|←Relph, Joseph||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 48
|Rempston, Thomas (d.1406)→|
REMIGIUS (d. 1092), bishop of Lincoln, was in 1066 almoner of Fécamp, and contributed one ship with twenty knights for the invasion of England by the Normans. He took part in the expedition, and was present at the battle of Hastings. In the following year he received the bishopric of Dorchester, according to later scandal as the price of his aid to the Conqueror. Remigius was consecrated by Stigand, then archbishop of Canterbury; according to his own account, he was unaware of the uncanonical character of Stigand's position (Profession ap. Gir. Cambr. vii. 151). In spite of this flaw in his own consecration, Remigius was one of the bishops who consecrated Lanfranc on 29 Aug. 1070. But when Thomas of York and Remigius accompanied Lanfranc to Rome in 1071, they were both suspended from their office by Alexander II. Remigius himself says that the reason for his suspension was his consecration by Stigand; but Eadmer (Hist. Nov. pp. 10, 11), who is followed by William of Malmesbury, ascribes it to the charge of simony. Both accounts agree that Remigius was restored through the mediation of Lanfranc, to whom he then made his profession of obedience.
In the first years of his episcopate Remigius commenced to build on a worthy scale at Dorchester; but in 1072 a council held at Windsor ordered that bishops should fix their sees in cities instead of villages (Will. Malm. Gesta Regum, ii. 353). In accordance with this decision, Remigius soon after transferred his see to Lincoln. Some authorities put the date as late as 1086, when the change was completed (Schalby, p. 194, cf. Gir. Cambr. vii. 19 n.). It is possible that Remigius was implicated in the rebellion of Ralph Guader in 1075, for Henry of Huntingdon says that he was accused of treason, but cleared by a servant, who went through ordeal for him (Hist. Anglorum, p. 212). In 1076 Remigius made a second visit to Rome with Lanfranc (Ord. Vit. iii. 304). Ten years later he was one of the Domesday commissioners for Worcestershire (Ellis, i. 20). At Lincoln Remigius began to build the cathedral on the castle hill. The work was completed in 1092, and Remigius proposed to have it consecrated. But he was opposed by Thomas of York, who renewed a claim to jurisdiction previously preferred and abandoned. Remigius, however, bribed William Rufus, who ordered the bishops to assemble for the cathedral's consecration on 9 May (Flor. Wig. ii. 30, Engl. Hist. Soc.). But three days previously, on Ascension day, 6 May, Remigius died without seeing the completion of his work (cf. Gir. Cambr. vii. 21, n. 2). He was buried before the altar of the holy cross in the cathedral. His remains were translated in 1124, when they were found still incorrupt (ib. vii. 22, 25–26).
Remigius had a great soul in a little body; William of Malmesbury adds that he was so small as to seem ‘pene portentum hominis;’ Henry of Huntingdon that he was ‘swarthy in hue, but comely in looks’ (Gesta Pontificum, p. 313; Hist. Anglorum, p. 212). Henry of Huntingdon, who was well acquainted with the bishop's contemporaries at Lincoln, gives no hint as to special sanctity of character. The tradition of the saintliness of Remigius appears to have grown up at Lincoln in the course of the twelfth century. Giraldus Cambrensis says that miracles were worked at the bishop's tomb as early as 1124; but he no doubt wrote to order, to establish the bishop's fame as a local saint. Giraldus urged Hugh of Wells to procure the canonisation of Remigius (Opera, vii. 6), but this wish was never gratified. Matthew Paris, however, speaks of him as a saint, and records miracles that were worked at his tomb in 1253 and 1255 (v. 419, 490).
Remigius built and endowed his cathedral at Lincoln on the model of Rouen, and established twenty-one canonries. It was injured by a fire in 1124, and almost destroyed by an earthquake in 1185 (Benedict Abbas, i. 337). The only part which still exists is a portion of the west front, which is a fine specimen of early Norman work. Remigius introduced Benedictine monks to the abbey of St. Mary at Stow before 1076, and procured for them the annexation of the abbey at Eynsham in 1091. He also assisted in the refounding of Bardney priory between 1086 and 1089. Giraldus wrongly credits him with the foundation of a hospital for lepers at Lincoln.[William of Malmesbury, Gesta Pontificum, pp. 39, 66, 312–13; Henry of Huntingdon, Hist. Anglorum, pp. 212–16; De Contemptu Mundi, 300–2; Chronicon de Rameseia, pp. 204, 210. Later lives are by Giraldus Cambrensis about 1196, and by John Schalby about 1320; the life by Giraldus is eulogistic and untrustworthy; both his and Schalby's lives are, however, derived in part from Lincoln records; they are printed in vol. vii. pp. 9–31 and 193–5 in the Rolls Series edition of Giraldus's works; the Profession of Remigius to Lanfranc is given on pp. 151–2 of the same volume; see also Mr. Dimock's preface, pp. xv–xxiii. For Remigius's work at Lincoln see a paper by the Rev. G. A. Poole in Transactions of the Lincoln Diocesan Architectural Society; Freeman's Norman Conquest, and William Rufus.]