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Rich, St Edmund

Rich, St Edmund (c.1170–1240). Archbishop of Canterbury. Born at Abingdon, he studied at Oxford and Paris where he was a renowned teacher of logic (c.1185–90). A ‘saintly man of courage and candour’, he was an ascetic, though remaining a secular. While treasurer of Salisbury (c.1222–34) Rich preached the crusade at the pope's request (c.1227). As primate (from 1234), he maintained Langton's ideals by resisting both royal and papal power. He threatened to excommunicate Henry III for not dismissing his ministers and rebuked him for inviting Otto, papal legate, into England (1237). Differences with king, papacy, and his Canterbury monks were such (1240) that he retired to Pontigny, where he died. His ‘brief … poignant and dramatic’ primacy was lived out in the thick of controversy, but after his death his memory was treasured by all, kings and friars, rich and poor. He was canonized (1247) and his shrine at Pontigny visited by Henry III and Edward I.

Revd Dr William M. Marshall

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