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William Warham

Warham, William (wôrˈəm) [key], 1450?–1532, English churchman, archbishop of Canterbury. He studied at Oxford and became widely known in England for his legal ability, went often on diplomatic missions, and was made (1502) bishop of London. He was a generous supporter of humanist learning and a patron of Erasmus. In 1504, Warham was made lord chancellor by Henry VII and archbishop of Canterbury by the pope. In the early years of Henry VIII's reign his influence was paramount, but before many years Thomas Wolsey, archbishop of York, began to displace him. In 1515, Wolsey was created cardinal and Warham willingly resigned the chancellorship to him. Thereafter, Warham was second in the church in England. In the matter of Henry VIII's divorce, in which Warham was involved from 1527, his actions were subservient to the king's will, and in 1530 he was a signer of the petition to the pope for the divorce. Eventually, in 1532, after Warham had allowed a gradual encroachment by the king on ecclesiastical rights, he reversed himself and formally protested just before his death all acts derogatory to the papal authority.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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