Peckham, John

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Peckham, John (c.1220–92). Archbishop of Canterbury. Born in Sussex and educated at Oxford, Peckham became a Franciscan. After teaching in Paris (c.1250) as a distinguished Augustinian scholar, like Kilwardby often in conflict with Aquinas, he returned to Oxford (c.1270), and became provincial minister of the English Franciscans (c.1275). After lecturing in Rome (1277–9), he reluctantly accepted papal nomination to Canterbury (1279). Scholarly, austere, living in humility, a friar at heart, and yet outspoken and combative, he had a high idea of archiepiscopal authority, vigorously exerting it through penetrating provincial visitations and, with ‘garrulous frankness’, resisting Edward I's encroachment on ecclesiastical authority. At his Reading council (1279), he excommunicated all pluralists and those impeding church courts, which Edward answered by compelling him to withdraw and by limiting church acquisition of lay property by the statute De religiosis.

Revd Dr William M. Marshall