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Laurence Booth

This article is about the archbishop. For the cricket writer, see Lawrence Booth (cricket writer).
(His Grace) Archbishop
Lawrence Booth
Archbishop Booth's Coat of Arms
Province York
Appointed 1476
Installed 8 October 1476
Term ended 19 May 1480
Predecessor George Neville
Successor Thomas Rotherham
Ordination 1441
Personal details
Born c. 1420
Barton, Lancashire
Died 19 May 1480
Southwell, Nottinghamshire
Buried Southwell Minster
Nationality English
Denomination Roman Catholic
Parents John Booth
Occupation Politician
Profession Theologian
Alma mater Pembroke College, Cambridge

Lawrence Booth (c. 1420 – 1480) was Bishop of Durham and Lord Chancellor of England, before becoming Archbishop of York.


A scion of the ancient Cheshire family of Booth which remained seated at Dunham Massey until the middle of the eighteenth century, Lawrence Booth started out reading both Civil and Canon Law at Pembroke Hall, Cambridge,[1] becoming a Licentiate. He was elected Master of his college in 1450, a post he held until his death, and later was also appointed Chancellor of the University of Cambridge. Whilst at Cambridge, he started a movement for both a School for the Arts and a School of Civil Law, and is believed to have produced his first miracle.

Outside Cambridge, Booth's career also advanced quickly. In 1449, he was appointed a Prebendary of St. Paul's Cathedral[2] and, on 2 November 1456, became Dean of St Paul's.[3] He was also a Prebendary of York Minster[4] and of Lichfield Cathedral.[5] From 1454 to 1457 he was Archdeacon of Richmond.[6]

Booth's activity was not confined to the Church; he was also active in the government. He became Chancellor to Queen Margaret and, in about 1456, he became Keeper of the Privy Seal,[7] and in that same year on 28 January he was also appointed one of the tutors and guardians of the Prince of Wales. He was Lord Privy Seal until 1460.[7]

On 25 September 1456, Booth was installed as Bishop of Durham.[8] This was both an important ecclesiastical appointment, and an equally important civil one, as the Bishop of Durham enjoyed civil authority over a large area of northern England almost until the reign of Queen Victoria.

Although from a Lancastrian family, he cultivated relations with the Yorkists, and after the fall of Henry VI Booth adapted himself to the new status quo. He submitted himself to Edward (the former Earl of March, now King) in April 1461, and by the end of June, Booth was beating back a raid led by the Lords Ros, Dacre and Rugemont-Grey who brought Henry VI over the border to try to raise a rebellion in the north of England.[9] Edward named him his confessor.[10] Although he temporarily lost control of the see of Durham, it was restored to him in 1464, when he made submission to King Edward IV, and he was never imprisoned.[11] He took an active part in Edward's government thereafter and on 27 July 1473 was made Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, which office he held until May 1474.[12] In October 1473 he led a delegation to Scotland to formally sign the marriage treaty between the newborn son (later James IV of Scotland) of James III and Edward's third daughter Cecily.[13]

In 1476, Booth was translated to the Archdiocese of York,[14] following on from where his half-brother had been until his death in 1464. He was the only bishop whom Edward IV inherited that was ever promoted to higher office.[15] He was archbishop until his death on 19 May 1480,[14] and was buried beside his brother in the Collegiate Church of Southwell, which both he and his brother had generously endowed.



Political offices
Preceded by
Thomas Lisieux
Lord Privy Seal
Succeeded by
Robert Stillington
Preceded by
Robert Stillington
Lord Chancellor
Succeeded by
John Alcock
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Robert Neville
Bishop of Durham
Succeeded by
William Dudley
Preceded by
George Neville
Archbishop of York
Succeeded by
Thomas Rotherham
Academic offices
Preceded by
Hugh Damlet
Master of Pembroke College, Cambridge
Succeeded by
Thomas Rotherham

Template:Archbishops of York

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