By local historian, Roger Bingham, of Ackenthwaite
EDWIN Sandes was the only South Lakeland man to become an Archbishop.
Locally he is commemorated by the Sandys family who live at Graythwaite, close to Esthwaite Hall, where he was born in 1519 and, also, by Hawkshead’s Grammar School building which he founded shortly before his death in 1588.
His career straddled the mid sixteenth century Reformation when the English church moved from Roman Catholic rites to the moderate Protestant worship of the Church of England.
Edwin favoured reforms and, while vicar of Heversham in 1546-48, was one of the first clerics to allow the laity to drink from the Chalice at Holy Communion.
When Catholicism was restored under Mary I he was imprisoned in the Tower of London.
Although condemned ‘as the greatest heretic in England’ he evaded being burned at the stake by escaping to the continent with the help of a warder’s wife, whom (allegedly) he had cured from being barren.
When Protestantism came back under Elizabeth I he refused the Diocese of Carlisle and was Bishop of Worcester and then London before crowning his career by becoming Archbishop of York in 1576.