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Boniface of Savoy

Archbishop of Canterbury
Born: 1290 in Hartfield or Chichester, Sussex Died: 26th August 1349 at Lambeth, Surrey

Thomas was born in Sussex and studied at the College which Walter de Merton had recently founded in Oxford. His learning as a theologian, a philosopher and a mathematician, earned for him the title of Doctor Profundus.

The distinguishing mark of his teaching was the stress which he laid on the foreknowledge of God and the need of divine grace, and this is referred to by Chaucer in his Nun's Priest's Tale.

He became Proctor of the University and, in that capacity, took part in resisting the claim of certain unscrupulous people to farm the revenues of the Archdeaconry of Oxford, which was held by the Cardinal of St. Lucia, although he neglected to perform the duties of the office.

About 1335, Bradwardine was summoned to London to assist Richard de Bury, Bishop of Durham, in collecting books for his great library. Soon after this, Bradwardine became Chancellor of St. Paul's and was appointed Chaplain to King Edward III. He accompanied the King during his progress through Flanders & Germany and his campaign in France. The victories of the English army were even attributed, by some, to the influence of his teaching and his holy life.

In 1349, he was elected to the See of Canterbury and, after his consecration at Avignon, he hastened back to England where the Black Death was raging. But a few days after his arrival, he died of the plague in London. His body was removed to Canterbury and laid in the Cathedral.

Edited from G.M. Bevan's "Portraits of the Archbishops of Canterbury" (1908).      Copyright ©1999, LLC