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John Morton (c. 1420–1500) was an English prelate who served as Archbishop of Canterbury from 1486 to 1500. He was elevated to the cardinalate in 1493.

Born in Dorset, Morton was educated at Balliol College, Oxford. In February of 1477, he was sent by the Yorkist King Edward IV, together with Sir John Donne, as ambassador to the French court. Edward appointed him Bishop of Ely on 8 August 1479 and he was consecrated on 31 January 1479. Morton was an important foe of the Yorkist regime of King Richard III and spent some time in captivity in Brecknock castle. After the dynastic change to the Tudors in 1485, Henry VII made him Archbishop of Canterbury on October 6 of 1486, and appointed him Lord Chancellor of England in 1487. In 1493 he was appointed titular Cardinal of the church of St. Anastasia in Rome by Pope Alexander VI. He built the "Old Palace" of Hatfield House where Elizabeth I spent much of her girlhood.

As Lord Chancellor, Morton was tasked with restoring the royal estate, depleted by Edward IV. By the end of Henry VII's reign, the king's frugality, and Morton's tax policy, carried out by Edmund Dudley and Richard Empson, had replenished the treasury. Morton gave a statement, later known as 'Morton's Fork', that no one was to be exempted from taxes: "If the subject is seen to live frugally, tell him because he is clearly a money saver of great ability, he can afford to give generously to the King. If, however, the subject lives a life of great extravagance, tell him he, too, can afford to give largely, the proof of his opulence being evident in his expenditure."

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "John Morton."
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