On this day in 1577 – Death of Edmund Guest, Bishop of Salisbury

Edmund Guest (or Gheast) died on 28th February 1577. Born in 1514 in Yorkshire he led a very academic childhood attending York Grammar School, Eton College and Kings College in Canterbury.

Whilst in Canterbury Guest became chaplain to Archbishop Matthew Parker who went on to make Guest Archdeacon of Canterbury and Rector of Cliffe, Kent. In 1560 Guest was made Bishop of Rochester, which duties he performed alonside his role as Archdeacon of Canterbury.

In 1563 he was invited to participate in the Convocation which was being held under his mentor Archbishop Parker. Their task was to revise the 42 articles. The origin of the 42 articles goes back to 1536 and Thomas Cranmer’s six articles that acted as the first guidelines for the Church of England. Over the years the articles were expanded and revised. It grew to 42 in 1552 under Edward VI. With the ascension of Mary I the articles were no longer enforced as Mary tried to turn the country back towards Catholism.

Under Elizabeth I and the Convocation led by Archbishop Parker only 39 of the 42 articles were passed, Elizabeth reduced this further to 38. Elizabeth did not want to offend any English citizens that still practised Catholism and so article XXIX was removed. It was later restored in 1571 after Elizabeth was excommunicated by the Pope the previous year. Bishop Guest opposed the article but his protests went unheard as Elizabeth approved the reintroduction of the article.

Guest was appointed to the role of Bishop of Salisbury in 1571, which he held until his death in 1577. He was buried in Salisbury Cathedral’s choir.

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