Stained Glass, Canterbury Cathedral
Photo © eNil July 27, 2006

Stigand (d. 1072), was an English churchman of pre-Conquest England.

He rose to the highest church office in the land as Archbishop of Canterbury after first holding the title of Bishop of Winchester. He is first mentioned in 1020. He was then chaplain to Canute and afterwards to his son, Harold Harefoot, and after the death of the former king appears to have acted as the chief adviser of his widow, Emma.

In 1043 he was consecrated bishop of Elmham the see covering East Anglia and in 1047 was translated to Winchester; he supported Earl Godwin of Wessex in his quarrel with Edward the Confessor, and in 1052 arranged the peace between the earl and the king. In this year the archbishop of Canterbury, Robert of Jumieges, having been outlawed and driven from England, Stigand was appointed to the archbishopric; but, regarding Robert as the rightful archbishop, Pope Leo IX and his two successors refused to recognize him.

Canterbury Cathedral
Canterbury Cathedral Photo © stephenrwalli September 2006

In 1058, however, Benedict X gave him the pall, but this pope was deposed in the following year. Stigand is said by Norman writers to have crowned King Harold II in January 1066 and is depicted at that coronation in the Bayeux tapestry; but it is now probable that this ceremony was performed by Aldred, Archbishop of York due to the controversy about Stigand's position.

Stigand submitted to William, and assisted at his coronation. But the Conqueror was anxious to get rid of him, although he took him in his train to Normandy in 1067. In 1070 he was deposed by the papal legates and was imprisoned at Winchester, where he died, probably on February 22 1072.

Stigand was an avaricious man and a great pluralist, holding the bishopric of Winchester after he became archbishop of Canterbury, in addition to several abbeys.

Preceded by:
Robert of Jumieges
Archbishop of Canterbury Followed by:

Preceded by:
Bishop of Winchester Followed by:


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