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William Rugg (also Rugge, Repps, Reppes; died 1550) was an English Benedictine theologian, and bishop of Norwich from 1536 to 1549.

The Right Reverend

William Rugg
Bishop of Norwich
ChurchChurch of England
DioceseDiocese of Norwich
Term ended1549 (resignation)
PredecessorRichard Nykke
SuccessorThomas Thirlby
Other postsAbbot of St Benet's Abbey (1530–1539)
Consecrationc. 1536
Personal details
BornNorthrepps, Norfolk
DenominationCatholic (Anglican)
Alma materGonville Hall, Cambridge


He was born in Northrepps, Norfolk.[1]

He was a Doctor of Divinity of Gonville Hall, Cambridge in 1513.[2] The Carthusian Thomas Spencer (died 1529) wrote A Trialogus between Thomas Bilney, Hugh Latimer and William Repps, in which Rugg appears to balance two reformers.[3][4]

He became Abbot of St Benet's Abbey in 1530.[5] He retained the abbey in commendam on being appointed bishop of Norwich; the community there was suppressed in 1539.[6][7]

He was one of the authors of The Bishops' Book of 1537.[8] A theological conservative, he was one of the group trying, without success, to have the Book include material defending pilgrimages.[9] He disputed publicly with Robert Watson, an early evangelical Protestant, in 1539, on the topic of free will.[10]


He resigned his diocese in 1549. Reasons given are financial problems,[5] and royal anger at his sloth in opposing Kett's Rebellion (which may have amounted to sympathy).[11] Gilbert Burnet claimed that the see was needed as place to move Thomas Thirlby, bishop of Westminster, so that Nicholas Ridley could be translated from Rochester, to become bishop of London.[12] Rugge had in fact long been a thorn in Thomas Cranmer's flesh, and after Kett was put down he was eased out in disgrace, but pardoned and pensioned off.[13]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Rugg, William (RG508W)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Attribution by Bale: Robert W. Dunning, The West-Country Carthusians p. 37. Christopher Harper-Bill (editor), Religious Belief and Ecclesiastical Careers in Late Medieval England: Proceedings of the Conference Held at Strawberry Hill, Easter, 1989 (1991).
  5. ^ a b Concise Dictionary of National Biography
  6. ^ David Knowles, The Religious Orders in England (1979 edition), p. 390.
  7. ^ Historic England. "Monument No. 133454". PastScape. Retrieved 8 October 2008.
  8. ^
  9. ^ Diarmaid MacCulloch, Cranmer (1997), p. 190.
  10. ^
  11. ^ (PDF), p. 59.
  12. ^ Gilbert Burnet, The History of the Reformation of the Church of England (1829), p. 309.
  13. ^ Diarmaid MacCulloch, Cranmer (1997), p. 456-7.
Church of England titles
Preceded by
Richard Nykke
Bishop of Norwich
Succeeded by
Thomas Thirlby