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Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln

Hugh was born at Avalon in Burgundy in 1140, the son of Guillaume, Seigneur of Avalon. His mother Anne died when he was eight, and because his father was a soldier, he went to a boarding school for his education. Guillaume retired from the world to the Augustinian monastery of Villard-Benoît, near Grenoble, and took his son Hugh, with him.  When Hugh was twenty-five, he became a monk at Grande Chartreuse and, at the age of fifteen, he became a religious novice and was ordained a deacon at the age of nineteen. About 1159, he was sent to be Prior of the nearby monastery at Saint-Maximin presumably already a priest.

In about 1175, he was invited by the English king, Henry II, to become prior of his Charterhouse foundation at Witham in Somerset, badly in need of reform even though it had been only recently founded. In 1186, Hugh was persuaded to accept the See of Lincoln, then the largest diocese in the land. He brought huge energy to the diocese and, together with discerning appointments to key posts, he revived the Lincoln schools, repaired and enlarged the cathedral, visited the See extensively, drew together the clergy to meet in synod and generally brought an efficiency and stability to the Church which was to be much emulated.

Hugh also showed great compassion for the poor and the oppressed, ensuring that sufferers of leprosy were cared for and that Jews were not persecuted. He both supported his monarch and also held out against any royal measures he felt to be extreme, yet managing not to make an enemy of the king.

Lincoln Cathedral had been badly damaged by an earthquake in 1185, and Hugh set about rebuilding and greatly enlarging it in the new Gothic style.  He only lived long enough, however, to see the choir well begun. In 1194, he expanded the St Mary Magdalen's Church, Oxford. While attending a national council in London, a few months later, he was stricken with an unnamed ailment and died two months later on 16 November 1200.  He was buried in Lincoln Cathedral.

He died in London on 17th November, 1200.