Roger Bigod

Roger Bigod (abt. 1144 - bef. 1221)

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Sir Roger "4th Earl of Norfolk" Bigod
Born about in Suffolk, Englandmap [uncertain]
Ancestors ancestors
Brother of , [half] and [half]
Husband of — married 25 Dec 1181 [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died before in Thetford, Norfolk, Englandmap
Profile last modified 11 Sep 2019 | Created 14 Apr 2010 | Last significant change: 12 Sep 2019
01:21: Liz (Noland) Shifflett edited a message from Liz (Noland) Shifflett on the page for Roger Bigod (abt.1144-bef.1221). [Thank Liz for this]
This page has been accessed 11,564 times.
Magna Carta Surety Baron
Roger Bigod was one of the twenty-five medieval barons who were surety for Magna Carta in 1215.
Join: Magna Carta Project
Discuss: magna_carta



Roger Bigod was a member of aristocracy in England.


"The Bigods were a major East Anglian landowning family, based at Framlingham (Suffolk), who had held the earldom of Norfolk since its grant to Hugh Bigod in 1140 or 1141. Roger (c. 1143-1221) was the only son of this Hugh by his first wife, Juliana, sister of Aubrey de Vere, earl of Oxford." [1]

Birth and Parentage

Son of Hugh le Bigod, 3rd Earl of Norfolk.[2]

He was born before 1140. [3]

Name and Titles

Roger le Bigod, Knt
4th Earl of Norfolk
Hereditary Steward of the Household
Privy Councillor
Keeper of Hertford Castle, 1191
Judge in the King's Court, 1195, 1196, 1199, 1202
Chief Judge in the KIng's Court, 1197
Warden of Romford Forest, 1200
son and heir of Hugh le Bigod, 3rd Earl of Norfolk, by his first wife, Juliane, daughter of Aubrey de Vere [3]


Great Addington and Drayton, Northamptonshire
Hedingham, Essex[3]

1176 Inheritance Dispute

"Roger’s father had left him a tangled inheritance. He had repudiated his son’s mother and had subsequently married Gundreda, daughter of Roger, earl of Warwick, by whom he had two more sons, Hugh and William, for whom their mother, after their father’s death in 1176 or 1177, sought to make provision out of the family inheritance at their elder half-brother’s expense. Henry II, savouring the opportunity to gain his revenge on Hugh for his involvement in the rebellion against him in 1173-4, deliberately left the case unresolved, refused to allow the son to succeed to the father’s earldom, and confiscated the lands in dispute between the heir and the half-blood." [1]

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.[4]

1181 Marriage

About Christmas 1181 he married Ida de Tony. Prior to marriage, Ida was a mistress of King Henry II of England, by whom she was the mother of William Longespee, Knight, Earl of Salisbury.

1189 Restoration to Favor

"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."[4]

Roger was only able to vindicate his rights on Richard I’s accession in 1189, when the earldom was granted to him on payment of the relatively low relief of one thousand marks (£666). [1]

"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.[4]

"Thereafter Roger enjoyed a long and honourable career in royal service. He served Richard as a justice in eyre (i.e. itinerant judge) and as a baron of the exchequer." [1]

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; [4]

In John’s reign he took part in the defence of Normandy, and after 1206 served on campaigns in Poitou and within the British Isles. [1]

1213 Disgrace and Restoration

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 of scutages. [4]

1215 Magna Carta

In 1215, however, he went over to the opposition, joining the rebel barons in their muster at Stamford. In part, his involvement on the rebel arose in response to the financial pressures exerted on him by the king. The scutage – money due in lieu of personal military service – that the earl owed from his many estates was so substantial that in 1211 he was driven to striking a deal with the exchequer to pay 2000 marks (£1333) for respite during his lifetime from demands for arrears and for liability to a reduced sum in future. Roger had various other grievances against the king. One at least related to litigation. In 1207, when a legal action had been brought against him in the royal courts, he objected to the chosen jurors on grounds of their likely bias, but his arguments had been ignored by the king, who ordered the case to proceed. [1]

