Bigod, Roger (d.1221) (DNB00)

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BIGOD, ROGER (d. 1221), second Earl of Norfolk, was son of Hugh, first earl [q. v.] On the death of his father in 1176, he and his stepmother, Gundreda, appealed to the king on a dispute touching the inheritance, the countess pressing the claims of her own son. Henry thereupon seized the treasures of Earl Hugh into his own hands, and it seems that during the remainder of this reign Roger had small power, even if his succession was allowed. His position, however, was not entirely overlooked. He appears as a witness to Henry's award between the kings of Navarre and Castile on 16 March 1177, and in 1186 he did his feudal service as steward in the court held at Guildford.

On Richard's succession to the throne, 3 Sept. 1189, Bigod was taken into favour. By charter of 27 Nov. the new king confirmed him in all his honours, in the earldom of Norfolk, and in the stewardship of the royal household, as freely as Roger, his grandfather, and Hugh, his father, had held it. He was next appointed one of the ambassadors to Philip of France to arrange for the crusade, and during Richard's absence from England on that expedition he supported the king's authority against the designs of Prince John. On the pacification of the quarrel between the prince and the chancellor, William Longchamp, bishop of Ely, on 28 July 1191, Bigod was put into possession of the castle of Hereford, one of the strongholds surrendered by John, and was one of the chancellor's sureties in the agreement. In April 1193 he was summoned with certain other barons and prelates to attend the chancellor into Germany, where negotiations were being carried on to effect Richard's release from captivity; and in 1194, after the surrender of Nottingham to the king, he was present in that city at the great council held on 30 March. At Richard's re-coronation, 17 April, he assisted in bearing the canopy. In July or August of the same year he appears as one of the commissioners sent to York to settle a quarrel between the archbishop and the canons.

After Richard's return home, Bigod's name is found on the records as a justiciar, fines being levied before him in the fifth year of that king's reign, and from the seventh onwards. He also appears as a justice itinerant in Norfolk. After Richard's death, Bigod succeeded in gaining John's favour, and in the first years of his reign continued to act as a judge. In October 1200 he was one of the envoys sent to summon William of Scotland to do homage at Lincoln, and was a witness at the ceremony on 22 Nov. following; but at a later period he appears to have fallen into disgrace, and was imprisoned in 1213. In the course of the same year, however, he was released and apparently restored to favour, as he accompanied the king to Poitou in February 1214, and about the same time compounded by a fine of 2,000 marks for the service of 120 knights and all arrears off scutages. Next year he joined the confederate barons in the movement which resulted in the grant of Magna Charta on 15 June 1215, and was one of the twenty-five executors, or trustees, of its provisions. He was consequently included in the sentence of excommunication which Innocent III soon afterwards declared against the king's opponents, and his lands were cruelly harried by John's troops in their incursions into the eastern counties.

After the accession of Henry III, Bigod returned to his allegiance, and his hereditary right to the stewardship of the royal household was finally recognised at the council of Oxford on 1 May 1221. But before the following August he died. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Hugh, as third earl, who, however, survived him only four years.

[Chronicles of R. de Hoveden, Bened. of Peterborough, and Matthew Paris (Rolls Ser.); Dugdale's Baronage, i. 132; Foss's Judges of England, ii. 4C; Stubbs's Constitutional History; Eyton's Itinerary of Henry II.]

E. M. T.