Runcie, Robert. Archbishop of Canterbury

Identity area

Type of entity


Authorized form of name

Runcie, Robert. Archbishop of Canterbury

Parallel form(s) of name

Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules

Other form(s) of name

  • Baron Runcie

Identifiers for corporate bodies

Description area

Dates of existence



Bishop Runcie was born on the 2nd of October 1921 in Great Crosby (a suburb of Liverpool, England) to rather non religious parents. He was educated at Brasenose College at Oxford University where he graduated following a five year break for war service (1941-1946). After graduating from Oxford, he prepared for ordination at Wescott House, a theological college based in Cambridge (England). After ordination he served for two years as the curate at All Saint's parish in Newcastle on Tyne. He then became vice-principal at Westcott House and in 1956, Dean of Trinity Hall at Cambridge where he met his future wife (Angela) Rosalind (Lindy) Turner (Lady Runcie), an accomplished pianist and music teacher. They married on September 5th, 1957. In 1960, he became principal of Cuddesdon College, followed by bishop of the St. Alban's Diocese (1970-1980) and Archbishop of Canterbury from 1981-1991. In 1991 he retired as "Baron Runcie of Cuddesdon. He died of cancer in 2000 and is buried in the church yard at St. Alban's Abbey. He and his wife had two children, James (1959) and Rebecca (1962) and four grandchildren.

In 1984, while he was considering the issue of the ordination of women, he met with the Reverend Florence Li Tim-Oi when she came to England for the celebration of the fourtieth year of her ordination at Westminster Abbey. After meeting with Li Tim-Oi, He changed his mind to consider ordination of women saying "Who am I to say whom God can or cannot call? It takes one woman to change the thinking of the church."


Canterbury (England)
Great Crosby (Lancashire, England)
Oxford University. Brasenose College
Wescott House (Cambridge, England)
Newcastle on Tyne (England)
Cuddesdon (England)
Cuddesdon College
St. Alban's (England)
Church of England. Diocese of St. Alban's
Canterbury (England)
Church of England. Diocese of Canterbury
Church of England. Province of Canterbury
Lambeth Palace. (London)

Legal status

The Ecclesiastical Appeals Act 1532 (24 Hen 8 c 12),
The Act of Supremacy, 1534 (26 Hen. VIII c. 1).
The Act of Supremacy, 1558 (1 Eliz 1 c 1)
Conventicles Act, 1664 (16 Car. II c. 4)

Functions, occupations and activities

Curate of All Saints Parish, Newcastle on Tyne (England)
Principal of Cuddesdon College
Archibishop of Diocese of St. Alban's
Archbishop of Diocese of Canterbury
Metropolitan of the Province of Canterbury
Primate of the Church of England
Spiritual leader of the World wide Anglican Communion

Mandates/sources of authority

Lambeth Conference

Internal structures/genealogy

Robert Alexander Kennedy Runcie was born to Robert Dalziel Runcie (1879–1946) and Anne, née Benson (d. 1950) on the 2nd of October 1921. He married (Angela) Rosalind [Lindy] Runcie [née Turner], [Lady Runcie] (January 23rd,1932–January 12th, 2012),( daughter of [James William] Cecil Turner (1886-1968) and Beatrice Maude [née Stooke] (1899–1987)), a concert pianist and music teacher on September 5th, 1957. They had two children: James (1959) and Rebecca (1962). He died on July 11th, 2000.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is the spiritual head of Worldwide Anglican Communion, Primate of the Church of England, Metropolitan of Province of Canterbury and Archbishop of Canterbury. He is considered to be the first amongst equals and chair at the Primates Meeting, Lambeth Conference and the Anglican Consultative Council.

General context

The formal break with the Roman Catholic church happened in 1534 under Henry VIII with the Roman Catholic Church responding to Henry's challenge by expelling the English church. Theological breaks from the Roman Catholic Church started appearing under the brief reign of Edward VI (his son by Jane Seymour) and later the reign of Elizabeth I (His daughter with Anne Boleyn), with a brief return to the Papal Roman Catholic Church under Mary I (his daughter with Catherine of Aragon) . Theological transformations continuing through to the 19th century led to strains within what would become known as the Anglican Church leading to the development of other denominations such as presbyterianism, methodism, quakerism and others. Until the rise of the British Empire, Anglicanism as a religion was restricted to parts of the British Isles and the North American British Colonies. With the spread of the British Empire, Anglicanism (a word not in use until the 19th century) became a true worldwide church. In 1867, in order to maintain theological consistencies throughout the worldwide church, the first Lambeth conference was held, which established the Archibishop of Canterbury as the spiritual leader of the world wide Anglican Communion. Archbishop Runcie attempted to reconcile the Anglican Communion with the Church of Rome. This was not to be due to Pope John Paul II's belief and the belief of the Church of Rome that the "papacy already has primacy of jurisdiction over all other churches" whether or not they recognize it or not.

Ordination of women allowed was increasingly being allowed in protestant denominations including in the worldwide Anglican Communion including Hong Kong (officially 1971, though Florence Li Tim-Oi was ordained during wartime in 1944) the United States (1974) and the Anglican Church in Canada (1975). Ordination of women was not allowed in the Church of England during this time, and Archibishop Runcie was not in favour of it. In 1984 he met Rev. Florence Li Tim-Oi on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of her ordination at Westminster Cathedral. This meeting helped change his mind more in favour of the ordination of women which was finally allowed from 1992.

Relationships area

Related entity

Li, Florence Tim-Oi (1907-1992)

Identifier of the related entity


Category of the relationship


Type of relationship

Li, Florence Tim-Oi is the associate of Runcie, Robert. Archbishop of Canterbury

Dates of the relationship


Description of relationship

Rev. Florence Li Tim-Oi met with Archbishop Runcie during the occasion of the 40th anniversary of her ordination. This meeting helped pave the way for the ordination of women in the Church of England.

Access points area


Control area

Authority record identifier


Institution identifier

Renison University College

Rules and/or conventions used

RAD - Rules for Archival Description, Rev. version., Ottawa: Bureau of Canadian Archivists, 2008.



Level of detail


Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Created 02.15.2017
Revised 02.21.2017




Booty, J.(1996). Anglicanism. In The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Reformation. : Oxford University Press. Retrieved 15 Feb. 2017, from

Cameron, E.Supremacy, Act of. In The Oxford Companion to British History. : Oxford University Press. Retrieved 15 Feb. 2017, from

(2013). women, ordination of. In Livingstone, E.(Ed.), The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. : Oxford University Press. Retrieved 15 Feb. 2017, from

Mullett, M.(2008). Church of England. In Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World. : Oxford University Press. Retrieved 15 Feb. 2017, from

Webster, A. (2004). Runcie, robert alexander kennedy, baron runcie (1921–2000), . Oxford dictionary of national biography (Online edn. ed., ). Oxford: OUP. Retrieved from, accessed 15 Feb 2017]

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