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Thomas Langley was born in 1363 in Middleton.  He was the third son of Alice and William.  His great Uncle William was the Rector of St. Leonard's Parish Church, Middleton.  He attended St Mary’s Abbey at Thetford from 1375 until 1381.

In 1385 he was appointed Rector of Radcliffe.  Langley was then appointed Dean of York; however this appointment was blocked by Pope Boniface IX due to Langley’s part in the deposition and murder of King Richard II.

In October 1404 Thomas Langley was elected Bishop of London; however the new Pope, Innocent VII, refused to allow his installation.

King Henry IV appointed Langley as his Lord Chancellor on 2nd March 1405.

Following the unsuccessful rebellion led in large part by Archbishop Richard le Scrope of York and his subsequent death, Langley was appointed as Archbishop, yet again, this appointment was blocked by the Pope.

Langley was successfully installed as Bishop of Durham at Saint Paul’s Cathedral in 1406.

In 1412 Thomas Langley returned to Middleton after an absence of 27 years.  It was during this time that the rebuilding of the Norman parish church took place.  He founded the Chantry school of Saint Cuthbert in the Chapel of Our Lady and Saint Cuthbert for the education local children. 

The parish church was re-consecrated and rededicated to Saint Leonard.  He also founded a school related to the church (Middleton Grammar School).

From 1406 to his semi-retirement in 1430, he spent 5,670 days in the service of the crown. During the reign of Henry V, he spent much of his time in the service of the crown - a politician first and churchman second.

He returned to Middleton for the last time in 1424.  From 1430 until his death on 20th November 1437, he attended to his diocese, something he had, by his own admission, neglected. He continued with various diplomatic work when called upon by the government.

Cardinal Thomas Langley is buried in the
Galilee Chapel in Durham Cathedral.  His tomb blocks the Great West Door of the cathedral.

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Lee Wolf © 2009.  All rights reserved.


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