Richard Bancroft

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Archbishop Richard Bancroft, DD, BD, MA, BA (1544 – 2 November 1610), Archbishop of Canterbury and the "chief overseer" of the production of the authorized version of the Bible.

Contents

Life

Bancroft was born at Farnworth, then a village in south Lancashire, in 1544. His early education was at Farnworth grammar school which had been founded by bishop William Smyth who had also been born in the village. He was later educated at Cambridge, first at Christ's College and afterwards at Jesus College.[1] He took his degree of BA in 1567 and that of MA in 1570. Ordained about that time, he was named chaplain to Richard Cox, then bishop of Ely, and in 1575 was presented to the rectory of Teversham in Cambridgeshire. The next year he was one of the preachers to the university.

He graduated BD in 1580 and DD five years later. In 1584 he was made rector of St Andrew, Holborn. In 1585 he was appointed treasurer of St Paul's cathedral, London, and in 1586 was made a member of the ecclesiastical commission. On 9 February 1589 he preached at Paul's Cross a sermon, the substance of which was a passionate attack on the Puritans. He described their speeches and proceedings, caricatured their motives, denounced the exercise of the right of private judgment, and set forth the divine right of bishops in such strong language that one of the queen’s councillors held it to amount to a threat against the supremacy of the crown.

In the following year Bancroft was made a prebendary of St Paul's; he had been canon of Westminster since 1587. He was chaplain successively to Lord Chancellor Hatton and Archbishop Whitgift. In June 1597, he was consecrated Bishop of London; and from this time, in consequence of the age and incapacity for business of Archbishop Whitgift, he was virtually invested with the power of primate, and had the sole management of ecclesiastical affairs. Among the more noteworthy cases which fell under his direction were the proceedings against "Martin Marprelate", Thomas Cartwright and his friends, and John Penry, whose "seditious writings" he caused to be intercepted and given up to the lord keeper.

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