In a county that has no cities and has not had a cathedral since the see was transferred from Sherborne to Old Sarum (Salisbury) in 1075 it is surprising that we should find so many links from Dorset to the highest office in the Anglican Church.

In a county that has no cities and has not had a cathedral since the see was transferred from Sherborne to Old Sarum (Salisbury) in 1075 it is surprising that we should find so many links to the highest office in the Anglican Church. The history of Dorset is littered with the names of clergymen of all levels and no fewer than six of the 103 Archbishop's of Canterbury have links to the county

 


Forde AbbeyDorset's connections with Canterbury begin with one of the most colourful of Forde's Abbots. Baldwin was a man of humble birth who rose to become not only Abbot of Forde but later Bishop of Worcester and succeeded Thomas a Becket as Archbishop of Canterbury in 1185. After rallying support for a crusade throughout the country in 1188 he set out with King Richard I (whom he had crowned) two years later on the Third Crusade, and died when disease ravaged the crusading army in the Holy Land.

Lambeth PalaceThe entrance to Lambeth Palace, the Archbishop's London residence since c1200, is through the gatehouse, a good example of Tudor brick, built by Cardinal Morton in 1495. There is evidence to suggest that John Morton (c.1420--1501) was born in Milborne St Andrew. He practised as a lawyer, and strongly supported Henry VI, but after the Battle of Tewkesbury made his peace with Edward IV, and became Master of the Rolls (1473) and Bishop of Ely (1479). Richard III imprisoned him in 1483, but he escaped, and after the accession of Henry VII was made Archbishop of Canterbury (1486-1501), Chancellor (1487), and a cardinal (1493).

The coastal village of Osmington was the home of the Warham family, one of whom, William Warham was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1503 to 1532. William Warham (c. 1450-1532) was an eminent lawyer before he received ecclesiastical preferment. He was Master of the Rolls 1494-1502, Bishop of London 1501, Archbishop of Canterbury 1503, Lord Chancellor of England 1504-15, and Chancellor of Oxford University from 1506 until his death. Enthroned during the reign of Henry VII, he is believed to have crowned Henry VIII. Thus making him one of the last Roman Catholic Archbishops of Canterbury. In the severance of the English Church from Rome he was an unwilling agent to Henry VIII. Lambeth Palace houses Holbeinís famous dour painting of Archbishop Warham

Shapwick was the birthplace William Wake (1657-1737), who became Archbishop of Cantebury in 1715. He became extremely unpopular when he suggested that every child, regardless of station, should have equal opportunity to learn. Something we take for granted today, but an extremely revolutionary idea in 18th century England.

Dr. William Howley, once a rector of Bradford Peverell, rose to become Archbishop of Canterbury (1848-1862), and it was he who crowned Queen Victoria.

In more recent days, Trent boasts of having an Archbishop of Canterbury, as its rector. Geoffrey Francis Fisher was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1945 to 1961 and as Lord Fisher of Lambeth retired to the village to become an honorary curate to it's rector, and incidentally the only Archbishop I have ever met.

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