Pole, Archbishop (biog)

Reginald Pole (1500-1558) served as Archbishop of Canterbury from 1555 until his death. As archbishop during the reign of Queen Mary, Pole was the last Archbishop to be a Roman Catholic, the last to be a Cardinal and the last to receive his pallium (Y shaped ecclesiastical vestment worn round the neck) from the Pope in Rome. His original memorial included an extensive cycle of Renaissance wall paintings, sadly scraped off in the 1820s and now lost for ever. In his will Pole left the almonry building and Mint Yard to be used by the newly formed King’s School at a nominal rent. The 500 year term of this arrangement is now approaching, offering a novel challenge for barristers and lawyers! The generosity of Cardinal Pole to the school is marked by his coat of arms both in glass in the school chapel and in stone in the Mint Yard.

What to see:

  • the plain tomb renovated in the 1970s with new plaster and re-incised gilt lettering (Image 1)
  • the Archbishop’s heraldic cartouche donated by Cardinal Vaughan, Roman Catholic bishop of Westminster, in 1897 – note the red cardinal’s hat at the top (Image 2)
  • the stained glass window in the King’s School chapel commemorating the generosity of Cardinal Pole to their school (Image 3)
  • Cardinal Pole’s coat of arms displayed in the Mint Yard (Image 4)

Sources:  see standard cathedral sources