Richard Bancroft

Richard Bancroft

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Archbishop
Archbishop
An archbishop is a bishop of higher rank, but not of higher sacramental order above that of the three orders of deacon, priest , and bishop...

 Richard Bancroft
, DD
Doctor of Divinity
Doctor of Divinity is an advanced academic degree in divinity. Historically, it identified one who had been licensed by a university to teach Christian theology or related religious subjects....

, BD
Bachelor of Divinity
In Western universities, a Bachelor of Divinity is usually an undergraduate academic degree awarded for a course taken in the study of divinity or related disciplines, such as theology or, rarely, religious studies....

, MA
Master of Arts (Oxbridge)
In the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Dublin, Bachelors of Arts of these universities are admitted to the degree of Master of Arts or Master in Arts on application after six or seven years' seniority as members of the university .There is no examination or study required for the degree...

, BA
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

(1544 – 2 November 1610) was an English churchman, who became Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop of Canterbury
The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. In his role as head of the Anglican Communion, the archbishop leads the third largest group...

 and the "chief overseer" of the production of the authorized version of the Bible.

Life


Bancroft was born at Farnworth, then a village in south Lancashire
Lancashire
Lancashire is a non-metropolitan county of historic origin in the North West of England. It takes its name from the city of Lancaster, and is sometimes known as the County of Lancaster. Although Lancaster is still considered to be the county town, Lancashire County Council is based in Preston...

, in 1544. His early education was at Farnworth grammar school
Grammar school
A grammar school is one of several different types of school in the history of education in the United Kingdom and some other English-speaking countries, originally a school teaching classical languages but more recently an academically-oriented secondary school.The original purpose of mediaeval...

 which had been founded by bishop William Smyth
William Smyth
William Smyth was Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield from 1493 to 1496 and then Bishop of Lincoln until his death. He held political offices, the most important being Lord President of the Council of Wales and the Marches. He became very wealthy and was a benefactor of a number of institutions...

 who had also been born in the village. He was later educated at Cambridge
Cambridge
The city of Cambridge is a university town and the administrative centre of the county of Cambridgeshire, England. It lies in East Anglia about north of London. Cambridge is at the heart of the high-technology centre known as Silicon Fen – a play on Silicon Valley and the fens surrounding the...

, first at Christ's College
Christ's College, Cambridge
Christ's College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge.With a reputation for high academic standards, Christ's College averaged top place in the Tompkins Table from 1980-2000 . In 2011, Christ's was placed sixth.-College history:...

 and afterwards at Jesus College
Jesus College, Cambridge
Jesus College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England.The College was founded in 1496 on the site of a Benedictine nunnery by John Alcock, then Bishop of Ely...

. He took his degree of BA
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

 in 1567 and that of MA
Master of Arts (Oxbridge)
In the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Dublin, Bachelors of Arts of these universities are admitted to the degree of Master of Arts or Master in Arts on application after six or seven years' seniority as members of the university .There is no examination or study required for the degree...

 in 1570. Ordained about that time, he was named chaplain to Richard Cox
Richard Cox (bishop)
Richard Cox was an English clergyman, who was Dean of Westminster and Bishop of Ely.-Biography:Cox was born of obscure parentage at Whaddon, Buckinghamshire, in 1499 or 1500....

, then bishop of Ely
Bishop of Ely
The Bishop of Ely is the Ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Ely in the Province of Canterbury. The diocese roughly covers the county of Cambridgeshire , together with a section of north-west Norfolk and has its see in the City of Ely, Cambridgeshire, where the seat is located at the...

, and in 1575 was presented to the rectory of Teversham
Teversham
Teversham is a small village in Cambridgeshire located roughly from Fulbourn, and is roughly from the centre of Cambridge. It is a small village compared to neighbouring ones...

 in Cambridgeshire
Cambridgeshire
Cambridgeshire is a county in England, bordering Lincolnshire to the north, Norfolk to the northeast, Suffolk to the east, Essex and Hertfordshire to the south, and Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire to the west...

