Robert Grosseteste

(c.1175-1253) Bishop of Lincoln, 1235, one of the greatest scholars of the Middle Ages. He came from Suffolk and studied at Oxford, where subsequently he won fame as a teacher. He laid more stress on scriptural studies than on intellectual speculation. His insistence on experiment in science won the praise of Roger Bacon, and in addition to a commentary on Aristotle's "Physics," he wrote original treatises in meteorology and optics, and pointed out the defects of the Julian calendar. His studies on Christian antiquities were so important that the beginning of the Christian Renaissance has been dated from him. He befriended the Franciscans on their arrival at Oxford, and encouraged their work throughout his life. From the inception of his episcopate he revived diocesan visitations, which he carried out thoroughly, though this involved him in difficulties with the Cistercian monasteries, on account of the exemptions they claimed. In these disputes he appealed to the supreme authority of the Holy See, yet he did not hesitate to oppose the abuses of the papal administration in regard to English benefices. The Bishop of Lincoln held a high position in the state. Personally on friendly terms with Henry III, he was frequently obliged to oppose the royal policy in both ecclesiastical and civil matters. After his death, he was regarded throughout England as a saint, but though efforts were made by several prelates to procure his canonization, they were unsuccessful.

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