William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury

10 January -- Commemoration
If celebrated as a Lesser Festival, Common of Martyrs, page 464

William Laud was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury by his friend and ecclesiastical ally, King Charles, in 1633. The aim of both Archbishop and Monarch was to counter the reforming Puritan movement, which emphasised personal and ecclesial austerity as a means of sustaining conversion. Laud was a High Churchman who felt that the majesty of God should be reflected in the liturgy of the church and rigorously set about ensuring that its ministers should practise what he preached. His relentless approach left no room for variance of practice -- but neither did the Puritans -- and the latter had the upper hand in Parliament and eventually impeached him in 1640 and imprisoned him in the Tower of London. His friend the King did not -- or could not -- come to his assistance and he was beheaded on this day in 1645.