National Records of Scotland

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Cosmo Gordon Lang (1864-1945)

Cosmo Gordon Lang (1864-1945)

Archbishop of Canterbury, 1928-1942

Cosmo Gordon Lang studied at the universities of Glasgow and Oxford before following his calling to be ordained in the Church of England. He served in Leeds, Oxford and Portsea where he introduced church councils and preached before large congregations. He was appointed Archbishop of York in 1909 aged 44, and succeeded fellow Scot, Randall Davidson, as Archbishop of Canterbury in 1928. He had preached before Queen Victoria and was close to the royal family during the period leading to the abdication of Edward VIII. He resigned in 1942 and died on 5 December 1945 in London.

Birth in 1864

William Cosmo Gordon Lang was born on 31 October 1864, the son of the Reverend John Marshall Lang, minister of Fyvie, and Hannah Agnes Keith. The entry in the statutory register of births for Fyvie in Aberdeenshire shows that the future archbishop was born in the local manse.

Birth entry for Cosmo Gordon Lang

Birth entry for Cosmo Gordon Lang (29 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1864/197/107

1871 and 1881 censuses

In 1871 William C J (not G) Lang, aged six, scholar and clergyman's son, was enumerated with his family at 3 Morningside Bank in the Newington district of Edinburgh. His father was minister of the local parish.

1871 census record for Cosmo Gordon Lang

1871 census record for Cosmo Gordon Lang (50 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1871/685-5/117, page 1

In 1881 Cosmo G Lang, 16, art student, was enumerated with his family at 5 Woodlands Terrace in the district of Kelvin, Glasgow. His father was now minister of Barony parish.

1881 census record for Cosmo Gordon Lang

1881 census record for Cosmo Gordon Lang (43 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1881/644-9/47, page 23