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Simon of Sudbury


Archbishop of Canterbury, chancellor of England; b. Sudbury, Suffolk; d. London, July 14, 1381. Simon studied in Paris where he graduated as doctor of laws. Having been appointed chaplain to Pope Innocent VI, he proved his skill as a diplomat when sent as nuncio to edward iii in 1356. As a reward for this and similar services, he was made bishop of London in 1361 by papal provision. For the next 20 years he took a leading part in English politics, siding with John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, and incurring the accusation of being too lenient toward Gaunt's protégé, John wyclif. In 1375 Sudbury was transferred by papal bull to Canterbury. As archbishop he crowned Richard II (1377); as chancellor (138081) he helped shape royal policy, yet he was overshadowed constantly by the energetic William courtenay, his successor as bishop of London. It was Courtenay who forced him to examine Wyclif at Lambeth Palace in 1378. When the peasants revolted in 1381, Sudbury was a target of their hatred. They released their priest, John ball, from the archbishop's prison at Maidstone, then seized the archbishop in the Tower of London and executed him. Before dying Sudbury granted absolution to the headsman.

Bibliography: w. hunt, The Dictionary of National Biography from the Earliest Times to 1900, 63 v. (London 18851900) 19:146149. a. b. emden, A Biographical Register of the Scholars of the University of Oxford to A.D. 1500, 3 v. (Oxford 195759) 3:2218. w. l. warren, "Reappraisal of S.S.," Journal of Ecclesiastical History 10 (1959) 139152.

[d. nicholl]

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