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Stephen Langton

d.1228. Archbishop of Canterbury from 1207. Born in England but educated at Paris, where he won a reputation as an OT commentator, he was created a cardinal by Innocent III in 1206, and in 1207 consecrated archbishop of Canterbury. King John refused to accept him, and until 1213 England was under papal interdict. In that year John yielded to Innocent, and Langton arrived in England. He strongly sympathized with the baronial opposition, and though he seems to have been the first to suggest a Charter, he tried to hold a mediating position. On the Charter itself, his name heads the list of counselors. Late in 1215 he was suspended by papal commissioners for not excommunicating the barons (the pope supported John). Langton went to Rome to plead before Innocent, but though the sentence was revoked, he was not allowed to return to England until 1218. He supported the regency against baronial attacks and papal claims, and in 1225 obtained from Henry III the final edition of Magna Carta. From Honorius III he secured the right for the archbishop of Canterbury to be the pope's legatus natus, and at the Synod of Oseney (1222) he issued the decrees of the Fourth Lateran Council and special constitutions for the English Church.

See F.M. Powicke, Stephen Langton (1928).

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