Roger le Bigod

Framlingham Castle
Framlingham Castle, Suffolk
Photo © Quinn Norton, Feb 2005

Robert le bigod, through his disclosure to the duke of a plot by the duke's cousin William of Mortain, became the confidential servant of William the Conqueror. Both he and his son Roger fought in the battle of Hastings and Roger, for his services recieved 6 lordships in Essex and 117 in Suffolk. Roger was one of the Privy Councillors and became treasurer of the duke, later holding the post of steward to Henry I. Robert we are told "had a large troop, and was a noble vassal. He was small of body, but very brave and daring, and assaulted the English with his mace gallantly."

Roger was married to Lady Adeliza, daughter of Hugh de Grentmesnil and by her had seven children. William le bigod, his son and heir perished in the fatal wreck of the 'white ship' on 25th November, 1120. His second son Hugh Bigod, 1st Earl of Norfolk, also became Steward to King Henry I.

The Bigod family seat was in Thetford, Norfolk where Roger founded a priory which he later donated to the monastery at Cluny. In 1101 Henry I granted him licence to build a castle at Framlingham which then became the family seat until their downfall in 1307. Roger also owned Bungay Castle, in Suffolk. After Ralph de Gael's fall in 1074, Roger was appointed Sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk, and acquired many of Ralph's estates.

Roger died on 9 September, 1107. Upon his death a dispute arose between the Bishop of Norwich and the monks at Thetford. The monks claimed that Roger should be burried at Thetford. The Bishop resolved the issue when he stole Roger's body in the middle of the night and took it back to Norwich.

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