This earl is the hero of a famous altercation with Edward I in 1297, which arose out of the king's command that Bigod should serve against the king of France in Gascony, while he went to Flanders. The earl asserted that by the tenure of his lands he was only compelled to serve across the seas in the company of the king himself, whereupon Edward said, "By God, earl, you shall either go or hang," to which Bigod replied, "By the same oath, O king, I will neither go nor hang."
The earl gained his point, and after Edward had left for France he and Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford, prevented the collection of an aid for the war and forced Edward to confirm the charters in this year and again in 1301. William Stubbs says Bigod and Bohun "are but degenerate sons of mighty fathers; greater in their opportunities than in their patriotism."
Roger married first Alina Basset, daughter of the justiciar Philip Basset, and secondly Alice d'Avesnes, daughter of John II d'Avesnes, count of Hainaut.
The earl died without issue in December 1306, when his title became extinct, and his estates reverted to the crown. The Bigods held the hereditary office of steward (dapifer) of the royal household, and their chief castle was at Framlingham in Suffolk.