Stephen Langton bigraphy, stories - Archbishop of Canterbury

Stephen Langton : biography

c. 1150 - 9 July 1228

Stephen Langton (c. 1150 – 9 July 1228) was Archbishop of Canterbury between 1207 and his death in 1228 and was a central figure in the dispute between King John of England and Pope Innocent III, which was a contributing factor to the crisis which led to the issuing of Magna Carta in 1215. He is also credited with having divided the Bible into the standard modern arrangement of chapters used today.


He died at Slindon, Sussex (fifty miles southwest of London), on 9 July 1228. He was buried in some open ground beside the south transept of Canterbury Cathedral. St Michael's Chapel was later built over this ground (now the Buffs Regimental Chapel), and the head of his tomb projects into the east end of this chapel, under its altar, with the foot outside it.

Early life and career

His father was Henry Langton, a landowner in Langton by Wragby, Lincolnshire. Stephen Langton may have been born in a moated farmhouse in the village. His brother Simon Langton. Retrieved on 14 September 2007. was elected Archbishop of York in 1215, but that election was quashed by Pope Innocent III. Simon served his brother Stephen as Archdeacon of Canterbury in 1227. Simon and Stephen had another brother called Walter, a knight who died childless.

He studied at the University of Paris and lectured there on theology until 1206, when Pope Innocent III, with whom he had formed a friendship at Paris, called him to Rome and made him cardinal-priest of San Crisogono.. The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. Retrieved on 22 November 2008.. Retrieved on 11 September 2007. His piety and learning had already won him prebends at Paris and York. Retrieved on 11 September 2007. and he was recognised as the foremost English churchman.


Stephen was a voluminous writer. Glosses, commentaries, expositions, and treatises by him on almost all the books of the Old Testament, and many sermons, are preserved in manuscript at Lambeth Palace, at Oxford and Cambridge, and in France.

According to F. J. E. Raby, "There is little reason to doubt that Stephen Langton ... was the author" of the famous sequence Veni Sancte Spiritus.The Oxford Book of Medieval Latin Verse, Oxford, 1959, p. 496.

The only other of his works which has been printed, besides a few letters (in The Historical Works of Gervase of Canterbury, ed. W. Stubbs, ii. London, 1880, Rolls Series, no. 71, appendix to preface) is a Tractatus de translatione Beati Thomae (in J. A. Giles's Thomas of Canterbury, Oxford, 1845), which is probably an expansion of a sermon he preached in 1220, on occasion of the translation of the relics of Thomas Becket; the ceremony was the most splendid that had ever been seen in England. He also wrote a life of Richard I, and other historical works and poems are attributed to him.

Chapters of the Bible

Classically, scrolls of the books of the bible have always been divided by blank spaces at the end (petuhoth) or middle (setumoth) of the lines. However, Langton is believedMoore, G.F. , 1893, at JSTOR. to be the one who divided the Bible into the standard modern arrangement of chapters. While Cardinal Hugo de Sancto Caro is also known to come up with a systematic division of the Bible (between 1244 and 1248), it is Langton's arrangement of the chapters that remains in use today. article in the Catholic Encyclopedia.


Category:Archbishops of Canterbury Category:13th-century Roman Catholic archbishops Category:English Roman Catholics Category:English cardinals Category:External cardinals Category:People from Lincolnshire Category:1150s births Category:1228 deaths Category:Burials at Canterbury Cathedral


On the death of Hubert Walter, Archbishop of Canterbury, in 1205, some of the younger monks elected to the see Reginald, the subprior of Christ Church, Canterbury, while another faction under pressure from King John chose John de Grey, Bishop of Norwich. Both elections were quashed on appeal to Rome and sixteen monks of Christ Church, who had gone to Rome empowered to act for the whole chapter, were ordered to proceed to a new election in presence of the Pope. Langton was chosen and was consecrated by the Pope at Viterbo on 17 June 1207.Bartlett, Robert England Under the Norman and Angevin Kings: 1075–1225 Oxford:Clarendon Press 2000 ISBN 0-19-822741-8 p. 404-405

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