Archbishop of Canterbury

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of All England is the spiritual head of the Church of England. His see is Canterbury Cathedral and his official London residence is Lambeth Palace. Since Henry VIII broke with Rome, archbishops of Canterbury have been selected by the English (latterly British) monarch; at present, the choice is made in his or her name, but by the prime minister, from a shortlist of two selected by a committee of clergy and laity.

The current Archbishop of Canterbury, the 104th, is Dr Rowan Douglas Williams, previously Archbishop of Wales. He succeeded Dr George Leonard Carey.

The first Archbishop of Canterbury was Saint Augustine of Canterbury, who arrived in Kent in 597, all Archbishops of Canterbury since have been referred to as occupying the Chair of St Augustine.

The Archbishop has a number of roles to fulfil that include:

  1. Bishop of the See of Canterbury
  2. Metropolitan of the Province of Canterbury
  3. Primate of All England
  4. 'Chaplain to the Nation'
  5. Leader of the Anglican Communion around the World
  6. The Ecumenical Role
  7. The Inter-faith Role

This adds up to a large amount of responsibility, and the current archbishop recently convened an advisory group for suggestions on spreading the workload. One suggestion being considered is the appointment of an auxiliary "bishop in Canterbury" to take on most of the responsibility for the diocese.

Previous incumbents of the Chair of St Augustine:

  1. Saint Augustine of Canterbury 597 -- 605
  2. Saint Laurence of Canterbury 605 -- 619
  3. Mellitus (St.) 619 -- 624
  4. Justus (St.) 624 -- 627
  5. Honorius (St.) 627 -- 653
  6. Deusdedit (St.) 655 -- 664
  7. Theodore (St.) 668 -- 690
  8. Bertwald (St.) 693 -- 690
  9. Tatwin (St.) 731 -- 734
  10. Nothelm (St.) 734 -- 740
  11. Cuthbert (St.) 740 -- 758
  12. Bregwin (St.) 759 -- 762
  13. Jaenbert (St.) 763 -- 790
  14. Aethelhard (St.) 790 -- 803
  15. Wulfred 803 -- 829
  16. Feologild 829 -- 830
  17. Ceolnoth 830 -- 870
  18. Aethelred 870 -- 889
  19. Plegmund 891 -- 923
  20. Athelm 923 -- 925
  21. Wulfhelm 928 -- 941
  22. Oda the Severe (St.) 941 -- 958
  23. Aelfsige 958 -- 959
  24. Saint Dunstan 960 -- 988
  25. Athelgar 988 -- 989
  26. Sigeric the Serious 990 -- 994
  27. Aelfric 995 -- 1005
  28. Aelfheah (St Alphege) 1006 -- 1012
  29. Lyfing 1013 -- 1020
  30. Aethelnoth 1020 -- 1038
  31. Edsige 1038 -- 1050
  32. Robert of Jumieges 1051 -- 1052
  33. Stigand 1052 -- 1070
  34. Lanfranc 1070 -- 1089
  35. Anselm (St.) 1093 -- 1109
  36. Ralph d'Escures 1114 -- 1122
  37. William de Corbeil 1123 -- 1136
  38. Theobald of Bec 1139 -- 1161
  39. Thomas Becket (St.) 1162 -- 1170
  40. Richard of Dover 1174 -- 1184
  41. Baldwin of Exeter 1185 -- 1190
  42. Reginald Fitz-Jocelin 1191
  43. Hubert Walter 1193 -- 1205
  44. Stephen Langton 1207 -- 1228
  45. Walter d'Eynsham 1229 -- 1231
  46. Edmund Rich (St.) 1233 -- 1240
  47. Boniface of Savoy 1240 -- 1270
  48. Robert Kilwardby 1273 -- 1278
  49. John Peckham 1279 -- 1292
  50. Robert Winchelsey 1293 -- 1313
  51. Walter Reynolds 1313 -- 1327
  52. Simon Mepeham 1327 -- 1333
  53. John de Stratford 1333 -- 1348
  54. John de Ufford 1348 -- 1349
  55. Thomas Bradwardine 1349
  56. Simon Islip 1349 -- 1366
  57. Simon Langham 1366 -- 1368
  58. William Whittlesey 1368 -- 1374
  59. Simon Sudbury 1375 -- 1381
  60. William Courtenay 1381 -- 1396
  61. Thomas Arundel 1396 -- 1414
  62. Henry Chicheley 1414 -- 1443
  63. John Stafford 1443 -- 1452
  64. John Kemp 1452 -- 1454
  65. Thomas Bourchier 1454 -- 1486
  66. John Morton 1486 -- 1500
  67. Henry Dean 1501 -- 1503
  68. William Warham 1503 -- 1532
  69. Thomas Cranmer 1533 -- 1556
  70. Reginald Pole 1556 -- 1558
  71. Matthew Parker 1559 -- 1575
  72. Edmund Grindal 1575 -- 1583
  73. John Whitgift 1583 -- 1604
  74. Richard Bancroft 1604 -- 1610
  75. George Abbot 1611 -- 1633
  76. William Laud 1633 -- 1645
  77. William Juxon 1660 -- 1663
  78. Gilbert Sheldon 1663 -- 1667
  79. William Sancroft 1678 -- 1691
  80. John Tillotson 1691 -- 1694
  81. Thomas Tenison 1694 -- 1715
  82. William Wake 1716 -- 1737
  83. John Potter 1737 -- 1747
  84. Thomas Herring 1747 -- 1757
  85. Matthew Hutton 1757 -- 1758
  86. Thomas Secker 1758 -- 1768
  87. Frederick Cornwallis 1768 -- 1783
  88. John Moore 1783 -- 1805
  89. Charles Manners-Sutton 1805 -- 1828
  90. William Howley 1828 -- 1848
  91. John Bird Sumner 1848 -- 1862
  92. Charles Thomas Longley 1862 -- 1868
  93. Archibald Campbell Tait 1868 -- 1882
  94. Edward White Benson 1882 -- 1896
  95. Frederick Temple 1896 -- 1902
  96. Randall Thomas Davidson 1903 -- 1928
  97. Cosmo Gordon Lang 1928 -- 1942
  98. William Temple 1942 -- 1944
  99. Geoffrey Francis Fisher 1945 -- 1961
  100. Arthur Michael Ramsey 1961 -- 1974
  101. Frederick Donald Coggan 1974 -- 1980
  102. Robert Alexander Kennedy Runcie 1980 -- 1991
  103. George Leonard Carey 1991 -- 2002
  104. Rowan Douglas Williams 2002 --

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