He was the son of Hugh Bigod, and Matilda, a daughter of William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke and Marshal of England. On his father's death in 1225 he became 4th Earl of Norfolk. Still a minor, he was a ward of William de Longespee, 3rd Earl of Salisbury. After his marriage to Isabella, daughter of William the Lion, King of Scotland, he was a ward of his new brother-in-law, Alexander II of Scotland until he came of age in 1233.
After the death without male heirs of the last of his mother's brothers, Roger obtained the office of Marshal of England in 1246. He was prominent among the barons who wrested the control of the government from the hands of Henry III, and assisted Simon de Montfort.
Roger had no children, and was succeeded by his nephew, also named Roger.