List of Archbishops of Canterbury

2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Religious movements, traditions and organizations

This is a list of the Archbishops of Canterbury. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the head of the established Church of England and of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Until the first break between the Church of England and the Papal authority in 1534, the Archbishops of Canterbury were in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church, which selected and consecrated them. After this the full communion was restored but then finally broken nearly 40 years later by the excommunication of Elizabeth I on April 27, 1570. Since 1570, the Archbishop has been selected by the English (latterly British) monarch. Today, the choice is made in the name of the Sovereign by the Prime Minister, from a shortlist of two selected by an ad hoc committee called the Crown Nominations Commission.

Today, the Archbishop fills four main roles:

  • He is the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury, which covers the east of the County of Kent and the extreme north-east of Surrey. Founded by Augustine in 597, it is the oldest bishopric in the English church.
  • He is the metropolitan of the Province of Canterbury, encompassing 30 dioceses in the southern two-thirds of England. The remaining 14 dioceses in the north of England fall within the Province of York, under the aegis of the Archbishop of York. Four dioceses in Wales were under the Province of Canterbury until they were transferred to the disestablished Church in Wales in 1920.
  • As "Primate of All England", he is the chief religious figure in the Church of England (the British sovereign is the " Supreme governor" of the church).
  • As symbolic head of the Anglican Communion, the archbishop is recognized as primus inter pares ("first among equals") of all Anglican primates.

