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John Peckham

c.1225-1292. Archbishop of Canterbury from 1279. Born at Patcham, Sussex, he joined the Franciscans about 1250 and studied at Oxford, then at Paris under Bonaventure. He returned to Oxford in 1270 and later became English provincial of the Franciscans. In 1276 he was summoned to Rome to be the first theological lecturer at the papal schools, but in 1279 Nicholas III appointed him archbishop of Canterbury, displacing the royal candidate, Robert Burnell. As archbishop, Peckham defended the papal position and sought to initiate church reforms. At a provincial synod at Reading (1279) he legislated against pluralities and other abuses. He tried to raise clerical standards, advanced the Dominicans and Franciscans, and used the Welsh War to bring the Welsh Church more closely under the control of Canterbury. His reforms brought him into conflict with Edward I and with many of the clergy. He was an able theologian and a poet, and wrote also on scientific subjects.