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Abel (fl. 744–747), bishop-suffragan of Rheims, first appears in the acts of the Council of Soissons in March 744, which record the elevation of himself and one Hartbert to the status of archbishops, although the acts mention no specific sees. Historians have considered these appointments as a restoration of the lapsed ancient Gallic provincial organization under the inspiration of ...

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Thompson Cooper

revised by Rosemary Mitchell

Acton, Charles Januarius Edward (1803–1847), cardinal, was born at Naples on 6 March 1803, the second son of Sir John Francis Edward Acton, sixth baronet (1736–1811), of Aldenham Hall, near Bridgnorth, Shropshire. Sir John was commander-in-chief of the land and sea forces of the kingdom of ...

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Adam [Adam the Welshman] (c. 1130–1181), theologian and bishop of St Asaph, has on the authority of Du Boulay's Historia universitatis Parisiensis (1665), and of Thomas Tanner's Bibliotheca Britannico-Hibernica (1748), been confused with a fictitious Adam Angligena and, even in the most recent histories of the ...

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Adam [Adam of Caithness] (d. 1222), abbot of Melrose and bishop of Caithness, is variously described as having been a foundling and as having originated in Cumberland. He was elected bishop on 5 August 1213 when he was abbot of Melrose, the third bishop to be appointed to ...

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Adrian IV [real name Nicholas Breakspear] (d. 1159), pope, was the first and, so far, only Englishman to be elected pope. As such, a web of myth surrounds his origins, and no doubt much is later tradition woven at the great abbey of ...

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Ælberht (d. 779/80), archbishop of York, was the teacher of Alcuin, whose Versus de patribus regibus et sanctis Euboricensis ecclesiae ('Verses on the Fathers, Kings and Saints of the Church of York') constitute the principal source for his career (Alcuin...

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Ælfheah [St Ælfheah, Elphege, Alphege] (d. 1012), archbishop of Canterbury, owes his fame to the circumstances of his death—he was murdered in 1012 at viking hands. This makes it difficult to know whether recorded details of his early life were invented to suit later hagiographic needs or whether they are in fact accurate. As abbot of ...

Article

William Hunt

revised by Marios Costambeys

Ælfric [Ælfric Puttoc] (d. 1051), archbishop of York, first appears as provost of New Minster, Winchester. He was consecrated to the see of York in 1023 by Archbishop Æthelnoth of Canterbury. Ælfric was a benefactor to the secular canons of Beverley, and translated the body of ...

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Ælfric (d. 1005), archbishop of Canterbury, was perhaps a monk of Abingdon in his earlier years. He is recorded in its chronicle as abbot, although the abbatial lists do not leave room for him. The statement that he was abbot receives corroboration from the fact that the magnate ...

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Ælfsige (d. 959), archbishop of Canterbury, was appointed bishop of Winchester in 951. From that date he regularly witnessed charters of kings Eadred and Eadwig, his name appearing at the head of the attesting bishops, until 958 when he was translated to Canterbury...

Article

William Hunt

revised by Marios Costambeys

Ælfweard (d. 1044), abbot of Evesham and bishop of London, is said by the chronicle of Evesham to have been a relative of Cnut, presumably through Cnut's first, English, wife, Ælfgifu of Northampton. He was a monk of Ramsey and was made abbot of ...

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Ælfwine (d. 1047), bishop of Winchester, was formerly a royal priest in the service of King Cnut. According to Goscelin, Ælfwine helped Ælfstan, abbot of St Augustine's, Canterbury, to persuade Cnut to permit the relics of St Mildrith to be translated there. Ælfwine's...

Article

William Hunt

revised by Marios Costambeys

Ælric (fl. 1050–1051), archbishop-elect of Canterbury, was probably a kinsman of Earl Godwine and had been brought up in the monastery of Christ Church at Canterbury from early youth. The only reliable information about him appears in the earliest life of Edward the Confessor...

Article

William Hunt

revised by Mary Frances Smith

Æthelgar (d. 990), archbishop of Canterbury, was a monk of Glastonbury under Dunstan (later archbishop of Canterbury) and of Abingdon under Æthelwold (later bishop of Winchester). In 964 Bishop Æthelwold expelled the secular clergy from New Minster, Winchester, in favour of monks and he appointed ...

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Æthelheard [Ethelhard] (d. 805), archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Louth in Lindsey before his elevation to the archbishopric of Canterbury on the death of Jænberht on 12 August 792. Nothing is known of his antecedents, but he can be assumed to be of Mercian extraction. He certainly owed his appointment to ...

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Æthelmaer (d. after 1070), bishop of Elmham, succeeded to that East Anglian see in 1047, the year when its former occupant, his brother Stigand, became archbishop of Canterbury. Such familial promotion, coupled with the fact that Æthelmaer was, or had been, married, makes him an easy target for anyone wanting to suggest that the late Anglo-Saxon church badly needed the kind of reforms implemented by the Normans under ...

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Æthelnoth (d. 1038), archbishop of Canterbury, was a son of Æthelmær, ealdorman of the western shires, and grandson of Ealdorman Æthelweard, the chronicler. A Glastonbury story relates that, at his baptism by Dunstan, the infant held up his hand in the manner of a bishop blessing the people, whereupon ...

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Æthelred (d. 888), archbishop of Canterbury, was archbishop from 870 until his death on 30 June 888, during the height of the viking wars. The statement in the F version of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle that he was the bishop of Wiltshire before his translation to ...

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See Stigand

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Æthelric (d. 1034), bishop of Dorchester, was a former monk of Ramsey and a generous patron of his monastery. His election to the see of Dorchester in 1016 perhaps owed something to his family connections, although these are unknown. Given the extent and geographical location of this large see, it was perhaps believed that a local man would prove to be the most effective bishop. During his early years at the monastic school in ...