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Robert Grosseteste

c.1168-1253. Bishop of Lincoln and initiator of the English scientific tradition. Little is known of his life, but he was born of poor parents and studied at either Oxford or Paris. He became a member of the Arts faculty at Oxford and was made chancellor sometime between 1214 and 1221. He then became lecturer to the Oxford Franciscans (1229), leaving this post to take the bishopric of Lincoln (1235), England's largest diocese, where he remained till his death. He was a zealous bishop, deposing many abbots and priors because they neglected to staff adequately the parish churches in their care. He attended the Council of Lyons (1245) and in 1250 visited Rome, where he delivered a sermon in which he declared that the papal court was the origin of all the evils in the church; he objected also to the appointment of Italian friends and relatives of the pope to rich English benefices. The last years of his life were spent in a struggle to stop one of these appointments.