Robert Grosseteste became one of the most significant bishops in England in the 13th century. Little is known of his early life. He was educated at Oxford and possibly Paris. He was a briliant scholar and from 1224 till his appointment as bishop of Lincoln in 1235 he taught at the new Franciscan house at the University of Oxford.
The Diocese of Lincoln was the largest diocese in England at the time. Grosseteste proved himself a conscientious and efficient bishop. He was a vigorous and determined proponent of the reform of the church. His visits resulted in the tightening up of discipline and improved standards among the clergy. Such changes did not please everybody, and he had some opposition. Grosseteste also resisted royal interference in the English Church. In his interest in reform of the church, Grosseteste strongly influenced John Wickliffe.
Grosseteste was also in conflict with Rome over the policy of appointing Italians to rich English livings, a policy Grosseteste attacked vigorously during a visit to Rome in 1250. He refused to accept the appointment of a nephew of the pope to a living in his diocese.
Like many Franciscans, Grosseteste was unsympathetic to the rediscovered teachings of Aristotle, which emphasised the evidence of the senses as a source of knowledge. Nevertheless, he did much to encourage the emerging scientific method. Roger Bacon expressed his indebtedness to the work of Grosseteste and A.C. Crombie describes him as "the real founder of the tradition of scientific thought in medieval Oxford". Robert Grosseteste was a man of wide interests in both science and theology. He translated a large number of works on philosophy and theology, wrote commentaries on some parts of the Bible, and wrote works on philosophy and theology, his treatise,'On Light', in particular. His theological writings are striking for their penetrating metaphors and similes. In addition he wrote a number of pastoral and devotional works.
Stradbroke, Suffolk, England
DIED: 9 October 1253, Buckden, Cambridgeshire, England.