Correspondence of William Cosmo Gordon Lang, Baron Lang of Lambeth, Archbishop of Canterbury (1864-1945)

Scope and Content

The correspondence consists of: a letter to Hockley, 1906; a letter to Mallet, 1908; a letter dated 1924; a letter to C. J. Newell, 1928; and, a letter to Miss Mallam. There is also a photograph and newspaper cutting with photograph.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Cosmo Gordon Lang was born at Fyvie Manse, Aberdeenshire, on 31 October 1864. He was the son of John Marshall Lang (1834-1909), Principal of Aberdeen University 1900-1909, and Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, 1893. He was educated at Glasgow University and at Balliol College, Oxford, and was a student of the Inner Temple, London, 1883-1889. Lang then abandoned a legal career and enrolled at Cuddesdon Theological College. He was Curate in a Leeds slum between 1890 and 1893, Fellow and Dean of Divinity at Magdalen College, Oxford, 1893 to 1896, Vicar of St. Mary the Virgin, Oxford (the University Church), 1894 to 1896, Vicar of Portsea, Hampshire, 1896 to 1901, and then Bishop of Stepney, 1901 to 1909, and Canon of St. Paul's, 1901 to 1908. Lang was appointed Archbishop of York in 1908, and then Archbishop of Canterbury in 1928. A long time association with the royal family began with his appointment as Honorary Chaplain to Queen Victoria. He then became a close friend and adviser to King George VI. In 1936 he was suspected of having conspired to bring about the abdication of King Edward VIII. Lang retired in 1942 and he was created Baron Lang of Lambeth, and granted a home at Kew. His publications include The miracles of Jesus, as marks of the way of life (1900), The parables of Jesus (1906), and The opportunity of the Church of England (1906). William Cosmo Gordon Lang, Archbishop of Canterbury, died at Kew, Richmond, on 5 December 1945.

Access Information

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.

Acquisition Information

Part of a purchase of miscellaneous letters, March 1971, Accession no. E71.5.


The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) The dictionary of national biography. The concise dictionary. Part 2. 1901-1970. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982. (2) Who was who 1941-1950. London: Adam and Charles Black, 1952. (3) The new encyclopaedia Britannica. Micropaedia. Ready Reference. 15th edition. Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1991.

Compiled by Graeme D Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division.

Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.


Check the local Indexes for details of any additions.

Related Material

The local Indexes show reference to a Lang letter to Sir C. J. Pearson (check the Indexes for more details): at Gen. 756, no. 142. In addition, the UK National Register of Archives (NRA), updated by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, notes the following collections in Scotland: letters to Sir Charles Dalrymple, 1901-1915, National Library of Scotland, Manuscripts Division, Ref. Acc 7228 8987 NRA 17690 Dalrymple, see NRA(S)0909, and letters to Seton Gordon, 1936-1942, Ref. Acc 7451 box 6 NRA 29152 Gordon, and correspondence with Lord Haldane, 1907-1936, Ref. MSS 5908-6083, and also letters (14) to H. P. Macmillan, 1933-1945, Ref. Acc 2390 4684 4849 NRA 29056 Macmillan.