In the Shadow of Death: A Life of Archibald Campbell Tait, Archbishop of Canterbury

By John Witheridge

A compelling biography of the first Scottish Archbishop of Canterbury, whose political accomplishments shaped the Church in the late nineteenth century.

ISBN: 9780227177433


In this, the first biography of Archibald Campbell Tait since his son-in-law, Randall Davidson’s in 1891, John Witheridge tells the story of how a Scottish outsider became Queen Victoria’s favourite Archbishop of Canterbury, and the most powerful since Laud in the seventeenth century. Following his childhood in Edinburgh and education at Glasgow University and Balliol College, Oxford, Witheridge describes how Tait’s life was shaped by faith, duty and diligence, as well as by harrowing experiences of illness and death.

Tait was never content to be an ecclesiastical dignitary, but was ready to intervene and give a lead in the many conflicts, theological and political, that defined his fourteen years at Lambeth. While not always successful, Tait’s leadership of the Church during a period of controversy at home and challenge overseas, bravely accomplished against a background of personal tragedy, makes him a landmark figure in the history of the Church of England.

Additional information

Dimensions234 × 156 mm
Illustrations20 b&w and 1 colour

Hardback, Paperback

Trade InformationJPOD

About the Author

John Witheridge specialized in 19th century Church History at Christ’s College, Cambridge, where he was the Tancred Divinity Student. He has been Chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Senior Chaplain at Eton and Headmaster of Charterhouse. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a Chaplain to The Queen. His biography of Dean Stanley of Westminster has been described as ‘a joyous book … an inspiration.’ (Times Literary Supplement)


Family Trees

1. Scottish Inheritance
2. A Balliol Man
3. Discreet and Learned Minister
4. Dr Arnold’s Successor
5. In Death’s Dark Vale
6. The Greatest Diocese of the World
7. New Disputes and New Fears
8. Primate of All England
9. Wrangles and Judgments
10. The Shadows Lengthen

Source Notes
Select Bibliography