Archbishop of Canterbury; b. Higham Ferrers, Northhamptonshire, England c. 1361; d. Canterbury, April 12, 1443. Educated at Oxford, he became doctor of laws, 1396. At this time he was ordained and had already held a number of minor ecclesiastical benefices. In 1404 he became chancellor of the diocese of Salisbury. Henry IV employed him on several diplomatic missions. It was while Chichele was at the Curia of gregory xii, that he was appointed bishop of St. David's (Wales). The pope consecrated him June 17, 1408, though he was not enthroned until May 11, 1411. In the meantime he was a member of the English embassy (together with Bp. Robert hallum) to the Council of pisa. When Abp. Thomas arundel died, Henry V proposed Chichele for the archbishopric of Canterbury, where he was duly elected March 4, 1414. He governed the province for nearly 40 years. The edited archiepiscopal registers prove Chichele a first-class administrator, lawyer and lawgiver. In his judicial functions he was greatly assisted by the canonist, William lyndwood, whom he appointed his vicar-general. Chichele was anxious to raise the standard of both the clergy and the laity. He took effective steps to prevent the spread of the lollards.
Chichele was permanently estranged from the papacy when martin v made the bishop of Winchester, Henry beaufort, a cardinal in 1426. Domestically, Chichele sided with Beaufort's opponents, notably Duke Henry of Gloucester, who was instrumental in bringing a charge of praemunire against Beaufort. When Abp. John kemp (kempe) of York was appointed a cardinal in 1439 and by reason of this appointment claimed public precedence over the archbishop of Canterbury, Chichele took the matter before eugene iv, who upheld Kempe. Chichele's career is not considered outstanding. His generosity to Oxford, especially All Souls College, is noteworthy.
Bibliography: a. duck, The Life of H. Chichele, Archbishop of Canterbury (London 1699). w. f. hook, Lives of the Archbishops of Canterbury (London 1860–84) v.5. e. f. jacob, "Two Lives of Archbishop Chichele," Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 16(1932) 428–481. f. l. cross, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (London 1957) 271. a. b. emden, A Biographical Register of the University of Oxford to A.D. 1500, 3 v. (Oxford 1957–59) 1:410–412. The Register of Henry Chichele: Archbishop of Canterbury, 1414–1443, ed. e. f. jacob and h. c. johnson (Oxford 1937–47). w. ullmann, "Eugenius IV, Cardinal Kemp, and Archbishop Chichele" Medieval Studies Presented to Aubrey Gwynn, S.J. (Dublin 1961) 359–383.