|The Most Reverend
|Archbishop of York|
Archbishop Booth's coat of arms
|Installed||8 October 1476|
|Term ended||19 May 1480|
|Died||19 May 1480
|Residence||London, York and Durham|
|Alma mater||Pembroke College, Cambridge|
A scion of the ancient Cheshire family of Booth which remained seated at Dunham Massey until the middle of the eighteenth century, Lawrence Booth started out reading both Civil and Canon Law at Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, becoming a Licentiate. He was elected Master of his college in 1450, a post he held until his death, and later was also appointed Chancellor of the University of Cambridge. Whilst at Cambridge, where he started a movement for both a school for the Arts and a school of Civil Law, he is believed to have produced his first miracle.
Outside Cambridge, Booth's career also advanced quickly. In 1449, he was appointed a Prebendary of St. Paul's Cathedral and, on 2 November 1456, became Dean of St Paul's. He was also a Prebendary of York Minster and of Lichfield Cathedral. From 1454 to 1457 he was Archdeacon of Richmond.
Booth's activity was not confined to the Church; he was also active in government. He became Chancellor to Queen Margaret and, in about 1456, he became Keeper of the Privy Seal, and in that same year on 28 January he was also appointed one of the tutors and guardians of the Prince of Wales. He was Lord Privy Seal until 1460. In 1457 he was also briefly Provost of Beverley Minster.
On 25 September 1457, Booth was installed as Bishop of Durham. This was both an important ecclesiastical appointment, and an equally important civil one, as the Prince Bishop of Durham enjoyed civil authority over a large area of northern England almost until the reign of Queen Victoria.
Although from a Lancastrian family, he cultivated relations with the Yorkists and, after the fall of King Henry VI, Booth adapted himself to the new status quo. He submitted himself to King Edward (the former Earl of March) in April 1461, and by the end of June, Booth was beating back a raid led by the Lords de Ros, Dacre and Rugemont-Grey who brought King Henry VI over the border to try to raise a rebellion in the north of England. Edward named him his confessor. Although he temporarily lost control of the see of Durham, it was restored to him in 1464, when he made submission to King Edward IV, and he was never imprisoned. He took an active part in Edward's government thereafter and on 27 July 1473 was made Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, which office he held until May 1474. In October 1473 he led a delegation to Scotland to formally sign the marriage treaty between the newborn son (later James IV of Scotland) of James III and Edward's third daughter Cecily.
In 1476, Booth was translated to the Archdiocese of York, following on from where his half-brother had been until his death in 1464. He was the only bishop whom Edward IV inherited that was ever promoted to higher office. He was archbishop until his death on 19 May 1480, and was buried beside his brother in the Collegiate Church of Southwell, which both he and his brother had generously endowed.
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- Fryde Handbook of British Chronology p. 282
- Ross Edward IV p. 318
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- Jones, B. (1964). 32284 Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1300–1541: Volume 10: Coventry and Lichfield diocese: Prebendaries: Offley. Institute for Historical Research.
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|Lord Privy Seal
|Catholic Church titles|
|Bishop of Durham
|Archbishop of York
|Master of Pembroke College, Cambridge