Nigel of Ely

Nigel Of Ely, an English ecclesiastic of the 12th century, was a native of Normandy. His uncle Roger was bishop of Salisbury and chancellor of England, while his brother Alexander was bishop of Lincoln. He is said to have studied under Anselm of Laon. Appointed treasurer of king Henry I, he gained the favor of that prince, who at the death of Hervey presented him with the bishopric of Ely. Nigel was subsequently elected by the clergy, but not caring to assume the charge of governing his diocese he remained at court. English ecclesiastical writers give an unfavorable account of his morals. In order to live in grand style he despoiled the churches and convents, and his conduct drew severe rebukes from Thomas, archbishop of Canterbury. After the death of Henry, Stephen ascended the throne, and he showed himself less partial to Nigel, who then took part in various conspiracies of the lords against Stephen. His goods were sequestered, and he himself was banished from the kingdom. Being allowed to return he resumed his office, but was interdicted by Adrian IV for new excesses, and died May 30, 1169. Nigel had a natural son named Richard, who was afterwards bishop of London. It is known that one of the great cares of Gregory VII had been the reform of the manners of the English episcopate. What is related to us of Nigel proves sufficiently that this reform had not then been effected. See Hist.

litter. de la France, 13:403; Anglia Sacra, 1:97; Angl. hist. script. 1:266; Piper, Monumental Theology, § 78; Inett, Hist. of the Eng. Ch. Vol. ii, bk. ix, § 10,16, and 19.

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