Bishop Herbert de Losinga of Norwich Cathedral

Stained glass window at Norwich Cathedral. Designed by Maria Forsythe (1905-91) in 1964 and made by G. King and Son. The scenes show St Julian of Norwich and Herbert de Losinga with the mottoes “Ora et Labora” and “Ut in omnibus glorificatur” (God may be glorified in all things).

Bishop Herbert de Losinga (2) held the Manor of Martham after  the Norman Conquest of 1066. He was the first Bishop of Norwich and founded Norwich Cathedral in 1096 when he was Bishop of Thetford.

Bishop Losinga was born in Exmes, near Argentan, Normandy, France as the son of Robert de Losinga (who later became Abbot of  Winchester). He was educated in Normandy and took his vows at Fécamp Abbey in Normandy where he eventually became prior. While serving in this office he was invited to England by William I (1066-1087) who appointed him Abbot of Ramsey Abbey in Huntingdonshire.

Losinga was consecrated as Bishop of Thetford in 1090 or 1091. He received the appointment having paid the King the astonishing sum of £1,900(1) as part of a deal in which his father was also made Abbot of Winchester. In 1094 he went to Rome to ask for forgiveness from the Pope for this act that was considered to be the sin of buying or selling of ecclesiastical privileges. On his return he transferred his seat of church governance from Thetford to Norwich which had become the  principal town of the diocese.

His new Prior Cathedral at Norwich needed financial support and so he gave the Manor of Martham and other land to the Priory of Norwich.    

In addition to Norwich Cathedral, Losinga was responsible for founding St Margaret’s Church in King’s Lynn; the Church of St Nicholas in Great Yarmouth and Norwich School.

Losinga visited Rome for a second time in 1116, representing Henry I in a dispute between the monarch and St. Anselm, the Archbishop of Canterbury. It may have been on the return journey that he fell severely ill at Placentia (modern Piacenza). One of Losinga’s last public appearances was at the funeral of Queen Matilda, the first wife of Henry I,  on May Day 1118. He died on 22 July 1119 and was buried before the high altar of Norwich Cathedral.

(1) Wikipedia. Herbert De Losinga
(2) Herbert de Losinga was once Abbot of Ramsey. Consecrated Bishop of Thetford before 27th January 1091.  Moved See to Norwich 1094/95, although not consistently called Bishop of Norwich until c1103.

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