Hugh of Lincoln

1135-1200. Bishop of Lincoln. Born in Burgundy and educated by Regular Canons at Villard-Benoit, he was professed there when fifteen years old, and subsequently became head of one of that House's dependencies at Maximum. Later he joined the Carthusian Order at Chartreuse where he remained for seventeen years. At Henry II* of England's request, he was sent to England as first prior of the Carthusian House at Witham, Somerset, founded by Henry II as part expiation for Becket's murder. Hugh built the house at Witham. He quickly impressed everyone by his personal holiness and integrity. He became a close friend of Henry, but could be fearlessly critical of his policies toward the English Church. Henry respected his attitude, and overriding Hugh's objections, he appointed him bishop of Lincoln in 1186.

Hugh applied himself tirelessly to the improvement of the see, which had been vacant for eighteen years. He introduced a program of clerical reform and started the rebuilding of Lincoln Cathedral, occasionally carrying hods of stones and mortar himself. As an important bishop he was involved also in political matters. In 1197 he was one of the feudatories who denied Richard I's right to insist that his barons should serve personally on the continent. In John's reign Hugh visited France on the king's behalf. He was a much-loved campaigner for justice. He insisted that Henry II compensate those evicted to make room for the House at Witham, and during the popular persecutions of the Jews in England he did all he could to protect them. He died in London and was buried at Lincoln. He was canonized in 1220.