VIII to Toulouse and interred in the Church of St Sermin. The feast of St Gilbert is still celebrated on the anniversary of his death the 4th February.

The Parentage of St Gilbert is given in the Cotton Manuscripts;
"Pater ejus, Jocelinus nomine, miles strenuus, et vir bonus et opulentus, Neustigena natione, plures habens possessiones in partibus provinciae Lincolniae; mater veri ortu Anglica, a parentus fidelibus, non inferioris tamen conditionis originem trahens."
("His father, named Jocelinus, a strict soldier, and a good man and rich, of the Neustigen tribe, with several estates in Lincolnshire; mother of true English extraction of family servants but tracing her descent from no less worthy stock.").(Refs 55-60 & others).

Title Deeds of Ellerton Priory and Convent (Gilbertine)
British Records Association

Gilbert, after whom the Gilbertine order was named, was born to Jocelin, Norman lord of the manor of Sempringham in Lincolnshire, and his English wife in the early 12th century. He took the path of poverty, redistributing his goods to the poor and set up a religious house at Sempringham in 1131. Though it may not have been his original intention, a house of religious women grew up alongside, possibly out of a group of anchoresses. A second foundation at Haverholme quickly followed, though he himself gave up organization toward the end of his life, living as a hermit and wearing a hair shirt. He died at Sempringham in 1189 (Golding, Gilbert of Sempringham, passim).

G28 to G25, ca. 1000 to ca. 1150
From the family history Geoffry (Egidius) Jocelyn (G27), married the daughter of John Bissett through whom the line descended as follows;
G28 Sir Gilbert Jocelyne
G27 Geoffry (Egidius) Jocelyn = dau. of John Bissett
G26 Sir William Jocelyn = Oswalda Goushold
G25 Robert Jocelyn = dau. of John (or James) Fleming
G24 The Confirmed History
The link G28 to G27 is certainly false, however, while the family in this era is not confirmed by authorities such as Burke's Peerage 1999, I have no evidence to say that the G27 to G25 Josselyns did not exist. At this stage however I will leave them here as unconfirmed.
The Evidence Against the Story
To summarise:
  1. there is no evidence to show that Lambert I and Gerberga had a son Egidius,
  2. there is no evidence that St Gilbert had a brother Geoffry / Egidius Josceline,
  3. the first Josselyn we can be reasonably sure existed is James, G24
The following communication on Gen-Medieval, 25 Jul 1999, by Dennis J. Cunniff is an excellect summary:
From generation 3 onward to Thomas Joslin the immigrant ancestor the line presented is as published in the NEHGR [1], but Elizabeth French there seems to identify the wrong father of Geoffrey Joslin, generation 5. She says he was "Sir Gilbert Jocelyn, [who] settled in Lincolnshire, where he held of Gilbert of Gaunt the lordships of Semperingham and Tyrrington," father of St. Gilbert of Semperingham. But St. Gilbert's siblings were named Roger and Agnes [4,5], and Agnes was her father's eventual heir - no Geoffrey. The father of St. Gilbert would also seem to have been "a Domesday tenant of Alfred of Lincoln with holding which amounted to some twelve carucates, concentrated in Lincoln" rather than a tenant of Gilbert of Gaunt.

One possible candidate for father of Geoffrey was "Gozelin Filius Lanberti, Tenant-in-chief in Domesday Lincolnshire who held in 1086 lands previously held by his father Lambert. Probably a Norman. His son Gilbert had succeeded as lord of Redbourne by 1115/18." [7]

Lanbert, a Norman, occurs "Domesday Lincolnshire as tenant of Jocelyn fitz Lambert, to whom he was perhaps related. Perhaps the same as Lambert tenant of Odo of Bayeux." [7]

I don't know if Keats-Rohan plans to publish anything further on these families and I don't know of anyone else doing research on them.

The links beyond Geoffrey, though, ought to be considered unproven, though they were asserted as fact in the Joslin book by Edith Wessler [2]. The purported linkage to Gerberga and to Lambert of Louvain all seems to stem from this source, and lacks evidence.

The pertinent references are:

1. French, Elizabeth, "Genealogical Research in England: (Joslin Family)," New England Historical and Genealogical Register, vol. 71, 1917, pp. 236-257.

2. Wessler, Edith S., Jocelyn-Joslin-Joslyn-Josselyn Family, The, Tokyo; reprinted, Higginson Books, Salem, Massachusetts, 1962.

3. Genealogies of the Stranahan, Josselyn, Fitch and Dow Families, privately published, Brooklyn, NY, 1868. New York Public Library call number: APV (Stranahan)

4. (probably Ralph de Insula), St. Gilbert, The Book of, Foreville, Raymonde, and Gillian Keir, Clarendon Press, Oxford, England, 1987.

5. Golding, Brian, Gilbert of Semperingham and the Gilbertine Order c. 1130-c.1300, Clarendon Press, Oxford, England, 1995.

6. Whittemore, Henry, History of the Sage and Slocum Families of England and America, 1908.

7. Keats-Rohan, K.S.B., Domesday People: A Prosopography of Persons Occurring in English Documents 1066-1166: I. Domesday Book, The Boydell Press, Woodbridge, 1999., 0 85115 722 X, 98-47670.

Notes & References
  1. Communications with John Hallum
  2. Communications with Tim Powys-Lybbe
  3. Communications with Leo van de Plas
  4. Debrett's Peerage of England, Scotland, and Ireland By John Debrett, 1820 (Google Books)
  5. Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 1999
  6. British History Online