Bancroft, Richard

Bancroft, Richard archbishop of Canterbury, was born at Farnworth in 1544, and entered at Christ's College, Cambridge. In 1584 he was made rector of St. Andrew's in Holborn. When chaplain to Archbishop Whitgift, he delivered a sermon at St. Paul's Cross, in which he strongly warned the Parliament against the Puritans. In 1597 he was made bishop of London through the influence of the archbishop, and was sent by Queen Elizabeth in 1600 to Embden, to put an end to the differences which existed between the English and Danes, but his mission was unsuccessful. He attended the Hampton Court Conference in 1604, and in March in that year was appointed by the king's writ president of convocation, the see of Canterbury being vacant. In the eleventh session, held May 2d, he presented the Book of Canons now in force, which he had selected out of the articles, injunctions, and synodical acts passed in the two previous reigns. After this he was promoted to the see of Canterbury, and his primacy is distinguished for the commencement of the now authorized version of the Scriptures. He was a strenuous High- Churchman, and a bitter opponent of the Puritans. He was the first Anglican divine who publicly maintained the divine right of bishops. This was in a sermon preached at St. Paul's Cross, February, 1588-9, in which he maintained that "bishops were, as an order, superior to priests and deacons; that they governed by divine appointment; and that to deny these truths was to deny a portion of the Christian faith." On the effect produced by this sermon, see Heylin, Aerius Redivivus, p. 284. He died at Lambeth in 1610, leaving his books to his church. His principal published works were, Discovery of the Untruths and Slanders against Reformation (sermon preached February, 1588): — Survey of the pretended Holy Discipline (Lond. 1593, 4to): — Dangerous Positions and Proceedings published under the Pretence of Reformation, for the Presbyterial Discipline (Lond. 1595, 8vo). See Biog. Brit. vol. 1; Neal, Hist. of Puritans, 1:449; Lathbury, Hist. of Convocation (Lond. 1842, 8vo); Hook, Eccles. Biography, 1:506.

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