"Roger was joined in his rebellion by his son and heir Hugh, who was already of full age, and the two stood in the forefront of the opposition in East Anglia. In March 1216 the king succeeded in taking the family’s main castle at Framlingham and put pressure on the earl by pardoning those of his followers whom he captured, while condemning those who refused to submit to forfeiture of their lands. Roger and Hugh did not return to their allegiance until after the general peace settlement agreed with Henry III’s Minority government at Kingston-on-Thames in September 1217. By April of the following year the earl had received back all his lands and titles, but, by now over 70, he was in semi-retirement and he died three years later in 1221." [1]

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.[4]

1221 Restoration and Death

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. [4]

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.[4]

He died three years later in 1221. He was succeeded as earl by his son, another of the Twenty Five, who in 1206 or 1207 had married Matilda, daughter of the future Regent, William Marshal, earl of Pembroke. The son died in February 1225. [1]

Sir Roger le Bigod, 4th Earl of Norfolk, died in 1221, before 2 August.[3]


Roger le Bigod and Ida de Tony had five sons and three daughters: [3]

  1. Hugh (5th Earl of Norfolk)
  2. William
  3. Roger
  4. John
  5. Ralph
  1. Mary
  2. Margaret
  3. Ida

The following persons have been previously included as children of Roger le Bigod here but are not verified by Richardson[3] and are therefore no longer linked, pending establishment of documentation that they are in fact children of Roger le Bigod.

Research Notes

Framlingham Castle

"Framlingham castle, as we see it today, is largely the product of a rebuilding carried out by Earl Roger in Richard the Lionheart’s reign, following the partial demolition of the fabric by Henry II in 1174. It consists of a cluster of baileys set on a low eminence above a flooded mere. The inner bailey, which constituted its central space, was innovative in taking the form of an irregular-shaped curtain wall punctuated at intervals by open-backed towers, dispensing great tower or keep customary in Norman castles."[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Professor Nigel Saul and the Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Committee
  2. Cokayne, George Edward and H.A. Doubleday et. al eds. Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Vol. IX: Moels to Nuneham, 2nd edition. (London, 1936): pages 586-589, subsection Norfolk.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Douglas Richardson, Royal Ancestry, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2013, Volume I, pp. 362-264
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 The Dictionary of National Biography, Vol. 5, p. 24, by Sir Sidney Lee, publ. 1886
See also:
  • Cokayne, George Edward and H.A. Doubleday et. al eds. Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Vol. IX: Moels to Nuneham, 2nd edition. (London, 1936): pages 586-589, subsection Norfolk.
  • The Dictionary of National Biography, Vol. 5, p. 24, by Sir Sidney Lee, publ. 1886 [1]
  • Medieval Lands, database online, author Charles Cawley, (Foundation for Medieval Genealogy, 2006-2013), English Earls 1067-1122, Chapter 5, Norfolk, B. EARLS of NORFOLK 1142-1306 (BIGOD): Hugh Bigod 1. Roger Bigod, son of Hugh Bigod
  • Morris, Marc: The Bigod Earls of Norfolk in the Thirteenth Century, Google Books.


This page has been edited according to Style Standards adopted January 2014. Click the Changes tab to see edits to this profile; from that list, click WikiTree IDs other than Bigod-2 to see changes to those profiles prior to being merged.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to this profile.

Magna Carta Project

As a surety baron, Sir Roger Bigod's profile is managed by the Magna Carta Project. See Bigod-2 Descendants for profiles of his descendants that have been improved and categorized by the Magna Carta project and are in a project-approved trail to a Gateway Ancestor. See this index for links to other surety barons and category pages for their descendants. See the project's Base Camp for more information about Magna Carta trails.
  • Needs Re-review/Source Check: Information is good, but re-review/source check is needed because Professor Nigel's article was dismantled and other sources interspersed but quotation marks were (apparently) not changed. I did some editing, but quoted matter needs to be checked. It might be easier to re-assemble the Professor's article (which was published with his permission). ~ Noland-165 19:26, 11 September 2019 (UTC)

More Genealogy Tools

Sponsored Search

Sponsored Search by

No known carriers of Roger's DNA have taken a DNA test.

