Simon Langham

Cardinal, Archbishop of Canterbury
Primate of All England
ChurchCatholic Church
Appointed24 July 1366
Term ended28 November 1368
PredecessorWilliam Edington
SuccessorWilliam Whittlesey
Other post(s)Cardinal-Bishop of Sabina
Bishop of Ely
Consecration20 March 1362
by William Edington
Created cardinal22 September 1368
by Pope Urban V
Personal details
Died22 July 1376
Avignon, France
BuriedWestminster Abbey

Simon de Langham (1310 – 22 July 1376) was an English clergyman who was Archbishop of Canterbury and a cardinal.


Langham was born at Langham in Rutland. The manor of Langham was a property of Westminster Abbey, and he had become a monk in the Benedictine Abbey of St Peter at Westminster by 1346, and later prior and then abbot of this house.[1]

Treasurer of England

In November 1360, Langham was made Treasurer of England[2] and on 10 January 1362 he became Bishop of Ely and was consecrated on 20 March 1362.[3] During his time as Bishop of Ely he was a major benefactor of Peterhouse, Cambridge, giving them the rectory of Cherry Hinton.[4] He resigned the Treasurership before 20 February 1363,[2] and was appointed Chancellor of England on 21 February 1363.[5]

Archbishop of Canterbury

He was chosen Archbishop of Canterbury on 24 July 1366.[6]

Perhaps the most interesting incident in Langham's primacy was when he drove the secular clergy from their college of Canterbury Hall, Oxford, and filled their places with monks. The expelled head of the seculars was a certain John de Wiclif, who has been identified with the great reformer Wycliffe.

Notwithstanding the part Langham as Chancellor had taken in the anti-papal measures of 1365 and 1366, he was made cardinal of San Sisto Vecchio by Pope Urban V in 1368. This step lost him the favour of Edward III; two months later, he resigned his archbishopric and went to Avignon.[6] He had already resigned the chancellorship on 18 July 1367.[5] He was soon allowed to hold other although less exalted positions in England.


In 1374, he was elected Archbishop of Canterbury for the second time, but he withdrew his claim and died at Avignon on 22 July 1376.

Langham left the residue of his large estate and his library to Westminster Abbey, and has been called its second founder. His bequest paid for the building of the western section of the nave. Langham's tomb, the work of Henry Yevele, is the oldest monument to an ecclesiastic in the Abbey.


  1. ^ Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 105
  2. ^ a b Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 104
  3. ^ Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 244
  4. ^ "Lyson's Magna Britanica Vol II" The Monthly Review January–April 1812 p. 21
  5. ^ a b Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 86
  6. ^ a b Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 233


Political offices Preceded byJohn Sheppey Lord High Treasurer 1360–1363 Succeeded byJohn Barnet Preceded byWilliam Edington Lord Chancellor 1363–1367 Succeeded byWilliam of Wykeham Catholic Church titles Preceded byThomas de Lisle Bishop of Ely 1362–1366 Succeeded byJohn Barnet Preceded byWilliam Edington Archbishop of Canterbury 1366–1368 Succeeded byWilliam Whittlesey