Whitgift, John(hwĭt`gĭft), 1530?–1604, archbishop of Canterbury. He was a fellow of Peterhouse, Cambridge. As vice chancellor (1573) he had a leading part in revising the university statutes. He was made dean of Lincoln in 1571 and bishop of Worcester in 1577. He became archbishop of Canterbury in 1583. In his efforts to establish uniformity of discipline in ecclesiastical matters, Whitgift had the full support and favor of Queen Elizabeth. His policy was severe toward the Puritans, and he was attacked in some of the tracts published in the Marprelate controversyMarprelate controversy
, a 16th-century English religious argument. Martin Marprelate was the pseudonym under which appeared several Puritan pamphlets (1588–89) satirizing the authoritarianism of the Church of England under Archbishop John Whitgift.
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See his works, ed. by J. Ayre (3 vol., 1851–53); biography by H. J. Clayton (1911); studies by P. M. Dawley (1954) and V. J. K. Brook (1957).