- , Archbishop of York
(d. 1480)Lawrence Booth (or Bothe) was the only bishop appointed under the house of LANCASTER to later secure ecclesiastical advancement and high political office under the house of YORK.Educated at Cambridge, Booth obtained his first political office in March 1451, succeeding his half brother William Booth as MARGARET OF ANJOU’s chancellor. In September 1456, he became keeper of the privy seal, his appointment signaling a general purge of Yorkist sympathizers from the government. In January 1457, the queen’s influence won Booth appointment to the COUNCIL of Prince EDWARD OF LANCASTER, a body used by Margaret to encourage Lancastrian loyalty throughout the prince’s lordships in Wales and Chester. In 1457, when the king nominated his confessor to be bishop of Durham, the queen instead promoted Booth for the office, which he duly obtained in September. At Durham, Booth supported the Lancastrian branch of the NEVILLE FAMILY, favoring its members over their Yorkist cousins for offices in his gift.In October 1459, Booth swore loyalty to HENRY VI at the COVENTRY PARLIAMENT, where Queen Margaret attainted Richard PLANTAGENET, duke of York, and his allies; as a result of the ATTAINDER of Richard NEVILLE, earl of Warwick, Booth seized Barnard Castle, possession of which bishops of Durham had disputed with earls of Warwick since the thirteenth century. In 1460, Booth left the royal army before the Battle of NORTHAMPTON, and was shortly thereafter replaced as keeper of the privy seal by a Yorkist appointee, Bishop Robert STILLINGTON. In 1461, EDWARD IV tried to conciliate Booth by appointing him to a royal chaplaincy. The bishop responded in June by defeating a Lancastrian invasion force led out of SCOTLAND by Thomas ROOS, Lord Roos.However, Booth lost favor in December 1462, when he was suspended from office, perhaps for suspected dealings with Queen Margaret. Restored in April 1464, Booth spent the rest of the 1460s quietly administering his diocese.Little is known of Booth’s activities during the READEPTION in 1470–1471, but his rapid reemployment by Edward IV after the king’s restoration in 1471 argues against any strong support for the Lancastrian regime (see Edward IV, Restoration of). In 1473, Booth led an embassy to Scotland to conclude a treaty with JAMES III, whereby the future JAMES IV was to marry Edward’s daughter Cecily. From July 1473 to May 1474, Booth served as chancellor of England, and in 1476 Edward nominated him for the archbishopric of York, the office earlier held by his half brother. Booth’s elevation may have been partially due to Richard, duke of Gloucester (see Richard III, King of England), who found the bishop an obstacle to his assumption of the influence once exercised across the north by Warwick. Booth died in May 1480.Further Reading: Davies, Richard G.,“The Church and the Wars of the Roses,” in A. J. Pollard, ed., The Wars of the Roses (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1995), pp. 143–161; Griffiths, Ralph A., The Reign of King Henry VI (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981); Reeves, A. Compton,“Lawrence Booth: Bishop of Durham (1457–76), Archbishop of York (1476–80),” in Sharon D. Michalove and A. Compton Reeves, eds., Estrangement, Enterprise and Education in Fifteenth-Century England (Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK: Sutton Publishing, 1998), pp. 63–88.
Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses. John A.Wagner. 2001.
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