George Abbot

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Abbot, George (1562–1633). Bishop of Lichfield (1609), London (1610), and archbishop of Canterbury (1611–33). Born in Guildford, Abbot was educated there and at Balliol College, Oxford. As a fellow of Balliol (1583) and master of University College (1597) he established a reputation as a preacher. His sermons are eloquent and reveal his Calvinist theology. In 1604 he was among those appointed to prepare a new translation of the Bible. His defence of hereditary monarchy and work in Scotland promoting episcopacy (1608) coupled with the support of the earl of Dunbar won him the favour of James I and the primacy. From 1621 his ministry was overshadowed by his accidental killing of one of his gamekeepers, and under Charles I his influence over the king's religious policy was eclipsed by that of William Laud. He was pious and kindly, but a poor administrator.

Revd Dr John R. Guy

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George Abbot, 1562–1633, archbishop of Canterbury. He was one of the collaborators (from the Univ. of Oxford) on the Authorized Version of the Bible and was an authority on geography. He became archbishop in 1611. His firm Puritan views and antipathy toward the growing High Church party made him unpopular. His accidental killing of a gamekeeper while hunting (1621) was used against him. His steady opposition to William Laud, together with his refusal (1627) to countenance the elevation of the king's prerogative over law and Parliament, led Charles I to force him from active control over church affairs.

See biography by P. A. Welsby (1962); bibliography by R. A. Christophers (1966).