The Bigod Earls of Norfolk in the Thirteenth Centuryby Marc Morris
The Bigods were one of the most powerful and important families in thirteenth-century England. They are chiefly remembered for their dramatic interventions in high politics. Roger III Bigod (c. 1209-70) famously led the march on Westminster Hall in 1258 against Henry III, while Roger IV Bigod (1245-1306) confronted Edward I in 1297 in similar fashion. This book is the first full-scale study of these two earls, and explores in depth the reasons that led each of them to take the extreme step of confronting his king.
It is only in part, however, a political study. In seeking to understand the motives that lay behind their public actions, the book scrutinizes the earls' private affairs. It establishes for the first time the precise extent of their landed estates, the size of their incomes, and the membership and quality of their affinities. It also examines their relationships with friends and relatives, their building works, and even their personalities.
Extensive use is made throughout of unpublished manuscript sources: in particular, the hundreds of ministers' accounts that have survived from the administration of Roger IV Bigod, and the charters given by both earls, which are calendared and translated in an appendix.
- Boydell & Brewer, Limited
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- 6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.69(d)
Meet the Author
Dr Marc Morris is a medieval historian. His other books include The Norman Conquest and A Great and Terrible King: Edward I and the Forging of Britain
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In his The Bigod Earls of Norfolk in the Thirteenth Century, Marc Morris provides rare insight to an important English family during the reigns of Henry III and Edward I. This was the Bigod family and in particular, Earls Roger III and IV. Morris has taken all documentary sources he could find, patchy as they are, and showed how each of the Earls developed, both from a personal as well as a political basis. Largely ignored by many historians, the Bigod family, played a significant part at times in many key events from the 1200's on into the early 1300's when the last Roger, Roger Bigod IV, died (1306). Morris chronicles many events of the times and attempts to show the motivations of the Earls when they supported their king and at other times when they opposed his actions. a good example being Roger III's involvment in the establishment of the baronial council in 1258 or the 1261 Treaty of Kingston in Surrey. Morris gets into each of their personal lives by analyzing their lifestyles and loyalties, as well as their followers or "familiares". Although much of the private details of early English families can never be known for sure, Morris does an admirable job of taking known accounts and deducing the ebb and flow of their estates and personal relationships. In the end, he compares the Earls and surmises that Roger IV was much more of a builder than his uncle, Roger III. At the same time he acknowledges Roger III was a bit more pragmatic and politically involved, also enjoying a more loyal following than his nephew. This is a work to be enjoyed by the serious student of English history. So little has been documented about many of the "main" players of these early ages . it is really refreshing and illuminating when any of their lives can be fleshed out as well. Though not nonfiction as Mr Morris' work is, Elizabeth Chadwick's The Time of Singing is a very enjoyable work about Roger Bigod II. Chadwick develops her story staying true to basic historical timelines and offers much fact about the earlier Bigod family.