Michael Marcotte's Home PageAlphabetical Index of NamesReturn to Marcotte Genealogy PageRead about the origins and meaning of the Marcotte surname.Information on the design, sources and structure of the lineage charts on this genealogy web site, and qualifications of the author.

A tonsured messenger (Hugh Margot?) comes to
Harold in this scene from the Bayeux Tapestry

mid the Marcotte genealogy research of Father Jean Marcotte, Jean LeMaitre, and others there is found an obscure reference to a monk named Hugh Margot. This monk was said to have been sent as an emmissary by William the Conqueror to Harold of the House of Godwin (the "acting" King of England) before the Battle of Hastings. The purpose of this failed mission was to seek a peaceful solution to the question of William's claim to the throne.

The ultimate source of all such references to Hugh, Hughes or Hugues Margot or Mairgot is a medieval work by Robert Wace, believed to have been written in 1160 A.D. (94 years after the battle). The oblique mention of this monk is due to the frequently stated observance that Margot is an often found spelling variation (during the period from about 900 A.D. through the 1600s)of the surname Marcotte/Marcot. No proof has ever been found that this monk was an ancestor of ours, although he did live in Fécamp. The records contained in the archives of the Hotel de Ville in Fécamp, Normandy only date back to about 1500, A.D.

Wace's work was entitled "Le Roman de Rou et des Ducs de Normandie."
It is written entirely in Old French, which is extremely difficult to read, even by native speakers of modern French.

In highly summarized form, the relevant passages state that Hugh Margot, because he was a well-known and well-educated (could speak English?) monk of Fécamp ("Fescanp") was sent by William to Harold ("Herault")to convey a "This-is-your-last-chance" message. Margot travelled to London and presented himself thus: "Harold, Hear me!"

Margot then basically tells Harold that he is a messenger sent by William and that William demands that Harold renounce his "lesser" claim to the English throne to he with the better claim. Give up this land, do the right/legal thing, lest more damage come of it! Give him (William) his kingdom. If you hold onto it, woe will befall you!

Harold, of course, gets mad - observantly interprets the message as an threat/ultimatum - and believes that he (Harold) has been insulted and tells Margot to leave.

Recognizing that he should wait no longer - with nothing more to be said or done, and leaving with no more than he came with, Hugh Margot returns to the duke, William.

This occurs on the eve of the Battle of Hastings, October 13, or early October 14, 1066 A.D.

For those serious researchers among you, here are the exact passages:

Huom Margot a demande,
De Fescanp moigne corone.
Por co qu'il ert bien enseigniez,
Bien coneu e bien preisiez,
L'a li dus a Heraut tramis,
E Margot s'est el chemin mis.
A Londres a Heraut troue
E iss a od lui parle:
"Heraut," dist il, "entend a mei!
Mesagier sui, oies de quei!
Li dus te mande e iel te di,
Que trop tost as mis en obli
Le serement que tu iadis
En Normendie li feis.
Fause li as le serement;
Adrece t'en e si li rent
La corone at la seignorie,
Que tu n'as pas d'anceissorie:
Tu n'ies pas reis par eritage,
Ne par home de ton lignage.
Li reis Ewart en sa sante
E en sa lige poeste
Dona sa terre e son realme
A son meillor parent Guilliame;
Tel doc li fist com faire pout,
Com al meillor ami qu'il out.
En sa sante deuant sa mort
La li dona, si l'en faiz tort.
Rent li sa terre, fai li dreit,
Ainz que damage plus en seit! *
Ne poent tel gent assembler
Com tu e lui poez ioster,
Sainz grant damage e sainz grant perte,
E co iert ti par ta deserte.
Bien sai que tels le comperront
Qui nules copes n'i auront.
Rent li son regne que tu as,
Se tu li tiens, mal li tendras."
Heraut du forment orgueillos,
Co dist q'il uit qu'alques fu ros;
Des paroles ce coreca,
Que Margot si le maneca.
Bien crei que il l'eust laidi,
Mais Guert sis frere su sailli,
Deuvant le rei s'ala ester,
Huom Margot en fist aler.
Cil s'en ala sainz congie prendre,
Qu'il n'i uolt mie plus atendre;
Ne plus n'i dist ne plus n'i fist,
Ne plus n'oi de quantqu'il quist.
Al duc Guillame reuerti.

(from Robert Wace's Le Roman de Rou et de Ducs de Normandie)

The following translation is from a translation into English entitled
"Master Wace, his chronicle of the Norman conquest from the Roman de Rou By Wace"
Translation by Edgar Taylor, Esq., F.S.A., published 1837, in London by William Pickering

"Harold! hearken to me!
I am a messenger,hear ye from whom!
The duke tells thee, by my mouth,
that thou hast too soon forgotten the oath,
which thou didst but lately take to him in Normandy,
and that thou hast forsworn thyself.
Repair the wrong, and restore him the crown and lordship,
which are not thine by ancestry;
for thou art neither king by heritage,
nor through any man of thy lineage.
King Edward of his free will and power,
gave his land and realm to his best kinsman William.
He gave this gift as he had a right to do,
to the best man he had.
He gave it in full health before his death,
and if he did wrong, thou didst not forbid it;
nay, thou didst assent, and warrant and swear to maintain it.
Deliver him his land; do justice,
lest greater damage befall thee.
No such hosts can assemble as thou and he must combat with,
without great cost and heavy loss;
and thus there will be mischief to both sides.
Restore the kingdom that thou hast seized!

(Taylor's translation ends at * in the French version, above)

Back to Marcotte Genealogy Page
Back to Michael Marcotte's HomePage

at Amazon.com