John de Stratford

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Stratford, John de (d.1348). Archbishop of Canterbury and chancellor. Born in Stratford-upon-Avon and trained in law at Merton College, Oxford, he entered royal service. While at Avignon on papal business, he was appointed bishop of Winchester (1323) by the pope, much to Edward II's annoyance. Stratford later supported Edward II's deposition (1327) in Edward III's favour. As Edward III's principal counsellor and chancellor in the 1330s and archbishop of Canterbury from 1333, he negotiated with France and Scotland and accompanied him to Flanders at the outbreak of war. On Edward's return in 1340 he furiously, but unjustly, attacked Stratford for financial incompetence. Stratford stood his ground, insisting on appealing to Parliament, thus confirming the principle of peers being tried by peers in Parliament. Reconciliation followed in 1341 but in later years Stratford only advised on ecclesiastical matters.

Revd Dr William M. Marshall