Catholic Archbishops of Canterbury

Tenure Incumbent Notes
597 to 26 May 604* or 605 Augustine *Traditional date; prior of St Andrews; died in office; canonized: St Augustine
605 to 3 February 619 Laurentius
(Laurence; Lawrence)
Died in office; canonized: St Laurence of Canterbury
619 to 24 April 624 Mellitus
Translated from London; canonized: St Mellitus
624 to 10 November 627 Justus Translated from Rochester; died in office; canonized: St Justus
627 to 30 September 653 Honorius died in office; canonized: St Honorius
655 to 14 July 664 Deusdedit
(Deus-dedit; Adeodatus)
First English archbishop of Canterbury; known as Frithona prior to consecration; died in office; canonized: St Deusdedit
664 Wighard
Appointed by Pope Vitalian; died of plague before consecration
664 Adrian Appointed by Pope Vitalian but refused the see, canonised: St Adrian, Abott
664 to 668 vacant  
668 to 19 September 690 Theodore canonized: St Theodore of Tarsus
693 to 731 Bertwald
Abbot of Reculver; canonized: St Bertwald
731 to 734 Tatwin, Archbishop of Canterbury and Primate of All England
canonized: St Tatwine
735 to 740 Nothelm
canonized: St Nothelm
741 to 758 Cuthbert Translated from Hereford; canonized: St Cuthbert
759 to 764 Bregwin Canonized: St Bregwin
766 to 11/ 12 August 791 Jænbert
(Lambert; Genegberht; Jambert; Janbriht; Janibert; Lanbriht)
Abbot of St Augustia's; canonized: St Jaenbert
793 to 12 May 805 Æthelhard
Translated from Winchester; canonized: St Aethelhard
805 to 832 Wulfred Monk at Canterbury
832 to 832 Syred Died before obtaining full possession
832 to 832 Feologild
Abbot of Canterbury
833 to 870 Ceolnoth Dean of Canterbury
870 to 889 Æthelred Translated from Winchester
890 to 914 Plegmund Preceptor to King Alfred
914 to 923 Athelm
Translated from Wells
923 to 941 Wulfhelm
Translated from Wells
942 to 958 Odo
(Odo Severus; Oda the Severe)
Translated from Wilton; canonized: St Oda
959 to 959 Alfsige
959 to 959 Birthelm Translated from Wells, deposed & returned to Wells
960 to 988 Dunstan Translated from London
988 to 989 Athelgar
Translated from Selsey
990 to 994 Sigeric
(Sigeric the Serious)
Translated from Wilton
995 to 1005 Ælfric
(Elfric; Aluricius)
Translated from Wilton
1006 to 19 April 1012 Alphege
(Ælfheah; Elphege)
Translated from Winchester; Martyred by the Danes, canonized: St Alphege/St Elphege
1013 to 12 June 1020 Lyfing
(Leovingus; Livingus; Elstan)
Born Ælfstan; translated from Wells
1020 to 29 October 1038 Æthelnoth
(Æthelnotus; Ethelnoth; Egelnodus; Ednodus)
Dean of Canterbury
1038 to 1050 Edsige
(Eadsige; Eadsimus; Eadsin)
Canonized St Edsige. Crowned Edward the Confessor
1051 to 1052 Robert of Jumieges
(Robert Gemeticensis)
Fled England and was deposed
1052 to 1070 Stigand Bishop of Winchester; deprived of both sees for simony
1070 to 1089 Lanfranc Abbot of Caen; died in office; canonized: St Lanfranc
1093 to 21 April 1109 Anselm Abbot of Becco; died in office: canonized: St Anselm
1109 to 1114 vacant  
1114 to 1122 Ralph
(Ralph d'Escures; Rodolphus; Ralph de Turbine)
Translated from Rochester; died in office
1123 to 1136 William de Corbeil
(William Corbois; William Corbyl)
Prior of St Osyth; died in office
1136 to 1139 vacant  
1139 to 18 April 1161 Theobald of Bec Abbot of Bec; died in office
1161 to 1162 vacant  
1162 to 29 December 1170 Thomas Becket
(Thomas à Becket)
Archdeacon of Canterbury, Provost of Beverley, Lord Chancellor; murdered; canonized: St Thomas of Canterbury
1174 to 1184 Richard
(Richard of Dover)
Prior of Dover; died in office
1185 to 1190 Baldwin
(Baldwin of Exeter)
Translated from Worcester; died in office at the Siege of Ptolemais in the Crusades
1191 to 1191 Reginald Fitz Jocelin Translated from Wells; died in office
1191 to 1193 vacant  
1193 to 13 July 1205 Hubert Walter Translated from Salisbury; Lord Chancellor; died in office
1205 to 1206 Reginald Sub-prior, chosen by the monks but set aside by the king at their own request
1206 to 1207 John de Grey
(John Grey)
Bishop of Norwich; chosen by the monks but set aside by the pope
1207 to 9 July 1228 Cardinal Stephen Langton Died in office
1229 to 1231 Walter d'Eynsham
(Walter de Hempsham)
Chosen but set aside by the king and the pope
1229 Richard le Grant  
1231 Ralph Neville  
1232 John of Sittingbourne  
1232 John Blund  
1233 to 16 November 1240 Edmund Rich Prebendary of Salisbury; died in office; canonized: St Edmund Rich (the last Archbishop of Canterbury to be canonized)
1240 to 14 July 1270 Boniface
(Boniface of Savoy)
Died in office
1270 to 1270 William Chillenden
(Adam of Chillenden)
Chosen but set aside by the pope
1273 to 1278 Robert Kilwardby Made a cardinal; resigned
1278 to 1278 Robert Burnell Bishop of Bath & Wells; chosen but set aside by the pope
1279 to 1292 John Peckham
(John Pecham)
Canon of Lyons; provincial of Friars Minors; died in office
1294 to 1313 Robert Winchelsey Archdeacon of Essex; Chancellor of Oxford; died in office
1313 to 1313 Thomas Cobham Precentor of York; elected but not confirmed by the pope
1313 to 1327 Walter Reynolds Translated from Worcester; Lord Chancellor and Lord Treasurer; died in office
1328 to 1333 Simon Mepeham
(Simon Meopham)
Prebendary of Chichester; died in office
1333 to 1348 John de Stratford Translated from Winchester; Lord Chancellor; died in office
1348 to 1349 John de Ufford Dean of Lincoln, Lord Chancellor; died before consecration
1349 to 26 August 1349 Thomas Bradwardine Chancellor of London; died in office
1349 to 1366 Simon Islip Prebendary of St Paul's; secretary to the king and keeper of the Privy Seal; died in office
1366 to 1366 William Edington
(William Edendon)
Bishop of Winchester; elected but refused the see
1366 to 1368 Simon Langham Translated from Ely; made a cardinal and resigned the see
1368 to 1374 William Whittlesey
(William Wittlesey)
Translated from Worcester; died in office
1375 to 14 June 1381 Simon Sudbury
(Simon de Sudbury; Simon Tibold; Simon Theobold)
Translated from London; Lord Chancellor; beheaded by the rebels under Wat Tyler
1381 to 31 July 1396 William Courtenay Translated from London; died in office
1397 to 1398 Thomas Arundel
(Thomas Fitz-Alan)
Translated from York; Lord Chancellor; charged with high treason under Richard II, fled
1396 to 1398 Roger Walden  
1397 to 1414 Thomas Arundel
(Thomas Fitz-Alan)
Restored by Henry IV; died in office
1414 to 12 April 1443 Henry Chichele
(Henry Chicheley; Henry Checheley)
Translated from St David's; died in office
1443 to 25 May 1452 John Stafford Translated from Bath & Wells; cardinal; Lord Chancellor and Lord Treasurer; died in office
1452 to 1454 John Kemp Translated from York; cardinal; Lord Chancellor; died in office
1454 to 30 March 1486 Thomas Bourchier Translated from Ely; cardinal; Lord Chancellor; died in office
1486 to 15 September 1500 John Morton Translated from Ely; cardinal; Lord Chancellor; died in office
January 1501 to 27 January 1501 Thomas Langton Bishop of Winchester; died 5 days after being chosen
1501 to 15 February 1503 Henry Deane
(Henry Dean; Henry Dene)
Translated from Salisbury; died in office
1503 to 22 August 1532 William Warham Translated from London; Lord Chancellor; accepting the schism with Rome 1531
1533 to 21 March 1556 Thomas Cranmer Archdeacon of Taunton; openly Protestant from 1547; put to death by burning
1557 to 17 November 1558 Reginald Pole Dean of Exeter; cardinal; last Roman Catholic archbishop of Canterbury; died in office

