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Archbishop William Warham

Archbishop William Warham

Birth
Death 22 Aug 1532 (aged 81–82)
Hackington, City of Canterbury, Kent, England
Burial Canterbury, City of Canterbury, Kent, England
Plot Tomb with an effigy in the north-west transept
Memorial ID 9954 · View Source
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Archbishop of Canterbury. He served in this position from November 1503 until his death in 1532, and was the last Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury before the Protestant Reformation occurred in England. He was born around 1450 in Hampshire, England, the son of a tenant farmer and was educated at Winchester College in Hampshire and at New College in Oxford, England. After graduating, he began practicing and teaching law in London, England and in Oxford. He then took holy orders and held two livings (Barley and Cottenham), and became Master of the Rolls (the second most senior judge in England and Wales) in 1494. English King Henry VII found him a useful and clever diplomatist and he helped to arrange the marriage between Henry's son, Arthur, Prince of Wales, and Catherine of Aragon, travelled to Scotland with Richard Foxe, then Bishop of Durham, in 1497, and was partly responsible for several commercial and other treaties with Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor who was also Count of Flanders and Regent Duke of Burgundy on behalf of his son Philip IV of Burgundy. In 1502 he became Bishop of London and became Keeper of the Great Seal, but his tenure of both these offices was short, as a year later he became Lord Chancellor and Archbishop of Canterbury. In 1506 he became Chancellor of Oxford University, a role he held until his death. In 1509 he married and then crowned King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. In 1515 he resigned as Lord Chancellor and was succeeded by Thomas Wolsey, whom he had consecrated as bishop of Lincoln in the previous year. In June 1520 he was present at the Field of the Cloth of Gold, the site of a meeting that took place in Calais, France between King Henry VIII of England and King Francis I of France, and assisted Wolsey as assessor during the secret inquiry into the validity of Henry VIII's marriage with Catherine in 1527. Throughout the divorce proceedings, his position was essentially that of an old and weary man. He was named as one of the counselors to assist the queen, but he was in fear of incurring the king's displeasure and using his favorite phrase "ira principis mors est" (the king's anger is death), and gave her very little help. He signed a letter to Pope Clement VII, urging him to assent to Henry's wish to divorce Catherine. However, in his final years he showed more independence. In February 1532, he protested against all acts concerning the church passed by the parliament that met in 1529, but it did not prevent the important proceedings which secured the complete submission of the church to the state later in the same year. Against this further compliance with Henry VIII's wishes, he drew up a protest, comparing his actions to that of King Henry II and urged Magna Carta in defense of the liberties of the church. He attempted in vain to strike a compromise during the Submission of the Clergy, a process by which the Church of England gave up its power to formulate church laws without the King's license and assent, first passed by the Convocation of Canterbury in 1532. While visiting his nephew, he died around the age of 82.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 15 Jun 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 9954
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Archbishop William Warham (1450–22 Aug 1532), Find A Grave Memorial no. 9954, citing Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury, City of Canterbury, Kent, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .