Log In

Edmund Grindal Edit Profile

Clergyman , leader

Edmund Grindal was an English archbishop of Canterbury whose Puritan sympathies brought him into serious conflict with Queen Elizabeth I.


He was born in Hensingham, now a suburb of Whitehaven.


He was educated at Magdalen College, Christ's College, and Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, he graduated in 1538.


He was ordained a deacon in 1544 and was proctor of the university from 1548 to 1549, when he was appointed Lady Margaret preacher. Grindal was frequently chosen to argue on the Protestant side in disputations at Cambridge and elsewhere, and in 1550 he became chaplain to Nicholas Ridley, bishop of London, who appointed him preceptor of St. Paul's the following year. He was also made one of the royal chaplains and in 1552 was installed as prebendary of Westminster. On the accession of Queen Mary he abandoned his preferments and departed for Germany, where he remained in exile until the queen's death in 1558.

Returning to London, he took part in the revision of the liturgy, was elected master of Pembroke Hall, and succeeded Bonner as bishop of London. His sympathies for the Puritan clergy, however, did not fit him for the diocese of London, and in 1570 he was transferred by Archbishop Parker to the see of York, where he found the work of enforcing uniformity against the Romish party more congenial. Five years later he was named archbishop of Canterbury by Queen Elizabeth, who was at the time leaning more heavily toward Puritanism.

He was installed in 1576 and commenced by instituting a reform of the archbishop's courts, but soon found himself in disfavor with Elizabeth, who had begun courting the Roman Catholic powers on the Continent. Grindal refused to change his attitude, and in 1577 Queen Elizabeth suspended him from his jurisdictional functions on a pretext arising from his refusal to suppress "prophesyings" or clerical meetings for discussion of the scriptures. Grindal remained under the queen's displeasure until 1582, when he seems to have been fully restored in his office. Meanwhile his health had suffered and he died at Croydon on July 6, 1583. Despite his learning, Grindal made only a small contribution to the development of the Church of England.


  • Edmund Grindal was remembered as a Queen Elizabeth's second Archbishop of Canterbury. Their working relationship, however, was disastrous. Grindal had Puritan sympathies, unlike the Queen, and his attempts to move the Church in a more Puritan direction irritated her.