Lawrence Booth
Archbishop of York and Primate of England
Appointed1 September 1476
Term ended19 May 1480
PredecessorGeorge Neville
SuccessorThomas Rotherham
Other post(s)Lord Chancellor and
Keeper of the Great Seal
Consecration25 September 1457
Personal details
Bornc. 1420
Died19 May 1480 (aged 60)
Cawood Castle, Yorkshire
BuriedSouthwell Minster
Previous post(s)
Alma materPembroke Hall, Cambridge
Coat of armsLawrence Booth's coat of arms

Lawrence Booth (c. 1420 – 1480) served as bishop of Durham and lord chancellor of England, before being appointed archbishop of York.[1]


The illegitimate son of John Booth,[2] lord of the manor of Barton, near Eccles, Lancashire,[3] he was half-brother of Sir Robert Booth of Dunham Massey, Cheshire.[4]

Booth read civil and canon law at Cambridge,[5] graduating as licentiate (Lic.C.L.), before receiving a Doctor of Divinity (D.D.). He was elected Master of Pembroke Hall in 1450, a post he held until his death, and also served as Chancellor of the University of Cambridge. Whilst at Cambridge, where he started a movement for both a School of Arts and a School of Civil Law, he is believed to have produced his first miracle,[6] but cause for his beatification or canonization is yet to be introduced.

Outside Cambridge, Booth's career was helped by his half-brother William Booth, who was Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield (1447–1452) and Archbishop of York (1452–1464).[3] In 1449, he was appointed a prebendary of St Paul's Cathedral[7] and, on 2 November 1456, became Dean of St Paul's.[8] He was also a prebendary of York Minster[9] and of Lichfield Cathedral.[10] From 1454 to 1457 he was Archdeacon of Richmond.[11]

Booth's influence was not confined to the Church; he was also active in government. He was chancellor to Margaret of Anjou and, in about 1456, he became Keeper of the Privy Seal,[12] 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.[12] In 1457 he also served briefly as Provost of Beverley Minster.[13]

On 25 September 1457, Booth was installed as Prince-Bishop of Durham.[14]

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 King Edward (the former Earl of March) in April 1461, and by the end of June, Booth defeated a raid led by the Lords de Ros, Dacre and Rugemont-Grey who brought Henry VI over the border to try to raise a rebellion in the north of England.[15] King Edward named him his confessor.[16] Although he temporarily lost control of the palatinate of Durham, he was restored in 1464, after making a submission to Edward IV; he was successful in part by being a prelate who was never imprisoned in that era.[17] He resumed activity in Edward's government[citation needed] thereafter being appointed, on 27 July 1473, Lord Chancellor, serving until May 1474.[18] 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.[19]

In 1476 Booth was translated to the see of York,[20] previously held by his half-brother. He was the only prelate after King Edward IV's accession ever promoted to higher office.[21]

Booth served as Archbishop of York until his death on 19 May 1480,[20] and is buried beside William Booth, in the Collegiate Church of Southwell, which they both generously endowed.[22][23]

See also


  1. ^ Catholic Encyclopaedia
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b Pollard, A. J. (2008). "Booth, Laurence (c.1420–1480)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
  4. ^ Burke's Extinct Baronetcies: BOOTH, Bt
  5. ^ "Booth, Laurence (BT450L)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Jones Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1300–1541: volume 10: Coventry and Lichfield diocese: Prebendaries: Offley
  8. ^ Horn Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1300–1541: volume 5: St Paul's, London: Deans of St Paul's
  9. ^ Jones Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1300–1541: volume 6: Northern Province (York, Carlisle and Durham): Prebendaries: Wistow
  10. ^ Jones Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1300–1541: volume 10: Coventry and Lichfield Diocese: Prebendaries: Gaia Major
  11. ^ Jones Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1300–1541: volume 6: Northern province (York, Carlisle and Durham): Archdeacons: Richmond
  12. ^ a b Fryde Handbook of British Chronology p. 95.
  13. ^
  14. ^ Fryde Handbook of British Chronology p. 242
  15. ^ Ross Edward IV pp. 45–6
  16. ^ Seward The Wars of the Roses p. 85
  17. ^ Davies "The Church and the Wars of the Roses" in The Wars of the Roses p. 141
  18. ^ Fryde Handbook of British Chronology p. 87
  19. ^ Ross Edward IV p. 213
  20. ^ a b Fryde Handbook of British Chronology p. 282
  21. ^ Ross Edward IV p. 318
  22. ^
  23. ^


Political offices Preceded byThomas Lisieux Lord Privy Seal 1456–1460 Succeeded byRobert Stillington Preceded byRobert Stillington Lord Chancellor 1473–1474 Succeeded byJohn Alcock Catholic Church titles Preceded byRobert Neville Bishop of Durham 1456–1476 Succeeded byWilliam Dudley Preceded byGeorge Neville Archbishop of York 1476–1480 Succeeded byThomas Rotherham Academic offices Preceded byHugh Damlet Master of Pembroke College, Cambridge 1450–1480 Succeeded byThomas Rotherham Preceded byWilliam Percy Chancellor of the University of Cambridge 1456–1458 Succeeded byWilliam Wilflete