Monday, 19 December 2016

George Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury

George Abbot was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1611 to 1633, during the reigns of King James I and King Charles I.

He was born in Guildford, Surrey, the son of a cloth worker. He was educated at Balliol College, Oxford, and became a fellow in 1583. He became the master of University College in 1597, dean of Winchester in 1600 and was Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University three times between 1600 and 1605.

He was appointed to the bishopric of Lichfield in 1609 and London in 1610 before gaining the see of Canterbury in 1611. A noted scholar, he worked on translating the New Testament section of the King James Bible which was published in 1611.

As Archbishop, he performed the consecration of King Charles I but did not always see eye-to-eye with the new monarch, at one time being deprived of his position but later reinstated.

George Abbot has the dubious honour of being the only Archbishop of Canterbury to have killed someone, although this was an accidental crossbow shooting during a deer hunt.

© John Welford