Roger 1st

The first Roger Bigod was made sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk under William the Conqueror. He was a relatively poor man of no importance in pre-invasion Normandy but appears to have grown in wealth, prominence and power after 1066 as a result of his conduct in England through his active support of the new regime rather than from any great feat of bravery at Hastings. His estate largely comprised many small and scattered land-holdings in several of the Suffolk Hundreds, but together they formed a considerable asset. Some of these possessions were fairly dubious, supposedly given by the king but not always with verifiable claims, but as a powerful sheriff he would have been fairly untouchable. Misuses of power such as the taking of land and charging high rents by sheriffs was not uncommon.

Pre 1066 Sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk was Norman de Campo
Pre1066 Ipswich governed by Queen Edith & Earl Gyrth.
1070-Roger Bigod held Earsham (near Bungay) in Norfolk, and gained some of the archbishop’s under-tenants when he was deposed in 1070.
1075- Roger made sheriff of Ipswich on behalf of William I (may have been earlier); he gained some more lands when the Earl of Norfolk rebelled and fled the country.
1086- Roger was by now sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk; the Domesday survey records him as holding 6 lordships in Essex, 117 in Suffolk and 187 in Norfolk.
1087- William I died; Roger joined a rebellion against his son William II in favour of Robert, Duke of Normandy, supporting the reunification of England and Normandy. William II was kind to the rebels. Roger probably lost his lands.
1091- Roger probably got lands back when William II and Robert, Duke of Normandy, were reconciled. He appears to have remained sheriff and steward throughout.
Involvement in founding of Norwich Cathedral:
  • 1091- William, bishop of Thetford, died. Herbert de Losinga purchased see of South Elmham from Ranulf Flambard for 1900 L .
  • 1094- de Losinga went to Rome, resigned his office, received absolution and was reinstated by Pope Urban II, on condition that the see be moved to Norwich.
  • 1095- Roger Bigot and other barons examined, defined and surveyed the land.
  • 1096- The first stone for Norwich cathedral was laid.
1100- Roger attended Henry I’s coronation and was summoned to his councils.
1101- Roger was one of five to remain loyal to Henry I in the face of an attempt to replace him with Robert, Duke of Normandy. Roger was rewarded for his loyalty with forfeited lands, notably the lordship of Framlingham and the castle.
1102- Bungay was given to Roger.
1107- Roger died