An oval stained glass portrait of Archbishop Richard Bancroft, early 17th Century.

Richard Bancroft (1544-1610) was born at Farnworth in Lancashire.

He was educated at Christ’s, Cambridge and became chaplain to Sir Christopher Hatton and then to John Whitgift who was Elizabeth I’s Archbishop of Canterbury from 1583 to her death in 1603, at which Bancroft was present.

Whitgift passed on to Bancroft his anti-Puritan views and many of Bancroft’s public speeches echoed those views.

With regard to Catholics, Bancroft was more tolerant, believing that it was important to separate those who, while Catholic, could remain loyal to an English Protestant monarch, from those who were pro-Spain and Jesuit-led.

Bancroft became Archbishop of Canterbury from 1604 until his death in 1610, forwarding a policy of toleration in return for loyalty, in which he was supported by Robert Cecil.


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