Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


Stigand (d. 1072), archbishop of Canterbury, is first mentioned in 1020. He was then chaplain to Canute and afterwards to his son, Harold Harefoot, and after the death of the former king appears to have acted as the chief adviser of his widow, Emma.

In 1043 he was consecrated bishop of Elmham and in 1047 was translated to Winchester; he supported Earl Godwin, Earl of Wessex in his quarrel with Edward the Confessor, and in 1052 arranged the peace between the earl and the king. In this year the archbishop of Canterbury, Robert of Jumieges, having been outlawed and driven from England, Stigand was appointed to the archbishopric; but, regarding Robert as the rightful archbishop, Pope Leo IX and his two successors refused to recognize him.

In 1058, however, Benedict X gave him the pall, but this pope was deposed in the following year. Stigand is said by Norman writers to have crowned Harold in January 1066 and is depicted at that coronation in the Bayeux tapestry; but it is now probable that this ceremony was performed by Aldred, archbishop of York due to the controversy about Stigand's position.

Stigand submitted to William, and assisted at his coronation. But the Conqueror was anxious to get rid of him, although he took him in his train to Normandy in 1067. In 1070 he was deposed by the papal legates and was imprisoned at Winchester, where he died, probably on February 22 1072.

Stigand was an avaricious man and a great pluralist, holding the bishopric of Winchester after he became archbishop of Canterbury, in addition to several abbeys.

See BA Freeman, The Norman Conquest (1870-1876), vols. ii., iii. and iv.; and JR Green, The Conquest of England (1899), vol. ii.

This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.