John Morton’s career is remarkable in many ways, culminating in his appointment as Archbishop of Canterbury, on 6th October 1486, which led to his being created Cardinal and concurrently holding the position of Lord Chancellor.
John Morton’s early career
Morton did not have an easy journey to these high-ranking positions. Though he was a graduate of Baliol College, Oxford, his first positions were as Rector, then archdeacon at Norwich Cathedral. He made more of a name for himself as a lawyer, being the person who drafted the 1459 attainder of Richard Duke of York.
A loyal Lancastrian
That Act and his association with the House of Lancaster led to him joining Queen Margaret in exile. He remained in France until 1469 when Warwick was in the ascendancy.
John Morton in Edward IV’s second reign
His stock rose as a result of making his peace with Edward IV. He gained both government and ecclesiastical roles, as Master of the Rolls and Archdeacon of Winchester, then Berkshire and finally Norfolk. This led to his elevation to the bishopric of Ely in 1478, consecrated the following year.
John Morton appointed as Archbishop of Canterbury
Morton was a political opponent of Richard III and was imprisoned for a period as a result. This did mean that he could resume high office under Henry VII, being translated to Archbishop of Canterbury and appointed Lord Chancellor.
Morton’s reforms played a large role in ensuring that the Treasury balanced its books. He died in 1500.
John Morton, via Wikimedia.