Roger Bigod, 5th Earl of Norfolk

Roger Bigod, 5th Earl of Norfolk

Roger Bigod (c. 1245 – bf. 6 December 1306), was 5th Earl of Norfolk.

He was the son of Hugh Bigod (Justiciar), and succeeded his uncle, Roger Bigod, 4th Earl of Norfolk as earl in 1270.

This earl is the hero of a famous altercation with Edward I in 1297, which arose out of the king's command that Bigod should serve against the king of France in Gascony, while he went to Flanders. The earl asserted that by the tenure of his lands he was only compelled to serve across the seas in the company of the king himself, whereupon Edward said, "By God, earl, you shall either go or hang," to which Bigod replied, "By the same oath, O king, I will neither go nor hang." [Stubbs 138]

The earl gained his point, and after Edward had left for France he and Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford, prevented the collection of an aid for the war and forced Edward to confirm the charters in this year and again in 1301. William Stubbs says Bigod and Bohun "are but degenerate sons of mighty fathers; greater in their opportunities than in their patriotism." [Stubbs 312]

Roger married first Alina Basset, daughter of the justiciar Philip Basset (and widow of Hugh Despenser), and secondly Alice d'Avesnes, daughter of John II d'Avesnes, count of Hainaut.

In 1302 the elderly and childless Bigod surrendered his earldom to the king and received it back entailed to the heirs of his body. This had the effect of disinheriting his brother John, and so, when the earl died without issue in December 1306, his title became extinct and his estates reverted to the crown, and were eventually bestowed on Thomas of Brotherton, 1st Earl of Norfolk. [Tout 139, McFarlane 262]



*, reprinted from "History", 50 (1965), 145-59

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