Winchelsey, Robert

Winchelsey, Robert archbishop of Canterbury, was born at Winchelsea, and educated at Canterbury. From Canterbury School he proceeded to Paris, and there his success was remarkable. At an early age he received his degree of A.M., and soon after was appointed rector of the university. On his return to England he became a member of Merton College, Oxford. In 1288 he was appointed chancellor of Oxford. He was also appointed archdeacon of Essex. He was translated to Canterbury in 1293, and enthroned in grand style by Henry, prior of his church at Canterbury, in 1295. It seems that of all the primates of all England, none was ever so unpopular as archbishop Robert. He was so self-willed and haughty that he placed himself as it were, in opposition to the country just when the nation was rising to national independence. He was so unscrupulous in the means he adopted and the measures he proposed that he at length involved himself in the guilt of high-treason. Towards the close of his life, he divided his time between Oxford and Canterbury. "Whatever may have been said of his faults as a public-character-and they were many and great all his contemporaries bear testimony to his worth in private life." He exercised boundless charities to the poor, and their gratitude invested him with the character of a saint. He died at Otford, May 11, 1313. See Hook, Lives of the Archbishops of Canterbury, 3, 368 sq.

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