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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

22 July 1376 A.D. Simon Langham Dies—56th of 105 Archbishops of Canterbury

22 July 1376 A.D.  Simon Langham Dies—56th of 105 Archbishops of Canterbury


“Simon Langton (Died 1376).”  N.d.  Accessed 23 May 2014. 

Simon Langham
(Died 1376)

Abbot of Westminster
Bishop of Ely
Archbishop of Canterbury
Died: 1376 at Avignon, France

Simon Langham was born in Langham in Rutland and entered the Monastery of S. Peter's, Westminster, of which he became Abbot. In 1360, he was appointed Treasurer of England, Bishop of Ely in 1362 and, for three years, he also held the office of Chancellor. His administration was characterized by the determination with which he resisted Papal encroachments. As Bishop, he showed equal vigour in correcting ecclesiastical abuses and earned respect, though he may not have secured popularity. His translation to Canterbury took place in 1366.

In 1368, he incurred the displeasure of King Edward Ill by accepting an appointment as Cardinal from Pope Urban V without having obtained the Royal permission. Edward pronounced the See of Canterbury void and seized the revenues. Langham betook himself to the Papal court at Avignon and was employed in negotiations between England, France and Flanders. He continued, however, to hold preferments in England, as Treasurer and Archdeacon of Wells, Archdeacon of Taunton and Archdeacon of the West Riding of Yorkshire.

Langham died in 1376, as he was about to return to England, Three years later, his body was transferred to Westminster Abbey, which owed much to his great munificence.

Edited from G.M. Bevan's "Portraits of the Archbishops of Canterbury" (1908).

 22 July 1376 A.D.  Simon Langham Dies—56th of 105 Archbishops of Canterbury

Simon de Langham (1310 – 22 July 1376) was an English clergyman who was Archbishop of Canterbury and a cardinal.



Langham was born at Langham in Rutland. The manor of Langham was a property of Westminster Abbey, and he had become a monk in the Benedictine Abbey of St Peter at Westminster by 1346, and later prior and then abbot of this house.[1]

Treasurer of England

In November 1360, Langham was made Treasurer of England[2] and on 10 January 1362 he became Bishop of Ely and was consecrated on 20 March 1362.[3] During his time as Bishop of Ely he was a major benefactor of Peterhouse, Cambridge, giving them the rectory of Cherry Hinton.[4] He resigned the Treasurership before 20 February 1363,[2] and was appointed Chancellor of England on 21 February 1363.[5]

Archbishop of Canterbury

He was chosen Archbishop of Canterbury on 24 July 1366.[6]

Perhaps the most interesting incident in Langham's primacy was when he drove the secular clergy from their college of Canterbury Hall, Oxford, and filled their places with monks. The expelled head of the seculars was a certain John de Wiclif, who has been identified with the great reformer Wycliffe.

Notwithstanding the part Langham as Chancellor had taken in the anti-papal measures of 1365 and 1366, he was made cardinal of San Sisto Vecchio by Pope Urban V in 1368. This step lost him the favour of Edward III; two months later, he resigned his archbishopric and went to Avignon.[6] He had already resigned the chancellorship on 18 July 1367.[5] He was soon allowed to hold other although less exalted positions in England.


In 1374, he was elected Archbishop of Canterbury for the second time, but he withdrew his claim and died at Avignon on 22 July 1376.

Langham left the residue of his large estate and his library to Westminster Abbey, and has been called its second founder. His bequest paid for the building of the western section of the nave. Langham's tomb, the work of Henry Yevele, is the oldest monument to an ecclesiastic in the Abbey.


1.       Jump up ^ Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 105

2.       ^ Jump up to: a b Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 104

3.       Jump up ^ Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 244

4.       Jump up ^ "Lyson's Magna Britanica Vol II" The Monthly Review January–April 1812 p. 21

5.       ^ Jump up to: a b Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 86

6.       ^ Jump up to: a b Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 233


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 
  • Fryde, E. B.; Greenway, D. E.; Porter, S.; Roy, I. (1996). Handbook of British Chronology (Third revised ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-56350-X. 

Wikisource has original text related to this article:


Political offices
Preceded by
John Sheppey
Lord High Treasurer
Succeeded by
John Barnet
Preceded by
William Edington
Lord Chancellor
Succeeded by
William of Wykeham
Preceded by
Thomas de Lisle
Bishop of Ely
Succeeded by
John Barnet
Preceded by
William Edington
Succeeded by
William Whittlesey

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