Hugh was born into a noble family at Avalon in Burgundy (France). He became a canon regular at Villard-Benoit near Grenoble. About 1160 he joined the Carthusians, the strictest contemplative order of the Church, at their major house, the Grande Chartreuse, of which he became the procurator. With great reluctance, he accepted the invitation of King Henry the Second to come to England as prior of a new Carthusian foundation at Witham, Somerset. With equal reluctance, Hugh accepted King Henry’s appointment to the See of Lincoln in 1186. He died in London, November 16, 1200, and is buried in Lincoln Cathedral, of which he laid the foundation.
As a bishop, Hugh continued to live as much as possible under the strict discipline of his order. His humility and tact, his total lack of self-regard, and his cheerful disposition made it difficult to oppose him in matters of Christian principle. His people loved him for his constant championship of the poor, the oppressed, and outcasts, especially lepers and Jews. He was completely independent of secular influences, and was never afraid to reprove his king for unjust exactions from his people. He firmly refused to raise money for King Richard’s foreign wars. Yet Richard said of him, “If all bishops were like my Lord of Lincoln, not a prince among us could lift his head against them.”*
Collect of the Day
Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln and Renewer of Society, 1200
O God, our heavenly Father, you raised up your faithful servant Hugh of Lincoln to be a Bishop and pastor in your Church and to feed your flock: Give abundantly to all pastors the gifts of your Holy Spirit, that they may minister in your household as true servants of Christ and stewards of your divine mysteries; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (BCP 2019)
*Church Publishing. Lesser Feasts and Fasts (Kindle Locations 7669-7679). Church Publishing Inc.. Kindle Edition.