. The next year he was one of the preachers to the university.

He graduated BD
Bachelor of Divinity
In Western universities, a Bachelor of Divinity is usually an undergraduate academic degree awarded for a course taken in the study of divinity or related disciplines, such as theology or, rarely, religious studies....

 in 1580 and DD
Doctor of Divinity
Doctor of Divinity is an advanced academic degree in divinity. Historically, it identified one who had been licensed by a university to teach Christian theology or related religious subjects....

 five years later. In 1584 he was made rector
Rector
The word rector has a number of different meanings; it is widely used to refer to an academic, religious or political administrator...

 of St Andrew, Holborn
St Andrew, Holborn
St Andrew, Holborn is a Church of England church on the northwestern edge of the City of London, on Holborn within the Ward of Farringdon Without.-Roman and medieval:Roman pottery was found on the site during 2001/02 excavations in the crypt...

. In 1585 he was appointed treasurer of St Paul's cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral, London, is a Church of England cathedral and seat of the Bishop of London. Its dedication to Paul the Apostle dates back to the original church on this site, founded in AD 604. St Paul's sits at the top of Ludgate Hill, the highest point in the City of London, and is the mother...

, London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, and in 1586 was made a member of the ecclesiastical commission. On 9 February 1589 he preached at Paul's Cross
St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral, London, is a Church of England cathedral and seat of the Bishop of London. Its dedication to Paul the Apostle dates back to the original church on this site, founded in AD 604. St Paul's sits at the top of Ludgate Hill, the highest point in the City of London, and is the mother...

 a sermon, the substance of which was a passionate attack on the Puritan
Puritan
The Puritans were a significant grouping of English Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries. Puritanism in this sense was founded by some Marian exiles from the clergy shortly after the accession of Elizabeth I of England in 1558, as an activist movement within the Church of England...

s. He described their speeches and proceedings, caricatured their motives, denounced the exercise of the right of private judgment, and set forth the divine right of bishops in such strong language that one of the queen’s councillors held it to amount to a threat against the supremacy of the crown.

In the following year Bancroft was made a prebendary
Prebendary
A prebendary is a post connected to an Anglican or Catholic cathedral or collegiate church and is a type of canon. Prebendaries have a role in the administration of the cathedral...

 of St Paul's; he had been canon
Canon (priest)
A canon is a priest or minister who is a member of certain bodies of the Christian clergy subject to an ecclesiastical rule ....

 of Westminster
Westminster Abbey
The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English,...

 since 1587. He was chaplain successively to Lord Chancellor Hatton
Christopher Hatton
Sir Christopher Hatton was an English politician, Lord Chancellor of England and a favourite of Elizabeth I of England.-Early days:...

 and Archbishop Whitgift
John Whitgift
John Whitgift was the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1583 to his death. Noted for his hospitality, he was somewhat ostentatious in his habits, sometimes visiting Canterbury and other towns attended by a retinue of 800 horsemen...

. In June 1597, he was consecrated Bishop of London
Bishop of London
The Bishop of London is the ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of London in the Province of Canterbury.The diocese covers 458 km² of 17 boroughs of Greater London north of the River Thames and a small part of the County of Surrey...

; and from this time, in consequence of the age and incapacity for business of Archbishop Whitgift, he was virtually invested with the power of primate, and had the sole management of ecclesiastical affairs. Among the more noteworthy cases which fell under his direction were the proceedings
Marprelate Controversy
The Marprelate Controversy was a war of pamphlets waged in England and Wales in 1588 and 1589, between a puritan writer who employed the pseudonym Martin Marprelate, and defenders of the Established Church....

 against "Martin Marprelate
Martin Marprelate
Martin Marprelate was the name used by the anonymous author or authors of the seven Marprelate tracts which circulated illegally in England in the years 1588 and 1589...

