Robert KING

(Bishop of Oseney and Oxford)

Died: 4 Dec 1558

Buried: St Aldate's Church, Oxford, England

A native of Thame, was in his early years a Cistercian monk at Rewley Abbey, a daughter house of Thame Park Abbey, and from 1528 he was vicar of Charlbury. His brother, William King of Thame, was married to Anne Williams, sister of Sir John Williams. He went on to become a suffragan Bishop under John Longlands, Bishop of Lincoln, before becoming the Abbot of Thame Park and the Abbot of Osney, Oxford.

King Henry VIII was intent on the Dissolution of the English monasteries, and it is perhaps no surprise that the King's one time confessor, John Longlands, issued a damning report on Thame's Cistercian monastry, Thame Park Abbey, and its Abbot John Warren in 1525. The Cistercians had been a great and powerful order in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, but in the sixteenth century the finest hour of Thame Park Abbey had long past. John Warren died in 1529 and Bishop Longlands petitioned Cardinal Wolsey advising him against appointing one of the errant local monks to his position. The Bishop's wish prevailed and in 1529 Robert King, his suffragan Bishop, was appointed Abbot of Thame Park. He was to be the last Abbot. Thame Park Abbey was dissolved in 1539.

In 1537 Sir John Williams secured for Robert King the position of Abbot of Oseney, and within two years he had surrendered the monastery to the Royal Commisioners.. In 1541 Robert King was appointed Bishop of Thame and Oseney.

In 1542, King Henry VIII established the Diocese of Oxford, more or less conforming to the county boundary.

Robert King became the first Bishop of Oxford in 1542. At first the see of Oxford was based at Oseney. It later moved to Christchurch Cathedral.

Robert King died in 1558 and is buried in St Aldate's Church, Oxford.

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