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William Sancroft

(1617-1693), Archbishop of Canterbury

Later Stuart Portraits Catalogue Entry

Sitter in 29 portraits
As Dean of St Paul's Cathedral he contributed to the rebuilding after the Great Fire of London in 1666. He was made Archbishop of Canterbury in 1677. Anti-Catholic, he crowned King James II, the last Catholic monarch, in 1685. In 1688 he was one of the seven bishops who signed a petition asking James to reconsider his policy of religious tolerance to Catholics. All were sent to the Tower. Later that year seven members of the House of Lords asked William, Prince of Orange to overthrow his father-in-law James. Agreeing with the removal of James, Sancroft refused to swear allegiance to William and Mary when they acceded to the throne in 1689 and in 1690 he was deprived of his post.

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