Abbot, George, Archbishop of Canterbury (1562 -1633)
George Abbot was the second son of Maurice Abbot, a clothworker of Guildford in Surrey, and Alice Marsh. He went from the Grammar School in Guildford to Balliol College Oxford, took his B.A. in 1582, and became a Fellow of his College in 1583;in 1585 he proceeded M.A. and took holy orders, in 1593 he took his B.D. and in 1597, his D.D. In the same year, at the unusually young age of 37 he was elected Master of University College. He was made Dean of Winchester Cathedral in 1600, and Vice Chancellor of Oxford University in 1600, 1603 and 1605. In 1608 he became chaplain to George Hume, Earl of Dunbar, and accompanied him to Scotland, where he took an important part in the task of reconciling the Church of Scotland to the idea of bishops. Abbot was present at the execution of George Sprot, an accessory to the Gowrie conspiracy, and published an account of it which pleased the King. He was made Bishop of Litchfield and Coventry in 1609, was translated to London in 1610, and became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1611. As Archbishop, Abbot opposed James over several of the King's favourite projects including the Spanish marriage, and was disliked by Charles I, who at Laud's instigation subjected him to several snubs and indignities. The University Library at Cambridge owns a book with the initials G A in gold on the sides and Abbot's signature on the titlepage, which perhaps reflects his normal usage before he became Archbishop. While at Oxford he gave books to the newly founded Bodleian Library, and money for the purchase of books to University College. There is a list of twenty eight printed books bought with it in University College Oxford Reg.I fol.14v and in their Benefactors Register fol.5. In 1612, when George Gledstanes Archbishop of St Andrews founded the University Library there, a project in which James I took considerable personal interest, Abbot gave forty two books with his arms. A list of them was published in the Maitland Club Miscellany I (1834). As Archbishop, he showed considerable interest in the library at Lambeth Palace which had been founded by his predecessor Richard Bancroft and added to it very considerably himself. There is an undated shelflist (1633) listing thirty nine manuscripts and 2,627 printed books in an unnumbered manuscript at Lambeth Palace Library. Their on-line Catalogue lists 1379 books with his arms, and Canterbury Cathedral Library has a further 32.