11th December 1139 - death of Bishop Roger

Roger of Salisbury, possiblyOn 11th December 1139 Bishop Roger died.

Bishop Roger was the seventh Lord Chancellor of England - a very significant figure politically. The Lord Chancellor was the second most important position in government[1].

Roger broadly ruled the country while King Henry was abroad from 1123 to 1136 - he was officially appointed Regent.

Roger’s political star began to wain with the death of King Henry. He was caught up in the struggle between Stephen and Mathilda, and was accused of treason.

He returned to Old Sarum a broken man and according to the Dictionary of National Biography ‘he died on 11 December 1139 of a quartan fever brought on by the mental anguish of his recent ill treatment. According to William of Malmesbury, he was mourned by very few owing to the envious hatred engendered by his excessive power. His sudden fall and wretched death were widely seen as divine retribution for overweening ambition[2].’

Image Credit

The picture is of the memorial believed to be that of Roger.

By Ealdgyth (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


[1] Wikipedia says that ‘the position emerged as one of the most important ones in government. He was only outranked in government by the Justiciar (now obsolete)’ - [Lord Chancellor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia]

[2] B. R. Kemp, ‘Salisbury, Roger of (d. 1139)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2012 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/23956, accessed 6 Dec 2013]