Have you taken a DNA test? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.

Images: 2
Roger Bigod coat of arms
Roger Bigod coat of arms

Magna Carta template
Magna Carta template


On 11 Sep 2019 at 19:28 GMT Liz (Noland) Shifflett wrote:

On 26 Mar 2019 at 05:49 GMT David Douglass wrote:

Joe, thanks for the correction and adding the source.

On 26 Mar 2019 at 04:27 GMT Joe Cochoit wrote:

It's wrong. The explanation of why is quite lengthy. Wikipedia is no substitute for the Complete Peerage.

On 25 Mar 2019 at 19:03 GMT Isaac Taylor wrote:

On 25 Mar 2019 at 19:02 GMT Isaac Taylor wrote:

Hello fellow volunteers, and enthusiasts.

Say... what is going on here with 2nd vs 4th Earl? I see comments below and self-contradictions in the Bio notes. Are we going to fix them, or are we happy with the way things are now?

Of course, I understand debates about numbering-- lot of confusing examples. Is this one?

Currently, we seem to be asserting:

1) The Roger 1209-1270 who m. Isabella of Scotland is NOT the 4th Earl of Norfolk... because this Roger is?

2) This Roger 1140s-1221 (?) who m. Ida Tosny/Toeni is NOT the 2nd Earl of Norfolk... because... why?

Given the father of this Roger Bigod-2 is Hugh Bigod-7, 1st Earl of the second creation... and the earlier first creation was forfeit 1074, then lapsed for 20 years... it's not clear how we justify calling this guy 4.


On 9 Jan 2019 at 21:33 GMT C (Gervais) Anonymous wrote:

Quoted from this comment thread: "Moved birthdate forward to 1140 consistent with Richardson."... Perhaps that is where the issues are stemming from.

On 13 Aug 2018 at 04:55 GMT Joe Cochoit wrote:

You are looking at the wrong Roger Bigod. Roger Bigod and Adelisa de Toeni were the grandparents of this Roger.

Medlands actually names the wife of this Roger as Ida unknown. The identity of "Countess Ida" had been for decades been one the great genealogical mysteries with many theories. Only recently has her identity been proven. Please see the numerous discussions on soc.genealogy.medieval. Also Ray Phair, "William Longespée, Ralph Bigod, and Countess Ida" [The American Genealogist, vol. 77, pp. 279-281].

On 12 Aug 2018 at 10:36 GMT C (Gervais) Anonymous wrote:

MedLands names Adelais/Adelise/Adilidis as mother, not "Ida".

"The Annals of Bermondsey which record the death in 1107 of “Rogerus Bigod, principalis fundator monasterii Beatæ Mariæ Thetfordiæ”. [m firstly ADELAIS, daughter of ---. The Liber Vitæ of Durham lists (in order) "Rodgerus Bigodus, Atheles uxor eius, Willelmus filius eorum". “Willielmus Bigot, dapifer regis Anglorum” donated property to Thetford Priory, for the souls of “patris mei Rogerii Bigoti et matris meæ Adelidis” and for the salvation of “fratris mei Hugonis et sororum mearum”, by undated charter dated to the reign of King Henry I." The Complete Peerage states that the wording of this charter shows that Adelais de Tosny was deceased at the time.

On 14 Apr 2018 at 17:41 GMT Joe Cochoit wrote:

Tim, methods of counting can vary which leads to confusion. This is especially difficult in very early creations of a title. You can say he was the 2nd earl of the 3rd creation of the title, or that he was the 4th earl of Norfolk overall. In this case actually, it is clear the old title was settled on his father (3rd earl) by Henry II so it was not a true new creation as we think of it in modern terms. As a way of standardizing such things, we follow Complete Peerage as the definitive source which makes this Roger Bigod the 4th earl.

On 14 Apr 2018 at 15:56 GMT Tim (Moore) Schaeffer wrote:

A quick internet search shows Roger Bigod born May 1140 was the 2nd Earl of Norfolk

more comments

Roger is 26 degrees from Tanya Lowry, 21 degrees from Charles Tiffany and 11 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.