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  • ID: I11324
  • Name: Robert KING Abbott of Oseney and Thame; 1st Bishop of Oxford 1
  • Sex: M
  • Change Date: 14 MAR 2015
  • Note:
    Robert King, the first bishop of Oseney and of Oxford:
    A.D. 1542-1557. Robert King, descended from an old Devonshire family, which professed to trace itself upwards to the stock of the kings of Wessex. Robert King had been early admitted as a Cistercian monk at Rewley (Royal-lieu), near Oxford. He afterwards became abbot, first of Thame, and then of Oseney; and 1535 was consecrated suffragan of Lincoln, under the title of Bishop of Rheon, in the province of Athens. In 1542 he became Bishop of Oseney, and in 1545 Bishop of Oxford, as already mentioned. Little or nothing is known of his real character, which may not necessarily have been an unworthy one because, as Strype informs us, "he passed through all the changes under King Henry, King Edward, and Queen Mary;" or because "when suffragan he preached at St. Mary's in Stamford, where he most fiercely inveighed against such as used the New Testament," whilst in Queen Mary's reign he was "a persecutor of the Protestants." He died in 1557, leaving a considerable personal estate to his nephew, Philip King; "which it seems," says Fuller, "was quickly consumed, so that John King, Bishop of London (son of Philip), used to say he believed there was a fate in abbey money no less than abbey land, which seldom proved fortunate, or of continuance to the owners." Robert King was buried in the north-east part of the choir, but his monument was removed, about the year 1630, by his relatives John and Henry King (sons of the Bishop of London; Henry was afterwards Bishop of Chichester), to the south choir-aisle, where it now remains. The window above it was the gift of the same members of the King family, both of whom were at this time canons of Christ Church. (For an ample history of this branch of the "ancient Devonshire family," see the introduction and notes to Bishop Henry King's "Poems and Psalms," edited by the Rev. J. Hannah, London, 1843.)

    From DNB:
    Robert's brother William King was married to Anne Williams, a kinswoman of Morgan Williams. Morgan was married to Katherine, the sister of Sir Thomas Cromwell, and it was possibly this connection that brought Robert to Cromwell's attention. On 22 December 1537, although he was a Cistercian, King was elected abbot of the Augustinian house of Osney, an appointment organized by John London and John Tregonwell, themselves acting on the instructions of Cromwell. This election was made simply to facilitate the abbey's surrender, which took place on 17 November 1539, the day after that of Thame. King's reward was the new bishopric of Osney and Thame founded on 1 September 1542. He surrendered his office on 20 May 1545, but had his diocesan status renewed on 26 January 1546, when the new diocese of Oxford was established, with the former priory church of St Frideswide (part of the new college of Christ Church) replacing Osney as its cathedral. As bishop of Osney and Thame King lived both at Gloucester Hall in Oxford and at Thame Park (as his former monastery became known). 2 3
  • Birth:
  • Note: Second son. 4
  • Education: King, Robert (Kyng), Cistercian; B.D. (30) Feb., 1506-7, D.D. 28 Feb., 1518-9, disp. as abbot of Bruern, and also of Rewley Abbey, last abbot of Oseney and first bishop of Oxford 1542, until his death 4 Dec., 1557, s. William, of Thame, yeoman. See Ath.ii. 774; Lee's Thame, 385; Fasti, i. 18, 48; Churton, 107'; & Lansdowne MS. 980, f.227. 1506/7 5
  • Death: 04 DEC 1557 6

    Father: William KING of Thame, yeoman

    1. Title: Dictionary of National Biography
      Abbrev: DNB
      Publication: Oxford University Press
      Page: Robert King's article
      John King (Bishop of London)'s article
    2. Title: Website
      Abbrev: Website
      Page: History of the See of Oxford
      Handbook to the Cathedrals of England, by Richard John King
      published by John Murray, Albemarle Street, Oxford, 1862
      reproduced at
    3. Title: Dictionary of National Biography
      Abbrev: DNB
      Publication: Oxford University Press
      Page: Robert King article.
    4. Title: Dictionary of National Biography
      Abbrev: DNB
      Publication: Oxford University Press
      Page: Robert King's article
    5. Title: Alumni Oxonienses: The Members of the University of Oxford1500-1714 and 1715-1886
      Abbrev: Oxford Alumni
      Author: Compiler: Joseph Foster
      Publication: Parker & Co, Oxford
    6. Title: Dictionary of National Biography
      Abbrev: DNB
      Publication: Oxford University Press
      Page: Robert King article

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