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Warham, William

William Warham (wôr´əm), 1450?–1532, English churchman, archbishop of Canterbury. He studied at Oxford and became widely known in England for his legal ability, went often on diplomatic missions, and was made (1502) bishop of London. He was a generous supporter of humanist learning and a patron of Erasmus. In 1504, Warham was made lord chancellor by Henry VII and archbishop of Canterbury by the pope. In the early years of Henry VIII's reign his influence was paramount, but before many years Thomas Wolsey, archbishop of York, began to displace him. In 1515, Wolsey was created cardinal and Warham willingly resigned the chancellorship to him. Thereafter, Warham was second in the church in England. In the matter of Henry VIII's divorce, in which Warham was involved from 1527, his actions were subservient to the king's will, and in 1530 he was a signer of the petition to the pope for the divorce. Eventually, in 1532, after Warham had allowed a gradual encroachment by the king on ecclesiastical rights, he reversed himself and formally protested just before his death all acts derogatory to the papal authority.

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Warham, William

Warham, William (c.1450–1532). Archbishop of Canterbury. Born in Hampshire and educated in law at New College, Oxford, Warham frequently served as a diplomat (1491–1502) and negotiated Prince Arthur's marriage to Catherine of Aragon (1496). He was successively master of the rolls (1494), bishop of London (1502), archbishop (1504), and lord chancellor (1504–15). A patron of the New Learning, he was chancellor of Oxford University (1506). From 1515 Wolsey, as cardinal, lord chancellor, and papal legate, constantly overshadowed Warham. Though originally disapproving of Henry and Catherine's marriage, he had crowned them, but was Wolsey's assessor in the secret inquiry of 1527. Under pressure he signed the petition requesting papal consent for a divorce. Though he led convocation's offer to buy off penalties of Praemunire (1531), conscience provoked him to protest formally (1532) against the anti-papal Acts passed since 1529. Described as ‘morose and inflexible’, he was nevertheless competent and conscientious.

Revd Dr William M. Marshall

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