Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Skerning, Roger de

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SKERNING or SKERVINGE, ROGER de (d. 1278), bishop of Norwich, possibly took his name from Scarning in Norfolk. Becoming a Benedictine monk of Norwich, he was elected prior of his house in 1257 (Cotton, p. 137). On 23 Jan. 1266 he was chosen bishop of Norwich; he received the royal assent on 9 Feb., the temporalities were restored on 17 March, and on 19 Sept. he was consecrated by the legate Ottobon at Canterbury (Le Neve, Fasti Eccl. Angl. ii. 461). On 16 Dec. 1266 ‘the Disinherited’ then holding out in the Isle of Ely took Norwich by storm, and Skerning had to seek refuge at Bury St. Edmunds (Memorials of St. Edmund's Abbey, vol. ii. p. xxxvi, iii. 31). The great event of his episcopate was the burning of Norwich Cathedral and monastery by rioters on 11 Aug. 1272. On 29 Aug. Skerning held an assembly at Eye, and excommunicated the rioters, putting Norwich under an interdict. On 14 Sept. King Henry came to Norwich to hold an inquiry into the disturbance, and stayed with the bishop twelve days. As a consequence William de Brunham the prior was removed from his office, and on 1 Oct. Skerning confirmed William de Kyrkely as his successor at Thorp. At the king's wish Skerning had relaxed the interdict, but he renewed it in October, and sent messengers to the Roman curia to report the matter to the pope. The interdict was relaxed again for a time at Christmas 1272, but was not finally removed till 15 Oct. 1275. Skerning died at South Elmham on 22 Jan. 1278, and was buried in the re-edified Norwich Cathedral on 28 Jan. (Cont. Flor. Wig. ii. 219).

[Cotton's Chronicle, pp. 137, 141, 148–50, 153, 156, and De Episcopis Norwicensibus, p. 395; Flores Historiarum, iii. 10, 19, 25–7, 50 (both in Rolls Ser.); Blomefield's Hist. Norfolk, iii. 493–494; other authorities quoted.]

C. L. K.