Thame Local History
Robert King

Robert King was in his early years a Cistercian monk at Rewley Abbey, a daughter house of Thame Park Abbey.

He was a native of Thame, and from 1528 he was vicar of Charlbury.

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.

After the Reformation he became first of all Bishop of Thame and Osney and then the first Bishop of Oxford.

His brother, William King of Thame, was married to Anne Williams, sister of Sir John Williams.

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, Bishop of Lincoln, issued a damning report on Thame's Cistercian monastry, Thame Park Abbey, and its Abbot John Warren in 1525.

That is not to say that there was not ample cause for criticism. 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.

In 1537 Sir John Williams secured for Robert King the position of Abbot of Osney.

Thame Park Abbey was dissolved in 1539.

In 1541 Robert King was appointed Bishop of Thame and Osney.

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 Osney. It later moved to Christchurch Cathedral.

Robert King died in 1557 and is buried in St Aldate's Church, Oxford.

Christchurch Cathedral website,
Robert King Monument page

Christchurch Cathedral website, Osney page

Christchurch Cathedral website, home page

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