Simon Langton
Archdeacon of Canterbury
Term ended1248
PredecessorHenry Sandford
SuccessorStephen de Monte Luelli
Other post(s)Archbishop-elect of York
Personal details
DenominationRoman Catholic Church

Simon Langton (died 1248) was an English medieval clergyman who served as Archdeacon of Canterbury from 1227 until his death in 1248. He had previously been Archbishop-elect of York, but the election was quashed by Pope Innocent III.


Langton held the prebend of Strensall in the diocese of York by 20 November 1214. He was the brother of Stephen Langton, who became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1207.[1] A third brother Walter was a Knight, serving in the Albigensian Crusades and being captured and ransomed, and when he died childless in 1234, Simon Langton was left with the lands and his substantial debts. He probably studied at Paris, where his brother was a noted instructor.[2] Langton was employed by his brother in the negotiations with King John of England in 1210, when Simon told John that Stephen would not lift the interdict unless John put himself "wholly in his mercy."[3] He had also appeared at the 1208 Winchester council to present the papal demands to allow Stephen into the see of Canterbury.[4]

Langton was elected in June 1215 to fill the Archbishopric of York.[1] King John had wanted the selection of Walter de Gray, John's Chancellor and Bishop of Worcester. However, the canons of York felt that Gray was uneducated, and selected Langton instead. John objected, and wrote to Pope Innocent III complaining of the election of the brother of one of his staunchest enemies, and Innocent agreed.[5] Langton had previously been forbidden to seek the office,[2] and accordingly the election was quashed on 20 August 1215 by the pope.[6] Langton then proceeded to join Prince Louis of France's invasion of England in 1215, and acted as Louis' chancellor, against the express wishes of the pope.[2] Because of this, in 1216 he was excommunicated, and deprived of all benefices,[7] He was eventually absolved, and made an official of the papal court and allowed to hold a prebend in France.[2]

On 14 May 1227 Langton was appointed Archdeacon of Canterbury, and held that office until his death in 1248.[8] In January 1235 he was employed by King Henry III of England to negotiate a renewal of the truce with France.[9] He also represented Archbishop Edmund Rich at Rome in a number of disputes. Besides the renewal of the peace treaty, Langton represented King Henry in many diplomatic missions. He was a patron to the Franciscans in England and left a library to the University of Paris.[2]


  1. ^ a b Greenway Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066–1300: Volume 6: York: Archbishops
  2. ^ a b c d e Cazel "Langton, Simon" Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  3. ^ Poole Domesday Book to Magna Carta pp. 446-447
  4. ^ Joliffe Angevin Kingship p. 168
  5. ^ Bartlett England Under the Norman and Angevin Kings pp. 406-407
  6. ^ Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 281
  7. ^ Greenway Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066–1300: Volume 6: York: Prebenderies of Strensall
  8. ^ Greenway Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066–1300: Volume 2: Monastic Cathedrals (Northern and Southern Provinces): Canterbury: Archdeacons of Canterbury
  9. ^ Powell and Wallis House of Lords p. 158


  • Bartlett, Robert C. (2000). England Under the Norman and Angevin Kings: 1075–1225. Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-822741-8.
  • Cazel Jr, Fred A. (2004). "Langton, Simon (d. 1248)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/16043. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  • Fryde, E. B.; Greenway, D. E.; Porter, S.; Roy, I. (1996). Handbook of British Chronology (Third Edition, revised ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-56350-X.
  • Greenway, Diana E. (1971). "Canterbury: Archdeacons of Canterbury". Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066–1300. Vol. 2: Monastic Cathedrals (Northern and Southern Provinces). Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 15 September 2007.
  • Greenway, Diana E. (1999). "Archbishops". Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066–1300. Vol. 6: York. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 15 September 2007.
  • Greenway, Diana E. (1999). "Prebendaries of Strensall". Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066–1300. Vol. 6: York. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 15 September 2007.
  • Joliffe, J. E. A. (1955). Angevin Kingship. London: Adam and Charles Black. OCLC 8936103.
  • Poole, Austin Lane (1955). From Domesday Book to Magna Carta, 1087–1216 (Second ed.). Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-821707-2.
  • Powell, J. Enoch; Wallis, Keith (1968). The House of Lords in the Middle Ages: A History of the English House of Lords to 1540. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. OCLC 463626.
Catholic Church titles Preceded byGeoffrey Plantagenet (archbishop) Archbishop-elect of York 1215 Succeeded byWalter de Gray (archbishop) Preceded byHenry Sandford Archdeacon of Canterbury 1227–1248 Succeeded byStephen de Monte Luelli