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Stigand, Archbishop of Canterbury
(Died 1072)

Stigand was Chaplain to Kings Canute the Great and Harald Harefoot, and adviser of Queen Emma. He was consecrated to the See of Elmham in 1043 and received the Bishopric of Winchester in 1047.

He was an adherent of Earl Godwin of Wessex and, when Archbishop Robert fled from England on Godwin's return from exile, Stigand was appointed to succeed him (1052). The appointment, however, was not recognised by Rome and, even in England, his position was regarded as schismatical. In 1058, Pope Benedict X consented to send him a pallium but this only served to intensify the difficulties of his situation; for, in 1059, Benedict was declared uncanonical and was deposed.

After the death of King Harold II, Stigand made his submission to William the Conqueror, who insisted that the Archbishop should accompany him on his return to Normandy. At King William's request, in 1070, the Papal Legates were sent to England and brought the following charges against Stigand: that he had usurped the Archbishopric during the lifetime of Robert and used his pallium; that he had received his own pallium from an anti-pope; and that he had retained the Bishopric of Winchester after his appointment to Canterbury. Stigand was condemned, deprived of his dignities and imprisoned at Winchester, where he died of voluntary starvation on 21st February 1072.

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

 

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