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Roger de Pont l'Évêque


Archbishop of york and supporter of henry ii in the great quarrel with Thomas becket; d. York, England, Nov. 21, 1181. Of Norman birth, Roger was a contemporary of Becket in the household of theobald, archbishop of Canterbury. He became archdeacon of Canterbury (1148), and a royal chaplain entrusted with business on King stephen's behalf at the papal Curia, before being consecrated archbishop of the northern province in 1154. Toward Becket, Roger was personally antipathetic, and his antagonism as archbishop led him to support King Henry II and to revive the claims of York as against canterbury, notably in his coronation of the young King Henry in 1170. For this act Becket secured from Pope alexander iii a bull suspending Roger from his office for infringing the prerogative of Canterbury. Following the murder of Becket, Roger was reinstated as archbishop after being absolved from complicity in the saint's death. A persistent champion of the rights of his see, Roger renewed the jurisdictional quarrel with the new archbishop, richard of canterbury, and pressed, unsuccessfully, for recognition of the primacy of York over the Church in Scotland.

Bibliography: j. c. robertson, ed., Materials for the History of Thomas Becket, 7 v. in Rerum Britannicarum medii aevi scriptores (also called Rolls Series) 244 v. (London 185896) 187585, passim. w. h. hutton, The Dictionary of National Biography from Earliest Times to 1900, 63 v. (London 18851900) 17:109111. d. knowles, The Episcopal Colleagues of Archbishop Thomas Becket (Cambridge, Eng. 1951).

[r. s. hoyt]

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