Anglican bishop of Winchester, prominent prelate, preacher, and apologist for the Church of England as reformed yet still Catholic, equally opposed to the extremes of Romanism and Puritanism; b. London, 1555; d. Winchester, 1626. He was the son of a master mariner. Andrewes's early promise showed rapid development at Cambridge, where he acquired a critical knowledge of 15 languages that he later used to good purpose as a principal translator of the Authorized Version (King James) of the Bible (1611). He was ordained in 1580, and withstood the influence at Cambridge University of the strong Puritan party eager to win his support. His attraction to Calvinism was only to the devotional side and he showed himself a conservative in Church affairs, appealing in his Catechetical Lectures for "apostolic handsomeness and order." Although he retained altar, candles, and incense, then despised as "popish furniture," he yet toured the north (1586) with the Puritan Earl of Huntingdon to win over Catholic recusants. Having been appointed canon penitentiary at St. Paul's, London, in 1589, he began the series of sermons that won him the title "an angel of the pulpit." Andrewes refused two offers of bishoprics from Elizabeth in protest against the policy of alienating episcopal revenues to the crown, but was persuaded by King James to accept the See of Chichester (1605), whence he moved to Ely (1609) and to Winchester (1613). He took no umbrage at being passed over for Canterbury, probably realizing, as did others, that he had no bent for the ecclesiastical politics necessary in the primatial see. When James I was involved in controversy with Cardinal (St.) Robert Bellarmine over the divine right of kings and the oath of allegiance imposed on English papists after the Gunpowder Plot (1605), Andrewes rallied to his king's support in Tortura Torti (1609) and Responsio ad Apologiam Cardinalis Bellarmini (1610), upholding the orthodoxy of the reformed Church of England and ridiculing the term Roman Catholic as a contradiction in terms, serving only "to distinguish your Catholic Church from another Catholic Church which is not Roman." His equal dislike of Calvinism explains his absence from the Anglican delegation to the Synod of the Dutch Reformed Church at Dort (1618), though the previous year he had gone with James I to Scotland to try to persuade the Presbyterians to accept episcopacy. Andrewes himself was a dedicated bishop, intervening in public affairs only when he thought it necessary. He remained a bachelor, and was a lifelong student, acquiring a profound knowledge of patristic theology. His charming delivery and classical style made him a popular and famous preacher. He was a saintly man with a gift for composing prayers, and his Preces Privatae have retained their appeal. His importance in the theological development of the Anglican Church is as a forerunner, with his friends Richard Hooker and George Herbert, of the caroline divines.
Bibliography: Works, ed. j. p. wilson and j. bliss, 11 v. (Library of Anglo-Catholic Theology ; Oxford 1841–54). a. t. russell, Memoirs of the Life and Works of Lancelot Andrewes (London 1863). t. s. eliot, For Lancelot Andrewes (London 1928). j. h. overton, The Dictionary of National Biography from the Earliest Times to 1900 1:401–405. m. schmidt, Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart 3 1:369.
Both in his lifetime and subsequently his fame has largely rested on his ability as a preacher and devotional writer. His sermons were influential in formulating a distinctive Anglican theology. They owe much to the Greek fathers, particularly Chrysostom, but are none the less firmly founded in western catholic thought. In style they are complex, abounding in puns and containing untranslated quotations from Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, thus making great demands upon his hearers. His Preces privatae are carefully arranged, revealing Andrewes's rare but precious gift for the expression in writing of devotion and prayer.
Revd Dr John R. Guy