His Eminence Thomas Bourchier, Archbishop of Canterbury

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His Eminence Thomas Bourchier, Archbishop of Canterbury

Birthdate: (82)
Birthplace: Little Eaton, Essex, England
Death: March 30, 1486 (78-86)
At his residence in Knole House, near Sevenoaks, Sevenoaks, Kent, England
Place of Burial: Canterbury, Kent, England
Immediate Family:

Son of William Bourchier, 1st Count of Eu and Anne of Gloucester, Countess of Stafford
Brother of Henry Bourchier, 1st Earl of Essex; William Bourchier, 9th Baron FitzWarin; John Bourchier, 1st Baron Berners; Edward Bourchier; Josh Bowsey and 1 other
Half brother of Philippa; Humphrey Stafford, 1st Duke of Buckingham; Anne Stafford, Countess of March and Lady Agnes Anne de Fremingham (Stafford)

Occupation: Cardinal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Chancellor of England, Lord Chancellor
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About His Eminence Thomas Bourchier, Archbishop of Canterbury


Cardinal Thomas Bourchier crowned 3 Kings and one Queen of England.


Thomas Bourchier (c. 1404 – 30 March 1486) was Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Chancellor and a cardinal.


Bourchier was a younger son of William Bourchier, 1st Count of Eu (d. 1420), and through his mother, Anne of Gloucester, a daughter of Thomas of Woodstock, was a great-grandson of King Edward III of England. One of his brothers was Henry Bourchier, Earl of Essex (d. 1483), and his grand-nephew was John, Lord Berners, the translator of Froissart. Humphrey Stafford, 1st Duke of Buckingham was a half-brother.

Educated at the University of Oxford, Bourchier then entered the church and obtained rapid promotion. After holding some minor appointments he became Bishop of Worcester in 1434, being consecrated on 15 May. In the same year he was Chancellor of the University of Oxford, and in 1443 he was appointed Bishop of Ely; then in April 1454 he was made Archbishop of Canterbury, becoming Lord Chancellor of England in the following March.

Bourchier's short term of office as chancellor coincided with the start of the Wars of the Roses, and at first he was not a strong partisan, although he lost his position as chancellor when Richard, Duke of York, was deprived of power in October 1456. Afterwards, in 1458, he helped to reconcile the contending parties, but when the war was renewed in 1459 he appears as a decided Yorkist; he crowned King Edward IV in June 1461, and four years later he crowned the queen, Elizabeth Woodville.

In 1457 Bourchier took the chief part in the trial of Reginald Pecock, Bishop of Chichester, for heresy; in 1473 he was created a cardinal after some delay as this honour had been sought for him by Edward IV in 1465; and in 1475 he was one of the four arbitrators appointed to arrange the details of the Treaty of Picquigny between England and France. After the death of Edward IV in 1483 Bourchier persuaded the queen to allow her younger son, Richard, Duke of York, to share his brother's residence in the Tower of London; and although he had sworn to be faithful to Edward V before his father's death, he crowned Richard III in July 1483. He was, however, in no way implicated in the murder of the young princes, and he was probably a participant in the conspiracies against Richard.

The third English king crowned by Bourchier was Henry VII, whom he also married to Elizabeth of York in January 1486. The archbishop died on 30 March 1486 at his residence, Knole House, near Sevenoaks, and was buried in Canterbury Cathedral.

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His Eminence Thomas Bourchier, Archbishop of Canterbury's Timeline

Little Eaton, Essex, England
- 1443
Age 30
- April 1454
Age 39
April 1454
- March 30, 1486
Age 50
March 1455
- October 1456
Age 51
- March 30, 1486
Age 63
March 30, 1486
Age 82
Sevenoaks, Kent, England
Age 82
Canterbury, Kent, England