William Warham

c.1450-1532. Archbishop of Canterbury from 1504. Educated in law at Oxford, he was sent by Henry VII on legal business to Rome and Antwerp (1490-91) and on a political mission to Flanders (1493). He became Master of the Rolls (1494), precentor of Hereford (1493), and archdeacon of Huntingdon (1496). He acted as envoy to Scotland, to Burgundy, and to the emperor Maximilian (1496-1502), negotiated treaties, and helped arrange the marriage of Arthur and Catherine of Aragon. Made bishop of London in 1502, he was translated to Canterbury in 1504, and appointed lord chancellor. In 1506 he arranged the marriage of Henry VII and Margaret of Savoy. He crowned Henry VIII* and Catherine of Aragon in 1509, and befriended Erasmus.

Wolsey* replaced Warham as lord chancellor in 1516, and from 1518 when Wolsey was made papal legate there was friction between them over precedence. Warham attended Henry VIII to France in 1520. Eight years later he was appointed counsel for Queen Catherine in the divorce proceedings, but was afraid to do anything to support her cause and was forced by Henry to advise Pope Clement VII* to annul the marriage. In 1531, when the clergy were obliged to recognize the king as supreme head of the church, Warham added the phrase, “so far as the law of Christ will allow.” He protested ineffectively in 1532 against all parliamentary measures prejudicial to the pope's authority since 1529. He was a patron and benefactor of the New Learning, though entirely unsympathetic to Protestants.

See W. Hook, Lives of the Archbishops of Canterbury (1888).