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Roger, abbot of Byland, 1142-96

Roger was one of the original group that left Furness for Calder in 1134. He officiated as the sub-cellarer there and later served as master of novices. In 1142, following the death of Abbot Gerold, Roger was elevated to the abbacy. Roger led the community to three new sites and after the Savigniacs’ absorption by the Cistercian Order in 1147, he oversaw their transition to the Cistercian way of life. Roger’s long and successful abbacy brought continuity and stability to an uncertain and difficult period. His influence extended beyond Byland, for it was at Roger’s instigation that a neighbouring Augustinian canon, William of Newburgh, wrote a commentary on the Song of Songs. Roger retired of old age in 1196, after an abbacy of over fifty years. However, he remained as a monk of Byland and indeed it was he who provided his successor, Philip, with information for the foundation history, compiled in 1197.