Anglican Archbishops of Canterbury

Tenure Incumbent Notes
1559 to 17 May 1575 Matthew Parker Dean of Lincoln; died in office
1575 to 6 July 1583 Edmund Grindal Translated from York; died in office
1583 to 28 February 1604 John Whitgift Translated from Worcester; died in office
9 October 1604 to 2 November 1610 Richard Bancroft Translated from London; died in office
4 March 1611 to 5 August 1633 George Abbot Translated from London; died in office
6 August 1633 to 10 January 1645 William Laud Translated from London; executed in office
1645 to 1660 vacant  
3 September 1660 to 4 June 1663 William Juxon Translated from London; died in office
14 July 1663 to 1677 Gilbert Sheldon Translated from London
27 January 1678 to 1691 William Sancroft Dean of St Paul's; deprived for not taking oaths to William and Mary
23 April 1691 to 22 November 1694 John Tillotson Dean of St Paul's; died in office
1694 to 14 December 1715 Thomas Tenison Translated from Lincoln; died in office
1716 to 24 January 1737 William Wake Translated from Lincoln; died in office
1737 to 10 October 1747 John Potter Translated from Oxford; died in office
1747 to 23 March 1757 Thomas Herring Translated from York; died in office
1757 to 18 March 1758 Matthew Hutton Translated from York; died in office
1758 to 1768 Thomas Secker Translated from Oxford; died in office
1768 to 19 March 1783 Frederick Cornwallis Translated from Lichfield & Coventry; died in office
1783 to 18 January 1805 John Moore Translated from Bangor; died in office
2 February 1805 to 21 July 1828 Charles Manners-Sutton Translated from Norwich; died in office
4 August 1828 to 11 February 1848 William Howley Translated from London; died in office
22 February 1848 to 6 September 1862 John Bird Sumner Translated from Chester; died in office
20 October 1862 to 27 October 1868 Charles Thomas Longley Translated from York; died in office
26 November 1868 to 3 December 1882 Archibald Campbell Tait Translated from London; died in office
18 January 1883 to 1896 Edward White Benson Translated from Truro; died in office
1896 to 23 December 1902 Frederick Temple Translated from London; died in office
1903 to 1928 Randall Thomas Davidson Translated from Winchester; retired
1928 to 1942 William Cosmo Gordon Lang Translated from York; retired
1942 to 26 October 1944 William Temple Translated from York; died in office
1945 to 1961 Geoffrey Francis Fisher Translated from Lincoln
1961 to 1974 Arthur Michael Ramsey Translated from York; retired
1974 to 1980 Frederick Donald Coggan Translated from York; retired
1980 to 1991 Robert Alexander Kennedy Runcie Translated from St Albans; retired
1991 to 2002 George Leonard Carey Translated from Bath & Wells; retired
2002 to present Rowan Douglas Williams, FBA Translated from Monmouth
Where the full name of an incumbent is not generally used, the name that is most commonly used is shown in bold (so, for example, Rowan Douglas Williams is usually called simply Rowan Williams).
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