Church Power: Bishops and Archdeacons


Church Power: Bishops and Archdeacons

Archbishop John Whitgift

Date: 1589 | Reference: D/Q1/Q5

John Whitgift was one of the first Church of England archbishops of Canterbury. He served Elizabeth I and James I, rather than the Pope, between 1583 and 1604.

Whitgift's oval seal depicts a kneeling figure with another behind, both under an arch. Trails of flowers are at either side, with the archbishop's arms below. Whitgift's name and titles are given on the legend.

Archbishops typically had two seals: a 'business seal, used regularly, and a 'seal of dignity' used more rarely. The seal here is Whitgift's seal of dignity. It is affixed to a document of 1589 for improving the management of John Isbury's charity in Lambourn.