Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 49.djvu/111

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with a foreboding of evil, unwillingly started on his way, saying, ‘I shall be of as much good at this council as a young colt in a battle’ (Will. Malm. Hist. Nov. p. 548).

At Oxford Earl Alan's followers picked a quarrel with the bishops' men, and in the riot Alan's nephew was killed. Stephen declared that the bishops' men had broken his peace, and demanded that in satisfaction the bishops should surrender the keys of their castles. The bishops demurred, and Stephen then arrested Bishop Roger, his son Roger the chancellor, and Alexander of Lincoln. Nigel fled to his uncle's castle of Devizes. Stephen at once marched against him, taking his prisoners with him. On appearing before Devizes, the king confined Roger in the cowhouse, and threatened to hang the bishop's son if the castle were not surrendered. By Stephen's permission Roger had an interview with Nigel, whom he rebuked for not fleeing to his own diocese. Nigel, however, refused to yield. Roger then declared that he would fast till the castle surrendered. After three days his concubine, Matilda de Ramsbury, who held the keep, surrendered it to save her son's life, and Nigel was then compelled to yield (Will. Malm. Hist. Nov. p. 548; Gesta Stephani, pp. 49–50; Cont. Flor. Wig. ii. 108; according to Ord. Vit. v. 120–1, Roger's fasting was involuntary). The surrender of Devizes was followed by that of Roger's other castles of Sherborne, Salisbury, and Malmesbury. Bishop Henry of Winchester, the king's brother and papal legate, at once protested against the treatment of the bishops, and summoned Stephen to appear at a council at Winchester on 29 Aug. Eventually a compromise was arranged, by which the bishops were to surrender the castles other than those which belonged to their sees, and confine themselves to their canonical rights and duties. Stephen had to do penance for his treatment of the bishops. The incident was the ruin of Stephen's prospects, since it shattered his hold on the clergy and on the machinery of government. But Roger did not survive to take any share in the political consequences of his breach with the king. He died at Salisbury on 11 Dec., according to some accounts, from vexation at his ill-usage (Will. Malm. Hist. Nov. p. 557; Hen. Hunt. p. 266; Cont. Flor. Wig. ii. 113, where the date is given as 4 Dec.; Will. Newb. i. 382, says that Roger went mad before his death). Roger was buried in his cathedral, whence his remains were translated on 14 June 1226, on the removal of the see to the new city and cathedral in the plain (Reg. St. Osmund, ii. 55). A tomb in the modern cathedral of Salisbury has been conjectured to be Roger's (Archæologia, ii. 188–93); it bears an inscription commencing

    Flent hodie Salesberie, quia decidit ensis
    Justitie, pater ecclesie Salesberiensis.

But the last lines of this inscription imply that the bishop referred to was of noble birth, and it is perhaps more probable that the tomb belongs to Bishop Jocelin (d. 1174) (cf. Reg. St. Osmund, ii. p. lxxv).

In Roger, the statesman completely overshadowed the bishop, and fifty years after his death he was regarded as the prototype of those prelates who allowed themselves to be immersed in worldly affairs (Ralph de Diceto, ii. 77). Yet William of Malmesbury expressly states that Roger did not neglect the duties of his ecclesiastical office, and that he accepted the justiciarship only at the bidding of the pope and of three archbishops—Anselm, Ralph, and William (Gesta Regum, p. 484). Through his five years' administration of church affairs in the interregnum after the death of Anselm, though the bishoprics were used as rewards for state services and the spiritual life of the church was little regarded, the evils that had prevailed under William Rufus were avoided. If bishops were appointed from motives of state, the men chosen were on the whole worthy. From a worldly point of view, the advantages of the system established by Roger were great; it secured for the administration of state affairs the most capable officials, and men who were less exposed to temptation than laymen.

Roger's main energies were devoted to the work of secular government; under his direction ‘the whole administrative system was remodelled; the jurisdiction of the curia and exchequer was carefully organised, and the peace of the country maintained in that theoretical perfection which earned for him the title of the Sword of Righteousness’ (Stubbs). His great-nephew, Richard Fitzneale [q. v.], in the ‘Dialogus de Scaccario’ (Stubbs, Select Charters, p. 194), attributes to Roger the reorganisation of the exchequer on the basis which lasted down to his own time. It was perhaps a defect in Roger's character that he concentrated so much power in the hands of his own relatives. But the great administrative family that he founded served the state with conspicuous ability for over a century. Besides Roger's nephews Alexander and Nigel, his son, the chancellor, and his great-nephew, Richard Fitzneale, this family probably included Richard of Ilchester [q. v.] and his sons Her-