Edmund Grindal bigraphy, stories - Archbishop of Canterbury

Edmund Grindal : biography

- 6 July 1583

Edmund Grindal (c. 1519 – 6 July 1583) was an English Protestant leader who successively held the posts of Bishop of London, Archbishop of York and Archbishop of Canterbury during the reign of Elizabeth I of England.

Early life to the death of Edward VI

Tradition, also retailed by Grindal's biographer John Strype, had long held that Grindal was born in Hensingham, now a suburb of Whitehaven.John Strype (1710),

However recent scholarship has shown that his birthplace was Cross Hill House, St. Bees, Cumberland.Patrick Collinson, ‘’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press,  2004; online edn, Jan 2008, accessed 26 June 2013. Grindal himself gave a description of his birthplace in a letter to Sir William Cecil, Elizabeth I's Secretary of State, "... the house wherein I was born, and the lands pertaining thereto, being a small matter, under twenty shillings rent, but well builded at the charges of my father and brother", which corresponds to Cross Hill House. This has been proven by the discovery of the long-mislaid St. Bees long leases, which have provided the missing link in the chain of ownership back to William Grindal, Edmund's father, a farmer in the village."Archbishop Grindal's Birthplace: Cross Hill, St. Bees Cumbria, By John and Mary Todd. Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society 1999, Vol XCIX. Edmund Grindal's exact date of birth is uncertain, but is c.1519. 

His education may have started with the monks at the nearby St Bees Priory, though this is not recorded. It is believed by Collinson... Patrick Collinson – "Archbishop Grindal 1519–1583 The struggle for a reformed church" 1979 ISBN 0-224-01703-9 that both Grindal and Edwin Sandys shared a childhood, quite probably in St Bees. Sandys himself recalled that he and Grindal had lived "familiarly" and "as brothers" and were only separated between Sandys's 13th and 18th Years. It is thought likely that Sandys grew up at nearby Rottington. Edwin Sandys kept one step behind Grindal in their subsequent careers, succeeding him as bishop of London, and then as archbishop of York. Whatever the place of early education, it is known that the Marian martyr John Bland was the schoolmaster of Sandys, so it is likely he would also have taught Grindal.

Grindal was educated at Magdalene and Christ's Colleges and then at Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, where he graduated BA and was elected fellow in 1538. Having obtained his MA in 1541, he was ordained deacon in 1544, appointed proctor in 1550 and was Lady Margaret preacher 1548–1549. Probably through the influence of Nicholas Ridley, who had been master of Pembroke Hall, Grindal was selected as one of the Protestant disputants during the visitation of 1549. He had a talent for this work and was often given similar tasks. When Ridley became Bishop of London, he made Grindal one of his chaplains and gave him the precentorship of St Paul's Cathedral. He was soon promoted to be one of King Edward VI's chaplains and prebendary of Westminster, and in October 1552 was one of six to whom the Forty-Two Articles were submitted for examination before being sanctioned by the Privy Council. According to John Knox, Grindal distinguished himself from most of the court preachers in 1553 by denouncing the worldliness of courtiers and foretelling the evils that would follow the king's death.

Grindal benefited greatly from the patronage of Ridley and Sir William Cecil during this period, to the extent that on 11 June 1553 he was nominated to be bishop of London. However, only a month later Edward VI was dead, and very soon Catholicism would return under Mary I.

Archbishop of Canterbury

Grindal was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury on 26 July 1575, though there is no actual proof that the new archbishop ever visited the seat of his see, Canterbury, not even for his enthronement.

Burghley wished to conciliate the moderate Puritans and advised Grindal to mitigate the severity which had characterised Parker's treatment of the nonconformists. Grindal indeed attempted a reform of the ecclesiastical courts, but his activity was cut short by a disagreement with the queen. Elizabeth wanted Grindal to suppress the "prophesyings" or meetings for discussion which had come into vogue among the Puritan clergy, and she even wanted him to discourage preaching. Grindal remonstrated, claiming some voice for the Church, and in June 1577 was suspended from his jurisdictional, though not his spiritual, functions for disobedience. He stood firm, and in January 1578 Secretary Wilson informed Burghley that the queen wished to have the archbishop deprived. She was dissuaded from this extreme course, but Grindal's sequestration was continued in spite of a petition from Convocation in 1581 for his reinstatement. Elizabeth then suggested that he should resign; he declined to do so, and after apologising to the queen he was reinstated towards the end of 1582. But his infirmities were increasing, and while making preparations for his resignation, he died and was buried in Croydon Parish Church.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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