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Simon Sudbury

Simon of Sudbury (d. 1381), archbishop of Canterbury, was born at Sudbury in Suffolk, studied at the university of Paris, and became one of the chaplains of Pope Innocent VI, who sent him, in 1356, on a mission to Edward III of England.

In October 1361 the pope appointed him bishop of London, and he was soon serving the king as an ambassador and in other ways. In 1375 he succeeded William Whittlesey as archbishop of Canterbury, and during the rest of his life was a partisan of John of Gaunt.

In July 1377 he crowned Richard II, and in 1378 John Wycliffe appeared before him at Lambeth, but he only took proceedings against the reformer under great pressure.

In January 1380 Sudbury became chancellor of England, and the insurgent peasants regarded him as one of the principal authors of their woes. Having released John Ball from his prison at Maidstone, the Kentish insurgents attacked and damaged the archbishop's property at Canterbury and Lambeth; then, rushing into the Tower of London, they seized the archbishop himself.

Sudbury was dragged to Tower Hill and, on June 14 1381, was beheaded. His body was afterwards buried in Canterbury Cathedral. Sudbury rebuilt part of the church of St Gregory at Sudbury, and with his brother, John of Chertsey, he founded a college in this town; he also did some building at Canterbury. His father was Nigel Theobald, and he is sometimes called Simon Theobald or Tybald.

See WF Hook, Lives of the Archbishops of Canterbury.

This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.