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Archbishop of Canterbury

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The Archbishop of Canterbury is one of the two archbishops in England recognized by the Church of England, the other being York. The Archbishop of Canterbury is recognized as the "primate of all England." One of the best known archbishops was Thomas a Becket, who had been a devoted servant of Henry II until the latter made him archbishop in 1162. He then became a great champion of the rights of the church and was murdered by four of Henry's knights in 1170.

Other archbishops who have played role in English history include Thomas Cranmer, who was one of Henry VII's favorite clerics because he spoke in favor of dissolving Henry's marriage to Catherine of Aragon. He eventually was burned at the stake as a heretic by Queen Mary I in 1556.

William Laud, archbishop during Charles I's reign, offended many by his insistence on conformity to the English liturgy. He was sentenced to death for treason by the House of Commons and executed in 1645.