Lawrence (d.619) (DNB00)

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LAWRENCE or LAURENTIUS (d. 619), second archbishop of Canterbury, accompanied Augustine [q. v.] when he first set out from Rome for England in 696, remained at Aix when Augustine returned to Rome, and finally landed with him in Thanet in 697. He is described as a priest (presbyter), apparently in contrast with a certain Peter, described as a monk (Historia Ecclesiastica, i. 27). But the inference that he was not a monk has been disputed (Mabillon, Acta SS. O.S.B. ii. 67; Elmham, p. 127). Augustine sent him to Rome in 601 with a letter to Pope Gregory, and on his return he brought with him a new body of missionaries. When Augustine felt that his end was near, he ordained Laurentius as his successor, probably in the spring of 604, and Laurentius succeeded to the see of Canterbury on Augustine's death on 26 May. He laboured vigorously to strengthen the new church, and tried to bring the Britons and the Scots of Ireland into conformity with it. He wrote, with Bishops Mellitus [q. v.] and Justus [q. v.], to the Scottish bishops and abbots, complaining of the unfriendly conduct of a Scottish bishop named Dagan, and sent another letter to the British priests exhorting them to unity. These letters were ineffectual, but he is said to have won over a certain Irish archbishop named Tereran, supposed to be a bishop of Armagh, who was attracted to England by his fame (Eccl. Docs, iii. 61 T 62). In 610 he sent Mellitus to Rome on a mission concerning some needs of the English church. The church of St. Peter and St. Paul begun by Augustine at Canterbury is said to have been finished and consecrated by him in 613. When, after the accession of Eadbert [q. v.] to the kingship of Kent, Mellitus and Justus left England in 617 or 618, Laurentius was minded to follow their example. One day, however, he came before the king and showed him his back covered with the marks of stripes, telling him that the night before as he was sleeping in the church of St. Peter and St. Paul, St. Peter appeared to him, and chastised and rebuked him for his intention. Eadbert was converted, and Mellitus and Justus were recalled. Laurentius died on 2 Feb. 619, and was buried by his predecessor in the north porch of the church of St. Peter and St. Paul. All that is certainly known about him is told by Bæda. Elmham adds that he blessed two abbots of the monastery of St. Peter and St. Paul, and a manuscript life by Goscelin states that he went to Fordun (?Ford in Kent) and built a church there.

[Bede's Hist. Eccl. i. cc. 27, 33, ii. cc 4, 6, 7 (Engl. Hist. Soc); Elmham's Hist. Monast. S. Aug. pp. 114, 119, 127. 133, 144 (Rolls Ser.); Kemble's Codex Dipl. Nob. 1, 4-6, 983 (Engl. Hist. Soc.); Mabillon's Acta SS. O.S.B. ii. 66-69; Acta SS., Bolland, Feb. i. 289-94; Hardy's Cat. i. 217, 218 (Rolls Ser.), where are notices of other manuscript lives, one the foundation of the account given in Capgrave's Nova Legenda, f. 207 b; Haddan and Stubbs's Eccl. Docs. iii. 61-70; art. 'Laurentius' in Diet. Christ. Biog. iii. 631, by Bishop Stubbs; Hook's Archbishops of Canterbury, i. 79 sqq.]

W. H.