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Lyfing, Archbishop of Canterbury
(Died 1020)

Originally named Aelfstan, Lyfing took his ecclesiastical name the word Leof-carus, meaning 'darling'. He was consecrated Bishop of Wells in AD 999 and was appointed, by Aethelred the Unready, to the See of Canterbury in 1013: a year marked by a fresh invasion of the Vikings, who devastated the country far and wide. Lyfing was captured and long detained by the Danish army of King Sweyn Forkbeard. He, at last, withdrew from England but returned with King Aethelred upon Sweyn's death.

Lyfing took part in framing the ecclesiastical laws which were enacted in the Witenagemot held in 1014. In 1016, he crowned King Edmund Ironside and, in 1017, Canute the Dane. He began the restoration of Canterbury Cathedral, which had been partially destroyed by the Vikings. His death occurred on 12th June 1020.

Edited from G.M. Bevan's "Portraits of the Archbishops of Canterbury" (1908).

 

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