", Thomas Cartwright
Thomas Cartwright (churchman)
Thomas Cartwright was an English Puritan churchman.He was born in Hertfordshire, and studied divinity at St John's College, Cambridge. On the accession of Queen Mary I of England in 1553, he was forced to leave the university, and found occupation as clerk to a counsellor-at-law...

 and his friends, and John Penry
John Penry
John Penry is Wales's most famous Protestant martyr.-Early life:He was born in Brecknockshire, Wales; Cefn Brith, a farm near Llangammarch, is traditionally recognised as his birthplace. He matriculated at Peterhouse, Cambridge, in December 1580, being then probably a Roman Catholic; but soon...

, whose "seditious writings" he caused to be intercepted and given up to the lord keeper.

In 1600 he was sent on an embassy, with others, to Emden
Emden
Emden is a city and seaport in the northwest of Germany, on the river Ems. It is the main city of the region of East Frisia; in 2006, the city had a total population of 51,692.-History:...

, for the purpose of settling certain matters in dispute between the English
English people
The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English. The English identity is of early mediaeval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Anglecynn. England is now a country of the United Kingdom, and the majority of English people in England are British Citizens...

 and the Dane
Kingdom of Denmark
The Kingdom of Denmark or the Danish Realm , is a constitutional monarchy and sovereign state consisting of Denmark proper in northern Europe and two autonomous constituent countries, the Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic and Greenland in North America. Denmark is the hegemonial part, where the...

s. This mission, however, failed. Bancroft was present at the death of Queen Elizabeth
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

.

Archbishop of Canterbury


In March 1604 Bancroft, on Whitgift's death, was appointed by royal writ president of convocation then assembled; and he there presented a book of canons collected by himself. It was adopted and received the royal approval, but was strongly opposed and set aside by Parliament two months afterwards. In the following November he was elected successor to Whitgift in the see of Canterbury
Canterbury
Canterbury is a historic English cathedral city, which lies at the heart of the City of Canterbury, a district of Kent in South East England. It lies on the River Stour....

. He continued to show the same zeal and severity as before, and with so much success that Lord Clarendon
Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon
Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon was an English historian and statesman, and grandfather of two English monarchs, Mary II and Queen Anne.-Early life:...

, writing in his praise, expressed the opinion that "if Bancroft had lived, he would quickly have extinguished all that fire in England which had been kindled at Geneva."

In 1608 he was chosen chancellor of the University of Oxford
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

. One of his last public acts was a proposal laid before Parliament for improving the revenues of the Church, and a project for a college of controversial divinity at Chelsea
Chelsea, London
Chelsea is an area of West London, England, bounded to the south by the River Thames, where its frontage runs from Chelsea Bridge along the Chelsea Embankment, Cheyne Walk, Lots Road and Chelsea Harbour. Its eastern boundary was once defined by the River Westbourne, which is now in a pipe above...

. In the last few months of his life he took part in the discussion about the consecration of certain Scottish bishops, and it was in pursuance of his advice that they were consecrated by several bishops of the English Church. By this act were laid the foundations of the Scottish Episcopal Church
Scottish Episcopal Church
The Scottish Episcopal Church is a Christian church in Scotland, consisting of seven dioceses. Since the 17th century, it has had an identity distinct from the presbyterian Church of Scotland....

. Bancroft was "the chief overseer" of the authorized version of the Bible. He died at Lambeth Palace
Lambeth Palace
Lambeth Palace is the official London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury in England. It is located in Lambeth, on the south bank of the River Thames a short distance upstream of the Palace of Westminster on the opposite shore. It was acquired by the archbishopric around 1200...

 on 2 November 1610.

See also

  • John Bancroft
    John Bancroft (bishop)
    John Bancroft was a Bishop of Oxford and a University of Oxford administrator. He was Master of University College, Oxford.John Bancroft was the nephew of Richard Bancroft , Archbishop of Canterbury and Chancellor of Oxford University. He was a student at Christ Church, Oxford...

    , his nephew and Master of University College, Oxford