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Lincoln cathedral 01 westfront.jpg
The west front of Lincoln Cathedral which is all that remains of Remigius' building work there.
Denomination Catholic
Senior posting
See Diocese of Dorchester
Diocese of Lincoln
Title Bishop of Dorchester
Bishop of Lincoln
Period in office c. 1067–1092
Predecessor Wulfinus
Successor Robert Bloet
Religious career
Previous post Almoner of Fécamp Abbey
Date of death 8 May 1092

Remigius de Fécamp (or just Remigius) (died 7 May 1092) was a Benedictine monk who was a supporter of William the Conqueror.


Early life

Remigius held the office of almoner at Fécamp Abbey.[1] He was related to William in some unknown manner.[2] He was also related to William of Aincourt, who was also related to King William II of England.[3]

Bishop under William I

He was given the Bishopric of Dorchester in 1067.[1] This was the largest diocese in England at the time,[2] and was the first bishopric to become vacant after the Norman Conquest of England.[4] The reason for his appointment was his service to the new king, particularly for his donation of ships to the Norman Conquest.[5] This led to accusations of simony, or the purchase of ecclesiastical office, against Remigius. Besides the ships, Remigius was also present at the Battle of Hastings.[6]

Remigius was consecrated by Stigand, the archbishop of Canterbury, sometime around 1067.[7][1][8] Later, due to Stigand's uncanonical status, Remigius had to receive papal absolution for the uncanonical consecration.[9] Pope Alexander II had deprived him of his office, requiring Remigius to travel to Rome in order to regain his see, which he did in 1071.[1] He owed his restoration to the intercession of Lanfranc, the new archbishop of Canterbury, who had petitioned Alexander for Remigius' pardon.[4]

In the years 1071–1074 Remigius was involved in as a royal judge in a case dealing with lands of Ely Abbey that were lost. Remigius served with Geoffrey de Montbray, the Bishop of Coutances, Waltheof, Earl of Northumbria, and two sheriffs.[10] Remigius was said by Gerald of Wales, a medieval chronicler, to have set up 21 prebends for his cathedral clergy. He also was involved in a long dispute with the monks of Ely over the episcopal rights over the abbey.[4]

The seat of his see was at Dorchester, but in 1072 the Accord of Winchester arranged that bishoprics should be in cities and not small villages, so Remigius moved his see to Lincoln.[1] The diocese received grants of lands, both in Lincoln and elsewhere, as part of the move. The choice of Lincoln was dictated by the wealth of the town and its location, which was on a strategic site on the River Witham and was at the junction of two roads.[4] He received papal approval for the move before 21 April 1073.[1]

He was one of the bishops that met in 1085 at Gloucester, and took part in the discussions there that led to the survey known as Domesday Book. Remigius was heavily involved in the creation of Domesday.[11] He served as a Domesday commissioner for Worcester.[4]

Bishop under William II

Remigius was present at the first Christmas court held by William II at Westminster, along with a number of other bishops and barons.[12]

Henry of Huntingdon, a medieval chronicler, recorded that Remigius was once accused of treason, but was cleared after one of his servants performed the ordeal of hot iron, which he survived. The exact date of this event is unknown, and it might be connected with either the rebellion in 1075 against William I. Another possibility is that it was part of the rebellion of Odo of Bayeux at the start of William II's reign. A third possibility is that it might not be connected to either rebellion.[13]

He began the construction of Lincoln Cathedral, which was consecrated in 1092, two days after Remigius' death.[14] The church was modeled after the cathedral at Rouen,[6] as well as the abbey church of St Etienne, Caen.[4] The tower he constructed, which is now incorporated into the west front of the Cathedral, may have been constructed as a keep tower. The art historian Anthony Quiney suggests that the tower may have served as the bishop's palace until the time of Alexander of Lincoln.[15]

His last days were dominated by a struggle with Thomas, the Archbishop of York, who claimed that the diocese of Lincoln was within his province, instead of Canterbury. The medieval chronciler John of Worcester related that Remigius bribed King William II to order all the English bishops to attend the consecration, in order to sidestep Thomas' efforts to assert his claims to Lincoln. The consecration conflict is part of a tale related by another medieval chronciler, William of Malmesbury, about the astrological interests of Robert Losinga, the Bishop of Hereford. According to William of Malmesbury, Robert's astrological horoscopes predicted Remigius' death and that it would take place prior to the cathedral's consecration.[14]

Remigius introduced Benedictine monks to the abbey of St. Mary at Stow before 1076, and annexed Eynsham Abbey to Stow in 1091.[16] This may have been the opening move in an attempt to introduce monks into the Lincoln cathedral chapter, but Remigius' successor, Robert Bloet, did not follow through with the scheme, if this was the intention.[17]

Death and legacy

Most sources give his death date as 8 May, but his death was commemorated on 6 May.[1] In the twelfth century, a haigiography was written and attempts were made to have him canonized as a saint.[6] The Vita Sancti Remigi was composed by Gerald of Wales. Although miracles were ascribed to him and cult persisted into the thirteenth century, he was never canonized.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Greenway Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066–1300: volume 3: Lincoln: Bishops
  2. ^ a b Keats-Rohan Domesday People pp. 357–358
  3. ^ Barlow William Rufus p. 133
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Cowdrey "Remigius (d. 1092)" Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  5. ^ Douglas William the Conqueror p. 326 and footnote 3
  6. ^ a b c Barlow English Church 1066–1154 p. 61
  7. ^ Fryde, et. al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 255
  8. ^ Williams English and the Norman Conquest p. 17
  9. ^ Williams English and the Norman Conquest p. 46
  10. ^ Douglas William the Conqueror p. 306
  11. ^ Huscroft Ruling England p. 126
  12. ^ Mason William II p. 53
  13. ^ Barlow William Rufus pp. 91–92 and footnote 184
  14. ^ a b Mason William II p. 77
  15. ^ Quiney "Hall or Chamber" Architectural History pp. 32–33
  16. ^ Burton Monastic and Religious Orders p. 230
  17. ^ Knowles Monastic Order p. 132


  • Barlow, Frank (1979). The English Church 1066–1154: A History of the Anglo-Norman Church. New York: Longman. ISBN 0-582-50236-5. 
  • Barlow, Frank (1983). William Rufus. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-04936-5. 
  • Burton, Janet (1994). Monastic and Religious Orders in Britain: 1000–1300. Cambridge Medieval Textbooks. Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-37797-8. 
  • Cowdrey, H. E. J. (2004). "Remigius (d. 1092)" (fee required). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press.  Accessed 3 April 2009
  • Douglas, David C. (1964). William the Conqueror: The Norman Impact Upon England. Berkeley: University of California Press. 
  • Fryde, E. B.; Greenway, D. E.; Porter, S.; Roy, I. (1996). Handbook of British Chronology (Third revised ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-56350-X. 
  • Greenway, Diana E. (1977). Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066–1300: volume 3: Lincoln: Bishops. Institute Of Historical Research.  Accessed on 28 October 2007
  • Huscroft, Richard (2005). Ruling England 1042–1217. London: Pearson/Longman. ISBN 0-582-84882-2. 
  • Keats-Rohan, K. S. B. (1999). Domesday People: A Prosopography of Persons Occurring in English Documents, 1066–1166: Domesday Book. Ipswich, UK: Boydell Press. ISBN 0-85115-722-x. 
  • Knowles, David (1976). The Monastic Order in England: A History of its Development from the Times of St. Dunstan to the Fourth Lateran Council, 940–1216 (Second reprint ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-05479-6. 
  • Mason, Emma (2005). William II: Rufus, the Red King. Stroud: Tempus. ISBN 0-7524-3528-0. 
  • Williams, Ann (2000). The English and the Norman Conquest. Ipswich: Boydell Press. ISBN 0-85115-708-4. 

Further reading

  • Bates, David (1992). Bishop Remigius of Lincoln, 1067–1092. Lincoln. 
  • Blair, John (February 2001). "Estate Memoranda of C. 1070 from the See of Dorchester-on-Thames". The English Historical Review 116 (465): 114–123. 
  • Quiney, Anthony (2001). "In Hoc Signo: The West Front of Lincoln Cathedral". Architectural History 44: 162–171. 
  • Van Houts, Elizabeth (1987). "The Ship List of William the Conqueror". Anglo-Norman Studies. 10. pp. 159–183. 
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
None (office reconstituted from Bishop of Dorchester)
Bishop of Lincoln
Succeeded by
Robert Bloet


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