Lawrence Booth

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Lawrence Booth
Archbishop of York
Appointed 1 September 1476
Term ended 19 May 1480
Predecessor George Neville
Successor Thomas Rotherham
Other posts Lord Chancellor and
Keeper of the Great Seal
Ordination 1441
Consecration 25 September 1457
Personal details
Born c. 1420
Barton, Lancashire
Died 19 May 1480 (aged 60)
Southwell, Nottinghamshire
Buried Southwell Minster
Nationality English
Denomination Catholic
Parents John Booth (f.)
Previous post
Alma mater Pembroke Hall, Cambridge

Lawrence Booth (c. 1420 – 1480) served as Prince-Bishop of Durham and Lord Chancellor, before appointment as Archbishop of York.[1]


The illegitimate son of John Booth, lord of the manor of Barton, near Eccles, Lancashire,[2] he was half-brother of Robert Booth of Dunham Massey, Cheshire.[citation needed]

Booth read civil and canon law at Cambridge,[3] graduating as Licentiate (Lic.C.L.), before gaining a Doctor of Divinity (D.D.). He was elected Master of Pembroke Hall in 1450, a post he held until his death, and also served as Chancellor of the University of Cambridge. Whilst at Cambridge, where he started a movement for both a School of Arts and a School of Civil Law, he is believed to have produced his first miracle.[citation needed]

Outside Cambridge, Booth's career was helped by his half-brother William Booth, who was Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield (1447–1452) and Archbishop of York (1452–1464).[2] In 1449, he was appointed a prebendary of St Paul's Cathedral[4] and, on 2 November 1456, became dean of St Paul's Cathedral.[5] He was also a prebendary of York Minster[6] and of Lichfield Cathedral.[7] From 1454 to 1457 he was Archdeacon of Richmond.[8]

Booth's influence was not confined to the Church; he was also active in government. He was chancellor to Margaret of Anjou and, in about 1456, he became Keeper of the Privy Seal,[9] 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.[9] In 1457 he also served briefly as Provost of Beverley Minster.[citation needed]

On 25 September 1457, Booth was installed as Bishop of Durham.[10]

Although from a Lancastrian family, he cultivated relations with the Yorkists and, after the fall of 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 defeated a raid led by the lords de Ros, Dacre and Rugemont-Grey who brought Henry VI over the border to try to raise a rebellion in the north of England.[11] Edward named him his confessor.[12] Although he temporarily lost control of the see of Durham, he was restored in 1464, after making a submission to Edward IV; he was successful in part by being a prelate who was never imprisoned in that era.[13] He took an active part in Edward's government thereafter[citation needed] and on 27 July 1473 was appointed Lord Chancellor, serving until May 1474.[14] 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.[15]

In 1476 Booth was translated to the see of York,[16] previously held by his half-brother. He was the only prelate at Edward IV's accession ever promoted to higher office.[17]

Booth served as Archbishop of York until his death on 19 May 1480,[16] and is buried beside William Booth, in the Collegiate Church of Southwell, which both he and his brother generously endowed.[18][unreliable source?]


  1. ^ Catholic Encyclopaedia
  2. ^ a b Pollard, A. J. (2008). "Booth, Laurence (c.1420–1480)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
  3. ^ "Booth, Laurence (BT450L)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  4. ^ Jones Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1300–1541: volume 10: Coventry and Lichfield diocese: Prebendaries: Offley
  5. ^ Horn Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1300–1541: volume 5: St Paul's, London: Deans of St Paul's
  6. ^ Jones Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1300–1541: volume 6: Northern Province (York, Carlisle and Durham): Prebendaries: Wistow
  7. ^ Jones Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1300–1541: volume 10: Coventry and Lichfield Diocese: Prebendaries: Gaia Major
  8. ^ Jones Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1300–1541: volume 6: Northern province (York, Carlisle and Durham): Archdeacons: Richmond
  9. ^ a b Fryde Handbook of British Chronology p. 95.
  10. ^ Fryde Handbook of British Chronology p. 242
  11. ^ Ross Edward IV pp. 45–6
  12. ^ Seward The Wars of the Roses p. 85
  13. ^ Davies "The Church and the Wars of the Roses" in The Wars of the Roses p. 141
  14. ^ Fryde Handbook of British Chronology p. 87
  15. ^ Ross Edward IV p. 213
  16. ^ a b Fryde Handbook of British Chronology p. 282
  17. ^ Ross Edward IV p. 318
  18. ^


Political offices
Preceded by
Thomas Lisieux
Lord Privy Seal
Succeeded by
Robert Stillington
Preceded by
Robert Stillington
Lord Chancellor
Succeeded by
John Alcock
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Robert Neville
Bishop of Durham
Succeeded by
William Dudley
Preceded by
George Neville
Archbishop of York
Succeeded by
Thomas Rotherham
Academic offices
Preceded by
Hugh Damlet
Master of Pembroke College, Cambridge
Succeeded by
Thomas Rotherham
Preceded by
William Percy
Chancellor of the University of Cambridge
Succeeded by
William Wilflete