||Magna Carta Surety Baron|
Roger Bigod was one of the twenty-five medieval barons who were surety for Magna Carta in 1215.
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Roger was the 4th earl of Norfolk overall, and the 2nd of the second creation.
Roger stayed loyal to Henry II when three of Henry's sons rebelled in 1173-4, while his father sided with the rebels. In the Battle of Fornham (October 1174) Roger fought on the side of the king, and his father was with the opposing forces.
Roger's father Hugh repudiated his mother and remarried, his second wife being Gundred. When Hugh died in 1177, Gundred lodged a claim to Bigod lands. An appeal was made to Henry II, who used the opportunity to take the disputed lands into royal possession. Some of the lands held by his father were restored to Roger in 1182 but it was not until the accession of Richard I that Roger was confirmed as Earl of Norfolk and hereditary Steward of the the king's household. Inheritance difficulties with his half-brother Hugh dragged on until 1199, when a dispute over lands worth £30 a year was finally settled.
In 1189 Roger was present at the coronation of Richard I. Roger's fortunes soon improved. That year he served as ambassador to Philippe-Auguste of France in connection with arrangements for the Third Crusade. In 1191 Hereford Castle was entrusted to him. From 1191 he served as a judge both at Westminster and on eyre circuit. In 1193 he took part in negotiations for the release of Richard I from captivity in Germany. When Richard I was crowned for a second time in 1194, Roger was one of four earls who held a silk canopy over the king's head - a sign of favour. From 1194 to 1196 he was a Baron of the Exchequer. In 1197 he was Chief Judge in the royal court.
Around this time Roger began rebuilding the Bigod castle at Framlingham, Suffolk, which Henry II had destroyed in 1176.
Roger attended the coronation of King John in 1199. He continued in royal favour in the first decade of John's reign. In 1200 he was made Warden of Romford Forest. That year he was one of the barons who escorted the King of Scotland when he came to pay homage to King John for his English lands.
Roger is recorded as accompanying King John to Normandy in 1200, and taking part in campaigns in Poitou, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.
In 1211 he negotiated a lifetime respite for the payment of scutage on his extensive landholdings, and a reduction in future payments. But in 1213 he appears to have suffered a brief period of custody for reasons which are not known. That same year he headed a commission appointed to investigate an ecclesiastical dispute in the Diocese of Ely.
In 1214 Roger went with King John to Poitou. But the following year he joined in the baronial unrest which led to the Magna Carta, of which he was one of the Surety Barons. During the subsequent rebellion, Roger was excommunicated and his lands were made forfeit, and in 1216 his castle at Framlingham was captured by the royalist forces.
Roger finally returned to royal allegiance in 1217, and his lands were restored. He appears to have retired largely from active life - he was into old age - as his name hardly features in subsequent State records.
Roger held extensive lands spread across a number of counties. In 1211, when he compounded with King John over scuttle, they amounted to some 160 knights' fees., when his son Hugh came into his inheritance. His inheritance from his father included the Barony of Framlingham.
Roger was 2nd Earl of Norfolk of the second creation of the title, and 4th Earl of Norfolk overall.
Roger Bigod's birth date is uncertain. Douglas Richardson says he was born before 1140; the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography says he was born in about 1143. Neither Cawley nor Cokayne give a birth date.
The following persons have been previously shown on WikiTree as children of Roger le Bigod but are not verified by Richardson or Cawley and are therefore no longer linked, pending establishment of documentation that they are in fact children of Roger le Bigod.
Medlands names a further daughter, Basilia, citing the Liber Vitae of Durham. The first edition of this also appears to name further children, G G Dapifer and Henricus Capellanus. These three names were added in an empty space between a Bigod entry and the end of a page, and almost certainly not intended to represent children of Roger. There was a 2002 thread about this in soc.genealogy.medieval.
For the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta in 2015, Professor Nigel Saul wrote a set of biographies of the Surety Barons. He and the Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Committee generously gave permission for them to be reproduced on WikiTree. They can be viewed here.
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