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Abbot, George

Abbot, George, born 1562, son of a clothworker at Guildford, educated at Balliol College, Oxford, subsequently became Master of University College and Vice-Chancellor. He espoused the cause of the English reformers, and thus was brought into collision with Laud. He was made Dean of Winchester in 1599, and entrusted with the translation of the Gospels. In 1608 he visited Scotland, and advocated Episcopacy, for which he was appointed to the see of Lichfield, and subsequently transferred to London. In 1611 he was promoted to the Primacy. In politics he took the popular side, and opposed the views of James I. as to the Countess of Essex's divorce, and the king's declaration in favour of Sunday sports. He founded the hospital which still exists at Guildford, and retired to that town in 1619. In 1621 he, by accident, killed a keeper whilst shooting deer in Lord Zouch's park. Laud insisted that this act of homicide disqualified the archbishop from all priestly functions. But the king took Abbot's part, and the latter returning to court, was present at his sovereign's death, 1625. Charles I. was not favourably disposed towards so liberal-minded a prelate, who signed the famous Petition of Right, and Abbot was suspended; but the House of Lords, on petition, restored the archbishop to his office, which he continued to hold till his death in 1633. His successor was Laud.

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